Chapter 5: Setting Up
Remember that dumb commercial that always showed at the worst times loudly proclaiming, “You are what you eat”? Does anyone remember what it was advertising? Give me a call or send me an email or something because I forgot.
Anyway, Karis had gone somewhere with some person because they wanted to do something somewhere with each other. Somewhere else. With some other person with another human and in another location doing something random with other people and not in my vicinity. The point is she left me alone with Mr. Hemp who hadn’t given me an assignment yet. He decided to let me follow him around wondering what I was supposed to do and also wondering what was going on inside the cafeteria. Oh yeah, I was also wishing I were Trent Melnotte because he was driving around a four wheeler pulling a wagon thingy that was filled with random camp equipment, plus, he also looked like he knew what he was doing.
Finally, Mr. Hemp turned around and faced me. I wondered if he was dumb and was wondering why I was following him and he just now got fed up with a random stupid teenager following him around. But to my relief, that wasn’t the case. He turned around to finally give me a job. We were over by the power shed standing between the two overturned carpetball tables.
“I need you to help me flip these tables,” he said. “When those kids come out of there this will be the one thing everyone will be in line for.”
He proceeded to walk to the end of the table nearest to the sheds, and I walked to the other end.
“On three,” he said. “One, two, three.”
We were able to successfully flip the tables over with that procedure and then we had to level them out so the kids wouldn’t complain about slants or anything unfair. Once that was squared away, he handed me shop-vac and said, “I need you to vacuum out these tables. The kiddos will be at large soon, so it needs to be done pretty quickly.”
I picked up the shop-vac, wondering how it was going to work
B. With no outlet or anything.
Mr. Hemp obviously saw my obvious need for an obvious solution, so he told me, “Plug it into the generator right there.” He kind of laughed and then walked away. I felt really really dumb. I looked for the generator and decided it must be the big yellow thing that was making so much noise. I looked for an outlet of some sort on it and when I found it I was glad because if I needed to ask Mr. Hemp where it was I would be stuck with the stereotype of…………something dumber than a…… dumb thing that’s dumb.
To make a long story short, I was able to vacuum out the tables just in time for the munchkins to mess around with them.
After this little escapade was finished, I looked for someone I knew, particularly Karis. I had found Rachel, but she was talking to some short kinda plump but kinda not girl with brown hair and big smile. I could tell she was definitely not a camper, so I figured she was either Shannon Belding or Marissa Crowe. I didn’t take time to find out because I heard a voice behind me that I was beginning to recognize very well.
“Hey, kid, you know how to drive a four-wheeler?” It was Mr. Hemp.
“No,” I answered. “But I have driven pretty much everything else. Except for a car. And a boat.”
“Well,” he replied, “I’ll teach you. It’s really easy.”
I walked off with him to the far end of camp where they stored everything in a big trailer.
“Pastor and Mr. Lehman want the paintball course set up by lunchtime.” He stopped and looked at his watch. “That gives us an hour.”
It was here when I first realized the sense of humor he had, because he walked deep into the trailer and brought out a bunch of big wooden cut-outs of animals.
“These,” he told me, “are the targets.”
He handed me a couple of them and told me to start loading them onto the four wheeler’s wagon when Trent came back with it.
“Mr. Lehman told me that we couldn’t shoot the campers,” Mr. Hemp grinned. “Bummer, huh?”
I smiled and agreed. “Maybe he’ll have no choice if we all revolt,” I suggested.
“Now there’s an idea,” he said with a laugh.
Trent eventually moseyed his way over (as best as you can on an ATV) and we loaded up the animal targets. As we did, Mr. Hemp disappeared into the trailer and reappeared a minute later, this time holding two larger targets, one of a bear and the other of a buffalo.
“Take a look at the bear,” he said. “My granddaughter painted these bigger targets.”
I looked and immediately saw what he was talking about. The bear had a purple bow on the top of its head, and long eyelashes. Its claws and toenails were painted with the same color.
“It’s a girl bear,” said a voice behind me. I turned around and saw a girl about a year younger than me with a dirty shade of blonde hair that was done into a ponytail.
“I can tell,” I said. “Who are you?”
“This is my granddaughter, Marisha,” Mr. Hemp told me. “Or you can call her Margie if you want.”
I thought for minute and remembered the name Marisha Lindquist from the staff meeting. I figured that this must be her.
“Now onto the paintball course!” said Mr. Hemp. He motioned for me to hop on the ATV, and I gladly obeyed. The method of driving was rather self explanatory, so I quickly caught on.
I drove across the field with Mr. Hemp, Karis, Trent, Margie, and Trent’s father who seemed to appear out of nowhere. Apparently Karis had been helping Trent take the kayaks down to the lake. We reached the other side of the field to the edge of the woods. There was a small path, barely broad enough to drive a four wheeler through, but I managed somehow.
Mr. Hemp then spoke, “What we’re doing is setting up a paintball course throughout this long trail. We need to find good spots for these animals where they will be hard to find, but not too hard. Remember these are 3rd through 7th graders we’re dealing with. We have a large variety of animals, Things from prairie dogs and squirrels to a large assortment of birds to a bunch of big animals. I have two duck decoys and one goose, and a couple of pheasants, some foxes, woodchucks, a wolf, a bison, a female bear, a pine marten, a warthog, some grouses, and a woodcock.” He held up a small brown bird with a long, thin beak.
“This,” he said, “is the woodcock. This will be the bonus target. They get six points if they see it and six points if they hit it. The rest of the animals are worth one point if they find them and one if they hit it.”
“How do we know if they see it or not?” I asked.
“Obviously we all will know where these things are,” Mr. Hemp answered. “So we tell them to tell us when they see something, then the staff member that goes through with them will mark down that they saw it. Any more questions?”
No one else had any questions, so he said, “All right! Let’s hide these animals!!”
Suddenly, the short, round girl that I told you about earlier (the one who was talking to Rachel) was standing there, and told Margie to come back to the kitchen. They left, so Karis, Mr. Hemp, Mr. Melnotte, Trent, and I set up the course. I will describe it in more detail later, but I will again make a long story short. After a while, we heard another loud siren, signaling lunchtime. Mr. Hemp turned to Karis and me.
“You two can go in and eat now if you want,” he told us. “We three can handle the rest.”
He didn’t need to tell me twice; I was starving! Karis followed behind as I ran to the cafeteria as fast as I could.