The holidays are over, and that means more time for writing! If you haven’t checked the blog out in a while, then surprise! I added a quick summary of the previous chapter to most of the Positivity Camp blogs. I’ve been thinking about doing it, but I’ve finally started working on it :) Hopefully that makes it easier to find where you left off, or just to help as a quick refresher each week. Just be careful not to fall too far behind or you may end up reading a few spoilers ;)
Previously on Positivity Camp:Daniel and Mr. Petrel have a discussion on the reason why campers are at Positivity Camp. Mr. Petrel also says that campers who misbehave remain at camp until their attitude becomes more positive. After the talk, Kevin arives and happily munches on ice cream as he waits to go home.
Other kids were pouring into the Dining Hall, but I hardly noticed them. I barely even noticed the golf cart parked outside the office I had just left. What was I supposed to do now? I hadn’t really thought of my actions as being…well, they were negative. But was I really bullying the counselors?
I certainly had messed Dave up, but he was abnormally cheerful… Was I making excuses for my actions? Did Dave deserve to have Wendy call him all those mean names? The only thing he had done to us was make us say our names in a positive way.
Then there was Counselor Melinda. Or had Emily met us next? Yeah, she’d been at the nurse’s station. She had antagonized us for sure, and she certainly seemed to want campers to slip up. She might have deserved some poor behavior, but Counselor Melinda hadn’t. She’d seemed rather nice, if a bit on edge with Wendy and I there. So had she deserved the Know know knowledge song?
Maybe Wendy and I were going about things all wrong. Maybe we weren’t just hurting the counselors, but the other campers as well. We were supposed to be a resistance, a resistance built on helping our fellow campers, not condemning them to a summer at this wretched camp.
“Hey, Daniel! How’d the talk with the one guy go?” It was clear Nobody was repeating himself. Had it been anyone else, I might have felt bad, but the guy was annoying. Was it wrong of me to feel that way about him?
“It went fine,” I said, taking a seat at the table. As I looked around I noted the absence of Teacher. He should have been escorting me, but he was nowhere to be seen. He probably realized I didn’t need escorting and had left me. For some reason, that annoyed me too.
“It went well,” Nobody said then, breaking me out of my thoughts.
“What?” I tried to think back to what had been said and if I had accidentally zoned Nobody out again.
“You said that it went fine, but you should have said that it went well.”
I stared at Nobody.
“Just ignore him,” one of the girl’s said from across the table. “He’s been pestering all of us with his grammar rules. Or just plain pestering, really.”
“Have too!” The girl quipped back before Nobody could recover from his near usage of a negative word.
He stood and forcibly wedged himself between two other campers. They clearly were hoping to avoid sitting next to him. Not that I blamed them. The guy had been rather annoying.
“Sorry to hear things went…well, fine with the head counselor guy,” the girl across from me continued.
“Yeah, me too.” I had hoped that would be the end of it, but apparently everyone wanted to know what had happened. Normally I would have been more than happy to share, but I felt too depressed. What was I supposed to tell them? To give up? That if they didn’t give up and start being more positive that they would be forced to stay at camp for a whole week? What if by telling them I somehow condemned them?
“What happened to you?” “Yeah, what did he say?” “Please tell us!” “We–”
“Enough!” I said, cutting off their questions and demands. “I’m done.”
“What does that–”
“If everyone could sit down and be quiet.” Teacher spoke calmly, and despite the amount of ruckus in the large room, everyone quieted down. His presence was enough to quite anyone, including the overly curious campers in my group.
“Thank you,” Teacher began again. “The Nature Center is closed until further notice. Also, Nurse Pamela has recovered. She is now back at the Nurse’s Station. All disruptive campers are to be sent there until further notice. That is all for this evening’s Dinner Announcements. Camp Counselors, you may take your tables up for food. In,” he had to shout to be heard as several kids began standing noisily, “an orderly fashion. If you would. Thank you.”
“Teacher!” It was Wendy who had called out the name, I was sure of it! What was she thinking?!
Teacher stopped and turned. As Wendy stood, everyone else sat down. No one wanted Teacher’s attention directed at them, and so they left Wendy to stand on her own.
“What is it?” Teacher demanded coldly. His hands swung behind his back as he assumed his usual intimidating stance.
Honestly, what could Wendy possibly hope to accomplish?!
“Well, since you ask. I noticed you said disruptive. Is this an acceptable word?” There were a few appreciative oo’s from the campers, but they were far fewer than usual, no doubt due to Teacher’s intimidating presence.
“You are quite right.” Teacher smiled smugly as the room turned silent once more. “As Wendy has pointed out, another word shall be added to the boards outside of camp. And to rephrase what I said before, rule breakers will be sent to Nurse Pam.”
I rolled my eyes as Teacher changed the confusing nurse’s title. Could no one be consistent on that?! No one?
“Oh, well how odd,” Wendy continued.
“Careful young lady.”
“Oh, I am being careful. You can do the opposite of worry. Ah, speaking of opposite,” Teachers eyes narrowed as Wendy spoke, “you do seem out of sorts. I mean, this camp is all about positivity, right?”
“You would do well to sit down,” Teacher warned, but to shockingly no avail.
“You see, you really are quite the opposite of what this camp is all about. You brood all day in a dark old barn, you take away positive experiences for campers, and you are downright…well, the opposite of positive. The opposite of Dave in fact. He’s always positive.”
“Is it your name, perhaps?”
“Go see Psychiatrist Pamela, immediately.” Teacher ordered.
I was stunned, to be sure, but not stunned enough to not notice yet another change in the nurse’s name.
“You are just the opposite of good, or fun, or nice.”
Teacher sighed. I could have sworn I heard several gasps. We were all on edge, just waiting for something to happen. This was unheard of! What was Wendy doing?!
“It makes sense, with a name like yours.”
Teacher’s eyes narrowed dangerously.
Had Wendy discovered Teacher’s real name?! Was this what she was risking everything for? She wanted us to know a man’s name?! How could she possibly think it was worth it!? Even if his name turned out to be Cruella de Vil, what did it matter?!
“Honestly, it was easy to figure out. There are two words on the boards outside of camp...”
“You have just cost your fellow campers dessert for the evening.”
No one groaned in complaint, though I know I certainly wanted to. The sound just wouldn’t come out.
“Two words that were added seemingly at random.”
“And smores at the campfire tonight as well.”
“It really is the opposite of a wonderful name,” Wendy continued unabated.
“And all treats for tomorrow as well.” This time there were groans, lots of them. “Do you wish to continue?” Teacher asked.
“Just the opposite.” There was a stare down between the two, both daring the other to speak. Then Wendy moved. “However, I do believe that is all for now.”
Wendy left. She just walked right out the door. Teacher followed close behind, no doubt to escort her, but still…
“Camp Counselors,” Mr. Petrel stood and we all looked. “If you could begin taking your campers up. Radio me if anything comes up.”
Then Mr. Petrel exited the same double doors Wendy and Teacher had taken. The hall remained silent for a little while, but gradually kids regained their voices. Even so, the noise level remained notably muted throughout the rest of dinner. No one talked to me after that. I wasn’t sure why, but I was grateful for the solitude. I felt more confused than ever.
It wasn’t until people began standing and counselors began ordering us around that I even noticed that dinner was over. Teacher’s promise of no dessert had come true. I only noticed because there were several kids staring forlornly at the soft serve machine. A cruel reminder of what we had lost, and worse yet, a cruel reminder of what Wendy’s actions had cost us. As I walked outside, I couldn’t help but wonder if they were attempting the divide and conquer strategy. The thought faded as depression sank back in.