FILE 5

The Reversal of Norms

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

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. 

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Thank you for listening to Camp Here & There! And remember: I’m outside.