Ukraine Diaries: Dispatches from Kiev by Andrey Kurkov:
Saturday 7 December
Today is Anton’s birthday: he is eleven years old already!
At one o’clock this afternoon, his friends came to our apartment and we all went to the Hidropark. We found the Paintball Planet club fairly quickly, and there we all put on our outfits and masks and picked up our guns. We divided into two teams, the Greens and the Blues. We each tied a headscarf in our team’s colour around our neck. Then we spent almost two hours shooting paintballs at one another. It was cold outside. We took regular breaks and went inside the club building to warm up and drink cocoa from a vending machine. When we ran out of ammunition and the battle was over, we went home to eat pizza. The party ended at 7 p.m. Everyone was happy, especially the birthday boy. Only one of Anton’s friends was slightly upset: he hadn’t put his mask on properly and, during the first battle, he got hit on the lip by a paintball. After that, he didn’t want to take part any more. But a couple of the club’s employees took him to the shooting range and, once he’d calmed down, he practised knocking over beer cans.