Audio data from various sources, detailing the events which occurred at SITE2 on day 977.
MAJOR INSIGHT INTO:
- ENTITY2 perspective & demeanor
- Grief and turmoil between ENTITY1 and ENTITY2
MINOR INSIGHT INTO:
- ENTITY4 behavior • ENTITY2 historical recollection
- Were celestial bodies affected by the limn? This is a line of research I frankly can’t believe we’ve never considered.
- This job gets harder and harder with every recording.
Mayfield and Belov presents: Camp Here and There.
Episode Thirty One: The Nurse is Building a Pyre
Hi, campers… breakfast-ho. Before we start on the announcements, I’d like to apologize for my recent periods of absence. I experienced… a lapse in priorities… under rather extenuating circumstances. But I swear, from now on, you kids are once again my number one focus. For the rest of the Summer, I won’t be leaving again… of my own free will.
On an entirely unrelated note, I’d also like to retract my previous statements about the Elephant Man not being dangerous. I’ve experienced some visceral, lifechanging, emotionally scarring… bonfire visions, which indicated to me in no uncertain terms that the Elephant Man’s intentions are to exploit and harm the staff and the campers. If you see him, count to zero, then scream and run away.
Moving on… this morning’s activities center around identifying shapes and arranging them into patterns. Juniper and Rowan, unfortunately, won’t be able to participate, as they’re away delivering fish this morning. We actually missed the last delivery a couple days ago — everyone was preoccupied, I guess… but anyway, the penguins harassed me about it when I had a normal, scheduled encounter with them the other day, so, yeah, we’re on top of it now.
There’s another aspect of today that I can’t ignore — the moon refuses to set. Even now, well after dawn, she is still hanging there in the minty, cloudless sky as if night had never ended. She probably has her reasons for being out during the daytime, but it’s still irresponsible of her; there’s really not enough room in the sky for her and the sun. I encourage you kids to ask the moon what’s up, and if she needs help getting back down from the sky. Even our celestial guardians need some emotional support from those around them now and again.
For today’s breakfast, Matthew has made meatball muffins topped with bacteria cultures homegrown in a ceramic dish. Vegans get an eyeball extracted from a veggie marmoset. It’s technically not a form of animal life! But its eyes shed tears all the same. Alright, kids. Have breakfast!
H-Hey, campers. I… I have to say, I’m not sure how to begin.
I don’t want to violate the announcement-giving policy I’ve… . worked with my coworkers to establish… which compels me to avoid saying things that could scare you kids. But… you’re already scared, aren’t you? And I’m scared too. Maybe it would help both of us to be… scared together.
I guess we can start by addressing what you all saw. Right? No one can… no one can say we should just ignore what you all saw. So, in case you thought it was some kind of waking fever dream, let me affirm for you: what happened this morning happened.
While everyone was in the middle of arranging their shapes, the Elephant Man snuck into camp. Somehow, and apparently without a witness against him, he clambered up the side of Cabin Dung Beetle and set his boots upon the roof. And there, stretched out against the sky with the sleepless moon hanging behind his head like a dollar-store halo, he pried off his prosopon and preached from the mount.
So you gathered. What else could you have done? A fertile throng flourished around the hypocrite in the high place, and as he preached of cattle and sheep he cast adrenaline from his eyes. A virulent piety spread across the crowd until you, too, were howling praise to your muse. Your muse. Your muse. And after whipping you up into such a frenzy that you could no longer see what was in front of you, he disappeared. For hours afterwards, the revelry proceeded, everybody chanting, dancing, singing, screaming, writhing, shaking one another by the shoulders… all for the worship of an idol you don’t even know by name.
Now that the stardust has settled, I imagine most of you are confused and frightened by what you’ve been made to feel. You may be disturbed by how easily this stranger manipulated you. If that’s the case, I urge you to cling to that feeling. Be uncomfortable. Be indignant. You’re a person of your own! Not his disciple, not his congregant, not his tool, not his at all! And you won’t permit him to squeeze your heart to make his broth. Campers, counselors, I don’t blame any one of you for being enticed by his promises of peace and tranquility, those rarest of treasures in this world. But now that you know what he’s capable of, you must make yourself skeptical. No true savior would take away your freedom to choose salvation.
… Thanks for listening. Lunch is the wolf… have a secular afternoon.
Well, folks, she held out all day. Now the sun is setting in shame, while the brave moon remains. She saw us through breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and it seems she will see us through another night. And now she knows not just our secrets, but our faces, as well.
She didn’t choose to do what she does, you know. To be our chaperone through the night. Guardian against shadows, sole and silent witness to a million secret moments of human frailty. She does it anyway, as well as she possibly can… but perhaps she’s always wished she could play the part of the sun, and herald dawn. Or perhaps she merely wishes she had the option.
Her act of defiance against the natural order today may have seemed pointless to you. But I think I understand. She just wanted… for once in history… to exercise her freedom of choice. If only to prove that she could.
I want her to know that I…
… I think that’s cool.
Thank you, moon. Goodnight.
The other kids in school didn’t believe me when I said I was malnourished because I was not very thin. I didn’t know how to rebuke this at the time, but as an adult I understand that the foods which are most widely available to the poor are often the least healthy. Not to mention, my mother never made food for me, so before I learned how to cook, I subsisted in large part off of snacks. What the other kids didn’t understand — what I, even, didn’t understand — was that being fed is not always the same as being nourished.
Last night, I had a dream that the kids were taunting me again — only this time, it was about love instead of food. “How can you feel unloved?” they said. “Everyone is talking about you. Everyone is listening for what you will say. The man from the forest — he wants you so badly. He wants you like a preacher wants proof. He wants you like a lover wants a lover, Sydney, so how could you feel unloved?”
It’s not their fault that they don’t get it. Just like back then, they couldn’t possibly understand… but sometimes, you can be fed without being nourished. Sometimes, you can be wanted without being loved.
… Gosh, I’m in a bad way right now. I can’t stop thinking about when I was in middle school. I… I never thought I’d say this, but I think I kind of miss it.
At least Jedidiah sat with me during lunch.
I don’t like to eat alone. Holed up in my room, like I used to do every night in that… dirty, dirty house…
But it’s better now, in some ways. I’ve got better stuff to eat than soy sauce packets. And lilacs.
The centipede is back…
[JEDIDIAH ENTERS THE ROOM]
Sydney. Hey. We, uh… I didn’t want to bother you last night, but… I think we have to have this conversation now.
[Small sigh] Tell me what you want.
I’m not mad, but… I need you to tell me about the Elephant man. What happened?
He… told me he loved me. He invited me to eat with him. I just. I haven’t eaten with anyone in years. He was so nice to me, Jedidiah. He had tea with me, and he thought about my needs. No one’s ever talked to me that way.
He told me he was going to love me more than I’ve ever known. It felt too good to be true oh god of course it was too good to be true oh god oh god oh god. Of course. I knew it was too good to be true. Jedidiah, but I hoped anyway. All I’ve ever wanted is someone to be an equal to me and to work with me to love and care and touch and the way he said so many declarations of unconditional commitment, for once it felt like someone could seriously love me without… using me for something… which is true and equal, but that was a lie. It’s all a lie.
I knew it was creepy I knew it was wrong and I knew it was dangerous but I didn’t care because I wanted to believe him that it was love. I’m realizing you can be loved and hurt every fucking minute of it. I’m realizing you can’t ever stay with me for more than one measly month. I’m realizing I constantly seek calm and peace from you because I’m so scared of you and I need to prove I’m worth something to you. I don’t want to be always seeking. I’m sick of it and I’m sick of everything including my own body which is SICK of me too and… what do you want me to do? What do you want me to do?
He told me he cared about me. He told me you didn’t, and I believed it. Why would I believe it, Jedidiah? After everything you’ve done, I wonder why half the time I believe that you don’t care.
Okay. I’m sorry.
I’m sorry. I’m sorry… [He struggles with his words for some time] I… wanted so badly to believe you were fine. I wanted to believe it was all over… that I wouldn’t have to ruin anymore…
What do I break now? Sydney, at this point… what do I do?
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 Emily Safko and Blue Mayfield. Special thanks to our Patrons: Sydney, Syd, Josh, Carlos, Lyfrassir, Elisa Rivera, It’s Flair, Bubbas, and Elan Hertzler.
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: My body is whole. My body is eaten.