Positivity Camp Part XXII
Another week, another Positivity Camp! I know some had said there wasn’t enough action, but I’m wondering if anyone feels that way still? Not that I was intending to add any action. I just thought a loose iguana would be hilarious! Dangerous, yes, but hilarious!
Oh, and if you ever encounter one, do avoid being bitten (not all that difficult to do, really. Just don’t try to touch them – at least not without proper guidance, and especially not when they are moody. Because, needless to say, their bites are quite nasty! (I’ve never been bitten, but a pet iguana named Nacho once bit my mom.)
“Hey, Daniel! You’ll –”
“Will you two keep it down.”
“Oh, hey…” I stared at Wendy’s friend, unable to remember her name.
“Seriously, it’s Kayla. Who did you expect to go wandering off from a group?”
“Good point,” I said. “Definitely not Abigail!”
The two girls laughed at the truth of that. There was no way the shy girl would have dared to do something like that.
“How is Kevin doing?” Wendy asked, giving the doors a concerned look.
“Who are these two?” someone asked, joining our group huddle.
“I’m Wendy and this is Kayla.”
“Wait! You’re the one who had words added to the board outside of camp!”
“We,” I said, indicating the two of us, “did that.”
“Huh? Oh, sure. Whatever,” he said dismissively. “That’s so cool!” he added, turning back to Wendy.
“What’s your name?” I asked, adding him to the same list as cool kid Tyler.
“Oh, I’m a nobody, but Wendy! Oh, man! You’re famous, and it’s only the first day!”
“Thanks, Nobody. I would really like to talk to my friend now,” she said with the sweetest smile.
Nobody nodded like a fool and backed away. Then he turned and ran off to tell the other kids what was going on.
“We should probably stay out of sight,” Kayla warned. “We were supposed to be going to the restroom, remember. That alibi is caput if we get busted.”
“Right. Daniel, I came here to see you,” she said, leading us toward a forest trail. We were careful to avoid being seen through the windows. When we made it safely to the trail, she began again. “We have a bit of a plan worked out, but I’m having difficulty in spreading the word. You seem to be jumping groups, which makes you perfect for delivering the message.”
“You have a plan?” I asked stupidly.
“Yes, is that a problem?”
“Well, it’s just that Tyler and I came up with one.”
“Tyler! That’s so amazing! He’s the best,” Kayla sighed as she thought about him. I shook my head, but did my best to hide my disapproval of the guy.
“That’s actually where Kayla and I got the idea too! Turns out, he knows these trails really well and lives close to here.”
“Yeah, he said as much,” I confirmed.
The sound of twigs snapping put us immediately on edge. We ducked and turned to see Brian coming down the pathway. I had forgotten all about him that seeing him was a bit of a surprise.
“Hey, guys. Somethings happening. You need to come see this!”
“What is it? We’re in the middle of an important meeting,” Wendy said.
“Yeah, but Teacher and Mr. Petrel are on their way here.”
“They’re what?!” Kayla asked, her eyes going wide.
“Shoot!” Wendy bit her lower lip and looked around. “How much time do we have?” she asked Brian.
“I get it,” she said dismissively.
This was not the time for stumbling over negative words, and Wendy needed to know. “Last I saw, Teacher was at the Art Barn. He could be anywhere by now though,” I explained.
“Shoot! Alright, Daniel. What’s the plan. Be quick.”
“Uh, alright. Later tonight,” I began, speaking quickly, “we were going to wear down the councilors in just our cabin. We’ll work on freeing the others later, but we are starting with one.” Wendy nodded, and I continued. “The younger kids will pretend homesickness, fear of the dark, and they’ll distract and wear the councilors down with crying and yelling and all the things little kids do. Then, after a rough start to the night, they’ll be too exhausted to stay awake and keep an eye on us. When that happens, we’ll sneak out and meet up at whatever path or trail it was that Tyler said to take.” I honestly couldn’t remember if he had given a name for it or not, but then I also had no idea if there even were any names for the paths.
“Probably Drimer’s Path,” Kayla supplied. “That was the one Tyler had pointed out to me earlier.” At least she didn’t look smug about remembering details like that! Unlike someone else I knew...
“From there,” I continued, “Tyler,” I rolled my eyes as Kayla sighed, “will lead us to his house where we’ll hide out until the camp is shut down for negligence.”
“Sounds about right. Our cabin will join yours,” Wendy said. “Let’s go, Kayla.”
“Huh? Oh, right! Good luck guys!”
Then they left us as they ran down the trail back to the group they had left behind. It didn’t take too long for them to disappear from sight as the path dipped down a hill.
“We really need to get back,” Brian reminded me.
“Right! Let’s go.”
We quietly snuck up behind the wall of campers. It didn’t take us long to blend in. Not that Councilor Kimberly could have noticed. She still had her hands full with Kevin. From what I could see, everyone had made it out, and judging by the way Kevin was yanking on the Nature Center’s door, the place had been locked up. The doors were shaking with his constant tugging, and Councilor Kimberly looked to be at her wit’s end trying to figure out how to get him to stop, no doubt a much more difficult task considering her inability to use negative words.
“Let me iiiiiiin!” Kevin screamed. “I need to free the lizards!”
“Oh, thank heavens!” Councilor Kimberly cried as she caught sight of something. We all looked to see what it was.
Teacher and Mr. Petrel were coming up the path we had taken earlier, but they were in a golf cart and moving faster than I liked. If they took the golf cart down the path Wendy and Kayla had taken…I pushed the thought from my mind. They had no reason to take the wild overgrown path the girls had taken…right?
Kevin screamed again, this time in jubilation. In unison, we all looked to see what had him so happy. He had the door open. He had the door open!!
“He has the keys!” someone cried out in alarm.
“Kevin, NO!” Councilor Kimberly cried as Kevin braced his hands on the side of the door, as though intending to fling himself inside the building.
Time seemed to stop as everyone heard the councilor’s use of the forbidden word. Even Kevin stopped moving. I couldn’t see his face, from where I was, but I could see Councilor Kimberly’s. The dread there was evident, almost as evident as the dark scornful looks Teacher and Mr. Petrel wore.
“Kevin, no,” Councilor Kimberlysaid more calmly, though whether she said it in defiance or simply because it had the desired effect on Kevin was unclear. She gently grabbed Kevin’s hands and pushed the door closed. With the other, she turned the key he had left in the lock before finally removing the bundle of keys from the door.
“It is a sad day, indeed,” Mr. Petrel said as he stepped out of the cart, “when one of our own fails to uphold one of our sacred tenants.”
Councilor Kimberly closed her eyes, but did not turn around to face Mr. Petrel. I couldn’t blame her. I don’t think any of us did.
“Kevin,” Teacher called. “It’s time for you to go home.”
“Go home?!” Kevin cried in excitement.
“Yes,” Teacher said simply. “Would you like to ride back with me to your cabin? We can pack your things and wait for your parents at the front office.”
“I’m going home?!”
Teacher sighed, even his patience was being put to the test with Kevin. “Yes, Kevin. You are going home.”
Kevin needed no further bribery. He ran for the back of the cart and jumped on. Teacher looked like he was about to give in and let him sit in the back, but even he couldn’t deny the danger of letting Kevin sit in a spot where he couldn’t keep an eye on him.
“Kevin, sit in the front seat.”
“I want the back seat!”
“Do you think you have earned the privilege of sitting back there?” Teacher asked coldly.
Surprisingly, Kevin gave in without another word of protest. I mean, Teacher was imposing and all, but Kevin had seemed so immune to everything! Still, it was probably for the best that he sat somewhere that would keep him from hurtling rocks at caged creatures or from running off to who knew where.
Without another word, Teacher put the cart in reverse before pulling away. Kevin’s face lit up at the sound of the reversing golf cart, but his was the only happy face.
“Kimberly,” Mr. Petrel began speaking, but only after Teacher had left.
She jumped at the sound of her name, but she turned to face him. Her cheeks were red, and I was fairly certain she was crying.
“You…hmm, those need treated,” he said, pointing to her arms. “Report to the nurse’s station. Emily is there now filling in for our absent nurse Pam. When you are done there, you know where to go.”
“Yes, sir,” Councilor Kimberly said, sniffing. She began walking away slowly, but then Mr. Petrel called out again.
“Leave me your keys,” he instructed. He held his hand out, palm up. She walked back slowly and deposited her keys in his open palm. Still sniffling, she turned away. Her arms came up across her chest and we all saw her shoulders shake.
It was so cruel! She was crying, and he was being so…so…callous about it! She hadn’t done anything wrong! She had worked so hard to stop a crazy out of control kid from hurting himself and others, and quite probably all the animals in the Nature Center. She’d taken hits from him, scratches, bites, and kicks! And when he had been about to do something else dangerous, she had stopped him with a word, a word she had every right to use!
Now she was being sent away, crying.
“She didn’t do anything wrong!” I cried out. I didn’t care if I was using negative words! Someone had to say something! This wasn’t fair!
“Daniel. This is your first and final warning from me for your use of forbidden words.”
“Where was her first warning?!” I demanded, ignoring his unspoken threat.
“Perhaps it is time you and I had a talk,” Mr. Petrel said.
“Maybe it is,” I shot back.
“Very well then. The Nature Walk is over. The rest of you are to head to the Dining Hall and prepare for dinner. If you are in need of entertainment, ask one of the staff for some help with the gameboard closet. I’ll send word along that you have permission to use it.”
No one moved, and I smiled smugly at the heartless leader of the camp.
He raised an eyebrow and someone shuffled forward. Then someone else moved, and then a few more. I looked around in disbelief as everyone began moving away. How could they?!
“Cowards!” I called after them, but no one looked back. One by one they abandoned me and turned their back on the injustice of the camp. Then I was left alone with Mr. Petrel and his smug smile.