Audio data from various sources, detailing the events which occurred at SITE2 on day 953.
Mayfield and Belov presents: Camp Here and There.
Episode Two: The End of the Squall.
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.
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. [Chuckles nervously] All the letters we had to write 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! Yayyyyyy!!
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. And on the breakfast menu for today we’ve got —a
[A MUFFLED BUMP]
[Clears his throat]… As I was saying. For breakfast we have —
[ANOTHER BUMP, ACCOMPANIES BY A CLANG]
Okay, what the hell? Is that the air vent? What were the counselors up to last night?
[SHUFFLING AND A CREAKING FROM HIS CHAIR]
One second, campers. I’m going to check out the vent. In the meantime, uh, just think about . . . . . your favorite… um… alternative fuel source!
Goodness, where is Jedidiah today?
[CLANG, FOLLOWED BY A PENGUIN SQUAWK, AND A YELP FROM SYDNEY]
[SOUNDS OF SYNDEY RUSHING BACK TO THE MIC]
[Mouth on the mic] 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, uh, 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.
[Whispered, dripping with dread] S-salmon… Oh no…
I have to go. Enjoy your meal.
[RUSHED FOOTSTEPS, DOOR CLOSING]
[Muffled and very frantic] Lucille! Lucille! Luciiiiiiille!
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 the 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. [With emotion] This has to stop.
[Gravely] 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… [Holding back laugher] Which is… which is actually pretty funny, so, keep that one up, penguins. Ahem, I-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… [Shaky] 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, um… just let me know.
Alright. Lunch today, on account of the situation we’re being faced with, will be —
[MUFFLED PENGUIN SQUAWKING]
[Whispered] 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 —
[MORE SQUAWKING, INCREASING IN VOLUME]
No… oh God. They’re right outside my door, oh God! Oh my God!
[DOOR BURSTS OPEN. SYDNEY VALIANTLY STRUGGLES AGAINST THE PENGUINS]
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!
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 just 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 and There have made use of these tunnels for clandestine rendezvous . . . . . it’s quite a romantic thought!
[Disdainfully] 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!
But 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 READS, THE SOUND OF THE CHIRPING PENGUINS IN THE DAMP TUNNELS RISES IN THE BACKGROUND]
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 — and 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. [Sighs] But I’m sure I’ll find him. And then I’ll kick his butt for making me worry so much!
… Hm. Well… enjoy your meal.
[FAINT TICKING OF A CLOCK]
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…
[Scoffs] 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. 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, just a bit 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 [Mocking Maurice] “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. Y’know, I can never keep my nose out of a good mystery, hehe.
[Sleepy] Sydney… ?
Hi, uh, hi. I-
So, where have you been?
[Sharper than usual] All day today. Where were you?
I’m sorry. I was up too late last night. Working —
On your project, whatever that is?
Yes, my project. I fell asleep in my office around 7:00AM so. Uh, I, uh, just now woke up.
Are you mad at me?
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.
Oh, and I was captured by them.
!? Wh — Jesus, Sydney, are you alright?
I’m fine! They didn’t hurt me. Honestly, it was kind of exhilarating.
[Sighs] Okay. Good. Of course… you’re always fine.
I suppose I am.
It’s good. I’m… proud of you. I’m glad I don’t have to worry about you — as — much as I used to.
Mm… What is it you’re working on even, that takes all gosh dang night?
Uh, it’s nothing, Sydney. Don’t worry about it. It’s just some engineering stuff I picked up from school. Recreational activities.
You missed work for ‘recreational activities?’
Won’t happen again.
Alright. If you say so.
Well, can I get you anything?
Some water would be nice I guess. I’m thirsty.
Sure. By the way, what are you recording?
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.
Okay. Can’t wait. I’ll be back.
[HE LEAVES AND CLOSES THE DOOR]
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.
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.
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Thank you for listening to Camp Here & There! And remember: everyone can hear you. Please scream a little less loudly.