A morning at Lake Lilac's most dysfunctional camp started with rollcall at seven, breakfast at eight, and an activity or two starting at nine. Today's activity was a hamster in a glass cage.
It had been a week since Yuni arrived at camp and she could now safely say that this was the last place on Earth that she wanted to be at. She had been so preoccupied with figuring out a way to access the Internet that she had completely neglected to think about the bathroom situation. The water was consistently cold, the showers were communal, and don't get her started on the toilets! She was lucky enough that they weren't un-flushable ones, but even flushing was a lucky coin toss.
But back to the hamster.
"And here we have our time-honored camp mascot, Larry the Hamster." David gestured to the cage that the hamster was currently standing in. Yuni had seen a good few rodents in her lifetime (they just came with the territory), but that didn't stop her from feeling uneasy watching the little guy and his beady eyes dart around the small cage. "Say hi, Larry!"
The counselor rounded the small table to stand behind the cage, crouching down to hide his face as best as he could behind the tiny hamster body. "Hi there, campers!" David spoke in a high, pitchy voice. "I hope you're ready to have fun today! Don't forget to respect David and everything he does for you!" As soon as he had finished the little act, the counselor stood back up with a look of feigned shock.
"Oh! He talked! Did you hear that?!"
"We may be kids, David, but we aren't stupid." Yuni yawned, shooting the adult an unamused face. Wasn't this too early for stupid shenanigans?
David had to admit, he never really thought too far about something like that. "Heh, well, uhh..."
As if to save him, someone cleared their throat to his left. David looked over only to feel his relief dry up into exasperation. When had Max found the time to build a Rube Goldberg contraption during Larry's demonstration?!
Without another word, Max had set the machine in motion. The small ball rolled along the uniquely shaped twig to knock over a domino trail which knocked over a sizeable sledgehammer. The hammer knocked into a simple wooden lever that was set up to shoot what looked to be an inhaler into the air past the flag and onto another platform. The inhaler released a gust of medicine, just enough to puff out the sail of a toy boat. The boat's mast would knock into a stick with a fork attached to it, popping the balloon and releasing the bowling ball that would activate the catapult. A rock with "Fuck The Police" hastily scribbled on it was launched into the air at a blinding speed, missing David's head by a few inches and taking Larry the Hamster with it instead.
"Hehehe, called it." Nikki nudged Yuni's side as the campers watched the rock land on the next island over. Larry's squeals were no more after the distant thud marking the rock's arrival.
"I was wondering how Larry survived this long." Yuni turned to Nikki with a smirk of her own. "Hamsters never die in peace. I knew a guy who squeezed one to death."
The adventurer gasped. "Really?!"
"Aw, man..." Max groaned off to the side. He turned his head to look up at the peppy counselor, scowling. "That was supposed to kill you."
David had to take some time to himself to "clean up and calm down" before he joined back with the kids. The campers were not all too pleased that the counselor came back in under fifteen minutes.
"But Ered, you said!" One of the kids complained.
"Sorry dudes, but it's the rule. We're legally allowed to leave after fifteen minutes." The older girl shrugged.
"Alrighty, kids!" David clasped his hands together. "Today, we'll be on the hunt for a brand-new mascot!"
"Whoa, whoa, whoa," the resident troublemaker spoke up. "Why you gotta put that shit on us? We don't work here." A few of the other kids nodded and quietly parroted the statement.
"Well, Max," the adult began with uncharacteristic sass. "We were going to make hand-made ice cream, but someone killed our mascot and now we need a new one becAUSE EVERY GOOD CAMP HAS A MASCOT, MAX!" After his outburst, David had to take a deep breath just to reel himself back in. Hopefully his smile let Max know that he hadn't meant anything by it.
"Also," David continued, going back to address the whole group. "Gwen's feeling... Under the weather, and this is one of the few activities I can do without her!" As if to test this statement, the astronaut kid began to pick things up off the ground and set their course for his mouth. "Space Kid, don't eat that! It's not space food!"
Just so little and stupid. A baby. I want to protect him for some reason.
With Yuni off to the side and preoccupied, the other three escapees have their own little discussion.
"Under the weather?" Neil began inquisitively. He wasn't a doctor, but he was definitely a scientist. Maybe he would better understand why Gwen couldn't be here today once he knew her symptoms.
"Lady-sickness." Nikki supplied smoothly. "My mom used to get that all the time."
Well, Neil had never heard of that before. Or, at least, not described like that. "Lady-sickness." It was probably the most unscientific bastardization of an illness he had ever heard. "...How do you cure it?"
"Edge closer to death." Nikki scowled. The boys were taken aback by the change in attitude, but the adventurer just as quickly bounced back to normal. "WOO! Mascot hunt! I'm going for one with a lot of teeth!"
A few of the other campers pitched in their ideas for the perfect mascot.
"It should be cool."
"Yeah! Like a unicorn!"
"It should be fierce! Und pure!"
"I need a break from David, just one day." Max grumbled to himself, rubbing his temples in an attempt to fend off the growing headache. "Just one."
As if on cue, the Quartermaster limped into view dragging behind him what looked like a body bag. Whatever was killed and put in that thing was leaving a bloody trail behind the old man. Yuni, having been too closely in the way for her liking, shuffled back to regroup with her accomplices.
"I hope that isn't lunch..." She mumbled to Neil. Turning back to her Journal, Yuni wrote,
Something's gotta be going on with this guy. Am I even safe here?
"Hey, David!" Max piped up suddenly. If this wasn't a foolproof idea, he didn't know what was. "Why don't you have the Quartermaster take half of us?"
Yuni couldn't see his reaction, but she could tell from the old man's noise of surprise that he wasn't aware taking care of the kids hands-on was in his job description. Max continued with a menacing little smile. "I'll bet he would have a unique outlook on the forest!"
A genius bastard. Is there anything this kid can't do?
-Note: Probably takes some bargaining to work with; find something to sacrifice, convince him to help, get back home
"Why, Max, what a wonderful idea!"
Naïve. Definitely too nice. If he worked with Mother, she would've squashed him by now.
It seemed like the plan had worked! The city girl hadn't said it aloud, but if the boy in blue was never seen again after today's activity, she would silently say she called it.
"You SERIOUSLY want to go in the woods with the bad guy from every horror movie EVER?!" Neil pointed out, genuinely concerned.
"Yeah, he's gonna turn you into a skin suit." Nikki said with a smile. Not that she didn't like the kid, but the idea was too silly not to picture.
Max scoffed, waving a hand in the air. "Calm down, it'll be fine. Besides, anything's better that hanging with David."
Sniffling from the counselor was enough to let Yuni know that David was taking the sentiment very seriously. She updated the David page with a tidbit about Max and favoritism. Did it really matter to him that much? If she had to be honest, there probably would never come a time where the kid actually enjoyed camp. If the day did come, then-
"Alright Max and Yuni! Looks like you two are going to be our trailblazers!" David suddenly said.
Yuni looked up from her Journal after realizing that she had been staring at an empty page sifting through her thoughts. Looking around, she found that the other campers had taken a few steps back with only her and Max stepping forward.
"I'm just so proud!" David interrupted. Despite the girl's attempts to vehemently disagree, the counselor was set in his ways. She was going with Quartermaster and nothing was going to change his mind. "Everyone else is team David!"
The others walked away towards a close stretch of the woods, leaving a clueless Yuni and Max with the Quartermaster. The Journal was shut with an audible clap as Yuni turned to face her traitor with as deadly a glare as she could muster.
"Well, looks like you're starting to get how I work around here, Newbie." Max could only smirk back.
"I've got a name. Learn to use it maybe." The girl spat back. Before the argument could escalate, Quartermaster gestured the kids to follow along as they walked in the opposite direction of the rest of camp.
"Everyone keep your eyes peeled! You'll never know what you'll find!"
So far so good! The kids seemed to be interested! David was worried that this mascot-finding business was going to be a huge bust and that he'd have to figure out a different activity when it failed, but look at all this effort their putting in!
"I FOUND A BUG!" Came a shout from Space Kid. The little camper had picked up the first rock he spotted and found a small, green caterpillar. It wasn't exactly mascot material by the counselor's standards, but it was definitely a start.
"That's... great! Why don't you hold onto him?" David smiled politely. Who would have the heart to tell Space Kid no?
"I'll put him in my helmet for safekeeping!" Space Kid decided happily, glad to have contributed. He lifted his helmet just enough to let the little guy in. "Whoa! Oh god, he's in my eyes!"
Nikki appeared suddenly, dangling upside-down from the tree closest to Neil, startling the poor science camper. "How many talons would you say we're looking for here?"
"Heheh, um..." Talons?! While the idea was a step up from a mere caterpillar, it may just be a few steps too far! No one at camp was qualified to take care of a bird!
"You know what?" Nikki spoke up, sensing that she wasn't going to get an answer from David anytime soon. "I'm just gonna go do my thing. We'll talk after." The adventurer zipped back up into the tree leaving only rustling leaves behind her.
While the other campers had dispersed from their starting point, only one remained rooted in place. "What's wrong, Neil?" David crouched down.
"What's WRONG?!" Neil echoed back, offended that the question had to be asked in the first place. Couldn't David see that he was out of his element in a place like this? "I wanted to spend my summer in an air-conditioned laboratory! Not walking around a future Wal-Mart parking lot!"
Little attitude aside, David kept a patient smile on his face. This was a case he's seen before. "Aw, come on, Neil! Nature can be your friend if you just give it a chance!"
"...There's a raccoon trying to scavenge Nerris." Neil deadpanned. He pointed a thumb in the direction of one of the Magic Camp kids where, sure enough, a losing battle was taking place.
"It's resistant to charms!" The young sorceress cried out.
"Nerris! Play dead!" David warned, rushing over to save Nerris. That takes raccoons out of the mascot running!
Now left to his own devices, Neil was seriously considering just going back to his tent and sleeping this whole day away. A "psst" coming from the bushes behind him piqued his interest before he could act on his idea, and he found Nikki just beyond.
"Look!" The adventurer excitedly pointed to the animal tracks in the grass. It didn't take a genius to know these were bear tracks. "I smell a mascot! Come on, let's go!" Neil had no room to argue with Nikki when his hand was grabbed and his body was dragged along to follow the footprints.
"This isn't what the buddy system is for!"
Yuni could only hide behind her Journal to keep her fear at bay. The two of them had been following the Quartermaster for a while now, and it seemed like every turn they took only led them to a darker, more scarier-looking part of the woods. With her phone down and out service-wise, there was no way to tell where they were or how to get back. Max still looked... okay enough with the situation.
"Great idea of yours, huh?" Yuni murmured, earning an annoyed look.
"Look, man," Max began, hoping to appeal to Quartermaster. "We can just go back to the camp and relax. Gwen can be the mascot." Suddenly, the old man had stopped walking, causing Max to smack right into him. "Oof!"
Yuni would have laughed if it weren't for Quartermaster popping his neck around to stare them down. Suddenly, it seemed more reasonable to help Max up more than anything.
"You kids think you're so SMART!" Quartermaster jerked his head forward, getting into the kids' space.
"...What?" Max chose to say after a bit. "Uh, how does that relate to-"
The Quartermaster brought his hook close, causing Yuni to let out a little yelp of surprise. "You need to see BEYOND the camp. Into the true beauty of nature!" As if to give an example, the old man gestured to their surroundings. Shadows seemed to grow ghostly eyes, the tree branches always felt like they were closing in, and not to mention, it was dark as hell for two in the afternoon. True beauty, huh?
Max and Yuni shared a look, marking the first time they'd at least agree with each other on something. "Uh... this looks like the place where teenagers go to get stabbed," the boy in blue supplied.
"...Probably." It was all Quartermaster had to say.
The mascot hunt was well underway by the time Nikki and Neil reached the end of their bear tracks. The footprints had led them to a cave which excited the former and worried the latter. The sound of the others and David were hard to pick out against the background of nature's noises.
"Ha-ho! Jackpot!" Nikki pumped the air with her fist, rushing inside with Neil hot on her trail. It was only a few seconds of happiness though, as it was quickly found that the bear was long dead. Only its skeleton remained in tact, artfully stuck in a sleeping pose. "NOOOHOOO!" Nikki cried. "I would've fed them porridge. And it would've been just right!"
Neil, for one, was happy to have avoided a real crisis. "Oh well, I guess we should turn around and go back to live a normal life." But when does Camp Campbell ever do normal? For trying to escape camp earlier in the week, Neil had officially revoked his "normal living" card. A strange quack stopped him in his tracks.
Crawling out from somewhere behind the skeleton was a weird-looking raccoon/beaver/duck hybrid. Its eyes were giving off a hostile vibe. Maybe it had taken to living in the cave once the bear was dead?
Nikki rolled her eyes, still not over the bear loss. "Pssh, what's that? Doesn't look very cool."
"That's a platypus," Neil immediately began on his factoid run of the day. "It's actually quite dangerous. I think it has a little poison spur on it's hind-" But par for the course, the boy was interrupted.
"POISONOUS?!" Nikki's eyes shone with potential, shoving Neil aside. "Awesome! You're coming with mama!" She tried taking a few steps to get closer and scoop up the creature, but it wasn't going without a fight! The platypus balanced itself on its tail, bearing its teeth and wriggling its arms and legs around to look menacing. It hissed at the campers, a far cry from the almost cutesy quack from earlier. "Whoa! Too feisty!"
"Run!" Neil yelled, although Nikki didn't need to be told. "Don't let it kick you!"
The sounds of screaming and frantic laughter rang throughout the forest.
"It's your turn, Max..." Yuni mumbled quietly. Somehow, within the time they had been walking, the three trailblazers were roped into a game of Twenty-One Questions. The city girl had offered the game as a little "bonding exercise to fill the silence," but when Quartermaster didn't answer and the air got awkward, the kids took it upon themselves to start.
Max picked up the pace of his steps, slightly overtaking Quartermaster and nudging his head toward the candle attachment. "Hey, so how'd you lose that hand anyway?"
The Quartermaster grumbled to himself words that were unintelligible before letting out, "an' the JEWS." Max threw a glance back at Yuni who shrugged anxiously.
"...I feel like you should be more specific." Max's voice raised a few octaves.
The trio finally made a stop at a hedge wall. As far as the kids could see, there was no other way to run than back the way they came. "We're here." Quartermaster said, removing the candle attachment and replacing it with his hook. He turned to face the campers who flinched at the sight of the weapon.
Max sighed, stepping forward and spreading his arms out. "Well, I guess Nikki was right. Enjoy wearing my skin!" Again, his voice cracked at the word "skin," the whole of him bracing for impact. Quartermaster raised his arm to strike, causing Yuni to gasp and act on her fight-or-flight response. She was gripping the boy's hoodie and jerking back before she knew what happened.
Max lost his balance, falling backwards and onto Yuni. The campers tumbled to the forest floor, catching the sounds of an angelic chorus. Was that it? Did they reach heaven? Did Quartermaster really turn Max into a skin suit? Did Yuni hit a rock and die?
"Open your eyes, children." They could hear a gruff voice say.
They did as they were told, slowly opening their eyes to adjust to what may well be the blinding reflection of the pearly gates. What they see is much different than what they had imagined.
"It's..." Max started.
"Beautiful..." Yuni finished.
'This bitch is straight out of Snow White!' Yuni thought, absentmindedly taking Max's helping hand. Just that small act of kindness was enough to snap her out of it, making her take back her hand as if it burned.
Sunlight shone the brightest in this little forest oasis. The trees and bushes were lined up perfectly on either side of a small walkway, which led to a throne made of wood. Small critters milled about, sniffing the roses in the bushes and hanging around the trees. On the throne, with its crown-like antlers, sat a squirrel. Upon closer inspection, the squirrel had a king's cape and its own tiny crown made out of an acorn shell. The kids looked on with open mouths, taking in the unbelievable scenery while the Quartermaster talked to the Squirrel King.
"Did you bring your phone?" Max exhaled, still enthralled. Without needing to be asked, Yuni silently pulled out her phone and snapped a picture of the beautiful moment.
The campers only vaguely registered the clicking sounds of the Squirrel King talking, but what thrust them back into reality was the sharp sshk of the Quartermaster's hook going straight through the little guy's body. The kids returned to their old selves, disgusted and appalled at the sight before them.
Quartermaster turned stiffly in place, the now dead Squirrel King dangling from his bloody hook. "Mascot."
"I- I-! You-!" Yuni fumbled around for the right words, choosing willfully not to look anyone in the eyes.
"DUDE! YOU FUCKING KILLED IT!" Max spoke for the both of them.
The old man glanced at his hook as if taking in the scope of his actions for the first time. "Oh." He said after a while. Instead of removing the corpse and laying it to rest, Quartermaster decided to take the little acorn crown and place it atop his own head. The woodland creatures weren't too happy about this, with birds and rabbits and squirrels jumping or flying at him. "I AM YOUR KING NOW!" The Quartermaster yelled. "THE THRONE IS MINE!"
The afternoon was almost over, meaning the activity was almost over, meaning the day was almost over. If David had to guess, this was one of the most tiring activities he had ever come up with. Not that it wasn't any fun! But, it would have been a lot easier to manage if Gwen was a part of it...
Enough of that, though! It was time to see what everyone came up with! "Alright, everyone! Let's take a look at our candidates!" The counselor glanced at the clipboard where all the potential mascots were compiled onto paper. "We've got... a caterpillar..." Again, not the strongest contender, but it was Space Kid's. "...Which will blossom into a beautiful butterfly! Just like all you campers!"
Moving onto the next, "A... tin.. can...?"
"It's a wizard's amulet." Nerris explained. Maybe this one was more of a personal find than a mascot that was hunted for.
"...Which can be recycled, and become anything it puts it's mind to!" Gotta keep that morale up!
"I have something!" One of the others declared. David's attention was turned to Harrison, the other Magic Camp kid. "Look, and be amazed!" Without missing a beat, the magician pulled out a white rabbit from his magic top hat.
"Harrison, that's incredible!" Finally! A worthy mascot!
"...Is it?" Harrison tested, raising one eyebrow in confidence. "Or is it..." He placed the rabbit back into the hat and wiggled his fingers, revealing the inside to show that the rabbit had disappeared. "Magic? Ta-da!"
But, wait! That rabbit was needed! "Wh-where'd it go?! Bring it back!" David asked desperately.
The magic kid curled in on himself, looking off elsewhere. "Oh... I don't know how. This is kinda why I'm here."
Just then, screaming and laughing was heard close by. Everyone turned their heads to the source of the noise, watching as Nikki and Neil burst out from the bushes telling them to run. Following behind them was a platypus whose mouth seemed to reach closer every chomp it took.
"AH! Kids, get to the pier!" David had to think quickly on his feet. They all crowd at the end of one of the docks, sticking themselves between a rock and a hard place. Or, in this case, a lake and a platypus.
"Where do we go now?!" Neil worried out loud.
"I don't know!" David admitted. "This was a really bad idea in hindsight!"
The platypus was coming closer, growling at every step it took. Nikki, souped up on adrenaline, ordered to be laid down viking-style. But before anyone died, the platypus was snatched by its tail and held in the air. It let out a confused quack when it was first lifted up, but it just as quickly reverted back to hisses when it realized it was stuck.
"What the hell is going on?!" Gwen was here to save the day! Although, it doesn't seem like she wanted to.
David, knowing this looked and will sound stupid, was still an honest guy at heart. "We're... Finding a mascot?"
Gwen have her co-counselor a tired look, glancing at the beast in her hands before speaking. "...Why do you always have to make things weird and complicated?" She could only muster this much anger, considering the state of her "sickness."
"Well, I mean, I think this is all pretty normal-" David started, before being interrupted by a brass fanfare.
Waltzing in from somewhere behind the trees were the day's trailblazers. The campers flanked one side of the throne each, while Quartermaster sat on it. The whole thing was carried by squirrels and the old, very dead king was still stuck on the hook. The rest of camp watched on with varying degrees of awe and amazement. Gwen merely gave the scene one look before dropping the platypus in her hand, deciding that David had been right.
"...I need more Midol."
"Alright. Well," David began again, shaking himself out of his reverie. "Seeing as I just accidentally stepped on the caterpillar, and a tin can would be ridiculous, I guess the platypus is our new mascot!"
The newly appointed mascot gave a disgruntled quack at its victory.
The troublemakers regroup to recap the whole of the day to each other. "So, what'd you two do?" Nikki asked, eager to know the story behind the squirrel throne thingy.
"I dunno, man," Max responded uncertainly. "I think he tried to teach us a lesson?"
"...What, like about nature?" Neil turned to Yuni.
"I guess?" The girl shrugged. "But check out this photo I got-"
"Look!" One of the other campers called out. "Ind zhe vater!"
Washing up ashore was none other than Larry the Hamster, somehow still alive after flying through the air on a rock and (probably) swimming through the lake.
The fucking hamster is back! What did he do, swim across this big ass lake?! How would he know to do that!? It's like that one episode where Darwin crawls back to Elmore but that's a FUCKING CARTOON!
"Well how about that?" David tried to mask the joy in his voice. "Larry's back! Alright, original mascot!"
But the platypus wasn't about to just relinquish its new title like that. So, in order to defeat all the competition, the mammal promptly eats Larry the Hamster. A final squeal was Larry's last word before he was never seen again in the mouth of the beast.
At this point, the day was over. "Fine, whatever, it's the platypus." David conceded, giving up on trying to convince himself that this was a good idea.
"Does this mean we'll be the Camp Campbell Platties?!" Nikki wondered aloud.
David smiled at the cute suggestion. "No, I don't think so."
"...What about the Pussies?" Neil proposed. The joke was not lost on Yuni, who laughed to herself.
"DEFINITELY not." David said, attempting to shut down the idea. But, it was out there, and since kids are kids...
"Yeah, I like that!"
"Pussies for life."
"YEAH!" The campers all agreed. And thus, the Campbell Pussies were born!
"You guys, no!" David tried to no avail. The children were chanting "Pussies! Pussies! Pussies!" all the way to the mess hall for dinner.
"I'll maken zhe flag!" One of the stragglers, a little boy, proclaimed happily.
David and Max watched the campers march along, letting the events of the day wash over them. "...So what's with the Quartermaster and Jews?"
It was later in the evening during the middle of dinner. Yuni had just arrived at the mess hall, fresh and ready for bed. She found that the best way to maximize her bathroom usage without being disrupted by the other campers was when the rest of them were off at dinner. From here, she would usually take her dinner to her tent and return any silverware afterwards, but she was being called upon.
"You know my name, dude. Use it. Or do we need to play Twenty-One Questions again?" Yuni, tray in hand, took her seat beside Nikki who was busy finishing the last of her food.
"What's that?" The adventurer asked through a mouthful of mac and cheese.
"It's kinda like a game that I used to play with friends in the city." Yuni explained, spooning some of the reheated frozen veggies into her mouth. "I say friends, but I really mean those other kids that my parents' friends brought over whenever they visited us. I never saw those kids again, so Twenty-One Questions was just the easiest way to get to know each other."
"I wanna play!" Nikki exclaimed after an audible gulp.
"Yeah, I'd like to join." Neil responded in kind.
"So we're all playing." Max concluded, leaving no room to back out. "Who's going first?"
"Me! Me! Me!" Nikki raised a hand, wiggling her fingers enthusiastically. When she was given the okay, the feisty girl slammed a fist down on the table. "What happened with the squirrel people!?"
Yuni was taken by surprise, almost choking on her food in an attempt to laugh. "You're still on that? I mean, I don't know how to describe it to you without sounding like a total lunatic, but I do have that picture." She pulled her phone out from its place in the waistband of her PJ shorts and showed the photo of the forest haven. "I don't know how Quartermaster found this place, but all I know is he killed that little guy on the throne and the squirrels are ruled under him now...?"
"Cool!" Nikki gasped, swiping the phone from Yuni's hand and zooming in to all of the little details. "I don't know about squirrels, but I'd wanna be leader of a wolf pack!"
Yuni giggled at the other girl's ambitions. "Whatever you say, Nikki, hehe." She turned to the boys across from them. "So, who's next? You can ask any of us a question."
Neil politely raised his hand, moving on to ask his question after an acknowledging nod. "Where are you from, Yuni?"
"Whoo, looks like I'm the one in the hot seat today." Yuni teased. "If you mean where I come from before I came to camp, I live in the city with my mother and father. Not all together though; they have their own places." The girl continued on before anyone could butt in and ask further. "But, if you mean where my parents are from, they're both mixed and my father won't tell me from where, so I guess I'm a bit of everything?" She shrugged, knowing that the answer sounded suspect. It was genuinely all that she knew, so it would have to suffice.
"My turn," Max rubbed his hands together, plotting his question. "What's with that diary of yours?"
Yuni scoffed. "You're saying you've noticed my Journal but you haven't memorized my name?" All she got was a smug little shrug in response. "Whatever. My Journal is something I bring everywhere. It was a birthday gift from my father and it was the only thing he gave me that Mother let me take when I had to sit in at work with her. Something about 'keeping me quiet and teaching me how business works.'" Yuni air-quoted, giving her mother a mocking voice.
"She says it'll help teach me to be 'observant' and 'take me out of interpersonal relationships.' Can't strike a hard deal if you care too much about their feelings, right?" Yuni shrugged at the logic. "Don't know if that's actually working, but we'll see."
"Your mom sounds like a lot." Nikki said, now through a mouthful of pudding.
"Not for nothing." Yuni responded almost absently. She played around with her food for a bit before remembering that it was her turn. "Oh! My turn! Hmm..." She squinted around the table, pointing at the three campers before her. "Eeny, meeny, miney..." Her finger landed on Max. "You."
"Alright, shoot." The boy in blue crossed his arms confidently.
"Pre-question that doesn't count," Yuni prefaced, earning "hey's!" from the other two. "What's my name?"
Max rolled his eyes and sighed dramatically. "You told me this earlier. I know what it is."
"Then what is it?" Yuni tested, raising an eyebrow with a smile.
Max held her stare as he racked his brain for the answer. It was only when he looked away that Yuni let out a triumphant laugh. "Hah! Neil even said it and you don't know?! Selective hearing ass."
"Okay, Yuni," Max held out her name sarcastically. "What's your actual question?"
"What's your deal at camp? If Nikki's Adventure Camp, Neil's Science Camp, and I'm Journaling, what are you doing?"
"Alright, campers! Water's shutting off soon, so wrap up and wash up!" David's voice cheerily notified through the double doors.
"Well," Max began, already standing up to leave. "Guess you'll never know."
"We'll find out eventually!" Yuni called out, getting flipped off as the double doors shut behind the boy.
Post A/N: Whoo! This became much longer than I anticipated when I started rewriting it. Here's the first introduction of what I'll be calling "Dinner Scenes!" I started doing these later on in the season, so it felt only right to bring it back to the older episodes. See you next!