Episode 28 – Grand Finale: No Other Choice
Alden slides back the glass doors above the lake. Duncan freezes…freaked. “No way I’m diving off!” Retreats to the back of the room.
“Duncan!” Alden roars. “You can’t work here if you don’t perform the ritual. It marks your transition to manhood, signifies that you’ve accepted the responsibility for the young lives in your care. No counselor has ever refused.”
“I don’t give a shit!” Duncan cries. “I’m not diving off. I could break my neck.”
“No you can’t. We’ve had it dredged. It’s fifteen feet deep.”
“Forget it. I’m not diving!”
Alden’s pissed. “Then get dressed and walk back to camp. I thought you understood Marilyn’s and my deep commitment to our philosophy.”
Duncan stands in a quandary, totally limp…arms tight around his chest. “Can’t I stay here and watch Jesse?”
“Absolutely not,” Alden growls. “No privileges if you can’t follow our credo.”
Duncan stares at his bare feet. “Maybe I’ll try it.”
“No maybe’s. You either do it or not.”
Duncan studies our faces. “Okay, but I need a Tequila shot.”
Alden shrugs. “Whatever. I’m glad you’re seeing things more clearly. It’s a waste to have a graceful body and do nothing with it. The Tequila’s on the bar.”
Hadley, Marilyn and Alden turn to me expectantly. “Are you ready?”
“Do we jump off together or individually?” Can’t believe I’ve been sucked into this circus.
“Individually,” Marilyn says.
I’m pissed. “I thought we were going to discuss the Design Corner.”
Alden smiles. “We may…after you display your manhood.”
I feel like they don’t give two shits about anything but seeing me bare-assed. I stare at their faces. They’re like excited children, including Hadley. Don’t believe I’m involved in such a bizarre scene. “So, this year, how many have done this? What about Ben?”
“None,” Marilyn says. “You’re the standard by which others will be judged. Let’s see those massive credentials.”
Against my better judgment, I pull down my trunks. There’s a hush. I try to keep my cool, just act normal, but it’s not easy. Marilyn says to Hadley. “Wow, you weren’t kidding….long, sleek and appetizing! I can’t wait to try him out.”
I’m creeped out. Duncan’s erect, and the Kramers are slipping out of their clothes. No way I want to do this. Skinny dipping’s one thing, but group sex isn’t my thing…no fucking way! I glance at Hadley who’s watching me…like it’s dawned on her that three strangers are about to attack me. I nod my head…gotta get her away for a second…pull her aside. “Sorry, we need to talk.”
“What’s going on?” I whisper. “this is crazy!”
Hadley’s eyes are pained. “Jesse, don’t hate me…I know this is weird, but I’ve been going through it for years. The Kramers claim they don’t do it for sex. When they first invited me, I was freaked, but Marilyn assured me it would be good for me. They have this philosophy about the perfection of youth….albums downstairs of every counselor naked. According to her, they get the best counselors that way…kids with pure minds and bodies.”
I can’t believe what I’m hearing. “Hadley, don’t you realize it’s bullshit…just an excuse to molest kids. It’s totally against the law. Did they have sex with you?”
“No, but they watched while I fucked Lowell.”
“Holy shit! Really?”
“Yes, but now I love you, and there’s no way I want to see you go through anything like that.”
“Don’t worry. I wouldn’t let them put their slimey hands on you or me.”
“I hope they don’t get pissed off.”
“Fuck them! You’re the only one I care about.”
Hadley’s looking over my shoulder. “Oh, shit! Here comes Marilyn.”
I wheel around and can’t believe my eyes. Three nude bodies…standing…waiting. For what? The Kramers don’t look their age dressed, but definitely do undressed…moles, freckles, cellulite, gray hair. Jesus!
Marilyn’s glaring, hands on her hips. “Is there a problem?”
“Hell, yes.” I say. “This is fucking disgusting. We’re minors, in case you haven’t noticed. This is fucking illegal.”
Marilyn hesitates. “It’s a religious ritual.”
I push her out of the way and scoop up my trunks. “Bullshit! You’re fucking pedophiles and I’m calling the police!”
“Jesse, don’t be ridiculous,” Alden splutters, “if this is about money, we’ll pay you a bonus to stay…but, don’t forget, there’s a witness who’ll testify you molested Chandler.”
I turn to Hadley. “Do you seriously want to stay here?”
She grabs my hand…pulls me to the door….tells them we’re leaving.
“This is ludicrous,” Alden growls. “It never bothered you before.”
“I love Jesse too much to put him through this.”
Alden follows us onto the porch. Glares at Hadley. “You suddenly feel guilty???”
I turn to him. “Get the fuck away from us.”
He suddenly deflates. “Jesse, I’ll drive you back to camp…pay you…but I’d appreciate it if you don’t bring this to the authorities. We’re very sincere people. It’s not what you think.”
I nod noncommittally. Hadley and I’ve gotta get back to camp somehow. We’ve got no clothes. No way we can leave with nothing. The whole scene is a nightmare…just want to get us as far from Cedar Lake as possible. I’m not eager to get into a thing with the police, but what’s going on is so fucked up…I feel zero loyalty to the Kramers. They’re scumbags.
Suddenly, there’s a flash. Marilyn’s taking pictures…while my dick’s hanging out!
“I want to document your perverted sex orgy,” she says. “Let’s call it insurance. if there’s any trouble, your gorgeous body will be all over the Internet. Actually, that’s a terrific idea no matter what.”
I grab for the cell, but she dodges me. Shakes her finger in my direction. “No way you’re getting this.”
Hadley chimes in. “If you post anything, I’ll definitely call the police. Don’t forget. Jesse’s not the only witness.”
“Where will you go?” Duncan asks.
“Home to Boston…Jesse too, if he wants.”
“Can I come?” Duncan whines.
“No fucking way,” I tell him…pull on my trunks and we race out, down the steps. Thankfully, find the keys still in the truck.
“Hey, wait!” Alden yells, running for his clothes, but we’ve got a major head start. As we roar down the driveway…look back to see the three standing helplessly on the porch.
Hadley and I flip birds out the window. “Fuck Cedar Lake!!! Next stop Beantown!”