Episode 6 – Counselors’ Briefing

I sprint to the dining hall…Alden Kramer is at the podium. I stand nervously by the door, conscious of having been late for everything so far. Hadley waves…points to an empty seat beside her.

Kramer stops mid-sentence, stares right at me…everybody turns to look. “Have you decided to join us, Mr. Pena?”

“Yes sir,” I say vaulting into the chair next to Hadley.

Two rows ahead, Lowell and another jock glare at me. Lowell snickers. “What a fucking freak.”

As usual, it gets under my skin…I hate them with every bone in my body. Problem is, my mind turns it over and over…it makes me feel marginalized, but that’s just what they want.

Hadley follows my gaze…whispers audibly: “Ignore them. They’re playing their stupid little games.” The two turn away quickly. She smiles. “They just want you to react, so they can show how tough they are. Don’t give them the satisfaction. It’s bullshit.”

“Okay,” I mumble…hate them so much, I wouldn’t care if we got in a fight. I’d get pounded, but at least land a few good shots.

Kramer’s reviewing the camp no-no’s. “The following are grounds for immediate dismissal: drinking, drugs, smoking, weapons, hazing, harassment, bullying…unauthorized use of motor vehicles, or leaving camp, especially after hours. Further, all cellphones, computers and related equipment must be checked at the camp office, and can only be signed out when the communications cabin is open between 4:30 and 5:30 weekdays, and 2:00 to 4:00 Sundays.”

My mind drifts off and I’m back in New York. The whole camp thing is a sham…basically, outdoor day care to keep kids occupied and out of their parents hair. There’s no real creativity. You fit in or suffer.

A couple of rows away, I see Ben sitting shoulder to shoulder with Sue…nudge Hadley.

She leans toward me. “They spent the night together too. She r-e-a-l-l-y likes him.”

“I hope he doesn’t totally leave cabin responsibilities to me.”

“Don’t worry. They overslept big time.”

I press my leg against hers. “I wish we could leave and explore New England. It’d be way better than this.”

“That’d be so cool.”

I hardly hear the briefing. My mind is spinning, thinking about Hadley, Lowell, Ben and Chandler. I hope I survive the next eight weeks.

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At 2:00, Ben and I are waiting in the hot, dusty parking lot with the other counselors. Between us is a sign that says Cabin 6. Two big buses come lumbering up and stop in front of us. The doors hiss open…Sue and Lowell climb aboard to welcome the kids, then position themselves at the bottom of the steps with cabin assignments. The Kramer’s stand on a rise looking on benevolently. Marilyn Kramer’s wearing a tight polo that shows off her gigantic breasts. No way they’re real.

To be continued….read next episode!