8:29 PM – 16 – mud-slide fight

I am going to band camp. It was fun last year, and this year I know what to expect. I have packed shaving cream for the all-important last-night fight, and a swimsuit, and lots of spare clothes, and crappy shoes, and tapes and a boom box. I am ready.

I am on the flag squad. This means I can toss a flag high in the air and catch it. I have devised a special throw in which I turn the flag upside down and hold it off to my left side, right hand on top, left hand about a foot underneath the right. I push the flag toward my right, let go with my left hand, twirl it around by the base, then whip it into the air. It spins lazily, at least ten feet up, then falls with a swish! into my right hand as I sweep it out to the right.

The thunderstorms are the best part. They sweep in around late afternoon, drenching the field and putting an end to practice. We slip and slide in the mud on the way to the dining hall, where we consume large quantities of sub-par food.

On the last night, after the scavenger hunt, it rains, but we are not about to see our shaving-cream fun denied. We grab our cans of foam and put on our scruffiest clothes, then head out to the field for what soon becomes a melee. We are mud-sliding, getting a running start and then letting our feet slip out from under us, gliding on the wet grass and mud as far as we can. Then we scramble to avoid indiscriminate, muddy people wielding cans of shaving cream, rubbing it in our hair, lathering it up or spraying it down our shirts or pants. The only rule is “no face.”

We are a mess. I cannot tell who is who. Mud and shaving cream have disguised us better than any camouflage could. It is cold, and we are tired, our cans of shaving cream empty, so we head back toward the cabins and the showers.

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