Chet and Louise were the appointed team captains for tonight’s activities. They had to choose their teams without knowing what they were going to be doing. They weren’t sure if they should be picking tall teammates, or strong teammates, or smart teammates.
Louise got to choose first and with no criteria to help her determine a smart choice, of course, she picked Christie, her best friend here at camp Runamok. Christie ran over and took her place next to Louise and they both jumped up and down with excitement.
“I’ll take Stu,” Chet said. Stu ambled over and bumped fists with Chet. Too cool.
Ray quit paying attention; he knew that he would be chosen last and he was feeling pretty shitty about himself when Louise finally said, “guess that leaves us with Ray.”
There were two teams of six. Louise had Christie, Donald, Naomi (the cutest girl at camp), Amanda, and Ray. Chet had Stu, Wendy, Mo, Bea, and Dan.
Olive, who was camp counselor for girl’s cabin 8, stood by the campfire and explained what they were going to be doing.
“Tonight we are hunting,” she said. “The food delivery did not arrive today and so you fourteen year olds need to hunt if we are going to eat tomorrow. The cooks say that they have all the ingredients for Snipe Curry except for the birds themselves. You guys all know how to hunt Snipe right?” Her question was met with a lot of headshaking and murmuring. Ray was drawing circles in the dirt with the toes of his Converse high tops. Ray was smiling. He knew about Snipe hunts.
Olive provided explicit instructions on how to go about catching Snipe. She told them that Snipe were ground dwellers and that they eschewed heights so they needn’t worry about looking in trees. She explained that the Runamok counselors would be catchers. They would be stationed with a bag near the lodge. The rest of the team would be flushers and they should move away about half a mile then fan out to come back. As the flushers walked back through the underbrush they should make kissy noises, knock rocks together and wave flashlights around to flush the birds out into the open; into the waiting bags of the catchers. At least one member of each team should be flapping their arms and hopping on one foot at all times. Two people would be better.
She told Chet that his team was responsible for the area east of the lodge as far as the fence line. She sent Louise and her team south of the lodge as far down as the fire road. “Stay away from the river and ‘specially the falls,” she warned them, “that area is going to be dangerous in the dark and Snipes don’t like the wetlands anyway so it would be a waste of time. We’ll wait about half an hour for you guys to get into position and then we’ll move on station with our bags. Come back slow though – don’t let them get past you!”
As the teams headed out Ray waited until his team reached the treeline and out of sight from the others. “Wait up, Louise,” he said.
“What is it Ray?” Louise mocked, “we moving too fast for you?”
“No, no, Louise; this is a scam. There’s no such thing as Snipes. This is a hazing, an initiation.”
“Dorko might be right,” Donald said. “This does seem like a pretty stupid way to catch anything.”
“So what do we do?” Louise asked. “Anybody got any ideas.”
Ray looked back at the campfire where the counselors were roasting marshmallows, laughing and talking. “There’s no one in the lodge. All the counselors are hanging out at the fire. I think we should double back and sneak in the kitchen door of the lodge. We can take a case of soda and some snacks. Then go back behind the last boy’s cabin and just chill at the stream. If we don’t make it back after the hunt the counselors will panic and send a search party south – looking for us. When they’re gone we can move back to the fire and pretend that we came in and they were missing. We’ll have the last laugh.”
“Ok,” Louise said.
“Not bad, Dorko,” Donald said begrudgingly.
Naomi leaned over and gave him a kiss on the cheek. Ray blushed and was glad it was dark. No one saw.