Camp Loudon (Chapters 1+2)

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The Flight

“Second call for flight 1031 to Boston”
I’ve always hated waiting at airports. This time however, my timing was going to be just about perfect. I had just finished paying for an Asiago Steak Panini from The Paradise Bakery Café conveniently located in “Americas Friendliest Airport”.
I almost hesitated. I probably wouldn’t see another Asiago Steak Panini for at least four more years. Should I pay my respects? Should I buy another to save for later?

No.

I am leaving.

I want this.

I don’t regret leaving Phoenix. The heat. The unnecessarily “sunny” demeanor everyone has that might seem pleasant at first, but eventually boils down to a clear excess of stupidity. The lack of rain. The lack of trees. The heat. I hated it.
I had just graduated from high school three days ago. I was ranked second in my class with an almost perfect score on the ACT. I was also in like four honors societies, was captain of the baseball team, founded a FBLA chapter at my school, had an internship at a bank that is based back in Phoenix, and some other stuff to make for what some might call a “stellar” college ap.
This got me a full ride scholarship offer to Bentley, as well as acceptance to Harvard and some other Ivies. I took the scholarship. My parents never thought to open me college savings account. They both went to community college themselves, and never thought that I would make it into a real college.


I strode towards the gate with my mid-sized black carry-on suitcase trailing behind me. While approaching, I noticed, unsurprisingly, that all of the other passengers had already boarded plane.

I approached the 30 some year old lady behind the desk. Like every airline employee, it looked like she had been given some plastic surgery forcing a permanent smile on her face. Before she could initiate some unnecessary small talk, I gave her my boarding pass. She took it and ran it through the scanner.

“Have a great flight… Mr…. Karson.”

"Thanks… "

I now walked more casually through the surprisingly well lit passageway, towards what I presumed to be a Boeing 737. Upon boarding, I had confirmed my presumption.

The plane was fairly empty, given most flights are close to if not at capacity on every flight. This one seemed like it was at somewhere around 75 to 80 percent full. I took this as an opportunity to ditch my assigned seat and find a better one near the front.

I walked down the aisle about five or six rows and found an open seat next to a blonde girl. She was in turn sitting next to some old man that was resting his wrinkly old face on the window of the plane. The girl looked like she was about sixteen maybe even fifteen.

“Mind if I sit here?”

“No -I mean Yes- I mean… No I don’t mind.” She paused for a second “My name’s Chelsey.”

“I’m Ryan. Nice to meet you”

Despite her apparent age, Chelsey was cute. She had straight long blonde hair pulled forward on both shoulders. Her big innocent blue eyes matched her blue Abercrombie hoodie to the point that it was almost perplexing. Her skin was somewhat pale with a noticeable amount freckles on her cheeks. If I was still a sophomore she would have been just my type. (Minus the somewhat awkward personality she seemed to have)

We shook hands. I put my suitcase in the compartment above my seat. I sat down and carefully put my Headphones over my perfect brown hair. I didn’t listen to music for the first 30 minutes of the flight. I just didn’t want to talk to people.


I naturally want to get all of the experience that I can for my resume. This meant I was planning on getting an internship this summer, and every following summer until I earn my MBA.

I had been accepted to basically every paid internship opportunity for this summer in phoenix.
The ones in Boston were another story. All of them had rejected me by the middle of January. They were supposedly only for people who had completed at least one year of college. Knowing the lenient attitude towards that rule in Phoenix, I was surprised they were that dead serious in Boston.

The rejection emails all contained varying strengths of discontent. One firm literally replied with

“YOU NEED TO HAVE COMPLETED AT LEAST 1 YEAR OF COLLEGE FOR THIS POSITION! I DON’T CARE EVEN IF YOU’VE CURED CANCER, I’M NOT GOING TO HIRE SOMEONE WHO CAN’T READ!!!”

I’m not kidding. There were literally 56 exclamation points at the end of this stockbroker’s email.

I wasn’t spending my summer in Phoenix. I’ve done that every year since I was born. It is not fun.
I decided to send my resume to just about every camp job that provided staff with housing and food within a 2 hour radius of Bentley. I got accepted to be an arts counselor at Camp Sharp (a fashion camp at some random community college) and an activity counselor at Camp Loudon, (an all-girls sleepaway camp in the south part of Maine). The other camps I applied to had, as one might suspect, already finished staffing for the year.

You tell me which one is better.

I accepted the job within hours of the offer. Even though I imagine interaction with other males will be somewhat limited, it pays well, and has a really nice staff lounge they just built this winter. (I don’t know how with all of the snow up in New England)


The flight attendant came by our row with a cart.

“Would you like anything to drink?” Chelsey quickly spoke up.

“Do you guys have cherry coke?”

“We do! Would you like Ice with that?”

“Um… Yea sure”

“And for you?” Without really thinking I replied

“Whatever she’s having is fine”

Chelsey, who noticed I wasn’t paying attention, put my seatback table down so the flight attendant could give me the Soda. I than made the mistake of taking off the headphones when I thanked her for doing so. My shield was now down, free for her to start talking to me.

“So what are you doing in Boston? Visiting family? Coming back home?” The urgency to strike up a conversation with me was fairly surprising, given the fact she had seemed somewhat awkward before.

“I got a job at a summer camp up in Maine”

“Really! Me too! I’m working at Camp Loudon as an assistant nurse! What about you?”

I would consider myself some kind of a pathological liar, so when the natural urge to respond with anything that would make for a short conversation came, I fought it off, and faked an exited

“Really? I’m working there too! I am going to be general activity instructor.”

“Really?! Wow!! I get to make a new friend even before I get to camp!” She then paused and the unnatural excitement turned into puzzlement. “I thought they only had female counselors at Loudon.”

“Well they hired me so…”

“Yea, but my now ex-boyfriend would only let me apply to camps that had only female counselors. He like checked the website for all of the camps I applied to and everything. He even told me he called them to make sure when I told him I got accepted. That overprotective, sly, stupid prick! I wish I never met him. While he was checking the camp to make sure I wouldn’t cheat on him, he was cheating on me! I was such a blind little girl from the middle of nowhere Wisconsin, and when I got to the big Arizona State University I literally dated the first guy I met. I even…”

I had stopped paying conscious attention at about this point. My mom used to bitch about her work for an average 30 minutes a day. I learned how to zone out while subconsciously picking up on cues to nod or say something like “wow, really, or uh huh” without actually taking anything in. In this day and age I realize it is not too uncommon of a skill.

About halfway through her life story monologue, I fully processed the fact that she was probably a year older than me instead of the 16 year old I expected. I eventually concluded to not say anything, and carried on zoning out elsewhere.

In a period of time that could have been anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour long she concluded with an expected “I’m sorry, I’m probably boring you. Sometimes I can just go on and on and on.”

She paused while I fought off the temptation to make some witty remark.

“So, where do you go to college?”

I proceeded to tell her a shortened version of the story I have told you so far. I grew up in AZ. I am going to Bentley. I ended up not going to Harvard. I ended up with a job at Loudon. No more than two minutes.

“I didn’t think they hired you until you had at least 1 year of college…, but what do I know, I was wrong about the whole gender thing for the counselors, so I am probably wrong here too”

We had what turned out to be an almost enjoyable conversation for the remaining hour of the flight.

The Director

The camp season is 8 weeks long, however counselors are required to attend a three day training session referred to as “Week 0”. Here, the activity directors teach the new counselors everything we need to know about the camp, while the rest of the counselors work to prepare the camp for drop-off day.

It was nighttime in Boston. The four hour flight departed at 5:15, making for an arrival time of around 11:15 with the switch to Eastern Standard Time.

By the time I got off of the plane, I felt more jetlag than I have felt in my entire life.
I normally have a fairly good memory when it comes to remembering new places. The Boston International Airport was not one of those places.

I vaguely remember going outside to the bus terminal with Chelsey to find a green Camp Loudon transport van waiting for us. It had two empty seats remaining, suggesting we were the last people flying in tonight. I promptly took the window seat, and fell asleep on the well tinted window beside me.

We arrived after what was probably about a 90 minute drive. I was prompted to get our bags out of the van, and stack them all in a big pile outside. The rest of the counselors were than prompted to do the same.

I took this opportunity to analyze my surroundings.

The crickets where the only thing interrupting the quiet of the night.

The parking lot was freshly paved, and probably held a total of thirty some vehicles at capacity. The front row of parking, where our van now resided, now held a total of 10 identical transport vans all parked beside one another. The next two rows back had random cars scattered throughout. They probably belonged to the activity directors and other higher ups at the camp.

The back of the lot had four school busses that seemed to be the same color of green as the transport vans on the opposite side. I couldn’t say for sure with the absence of light besides that of the nearby “Fairfax Main Lodge.” I can say it was named after the most supportive of Loudon’s obsessively rich donors.

Fairfax was located about forty feet away from the lot, separated by a slight grassy incline. It was an A frame log cabin fortress. In the front, I saw what seemed to be the camps main office. The building spanned backward an incalculable distance to supposedly fit the cafeteria, four classrooms, each fitted with thirty brand new desktop computers for the campers to enjoy, as well as a fitness center.

The Camp Loudon Website didn’t quite capture the immense size of this thing.

A group of three girls exited the office. It was hard to make out faces with their backs to the light.

The lady who drove us here spoke.

“Form a single file line, shoulder to shoulder, facing away from the lodge.” We quickly formed one.

The three other girls approached us from behind, and placed blindfolds across our eyes. Once it seemed like everyone had one on, a new voice spoke.

“Turn 90 degrees to your right.” “Now place your arms on the shoulders of the person in front of you.”

The newly formed line now moved forward towards the woods on a dirt path.

After what seemed like about 5 minutes of walking, we stopped. I could tell there was an elevated human presence nearby due to a light murmur barely audible nearby. It quickly stopped. The line moved again.

This time we walked up a ramp onto what I imagined to be a stage. We stopped. A girl walked behind us. She guided us to take our hands off the person in front of us, and face towards the audience.

A voice came over the loudspeaker.
“Tonight we induct our twelve final new members into the eternal sisterhood that is the Camp Loudon Staff. These inductees, like the previous three groups, have successfully emerged from a rigorous application process to make it here before you tonight.” She then proceeded to give a brief monologue on what it takes to become a member of the camp Loudon staff. I could tell by her somewhat rushed pace that she had given the same speech for the previous groups of new counselors. “We will now swear in the final batch inductees.” “Emily Baines”

“Here” pause

“Do you solemnly swear to blindly and faithfully follow the Camp Loudon Code of Conduct, and all other rules listed in the Camp Loudon Handbook?”

“I do”

“Do you promise to embody the camp motto in your everyday life at and outside of this camp?”

“I do”

“Do you believe you have what it takes to join the exclusive sisterhood that is the Camp Loudon staff?”

“I do”

“Congratulations! You are now a full part of the staff here at Camp Loudon!” This statement was followed by some brief cheering from the crowd.

“You may mow go sit with your fellow counselors.”

This process was repeated three more times before it was my turn.

“Ryan Karson”

“Here” The masculine voice created an audible murmur in the crowd.

“Do you solemnly swear to blindly and faithfully follow the Camp Loudon Code of Conduct, and all other rules listed in the Camp Loudon Handbook?”

“I do”

“Do you promise to embody the camp motto in your everyday life at and outside of this camp?”

“I do”

“Do you believe you have what it takes to join the exclusive umm… community that is the Camp Loudon staff?”

“I do” She took off my blindfold

“Congratulations! You are now a full part of the staff here at Camp Loudon!” This statement was followed by halfhearted clapping while the murmur had now escalated into a growing multiple of side conversations.

“You may mow go sit with your fellow counselors.”

One girl in the front shouted

“Since when did we have guy counselors?!?”

“Yah what’s up with that!?”

The uproar gradually escalated from there for about ten seconds. That was until the inevitable “Quiet!!!” came over the loudspeaker.

“The EEOC has been on our camp’s you know what for the past few years about skirting the new Equal Employment laws. We had thirty male applicants this year. We had to hire one of them, or risk getting shut down.”
“I know you all might have mixed feelings about this situation, but rest assured, it will be camp just like normal.” “Now let’s finish the inductions!”

I grabbed a seat in the back, hoping to draw less attention to myself. This plan kind of backfired because for the rest of the inductions, it seemed like everyone was always turning around to briefly stare at me.

It would have been less awkward if I had a seat in the front. People could more easily see me, but not my face, and I wouldn’t see them. I do truly believe “Ignorance is bliss”.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, the lady told everyone to go to the lodge so they could be assigned cabins. She then promptly made eye contact with me and held it as she walked against the departing crowd to see me.

“I’m Kayla”

“Right, the assistant camp director. I’m Ryan, it’s a pleasure to meet you” She either didn’t see, or rejected my outstretched hand
“Yah. The Director wants to have a word with you”

"Cool, wait like right now?’’

“Uh, Yeah, Like right now” She responded as if I had asked her a stupid question. In hindsight, it might actually have been.

“OK”

She then turned away and walked towards a dirt path on the opposite side of the stage from where I entered. She then clicked on a flashlight.

“You coming or not?”

“Yea, right behind you”

I got the sense that she didn’t want to talk. I also got the sense that although nice and peppy on stage, she was normally a bitch in person. Or maybe she was just tired. I couldn’t really tell.

After following her in silence for about five minutes, we approached what I knew to be the brand new counselor lounge. It looked more magnificent than the pictures online showed it to be. The stone based structure complemented the gigantic glass panels with a dark stained wooden trim. It fit so well that it was almost surreal.

The structure was built on a hill with two sides of the enormous windows overlooking what appeared to be a slow flowing river. I could only imagine the view in the daytime.

Before I knew it I was inside the lounge. It featured a foosball table, six leather chairs circling a central fireplace, a ping-pong table, and two stationary bikes opposite from two treadmills. Both the treadmills and the bikes overlooked the woods on either side.
Behind the fireplace was a full kitchen featuring two stainless steel fridge/ freezers full of what I imagined to be exclusively snacks. The kitchen backed to what I realized was the side of the lounge where the grand view should be.

I than noticed the crown jewel sitting on a wooden deck outside to the left. A hot tub. A huge hot tub.

Before I could take in any more details, I was lead through a door in the kitchen wall. On the other side was just about the most spectacular office I have ever stepped foot in. The office acted as the second part of the building. To my surprise, it was almost the same size as the lounge. Huge for an office.

There was a floor to ceiling bookcase on the back wall from which I’d entered. In the middle was what appeared to be a big cast iron stove, similar to the fireplace in the lounge. The other three walls were windows, but these, unlike the lounge, had a true view of the river. It was hard to see with limited moonlight, but you could tell the view was priceless. Sure beat the views back in Phoenix.

There was a three piece black leather furniture set surrounding the fireplace. Behind the center sofa was a surprisingly long oak wood desk. Behind it sat the Camp Director. She was staring at a laptop. As soon as Kayla shut the door, she closed the laptop, and looked up.

“Take a seat Ryan”

I didn’t initially notice the chairs directly in front of her desk were designed for someone half my age. This put me at a considerable height disadvantage to her.

“Do you know why you’re here Ryan?”

“Umm, I think so”

"Well I wanted to give you a brief history lesson.

You see this camp was founded in 1947 by my Grandfather. He wanted to create a summer camp for the more fortunate young girls from the nearby cities to attend while boarding school was not in session. He had my grandmother run the camp, and hired our first staff of eight counselors. And you know what they and the rest of our counselors for the past 67 years have had in common?"
After pausing, I answered her rhetorical.

“They were all female”

“Exactly. And his year we don’t have exclusively female counselors. Do you know why?”

The pause was shorter this time.

“Equal Employment laws”

“Exactly. So we have a few problems. The first being you can’t share the white cabins with the 5 to 6 year olds like the rest of the counselors will. The Directors lodge is full, so we need to find somewhere for you to sleep.”

“Where would that be?”

“Well, that isn’t the biggest problem we have. That would be the camps only unwritten rule. We require… unofficially that the counselors remain abstinent during the nine week duration of camp”

“What?”

“Well along with making them bunk with our youngest campers, we have strict policies on visitations and leaving camp. Simply, if you violate the rules on page 3 of the handbook, you’re fired. And because there are no guys here, any sexual activity with them is impossible.”

“What?”

“I’m not asking for your opinion on the matter. Now I have a solution to our problem. With the construction of the new counselor lounge we have put in a new security system and security office to go with it. Look in the fireplace.”
“Um… OK.”

I hesitantly walked over to the fireplace. As I opened the surprisingly well-oiled door, a small LED light came on, located on the celling of the stove. It revealed a ladder descending below the dark stained pinewood floor.
“Don’t be shy.”

It was a small opening, but definitely large enough to fit my legs and then the rest of my body through. The metal ladder went down about seven feet into a dimly lit room with the approximate dimensions of about ten feet wide by six feet long.

The walls were lined with about thirty monitors, each displaying a split screen view of four different security cameras, making for 120 total. In the middle was a swivel chair, and in the back right corner was a green full size air mattress with no linens. The opposite side also had a dresser that I imagine was a pain in the balls to get down here.

I noticed that the director had followed me down and flipped a light switch revealing the cement floors and cinder brick walls. She than spoke.

“We need a security guard to man the office. The system sounds an alarm if anyone is out passed curfew, waking you up. You than radio the location to the office where we can dispatch someone on an ATV in about 42 seconds. If you radio in in 18, we will be able to continue our 16 year streak of no successful escapes.”

“How often do people actually try to escape?”

“Well, most calls aren’t for escape. If a light goes on after lights out, the alarm goes off, and you need to radio the office. Of the 64 calls we made last year, only 7 were people out of their bunks, and five of those were pranks. That leaves two escapes.”
“What do I get?”

“Well for being on call all night you get payed all night. I’ll also give you a bonus at the end of the year if you don’t fuck anything up.”

At this point I was too tired to do much more. I wanted to sleep. Without thinking much I halfheartedly took the bait.

“Sounds nice.”

“Good. If you want you can get some sleep now while I have someone bring your stuff down.”

“Ya, I’d like that”

And with that, I fell asleep on the cold, bare air mattress.

Please Critique! I want to make this story better!!!

Re: Camp Loudon (Chapters 1+2)

It’s pretty interesting so far. I’d like to read more

Re: Camp Loudon (Chapters 1+2)

Critique?

Okay, I’ll give you some naked critique.

  1. Some very awkward dialogue-action mechanics going on. The last part of the 2nd chapter illustrates this somewhat clunky dynamic very well - she says something and he immediately (as you put it) fell asleep on an air mattress he wasn’t lying on when she was talking to him.

  2. The “EoE” component feels very deus ex machina - like you couldn’t come up with a better explanation for why an all-girl camp hired a male counselor for the first time ever. Because the EoE regulations specifically don’t interfere with situations like this. Not very well researched on your part.

  3. I’m not one to nitpick, because I generally don’t say anything about grammar unless it truly disrupts my ability to read the piece, but you did ask - you’ve got quite a few omitted words in this piece (“My parents never thought to open me college savings account” for example, and “that all the other passengers had already boarded plane”)

Again, not trying to be pedantic, but you asked for criticism. The story is interesting, even if what I assume are now his accommodations and position are a bit strange. It almost sets up for a voyeur story - no idea if this is the direction you plan to go, or if that in and of itself is a setup for a story surrounding him receiving retribution for being a voyeur, but I’m content to sit back and wait to see how you roll it. :slight_smile:

Re: Camp Loudon (Chapters 1+2)

Thanks for the critique.

Moving backwards…

  1. I had some trouble moving the story from word onto the forum. That explains the missing words. I will fix in next edit.

  2. All I can tell you now about the reason he gets hired is it has nothing to do with equal employment.

  3. Dialogue is definitely one of my weaknesses and will try to spend more time on it in later chapters.

Thanks again for taking the time to respond.

Re: Camp Loudon (Chapters 1+2)

I suppose it is a nit but Boston International Airport is called “Logan”. In all the years I lived and worked in the Boston area, I never heard anyone refer to it as anything other than Logan, usually something a lot less complementary.
Good luck getting to anywhere in Maine in 90 minutes from Boston. Granted York, ME is only 72 miles from the airport but TRAFFIC and tolls can really stretch out your travel time. More likely, the protagonist would have taken a commuter flight to somewhere in Maine and caught a bus to Camp Loudon.

Re: Camp Loudon (Chapters 1+2)

It smells like a huge trap, especially the part where full chastity is required BUT he’s placed full time in fornt of monitors showing the intimate details of an ALL GALS (jailbaits) camp.
Please tell me more about what’s going to happen to the unfortunate (dumb) male camp consouler.

Re: Camp Loudon (Chapters 1+2)

Yeah, a hop at least to Manchester International would have been a must, but more likely a hop to Portland or Augusta.

Still, I’m damned near OCD about details in my stories, I don’t expect everyone to do likewise. ;D