The parents of Billy Ackleton, a 10 year old firearms expert from Strood, say they're "pleased to have him back" after his extended tour of duty in the virtual deserts and ghost towns of cyberdoom, but add they were "not worried at all about whether he would make it."
But as family and friends lined the balloon and bunting clad upstairs landing of the 2 bed terrace close to the high street, anticipation of his return changed to rapturous cheers of joy as the knurled brass handle of the pine effect bedroom door turned and the talented kid finally emerged.
When his mum Trine, 24, who'd spent the month's family benefit on pizzas, samosas and Tango from Iceland, for the welcome home party, asked "How was it son?" the hard-faced youngster casually replied, "Busman's holiday mum"
His father Jimmy, 26, added proudly, "I knew he'd do just fine. He's always had a keen interest in guns ever since he could walk, and after I let him watch Pulp Fiction on his fourth birthday, it seemed only to cement his love of gun-toting violence from then on. Then, a couple of years ago, Terry, next door, got me a cheap PS3 and a knocked-off copy of CoD ( Call of Duty ) and there was no looking back really. It was a natural progression."
While the delighted parents, grandparents, cousins, second and third, friends, neighbours and their dogs from the estate, celebrated with firework based festivities into the early hours, Billy was left contemplating his return to civvy street. And with the prospect of his upcoming 11+ exams looming largely in his mind, he finally decided to throw in the towel at 3am after downing 7 pints of Tesco's own Cherry Cola and consuming several boxes of Pringles.