Episode 22 – Delving Deeper

As I walk to dinner, I’m still trying to fit the pieces together. Camp is turning into a total nightmare. Of all the camps in New England, how did I end up at this fucking zoo…desperately wish I was back home with my sisters. I’d take the Big Apple over this anytime! I’m shuffling along…low and depressed, when Hadley calls to me. Thank god she’s back from the hike. I was afraid they’d stay overnight.

She slips her fingers in mine and it feels s-o-o-o good to be together again…suddenly a perfect day. Hadley’s beside me, smiling… amazing green eyes, blond curls bobbing in the breeze. “Can we start over, Jesse? I realize it’s all confusing. I’ve worked here a long time, and it’s a weird place…but we’re perfect for each other.”

I can’t speak. Just gather her in my arms.

Courtney comes up behind us. “Hey, no hugging allowed.”

I’m happy. My two favorite people.”Hey,” I tell her. “You’re the mediator who keeps us on track.”

Courtney grins. “Somebody gotta do it. If I can’t have you, it’s gotta be Hadley.”

“Group hug,” Hadley says pulling us all together. It feels good and reassuring.

Kids walk by staring, but we don’t care. We’re back together…that’s more important than anything.

After a while, a girl in each arm, we continue on our way. “This place is so fucking nuts!” I tell them. “I talked with Duncan what’s-his-name today.”

They’re all ears. “What’d he say?” Courtney asks. “He is s-o-o-o peculiar.”

I recap the strange discussion.

“He definitely has the hots for you,” Courtney exclaims. “I can’t figure out why he’s even here.”

“Duh, he’s Lowell’s cousin,” Hadley says.

“I know that…but I have a friend who knows him. He goes to Exeter, not Highbrook, and the gossip is he’s incredibly weird. You won’t believe this, but he gives blow jobs to upper classmen. Everybody calls him Duncan the Lipmeister.”

“Why would Lowell suggest him?”

“I’m not sure,” Courtney replies. “Maybe he enjoys his services. Ever since he got here, Duncan’s been hanging out in Lowell’s cabin ’til the wee hours. He’s probably the newest addition to the Kramer clique.”

“What’s the deal with the Kramers?” I ask. “Duncan talked about rites-of-passage rituals, or some shit.”

“Well…,” Courtney begins, “it’s sort of complicated. The Kramers have a couple of outlets for their deviant activities. The in-crowd private parties that Lowell and a couple of the girls attend, and the Cedar Lake Society rituals that are mandatory. They’re supposed to be a joke, but cross the line into pedophile territory.”

I’m totally amazed. “What do you mean?”

“It’s like the swimming event when you first got here, but more extreme. They try to get new counselors to do some crazy stunt naked.”

“Are you shitting me? And you’ve both done that?” I look back and forth between them.

They shrug shyly. “Yeah, Hadley says. “You only have to do it once, your first year. After that you get to watch. It’s ridiculous unless the counselor’s really hot… then, you’re curious. Everybody’ll be there when it’s your turn.”

I’m totally shocked. “What if I refuse?”

“They’ll kick you out and never hire you again. It’s happened a couple of times.”

“No way I’m making a fool of myself in front of those fuckers. I can’t believe the shit that goes on here!”

“We’ve all done it,” Courtney says.

“That doesn’t mean I have to.”

“They make it like some coming-of-age thing,” Hadley says, “a whole ceremony. It’s actually kind of amusing. It’d be hilarious to see you do it.”

“No fucking way. I’d shoot myself first!”

We get in the dining hall late. Kramer’s saying grace…gives us seriously dirty looks, especially because Hadley and Courtney’s unsupervised girls are rowdy…paying no attention. We slip in beside them, and they’re really happy to see me. At least somebody is!

After grace, the girls are all compete to tell me about the hike, each trying to outdo the other:

“At the top, we saw eagles!”
“Molly scraped her knee!”
“it was like seeing stuff from an airplane.”
“You could see three states!”
“We almost got lost!”
“I brought back ten pine cones!”
“There were trees blown down everywhere!”

All totally cute and super enthusiastic…really boosts my spirits. After dinner, Hadley and I agree to rendezvous later, so I head back to my cabin incredibly psyched….until I see a note tacked to the door. “Needed stuff from your cabin. Kyle.” Inside, it’s a fucking disaster, just a storeroom again. All my chairs, everything, are gone…even my bed frame. The mattress is flat on the dirty floor. What fucking assholes! It’s totally depressing and makes me feel like a discarded piece of crap. …and Hadley’s coming over. Fuck! Probably won’t feel romantic in this shit hole.

To be continued….Read next episode!