The one where camp ends


from https://i2.wp.com/www.murphsplace.com/gladiator/images/Police_Verso.jpg

“Do you think it’ll be normal this time?” Mac asked me.  I grunted and turned my gaze down the short hallway, upon the arena floor.  My eyes were momentarily blinded from overhead light’s sheen on the plastic floor below.

“Nope.” I growled, squinting.  I had forgotten my lucky running shorts.  Damn.  “Never normal.”  Mac only nodded and followed my gaze.

“You do realize I’m going to win, don’t you?” He asked.

“Maybe.”  I admitted.  “There’s been others that have said that, and looked what happened to them.”

“Dead?”

“No.  But they wish they were.”

“It’s true,” said Mac.  “If I was missin’ out on this chance to win $75, I’d fucking kill myself.”  He turned to the left and spat, and then continued staring.  We could hear a dull roar from the crowd, like the sounds of surf crashing on a beach, heard distantly through a window, or perhaps an open door.  It was intoxicating.

It was hard to believe that we had been through eight weeks of hell to get here.  Eight weeks of screaming children, insect bites, sun burns, nauseating adolescents and bizzare, sometimes idiotic challenges.  Eight weeks of forgotten lunches and visits to the nurse for scraped knees, or bruised arms, or more insubstantial injuries, whose only remedy was an ice pack and attention.  Eight weeks of bus rides.  Eight weeks of clubs.  Eight weeks of summer camp.

“You remember that one time when timmy beat everyone at gaga, like he was King Leonidas or something?”  I asked, a faint smile playing across my face.

“Yeah,” Mac chuckled, “You remember when my team beat your team at lacrosse-volley-basketball?”  My hands involuntarily tightened on the shafts of the two lacrosse sticks I was holding, whitening my knuckles as I frowned

“Yeah.”  I growled, “We better not play that stupid fucking game again, or I’m liable to spear Ray Jay with these lacrosse sticks.  Then I’ll just take the money.”

“Yeah, but you’ll be a wanted killer.”

“Not in Tijuana mate.  You know how many lacrosse sticks $75 can get you down there?”

“No.”

“A.  Fucking.  lot, mate.”  We stood in silence for a while, each thinking about the riches we would be able to afford with $75, especially in Tijuana.  I decided that if I did indeed lose, I probably wouldn’t spear Ray Jay with his own lacrosse sticks.  It would cause too much of a scene, though I’m sure it would help sate the beserker’s bloodlust that most of the campers have during these exhibitions.

“BLOOD!” Little Timmy the camper screamed, leaning over the railing, frothing at the mouth and dribbling pop tart crumbs across the gym floor.  His eyes flashed feral, like a wolf sensing its prey is near, and he beat his fist against his chest.  His cry riled up the campers behind him, who began to roar like little lions.  “BLOOD AND DEATH!” He roared, turning towards them slowly, arms upraised.  The crowd repeated his macabre cheer.  I remember them being disappointed that day.  There was no blood, only bitter defeat for my partner Amy and me.

This day was no different.  I could hear distant chants of “kill!”  and “maim!” coming from the second grade boy’s section of the lunch area.  I was becoming worried.  What if they didn’t see any blood?  It was the last day of counselor survivor, and the last day of camp to boot.  Would they riot, like angry, english soccer fans?  One would think the concept of 2nd grade boys rioting would be humorous, but I can tell you it is anything but.  They have incredibly bony knees and elbows, and teeth as sharp as knives.

“Where are the girls?” Mac asked, referring to Amy and Pristine.  I shrugged.

“They went into the gym locker to get something for the final challenge.” I muttered, wondering what in god’s name they could be getting.  The lacrosse sticks had not reassured me.

“Maybe we’re just playing lacrosse.”  Mac offered.  I shook my head.

“That’s normal.  Lacrosse is normal.  It’ll be something harder.  Something weird.”  We fell silent, and waited.  I amused myself by playing with the rubber tread that was peeling off the bottom of my ratty old sneakers, while Mac picked at the plastic trim on the wall.  Finally, I saw two figures approaching us through the glare.  I nudged Mac in the ribs, and we both stood up.

“Well,” he asked “what is it?”

“We don’t know.” Amy responded.  “He wouldn’t say, but he had us get two scooters and 6 volleyballs out of the supply closet.”

“Bloody hell,” I breathed, anxiously brushing back my hair, “what’s he up to now?”

Ray Jay suddenly appeared before us, materializing out of the glare like some sort of djinn.

“You ready?” He asked us, holding his hands on either side of him in a welcoming gesture.

“Yeah sure,” I growled, “But what are we doing?”

“Does it matter?”

I stood silent and thought for a long time.  The roar of the crowd washed over us, growing in volume and viciousness with every swelling cheer.  “No.”  I finally answered, hefting my lacrosse sticks on to my shoulders.  I glanced at Amy, who nodded slightly.  “Not one bit.”

“Good.”  Ray Jay said, clasping his hands together.  He moved to the side of the passage and bowed low.  “After you.”  I gave Mac a look, and he just nodded, and so the 5 us went, into the brilliant light of the arena floor.

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100 Years of Solitude


The beginnings of Lego City are as mysterious as they are trivial, and as mythical as they are stupid.  I was there, at the beginning of things, and I am quite certain I shall be there at the end, quite certain indeed, but despite concentrating all of my mental faculties and straining them to the breaking point, I cannot recall it’s founder, nor even when it’s first brick was laid.

Some say the great builder Osferth the Selfish built the first structure, a low ceilinged bunker, resplendent in its multicolored bricks of glimmering plastic, and that it was he who first discovered the mysterious orbs that the settlers later used as a currency.  I tend to agree with this opinion.  Osferth’s mother works as a secretary at the school where we have camp, and he was always in the room early.  He would have had ample opportunity to begin the initial construction, an the drive and willpower to do it.

Others say that Martin the cruel, upon discovering the mysterious orbs, was the creator, and that he used a vast slave army to build the metropolis that he later ruled with an iron first.  It is true, I admit, that Martin was and is Lego City’s chief supporter, and that he was among its first citizens, but Martin lacks the creativity and intelligence to begin such a great project, though he does posses the tyrannical disposition to see it through to the bitter end, regardless of the cost.  It is therefore unlikely that he started lego city, but he did end up ruling it as Lego Cities Dictator and Grand Generalissimo.

Pictured: Martin in the future

Perhaps it was his south American heritage that gave him the propensity toward totalitarian rule,or perhaps he was simply dropped as a baby. Perhaps he regretted his decisions when the bombs began to fall, and the once gleaming towers of the business district were reduced to so many brightly colored bricks, and his empire crumbled around him, but I doubt it.  Repentance is a mysterious, unknown concept to Martin, one which he treats with a sort of bemused curiosity, like one would a dancing squirrel.

Still others believe that the city was constructed by the old ones, in the ancient times before camp had begun, and that all of the lego leaders of the modern era “were merely pretenders, desperately clinging to the past and monolithic structures they could not understand.  I do not give much credit to this theory, either.  I was there at the beginning of camp.  It was Schultz and I who cleaned the room, and put up the decorations, and I do not remember anything being on the fabled Lego table, other than barely perceptible memories of Lego Cities past, like faded ruts in an old dirt rode.

lego futurama

I’m so happy Futurama is back on TV.

Regardless of its creator, Lego City quickly took the group of second grade boys into it’s room temperature, polymer embrace.  Houses, offices and stores began popping up at an alarming rate, like weeds in a neglected garden, or perhaps like overused memes on Facebook.

http://twistedsifter.com/2012/02/top-10-what-my-friends-think-i-do-vs-what-i-actually-do-posters/

CURSE YOU ZUCKERBERG! AND 9GAG, TOO!

But things were growing too quickly.  Far too quickly.  Being second graders, the boys had no concept of economics or conservation, and were unaware that the capitalist society they were nourishing into adulthood required a constant influx of new materials to survive.  Growth, it is said, was it’s beating heart, and growth, it is said, would be its doom, but for now, the boys merely built, blissfully unaware of the deadly quagmire into which they walked.

“This will last forever!” Martin cheerfully told Timmy as he added yet another brick to his mansion.

“Yeah!” Timmy slobbered, “We’ll never stop!”

Interestingly, the economy and culture of lego city evolved at an accelerated rate than regular societies.  In the early days, Lego city was a lawless frontier, where a ship got you a job, and a gun helped you keep it.

Ahem…

Bank robbing was the citizens main source of income, but there was a sharp falloff in profit when everyone realized that A: Banks weren’t a safe place to keep their mystical orb money anymore and B: they were doing nothing but stealing their own money.  Everyone began to build lego safe rooms in their lego houses that had lego drawers that were perfect for holding their lego money.  The lego economy then evolved to simply hoarding as much money as possible and not letting anyone else take it.

Things were coming to a head, and it was around this time that the first lego governments began to form.  Martin was unanimously elected by himself to be lego president and mayor of Lego City, due to his being the only surviving “founder” of lego city since Osferth left camp for a family vacation, and his constant and unstoppable bullying.

With Martin’s ascendancy to the presidency of Lego City, things took a turn for the worst.  His first act was to take most of everyone’s money, which angered all of the other campers.  I never found out what his reasons for stealing the orbs were, but I can only assume it went to feed a bloated lego military budget and lego social programs, which he plundered at whim.  This happened during the second week of camp, and schultz and I had noticed a subtle shift in the group dynamics.   Kids seemed angrier than normal, as if some unseen force was slowly draining all their happiness.  By the end of the week, kids were fighting all of the time, arguing with one another and even punching and kicking occasionally.

“Charles!”  Timmy complained, running up to me and tugging on my athletic shorts, nearly pulling them off.  “Martin’s stealing all of our money!”

“It’s not money!  And Stop pulling!” I growled, slapping his hand away.  “It’s just little plastic orbs.  They aren’t worth anything.”

“They are too!”

“How?”

“Because we said they are!”

“Do you even buy anything with them?”

“Um… no?”

“So why does it matter?”  Timmy paused, staring up into the ceiling, lost in thought.  I can only assume that he was formulating various arguments.  He finally decided, after around 4 minutes, in which I just stood there, glaring at him, to go with

“But Martin stole my…”

“It’s not real!  None of it is!  These orbs are worthless!  You here me?  They have no intrinsic value!  Your getting upset over nothing!”  Timmy stared at me again, slowly cocking his head to the right, looking at me as if I were some sort of madman.  He took a few hesitant steps backwards, not looking away, and then ran back to the group.  I’m not sure if anything was ever reconciled with Martin,  but I had a good shout at Martin to share and be nice, and the mere illusion of punishment might have been enough to calm the kids down.

It was at the beginning of week three that the true disaster struck.  The Lego mine beneath the table ran dry, and the growth came to a screeching halt.  Their lego economy had been built assuming that there would always be an unending stream of legos, and worse still, that they would never have to recycle any from the already built buildings, despite the fact that many of them were not being used.  The citizens turned to Martin to lead them through this crisis, and he initially sought help from a higher power, me.

“Um, Charles,” he said in his latin accent, “we’re out of legos.”

“Too bad.” I said.  Legos were none of my concern.  Trust me, I checked my contract.

Martin then decided to try and redistribute the legos, but it was too late.  The other citizens had been displeased with him since his ascendency, and that displeasure turned to dislike when he stole from them, and that dislike turned to outright hatred when he failed to solve the lego crisis and tried to steal even more of their legos.  Things were looking very bleak for Martin, very bleak indeed, and so he did what all desperate leaders do when there is no clear solution.  He declared war.  On Lego China.

It probably looks something like this

Now, let me make it clear that there is no Lego China.  Well, at least not in our club house.  I assume that Lego has a Chinese branch, and I’m sure there is a Chinese themed set of legos, but as far as Lego City was concerned, they were at war with, well, nothing.

I’m not sure what Martin hoped to accomplish.  I suppose he was hoping that he could distract the other campers from the present economic crisis by giving them a “real” enemy to fight.  He immediately set in motion a draft of all of the legos campers had at home, in order to build warships, x-wings and light sabers, the staple of any modern army.  Supplies, however, were few and far between, thanks largely to the campers’ parents’ blockade of all lego goods leaving their houses.  Tempers began to rise, and Martin was once again in need of some outside help.  Fortunately for him, Schultz, my co-counselor, had a hatred for Lego City as irrational as it was voluminous.

He had been secretly stealing legos from the campers for days, and had thrown his lot in with the fictitious Lego Chinese and constructed a gargantuan nuclear lego bomb.  Schultz warned the campers that the Lego Chinese were none to pleased that the citizens of Lego City had declared war on them, and had prepared a preemptive and unstoppable nuclear attack.  He warned that they had one day to evacuate Lego City, before it was burned to the ground.

The reactions were mixed.  Some prudent campers, like Chris, Martins cousin and second in command, built lego caravans to carry their vast lego goods out of town.  Others were more doubtful that any attack would be forthcoming.

Flee! Flee!

“He can’t blow up our city.”  Timmy slurred to Roger, another evacuating camper.  “He just can’t!  Counselors can’t drop nuclear bombs, right?”  Roger shrugged, and strapped another lego bundle to the roof of his lego car.

“Of course not!” Said Martin, standing tall in front of their magnificent city.  “I urge all of my Lego Brothers to stay.  We are a safe, thriving community!  The idea that some “lego Chinese lego nuclear lego bomb” can destroy our mighty lego city is simply preposterous.”

Only about a quarter of the campers evacuated that day.  They were they lucky ones.  Around 9:07 A.M the following morning, an unusual object was reported to be flying at an alarming rate towards Lego City.  The authorities attempted to explain it away by claiming it was nothing but a rogue lego weather balloon, but as the object grew neared, it became clear to all watching that it was not balloon shaped at all but was, in fact, a gigantic cube.

Ahem…

The cube came into a holding pattern over lego city at 9:08.  Martin assured everyone that it was nothing to be afraid of, but then the bay doors opened, and Schultz’s cube began to rain unholy lego nuclear fire down upon the decrepit Lego City.

It was a massacre.  The populous had been taken completely unaware, and were therefore unable to defend themselves from the lego onslaught.  Whole skyscrapers were smashed to their foundations with but one mighty swoop of Schultz’s right hand, while the left smashed houses to bits in seconds.  A mere minute later, Lego city was completely gone, wiped off the face of the lego table, and all the blocks had been relocated to the cavernous drawer beneath.

The first democratic and fair lego elections were held soon thereafter, and George, the nicest and most level headed of all the campers, was elected to be the new president.  The office of mayor was done away with, and George’s first act in office was try Martin for treason and criminal negligence.  He lost, and it was decided that he should face the wrath of the lego firing squad.  Martin protested, of course he did, but his pleas were silenced by the the supreme court judge, Schultz.

A short time later, as he faced the lego firing squad of his former friends and subjects, generalissimo Martin was to remember that distant afternoon when he and his friends at camp built a city out of nothing but legos.

The Breakfast of Champions


We have a “spirit day” every wednesday for the eight weeks of camp.  The children are carefully divided into two teams, blue and yellow, and vie with one another for victory in various activities, the most serious of which is gaga.  Now, for the uneducated, gaga, literally meaning “touch-touch,” is a dodgeball variant invented by the Israelis, presumably for people who did not quite have the motor skills to play regular dodgeball.  The game is played in some sort of closed off arena, where a ball is dropped in the middle.  Once it has bounced three times, the frantic play can commence.  Players strike the ball with their hands and attempt to hit their opponent’s feet.  If your feet are hit, you are out.  The ball cannot be touched more than once, unless an opponent has struck it or the ball has rebounded of one of the walls that surround the arena.  There are no teams.  It is a battle royale.

ga-ga

This is kind of what it looks like, except with millions of more kids.

Children love gaga, mostly because it is really, really easy, and there is a certain uncertainty and randomness to it that makes it possible for even the most retarded of children to occasionally win.  Alliances are made and broken faster than one can blink, and almost every game ends with an argument.  The main difference between spirit day gaga and regular gaga is that there are actually teams in spirit day gaga, a fact that the children often have a hard time understanding.

The counselors decide which campers go on which teams by using an ancient satanic ritual that I won’t elaborate on, simply because it is far too horrific to describe.

It ends up looking something like this.

It normally works well, but something must have gone wrong this most recent time, for yellow had 6 second graders and 5 first graders, but my blue team ended up with only 4 second grades and 6 first graders.  The value of two extra second graders cannot be overlooked, especially when compared to the first graders we have at camp this year.  They seem to be particularly slow, both mentally and physically, much like a one legged tortoise, or perhaps an especially lazy snail.  They are certainly nice kids, but they think that the height of sports ability is to stand around and try to not get out.  In essence, they are all but useless.

Pictured: the first graders

Needless to say my team was grossly outmatched.  I fully expected us to be defeated within seconds, but as luck would have it, yellow team didn’t seem to have gotten the memo that they were not meant to get each other out, and therefore sustained heavy casualties due to friendly fire in the first match, allowing my second graders to pull off a stunning win for blue team.  Mike G., a particularly intelligent camper on my team, had developed a strategy of using the first graders as cannon fodder, hiding behind them until they were taken out, whereupon he would swoop in and rain a terrible vengeance upon the yellows.  When the first round was over, I was delirious, drunk on a sweet victory that was made all the sweeter because of it’s unexpectedness.

“Is it possible?” I asked Schultz, my co-counselor and a yellow team member, who was crying quietly to himself.  “Could we really win?”

No.  No we couldn’t.  The next two matches were blistering defeats, partly due to the yellows learning their lesson and not getting each other out, and partly to the blues who, when they realized the yellow team weren’t getting each other anymore, thought that they had to pick up the torch, and proceeded to get themselves out.  Furthermore, the cannon fodder strategy had proven to be ineffective, because the first graders just got out two damn fast.  Plus, they were learning to jump, which caused Mike to get out.  It was a slaughter and hope was waning.

Our prospects hadn’t improved for the fourth match.  Blue players were eliminated in a short succession, so that after only maybe a minute of play it had come down to five battle hardened, blood thirst yellows, and Timmy.  Timmy was probably the worst person to have in this situation, because he was Timmy.  Allow me to explain.

Now, when asked to describe Timmy, I like to tell people that Timmy is special.  Not special in the gifted sense, nor in the mentally retarded sense, for he is quite smart in certain things, like speaking english and spanish almost fluently.  Timmy is special because there is a certain Timmy way of doing things that most other children have either never thought of, or, and this is way more likely, decided that it was a bad idea to do in the first place.  Timmy is unique, for I have never met anyone quite like him.  He has a peculiar way of walking, where he throws his shoulders back farther than can be comfortable, and leans slightly backwards, so that his body is at a greater than 180 degree angle, if viewed from the side.  He also lowers his chin to his chest, so that he is always looking slightly up when he wants to look straight.  This is done presumably so that all of the saliva which had been collecting in his mouth while he was not standing can freely drool down his front, slobbering across the floor like the slime trail of some gigantic slug.  He also enjoys picking at or grabbing his various orifices whenever he is bored.  One should never shake Timmy’s hand.  Or touch him, for that matter.

Timmy is also always off balance and horrifically uncoordinated.  I once saw him, standing on a platform in the gaga dome while he waited for a new game to start, suddenly keel over backwards and fall several feet to the floor and knock himself unconscious.  There was no one around him, nor any outside force that made him fall.  Presumably, his body just decided “hey, let’s fall now, k?”

Timmy would not have been my top choice to go up against 5 yellow gaga players on that day, but as it turned out, something magical happened.  I have read the bible before, and heard of the fantastic miracles that Jesus and his friends had preformed, and I assumed that I would never live to see something as fantastic as summoning a bunch of fish or healing blind people, but what I saw on that day was probably the closest thing to a miracle I will ever see.

Timmy seemed dimly aware that the odds were not stacked in his favor, because he adopted a rudimentary and somewhat pathetic defensive stance,and was able to deflect the first few volleys that were launched at him, and even to return one himself, that rebounded off the wall at an impossible angle and struck one of the yellow players in their heel.  The blue players on the sideline clapped and cheered his name, and Timmy began jumping up and down in joy, completely forgetting that there was still a veritable firing squad arrayed against him.  His celebration was cut short, however, when he slipped on a wayward saliva pool and fell, causing a ball that Opie the yellow player had struck to sail over his head and go out of bounds, causing Opie to be out.

“Go on, you glorious bastard!” I whispered under my breath, clenching my fist.  Schultz had even stopped crying, so mesmerized were we by the action on the gaga court.

Pictured: me

The three remaining yellows were frightened, in part by the roar from the blue team, but mostly due to Timmy’s impossible luck.  Was there some strange magic protecting him?  Was a voodoo witch-doctor interfering in what was an otherwise regulation gaga match?  Was Harry Potter real, and was he Timmy?  They didn’t know, and this lack of knowledge shook them to their core.  They trembled in their boots as Timmy approached the ball, and dove away, screaming in terror as he hit it.  The ball of course went absolutely nowhere near where they were, and where Timmy was aiming, but as chance would have it went to the exact spot that one of them had dove to, hitting him in the shoes and rebounding backwards to hit one of his allies as well, and getting them both out.

We were speechless, flabbergasted, flummoxed..  Timmy had blown through some of yellows most hardened players like a mighty mongolian horde drooling it’s way across the Russian steppe.  Timmy’s only remaining opponent was young Cooper, a first grader, who stared in terror for about half a second, and then began to run circles around Timmy as fast as he could .  It proved to be an effective Stratagy.  Timmy couldn’t process the distance he needed to hit the ball in front of Cooper to get him out, and so their epic game of cat and mouse lasted for nearly a full minute.  I was nervous the whole time, terrified that Timmy might accidentally hit his own foot, which he had done three times that day so far, or hit the ball out of bounds and lose the match for us, which would have been doubly painful due to his unexpected clutchness.

Timmy did eventually win when he struck the ball poorly and it careened wildly to the right.  He struck a muscleman pose as the blue team poured over him like a mighty wave, cheering his name.  Timmy had undoubtably never experience a triumphal moment of a similar like, and thrust his hand up in the air as the blue team lifted him on their shoulders.  When the crowd settled, he turned and looked at me, and I just gave him a slight nod, like one of those bad ass coaches from one of those sports movies.

“At’ll do, pig.  At’ll do.”  I said, patting him on the head roughly, like he were some sort of farm animal.

“How’d I do, coach?”  He asked, smiling up at me.

“I aint yer coach.”  I growled.  He looked sad and turned around and started walking away.”But you did damn good, kid.  Damn good.”  He turned around and smiled from ear to ear

“Fuck yeah, coach.”  He said, coming up and giving me a hug.

“Timmy,” I growled, patting him on the back, “We don’t use words like that at camp.”

Ordinary


The first day of summer camp has come and gone, and as I lay sprawled across my couch, my corpuscular body wheezing pitifully for air, my mind races, recalling the events of the day.  It analyzes and categorizes all of the children i had met that day, organizing them into groups based off of likability and obedience, and yet through all my searching, and despite all of my categorical machinations, I had yet to find the one perfect camper.  I searched high and low, of course I did, but he or she remained as elusive as help at a best buy.

“Is it you?” I would interrogate each and every one of my campers as they came through the door, grabbing them by their shoulders and gently/violently shaking them as a surveyed they terror stricken face.

“Wha-?” they would start to say, right before I suddenly released them.

“Are you the perfect camper?”

“Yes!” They’d always lie, enthusiastically.

“Nah…” I’d say, shaking my head and frowning.  “You talk big, but you’re just ordinary.”

And they were all just that: ordinary.  Well, that’s not entirely fair, many of them were extraordinary in certain aspects: intelligence, drooling, crying, screaming, legos, but they were all ordinary kids.  You take the good with the bad and just roll with the punches.  I’ve found that being able to laugh at annoying things that kids do makes life infinitely easier than if I allowed myself to be annoyed.  For instance, the difference between “Timmy why the hell did you vomit in Rotund’s lunch pail” and “Timmy, you rascal, you vomited in Rotund’s lunch pail!  Ha ha!” can save your brain from a catastrophic implosion.

I’ve seen it happen.  We had a counselor last year named Paige, and she always got upset at all of the impish tricks her kids played.  One day I had by chance walked by her room’s window and saw her yelling at her children.  Her face was beet red, the muscles in her neck clearly outlined as she screamed at the kids.  I must have gasped, for she turned and looked at me, and I was afraid that her eyes were going to pop out of their sockets as her rage increased by a factor of 12.  I could tell that she was going to start screaming at me through the thin glass that separated us when a sudden quizzical calmness came across a face, and for a moment, at least, she was at peace.  And then, suddenly, her head consumed itself.

Paige’s face, moments before the event occurred.

It was over in a flash, almost to fast for the brain to comprehend.  I caught a glance of what appeared to be her head, but it was now shaped like a watermelon, and had a massive black hole in the middle.

“Paige, yah damn fool!” I cried out, banging a fist on the window as the rest of her body was consumed by the mighty gravity well that had once been her brains resting place, “You can’t lose your cool like that!”  She could have saved herself.  She could have just laughed it off, but she instead paid the horrible price of getting mad at a group of first graders: head implosion.  Turns out she was just ordinary too, though her passing was anything but.  Those kids still remember it, too.  Most of them aren’t even allowed to go to art anymore, the pictures they draw are just too… disturbing.

Alas, perhaps any quest for perfection is doomed from the start, for no such thing exists.  Maybe it’s a bad idea to look for perfection anyway, because what happens when you find it?  “Fuck!” you say, licking your fingers clean,”there goes the only perfect french fry in the world!”

“It’s ok, i’ve gone some ordinary ones I can share,” your friend consoles you.  You take a bite, and it tastes like concrete by comparison.

“This tastes like concrete.” You say angrily.  And it would, trust me.  It’s why I kind of wish I would have never had any craft beer or gourmet coffee, because then I could be happy with keystone and maxwell house, but I can’t.  My taste buds hate me when I try, and I don’t blame them.  Once you’ve had the best, everything else is just… ordinary.

Are you there God? It’s me, OTHER GOD! HAHAHAHA!


SWISH went the basket as the ball passed cleanly through it, leaving nothing but displaced air and a net that felt as though it had been somewhat violated.

“Dear lord,” said Ray-Jay, running his fingers through his hair in utter disbelief.  “Thats two.  Two in a row.”

“Impressive, isn’t it?”  I said as I readied myself for yet another backwards half court shot.  “Schultz are you watching?  This is history in the making!  I would hazard a guess that no one has ever made two backwards half court shots in a row before ever.”  Schultz of course was not listening, seeing as he had passed out, much like an LSU fan 5 minutes into the second quarter,

Did we win? What? What do you mean it's tuesday???

His unconsciousness was most likely due to overexposure to awesomeness, courtesy of me making two backwards half court shots in a row.  Ray-Jay, being a half court shot witness veteran, had shielded his eyes and turned the children around before the second shot had gone in thusly rescuing them from the more serious side effects of such an event.

“Hang on, let me use my smartphone to find out.”  Ray-Jay said as he began furiously clicking away.  The fool!  “My god, you’re right!  No one has ever made 3 backwards shots in a row!  Ever!”

“Of course not!  It’s fucking impossible!  Now watch…ANDBEAMAZED!”  I hurled the ball mightily into the the awaiting bosom of the air.  On wings of glory it flew!  Pole, Andrew and Armani, the children I had mentioned earlier, began to drool uncontrollably at the majestic arch and sublimely perfect trajectory of the rubbery projectile as it splendidly soared to it’s intended target.  As it neared the hoop all of the onlookers held their breath.  When the ball passed through the net, the only sound to be heard was the collective exhale and dumbfounded admiration of the collective audience.

“I… I…” stuttered Pole.  I can only assume that his brain was attempting to process what it had just witnessed, you see, and therefore speech was all but impossible.

“Silence you troglodyte!”  I shouted at him, “Shut your face and retrieve my ball.

“But…” said Ray-Jay, entirely caught up in the moment, “You’ve already made three backwards halfcourt shots in a row, a feat even the mighty Hercules could not accomplish!  Surely you don’t mean to…”

“Enough!” I interrupted as Pole returned with the ball.  “I am not done here.  Not yet.”  I positioned myself in a horse stance for maximum power, and inhaled deeply.

Practice hard, dear reader, for the stance was made for times such as these.

The ball literally flew from my fingertips, a rainbow arching behind it that rained coins down upon the recumbent form of Schultz.  The light was blinding; I’m surprised even I was able to withstand the ball’s terrible glare!  Pole and the other children were on their knees weeping, overtaken by the beauty of the moment.  An onlooker might not have even noticed the slight metallic clink caused by an object passing perfectly through a basketball hoop, caught up as they would undoubtably be in the glamour of the moment.  The ball striking the cold, synthetic wood floor of the gym had the effect of a judge’s gavel.  Silence reigned for what seemed like hours untill little Pole approached me cautiously and trembling asked me

“Are you god?”

“No, no child. I am not your god.” I chuckled as I patted Pole on the head, “I merely play basketball like him.”  Ray-Jay stood stunned and unmoving, like an especially stiff plank of wood.  I’m afraid the shock might have killed him.  Shultz had woken up and was playing in a small pile of golden coins, tossing them in the air in euphoria.

“Money!  Hooray!” he shouted.  The coins, which had hitherto provided him with bushels of amusement, began to fade, and were all but gone by the time they reached the floor.  “Aww.” He lamented.  I squatted down and ran my finger across the floor where the gold had just been.  I then raised it to my nose, sniffed and recoiled.

“Leprechaun gold!  Tricky stuff, that.  Should have known.  It disappears right when you are appreciating it the most.”

“Charles?” Schultz asked, worried.

“Yes?”

“I think all the children have evaporated.”  I looked over to where the children were.  There now remained only a small puddle of evaporating liquid.

“Ah, so they have.” I replied, helping Schultz to his feet.  “Well, what do you say to a piece of that campers cookie cake?”

“I’d say fuck yeah my friend, fuck yeah.”

The frozen pinkies


First off I would like to thank everyone who takes time out of their busy schedule to read my blog posts.  I have fun writing them and I’m glad  that other people enjoy them.  And for those of you who don’t take time out of your busy schedule to read my blog… by merit of reading this you just joined the other group.  Congratulations!  You will be spared.

Secondly, I’ve changed the layout of my blog a lot.  I’ve got a new theme, and fancy new side bars where you can like me on facebook and subscribe via email if you so wish.  And you do wish to.  I can tell.  Do it.  Now.

Second off, here’s the actual post:

The Frozen Pinkys

We have a science lady at camp named Kara who runs the Science club and other science related activities.  That’s why I called her a science lady.  Kara has honduran milk snake that she keeps in a terrarium in the room and is, or course, either of infinite fascination to the campers or a creature from the stygian depths of their darkest nightmares. Incidentally, these are the only two opinions people ever have of snakes: they either love snakes or they hate them.  No one ever says “Snakes?  Those things are boring.”  I think those people died out thousands of years ago, because snakes above all things hate to be ignored.

Honduran milk snakes, though they look kind of like the dreaded coral snake, are not venomous and are apparently quite good with kids.  More’s the pity, I say.  I think a good ol’ venomous bite from a reptile is just the sort of thing some of these kids need to set them on the straight and narrow.  It’s good for your character.

Pictured: Character growth

Anyway, snakes, like all living things, need to eat stuff.  “And what is it snakes eat?” you’re probably asking yourself.  Well, stop interrupting, I was about to tell you.  Snakes eat frozen pinkys.  If you are anything like me, when you hear the word pinky you either think of your smallest finger on your hand or the  lovable cartoon mouse from the classic 90’s show Pinky and the Brain.  That pinky looks like this:

How adorable!

The frozen pinkys look like this:

WHAT THE FUCK ARE THOSE???

Can you spot the difference?  It’s easy: the frozen pinkys are more pink.  Hence the hillarious name.  Oh… and they look like unborn fetuses.  But don’t worry, you don’t actually have to touch frozen pinkys.  They come in handy little cigarette style boxes designed for easy dumping, though the mere knowledge of their existence will weigh heavily on your soul for years to come if you were to ever come into contact with them.  I’m told, however, that snakes love the things; they think they’re popcorn chicken or something.

Possibly the most disturbingly obvious part of frozen pinkies is that you must keep them frozen.  This wouldn’t present in problem in a zoo or the Slytherin common room, where I’m sure there are literally tons of the things secreted in special frozen pinky freezers.  But where do regular, non zoo keeper/dark wizard people like Kevin James and Kara keep their pinkys?  The answer: a normal freezer, right beside the popsicles.  Sometimes even lying horribly in wait among the popsicles!   A tasty surprise indeed.

You sick bastard

There is something fundamentally wrong about keeping frozen pinkys in the same place that you keep normal food.  I wonder how many frozen pinky owners have inadvertently had a late night snack of frozen pinkys instead of the klondike bars they were oh so hungrily reaching for?

Judging from his face, it looks like the answer is at least one.

Sports Club: The Thunderdome


At my camp, the children are allowed to participate in clubs.  These clubs are chosen for the morning and afternoon separately on a weekly basis.  There are many good clubs, but the best is morning Sports Club.  Morning Sports Club is the perfect blending of fun for the campers, who compete against one another in games, and counselors, who coach teams, make trades and scream futilely at first graders who still don’t know which direction to run around the bases.  At the beginning of every week the children are forced by CJ, the man in charge of Sports Club onto different teams and then to choose a country that their team will represent, much to that country’s chagrin.  Countries are normally chosen by obscurity; the more obscure the better.  Albania, for instance, was a much lauded choice.

Since this is the last week of camp, us coaches had a draft where we got to choose 3 players and since I am a WINNER I got first pick.  Naturally I picked Carl, the best kid there and continued choosing in that manner untill i had a fully loaded awesome team of victory.

Pictured: My team

All the other coaches chose in a similar fashion.  Well… most of the other coaches, at least.  My friend Arthur, who was in Sports Club merely to substitute for another coach, Benjiman, decided that it would be far more amusing to choose a horrible team instead of a good one.  It wasn’t his team, after all.

“Hey charles, who are the worst/dumbest kids in your camp group?  ‘Cause Ineed them on my team.”  He asked under his breath as he sidled up to me. I told him.  He picked them, and created the single worst team to ever compete in sports club.

Pictured: Arthur's Team

To add insult to injury, Arthur made sure that his team sat down and was quiet first so that he could choose his first opponent.  Naturally, he chose me and my super team, laughing all the while.  And so we headed off to the big gym to play soccer.

“We should sit here,” said Arthur, pointing to a spot behind one of the goals.  “You guys will be coming this way, so we will get to see all of the good shots if we sit behind my goal.”  I nodded my head greedily.  The spectacle would indeed be… delicious.  We pulled our chairs over and awaited the start eagerly.

Nothing happened.

“Um… go.” Arthur shouted, and thus a game that will surely be recorded in the annals of camp history and retold for generations to come began.  My team, of course, immediately stole the ball from Arthur’s team and went down the field to score, thanks to a rousing display from Carl.

“Ha HA!” i shouted in triumph.  Arthur nodded approvingly and we both had a good laugh.  We looked over to the far side of the gym where Timmy, one of Arthur’s more stupid team members, was wandering about aimlessly, talking to the colored squares on the basketball court.  Ocassionally he would fall on the ground and roll.  We laughed even harder

“I say!” I said, “This match has proven to be quite the distraction from an otherwise boring monday!”

“Quite so!” chortled arthur as he took out a bag of cheetos to share with me.  I normally dont eat cheetos.  Something about them creeps me out.  Maybe it’s the putrid orange color or the way they stain your hands but hey, it was a special occasion after all.  We dug in.

While we were laughing and eating and laughing some more the ball was steadily making it’s way toward my side of the pitch, but I wasn’t worried.  I had cleverly placed one of the oldest and most powerful kids at camp, Buca, in goal and held no doubts that he would successfully defend it.  One of his foolish opponents took a feeble shot at goal, which was promptly scooped up by a derisively laughing Buca and then thrown down the field.  And that’s when it all went to hell.

The ball soared right to the feet of a puny player from the other team who flailed at it wildly.  One of his spasmodic hits struck true and the ball plowed through our goal.  The gym  was as silent as death, apart from the sound of a bag of cheetos and two jaws dropping to the floor.

Pictured: Me and arthur....if we were aliens....

“Arthur…what just happened?” I asked, quivering with fear as i rose from my seat and took a few steps forward.

“A goal!” he laughed at me.  I spun on him angrily

“What?  There’s no way that can be right!”

If you get this you rock

And yet it was right.  What happened next could only be described as a total rout.  The up till then disheartened and defeated team of stupids rallied with a vengeance, scoring goal after goal.  Granted, most of these goals were due to my campers not being soccer players and messing up.  Teddy, one of my players, for instance was going to block a ball, but miscalculated the angle and ended up passing it perfectly to an enemy standing right in front of an undefended goal.  He scored.  Robert accidentally passed the ball to a stupid standing right in front of an undefended goal.  He scored.  Billy did a bad header and passed the ball to a opponent standing… you guessed it… right in fucking front of the goal.  He scored.

Arthur continued to laugh his ass off.  I, however, had clamped my mouth into a terrible grimace of anger mixed with revulsion, sprinkled with a little bit of hate and topped off with a cool serving of despair.

It looked somewhat like this

I shouted.  I screamed.  I ran up and down the pitch throwing chairs and children about like the incredible hulk rampaging in a daycare.  I banged my head against the wall.  I prayed.  It was all for naught, for Arthur’s team was still in the lead.  He stayed there too, all the while sitting in his chair, laughing and laughing and laughing as the world crumbled about me, heedless of my protest.

It turns out winning at sports club mattered a lot more to me than i had previously thought.  I assumed that this is because whenever i play sports, i lose.  It’s a bad habit I’ve never been able to shake.  Even though I am incapable of winning,  I can live vicariously through my campers winning at a sports league.  I won last week.  But as the game ended in a 6-4 victory for the cast of the replacements, I clearly say the writing on the wall.  I was doomed.

But such is the fate of those who dare enter the gauntlet of…

SPORTS CLUB

And in the end it doesn’t really matter


As we enter into the last 6 days of camp I find it interesting to reflect upon the changes from the first several weeks, when the campers feared and respected me, to now, where they, to put it simply, don’t.  They have realized that I am all bark and no bite, I’m serious 23% of the time, I am more scared to take bad campers to the office than they are to go to the office and that, for the most part, I just don’t care anymore.  The children have gone from this

I love camp! And Bears! Hooray!

To this

I love to cause nothing but misery. Oh, and fuck camp.

Incidentally, that Santa Clause is one of the most disturbing pictures i have ever seen.  Anyway, I just dont care anymore.  On the playground today Timmy, damn him, found a wasps nest secreted under the slide on the jungle gym… or whatever those things are called now.  Giant metal and plastic play fort with slide.  Accident machine.  Law suite.  Whatever.

“Charles, um, there is a wasps nest under the slide” he told me as i reclined on a picnic table, hoping that just such a thing as wasp nest discovery wouldn’t happen.  I had been an uneventful day for me up till that point.

“So don’t go near it.”  I replied, not even looking up.  This logic, however, was completely lost on timmy.

“Yes buuuut…. it’s a wasp’s nest and I am a seven year old boy and am therefore compelled to go over and bother it with no regards for my personal safety.  If, however, i am injured I will of course blame it all on you and cry.  FOREVER.

A terrible sense of doom shivered down my spine as timmy turned away from me, a wry smile on his face and a wicked song in his heart.  Damn him.  I sat up and shouted.

“HEED ME CAMPERS!  I WANT IT TO BE UNDERSTOOD THAT NO ONE WILL GO NEAR THE WASP NEST.”

“A wasp nest, you say?” inquired Jimmy, turning away from the pile of dirt or whatever he was fucking playing with and looking straight at me.

“YES! THE ONE UNDER THE SLIDE!” I called back

“What slide?  Where?” he asked”

“THAT ONE!” I said, pointing “And just there, between the second and third joint, just to the left of that shiny bolt.”

“Indeeeeed,” mused jimmy as he left the dirt alone and began to stroke his chin contemplatively.  He walked over the slide and began to poke the nest with a stick or something.

“Yeah that one.  NO ONE GO NEAR THE ONE THAT JIMMY IS FOOLISHLY PRODDING WITH A STICK.  OK?”  No one seemed to listen. It was as if the slide was a giant electromagnet and all the children were bars of iron.  They slowly floated over to the slide, looks of awe upon their faces for they and they alone, had been blessed with a chance to see wasps, real wasps, in a nest under a slide.

“Oh well.  I suppose i fulfilled my contractual obligations in this particular instance.”  I said to my fellow counselors, who nodded sagely.

“In my opinion,” said one of them as the children began to pelt the nest with mulch and small stones, “a good stinging is just one some of these kids need.  Teach them a thing or two about wasps!  And life!  If you throw stones at something, you can expect the thing you throw stones at to be fucking angry.  I think that’s a chinsese proverb or something.”  The other counselors, myself included, nodded sagely a second time and went about our business.  Remarkably, no one got stung.  The wasps stoically took their punishment with an air of grace I had never held their species to possess.  All that happened that day on the playground was that the children had fun and a little bit more of my soul died, much like Voldemort when harry and his annoying friends kept destroying his horcruxes.  Poor Voldemort.  All he wanted was to be loved.

And seriously, who couldn't love that face?

All in all it was a typical day at camp….

Can you hear the cries of the children?


So…

I have landed a summer job at a summer camp this summer.  I wont say which camp however (I wouldn’t want to make an assassin’s job too easy).

“WHERE IS HE????”

Anyway, the more and more I work at camps, the more and more I come to understand how insufferably stupid children are.  Especially first and second graders.  I am fully convinced that if murderers were stalking the halls of the camp and the children were ordered to remain silent lest our hiding places were discovered, the kids in my group could last at best 100 seconds before a cacophony of fart noises and giggles brought the killers running into our carefully concealed sub basement and we were promptly slaughtered.

Firstly, leading kids in a group larger that two is akin to herding cats.  As soon as you look away from one, he finds something interesting on the wall and stops moving to stare intently at it for just enough time so that when he finally realizes that he has not been in line the group is no where to be found.  An example: I for one find little interest in normal, every day leaves.  If i happened to see a leaf with red barbs that dripped acid/poison and growled whenever you walked near, then sure, maybe i would give it a second glance.  To the eyes of child however, every leaf is a gateway into the magical land of leaf-narnia, and must be closely scrutinized for hours on end.

Everything else ever is also equally as interesting.  Mulch?  WOW!  I’VE NEVER SEEN THAT BEFORE!  A bottle cap?  WOAH!  WHERE THE HECK DID THAT COME FROM???? A dirty old sock?  FUCK!  THIS SHIT IS JUST INSANE!!!!  To make a long story short, children cant do anything that takes more than 6 seconds of concentration.

derp?

Secondly, I have come to believe that 93% percent of children are only able to get attention at home by force.  They either cry whenever ANYTHING goes wrong or they are just bad kids and do things purposefully to piss me off.  I don’t even know how many times i have told this one kid to not run ahead of the group, and yet he does it every time.  Oh, and we cant forget the tattle-tale kids who narc on everyone always, even if they were the instigators of the situation.  I call these kids tattle demons.  They’re are many varities of tattle-demons.  The most clever ones carefully plant the seed of a wrongful act in another campers mind, most likely via inception, and then wait an hour or so for the camper to perpetrate the unauthorized act.  He then can claim he had nothing to do with whatever happened, since it was so long ago and no one saw it.  This kids just suck and are total assholes.

Thirdly, most kids lose everything always.  I am always impressed to discover that a camper has wandered off without noticing he has no shoes on or he has forgotten to grab his lunch when i SAID GRAB YOUR LUNCH 30 FUCKING TIMES AND I GRABBED HIS SHOULDER AND SAID “LOOK INTO MY EYES TIMMY AND SEE THE SUFFERING THAT AWAITS YOU WHEN YOU FORGET YOUR LUNCH BOX AGAIN”  Children are even quick to forget punishments.  Today a camper threw a tennis ball over the fence after i had repeatedly warned him against the folly of such an act.  After he did it anyway i was forced to prevent him from playing gaga later in the day.  When the time for Gaga arrived, little timmy jumped into the arena and began to play.  I however had other plans.

“Timmy” i called across the room, “you have lost your privilege to play, and must sit out this game.  Your atrocities cannot go unpunished.”

“What did i do?” shouted the ever defiant Timmy.

“Do?  DO??? YOU DARED TO THROW A TENNIS BALL OVER THE FENCE!!! SUCH AN ACT HAS CONSEQUENCES!!!”

Timmy, realizing i had his number, angrily takes a seat as i turn to the rest of the kids in my group.

“LOOK!” i shouted to them, pointing at Timmy.  “LOOK UPON TIMMY AND SEE THE FATE OF THOSE WHO DISOBEY!!! LOOK UPON HIM AND TREMBLE!!!”  The children quaked in fear as my maniacal laugh swept across the gaga dome like a terrible wind of doom.  10 seconds later everyone was playing gaga, completely ignorant of the chastising they had received, and Timmy went in the next round and all was forgotten.

In short, kids are dumb.  Given the choice, i would almost pick cat herding over camp.  Almost

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