The Safest Summer Camp in the World

 

camp

The summer camp I was hired to work at looks like every summer camp from every movie I’ve ever seen just before everyone gets murdered by one urban legend or another; except in Finland. And Finland looks like a topographical map I made in the seventh grade.

On the five hour bus ride from St. Petersburg, Russia to the middle of Where-The-Fuck, Finland, I met the camp leader, K. He had a beard–a big one.

When we arrive, the campers from the previous session are there, crying, hugging–crying again. I take to the outskirts of the crowd. A man, another camp leader, finds me. His name is S. His English isn’t as good as K’s but he’s got a better smile. He shows me to my room, which is also his room.

He smiles. “We will be–what’s the word?” He points at himself, then me.

“Roommates?”

“Yes,” he says, “roommates. Good.”

He leaves me to unpack. I go outside to look around. The bulletin board is all in Russian, the leaders, the campers, the food and the clothing, Russian. The trees are Finnish. I stand there, American, confused.

Dinner time makes its way around. The food is good, though Russian. There are other counselors. One, a woman, speaks English quite well; her name is C.

“How do you like the food?” C asks.

“Good,” I say. She frowns. “Do you live in Russia?” she asks.

I nod.

“Why?” she asks.

I look around the table of camp counselors. The eating has slowed.

“Uh–I like it,” I tell her, then add, “so, what do we do tonight?”

“Some games to learn everyone’s names, some dancing,” K tells me.

So, after dinner we all make our way into the main hall of a large cabin. Everyone stands in a circle. There are a number of instructions that get given out in Russian; most of which fly past my ears without bothering to stop. S is the DJ. In every moment where silence might make its way in, S plays some hip-hop song.

The campers start stepping out onto the floor one by one. They say their name, do a dance, and step back. Then everyone says hi and repeats their name. S hits play on the music after each one. After six or seven students I slowly start to realize the song being played.

One student steps out, a boy, “Misha,” he says.

“Hi, Misha!” the campers call.

Then, over the speakers, the song plays: “Damn, who’s a sexy bitch…”

S pauses it. I frown. The next student steps forward.

“Sasha!” she says.

“Hi Sasha!” the campers call.

Damn, who’s a sexy bitch…”

I look over at S. I look around the room. Everyone is smiling, dancing a bit; excited.

“And I am K!” K cries, throwing open his arms.

“Hi, K!”

Damn, who’s a sexy bitch…”

I stand back, shrug and do a dance when my time comes.

Then, things slow down. Everyone sits. K lights a candle and it starts getting passed around the room. Everyone speaks a bit, in Russian. C sits next to me.

“You need to talk about how you feel,” she whispers.

“Uh-huh,” I tell her, not having a damn clue what that means.

She taps me, “and when you agree with something someone says, rub your hands together,” she tells me.

“Mhm,” I say, noticing the room do just that. Then, before I realize what is happening, the candle is in my hand. I stare down at it.

“Wait, what?” I ask C.

“Talk about your feelings,” she tells me.

“My feelings?”

“Yes.”

I look around the room. Fifty Russian teenagers wait, polite.

“My feelings about what?” I whisper.

“Camp,” she says.

I sigh. “Hmm, well, Uh–I feel confused. And–uh, old, yeah you all make me feel old,” I say, then, looking away I mutter, “that was a weird thing to say.”

“The food is good,” I add, louder. Then I pass the candle quickly away, as though it were on fire. C takes it. Then, from my left someone whispers, “your hobbies!”

“His hobbies!” someone adds, from my right.

The candle is back in my hand, it burns.

“Your hobbies,” C tells me.

“Oh-uh, I like to read and uh…”

I look around. K saves me by rubbing his hands in the air. The rest of the students do the same. I take the opportunity to pass the candle on. I take a breath and sweat for the rest of the candle-time.

At the end K places the candle in the center of the room. All the campers gather around it, then on three, everyone blows it out together. There is cheering, there is music.

Damn, who’s a sexy bitch, damn, who’s a sexy bitch…”

Someone brings in snacks, juice. Everyone eats first. A drink is put in my hand, it is red, sweet. Ten minutes later everyone lays on the floor, dead. The smallest ones fall first. I am one of the last, confused, unable to breath. S is one of the last as well. We lay next to each other. With his last breath, he frowns.

“What do you call this?” he asks.

I choke on nothing, everything is going black.

“Dying?” I manage, no longer having the energy to panic.

He smiles, fading away with an ‘ah-I-knew-that’ look on his face.

TO BE CONTINUED…

**Hi everyone, so just wanted to note that this will be my longest sequential series. It will be a series of 7. It will start today. If you want you can wait till next week and binge it in one go but, if you trust me, let it come together slowly. Either way, I hope you enjoy how it all comes out. Be warned…there is some pretty dark humor on the way.

26 comments

    • Haha yay. I’m glad. I think this will be my best series. I hope. I just really like a lot of the ideas in it. I always lose some readers on weeks I do series. It’s a bit of a gamble but this one was stuck in my head.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I agree with Penny, and I’m so very excited about the new series. I had to laugh a lot. This game-play evening would have been a horror for me, if you do not really understand what they are talking about. On such occasions, I am always fast on the run. But I know such games still from my home. But even without understanding problems, I would have no desire …. be glad that you did not have to dance your name.
    Well, you did hopefully tell S. that he made a mistimed music? Well we will see…o.k. I´ll try to get prepared for bad dark humor…..*ulp*

    Liked by 2 people

    • I did not say that these games are bad. For the kids they are a lot of fun and you get very fast in an easy, natural contact. In my country this is also not crazy. But we also have a kind of humour to laugh about things, that seems to be strange for foreign country…just to say, yes we understand, and it is funny, but we are like this. So I can for example be totally conform with the rudolf steiner school, but I can also laugh about things, which seems to look strange…. For shy people, like me it is hard starting to join such games with anyway, if you do not know the people. But this is a personal lack.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Haha yes. A lot of these games make me uncomfortable. But I got used to them. I am also very used to being a part of things where I understand no one. It’s a common theme in my life. Even when people are speaking English sometimes…

      Liked by 1 person

      • uhhh, I know also lots of games, where I have the feeling of beeing 80 years old. ..it´s depressing, but I´m really impressed of you, that you face yourself to things, where you unserstand no one….I think , if you just dare, it will become easier by time? I have to think about this!

        Liked by 1 person

      • It does become easier over time. People are always asking me if it bothers me but it really doesn’t. I enjoy watching people’s body language and emotions. You do not need language to understand a lot of what is going on around you if you pay attention. I think it helps me understand people better. Or maybe I’m just a bit nuts.

        Liked by 1 person

      • No this is a really great quality, Flash! Living in foreign countries and not better learning languages is horrible. Most of the time, you are apologising and hoping, that you have nice people, answering to you…but you have not always….so you just start to avoid situations with people you do not really know….but I just started to change this behaviour and start talking with people…..and you are right, it is not so fatal, as I thought…: )

        Liked by 1 person

      • I know this may seem strange, but could you take the time out of your day to read one of my posts? It’s called ‘Normal Dreams’, and I can’t seem to make heads or tails of it, even though I’m the author. Feedback from you would be much appreciated.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Of course. Sorry for the past two days I’ve been in Istanbul in transit back to the states for a bit and I haven’t had time or internet to respond to any comments or read any blogs. If it’s possible, could you send me a link to your story and I will read it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • hahaha, no you never will be alone flash! Especially for me it was not easy, to understand you dark humor, but time by time I understand that you are a great artist. And great artistest have to be a little bit crazy, no? O.K., they have to be careful of public….they have to think a lot, if, or how they present in plublicity…otherwise the work may be in danger….and the work, I can imagine, is the most important thing of an great artist! You got my worship.

        Liked by 1 person

      • haha thank you very much. I used to read Vonnegut’s rules of writing and he used to say ‘if you write for the whole world’ or something like that, ‘you’ll catch a cold.’ or open your window, or something. But basically it was that you should write for the people who you want to write for and that’s it. So, thank you. I write for you and for penny and paol and many others. Most importantly, of course, I write for myself.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Flash, I don’t know if you meant it this way but I am dying laughing at this so far. It’s so surreal and the contrast between the sunshiney camp and the pressures to bond and express amid the “sexy bitch” echoes. HAHAHAHHAA. I am so invested. Excited for the next parts. thanks for your writing. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Awesome! I’m glad the first one caught attention. I know sometimes people want to just read when it is all out but I love that you’re reading along as it goes. Thank you.

      Like

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