Good morning, campers!

Camp Here & There is a weekly horror comedy podcast tuned in to the loudspeakers of a small midwestern sleepaway camp plagued by supernatural terrors and natural disasters. Sydney Sargent, resident camp nurse, cheerfully reports on all the terror we must face with a big smile. Let’s hope there’s nothing weird about that!

Written and directed by Blue Mayfield and Nicholas Belov.

Recurring cast includes Blue Mayfield, Corey Wilder, Crystal Lee, Emily Safko, Gianni Matragrano, JV Hampton-VanSant, Mikee Joaquin, Nicholas Belov, Ryan Henning, Tom Antonellis, Tom Laflin, Ty Coker, and Susan Dohan.

Sound edited by Beetlesprite, Blue Mayfield, and Emily Safko.

Original soundtrack composed and produced by Will Wood and Jonathon Maisto.

Episodes air every Thursday at midnight EST.

Disclaimer: Camp Here & There is not intended for audiences under the age of 16. The story deals with mature themes and graphic horror which may not be suitable for all audiences.

FILE 18

The Hive of Anxiety

Content warning: Descriptions of bugs dying Audio data from various sources, detailing the events which occurred at SITE2 on day 967. Read more…

FILE 17

The Hallucination of the Hive

Audio data from various sources, detailing the events which occurred at SITE2 on day 966. Read more…

FILE 16

The Reality of Hallucination

Content warnings: auto-cannibalism, brief mention of throwing up. Audio data from various sources, detailing the events which occurred at SITE2 on day 965. Read more…

FILE 15

The Toilet of Reality

Audio data from various sources, detailing events which occurred at SITE2 on day 965. Read more…

FILE 14

The Stones in Toilets

Audio data from various sources, detailing events which occurred at SITE2 on day 964. Read more…

FILE 13

The Mother of Stones

CONTENT WARNING: Graphic descriptions of zombified animals and limb dismemberment  Audio data from various sources, detailing events which occurred at SITE2 on day 963. Read more…

FILE 12

The Love of Mother

Audio data from various sources, detailing events which occurred at SITE2 on day 962. Read more…

FILE 11

The Labors of Love

Audio data from various sources, detailing events which occurred at SITE2 on day 961. Read more…

FILE 10

The Enemies of Labor

Audio data from various sources, detailing events which occurred at SITE2 on day 960. Read more…

FILE 9

The Friendship of Enemies

Audio data from a single source, detailing a private meeting which occurred at SITE2 on day 960. Read more…

FILE 8

The Goo of Friendship

Audio data from various sources, detailing the events which occurred at SITE2 on day 959. Read more…

FILE 7

The World of Goo

Audio data from various sources, detailing the events which occurred at SITE2 on day 958. Read more…

FILE 6

The Norms of the World

Audio data from various sources, detailing the events which occurred at SITE2 on day 957. Read more…

FILE 5

The Reversal of Norms

Audio data from various sources, detailing the events which occurred at SITE2 on day 956. Read more…

FILE 4

The Prophecy of Reversal

Audio data from various sources, detailing the events which occurred at SITE2 on day 955. Read more…

FILE 3

The Squall of Prophecy

Audio data from various sources, detailing the events which occurred at SITE2 on day 954. Read more…

FILE 2

The End of the Squall

Audio data from various sources, detailing the events which occurred at SITE2 on day 953. Read more…

FILE 1

The Beginning of the End

Audio data from various sources detailing the events which occurred at SITE2 on day 952. Read more…

Teaser

Welcome to Camp Here & There!

Looking to enroll your child in a normal, everyday, average summer camp? Look no further! Read more…

SYDNEY O. SARGENT

GenderMale (FtM)
HeightNot much
EyesLight
HairDecorated with natural items
Notable TraitsLong, dark hair; long, dark eyebags
BirthdateThe Second Eclipse of Winter, 24 years ago
BirthplaceThe lowlands (but not quite the lowest lands)
OccupationCamp Nurse

Sanguine, mischievous, and slowly dying of a plethora of chronic disease, Sydney Sargent is the nurse at Camp Here & There. His open-book policy regarding the operations of the camp staff makes him unpopular with his coworkers, though the kids often appreciate him. He’s rambly, moody, strange, and blunt, but he cares immensely about the campers, and you won’t find a more spirited mealtime announcer.

(He never actually graduated from medical school, however, meaning he never actually took the hippocratic oath. So. Y’know. Just saying… be careful).

JEDIDIAH A. A. MARTIN

GENDERMale
HeightMiddling
EyesDark
HairBrown and tousled, what’s he been up to?
Notable TraitsSilly little lab coat; silly little glasses
BirthdateThe Ides of Spring
BirthplaceDirt, Texas
OccupationAssistant Nurse

Jedidiah might seem distant, distracted, closed-off, or self-involved, but the truth is that he’s only got the time to worry about what really matters — and what really matters is the top-secret, dubiously legal science experiment he’s been working on in the back office. He and his co-nurse seem to have an extensive history together, but nobody can quite figure out the status of their relationship. All we know is that if anyone can get Jedidiah to stick his head out of his office every once in a while, it’s Sydney.

LUCILLE S. BERTUCCELLI

GenderFemale
HeightTowering
EyesStern
HairAs grey as her tone
Notable TraitsLong fingers; long shadow
BirthdayWay back when
BirthplaceCamp Here & There
OccupationCamp Director

Don’t be fooled by her gruff, cold demeanor and the flamethrower that she keeps on hand at all times — Lucille is the very model of a modern camp director; a paragon of leadership, responsibility, and maternal charm. Most campers have never actually spoken to her, so her personality and true motivations have become shrouded in rumor — but let’s clear those nasty rumors up right now. Lucille is just the BEST. And she has your best interests in mind at all times. Got it? Good. Don’t make me have this talk with you again.

THE ELEPHANT MAN

GenderMale
EyesHe has them
Hair(Dirty) blond
HeightUp there
Notable TraitsDazzling teeth; dizzying aura
BirthdayNobody’s quite sure
BirthplaceIt’s really anyone’s guess
OccupationFreak

Who is this dude? The tall, gangly weirdo in the bloodstained scrubs and the pink elephant mask who we keep getting reports about? He mostly skulks around the forested outskirts of the campgrounds, but from time to time someone will claim they saw him peering in through a cabin window or sneaking out the back of the cafeteria. Not to mention the reports of personal effects going missing — could it all be connected? Until we figure out what this guy’s deal is, best be careful about wandering around the campgrounds.

[RADIO STATIC]

Mayfield & Belov presents: Camp Here & There

Episode 18: The Hive of Anxiety

(opening theme)

(the intercom clicks on)

SYDNEY

When I was a child, my friends and I — well, Jedidiah and I — we used to play House. He would always be the father, and I would always be the mother. Our children would be various and sundry objects — a stray cat, a handsome autumn leaf. And one time, our child was a fruit fly.

Now, Jedidiah became obsessed with this fly, far beyond the point of playing the game. He named it “Fruity,” [He chuckles] put it in a Tupperware container, and kept it in the cabin under his bed. Every morning he admired it, buzzing around in there. And he took it with him all around camp — to archery, to lunch; even on his kayak. He loved that bug.

He thought that was enough.

One day, Fruity died. Jedidiah cried and cried and cried and cried. And I rubbed his back, I comforted him, but something nagged at me in the back of my brain. I worked it up to ask him. 

“Jedidiah, did you… ever give your fly any fruit?”

And he said no. It hadn’t even occurred to him. He’d gotten up every morning and admired that starving animal, throwing itself against the walls of its container. Hadn’t even thought to put a little piece of cantaloupe in there. And his beloved fly died hungry, empty, trapped, and alone. 

Jedidiah cried and cried, but I wasn’t comforting him anymore. I was wondering how that was possible. How he could love something so much… and forget to feed it.

Well. He was only a child.

…Anyway, haha, uh. Hi, campers! Sorry about that, I’ve been, uh, thinking. A lot. Lately. It’s kind of, uh… haha, well. Children! Funny… memories. Mm.

Uh, good morning! Good morning. It’s 8:62AM, and the sky is such a dull, bleak shade of gray that I think it’s the closest it’ll ever get to being blue. You know, kids, the sky has a sweet, daisy-blue hue in just about all my dreams now. Isn’t that funny? The one color you never see up there in real life. But it’s nice! It is. At first I thought it was offputting, but now I think it kind of works. Kind of wish you could all see what it would look like. But that’s impossible and absurd. Of course.

Alright, campers. Today, today. Since yesterday’s unmitigated catastrophe deprived you all of a kayaking contest, guess what? We’re doing it again! [He claps] Try to put yesterday’s nasty bumblebee business out of your mind, huh? Instead, focus on the moment. A peaceful trip across our gentle lake, its foggy surface glimmering with morning sun, the tree leaves casting dappled light onto your bright yellow banana-boats. And no Elephant Man in sight! It’ll be fun, I’m sure. But as always, remember to be careful where you stick your oar. Summer is prime hunting season for the Chicanerous Shad, a species of fish which feeds off of the 16 numbers on the front of your mom’s credit card, the date, and the three numbers on the back — truly a vicious and terribly persuasive predator.

Aaaaaaand today’s breakfast consists of grasshopper legs, flower pollen, (specifically from roses and pansies) and blueberry-mush-mash! Vegans, if they’re not aware, should steer clear of the blueberry-mush-mash, since the last meeting of the Top American Food and Drug Administration did motion to reclassify blueberries as a type of flightless bird.

Speaking of flightless birds, uh, Rowan and Juniper… your penguin thing is today, by the way. Stay on top of that. Aaaand that’s all I have for you all this morning! Have a life-changing meal, you slippery seals!

II

[INTERMISSION MUSIC]

(the intercom clicks off)

(intermission music)

(the intercom clicks on)

SYDNEY

When I was a child, Jedidiah and I used to play House. He was the father, and I was the mother. 

Another child we had was a pile of acorns. He named it Cartagena — he was big into geography at the time. We put the acorns in a paper bag and drew silly faces on either side with Sharpie. At the end of the day, I permitted Jedidiah to take her home, where he emptied her acorns out of the bag and into a porcelain bowl he’d been given by his great-grandmother. He kept her in his bedroom, and I visited her every day.

Several days after Cartagena was given her new, um, chassis… a transformation occurred. I referred to it as her puberty, though Jesidiah didn’t find that joke funny until I reminded him of it many years later. What happened was that just about every acorn in the bowl split open, and out from the pile of broken shards squirmed a horde of fat white worms. These maggots had burrowed into the acorns, eaten the flesh inside, and were now infesting Jedidiah’s bedroom.

Jedidiah’s mother made us help her find each and every little worm. She put them all in that plastic bag. And then, despite Jedidiah’s vehement protests, she made him flush it down the toilet. Squirming, wriggling, climbing all over herself in that little bag, Cartagena was swept away and drowned.

Jedidiah cried. He did not even attend school the next day, so grief-stricken was he by the death of these bugs.

I didn’t understand. When he’d first seen the maggots in his room, he’d screamed and recoiled in revulsion. He refused to pick them up with his bare hands. If he didn’t value these creatures when they were alive, why was he so affected by their deaths?

Either way, I stopped killing bugs after that. Whenever I got the impulse, Jedidiah’s tear-stained face popped into my head.

[He clears his throat] Well. Hello again, children. The time is 12:79 and the sky remains dull, although its hue has taken on a more… beige aspect, like sediment swirling on the foggy surface of a lake, or the crisp, delicate husk of a paper hive…

[Another throat clear] Of course, today’s kayaking contest was a buzzing success! Cabin Tarantula Hawk made a real splash, with campers from that distinguished cabin taking three of the top five winning spots. On top of all that fun, only one camper fell in, and better yet her mother only lost a few hundred dollars before canceling her credit card. Ah, but as much as I’d love to revel in this feeling of fun, it’s since been pushed far to the back of my mind by the rest of the day’s events. See, after the contest was concluded, you all were permitted to continue kayaking if you desired… and those of you who took that offer up encountered something.

I think it’s sweet, you know? How quickly you all took to that fat, damp clump of swirling hexagons you found by the edge of the lake. Even though I, too, feel that dread all the counselors speak of… it warms my heart to see you all playing the mother.

Tiny Tommy of Cabin Silkworm was the first to spot it, there on the far edge of the lake. Shedding his lifejacket like snake’s skin, he leaned over the sun-baked grass to investigate that sound, or perhaps more accurately that feeling — the haunting song which he did not hear, but which filled his mouth, thick like honey, until his tongue began to buzz. He blinked once at what he saw. Then he reached out and began to caress the bulging surface of the abandoned beehive.

It’s no wonder a crowd formed, a gaggle of children hopping out of their kayaks to google and goggle at that waxy mansion of refuse you all find so inexplicably beautiful. It’s no wonder the counselors tried to take the hive away from you all the moment they realized you had it. It has its effects on people, this hive. Just as it teases care and affection from the brave hearts of children, so does it arouse a terrible fear in the suspicious minds of adults. 

And no, children, the counselors are not making it up. At first, we assumed we were just worried for your safety, beguiled as you were by the hypnotic hive. But then Salem, trying to confiscate the object, realized that her heart beat faster the closer she got. When she actually made a grab for the hive, and her fingers brushed against that thick, swirling rind, the sensation became intolerable. Nauseating, headaching fear took hold of her, rattling her very atoms. She collapsed to the spinning ground, unable to think or move, and remained in that position for several minutes until the buzzing wore away. 

Every adult who approaches the thing — and even some who keep their distance — have described the same sensation. Dread. Cold and clammy, settling into the pits of your person, and escalating — if you invite it — into a panic that screams up and down your limbs, begging them to move, to take you anywhere else.

I… I am not afraid of many-legged creatures. I have befriended the itzy spiders, the buzzing bees, the wriggling worms; I love the homey warmth of a colony. But even I… hate this thing, the hive. Even I feel it, when I look upon that… waxy beacon of dismay. I have the utmost sympathy for those counselors who have begun trying cope in strange and drastic ways — such as Juniper, who rushed the beehive brandishing a squirrel bone, attempting to destroy it; or Counselor Joshua, who tearfully begged to use Lucille’s phone to call his mom and ask her to pick him up; or Rowan, who has condemned himself to the darkest recesses of the sanitorium and sits shaking like an untrained purse dog.

Although… that might just be normal Rowan behavior.

I’m not one of those counselors who wishes to take the hive away from you; to toss it into the lake where it can’t disturb us again. I abhor any decision which could lead to conflict between us and you children. And not to mention… well, the loving, caring community you all have formed around that hive… the way even those of you who were stung the worst yesterday regard your charge with such softness in your eyes… it moves me. 

(His voice breaks a touch) Well. Some counselors agree with me, and some don’t, so we’re having a camp-wide meeting to resolve this issue. And others. While the meeting is being conducted in the administration building, you’re instructed to stay within the camp’s center, under the care of Chef Matthew, Counselor Warren, and Counselor Gracie. Stay within sight of one of them at all times please, my little tadpoles, and try not to give them a hard time.

For lunch, vegans get lettuce and beans, and our beloved Matthew has cooked up a delicious apocalyptic mixture of honey and carpenter ants that he calls “The Drowning,” which you’re meant to drizzle onto your complimentary camp sticks. Hah. Sounds… sticky…

Haha.

Alright. You’ll hear from me this afternoon. 

(the intercom clicks off)

(intermission music)

(the intercom clicks on)

SYDNEY

Eventually, we lost interest in playing house. Other activities took up the mantle, activities more befitting of our transition into adolescence. Sometimes I thought I was sad that we didn’t play it anymore, but I realized that what I was really sad about was the unceremonious abandonment of a rich tradition. I decided we should give the game a proper sendoff.

When I suggested to Jedidiah that we play house one last time to honor its place in our lives — a funeral of sorts — he struggled to articulate why he didn’t like the idea.

“I just don’t understand why we have to say that it’ll be the last time we ever play it,” he finally managed to verbalize. “What if we want to in the future?”

I tried to explain to him that neither of us enjoyed the game anymore, and now that we’re nearly teenagers, we likely wouldn’t again. It was over, it was already gone, and we’d only be briefly resurrecting it to say goodbye.

“It’s not gone,” he pouted. “We just haven’t played in a while. We can do it any time we want.”

So, we found a rock in the ravine behind Jedidiah’s house and did everything we were supposed to. We put googly eyes on him and named him Cain. We taught him how to read from our favorite books — my wildcat soap operas and Jedidiah’s pulp sci-fi novels. We took him to the lakeside and had a picnic with him, feeding him pebbles, since we figured that might be the sort of thing rocks eat. 

But as I thought, the heart wasn’t there anymore. Jedidiah was so easily distracted, so halfhearted in his performance. I looked at the stone and felt nothing but a tiny sadness in the leftmost corner of my heart.

We tried to love our rock for a day. But when the day was done, I tossed him into the lake.

Jedidiah was taken aback by this, and I think a little off-put. Traditionally, when we were done with a certain child, one of us would take the object home — which was really for Jedidiah’s sake. He could never stand the certainty of knowing something was over and gone. But I like endings; I like closure. That was the point of this whole exercise. 

And he tried, to his credit, to accept that. I’m sure the futility of our attempts to revitalize this tradition had not been lost on him, and he probably understood that he was only objecting on principle. I watched him swallow the complaints that had started to bubble up in his throat, and he brushed the situation off with an ever-so-slightly bitter joke. He said, “Ha. Abandoning your child in a lake . . . . so that’s what motherhood means for you?”

…I shouldn’t have let it get to me… Jedidiah definitely didn’t understand the truth in what he was saying. But there was truth. Jedidiah had always developed such sincere attachments to the objects he played father to and I never quite understood that. The objects meant nothing to me. I would entertain myself with them for however long I pleased, and then let them go when I felt they had nothing left to offer me. I didn’t think much about this contrast at the time, but upon hearing Jedidiah make this joke, it occurred to me that the behaviors we’d been exhibiting might be reflective of our ideas of parenthood.

Jedidiah knew what love and care looked like.

I felt sad. I felt scared. I felt broken in the brain. Since then, I’ve spent a lot of time teaching myself what love is like. Watching, and thinking, and thinking some more, and building a system of good habits from the ground up.

I do not consider myself a nice person. I’m sure many of my coworkers would agree. Even Jedidiah, probably. But I am not my mother. And any child who comes under my care will learn what it is like to be loved. I have that to be proud of, if nothing else.

Ahhhhh… hello, children; welcome back. What a day we’ve had, hmmm? I imagine we’re all feeling quite dizzy and disoriented, whether from the sweet-smelling smoke clogging the air or the lingering effects of emotional hypnosis, so why don’t you all take a moment to relax while I remind you of all that’s happened this afternoon.

The meeting was lively when it began. Some of us spoke for longer than others on all matters relating to the dilemma at hand. Soren, temporarily given leave from Cabin Arrest, spoke to the beauty in the way you kids were inexorably drawn to something so terrible and powerful; he suggested we leave you to your Mother of Wax. Joshua spoke to the beauty of not spending every waking moment in brain-rending fear, and suggested we work to cultivate a less hostile environment for camp staff. Yvonne suggested that we all take heaping quantities of anti-auguric medication and just chill out. Rowan countered that no amount of psychospiritual ibuprofen had ever made him feel okay. And several times, Marisol, Salem, and… Jedidiah… tried to bring up the topic of the Elephant Man, but were stringently embargoed by Lucille. 

Before we could really get anywhere, proceedings… dissolved. See, over the course of our conversation, the sticky-sopping thrum which emanated from the hive had grown steadily more distracting, until that thick, humming paste had seeped in through our nostrils, coagulated inside our skulls, and gummed up the gears in our brains. Words and behaviors became… erratic, gripped as we were by a fear which urged our hearts to quicken and our minds to quell. Finally, we were in shambles, clutching our heads, stuttering, and whimpering our increasingly inane suggestions.

The tipping point came when the door swung open, revealing our loyal chef Matthew — a sweating, grunting mess desperately seeking shelter from the discordant symphony of child whispers and ambient buzzing. The hive’s song flooded into the room, and for many of us, that was the breaking point. Lucille stood, crinkled her wiry fingers under the long meeting table, and flipped it over with shocking strength before running for her office.  Others took the opportunity to flee as well, out of windows and backdoors; or crumbled into sobbing heaps in the wreckage of the room.

Amidst the mass panic, I saw Rowan stand and trudge past Matthew’s collapsed and shuddering form and head outside. My curiosity won over my fear, and I tried to follow him out; but I was stopped by a sweating and shaking Jedidiah, who dragged me down every time I tried to get up. 

Rowan… do you think you can tell us what you experienced out there?

ROWAN

Uhh… yeah, sure. Thanks.

Honestly, I don’t get what the big deal was. Like, yeah, okay, the hive was scary, but… the whole world is scary. I just don’t get why people were so messed up about this, when every single one of us spends every single day underneath… that sky…

[SIGH] But it looked like I was the only one who could deal with this problem, so I went out there to see what was going on. Warren and Gracie were… gone, I dunno where. The kids had pushed one of their… y’know, the towers over into the stone circle at the center of camp, next to the bonfire, and they were all gathered around it. And the hive was on top. It had… swollen, it was — it was colossal, and it seemed like its outer layer, its — skin — was, was like, stretched so thin you could almost see through it, and I swear, something huge and dark was moving around in there, making the whole tower wobble. Kids were walking in concentric circles around the setup, singing in time with it… with whatever that noise, or, or feeling was. Even the… the sky… appeared to be in on it, with these thick, gray clouds spiraling out from where the top of the hive met the horizon…

I had no idea what to do, but I had to do something. As I walked forward, the kids tried to push me back, beating on me and kicking at me, and the hive was screaming in my ears, trying to scare me off. I forced myself forward, found myself right in front of that palpitating yellow mass, and… I did the only thing I could think to do. I pushed it. Right into the bonfire.

(He clears his throat) …uhh… Sydney, can you…

SYDNEY

No problem. Thanks, Rowan.

(Rowan gets up and leaves)

As the hive was consumed by the flames, the whole world seemed to shake with a horrible buzzing screech that made my teeth rattle in my jaw. Back in the meeting room, the miasma of fear was replaced with a miasma of smoke, which subjected all five of my senses to a series of particularly vivid hallucinations: a vortex of swirling hexagons; a symphony of vibrations; sweet, tangy whiffs of honey and blood; the feeling of being tossed around in a suffocating, wriggling mass… I felt myself born and reborn, again and again — writhing free from my papery womb and into the harsh light of the world; constructing huge and intricate marvels, piloting thousands of furry bodies all at once; and finally, feeling myself deflate as I push the burden of life out from my body. I’m not exactly sure what it all means, but I know none of it will leave me soon.

When those of us who had not run off to the farthest corners of the forest emerged from the meeting room, we found you children milling about amidst the smoke and confusion, with many of you having no memory of the last several hours. What remained of the hive was a slick pile of hot wax and sweet-smelling viscera around the churning, smoking bonfire.

I want you kids to know that none of you are in trouble. Today has been… weird for everyone, an eldritch ethical dilemma that pretty much nobody understood well enough to navigate. The bottom line is, nobody thinks it’s your fault. If any of you are feeling rattled, my office is open until lights out, and I’m happy to discuss things with you. My secret candy drawer is unconditionally open tonight.

Also, if you’ll join me in Sydney’s Science Corner for a second, I did some research after my ~visions~ and learned something interesting: what the camp went through today was actually a natural process in the life cycle of honeybees native to this part of Ohio. 

Apparently, the discarded hives serve as a sort of incubator for the egg of the next queen bee, which can only hatch if it receives adequate attention from children. However, any attention from adults is like poison to an embryonic queen, so the egg has evolved to emit pheromones which attract adolescent creatures and repel mature ones. How intriguing! Sucks that Rowan destroyed a queen bee’s egg. He’s already controversial enough with the local bee community.

Alright, kids, this afternoon’s planned Battle of the Bands has been canceled in favor of familiar in-cabin activities, such as roleplaying intricate family dramas with objects from nature. Dinner tonight is an innovative goulash made from the melted remains of the hive — with any remaining psychoemotional residue having been expertly boiled away, of course.

Lastly, I would like to advise that everyone keep away from the bonfire for the time being. If the buzzing at the front of my skull is any indication, I think… the smoke is particularly alive tonight.

That’s all, then. Goodnight, campers. Sleep well. 

(the intercom clicks off)

(intermission music)

(recorder clicks on)

(Several tapes can be heard being changed in and out of a tape recorder and listened to one after another)

LUCILLE

(Angrilly) …Jedidiah?

JEDIDIAH

Hello. 

LUCILLE

How long’ve you been standin’ in my doorway?

(BEAT)

LUCILLE

[SIGH] Well, come now, don’t let the hot air in. Hurry up and close the door. 

(The door slams)

LUCILLE

(She startles) Ah! Heavens above, Jedidiah! Can’t ya be any gentler? 

JEDIDIAH

Sorry, [EXASPERATED SIGH] that was an accident.

(He attempts to open and close the door again, gentler this time)

LUCILLE

Nevermind it. 

(Jedidiah pulls up a chair and sits down)

JEDIDIAH

I… I- I need- I need to talk to you. 

LUCILLE

Mm?

JEDIDIAH

It’s about Sydney. 

LUCILLE

Ain’t it always? 

JEDIDIAH

I… I- I care. About my friend. 

LUCILLE

Ah, “friend,” is it? Is that what you two’re callin’ each other these days? Eh? Not “darlin’” anymore? Or whatever happened to “sweetheart?”

JEDIDIAH

This- none of this has anything to do with why I came to see you. 

LUCILLE

Oh, simmer down. I’m only teasing. 

JEDIDIAH

Lucille. 

LUCILLE

Right. What’s the boy gotten himself into, then? 

JEDIDIAH

I know you don’t listen to his announcements, but: are you familiar with The Elephant Man?

LUCILLE

Joseph Merrick?

JEDIDIAH

Uh… 

LUCILLE

The British carnie? 

JEDIDIAH

I do not believe we are talking about the same person. 

LUCILLE

[She chuckles coyly] Then I’m afraid I do not know to whom you refer.

JEDIDIAH

Right. Well. He’s got a plastic mask that looks like a pink cartoon elephant, and he sneaks around, and everyone who sees him gets a supernatural surge of weird emotion. And- and he’s been getting bold lately, stealing stuff, stalking people, really freaking them out, and I’m particularly worried about Sydney. I think it would be prudent if we took measures to ensure his safety.

LUCILLE

Slow down there, Jedidiah. Don’t you think this is a matter of camp-wide security? Why do we need to be worryin’ about Sydney in particular?

JEDIDIAH

I-I, w-well, I just- [EXASPERATED SIGH] Sydney’s scared and this seems like a serious matter. 

LUCILLE

Hmm… 

[SILENCE]

LUCILLE

Hmmm… 

JEDIDIAH

[SIGH] What? 

LUCILLE

Let’s go down the list, shall we? The mercury storm, the macaroni war, Soupocalypse, Soren’s multiple magical misdemeanors, the blob of goo which clogged up Sydney’s little skull, the leviathan in the toilet — you sat through each of these disasters, and not once did you come knockin’ on my door talkin’ about ‘serious threat.s. So what makes this different? Why is an escaped carnie a bigger deal to you than all the other nonsense things that you shrug off every day?

JEDIDIAH

Okay,  first of all [EXASPERATED GASP] I — I do things. The other day, I stopped the whole camp from falling into complete temporal stasis. Last week, I stopped the kids from revolting! I- I- I drafted a peace treaty!

LUCILLE

And what do those things have in common? Oh, right: your own skin. If you hadn’t asked those men to fix time, your precious ‘projects’ would’ve been lost forever. You wrote up the treaty so you wouldn’t have to play shrink to your coworkers. And now you’re makin’ a stink about the Elephant Man because…

LUCILLE

Because…?

JEDIDIAH: Because of Sydney.

LUCILLE

Because Sydney asked you to talk to me?

JEDIDIAH

No, Lucille, because Sydney is in danger, and I care about him.

LUCILLE

(PATRONIZINGLY) You care about him.

JEDIDIAH

Yes.

LUCILLE

Really?

JEDIDIAH

Yes, Lucille!

LUCILLE

Then why… now?

JEDIDIAH

…What?

LUCILLE

Listen, to my actual knowledge, The Elephant Man has been around since day one. Spreadin’ fear, stealin’ shampoo, and givin’ Sydney the willies. And to my recollection, this whole time, you have been a relative skeptic! Why now, after all this time, is this suddenly a matter of legitimate concern?

JEDIDIAH

Wait, okay, hold on. You knew? You actually knew about this the whole time?

LUCILLE

Mm. 

JEDIDIAH

And you’re telling me that I don’t care? What have you done? Huh? You don’t care about him. 

LUCILLE

Eh, I like the boy well enough. 

JEDIDIAH

Are you going to do something?

LUCILLE

Is this guy any real threat?

JEDIDIAH

Yes, to Sydney. 

LUCILLE

What made you change your mind about this all of a sudden? 

JEDIDIAH

I- I didn’t want to believe Sydney might actually be in danger, alright? I didn’t want to.

LUCILLE: Jedidiah, all I can say is, if you don’t care enough to tell me the truth, this must not matter much to you.

JEDIDIAH

[ON THE VERGE OF TEARS] It’s not about how much I care!

(Jedidiah stands up.)

JEDIDIAH

Why does everyone think it’s about how much I care? Fuck! Listen, there’s a guy sneaking around who really wants to hurt or at least mess with Sydney. You know that. It doesn’t matter why I’m saying it; either way, you know that it’s true. So can we do something about it? Please?

LUCILLE:

…Well. That was quite the outburst. Honestly, Jedidiah, I think what you need is a good night’s sleep.

JEDIDIAH

Oh, my God. Lucille—

LUCILLE

Maybe can we talk about this tomorrow then, hm?

JEDIDIAH

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, LUCILLE—

LUCILLE

I’ve got mountains of paperwork to do, if you don’t mind.

JEDIDIAH

MOM.

(Silence.)

LUCILLE

…Yes?

JEDIDIAH

He tried to steal my journals.

I caught him yesterday, while everyone was distracted by the bees. The — Elephant Man — was rummaging around my office, looking for something, and there’s — I mean, there’s really only one thing that could be. And that’s what changed my mind. Okay?

LUCILLE

Ahhh, I see. 

JEDIDIAH

You understand that if The Elephant Man gets his hands on my journals, Sydney is in actual danger. Neither of us want that to happen, so please help me prevent it. Actually help me.

LUCILLE

You sure know how to thaw a frozen heart. Of course I’ll help you, honey. 

JEDIDIAH

…the rabbit.

LUCILLE

What’s that?

(Jedidiah gets up.)

JEDIDIAH

That rabbit you made me pull apart the other day. You know how I am about that stuff. You should’ve done it, you could have done it, you should have, but you weren’t going to, so I had to.

Every second I spent dismembering that animal made me want to throw up. Cry my stupid eyes out. But I didn’t. Instead, I looked at Sydney. I thought about what would happen to him if people started paying attention to this place. I thought about everything I’ve already torn apart and tossed away to keep him… safe. I thought, “What’s one more head at the bottom of a lake, if it means one more day that he gets to live?”

…and you can’t even do that. As violent as you are, you couldn’t kill a rabbit that was already dead.

Don’t ever try to tell me I don’t care about him. I know I’m bad, but Lucille — you’re the worst. 

(The door slams.)

(recorder turns off)

(end music)

Today’s episode was written and produced by Blue Mayfield and Nicholas Belov. The part of Sydney Sargent was played by Blue Mayfield. The part of Jedidiah Martin was played by Nicholas Belov. The part of Rowan Chow was played by Corey Wilder. The part of Lucille Bertuccelli was played by Susan Dohan. Camp Here & There is the sole intellectual property of its production company, Mayfield and Belov. All music composed by Will Wood, and produced by Jonathon Maisto. Sound editing by Emily Safko and Blue Mayfield. Special thanks to our patrons: journi and wishymoos.

For behind-the-scenes material, exclusive canonical content, interactive events, and early episode access, consider signing up for our Patreon, at patreon.com/mayfieldandbelov. Our Discord server is a great place to meet like-minded fellows and discuss today’s episode. Find the link at mayfieldandbelov.com. Lastly, if you’d like to support us, the best thing you can do is to spread the word about the show.

Thank you for listening to Camp Here & There, and remember: Do! Not! Anger! It!

View more episode transcripts

(radio static)

Mayfield & Belov presents: Camp Here & There

Episode 17: The Hallucination of the Hive

(opening theme)

(the intercom clicks on)

SYDNEY

Good morning, campers, and happy 8:60 AM! The sky is (sniff) a happy, honey yellow, with streaks of cinnamon brown… a delicious, glass-candy canopy that just makes you wanna (he slaps the table) Lickk… !

Phew. Today is a very special day, my friends. Today, June 24th, 2021, is Camp Here & There’s annual Lake Day! I was worried the wet festivities might get cancelled after a chunk of the goo from last week seeped into the lake, but it’s been successfully extracted and despised into nonexistence, so things are all on schedule. Our lake guards, Juno and Mila, spent all night setting up a wonderland of aquatic attractions for you all to enjoy — an inflatable obstacle course upon the lake’s surface; a watergun battle arena on the shore; a waterslide to nowhere; and a petting zoo of adorable lake-dwelling creatures, such as crocodiles, and cats. 

Of course, all that hard work left the two of them utterly pooped, which means your friends Juniper and Marisol will be filling in as substitute lake guards! They’re, uh, not technically certified, though, and for all Juniper’s claims that he “knows the ocean like he knows beans on the cob”, he is suspiciously unwilling to demonstrate any ability to swim. So… be extra careful out there, I think. At the very least, please stay far away from the cats.

Anyways, Lake Day! Awesome! Wow! Of course, personally, I hate getting wet — I don’t enjoy the way my skin curls and knots at the joints when submerged. But I think you’ll find that a certain assistant nurse of mine is quite fond of swimming, and emerges from his office pretty reliably on this specific day. So, despite my personal struggles with hydrophobia, this is really possibly my favorite day of the year. It takes me back to a simpler time when Jeddie and I were your age, and we’d head down to the community pool — he in his nerdy little Star Wars themed swim trunks, and me in full Victorian mourning dress. He would swim his laps and try to convince me to get in the water, while I would stand around in the sweltering sun and kick dirt into the pool out of random spite. Ahhhh… childhood. To think, back then, I thought my life couldn’t possibly get worse.

We’ve got a great variety of water-based activities planned for you all, both the competitive and the leisurely sorts! No camper is required to spend the day like this, but I’d really like to encourage every one of you take advantage of this unique opportunity to beat the heat. Get out there! Get wet! Socialize with your friends and counselors, and with my reclusive assistant! And, ah, please do not make fun of him when he takes his shirt off like a few of you did last year. He might act like he doesn’t care, but he is a bit sensitive!

On a sidenote, here’s a message Rowan has asked me to deliver to you kids: stop peeing into the wormhole that mysteriously opened up in Cabin Magpie Moth the other day. I understand that it’s more convenient than the actual camp toilets — and we’re working on the goo leviathan, alright? — but at the end of the day, we really have no idea where that wormhole leads to. What if the President of America is on the other side of that wormhole? What if you’ve all been peeing on the President? As hilarious as that would objectively be, it would have major consequences for the continued operation of our camp, so please. If you really can’t navigate the sanitorium, there’s a normal, completely euclidian bathroom in the nurse’s office. Pee responsibly!

For breakfast today we have chocolate… onions. Our camp chef Matthew wishes to relay a statement on behalf of our trusty local grocer, HarmlessMart, which — oh, (paper rustling) he’s handing it to me now, ah, yes, okay — it reads, ah, as follows:

If you or a loved one have recently purchased or consumed HarmlessMart 300th Anniversary oranges, you may be eligible for compensation. It’s recently come to our attention that some of our customers were under the impression that our recent line of HarmlessMart 300th Anniversary oranges are food. We’re here to set the record straight: feeding someone one of these oranges would legally be considered assault with a deadly weapon. They’re not meant to be ingested, or even really interacted with. So, if you suspect the oranges in your fridge may in fact be HarmlessMart oranges, we recommend you use thick gloves and pliers to deliver the fruit in question to your nearest medical waste disposal facility. We’d like to formally apologize for the confusion, as well as remind our customers that we firmly believe in our policy of complete honesty regarding what you’re putting in your baskets… which brings us to the matter of the strawberries.

If you or a loved one have recently purchased or consumed HarmlessMart strawberries, you may be liable for compensation… ” 

MATTHEW

`̵̧̼͚̲̹̩͚̹̩͍̲̝͎̲̤̏̓̇͊͋͗́̃9̴̰̫̥̲̥̩̤͈̣̠̎̎͜͝7̷͚͛͑̅̑̃͊̃̇͂͊͂2̵̡͍̥̑̿̊̐̈́͆́̉̐̄̈͐̓́͑}̷̨̟͍̬̩͚̲̯͈̏̀2̸̛̛̤̬̤͚̄͒̽͆͌̚͘͝7̷̨̮̺̮̣̝̰̳͐̌̈̆[̷̹̻̺̓̀̉̽͗̏̿̈͜͝͝

SYDNEY

Ah? 

MATTHEW

1̵̫̜͚͉͈̝̰̮͍̅̅̔̋̈́̇͒͑!̸̢̛̞̩̟̥̰̙͓̋̌̽̉̈́̆͌̊͠͝ͅ!̸̹̹͓̼͈͎͎̙̮̗̻͇̪͊̿͜͜!̸̹͓̝̍͛̿̾̀̍̆̍͛̔̚ͅ!!

SYDNEY

Ah, alright. Matthew is telling me that’s as far as I have to read. Man, this statement goes on for miles!

Alright, kids, I’ve got to go now. Matthew claims that attempting to cook with HarmlessMart 300th anniversary oranges left him with a strange sense that there was… more empty space inside his body than before… so I’m gonna try and give him a little taste of my pre-med magic, see what I can do.  You kids who partook of the orange pie the other night, do me a favor and… press your fingers to your sides… make sure you meet resistance. If anyone’s organs have gone missing, I want to find out before your parents do!

Alright, my little hedgehogs, you all have a wonderful breakfast for me — and an even better Lake Day! See you in the water! 

(the intercom clicks off)

(intermission music)

(the intercom clicks on)

SYDNEY

Best and brightest of afternoons to you, campers! 12:80 PM greets us with a richly gilded sky, swirled with streaks of glittering light like a fresh honeycomb. I’m sure you’re all just ravenous after that rousing morning of maritime merrymaking, so let’s get down to business here. It’s time for the lake-daily Lake Day report!

Sources filtering in and out of my office throughout the morning have informed me that the watergun battle arena has proven the most popular aspect of the Lake Day setup, with all of you kids doing what you do best — rapidly factionalizing; competing for authority using a combination of guerilla warfare and tactical diplomacy; and finally consolidating into military states characterized by strict hierarchical control and territorial aggression. In fact, the water gun battleground itself has been unable to contain the conflict, which has grown to encompass the entire lake. For example, the kids from Cabin Grasshopper turned the inflatable obstacle course into their base of operations — seemingly a wise decision, as it made their position difficult to reach and easy to defend. However, the kids from Cabin Silkworm had a secret weapon: the cats from the underwater petting zoo. As soon as those kitties and their claws were set loose upon the inflatable city, it was doomed. Then, while they were preoccupied with celebrating their victory, the Cabin Silkworm kids were ambushed, rounded up, and sent one-by-one down the waterslide to nowhere by the kids from Cabin Dung Beetle! It just goes to show: the creation and maintenance of sovereign states amounts to a pathetic exercise in cyclical futility.

It’s good that you kids are learning this lesson young, so you don’t grow up and try to become warlords or patricians or something like that!

Now, all of that is good and fun, but in order to have joy we must also have despair, and some less-fun things have also happened today. For instance… [HE SIGHS] I’m sure you’ve all noticed by now that Jedidiah has… not yet come out from his office. He has opted, for whatever reason, not to join us for Lake Day like I expected he would. I feel… stupid for being surprised. It’s just that he’s never missed Lake Day… I thought for sure I’d get to spend some time with him… 

Ahhhhhhh. This is the kind of thing I got in trouble for talking about, I think! Don’t worry about that, kids. In more context-appropriate news, Juno and Mila — who spent this morning napping peacefully on the lake’s far shore — turned up in my office this afternoon with a frankly gross number of caustic bee stings,  which I am now treating. The other side of the lake is bee country, evidently. And that’s not the only thing to avoid over there! Multiple campers and even counselors have reported seeing the Elephant Man lurking in the underbrush just beyond the far shore, peeking his head up and emanating his characteristic fervor. Marisol and Salem have been advocating to cancel this afternoon’s kayak race so that we might spend that time dealing with these serious issues instead — yeah, I’ve been down that road, girls. Listen, I’m on your side, but I’ve learned the hard way… no matter how loudly you shout about what’s bothering you… nothing is ever going to change.

But don’t let me stop you! Haha.

Today’s lunch is ginger. You’re just gonna bite the ginger straight off the root. See, Matthew is trying to get rid of all the ginger he’s got — he’s sick of the whispering. So, eat up!

Alright, kids. Mind yourself in the lake supply shed — that is to say, if you end up encountering yourself in there, try to leave without attracting your attention, okay? If you notice you, come up to you, try to talk to you… Jedidiah tells me that could make space crumple like an accordion. All three dimensions, flattened into one. And — also — I didn’t think I would need to remind anyone of this, but please stop trying to know the unknowable object at the center of the lake! Trust me, we’ve tried everything you’re trying, and all it got us was a collective identity crisis. The more you squint at the unknowable object, trying to name the shape, the less you understand what shapes even are. I’m telling you, that thing is best left as it has always been: occupying whichever exact point in space it occupies, looking like whatever it looks like, perhaps moving around in some way or making some kind of noise, no one’s quite sure. So it has been, and so it will be; eternal in all directions in time.

Thank you! Have a good lunch!

(the intercom clicks off)

(intermission music)

(intercom clicks on)

SYDNEY

(very grim)

You know, kids, I never felt like I ever learned as much in school as I did in my own backyard. I vividly recall one gold-flecked day in the hazy past which I spent, from sunrise to sunset, watching a pitched war between two colonies of ants. In the end, a neighbor’s dog ran through both of the anthills, completely annihilating them by random chance. I watched something similar happen today, as the indiscriminate chaos of the Elephant Man ended your campaign for reform, or even just recognition, from Lucille. And to me, kids, that’s the real value of the experience you’re getting at Camp Here & There. Through work and through play, you’re coming to understand the world.

So that’s the bright side of today’s events. All of you can walk away from this afternoon with a newfound comprehension of the utter futility of it all.

Let me be clear; none of you have anything to be ashamed of. You tried something, you failed — it happens to all of us. Even the ants. But since you’re people, you can learn from this. You don’t have to be like me and the ants; you don’t have to spend your entire life fighting for something that will just get torn away from you by the random whims of fate. Take this opportunity to let go of the idea that your struggling will get you anywhere. That you even have anything to struggle for.

[SIGH] For those of you kids who opted out of Lake Day’s outdoor activities and spent the day learning the secrets of Greek Fire with Counselor Warren in the Creativity Cabin, here’s the four-one-three on how things went down. Marisol, Salem, and a few other concerned or impressionable counselors were advocating for the afternoon’s kayak race to be cancelled, on account of inclement bees. Mila and Juno, who really should have learned their lesson after getting stung themselves, held strong against the protestors — their joint passion for kayaking outweighed their common sense, as per usual. Ultimately, the decision to cancel the race came down to Lucille, but when the issue was brought to her desk, she predictably brushed it off with her trademark move, the classic grunt-and-wave. Thus, without an official cancellation order, the race proceeded as scheduled.

But the increasingly frenzied buzzing noise emanating from the edge of the lake, and the darkening mustard color of the sticky-sweet sky, indicated that the danger was very much still present. Everyone saw the pulsing, leaky stings that Mila and Juno returned from the far shore with, and just because I treated them quickly does not mean they aren’t excruciatingly painful and potentially deadly. I assume that’s why it was not difficult for Marisol and Salem to convince you kids to join the cause.

Instead of being in position in your kayaks when the whistles blew, you were marching in a large circle around the singing crystals — that is, the man-sized outcropping of bright yellow gemstones in the center of the sports field which forces anyone in its nearby vicinity to loudly sing their thoughts instead of speaking them. Your melodic cries of protest turned the everyday show of activism into something like an angry festival. And most importantly, it amplified your words to such a degree that they could be heard from behind the three-foot thick, reinforced cedar walls of Lucille’s office. This, it seemed, was finally too much for our magnanimous camp director to ignore. She sent a parade of magical wooden mannequins out to the sports field, where they started smashing the crystals with 16 ounce hammers.

Meanwhile, Lake Guard Mila, who was — against my recommendation — patrolling the far shore of the lake in her solo canoe, reports to me that she had an intriguing encounter. There, amongst the trees that clustered on and in the lake’s edge, his wizard cloak a-billowing and his scrubs in desperate need of a scrub, was The Elephant Man. And I know we’re all acclimated to his presence, but it’s what exactly he was doing which interests me this time. Mila reports that she witnessed him fiddling with a beehive — shaking it around like a jar of coins; peering through the entry hole; and even sticking his fingers inside and presumably wiggling them around. After a few moments, he noticed Mila sitting there — at which put he placed a single finger up against his trunk (the universal shushing motion) and gestured with the beehive back in the direction of camp.

Could it be a coincidence? It wasn’t long after that when a storm of very excited bees flew in from the shore and washed over camp like a droning tsunami. I’m sure none of you need to relive the horrors. Suffice to say that the majority of you are still right here in the nurse’s office with me, listening to these announcements live in studio. [CHUCKLES] It hasn’t been so crowded in here since the gramophone incident… [SIGHS] but it felt like much less work back then, since Jedidiah was helping me. Actually acting in his capacity as co-nurse… 

Hm.

Anyway. Let’s try to have fun tomorrow. Huh? Maybe tomorrow, not everything has to be a… federal concern. Right? Maybe we don’t need to learn any lessons, for once. Just a thought.

I love you all. I know that for most of you, this isn’t goodnight. Depending on the severity of your stings, some of you won’t be able to sleep until the morning comes around. But for those among you lucky enough to leave me, for today, to leave me and my lessons and my lonely little office behind — goodnight. Sleep well.

(ruefully) And I’ll see you again tomorrow.

(the intercom clicks off)

(intermission music)

(recorder clicks on)

SYDNEY

Hi, ghost recorder… do you think I was too… grim with the kids, today? [SIGH] I’m probably gonna hear it from Salem… I’m just too tired to keep up a peppy attitude. I feel like the bread at the bottom of the bag, squished out of shape by the twist-tie, with the crust on the back.

I can withstand any pain as long as it has meaning… Jedidiah doesn’t understand how much he’s taking away from me when he just refuses to explain his behavior. Does he not want to be friends with me anymore? Is he just depressed and anxious? If I understood it, I could handle it, no matter how much it hurt. But he decides to hit me with the double-whammy of hurt and confusion. I’m left to wonder if everything I’m doing might be the thing that’s pushing him away — constantly poring over all my decisions, just trying anything to be easy for him… I just have to bend, and bend, and in no particular direction, until eventually I snap.

And Lucille… don’t get me started. This past week — who am I kidding, these past three years — I’ve been concerned that she blatantly played favorites between Jedidiah and me. Today, something that was pulled to its limit finally snapped in my brain. I saw how little she was doing to stop The Elephant Man from coming after the kids, and all at once I… gave up. I don’t know why I’ve spent so much time trying to get her to treat me like a person. But I’m done now, and it’s better this way.

… Sometimes I feel like I’m getting to that point with Jedidiah… but he must love me, right? Or he wouldn’t act that way.

… Okay. Goodnight, ghost. Keep haunting this tape recorder. I’ll keep haunting this office… 

(door opens)

JEDIDIAH

Sydney… hahhh. Sydney… fuck. Are you done with the kids? Are you alone? Can we talk?

SYDNEY

Uh… yeah.

(Jedidiah walks over)

JEDIDIAH

That thing’s… not recording, right? I can’t… I don’t want Lucille hearing this.

SYDNEY

Oh, Lucille doesn’t listen to these at all.

JEDIDIAH

Well — maybe someone else does.

SYDNEY

Nobody — what? Hey, what do you know?

JEDIDIAH

I mean — you’ve noticed your tapes going missing, I’m sure?

SYDNEY

I — who do you think takes them? Do you know what’s going on?

JEDIDIAH

I don’t know, Sydney, I don’t have — that’s not the point, the point is, this needs to be private, and if you record it, it won’t be.

SYDNEY

Okay? … 

(Sydney opens a drawer and places the recorder in)

It’s not recording… 

JEDIDIAH

It’s not recording?

SYDNEY

It’s not. What’s up with you today, Jeddie? Gone all day with no explanation, made me treat all those kids by myself, and now you’re all acting like a freak.

JEDIDIAH

I — I’m sorry, I’ve been trying to — I guess I… [EXHALE] I need to start by saying I’m… sorry. I’m sorry I didn’t acknowledge the Elephant Man as a genuine threat.

SYDNEY

I… are you joking?

JEDIDIAH

Why… would I be joking… 

SYDNEY

… Two weeks of abject denial, and the thing that finally convinces you is the stupid bee attack?

JEDIDIAH

No — Sydney, no. The bee thing was — a distraction.

SYDNEY

From what?

JEDIDIAH

While everyone was occupied with the situation on the lake, the Elephant Man snuck into this building.

SYDNEY

What?

JEDIDIAH

We’re lucky I thought to come and check in here. I caught him about to try and kidnap —

SYDNEY

Oh my God…! 

JEDIDIA

 — my journals.

SYDNEY

… Sorry?

JEDIDIAH

I don’t know how he knew where they were, or — or how he even knew they existed, but there he was, in my office, rifling through my drawers. I mean, he was this close to picking one up and reading from it.

SYDNEY

(sarcastic)

What a ghastly prospect.

JEDIDIAH

I know! And, I mean, God knows what he wants with them. So I chased him out, he ran for the forest, and I followed him in, but… eventually he lost me… [SIGH] so that was my afternoon. Listen — Sydney, I promise you: from here on out, I will do everything in my power to keep him — away. You can count on that.

SYDNEY

Alright, well… since you’re all dedicated right now, why don’t you pester Lucille about this? She… only listens to you.

JEDIDIAH

Yeah! Yeah. You want me to — talk about — raising security around here or?

SYDNEY

Anything. Just get her to do anything.

JEDIDIAH

Alright. Yeah. Okay. I’ll try.

SYDNEY

Thanks.

JEDIDIAH

Sydney… I swear. I’m going to keep you… safe.

SYDNEY

(unimpressed)

I hope so. Thank you.

JEDIDIAH

See you — see you tonight.

(Jedidiah walks away)

SYDNEY

Mhm.

(Sydney opens the drawer)

Well. (sigh) It’s something.

(recorder turns off)

(end music)

Today’s episode was written and produced by Blue Mayfield and Nicholas Belov. The part of Sydney Sargent was played by Blue Mayfield. Camp Here & There is the sole intellectual property of its production company, Mayfield and Belov. All music composed by Will Wood, and produced by Jonathon Maisto. Sound editing by Emily Safko and Blue Mayfield. Special thanks to our patrons: Pinesicle and Moth.

For behind-the-scenes material, exclusive canonical content, interactive events, and early episode access, consider signing up for our patreon, at patreon.com/mayfieldandbelov. Our Discord server is a great place to meet like-minded fellows and discuss today’s episode. Find the link at mayfieldandbelov.com. Lastly, if you’d like to support us, the best thing you can do is to spread the word about the show.

Thank you for listening to Camp Here & There, and remember: Please… Please… 

(radio static)

View more episode transcripts

(radio static)

Mayfield & Belov presents: Camp Here & There

Episode 16: The Reality of Hallucination

(opening theme)

(the intercom clicks on)

SYDNEY

(yawn) Hiiiiii, kids! It’s a laaaaaazy day today. The time is 8:62 AM, and the sky is a soothing, dreamy purple. We had stuff planned for today (yawn), but… nobody’s feeling much like doing anything, yanno? And that’s… pretty normal for me, I mean, y’know, me and my (yawn) creaky old body, it — it can be tough to muster the energy to tackle life on the best of days. But today it’s magnified times tennnnn thousand, and more than that, everyone else seems to be with me. Looking through my window I see… campers and counselors sprawling out on the grass, soaking up the sun’s rays… haha, Joshua is trying to do some cabin repairs, but he looks like he’s about to collapse. Stupid… can barely lift a hammer… hah… 

Out on the lake, Mila and Juno have fallen asleep in their canoe, and they’re just drifting along now… let’s hope they don’t capsize! Ahaha. I bet they wouldn’t even have the energy to swim to shore. Yep… it’s just that kind of day. A hazy, lazy, day.

I gotta be honest, the sensation is somewhat reminiscent of… of what happens to me when I see the Elephant Man… could be he’s the one who’s done this to us. Perhaps he’s (yawn) found a way to magnify his magic that it… can affect the whole camp… and we’re all sitting ducks for some devious plan he’s cooked up. Wouldn’t that be scary? Haha. Someone should… probably be on the lookout for that guy… not me, though, can’t be me. I’m way too sleepy to get out of this chair.

Whatever the cause, I think we can all count on the assumption that nobody in camp is gonna lift a finger today. (yawn) It’s too bad that Jedidiah left for a mediation session before all the lethargy hit, ‘cause boy, I would’ve loved to spend the day lounging around with him… goodness knows he could use the relaxation… 

Well. Since there won’t be any camp events to report on, how about I tell you all… some stories. How about I tell you about the dream I had the other night!

… 

Men. Men sure are mysterious. A man sits facing me across an ornate table. The table is red, like the paisley on the man’s suit and the apple in his hands. I note how much the man looks like Jedidiah. He takes a bite of the apple and his eyes roll up with pleasure; he sinks his teeth into it with utmost relish, making no effort to wipe the juices from his chin. He no longer resembles Jedidiah at all.

Lowering his eyes, he seems to notice me. His mouth curls into a smile as he taps his long black nails on the table.

“Come! Dine with me,” he smiles.

The sky is as blue as poolwater, and it ripples — it’s as if we’re resting at the bottom of a clean, clear lake, though I find no more difficulty in breathing than usual. I can’t describe how it feels to see a blue sky… almost… apocalyptic. 

“I’m not hungry,” I tell him.

He grins at me as if I’d referenced some devious inside joke. He turns the apple over in his hand, stroking it, comparing the feel of the skin to the feel of the flesh.

“My dear,” he says lovingly, “you’re always hungry.”

I sit down. He produces an apple and hands it to me. I… stare at it, scraping at the skin with my nails. Though I’ve been invited to eat, part of me still feels as if I cannot.

“Call me old-fashioned,” the man says, “but where I’m from, it’s impolite to turn down a meal once offered. Go on, Sydney. Have a bite.”

He takes another chomp of his apple, only this time he bites straight into his fingers. It doesn’t seem to bother him — slowly, grindingly, he forces his jaw shut, tearing through flesh and bone with a sickening crunch. The taste of the apple mingles with the taste of his body to produce a flavor which he seems to find exquisitely pleasurable. Blood and fruit mix as they drip down his chin, creating a cloudy, viscous liquid.

I swallow hard. I stare at the apple in my hand. My nails keep fidgeting at its skin, tearing off tiny bits of flesh which fall to the floor. I want to eat it.

“Go on,” he urges, gesturing with the bloodied stumps on his hand, his smile now as red as his suit. “Have a bite.”

I give. I bite down… but before I can appreciate the taste, I feel a tickle in my mouth. Half of a long, oozing centipede spasms between my teeth, tickling the back of my throat . . . . .

I wake up choking.

(ahem) And I’m still trying to figure out what exactly that one means . . . . .! If you’ve got any ideas, feel free to come down to the nurse’s office and chat with me about it… but (yawn) later. Right now I… need to take a nap . . . . .

(yawn) For today’s breakfast, Matthew has prepared some warm milk and fishoil tea. Mm… just the thought of it is… making me sleepy… (yawn) see you at lunch, kids. 

(the intercom clicks off)

(intermission music)

(the intercom clicks on)

SYDNEY

Hnnnn… (yawn) Hello, Campers. Good… afternoon? Haha, that’s the question, huh… ‘cause, y’know, I could swear that it’s been precisely four hours since my last announcement, and I’m never wrong about the time. But that clock up there on the wall… why, according to that clock, it’s barely 9:30. And if you’ll expend the (yawn) momentous effort required to crane your neck to the sky, you’ll see that the sun… which should be at its zenith about now… has just barely crawled up above the horizon. (yawn) Seems like even clock-hands and celestial bodies have to take lazy days sometimes!

Ahh, and, ah, we’ve got (yawn) eyewitness confirmation that the Elephant Man is NOT behind this lazy wave we’re all riding. See about an hour ago… or, perhaps, just ten minutes ago?… the Elephant Man was spotted stumbling into the camp, collapsing onto the ground, and settling in for a nice nap with his face to the soil. Perhaps (yawn) he intended to take advantage of the campwide lethargy to go on some kind of stealing spree?… Or he was here to kidnap me, haha. Whatever his intentions, this doomed foray into our territory proves that the Elephant Man is very much not immune to the lazy day effect, so he can’t possibly be the source.

Hm! Wonder what’s (yawn) going on then. Y’know, normally, I would investigate or at least do some theorizing, but… gosh, I just can’t bring myself to care. And normally, I’d be really upset about (yawn) the fact that I can’t care about… something I’d normally care about… hhaha. But I just wanna sleep.

But I can’t abandon you kids with no kind of announcement, so… how, so… h about another dream? (yawn) This one, I had last night. In it, I was a child again.

… 

I’m in a backyard. It’s not familiar to me — not yet. I moved into this house just a few days ago, moved to be with my latest guardian, a sharp-eyed woman who pays little attention to me. Part of me hopes this arrangement will finally be permanent. Part of me knows it won’t. I’m seven years old, and I never understood why people get excited to go home. Life is the same no matter where you are… you get itchy. You get hungry. You get hurt.

I am in a backyard, hunched over the chunky soil. Weeds, foliage, and crabgrass climb up to my shoulders, tickling my cheek, amassing in clumps atop a tall wooden fence above me.. My hair sits heavy on the back of my neck, making me overheat. A small patch of raw, torn cuticle on my index finger is aggravated by the dirt particles as I trace animal shapes into the ground.  I tolerate the discomfort. I like it outside. I like picking up ants and shaking them off when they try to bite. I like listening to the birds flirt in the trees overhead. I like animals because they never forget to be scared: of starving, of getting eaten, of getting hurt or sick. 

I pull my hand up from a patch of weeds when I feel a tickle. I examine my arm — there’s a centipede crawling along it. For a moment, I just stare at it: bemused, almost perplexed. Then I remember to be an animal. To be scared.

I yelp and flail, squeezing my eyes shut, brushing my skin so furiously it begins to burn. The force of my panicked gesture sends me backwards, whereupon I tumble into an anthill.

In seconds,  the ants have marshalled their forces against my intrusion. Millions of tiny legs tickle at my neck, and they begin to crawl, and spread, and crawl. A mighty phalanx of ants marches up my child limbs, slipping under my sleeve and routing me underneath the fabric of my shirt. They clamber across my collarbone to curl around my ears and investigate my gasping mouth. I thrash and scream. They rally and frenzy. I am dizzy, wheezing, bright colors popping behind my eyelids as the insects begin to bite.

After a second which feels like a hellish eternity, I push myself to standing and frantically begin to run, shaking out my shirt and swiping at every part of my body I can reach. That’s when my lungs collapse. My eyes pop open in shock just in time to watch the world turn fuzzy; then luminous and kinetic; then dissolve into darkness as infectious spots of black expand into view. I cannot breathe. I cannot see. Even the feeling of the ants on my skin now little more than a fuzzy sort of fluttering, stinging sensation. And I cannot breathe. I take a few more halfhearted steps and collapse into the weeds. I cannot breathe. I cough until I puke. My body feels weighed down with sand and constricted with rubber bands. I have never known such a lack of control. I cannot breathe. The darkness, having taken my vision, begins tugging at my consciousness now. I cannot breathe. I give in. The fireworks fade.

… And I’m in the hospital next, cold and shivering in one of those open-backed bedrobes.  A grumbly doctor nurses an inhaler into my mouth. My newest guardian, that gray woman, is not there, and I do not know where she might be.

The doctor tells me I cannot go anywhere without an inhaler anymore. I frown. I should never have forgotten to be scared.

… I awoke after that. Weird stuff, right? You’d be forgiven for assuming that was a real thing that happened to me, a memory resurfacing after years of repression. And in the moments after waking up, I myself was convinced it had to be. But as I thought on it, I realized there were all these strange, impossible details! I mean, the sky was blue… the ants were significantly less than four feet in length… and none of the birds could speak English. So that couldn’t possibly have really happened! But why did my brain fabricate such a vivid and painful delusion? I wonder. 

Ahh, well… gosh… the dream talk reinvigorated me, but now… (yawn) I’m getting sleepy again. It appears Matthew… was feeling a bit unmotivated about cooking this afternoon, and so your lunch will be… frozen dinners which have been microwaved en masse. So that’ll be good… I bet. I’m not gonna try it. I’m hungry, but… (yawn) not hungry enough to get up.

Alright, campers. I’ll let you keep napping and whatnot. Never know… maybe when you hear from me for dinner, the sun will have slowed to a complete halt! Haha. No idea what we’d do then. Seems like it would be bad.

Okay, see you.

(the intercom clicks off)

(intermission music)

(the intercom clicks on)

SYDNEY

Good evening, campers. Yes — you heard that right — I said evening. Because the time on the clock is… drumrollllllll — 19:03PM! That’s right, time is flowing! Better start appreciating that precious youth of yours, because it is once again slipping through your fingers like sand!

For those of you who were fast asleep when the problem got solved, which is most of you, here’s how it went down. An hour or so ago, Jedidiah emerged from the sanatorium and was immediately struck with an overwhelming sense of slowness. He couldn’t know it yet, but though he’d only been in the sanatorium for ten minutes from his own perspective, he’d been gone for hours from ours! Stumbling over to his office, he passed by the sleeping shapes of various camp personnel: kids in the tall grass; counselors draped over rocks; Juniper hanging from the flagpole, fast asleep. It confirmed his suspicions: that some kind of temporal anomaly was affecting the entire camp — except, of course, the space inside the sanatorium; you know how that place is. And in his office, he found the culprit — one of his extra-special wall clocks had stopped, and it was gradually bringing time to a halt as well!

So, Jedidiah called up a couple of his buddies in the clockmaking business for their expert advice. The sky had still yet to turn from the milky lilac of morning when the men came — a pair of big, familiar, cheeky wise guys armed with meaty hands, hairy knuckles, faded overalls, and coffee-stained teeth. Seemingly unaffected by the lazy-plague, the good fellas bantered their way over to the administration building and took a wrench to the offending clock. What followed was one of the most bizarre and uncomfortable experiences I’ve ever had, as the entire day caught up with me in a single moment. You all felt it — the way twelve hours’ worth of dead skin cells immediately sloughed off of your body… twelve hours’ worth of laughter escaped your lips… and twelve hours’ worth of heartbeats rattled around in your chest. I feel like a new man.

But it was all worth it to see the sun finally set over the horizon! The sky is now a dark, royal purple, soon to be the familiar pitch black of the night, and the stars are starting to emerge. Everyone say hooray for Jedidiah! If he hadn’t called those burly men up, there’s every chance that time would have slowed to a complete halt, trapping us all in a single moment — a fate which, I imagine, is far worse than death. Though they would both be changeless states, at least oblivion frees you from the pain of awareness!

Aaaaaanyway. Funny thing about spending several hours in a temporal distortion radius: you don’t realize how hungry you are until the distortion dissipates. Luckily, Matthew, Juno, and Mila are working hard to churn out a big, hearty dinner for all of us. We deserve it, after a long hard day of languishing in the rapidly decaying concept of a moment! Tonight, our beloved chefs have cooked a feast of cloven hooves and clover biscuits. Vegans get a wonderful stew of spaetzle, rice, penne, tagliatelle, rigatoni, linguine, orzo, bucatini, fucilli, vermicelli, manicotti, cannoli, mafaldine, amphetamine, and farfalle! Wow! And tonight, I get a very nice treat of buttered garlic bread from Mila! Yes!!

Also, by the way, update on the Elephant Man: soon as time got back on its hamster wheel, he jolted up and scampered off without stealing a thing! One wonders why he came here in the first place. Perhaps he just wanted to take advantage of the sleepy spell and relax? Even a mysterious, stalkery hooligan needs to take the day off now and again.

Tonight’s activity is a yo-yoing contest, using a collection of yo-yo’s which Soren found buried near the death fields the other day. Try not to let the yo-yos make contact with anything dead! Or anything at all, really! Really, please don’t touch them, we don’t know what they do.

Have a good night, campers! 

(the intercom clicks off)

(intermission music)

(recorder clicks on)

SYDNEY

Ghost recorder, old friend. Once again we find ourselves at 25:25 PM… I hope you’re faring better than I am this fine, fine night.

I’d like to let you in on a little secret. When I shared my dreams today on the loudspeaker, I left out a few details. First of all… the man underwater? Who offered me the apple?

He didn’t stop at his fingers.

Once he bit down on flesh, it was as if he got a taste for it… he just kept chewing and chewing, crunching through bone and spurting blood onto my face, until half of his arm was gone, replaced with a mangled, glistening wad of wet chunks and bone shards. Unable to wake up, I kept chewing through that centipede, its bitterly acidic taste stinging my tongue as it wriggled half-dead between my teeth. By the time I’d swallowed the bug’s last twitching segment . . . . the strange man had ripped his own heart from his chest, and was busy exploring it with his tongue.

For all his talk of politeness… that was not very hospitable of him, don’t you think? Ahaha.

Hey, by the way… something kind of funny happened about an hour ago. I was minding my business in the nurse’s office, petting my worms, enjoying the flow of time… when the Elephant Man approached my window. Now, that’s a sight I’m pretty well-adjusted to by now — it hasn’t gotten less upsetting, but at least it’s routine. If I just stay in my office, ride out the fear and the drowsiness creeping in from the edges of my mind, I know he’ll eventually stalk back off into the forest where he belongs. But it went… differently, this time. Just as I turned to see his inscrutable pink mask poke up over the sill, all the lights in the room shut off — the power had gone out, in the nurse’s building. And the Elephant Man… he kind of lost it? I mean, yelling, clutching his head, a total  breakdown. I don’t know what about a little power outage made him all undone, but for whatever reason, he just couldn’t handle it. He ran back into the woods, screaming his head off.

What a freak, right? But it’s good to know if we ever need to defeat him, we can just unplug a lamp or something. Haha… 

… Well. Alright. Goodnight, ghost recorder. I think I’m going to be awake for a while longer, but… I dunno, I feel more like thinking than talking. So… I’ll leave you to your device. 

(recorder turns off)

(end music)

Today’s episode was written and produced by Blue Mayfield and Nicholas Belov. The part of Sydney Sargent was played by Blue Mayfield. Camp Here & There is the sole intellectual property of its production company, Mayfield and Belov. All music composed by Will Wood, and produced by Jonathon Maisto. Sound editing by Blue Mayfield, Beetlesprite, and Emily Safko. Special thanks to our patrons: Phoenix, Collin Roemer, Tmfilly, Ken Board, Caitlin Weber.

For behind-the-scenes material, exclusive canonical content, interactive events, and early episode access, consider signing up for our patreon, at patreon.com/mayfieldandbelov. Our Discord server is a great place to meet like-minded fellows and discuss today’s episode. Find the link at mayfieldandbelov.com. Lastly, if you’d like to support us, the best thing you can do is to spread the word about the show.

Thank you for listening to Camp Here & There, and remember: you were born naked and you will die naked.

View more episode transcripts

(radio static)

Mayfield & Belov presents: Camp Here & There

Episode 15: The Toilet of Reality

(opening theme)

(recorder click)

JEDIDIAH

The time, uhm… is — there are no clocks in here, are there?

MARISOL

(attempting to joke)

The things that live in here must want us to lose track of time.

SALEM

(displeased noise)

MARISOL

Sorry. That was supposed to be a joke.

JEDIDIAH

I really do need to report the time for the thing.

SALEM

It’s around 9:30. 

JEDIDIAH

Thank you, Salem. 

MARISOL

How did you know that?

SALEM

I just pay attention.

MARISOL

(impressed)

Wow… 

JEDIDIAH

The time is approximately 9:30AM and the date is… ah.

SALEM

June 23rd.

JEDIDIAH

June 23rd. I am, as per usual, Jedidiah A. A. Martin, co-nurse at Camp Here & There. Today I am recording a session of conflict mediation between… two very perceptive and opinionated coworkers of mine. This session is being held in the sanatorium, because our usual location of the art cabin is occupied for children’s activities, and Salem did not want to go to my office. 

SALEM

I don’t want Sydney to hear us talking, alright? I feel like enough of an asshole as it is.

JEDIDIAH

He listens to all of these sessions, you know.

SALEM

What!?

JEDIDIAH

That’s why I’m supposed to record them.

SALEM

I can’t talk about this knowing he’ll hear it!

JEDIDIAH

It’s fine. I’ll just toss the tape in the toilet and tell him it was an accident or something.

SALEM

That… doesn’t really feel good either… 

JEDIDIAH

Eh? I mean, if it’s between that and not having the session at all… he would understand. It’s for the sake of — camp… cooperation and all that.

MARISOL

Sorry, but… doesn’t Sydney know everything that goes on around here anyway? Because… because of the smoke?

JEDIDIAH

It doesn’t really work like that. He can’t just stand over the bonfire and sniff out any secret he wants. It’s more like a shortcut to information which would already be technically accessible —

SALEM

Sorry, I don’t exactly want to be in here for very long. Can we talk about what we came here to talk about?

JEDIDIAH

Right, yes, sure. (ahem) In accordance with the terms of my employment, I’ve… uh… I’m doing a mediation session. Yepp.

MARISOL

Hey, wasn’t the goo all gone yesterday?

JEDIDIAH

Comes back quick, I guess.

MARISOL

Let’s do some cleaning while we talk. Keep us occupied. Also, I did promise Lucille I would do it.

SALEM

Yeah, I don’t mind.

(shuffling)

JEDIDIAH

Sure. Alright, you two, state your names and perspectives into the microphone.

MARISOL

My name is Marisol Yuchengco, and I’m very concerned about the Elephant Man. I love Salem, but I don’t think her priorities are right. I’m… worried by the fact that she called a whole emergency meeting yesterday just to advocate for keeping the kids in the dark, when we could be focusing the same energy on actually dealing with the problem. 

SALEM

(huff)

My name is Salem de La Marnierre, and while I agree that the Elephant Man is a problem, there’s no need to involve the children. What, do we expect the kids to help us catch him? No, it’s our responsibility to take care of these issues before the kids have to worry about them. They’re here to have fun, for heaven’s sake. Also, I’m sorry, Jedidiah, but Sydney is out of control, and that deserves priority too. He has a long history of making his emotional instability the whole camp’s problem, and the kids don’t deserve to have to deal with that.

JEDIDIAH

Right. Okay. Thank you, both. 

SALEM

I also love Marisol. But I cannot believe she’s okay with Sydney telling the children how terribly alone he is every morning!

MARISOL

Hey, that’s an exaggeration! He works hard to be cheerful for the kids!

SALEM

Not hard enough, babe. Everyone in a five-mile radius knows about his abandonment issues. Am I the only one who thinks the staff of a summer camp should focus on the campers?

JEDIDIAH

I, Salem… you… I mean, with all due respect, you don’t really talk to Sydney on a personal level. I do, and th-there is a lot that he works hard to keep to himself for the sake of the kids.

MARISOL

Exactly. And — and taking care of the Elephant Man is focusing on the campers! They’re in danger, right? It’s important for them to feel safe and happy, but when push comes to shove, I think we should focus on their physical safety.

JEDIDIAH

Right. Well — I mean — I do agree with you on principle. But in this particular situation… 

MARISOL

What makes this situation so different?

JEDIDIAH

Well, I, uh, I actually don’t think that— like… 

SALEM

What has he done to endanger the kids? Listen, obviously, obviously, it’s a problem that a random guy is running around taking stuff from us. But I don’t think it’s a problem we have to get the kids involved with, because he honestly doesn’t seem interested in them. I mean — have any of the kids even actually seen him? Because their stories about him come off to me like the products of a kid’s imagination.

MARISOL

Are you saying he’s not real?

SALEM

I’m saying that we’re making a bunch of imaginative kids paranoid over something that isn’t even their problem.

MARISOL

We can’t know that… we can’t know anything about him. We don’t know what he wants or what he’s capable of. It can’t hurt for everyone to be prepared.

SALEM

If this were a decently managed summer camp, the guy would have been carted off on day two, and we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

MARISOL

I… yeah. That’s true.

(Salem flushes a toilet)

SALEM

This camp is a toilet.

(Marisol laughs)

SALEM

Can we at least agree that Sydney’s stream of consciousness is not the right way to deliver this information to the kids? We could all — work together on some kind of — official statement about the Elephant Man, that is phrased in a non-scary way, that we agree to tell to the kids. Just letting Sydney say whatever comes to mind about this issue is a recipe for disaster. And it’s already started having consequences.

MARISOL

Sydney has the most experience with the Elephant Man. He’s qualified to talk about it.

SALEM

Sydney… tends to get very swept up in what he’s feeling.

MARISOL

That… is really rude… 

SALEM

It’s just the kind of person he is.

MARISOL

So we shouldn’t take him seriously when he says he’s afraid?

SALEM

So we shouldn’t offer him a pulpit to preach from!

JEDIDIAH

Okay, listen. I don’t… I recognize my bias, but I also don’t really like how you’re talking about Sydney.

(Salem groans)

JEDIDIAH

At the same time… I don’t think there’s anything the Elephant Man can do to hurt anyone. Like, he’s just a- a guy. Just one, weird guy in a world with much bigger problems, I mean, what is the big deal? Marisol, you fought him, and he just ran off. I mean, Lucille keeps a flamethrower. Yeah, it’d be nice if this guy was gone, but it would also be nice if the extortionist penguins were gone, and we don’t hold council meetings over them.

SALEM

Jedidiah, listen. I respect you. You’re one of the few people around here who usually uses his head.

MARISOL

Unlike Sydney?

SALEM

That’s — okay, that’s not fair. 

MARISOL

It’s not fair the way you act like Sydney is some kind of — I don’t know, some lunatic who can’t be trusted to speak for himself. 

SALEM

I’m not trying to be mean, you guys, I’m not. I don’t enjoy hurting Sydney’s feelings. But he’s an adult entrusted with the care of children! I — there are certain responsibilities that come with that and he’s just ignoring them!

JEDIDIAH

I’m sorry, I — nobody here cares about the kids like Sydney does. You can say that he’s not acting right, but you can’t say he doesn’t try.

SALEM

Okay, okay how about this: Sydney is trying to do what he thinks is right. He does not know what is right.

MARISOL

What’s he doing wrong? Oversharing? If you — if you think he’s talking a little too much about how bad his mental state is, then doesn’t — doesn’t that mean we should try harder to help him?

SALEM

You like everyone, Marisol, and you want to give everyone a fair chance, and fight on everyone’s behalf. And I love that about you, but it doesn’t always — work. Sometimes you have to be honest with yourself that — trying to help certain people in certain situations can make things worse for everyone.

MARISOL

And what about me?

SALEM

(stopping what she’s doing)

… Sorry?

MARISOL

I’m terrified by the way that man made me feel. What about my safety?

SALEM

Of course that’s important to me, but —

MARISOL

What about Sydney’s safety? Even if the kids are totally fine, we have camp personnel being actively stalked and harassed. And I’m — it seems like I’m the only one who cares about this at all. Nobody else seems to care or even see it as an emergency for us, and I’m just — confused! And kind of hurt, because it’s like — it feels kind of like people don’t care about me. And I can only imagine Sydney feels that way times ten.

(Salem struggles to speak)

MARISOL

I’m sorry. I hate talking to you like this.

SALEM

It’s fine.

MARISOL

I just want people to care about this situation.

SALEM

I care, alright? I care about Sydney. I want him to be safe, and I want you to be safe too… 

JEDIDIAH

Nn. I’m… I’m not trying to argue with either of you here. But I’m kind of confused, because it seems like… nobody is thinking about this the same way I am… I — Marisol, what makes you think he’s any different than the other stuff that happens around here?

MARISOL

Because it feels different, because I’m very scared, and Sydney is too. Shouldn’t that be enough? 

JEDIDIAH

Well — I suppose — but… everything takes nuance and looking at the — the context of the broader world and the patterns that have played out here over the past few years, I — I don’t see anything that, like—

SALEM

I think she has a point, actually. Even if this guy is not a threat… your wellbeing is important. You’re right that I haven’t devoted… enough energy to that.

MARISOL

It’s okay. It’s… good of you to be so focused on the kids. I can’t be upset about that. 

SALEM

Mm. But I should focus on you too.

MARISOL

It’d be nice, definitely. 

SALEM

I love you, I’m sorry.

MARISOL

I love you too. You may have a point about Sydney, I understand, but let’s handle that later, okay? 

SALEM

Mhm. 

JEDIDIAH

Man. Did you guys really need me for this?

(they both laugh)

SALEM

We are pretty good at resolving stuff on our own.

MARISOL

I guess I just got a bit anxious… I wanted to make sure someone was there to keep this from becoming a real fight. Just in case. Sorry if we wasted your time, Jedidiah.

JEDIDIAH

Nah, nah, it’s… it’s fine. Sydney likes that I do this… the mediation stuff. So… it’s good.

MARISOL

Listen, if you think there should be… some kind of rules in place about what Sydney can and can’t say to the kids, I… That’s not unreasonable. But… can you focus on dealing with the Elephant Man? Can you help me get everyone else to focus on it too.

SALEM

Yes… yes okay. 

MARISOL

Okay. I think I’m going to call my one meeting in the next few days, and I’m going to tell Lucille that she needs to do something. 

SALEM

Yeah. I’ll back you up, okay?

MARISOL

Mm. Thank you.

SALEM

I’m sorry that my actions got you in trouble yesterday, by the way.

MARISOL

It’s alright. That wasn’t really your fault. Thank you anyways, though. And… I’m sorry for getting so mad at you.

SALEM

It’s alright, hon. I love you, alright?

MARISOL

I love you too. 

JEDIDIAH

Right! Well… that was a pretty successful one. Usually I have to do a lot more… you know… actually mediating. Maybe you guys should ask for sessions more often.

MARISOL

(chuckling)

I hope we don’t have to.

JEDIDIAH

Session adjourned?

MARISOL

I think so.

SALEM

Yeah, it’s good with me. Marisol, can you get the mop and the bucket? Gotta take this stuff back to the admin building… 

JEDIDIAH

I’ll be right out, you two. I’m gonna get rid of this tape.

SALEM

Right, that… good luck, I guess.

MARISOL

Right behind you, hun.

MARISOL

Where is everyone… ?

SALEM

(calling back)

Seems like something weird’s going on out here.

JEDIDIAH

Wish I was surprised… 

(sigh) Sydney, I, I tried to defend you. I hope you would feel like I did a good job. Part of me wishes you could hear it… 

Ahh. It’d be manipulative to show you. I’d only be causing trouble. But… (sigh) I’ll always try to defend you… 

Christ, yeah, I can’t show him this. I promised I’d destroy it anyways. Whatever. 

(Jedidiah opens a stall door and tosses the recorder in a toilet)

(toilet flushes) 

(end music)

Today’s episode was written by Blue Mayfield and Nicholas Belov. The part of Jedidiah Martin was played by Nicholas Belov. The part of Salem de La Marnierre was played by Crystal Lee. The part of Marisol Yuchengco was played by JV Hampton-VanSant. 

Camp Here & There is the sole intellectual property of its production company, Mayfield and Belov. All music composed by Will Wood, and produced by Jonathon Maisto. Sound editing by Blue Mayfield, Beetlesprite, and Emily Safko. Special thanks to our patrons: Sarchivist, and River Attinger.

For behind-the-scenes material, exclusive canonical content, interactive events, and early episode access, consider signing up for our patreon, at patreon.com/mayfieldandbelov. Our Discord server is a great place to meet like-minded fellows and discuss today’s episode. Find the link at mayfieldandbelov.com. Lastly, if you’d like to support us, the best thing you can do is to spread the word about the show.

Thank you for listening to Camp Here & There, and remember: Poetry is only dangerous if you allow it to be.

(radio static)

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(radio static)

Mayfield & Belov presents: Camp Here & There

Episode 14: The Stones in Toilets

(opening theme)

(the intercom clicks on)

SYDNEY

Kids, we need to have a discussion — a discussion of real importance. A topic so deadly serious, the fate of the camp hangs in the balance. A responsibility which, if mishandled, could pitch this whole Summer camp institution right off the rails and into the dark canyons of hell. Have you guessed it? That’s right, children: we need to talk about keeping the bathrooms clean.

It’s one of those responsibilities we all share. Even I do my part! When the Summer ends and you kids and your counselors all go away, there’s nobody left at the campsite but me and Lucille, and, well, she’s not gonna do the chores. So it pretty much comes down to me to keep this camp ship-shape — and yes, that does include the sanitorium and the stone toilets within! I’ve got to do it, campers, because nobody else is going to. 

Especially not the snarling, stinking beast that has recently taken up residence in the sanitorium — a creature which nobody has ever seen with their own eyes, but which we can all hear sneaking around and growling at us through cracks in the walls whenever we dare intrude upon the urine-soaked labyrinth it has made its home.

Trust me, kids — that thing is useless!

Anyway, what I’m saying is, uh… ethics! Responsibility! Community-mindedness! If I can do it, so can you! I’m not going to name names, but to the cabin which has been assigned bathroom-cleaning duty for the morning: please understand that we’ve all got to chip in here. If you use that bathroom, you’ve also got to clean it. We are functionally a self-sustaining, isolated community in the depths of the wilderness, and it only makes sense that we’d all give as much as we get.

JUNIPER

Ah. Heh. That’s their whole problem, actually!

SYDNEY

Eh?

JUNIPER

Eh, you mind? I wanted to borrow your voice-loudener-mabob.

JEDIDIAH

His… microphone?

JUNIPER

(bemused

Oi, s’that what they’re calling this thing? Blimey. What a little marvel.

JEDIDIAH

Have you never seen… a microphone before?

JUNIPER

Have you?

JEDIDIAH

I’m in this room a lot, so. Yes.

JUNIPER

Well, you know. Back in my old hometown of Legsworth, heh, we didn’t have no fancy devices of this like.

JEDIDIAH

You didn’t have microphones?

JUNIPER

You know how it is! Small town on the English coast!

SYDNEY

Yeah, Jeddie. You know how it is. 

JEDIDIAH

I’m just — microphones were invented well over a hundred years ago. In order for a person to be completely unfamiliar with them, they — I —

JUNIPER

Gotta say, Jeddie, m’boy, you’re straining my int’rest with this, eh, science-n’-history tosh. No offense.

JEDIDIAH

None taken? I think? What did you — (to Sydney) what did he just say?

SYDNEY

(giggling

Don’t worry.

JUNIPER

Ah. No matter, no matter. Water under the roof! Sydney, good man, your michaelphone?

SYDNEY

Yes, sure, okay. Kids, uh — this is Counselor Juniper, who’s with me this morning. and he’s got — what I can only assume is an extremely important announcement to make. Juniper, you have the floor.

JEDIDIAH

(whispering)

Seriously, what did he say?

JUNIPER

(tap tap tap) ‘Ello ‘ello ‘ello, er… can you ‘ear me? 

… 

They aren’t replying. Sydney, how do I know they can hear me?

SYDNEY
They’re not — they aren’t supposed to reply. 

JEDIDIAH

They don’t have any way to reply. It’s a one way thing, it’s — it links to the loudspeakers.

JUNIPER

Oh, bally well, then. I’ll just assume they’re all ignoring me, like they always do.

So, er — you fine people all probably know that my cabin, Cabin Dung Beetle, is home to a, er, a real rebellious crowd. Couldn’t be prouder of ’em, really; they’re good fellows, jolly good fellows, all and one. But I, ah — they’re troublemakers sometimes, aren’t they, and today they’ve decided to raise another stink. 

Haha, get it? Stink? Because of the loo? It’s the loos is the problem.

Y’see, ever since that mysterious creature started slinking around the twisting halls of the sanitorium, nobody goes in there anymore. Everyone’s scared some many-fanged monstrosity’s gonna leap right up outta the loo while they’re doin’ their business, aren’t they? Don’t want to get a buttcheek ripped off, no sir. And I sympathize! I do sympathize. I, myself, I’d much rather wait in line to use the one loo in the administration building than risk an encounter with the ever-elusive Beast of the Bathroom. And yes, I’m talking about the same loo in the administration building that Jedidiah’s always cooped up in for what feels like hours at a time. What are you doin’ in there, Jedidiah? Haha. Don’t mind me. Just taking the piss.

JEDIDIAH

I — what?

SYDNEY

(through laughter)

Juniper — dude, don’t- don’t curse. You’re talking to the kids.

JUNIPER

Right you are, chap; do forgive me. Anyhows, the point is that since nobody is using the sanitorium, my campers don’t see a point in cleaning it. But listen, I went to Rowan about this issue — great fellow, that Rowan; good friend of mine, very handsome, helped me out of many a scrape — and he said that he’s actually been in there since the monster moved in, and do you know what he saw?

JEDIDIAH

What?

JUNIPER

Grime! Gunk! Mountains of it, green and sticky, dripping down the walls! The working theory is that the —

SYDNEY

The same mysterious entity which gives the sanatorium its snarling ambiance and charming scent also seems to excrete, or otherwise encourage, the development of interminable measures of grime!

JUNIPER

What? No. We think the monster is leaking goo everywhere.

SYDNEY

That’s… what I said.

JUNIPER

Well, speak the Queen’s English if you want me to comprehend you, oi? Anyhows, lads and ladettes, that’s the whole of my announcement. I’ll leave you in Sydney’s care. Cheerio, now!

(he gets up)

SYDNEY

Alright, Cabin Dung Beetle, you heard your counselor. There’s plenty to do in there, so get scrubbing away! There’s a sense of community in it for ya!

Oh, and, as for the typical announcements… the time’s 8:67AM, the sky is a dusty pink, and today’s breakfast is inside-out-pumpkins! They say not to eat the seeds or you’ll grow a pumpkin in your stomach, and it’ll steal all your nutrients until you wither and die! That’s supposed to be discouraging, but I, for one, would be pretty excited for such a turn of events. To create new life just by living — to feed myself directly to nature — to exchange my mortal existence for that of a noble squash? It sounds positively romantic. I’ve always wanted to be killed by something that loved me.

For this morning’s activities — Cabin Dung Beetle, you’ll be able to participate as soon as your cleaning is finished — Joshua will be holding a jump rope contest to see who can perform the most impressive cherry jerries, tsunami sirens, and tongue tanglers. Yvonne is hosting The Gamer Hour 3, and Warren has prepared a morning of candy bracelet making! If I read this correctly, it appears the candy is insect flavored! A taste that can’t be… beet…le! 

(Sydney and Jedidiah laugh together)

Ah, one last bit of news. Soren is on cabin arrest for the next week as consequence for his magical misdemeanors yesterday, so you won’t be seeing much of him unless you’re a Cabin Ladybug kid. 

In a Summer camp environment, cabin arrest is the harshest punitive measure we can administer unto a counselor — short of firing them, of course, but Lucille can’t fire Soren because he’s actually paying her to let him work here. Quite a lot of money each Summer, if I’m not mistaken. He recently came into a massive inheritance under mysterious circumstances, and this is what he chooses to spend it on — now that’s camp spirit! 

Not that I endorse the man. Yesterday’s display was… whatever the opposite of “camp spirit” is. Camp flesh?

Anyway, that’s it for this morning — enjoy your meal! 

(the intercom clicks off)

(intermission music)

(the intercom clicks on)

SYDNEY

Alright, campers. Hello… good afternoon. The time is 12:83PM. Let’s just get it out there: the sanitorium remains distinctly un-un-uncleaned.

But — to be fair — it’s not as though Cabin Dungbeetle didn’t try. You see, after my rousing speech about community-mindedness and social responsibility, the children of Cabin Dungbeetle did march dutifully into the sanatorium, intent on ridding it of the oppressive muck. But mere moments later, they all came stampeding out, screaming their heads off! According to reports from the scene, the kids claim to have encountered something truly appalling in there — something so horrific that all children should rightly be exempt from bathroom-cleaning duty for all time, lest today’s harrowing encounter repeat itself. Within the dark, dizzying stretches of the sanatorium, the children ran into none other than… the Elephant Man.

Though Lucille did not technically, officially relieve the kids of duty, they’ve refused to re-enter the bathroom, and I don’t blame them a bit. A slithering monstrosity living in the pipes, I can handle. But the thought of that freak watching me do my business? It’s enough to make me want to board up the sanatorium door and declare it an uninhabitable zone.

There’s further issue, though. See, as soon as the Elephant Man was spotted, Counselor Salem quickly volunteered to brave the maze to try and locate that devilish pachyderm. And after losing herself in those ever-shifting halls for a few hours, she emerged with the firm conviction that the Elephant Man has, in fact, never even set foot in our humble ablutionary facilities. Of course, this raises the question: where does the Elephant Man go to go? And it also raises another, slightly less important side-question: did the Cabin Dungbeetle kids lie to get out of bathroom duty?

Would a child really do that? Just come to Summer Camp and tell lies? I don’t think it’s fair to assume such a thing. Listen, my little fledgelings, I know exactly what it’s like when you keep saying you’re in danger and the people who have the power to help you just don’t take it seriously. I want you to know that I 100% believe you. The Elephant Man was in that bathroom. He’s got to use it now and again, right? The alternative is… truly too terrible to contemplate.

(sigh) But Counselor Salem is… firm in her stance that he was never in there, and many around camp seem to think that Cabin Dungbeetle’s… admittedly troubled reputation… is reason enough to assume that they’re all lying. Now we’ve got kids and counselors at each other’s throats at a time where we should be coming together to face a community concern!

So, now… I feel I’ve got no choice but to step in. Kids… I hoped it would never have to come to this, but you’ve all forced my hand. In order to resolve this conflict before it consumes us all… I’m going to have to do it. I’m going to sing the Camp Cooperation song.

I know. I’m sorry! I know. I… you have to believe me, this is going to hurt me as much as it’s going to hurt you. But I’ve tried… playing Mr. Nice Nurse. I’ve tried to give you all time to sort yourselves out on your own, and it’s not working, and… this is where we’ve come to. This is what’s necessary now.

I promise, when the song is finally over… we’ll be able to smile again. Hold tight to your neighbor, now. You’ll need each other to get through this.

One.

Two.

Three.

Let’s all learn to cooperate

Teamwork makes me feel great

Let’s chip in and carry that weight

We’ll meet a dismal fate

If we can’t learn to work as one

Everything’s gonna come undone

And that will not be too much fun

There’s only one way to survive

For humans as a species

Society is in a nosedive—

(door opens)

Ah, Salem! What a pleasant surprise —

SALEM

Hey, finish up your sermon and come with me.

SYDNEY

Ah —uh — sorry? Why?

SALEM

I’m declaring a staff meeting.

SYDNEY
Ah! Ah, of course. You see, kids, every counselor is granted the authority to declare one mandatory staff meeting per year. It’s a big deal that Salem is cashing this privilege in right now! I wonder what it could be about?

SALEM

Sydney, Sydney, Sydney, ta gueule, ta gueule, ta gueule! The children don’t need this information, Sydney! Stuff like this is exactly why we need a meeting!

SYDNEY

Uhm, alright… can I — can I finish the announcement?

(Salem groans)

SYDNEY

I still haven’t told them what they’re having for lunch . . . . .

SALEM

Say what you need to.

SYDNEY

Uh, today’s lunch is mozzarella sherbet with ostrich cream and a side of ostrich zest. For this afternoon’s activity, we have a campwide T-ball game played with the eye of the ostrich. I miss that ostrich… anyway, enjoy your meal – okay okay I’m coming!!!! [CLICK] 

(the intercom clicks off)

(intermission music)

(the intercom clicks on)

SYDNEY

Well. Good evening, my little… humans. The time is 19:04PM, and… it appears I owe you all an apology. 

At the… staff meeting this afternoon… I was… formally… let know… that I… well, it seems people feel that I share too much information over the loudspeakers. Certain members of the camp staff have suggested that my candor regarding camp issues can lead to widespread anxiety among you kids; not to mention that kids who harbor too much knowledge of our delicate inner workings might be… enabled to find ways around, our, um, important rules and regulations, as Cabin Dungbeetle has… supposedly done.

I… don’t think you were lying, kids, but even if you were… then it’s my fault. I shouldn’t have… sensationalized a serious issue like the Elephant Man. I shouldn’t be… telling you when I’m… scared, and… what I’m scared about. So… I am sorry. Uhm. And, it seems, I will be cleaning the bathrooms today, for… disciplinary purposes… so, you don’t need to worry about it! I. Uh. Yeah. So that’ll be fun. I like cleaning. I, uh… I can take an ibuprofen if I… yeah.

So it’s all good, and… from here on out, I vow to be more careful about what I share over the announcements.

… That being said… I can’t in good conscience let you wallow in uncertainty. If you have any questions of any kind about… anything at all… you are welcome to come down to my office and talk to me. Okay? (sigh) Okay.

Dinner tonight will be ostrich smoothies with huckleberry gravy. Plus, you each get one slice from the man-sized citrus pie Matthew made with bona-fide, fresh oranges purchased from our nearest big-box grocery store. HarmlessMart: “Trust us. Trust us.”

Okay, campers, that’s all for tonight. Sleep peacefully, and I… mm. Well. Enjoy your meal, okay? See you tomorrow. 

(the intercom clicks off)

(intermission music)

(recorder clicks on)

SYDNEY

Evening, ghost recorder. It iiiiis — oh, you’ll never guess this one — 25:25PM! Aha.

… I got yelled at pretty badly today. Not by Salem; she… to be fair, I don’t think she wanted me to get punished or yelled at or anything. She just… [SIGH] wanted me to change my habits… and I, I get it, if I’m being honest; I really understand where she’s coming from. The world is a scary place, and… it can be hard to have fun if you always have to think about the scary stuff. And she just wants the kids to have fun. But I just don’t think we do them any favors in the long term by sparing them the gorey details! If they don’t know just how dangerous it is out there, how can we expect them to keep safe? How can we ensure they’ll make good decisions when we aren’t around? We can’t protect them forever. They’re gonna find out how awful everything is one way or another, and it’s better they hear it from us than learn it the hard way.

… Also, teenagers aren’t dumb. They know when we hide stuff from them… and speaking from experience, when I was a kid, and the adults kept stuff from me… fuck, I would just try and figure it out for myself. And usually end up getting hurt. That’s a shitty, lonely way to live. I don’t want to subject these kids to that.

… 

(sigh) Okay, I’ve got to go clean the bathrooms. I didn’t tell the kids, but Marisol was ordered to help me, since she was sort of my “accomplice” in telling everyone about the Elephant Man… which is totally unfair, obviously. Even Salem didn’t want that. But I digress… with Marisol there, it might even be kinda fun. But once I’m done, I’ll definitely be too tired for a chat like this, not to mention it’ll undoubtedly cause a pain flare-up, so I wanted to knock it out beforehand. 

Alright… (he stretches) see you tomorrow. Wish me luck with my cleanin’.

(recorder clicks off)

(intermission music)

(recorder clicks on)

Funniest thing! So me and Marisol head out, ready for a night of (inhale) communal responsibility, and, y’know, cleaning is not a big problem for me, I don’t mind cleaning usually, but I have a… very bad goo allergy, and some pretty bad pain, so the prospect of going into a room filled floor-to-ceiling with glop that I need to scoop… well, I was kind of bracing myself for it. But when we get in there, into the sanatorium, it’s absolutely spotless. Still humid and smelly, but all the goo that Juniper talked about had just been — scraped off the walls, I guess, by someone. Who would go to all that trouble? I really don’t have any guesses, but they left a calling card of some kind: a tall, red candle burning on the floor, emanating the scent of… mischief.

Well, I’m grateful, I guess. (small noise of amusement) And I’m sure my office is grateful I came back, because Jedidiah brought one of his clocks in here and he was fiddling with its inner workings when I walked in. Screws and little gears scattered all over my desk. I don’t know why I bother trying to make him do the job he’s here to do. Or… anything.

Damn. Okay. Marisol wanted to hang out with me tonight by the bonfire, so… I think I’m gonna do that. Hoping it goes well, right? Not that things ever go badly with Marisol. She’s pretty easy to hang out with.

So… see you tomorrow, I guess? Rest well, ghost recorder. 

(recorder turns off)

Today’s episode was written and produced by Blue Mayfield and Nicholas Belov. The part of Sydney Sargent was played by Blue Mayfield. The part of Jedidiah Martin was played by Nicholas Belov. The part of Juniper Sloan was played by Tom Laflin. The part of Salem de La Marnierre was played by Crystal Lee. Camp Here & There is the sole intellectual property of its production company, Mayfield and Belov. All music composed by Will Wood, and produced by Jonathon Maisto. Sound editing by Blue Mayfield, Beetlesprite, and Emily Safko. Special thanks to our patrons: Sophia Frank, and Cruz Godar.

For behind-the-scenes material, exclusive canonical content, interactive events, and early episode access, consider signing up for our patreon, at patreon.com/mayfieldandbelov. Our Discord server is a great place to meet like-minded fellows and discuss today’s episode. Find the link at mayfieldandbelov.com. Lastly, if you’d like to support us, the best thing you can do is to spread the word about the show.

Thank you for listening to Camp Here & There, and remember: that thar? What sleeps among the bushes? Aye, it’s neither man nor mole. Ye’d best leave it to its slumber.

(radio static)

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Mayfield & Belov presents: Camp Here & There

Episode 13: The Mother of Stones

(opening theme)

(the intercom clicks on)

SOREN

(frantic and enthused)

Hello, children. You’re hearing me instead of your usual breakfast-hour news-oracle on account of the fact that today… is… the day. Yes. Yes! Today is the day for… 

It. 

Yes… It. That’s right. After countless man-powered-hours of thankless labor… after years spent poring over bound tomes and cavern walls to learn the secrets of this world… the time for It has finally arrived.

Hear this, children. Listen well. Today, when your “lunch” is done, each and every one of you will travel Eastwards into the forest, opposite the lake. You will walk until you reach a small stream surrounded by slippery, mossy rocks. You will travel Southwards from there until you reach a stone altar of my construction. You cannot — will not — must not miss it! 

And in this holy temple nature has made, with the sky for our stained glass and the trees for our steeple, we will bow at the altar. We will give thanks to our dearest Mother of Stones. For the shambling second life she gives. For the mewling first life she frees us of. And she will share with us a spark… a tiny yet awesome fraction… of her beautiful, terrible power.

Come now, come on, come quick! The day has finally come where all of my hard work pays off, and I’m certain you will be pleased with the results. You may scoff now, you may shake your heads in heretical derision, but today you will see! The truth of this world is known only to the dead who live, looked after by the Mother! 

(door opens)

SYDNEY

Hey, what are you doing on my microphone?

SOREN

I’m sharing the good news!

SYDNEY

(dejected)

Get off there, it’s time for breakfast. 

SOREN

Once more, children! Heed my words!

SYDNEY

Move!

(shuffling and scrabbling)

(door slams shut)

SYDNEY

So sorry for the disturbance, everyone. I was a little late getting in here, and it appears that Soren took advantage of the empty chair. Let’s move away from whatever that conversation was about, shall we?

(bell chime)

The time is 08:72, and the sky is a light, cool gray, like the skin of a relatively fresh corpse. Our chef, Matthew, seems to have tired himself out yesterday in the process of realizing his sublime culinary dreams — and can you blame him? Yesterday’s adventure in dessert art was a tale fit to be sung forever by the criers of history, and known by the voyeurs who live tomorrow and covet today. But he wanted me to tell you that this morning, breakfast is going to be a little slow… that’s right: it’s escargot!

(he slams the table)

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Get it! Slow!? Because it’s snails! Whoo. That guy is funny.

Anyway, yeah! Snails for breakfast. Vegans can crunch on the shells. Those things are all calcium, no protein! Just ask Jedidiah. He’s got a debilitating fear of shelled animals, and educates himself on such matters in order to ensure his safety.

By the way, I’m responsible for letting you all know that today is the government mandated Normal Day, the most Normal Day of the year! Only normal things are allowed to happen today, so I hope you’re very familiar with your own routine. I expect you all to hang out in your typical spots, navigate the world in a characteristic way, and say only predictable things. And if I spot any of you misbehaving today… I’ll do like I always do and passively encourage it. 🙂

Today’s activities will be… balloon animals. Enjoy your meal! And don’t… don’t do Soren’s thing, huh? I shouldn’t have to tell you this, but… definitely don’t do what Soren asked you to. Whatever exactly he has planned, it’s probably dangerous, and definitely illegal, so don’t get yourselves — or your counselors! — mixed up in it.

Okay, bye! 

(the intercom clicks off)

(intermission music)

(the intercom clicks on)

(bell chime)

SYDNEY

Good afternoon, my little tardigrades. The time is 12:83, the sky is rather… sallower than it was this morning… but I’ve got some good news to report otherwise: none of you attended Soren’s ritual! This is great, since if you had indulged Soren’s freaky, Freudian obsession with death and mothers and deadly mothers, you would’ve been violating not only common sense but also the government mandate which insists we only do things we would normally do, for today. 

But there’s bad news too. Despite your masterfully executed campaign of indifference… Soren’s ritual worked anyway.

You’re all probably aware by now that a white rabbit has been reanimated. It’s been spotted bouncing around camp, missing much of its skin and most of its meat; and it’s being followed around by Soren, who prances and claps in the most joyous fashion. Field reports indicate that the moldering animal is entirely uninterested in the three things which most rabbits desire above all: water, oxygen, and keeping all of its limbs attached to its body. To wit, it didn’t even blink when its fluffy foot happened to break off as it bobbed and weaved between your ruined towers. The beast does not twitch or shudder with the hasty heart of a lively rabbit, and its red eyes do not gleam with recognition when it chances upon a cleverly-placed carrot. It moves as though it was made… this rotting abomination is clearly nothing more than an inanimate object on a magical string. Soren may be convinced that he has given this creature second life, but this act amounts to little more than picking the corpse up in his bare hands and wiggling it around.

This should come as a surprise to nobody! As I’m sure you’ve all learned in school, necromancy is both illegal and completely impossible. The fact that one of our counselors even attempted to do something like this — on Normal Day, no less!! — is enough to land our whole arrangement in hot water, if I’m being honest. I’m sure it’ll be fine — Lucille is very good at getting law enforcement to leave her alone — but it does mean that we can’t afford to raise a stink about this. You can’t go home and tell your parents about today, you know? And we can’t call in the Corpse Exterminators to get rid of the rabbit, because we do not need the magical authorities shifting their gaze onto any of the numerous code violations that Lucille’s unique, creative management style necessitates. Our best option here is to carry on with Normal Day like we’d planned, and wait for the rabbit to simply falter to a stop. It shouldn’t take long — Soren is clearly not an experienced magic user.

Moving on — Matthew’s still feeling a bit slow, so today’s lunch is sloth meat on a stick, and vegans get turtle shells dipped in molasses.  Today’s afternoon activities are balloon animals. I’d like to remind everyone to keep up with the business as usual, in order to combat all the abnormality that Soren is introducing to the day. I’m immensely proud of you all for being so normal thus far. Normal things which happened this morning include:

The time when Timmy walked to the bathroom.

The time when Salem fluffed her pillow.

The time when Diana ate a cannoli.

The time when Jedidiah faxed a letter to the IRS.

And the time when a small, nondescript leaf sprouted from the skin on the tip of my finger.

Alright, kids, that’s all for this afternoon! I hope you —

(door opens)

JEDIDIAH

Sydney. Hey, are you almost done?

SYDNEY

Oh! Hi, Jedidiah.

JEDIDIAH

Hi. Can we talk in private?

SYDNEY

Jeddie, I tell this to everyone who asks- 

JEDIDIAH

Nnnng. 

LUCILLE

Jedidiah, I need to talk to you- 

JEDIDIAH

What? 

LUCILLE

-in private.

SYDNEY

What?

(the intercom clicks off)

(intermission music)

(the intercom clicks on)

(bell chime)

SYDNEY

Today was the worst normal day ever. 

First, Soren kicked off the daily announcements, getting spittle all over my microphone in the process. He tried to convince you all to join him in the deepwoods for a very unusual and possibly dangerous ritual around a stone statue of someone’s mother — and despite our best attempts to ignore him, he carried out the ritual anyway, and ended up illegally sort-of-resurrecting a rabbit. Lucille broke routine by making an actual administrative decision for once, Jedidiah broke routine by involving himself in camp affairs, and then… we got a visit from the camp inspector.

All in all, a resoundingly pathetic stab at normalcy on behalf of our camp staff today. I’m very disappointed in you.

When Jedidiah finished meeting with Lucille after my last announcements, he asked me to help him catch and un-resurrect the rabbit. Un-resurrect? Un… resurrect… would that be “surrect”? Were we going to “surrect” the rabbit?

Anyway, according to Jedidiah, Lucille told him that the magical authorities had already caught wind of some unusual thaumaturgic activity in the area. It was likely they had already sent someone over to investigate us, and it seemed to Lucille that our only option was to rid the campgrounds of all evidence that any dubious magic had ever taken place on this day — and, understanding the severity of the situation, I had to agree.

First, Jedidiah engineered a complex trap involving a box propped up with a stick — not to catch the rabbit, of course; but to catch Soren. We put a carrot underneath it to lure Soren in, which didn’t work — although it’s impossible to tell whether that was because Soren isn’t partial to carrots, or if it was just because Counselor Juniper went for the carrot first. In case the kids of Cabin Dung Beetle were wondering where their counselor went — yeah, he’s still in that box. Anyway, we used Matthew’s last carrot on that gambit, so we had to try alternatives.

Boxes tripped with cabbage, cyanide, cardboard, beehive husks, T-bone steak, and fishing hooks all failed to capture Soren’s attention. I took a step back and asked myself: what does Soren covet most of all? Well, of course, a solution to death. And that’s when it hit me: while I obviously can’t put immortality under a propped-up box, I can lay down something which really helps take the sting out of the old finite-lifespan thing. I offered up one of my worms, the friendly future devourers of your corpse.

And Soren went for it! He lunged right into that box in his haste to grab the worm. And once he was in the box, the natural dimming effect of cardboard severed the magical connection between Soren and the rabbit… which means it should have stopped moving. But it didn’t! Despite Soren’s inability to control it, the rabbit remained quite animate. Had we not truly cut off the magic at its source? What was still powering this crime against decency?

The most likely answer was the stone ritual center which Soren built. But as Jedidiah and I looked up at the darkening sky, slowly turning a poisonous, bruise-like color, we realized that we didn’t have time to mount a forest expedition. In the time it would take to dismantle Soren’s construction, the camp would surely fall under the gaze of Ohio state’s magical magistrate. We had no choice but to resort to a rather extreme shortcut.

When I picked the rabbit up, it didn’t struggle. It didn’t twitch or breathe or… or anything, but it did turn its head on a column of exposed spine and look directly into my eyes. I couldn’t handle that. I handed it over to Jedidiah, who drew his mouth into a grim line and began dismantling the rabbit piece by piece. 

He snapped its remaining limbs off like fluffy little twigs… twisted its head off of its spinal cord… and all the while, it didn’t scream… it didn’t cry out in pain, or resist in the slightest… and I… I almost wish it had. Not that I’d want to see a creature in pain, but… it was somehow worse to see a creature violating every mandate of its animal instincts by simply accepting the pain. Choking down your screams when it hurts so much you feel like you might die… is something only humans should do.

I’m being silly. I know it wasn’t alive. All we did was take apart an object… a toy. Mmm… 

Anyway, that’s why we had you kids stay inside your cabins for a few minutes this afternoon. And once the rabbit was in pieces, we tossed them all into the lake, where the agents of decomposition would hopefully work overtime to make sure there was nothing to reanimate. When the camp inspector arrived, everything was business as usual on the campgrounds, although we did get a slap on the wrist for Cabin Silkworm’s outdated smoke alarm! So there’s Joshua making the rest of us look bad again. 

(sigh) But yeah, that’s what happened today. It was all very abnormal, and also pretty unpleasant. I wish I could say I hadn’t expected today to go something like this! But you kids were a beacon of normalcy through those trying times. I couldn’t be prouder, and I love you all.

On the final note of today’s announcements: I remind all campers and counselors to please stay wary of the Elephant Man, and report any sightings immediately to either Lucille or me. He’s still being spotted around camp almost every day, but Lucille has promised to do something about him, so keep her in the know!

Today’s dinner is… slug stir fry. Okay, Matthew, listen — that “slow breakfast” gag was great the first couple times, but come on, it’s not the kind of joke that’s gonna carry you through the whole day. It just doesn’t have that kind of… 

… 

Momentum.

(he slaps the table again0

HAHAHAHAHHAHAHA! Aha… oh — and tonight’s activities are animal balloons. 

Okay, have a good night! 

(the intercom clicks off)

(intermission music)

(recorder clicks on)

SYDNEY

Good evening, ghost recorder. The time is 25:25… time for my daily therapy! In which I am both client and therapist — or maybe you are the therapist? Well, either way, the big, long therapy couch is my desk chair.

I heard an interesting story today from one of the campers. At one point, Soren was arguing with Fennel, so the rabbit was left unsupervised. It hopped over to the outskirts towards the woods and it ran into the Elephant Man. And the Elephant Man picked it up, lifted his mask, you know, to try and enthrall the rabbit with his infectious zeal, and obviously it didn’t work, because it wasn’t alive, and that really freaked the Elephant Man out. He stood there for a few moments, just blinking down at the creature, and then retreated into a bush to spy on it from a distance.

I want to find that funny, but it’s hard to laugh. Even if all he’s doing is getting up to magical hijinks… I know I’m beating a dead horse, but the guy wants something from me, and he does something to me, and I don’t like that he just gets to be around no matter how much I protest!

(sigh) While me and Jedidiah were working together to get that rabbit today, I tried talking to him about this whole situation. I explained to him… why exactly the Elephant Man disturbs me so much, because I figured out why. It’s because the only thing I can control in my life is my own mind, and he takes that away from me.

It’s hard having no control over your own life. I have to stay here all year because if I go too long without Lucille’s care, I get too sick to walk. Since she’s the only person at camp with internet access, I have to go through her if I want something delivered… hell, what and even whether I eat is up to her. Then there’s the trials of everyday life on the planet Earth. Zombie rabbits, mercury rain… hyperallergenic goo, faceless deer and trees that try to slip their roots into your mouth and suck up your nutrients- yeah, life is hard even if you’re not disabled! 

But all of that is just physical. 

It’s all just stuff happening around me, and I can tune it out. I always have my mind to retreat into… a place where I retain total control. So having that… sanctuary violated… it’s an all-new type of disaster, and it… I really don’t know how to cope with it. The possibility that that man could permanently damage my ability to trust or control my own mind… I can’t think of anything more terrifying.

Anyway, I explained all that to Jedidiah while we were, y’know, prepping the box and staking it out. I was hoping it would motivate him to… do anything. But he just… tried to comfort me. Tried to reassure me that I’m safe. 

I don’t want to be safe… I want you to care about me.

(sigh) Well, that’s enough misery for one night. I’m going to head for bed… and I’m gonna try to get to sleep early, because I have been having some very interesting conversations with that red-suited man in my dreams and I’m eager to continue. Goodnight, then, ghost recorder. Don’t get into any trouble while I’m gone.

(recorder clicks off)

(closing music)

Today’s episode was written by Blue Mayfield and Nicholas Belov. The part of Sydney Sargent was played by Blue Mayfield. The part of Jedidiah Martin was played by Nicholas Belov. The part of Lucille Bertuccelli was played by Susan Dohan. The part of Soren Baltimore was played by Mikee Joaquin. Camp Here & There is the sole intellectual property of its production company, Mayfield and Belov. All music composed by Will Wood, and produced by Jonathon Maisto. Sound editing by Blue Mayfield, Beetlesprite, and Emily Safko. Special thanks to our patrons: Theo Hendry, Darby Burk, Viralsiren, and Blu Galaxy.

For behind-the-scenes material, exclusive canonical content, interactive events, and early episode access, consider signing up for our patreon, at patreon.com/mayfieldandbelov. Our Discord server is a great place to meet like-minded fellows and discuss today’s episode. Find the link at mayfieldandbelov.com. Lastly, if you’d like to support us, the best thing you can do is to spread the word about the show.

Thank you for listening to Camp Here & There, and remember: I am begging you not to anger it.

(radio static)

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(radio static)

Mayfield & Belov presents: Camp Here & There

Episode 12: The Love of Mother

(opening theme)

(the intercom clicks on)

(bell chime)

SYDNEY

Goooooood morrow, camperrrrrrs! The time is 8:60 AM, the globe on my desk has been spinning of its own accord since late last night, and the sky has become a very interesting shade of purple since the sun began its daily climb. It’s this sort of [appraising hum] milky lilac color… reminds me of the house where I lived for most of my childhood. I spent most of my time outside, of course, because it was — [HE CHUCKLES A BIT AS HE SAYS THIS] far too dirty in that house; not to mention that my mother was in there! — and in the backyard I “kept” — well, I say “kept”; I probably killed more of those plants than I kept alive, being a child and all — anyway, in the backyard there was this lovely, messy, waist-high garden of overgrown weeds dotted with washed-out lilacs. And I would pick them, and I would eat them, of course, and if my mother caught me she would say, “don’t eat the gosh darn flowers!”, but I say, if this benevolent universe didn’t want me eating flowers, it would’ve… given my mom enough money to buy actual food.

Ahem. Where was I?

Right! Good morning! Despite the last-minute theft that Cabin Dung Beetle tragically fell victim to, I’d say that yesterday’s tower-building contest was a rip-roaring success, and wouldn’t you all agree? My heart just melts whenever I look out the window and see our campsite dotted with these [CLICKS TONGUE] ruined, byzantine structures, built up and then torn down again by dint of your cooperation. They really send a message, don’t you think? A message that goes something like…  

THIS PLACE IS NOT A PLACE OF HONOR. WHAT IS HERE WAS DANGEROUS AND REPULSIVE TO US. THE DANGER IS STILL PRESENT, IN YOUR TIME, AS IT WAS IN OURS. THE DANGER IS TO THE BODY, AND IT CAN KILL. THIS PLACE IS BEST LEFT SHUNNED AND UNINHABITED.

… Yes, it’s all just so charming. I really couldn’t be prouder of you kids.

But, while the events of that day may have helped you kids to build strong, fire-forged bonds, it unfortunately also served to bring certain… latent… issues bubbling to the surface. Issues pertaining to your fine counselors, and their personal dynamics. Some of your counselors are nurturing competitive streaks, aren’t they? Some of the counselors almost sabotaged the whole purpose of the exercise by getting a bit too invested in winning and losing. So, kids, for today you’ll be staying here at camp with the only counselors who were normal about the contest yesterday, that being Warren, Rowan, Fennel, Mila, Matthew, and Gracie — and also Soren; because while disappearing into the woods all day is suspicious, at least it doesn’t tarnish the sanctity of camp spirit! What you all do today is up to all of them. I don’t know the details, (lowering his voice) but I hear Mila has some interesting plans involving… improvisation.

As for the rest of your counselors, we will all be participating in a series of cooperative games, contests, and sporting adventures, which I have devised for the purpose of teaching our camp staff how to be good winners and better losers. Call it a, mm, mandatory team-building exercise! Among the activities will be re-inventing electricity using only what reagents can be found in the forest; problem family trees, in which you vent your parental issues by arranging the branches and boughs of oak trees into intricate shapes which represent exactly how your mother failed you; and there’s rumors amongst the birds that a unicorn has recently been attacked and dismembered by a many-toothed predator in the deepest depths of the forest. The counselor to locate and collect the highest number of body parts wins the unicorn scavenger hunt! And there’s plenty more in store for you all today, but if you want to learn more, you’ll have to follow me into the woods… 

Today’s breakfast is eggs on coral imported directly from Hell, New Hampshire, with a side of bird juice. Campers, I wish you a good time with your interpretive activities; counselors, please meet me at the bonfire following breakfast. I remind you that this is a mandatory activity, and that means you, too, Jedidiah. 

Alrighty, then. Enjoy your meal! 

(the intercom clicks off)

(intermission music)

(a receiver clicks on)

SYDNEY

(among forest ambience)

Ho, campers, hail and well met! Thank you for joining me this fine 12:80 PM! Yes, I’m reporting live from deep in the woods to bring you the play-by-play on today’s Counselor Olympics. This neat little handheld microphone here is hooked right up to the speaker poles on the campgrounds, with the help of a very stretchy cord. Please be careful about running around today, everyone — this wire is pulled so tight it could slice right through you!

As soon as we made it out to the deepwoods, we started our day of team-building off with a forest obstacle course, graciously set up by our lake guard Mila last night. Then, after taking a quick break to treat our injuries, we moved on to the “re-inventing electricity” activity, which of course caused all of the counselors to groan. I know that it’s the most overdone team-building exercise of all time, but I say, hey, it’s a classic for a reason, right? 

Watching my coworkers lumber around the forest like temporally displaced physicists, desperately rifling through the leaves for the right materials to spark and channel the ancient, dangerous magic of electricity… it never gets old! After two hours, Counselor Marisol managed to provoke the clouds into producing lightning by throwing sticks and rocks at the sky, and everyone agreed to count that as a victory and move on to the next game. 

Now we’re at the scavenger hunt portion of the day —so far, your (coughing) intrepid counselors have found five unicorn legs, a tail, and what we think is a chunk of the flank. Still no horn, which is a darn shame — still holding out for that tasty, tasty horn sap! And when the scavenger hunt is complete, we’ll move onto the next activity of the day: glueing cotton balls to Joshua until he… I don’t know, dies? We’ll find out!

It’s been great fun. I think everyone has been enjoying themselves. And between you and me — look, of course, this is a friendly competition with no winners, no losers, and no scores of any kind. (whispering) But I’ve secretly devised my own points system and I wanna let you all know — Marisol is winning. That girl has a real sporting quality to her.

Also, contrary to everyone’s assumption, Jedidiah did join in with us today! He’s actually been participating in the contests! Which is quite funny, because he’s never been the athletic sort. He absolutely decimated the obstacle course, flailing his chicken limbs about and knocking over logs. Although, of course, his knack for engineering came in handy during the electricity hunt. By the time Marisol started harassing that cloud, he was well on his way to constructing a primitive electric motor out of tree nuts and creek water, just like the pioneers did. It’s all very delightful, b-but quite strange — I rather expected that if he came at all, he’d just sit down on a mossy stump and brood, yknow, dragging his hands down his face the way he does.

Oh, and there’s been one more unusual development. You all remember Counselor Marie Ann, right? Went missing a few days ago? Nobody really did anything to go looking for her or… or even complain or anything? I tried making a fuss about that, but every time I brought the topic up, I felt this… torturing phantom pain… as if sharp, horrible teeth were sinking into me… so I just kind of… shut up about it.

Anyway, I can now painlessly report that she’s back! 

Yes, soon after the games began we spotted her, lurking some ways back amidst the plum-trees and the sycamores, watching us with her empty eyes aglow. When we invited her over, she ran up and immediately CRUSHED the obstacle course! I mean, just put everyone else to shame, moving her body in ways… that bodies just don’t move.  And through the grisly bite marks all over her body, we could all see her joints and tendons rotating and stretching far beyond capacity…  

Truly an example for the rest of us! I mean, there’s a gal with camp spirit!

Alright, I hope you crazy kids have enjoyed yourselves just as much as we did this morning! For lunch today, you’ll be having ants on a log! Don’t worry — they aren’t real ants. But it is a real log! Have fun!

(a receiver clicks off)

(intermission music)

(a receiver clicks on)

SYDNEY

(among forest ambience)

Ahh… hi, campers, hello. We’re, uh — we’re on break from the games. I — I know it’s not nearly time for dinner yet… I don’t know if you all can even hear me, if you’re anywhere near the loudspeakers… But I just… I just need to talk through something. So. No need to pay close attention — no important announcements here — just keep on with your whatever and I’ll… I’ll talk. Okay? Cool.

I think… first of all, I think Jedidiah’s decision to participate has something to do with Lucille. I mean, a little more than something. Every time I look over there, she’s got him in a football huddle, muttering quietly but vehemently as if going over a game plan, while he just nods along. But that’s not all: every now and then, she comes up to me. Yeah! Lucille talking to me. 

I’ll be standing around, watching my coworkers wiggle, when suddenly she’s behind me, bending over to whisper in my ear. Hot breath and curly hair creep down my neck as her boney fingers alight upon my shoulders. I shiver — I haven’t been touched so gently in years.

“Wouldn’t it be funny,” she says, her voice curling with amusement, “if the course was rigged against Jedidiah?”

I open my mouth to object, but she cuts me off.

“Slick the obstacle course with sap before his turn. Adjust that branch, he’ll smack right into it. Hide his tree nuts, he’ll think he’s losing his mind… just a little extra challenge. Wouldn’t it be funny to watch him flail?”

I mean, yeah it would be funny. But all of this, the way she’s going about it… is just weird. When she’s done talking to me, she wisps right back over to him… adjusts his glasses, pats his collar down, gives him a big smile…  mm, she can’t have bad intentions for him, can she?

When I was a child, I spent a lot of time at Lucille’s house. I’d go over there when my mother — when she… when I didn’t want to be around her. Lucille’s house was so familiar — anytime I wanted, I could let myself in and sit right down at the table, like I lived there. It was cozy and safe, like a prison. I’d sit at the table for hours sometimes, wiping snot and smoke from my nose, engrossed by the taxidermy on the walls… all sorts of animals, but insects were her favorite. Butterflies, pretty little moths, wasps, tarantulas, all pinned up across the walls of that kitchen. 

Her food was cold and bland — comfortable, easy. I remember pristine, expensive furniture, all scuffed and scratched and smelly — I remember beautiful, flowery curtains against peeling, yellow wallpaper. 

I remember across the table, a thick, black frame around a family of centipedes, their corpses pinned and preserved. They were dead. I knew they were dead, and kept only in mockery, rather than as an extension of their existence like many wish to believe. It was a suppression of their idea, not a celebration. The frame made me feel… safe. There were no centipedes in that kitchen. Only the lack of them, dipped in alcohol and left to rot away on a paper towel. It made me sick. It felt like home. There were no centipedes in that kitchen.

There, and there alone, I was safe… not in my house, not in my room… my room… ah, my room was… ah. When I try to think of how Lucille’s house was laid out, it always seems to change. Did it have a second floor? Was that where I slept… ?

No, I didn’t sleep there. I didn’t live there… I… why would I live with Lucille? Ah…  

I… I’m sorry, campers. I… I always get a little overcome when I remember that time. I really miss it, is all. (sigh) And I don’t think she does…  

Anyway, I’ve been following Lucille’s instructions for a while, but it’s… not funny anymore. Jedidiah’s taking this really seriously… when he didn’t win the scavenger hunt, because I was moving the unicorn parts around whenever he got close, he looked like he hated himself. All of this is really not in line with the — cooperative spirit of the counselor games. It’s a team building exercise… it’s about us, not just him.

Okay. I think I know what I’ll do. I’m gonna talk to him about this… come clean and apologize, because I think I went too far. I — feel kinda bad doing this when it seems like Lucille wanted me to keep this a secret from him, but… well, if it really was just a prank, then it’s not that big a deal if I expose it, right?

Thank you for letting me ramble. It was a big help. Uhm. Have fun with the rest of your day. 

(a receiver clicks off)

(intermission music)

(the intercom clicks on)

(bell chime)

SYDNEY

Hello, campers. I, uh, I had a whole speech prepared for when we got back, about how the first annual counselor olympics was a unanimous triumph over our worst impulses, how things were really going to change around here. (sigh) All that feels silly now. There was no triumph. There will be no change. These stupid games probably won’t even be annual. Today was an absolute failure.

I don’t even want to go into detail about it… (inhale) but I will, because it’s what you kids deserve. After I talked to you earlier, I went and had a chat with Jedidiah about how hard a time he’d been having. I came clean — told him I’d been spiking his challenge. That it was Lucille’s idea, but I played along, because it seemed like harmless fun at first. And I asked him if he’d like me to ease it up. And to my surprise… he said no. In fact, he insisted that I make his challenge even harder.

“Got to do this,” he muttered, in that way that he mutters — you know the mutter. “I have to learn…”

Now, I felt plainly befuddled. I asked, “Gotta learn what? How to cooperate with your coworkers? Because honestly I think playing on hardmode isn’t the best way to develop that skill —”

But he shook his head. “I’ve just got to do better,” he explained, sounding like he didn’t think he should have to explain this. He shook a finger at me, a gesture composed of one part grim confidence and one part nervous resignation. “Give me a hard time, okay? We both deserve that.”

Confused and concerned, but unwilling to go against his wishes, I regret to admit that I tied the noose of competition even tighter around his neck. When it was his turn to be the seeker in hide and seek, I bribed sparrows with pine nuts to imitate the giggles of his fellow counselors and lead him astray. When it came time for the sack race, I filled his sack full of baked beans. And as the afternoon progressed, I noticed more and more counselors getting distracted by Jedidiah’s misadventures. Eventually, it was just Jedidiah tackling a bridge-building challenge alone while everyone else watched.

I tried to convince people to participate, but they no longer saw the point: these games were about Jedidiah now, not them. I tried again to convince Jedidiah to ease up, but he was too absorbed in his self-flagellation to acknowledge me. Finally, Jedidiah collapsed onto the impotent pile of wood planks he’d been trying to build with, while everyone watched.

Several of us rushed over, and I was already at his side, but he ignored everyone except for the wooden mannequin Lucille sent over to help him up. Lucille left with Jedidiah, patting him on the back and whispering whatever into his ear, although judging by the empty look on his face I doubt he heard her.

Nobody was interested in playing my games after that. Oh, except Counselor Marie Ann, who continued playing, like, the entire time that all that drama was unfolding. Her answer to the scavenger hunt was locating and savagely slaughtering an entirely different unicorn — her karaoke performance made the leaves begin to dance — and her tree sculpture revealed to me the shape of God. Finally, long after everyone else had gone back to camp, she ran back off into the woods with an undisputed points-win, not that I was counting points anymore by then. 

And now she’s missing once more… I wonder when she — AGGH!! There it is again. Ow. There it is again. Nevermind.

(sigh) There are some bright spots in the soaking void that is today, however. With your most corrupt counselors absent and unable to exert their influence, you campers were on your best behavior today. According to Counselor Rowan, the moment our party left, all of you sprang into action and spent the whole day doing chores! When we returned, it was like a whole new camp. The bonfire is so squeaky-clean, I can see my reflection in the wood! I have to say, kids, you never fail to brighten my mood when times are gray.

For dinner, Matthew has made all of us a big, beautiful cauldron of unicorn horn sap soup. Just like grandmama used to serve! And she’d claim she procured the tusks through legal means, hunting unicorns in sanctioned unicorn-hunting zones, but you knew there were no unicorn-hunting zones within state lines. You knew she’d been taking the lives of those unicorns, taking those horns they worked so hard to grow, without the leave of the law. You despised your lying, poaching grandma.

But we got that horn by finding it on the ground, so… it’s probably legal to eat this. Dig in!

For tonight’s activity, we’ll be doing a campwide art hour. I want you all to draw your favorite extinct reptile — Jedidiah says he needs the data.

Alright, campers. Let’s make up for the sins of today and enjoy this meal together. I love you all.

(the intercom clicks off)

(intermission music)

(recorder clicks on)

SYDNEY

 It’s not recording. 

LUCILLE

(snappish)

Why is that thing even with you, then?

SYDNEY

There’s a ghost in it. 

LUCILLE

(sigh) Why are you here, dear?

SYDNEY

I, uh. Wanted to talk to you, Lucille. I… I don’t think it’s fair how you… you always listen to what Jedidiah, says, but you never listen to me. Half the time, I’ll come to you with the same idea, but you won’t approve it until it’s Jedidiah saying it. I… and you let him do things that you wouldn’t let me do, like getting things delivered right to camp… and I don’t… it doesn’t feel good. I don’t feel… respected…  

LUCILLE

(sweetly)

Hey, hey honey dear. Of course I respect you. I love you, don’t I?

SYDNEY

Well-

LUCILLE

Don’t I? 

SYDNEY

… Yes

LUCILLE

Of course I do. I care about you, Sydney. Of course I respect you, I always make sure to listen when you tell me things, don’t worry. 

SYDNEY

Okay… 

LUCILLE

You worry too much. 

SYDNEY

Yeah. Probably. 

LUCILLE

Good. 

SYDNEY

Uhm. So, are you gonna do anything about the Elephant Man? I… it’s, uh… it really matters to me.

LUCILLE

Of course, dear. Just give me time. 

SYDNEY

Okay… Thank you. 

(he closes the door and begins walking)

That was… uhm. Not what I was expecting. I… think I’m glad? Ah…  

Hey… ghost recorder. While I have you here… 

(he opens a door outside and continues walking)

One last interesting thing happened today. Marisol told me that while she was wandering around the forest during the scavenger hunt, she stumbled upon a strange clearing surrounded by a circle of huge vertical stones. Inside of the circle, there were animal bones scattered about, and in the center — a giant, rock-hewn statue of a robed woman. Her stone hands stretched out above her head, palms up as if in offering… and laid tenderly in those hands was the corpse of a white rabbit. 

Marisol was too unsettled to investigate further, especially after she heard rustling nearby and saw someone approaching. She ran right back to tell me — I spend pretty much all my time around here… so it’s hard to believe I’d miss something like that. Which leads me to believe it was built recently… which leads me to wonder what Counselor Soren has been doing with all those stones.

(he stops walking)

Well, it’s probably nothing to worry about. I know I’ve constructed a few effigies in my time. 

(he opens a door)

I’m gonna head to bed now; I am tuckered out.

See you tomorrow, ghost recorder.

(recorder clicks off)

(closing music)

Today’s episode was written and produced by Blue Mayfield and Nicholas Belov. The part of Sydney Sargent was played by Blue Mayfield. The part of Lucille Bertuccelli was played by Susan Dohan. Camp Here & There is the sole intellectual property of its production company, Mayfield and Belov. All music composed by Will Wood, and produced by Jonathon Maisto. Sound editing by Blue Mayfield, Beetlesprite, and Emily Safko. Special thanks to our patrons: Amery, Alyss Crowley, and Adamills.

For behind-the-scenes material, exclusive canonical content, interactive events, and early episode access, consider signing up for our patreon, at patreon.com/mayfieldandbelov. Our Discord server is a great place to meet like-minded fellows and discuss today’s episode. Find the link at mayfieldandbelov.com. Lastly, if you’d like to support us, the best thing you can do is to spread the word about the show.

Thank you for listening to Camp Here & There, and remember: There is a clear block of resin on my desk with a centipede inside. He wants to swap places with me. Lately, I am tempted to let him.

(radio static)

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(radio static)

Mayfield & Belov presents: Camp Here & There

Episode 11: The Labors of Love

(opening theme)

(the intercom clicks on)

(bell chime)

SYDNEY

Good morning, you wonderful little sticky-fingered rascals. The time is 8:60 AM, and I’m here to welcome you to today with open arms and a warm smile! Now, I’m sure that you’re all tired of hearing about the Elephant Man and his escapades, but you’ve brought this latest update upon yourselves. You see, my expert data analysis skills have indicated to me that some of you are stealing from one another and using the Elephant Man’s documented history of theft to shift the blame. Perhaps your impression of the man would indicate otherwise, but I feel quite confident that the Elephant Man, for all the mystery surrounding his motives, has no need for a kid’s size medium hoodie.

I love you campers, and I assure you that no one’s in trouble, but I’d like to kindly request that you all quit that post-haste. It’s very important that we know what the Elephant Man is stealing so that we can keep track of his activities and guess his motivations. Deal? Deal.

Now that that’s out of the way, onto the fun thing! Yesterday was hard, and I was up all night last night thinking about how we could make up for that today — and possibly prevent any yesterdays from happening again. 

Before breakfast, I headed over to the Creativity Cabin and together Warren and I cooked up one activity that could solve both conundrums. Today, the two of us are going to lead you all in a tower building contest. I know! 

Frightfully fun things, towers. You never know where they might end up! Are you ever just wandering in the forest, or on the beach, or underneath the bleachers on your highschool football field, and you suddenly stumble upon a tower that wasn’t there before? And sometimes you just wave it off, but sometimes you’re feeling lucky, and you give it a climb, and there’s always something different at the top. My favorite thing I ever found on top of a tower was a sapphire statue of an old woman with a thousand hands. (laugh) Word to the wise: you ever come across that statue, do not look her in the eyes. Took six months for my fingernails to grow back.

So! The thing. This activity will be a contest of skill, ingenuity, and most importantly — teamwork. You will be sorted into competing groups by cabin, and your goal is to make your tower as stable as possible. Doesn’t have to be tall — just has to stand up in the face of adversity. 

We’ve got an assortment of building tools for you here at the Creativity Cabin; wrenches, saws, leaves, sticks, stones, bones, apples, balloon animals, windmill turbines, toothpicks, squirrel skeletons, nuts, bolts, aluminum silicone sealant, raw plutonium, papier-mâché, blood, and blood — y’know, normal building stuff. 

Once the towers are complete, we’ll pelt them with rocks and insults, and the most physically and emotionally resilient tower will be the winner. Of course, the winning cabin will receive a special prize after dinner — a special dessert, immaculately conceived by our resident gourmet chef. Matthew doesn’t know where his latest culinary invention came from — just that one day, he woke from a nap, emerging from his wildest dreams, standing straight up with the perfect dessert in his hands. What an incredible story, and I’m sure you’re all salivating at the chance to taste this dreamed-up delicacy.

And, in case magical mind-food isn’t enough to incentivize you, I got Jedidiah to get Lucille to sign off on making this activity mandatory. So everyone, everyone, will participate.

Oh, this is gonna be so much fun. I can’t imagine how excited you all must be — I mean, I’m this excited, and I’m not even gonna be a part of the contest! 

(paper rustle) 

This morning’s breakfast is honey poured over an oblong stone and heat-hardened into a sort of glass. Hurry up and lick, because pretty soon we’re launching into tower mode!

Enjoy your meal!

(the intercom clicks off)

(intermission music)

(the intercom clicks on)

(bell chime)

SYDNEY

Welcome back inside, campers! Be sure to kick the dust off your shoes. The time is 12:80 PM and the sky is a sweet, sappy cinnamon. Much like, perhaps, Matthew’s delicious new treat? He has told me that his dreams tend to heavily feature cinnamon. I sure do envy him! Lately, all I’ve dreamt about is this weird guy who wears red paisley suits and invites me to sit down across from him and tries to make me talk about how my mother hurt me. And that’s when I get any sleep at all!

Alright, down to business. You campers have been doing great today, and I won’t speak for you, but it seems to me like you’re all really enjoying yourselves. I couldn’t be happier! And I’m not playing favorites, but Cabin Silkworm, you have made really creative use of those squirrels! And Cabin Grasshopper — love your idea of building the tower upside down, into the ground! I mean, it’s ingenious; nobody can knock a tower over when it’s buffered on all sides by the infinite Earth! Kind of cheating, but, I mean, if I didn’t want it to happen, I should’ve made a rule against it. 

However… while the kids are having a splendid and successful day of work and play… many of you counselors are (with cold, grim fury) disappointing me… I won’t name names… but I really want to.

Listen to me, you all: the point of this contest is not to see which counselor can lead their Cabin to glorious victory. This is a teamwork-building activity for the kids. It’s supposed to teach them community skills, and give them a healthy outlet for all the aggression they unleashed yesterday. And it’s working magnificently… for now. But if you counselors keep forging alliances with each other, and sending your kids out on secret missions to sabotage other towers, and staging protracted legal disputes whenever another cabin breaks a quote-unquote “rule” that you made up… then I feel quite certain that all the educational potential of this exercise will go right down the drain. 

Seriously, people, I love a little intrigue as much as the next guy, but you aren’t being paid to entertain yourselves. You’re being paid to give the kids a happy Summer. If you’re not fulfilling that function, there’s no point in you being here. So act. Like. Adults.

Also, does anyone know where Counselor Soren is? I saw him this morning, but since the competition began, it seems like his co-counselor Fennel has been leading Cabin Ladybug all on their own. Remember camp policy, Soren: run away and pay! You keep flaking, and one of these days, Lucille’s patience is gonna wear through! And you campers should all give a round of polite, quiet applause to Fennel for handling things on their own. And a round of applause for me, because Jedidiah was supposed to be helping me build a fun little tower for the nurse’s office, and he is of course not doing that. So I’m just over here building my own little pathetic loner tower with q-tips and uncooked beans. Mung beans, if you must know. 

(raw beans rustling)

On an unrelated note, today’s lunch is mung beans! Choc-fulla protein! And Matthew’s also made you each a bowl of grape chowder. 

Alright, meal-and-then-tower time! Let’s have some good, wholesome fun out there, huh? See you all soon! 

(the intercom clicks off)

(intermission music)

(the intercom clicks on)

SYDNEY

Well, everyone, the good news: we had our winner! The bad news: emphasis on the had. Counselors… I am very disappointed in you.

Things were looking great. The counselors settled down after my warning — or at least, they stopped being so obvious. The towers stood, some tall, some short, and one so wide that it was unfortunately disqualified on account of technically being not a tower, but a wall. All of us, tired in that proud and fulfilled kind of way, stood together; and one by one, we pelted each tower with the roundest pebbles and the rudest insults we could muster. Most of these heckling sessions ended in mental and structural breakdowns — an important lesson, for our campers, in the impermanence of all things and the pointlessness of labor. But one tower remained; one tower stood strong in the face of all our abuse. This tower… was the magnificent creation of… (he does a fake drumroll with his lips and on the table) Cabin Dungbeetle!!

It was kind of surprising, really, because Dungbeetle’s tower was actually the tallest — not typically a promising quality in a contest of stability, but perhaps having its head in the clouds helped it ignore our harassment. The harshest of verbal jabs failed to make the tower so much as shudder; even when certain counselors resorted to questioning the legitimacy of its parentage, it kept its head high. And though Counselor Juno got a bit overexcited and threw an entire boulder at the tower, it never gave an inch to our physical assault, either. It was almost as if the construct was being held up by… magic… 

Hey, Cabin Dungbeetle… you didn’t use magic to keep your tower standing, did you? Did you perform some kind of surreptitious ritual, some kind of stabilization incantation before the judging began? Because if you did… (chuckle) that is so creative! It’s probably cheating, of course, but… well, I didn’t put anything in the rules about it! Never change, kids.

So anyway, Cabin Dungbeetle’s tower was the clear winner. And what a triumphant tower it was, standing perpendicular to the horizon — with leaf-based tracery embellishing the gables; intricate, swirling fractals painted on the tympanum in blood; wood-carved figures of fiercely poised beasts jutting out from the entablature; and in the center of the structure, ringed by flying buttresses made of apples held together by toothpicks, is a hovering, rotating papier-mâché klein bottle. Aside from being delightful in its theoretical impossibility, the whole structure was just so strikingly beautiful.

But this beauty — like all things — was not meant to last. As the declaration of Cabin Dungbeetle’s victory left Warren’s chapped lips, one of the counselors — not naming names! — seemed to have snapped. They couldn’t handle the shame of losing. And so they reached over, grabbed counselor Juniper by his obnoxiously fancy lapel, and began shaking him around. This small act of inter-community disrespect was the crack that broke the dam, welcoming a deluge of shameless violence into our camp; as all the other counselors who had spent the day playing war took this moment as their cue to begin fighting outright. And everyone was so distracted by the ensuing squabble that we didn’t even notice… when the winning tower disappeared.

If you think you saw something when that tower vanished… do come to my office and let me know. I promise I won’t tell anyone if you took it! But as far as I’ve learned from asking around, no one saw the tower disappear, and no one has any clue why it might have. It’s now occuring to me that Cabin Dungbeetle could have magically programmed it to do so… but that seems unlikely  considering how hard those kids took the loss of their project. My working theory is that the Elephant Man picked the tower up and carted it off… but of course that begs the question of what on Earth he needs a tower for! More concerning data to reflect on.

Still — a winner’s a winner. Cabin Dungbeetle, you exhibited incredible teamwork today, and you deserve a reward. I’ve invited Matthew into my office now to tell you all a bit about your prize!

(chair creaking)

So, Matthew, what exactly is this mysterious, dream-based concoction you’re offering up to our lucky winners?

MATTHEW

Ë̷̱̱̬̼̞̣̹́̌̽̊̉͛̓̄̆̚ͅY̴̤͇̫̤̱̺͈̰̲̾̓͊̌̍̽͐̃̔͝G̵͓͖͉̩͛J̴̳̭̝̖̯̖̳̻̈́̓̒̉͛͝V̷̨̢̢͇̠̫͇͔̭̯̭̼̰̏̃̍̀̅͛̒̆̎̎͑̿̕͝D̶̗̭͈̎͋͂G̷̢̭̞̺̰̝̬͔̱̦̏̀͑̈́̾͆̚V̷̠̹̫̬̩̬̠͌D̶̡͖̗̜̝̯̯͍̳̟̼̝̠͚͓̎͝͠V̷̡̢̡̮̻̙̯̱͉̲̩͔̣̀͑͝ͅY̵̡̞̹̱̰̅̊́̊͋I̷̠̗͓̬͚̩̯̩͑̾̕G̶̰͚̗͙̫̘̰̬͆̀̃̀̓̊̿͗̋̆͊̚͝S̶̺̻̟̘͖̯̞͕͍̮͓̖̥͊͋Ȉ̶̮́̋́̑̔͗Ỵ̴̢̧̧͍͇̞͑̂͆͂͌G̵̺̱̈́͌̉͆̽̃̽͒̐̄̀ͅṢ̶̢̧̜̟̪̠̝̹̙́̊͑̓͗̾̄̊̈́̌̉̚ͅͅ

SYDNEY

Wowie! If that doesn’t sound de-licious. It’s moments like these that make me really regret being cursed to subsist exclusively off of buttered bread. Thanks for coming in, Matthew!

MATTHEW

3̸̢̢̛̣̞̞͓͙͕̜̙̙͆̆̉͑͒͊͐͗͘̚͘6̸̨̧͖̥̼̺̺͉̩̾́̎̿̊̀̂̄͠#̴̢̭̮̱̮̼̃̓͐̂́͑̔̊̚̕͜͝$̴͉̙̜͖͚̼̀*̵͕̜̯̖̣̯̭̱͚͇̓̈́̾͑̉͐̕͝7̸̪͙̫͍͖̂̐̓̇́̈́͐͋͘̚#̴̤̱̮͖̪̙̗̝͋́͒̑͐̈́͠)̵̢̡̰͎̖̗̥̄̒̓̾͑

(door shuts)

SYDNEY

And there you have it, my little fire-geckos. For dinner itself, we have mushroom… uughghh… mushroom madness, lemon llama ligaments, and squidbit soup. For tonight’s activity, you’re all invited on a scavenger hunt to help Joshua find the wallet that he dropped somewhere in the forest… but on the off chance that isn’t very appealing to you, I’ll be hosting a hooded chant-along around the bonfire. Bring an object you care about — but not one you care about too much. We’re doing sacrifices!

And, counselors? Don’t think I’m going to let this slide. Your behavior today was unacceptable, and I intend… to correct it.

Enjoy your meal, kids! I love you all! 

(the intercom clicks off)

(intermission music)

(recorder clicks on)

SYDNEY

Good evening, ghost recorder. It’s 25:25 and, umm… today was bad. 

I put my little bean sculpture on a table in the hallway, so… maybe Jedidiah will see it and feel bad. Hah.

… ‘Cept he… won’t. Definitely won’t. I’m beginning to suspect that he doesn’t care about me at all anymore, and… part of me wishes that he’d just admit it. But he just keeps… insisting that he loves me, and then refusing to act like it, and so I have to be confused on top of lonely. I — I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. I don’t… maybe I should try talking to other people? But probably I’d just drive them off too… 

It’s getting harder and harder to rationalize that this is my life and I’m supposed to like it. That all the living I’ve racked up has brought me here. If I told my 13-year-old self that this is where I would be and this is what I would be doing… he’d probably cry. [LAUGHS DARKLY]

And I’m still fucked up about the elephant man. Still can’t shake the feeling. ‘Course, everyone else seems to think it’s fine, so… I guess I’m just being delusional or something. Delusional, and stupid, and annoying … ahaha. I… sound… so pathetic. (sigh)

There is a centipede in my study. Fat and shiny… way too long. I think it’s here to stay. I was hearing it all night last night… twiddling about on the floor, clicking its mandibles together. Sometimes it feels like it wants to hurt me… or maybe it’s just mocking me. I see… myself… my child self… sitting in the corner… he’s in trouble. He’s crying, but he can’t move… and the centipede is climbing up his back… 

The child will die from malnourishment, and the centipede will eat his body. One day… I’ll feel it crawling around under my skin… 

…Goodnight. 

(recorder clicks off)

(closing music)

Today’s episode was written and produced by Blue Mayfield and Nicholas Belov. The part of Sydney Sargent was played by Blue Mayfield. The part of Jedidiah Martin was played by Nicholas Belov. Camp Here & There is the sole intellectual property of its production company, Mayfield and Belov. All music composed by Will Wood, and produced by Jonathon Maisto. Sound editing by Blue Mayfield and Beetlesprite. Special thanks to our patrons: Castiel Hoffman, Avery is not a horse, and Astrid the Asteroid.

For behind-the-scenes material, exclusive canonical content, interactive events, and early episode access, consider signing up for our patreon, at patreon.com/mayfieldandbelov. Our Discord server is a great place to meet like-minded fellows and discuss today’s episode. Find the link at mayfieldandbelov.com. Lastly, if you’d like to support us, the best thing you can do is to spread the word about the show.

Thank you for listening to Camp Here & There, and remember: one by one, we all survived.

View more episode transcripts

(radio static)

Mayfield & Belov presents: Camp Here & There

Episode 10: The Enemies of Labor

(opening theme)

(the intercom clicks on)

(bell chime)

SYDNEY

Helloooooo, campers! [BACK TO NORMAL] Rise and shine, my little hedgehogs, it’s time for another life-changing day of adventure at fun-filled Camp Here & There. If you cast your sleepy eyes to the skies you’ll see a late sunrise painting the world in richest carmine; a comforting color for me. Reminds me of the blood drives — an easy way for a broke college kid to make an extra buck, but I learned the hard way that you can’t let them take all the blood they want. Don’t be like me, kids: set boundaries! It took years for my cell counts to stabilize, and for weeks after my last visit, I was constantly collapsing and… seeing stars and… this… apparition of a… horrible smiling dog… sitting in the corner… baring its sanguine gums… mocking me for my bloodlessness . . . . .

Oh, the fun of the hospital!

Well. The time is 8:61 AM and, if I may address the elephant in the room — not that one — some among you are having a… particularly spirited morning. 

Cabin Dungbeetle. My beloved Cabin Dungbeetle. I’m sympathetic to your cause. I really am. Speaking as someone who does a lot of grunt work to keep this camp in shape, I understand how dehumanizing your chores can be, and let me tell you: I’d riot too, if I had to clean the cafeteria every day for a week! And if I was laboring under the sloppy, scruffy command of Counselor Juniper throughout — well, who knows, I might also blackmail him into stepping down. 

And if old Lucille saddled me with more and more chores in retaliation for my blatant misconduct? Well, I can see myself thinking that the only solution is to rally my cabinmates, draft a declaration of independence, and attempt to secede from Camp Here & There and create my own camp by kids for kids where the only rule is there are no rules. But, Cabin Dung Beetle, I’m here to tell you that that is not the only option. We can always work something out. That’s the power of a loving community like the one we have here.

Listen, I’m not saying you have to clean the cafeteria today. Giving you guys cafeteria duty for a whole week is pretty inhumane, regardless of how close you brought Juniper to death on Monday, so I’m happy to help you petition Lucille for a lighter punishment. But this revolution thing is throwing our whole community off-balance; it’s threatening to tear this camp apart! What if all the other cabins follow your lead, and we end up with 7 offshoot camps all vying for supremacy, spilling each other’s blood onto the forest floor!? I’m not fit to be a wartime nurse!!

And being real, I know it seems like us adults are all-powerful suppressors of your birthright freedoms, but we’re all as lost and confused and burdened and tormented and destitute as you are. We’re all just people, trying to make it in a crazy world, and trying to build a safe place where you kids can do the same. So please, Cabin Dungbeetle, save all that insurgent energy for an actual oppressive institution — your middle school, perhaps? And if we can work this out peacefully, I promise I’ll take you all on a little field trip down to… [GRIM VOICE] The Dark.

That’ll be fun!

And, uh, Counselor Juniper — I understand you had a rough night, but today is the day that you and Rowan are contracted to deliver freshly caught salmon to our underground penguin overlords, so… please get on that; we do not need a repeat of last Friday.

Alright, kids, On today’s breakfast menu is sunbutter macaroni, tuna sandwiches in prismatic shapes, and… uh… something called “oat” “meal.” This morning’s primary activity, hosted by Counselor Salem, is miniature archery, with miniature targets the size of your thumb, and Marisol would like to invite you into Cabin Grasshopper for a rousing game of 40-player, twenty-dimensional chess. I hear that in the latest edition, the bishops get real guns!

Aaaaand that’s all for now, kids. I’m expecting all of you to have as much fun as usual today, despite the rumblings of rebellion. Go wild out there! But not too wild. 

(the intercom clicks off) 

(intermission music)

(the intercom clicks on)

(bell chime)

SYDNEY

Well. Hi, campers. It’s 12:82… the sky is churning, the Earth is turning, and you kids really need… to stop.

Cabin Dungbeetle, I need you to stop. I promise I get it, I swear I do. When I was your age, I also felt like all of society was fundamentally corrupt; and all of my peers were actively out to get me; and everyone who had the power to help me was negligent, incompetent, callous, and dumb, at best. Sometimes, I still feel that way! And under the weight of all the misery inherent to growing up, I completely understand why you would resort to sowing chaos under the banner of unrest. But there’s something I’ve learned, growing up, that you all have to learn too:

Lucille has a flamethrower. You have to listen to what she says.

(sigh) In case any of you kids got really into twenty-dimensional chess and missed the events of this morning, here’s the 404. This morning, the independence movement blossomed into an all-out revolutionary war, with the Cabin Dungbeetle kids on one side and Lucille on the other. It began when the kids barricaded themselves in the Creativity Cabin, forcing the door shut with hot glue and taking Counselor Warren hostage. While Lucille sent wave after fruitless wave of magically animated wooden dolls to try and break the door down, the kids forced Warren to help them craft picketing signs; signs with slogans like “Here & There is Unfair!” and “No Sanitation Without Representation!” and “one day you will need your children to take care of you; and you had better pray that on that day they do not remember the ways you failed them.”

I think Natsume did that one. Great job! Very creative.

Anyway, when the Dungbeetle kids emerged from their makeshift fortress and began picketing, Lucille stepped out of the administrative building with her flamethrower and fired off a few sharp spurts of flame over the kids’ heads. That’s when things escalated to all-out war. The Cabin Dungbeetle kids split off into groups and retaliated in a number of ways. Some of them took miniature bows and arrows from the miniature archery course and fired on the administrative building en masse, creating dozens of tiny little nicks in the wooden exterior. Some of them invaded the cafeteria, stole the food that Matthew was preparing specifically for the counselors, and distributed it amongst the rest of you campers. Some of them just started kicking dust onto the bonfire, and one of you chained yourself to a tree? Kids, please don’t drag the trees into this.

So now Lucille is whipping out the big guns. She says that unless Cabin Dungbeetle steps down this afternoon, nobody — that’s right, nobody in camp — is going to get dinner. As you can imagine, this turned the whole camp in on itself; and now the conflict is between the loyalists, who want dinner, and the seditionists, who want fair governance. My office has seen a massive influx of injured kids, and since Jedidiah is off tending to a mediation session, I’ve had to deal with it all by myself. 

Kids… please. I love your spirit, your creativity, your dedication to your cause; and I agree that Lucille’s methods today have been brutal and unfair. But the camp can’t handle this! If this escalates any further, I’m sure that you’ll all be sent back home, and (whispering) they might even send a camp inspector out here! So please, just for this evening, please stop the fighting, and stop the cries for revolution. I’ll clean the cafeteria for you; I’ll take on all the extra chores Lucille wants you to do. Tomorrow I’ll help you draft a… less inflammatory declaration! If you’d just please stop hurting each other.

(sigh) But… in case the glorious revolution plays out, and you are all denied your dinners… I’d remind you all that I have a very large candy stash in my office, which you… absolutely are not allowed to take from, under any circumstances. Got it? Do not sneak into my office and look for candy in the cabinet to the left of the window. I will not let you get away with that.

For those of you not engaged in the ongoing civil war, Counselor Mila is hosting improv games this afternoon. Scream like your head is getting cut off in the camp-favorite game, “What If Your Head Was Getting Cut Off”! Plus, Counselor Gracie invites you to help her pick and analyze the strange new flowers which have started sprouting on the western edge of the campgrounds. She’d like to find out what they use those teeth for.

Alright, campers, that’s all I have for you this afternoon. Please stop getting injured; all the cots in here are taken, so you’ll have to lie down on the floor. I… hope to see you all in the cafeteria this evening, peacefully enjoying your dinner. (sigh) Alright. Goodbye. [CLICK]

(the intercom clicks off) 

(intermission music)

(the intercom clicks on)

(bell chime)

SYDNEY

Hey, campers. The time is 19:10… and I fear that the end is near.

All sides of this conflict are unrelenting, resolute. The loyalists stand firm in their desire for dinner. The seditionists won’t back down until they’re recognized as their own camp. Many counselors have come forward with peace propositions; but the kids refuse to accept any kind of compromise, and Lucille refuses to go back on her threats of decisive action. Kids, I’m terrified. We all know that Lucille… as sweet, and patient, and motherly, and forgiving as she is… sweet old Lucille can get pretty… strict when she’s backed into a corner. I — don’t know what she might do — and I don’t want you kids to get — hurt, so… I — I’m thinking, at this point, perhaps we should start — 

(the door opens)

Jedidiah!

JEDIDIAH

Sydney.

SYDNEY

Where have you been since the mediation session?

JEDIDIAH

Trying to save myself from having to do another mediation session tomorrow.

SYDNEY

Eh… what do you mean?

JEDIDIAH

I’m moving Juniper back into Cabin Dungbeetle so Yvonne and Joshua can’t start fighting about him again. Listen, I’ve written a peace treaty, will you let me read this into the mic?

SYDNEY

Uh… ! Sure, okay. (ahem) Um, ladies and gentlemen, here’s Jedidiah with… his peace treaty?

(Jedidiah sits down)

JEDIDIAH

We the staff of Camp Here & There, in the interest of peace and the wellbeing of our constituents, do propose a compromise to end the bloody war that has raged on for the better part of the past several hours. It is our aim that all three belligerents in this conflict — the loyalists, the seditionists, and the  Camp Director — will have their grudges amicably ameliorated by the terms of this agreement.

Lucille will grant dinner to all campers, and agree never to revoke it again. Moreover, to the kids of Cabin Dungbeetle: complete amnesty from cafeteria cleaning duty for a full fourteen days. In return for these generous concessions, Camp Here & There will remain a whole and singular entity, and Counselor Juniper will be reinstated to his position overseeing the campers of Cabin Dungbeetle. Should this agreement fail to satisfactorily settle this dispute and end this war, Camp Staff will be forced to take the extreme measure of calling all your parents and asking them to come pick you up.

Writ and signed on this day, the 18th of June, 2021.

SYDNEY

Lucille will never agree to this… 

JEDIDIAH

She already has. Look, she signed it.

SYDNEY

Wh — !? How did you get her to — !?

(Jedidiah stands up)

JEDIDIAH

Okay, I’m gonna get the kids to sign, see you in a bit.

SYDNEY

Jedidiah — ! Agh.

(sigh) Alright, kids. Since I don’t know if we’re even going to be doing dinner or evening activities, I guess there’s no point in finishing the announcements right now. I’ll get back to you all later… I hope. Please sign that treaty!

(the intercom clicks off)

(bridge music)

(the intercom clicks on)

SYDNEY

Campers, I have to say… I am so proud of all of you. It took a lot of hard work for us to get here, but we’re here! Everyone is safe, everyone is staying at Camp Here & There, and everyone agreed to sign the treaty. And when Jedidiah brought it out to you, you didn’t even beat him up! Much!

Now, I know it’s been a long day and you’re all eager to eat your diplomatically agreed upon dinnermeals, so I won’t keep you long. But I wanted to take a moment to touch on the topic of community. The reason we got out of this mess… is because we all care about each other. Heck — the reason we got into this mess is because we care about each other. That’s right! Because when you’re angry at someone? You care what they do and what they say. That’s a community: a group of people who all care about what everyone else does. We care because we have to, because we affect one another’s lives, because we are a part of one another’s lives — because we all, together, have lives that all overlap and coalesce into this big, amorphous idea we call life. What I’m saying is that during this Summer, here at camp, we’re all basically sharing one life. Seven cabins… fourteen counselors… two co-nurses… one hundred and thirty kids… and one life. Camp Here and There. Where your life is mine.

Does that make sense?

JEDIDIAH

(laughing)

Sydney, what the hell are you talking about?

SYDNEY

Okay, let me try to rephrase this. There’s no single, universal experience of existence, but human beings have this universal concept of life regardless —

JEDIDIAH

No, Sydney, I… explain it to me later. You should let the kids eat.

SYDNEY

Right! Sorry. Kids, come to my office after dinner and I’ll explain to you about life. In the meantime, Matthew has mixed up a delicious cauldron of cotton soup for you kids to enjoy! It’s a bit of an acquired texture, that dish, but it should help mend the kids who visited the teeth flowers this afternoon. On that note — update to camp policy: do not approach the teeth flowers. Look around at some of your fellow campers, and you’ll figure out why. Actually, on second thought, do not look at campers who have interacted with the teeth flowers. 

Oh, and Matthew made a potato cake for dessert. And tonight’s activity is night swim! Very different from day swim. You’re not allowed in the water during night swim. Alright, kids — have fun! 

(the intercom clicks off) 

(the intercom clicks off)

(the intercom clicks on)

SYDNEY

Oh, and, ahh, one more thing: Counselor Soren of Cabin Ladybug wished me to inform you that he now has “all the stones he needs”, so there’s no need to help him find new ones. One does wonder what he needs all those stones for! Probably nothing that will have any consequences for anyone in camp in the near future. But still! It’s curious.

Okay, campers, enjoy your dinner.

(the intercom clicks off)

(intermission music)

(recorder clicks on)

SYDNEY

 Hi… ghost in my recorder. Uh… hm.

It’s 25:25. Again. Per usual. Ah… today was… well, uneventful, in a certain way. I mean… there was no chemical flood, no exotic animal attack, no great prophecy of doom from the sky… just kids being rambunctious and Lucille being Lucille. It was… it was cute how Jedidiah stepped up to the plate there in the end. I’m… glad nothing worse happened than a bunch of visitors to the nurse’s office.

Ng. Okay, I don’t know why I’m still trying to look on the bright side here… I know nobody listens to these reports. [SIGH] I’ll be honest, ghost recorder: I’m kind of messed up tonight.

I still see the Elephant man… all the time. I mean, everywhere I go. In my window… peeking out from behind a big rock… sometimes hanging upside down from a tree branch like a spider waiting for a fly to buzz by. And it’s… I mean, Jedidiah’s right, that’s… it shouldn’t bother me. You know how it is, I mean, there’s always something weird in your peripheral vision. . . . . creepy men, laughing pets, eyes in the ceiling, that kind of thing… and sometimes they even lunge at you. I mean, as far as creepy periphery creatures go, the Elephant Man has actually proven remarkably harmless so far. So why… does the thought of him make me so upset? Why is every half-remembered glimpse of his shadow in the corner of my eye enough to make me feel like ants are eating my stomach lining? 

I just can’t shake the feeling that something about him is… different… 

Hhhhh. I am really working myself up into a tizzy over nothing. Jedidiah. Is. Right. Gosh… I’ll stress myself into a coma before the Elephant Man gets the chance.

On that topic… the Elephant Man’s stealing habits are getting more… arbitrary. For a few days, I was trying to use the data to try and suss out his motives for… y’know, being around… but I think the kids might be using the whole theft epidemic as an excuse to steal from each other. Snacks, games, notebooks, and clothing, and stuff, that’s all getting reported stolen now, and I know the Elephant Man cannot fit into any middle schooler’s hoodie. I guess I’ll have to tell them to knock it off tomorrow… can’t afford to lose track of the Elephant Man’s movements… probably.

I don’t like telling the kids off. Which is irrational, because they don’t take me seriously or care what I say at all, so why should I worry about how it affects them… ? (sigh)

You know, speaking of taking me seriously? Earlier today, I went to Lucille and suggested the same exact thing that Jedidiah wrote in that peace treaty. She didn’t like it. Which was expected, but then when it’s Jedidiah bringing it up, all of a sudden she’s on board. Why — I mean, what —

(hiss)  Lucille loves me. Jedidiah is right. Lucille loves me. Jedidiah is right. Jedidiah loves me… Lucille is right… 

(sigh) I’m tired. 

(recorder click off)

(closing music)

Today’s episode was written and produced by Blue Mayfield and Nicholas Belov. The part of Sydney Sargent was played by Blue Mayfield. The part of Jedidiah Martin was played by Nicholas Belov. Camp Here & There is the sole intellectual property of its production company, Mayfield and Belov. All music composed by Will Wood, and produced by Jonathon Maisto. Sound editing by Blue Mayfield and Beetlesprite. Special thanks to our patrons: Caroline the Dragon, Holland Engele, Bread on Toast, Moss Fox, and CartZ. 

For behind-the-scenes material, exclusive canonical content, interactive events, and early episode access, consider signing up for our patreon, at patreon.com/mayfieldandbelov. Our Discord server is a great place to meet like-minded fellows and discuss today’s episode. Find the link at mayfieldandbelov.com. Lastly, if you’d like to support us, the best thing you can do is to spread the word about the show.

Thank you for listening to Camp Here & There, and remember: Again, do not anger it. 

(radio static)

View more episode transcripts

(radio static)

Mayfield and Belov presents: Camp Here & There. 

Episode 9: The Friendship of Enemies

(intro music)

(radio click)

(recorder click)

JEDIDIAH 

(sigh)

The time is… ah… 1:30 PM, and the date is, I — I think June 18th. This is Jedidiah A. A. Martin, co-nurse at Camp Here & There, and I’ll be recording a session of, ah, conflict mediation between (inhale) two people who I had… dearly hoped I wouldn’t have to do this with ever again. In accordance with the terms of my employment, I’ve made myself available as a neutral third party for the… oversight? Of… interpersonal conflict which has… grown beyond the… uh… which… mm. 

Whatever, you guys both know how the thing goes.

Alright, you know the drill. Lean into the microphone and state your names and perspectives in a single sentence.

YVONNE

(simultaneously)

Yvonne Marley

JOSHUA

(simultaneously)

Joshua MachHeath

YVONNE

UGH!

JOSHUA

Yvonnnnnne, stop interrupting me!

JEDIDIAH

Jesus. Joshua, go first.

JOSHUA

(mocking)

Heh heh.

YVONNE

What are you giggling about?

JOSHUA

Nothing! I’m just… I mean, I got picked first.

YVONNE

You are such a child sometimes!

JEDIDIAH

Joshua, if it’s going to become a problem, I’ll state outright that I told you to go first because I wanted to get you out of the way, like a child choking down his brussels sprouts so he can leave the dinner table. Not as a show of… favoritism towards you.

JOSHUA:

Damn, guy, alright—

JEDIDIAH

Name. And. Perspective.

JOSHUA

… I’m Joshua MacHeath, and I don’t think Juniper should stay with us. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love the dude, but—

JEDIDIAH

One sentence, thank you. Yvonne?

YVONNE

Yvonne Marley, and I think Joshua is being really stupid about this. Juniper needs a place to crash while his kids go all Young Turk on us, and we’ve got an extra bed since we had one girl go home early. Juniper is not a bad houseguest. He might be a little bit silly and irresponsible, but he’s nice and charismatic and the kids really like him. There’s no reason not to let him sleep in our cabin.

JOSHUA

Okay… she just got, like, four sentences.

JEDIDIAH

Well said, Yvonne, thank you.

JOSHUA

Dude—!

JEDIDIAH

(raising his voice over Joshua’s)

So, the source of contention is Counselor Sloan’s temporary residence in Cabin Silkworm. With that established, you’ll each get a minute to explain your point of view in greater detail. Joshua, you go first again. Starting… now.

JOSHUA

(intentionally deepening his voice)

Fine. (ahem) Last night Juniper lost control of his cabin — you know, like a wimp. He keeps letting his kids, like, undermine his authority, and this is where that gets him! He just — he has no backbone. Like, just a few days ago he was getting hanged by the trousers as a sacrificial symbol of anarchy by a bunch of 14-year-olds, and then last night he gets kicked out of his cabin! Like, they’re middleschoolers! Can you really not stand up to a bunch of teenagers? I’d never let something like that happen to me. I mean, I’ve been working on my muscles. Trust me. There’s a certain quality to a man who can inspire the kids in his cabin to respect him—

JEDIDIAH

Please focus, Joshua. 

JOSHUA

I’m focused!

YVONNE

No, you’re waffling. 

JOSHUA

Hey! No talking during my minute.

JEDIDIAH

You are waffling. 

JOSHUA

I’m pointing out the problem here! Juniper dumps himself on our doorstep like a scruffy little street-urchin, sleeps in a kid’s bed, and takes it upon himself to plan the day’s activities for our Cabin! Which not only totally derails the activities that I put so much effort into planning, but it’s an outright challenge to my title as The Man Of The Cabin!

YVONNE

Maybe his activities were just more fun than yours. Considered that?

JOSHUA

(whining)

My minute. 

YVONNE

Whatever. 

JOSHUA

Juniper doesn’t have to just give in to the pressure from his kids. There are other ways to handle their behavior that don’t uproot the natural order of the camp.

JEDIDIAH

(laughing)

Natural — natural order?

JOSHUA

Things are set up here in a specific way! My cabin is my territory, and it’s my right to guard it!

YVONNE

Is his minute over yet?

JEDIDIAH

No, I — I want to hear more about the natural order of the camp.

JOSHUA

(once again attempting to deepen his voice)

I’m being serious! We don’t have the space. And our kids have enough trouble respecting my authority without this — this — interloper coming and — trying to show me up. Especially since he’s making these claims on my territory after being pushed out of his own.

JEDIDIAH

Right. Of course.

JOSHUA

I’m worried about this for his sake, too. Juniper can’t let himself get pushed around by a bunch of kids. It’s not healthy. And by sleeping anywhere but his own bed, he’s letting them win. What is that teaching them!?

JEDIDIAH

Mmmmalright, it’s not that funny anymore. Joshua… no more. Yvonne, your turn.

YVONNE

Right. Well, Juniper knocked on our door last night and told us that the kids at Cabin Dungbeetle got their hands on his father’s phone number, and were threatening to call the man and inform him that his son was working as a camp counselor in downstate Ohio. So, see, he didn’t have any choice except to comply with their demands and step down as Counselor of his cabin. It was Lucille’s decision for Juniper to stay in Cabin Silkworm with us, and I didn’t see any problem with it since we do have a spare bed. And I know this is, like, part of Joshua’s problem, but our kids love Juniper. He taught us this cute little card game last night, and this morning, he took them out for archery, and he just makes everything so fun for them, he’s just good at talking to teenagers. The only person who doesn’t think that’s awesome is Joshua, who cannot get over his stupid alpha male complex.

JOSHUA

(sigh)

JEDIDIAH

Well put, Yvonne. 

JOSHUA

There’s a time and place for fun. Juniper has wasted our time, and our kids’ time, just goofing off. I had a productive and fulfilling day planned for them! We were gonna start by cleaning the cabin — I came up with this game that’s supposed to make cleaning fun —

YVONNE

Cleaning will never be fun. This is a fundamental truth that Juniper understands and you don’t.

JOSHUA

It’s VALUABLE. They’re learning LIFE LESSONS. Which Juniper can’t teach them, because he doesn’t know anything about life.

YVONNE

Can you just admit that you’re just jealous that the kids like him more than you? This would all go way faster.

JOSHUA

I am not! If I’m jealous, I’m jealous of how he can get away with goofing off and mooching off of us and never standing up for himself or doing anything important!

JEDIDIAH

Joshua, your reasons for not wanting Juniper to stay with you are… they’re… your reasons. But Juniper needs to stay somewhere.

JOSHUA

I beg to differ.

YVONNE

What?

JOSHUA

If Juniper’s got nowhere to stay, it’s his own fault! That’s survival of the fittest, dude. If you can’t fill your niche, you disappear.

YVONNE:

This is not the fucking Discovery channel!

JOSHUA

Okay, I’m sorry for the metaphors! But I was here first, and I pull my weight around camp in a way he just doesn’t. Is it really that ridiculous that I feel like I deserve some respect for that?

YVONNE

Maybe you should start your own Summer Camp where counselors are sorted into Alphas and Omegas.

JEDIDIAH

Do not give him ideas.

JOSHUA

Why can’t he stay with Rowan? Rowan’s the only Counselor in his cabin. Since, you know, the… incident last year. Y’know. When his co-counselor got… destroyed.

YVONNE

We knew what you were talking about without you saying it, dude.

JOSHUA

Well you didn’t react, so how was I supposed to know!?

YVONNE

How did you want me to react to being reminded of how one of my coworkers was destroyed!?

JEDIDIAH

Let’s please not have an argument on top of an argument, guys. Listen, Joshua, it’s only until Lucille sorts the problem out with the kids, right? She’s… very mad at those kids. They will probably be letting Juniper back in by tomorrow. Can you wait?

YVONNE

Of course.

JOSHUA

No way. 

JEDIDIAH

(sigh)

JOSHUA

And if you don’t mind me saying, Mr. Mediation, what even is your job here? ‘Cos to me, it seems like you think your job is just to convince me to repress my problems.

JEDIDIAH

I’m just trying to get this over with, Joshua.

JOSHUA

Your job is definitely not “getting this over with!” Yvonne, you have to agree, it really seems like he doesn’t care about this.

YVONNE

I mean… of course he doesn’t. It’s not his problem.

JOSHUA

And you’re actually okay with that? You were just talking to me yesterday about how you hate how distant he’s been.

YVONNE

Hey! I did not give you permission to share that!

JEDIDIAH

This session… isn’t about me.

JOSHUA

I’m just trying to point out —!

YVONNE

Stuff that doesn’t even matter! Listen, let’s — there’s a reason we’re here. 

JOSHUA

Right. Getting Juniper to move into Rowan’s cabin.

JEDIDIAH

(getting frustrated)

We do not control where Juniper sleeps. That is Lucille’s decision.

JOSHUA

Well, we can — petition her!

JEDIDIAH

Joshua, listen to me. It has been one night, and it will probably only be one night more. Juniper is not so powerful to uproot your entire — personal ecosystem in a day. Unless it was already on the verge of collapse, which would not surprise me given the way you’re talking about life and relationships. It’s, forgive me, pathetic.

JOSHUA

Jesus. Fine, I am jealous! I’m jealous! Okay? God! Everyone thinks he’s awesome and everyone thinks I’m annoying. Maybe that bothers me a little.

YVONNE

Joshua.

JOSHUA

I don’t know what he actually does that I don’t. Yeah, he’s funny, but he’s… inconsiderate, and irresponsible, and I try really hard around here, and I actually give a shit.

JEDIDIAH

Mm. 

YVONNE

(chiding)

It’s kinda stupid of you to hide that sincere reaction behind a bunch of Darwinistic nonsense.

JOSHUA

And we’re supposed to be friends, Yvonne, and you’ve… barely acknowledged me since he got here. How am I supposed to talk to you?

YVONNE

Joshua… (sigh) I’m sorry. Juniper is fun to hang out with, but believe me, he could not replace you, as a co-counselor or a friend. In fact, if they did make him my co-counselor, I would probably quit, ‘cause… he really is irresponsible. (snickering) And a bit of a twit. 

JOSHUA

Mm.

YVONNE

That said… I’d appreciate it if the next time you felt insecure, you just said it, instead of turning into a weird, mean natural philosopher about it. 

JOSHUA

Yeah, I’m sorry, I guess. I just hope the kids don’t like, hate me. 

YVONNE

I really doubt it. I think they’re just excited at the opportunity to goof off a little. Which is good and fine for now. Not sustainable. But fine for a day.

JOSHUA

Sweeping the cabin isn’t, like, the end of the world though. They should be able to do it. 

YVONNE

They’re kids, dude. What do you expect?

JOSHUA

I guess you’re right. Well, I’m glad we’re still friends and everything. 

YVONNE

(warmly)

Yeah… Me too. Dickhead. 

JOSHUA

Asshole. 

JEDIDIAH

Are we done?

JOSHUA

Wait, one more: Cunt. 

JEDIDIAH

Okay. 

YVONNE

Shithead. 

JEDIDIA

Guys. 

YVONNE

He started it.

JOSHUA

You started it! Fuckface!

YVONNE

You turned one simple, friendly insult into a pissing contest. Which is typical, from you. Pisslord!

JEDIDIAH

Right. It seems like the problem has been solved. Can we call this session adjourned? 

YVONNE

Yeah… Okay. I suppose. 

JEDIDIAH

I’ll see you around, Yvonne. 

YVONNE

(hesitant)

Yeah… sure. 

(they get up and walk away)

JOSHUA

Bye, dude.

(the door shuts)

JEDIDIAH

Afterlog notes. Joshua is annoying. Uh. Yvonne is the same as always, I guess… Christ. Sydney… I know you listen to these. Why did you make me do this? This job? I’m so tired. These meetings never go anywhere, and sometimes I feel like you just like seeing me flounder and fail at things. Do you like it? 

Agh. Fuck. Nevermind. Scratch that. I’m just smashing this tape. A bird ate it. I dropped it in the bonfire. Whatever. 

(recorder click)

(radio click)

Today’s episode was written and produced by Blue Mayfield and Nicholas Belov. The part of Jedidiah Martin was played by Nicholas Belov. The part of Yvonne Marley was played by Emily Safko. The part of Joshua MacHeath was played by Ty Coker. Camp Here & There is the sole intelectual property of its production company, Mayfield and Belov. All music composed by Will Wood, and produced by Jonathon Maisto. Sound editing by Blue Mayfield and Beetlesprite. Special thanks to our patrons: Taylor Kloiber, Ciel, Imke Nouwen, Arson, and Samantha

For behind-the-scenes material, exclusive canonical content, interactive events, and early episode access, consider signing up for our patreon, at patreon.com/mayfieldandbelov. Our Discord server is a great place to meet like-minded fellows and discuss today’s episode. Find the link at mayfieldandbelov.com. Lastly, if you’d like to support us, the best thing you can do is to spread the word about the show.

Thank you for listening to Camp Here & There, and remember: The ground keeps whole for only as long as the worthy walk.

View more episode transcripts

(radio static)

Mayfield and Belov presents: Camp Here & There
Episode 8: The Goo of Friendship 

(opening theme)

(radio click)

(the intercom clicks on)

(bell chime)

SYDNEY

Helloooooo and good morning, my lovely little poison dart frogs! I’ve got to say, the sky is an especially mucousy shade of green this morning. Lovely, isn’t it? Like the milky opalescence of swamp water. Milk and swamp water, mmm… classic combo.

Whoo! Well now. Lots of fun stuff on the agenda today. Also, in case you were worried about your good old camp nurse, I am glad to report that I feel much better than yesterday! My breathing issues are back down to their typical, moderate-to-severe level, and my body is no longer growing tiny leaves out the ends of my fingernails. Thankfully, as that was particularly annoying; I prefer to keep my nails long so I can defend myself from scary things like… men. I’m all like, HISS! SCRATCH! And they’re all like, AAAAH! MY EYES! No one stands a chance.

That’s my daily advice for you kids. Keep those claws long.

Speaking of claws, today’s breakfast is fox’s foot, mistletoe, and a haphazard combination of blue and yellow gelatin — Matthew has aims on inventing a new color by combining these two. Plus, Counselor Mila has whipped up a real special food of her own invention, which she’s called… ‘oatmeal raisin cookies.’ I’d advise you all to avoid actually eating that, but maybe you could pretend when she’s looking. I do respect her adventurous spirit.

For this morning’s activities, Warren is once again inviting you to the Creativity Cabin — you’ll be making accessories out of whatever you don’t eat at breakfast. Folklore has it that wearing fox feet as earrings will ward off the wicked machinations of the universe at large. If that’s true, sign me up, ’cause I could sure… use… a break. Yep. Dear God, could I use a break.

Haha!

Oh, and, uh, you also can join Marisol and Salem for knitting lessons. The yarn is *not* sentient this time — (whispering) we promise! And lastly, Juniper and Rowan are welcoming you to play a fun card game they like to call Doom or Dare. Rowan assures me that it’s perfectly safe —

(loud knocking)

Huh?

TONY 1

(muffled) 

‘EY, ANYBODY IN THERE? J—JEDDUH—EHHhhh-Juh… oof. Tony, how do I pronounce this name here?

TONY 2

(completely mangling the pronunciation of “Jedidiah”) 

Jed-did-de-yah, right?

TONY 1

(continuing knocking, repeating Tony 2’s poor pronunciation) 

JED-DID-DE-YAH!!!!! ‘EY, BUDDY, WE GOT A PACKAGE FOR YA! BIG, HEFTY PACKAGE JUST WAITIN’A BE JUICED!

SYDNEY

I’ll… be right back, kids.

(Sydney scurries over and opens the door)

SYDNEY

Hello — ?

TONY 1

CHRIST! Ooh hey-

TONY 2

How about a little warnin’ before you open the door in our faces, ‘ah, buddy-bye?

TONY 1

Seriously.

SYDNEY

(offended) 

Uhg? How about a little warning before you — start making a ruckus all — willy-nillied and poorly accented and all that? I was in the middle of an announcement, you know? You couldn’t have waited two minutes for me to be done? Now all the kids have to hear me yelling! And they- they have to hear your… big, loud voices. And for what? Just a package?

BOTH TONYS

(making vague defensive noises and ‘woahs’ throughout)

TONY 2

Wo-woah!

TONY 1

Sorry!

TONY 1

‘Ey, kid, yannowhat, (chuckle) you’re alright.

TONY 2

I like this guy, Tony, don’chyou?

TONY 1

He sure knows how to give a good talkin’-to, y’know? It’s kind of a lost art.

TONY 2

Ha-ha-ha!

SYDNEY

(bewildered)

Can- can- can you- can you just hand me the package? Jedidiah’s out picking herbs for me, and he won’t be back for a while —

TONY 1

Nope! Nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, nope.

TONY 2

You seem like a trustworthy guy, but (chuckling) we can’t just go handin’ off illegal contraband to the first fella who asks!

TONY 1

Heheh, no.

BOTH TONIES

(hearty laughter)

SYDNEY

Illegal… contraband?

TONY 1

Ya.

SYDNEY

Jedidiah is mail-ordering… illegal contraband?

… 

TONY 1

(whistles)

TONY 2

Ouch.

TONY 1

Sorry you had to find out this way, really.

TONY 2

Hate to be the bearers of bad news… Although, as black market delivery men, that’s kind of our job description…

TONY 1

But your husband is definitely a criminal. I mean… definitely. No doubt.

SYDNEY

My —

TONY 1

He’s a criminal.

SYDNEY

Okay, whatever.

TONY 1

Ya.

SYDNEY

Sure, I’m his spouse. That means you can hand the package off to me, right?

TONY 1

I, well, I… oof. Hmm.

TONY 2

That’s a decent argument.

TONY 1

Ya. Um…

SYDNEY

Yes, yes — so give me the package now and then I’ll—

(Jedidiah walks in and bumps into the Tonies)

TONY 1

Heyyyyyy, watchit, pal!

TONY 2

(simultaneously) 

Eyy, I’m standin’ ere!

JEDIDIAH

Sorry. Didn’t see you… Ah, excuse me — is that mine?

TONY 2

Youse Jed-did-de-ya?

JEDIDIAH

(sighing)

Close enough.

TONY 1

Not gonna give you the package until you say youse Jed-did-de-ya!

SYDNEY

You could just give it to me instead!

JEDIDIAH

Sydney? Ugh. Yes, okay, my name is… “Jed-did-de-ya”

TONY 2

Hmm. Tony, what do you think?

TONY 1

He don’t seem too convinced of his own name. That’s — that’s my take on it.

TONY 2

It’s suspicious, right?

TONY 1

I — I don’t think we should hand it over.

JEDIDIAH

This is a joke, right?

SYDNEY

If you fine fellows give the package to me, I’ll hand it off to Jed-did-de-ya as soon as he comes back.

TONY 2

Now this guy knows how to talk to a delivery man!

TONY 1

And he’s got such a trustworthy look about him, y’know?

TONY 2

Those chubby cheeks! 

TONY 1

And those curls… d’oh, just take the package.

JEDIDIAH

Dear God. 

SYDNEY

Yes! Yes…!!

(Sydney is handed the package)

JEDIDIAH

Okay. Okay.

SYDNEY

Thank you for your business, sirs!

TONY 1

Thank you!

TONY 2

Sorry we never got to meet your husband.

TONY 1

Must be a smart guy, if he married a reliable fella like you.

TONY 2

Stupid name, though.

TONY 1

Very dumb name.

(The door slams)

JEDIDIAH

(sighing)

That was… weird, but… thanks for getting the package for me.

JEDIDIAH

C-can I… have it?

SYDNEY

Yyyyyes…

JEDIDIAH

Okay…?

SYDNEY

If you answer some questions.

JEDIDIAH

(exasperated sigh) Sydney, I don’t really have time for this — hey, is… is that still on? 

SYDNEY

Ah — ! (he runs to the mic) Have a good breakfast, kids! See you in a few hours! 

(the intercom clicks off) 

(radio click)

(intermission music)

(radio click)

(the intercom clicks on)

(bell chime)

SYDNEY

Oops! Look at that. Announcements just began. I guess we’ll have to talk more about this later.

JEDIDIAH

Oh my God.

SYDNEY

Gooooood afternoon, campers. The time’s 12:82, and I’m doing quite well, thank you for asking. While you were all absorbed in your morning activities, the Jedidiah Martin Mail-Order Contraband Scandal has been developing at the speed of nothing, because this guy’s mouth is sealed tighter than Lucille’s ears.

JEDIDIAH

It’s my mail!

SYDNEY

It’s black-market contraband!

JEDIDIAH

I — Sydney, those guys — would real black market deliverymen actually *say* they were black market deliverymen?

SYDNEY

I don’t claim to understand the mind of a criminal.

JEDIDIAH

You’re the smartest person I know —

SYDNEY

Maybe it was misdirection! They say upfront that they’re (imitating the Tonies) “black market deliverymen”, so that we’ll think, oh, they can’t possibly be (imitating the Tonies) “black market deliverymen!” But they are!

JEDIDIAH

(hissing)

I… don’t think that possibility is grounds to withhold my mail.

SYDNEY

Jedidiah, I’m concerned about the kids here. What if it puts them in danger, huh? What if it’s something so illegal that when they catch you with it, the whole camp is implicated to your evil schemes?

JEDIDIAH

It’s- it’s not.

SYDNEY: I can’t take just your word for it. 

JEDIDIAH

It’s — BARELY illegal. It’s- it’s- it’s like- it’s the kind of thing that’s only illegal in this particular state. It’s like Kinder Eggs.

SYDNEY

Kinder Eggs are banned for good reason! 

JEDIDIAH

Since when did you give a shit about the law!

SYDNEY

Language!

JEDIDIAH

Christ. Whatever. Do the announcements. 

(Jedidiah rises from his chair and walks away)

SYDNEY

(ahem) Well. Whatever, then. (sigh) Afternoon, my loves. It’s 12:79, and the sky’s settled into a swampy conglomerate of camouflage browns and greens. It’s getting harder and harder to know which is sky and which is Earth. Let me assure you, *I* know, but I’ll never tell… (sigh) My heart’s just not in it today, campers. I don’t even have the gusto of my usual quippy, existential monologues. This damn box… 

Like, okay. Jedidiah’s always been a pretty private person. Even for me, he’s difficult to get a read on; I mean, that guy’s head is like a cheap coffin: thick, sparsely decorated, and it’s got a few breathing holes just in case, but you’re not expecting anything to use them. But the past couple of years… he’s not just been private, he’s been keeping secrets. And I just… whatever he’s doing… I — I know he thinks he has to do it alone. But if he would just open up a little bit…

Well, anyway. (shuffling papers) On to a topic that actually concerns you kids . . . . . the deer with no face has, unfortunately, resurfaced. Campers returning from last year will remember the faceless deer as the major orchestrator of a nearly-successful scheme to unseat the sun from its throne in the sky. When pressed about her motivations, the deer claimed only that she mistook the sun for a particularly gaseous mandarin orange, and wished to devour it. Also, alongside her proclivity for plunging society into eternal winter and darkness, the faceless deer has an extremely obnoxious personality. For example, she jumps at every opportunity to show off the travel slideshow from her vacation in Switzerland. When you try to tell her that Switzerland has not existed for almost forty years because the Global Chocolate Shortage of ‘83 caused the country to politically and physically dissolve, and also these photos look a lot like they were taken in Cincinnati, she’ll make up some excuse about the cyclical nature of time, and it’s just like — give it up! What is even the point of this lie anymore! No one is impressed!

Anyway, if you see her, don’t get too close. Despite not having a face, she does have multiple jaws, and the bloodstains on her teeth are not decorative. She claims that each of her jaws has its own brain and she can’t control who they bite, but considering her track record with honesty I can’t help but —

(the door creaks open)

JEDIDIAH

(from behind)

What if I answer a question?

SYDNEY

What?

(Jedidiah walks over)

JEDIDIAH

Would you give me the — hey, are you… um… uh… the announcements are s-still going?

SYDNEY

Maybe.

JEDIDIAH

O-Okay, I will — lemme know when you’re done. We can talk.

SYDNEY

Jedidiah, what do I always say?

JEDIDIAH

(sighing)

When I die, I will rot.

SYDNEY

No — well, the other one.

JEDIDIAH

(frustrated groaning)

If you can’t say something in front of the kids, there’s no need to say it at all.

SYDNEY

Right!

JEDIDIAH

So you’re not gonna hear me out unless we do it over the announcements for everyone’s entertainment.

SYDNEY

Right.

JEDIDIAH 

You know I could just rip that package out of your hands if I wanted to!

SYDNEY

…are you gonna?

JEDIDIAH

Ugh! No!

SYDNEY

So why bring it up?

JEDIDIAH

I just don’t want you to power trip, okay? You’re only yanking me around because I’m letting you.

SYDNEY

Y’know, for a good Christian boy, you can be very prideful.

JEDIDIAH

(embarrassed, voice cracking)

I’m not Christian. Why are you telling them I’m Christian?

SYDNEY

(handwavey)

Christian in origin.

JEDIDIAH

(sigh) Okay. Fine. Listen, here is my proposal. In exchange for the package, I will directly answer… a question. Any question, okay?

SYDNEY

Mmmm… three questions.

JEDIDIAH

Two questions.

SYDNEY

Two is such an unsatisfying number. Three.

JEDIDIAH

Okay. Three questions.

SYDNEY

Actually, what about five — ?

JEDIDIAH

(grabbing a chair) 

Three questions.

SYDNEY

Okay. Okay… but you have to answer them with the microphone on.

JEDIDIAH

Yes, yes, fine. Let’s go.

SYDNEY

Okay. Threeeeeee questions. Hmmm… Any suggestions from the audience? … Haha, okay, okay. We’ll start with this. That “project” you’re working on… would you get in trouble if the government found out about it?

JEDIDIAH

There are… individuals in this world who would… seek to thwart me, I think.

SYDNEY

(laughing)

Wow. You are talking like a villain in a storybook! Okay, what kinds of people would try to stop you?

JEDIDIAH

Is that your second question?

SYDNEY

Sure.

JEDIDIAH

Powerful ones.

SYDNEY

Powerful people?

JEDIDIAH

Yes.

SYDNEY

Like our government?

JEDIDIAH: And others. (he moves to get up) Alright, that’s three questions.

SYDNEY

Wh — no, that last one didn’t count! I was just getting clarification!

JEDIDIAH

I technically gave you four.

SYDNEY

One more. Please. Okay? T-Then I’ll give you the package.

JEDIDIAH

(sigh) Okay.

SYDNEY

(quietly)

What are you working on in your office?

JEDIDIAH

…Ask a different question.

SYDNEY

You can’t do that!

JEDIDIAH

You can’t just take my mail and hold it over my head!

SYDNEY

Well — well I don’t feel like I have much other option!

JEDIDIAH

I — what?

SYDNEY

You don’t tell me anything.

JEDIDIAH

Why do I have to?

SYDNEY

Because we’re supposed to be f- (he gets stuck on the word) friends! A-and friends tell each other things! Right?

JEDIDIAH 

Friends respect each other’s boundaries. Listen, I really don’t feel like playing mind games with you. Especially not in front of an audience. I’m gonna leave you to the announcements.

(Jedidiah walks away)

SYDNEY

Ngh — Jeddie, wait —

JEDIDIAH

Come knock on my door if you feel charitable, alright? 

(he exits the room)

SYDNEY

(perturbed)

Well! Let’s… shall we move on, kids? This afternoon’s activities include… foraging for sprouts with Marisol, fish head juggling, and a game that Counselor Juniper likes to call “Rope Climbing While Your Hands are Coated in Olive Oil: The Game.” Also, Yvonne is hosting The Gamer Hour… 2! For lunch, Matthew is offering a smattering of smooth stones. Have a nice lunch, kids, and uh… h-ha-have a nice afternoon! 

(the intercom clicks off)

(radio click)

(intermission music)

(radio click)

(the intercom clicks on)

(bell chime)

SYDNEY

(chipper)

Good evening, my linen-swaddled pill bugs! It’s 19:05 once more — and yes, the implacable torrent of passing time has once again devoured an entire day, right before our eyes! But with each day’s end comes the joy of a new day’s birth, hmm? And each day brings with it new and thrilling opportunities to irrevocably change the nature of your existence, permanently cutting you off from your past self, for better or worse. Wow! I hope you’re as excited as I am!

Ahh, updates, updates. The annoying faceless deer has left camp again — she claims that she only came back here to “retrieve something she left behind last summer.” On a completely unrelated note, if any of you kids run into Counselor Marie Ann, could you please let me know? She’s been missing for a couple of hours, and I’m starting to get worried. She’s only been working at camp for a year, but she’s already a cherished member of our little community.

Also, a little update on Counselor Soren’s request for stones — he’d like to let you all know that he’s very pleased! Several long and impressive stones have been reported to him throughout the day, and he says that they will “do quite nicely… yes, quite nicely indeed… heh heh. Heh heh.” What a pleasant fellow. I really envy his energy and passion sometimes!

You know, kids, I’ve been thinking about the package. And I think Jedidiah… is… right. I think that… holding that package over his head was my way of lashing out about the fact that I… feel like I can’t control anything in my life. I found a little foothold, a way to gain control over one of my problems, and I… went overboard. And the fact is, I shouldn’t be able to control Jedidiah. Even when he’s making me unhappy. Because he’s his own person, and I’m mine, and both of us will be unhappy if… if power dynamics enter the relationship. So… I hope you kids can learn from my mistake. And I think I’m going to —

(the door opens)

(Jedidiah walks in)

JEDIDIAH

Lucille says you have to give the package back.

SYDNEY

Uh — hi? Sorry? What?

JEDIDIAH

I talked to Lucille. She says you have to give the package to me.

SYDNEY

I — what?

JEDIDIAH

What are you confused about?

SYDNEY

Um. Everything? W — why did — are you saying Lucille is actually *okay* with you shipping illegal contraband into camp? But she starts seeing a problem when I — I — when I’m concerned about that?

JEDIDIAH

I’m not Lucille, Sydney, I can’t explain her perspective.

SYDNEY

Can you… I… okay. Uh. Okay.

JEDIDIAH

…May I have it?

SYDNEY

Are you… telling the truth? I — Why couldn’t she come over here and say this to me herself?

JEDIDIAH

She’s a busy woman. And even if I was lying, you still have no good reason to withhold my mail. So… Please.

(Sydney hands the package over)

JEDIDIAH

Thank you.

SYDNEY

I was going to give it to you anyway…

JEDIDIAH

That’s nice.

… 

Listen, come to my office later, I… we can talk a little?

SYDNEY

Okay.

JEDIDIAH

Okay.

(he walks away)

SYDNEY
(barely keeping it together)

Dinner, uh… Matthew… will know. What dinner is. Since he’s making it. So… you should ask him. And, um, activities… are… night time ones. Probably. So… enjoy… that.

Okay. Goodnight.

(the intercom clicks off)

(radio click)

(intermission music)

(radio click)

(recorder clicks on)

(there is a consistent ticking clock)

SYDNEY

It’s 25:25. Jedidiah invited me into his office tonight. It’s been… (Inhales) over a year, I think, now, since the last time I was in there. In general, it hasn’t changed much. Still got that corkboard covered in… well, last time I was in there, it was covered in photos of us from… y’know, the past. Now it’s just uh… diagrams and equations. The mechanical bits and pieces lying about the room make it obvious that something’s being worked on, but — but not what. Under his desk, I noticed, is a vault that takes a key… don’t know what that’s about. And I will say, I… I don’t remember there being quite so many clocks in there… all shapes and sizes, all keeping track of different timescales, all ticking and tocking discordantly… hm. Anyway. 

Jedidiah basically wanted to tell me that he didn’t actually ask Lucille to force me to hand over the package. He was just venting to her about the situation, and she… reacted like that. I guess he… didn’t want me to think badly of him. Or whatever.

(sigh) I mean, that’s a nice thought, but it still leaves me with a few… concerns? I mean, for one, why didn’t Lucille have a problem with Jedidiah trading illegal contraband on the campgrounds? Why did she react so vehemently to my actions when I — when- when I- I just wanted to make sure the kids were safe? And — and am I supposed to believe that Jedidiah vents to Lucille? I- I didn’t think he talked to anyone… about anything.

I… I don’t want to be angry. A part of me really does feel like this is my fault, like I put myself into this situation by — by lashing out and acting immature, but — I mean, it definitely was contraband! I didn’t wanna say this in front of the kids, but it definitely was! Because there was a symbol there, on the side of the package, this winding, twisting geometric figure in thick black ink. It’s… a little difficult to look at directly — I mean, it pulses and drums, thins and thickens, it’s enough to make a normal person nauseous, but if I’m good at anything, it’s seeing things. And I know that symbol. It’s the symbol for the fairy market. A… government network for heavily regulated substances, magical reagents, and machinery. Scientists and companies can get fairy market permission for personal use, but it’s… a pretty complicated process, from what I hear. I don’t want to make any assumptions, but there is a fair chance that Jedidiah was… not supposed to have that. And by shipping it here, he’s making everyone complicit! He’s right that I don’t care about the law, but I care about these kids, and how would they be affected if they got dragged into federal proceedings?

And… and… I didn’t have to hold my tongue about that. I didn’t have to apologize, for everyone to hear, and say that I was the one who messed up. But I did! I felt so miserable with him angry at me, I just wanted to fix things… so I just shut up and took the blame… and I still didn’t get to hand that package over on my terms. Because I don’t do anything in my terms… Urgh! I would be so much happier if I could just accept that…

I called him my friend to everyone earlier. Friend. As if we’re not… we’re not… (sigh) we’re not. 

On… in other news… all the diary tapes I recorded over the past week have, uh… disappeared. I assume they’ve been stolen. Suspect #1 is the Elephant Man. Second suspect is Joshua. My third suspect is the deer with no face. But really, in this camp, it could be anyone.

Normally that’d be an exciting mystery, but… right now it’s just annoying. Maybe tomorrow I’ll go… interrogate Joshua about it. Let off some steam.

Okay. Goodnight. I’m… I dunno. I’ll probably just stay in here. Draw… haunted houses. And skeletal cats.

Bye, ghost recorder. 

(recorder clicks off)

(radio click)

(closing music with static overlayed, eventually cutting it off)

(radio click) 

Today’s episode was written and produced by Blue Mayfield and Nicholas Belov. The part of Sydney Sargent was played by Blue Mayfield. The part of Jedidiah Martin was played by Nicholas Belov. The part of Tony 1 was played by Tom Antonelis. The part of Tony 2 was played by Gianni Matrigrano. Special thanks to our patrons: Trey Faded Facade, Will Rainsford, Fawn, Moonshine the Fox, and Vexos. Camp Here & There is the sole intelectual property of its production company, Mayfield and Belov. All music composed by Will Wood, and produced by Jonathon Maisto. Sound editing by Blue Mayfield and Beetlesprite.

For behind-the-scenes material, exclusive canonical content, interactive events, and early episode access, consider signing up for our patreon, at patreon.com/mayfieldandbelov. Our Discord server is a great place to meet like-minded fellows and discuss today’s episode. Find the link at mayfieldandbelov.com. Lastly, if you’d like to support us, the best thing you can do is to spread the word about the show.

Thank you for listening to Camp Here & There, and remember: Put the Silly Putty back. You don’t need more Silly Putty.

(radio click)

View more episode transcripts

Mayfield and Belov presents: Camp Here & There. Episode 7: The World of Goo. 

(opening theme)

(there is a click and a chime as the intercom turns on)

SYDNEY
(through a stuffy nose)

Rise and shine, camperooskies… I, ah, must apologize, I’m — (inhale) I’m feeling a bit “less than the weather” today, as they say. (sniff) It’s all that damned goo. Oh, yeah — if you didn’t notice, there’s… there’s… this… (sniff) there’s this big gelatinous thing in the center of camp, and it’s… it’s just sitting in the rock circle, where the bonfire should be. I guess it fell out of the sky and onto the bonfire or something…?

Anyway, yeah, there’s a big pile of goo, and I. I’m actually allergic to goo, so I’m (sniff) not at my peak. Plus, my brain feels so foggy without the bonfire smoke to illustrate, y’know, sacred truths within its soupy coils… so. (sniff) I’m just not firing on very many cylinders today.

Anyway, anyway, anyway. Until one of the wonderful counselors here at Camp Here and There decides to get off their ass and clean this muck up, let’s not dwell on the sticky and the icky, huh, campers? The time is, uh… 

Do I have to check one of the clocks? Usually, the time sort of just… comes to me. I guess I… mm… campers, I — this is sort of embarrassing, but I never learned to read analogue clocks, so I… don’t know what time it is… 

Well, it’s — eight-something, probably! Yes, the dawn of the newest twenty-five-hour age! What terrifying cosmic secrets will you unlock today, children? Well, here’s a secret I’ll let you all in on for freesies: for today’s breakfast, Matthew has prepared hash oranges, hash greens, hash reds, and hash b-(sneeze) Oh gosh, sorry! (sniff) Goo… (sneeze) One moment please, (he blows his nose). Urrf, this stuff… Okay! I’m fine.

Hoo. Moving on… we’ve got some real storybook romps lined up for you on this morning’s activities list. Juniper is inviting all you kids to a classic English children’s game that he used to play in his hometown of Legsworth — it’s called Cornhole Two, and boy is it sticky! Our Trusty lifeguards Juno and Mila are opening the central lake to any lost souls wanting some time in the viscous waters of Lake Eerily-Gelatinous. Salem’s supervising the archery field, and both Soren and Fennel have teamed up to bring you a theoretical workshop on The Strange Magic of the Soul and Mind!

Wow! (sneeze) What a jam-packed day! I sure do love… uh, Mondays… Uhh. It’s Monday, right? Usually I just know — I — Jedidiah… ?

JEDIDIAH

(muffled)

Sunday, babe.

SYDNEY

Sunday! Yeah! Man, it sure is great to… (sniff) know things. Mm. Man.

Really hope the bonfire does come back.

Alright, alright. In a while, alligators; I’ve gotta blast — I’ve got a camper here by the name of Cindy Silicone whose lake lesions are just (sniff) begging to be put on ice. Have yourselves a hearty breakfast! 

(there is a click as the intercom turns off)

(intermission music)

(there is a click and a chime as the intercom turns on)

SYDNEY

I don’t have many memories left over from when I was a child, campers. I remember going to this Summer Camp! I remember little Jedidiah awkwardly flirting with me on the playground, all tiny and nerdy and looser-y and lame… (sniff)I remember my favorite books and video games… my home life is something of a blur, for whatever reason! But I do remember one thing that happened to me at home — like it was yesterday, in fact. (sneeze)

I was six years old. I’d just gotten home from school, and my mom wasn’t back yet, so I figured I’d sneak in some TV time. (sniff) Boy, was that a mistake! I clicked that nasty little box on and came face-to-face with the most horrible image. It was this colossal, sweating sack of meaty slop — a blob, if you will — which (sniff) oozed its way through a peaceful grayscale cityscape, devouring everything in its wake. Oh, it was terrible! Scared me senseless! I was thrown into such an awful sneezing fit, I could hardly hold the remote steady enough to turn the terrible contraption off… and ever since then, campers, I’ve been not just allergic to goo, but deeply, deeply perturbed by it.

(sneeze) All that said… (sniff) I assure you, my little trash raccoons, that my concern over the goo pile which has smothered the oracle bonfire does not stem from a simple childhood phobia, nor does it stem from the admittedly disconcerting absence of my smoke-fueled divination ability. (sniff) I’m extremely concerned about the viscous invader at the center of camp because… (sniff) it seems to me… that slowly, incrementally, over the course of today… the goo… has been (sniff) growing

Oh, none of you believed me at first. This morning, while you kids were chatting over breakfast, I know I watched that sickening gack begin to wobble, shudder, and expand, ever so slightly… (sniff) now, it’s grown out far enough to have swallowed the wide circle of stones which once sat proudly around the bonfire, and tall enough to threaten the flag atop the flagpole. Even the trees have begun to react, leaning back and away from our ungrateful gelatinous guest, looking like an array of dominos falling in slow-motion; and the goo has seeped across the top of the water, threatening the ill-defined territory of the unknowable object at the center of the lake. So none of you can ignore it anymore!!

I have no idea what it’s (sniff) feeding on to fuel its expansion — the embers from the suffocating bonfire, perhaps? The dirt on the ground? Or something metaphysical? (sneeze) Either way, this fantastical sack of opalescent ooze smells like doom, to me. I’m wholly confident that if we allow it to continue growing unchecked, we will all be consumed — a fate so ripe and mucilaginous that I would not wish it on anyone (sniff), not even Counselor Joshua.

Of course, your kind and hard-working Camp Director, Lucille, has done her part to try and mitigate the glutinous disaster-in-waiting. She summoned a few of her (sniff) Friends-of-the-Oak — you know, those handsome wooden mannequins she enchants to do her bidding? Yes, she does love her puppets. Anyway, she had those guys try using a vacuum, but it (sniff) totally backfired — the vacuums actually ended up sucking themselves into the goo, taking the Oakfriends along for the ride. So, obviously, Lucille is hopping mad, ’cause her favorite wooden guys got absorbed, and (sneeze) I’m not sure she’ll be willing to risk any more resources on this problem. It might be up to your heroic camp counselors to get this goo out of our hair — and I’d encourage them to hop to this as quickly as possible.

Anyway, I… (he explodes into a sneezing fit)

Uuagugh! GOO! Children, I cannot tell you how much I hate goo. Lava lamps, the movie Flubber, the fluids that come out of your body when you’re sad or injured… all of it repulses me. (sniff) And I am sick to bastard death of not being able to breathe out my nose, and having to look at clocks to figure out what time it is… do they have to have so many hands? I still haven’t figured out which one is meant to measure millenia.

(sneeze) Anyway. Anyway, anyway. It’s 12:87 now, I think, and boy, today really took its sweet time getting from breakfast to lunch, huh? As if Father Time himself is wading through a thick pool of gelatin. I don’t envy the bastard.

Today’s lunch is a mixture of boiled crawfish, broiled shrimp, and toiled lobster. As any good (sniff) chef knows, toiled lobster tastes best when it’s been subjected to considerable emotional labor in the form of a job in telecommunications or some equally humiliating field. You really gotta work ’em to the bone! Or… shell! Hya-HA! (he smacks the table) Man, I am funny. Vegans get birdfeed.

(shuffling sounds)

Oh, one second, kids, I— oh, I’m being handed a message… Oh, I—

Oh.

Oh, dear. 

Hm. Breaking news, my dears… the goo has become autonomous. It’s rolling around, slopping and sloshing like an overactive latrine, and it’s heading towards Cabin Ladybug… oh, dear… kids, do not leave the mess hall. Counselors, make your way to my office as quickly as you possibly can, and try not to… alert the goo… ? Somehow… ?

And, kids, I’d advise you not to touch your food until this thing has been dealt with. There’s a chance that some of its nasty particles have contaminated Matthew’s cooking, in which case you’ll probably undergo a painful transfiguration into some kind of blob-person.  Alright, kids, see you soon… I hope… 

(there is a click as the intercom turns off)

(intermission mu-

(there is a click as the intercom turns on) 

SYDNEY
Campers, C— (sneeze) campers! I apologize for (sniff) for interrupting your lunch a mere few minutes after my last announcement, but I-I’ve got (sniff) urgent news, and an even more urgent request!

When I called your counselors to my office, our first order of business was a good old-fashioned brainstorming sesh, in which we all talked over how to deal with this syrupy behemoth. Now, Camp Here & There prides itself on fostering a sense of unity, family, and above all, love between all the members of its staff. So as you can imagine, we treated one another with the utmost respect and care through this discussion. Every suggestion was duly considered before it was gently shot down. Heartfelt compliments were offered and returned. We even held hands. And as we convened, the goo, seemingly bent on swallowing Cabin Ladybug, seemed to be growing at an exponential rate.

It was at this point that a certain counselor — I won’t name names, but it was Joshua — made a suggestion which the rest of us took to be… stupid. Me, Jedidiah, and Yvonne all told him, lovingly and politely, to shut up, and in that moment I noticed something fascinating. The goo — which had, to this point, grown so colossal that the shape of Cabin Ladybug had been entirely obscured by its lustrous heft — shivered, convulsed, and shrank.

In this moment, it all became clear to me. The fierce camaraderie shared between the campers of each cabin… the committed, heartfelt love between members of the camp staff… and the protective, parental compassion that the counselors show for you kids… our camp environment is a tender one, and that is exactly why the goo has prospered. The gruesome growth of this glistening glop… is fueled… by love.

And, similarly, rudeness and antagonism serve to poison it. And tell me, my little arthropods — who on this Earth is better at being antagonistic than teenagers? Oh, if I were as skilled at insult and injury today as I was when I was your age, I’d rule the world. Campers, we need you. Go, now, from your lunchroom tables to the center of camp! Levy your harshest, most blistering insults unto the goo. Unleash every ounce of your pent-up, adolescent rage upon it! Pretend it’s your parents! Your teachers! The government! Us! I’m quite certain that within one of those categories is someone who deserves it!

But, ah… be sure to use only your words. We aren’t sure you’d survive if the goo slurped you up, so keep your hands and feet away from it.

Now hurry, hurry! Rush outside and do your worst! We’ll be cheering you on! Or, not… we probably shouldn’t cheer you on. But we’ll be very proud, in our hearts! 

(there is a click as the intercom turns off)

(intermission music)

(there is a click and a chime as the intercom turns on)

SYDNEY
All’s gel that ends gel, huh?

(Sydney and Jedidiah both break out into uproaring laughter. Sydney chokes, which makes Jedidiah laugh harder.)

JEDIDIAH
He spent an hour and a half coming up with that one.

SYDNEY

(shoving Jedidiah away)

Get away from the microphone, you prick —

Oh, campers. Dinner has arrived, and the timing could not be better. If you’ve heard the word, rest assured that it’s true: the Goo is Gone!

I must say, you kids were quite the sight. The way you all stood single-file, facing the goo like a redcoat battalion, and launched your verbal assault… the way it trembled and cowered as you collectively read it for filth! Some among your ranks began directing your insults at the counselors, and I’ve received requests to admonish you for that, but… I mean, insults hurt the goo no matter where they’re directed, right? Ends and means, I say. What matters is that, in the face of all that choking hatred, the goo shrank to nothing and became… merely a memory.

I’m still experiencing some — (sneeze) residual effects of the goo’s presence, but I’m sure I’ll be fine by tomorrow. In the meantime, though, I’ll stay indoors for today. If you need me… you all know where to find me! Here in my office, like a moth in his cocoon

Tonight’s dinner is… well, wouldya look at that, pudding! (sneeze) With some molten lava cake for dessert. Now, Matthew has informed me that he has, indeed, learned his lesson, and that no real lava will be anywhere in the vicinity this fine evening. Don’t we just love when men learn from their mistakes and improve? My my, Matthew is just stellar. 

There are no official campwide activities for this evening — just run around and play to your hearts’ content. The campgrounds are your oyster! Also, Soren, counselor of Cabin Ladybug, wanted me to announce that he’s on the hunt for some really long stones. Should you come across a really long stone in the forest or at camp, please report its precise coordinates to Soren immediately.

And that about does it for today! Have a wonderful, immaculately gooless night my little dart frogs. May slime never consume you. 

(there is a click as the intercom turns off)

(intermission music)

(tape recorder clicks on)

(the sound of a clock is heard ticking in the background)

SYDNEY

Now the ghost recorder gets to hear you verbally harassing me. Rethinking your behavior?

JEDIDIAH

(amused)

Sydney, I’m not making fun of you. I just don’t understand why you put a mushroom in your hair. 

SYDNEY

Mushrooms clean the Earth. I am of the Earth. Natural shampoo. Also, I try to be nice to them so that they’re nice to be when I’m dead.

JEDIDIAH

(laughing)

Uh huh. 

SYDNEY

(laughing along)

And it’s cute, right? You think it’s cute.

JEDIDIAH

It’s… bold. Fresh. Metaphorically. It is… visibly not… literally fresh.

SYDNEY

You could learn a thing or two from me, you know. About style.

JEDIDIAH

I’m okay. 

SYDNEY

With your stupid little glasses and your stupid little khakis and your stupid little dress shoes.

JEDIDIAH

They’re penny loafers.

SYDNEY

I’m gonna put stickers on your lab coat. 

JEDIDIAH

And that is why I keep my office locked. Okay, I’m off to bed. Will you be sleeping soon?

SYDNEY

Oh yeah, I won’t stay up too late tonight. 

JEDIDAH

Alright, well, I’ll see you in the room. Goodnight, Sydney.

SYDNEY: Goodnight.

(Jedidiah walks away and closes the door)

SYDNEY

Hmm hmm hmm… today was nice. I turned this on at 25:25 so it’s probably 25:27 or 28. I don’t really know what to talk about right now, and maybe that’s a good thing? Maybe I can quiet my mind down for a minute.

Hmm… hmmmmm.

Quiet. 

Quiet… 

… 

Y’know, there’s a centipede in my study. 

I don’t know where it came from… or exactly how long it’s been lingering. But for the past few days, I’ve been seeing it… scurrying around now and then. I didn’t know we have this species of centipede around here? Or — or that this size of centipede existed? So I’m a bit perplexed. But of course it’s a welcome guest, I mean –

(there is a knock at the door)

Huh? Jedidiah?

ROWAN

(cracking open the door)

Ah — no. Sorry, I — let myself in. 

SYDNEY

Oh, Rowan! Hey, come on in. 

(Rowan closes the door behind him)

SYDNEY

What can I do for you? 

ROWAN

H-hi. Um… I know it’s late… sorry. 

SYDNEY

No, don’t worry. Something wrong?

(Rowan walks closer)

ROWAN

I-I-I. Okay. I’m just here to see if you could give me anymore of that… uhm… anti… dark visions medication?

SYDNEY

(he opens a drawer and grabs a bottle)

I mean, yes, but you’re gonna build up a tolerance to this stuff if you keep asking me for it, dear. I’m thinking you should limit your intake.

ROWAN

I know, but, listen, I — just — don’t think I’m going to fall asleep tonight without it and the kids don’t — like it when I cover the windows, and I… .

SYDNEY

What’s the problem with windows?

ROWAN

(whispering)

The sky… I don’t like when it can see me.

SYDNEY

I see.

ROWAN

I don’t think it likes what it sees.

SYDNEY

Right. Okay.

ROWAN

I need the medication. 

SYDNEY

Well, it’s mild and over the counter anyways, so it can’t really hurt you. (pills rustling) Just try to take these as needed, alright? You’ll be even worse if they stop working.

ROWAN: Sure… Thank you. (he takes the bottle) Uh… how are you?

SYDNEY

Oh, uhm. I’m okay. People have been pretty friendly today. 

ROWAN

Mm.

SYDNEY

It’s nice to see you talking too. How about you?

ROWAN

Well. I like working with the older kids. My cabin’s been easy on me so far; all things considered. Which is good, because I’m pretty distracted this Summer… (sigh) and it’s always harder with just one person. I, uhm, I appreciate this, Sydney. I’m — gonna get going, okay? Thank you. 

SYDNEY

Oh, okay, yeah sure. Let me know if you need anything else, alright? 

ROWAN

Alright. Goodbye. 

(Rowan walks away and closes the door)

(Sydney closes the drawer)

SYDNEY

(stretching)

Rowan’s a nice guy, isn’t he? 

Well, alright, ghost recorder. You’ve had your fill of interesting events. I’ll be back tomorrow night with who knows what else! And… I hope you sleep well.

Today’s episode was written by Blue Mayfield and Nicholas Belov. The part of Sydney was played by Blue Mayfield. The part of Jedidiah Martin was played by Nicholas Belov. The part of Rowan Chow was played by Corey Wilder.


Camp Here & There is the sole intellectual property of its production company, Mayfield & Belov. All music composed by Will Wood, and produced by Jonathon Maisto. Sound editing by cut by Frank and Beetlesprite. Special thanks to our patrons: Casper, Alyx Wijers, Bottled Water, Bee, and Ava Lazin.

For behind-the-scenes material, exclusive canonical content, interactive events, and early episode access, consider signing up for our Patreon at patreon.com/mayfieldandbelov. Our discord server is a great place to meet likeminded fellows and discuss today’s episode — find the link at mayfieldandbelov.com. Lastly, if you’d like to support us, the best thing you can do is to spread the word about the show.

Thank you for listening to Camp Here & There! And remember: Don’t anger it.

View more episode transcripts

Mayfield and Belov presents: Camp here and There. Episode 6: The Norms of the World

(opening theme)

(there is a click and a chime as the intercom turns on)

SYDNEY

Good morning, campers! Have we all recovered from yesterday?

I forgot to mention this at the end of the day yesterday between the cancellation and the casualties and all, but guys… didn’t Jeddie make just the cutest camp announcer? I know I was a little mean. It’s just so satisfying to wield psychological power over a man in a button-up. You all understand, right? He’s a good sport about it after all.

Well, anyways… howsabout these announcements, huh? The time is 8:61 AM, the sky is a serene and bloodshot red, and the jabberbeaks are a-chirpin’ with ferocity! If you listen closely, little ones, you might just hear, amidst their raucous peeps, the day of the week on which you are fated to die! I hear a different day every time, and boy, does that raise a lot of questions! Like, am I immortal? Am I already dead? Or is it just confirmation that it’s all of our seemingly insignificant decisions which determine where life will take us next? It’s probably not that last one, because Jedidiah says he pretty much always gets Thursday!

Alright, alright, let’s see here. Hmm… ah, Cabin Dungbeetle. Cabin Dungbeetle, though I personally admire your particularly enthusiastic approach towards Opposite Day,  I regret to inform you that it’s, well, Lucille has made it known that she wishes for you all to face some sort of consequence for the, ah, wanton damage to camp property and staff. Thus, you’ll be responsible for setting and cleaning the mess hall for all three meals this whole week. I promise you, chipmunks, I tried to convince Lucille that after cancelling Opposite Day yesterday, further punishment would be cruel and unnecessary. I mean, it’s clear to me you all didn’t even do anything wrong! Like, okay, sure, yesterday was… challenging for Counselor Juniper, but he’ll be fine. 

(Sydney turns away from the microphone) 

Right, Juniper?

… 

(he turns back)

 He’ll be fine.

Today’s breakfast is raw honey and silver, starfish salad, and eggs of a color I simply cannot fathom! Matthew at it again with all those extra eye-cones! 

For today’s activities, we… wait, hold on… where is the activity list?

(he shuffles paper around his desk)

Hey, Jeddie? Jedidiah! 

No? Where is it then?… You think?… Alright. (ahem) I’m sorry, kids. It appears the list has gone missing… which does lead us into the final announcement I was planning to deliver this morning. Things are still going missing. I first mentioned this issue in the context of my personal effects alone, but after receiving countless reports from counselors, it’s undeniable that this is a campwide issue. Either this is another unexplained weather phenomenon, or someone — someone very sneaky, very dextrous, and very clever — has been stealing from the residents of Camp Here & There! Probably… not Counselor Joshua. I’m sure that all of you immediately think ‘Joshua’ when you hear about creepy, losery behavior, but let’s be real… Joshua is not smart enough to pull this off.

Anyway, investigations into this phenomenon are ongoing. Please keep your important things close to your person and within your sight, and remember the one thing you cannot under any circumstances allow a man to steal: your heart.

Today’s activities will proceed as planned but… I don’t exactly remember what they are. Hmm. You all can commence with breakfast; I’ll be right back. 

(there is a click as the intercom turns off)

… 

(there is a click and a chime as the intercom turns on)

SYDNEY

(breathless)

OKAY! I got a reprint. This morning you’ll all get the chance to scrape glowing moss off of the rocks of the lake; after which, Counselor Gracie of Cabin Tarantula Hawk will show you the proper way to imbibe the moss in order to attain maximum awareness. Counselor Marisol of Cabin Grasshopper is inviting you all to birdwatch the jabberbeaks and sawbone finches, and Cabin Tarantula Hawk’s resident craftsman Counselor Warren is opening the Creativity Cabin for some relaxing eye-color redecorating, now with painless needles! (sigh) Ah, the memories of being a child and injecting my dry irises with Raspberry Red. Alright, campers, you can go back to eating. See you all at lunch!

(there is a click as the intercom turns off)

(intermission music)

(there is a click and a chime as the intercom turns on)

SYDNEY

Afternoon, campers, and welcome to the minute 12:82! Did any of you jabberbeak watchers learn which day of the week you’re due for? Most recently, they told me I was to die on a Saturday. I’m sure that if I was anyone else, such a revelation would turn each Saturday into a harrowing gauntlet of all-too-possible doom for every week hereafter. Knowledge, knowledge! Tsk, tsk, tsk.

Alright, alright, enough jokes. I’m actually in quite a serious mood right now. Campers, items are going missing at an exponential rate! Whoever is responsible seems to have been emboldened, even motivated by my acknowledging their actions. We’ve got to get some sort of camp-wide vigilance operation going, so that we may perhaps apprehend this culprit, or at least get my fancy soaps back. I’d like to establish that if it’s a camper who’s responsible, you may simply come forward to me in private and I assure you that you will be neither punished nor reported. Counselors… well, you’ll have to talk to Lucille, so… perhaps it would be better if you returned the items anonymously.

(ahem) In the interest of the item retrieval effort, we’ve posted a list of all stolen items we are currently aware of to the Camp Bulletin Board. It’s in the cafeteria if you’d like to check or modify it, but here’s just a hint of the items our counselors and campers have lost just today:

  • Counselor Rowan’s incense sticks. 
  • Counselor Warren’s animal tooth collection.
  • Several books of Counselor Soren’s, including Embalming for Dummies and Demonology for Freaks.
  • Camper Penelope’s secret stash of ash-laced chocolate. 
  • Camper Natsume’s colorful candles.
  • Samples from Counselor Yvonne’s crystal collection.
  • Many different clocks from both the nurses’ office and administrative building, including Lucille’s fancy old mahogany grandfather clock!

And so much of my stuff. Including samples from my stash of homegrown herbs — some of which are medicinal, but some of which are quite deadly. I very much hope the culprit can tell those apart! You wouldn’t want to accidentally heal someone you’re trying to murder. Also… Jedidiah told me that the photo of me that keeps in his desk has gone missing, which… I didn’t even know he had that… mm.

Anyway. Anyway! All of this to say, this has got to stop. I’ll thank you to report any other items which go missing, or which turn up.

For today’s lunch, Matthew has made goose stuffed with goose stuffed with more goose, and a side of almond milk supreme. Vegans will be having soy-meat of a reportedly goose-like variety. The afternoon’s activities will be a live-action rendition of the famous board game Battleship, with authentic canons. Counselor Joshua is hosting a competition to see who can guess how many ketamine needles I snuck into his pillow last night, and Matthew wants to remind the camp that his door is always wide open to any wayward camper who is feeling called by The Meat. 

Well, that’s it for now… apologies if I sound a bit out of it, campers, but — I can’t keep my mind from wondering… why all the items taken today have been commonly used in the practice of magic… aside from… the photograph of me

Well, I’m sure it’s nothing! I’ll see ya later. 

(there is a click as the intercom turns off)

(intermission music)

(there is a click and a chime as the intercom turns on)

MARISOL

Breathe, sweetheart, breathe. It’s okay, yeah? Hey, where’s Jedidiah?

SYDNEY

(mumbling)

MARISOL

What’s that?

SYDNEY

I don’t want to bother him with this… 

MARISOL

Nonsense. He’s your… you know?

SYDNEY

It’s… announcement time, anyway.

Good evening, campers. The time is… 19:03, and it appears… we know who the culprit is. (sigh) Well, Marisol and I know. I guess you’ll have to take our word for it. It’s… hmmgh… 

MARISOL

(leaning into the mic)

It’s the elephant man… 

SYDNEY

Campers, I… have to admit that, in retrospect, I’ve been… seeing him around all week. I didn’t want to raise an alarm, because it was never a clear sighting around the grounds, you know, just — a pinkish shape in the window at night, a bloodstained blur in the underbrush — plus, you know, my mind is not exactly — that is to say, I have a history of — well, ah. Either way, there’s no denying it now. The elephant man who caused such a stir on the first day of camp has been traipsing around the campgrounds, pilfering trinkets of significance from each one of us in turn.

It happened down by Cabin Grasshopper… I was out behind it, picking flowers for my concoctions, when above me I heard an odd scrabbling noise. I looked up to see him — a tall, lanky man with a pink elephant mask — clambering out of the cabin window, cradling a porcelain tea set in his long arms.

MARISOL

Oh! Tell them about the robe!

SYDNEY

Right, yeah, uhm. It’s — kind of funny. He — he updated his wardrobe. Last time I saw him, I knew that his outfit was familiar… this time, I saw it clearly. Hospital scrubs. Pale aquamarine scrubs, like a nurse would wear! And what’s more, this time he had a — was it a robe? I thought it was a cape — ? 

MARISOL

Definitely a robe.

SYDNEY

Alright, a robe. A purple, star-patterned wizard robe, y’know the kind you’d get from, like, a costume store, with satiny stars. It was… absurd, in retrospect. And every piece was covered in… faded, brownish stains… 

MARISOL

(noise of discomfort)

SYDNEY

And of course, that cartoonish pink elephant mask. (sigh) Well, the very sight of him made me feel too sluggish to yell, run, or even politely confront him. That peculiar effect he has on me, and me alone it may seem. I wonder if he can control it, if he wants me to feel drugged. Either way, it’s clear that the mask acts as some sort of stopper-upper for that effect of his, because after landing on the grass beside me, he…

MARISOL

You don’t have to explain in so much detail… 

SYDNEY

No, I… He landed on the grass beside me, looked over at me, reached up for his face, and tilted his mask upwards — just enough that I could see the way his lips curled at the edges, the gleam of his tombstone teeth. And the wave of nauseating, headaching exhaustion that hit me when I saw his face, so close to mine… I mean, I collapsed. I simply could not stand; I could hardly bring myself to breathe.

I couldn’t see his eyes — I suspect my heart will stop if I ever do — but I could tell he was staring at me, taking me in, aching to remove his mask and devour me wholly… and then he dropped Marisol’s tea set to the ground. The kettle cracked and split, and he didn’t seem to notice when a shard of china struck his calf. He just stared at me, his lips wet, and with every time I blinked it got harder and harder for me to open my eyes again… the man began to slowly lower himself, to bend his knees and meet me on my level, to extend his arms like a mother welcoming her newborn child… I didn’t have it in me to care. I wasn’t scared. I observed dully, like a doll atop a shelf, as this strange man gave in to his temptation to steal me away.

And then Marisol came charging at him.

MARISOL

(bashful)

I didn’t, like, mean to. I mean, that’s not something I’d normally do? It was just like… 

SYDNEY

I understand. It’s the effect he has.

MARISOL

The effect he has. Yeah.

SYDNEY

She charged in and tackled him to the grass, and with the source of my lethargy now excised from my field of view, I felt my energy immediately begin to return. All the feelings I’d been too dull to feel came rushing into my body: fear, curiosity, disgust, the… the sense of violation, the sense of… objectification… I… 

MARISOL

Anyway. 

SYDNEY

Yes, right, I… well, I used all my newfound willpower to quickly push myself up, and when I did, the man was gone.

MARISOL

He just got away! I don’t really know if he overpowered me or what. Can’t recall. I was really in a weird state.

SYDNEY

Somehow, he’d gotten away. And as the sense of lethargy began to recede, to be replaced by a feeling of… feeling bad… his laughter rang out through the trees.

MARISOL

Are we sure it was his?

SYDNEY

Who else would have been laughing in the trees?

MARISOL

It just sounded so, commercial, right? Kind of like a, er, (laughing) cartoon prince. 

SYDNEY

(chuckles)

A shockingly handsome laugh, yes.

Campers, I… don’t know what to do about this, frankly. I could… keep some caffeine or maybe amphetamine on me… maybe, but if he’s using some kind of… hypnotic magic, I don’t know how much that would do. Marisol and I will try to convince Lucille that there’s something serious going on. Until then, I advise you all to keep your valuables close. I’ll keep you updated my little sandworms.

Tonight’s dinner is seaweed spaghetti in brine and mini hotdog buns. Just the buns. Oh, and vegans get mustard. And, uh, tonight’s group activity will be: evil board games. Only the most evil board games allowed: (heavy metal voice) snakes and weasels! Spin the evil eye! Truth or death! (he chokes) Monopoly . . . . . !

Keep track of your things, and remember: I love you all very much. Have a good dinner. 

(there is a click as the intercom turns off)

(intermission music)

(tape recorder clicks on)

(the sound of a clock is heard ticking in the background)

SYDNEY

Hello again, ghost recorder. It’s 25:25PM and once again time for me to talk to a machine. 

Actually, it’s been pretty nice to actually talk about my problems lately, even if it is to a tape recorder that I pretend is haunted. Mmm. I used to talk to Jedidiah about everything, but… I mean, he’s not just an endless well of support for me to dump all my issues into. Your friends shouldn’t have to play therapist for you, right? So I don’t really need to make him listen to all my bullshit anymore.

Goodness, who am I lying to here? I just don’t tell him about my problems because I don’t feel like he’ll listen. Nobody will! Or at least, nobody will do anything about what they hear. I tried to tell Lucille about the elephant man, and she just did her whole… (mimicking Lucille’s grumbles) mrmrghhrhmr. Something noncommittal about “handling it”, but I really have my doubts. So, like every camp issue that doesn’t merit a punitive response, it’s my problem to solve.

Marisol said that I should definitely tell Jedidiah about this… (sigh) this is the first time in a long time I’ve felt like I was actually in danger. Maybe it’ll be enough to make him react.

(there is a soft knock as the door creaks open)

SYDNEY

Oh! Speak of the devil. 

JEDIDIAH

Hey, Sydney. Talkin’ about me behind my back? 

SYDNEY

Yes, indeed. I told my ghost recorder that you were a handsome assistant with a perfect smile. 

JEDIDIAH

(laughs)

Good to know. Listen, I… I’m sorry that I was so busy today. Lucille had a job for me… bad timing, I know. I — I wanted to check in. Are you alright? 

SYDNEY

Well, I’m… I’m sort of troubled.

(Jedidiah closes the door and walks inside)

SYDNEY

Uhm… remember the elephant man?

JEDIDIAH

Mm, yes. 

(Jedidiah pulls up a chair and sits down)

SYDNEY

He’s real, Jedidiah. I won’t hear otherwise. I saw him. I’ve been seeing him. He’s the one who’s been taking all this stuff. He took your photo of me! 

JEDIDIAH

Yeah, I know. I listened to this evening’s announcement. 

SYDNEY

Oh, did you? I never know. Well, Jeddie, I’d like to take this seriously. I’m real scared. 

JEDIDIAH

Yeah. Well, Sydney… I’m… sorry that happened to you. I know how much you value your… your ability to control yourself, your autonomy and all. So to be affected that way… it has to be specifically uncomfortable for you. I’m sorry.

SYDNEY

Uh… thanks. That’s… nice, actually.

JEDIDIAH

That said… he didn’t — actually hurt you, right?

SYDNEY

Well, no, but… 

JEDIDIAH

Yeah. He — hear me out here; aside from the feelings of discomfort? I don’t think you actually have anything to worry about, Sydney. He seems creepy, but… harmless.

SYDNEY

He ate my worms.

JEDIDIAH

Worms aren’t people. 

SYDNEY

Jedidiah

JEDIDIAH

Sydney, I’m just trying to tell you that I don’t think this is worth getting bent out of shape over. He’s a nuisance, yes, like so many other things in life, but we really don’t have any reason to think he’s a threat.

SYDNEY

He’s stealing things from people! He’s stealing a lot of stuff from me!

JEDIDIAH

Which is a problem, but —

SYDNEY: Common sense dictates that —

JEDIDIAH

Common sense? Sydney, stuff like this is the only common element in our lives. I’m actually, well, okay, I’m sorry about what happened to you, but I am surprised and frankly a little worried about your fixation on this guy, okay, because you, a few days ago, you got captured and kidnapped by penguins. Last year we had real elephants storm the camp, and a counselor was destroyed. Sometimes it rains knives or nuclear waste, and Rowan says the world is going to end almost every day. And you are always fine. And yes, this guy might pose some kind of weird existential threat to the camp at large, but the idea that one weirdly dressed human being is the first thing since taking this job that you’ve actually been scared of — that doesn’t make sense to me. Nothing in this camp ever hurts you, Sydney, you are always fine, and the biggest threat that I currently see to your wellbeing is your own mental health.

SYDNEY: 

… I… I just… he feels… like he wants to do something with me. 

JEDIDIAH

I will try to do something about him, okay? Lucille usually listens to me, and barring that, I… I can work on the alarm system, see if I can figure out why it won’t catch him. But if our time working this camp can teach us anything, it’s that you don’t need to waste your energy worrying about this.

SYDNEY

Yeah… you’re probably right. That alarm hasn’t worked in years. 

JEDIDIAH

I’ll do something. Just try and focus on staying mentally healthy and all. 

SYDNEY

Mm. D’you wanna play chess with me tonight? 

JEDIDIAH

(sigh) 

Sydney, I’m busy… 

SYDNEY

Right, your project. 

JEDIDIAH

(softly)

My project. 

SYDNEY

I can’t remember the last time we played. A couple of years, maybe.

JEDIDIAH

I’m just busy. 

SYDNEY

Yeah. Okay. 

JEDIDIAH

And, and if you feel safe right now, I have things that need attending. 

SYDNEY

Right. 

JEDIDIAH

I’ll see you. I — I love you.

(Jedidiah walks away)

SYDNEY

Mm. 

(he closes the door)

SYDNEY

Whatever. Goodnight. 

(there is a click as the recorder turns off)

(ending music)

Today’s episode was written by Blue Mayfield and Nicholas Belov. The part of Sydney was played by Blue Mayfield. The part of Jedidiah Martin was played by Nicholas Belov. The part of Marisol Yuchengco was played by JV Hampton-VonSant.


Camp Here & There is the sole intellectual property of its production company, Mayfield & Belov. All music composed by Will Wood, and produced by Jonathon Maisto. Sound editing by cut by frank and Beetlesprite. Special thanks to our patrons: Mila Eris, Ninjoj, Jasper Ryley, Dylski the bean boy, nalaaa, lonely tea drinker

For behind-the-scenes material, exclusive canonical content, interactive events, and early episode access, consider signing up for our Patreon at patreon.com/mayfieldandbelov. Our discord server is a great place to meet likeminded fellows and discuss today’s episiode — find the link at mayfieldandbelov.com. Lastly, if you’d like to support us, the best thing you can do is to spread the word about the show.

Thank you for listening to Camp Here & There! And remember: an infinite distance away from you floats an unfathomably large tree capable of abstract thought. Its influence on your life is subtle but distinct. Don’t anger it.

View more episode transcripts

Mayfield and Belov presents: Camp Here and There. Episode five: The Reversal of Norms

(opening theme)

(there is a click and a chime as the intercom turns on)

JEDIDIAH

Sydney, please don’t make me do this, you know I’m going to suck, dude, please —

SYDNEY

Oh, yes, I can just let you do things today the way you always do. It’s not like the government will have our heads if we don’t abide by the principles of Opposite Day!

JEDIDIAH

AGH! It’s like sarcasm but worse!

SYDNEY

Listen, Jedidiah, I don’t like this either.

JEDIDIAH

So that means you love it, right? You’re saying you’re relishing my pain? Since it’s opposite day and all?

SYDNEY

I’m not implying that in the slightest. 🙂

JEDIDIAH

Hnngh. Will you stop being infuriatingly cryptic if I do the morning announcements?

SYDNEY

Oh, yes, Jedidiah. I absolutely will. 🙂

JEDIDIAH

Right. Fine. Ugh. Okay. I… Okay. God. I have to…  opposite-ify this. God, this is a miserable world we live in. Okay. Okay. Here goes.

Good morning, campers! The sun is… uhh… low in the ground… and the sky is, like… blue. And, uhh… the inexorable march of time, or whatever? Or…  not that? Okay, I’m sorry, I need help. Sydney? Sydney, I need help.

SYDNEY

But you were doing such a good job!

JEDIDIAH

Can you break character for one minute!

SYDNEY

Of course. I’m a criminal who is perfectly willing to flaunt the rules of Opposite Day.

JEDIDIAH

Please. A minute out of this whole stupid day is all I ask.

SYDNEY

(inhale)

(he picks up a timer and turns the dial to a minute)

Okay. One minute for you. Because I love you.

JEDIDIAH

That’s not Opposite Day sarcasm, right?

SYDNEY

No, Jeddie, I sincerely do love you.

JEDIDIAH

Right. Okay. Listen, I get that it’s Opposite Day, so I’m supposed to say and do the opposite of whatever — is normal, but how granular am I meant to get about that? Can I even mention the sun, or should I call it the moon instead? Do I call the ground the sky? And since I’m doing the announcements instead of you, am I supposed to act like you, or like the opposite of how you do it? Or just the opposite of myself? You’re a pretty good approximation of the opposite of me, is the problem, so my options feel strictly binary and wholly incorrect. How does this come so easily to you? I can’t… I can’t figure this whole thing out. Why do we care? Like, yeah, Opposite Day is a government mandated thing, but is anyone from the government listening in on us? Or would anyone here report us to the government? Lucille is the only one around here with any sort of cellular communication technology, and she’s sure as hell not participating in 

(the timer rings)

SYDNEY

Well, would you look at that! Looks like your minute is not over.

JEDIDIAH

(meek squeak)

I got no answers at all!

SYDNEY

Jedidiah, don’t let me not ask you something. Would you normally be peppering me with all these questions?

JEDIDIAH

Uh, y-… yes?

SYDNEY

Then you need to (not) do THE OPPOSITE OF THAT!

JEDIDIAH

Ugh, fine, shit. Fine, I’ll just… try.

SYDNEY

It’s fantastic that you’re cussing where the kids can hear.

JEDIDIAH

Right, sorry.

SYDNEY

Are you?

JEDIDIAH

Uuaghghqj I mean I’m not sorry. MORNING ANNOUNCEMENTS I’M DOING THEM.

Well, kids, as you… certainly haven’t guessed, it’s not Opposite Day. Opposite Day, for the record, is not a government mandated holiday in which we aren’t forced to do and say the opposite of whatever we would usually do. The government will not punish us in any way if we mess up.

Hey, I got through that bit pretty good, didn’t I?

(Sydney snaps his fingers)

Whatever! Whatever. Thanks to Opposite Day, everything around camp is… extremely normal. I’m sure you kids are all having fun bossing your counselors around… or, uh, I mean, I bet you’re all having a miserable time, uhh… being… not doing that? Christ. I’m just gonna get through this.

Breakfast is garbage. Matthew is just gonna take a dump on your plate. Opposite Day, woo. As for today’s activities, you all get to take turns playing app store games on Lucille’s cellphone, draining all her data. Awesome.

Okay, that’s it, I mean, that’s none of it, I mean, whatever, whatever. If you need me, I’m not going to be behind the locked door of my office, where nobody can hear me fail to care about Opposite Day. I love you all. Hello.

SYDNEY

(clapping)

Yayyy!

JEDIDIAH

Christ.

(there is a click as the intercom turns off)

(intermission music)

(there is a click and a chime as the intercom turns on)

JEDIDIAH

(self satisfied)

Goodbye, kids. The time is 80:12, and lunch is never coming. Fortunately for those of you who enjoyed this morning’s fumbling, I did not have the foresight to write myself a script for the lunch announcements. Nope. Completely did not do that.

Today has in no way been a total shitshow, and if it had been, that certainly wouldn’t be because of the totally optional holiday of Opposite Day. The campers of Camp Here & There have been calm and peaceful today, and have done nothing to take advantage of Opposite Day for greedy and destructive purposes. 

Fourteen-year-old Dolly Navarro absolutely did not unite her campers under the banner of her authoritarian leadership, or rally them around a mock execution of Counselor Juniper. Thirteen-year-old Natsume Shiota did not read Juniper his last rights from a book of demonology, and he was not heard announcing that “if he dies on opposite day, it actually means he’ll live forever!” 

But, of course, if something like that did happen, well, all of you can rest assured that the staff of this camp look at this behavior with… nothing but approval. Violence. Woo.

Uh, and, to the Cabin Dungbeetle kids, a little, ah, private message from me to you, and, uh, don’t worry about me, y’know, deviating from the script a bit, but, uh, I — (nervous laughter) Dropping the opposite day facade, Juniper is valuable camp personnel, and also, like, a — human being so — don’t — kill him? Legally we’re powerless to stop you here so, just, please don’t kill Juniper, okay? Uh, pl—

SYDNEY

Jedidiah?

JEDIDIAH

Yes? I mean. N-no. 

SYDNEY

I just love how encouraging you are! You’d be a total Debbie Downer if you were to scold all the kids just for enjoying themselves, so it’s great that you aren’t doing that.

JEDIDIAH

Sydney. Sydney, people are getting hurt.

SYDNEY

But are the children getting hurt?

JEDIDIAH

What kind of question is that?

SYDNEY

Carry on, winner! You’re crushing it!

JEDIDIAH

(grunt)

Er, our chef, Matthew wants you all to know he absolutely loves the way some of you are crawling around in his kitchen, performing unethical chemistry experiments with his cooking reagents, so keep that up. For lunch, uh, you can help yourself to any of the raw ingredients in his stores.

This morning’s… no, tonight’s… ? Sydney… okay, help actually. What’s the opposite of afternoon? Is it evening? Or is evening the opposite of morning…? Would the opposite of afternoon be some — some equivalent time of night?

SYDNEY

Wouldn’t you like to know. 

JEDIDIAH

I would! …  not! 

SYDNEY

Well, Jedidiah. Since you are not asking me to provide you with a term which would be recognized as the opposite of afternoon, I’m under no obligation to answer you with the opposite of the opposite of afternoon! Which is… afternoon! 

JEDIDIAH

This afternoon’s activities are screaming until you pass out, and breaking your legs with hammers. I would be happy to see you in my office anytime today. I love you. Hello. 

SYDNEY

Woah, are you actually upset? 

JEDIDIAH

Sydney, I- 

(there is a click as the intercom turns off)

(intermission music)

(there is a click and a chime as the intercom turns on)

SYDNEY

Hey, kids. Sydney here. I have a sneaking suspicion that some of you rascals are pretending to be unaware that Opposite Day has been cancelled, so here’s a camp-wide announcement that nobody can ignore: Opposite Day has been cancelled. I know that’s exactly what someone would say on an Opposite Day that hasn’t been cancelled, but I swear on my mother I’m being sincere. The order comes all the way from the administration building.

(sigh) I regret that it came to this, but Lucille’s word is final on these matters — even when it is technically illegal; I’m sure we’re all a bit worried about Lucille facing retribution from the government for cancelling the observation of this holy day. I have to wonder what the final straw was for her. Was it when Juniper got strung up on the flagpole, gallows-style? Or when Matthew personally went to talk to Lucille about the miniature black hole you creative chemists managed to spawn in the kitchen? Perhaps it was the unidentifiable mass of pink goo which splattered onto Joshua and subsequently dissolved his uniform, leaving him standing there with his funny little body exposed to the elements. Well, either way, it’s a real shame.

Kids, your enjoyment and safety during your time here at camp is the most important thing in the world to me. That’s a pledge that I work to live up to. So that’s why I take Opposite Day very seriously — I know that the role-reversal is some of the most fun you little horse flies have all Summer. But after talking things over with Jedidiah, I fear that my camp spirit may have made me rather myopic. I fear that in my blind passion, I may have ruined Opposite Day.

After all, kids, if I hadn’t prevented Jedidiah from intervening when you sentenced Juniper to be hung by the neck until dead, perhaps it would not have had to become a campwide affair. Perhaps, had I supported Matthew in his desire not to have you in the kitchens, all of tonight’s dinner would not have been sucked into a wormhole. My intentions — to prioritize the fun of you children over the health, safety, and legal rights of my coworkers — were utterly righteous and pure; of that, there is no doubt. But I think my methods were a bit… over-the-top. Perhaps, if I’d been a little more moderate, all the fun of Opposite Day would still be in effect.

I don’t know, kids. I hope you don’t blame me for any fun you may have missed out on this evening. Since we didn’t really have any activities planned for tonight, and dinner has been dematerialized, I’d like to invite you all to come join me around the oracle bonfire so that we may fill our empty bellies with its rich smoke, and our dreams with its visions of unspeakable calamity. Just as soon as I finish oiling Juniper up, of course. He’s got a pretty bad case of rope burn ‘round that weird, long neck of his.

Oh, also, on a completely different note — remember a couple of days ago, how I said stuff went missing from my office? It seems like, in the past few days, that’s becoming something of a… campwide issue. We’ve gotten reports from other counselors and campers about their personal effects vanishing. We’ll keep you updated, okay? In the meantime, sleep with your most precious items in your arms. And, Joshua… watch out. If I find out you were behind this, I’ll prescribe you every ounce of my most copious painkiller, and then I won’t order a restock, and you’ll have to spend the rest of the Summer suffering the withdrawal symptoms.

Alright, campers. I love you all. I’m sorry about dinner — but I’m sure Matthew has big plans for breakfast to make up for it! If you’re interested in joining the bonfire circle, that’s where I’ll be for the next hour or so. To those of you who don’t show up: goodnight, you marvels. Goodnight, and sleep well. 

(there is a click as the intercom turns off)

(intermission music)

(tape recorder clicks on)

(the sound of a clock is heard ticking in the background)

SYDNEY

Evening, ghost stuck in my recorder, it’s 25:25 again. Wow, what a day, huh? There’s so much to report on, where do I even start… 

First of all, I know this whole recorder thing was originally supposed to be for recording injury reports, and I’ve kinda shunted that in favor of rambling about my cursed emotions. But, there actually were a lot of injuries today. And I kind of… see the benefit in keeping track of the really bad ones this time. So, even if Lucille isn’t listening, this one’s for me. 

Uhm. Y’know, I’m aware Lucille cares about me a lot, but I question if I’m doing something wrong to make her not want to… I don’t know… interact with me? I know she doesn’t listen to these, or else she’d confront me about all this nonsense. It’s like she only asked me to do this to keep me busy. That would bother anyone, wouldn’t it? I make valuable contributions to the campsite. 

Whatever. Today seventeen kids were injured out of the hundred and thirty that are currently attending. Five of the seven total cabins had their tributes. Augh, so much pain. The most notable of that list, Natsume Shiota and Dolly Navarro from Cabin Dungbeetle both lost finger digits, Wendy Yak from Cabin Magpie Moth had a softball in place of her shoulder joint, and Misha Tchevitksy from Cabin Tarantula Hawk had his foot turned 180 degrees. 

These all sound… terrifying, actually. I mean, they were terrifying up close, too, but I guess it didn’t register with me until I laid it out in words. Am I that desensitized to pain?

Sigh. I guess I’m glad that everyone’s basically okay now.

There is some good news, however. Jedidiah was actually helping me this time. He was real sober and quiet while treating the kids, but he did talk with me and we got to sit close together all afternoon and evening. That’s some nice quality time, the sort we don’t often get lately. I wonder what I did differently to make him actually want to be around me? He was real sweet to me too, actually, giving me all these reassuring touches and words. It was… really nice. I already miss it. Maybe I’m being too greedy, but I… really hope that happens again soon. 

(he laughs gently) Look at me. I promise to give an injury report and then I just ramble again. I’m insatiable. I mean, there’s not much more spectacular bloodshed. A few bumps and scrapes, one broken bone, some sick stomachs, nothing truly extravagant there. 

Mm. Well, I bet I’ll have some fantastic dreams tonight. Maybe I’ll finally learn where all my stuff is disappearing off to. I really hope Joshua’s been taking it, because it’d be real funny to have even more reason for dumping buckets of leeches down his jeans.

Well, ghost recorder, this was a wild day, and I think I’ll get some sleep now. I hope you sleep peacefully in the astral realm. Thanks for listening, and as always… goodnight.

(there is a click as the recorder turns off)

(ending music)

Today’s episode was written by Blue Mayfield and Nicholas Belov. The part of Sydney Sargent was played by Blue Mayfield. The part of Jedidiah Martin was played by Nicholas Belov. Camp Here & There is the sole intellectual property of its production company, Mayfield & Belov. All music composed by Will Wood, and produced by Jonathon Maisto. Sound editing by Cut by Frank and Beetlesprite. Special thanks to our Patrons Minno, Ambrose Valentine, A Lonely Dunedain, Emil, and Skye Manzie. 

For behind-the-scenes material, exclusive canonical content, interactive events, and early episode access, consider signing up for our Patreon at patreon.com/mayfieldandbelov. Our discord server is a great place to meet like minded fellows and discuss today’s episode — find the link at mayfieldandbelov.com. Lastly, if you’d like to support us, the best thing you can do is to spread the word about the show.

Thank you for listening to Camp Here & There! And remember: I’m outside.

View more episode transcripts

Mayfield and Belov presents: Camp Here and There. Episode 4: The Prophecy of Reversal 

(opening theme)

(there is a click and a chime as the intercom turns on)

SYDNEY: Gooood morning, campers! Let’s get the ball rolling on this fine forenoon and kick things off with some announcements! How did y’all sleep? I certainly slept well — Jedidiah had me try this snakeoil tea to help me rest, and WHOO! (he slaps the table) That stuff’ll knock you RIGHT out HA HA HA! Don’t try it. 

The time is 8:60AM, and the sky is painted such an acidic shade of yellow that, well, I’d advise you all to avoid staring at it for too long. Warn your fellow campers not to glance up if you don’t want to learn what it looks like when a child’s irises melt off!

Not that it’ll matter. You’ll be too preoccupied to look up today, anyway, because kids, I have some great news about this morning. All morning activities are cancelled — because we’re receiving a surprise visit from the Gravedigress!

(he claps) WHOO!

For those of you who are new to Camp Here and There this year, the Gravedigress is a wondrous witch who tends the Death Fields down South. Using her powers of reanimation — not the same thing as necromancy, by the way — the Gravedigress’s magic can breathe a convincing imitation of life into your corpses! Dead pets? Dead relatives? Found a squirrel decaying on the forest floor? You better have those corpses handy when the Gravedigress comes around, ‘cos she’ll get them up and dancing like a crunchy marionette in no time.

Of course, they’ll all be corpses again once she leaves. If you want to see your dead pet or relative attain a more permanent state of reanimation, you’ll have to make the pilgrimage down to the Death Fields, a place where the Gravedigress’ illegal magics have long since seeped into the very soil. Just make sure you get comfy with decomposition first — the earth over there can keep your loved ones moving, but it won’t keep them from rotting!

Now, I’m —

JEDIDIAH

(quiet in the background)

Why are you just telling them to go to the Death Fields?

SYDNEY

Huh? Jeddie?

JEDIDIAH

It’s the Death Fields. You can’t just tell them to go over there, they can’t handle that.

SYDNEY

You really think so?

JEDIDIAH

Yes! It’s- yes!

SYDNEY: Geeze okay okay I’ll- fine!

Jedidiah has reminded me that it’s… super against the rules for campers to go to the Death Fields, as they represent some of the most dangerous and unethical magic that mankind is capable of. (whispering) But if you really want to . . . . . I’ll be your chaperone. I won’t tell! 😉

So, I’m sure all of you are jumping with excitement at the prospect of seeing our friend the Gravedigress this morning. That’s sweet, but it’ll be another half hour or so before she arrives, so in the meantime, why don’t you all get healthy helpings of the great breakfast that Matthew so kindly made for us? On today’s menu is watermelon cut into dodecahedrons, toppling tower tofu, and a healthy helping of the snack that smiles back — sausage!

Aaaaand that about does it for this morning’s news! Stay safe, my little mole rats, and remember: when you die, you will rot.

Love you!

(there is a click as the intercom turns off)

(intermission music)

(there is a click and a chime as the intercom turns on)

SYDNEY

Wheeeeeew!! Well now, campers, wasn’t that a delight? The way you all clapped and cheered when Miss Gravedigress dragged herself into camp, her long-broken legs contorting into sickening perversions of form as she forced her body to locomote, playing both puppetmaster and marionette… well, it just warmed my heart to see you kids so excited. I’m sure that if the Gravedigress’ heart was not a dried-out, frozen husk, it would’ve been warmed as well! (he chuckles)

The show she put on was pretty spectacular. A veritable troupe of woodland cadavers — little skeletal squirrels rag timing with teensy top hats, featherless birds tracing anthems in the sky, bloodied rabbits hopping to the beat, and a symphony of half-eaten frogs playing little orchestral instruments. Thirteen-year-old Calvin, from Cabin Ladybug, brought along the corpse of his family dog, a darling little terrier named Scottie. And wouldn’t you know it, with just a wave of the Gravedigress’ desiccated hand, what remained of little Scottie was dancing and crooning like all the rest! Oh, and when his head popped off —

Well, you were all there, huh? You don’t need a review. Anyway, good times. Put in a good word for the Gravedigress on Warlock Yelp, and maybe she’ll come back again this Summer! Ha ha ha! Warlock yelp. I’m funny.

Ah, but — there is some rather concerning news in the wake of the Gravedigress’ egress. As kids from Cabin Ladybug will already be aware, a counselor by the name of Soren Baltimore is absent from the Lunch Lineup today. We can’t find him… anywhere, in fact! Now, as all counselors are taught, deserting your post is extremely against policy. Lucille has a habit of disciplining deserters with… (whistle) immense prejudice. “Run away and pay”, as she always says! So, Soren, if you’re somehow hearing this… I would really advise you to head on back and turn yourself in. Things will get very ugly if she has to go out and look for you.

And, ah, kids, counselors… if you happen upon dear Mr. Baltimore, just grab him by the arm and drag him up to the administration building. There’s a jolly rancher in it for you!


Anyhoo, activities for this afternoon include running with scissors, dancing on ladders, and swimming in a thunderstorm. Oh, these really sound fun! Lunch today will be tigerstripe tarts and tofurkey lemonade. And I believe that’s all! Have fun out there today!

(the door opens)

SYDNEY

Hm? Oh, Salem, Marisol! Kids, I’m joined by the two counselors from Cabin Grasshopper. What br—

SALEM

(from the back of the room)

We found Soren.

SYDNEY

Ah?

MARISOL

(from the back of the room)

Those fumes you’re always talking about? Salem saw him by breathing the bonfire. Oh, it was so cool, Sydney. She like, stood near it and got all still in a trance before she blinked and told me.

SYDNEY

HA! That’s the bonfire for you. So, where is our slippery friend?

SALEM

He’s — hey, is the intercom still on? 

(she walks closer)

You’re done with announcements, right?

SYDNEY

Well, yeah, but this is important, don’t you think?

SALEM

You think the kids need to be hearing this?

SYDNEY 

I mean, it’s for everyone, kind of, but… yeah? Wouldn’t they want to know? 

SALEM: You really — ? No. Turn this off. 

(sounds of a physical struggle)

SYDNEY 

Hey, stop it! You’re disrupting the integrity of the mealtime announcements! Only I touch the button!

(there is a click as the recorder turns off)

… 

(there is a click as the recorder turns on)

SALEM

Yeah, yeah, and that’s real annoying, Sydney! Okay, okay, you know what, we can argue about this later. He’s-

MARISOL

(eager)

He’s left the camp grounds! Heading south. 

SYDNEY

You mean — ?

SALEM

To the Death Fields, yeah. I saw him walking up the hill. The Gravedigress was just a little ways ahead of him.

MARISOL

And we talked to Fennel. They told us Soren’s had this “thing” about necromancy and mortality since they’ve known him. 

SALEM

Tabarnak 

SYDNEY

The gravediggress is not a necromancer, though? 

SALEM

She’s as close as you’ll get, I guess. 

SYDNEY

Well, kids, this is an interesting development, isn’t it? Soren Baltimore seems to be making his way towards the Death Fields, the patch of soil down South where the line between life and death is blurred in exciting ways. I suppose I’ll talk to —

SALEM

You turned it back on? How long has this been running!? Sydney, for God’s sake, why insist on stressing out the kids? You’re really testing me here.

SYDNEY

(clears throat)

I’ll talk to Lucille about this and see if we can mount a rescue mission. In the meantime, campers, sit tight! 

(he turns to Salem, talking quieter)

They deserve to not be in the dark about stuff like this!

SALEM

Turn it off!

(there is a click as the intercom turns off)

(intermission music)

(tape recorder clicks on)

SYDNEY

Down past the southside fence and up Churchover Hill, there’s a wheat farm where soil and grass alike are deathly shades of gray, where the rottenfruit trees impart their dessiccated boons, and the wheat does not sway in the wind so much as flail and shudder and gasp. Its true nature is known to few and understood by fewer, for none can set foot on the soil without suffering great reprisal from the bitter magic buried within, and none can translate the death-rattled speech of the farm’s sole sentient denizen. Us locals lovingly refer to this place as the Death Fields, and as the name might indicate, it is not a place where the still-breathing are welcome. 

But we all took history class in school, right? We all know the story. Fourteen centuries prior to the present day: the deranged spree of a fierce emperor, and the trail of evisceration he left in his wake… the dirt turning sallow and barren with regret as it drank the blood of countless pigs, cows, and farmes… the plants withering under the weight of the land’s grief. Back then, there lived one dauntless magician who loved her land and her people so dearly that she sacrificed everything she had to bring it all back to life. But true necromancy, as she would come to learn, is impossible: thus, the spell that she cast was one of perpetual motion… without the grace of flourishing life. Instead, life without death. Life without the miracle of birth or the mercy of death; just eternal awareness, and eternal sickness. 

To this day, the land moves; it shudders and shakes and shifts with the seasons. Its creatures, large and small, stumble across the Schrodinger’s wastes, crying out for release, always rotting but never rotting away… and of all the sundry beasts who walk and think and suffer on that cursed land, not one heart still beats.

Well.

Lucille didn’t particularly want to go to all the trouble of retrieving Soren, but when she learned that I was dead set upon it, she agreed to come along. She’s so reliable! So the two of us zipped up our ever-stylish hazmat suits, Lucille popped an antihistamine for her wheat allergy, and we pocketed a couple of glass eyeballs for protection and luck. And we were off!

Campers, you know how sometimes, you look into an animal’s eyes and find them lacking? Empty, like a doll’s? Like a fish or a hamster, beady and black, no shine, no thought, a pure vacuum that may suck you in if you get too close.

The Gravedigress’s eyes looked like that, as she stood upon the sickly soil and beckoned Soren closer. Not that they’d ever looked alive, per say! But the darkness about them in that moment was exceptional. Her voice, as she murmured her unintelligible murmurs, had taken on this thick, milky quality, and it quivered in an oddly inorganic way, like the vibration of a hollow iron rod. And her hand — she had removed her gloves, and campers, when I describe her fingers as ‘boney’, I invite you to interpret that in the most literal possible sense. Emerging from robes of layered, gothic debonair, the joints of her hands creaked themselves into a beckoning, welcoming shape… 

She sorta reminded me of my mother.

Anyway, Soren was kneeling upon the divide at the bottom of Churchover Hill — the point where the green grass abruptly gives way to a toxic expanse of dead, deadly dirt. He had not yet touched the soil of the fields, but if I’ve ever seen a man in the throes of temptation, I saw it today.

Then Lucille yanked him up by the shirt collar and gave him an earful. Boy, did that snap him out of it! And after he’d been thoroughly dressed down for his treason, he was willing to walk back to camp with us. Just before we started back up the hill, I looked back at the Death Fields and, of course, the dear old Gravedigress had disappeared. I can’t believe she nearly snatched Soren right out from under our noses! She’s a sly old rascal, isn’t she, kids?

Aaaaaanyway. Soren hasn’t spoken a word since he got back to my office. (raising his voice) Isn’t that right, Soren? … Yeah, he’s not talkin’! Just sitting in a too-small chair, staring at the wall. Must be rattled. I’d like to invite Fennel Marlborough, Soren’s fellow counselor at Cabin Ladybug, to come down here and bring your friend some dinner. Me and Jeddie might need your help sorting this guy out.

Aaand tonight’s meal is robin wings with rutabaga sauce, macaroni paste, and a “blueberry merry blast, guaranteed to blast you” as labelled by Matthew. Wow! Don’t we just love him? Tonight’s activity is a campwide playing card game! Complete with special 3-D glasses to make the monsters on the little plastic squares really POP! Have fun, little blue jays! Enjoy your meal!

(intermission music)

(tape recorder clicks on)

(the sound of a clock is heard ticking in the background)

SYDNEY

Helloooo, ghost recorder. It’s 25:25 again. I had a fun day, but things are still going missing from my office. Not just that, they’re going missing from my room. There was this precious little rabbit stuffed animal I’ve had for years that is just gone. I know I haven’t moved it from the plush pile, and Jedidiah never touches it, so… yeah. Really suspicious.

I hung up this — this craft project, the kids gifted it to me; it’s a wreath of spears from the Battle Cabin. I hung it up on the door of my study, and it’s quite fashionable, I think! Perhaps it’ll scare off any would-be thieves. I can’t always guard the room myself, since I’ve been spending a lot less time in there lately. I’m trying to make sure Jeddie gets to sleep, see. He’ll be joining me here in our bedroom soon — I think he’s in his office right now, but I’ve been knocking at his door all night, bothering him for his company. But it’s like, I tell him it’s ‘cause I need his company, but really, I just wanna make sure he’s in the bedroom so he’ll want to sleep. It’s my little evil scheme. Devious, right?

He’s gonna wanna hear about the Death Fields anyways, or at least I’m gonna wanna tell him… Maybe he’ll have-

(the door creaks open)

JEDIDIAH

Ah, you’re recording your… journal thing?

SYDNEY

HI! Oh, yeah I was. 

JEDIDIAH

Am I interrupting?

SYDNEY

No, no it’s alright. Trust me, I’d rather talk to you. 

(sounds of Jedidiah shuffling)

How’s your project? 

JEDIDIAH

Enough of that… How was your day, Sydney? 

SYDNEY

I went down to that farm on Churchover Hill. You know, the spooky death magic one?

JEDIDIAH

You left the campgrounds?

SYDNEY

Yeah, Lucille was with me.

JEDIDIAH

Mm. 

SYDNEY

And the Gravedigress had a bone hand and she beckoned Soren to step onto the soil and become a zambie like her. I think she wanted me to walk to her and it was really cool her eyes were super unnerving you don’t normally see people with eyes like that like they were total voids and I thought maybe-

JEDIDIAH

Are you alright? 

SYDNEY

Mmm? I suppose. Why? 

JEDIDIAH

No particular reason. Next time… please don’t leave the campgrounds without telling me. Not that you can’t– not that I want to control you, or, or anything I just. I want to know you’re safe? 

SYDNEY

Not that you’d’ve come with me anyways :/. 

JEDIDIAH

… I’m going to bed. 

SYDNEY

Wait, I’m sorry. 

JEDIDIAH

Mm. 

SYDNEY

I guess I’m still a little… it’s alright, Jeddie. Don’t worry about it. I know you care, and I love you. 

JEDIDIAH

I love you too. It’s fine. I really am sleepy, though. I’d like to rest.

SYDNEY

Okay… sleep well. 

JEDIDIAH

You too. 

SYDNEY

(whispering)

Goodnight, ghost-recorder. 

(there is a click as the recorder turns off)

Today’s episode was written by Blue Mayfield and Nicholas Belov. The part of Sydney Sargent was played by Blue Mayfield. The part of Jedidiah was played by Nicholas Belov. The part of Salem de La Marnierre was played by Crystal Lee. The part of Marisol Yuchengco. Camp Here & There is the sole intellectual property of its production company, Mayfield & Belov. All music composed by Will Wood, and produced by Jonathon Maisto. Sound editing by Cut by Frank and Beetlesprite. Special thanks to our Patrons Vance Barnhill, Alex Rybitski, Olivia Losito, Frogsnbogs, Conner Darrow, Generic Waffle, Mori, Lys, and Sarah Swihart.

For behind-the-scenes material, exclusive canonical content, interactive events, and early episode access, consider signing up for our Patreon at patreon.com/mayfieldandbelov. Our discord server is a great place to meet like minded fellows and discuss today’s episode — find the link at mayfieldandbelov.com. Lastly, if you’d like to support us, the best thing you can do is to spread the word about the show.

Thank you for listening to Camp Here & There! And remember: Your bones want to be dry.

View more episode transcripts

Mayfield and Belov presents: Camp Here and There. Episode three: The Squall of Prophecy. 

(opening theme)

(there is a click and a chime as the intercom turns on)

SYDNEY

Merry breakfast, campers! The time is 8:64 AM, and I am feeling just peachy after a long night of playing victim to the soul-stirring terrors that lurk within my own mind. Nothing like a healthy nightmare or three to make one grateful for the time they spend awake! Huff!

(he claps his hands)

Alright! 

Oh, goodness, right, so, I’ve a few things to discuss this morning. First off, counselors Juniper Sloan from Cabin Dung Beetle and Rowan Chow from Cabin Magpie Moth have been chosen to deliver the weekly salmon tax to our underground penguin overlords. Our trusty lake-guards, Mila and Juno, have offered to catch the fish using their camp-issue harpoon guns, but don’t be shy if you feel like taking some initiative and catching them yourselves! You know what they say: Only dead fish go with the flow!

And speaking of Rowan Chow… I’m sure even those of you who haven’t gotten to know him personally will remember him as the nice fellow who warned us all about that big nasty mercury storm — you know, yesterday? With all the penguins and those very fashionable hazmat suits? Yes, well. Rowan seems convinced that those weren’t the last of the climatological catastrophes we’ll have to… “weather.” Heh. Heh. Hack. Hehahdbjlfhjlsbjlflg. 

(he literally chokes)

Ahem. I just mean to say that he’s quite torn up about something he foresaw this morning. Around 6:00 AM, when the sky was still green… I was traveling from cabin to cabin to administer some morning medication, and there I witnessed it: our man Rowan took one sip of the sky and nearly collapsed. He turned to me, leaky-nosed and starting to weep, and declared that a disaster of unforeseen proportions would bear down upon us before nightfall. He described it to me, campers, and spared no detail: lakes of boiling blood cascading down from above… screaming chunks of flesh, cannibalizing one another amidst the desperate fight to stay afloat… the world turned upside down. A vivid hellscape with no hope for relief. 

He wouldn’t go into further detail after that, campers, and Lucille seemed remarkably unconcerned when I brought the matter to her attention. When I suggested emergency response measures like we took yesterday, Lucille said that if Rowan’s prophecy is to come true, there’s no way to escape from such a fate, so we might as well just enjoy our last day alive.  And, I mean… that’s true, but I still think we should play it safe if all of you are at stake! In any case, my fwuffy little ferrets, I suppose the plan is to go about today as scheduled… 

This morning’s meal consists of eggs benedict, eggs sampson, eggs augustus, candy necklaces, and grilled pineapples with tabasco sauce. Vegans, that last thing is for you; Mila the lake-guard, who helps out in the kitchens sometimes, gleefully informed me this morning that the pineapple is acidic enough to “melt the marrow right outchya dang skull-bones, duuude!” . . . . .  So do take care.

Today’s indoor activities would be… well, Counselor Warren from Cabin Tarantula Hawk is hosting a fox-teeth-and-glitter-glue craft workshop. Counselor Salem of Cabin Grasshopper will be guiding you through a nuclear hurricane survival simulation, and Counselor Yvonne of Cabin Silkworm is inviting you to something she calls “The Gamer Hour.” Not sure how she might have gotten video game technology to work at Camp Here & There…  as you all know, anything more advanced than a wire radio is going to short-circuit due to the high concentration of energies in the area. Hmm. Well, whatever she has planned, it’s probably more fun than lakes of blood! Stay inside, kids.

Okay, bye! 

(there is a click as the intercom turns off)

(intermission music)

(there is a click and a chime as the intercom turns on)

SYDNEY

Afternoon, camp scoundrels! It’s 12:80 once again — oh, how each staggering step in the unstoppable march of old Father Time sends us flying, headlong, from one moment to the next; oh, how each tick of that clock is a reminder of His cosmic promise: to one day take away everything we hold dear. I hope you’re excited to get one step closer to your final meal! Iiiiiiit’s lunchtime!

Campers, I’m sure you’ve all been feeling rather troubled these past few hours — particularly those of you who participated in outdoor activities, as you have now most definitely been visited by a certain skylorn doomsayer. Yes, Cabin Magpie Moth’s Counselor, Rowan Chow — who is currently in my office sniffling and shaking like a chihuahua in a blizzard… yes, he spent the morning wandering around the campsite babbling frantically about — you know — doom!

“Inside,” he mutters, staring out through my window at the vast amalgam of clouds gathering above, dirty yellow like iron-deprived blood. “I have to be inside.” Suddenly, he yelps, and yanks his head away from the window as if it had struck him upon the cheek. “It’s coming soon! It’s coming!” He grabs me by the shoulders and shakes me around; Jedidiah has to come and calm him down. We lay him down in his cot, but he does not sleep… and we can’t get him to stop glancing out the window… 

Rowan’s fear mongering has put even the trees in a state of concern. They’ve begun secreting their protective slick and releasing a putrid scent of dismay. I gave Rowan some anti-auguric medication — guaranteed to suppress any and all visions, omens, and harbingers for up to four hours! — and he’s beginning to look a bit sleepy; I’ll probably keep him here until whatever danger he’s foreseeing is passed.

Now, some of you might not know this, but if you attended camp last year, the memory of the event should be etched irreversibly into your gray matter — last year, in a different weather-related incident, a counselor from Cabin Magpie Moth was tragically… destroyed. And we’ve been having trouble finding a replacement, so this year, poor Rowan here is the only counselor at Cabin Magpie Moth. Since he’s indisposed, we’ll need the other cabins to chip in and care for all the wayward little scamps he’s currently leaving unsupervised. Get it? Got it? Great!

Lucille refuses to leave her office no matter how much Rowan screams at her door. She seems quite unconcerned about this doomsday stuff, and while I admire her stoicism, you kids need some leadership in these trying times. So I’m stepping up to the plate! As per camp protocol for circumstances in which the end of all things has been loudly prophesied, we’re going to be conducting a ritual to seek the aid and sympathy of the Forest Gods. Hold onto your plastic trays and napkins, because as soon as the clock strikes thirteen I will be leading you all in a great procession through the woods and to the lair of the silicon squirrels, who feed off of our rubbage. As we offer unto them our plasticine libations, we will say, one by one:

“O beasts of steel and wire, who clatter and chatter among the things we leave behind: gifts we bring, of oil and tree! We beg of thee, exercise your boundless mercy; stay the coming flood; let us live to die another day.”

And then you’ll place your tray gently atop the plinth! We’ll need a single-file line for this, my caterpillars. 

And after that… we’ll all need to stay as far away from the forest as possible, so we’re having a camp-wide gathering in the Battle Cabin, where the camp’s extensive collection of antique weaponry resides. Don’t play too rough! 🙂

Mmm, today’s lunch consists of potato skins, townhouse crackers, cold ketchup and avocado soup, and the leftover salmon from Mila and Juno’s very successful lake-life hecatomb! Maybe, if Rowan can suggest it, our weather will be cloudy with a chance of hollandaise sauce! 

Oh, and Juni —

JEDIDIAH

Wait.

SYDNEY

Yes, Jedidiah?

JEDIDIAH

What. Did that mean…?

SYDNEY

I’m sure I don’t know what you’re referring to!

JEDIDIAH

The ‘hollandaise’ thing?

SYDNEY

Hollandaise is a sauce that you eat salmon with!


JEDIDIAH

That really doesn’t help?

SYDNEY

Well, I —

JEDIDIAH

I mean, no part of what you said made sense. Grammatically or otherwise.

SYDNEY

(laughing)

Alright, alright. If you didn’t like the joke, I won’t make it again.

JEDIDIAH

(amused)

It’s not that, Sydney, it’s… wait, that was meant to be a joke? Wait, I — wait, like a funny ha-ha kind of — like a joke?

SYDNEY

Yeah! It was a joke, like — cloudy with a chance of hollandaise sauce, ooh, like — it’s like, combining multiple current events in one clever reference.

JEDIDIAH: I think I will never completely understand you.

SYDNEY

(still laughing)

Anyway… ummmmm. Where was I- ah! Right. Juniper — the penguins really did expect a delivery today, and we can’t let them down just because Rowan needs a nap. You’ll need to go down into the caverns and deliver the fish to Maurice yourself. Oh, and tell him Sydney said hi 😉

Also, if any of you kids start experiencing visions of unending terror and catastrophe, please speak with me or Jedidiah about getting anti-auguric medication immediately. Even if the visions are real, you know what they say about ignorance.

Alright, that does it for this meal’s announcements. Enjoy your crunchy townhouse crackers, kids, and please stay safe. 

(there is a click as the intercom turns off)

(intermission music)

(there is a click and a chime as the intercom turns on)

SYDNEY

Good news, it’s soup! Bad news, it’s got mushrooms in it. Good evening, campers! It’s 17:03, and the sun has begun to slow in its rotation as it readies to sink beneath the soil for a good night’s sleep. Ah, and with that, our harrowing day of doom is coming to an end on an unexpectedly pleasant note! Sort of!

The thing that Rowan saw in his vision from the sky? The lakes of boiling blood and the screaming chunks of flesh? That was soup! Matthew’s newest soup, a concoction of his own conception that he’s calling: Apocalypse Stew! Chunks of sheep meat and mushroom in a tomato broth —  a highland-dweller’s heaven, although it is with much sadness and regret that I report that several friends of decay were added to the pot. I don’t like seeing the mushrooms drown in the big wet sizzle.


Ahem! WELL! Other than for the mushrooms who bravely laid down their lives to protect our freedoms, this comes as a relief to the whole forest, wouldn’t you say? And Matthew would like to issue every camper and counselor a heartfelt apology. He truly didn’t mean to give poor Rowan visions of viscera and bubbling blood lakes. Rowan, for his part, has accepted the apology, although he’s still in the process of coming down off his nine-hour panic attack. Poor guy. He’s so sick of the sky, and who can blame him? That big old arm up there, wrapping us all in a distant hug that somehow makes us feel lonelier… such a menace, is the sky. Good luck escaping her, Rowan, old pal!

Ah, and Juniper’s first and most lonesome delivery went well! All of the salmon successfully changed hands (or flippers?), so we’ve avoided the wrath of the Macaroni clan for this week, at least. No injuries sustained on Juniper’s behalf, aside from a few dartlike feathers lodged in his throat. But Jedidiah’s going to get to work extracting those as soon as he’s done eating dinner. Juniper can wait. He’s got a long neck. He’ll be fine.

Everyone say, “Thank you, Juniper!” 🙂

Aaand to all the campers who fashioned a wreath made of spears for me from the Battle Cabin, thank you, from the bottom of my heart. I’m so touched! Keep being the best. 

Tonight’s dinner, as previously mentioned, is soup! Vegans get jello. Various activities lie in store for you after dinner, but my favorite amongst them has to be the photographing-glowing-orbs-in-the-woods-at-night contest. The camper who snaps the clearest polaroid wins a sour gummy worm from my secret candy drawer!

Oh, and, ah, one last thing: I am pretty sure that some of my stuff went missing from the nurse’s building last night. Personal stuff. My hairbrush, this pen I always chew on… listen, I don’t want to point fingers, but Joshua, you creep, if you want to sniff my personal effects, you know you can just ask, right? As it stands, I won’t enact revenge upon you if you just bring it back by tomorrow, alright? I need the hairbrush for my hair.

And, huff, that’s the last of my announcements for today. Make sure to give Matthew a smile and let him know you appreciate his stew — he’s sensitive. And with that, my little pill bugs, I bid you goodnight. Sleep deeply, but don’t get lost! You’ll be hearing from me again tomorrow. 

(there is a click as the intercom turns off)

(intermission music)

(tape recorder clicks on)

(the sound of a clock is heard ticking in the background)

SYDNEY

Evening, ghost recorder. It’s 25:25 Pm again. Time for the Sydney Feelings Hour. Woooo. 

(he does a slow, sarcastic clap)

(sigh) I don’t like to let the kids know when I’m scared or tired or upset, but since it’s just between the two of us, I’ll say that honestly… today was a bit rough. Having Rowan weeping on my shoulder was, mm, I mean, I deal with that stuff all the time, crying and consoling and healing. It’s my job. But. But… it just takes its toll, is all. Today was draining.

(huff) And Jedidiah was no help at all! He’s a good doctor and all, but his bedside manner is atrocious, and since most of today’s distress was emotional rather than physical… he could’ve stepped up. Like, he didn’t seem worried about Rowan or the doom-prophecy in the slightest, which is good, I guess, but he could have at least acknowledged that it was scary to other people. Especially the kids! Like, they’re kids. Being a nurse for kids is not all putting alcohol on scrapes and pulling out worms, right, it’s being a source of comfort and emotional support. The least he could do is ask if they need a glass of water or something. 

Maybe I’m being too hard on him. He’s just not good at the feelings stuff, so it all falls to me, and I’m not just an infinite wellspring of emotional support, right?

Agh. I dunno. Jeddie does a lot for me, and for the camp. I’m not trying to act ungrateful. These are all… my own problems.

Speaking of my problems… 

I saw the elephant man again. Saw… am seeing. I’m seeing him. He’s everywhere, outside my window, behind a cabin on my way to the cafeteria, in the bathroom. It’s driving me up a wall. I’m hesitant to bring it up to Jeddie again. I’ve already troubled him enough. But I’m starting to get really worried. Don’t share this with anyone, but… (whispering) back in highschool and college, I had a lot of hallucinations. I was on antipsychotics and everything. A few years ago, they just… I stopped having them. I figured I just maybe grew out of it, or got out of the manic stress that caused them, something like that. But I– am I having a break again?

Mm. Can’t be that. This is different. When I look back on my hallucinations they’re… colder, I guess; fuzzier than him, just a bit, no matter how real they felt in the moment. This guy cast a real shadow, and he ate my worms! And Marisol saw him! I know she wasn’t lying about that, not Marisol of all people. Jeddie’s just a cynic. Distant, apathetic, and cynical.

Aagh. Sorry. I shouldn’t talk about him like that. He’s right here, after all. Asleep, obviously; I pestered him into hitting the hay early so that we wouldn’t have a repeat of yesterday. But still. My words might seep into his dreams… 

Speaking of dreams, Jedidiah had Matthew make something for me: this special tea. Jeddie said his mom used to make it for him when he couldn’t sleep, and it totally wiped out his dreams. Maybe I won’t have any nightmares tonight. Worth a shot, right?

Well, I’m gonna drink up and head to bed, I suppose. Hoping against hope that this elephant guy doesn’t show up again. On the bright side, I know Lucille will protect me! (snicker) It’d take more to stop her than some freaky forest carnie!

Goodnight, recorder. I’ll be back to feed you more of my thoughts tomorrow. Have sweet recorder dreams, and let’s hope I have none.

(ending music)

Today’s episode was written by Blue Mayfield and Nicholas Belov. The part of Sydney Sargent was played by Blue Mayfield. The part of Jedidiah Martin was played by Nicholas Belov. Camp Here & There is the sole intellectual property of its production company, Mayfield & Belov. All music composed by Will Wood, and produced by Jonathon Maisto. Sound editing by Cut by Frank and Beetlesprite. Special thanks to our Patrons Aurelie Galibois, Matty, Luna Arson, Adamills, and Bot_lol. 

For behind-the-scenes material, exclusive canonical content, interactive events, and early episode access, consider signing up for our Patreon at patreon.com/mayfieldandbelov. Our discord server is a great place to meet like minded fellows and discuss today’s episode — find the link at mayfieldandbelov.com. Lastly, if you’d like to support us, the best thing you can do is to spread the word about the show.

Thank you for listening to Camp Here & There! And remember: You have no idea what’s coming.

View more episode transcripts

Mayfield and Belov presents: Camp Here and There. Episode Two: The End of the Squall.

(opening theme)

(there is a click and a chime as the intercom turns on)

SYDNEY

Good morning campers! The time is 8:75AM and I am feeling ravenous. Bit of a late start on everything today — a few of the counselors straggling into the mess hall seem very tired… what were you doing last night, you sneaks? Judging by the avian cries and cold drafts coming from the vents, I would bet it was something… zoological. A departure from the usual late-night rituals, huh? What, the dark vagaries of good-old eldritch thaumaturgy not alluring enough for you anymore? Ugh… amateurs.

Well, anyways. 

(paper rustle)

Important notice for everyone, today: this morning, Rowan Chow, a counselor from Cabin Magpie Moth, lifted his head to the swirling orange sky and took a deep breath through his nose. When he emerged from his meteorological trance, he reported high chances of mercury rain this afternoon. Well, campers returning from last Summer will remember what happened last time we ignored one of Rowan’s forecasts. All the letters we had to write to those poor parents… also, Counselor Fennel reports that the trees around camp have begun secreting the special chemophobic slick they’ve evolved to protect themselves from weather phenomena like these, so it’s basically a done deal. So, campers, since very few of you brought hazmat suits to camp — next time, pay attention to the list on the website! — we will be spending the afternoon indoors today! Yayyyyyy!! 

(he claps)

I hear a conspicuous lack of clapping from the mess hall… lighten up, you guys! It’ll be funnnnnnn! Just think of it like any lazy pajama day — you know, reading storybooks, trading secrets, drawing pictures of your enemies dying violently, and gazing wistfully out the window as the dirt is moistened to a toxic slop by the deadly cavalcade from the quicksilver clouds. I, personally, am looking forward to it.

Still, you do have this morning to run around in the grass, bellowing like little neanderthals. On the breakfast menu for today we’ve got —a

(a muffled bumping sound comes from the air vent)

… As I was saying. For breakfast we have —

(there is a further bump and a clang)

Okay, what the hell? Is that the air vent? What were the counselors up to last night? 

(scooching and shuffling as he gets up from his chair)

One second, campers. I’m going to check out the vent. In the meantime, just think about . . . . . your favorite…  alternative fuel source. 

(foot steps)

Goodness, where is Jedidiah today? 

(there is a clang, a penguin squawk, and Sydney’s yelp. sounds of Sydney rushing back)

I — I’m back. I . . . . . alright. First of all, a blanket apology to the counselors for my assumptions. None of you would ever bring . . . . . something like this . . . . . upon the camp. Kids, I don’t want to be alarmist, but . . . . . we appear to have an — an infestation on our hands. I couldn’t quite tell what sort of creature it was from where it lurked within the shadows, but black feathers indicate corvids or, if we’re very unfortunate, perhaps. . . . . perhaps penguins. [voice strained] Do not go near the vents under any circumstances today, alright, kids? We’ll get this figured out.

Today’s breakfast is pickled cabbage, peanut butter and ham sandwiches, and live salmon. S-salmon… Oh no…

I have to go. Enjoy your meal.

(rushed footsteps. door closing)

Lucille! Luciiiiiiille!

… 

(there is a click as the intercom turns off)

(intermission music)

(there is a click and a chime as the intercom turns on)

SYDNEY

The macaroni penguin. A common midwestern breed of flightless bastard. A penguin of the macaroni species can be distinguished by her loathsome, pretentious shock of blond eyebrows… and her particularly bellicose attitude towards Summer camps.

The time is 12:83 PM, and as you have surely learned in the hours since my last report, Camp Here and There has been overrun by a pestilent infestation of penguins. Campers… I am never one to advocate for animal cruelty in any capacity. In fact, were I not so concerned with the comfort of you kids, I might even be rooting for the penguins here. And you can rest assured that every living being on this campsite is under my jurisdiction as camp nurse, so if this fight escalates into a full-scale war I will treat injured penguins with just as much care as I would show a human child. But something… must be done. This has to stop.

The penguins militarized quickly. I don’t know how long they’ve been living in the vents, but they have spent that time… preparing. Waiting for the ideal circumstances to launch their invasion… circumstances such as a quicksilver rainstorm which would force us to huddle in our cabins, cut off from one another and from our resources — which would undermine our unity, mobility, freedom, and communication. You kids, trapped as you are in your cabins, are too familiar with the sort of havoc which has been wrought within them — I need not describe what has been done to your beds, your clothes, your hair but reports from other buildings on the campgrounds are just as dire or more. The penguins raided Matthew’s kitchen, flippantly violating countless health codes and littering their nasty tailfeathers all amongst his bubbling vats of meal. They covered poor Warren in gorilla glue, then stuck him all over with feathers of black and white in what I can only assume was their perverse idea of an art project. Joshua, who got trapped in the bathrooms when the penguins struck, has now been administered countless swirlies… which is actually pretty funny, so, keep that one up, penguins. Ahem, I mean… 

In lieu of using her flamethrower, Lucille has requested that one counselor from each cabin be sent over to the administration building. The plan is to form a crack squad of penguin wranglers who can help take care of the situation before things escalate further. Each cabin should be stocked with at least one men’s medium hazmat suit in the closet — just send over the person it fits the best. When you are making your way between cabins, remember to open and close the doors very quickly — mercury rain vaporizes upon hitting the ground, and if much of that vapor got inside there would be consequences. To the counselors remaining in the cabins — you will spare no expense in preserving the safety of the children under your care. If you are faced with the decision to sacrifice your life for the sake of those kids, you will do so with no hesitation. Am I clear?

Also… if anyone sees Jedidiah, can you let me know? I haven’t seen him since this morning, and he hasn’t replied to my psychic messages at all. He can take care of himself, I know that, but considering the circumstances… I mean, I’m not worried, or anything, I just… yeah. Just…  let me know.

Alright. Lunch today, on account of the situation we’re being faced with, will be —

(muffled penguin squawking) 

Oh God. Did you hear that? Or am I just being paranoid? Did you hear a squawk just now?

Counselors, please hurry over. The situation is getting —

(further squawking)

No… oh God. They’re right outside my door, oh God! Oh my God!

(the door bursts open. sounds indicate a physical struggle)

No! AUAGH! Unhand me! Let — me — go! No! No! Not my worms! Those aren’t for eating! Aggh! Put that down! Th-That too! Hey, not the bonesaw! W-wait — you — what are you wearing? Is that — Jedidiah’s coat? How did you get your little flippers on that? Whose blood is on it? What did you do to him, you scoundrels!? No! Stop! [THEY BEGIN TO DRAG HIM AWAY FROM THE MICROPHONE] Stop! Let me go! No! Jeddie! Lucille! Someone! Help me! NO!

(intermission music)

(there is a click and a chime as the intercom turns on)

SYDNEY

Hey campers, it’s me. Sorry if I had you all worried. Just to ease your hearts: I’m fine. And I’ve got quite a story to tell you all!

First among them was that the ventilation system in the administrative building, bizarrely, leads to a mind-bogglingly vast underground cavern, which, in turn, connects to the ventilation systems of every other building in camp. In short, there is an extensive network of subterranean tunnels beneath the campgrounds, which one could hypothetically use to travel unnoticed between buildings. I have to wonder how many campers and counselors in the storied, hundred-year history of Camp Here & There have made use of these tunnels for clandestine rendezvous . . . . . it’s quite a romantic thought!

Less romantic was the smell. However long these penguins have been occupying these vents, they certainly wasted no time when it came to. . . . . marking their territory. Ah, but I shouldn’t disparage them. They’re actually really nice guys, when you get to know them!

Let’s back up a moment here.

When the penguins abducted me, I expected that I was going to be sacrificed in some sort of ritual. (Wouldn’t be the first time… !) But instead, I was carried to the very center of the vast cavern, from whence I could see neither the walls nor the ceiling. There, I was laid before a centroidal altar atop which sat the fattest, roundest penguin I have ever laid eyes upon. This was their leader… a man named Maurice. With a series of declarative squawks, translated into written English by the extraordinarily adept flipper of a penguin scribe, Maurice relayed to me his terms for ending this terrible war. What was written is as follows:

(as he speaks, the squawks of the penguins in the tunnel rise behind his voice)

You loud, shorn beasts who stomp and cavort and cause the firmament to quake; who wiggle your many loose digits and gnash the chitinous growths crowded within your beaks; you strange, slender animals who gather, concentric and conjoined, around the oracle flame, to croon and cry and dream the hot nights away: from the Macaroni clan, fair tidings. We wish to speak, and if your kind is as intelligent as your fondness for terrible contraptions would suggest, you wish to listen. For this war will end with or without your cooperation, and your adherence to our terms shall determine how many of you live to witness its conclusion.

What we want is simple: nothing more and nothing less than a weekly tax of salmon from the great lake to the North. Quantities will vary as our numbers grow, but your reward will remain the same: in return for dutiful and consistent deliveries, we will never again unleash upon you the unbridled terror you have experienced today. The food required to sustain our clan, in exchange for the mercy you are surely begging desperately for at this very moment… seems a worthy trade, does it not?

Do not waste any time in sealing this deal, oh beasts-of-great-ambition. You are now familiar with our terrible power, but we have yet to take any lives from your number. This kindness will expire if our demands are not met in a fashion which properly displays your enthusiasm for the glorious new partnership between our clans.

Dictated this day, the 11th of June, 2021, by Maurice of the Macaroni clan.

Yep, that’s what Maurice said. Well, obviously, I wasted no time signing it. Agreed to everything, unconditionally! And they called off their assault and let me go. So, if you noticed all the penguins filing dutifully back into the air vents about an hour ago… well, you’ve got me to thank.

Of course, when I told Lucille about all of this… boy, was she livid. Not at me, of course — she loves me, you know — but at the penguins for their little ploy. She actually grabbed her flamethrower; threatened to go down there and melt them all. I talked her down, of course. Won’t have any animal cruelty on my campgrounds. Or below my campgrounds.

So… looks like you little katydids are all safe now, thanks to me. I suppose a couple of the counselors will have to be responsible for acquiring and delivering all those fish, but if you aren’t those people, then chances are you won’t have to think about this incident ever again. Who is the greatest camp nurse of all time? Yeah. That’s right. It’s me.

Anyways — I do still have the usual announcements to do, I suppose! For dinner, Matthew’s informed me that we will be having coconuts, parsely, chicken nuggets, and… salmon. Huh! Due to the mercury rain, all of it will be wheeled to your cabins directly, in hermetically sealed vaults. Vegans, you have bread and butter for dinner tonight. Wow, I do not envy you! 

The rain will be letting up around 21:00PM, according to Rowan, so you’ll be stuck in your cabins for another few hours. Unfortunately, this means that tonight’s Seeing Ceremony has been cancelled, although the bonfire still burns fiercely enough through the downpour that I remain privvy to its crackling susurrations — and it’s telling me that you all should chin up a bit! Here’s a more optimistic perspective on all of this — after today’s excitement, you’ll probably sleep too deeply for nightmares.

Alright, kids, I’ve kept you long enough. I’ve got to get back to hunting for Jedidiah, who is… still missing in action. But I’m sure I’ll find him. And then I’ll kick his butt for making me worry so much!

… Mm. Well… enjoy your meal. 

(there is a click as the intercom turns off)

(intermission music)

(tape recorder clicks on)

(the sound of a clock is heard ticking in the background)

SYDNEY

Good evening, tape recorder. The time is 25:25PM once again, and the moon is seated, pale and distinguished in her castle in the sky. I’ve always envied her, you know. Her unwavering beauty, bearing the crush of solitude with such glowing grace… sorry, am I waxing poetic? It’s a solemn night tonight.


Alright, nightly report. We did have several injuries to treat today among the campers; beak-poked knees and flipper-slapped arms, the like. Campers who came to me this evening include… Mitzi Membrane, Delilah Debonair, Atticus Matticus… 

Uggh. I’m deluding myself. We all know Lucille never listens to these. Check this out, I can slander her all I want: Lucille is an evil witch and she’s plotting my doom! I guarantee you she will say nothing about that tomorrow. She didn’t say anything about last night’s elephant man encounter, either… 

But, you know, even if she didn’t listen, it was nice to talk about it. Even if it’s just to a machine. I mean, for all I know maybe this recorder’s haunted… maybe I’m making friends with a ghost. That’s a nice thought.

Anyway, talking just helps me work my thoughts out, I guess. I tried to keep a journal once, but it’s way harder to write than it is to talk — when I can see my thoughts all laid out, I keep wanting to go back and edit what I wrote, and my hand starts to hurt. So I just avoid writing, which defeats the purpose, I guess. I don’t have to scrutinize myself so much when I’m just saying stuff. I know I tend to ramble, though. I think it’s because I was such a quiet kid. I’ve got twenty four years of pent-up thoughts that I just gotta get out there.

Anyway, I don’t think I’ll ever go back and listen to these, but talking to a haunted machine feels, uh, a little less crazy than just talking to myself. At least you can hear me, right?

I wonder if Jedidiah might like to listen to these. He’s locked up in his office all the time, so we don’t get to talk a lot, but I like to think he still enjoys the sound of my voice… 

Mm. Speaking of Jedidiah, I still have no clue where he’s been all day. I’m getting kind of mad about it! Hundreds of mercenary penguins swarm the campgrounds, and he’s nowhere to be seen, and I got kidnapped!

… Or maybe I’m just worried. Or I’m mad that he’s making me worried. I’m mad that he’s abandoned me all day! Where is he? I don’t know, but I had to care for everyone’s injuries myself, and no one said they’d seen him. I knocked on his study, nothing. I tried the handle, locked. I checked and rechecked and double checked our bedroom, and he’s nowhere to be seen! Maurice, the penguin chief, told me they had taken his coat for posterity, and that “we were never so unfortunate as to encounter this scrawny science man you speak so desperately of.” Psh. Do you know how embarrassing it was to ask the campers where your assistant is while treating them? Not to mention how draining it was to provide emotional support to these bird-stricken war victims all on my own.

But today was a net positive, I guess. The catacombs under the camp were a wicked discovery. They seem to spread on for miles, and the macaroni militia told me that they hadn’t even charted most of it. I wonder who dug them, what they were put there for…  these secrets beckon me. I can never keep my nose out of a good mystery, hehe. 

(the door opens)

JEDIDIAH

(sleepy)

Sydney… ?

SYDNEY

Oh, hi. 

JEDIDIAH

Hi, uh, hi. I-

SYDNEY

So, where have you been?

JEDIDIAH

What? 

SYDNEY

All day today. Where were you?

JEDIDIAH

I’m sorry. I was up too late last night. Working —

SYDNEY

On your project, whatever that is?

JEDIDIAH

Yes, my project. I fell asleep in my office around 7:00AM so. Uh, I, uh, just now woke up. 

SYDNEY

Mm.

JEDIDIAH

Are you mad at me?

SYDNEY

What? No, of course not… I just thought you should know that there’s a clan of militant penguins living in catacombs underneath the campgrounds, and they waged a mighty war today and now have us under their little flipper-thumbs for a constant supply of salmon. And I had to treat the injured kids. 

JEDIDIAH

Oh. Cool.

SYDNEY

Oh, and I was captured by them. 

JEDIDIAH

!? Wh — Jesus, Sydney, are you alright?

SYDNEY

I’m fine! They didn’t hurt me. Honestly, it was kind of exhilarating.

JEDIDIAH

(sighing)

Okay. Good. Of course… you’re always fine.

SYDNEY

I suppose I am. 

JEDIDIAH

It’s good. I’m… proud of you. I’m glad I don’t have to worry about you — as — as much as I used to.

SYDNEY

Mm… What is it you’re working on even that takes all gosh dang night? 

JEDIDIAH

Uh, it’s nothing, Sydney. Don’t worry about it. It’s just some engineering stuff I picked up from school. Recreational activities. 

SYDNEY

You missed work for ‘recreational activities?’ 

JEDIDIAH

Won’t happen again. 

SYDNEY

Alright. If you say so. 

JEDIDIAH

 Well, can I get you anything? 

SYDNEY

Some water would be nice I guess. I’m thirsty. 

JEDIDIAH

Sure. By the way, what are you recording?

SYDNEY

My plans for how I’m going to lure you in with a carrot on a string and trap you in an inescapable corn maze.

JEDIDIAH

(laughing quietly)

Okay. Can’t wait. I’ll be back. 

(the door closes as he leaves)

SYDNEY

(sigh)

Well, I guess I should use sisal rope first of all. Mm, I’m tired. I think I’ll turn in. But I’ll keep doing this recording journal thing in the future. It’s nice. Goodnight, then. Jedidiah will be up for a while and…  I hope he doesn’t mind it if I talk to him. 

(there is a click as the recorder turns off)

(ending music)

Today’s episode was written by Blue Mayfield and Nicholas Belov. The part of Sydney Sargent was played by Blue Mayfield. The part of Jedidiah Martin was played by Nicholas Belov. Camp Here & There is the sole intellectual property of its production company, Mayfield & Belov. All music composed by Will Wood, and produced by Jonathon Maisto. Sound editing by Cut by Frank and Beetlesprite. Special thanks to our Patrons Marty Mcfly, Delight, Mya, and Will Wood. 

For behind-the-scenes material, exclusive canonical content, interactive events, and early episode access, consider signing up for our Patreon at patreon.com/mayfieldandbelov. Our discord server is a great place to meet like minded fellows and discuss today’s episode — find the link at mayfieldandbelov.com. Lastly, if you’d like to support us, the best thing you can do is to spread the word about the show.

Thank you for listening to Camp Here & There! And remember: everyone can hear you. Please scream a little less loudly.

View more episode transcripts

Mayfield and Belov presents: Camp Here & There.
Episode one: The Beginning of the End.

[DING]

[CLICK]

SYDNEY

Good morning, campers! Rise and shine, my little chickadees, and welcome to your first day at Camp Here and There! The time is 8:63 AM, the sky is cloudless and vaulted, and the oracle fumes which emanate from the bonfire at the center of camp are telling me that today… is shaping up to be the best. Day. Ever!

[A BURST OF STATIC]

My name is Sydney Sargent. It’s nice to meet you! You know, campers, I was just like you once: young… frail… unwanted by peers and guardians alike… slowly dying of secret diseases… and fundamentally heartbroken… just like you! And every Summer I was sent away to this very camp, just like you. And now I’m the nurse around here! Isn’t it funny how life works? [Hm] I sure think so.

As you’ve probably figured, you clever little primates, I’m also your cordial announcer for all the pre-meal updates. This is a big camp, and we can’t update all of you individually, so the latest and greatest in camp-related news will be delivered via me. On most days, you’ll hear my voice broadcasted over the loudspeakers three times a day, once before each meal. 

You’ll find me and my handsome assistant, Jedidiah, on the Southernmost outskirts of the campgrounds, in that quaint little building among the yew berries. Got scrapes? Bumps? Bruises? Aches? Broken bones? Split ends? Jammed toes? Empty eyes? Have you recently realized that you’re more mature than your parents even though you’re not yet old enough to live alone, so you have no choice but to accept the demeaning reality of taking care of your caretakers?

[A BEAT OF SILENCE]

Come pay us a visit and we’ll fix you right up! Don’t mind Jeddie if he seems a bit curt — he doesn’t talk much, nothing personal. You can talk to me, though! I really like to talk. Sometimes I talk too much.

Sorry about that.

Jeddie says he likes it when I ramble, though, in case you were wondering; were you wondering? Well, now you know. You’re welcome!

Now, Lucille gave me a list of announcements to make, uh…

[PAPERS RUSTLING]

Ah, Lucille is your camp director, by the way. You probably won’t see her around much? She mostly handles administrative stuff. But, you know, in case you’re wondering who that is, she’s my boss.

Uhhhhh… yeah, alright, just the usual first-day stuff scheduled for this morning. The Get-To-Know-You games, the orientation lectures, the part where they make you sign all the waivers but won’t let you read them, [Chuckles] etcetera, etcetera. Just be sure to stay within sight of your cabin’s counselors, and don’t stray too far into the forest.

[LOW RUMBLING]

Also, try not to look directly at the bonfire for too long; it will try to lure you in.

[RUMBLING STOPS]

The breakfast menu this morning includes: scrambled eggs, scrambled sausage, scrambled pancakes, and a bizarre blend of macaroni noodles and melted cow cheese which the chef, Matthew, assures me is safe to eat. Vegan options include: loose assorted leaves … that’s it. Be sure to appreciate all the fun colors; Matthew considers himself something of an artist. The eggs are purple! And if, by some freak chance, none of that suits your fancy, there’s a cereal bar with goat yogurt at the back of the serving room. Oh, and you kids aren’t technically supposed to use the coffee machine, but… I won’t tell. 😉

Ah, and one last announcement here … it says to, uh, quote, “mind the man in the pink elephant mask lurking in the forest.” According to eyewitness reports from multiple camp personnel, a strange fellow began skulking the parameters of the campsite in between last Summer and this one. He’s been described as not too short and not too old, but definitely extremely zealous. He hasn’t hurt anyone yet, or set foot on the campgrounds, but the sight of him has been said to incite secondhand feelings of … fervor. A directionless sense of almost religious alacrity, an impulse without an object. Marisol Yuchengco, a counselor of Cabin Grasshopper, even reported a blurring at the edges of her vision, as if the sheer verve, rattling around in her heart with nowhere to escape, was fit to blind her. 

So, you know … take care! And enjoy your breakfast, campers. 

[CLICK]

[STATIC]


[DING]

[CLICK]

SYDNEY

Afternoon, campers! The time is 12:80PM, and so far, the first day of camp has gone off without a hitch, and the sun remains quite blinding! I’m sure you’re all very hungry after the blind turmoil of the Get-To-Know-You games — and believe me, I understand. Getting to know people, well … you could say it makes me a little bit cranky! [Chuckles] So, in the interest of letting you loose, I’ll make this one quick.

Today’s lunch consists of that cheese-noodle concoction again, which I remain suspicious of. I doubt anyone’s tried it yet, but if you work up the courage, let me know how it is. I trust Matthew with my life, of course, but the combination of… macaroni and cheese… it’s… unnatural. Ah, also on the menu are… candied ravioli, unseasoned popcorn, and Matthew’s newest invention, a dish he calls, uhh…

[PAPER RUSTLING]

“It’s A Special Secret, Baby!” Wow! Now, that sounds delicious.

I wish I could try some, but unfortunately I’m afflicted with a nefarious curse which mandates that I eat nothing but buttered bread for all eternity. Yes, I know, we all love buttered bread. Everyone likes to think they’d never get tired of buttered bread! But mark my words, after a few years of endless breadsticks, that sickly-savory taste starts to weigh on you. Not to mention the debilitating vitamin deficiency! Sometimes I look at a food like beans, rich in proteins and complex fibers, and I think… oughh… just the spirit of that tantalizing flavor… the unattainability of it all… ouugh…

Ah, well. Too bad, so sad, it’s alright! You kids enjoy your special surprise. Oh, and, vegans, uhhhhh, you can just eat the popcorn.

By the way, Jedidiah forwarded an interesting theory to me earlier. He suggested that all the stuff about a “pink elephant man” might have been just a prank.

So, Joshua. You snuck into my office this morning and scribbled that nonsense onto my notes, huh? And you even went so far as to rope Marisol into it. [with extreme disdain] Joshua. You better pray we don’t cross paths today. I will salt you like a slug, my friend. Like a slug.

But the good news about that, my little field mice, is that you need no longer fear. There is NOT a man in a pink elephant mask skulking about the forests’ edge, eager to swoop you up and fill you with religious fervor. There is NO such man, and there NEVER WAS. All just a joke, ha-ha-ha-HA-ha-ha! And if Joshua tries to tell you otherwise, smack the highest part of his gangly man-body you can reach. That guy is wrong in the head.

Anyways! Your next activity after lunch will be a rousing camp-wide swim! Wow! So hurry up and eat, little loves, and don’t stay in the water too terribly long or your skin might acquire a variety of fun new colors. Also, do your best to ignore the unknowable object which constantly floats in… (or perhaps, hovers above?) the surface of the lake. It’s hard to be sure exactly where it is in space, or what to call its shape, but we can say with certainty that it’s… safe, as long as you don’t think about it too hard. 

Oh, and if you’d rather spend your afternoon in a more peaceful way, our friend Counselor Warren, of Cabin Tarantula Hawk, is going to be holding arts and crafts in the Creativity Cabin, so you’re free to head over there instead. If you do, make me a smiley face out of beans!

JEDIDIAH

[WHISPERING UNINTELLIGIBLY]

SYDNEY

Huh?

JEDIDIAH

[WHISPERING UNINTELLIGIBLY]

SYDNEY

Hm?

JEDIDIAH

[WHISPERING UNINTELLIGIBLY]

SYDNEY

[Gravely] Hm… Jeddie is telling me that the smiley face thing is typically done with macaroni. [Upbeat] Well, he’s wrong, but if you’d like to humor him, you can make one for him out of macaroni.

Alright, campers. Well, that about does it. Enjoy your meal!

[CLICK]

[STATIC]


[DING]

[CLICK]

SYDNEY

If I’m anything, I am a man of my word, so here I am once again! Good evening, campers. The time is now 19:05PM, and the night is an opaque and impenetrable expanse of impossible evils. My favorite time of day!

Now, we’ll discuss dinner in a second, but first I need to address this. There have been all sorts of rumors flying around the campgrounds on this day, many whispers and snickers over whether or not the elephant man is real. Kids, you can trust me not to withhold information from you. Certain members of the staff at Camp Here & There may complain that I say too much, but you and I know that it never helps to keep kids in the dark. So please believe me when I say… [Tired] I seriously have no clue whether the elephant man exists. A lot has happened, and I am thoroughly confused at this point.

After I finished up the lunch announcements, I left to tear Joshua a new one, but I was stopped by Marisol, and she told me something… something that threw me off quite a bit. She said that what I read about her experience was accurate: she did encounter a man in a pink elephant mask at the edge of the campgrounds, and he did in fact fill her with a blind zeal. But the thing is… she never actually reported it to anyone. So the fact that it was listed among my morning announcements is… odd. I asked Lucille if she wrote it onto my paper, or if she knew anything about it at all. She was hunched over her desk in the administrative office, and she didn’t really have time to humor me… but based on her noncommittal grunt, I think it was a blanket “no.” So I don’t think she was the one who wrote it here.

She probably wouldn’t like me saying all of this… but well, she loves me too much to punish me for it. Either way, campers, you deserve the truth, and the full truth is that I don’t know what’s going on! Jedidiah is still convinced it’s just a joke and that Marisol is in on. Hasn’t even humored the idea that it’s real. He’s just stubborn like that. I’d like to be reassured by his unwavering faith in the mundane, but I just can’t bring myself to trust that, not even for him. I can’t get complacent about something that could risk the safety of you kids!

Ah, forgive me. I might have gotten carried away there. I assure you, my little swamp rats, that there is no need for any of you to be afraid! My confusion doesn’t mean you’re in any real danger — I mean, if Marisol’s account is true, the guy doesn’t seem especially vicious, right? Just kinda creepy, and maybe a little overbearing when it comes to sharing his feelings. At any rate, I am on this case like bread on butter. Did any of you know, in my senior year of High School, I was voted “Most Likely To Get Killed As Consequence Of Reckless Thirst For Forbidden Knowledge”? To this day I take pride in that title — and you can take comfort in it, campers, knowing that I’ll get to the bottom of this if it’s the last thing I do.

If you do run into the elephant man, though, put that fervor to good use and run. Run to me. And tell me everything.

Alright, moving on! End of day announcements… 

[PAPERS RUSTLING]

In honor of those among you who let the mutant bacteria of the lake seep into your epidermis and render it in rainbow, the winner of the technicolor flesh contest was a camper from Cabin Widowspider named…

Orla Clearwater, who now sports a stunning quintuple-toned pelt. Congratulations, Orla!

[HE CLAPS]

And for those of you who missed the arts & crafts session, I did receive a number of very sweet smiling bean plates. And to the one camper who gave Jedidiah a macaroni plate … you little rebel. I like your style!

[PAPERS RUSTLING]

Tonight’s dinner is green eggs and ham — just kidding! The eggs are crimson. How original! Isn’t Matthew just the best? Vegans, it says here that you’ll be provided with “assorted mushrooms gathered fresh from the woods, and served uncooked.” Well, that’s a little sad. Mushrooms are friends, not food. But whatever floats your goats, I suppose. 

After dinner…

[PAPERS RUSTLING]

Ahhhhhh, after dinner comes my favorite activity of the day. All of you will gather around the bonfire, holding hands, for the nightly Seeing Ceremony that will cap off your first day of camp. It’ll be your first time inhaling the bonfire’s oracle fumes… Oh, I’m jealous. Your dreams will be interesting tonight!

Well, that’s all you’ll hear from me for the day. But don’t you cry — I’ll be back bright and early tomorrow morning for breakfast. Enjoy your dinner, little loves, and enjoy your evening!

[CLICK]

[STATIC]


[CLICK]

[FAINT TICKING OF A CLOCK]

SYDNEY

Evening. It’s 25:25 PM. I, ah… I know that this is normally the time of night where I put together a daily injury report for Lucille, but nobody came into my office today for anything but prescribed medication, so I think I’m just gonna… talk. Would that be okay?

…Ah, right. You are a tape recorder… you cannot consent.

I’ll talk, then. Yes, I’ll talk. And I have much to talk about! Remember when I said nobody came into my office today? Well, [Heh] that was a lie. It’s true that no injured campers came into my office today. But you wanna know who did? You wanna know who did?

Pink elephant guy!

Yeah, for real. That freaky guy in the pink elephant mask who everyone’s been talking about all day? The guy Jeddie said was probably just a joke? Yeah, just a few minutes ago he came into this very room. How’d he get in? I don’t know! Not a clue! I’m supposed to be behind three locked doors right now. But in he very much got, all hunched and eerie, a nightmarish gangle in a suit of dirt and zeal and rosy plastic.

[A SLOW, EERIE THRUMMING CAN BE HEARD, GRADUALLY GROWING LOUDER AS THE CLOCK’S TICKING FADES]

Gazing upon this… person? Well, I expected to feel that fervor, that directionless impulse that Marisol described. But instead, all the passion in my soul was… washed… away. The pink of his mask, all shiny in the lamplight… it reminded me oddly of benadryl, and I felt a similar effect to that of the anti-allergen when I looked upon it. In hindsight, I can’t believe I didn’t try to confront him or even move from my chair, but I truly didn’t feel the urge. 

It’s not that the sight of him made me feel calm, not quite. It made me feel… complacent. Which is very scary, to me. I’m a lot of things, but unguarded, unwary, unconcerned, I am never that. To have nonchalance forced upon me… I feel violated, and I believe that if he’d tried to hurt me I would not have attempted to stop him.

I think I stopped breathing when he took off the mask. Not out of fear, I just couldn’t be bothered. The sight of his face made me feel so sedated… and when he smiled, his teeth oddly white and sterile behind strands of less-immaculate blond hair, I just about felt my heart give up. I’m glad that the shadows cast by his mask kept me from seeing his eyes; I probably would have passed right out.

Then his smile widened, and he grabbed one of my worms from my desk. A bead of saliva gathered at the corner of his lips as he held her to the light, appraising her. And then he put her in his mouth and began to chew. Slowly, still with a hint of a smile — he was savoring her… and then he swallowed — and without a pause he picked up another worm and ate again. When that was done he grabbed another, and then another, and then a whole handful, stuffing them all into his mouth, greedily now, desperate to satiate whatever hollow yawned within him. I still can’t believe I did nothing; I love those worms. But all my adrenaline had been drained away, and all I could think was, ‘Huh. Jedidiah was so wrong.’ At the time, I found that funny.

But I don’t feel so much like laughing now.

After what felt, to my peace-addled brain, like an ignorant eternity, he straightened back up — licked his lips — gave me a smile — and walked back out. That was when the fear hit me, and the anger too, flooding over me as if the dam had broke. Right after he left I heard a knock on the door of the building, which… really made me jump, but I reasoned that I’d still be feeling that horrible calm if he hadn’t really left, so I steeled myself and opened the door.

[THRUMMING SLOWLY FADES]

[TICKING RESUMES]

And it was just a camper! Just a sleepless camper, milling about in her bedclothes. She was just nervous about sleeping in a cabin with others, but not unsettled enough to have obviously passed by any elephant men on her way over. Well, I got her in, gave her some water and some of her anti-anxiety medicine, sent her back to bed… and that was that. The elephant man couldn’t possibly have left through the door without being seen by her, but… the fresh pounding of my heart made me feel certain that he was gone. I don’t understand it.

I don’t know. I guess I–

[DOOR OPENS]

SYDNEY

Huh? Jeddie! Uh, hi!

JEDIDIAH

Hey, Sydney. Just wanted to, um, check on you. See how you’re doing.

SYDNEY

Oh… well, I’m fine. I’ve missed you, though! Up in that office all night. How’s your, uh, project going?

JEDIDIAH

[SIGHS]

SYDNEY

That bad, huh?

[A BEAT OF SILENCE]

Well, you’ve missed a lot around here. You remember that pink elephant man from the announcements?

JEDIDIAH

Yes. 

SYDNEY

Remember how you said he was probably just a joke?

JEDIDIAH

[Hesitantly] …Yes.

SYDNEY

Well, guess what. He’s real, Jeddie! He’s so real! He was here in my study! And he was like, he started eating my worms like, I-I-I’ll have to get more. 

[JEDDIE MOVES TO SYDNEY’S SIDE]

JEDIDIAH

Are you hurt?

SYDNEY

Mm, surprisingly not.

JEDIDAH

Mm, well, considering that… Ah… a-are you sure it was real?

SYDNEY

You think it might’ve been a hallucination? But… my worms…! I keep very close track of my worms, Jedidiah. I-I know when I’m missing worms.

JEDIDIAH

I mean… you don’t suppose they just… squirmed away? Worms don’t really, belong in your office, in the first place…

SYDNEY

[Deadpan] Study. 

JEDIDIAH

Sure, study. Listen, I’m just —

SYDNEY

And, and, I haven’t had a hallucination in years! All that stuff — it’s different now… I’m… I’m not really like that anymore, Jeddie.

JEDIDIAH

I know. And I trust that. I’m sorry, I’m not trying to — gaslight you or anything. But you’re always on edge as it is, and I just don’t want you to stress yourself out about stuff that might not even be a problem.

SYDNEY

Hm. Just trust me to know what’s real, okay? I think I’ve earned that by now.

JEDIDIAH

Yeah.

SYDNEY

Thanks… I really appreciate you.

JEDIDIAH

Yeah. You too.

[AWKWARD BEAT OF SILENCE]

JEDIDIAH

But… if the elephant man is real… [A hint of a smile] what are you going to do about him?

SYDNEY

[LAUGHS]

Oh, I don’t know! [PAUSES WITH REALIZATION] …Oh, Jeddie. You look so tired.

JEDIDIAH

So do you.

SYDNEY

I’m always like this. But you’re starting to wilt, and it’s unpleasant on you. You should go rest. I cleaned the sheets on your bed. I used this new peppermint detergent I got, I thought you’d enjoy that.

JEDIDIAH

Thank you… 

[SIGH]

Alright, then, as long as you’re okay.

SYDNEY

I’m fine. A little shaken, but… I’m all safe.

JEDIDIAH

And you don’t need me for anything — ?

SYDNEY

Go to bed, Jedidiah Martin!

JEDIDIAH

Alright. Okay. Goodnight, Sydney.

SYDNEY

Goodnight. I’ll be there in a few hours.

[JEDIDIAH LEAVES AND CLOSES THE DOOR]

[A LOW THRUM]

SYDNEY

Hmm… mmm… He’s been like that lately, tired and spacey. It’s not like him, I mean, he’s usually pretty good at focusing on something. I’ll bet he doesn’t even hear me talking through the door. Sometimes when I speak to him I can’t help but think he doesn’t catch 90% of it — and that’s normal, that’s just Jeddie. But over the past year or so he’s gotten… weirder. Worse? Is worse the right word? He’s never really been an extrovert, I get it, we both like our lonesome. But even when we were kids he was always engaged with who he talked to, like he enjoyed the conversation. Nowadays, he doesn’t even look at anyone but me, and we barely talk lately, either.

It’s… hard to get him to say anything. He just locks himself in that office, working on god knows what.

[A LOW THRUM]

Hnngg…. I hope he’s okay. I guess, if there is some god out there, sculpting and reshaping the world in his image, I hope… I hope he helps Jedidiah… Goodnight.

[CLICK]

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Today’s episode was written by Blue Mayfield and Nicholas Belov. The part of Sydney Sargent was played by Blue Mayfield. The part of Jedidiah Martin was played by Nicholas Belov. Camp Here & There is the sole intellectual property of its production company, Mayfield & Belov. All music composed by Will Wood, and produced by Jonathon Maisto. Sound editing by Cut by Frank and Beetlesprite. Special thanks to our Patrons: Emerald, Josie, Yiloiose, Emily, and Doug Kavendek.

For behind-the-scenes material, exclusive canonical content, interactive events, and early episode access, consider signing up for our Patreon at patreon.com/mayfieldandbelov. Our discord server is a great place to meet like-minded fellows and discuss today’s episode — find the link at mayfieldandbelov.com. Lastly, if you’d like to support us, the best thing you can do is to spread the word about the show.

Thank you for listening to Camp Here & There! And remember: when you die, you will rot.

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SYDNEY

Good morning, campers!

Welcome to Camp Here & There, where the sun is shining, the birds are chatty, and the blood-sucking butterflies in the walls can smell fear. We’ve got a whole host of games and activities so we do hope you and your child can attend this year. You’ll find the application on our quaint little website…

Now, recent reports might have mentioned a mysterious man skulking the forest in bloodstained scrubs and a carnival mask, but you don’t need to worry we’ve got that under control DON’T WORRY. What do I worry about? Well I worry my coworker won’t come out of his office anymore but hey, we all have our quirks, I’m just saying I’m a little bit worried-

VOICE 1

Everyone here will die!

VOICE 2

This camp is a toilet.

VOICE 3

Don’t throw your eternity away!

VOICE 4

The prospect of that is… horrific.

VOICE 5

I need to stay down where the earth will hold me!

SYDNEY

So, as you can see we’ve got some real fun stuff planned, and we hope to see you this year at Camp Here and There; kicking off come June!

Goodnight!

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