Fun Camp: Eight Flashes
Every Evening, Skits
Keep them clean, kids. Act well, method if you can manage it. Try to be
complex and cathartic and redemptive. Gross-outs welcome. Have
a spiritual message, though
don’t go out and say it. There’s a nest of baby birds out the window
behind the stage. This arresting scene is your competition. Are your acts more
entertaining than their chirps? Appraise, then sign up or don’t. No dressing
in drag because of what’s-this-I-hear calls from parents. Closed-toed shoes
preclude splinters. Do that drinking the toothpaste skit. Better still, do that
Japanese submarine skit with the dumb guy who, after every command, goes, “How
you do that?” When they twice fire torpedoes and both times miss their
target and feel shame for having dishonored their ancestors and the whole gang
commits honorable hari-kari, the guy turns to the audience, bloody sword in hand,
and delivers his signature line, “How you do that?” The crowd, invited
to consider that the idiots suffocation is just as inescapable as his comrades suicides, just
loses it. Your rivals will peep with shame.
There Are Limits
Were you there when he got out of the lake, shimmering, holding a mackerel
he caught by hand? Out that dumpy muck somehow smelling better than ever,
butter with lemon? I am planning on waiting. He’s only looked
at me four times in two years. I’m simply saying that if Tad Gunnick
took me on a nature stroll and pointed out various flora in fauna and told
me that, frankly,
clothes have always been a pet peeve of his, I’d do what I could
not to bother him. And if that felt as good as he promised and he laid
out a soft velvet
blanket like a gentleman and served me up a wine cooler, we would take
it from there. There are limits to what a deft urbanite woman can barricade
in the name
of godly repute. Is my point. Boy here likes you, he throws you in a pool.
Boy here really likes you, God hums your name in his ear just as his dreams
to boil, then he approaches you somber at Quiet Time with big news he implies
you can’t decline. In the Girls Cabin 3 days, I got off on that just
fine. But God must love a beauty in a spaghetti-string tank top ’cause
my dream card
filled up quick.
The handbook is sort of ambiguous about the legality of lake pirates, Darla,
though it does define them. “Lake Pirates are a brigade of scrappy nautical
youngsters, traditionally from Boys Cabin 3, who scourge Lake Pawachee in their
mighty canoe, tipping the boats of unsuspecting girls.” And see here’s
an ink drawing—the caption reads, “Boys being boys.” So it’s
tricky. It’s sort of an institutional Prank of the Century. I can tell
you that the ferocity with which they tipped you was absolutely not personal,
that Lake Pirates are often kind and flirtatious and even apologetic when landlocked.
That when you explain the personal value of the necklace that’s now forever
lost to lake floor, their faces will be contrite, their hmms thoughtful, and
their nods emphatic. They may even mean it. But make no mistake—they will
tip you again. If it helps, I’ll make an announcement before free time
saying the you-know-whats on a certain body of water better cut it out their
this-that-n-the-other, but I’m gonna be smiling while I say it. Fun Camp
is pro-prank, Darla, and that’s worth more than a hundred grandma necklaces.
Best thing, if you truly don’t want to get pranked, is to spend your
free time under the Tree of Safety putting puzzles together with the asthmatics.
even sweeter is get some girls together and avenge that necklace.
If It Was Officious
I’d tell you how was what, but the spit of it is: You’re lathering
up with the wrong Pam. The six-platter lunch about sputtery dudes like
you is that the seams are sweet, so the populace turns its neck portside, takes
at treefrog counts, buzz-to-bee ratios, and other nummy but ultimately
poodling nonfactuations. In this lawnscape, budder, there are gnomes and there
flamingoes. And when something with a beak’s got a hat on, the Book of
What-All is gonna have somesuch to speak around it. You samba down here in
my bunker like
your flesh ain’t bubble wrap and tell me where to braise my Schnauzer,
you gray-ladeling son? I got half an eye to kick your arm.
Girls Stay Here, Boys Follow Me
For those who know what I’m about to be getting at, don’t say it
and don’t do it. For those who don’t know, you will, and don’t
do it when you do. You do’s, don’t tell the don’ts what it is, for knowledge increases temptation. Don’t tell tips or lend lotions.
You don’ts, don’t ask. Don’t want to ask. Golly, this is
dicey, trying to avoid inflaming the imagination. People didn’t have
these problems pre-Gutenberg, but once printing got going, Olde Britain was
overrun with pamphlet after pamphlet of suggestions to allegedly help a woman
conceive: Don’t pull out early, now. Don’t move, after. You might
not get that holy blessing you so fervently desire if you were to stand, dress,
and make your way expediently to the outhouse. Now look where we’re at:
hell in a ham garden. But not you boys, right? Tidy the homes of your minds.
Avoid complete dictionaries. Never agree you’re eighteen. If a do starts
to tell you don’ts, leave the do. I’m a do who wants to be a don’t,
but once the apple’s bit, as they say. The girls? Off with Bernadette
talking menstruation. They bleed out themselves. Don’t dwell on it.
We Love Fun Camp Yes We Do
Damned if those kids don’t take some of the cock out of my walk, though.
Delightful isolated moments, you bet, but after morning counselor meetings
I get that pit-level dread, mouthing soundless expletives. Dread where the
heart beats faster and the body deflates. Dread where they can smell that you
don’t want to say hey or lead line-up cheers louder than the other cabins.
They pick up on more than you think, yet never pick up on that particular thing
you’re so sure they know. Once-over a she-counselor and you feel a guilt
the Catholics keep trying to claim for themselves, a guilt that goes, “If
my kids only knew this heart, hoo-boy.” And if they did? They’re
all spies ready to sell you out for an attaboy, new zeal smoothing their faces
to bland mush. By the end of the week, I can’t tell my own boys apart.
I cover it, addressing each of them with a “Cabin 3, what,” which
they’ve come to respond to more than their own names anyway.
The Creative Use of Meal Time
I read a gorgeous review in the Daily Camper of yesterday morning’s scramble.
Not without complaints, but there’s a bit in there about consistency—poetry.
These are savory times, Grogg! This summer is sure to go down in history as
the one in which Grogg learned to differentiate between pepper and cumin. As you
know, Dave and I don’t like to come down hard on the kids—it’s
not Discipline Camp after all. We’re more into the punishment that works
its way in through the skin and coats the heart anonymously. This here is a
list of all campers, for you and Puddy and Marimba to share. Beside each camper’s
name is a number. 100 is 100 percent, meaning they get a full portion at dinner.
A few campers have earned 110’s or even 115’s, but more important
are the dips: some 90’s—those who lost the tug-o-war, some 80’s—the
Cabin 2 girls who’ve been whoring their lips out to lonely tots for Canteen
Bucks, and even a few 75’s—the boring, the homesick. God, they
irk. I’m like: It’s a week, kids. You didn’t sign a lease.
Any lower than 75 and the campers would catch on. Our portion shifts are just
dynamic enough that the punished will feel guilty without understanding why.
We break them down only to rebuild them in our own image—hilarious, kooky,
Quick Announcement Before Lunch
A word to the cultists—yes, you in your robes, the boys who cried apocalypse:
We’re pulling the plug. It’s a little solipsistic to have witnessed
a few distant firebombs and assume a wrecked world, parents all dead, and that
God has chosen the innocents of Fun Camp for a new Eden. All you tittering
fence-sitters: Think it’s an accident this new one true faith came from
Boys Cabin 1? Continuation of the species is man’s oldest pickup line.
I’m sure the gophers you blood-sacrificed would be real happy to learn
their deaths are wrapped up in the wet dreams of some teenage would-be Christs.
Speaking of, Tyler, you’re paying for that tablecloth you’re wearing,
and Jason, whose 501s did you massacre to make that Jesus sash? You look like
runner-up in a West Virginia beauty pageant. Any more of you want to make a
midnight raid on the iPhone closet, you’ll find I’ve moved the
phones to an undisclosed site and the batteries to the vault under the snack
shack. Nature-knowing is about avoidance and you’re all too wrecked to
get there alone. You’ve got fifty-one weeks out of the year to check
your scores and count your dead. Surrender this one to fun.
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