So, tag is just a kids’ game, eh? Think again ...

We were too stunned. The painful sting of humiliation kept us awake that night

It all started innocently enough. We were walking back to our car, having picked the kids up from school. The kids were playing a game of tag with another family with four daughters. “You’re it … no you’re it … no you’re it …” The eternal playground refrain was passed from kid to kid at a supersonic rate.

We are great friends with the parents, and chatted amicably as we walked. Then one of their kids tagged me. This wasn’t in the rules. I am a mildly competitive fellow and so I chased down their seven-year-old and tagged her. The next thing I knew, it was playground mayhem.

Their seven-year-old tagged my wife, who tagged the other mum, who tried to tag me as I frantically barricaded my kids in the car. I eventually screeched off having dislodged the other mum as she tried to wrench open my door. We roared home heady on the rush of victory. We left a gloating message on the other family’s mobile. You don’t mess with the Jolys, was the gist.

Once home we were still celebrating when the eldest daughter of the enemy burst into our kitchen. She tagged my daughter and legged it out of the house  to the waiting getaway vehicle. We were too stunned to react. The painful sting of humiliation kept us all awake that night and, the next morning, we held an emergency meeting and a plan of action was hatched. Ten minutes later and the whole  family was in the car and on the half-an-hour drive to the enemy’s imposing riverside home.

When we got there, we parked down the road and quietly entered through an unlocked side gate. We spotted the mother and a daughter vulnerable in the garden, and we pounced. My daughter and I cornered and tagged the girl before legging it back to the car. There was no sign of my wife and son – they had gone Awol. We drove back down the lane alongside the house looking for survivors. My son suddenly burst from a hiding place and made it into the car untagged. We sped off, still unsure whether my wife had made it. By now, our cruising had attracted the attention of some horsey neighbours.

They arrived just in time to see my wife clamber over a 9ft dry stone wall and crumple into a heap on the side of the lane before dragging herself to our car shouting: “Drive, drive ….”

We burned off, past the horsey couple, howling the family victory song. Once home we bolted the doors and windows and listened to the message our enemies had left. They were coming for us.

That was three days ago. We have not been outside since. A man came to deliver a package yesterday and we refused to let him in because we suspected some form of Trojan horsery. Our supplies are getting low and paranoia is setting in. “Sometimes, it’s better to be the hunter than the hunted,” said my son in an overly emotional manner. I told him to shut up and check the basement as there was a weird rattling coming from down there. I think this might have all gone a little too far.