Another football player, a varsity lineman called Bigsy, admitted it was a new game for him. Bigsy made a brief debut as a chewer. He crammed half a plug into his mouth, and then not only choked but swallowed the whole cud.
Wearing a look of suffering astonishment, Bigsy rushed to the student health center. When he returned, a paler and quieter man, someone asked, "Bigsy, how do you rate tobacco chewing as a contact sport?"
"Too brutal. I'd rather go two-a-days."
What with all the fun nobody remembered to measure to find out who actually was the longest and most precise spitter. Nobody seemed to consider this an oversight except a visiting journalist who had come for a contest, and in contests you keep score.
"Hey, Doc," he asked Harper, "who won this thing?"
"We'll never know, but we have seen some very playful spitting."
That evening, having mopped up after the chewing celebration, a squad of playmakers started getting ready for amoeba play. The central piece of equipment was the Play Factory's amoeba, which began its evolution in the Fine Arts Department, where students were experimenting with pieces of inflatable sculpture made out of plastic. Seeing larger possibilities, the playmakers went to work with rolls of clear polyethylene and refrigerator tape, eventually sticking together a free-form bag that is large enough to fill half a gymnasium. At one end there are two hoods which fit over a pair of electric fans. When the fans are turned on, the plastic creation inflates to a height of 10 or 12 feet and does indeed resemble a gigantic, obese amoeba, possessing a number of peculiar appendages, interior canals, orifices and vacuoles, all of which are constantly quivering and changing shape. Once the amoeba was pitched, blown up or whatever, playmakers and their customers piled through slits in the sides of the beast. In its innards they played tag, kicked plastic balls, butted and banged on the plastic to speed up the shape-changing process. Others simply found themselves a quiet tube or cranny and sat down to contemplate whatever is brought to mind by a plastic amoeba.
There was a group of middle-aged Emporia residents playing a game of soccer outside the amoeba gym. (The Play Factory has expanded its markets and is now offering fun, games and strange experiences to the townspeople.) Soon a soccer-playing couple came by to see what was happening.
"It certainly is very interesting," said the woman. "What do you call it?"
"What is it for?" asked the man.