Everything I ever needed to know about Summer Camp I learned from Duke Nukem
When the older kids from Camp Chimichango snuck into our scout camp just after sunset and ran off with the girls from cabin 6B, I knew there were only two courses of action. The right way. And the DUKE way.
I dragged my squeaky steel bed to the center of our darkened boys’ cabin, the metal legs scraping against the wooden grain of the floor. I stepped up onto the mattress and yanked on a chain overhead to turn on a single uncovered light bulb, throwing shadows all over the room and causing all the other kids to sit up in their beds with a jerk. “Nobody steals our chicks and lives!” I rasped.
Of course, before we went to the other camp we needed some weapons. It was no good trying to sneak in front of the counselor’s cabin – the clearing in front was lit up by a huge light on top of a gnarled telephone pole covered in staples, like some sort of searchlight in a World War II movie. No, we had to go the aquatic route. Inner tubes were stowed in a bin beside the woodpile, so me and the other kids grabbed some of those and started huffin’. I blew up mine, first. “Damn, I’m good,” I said, sliding quietly into the icy waters of Chimichango lake. The waves lapped softly against the old rubber as we bobbed along, hidden from sight by the tall grasses along the shore. The only other sound was Sean, who dipped into the water behind us and began humming the Duke Nukem theme song: Dun dunh duh, dun dunh duh, dun dunh duh doo duh daaa dann da duuuhh…
Within a few moments we were past the docks and creeping up along the water’s edge to the storage cabin. I clawed through the grass growing by the shore, looked slowly from side to side in the dim moonlight, brushed off some mosquitoes and then dashed wetly across the dirt road to the rickety wooden door. The others followed suit, until a gaggle of us stood outside dripping into the mud. The door was locked, but I bent down, reached a couple fingers under the doorframe, and lifted the metal locking bolt out of the floor. I turned to the others as the old door quietly rattled open. “Groovy.”
Inside we had all the supplies we needed: Rope, diving goggles, swim flippers, shovels, rakes, pickaxes, soda pop, flares, badminton rackets … you name it. The storage shed was also where they hid the confiscated stuff we kids weren’t supposed to have. After sliding on my diving flippers I grabbed a trusty Super Soaker CPS Splashzooka 65oz. off of the folding table in the back and cocked it up on one arm. “Hail to the king, baby!” I said.
It was time to go save our chicks.
Camp Chimichango, where all the older kids stayed, was almost all the way across the lake. Thanks to our newly liberated diving flippers, though, we made good time. Moonlight glinted off of the rippling black water and sparkled on the wet chrome of our stolen swim goggles as we paddled stealthily along. Gradually, the enemy camp came into view. Two or three yellow light bulbs threw mottled pools of light into the dirt and gravel paths between the low wooden cabins. No guards were posted; we caught ‘em by surprise.
As we approached the shore, we heard giggling from the one cabin that had its lights on. Through the grass we pushed, trying to muffle our wet splashes as we slapped our flippered feet through the mud. We stood, dripping, right outside the back window. The yellow blind was open a crack; if I stood on my tippie-toes I could just barely see in.
The older kids were there, and they had our chicks. They all sat on the floor around a blanket, girls and boys spaced out in a circle, with an overturned bottle in the space between them. The bottle spun around and around, the focus of everyone’s attention. “Angie’s turn! Angie’s turn!” they chanted.
“Now’s the time, let’s move in!” I said. But everyone else shook their heads and shivered. It was all up to me. “Cowards!” I hissed. I flip-flapped my way around the cabin, still wearing my inner tube in case I needed a quick getaway. With a wet plastic webbed foot, I kicked open the cabin door!
All eyes turned to me and I stepped into the cabin, my inner tube barely squeezing through the door frame with a loud squeak and a fart-like hiss of escaping air. “I’m here to kick ass and chew bubble gum!” I roared, my voice cracking. “And you’re all out of ass!”
On my sudden manly entrance, everyone who was sitting with their back to the door had turned around to look at me. This left a wide gap through which I could see the bottle spinning. Very, very slowly it turned, sliding to a stop and pointing right towards me. Angie, the prettiest girl from cabin 6B with the freckled face and the bright red hair, looked at me, then at the bottle, then at me again with her jaw open in horrified surprise.
I pulled out a fiver and said: “Shake it, baby.”
One of the big kids stood up and I levelled my Super Soaker at him. “Come get some.”
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