Episode 5 – Chandler

Somebody’s shaking Hadley and me. “Guys, you gotta get up! The kids’ll be here soon.” We sit up rubbing our eyes. It’s brilliant sunshine, and the camp’s buzzing with activity.

Courtney’s frantic: “They need you at the office. Get dressed. I won’t look, promise.”

We sneak in a last kiss, and jump out of bed. It’s embarrassing…my dick’s bouncing like a diving board. Thankfully, Hadley’s the only one to notice. At least I think so…there’s a mirror by Courtney’s bunk. Hadley’s as disappointed as I am. “What a waste! We’ll have to find a place to escape when the kids are around.”

“We’ve got to!” I exclaim. “I’m totally addicted to you.”

“Same here.”

We finish dressing, say goodbye to Courtney, and head to the office…can’t resist slipping my arm around Hadley. “Careful,” she says. “People are watching,” and she’s right…counselors stare and whisper as we pass….and my tight shorts and a major boner make it look even worse.

“You’re unbelievable, Jesse,” Hadley says.

I shrug. “It’s beyond my control.”

She giggles. “I can’t believe this. I thought this Summer would be the same old routine, but boy, was I wrong!”

Suddenly, Courtney runs up to us. “Can I tag along? I don’t want to miss anything.”

“Of course,” I say. Her excitement is infectious.

“You two are a perfect fit,” she says…blushes. “Oops, I didn’t mean it like that.”

“It’s okay. You’re right,” Hadley says.

“I mean…it’s so amazing,” Courtney says. “Hadley’s my best friend, and she ends up with the guy I would have picked.”

“Thanks, but give it time. I’ll get on your nerves.”

“No way. It’s obvious you’re a sweet, gentle guy…among other things!” they both laugh.

We arrive at the office. I’ve still got a problem, but not as bad as before. A few kids are waiting outside with duffels and knapsacks. Sue Mittendorf comes rushing up. “Jesse, one of your campers is here already.” She leads me to a little, skinny kid with glasses and long hair. “Chandler, this is one of your counselors, Jesse Pena.” Chandler nods, but doesn’t say a word. Looks scared shitless.

Marilyn Kramer stands on the office steps. “Attention, everyone! Campers are already arriving. Please take them to their bunks, then go to the dining hall. We’ll have our briefing there.”

“Isn’t this sort of disorganized?” I ask. “I have no idea what’s going on.”

“You arrived late, Jesse,” Courtney says. “Didn’t you read your packet? Everybody was supposed to report on Friday, two days ahead.”

“Oh, shit!” The blood drains from my face and everywhere else.”Really?”

“Yup, but I think you got amnesty because you’re from New York. Sue assumed you’d be late.”

I shrug. “Why?”

“She figured you’d come all the way by bus. That’s a long haul.”

“Jeez, I’m from New York, not Mexico City.”

“Nobody really knew.”

“Okay, no sweat. It’s my fuck up.”

Marilyn puts her finger to her lips. “Mr. Pena, language, please.”

I feel like a total misfit.

Hadley whispers in my ear. “No worries. They won’t send you back now.”

“That’s a relief.”

Around us, the sunny slope is filling with people going in all directions…some to the dining hall…some to cabins, or showing kids around. Chandler and I look at each other. “So,” I say, “ready to see your bunk?”

He struggles with the duffel…hardly moves it. I swing it over my shoulder, turn to Hadley. “See you in the dining hall.”

“We’ll save a place.”

“So, where you from Chandler?”

“Greenwich, Connecticut.”

“You like it there?” I picture huge estates along the Sound.

“Who wouldn’t? It’s one of the wealthiest communities in the country.”

I nod. “I’ve heard that. You have hobbies, interests?”

“Video games. I’m undefeated this year.”

“Wow, impressive. What’s your favorite?”

“Undoubtedly RAGE. I dream about killing mutants.”

“That’s intense.”

“What’s your favorite?”

“Honestly, I don’t have one. I’m into swimming and clothing design.” And sex…but I don’t tell him that.

“Can I ask a personal question?”

“Sure.”

“Are you gay? My father’s always wondering if people are gay. Unless they drink beer, and watch football, he’s suspicious.”

“Chandler, that’s a really personal question, but between us, I’m not gay.”

“That’s a relief. I don’t know what I’d tell my parents, if you were.”

“Why does your father worry so much? There are a lot of nice gays.”

“I’m not sure, but he works hard at being tough. He says it makes him successful at work, and his friends are the same.”

“Do you agree with him?”

“Pretty much. He wants me to toughen up, so I’ll be better at everything.”

We reach Cabin 6 and I show Chandler his bunk right next to mine.

“How am I gonna fit everything in such a small locker?” He whines.

It’s a good point. His duffel bag feels like it’s filled with rocks. “Your mom wasn’t taking any chances,” I say. “Feels like you’ve got an outfit for every occasion.”

“She says I should see what the other kids wear, then imitate them.”

“But, all you need is a camp uniform.”

“I know, but Mom and Dad want me to try everything, so I have all the best equipment, and, if we go on special trips, I need to be ready.”

“Listen,” I tell him, “why don’t you put away as much as you can…I’ve got to go to a staff meeting, but we’ll figure out what to do with the rest when I get back.”

He stares at the duffel…totally defeated.

“We’ll get through it,” I tell him. “No worries.”

“I’m really glad you’re my counselor, Jesse,” he says.

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