There’s a party in my house, and you aren’t invited! So you have plenty of time to get caught up on this Advent calendar story.
A split second ago you were filling the gas tank of a motorcycle that used to be a reindeer and now you’re filling a toilet with a bit of the old “undrinkable” if you know what I mean. You quietly thank the cosmic entity behind this Advent portal adventure for finally allowing you some relief then take a look around. You’re in the toilet zone of some sort of shack, the sun shining through the boards that make up the walls, highlighting a dusty, humid haze all around you.
Once you’re all pissed-out, you exit the bathroom into a larger room. Clothes and sports equipment are strewn about and bunk beds line the walls. You’re at a summer camp! You never went to an overnight camp as a kid because you hated structure and swimming on command but you’ve seen enough camp movies to fully dominate this phase of the adventure.
Right as you’re preparing to exit the cabin you hear whimpering from somewhere in the room and due to several years of babysitting experience plus a stint as sound effects coordinator on season 2 of Nash Bridges, you recognize it as the sound of a child in distress.
You quickly locate the source, a child-sized lump on the bottom bunk of the bed in the far corner. You approach the bed, almost tripping over an old shoebox filled with jacks, rubber bands and nudey cards, and peel the blanket off the lump. Underneath is a small child, aged 3-12, crying her little eyes out.
“What’s the matter? Did you see a snake?” asking the first question your parents would always pose to you when you’d come home from school.
“No, I… I… I… can’t…,” the kid whimpers, unable to get the rest of the words out. You see she’s wearing a t-shirt that says “Camp Cudd”*.
* I made up ‘Camp Cudd’ then Internet searched for it hoping to find a picture of a t-shirt but I found this video instead. The fact that there’s a real Camp Cudd makes me believe that my own personal journey of writing this Advent thing every day is on the right track. Thanks mysterious force!
You know kids can be stupid when it comes to admitting things, so you recall the three problems that dominated your childhood and calmly ask, “You can’t what, honey? Can’t scream? Can’t barf? Can’t dance?”
Your question garners a giggle from the kid and you resist the urge to spit on her like you spit on your free-puking tormentors back in grade three. But before you’re able to do so, the child’s giggle disappears and she looks up at you with teary eyes.
“Bully St. Patch told me that if I play in the Foof Ball game today she’ll run my Internet search history up the flag pole,” admits the kid.
“Who’s that? What’s her real name?” you wonder.
“That is her real name,” she snaps back, unimpressed that a supposed camp counselor wouldn’t know about the region’s most notorious shit bag.
“I guess it’s not that strange. I once knew a dweeb named ‘Loser’,” you stand up and get lost in the memory. “His parents thought it was a slick variant of ‘Louis’. They were poets, so you’d think they’d know MORE than the average person about the meaning of words, but they’d also put salad dressing on their cereal so what do I know?”
The kid stares at you blankly. You snap out of it and sit back down on the edge of the bed.
“What can I do to help?” you ask, expecting her to say something like “call my parents and get me out of here before I fucking go insane”.
“Pretend to be me in the game and in the during the eighth flight, fake a slam then take her out,” she explains nonchalantly as if this was the only answer.
You don’t know what “foof ball” is and you’re at least two feet taller than the kid but if this strange journey has taught you anything it’s that nothing makes sense and if you say “yes” to everything it seems to work out.
“Uhh, okay, sure.”
Her eyes light up and she hops out of bed to the trunk at the edge of the bunk. After rooting around for a bit, tossing aside a Slinky, a slingshot and a large length of chain, she produces this:
“Put this on!” she screams way loud as if to subtlety remind you that unlike your childhood self, she can scream.
You take hold of the jersey and are impressed with the stitching on the numbers and nameplate. You pull it over your head and everything goes dark. Then you pull it fully over your head and it’s light again for like, a second, then it goes dark again because the portal has swallowed you again. Party on? Or party off? Tune in tomorrow to find out!