Is this bitch serious? The overexcited woman who introduced herself as Carol, repeating it nearly five times by Donny's last count, stood at the front of Donny's line spouting off nonsense. The amount of positive affirmations and peppy spirit was making Donny about want to barf. How can anyone be this happy? This shit is not healthy. I think her face is about to explode into rainbows and sunshine. The more she went on, the more Donny started to cringe, feeling more and more embarrassed for her. Her upbeat and fake demeanor sent him to the verge of insanity as he stood in line, clenching his teeth, trying not to make his usual scene. I can't screw things up on the first day. Of the first hour. Of the first fucking minute.
Carol looked around, trying to make as much eye contact as possible and providing the grandest of gestures. It couldn't have gotten on Donny's nerves more. He already had enough of a problem dealing with overly-friendly counselors and guardians over the years that the instant someone presented themselves in such a happy-go-lucky demeanor, his hate for them blew through the roof. Carol was no exception. Even if he didn't have that rule, he probably would have made it up just for her. Although, campers annoyance with Carol was clearly nothing new, with an abundance of eye rolls and so much talking that it was made clear no one really respected her, especially not the veterans.
But still, it didn't help Donny take it any better. His luck had hit an all-time low with this assignment into the crazy group. It wasn't long before he had vivid day dreams of the cruel pranks he would pull on Carol, just to get her to break and leave. He had to stop himself. He needed to be good, Donny thought. Be a good boy.
"Okay, we need to get a start on forming those lifelong bonds all of you are craving . . . no? You just don't know it yet. Trust me, at the end of all this, you'll be amazed how far we've all come in a month," said Carol.
The other campers in the group looked normal enough. There were a set of twin girls, a fat ginger boy, two nerdy boys with Nintendo shirts, a girl with too much cleavage -- or maybe just the right amount, Donny decided -- and then a gangbanger looking kid, covered in tattoos. Was this where they put the delinquents?
Donny looked over at the other groups, wishing that he were with them instead. One of the counselors, Louie, looked like fun and didn't appear to be someone that liked to follow a schedule at all. He was busy showing his campers some kind of magic trick that ended in a resounding "Awh gross!" That group would have been good for Donny.
The group directly next to theirs was headed by some hunky guy that Donny didn't catch the name of. All the girls in his group were swooning over him though. His tank top showed off his ripped physique, an easy ‘in’ with any girl that age. Donny hoped that this counselor wouldn't take advantage of it but, if the guys back home were any indication, that wouldn't be the case. But he hoped otherwise.
"Earth to Donny. Think we can have a minute of your time there, darling?" Carol had apparently been tried to get his attention for a while.
"Sorry, I was--" Before Donny could even finish, Carol was already back into what she was saying.
"Doesn't matter, you're here now. Now, this is one of my favorite parts of the first day of camp so you better listen up. Just kidding, you'll be on the edge of your seats regardless. Now, I need you to turn to the person next to you because you're gonna need a partner."
Donny turned to his left but that person had already turned to their person to their left. Turning to his right, he was also met with someone's back. This hadn't worked out. Looking around the group, he spotted a girl across without a partner so he walked over to her.
"Now, you're going to be playing my favorite name game. You're going to ask for your partner’s name, then try and find an identifying feature on their face that associates with that name. I'll give you an example. My name is . . .” Carol paused and waited for the campers to say her name back to her but she received no response, "Okay, it's Carol, FYI. You're gonna have to be a little more vocal than that, millennials. So for Carol what I do is go to my ears. See, the outer part looks like a C, then the inner part looks like a lower case A. See that? Pretty cool, right?"
Carol ran her finger along her ear, trying to demonstrate her point but Donny couldn't help but just shake his head. This was the stupidest name game he had ever been a part of. Although, upon thinking about it, Donny wasn't sure exactly how many he'd participated in.
"So with C and with A, I can immediately associate that with Carol," Carol said.
This is so fucking stupid, Donny thought, clearly sharing the same wavelength as the other campers shaking their heads.
"Some of you still look a little confused, which is fine, there are just so many examples for this that you'll get it in no time. Now I need a volunteer," Carol said. No hands raised and eyes tried to avoid contact with Carol's. At least no one else here is stupid enough to encourage her, Donny thought but right on cue, one of the twins raised her hand.
"Yes! Thank you, Alice -- err, I mean -- thank you m'am. What is your name?" Carol asked, acting like she didn't know Alice.
"Uh… it's Alice," Alice answered the obvious.
"See, this is an easy one for me. Alice just happens to share the same cheekbones as Mr. head honcho over there," Carol said, pointing over at Al, who was on his way back to the main office, cussing about something, "So, seeing those cheekbones makes me think Al, then I can just go from there. Everyone get it?"
Yeah, we get that this is the stupidest name game in the history of stupid name games. The girl he was partnered with shared his annoyance with a snort.
"This is the dumbest thing ever," she said under her breath. Maybe this group won't be so bad.
"Okay, if you need any assistance, I'll be going around to groups. Try and get it quick because when we go through everyone’s, you'll be expected to remember everyone not just your own partner. So get to it," Carol practically shouted.
Donny turned to his partner and gave her a half smile, which she returned.
"Samantha," she said, clearly giving him her name. Donny did the same.
"We don't really have to do this, do we?" Donny asked.
"I heard one of the twins say crazy lady over is going over our associations so we better bullshit something," said Samantha. They both looked over at Carol, who was with another group, telling them just how much the girl looked like a cat, something the girl clearly hated.
"So let's see… Samantha… Samantha…" Donny repeated the name to himself, looking at her face. She had very big blue eyes, with some kind of makeup on around them -- Donny wasn't sure, makeup wasn't his specialty. Something that goes with eyes. Sam-eye-tha?
"You're thinking of Sam-eye-tha aren't you?" she said as if reading his mind.
"What? No, of course not. Don't be stupid," Donny said unconvincingly. His eyes moved down past her nose, it was small and arched upright. Reminded Donny of some girl he knew back at school. He wondered if that girl --
"Got anything there, Donboy?" Samantha interrupted his trained of thought.
"Hey, it's harder than it looks to come up with this. It's not like you --"
"Your name is Donny and you're wearing a purple shirt . . . do I really have to spell it out?" said Samantha. Donny wasn't sure if she was teasing him or not.
"I take it you mean --" Before Donny could even finish, Samantha was belting out the ninja turtles theme.
". . . Heroes in a half-shell. TURTLE POWER! Come on, man. This can't be the first time you're hearing this.” Samantha was right, it certainly wasn't. Donny had heard this many times throughout his childhood, even though he never really watched the Ninja Turtles. He thought cartoons were dull.
"The comparison or the awkward rendition?" Donny joked.
"I would assume both," she said, almost flirting. At least, that's what Donny got from it. Maybe she's just friendly.
"Okay well maybe I can just --"
"How's it coming along, campers?" Carol asked out of nowhere. She had somehow snuck up on them. Donny just nodded his head and smiled.
"I think we've got it all. He's Donny. Like the ninja turtle," Samantha said, somehow cuter this time. Carol didn't even give time for Donny to naturally follow Samantha. She was already asking a question.
"And how about you, Donny? What did you come up with for Samantha here?"
"Nothing. Her name's Samantha. I got it," Donny answered, annoyed and not wanting to play by her rules.
"Well how else is everyone supposed to know that her name is Samantha?" Carol asked with the same chipperness.
"Hey everyone," Donny said loudly so the others in the group would hear, "This is Samantha. I'm Donny. Nice to meet you."
"Okay, okay, thank you very much Mr. Jones," Carol said. She raised her hands in the air, motioning everyone to settle down, even though the outburst had only come from Donny, "But that doesn't really help them associate anything. You're a big smart guy. I'm sure you can think of something. Give it a try."
"No," Donny said defiantly.
"I'm sorry, what was that," Carol asked.
"I guarantee you that they'll know our names before they know anyone else's," said Donny, motioning to the others in the group, who just looked on, amused by the situation. They'll know them because you're making this into such a fucking big deal, Donny thought.
"I highly doubt that," said Carol who rolled her eyes at the notion. She just refused to be wrong.
This wouldn't be like last time; he was going to stand his ground if he wanted something.
"I said, no. I don't need to play your stupid memory games. I know her name. It's Samantha you dumb fucking cunt.”
This wouldn't be the first time that Donny was sent to office and it certainly wasn't looking to be his last.
END CHAPTER FIVE