They are seniors at , these two, and the best of friends.
But when one suggested leaving school one day this week to grab lunch, his friend flatly refused.
"I don't trust you," the teen said. "How do I know you're not trying to kill me?"
To get in his friend's car and leave campus could prove deadly. That's one of the rules: You can't shoot your target on school grounds. As long as you stay there, you're safe.
"Assassin" is a springtime ritual for Pleasanton high school seniors where the main objective is to “kill” your assigned targets until you are the last team standing. It's a live-action role playing game where players shoot with DayGlo Nerf guns — and the entire city is their playground.
The game, played by teens nationwide, is known by many names — Battle Royale, Paranoia, Killer, Elimination, or Circle of Death. It's been going on in Pleasanton since at least the 1980s.
In keeping with the hitman code of anonymity, the names of players — and their parents — are staying confidential for the purposes of this story.
"The hardest part of 'Assassin' is finding out who's after you," said one Amador mother, whose son is caught up in the annual high schoolers' game of "death" by Nerf gun.
She was asked by him one morning to play decoy.
"He wanted me to walk out to his car in one of his hooded sweatshirts so I could see who was trying to kill him."
Since the game kicked off about a week ago, teens have gotten serious — they are known to camp out at a target's house starting as early as 6 a.m., or even set up fake parties to lure their prey.
Kevin Johnson, director of student services, said school officials do not encourage the game, but said that students have been respectful of the rules — no shooting each other on campus, which leads to disruptions in class, and no shooting each other in cars to or from school.
"The seniors consider it a rite of passage," he said.
"The rules are clear and students follow them; it hasn't been an issue this year. That said, there are always concerns about someone taking it too far."
He said it's not unusual for school resource officers to talk to students about problems they could run into playing the game in greater Pleasanton.
For example, if a resident minding his own business happens to see a student chasing another student down the middle of the street wearing a ski mask, he or she would mostly likely think something is wrong and call the police. The officers, Johnson said, talk to students about that kind of thing.
So is this a harmless rite of passage? An accident wating to happen? Or just a whopping waste of time?
One veteran "Assassin" mom has mixed feelings about her senior playing.
"I'll be happier when he's 'dead,'" she said. "I think they get consumed by it."
"And I think there's too much money involved," she said, adding that it increases the likelihood of such transgressions as speeding or trespassing by players out to win.
With more than 100-plus two-person teams at each school and a $20-per-team entry fee, the pot for Foothill kids is upwards of $2,000. Amador's jackpot is reportedly about the same.
"That's a huge amount of money, and they're going to take more risks," the parent said.
And that has happened, to be sure. The Livermore Police Department included a cautionary tale in a press release issued last month.
A Livermore teen admitted to officers she was playing "Assassin" after she was cited for reckless driving. Her not-so-happy father was notified, police said.
But the Foothill mother's two older children played when they were seniors, and she noted that new safeties seem to be added every year.
That mother recalls when another Pleasanton family was home one evening several years ago and saw their doorknob slowly turning.
Assuming it was an intruder, they called police who arrived armed and ready for a burglar, only to be met in the backyard by two very frightened teen "assassins" trying to "off" the girl in the house.
A new rule: No shooting targets inside their homes.
The Amador parent recalled when her other son played as a senior in 2009, Assassin dragged on for months.
"It was going on forever," she said. "The kids wouldn't go outside."
Eventually, that year's organizers called an early end to the game, and the eight remaining teams split the prize money, netting about $240 per team, she said. This year's game reportedly ends Tuesday.
As for her offspring currently playing: "His legs are torn up from diving into a rosebush. And one of his shirts is trashed from from jumping a barbed wire fence."
Unsuspecting folks exiting Granada Bowl in Livermore late Friday froze as they heard chilling cries for help in the dark parking lot.
"Don't shoot me! Don't shoot me!"
Two teens hiding in the back of a pickup truck, had their guns — Nerf guns, mind you — pointed at their supposed target.
But they made a hitman's biggest mistake — shooting the wrong person.
Turns out it was not their target after all, but the target's father, who had switched cars and was driving his daughter's pickup.
That target lived ... to play another day.