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       “Summer Camp”
He sat alone on a wooden bench
in the back row
of the arts and crafts cabin,
his 1-foot by 2-foot piece
of construction paper
was lying before him
on top of the wooden pine table.
The construction paper
had glitter across the top of it
spelling out “I Miss You”
he lightly blew across the glitter
causing the loose pieces to
flutter away onto the
well-worn cabin floor.
Underneath the glitter
covered words, were
“I Miss You”
he had a large M
made out of macaroni
securely glued in place.
He hated free time
two hours a day
when there were no planned actives,
summer camp
could really suck at times,
he knew no one here
it was filled with kids
from all over the state
many from schools
he never even heard of.
This was only the second time
he had spent his free time
in the arts and crafts cabin
both times he was the only
camper in here,
the only reason he came in the
first time was because it was
like 110 degrees outside and
it had air conditioning.
Nobody bothered him here
except for the counselor who
came by like a prison guard
every 15-minutes to check in on him.
She was an older lady
who just sat at the art supply table
which was clearly marked
with a hand drawn sign
made by some grade school camper
many years ago,
her main job as far as he could tell
was making sure only the older
and more responsible kids got the
scissors with the pointy ends.
Most of the other counselors at camp
were young and athletic
probably out paddling canoes
over glassy surfaced lakes
or hiking up uncharted trails
leading to some new discovery
for the good of mankind.
He looked up at the clock 1:13pm
any minute and she’ll walk by
with her quarterly hour
words of encouragement,
he starts gluing elbow mac
to the large O
he feels a hand on his shoulder
no need to look up
he knows who it is
“So neatly done” says the counselor
“I like how you used”
“Both glitter and macaroni”
“Most people would only use”
“One or the other”
“So original”
Looking down on his work
with a happy smiley face.
Well, I had to use macaroni,
I ran out of glitter.
She was caught off guard
by his matter of fact answer,
her smiley face starts to
look more like a prune
as she quickly shuffles back
to her book and the safety
of sitting behind her
big wooden table.
He looks back down
at his construction paper
only one half of an O
and one more M to go
before it is finished.
Not that he really cared
if he finished it or not
he wasn’t going to take it home,
he was just doing time here
A white collar prison camp
for kids or so he felt.
“Doing ok over their sweetie?”
The counselor calls out
from behind the safety of her desk
he gives her a brisk salute
wondering why he didn’t merit
the quarter hour walk about this time.
Maybe she was just at
a really thrilling spot
in her book, could it be
she is reading Friday the 13th
and just getting to the part where
one of the Hot young co-ed counselors
meet their grizzly demise,
that might be the reason
she keeps such a strict eye
on all the sharp scissors,
or did she just run out of
up lifting things to say,
how many times can you praise a kid
for keeping his macaroni inside
the preprinted large block letters
on his construction paper,
at 15-years of age that isn’t
exactly a ground breaking accomplishment.
He has been at camp for two weeks
all the events or activities
he has picked out during free time
have been DOA, “DEAD ON ARRIVAL”
He went to archery yesterday
with visions of being a male version
of the Hunger Games hero,
but the bows were of
poor quality and the arrows
had rubber tips on the end of them
if you were lucky enough
to hit the large target
taped over some bales of hay
the arrow would just bounce off
and fall to the ground,
ten other kids had started out
with him but 30-minutes later
everyone was gone.
He even gave cooking class a shot,
but you didn’t really cook anything
it was just a thinly veiled con
to get you to do kitchen prep
for the upcoming meal.
A lot of the fat kids liked it though
you could snack on the fruits and veggies
you were chopping
and the big perk was
you got to be first in line
for that meal which
meant you could go through
line a 2nd time if you so cared too,
and some of those kids
you could tell cared too.
He took the Elmer’s glue
and squeezed out a big drop
on to his finger
then sat there and watched
as it started to dry
a thick film hardened over it
like a dome,
he pulled back his finger
like a catapult
till his finger snapped back
in place, sending the
whole white glob flying
through the air, and just then
the front cabin door pops open
and a fellow camper walks in,
surprising him and the camper
as the white mass strikes
the door frame eye level
of the new kid as she
walks in the cabin door,
she turns her head
looks at the slowly dripping
mess of white goo,
looks back at him
and nods her approval,
he quickly looks down
at his macaroni O
he is working on,
but tries to steal as many
looks of this intriguing girl
as he can as she checks in
with the counselor signing
her name on the sign in sheet.
She is wearing tennis shoes
the camp issued shorts
and a white tee shirt
that has the camp logo
on the upper left front of it
but the rest of her white shirt
was covered with sayings
and song lyrics written in
with different colored sharpies,
she gathers up her supplies
walks to the back of the cabin
where he is trying to look
like he’s not noticing her
at all, even after she
roughly drops all
her gear on to the table
in front of him and takes
a seat on the bench facing him.
“So what did you use?”
“To launch that glue bomb”
“All the way from back here?”
“A rubber band?”
Ah, no, just my finger
like this,
as he demonstrates for her,
very impressive she says
but with these popsicle sticks
rubber bands and some paper clips
we could make something
never before seen in the history
of the arts and crafts cabin.
He sat their fascinated as she
glued popsicle sticks together
then wedged them in the cracks
of the wooden table
tied together 8-rubber bands
then folded them in half 4-times
running them between the popsicle
sticks and takes the paper clips
and twists and chains them together
“Quick, I need a 1-inch by 2-inch
Strip of cloth”
He just froze,
mesmerized by the lighting fast constriction
she had going on before him.
When she barked her sudden command
“Stand Up” he snapped to attention
“Lean Towards Me” she said
And as he leans towards her
she quickly grabs his tee shirt
yanks the front of it out of
his shorts with her left hand
and just as swiftly with her right hand
took the scissors and cut
A 1-inch wide by 2-inch long
strip of cloth out of the bottom
front of his tee shirt
then takes the strip of cloth
and attaches it to the paper clips,
as he stands their holding his tee shirt
looking down at the missing chunk
then hastily tucked his shirt
back in to his shorts.
“You two doing ok over their?”
“Yes mam, were fine”
he calls out to her
as she blocks the counselor’s view
of the now complete composite
slingshot with her body.
Ok, so what do we use for ammo?
She says as they both look around
the cabin for the perfect projectile
for their weapon of mass excitement.
She spots the counselor’s veggie bowl
full of carrots, cauliflower and the prize
red ripe cherry tomatoes,
I’ll distract the counselor
while you liberate those cherry tomatoes,
their just the thing we need,
he just nods as she walks up
to the counselor and engages
in a little small talk with the
counselor as he sneaks in behind
her in a fashion that makes
his sneaking so over emphasized
that it looks as if he was acting in a
high school play.
She can’t help but smile
as she looks past the counselor
at him as he cautiously
slips his hand in to the veggie bowl
and grabs two cherry tomatoes
and one chunk of cauliflower.
The counselor was just about
to turn around towards him
when his female accomplice
shouts out, What’s That!
Pointing to a bird that had
flown in one of the open windows
“Oh that happens now and again”
I’ll open the front and back doors
and it will fly out said the counselor,
I’ll get the back door he shouts
to her not wanting her to notice
their black ops arts and crafts project.
Both campers begun a quite discussion
about what to shoot at with their
newly acquired ammo.
Why did you get a piece of cauliflower?
 Who shoots cauliflower with a slingshot?
Looking at him as if that is common knowledge.
Well, ah, I was looking at something else,
When I grabbed them he said.
You were looking at me, is that it,
I can have that kind of effect on a guy.
No, he says not understanding the
Implications of her statement, I was
Looking at something else.
“OH” ok then, so what’s the target?
We could shoot the bird he says flatly.
Her mouth actually drops open in shock,
Are you crazy? Pointing to a hand drawn
dove on her shirt with the words
“Give Peace a Chance” written underneath it,
Any other bright ideas? Still looking around
the cabin for a target. Maybe I should
read the rest of your shirt first
before I speak? She can’t fight back
her smile and says let’s go for
the open front door,
nodding her head yes
in a rapid fashion.
He looks at the door, then at the slingshot
then at her, who is still rapidly nodding
her head yes, you realize that the counselor
is directly between us and the door
don’t you? Yes, I know, that’s what
makes it such a sweet shot.
I figure we’ll have to clear
her head by a foot to make the distance
but not hit the ceiling she says to him.
Ok, I’ll block her view as you get it ready,
then shoot, on my command he tells her.
No, No, No, we’re in this together
it’s my design you’re the gunner.
He reluctantly takes the seat
behind the table mounted slingshot
puts a cherry tomato in to the
cloth and pulls back on the rubber
bands, ready he says, she steps
to the side, giving him an open
field of fire, he lets go of it and
it just lazily lobs up and over
the counselor dropping ten feet
behind her, causing the bird to
slightly flutter it’s wings.
The counselor looks over at
the bird then back to her book,
what kind of sorry attempt was that?
Hands on her hips looking at him very
matter of fact. Well you may
not know this, but this is the
first time I’ve ever fired a table
mounted slingshot. She steps back
in front of the table as he tries to
get the piece of cauliflower to
to sit right in the sling, this cauliflower
is really awkwardly shaped, I don’t
think I can use it. Here, let me
see it, she says holding out
her hand to him, he drops it in
to the palm of her hand, and she
promptly pops it in to her mouth,
rolls it around with her tongue,
then spits it out on to her hand.
Really, he says looking down
at a perfectly round piece
of cauliflower, couldn’t you
have just used the scissors?
Hmm, that would have worked too
I guess she says, still standing
with her hand held out.
He has a grimacing look
on his face as he hesitates in
taking it from her hand.
She tilts her head and looks
at him oddly, I’m not asking you
to eat it, it’s just a little spit,
you get more spit then that
in your mouth kissing a girl,
am I right or what?
He grabs the piece of cauliflower
and starts to fashion it in to
the sling as he mumbles in
A quite low voice,
“I’ve never kissed a girl”
Oh, Sorry Chief, I’m sure it will
happen someday, you ready to fire?
He just nods, she steps to her left
and whispers, fire.
He pulls back the still dripping
piece of cauliflower and lets
it rip, it rockets over the
counselor’s head and hits three
feet above the door with a loud BANG!
Scaring the bird and causing it
To fly around for a moment
Before landing again.
“What was that?” The counselor
blurted out.
“Just The Bird” They both say
at the same time as they turn
to face each other with
mischievous looks on both
their faces.
“Oh My” that gave me a fright
said the counselor, fanning herself
with her open paperback book.
Living through more excitement
in the last two minutes
then the last two weeks as
arts and crafts counselor.
She begins to relax and slips
back into the storyline of her
book, as the gunner
and the spotter have
to try real hard to contain
Their laughter.
“Ok”, we only have 1-shot left,
We have to make it count she says,
feeling closer to him now after their
two shot artillery barrage, and he’s
carrying around a lot more pride,
after breaking a few rules for
the first time this summer,
and even though this girl might
be teetering on the edge
of psycho, he still thinks
she’s pretty cool.
The two of them quietly
discuss their 3rd and final shot,
and now feeling good about
their aim and how far to pull
back on the rubber bands,
they decide to add one more
variable, and that is to try and
time their shot to not only
fly over the counselor,
out the front cabin door,
but to also hit a fellow camper
walking by.
He gets the cherry tomato
wrapped snugly in the sling
and puts a little tension on
the rubber bands as she
scouts for a target through
the side windows of the cabin.
Here comes someone, get ready
she says, he glances out the
side window “Are you kidding me”
that guy is so skinny it would
be like hitting a walking
stick of spaghetti, “And No Girls”
he says.
Just my luck, she says
I have a hopeless
romantic firing the weapon.
He’s feeling pretty good
about speaking out to her,
she’s happy to see him
breaking out of his shell.
Get ready, target acquired,
it’s big, it’s moving slow
and it doesn’t have breasts
she says, he smiles as he
puts more tension on the
rubber bands, out of the
corner of his eye he can
see a large hulking kid
moving at a snail’s pace
going by the side windows,
she’s standing in front of him
counting down as he pulls
way back on the rubber bands
cherry tomato firmly in the
sling and just as the shadow
of the big hulking kid crosses
the foot of the front cabin door
she jumps to her left and
being all caught up in all
the energy of the moment
she shouts out “FIRE!” as
loud as she can,
causing him to pull back even
harder on the rubber bands
before letting go,
and almost  immediately
after that cherry tomato
took flight you could hear
a juicy sounding splat as
it hit the counselor of the
arts and crafts cabin right in
the middle of her forehead,
then a loud screech cut
through the quite of
the cabin as the
normally docile counselor
bolts up out of her seat
screaming “Bird Strike”
“Bird Strike” causing the
once calm and relaxed bird
to freak out and start flying
all around the room,
as both kids stood their
stunned, staring at the
counselor who is running
around the room trying to
get away from the bird she
had caused to take flight
as she shouts into her camp
walkie-talkie, “Bird Attack”
“Arts and Crafts Cabin”
“Bird Attack” “Arts and Crafts
Cabin”. Both kids start tearing
down the table mounted
slingshot pieces flying
all over the place,
as the counselor
feels something running
down her face, she reaches
up with her hand to her
forehead to touch the
sticky liquid and when
she looks at her fingers
and sees the red sticky
substance on them she’s
sure that it’s blood and
caused from the beak or
claws of the bird, much
worse than she first thought
and in a high pitched
panicked voice she shouts
in to the walkie-talkie
“I’ve Been Hit!”
“I’ve Been Hit!”
“Counselor Down!”
“Arts and Crafts Cabin!”
“Counselor Down!”
Both campers now turn
to face each other and
in unison yell “RUN!”
They both tear out the
back door of the cabin
the terrified screams of
the counselor echo behind
them as they run as hard
as they can down the trail
onto the empty archery field
and both collapse behind a
block of hay bales being used
as a back stop for the targets.
They sit their panting with
their backs to the hay bales
and in between labored
breaths they laugh,
still trying to regain their
composure, hearts and
breathing not yet back
to normal, her shoulder
leaning up against his,
he can feel each breath
as she takes it in and then
lets it out, trying to slow
it back down to it’s
natural rhythm,
both just sitting their
looking straight ahead,
no words being spoken,
he unconsciously counts
the seconds between each
breath she takes, every
nerve in his body poised to
feel the subtle movement
she makes with each and
every breath.
She turns to him and says
you know once they see
some of the pieces of the
table mounted slingshot we
left behind and that now
flat cherry tomato that
struck her on the forehead
their just going to look
at the sign-in sheet and
were sunk.
I wouldn’t be so
sure about that,
he says with a big grin
on his face as he pulls
out a paper and hands
it to her, she looks at it
and bounces to her feet
“The Sign-In Sheet!”
When did you get this?
She says as he climbs to
his feet and explains  
how he saw it when he
was getting the cherry
tomatoes and was thinking
it might be a good idea to
grab it too. She takes him
by the hand and starts
dancing around,
one more call to my parents
and I would be toast she says.
Well you’re not out of this
mess yet, with that tee shirt
your wearing you pretty much
stick out even in a big crowd,
he says. Yea, your right, she
says as she pulls off her shirt
standing before him in only
her bra and camp shorts
“Give me your shirt” she says.
He just stands their looking
at her, unable to move
or speak.
“What” she says, haven’t?
you ever seen a girl in a
swimsuit? It’s the same thing,
now give me your shirt
before I catch cold.
He starts to take off his
shirt, I’ve seen many girls
in a swimsuits before,
just not you.
They both hear a bell
ringing over the camp
loud speakers signaling
the end of free time,
as a voice comes over
the speakers next,
reminding all campers
to return to their sleeping
quarters for mid-day cabin
clean up, he holds out
his shirt to her,
what am I supposed to wear,
I can’t wear this shirt, he says
Looking at the all marked-up
shirt she is holding in her hand,
just tell them you went out
running today during your
free time, besides you
don’t look half bad
without your shirt.
The bell rings again over
the speakers, hurry up
or we will be late for
cabin check in, he hands
her his shirt and takes hers
both of them standing
before each other just a
foot apart shirtless.
What am I supposed to
do with your shirt,
keep it to remember you by,
he quips.
She takes one end of his
tee shirt in each hand
and as the final bell rings
over the loud speaker,
she throws the shirt
behind him like
a rope quickly
pulling him close
with it like a lasso,
and gives him a big
long kiss on the mouth,
then drops one end of
the shirt and trots off
down the trail,
“That Was To Remember Me By”
I don’t care what you do
with the shirt, she turns
and continues to trot
away, then over her shoulder
she yells back,
“I Hope My Kiss Didn’t”
“Taste Like Cauliflower”
He doesn’t say a word,
just watches her as she
makes her way towards
the girls side of the camp
and disappears down the
trail. He holds up her shirt
before him and takes a long
look at it, then he takes her
shirt and holds it against
his face and takes a deep
breath in, not having any
idea what prompted him
to do that but glad that he
did, it made him feel like
she was still there for
a second or two.
He half trotted, half skipped
down the trail, looking at
her shirt as he went along,
reading each verse
and every phase
giving him a little more
insight to who she really was.
He made his way to his bunk
his camp counselor barks out
“Your Late, Where’s Your Shirt?”
I was out running during
free time and got lost, sorry.
That’s ok, it happens, I’m
just glad to see you didn’t
waste all your free time
sitting in the arts and crafts
cabin again says the counselor
as he heads out of the cabin
on his way to check on the
next one.
He lies back on his bunk
looking towards the ceiling
reliving what might just
have been the best day
of his life, and when he
gets to the part where
he hands her the arts
and crafts sign-in sheet
it hits him, he never even
got her name, he franticly
starts checking his pockets
in his shorts for that
paper when he
remembers watching her
stick it in her pocket when
she took his hands and
started dancing, he laid
back down on his bunk
laughing to himself at
the fact he never ever
thought to ask her what
her name was, then a voice
comes over the P.A. system
stating dinner would be
starting in one hour.
He suddenly realized,
that he was starving,
and for some odd reason,
he hoped that they,
would have cauliflower,
as one of the veggie choices…
     Tom Allen…07-16-2017…