The Origins of “Cochise!” | Excerpt from Broken Slate


Where did the Hanson family’s “Cochise!” game come from?

Excerpt from Broken Slate:

He remembered a game called Cochise that he, his sister, and his father sometimes played. It wasn’t so much a game, in the traditional sense, as it was a call to arms. When Sean or his father would discover a mischievous Diana trying to sneak up on one of them, the shouted word “Cochise!” would result in the two of them tag-teaming her and holding her down for some tickle treatment. Sean couldn’t remember, or perhaps never knew, why the name of the famous Indian was used as their war cry. He just knew that it had made for a type of fun his family had rarely shared.

Sean’s past relationship with his father is touched on earlier in the series, but this is the first scene where the memory is a fond one. I wanted to reveal that there were some rare, good times in the Hanson household, and I described the game “Cochise” to demonstrate that.

The name ties back to a night in my own life, back in college, when my roommates and I had some company over. What started out as standard horseplay turned into a situation where a recently opened package of toilet-paper rolls was turned into an arsenal of projectile weapons.

People were beaming each other left and right, until a loud knocking at our door halted the action. We worried it was the landlord acting on a noise complaint. Instead, it was a friend of ours who had unexpectedly stopped by for a visit.

We collected ourselves and let him in. But the moment he took notice of our disheveled appearances and mischievous grins, my roommate yelled “Cochise,” someone turned off the lights, and we absolutely pummeled the poor guy with a relentless onslaught of t.p. We didn’t stop until he was huddled up in a ball on the floor.

This term, that was used as an impromptu attack signal, was so random and amusing that it stuck with me all of these years…and is now immortalized in Broken Slate.

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