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PUFFIN BOOKS PUFFIN BOOKS
DIARY OF A WIMPY KID DIARY OF A WIMPY KID
THE DIARY OF A WIMPY KID SERIES 1 Diar y of a Wimpy Kid 21 3 2 4 3 5 4
6 Cabin Fever
11 Double Down
THE DIARY OF A WIMPY KID SERIES
Rodric k Rules Diar y of a Wimpy Kid The Last Straw Rodric k Rules Dog Days The Last Straw The Ugly Truth Dog Days
5 The Ugly Truth
76 8 7 9 8 10 9
The Third Wheel Cabin Fever Hard Luck The Third Wheel The Long Haul Hard Luck Old School The Long Haul
10 Old School
12 11 13 12 14 13 15 14
The Getaway Double Down The Meltdown The Getaway Wrecking Ball The Meltdown The Deep End Wrecking Ball
15 The Deep End
MORE FROM THE WIMPY WORLD The Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself Book
MORE FROM THE WIMPY WORLD
The Wimpy Kid Movie Diar y The Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself Book The Wimpy Kid Movie Diar y: The Next Chapter The Wimpy Kid Movie Diar y Diar y of an Awesome Friendly Kid: Rowley Jefferson’s Journal The Wimpy Kid Movie Diar y: The Next Chapter Rowley Jeffer son’s Awesome Friendly Adventure Diar y of an Awesome Friendly Kid: Rowley Jefferson’s Journal Rowley Jeffer son’s Awesome Friendly Adventure
PUFFIN BOOKS UK | USAPUFFIN | Canada BOOKS | Ireland | Australia India | New Zealand | South Africa UK | USA | Canada | Ireland | Australia | New Zealand South Africa Puffin Books is part ofIndia the Penguin Random| House group of companies whose addresses can be found at global.penguinrandomhouse.com. Puffin Books is part of the Penguin Random House group of companies whose addresses can be found at global.penguinrandomhouse.com . www.penguin.co.uk www.puffin.co.uk www.ladybird.co.uk www.penguin.co.uk www.puffin.co.uk www.ladybird.co.uk
First published in the English language in the USA by Amulet Books, an imprint of ABRAMS, 2020 First published in the language theDeep USAEnd Original English title: DiarEnglish y of a Wimpy Kid:in The by Amulet Books, imprint by of Harry ABRAMS, 2020 Inc .) (All rights reserved in all an countries N. Abrams, y of Wimpy by Kid:Puffin The Deep End2020 Original English title: Diar Published simultaneously in Gr eata Britain Books (All rights reserved in all countries by Harry N. Abrams, Inc .) Published simultaneously in Great Britain by Puffin Books 2020 Wimpy Kid text and illustrations copyright © Wimpy Kid, Inc ., 2020 DIARY OF A WIMPY KID®, WIMPY KID™, and the Greg Heffley design™ Wimpyand Kidthe text and illustrations yrightar© Wimpy Kid,and Inc ., 2020 design of the book’cop s cover e trademarks DIARY OF Atrade WIMPY KID®, WIMPYKid, KID™, and the Greg Heffley design™ dress of Wimpy Inc . All rights reserved. and the design of the book’s cover are trademarks and trade dressBook of Wimpy rights designKid, byInc Jeff. All Kinne y reserved. Cover design by Jeff Kinney and Marcie Lawrence Book design by Jeff Kinney Coverright design y Jeff Kinney and Marhas cie Lawrence The moral of bthe author/illustrator been asserted The moral right of the author/illustrator has been asserted A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library ISBN:
All correspondence to: Puffin Books, Penguin Random House Children’s All correspondence to:London SW11 7BW One Embassy Gardens, 8 Viaduct Gardens, Puffin Books, Penguin Random House Children’s One Embassy Gardens, 8 Viaduct Gardens, London SW11 7BW
tO RYAN tO RYAN
AUGUST Thursday UGUS I love my family andAall, butTI don’t need to spend twenty-four hours a day with them, seven Thursday days week. Andand that’s CTL Y the I lovea my family all, EX butAI don’t needway to it’s been here lately. spendaround twenty-four hours a day with them, seven days a week. And that’s EX ACTLY the way it’s It’s not justhere MElawho’s been around tely. getting tired of this, either. We’re ALL going a little nuts, and if ME who’s things don’t soongetting I thinktired we’reofgonna It’s not justchange this, go off the We’re deep ALL end. going a little nuts, and if either. things don’t change soon I think we’re gonna go off the deep end.
Mom says we’ve been cooped up for too long and we just need a holiday. But what we really need is a holiday frombeen eachcooped OTHER Mom says we’ve up .for too long and we just need a holiday. But what we really need 1 is a holiday from each OTHER. 1
That’s not gonna happen anytime soon, though, because we don’t have any MONEY. And the reason kind of anytime a long story. That’s we notdon’t gonnais happen soon, though, because we don’t have any MONEY. And the reason we don’t is kind of a long story.
We’ve been living in Gramma’s basement for two months, and I don’t know how much longer we can keep this. Mombasement says thatforonetwo We’ve beengoing livinglike in Gramma’s day we’ ll and look Iback on know this time months, don’t how and muchsmile, longerbutwe she’skeep not going the one hasMom to share a futon can likewho this. says that one with RODRICK day we’ ll lookevery backnight. on this time and smile, but she’s not the one who has to share a futon with 2RODRICK every night. 2
The crazy thing is, Gramma’s got plenty of room in her house, so I don’t understand why our whole familything has to in hergot basement. When The crazy is, stay Gramma’s plenty of room we her firsthouse, got here, called dibs on the in so I I don’t understand whyguest our room, family but Gramma taken. whole has to said stayitinwas heralready basement. When we first got here, I called dibs on the guest room, but Gramma said it was already taken.
I don’t think Gramma’s too thrilled we’re living with her, because whenever her friends come over shedon’t asks think us to Gramma’s stay out of I toosight. thrilled we’re living with her, because whenever her friends come over she asks us to stay out of sight.
And that’s kind of inconvenient since there isn’t a bathroom in the basement, and her friends always stay F OREVER And that’s kind .of inconvenient since there isn’t a bathroom in the basement, and her friends always stay FOREVER.
We can’t use the kitchen when Gramma’s got guests, which means we can’t eat dinner until after they’re Butkitchen last night guess Rodrick We can’tgone. use the whenIGramma’s got got sick of waiting, so heweheated up some leftover guests, which means can’t eat dinner until after pizza in gone. Gramma’s they’re But dryer. last night I guess Rodrick got sick of waiting, so he heated up some leftover pizza in Gramma’s dryer.
There’s no TV in Gramma’s basement, thing we’ve got to entertain ourselves TV inbelieve OTHERno . And, me, that’s not There’s Gramma’s basement, thing we’ve got to entertain ourselves OTHER. And, believe me, that’s not
so the only with is each enough. so the only with is each enough.
Mom says being bored is good, because it makes you use your imagination. But whenever I try it I always imagining the because exact same thing. Mom says end beingupbored is good, it makes you use your imagination. But whenever I try it I always end up imagining the exact same thing.
Something that’s making the situation a lot harder is that Dad is working from home this summer, which means he’s the always around.a And Something that’s making situation lot whenever of this us have harder is Dad that has Dada ismeeting, workingthe fromrest home to pretend we’re not he’s there. summer, which means always around. And whenever Dad has a meeting, the rest of us have But that’s not easy to do, especially when to pretend we’realways not there. you’ve got a three-year-old in the family. But that’s not always easy to do, especially when you’ve got a three-year-old in the family.
Most of the time I just try to keep myself busy. Gramma’s got stacks of puzzles down in the basement, andtime I’ve a fewtoofkeep themmyself by myself. Most of the I done just try But Mom always got lets stacks Mannyofput in thedown last piece busy. Gramma’s puzzles in theto make him feel basement, andimportant. I’ve done a few of them by myself. But Mom always lets Manny put in the last piece to 6 make him feel important. 6
If you ask me, I don’t think Mom’s doing Manny any favours by BABYING him. And it’s got a lot worse at Mom’s Gramma’s. If yousince ask we me,started I don’tliving think doing Manny any favours by BABYING him. And it’s got a lot Sometimes, after dinner, ll play a board game worse since we started livingwe’at Gramma’s. as a family. But Manny can’t handle complicated rules, so weafter alwaysdinner, end upwe’ playing Sometimes, ll play aa game boardthat game doesn’t require SKILL . handle complicated as a family. Butany Manny can’t rules, so we always end up playing a game that doesn’t require any SKILL.
We have to go to bed before it’s even dark outside, because we’re all on MANNY’ S schedule. We have to go to bed before it’s even dark outside, because we’re all on MANNY’ S schedule.
These days, Manny’s favourite bedtime story is a Noah’s Ark picture book. It’s about this guy who hears it’s gonna rain for a reallybedtime long time, These days, Manny’s favourite storyso ishea builds a Ark giantpicture boat to rideIt’s out the a Noah’s book. aboutstorm this with guy who bunch it’s of animals. hears gonna rain for a really long time, so he builds a giant boat to ride out the storm with a bunch of animals.
The illustrations in Manny’s book are all and they make it look like a f lood that half illustrations the Earth was kind of book FUNare . all The in Manny’s and they make it look like a f lood that half the Earth was kind of FUN.
cartoons, wiped out cartoons, wiped out
But I guess if the drawings were more realistic, parents wouldn’t buy it for their pre-schoolers. But I guess if the drawings were more realistic, parents wouldn’t buy it for their pre-schoolers.
I’ve got some questions about the Noah’s Ark story, though. For starters, I wanna know why Noahgot let some venomou s creatures I’ve questions about like the snakes Noah’s and Ark scorpi on h. board. Because, ifIitwanna was ME , I why stor y,ontshoug For starters, know would’ve to leave a few Noah letused venthe omouopportunity s creatures like snakes andof those guys . sc orpion s onBEHIND board. Because, if it was ME, I would’ve used the opportunity to leave a few of those guys BEHIND.
And then I would’ve used the extra space for more of the GOOD animals, like puppies and hedgehogs andwould’ve those pygmy And then I used thehippopotamuses. extra space for more of the GOOD animals, like puppies and hedgehogs and those pygmy hippopotamuses.
Luckily, Noah didn’t have to make room on board for whales and fish, because they would’ve taken up a TON of space. Andhave theytoprobably didn’t even Luckily, Noah didn’t make room on board know the fand loodfish, was because happening begin with. for whales theytowould’ve taken up a TON of space. And they probably didn’t even know the f lood was happening to begin with.
But it doesn’t make a lot of sense that Noah let BIRDS on the ark, si nce they could’ve just F LOit W doesn’t N . Andmake I bet he of regretted thatNoah decision But a lot sense that right away. on the ark, si nce they could’ve just let BIRDS FLOW N . And I bet he regretted that decision right away.
You only hear about the animals that SURVIVED the f lood. But sometimes I wonder if there were someonly cool hear animals that ’ T that make SUR it onVIVED to the You about theDIDN animals boat. the f lood. But sometimes I wonder if there were some cool animals that DIDN’ T make it on to the boat.
The way the story goes, after it rained for forty days and forty nights, it took 150 days for the f loodwater go back down. That means for Noah The way thetostory goes, after it rained forty was stuck on thenights, boat with a bunch animals, days and forty it took 150 of days for the his wifetoand sons. That means Noah fplus loodwater go three back down. was stuck on the boat with a bunch of animals, And whenever I three feel sorry plus his wife and sons.for myself living in Gramma’s basement with my family, I think about Noah and it makes mesorry feel afor little better. And whenever I feel myself living in Gramma’s basement with my family, I think about 12 Noah and it makes me feel a little better. 12
Mom keeps saying she’s glad we’re all together right now, because she feels like time has slowed down.keeps I’ve saying noticedshe’s that,glad too, but all fortogether ME it’s not Mom we’re aright GOOD now,thing. because she feels like time has slowed down. I’ve noticed that, too, but for ME it’s not a GOOD thing.
Something that’s making this summer feel really long is that I can’t go to my friend Rowley’s house. Andthat’s that’smaking becausethis he’s summer off on feel somereally big Something European with lo ng is thatholiday I can’t go his to family. my friend Rowley’s house. And that’s because he’s off on some big When Rowley firstwith toldhis mefamily. about his family’s European holiday plans, I tried to see if his parents might let me tag along. Butfirst I guess Mr about and Mrs Jefferson When Rowley told me his family’s aren’t as see I thought they were, plans, as I sharp tried to if his parents might because let me they never But picked on Mr anyand of my tag along. I up guess Mrshints. Jefferson aren’t as sharp as I thought they were, because they never picked up on any of my hints.
So now Rowley’s probably off having the time of his life while I’m doing five-hundred-piece puzzles in my basement. So nowgrandmother’s Rowley’s probably off having the time of his life while I’m doing five-hundred-piece puzzles 14 in my grandmother’s basement. 14
I think Mom feels bad we can’t afford to do something special this summer, so she’s been trying to think make up forfeels it. bad we can’t afford to do I Mom something special this summer, so she’s been trying She says up we for can it. go anywhere we want if we just to make use our imaginations. But, to be honest, that’s not really it for me anywemore. She says wedoing can go anywhere want if we just use our imaginations. But, to be honest, that’s not really doing it for me any more.
I think Mom’s finally had enough, too, because last night she called a “family meeting” after dinner to brainstorm ideasfinally for holidays that we canbecause afford.last I think Mom’s had enough, too, But the everyone’s got their N idea night sheproblem called ais,“family meeting” afterOW dinner to of a good time. brainstorm ideas for holidays that we can afford. But the problem is, everyone’s got their OWN idea 15 of a good time. 15
Dad wants to drive around and visit a bunch of Civil War battlefields and take part in a re-enactment. about Dad wants to But drivenobody around else andwas visitcrazy a bunch of putting wool underwear in the middle Civil Waronbattlefields and take part in aof August. re-enactment. But nobody else was crazy about putting on wool underwear in the middle of August.
Manny wants to go to the Animal Safari, which we used to visit a lot when I was little. But the animals wants in thattoplace always seem soSafari, SAD, especially Manny go to the Animal which the donkey theya painted a zebra. we used to visit lot whentoIlook waslike little. But the animals in that place always seem so SAD, especially the donkey they painted to look like a zebra.
Mom said we could save money by staying close to home and visiting places in our own community. But I’ve gone on could enough to close feel like Mom said we saveschool moneyfield by trips staying to I know townplaces inside inand home andthis visiting ourout. own community. But I’ve gone on enough school field trips to feel like I know this town inside and out.
The only ones who could agree on what we should do were me and Rodrick. We both voted to go to the Thrills andwho Spills amusement would The only ones could agree onpark, what which we should be CHEAP Gramma We got both half-price do were me since and Rodrick. voted coupons to go toin the mail. Thrills and Spills amusement park, which would be CHEAP since Gramma got half-price coupons in the mail.
Plus, they just opened a new roller coaster called Trackjumper that’s supposed to be totally INSANE. Plus, they just opened a new roller coaster called Trackjumper that’s supposed to be totally INSANE.
Mom said the rides at Thrills and Spills are too scary for Manny, so she suggested we go to Storybook Village, has rides for allare ages. Mom said the rides which at Thrills and Spills too But meforand Rodrick had enough scary Manny, so have she suggested weofgoLittle to Miss Muffet’s Mild which Ride for lifetime. Storybook Village, hasone rides for all ages. But me and Rodrick have had enough of Little Miss Muffet’s Mild Ride for one lifetime.
Since my family couldn’t settle on anything, I suggested we all go on our OWN holidays and do aSince slideshow of everyone’s trips on when we get back. my family couldn’t settle anything, I suggested we all go on our OWN holidays and do a slideshow of everyone’s trips when we get back.
Mom said the whole point of being on a family holiday is to do things TOGETHER. She says that one day kidspoint are gonna go on ouraseparate Mom said the us whole of being family OGETHER ways, and time’s runningTout to make .happy holiday is to do things She says memories . gonna go our separate that one as daya famil us kids y are ways, and time’s running out to make happy memories as a family.
But, believe me, for THIS family to make happy memories together, it’s gonna take a MIRACLE. But, believe me, for THIS family to make happy memories together, it’s gonna take a MIRACLE.19 19
Monday We finally figured out a way we could afford to go on a family holiday this summer. Monday We finally figured out a way we could afford to go On night this my great on aSaturday family holiday summer.grandmother Gammie called Dad and asked if he could get rid of Uncle Gary’s campernight van, which has grandmother been parked in her On Saturday my great Gammie driveway theasked past iftwo called Dadforand he years. could get rid of Uncle Gary’s camper van, which has been parked in her driveway for the past two years.
Apparently, Uncle Gary ran off to work as a rodeo clown, and she doesn’t think he’s coming back anytime Uncle soon. Gary ran off to work as a Apparently, rodeo clown, and she doesn’t think he’s coming At Dad soon. was MAD, because he’s always backfirst anytime cleaning up Uncle Gary’s messes. But Mom said the camper waswas theMAD solution to ourhe’s holiday At firstvan Dad , because alwaysproblems. cleaning up Uncle Gary’s messes. But Mom said the 20 camper van was the solution to our holiday problems. 20
Mom said the reason holidays are so expensive is because staying in hotels and eating at restaurants a lotholidays of money. said the Mom said thecost reason are She so expensive camper vanstaying would take care and of BO TH those is because in hotels eating at things. restaurants cost a lot of money. She said the camper van would take care of BOTH those Then things.DAD started getting excited. He said we could hit the open road and stop for the night DADwestarted whenever FELT like it, and we could cookwefor Then getting excited. He said ourselves, too.open road and stop for the night could hit the whenever we FELT like it, and we could cook for ourselves, too.
All I know is me and my brothers were so happy for the ch ance to g et out o f Gramma’s basement thatIweknow probably uld’my ve ag reed to were ANYTHING All is me wo and brothers so happy. for the ch ance to g et out o f Gramma’s basement that we probably would’ve agreed to ANYTHING21. 21
Mom says we’ ll have a lot of adventures along the way, and now I’ M getting kind of excited about this too.ll have a lot of adventures along the Mom trip, says we’ way, and now I’ M getting kind of excited about this trip, too.
In fact, I’m actually starting to feel a little bad for ROWLEY. Because, while he’s stuck in a boring museum on the other sidetooffeel thea world, In fact, I’m actually starting little I’m OfWLEY gonnfaorbeRof doing. something really he’s WILD . k in a bad Because, while stuc boring museum on the other side of the world, I’m gonna be off doing something really WILD.
For the past two days, we’ve been getting ready for our holiday. And I’m a little worried that Mom’the s hoping turn thiswe’ve into an trip. For past to two days, beeneducational getting ready for our holiday. And I’m a little worried that Mom’s hoping to turn this into an educational trip.
But, believe me, the LAST thing I’m planning on doing is any LEARNING. But, believe me, the LAST thing I’m planning on doing is any LEARNING.
Wednesday This morning we went to the grocery store and stocked up on food for the trip. Then we went to Wednesday the camping getgrocery everything This morningsuperstore we went totothe storeELSE and we’re gonna need. stocked up on food for the trip. Then we went to the camping superstore to get everything ELSE I wasgonna pretty excited, because we’ve never actually we’re need. BOUGHT anything at the camping store before. Dad to take me and Rodrick we I wasused pretty excited, because we’vethere neverwhen actually BOUGH T anything were little, but that at wasthe just to kill store time on a camping before. Saturday Dad used morning. to take me and Rodrick there when we were little, but that was just to kill time on a Saturday morning.
When we got to the store today, Dad went around and picked up some basic supplies, like lanterns camping When we and got flasks to theand store today,chairs. Dad went around and picked up some basic supplies, like But I went to camping the section of the store lanterns and straight flasks and chairs. with the high-end gear. Because I figure if we’re reallyIdoing thingtoI’m want to bestore But went this straight thegonna section of the COMFOR TA BLE. gear. Because I figure if we’re with the high-end really doing this thing I’m gonna want to be COMFORTA BLE.
I picked out an inf latable pull-out sofa and hiking boots with little fans built into the heels, plus a solar-powered that can make cherry I picked out an blender inf latable pull-out sofaaand hiking slushie with in thirty boots little seconds. fans built into the heels, plus a solar-powered blender that can make a cherry slushie in thirty seconds.
Dad said those things weren’t for SERIOUS campers, though, and made me put them back. Dad said those things weren’t for SERIOUS campers, though, and made me put them back.
Dad said we’re gonna “live off the land” as much as possible on this trip, and he picked out a few fishing I “live don’toff know Dad saidrods. we’reWell, gonna theabout land”anyone as much else, but the fish I’and ll eat thea shape as possible on only this trip, he comes pickedinout few of a STICK fishing rods. .Well, I don’t know about anyone else, but the only fish I’ ll eat comes in the shape of a STICK.
Manny and Rodrick got really excited idea of catching our own food, so they find their gear. Manny andOWN Rodrick got really excited idea of catching our own food, so they 26 find their OWN gear. 26
about the went off to about the went off to
But Mom stopped them before they could get too carried away. But Mom stopped them before they could get too carried away.
Rodrick was pretty disappointed. I guess he was planning on doing some trophy hunting while we were on our , anddisappointed. was hoping to the Rodrick was trip pretty I decorate guess he was kitchen when our house is finished. planning on doing some trophy hunting while we were on our trip, and was hoping to decorate the kitchen when our house is finished.
After Dad was done shopping, he was ready to check out. But I think Mom was nervous that we weren’tDad getting the right kind of so After was done shopping, he equipment, was ready to she asked salesperson lookwasover our stuff check out. aBut I think to Mom nervous thatand we see if wegetting had everything needed. weren’t the rightwekind of equipment, so she asked a salesperson to look over our stuff and see if we had everything we needed.
Well, this guy must’ve been a wilderness survival expert or something, because he had a LOT to say. of it made feel confident about Well,And this none guy must’ve beenmea wilderness survival going camping trip. expertonor asomething, because he had a LOT to say. And none of it made me feel confident about The said the number-one thing we needed goingsalesman on a camping trip. to worry about was BEARS, because there are aThe tonsalesman of themsaid in the we were going. the places number-one thing we But needed he said there few things we could do to to worry aboutwere wasa BEARS , because there are protect justplaces in case. a ton ofourselves, them in the we were going. But he said there were a few things we could do to 28 protect ourselves, just in case. 28
The salesman said the first thing we needed to remember was to always tie up our trash and hang it in salesman a tree sosaid it would be out of reach for bears. The the first thing we needed to Then he said REALL to be we remember was iftowealways tie Yupwanted our trash andsafe hang should wolfbeurine sprayfor it around it in a buy treea sojugit of would out and of reach bears. Y wanted our everyif night, because it scarestobears off.we Thencamp he said we REALL be safe should buy a jug of wolf urine and spray it around our camp every night, because it scares bears off.
I tried to imagine whose job it is to COLLECT wolf urine, and I promised myself I’d start COLLEend CT getting grades in school it doesn’t I tried better to imagine whose job it so is to up being ME . I promised myself I’d start wolf urine, and getting better grades in school so it doesn’t end up being ME.
The salesman said the other thing we had to worry about was bugs like mosquitoes and ticks, so wesalesman should always putother on plenty The said the thing of we bug hadspray. to worry about was bugs like mosquitoes and ticks, I totallyalways on board THATofidea, so was we should put with on plenty bug because spray. one time Albert Sandy told everyone at our lunch THAToutside table thisonkid who with fell asleep and got I wasabout totally board idea, because sucked by aSandy mosquito. thatatsoun like a one timeDRY Albert told And everyone ourdslunch pretty bad this way to tofell me.asleep outside and got table about kidgo who sucked DRY by a mosquito. And that sounds like a pretty bad way to go to me.
I was starting to get a little nervous when the salesman told us everything ELSE we needed. He said we starting had to have a first-aid kit in case I was to get a little nervous whensomeone the got injured, waterproofELSE matches case our salesman told and us everything we inneeded. He gear gothad wet. said we to have a first-aid kit in case someone got injured, and waterproof matches in case our 30 gear got wet. 30
Plus, we needed a compass if we got snakebite kit if someone got bitten, gun ifwethings REALL Y gotif bad. Plus, needed a compass we got snakebite kit if someone got bitten, gun if things REALLY got bad.
lost, a and a f lare lost, a and a f lare
By the time we paid, I was a little shook up. And, I have to admit, Gramma’s basement didn’t seemthe so time terrible more. By we paid, any I was a little shook up. And, I have to admit, Gramma’s basement didn’t 31 seem so terrible any more. 31
I think the guy at the camping store stressed Dad out, because after we paid for all the stuff we think kind oftherushed outthe of camping there. And were I guy at storewestressed halfway before realizing Dad out,home because after we paidRodrick for all was the missing, stuff andkind we had to go BA we of rushed outCK of .there. And we were halfway home before realizing Rodrick was missing, and we had to go BACK.
After that, we drove to Gammie’s house to pick up Uncle Gary’s camper van. I guess Dad had thoughtthat, it was much ready house to go,tobut it After wepretty drove to Gammie’s pick wasUncle a total MESS inside. up Gary’s camper van. I guess Dad had thought it was pretty much ready to go, but it I Dad telling wasremember a total MESS inside.me that when Uncle Gary got his first car he used to keep a bunch of garbage inside so telling no one me would it. Well, I remember Dad thatSTEA whenLUncle Gary I UnclecarGary had to thekeep samea idea when gotthink his first he used bunch of it came to his camper garbage inside so novan. one would STEAL it. Well, I think Uncle Gary had the same idea when it 32 came to his camper van. 32
We spent the whole afternoon cleaning it out, and I wouldn’t have been too surprised if we’d actually found Uncle buried somewhere underneath all We spent theGary whole afternoon cleaning it out, and that trash.have been too surprised if we’d actually I wouldn’t found Uncle Gary buried somewhere underneath all that trash.
Once we got the junk out of there, we were finally able to take a good look around the camper van. Iwecould see how was we ablewere to live Once got the junkUncle out ofGary there, in thereable fortotwo years, because had ever ng finally take a good look it around theythi camper a person couldsee NEED van. I could how .Uncle Gary was able to live in there for two years, because it had everything NEED There wascould a stove, a .sink, a kitchen table and a person a little refrigerator. Plus, there was a bathroom wi th a was shower in it, aand somea extra space There a stove, sink, kitchen tableabove and the sleeping. Plus, there was a bathroom acabin littleforrefrigerator. with a shower in it, and some extra space above the cabin for sleeping.
We scrubbed everything down, but each time we thought we were finished cleaning we’d find something elseeverything Uncle Gary had but left each behind. We scrubbed down, time we thought we were finished cleaning we’d find 34 something else Uncle Gary had left behind. 34
And I don’t mean to be rude or anything, but I seriously hope Uncle Gary has bought new underwear sincemean he moved out. or anything, but And I don’t to be rude I seriously hope Uncle Gary has bought new underwear since he moved out.
After Gammie gave us some sandwiches to take with us, we hit the road. After Gammie gave us some sandwiches to take with us, we hit the road.
When we started off, Dad was SUPER excited about the camper van. He said since he could work SUPER anywhere he wanted could live onexcited the When we started off,now, Dadwewas road house wasHefinished, and even aboutuntil the our camper van. said since hemaybe could work L ONGERhe . wanted now, we could live on the anywhere road until our house was finished, and maybe even L ONGER Then Mom . chimed in. She said we could travel around the country and record our adventures, then become one ofin.those families famous Then Mom chimed She said we who couldgets travel on the the Internet. around country and record our adventures, then become one of those families who gets famous on the Internet.
I was actually starting to get into the whole camper lifestyle, too. I was actually starting to get into the whole 36 camper lifestyle, too. 36
Mostly I just thought it was cool that I could use the toilet while we were cruising down the highway.I just thought it was cool that I could Mostly use the toilet while we were cruising down the highway.
The only thing I didn’t like about Uncle Gary’s camper van was that it didn’t have seat belts in the living area, I which waslike a problem whenever Dad The only thing didn’t about Uncle Gary’s hit the van brakes. camper was that it didn’t have seat belts in the living area, which was a problem whenever Dad hit the brakes.
When traffic slowed down, Mom let Manny sit in the front seat so he could feel like he was “driving”. But slowed I think she Mom realized was a sit When traffic down, let itManny mistake when seat he started layingfeel intolike thehehorn. in the front so he could was “driving”. But I think she realized it was a mistake when he started laying into the horn.
It was cool being out on the open road and all, but after a while everything started to kind of look was the cool same. So me Rodrick It being outand on the open went road on andourall, gadgets time. started to kind of but aftertoa pass while the everything look the same. So me and Rodrick went on our After so, time. Mom said we’d had enough gadgetsantohour passorthe screen time for the day and we needed to be off our electronics. After an hour or so, Mom said we’d had enough screen time for the day and we needed to be off 38 our electronics. 38
Usually when Mom tells us we’ve had enough screen time, we’ ll take a break. But as soon as she stops paying attention ll get righthad back on. Usually when Mom we’ tells us we’ve enou ghAnd screen after we’ a while she’allbreak. get tired time, ll take But ofas fighting soon as susheand stops just giveattention up, whichwe’isll what we thought paying get right back on.would And happena today. after while she’ ll get tired of fighting us and just give up, which is what we thought would happen today.
It turned out Mom wasn’t messing around on this trip. When we got back on our devices, she put themturned in a clear box that had around a timer on on this top. It out plastic Mom wasn’t messing trip. When we got back on our devices, she put them in a clear plastic box that had a timer on top.
The second I saw that thing I knew what it was, because I’d seen the ads in one of Mom’s parenting The secondmagazines. I saw that thing I knew what it was, because I’d seen the ads in one of Mom’s parenting magazines.
Mom set the timer for two hours, then went back to her seat in the front. Whoever made that thing doing,then because meback Mo m seknew t thewhat timerthey for were two hours, went andheRodr dn’t figureWhoever out howmade to crack to r seaick t incoul the front. that it. thing knew what they were doing, because me 40 and Rodrick couldn’t figure out how to crack it. 40
Mom handed us some activities she’d created for the trip and said they should keep us busy for a while. But wasn’t usthat fun playing Wildlife for Bingo Mom ithanded somemuch activities she’d created the whenand we couldn’t identify the for animals we trip said theyeven should keep half us busy a while. saw along the that side of thefun road. But it wasn’t much playing Wildlife Bingo when we couldn’t even identify half the animals we saw along the side of the road.
After another hour or two of driving, Mom and Dad started looking for places to stop. After another hour or two of driving, Mom and 41 Dad started looking for places to stop. 41
There were some signs for “scenic attractions”, so Dad pulled over at the exit for a place called Culpepper’s Ravine. There were some signs for “scenic attractions”, so Dad pulled over at the exit for a place called Mom got all Ravine. excited because she said we were like Culpepper’s explorers who were about to see something new. But unfortunately OTHER explorers beatlike us Mom got all excitedsome because she said we were to it. explorers who were about to see something new. But unfortunately some OTHER explorers beat us to it.
We couldn’t find any parking, so we had to move along. And it was the exact same story for the nextcouldn’t three places we parking, tried to stop. We find any so we had to move along. And it was the exact same story for the 42 next three places we tried to stop. 42
I know I should feel lucky to be alive at a time when there’s modern medicine and smartwatches andknow peanut-butter-filled pretzels. But sometimes I I should feel lucky to be alive at a time I wishthere’s I wasmodern born amedicine little SOONER so I had a when and smartwatches chance to actually DISCOpretzels. VER something. and peanut-butter-filled But sometimes I wish I was born a little SOONER so I had a DISC OVER something. Because you find something new they NAME chance towhen actually it after you. Because when you find something new they NAME it after you.
But by now everything worth finding has already been discovered. But by now everything worth finding has already 43 been discovered. 43
And you wouldn’t really want your name on any of the stuff that’s left over. And you wouldn’t really want your name on any of the stuff that’s left over.
One time the planetarium in our town had a fundraiser, and if you paid ten bucks you’d get a cert ificat e th at said a planet in some faraway One time the planetarium in our town had a galaxy you.ten So bucks Mom paid fu ndraiswas er, named and if after you paid you’dthe getten s,ifan d eIthstat ill said have athe certificate abuck cert icat planet in some hanging faraway on the wallwas in named my bedroom. galaxy after you. So Mom paid the ten bucks, and I still have the certificate hanging on the wall in my bedroom.
But when Mom filled out the form I wish she’d put my first AND last name on it. Because now some random Greg my Iplanet before But when Mom filledcould out get the to form wish she’d I sayAND it’s HIS putdomyand first last. name on it. Because now some random Greg could get to my planet before I do and say it’s HIS.
Dad said our mistake was that we were going to places everyone knew about, and if we got off the we was might findwesomething Dad saidmain our road mistake that were going SPE CIALeveryone . to places knew about, and if we got off the main road we might find something SPE CIAL So we took. a detour and kept our eyes peeled for anything that looked like it was worth stopping for. So we took a detour and kept our eyes peeled for anything that looked like it was worth stopping for.
And, sure enough, after we took a few more turns, we found a crystal-clear lake with nobody else in sure SIGHT . And, enough, after we took a few more turns, we found a crystal-clear lake with nobody else in SIGHT.
The air-conditioning in Uncle Gary’s camper van wasn’t working, and everyone was ready to cool off. So we got into our swimming gear and took The air-conditioning in Uncle Gary’s camper van a dip in the lake. and everyone was ready to cool wasn’t working, off. So we got into our swimming gear and took a dip in the lake.
It took a second before I realized something wasn’t RIGHT. I noticed a million shimmering objects beneath the I surface, and my mind It tookjust a second before realized something RIGHT went right to .PIRANHA I’m pretty sure wasn’t I noticedSa. million shimmering everyone ELSE ’ S did,thetoo. objects just beneath surface, and my mind went right to PIRANHAS. I’m pretty sure everyone ELSE’ S did, too.
I of I of
was almost at the shore when I felt a bunch tiny mouths NIBBLING me. was almost at the shore when I felt a bunch tiny mouths NIBBLING me.
I thought I was being eaten ALIVE. And by the time I made it out of the water I was surprised to Ibewas in one piece. I thought being eaten ALIVE. And by the time I made it out of the water I was Or ALMOtoSTbeininone surprised onepiece. piece.I had a scab on my knee when I got into the water, but by the time ALMO I got out SitTwas totally CLEAN Or in one piece.picked I had a scab .on my knee when I got into the water, but by the time I got out it was totally picked CLEAN.
Just then a truck pulled up, and the two guys inside looked angry. Just then a truck pulled up, and the two guys inside looked angry.
That’s when we swimming in was That’s when we swimming in was
found out the lake we were a FISH HATCHERY. found out the lake we were a FISH HATCHERY.
I think those guys were about to call the cops on us for TRESPASSING, and we didn’t wanna stick around to guys find were out. So we to piled I think those about callinto thethe cops ASSING camper vanTRE andSP Dad stepped on the gas. wanna on us for , and we didn’t stick around to find out. So we piled into the camper van and Dad stepped on the gas.
The next time Mom makes fish for dinner, I’m definitely gonna check the package to see where they next came time fromMom first. The makes fish for dinner, I’m definitely gonna check the package to see where The thingfirst. is, the fish hatchery wasn’t the they crazy came from LAST place we got chased away from today. We tried parking theis,camper vanhatchery in a meadow so we The crazy thing the fish wasn’t the LAS couldTget outwe andgot enjoy theaway view from while today. we ate,We but place chased it turned out to somebody’s . tried parking thebecamper van inFARM a meadow so we could get out and enjoy the view while we ate, but it turned out to be somebody’s FARM.
We finally found a field that didn’t look like it belonged to anyone, so that’s where we stopped for finally the night. We found a field that didn’t look like it belonged to anyone, so that’s where we stopped 50 for the night. 50
The sleeping situation wasn’t great. The kitchen table converted into a BED, which is where Mom and slept. The Dad sleeping situation wasn’t great. The kitchen table converted into a BED, which is where Mom and Dad slept.
I wasn’t crazy about the idea of eating breakfast off the spot where Dad slept in his boxer shorts. I wasn’t crazy about the idea of eating breakfast I share theDad loft slept above inthe offhad thetospot where hiscabin boxerwith shorts. Rodrick, which wasn’t much of an improvement on ourhad dealtoin share Gramma’s basement. I the loft above the cabin with Rodrick, which wasn’t much of an improvement on our deal in Gramma’s basement.
The only person who had any space to himself was Manny. He’d turned one of the cabinets in the kitchenette into awho little his set-up The only person hadapartment, any space and to himself was was actually . cabinets in the Mann y. He’d pretty turned SWEET one of the kitchenette into a little apartment, and his set-up was actually pretty SWEET.
While Mom and Dad were getting ready for bed, I found out a m ajor downside of the camper van. The bathroom thin, andfor with While Mom andwalls Dad were were paper getting ready bed, thefound engineoutoffa m you hear EVER I ajorcould downside of theYTHING camper van. happening in there. And,paper trustthin, me, no wants The bathroom walls were andkidwith to hear his off mother’s bathroom noises.YTHING the engine you could hear EVER happening in there. And, trust me, no kid wants to hear his mother’s bathroom noises.
Thursday It turns out the place we stopped for the night was a public park. Little League practice started Thursday firstturns thingout in the place morning, and we were parked It we stopped for the night righta over pitcher’s was publicthe park. Little mound. League practice started first thing in the morning, and we were parked right over the pitcher’s mound.
Luckily, we were able to take off before some kid broke a tail light with a direct hit. Luckily, we were able to take off before some kid Mom shelight didn’t want a repeat brokesaid a tail with a direct hit. of yesterday and asked everyone to think of something we could do that . Andofthat’s when Mom saidwas she guaranteed didn’t wantFUN a repeat yesterday I a billboard I saw the day before. andremembered asked everyone to think of something we could do that was guaranteed FUN. And that’s when I remembered a billboard I saw the day before. 53 53
The billboard was for this place called the Family Adventure Centre. Usually, whenever the word “family” is part something, a warning The billboard wasoffor this placeit’scalled the Fato mily stay away. But the pictures the signthe made me Adventure Centre. Usually, on whenever word think this place of could be DIFFERENT . “family” is part something, it’s a warning to stay away. But the pictures on the sign made me think this place could be DIFFERENT.
We had to backtrack about two hours to find the adventure centre, but it didn’t really matter since we headed anywhere to begin with. We weren’t had to really backtrack about two hours to find the adventure centre, but it didn’t really matter since I to really say, this placeanywhere was pretty cool. with. There we have weren’t headed to begin were a million activities, and I wanted to do them ALhave L. to say, this place was pretty cool. There I were a million activities, and I wanted to do them ALL. 54 54
But everything had an and Manny wasn’t tall activities. But everything had an and Manny wasn’t tall activities.
age and height requirement, enough to do any GOOD age and height requirement, enough to do any GOOD
The only activity Manny was big enough for was the Fun Float, where you drifted down the river in inneronly tubes. So that’s signed The activity Mannywhat was Mom big enou gh fus or up wasfor. the Fun Float, where you drifted down the river in inner tubes. So that’s what Mom signed us up for.
I really wanted to do something more exciting, like rock climbing, but Mom was dead set on us all doing something I really wanted as to adofamily. something more exciting, like rock climbing, but Mom was dead set on us all Mom the FunasFloat would be RELAXING, doingsaid something a family. and after we put on our life jackets we grabbed the cooler andFun a few other things from the , Mom said the Float would be RELAXING camper vanwetoput takeonwith us on the river. and after our life jackets we grabbed the cooler and a few other things from the camper van to take with us on the river.
After our experience with the fish farm yesterday, I wasn’t crazy about getting into the water again. But there werewith a bunch After our experience the of fishother farmpeople yesterday, doing the crazy Fun Float, and into I figured if there I wasn’t abouttoo, getting the water were in the river they’d go people for THEM ag ain.any Butpiranhas there were a bunch of other before they’d for ME doing the Fungo Float, too,. and I figured if there were any piranhas in the river they’d go for THEM 56 before they’d go for ME. 56
I have to admit that once we got going it WAS kind of relaxing. Maybe even a little TOO relaxing. fell asleep, I have toRodrick admit that once wewhile got Dad goinganswered it WA workS emails andrelaxing. Mom checked witha Manny’s kind of Maybe ineven little TOO doctor. relaxing. Rodrick fell asleep, while Dad answered work emails and Mom checked in with Manny’s doctor.
So no one was really paying attention when we hit a shallow part in the river and came to a complete . We paying had to attention take our tubes So no oneSTOP was really when out we of water,part and in it wasn’t funand walking hit the a shallow the river came across to a a bunch of STOP sharp rocks in our complete . We had to bare takefeet. our tubes out of the water, and it wasn’t fun walking across a bunch of sharp rocks in our bare feet.
Once the river got deeper, we put the tubes back in the water. But my inner tube must’ve got punctured in thegot shallow part, becaus e ittubes was losing Once the river deeper, we put the air. So Manny’s tube, andtube we must’ve emptiedgot the back in I thetook water. But my inner ice out of the cooler so hepart, couldbeuse . losing punctured in the shallow causTHA e it Twas air. So I took Manny’s tube, and we emptied the ice out of the cooler so he could use THAT.
I thought the trip was gonna take twenty minutes, but it had already been two HOURS, with no end the in sight. Andgonna we really down I thought trip was takeslowed twenty when we got of people, minutes, but stuck it hadbehind alreadya big beengroup two HOURS jamming up the river. And we really slowed down with no end in sight. when we got stuck behind a big group of people jamming up the river.
I hit a warm spot in the water, and I’ve been in enough baby pools to know what THAT meant. So when river spot got wider paddledand myI’ve tubebeen around I hitthe a warm in theIwater, in those guys try to to know get out of THA theirTwake. enough babytopools what meant. So when the river got wider I paddled my tube around those guys to try to get out of their wake.
Unfortunately, I went a little too far and ended up in a part of the river where the water was really rough. IAnd a few seconds laterand I ended got Unfortunately, went a little too far tossed tube.where the water was up in a from part my of inner the river really rough. And a few seconds later I got tossed from my inner tube.
It was actually pretty SCARY. The water was moving fast, so I pointed my feet downstream to Y. The makewas sure I didn’t crackSCAR my head open on awas rock. It actually pretty water moving fast, so I pointed my feet downstream to make sure I didn’t crack my head open on a rock.
I called out for HELP, but the people around me had their music up too loud to even notice. I called out for HELP, but the people around me 60 had their music up too loud to even notice. 60
My family tried to save me, but it turns out they’re totally useless in an emergency. My family tried to save me, but it turns out they’re totally useless in an emergency.
Up ahead, people were pulling their inner tubes out of the river in the landing area, so I tried to paddle Up ahead,myself peopleover werethere. pulling their inner tubes out of the river in the landing area, so I tried to paddle myself over there.
But the water was moving too fast, and I was getting pulled downstream. My family got out of the was too yelling andand pointing But theriver, waterand wasDad moving fast, I was at something me. That’s I got saw out a getting pullednear downstream. Mywhen family big the branch hanging out was overyelling the water, and I of river, and Dad and pointing grabbed it. near me. That’s when I saw a at something big branch hanging out over the water, and I grabbed it.
For a second I thought everything was going to be OK. Then I noticed something drifting away from me realized was myeverything swimming shorts Forand a second I it thought was going to be. OK. Then I noticed something drifting away from me and realized it was my swimming shorts.
A lifeguard from the adventure centre started wading out towards me with a float. And I knew if I just kept on to that branch she’d A lifeguard fromhanging the adventure centre started RESCUE wading out me. towards me with a float. And I knew if I just kept hanging on to that branch she’d RESCUE me.
But all I could think of were the people in the landing area who were about to see me without my swimming shorts. Rodrick already But all I could thinkAnd of were the was people in the recordingarea me who with were his phone. landing about to see me without my swimming shorts. And Rodrick was already recording me with his phone.
So I decided the best move was to let GO and take my chances. So I decided the best move was to let GO and take my chances.
Luckily, the water wasn’t as rocky downstream, but it was still moving fast. By the time I was able to drag myself wasn’t on to as therocky shore, I must’ve Luckily, the water downstream, beenita was quarter a milefast. fromBy thethe landing area. but still of moving time I was And to I drag nevermyself did find but able on my to swimming the shore,shorts, I must’ve thankfully I found COOLER . been a quarter of a the mile from the landing area. And I never did find my swimming shorts, but thankfully I found the COOLER.
Friday Last night everyone in my family agreed that our trip was off to a pretty terrible start. But we Friday couldn’t decide what to do NEXT Last night everyone in my family .agreed that our trip was off to a pretty terrible start. But we NEXTthis I thought we what shouldtojust couldn’t decide do admit . trip was a MISTAKE and go back to Gramma’s. But Dad said we couldn’t turn round now because we was hadn’t I thought we should just admit this trip a MIS AKEactual doneTany CAMPING yet. and go back to Gramma’s. But Dad said we couldn’t turn round now because we hadn’t CAMPING Dad a nationalyet. forest a few hours done said any there actual was away, and if we camped there we could stay in one place said for there the rest the trip forest and relax a Dad was ofa national a fewforhours change. away, and if we camped there we could stay in one place for the rest of the trip and relax for a change.
I wasn’t crazy about going off on our own, but I knew how the rest of the summer was gonna play outwasn’t if we went Gramma’s I crazy back abouttogoing off onbasement our own,now. but I knew how the rest of the summer was gonna play out if we went back to Gramma’s basement now.
I didn’t feel great about camping in the wilderness, but Dad said, if we got into any trouble, there were rangers help us out.inAnd I didn’t feel who greatcould about camping the that wildermade ness, me little ifbetter. but feel Dada said, we got into any trouble, there were rangers who could help us out. And that made So we spent night in the car park of the me feel a littlethe better. adventure centre, and first thing in the morning we headed thenight national forest. So we spentforthe in the car park of the adventure centre, and first thing in the morning 66 we headed for the national forest. 66
The ranger at the entrance told us it hadn’t rained in a few weeks, so the risk of fire was really high.ranger Then at shethe gaveentrance Dad a map pamphlet The told and us ita hadn’t with howweeks, to camp responsibly. rainedtips in aonfew so the risk of fire was really high. Then she gave Dad a map and a pamphlet with tips on how to camp responsibly.
The forest was big, so it took a while for us to get to our pitch. And we didn’t see a single human beingforest on ourwas waybig, in. so it took a while for us to The get to our pitch. And we didn’t see a single human The wasway actually beingpitch on our in. really nice. There was a lot of space for the camper van, and we were rightpitch next was to aactually little stream. After we set The really nice. There wasupa our hamm k andfor chaithe rs, camper we kicked back lot ofocspace van, andand weenjoyed were being out naaturlittle e. stream. After we set up our right nextin to hammock and chairs, we kicked back and enjoyed 67 being out in nature. 67
At least MOST of us did. After a few minutes, Mom asked what our “plan” was, and Dad said this WAS theMOS plan.T of us did. After a few minutes, At least Mom asked what our “plan” was, and Dad said this WAS the plan.
Mom said we couldn’t just sit around all day, and we needed to do something ACTIVE like go on a nature hike something. Mom said we orcouldn’t just sit around all day, and we needed to do something ACTIVE like go on a But that sounded like a lot of work to us guys, nature hike or something. especially after a long drive. So Mom said if we were that all gonna lazelike around our But sounded a lotshe of was workgonna to us put guys, electronicsafter in thea long Vault drive. for the theif trip. especially So rest Mom of said we And that was enough to get moving. were all gonna laze around sheuswas gonna put our electronics in the Vault for the rest of the trip. 68 And that was enough to get us moving. 68
Mom pulled out the map and found a trail that was nearby. And before we headed off on the hike, pulled she told up oura trail flasksthat and Mom out everyone the map to andfillfound put nearby. on bug spray. But Iwewas a lot off moreonworried was And before headed the about she BEARS than bugs. hike, told everyone to fill up our flasks and put on bug spray. But I was a lot more worried BEARS that I remembered guy at the camping store about than the bugs. said if you saw a bear out in nature the best thing you could do was make it away. store I remembered that thenoise guyto atscare the camping said if you saw a bear out in nature the best thing Luckily, some pans you could Uncle do wasGary makeleft noise to pots scare and it away. under the sink in the camper van. But I wasn’t gonna wait until we SPO a bear start Luckily, Uncle Gary left TTED some pots and to pans making a racket. under the sink in the camper van. But I wasn’t gonna wait until we SPOTTED a bear to start making a racket.
Everyone got annoyed with me pretty quick, and Mom told me I needed to take the cookware back to the camper van. Everyone got annoyed with me pretty quick, and Mom told me I needed to take the cookware back to the camper van.
She said I could catch up with them further down the trail, and I was actually fine with that, because stuffcatch was pretty anyway.down Plus, She saidthat I could up withheavy, them further I watrai s star wonder if the the l, ating nd Itowas actually fine noise with might that, actuallythat ATTRA because because stuffCT wasbears, pretty heavy,whenever anyway. I Plus, hear I’m thinking . I wapots s starand tingpans to wonder if the DINNER noise might actually ATTRACT bears, because whenever I After I put back inDINNER the camper hear pots and the panscookware I’m thinking . van, I turned round and got back on the trail. I thought I hurried it might ten After I putif the cookware back intake the me camper minutes reconnect everyone. Butthe then I van, I to turned round with and got back on trail. ranthought into a PR . it might take me ten I if OBLEM I hurried minutes to reconnect with everyone. But then I 70 ran into a PROBLEM. 70
The trail SPLIT, and I didn’t know which way my family went. The trail SPLIT, and I didn’t know which way my family went.
I figured the odds were 50-50, so I headed LEFT. But I walked for a long time without finding them figured I must’vesopicked the I figured theand odds were 50-50, I headed LEFT wrong .path. I went to the where But ISowalked forback a long time place without the forkthem in the was,Iand that’spicked wherethe I hit finding andtrail figured must’ve ANOTpath. HER snag. wrong So I went back to the place where the fork in the trail was, and that’s where I hit ANO I wasTHER all turned snag.round and couldn’t remember which path was the one I hadn’t taken yet and which led backround to the van. And I I wasone all turned andcamper couldn’t remember couldn’tpath tell was which because, to me, which thewas onewhich I hadn’t taken yet every and tree looked AME. van. And I whichand one rock led back to the the Scamper couldn’t tell which was which because, to me, every 71 tree and rock looked the SAME. 71
That’s when I started to get WORRIED. I remembered the guy at the camping store saying WORRIED that sometimes willtouseget human trails because That’s when I bears started .I it’s easier than through the store brush.saying So I remembered the walking guy at the camping really sometimes didn’t feelbears goodwill about out inbecause the that use hanging human trails middle of an INTERSE CTION.the brush. So I it’s easier than walking through really didn’t feel good about hanging out in the INTERSE CTION I’ve that a bear’s sense of .smell is a thousand middleread of an times better than a human’s. So, when I pulled I’ve readcontainer that a bear’s of had smellinismy a thousand out the of lip sense balm I pocket, I practically started hyperventilating. times better than a human’s. So, when I pulled out the container of lip balm I had in my pocket, I practically started hyperventilating.
I decided to get off the trail, which turned out to be a dumb move. Because once I was off the path I couldn’t BAwhich CK. turned out I decided to getfind off my theway trail, to be a dumb move. Because once I was off the My started find racing, and BA I CK thought about pathmind I couldn’t my way . what would happen if I was lost for GOOD. My mind started racing, and I thought about 72 what would happen if I was lost for GOOD. 72
I’ve read stories about human beings who got cut off from civilization and were raised by WOLVES. I didn’t if about there human were any wolves thiscut I’ve read know stories beings whoingot forest, there were of squirrels off frombut civilization and plenty were raised by WOLVES.. I didn’t know if there were any wolves in this forest, but there were plenty of squirrels.
Luckily, my family found me before things could get too crazy. Because in another hour or two I might’ve my beenfamily too far gone. Luckily, found me before things could get too crazy. Because in another hour or two I might’ve been too far gone.
When we got back to camp, Mom asked Rodrick to check me for ticks, since I’d been off the trail. He looked me over told me I asked had a Rodrick HUGE to When we got back and to camp, Mom tick in the middle mybeen back.off the trail. checkright me for ticks, sinceofI’d He looked me over and told me I had a HUGE tick right in the middle of my back.
Rodrick said the tick must’ve been on me for a while, because it looked like it was about to BURST Andthe I tick almost passed outonwhen he Rodrick .said must’ve been me for the picture he like tookiton phone. ashowed while, me because it looked washisabout to BURST. And I almost passed out when he showed me the picture he took on his phone.
It turns out it was just a JOKE, and the picture was something Rodrick found online. But, eventurns afterout I KNEW it was a joke, I still It it was just a JOKE , and the felt like something was in the middlefound of myonline. back for picture was something Rodrick But, KNEW the rest day. it was a joke, I still felt even afterofIthe like something was in the middle of my back for Mom said of everyone should take a shower, since it the rest the day. had been two days and we were starting to stink. Rodrick first,should and he wasa inshower, there for Mom saidwent everyone take sinceatit leastbeen half two an hour. So, when it was my turn, had days and we were starting to stink. there waswent no hot water Rodrick first, and left. he was in there for at least half an hour. So, when it was my turn, there was no hot water left.
Dad checked the propane tank and said it was empty, which meant it was cold showers from now on. No one happytank aboutand that, Dad checked thewas propane said especially it was MOM empty,. which meant it was cold showers from now on. No one was happy about that, especially MOM. 75 75
I noticed it was really starting to SMELL in the bathroom, so I told Dad. He said the reason it stank because westarting hadn’t emptied out the I noticedwas it was really to SMELL in sewage tank yet. the bathroom, so I told Dad. He said the reason it stank was because we hadn’t emptied out the sewage tank yet.
To be honest with you, I didn’t even THINK about what happened to our waste in there. To be honest with you, I didn’t even THINK Back when you fto lushourthe toilet, everything about home, what happened waste in there. gets magically whisked away to some faraway place.home, But inwhen a cayou mperf lush van the you’re actually carrying Back toilet, everything that magically stuff around WITH you.to some faraway gets whisked away place. But in a camper van you’re actually carrying WITH If had known beforehand, I’m not sure thatIstuff around that you. I would’ve agreed to go on this trip. If I had known that beforehand, I’m not sure 76 I would’ve agreed to go on this trip. 76
Now I was starting to worry about what happened if the tank OVERFLOWED. So today, whenever someone looked like they needed Now I was starting to worry about whatto go OVERFL OWED number two, I’d tank try to talk them into .taking it happened if the So today, somewheresomeone ELSE. looked like they needed to go whenever number two, I’d try to talk them into taking it somewhere ELSE.
I guess I should be grateful we live in a time when toilets even EXIST. Rodrick told me that the guy who invented the f lushing I guess I should be grateful we livetoilet in a was time EXISTAnd named Thomas Crapper. I don’t if when toilets even . Rodrick toldknow me that that’s if it’s another one oftoilet his jokes. the guytrue whoorinvented the f lushing was named Thomas Crapper. And I don’t know if If it’s true TRUE that one guyofmade a ton of that’s or ,if Iit’shope another his jokes. money. Because I wouldn’t want a body function TRUE named ME . hope that guy made a ton of If it’s after ,I money. Because I wouldn’t want a body function named after ME.
Dad got a fire going and cooked some beef stew. He was gonna serve baked beans to go with it, but Rodrick leftgoing the can closesome to the Dad got a fire and too cooked beeffire, stew. andwas that was the of THA T.to go with it, He gonna serveend baked beans but Rodrick left the can too close to the fire, 78 and that was the end of THAT. 78
After dinner, we tied up our trash and hoisted it in a tree with a rope, like the guy at the camping store told us to. figured any bear smartit After dinner, we Itied up ourif trash and was hoisted enough get aatrope, our trash, deserved in a treetowith like thethen guy they at the camping to have it. us to. I figured if any bear was smart store told enough to get at our trash, then they deserved to have it.
By now it was dark out, and Mom said we should turn in for the night. But Dad said the best part of camping wasdark sitting the campfire under By now it was out,round and Mom said we should the stars. turn in for the night. But Dad said the best part of camping was sitting round the campfire under That got Mom all EXCITED and she tried to get the stars. us to join in on a song that she said she learned EXCITED at summer camp all when she was and a kid. thetorest That got Mom sheBut tried get of us aren’t on that sing-alongs, welearned just us to join in real on abig song she saidsoshe waited for camp Mom to wrap up.a kid. But the rest at summer when sheitwas of us aren’t real big on sing-alongs, so we just waited for Mom to wrap it up.
After that, Dad brought out some marshmallows, and we found some long sticks. After that, Dad brought out some marshmallows, 80 and we found some long sticks. 80
While we were roasting our marshmallows over the fire, Dad got all serious. He told us that a long time ago he went camping his dad, over and the While we were roasting our with marshmallows they’dDad metgot a crusty old ranger fire, all serious. He toldwho us told that them a longa crazyago story. time he went camping with his dad, and they’d met a crusty old ranger who told them a crazy story.
The ranger said he used to have a beagle named Matilda, and she’d follow him wherever he’d go. But then thehave ranger made named a The rangerthis saidonehenight used to a beagle FIRE, and saw follow a weirdhimcreature with glowing Matilda, andheshe’d wherever he’d go. red the ranger edge ofmade the camp. But eyes thenprowling this one around night the a FIRE, and he saw a weird creature with glowing red eyes prowling around the edge of the camp.
Matilda chased after the creature, and the ranger tracked her deep into the woods. But the only trace of chased the dogafter was the her creature, broken collar on the Matilda and lying the ranger ground. her deep into the woods. But the only tracked trace of the dog was her broken collar lying on the ground.
Dad said that every night the ranger would sleep in his cabin alone, hoping Matilda would find her way back to him. Andnight on nights just like tonight, Dad said that every the ranger would sleep when was a crescent moon, he’d in his there cabin alone, hoping Matilda wouldhear findthe her howl back of a to beagle woods. way him. deep And inonthe nights just like tonight, when there was a crescent moon, he’d hear the howl of a beagle deep in the woods.
Mom wasn’t happy with Dad for telling that story because Manny seemed really shook up. And, to be honest, I was a little Mom wasn’t happy withspooked, Dad fortoo. telling that story because Manny seemed really shook up. And, to be Then II heard soundspooked, coming from honest, was a little too. deep in the woods that made my heart STOP. Then I heard a sound coming from deep in the woods that made my heart STOP.
For a split second I thought it was the ghost of Matilda. But then I realized Rodrick was missing, and athe whole thing was one big joketheDad andof For split second I thought it was ghost Rodrick were playing on the rest of us. Matilda. But then I realized Rodrick was missing, and the whole thing was one big joke Dad and Rodrick were playing on the rest of us.
But it kind of BACKFIRED. Because, when Rodrick howled, Manny JUMPED. And that’s how Dad ended up CKFIRED with a f lam.ing marshmallow But it kind of BA Because, when stuck to howled, his knee.Manny JUMPED. And that’s Rodrick how Dad ended up with a f laming marshmallow stuck to his knee.
I think Dad was about to dive in the stream to put out the fire, but luckily Rodrick remembered wher e we Dad keptwas theabout fire extinguisher. I think to dive in the stream to put out the fire, but luckily Rodrick remembered where we kept the fire extinguisher.
Mom started giving Dad a lecture about why you should never scare people, but she got cut off by weird started noises coming forest.about At first I Mom givingfrom Dad the a lecture why you thoughtnever it might another , but should scare be people, butJOKE she got cut the off look by in Dad’s andcoming Rodrick’s me it ASNI ’ T. weird noises fromeyes the told forest. AtWfirst thought it might be another JOKE, but the look in Dad’s and Rodrick’s eyes told me it WASN’ T.
Whatever was out there sounded BIG and was coming our way. So we piled into the camper van and lockedwas theout door behind us. BIG and was Whatever there sounded coming our way. So we piled into the camper van and locked the door behind us.
Sure enough, it was a BEAR. But it our trash, it was after the BAKED Sure enough, it was a BEAR. But it our trash, it was after the BAKED
wasn’t after BEANS. wasn’t after BEANS.
Once the bear was done licking the beans off the camper van, it wanted MORE. And I wish I could calm,licking but I’d lying.off the Once say the we bearstayed was done thebebeans camper van, it wanted MORE. And I wish I could say we stayed calm, but I’d be lying.
Dad climbed into the driver’s seat to get us OUT of there, but the keys were by the fire. And OUT when climbed the bearinto started rockingseat the to camper van, I Dad the driver’s get us thought wasthe OVER of there,itbut keys for wereus.by the fire. And when the bear started rocking the camper van, I VER I guess Manny did, too, thought it was O forbecause us. he managed to scramble out of a window and get up on the ROOF. And he took thedid, f lare gunbecause WITHhehim. I guess Manny too, managed to scramble out of a window and get up on the ROOF. And he took the f lare gun WITH him.
Saturday Last night, the l ight from the f lare scared off the bear, so when the ranger arrived at our Saturday pitch,night, we didn’t need to RESCUED Last the really l ight from thebef lare scared off any more. so Bywhen then,the ourranger biggestarrived problem the bear, at was our the marshmallow burnreally on Dad’s pitch, we didn’t need knee. to be RESCUED any more. By then, our biggest problem was the marshmallow burn on Dad’s knee.
The ranger said it was totally reckless for us to shoot off that f lare, because it could’ve started a forest fire. Then we were gonna The ranger said itshe wassaid totally reckless for have us to to leave in it thecould’ve morning. shoot the off park that ffirst lare,thing because started a forest fire. Then she said we were gonna have to Well, thatpark was first fine with We morning. lasted one night leave the thingME in .the in the wilderness, and I didn’t think we could survivethat ANO THER Well, was fine. with ME. We lasted one night in the wilderness, and I didn’t think we could 88 survive ANOTHER. 88
When we left the park this morning, I was really looking forward to getting back to Gramma’s basemewe nt.left I kn ew park we’d have plenty ofIhot When the this morning, waswater really and no forward BEARS.to getting back to Gramma’s looking basement. I knew we’d have plenty of hot water But MomBEARS wasn’t. ready to go back home just yet. and no She said the reason we had a bad time camping was because we were tootoISOLA TED , and we But Mom wasn’t ready go back home justif yet. went to athe place where PEOPLE She said reason wethere had awere bad other time camping we’d have more fun. too ISOLATED, and if we was because we were went to a place where there were other PEOPLE Mom told more us she’d we’d have fun.heard of these campsites where they have all sorts of activities for families, and everything need is in ofonethese place.campsites where Mom told usyou she’d heard they have all sorts of activities for families, and everything you need is in one place.
Then she started looking up nearby campsites and found one that had potential. Then she started looking up nearby campsites and found one that had potential.
What caught my eye was the word “luxury”. After getting a taste of “real” camping, I was ready for something a little morewas UPmarket . What caught my eye the word “luxury”. After getting a taste of “real” camping, I was ready for 90 something a little more UPmarket. 90
I knew from Sunday school that “Eden” was another word for paradise, so that sounded promising. I knew from Sunday school that “Eden” was another word for paradise, so that sounded The way I remember it, Adam and Eve got kicked promising. out of the Garden of Eden because one of them was tempted to eat anit,apple forbidden tree. The way I remember Adamfrom anda Eve got kicked out of the Garden of Eden because one of them If was MEto, eat I wouldn’t up paradise was it tempted an applehave fromgiven a forbidden tree. for a piece of fruit. It would’ve had to have been for it something , like cake . up paradise If was ME,GOOD I wouldn’t have given for a piece of fruit. It would’ve had to have been for something GOOD, like cake.
It took us most of the day to get to Campers’ Eden. But, when we crossed the bridge and got our first at the place, why they It took look us most of the dayItocould get see to Campers’ named itBut, the when way they did. the bridge and got Eden. we crossed our first look at the place, I could see why they named it the way they did.
We pulled up to the lodge and went inside, where a member of staff told us about all the awesome stuffpulled theyuphad campsite, like inside, a gameswhere room We to at thethe lodge and went a poolofand sandpits, a lake with canoes aand member staff told us plus about all the awesome and kayaks. stuff they had at the campsite, like a games room and a pool and sandpits, plus a lake with canoes and kayaks.
There was also a shower block where you could take a hot shower, which was the thing MOM was most There wasexcited also a about. shower block where you could take a hot shower, which was the thing MOM What I liked wasabout. that each pitch had its own was most excited sewer hook-up. The inside of our camper van was starting smell a monkey house, What I to liked waslike that each pitch hadand its I ownwas really hook-up. looking forward to our sewage tankvan getting sewer The inside of our camper was f lushed out. starting to smell like a monkey house, and I was really looking forward to our sewage tank getting 93 f lushed out. 93
Mom told the member of staff we’d like a pitch with a lake view. But the woman told Mom that peopletold booked those Wof AYstaff aheadwe’d of time, Mom the member like a and pitchthat the spots the economy lot.that with only a lake view.left Butwere theinwoman told Mom people booked those WAY ahead of time, and that the only spots left were in the economy lot.
I guess Mom was focused on that hot shower, so she said we’d take whatever they HAD. And, after we Mom paid was up for the week, we drove our I guess focused on that hot shower, AD. And, camper van we’d downtake the whatever hill to findthey our Hpitch. so she said after we paid up for the week, we drove our The further downthe thehill hilltowefind went, smaller camper van down our the pitch. the pitches got. And when we found our spot Dad further could barely van the on to the The downfitthethehillcamper we went, smaller concrete pad.got. And when we found our spot the pitches Dad could barely fit the camper van on to the 94 concrete pad. 94
After we parked, Mom unloaded the camping chairs while Dad tried to figure out how to f lush the sewage tank. IMom wanted to bethe as camping far away as After we parked, unloaded possiblewhile whenDad he got T process so chairs triedTHA to figure out started how to ,f lush I Momtank. and Dad I was to gonna offaway and as thetold sewage I wanted be asgofar explore possible the whencampsite. he got THAT process started, so I told Mom and Dad I was gonna go off and explore the campsite.
I wanted to check out the games room, so that’s where I went first. There were a few arcade machines I was really I wantedintothere, checkbut outnothing the games room, so that’s interested in playing. where I went first. There were a few arcade machines in there, but nothing I was really interested in playing.
They had a pool table, but from what I could tell it didn’t have any actual BALLS. They had a pool table, but from what I could tell it didn’t have any actual BALLS.
I checked out the swimming pool next, and that was kind of a disappointment, too. It was full of little kids, out and the theirswimming parentspool weren’t I checked next,even andkeeping that an eye was kindonofthem. a disappointment, too. It was full of little kids, and their parents weren’t even keeping an eye on them.
Nowadays, kids wear these f loaty vests, so they don’t even have to learn how to swim. It’s not like when Ikids was wear growing up,f loaty when vests, you hadso to Nowadays, these they learn the don’t evenHARD have toway. learn how to swim. It’s not like when I was growing up, when you had to learn the HARD way.
Some of the little kids drifted out into the deep end, which was a problem because people were doing cannonballs thekids highdrifted board.out into the deep Some of theoff little end, which was a problem because people were doing cannonballs off the high board.
There was no lifeguard on duty, so everyone was pretty much doing whatever they WANTED. There was no lifeguard on duty, so everyone was pretty much doing whatever they WANTED.
I didn’t really feel safe going in the pool, so I decided to relax in the hot tub instead. But that’s when I found wasn’t I didn’t really out feelthat safe this goingplace in the pool,joking so I around about thein“pet-friendly” thing. But that’s decided to relax the hot tub instead. when I found out that this place wasn’t joking around about the “pet-friendly” thing.
There was a snack shack in the pool area, and the laundrette and shower block were close by. There was a snack shack in the pool area, and the I wanted to a littleblock morewere timeclose before laundrette andkillshower by. I went back to our camper van in case Dad wasn’t done emptying tank.time So I explored some I wantedout to the kill asewage little more before I went of thetoother pitchesvan to inseecase what they weredone like. back our camper Dad wasn’t emptying out the sewage tank. So I explored some The nicest ones were to theseedeluxe thatlike. of the other pitches whatpitches they were overlooked the stream. Those people had satellite dishesnicest and fancy BBQthe s, and they had actual The ones were deluxe pitches that LA WNS that took care people of. had satellite overlooked the they stream. Those dishes and fancy BBQ s, and they had actual LAWNS that they took care of.
I could tell the deluxe campsite people didn’t like us economy guys hanging around their properties, thou gh, tell so Ithe didn’t stick aroundpeople long. didn’t like I could deluxe campsite us economy guys hanging around their properties, though, so I didn’t stick around long.
The spots further down the hill weren’t as nice, but each row was kind of like its own little neighbourhood. The spots further down the hill weren’t as nice, but each row was kind of like its own little One of the rows had a bunch of older people neighbourhood. in it, so I’m guessing that was the area for retirees. A few wereof families with One of the rowsrows had down a bunch older people little in it, kids. so I’m guessing that was the area for retirees. A few rows down were families with little kids.
Some of the rows had THEMES, and people went kind of crazy with the decorations. Some of the rows had THEMES, and people went kind of crazy with the decorations.
A few people didn’t have full-sized camper vans, and I felt grateful that Uncle Gary hadn’t left us few one of THOSE A people didn’tinstead. have full-sized camper vans, and I felt grateful that Uncle Gary hadn’t left us one of THOSE instead.
Some other people didn’t have camper vans at ALL. There was one area that looked like it had aSome full other motorcycle in it, I was gladatwe peoplegang didn’t haveand camper vans ALL didn’t. There end upwas as neighbours withlooked THOSE one area that like guys. it had a full motorcycle gang in it, and I was glad we didn’t end up as neighbours with THOSE guys.
But it might’ve been even WORSE if we’d ended up in the pet-friendly row. Because that area was a total ZOO. been even WORSE if we’d ended But it might’ve up in the pet-friendly row. Because that area was a total ZOO.
I could tell when I was getting closer to the economy row because the pitches were packed a whole lottell TIGHTER, peoplecloser had to I could when I wasand getting to make the the most of their space. economy row beca use the pitches were packed a whole lot TIGHTER, and people had to make the most of their space.
When I got back to our pitch, Dad was cooking hot dogs on the BBQ. I wanted to ask him if he washed hands theDad sewage When Ihisgot backafter to ourdoing pitch, was hook-up, cooking BBQ bu tI thought might annoyed with hot dogs on thehe . I get wanted to ask himmeif. he washed his hands after doing the sewage hook-up, 104 but I thought he might get annoyed with me. 104
Mom was trying to get to know some of our neighbours, but they seemed like the type of peoplewas whotrying liked to keep to know themselves. Mom get to some of our neighbours, but they seemed like the type of people who liked to keep to themselves.
Once Dad was done cooking, we sat down at our picnic table to eat. But the people on the other side ofDad us were playing beanbag on their roof, Once was done cooking, we toss sat down at our and somebody there lousy on aim.the other picnic table to up eat. But had the apeople side of us were playing beanbag toss on their roof, and somebody up there had a lousy aim.
While we were cleaning up the mess, I told Mom and Dad I thought coming here might’ve been a MISTwe AKE . But Mom said sometimes it’stohard While were cleaning up the mess, I ld Mom getting to a new place,here andmight’ve I justbeen needed and Dadused I thought coming a MIS TAKE to give it a. chance. But Mom said sometimes it’s hard getting used to a new place, and I just needed Then to giveshe it reminded a chance. me that we hadn’t even visited the lake yet, which should be the best part. I was to say something when even I got Thenabout she reminded me that else, we hadn’t visited interrupted a noise coming the part. direction the lake yet,bywhich should be from the best I of maintolodge. wasthe about say something else, when I got interrupted by a noise coming from the direction of the main lodge.
It sounded like one of those air-raid sirens you hear in a war movie when enemy bombers are approaching, andone it put me totally on sirens edge. you It sounded like of those air-raid hear in a war movie when enemy bombers are 106 approaching, and it put me totally on edge. 106
Our next-door neighbours seemed nervous, too, and they gathered up their stuff to take inside theirnext-door camper van. Our neighbours seemed nervous, too, and they gathered up their stuff to take inside their camper van.
When Dad asked what the siren was for, our neighbour said it meant there was a SKUNK on the andwhat everyone needed getour inside Whenproperty, Dad asked the siren wastofor, in a hurry.said it meant there was a SKUNK on neighbour the property, and everyone needed to get inside in a hurry.
Well, that was enough to get US moving. We shut our door and peeked out of the window while US moving. we waited. enough,toa few later We a Well, that Sure was enough get minutes skunk came aroundout ourofpitch. shut our doosniffing r and peeked the window while we waited. Sure enough, a few minutes later a skunk came sniffing around our pitch.
It got up on the picnic table, and when it started eating our hot dogs there was nothing we couldgot do up butonWATCH . table, and when it It the picnic started eating our hot dogs there was nothing we could do but WATCH.
Once the skunk was done eating, it LEFT. After a while, the siren stopped and everyone came back outside. And, skunk. was Once the skunk was even donethough eating,the it LEFT After GONE the siren wholestopped pitch smelled TERRIBLE a while,, the and everyone came . back outside. And, even though the skunk was GONE, the whole pitch smelled TERRIBLE.
Dad said the reason it smelled so bad was because there’s some sort of chemical in a skunk’s glands that said people smell it from a milesoaway. Andbecause he said Dad thecan reason smelled bad was if you got RAYED by a skunk it wouldglands be a there’s someSPsort of chemical in a skunk’s thousand times ORSE that people can W smell from. a mile away. And he said if you got SPRAYED by a skunk it would be a ORSEyou He said the bestWthing thousand times . could do if you ran into a skunk was to back away slowly, because a skunk will said only the spray a person if itcould feelsdolike He best thing you if it’s you cornered ran into or threatened. a skunk was to back away slowly, because a skunk will only spray a person if it feels like it’s cornered 109 or threatened. 109
Then he said you know you’re about to be sprayed if a skunk stands on its front legs and wiggles its butt. he Butsaid by you thenknow it’s probably too to LATE . Then you’re about be sprayed if a skunk stands on its front legs and wiggles its butt. But by then it’s probably too LATE.
Rodrick said that a skunk’s spray doesn’t just smell bad, it’s FLAMMABLE, too. I don’t know if that’s said truethat or if ait’s just another one ofjust his lies. Rodrick skunk’s spray doesn’t ABLE If itbad, IS true, then M once skunks figure out how smell it’s FLAM , too. I don’t knowto light matches, beings are inone BIGoftrouble. if that’s true orus ifhuman it’s just another his lies. If it IS true, then once skunks figure out how to light matches, us human beings are in BIG trouble.
When God created the animals, he gave them all cool stuff to defend themselves with, like shells and talons God and created claws. the animals, he gave them all When cool stuff to defend themselves with, like shells and talons and claws.
But then when the time came to create PEOPLE, all the GOOD ideas were used up. But then when the time came to create PEOPLE, all the GOOD ideas were used up.
I guess God made up for it by BRAINS. But, if it was up to would’ve with QUILLS I guess gone God made up for it .by BRAINS. But, if it was up to would’ve gone with QUILLS.
giving us big me, I probably giving us big me, I probably
I figure if something as small as a skunk could scare off predators by smelling bad, then maybe it could workif for ME. And that’s I decided I figure something as small as when a skunk could I’m shower until I bad, finishthen highmaybe school.it scarenot off gonna predators by smelling could work for ME. And that’s when I decided I’m not gonna shower until I finish high school.
I probably shouldn’t have told MOM my plan, though, because all it did was remind her that MOM skipped taking a shower today. So my nowplan, she’s I probably shouldn’t have told making take one tomorrow morning. though,mebecause all itfirst did thing was remind her that I skipped taking a shower today. So now she’s making me take one first thing tomorrow morning.
Luckily, we had a few extra hot dogs in the camper van, and Dad cooked them over the fire. But I kept thinking skunk. So I Luckily, we had a few about extra that hot dogs in the was already little jumpy when all over of a the sudden camper van, aand Dad cooked them fire.we got R AYEthinking D. But S IPkept about that skunk. So I was already a little jumpy when all of a sudden we got S P R AYED.
But it wasn’t a SKUNK that sprayed us. It was one of our NEIGH BOuRS. Apparently, 9:00 is SKUNand K that “lights out” ata camp, I guess people But it wasn’t sprayed us. around It was NEIGH BOuRS here pretty seriously. one oftake our that . Apparently, 9:00 is “lights out” at camp, and I guess people around here take that pretty seriously.
So we turned in for the night, but I didn’t really SLEEP. Because, like I said before, those economy pitches packed together So we turned in were for the night, but I TIGHT didn’t . really SLEEP. Because, like I said before, those economy pitches were packed together TIGHT.
Sunday It turned out the whole camp was early to bed, early to rise. We didn’t even need to set our Sunday alarmturned clocksout because our neighbours us to know It the whole camp was let early bed, when it get even up. need to set our early to was rise.time We to didn’t alarm clocks because our neighbours let us know Believe or not, guyup.was doing WOOD when ititwas time some to get CARVINGS on his pitch. I wanted to give him a piece but when I saw theWOOD chainsaw I Believeofitmyor mind, not, some guy was doing CA RVINGS figured maybe on I his couldpitch. let itIslide this to onegive time. wanted him a piece of my mind, but when I saw the chainsaw I figured maybe I could let it slide this one time.
After Dad got out of bed, he started cooking pancakes and eggs on the griddle. Mom was just gettingDad backgot from shower andcooking she gave After outthe of bed, heblock started me the scoop howonthings workedMom up there. pancakes and on eggs the griddle. was just getting back from the shower block and she gave She saidscoop you had to pay forworked the shower with me the on how things up there. coins, and gave me a few. Then she told me that I nesaid ededyou to had stop to by pay the for laundrette and move She the shower with our clothes fromgave theme washer the dryer. coins, and a few.toThen she told me that I needed to stop by the laundrette and move our clothes from the washer to the dryer.
I really didn’t like the idea of taking a shower in a public building. When you live in a house with yourreally family, thelike bathroom thetaking only place you I didn’t the ideais of a shower cana get PRIVACY whenin I’m in publicany building. When. So, you live a hoin usethere, with I’m my own world.is the only place you your infamily, thelittle bathroom can get any PRIVACY. So, when I’m in there, 116 I’m in my own little world. 116
And, once that door’s locked, I can do anything I WANT. And, once that door’s locked, I can do anything I WANT.
But sometimes I get myself in TROU BLE in the bathroom. Once, I almost broke my ribs when I OU BLE was pretending be myself Spider-Man the shower. But sometimes Itoget in TRin in the bathroom. Once, I almost broke my ribs when I was pretending to be Spider-Man in the shower.
When I arrived at the shower block, the line was already wrapped round the building. And I got to know fellowatcampers a little better I When I my arrived the shower block, the than line was WANTED to. round the building. And I got already wrapped to know my fellow campers a little better than I WANTED to.
I figured the line would split at the entrance, and guys would go one way and girls would go the other. But the it turns out this didn’t have those I figured line would splitplace at the entrance, kindsguys of boundaries. and would go one way and girls would go the other. But it turns out this place didn’t have those kinds of boundaries.
I found out the reason the wait was so long was because there were only three shower stalls inside. When it was my turn, I put I found out finally the reason the wait wastwenty-five so long was cents inthere the coin the stall door, andinside. that because wereslot onlyonthree shower stalls got thite was shower going. When finally my turn, I put twenty-five cents in the coin slot on the stall door, and that The hote shower water felt GOOD, especially since I got th going. hadn’t had a hot shower in a few days. The hot water felt GOOD, especially since I hadn’t had a hot shower in a few days.
But I couldn’t really enjoy it since the stalls only went so high. But I couldn’t really enjoy it since the stalls only went so high.
I closed my eyes and tried to pretend I was by myself. But that was kind of hard to do when the person theeyes nextand stall started gettingICHA I closedin my tried to pretend wasTTY by . myself. But that was kind of hard to do when the person in the next stall started getting CHATTY.
I decided to wrap things up and get out of there. But the shower stopped before I had a chance to rinse the things shampoo myout hair. I decided to wrap up out andofget of there. But the shower stopped before I had a chance to rinse the shampoo out of my hair.
It turns out twenty-five cents only paid for three minutes of hot water. I tried to hand the nextturns personout in twenty-five line a coin to cents put in only the slot, It paid fbut or I couldn’tminutes get hisofattention. three hot water. I tried to hand the next person in line a coin to put in the slot, but I couldn’t get his attention.
So I stepped out of the shower to put the coin in MYSELF. But I guess that was just the opportunity this AITING for.the coin So I stepped outguy of was the W shower to put in MYSELF. But I guess that was just the opportunity this guy was WAITING for.
And what REALLY stunk was when he started using my SHAM POO. And what REALLY stunk was when he started using my SHAM POO.
I didn’t feel like getting into an argument with a naked guy, so I LEFT. But some soapsuds got in eye,feel andlike I getting could barely where I was I my didn’t into see an argument with agoing. naked guy, so I LEFT. But some soapsuds got in my eye, and I could barely see where I was going.
Luckily, I found my way to the laundrette, where there was a sink. And that water was FREE. I found my way to the laundrette, Luckily, where there was a sink. And that water was FREE.
Once I finished rinsing the shampoo out of my hair, I started looking for our clothes. But someone taken them the out shampoo of the washing Once I had finished rinsing out of my machine dumped themfor on our theclothes. f loor soBut they hair, I and started looking could puthad THEIR in. of the washing someone takenclothes them out machine and dumped them on the f loor so they could put THEIR clothes in.
After I put our clothes in the dryer, I decided I was gonna stick around the washing machines and find dumped inourthe stuff on, the f loor After I out put who our clothes dryer I decided when came backaround to getthe THEIRS I wasthey gonna stick washing. machines and find out who dumped our stuff on the f loor when they came back to get THEIRS.
But, when I saw who it WAS, I thought maybe I could let things slide one more time. But, when I saw who it WAS, I thought maybe I could let things slide one more time.
When I got back to our pitch, all I wanted to do was crawl back into bed. But Mom said we were all going downback to the lakepitch, and Iallneeded to put When I got to our I wanted to on was my swimming shorts. do crawl back into bed. But Mom said we were all going down to the lake and I needed to put I her that I didn’t HAV E swimming on reminded my swimming shorts. shorts any more, and I was hoping that would AV E getreminded me off the Butdidn’t Mom Hsaid Rodrick had a I her hook. that I swimming SP AREany pair, and, though I’mthat not awould fan of shorts more, andeven I was hoping wearing someone else’s But clothes, knew therehad wasa get me off the hook. Mom I said Rodrick SP no ARE point pair, in debating her though about it.I’m not a fan of and, even wearing someone else’s clothes, I knew there was no point in debating her about it.
I figured if we splashed around the lake for a few minutes and acted like we were having a good time, Mom ifwould be satisfied and the let us back I figured we splashed around lakegofor a to camp. Butand sheacted took like her we camera her, and few minutes were with having a good that always complicates things. time, Mom would be satisfied and let us go back to camp. But she took her camera with her, and 125 that always complicates things. 125
This summer Mom’s been spending a lot of time on social media. And, whenever she sees how perfect her friends’ look,spending it makes aher OUS This summer families Mom’s been lotJEAL of time on. social media. And, whenever she sees how perfect her friends’ families look, it makes her JEALOUS.
So Mom always puts us in these awkward poses to make it look like WE’ RE having a good time, too. Butalways there puts must us be insomething wrong with So Mom these awkward posesmy WE family, never our aact together. to makebecause it look we likecan ’ RE get having good time, too. But there must be something wrong with my family, because we can never get our act together.
The lake looked calm and peaceful when we first saw it from the bridge. But today it was a whole different scene. calm and peaceful when we first The lake looked saw it from the bridge. But today it was a whole different scene.
I was expecting the lake to be clear, like the one at the fish hatchery, but it looked DIRTY to me. And probably weren’t justone I wasthat’s expecting the because lake to people be clear, like the using for hatchery, SWIMMING at theit fish but. it looked DIRTY to me. And that’s probably because people weren’t just using it for SWIMMING.
I thought people were acting kind of nuts at the POOL yesterday, but at the lake it was at a whole different LEwere VEL.acting kind of nuts at the I thought people POOL yesterday, but at the lake it was at a VEL.attached to a big tree There was a ropeLEswing whole different that went out over the water. But I wasn’t planning that thing unless There wasona using rope swing attached to ita RAINed big tree for few days first.the water. But I wasn’t thata went out over planning on using that thing unless it RAINed for a few days first.
There were some rafts f loating in the middle of the lake, and I thought about grabbing one. But I changed when I sawinhow There were my somemind rafts f loating the people middle were of usinglake, them. the and I thought about grabbing one. But I changed my mind when I saw how people were 128 using them. 128
There was a ramp at the bottom of a big hill by the lake, and I couldn’t tell what it was for. But my question answered some launched There was agot ramp at the when bottom of kid a big hill by himself intoand theIwater inside tractor tyre. the lake, couldn’t tell awhat it was for. But my question got answered when some kid launched himself into the water inside a tractor tyre.
Mom wanted us all to swim, but I was still pretty scarred from my LAST experience in a lake. Plus, I don’t trust any can’tbutseeIthrough. Mom wanted us water all to I swim, was still pretty scarred from my LAST experience in a lake. Plus, I There was something sticking up in the middle don’t trust any waterweird I can’t see through. of the lake, and I pointed it out to Dad. He said it was was probably just aweird branch, but up it didn’t There something sticking in the look middle likethe a branch to ME And, when of lake, and I .pointed it outyou to can Dad.only He see said ait part of something, could bebutANYTHING . was probably just a itbranch, it didn’t look like a branch to ME. And, when you can only see a part of something, it could be ANYTHING.
Nobody else was in the mood to swim, either, so we put our stuff down on the ground. But it turned out a lake shore thethe same as atoBEA CHeither, shore, soand Nobody else isn’ wast in mood swim, we within few seconds sinking muck.out put ourastuff down onwethewere ground. Butinitthe turned a lake shore isn’t the same as a BEACH shore, and within a few seconds we were sinking in the muck.
Mom said we weren’t going back to our pitch until we did something FU N. There was a canoe tied dock, going and she said Mom up saidtowethe weren’t back to we ourshould pitch take it outweondid thesomething water. IFU wasN.fine withwas being on until There a canoe top water, so and longshe as said we didn’t have take to tied of up the to the dock, we should go out IN on it. the water. I was fine with being on it top of the water, so long as we didn’t have to We tookit.turns getting into the canoe, which wasn’t go IN as easy as I thought it would be. We took turns getting into the canoe, which wasn’t 131 as easy as I thought it would be. 131
I stayed low, just like Dad told me to. Rodrick DIDN’ T, tho ugh, and we almost capsized while we were still tied thelike dock. I stayed low,tojust Dad told me to. Rodrick DIDN’ T, tho ugh, and we almost capsized while we were still tied to the dock.
After we were all in the canoe, we put on life jackets and paddled out on the water. But some people we swimming were After were allnearby in theseemed canoe,like we they put on lifein a hurry toand getpaddled out of our . water. But some jackets out W onAY the people swimming nearby seemed like they were in a hurry to get out of our WAY.
Then we found out WH Y. As soon as we got to the middle of the lake, something BIG landed WH YAnd right we nextfound to our second later Then outcanoe. . As asoon as we gotthere to was the ANO middleTHER of thesplash. lake, something BIG landed right next to our canoe. And a second later there was ANOTHER splash.
Some teenagers up on the hill had turned hammock into a giant SLINGSHOT, and using us for TARGET practice. Some teenagers up on the hill had turned hammock into a giant SLINGSHOT, and using us for TARGET practice.
a they were a they were
I guess that explained why no one was using the canoe. We tried to paddle back to the dock, but theguess guys that on the hill werewhy getting I explained no onemore was and usingmore the accurateWewith each canoe. tried to shot. paddle back to the dock, but the guys on the hill were getting more and more accurate with each shot.
I guess Rodrick didn’t wanna get hit, so he decided to abandon ship. And that was a problem for the REguess ST ofRodrick us, because we were unbalanced. I didn’tnow wanna get hit, so he decided to abandon ship. And that was a problem for the REST of us, because now we were unbalanced.
Our canoe capsized, and somehow me and Dad ended up UNDERNEATH it. At first I thought it a GOOD thing, we were protected Ourwas canoe capsized, and since somehow me and Dad from watermelons.TH it. At first I thought endedthose up UNDERNEA it was a GOOD thing, since we were protected from those watermelons.
But I changed my mind when we took a direct hit, because it was like being on the inside of a DRUI M.changed my mind when we took a direct But hit, because it was like being on the inside of a DRU M.
Me and Dad ditched the canoe and swam for the dock. And we had to move FAST, because now we were outDad of range, thecanoe guys and on the hillfor were Me and ditchedsothe swam the SKIPPING dock. And wetheir had shots. to move FAST, because now we were out of range, so the guys on the hill were SKIPPING their shots.
We pulled ourselves on to the dock, where we were safe. Mom was upset because her camera was ruined, butourselves I didn’tonreally my where picturewetaken We pulled to thewant dock, rightsaf ate.that anyway. were Mommoment, was upset because her camera was ruined, but I didn’t really want my picture taken right at that moment, anyway.
Monday I think Mom realized we’d had a little too much family time yesterday, because this morning she Monday saidthink everyon e corealized uld go do thing. I Mom we’dtheir had own a little too Imuch was plan ning on relaxing for once, but Momshe had family time yesterday, because this morning OTHER ideas. said everyon e could go do their own thing. I was planning on relaxing for once, but Mom had O THER She said this ideas.camp was full of kids my age, and this was the perfect opportunity to branch out and make newcamp FRIENDS She said this was full. of kids my age, and this was the perfect opportunity to branch out and make new FRIENDS.
I told Mom I wasn’t really in the mood for socializing, and there wasn’t any point in trying to told makeMom new I friends I’din never evenfor SEE I wasn’tsince really the mood any of theseand people socializing, thereagain. wasn’t any point in trying to make new friends since I’d never even SEE 137 any of these people again. 137
But Mom said some of her day are people she met at was But MY Momage. said some of her day are people she met at was MY age.
best friends to this summer camp when she best friends to this summer camp when she
I told Mom it’s DIFFERENT from when she was growing up, and it’s a lot harder to make friends DIFFERENT with strangers But Mom sheshe could I told Mom it’snowadays. fromsaid when was help me with that. growing up, and it’s a lot harder to make friends with strangers nowadays. But Mom said she could I Mom would just drop it. But ten helpwasmehoping with that. minutes later a group of boys passed by our camper vanwas carrying rods. just And,drop before I could I hopingfishing Mom would it. But ten STOP her, started withpassed the introductions. minutes laterMom a group of boys by our camper van carrying fishing rods. And, before I could STOP her, Mom started with the introductions. 138 138
Luckily, these kids didn’t beat me up the second Mom stepped away. They said they were going down to these their kids fishing spot, andmeIupcould Luckily, didn’t beat the come secondwith them if I wanted. Mo m stepped away. They said they were going down to their fishing spot, and I could come with I’m big on fishing, but I figured I’d themnot if Ireally wanted. just go along with these guys to make Mom happy. I’m not really big on fishing, but I figured I’d I fewthese of them the pool, and justrecognized go along awith guysfrom to make Mom happy. on our way down to the stream I learned their names. I recognized a few of them from the pool, and on our way down to the stream I learned their 139 names. 139
Everyone was calling the smallest kid Ju i cebox, and he seemed to be the one in charge. The kid with the inner tube was BigtheMarcus, Everyone was calling smallestand kidIJucouldn’t i cebox, and tell if he was wearing that thing for funkid or with if he he seemed to be the one in charge. The couldn’t getBig OUT of it.and I couldn’t the inneractually tube was Marcus, tell if he was wearing that thing for fun or if he couldn’t actually get OUT of it.
The tall skinny kid was Weevil, and the boy with the shaved head was called DooDoo. I don’t wannatallbe skinny mean orkidanything, but and thatthe boyboy reawith lly The was Weevil, lived shaved up to his nickname. the head was called DooDoo. I don’t wanna be mean or anything, but that boy really lived up to his nickname.
A few other kids joined us, and THEY all had nicknames, too. So I guess that’s a thing around here. A few other kids joined us, and THEY all had nicknames, too. So I guess that’s a thing around here.
Ju i cebox asked me MY name, and I figured since everyone ELSE was using made-up names, I might J asu iwell, cebox too. asked me MY name, and I figured since everyone ELSE was using made-up names, I might as well, too.
The stream was pretty shallow in this spot, so I didn’t see how these guys were gonna catch any fish. But found out the real inreason they came Th e st reamI was pretty shallow this spot, so I here wasn’t to these fish, it waswere to T ALK.catch And any they didn’t see how guys gonna argued about EVERout YTHING . reason they came fish. But I found the real here wasn’t to fish, it was to TALK. And they EVER YTHING The first topic was which superhero would win in a argued about . fight, and that turned into a conversation about which superpower waswhich best.superhero And somehow The first topic was would that win in a turned into that a debate about kind of animal fight, and turned intowhat a conversation about you’d to fight you And were somehow sentencedthat to which choose superpower was ifbest. death. turned into a debate about what kind of animal you’d choose to fight if you were sentenced to death.
Then they got into an argument about whether it would be better to fight a person with the head of a shark or a into shark the head a person.it Then they got an with argument aboutofwhether And the guys were the middle on that would be better to split fightdown a person with the head one. of a shark or a shark with the head of a person. And the guys were split down the middle on that one.
The conversation got pretty heated, and then it got PHYSICAL. I didn’t wanna get hurt, so I tried to stay out got of the way.heated, and then it The conversation pretty got PHYSICAL. I didn’t wanna get hurt, so I tried to stay out of the way.
But just like that it was OVER, and everyone acted like nothing happened. But just like that it was OVER, and everyone I waslike starting to happened. get nervous hanging around acted nothing a bunch of guys who liked to settle things with their S, and I told themhanging maybe Iaround should I wasFIST starting to get nervous be heading back. who Butliked Jui cebox said that, a bunch of guys to settle thingssince with I FIST S, and was the NEW kid I around it was I their job their told here, them maybe should to show me back. the ropes. I said decided to go along be heading But JAnd ui cebox that, since I NEW kbecause with it, mostly I didn’t was the id around here, want it wasDooDoo their job putting headlock. to show me in thea ropes. And I decided to go along with it, mostly because I didn’t want DooDoo putting me in a headlock.
It turns out these guys have been coming here for years, so they knew all the ins and outs of the turns place. out They knewguys howhave to get free bag of It these beena coming here pretzels the vending theouts lodge, for years,from so they knew allmachine the insatand of exact time delivery truck resupply the place. Theythe knew how to get came a freetobag of the campfrom store, wheremachine you needed to be when pretzels theand vending at the lodge, they threwtime outthe thedelivery day-oldtruck doughnuts. the exact came to resupply the camp store, and where you needed to be when 144 they threw out the day-old doughnuts. 144
Plus, they knew where all the cute girls in camp were staying and when they each ate lunch. Plus, they knew where all the cute girls in camp were staying and when they each ate lunch.
These guys were big pranksters, too. Weevil found a half-filled bottle of shampoo on the ground, and that gave u i cebox IDEA. He too. tookWuseeround These guysJwere bigan pranksters, vil founthe d back of the shower to the on wallthe on gthe a half-filled bottle block of shampoo rounother d, and side theJshower thatofgave u i cebox stalls. an IDEA. He took us round the back of the shower block to the wall on the other As as shower the person side soon of the stalls.near the window finished rinsing the soapsuds out of his hair, Ju i cebox squirted histhe scalp. As soon more as theshampoo person on near window finished rinsing the soapsuds out of his hair, Ju i cebox squirted more shampoo on his scalp.
The guy lathered up his hair AGAIN, and once he finished rinsing it Ju i cebox was there with an othe r sq uirt. After a couple more rounds this, The guy lathered up his hair AGAIN , andofonce Jgu i ceb thefinished guy started gett angry he rinsing it in ox was .there with another squirt. After a couple more rounds of this, 146 the guy started getting angry. 146
But when he heard Cutter BUSTED. And it was the been messing But when he with, heard too. Cutter BUSTED. And it was the been messing with, too.
laugh we were LAST guy we should’ve laugh we were LAST guy we should’ve
Luckily, Juicebox and his gang knew all the good hiding spots on the campsite, so we lay low behind the snackJuicebox shack until thegang coastknew was clear. Luckily, and his all the good hiding spots on the campsite, so we lay low behind the snack shack until the coast was clear.
I’d never really had a group of friends before, and I was starting to have FUN. I’d never really had a group of friends before, The guys to to go have downFUN to the and I waswanted starting . field by the lake and play some games. I figured they wanted to play normal like football or tag, so I The guyssomething wanted to go down to the field by the wentand along with them. lake play some games. I figured they wanted to play something normal like football or tag, so I But their OWN idea of fun. wentthese alongguys with had them. 148 But
these guys had their OWN idea of fun.
And most of their games involved someone getting hit by a ball or getting tackled, and sometimes both most at the And of same theirtime. games involved someone getting hit by a ball or getting tackled, and sometimes both at the same time.
The last game we played was Red Rover, where everyone makes a human chain and tries to keep one person fromwegetting But Bigwhere Marcus The last game played through. was Red Rover, was unstoppable, we chain got pretty banged up. everyone makes a and human and tries to keep one person from getting through. But Big Marcus was unstoppable, and we got pretty banged up.
It seemed like everyone was ready to wrap up for the day, but that’s when something fromseemed the SKY It like. everyone was ready to wrap up for the day, but that’s when something from the SKY.
things fell things fell
It was those teenagers on the hill, launching watermelons from their hammock. We ran for coverwas underneath the shedonwhere theylaunching kept the It those teenagers the hill, kayaks. Andfrom that’s where Ju i ceboxWetold watermelons their hammock. ranme forwhat was on. covergoing underneath the shed where they kept the kayaks. And that’s where Ju i cebox told me what He that wassaid going on.every time him and his gang played in that field the teenagers bombarded them with watermelons. really someone had He said that And everyItime himwished and his gang played mentioned that me BEFObombarded RE I agreed go in that field thetoteenagers themtowith down there. And I really wished someone had watermelons. mentioned that to me BEFO RE I agreed to go down there.
But Ju i cebox said that today him and his guys were ready to strike BACK. But Ju i cebox said that today him and his guys were ready to strike BACK.
They’d stashed a bunch of water guns in one of the kayaks, and they had some serious firepowestashed r in there. Everyone chose a weapon They’d a bunch of water guns in one for them selvkayaks, es, but and sincethey I was newserious guy I picked of the hadthe some LAS T. r in there. Everyone chose a weapon for fire powe themselves, but since I was the new guy I picked LAST.
I wasn’t crazy about picking a fight with a bunch of teenagers anyway, so I told the guys I really need ed to crazy be getting to amyfight family. I wasn’t about back picking with a bunch of teenagers anyway, so I told the guys I really needed to be getting back to my family.
But Juicebox said I was one of THEM now, and we were all in this fight TOGETHER. I probably Juicebox should’ve walked then, I didn’tnow, wann a let But saidaway I was one but of THEM and these down. we wereguys all in this fight TOGETHER. I probably should’ve walked away then, but I didn’t wanna let We gathered around Ju i cebox, and he showed us these guys down. his plan. He said somebody needed to volunteer to Ju i cebox, be the decoy on the lake so the and restheof showed us couldus We gathered around sneak up on behind. his plan. He the said teenagers somebody from needed to volunteer to be the decoy on the lake so the rest of us could sneak up on the teenagers from behind.
Nobody wanted to volunteer, so we took a vote, and that’s how Big Marcus got chosen. And that was goodwanted news for becausesoIwe gottook his awater Nobody to me, volunteer, vote, gun. and that’s how Big Marcus got chosen. And that was good news for me, because I got his water 153 gun. 153
Big Marcus paddled out to the middle of the lake and, sure enough, the teenagers opened fire as soonMarcus as theypaddled saw him. Big out to the middle of the lake and, sure enough, the teenagers opened fire as soon as they saw him.
And that’s when the rest of us made our MOVE. And that’s when the rest of us made our MOVE.
We let loose with everything we time our water guns were empty werelettotally . we We loose DRENCHED with everything time our water guns were empty were totally DRENCHED.
had, and by the those teenagers had, and by the those teenagers
But I wish Ju i cebox had put a little more thought into the NEXT step of his plan, because all we reallyIdid wasJumake guysa M AD. more thought But wish i ceboxthose had put little into the NEXT step of his plan, because all we really did was make those guys MAD.
They chased us past the main lodge, and we turned the corner at the laundrette. I thought they were gonnachased catch us for Marcus the They pastsure, the but mainBig lodge, and picked we turned PERcorner FECTat time rejoin the I team. the thetolaundrette. thought they were gonna catch us for sure, but Big Marcus picked the PERFECT time to rejoin the team.
That bought the rest of us extra TIME, and we used it to reload our water guns from the soda dispenser at the shack. That bought the snack rest of us extra TIME, and we used it to reload our water guns from the soda dispenser at the snack shack.
Cutter grabbed a few squeezy bottles of ketchup and mustard for some extra firepower. So, when the teenagers we werebottles READY them. Cutter grabbedarrived, a few squeezy of for ketchup and mustard for some extra firepower. So, when the teenagers arrived, we were READY for them.
And I don’t know if it was the soda or the ketchup that did it, but a few seconds later the snackIshack fullifofit BEES . soda or the And don’twas know was the ketchup that did it, but a few seconds later the snack shack was full of BEES.
We ran to the hiding spot we used earlier in the day and took a minute to catch our breath. We ran to the hiding spot we used earlier in the Everyone was in the mood celebrate, but Ju i cebox day and took a minute to to catch our breath. seemed WO RRIED. He said those teenagers would be coming was for us, andmood thattothe camp director Everyone in the celebrate, but Ju iwas cebox WO RRIED gonna be mad we made messthose at the snack shack. seemed . Hea said teenagers would be coming for us, and that the camp director was gonna be mad we made a mess at the snack shack.
Cutter said we should make a PACT that if one of us got caught, nobody would rat anyone else out. PACT And everyone likea that idea. Cutter said weseemed should to make that if one of us got caught, nobody would rat anyone else out. But got complicated started And iteveryone seemed towhen like we that idea. talking about what the penalty was for BREAKING the pact, everyone when had awediff erent idtalking ea of But it because got complicated started what that be. was for BREAKING the about what should the penalty pact, because everyone had a different idea of 158 what that should be. 158
Big Marcus said that if you broke the pact, then you had to go through the Pool Noodle Gauntlet, whichMarcus sounded to me. Big saidpretty that ifHARSH you broke the pact, then you had to go through the Pool Noodle Gauntlet, which sounded pretty HARSH to me.
Regular Marcus said that if one of us snitched, that person needed to wear his underwear on his head forMarcus a wholesaid day.that if one of us snitched, Regular that person needed to wear his underwear on his head for a whole day.
Some people wanted to take it even FURTHER. Fivehead said it had to be your DAD’ S underwear, RTHER and you had wanted to walktopast theit pretty pitches Some people take even FUgirls’ . at lunchtime. Fivehead said it had to be your DAD’ S underwear, and you had to walk past the pretty girls’ pitches at lunchtime.
Then the guys got into an argument about whether the underwear should be clean or dirty, an d things got got physical But I about was actually Then the guys into again. an argument GLAD, because it gave should me thebeopportunity I whether the underwear clean or dirty, needed to slip and things gotaway. physical again. But I was actually GLAD, because it gave me the opportunity I needed to slip away.
Tuesday Thankfully, Mom didn’t have any big plans for us today. Because after everything that happened Tuesday yesterday, IMom really justhave wanted low for Thankfully, didn’t any to biglieplans for the us rest of Because the trip. today. after everything that happened yesterday, I really just wanted to lie low for the Mom went the camp store to pick up some rest of thetotrip. groceries for dinner, and when she came back she was excited about a fstore lyer she’d picked up at the Momallwent to the camp to pick up some main lodge. groceries for dinner, and when she came back she was all excited about a f lyer she’d picked up at the main lodge.
Nobody else was crazy about going to a pool party, but Mom said this could be just the thing to turn our around.about going to a pool Nobody else trip was crazy party, but Mom said this could be just the thing to turn our trip around.
We all knew that once Mom gets an idea in her head there’s no talking her out of it. Plus, it had beenallreally day,ansoidea I figured We knewsticky that and once hot Momallgets in her it would there’s be nice no to talking cool off her for out a few head of hours. it. Plus, it had been really sticky and hot all day, so I figured it Mom at the store, would forgot be nice to to get coolplastic off forutensils a few hours. so she sent me up there with some money. I was a little nervous one of thoseutensils teenagers might spot Mom forgot to get plastic at the store, me on the so there I wanted thereIand so she sentway, me up with to somegetmoney. was back as nervous quick asone I could. a little of those teenagers might spot me on the way, so I wanted to get there and But Regular Marcus called out to back Ias stopped quick as when I could. me when I passed by the place we hid yesterday. But I stopped when Regular Marcus called out to 162 me when I passed by the place we hid yesterday. 162
Regular Marcus told me that this morning these posters started appearing all over camp, and he showed me one hetold took Regular Marcus me from that the thislaundrette. morning these posters started appearing all over camp, and he showed me one he took from the laundrette.
The second I saw the poster, I knew it was a trick. I told Regular Marcus that the people who thisIplace just trying to catch The run second saw were the poster, I knew it wasthe a trick kids who. trashed the snack shack,that andthe they I told Regular Marcus people were using ice place creamwere as BAIT . I told notthe to who run this just trying tohim catch fall and tothe tell snack the Oshack, THER and guysthey not to, kids for whoit,trashed either. were using ice cream as BAIT. I told him not to fall for it, and to tell the OTHER guys not to, either.
But he said it was already too LATE. Because, when the first posters went up, Ju icebox and the other TElodge guyshe had for LA the with their But saidheaded it wasstraight already too . Because, when water guns. the first posters went up, Ju icebox and the other guys had headed straight for the lodge with their water guns.
Regular Marcus said he would’ve been WITH them, but he had to go back to his camper van to grab WITH his squirtMarcus gun. And time been he got to the Regular said by he the would’ve them, lodge ocked but hethe haddoors to gowere backalready to his lcamper van. to grab his squirt gun. And by the time he got to the lodge the doors were already locked.
So Regular Marcus climbed up on to a recycling bin to look through the window and see what was going on. And whatclimbed he sawupwasn’t tty. So Regular Marcus on to pre a recycling bin to look through the window and see what was going on. And what he saw wasn’t pretty.
It turns out there was no ice cream at ALL. The camp director told the guys they were gonna have ALL. The to scrub inch ofwas thenosnack shackattomorrow It turnsevery out there ice cream morning, use Tthe OOguys TH BR USHwere ES to do it. camp direcand tor told they gonna have to scrub every inch of the snack shack tomorrow morning, and use TOOTH BRUSHES to do it.
I guess Jui cebox didn’t like the sound of that, so he told the camp director the whole thing was a Jui cebox didn’t bigguess MISUNDERS TANDlike INGthe . sound of that, so I he told the camp director the whole thing was a big MISUNDERSTANDING.
He said him and the other guys got roped into the fight, and the guy that started it all was still on thesaid loose. the camp asked He himAnd andwhen the other guysdirector got roped intohim the the name theguy “ringleader”, Ju i cebox fight, andofthe that started it all threw was stilltheon new guy under the loose. And the whenbus. the camp director asked him the name of the “ringleader”, Ju i cebox threw the new guy under the bus.
But I guess the camp director wasn’t convinced. Because after he let the other guys go, he made Ju icebox walk the doorcamp to door with him to find this But I guess director wasn’t convinced. Jimmy character. BecauseDogfish after he let the other guys go, he made Ju icebox walk door to door with him to find this I really didn’t character. wanna be there when they reached Jimmy Dogfish MY camper van. So, when I got back to our pitch, told everyone needed to they eat quick so I reallyI didn’t wanna bewethere when reached MY we could getvan. to that pool party. camper So, when I got back to our pitch, I told everyone we needed to eat quick so 167 we could get to that pool party. 167
I figured the pool might be the one place on the campsite where I was actually SAFE. But once we got there I I was I figured therealized pool might be wrong the oneabout placethat. on the campsite where I was actually SAFE. But once we got there I realized I was wrong about that.
It seemed like the combination of loud music and night-time was making people a little extra crazy. And it wasn’t kids thisoftime, wasand the It seemed like just the the combination loud it music grown-ups, too.making people a little extra crazy. night-time was And it wasn’t just the kids this time, it was the A bunch of too. dads had turned the shallow end into grown-ups, a giant WHIRLPOOL. A bunch of dads had turned the shallow end into 168 a giant WHIRLPOOL. 168
And somebody had greased the slide, so people were coming off that thing at a hundred miles an hour. somebody had greased the slide, so people And were coming off that thing at a hundred miles an hour.
There was a movie playing on a screen at the deep end of the pool, and whoever chose the film probably that There wasshould’ve a movie picked playingsomething on a screen at was the a little end moreoffamily-friendly. deep the pool, and whoever chose the film probably should’ve picked something that was a little more family-friendly.
Mom wasn’t even paying attention to what was going on in the pool. There were a bunch of activities in the and she wanted Mom wasn’t evengrassy payingarea, attention to what wasus to participate . a bunch of going on in intheEVER pool.YTHING There were activities in the grassy area, and she wanted us to 170 participate in EVERYTHING. 170
We entered the balloon-popping relay as a family, but we came in last place since Manny didn’t have enough body the weight to burst therelay first asballoon. We entered balloon-popping a family, but we came in last place since Manny didn’t have enough body weight to burst the first balloon.
Mom made Dad enter the beer belly contest, but he didn’t even make it past the first round. Mom made Dad enter the beer belly contest, but he didn’t even make it past the first round.
Manny entered a hot dog eating contest on his own, and I had no IDEA that boy could pack so much away.a hot dog eating contest on his Mannyfood entered own, and I had no IDEA that boy could pack so much food away.
Me and Rodrick competed in a dizzy stick relay race, where you had to spin round a baseball bat five times, tag competed the next inperson onstick your relay team.race, Me andthen Rodrick a dizzy But weyou werehad playing against guys who where to spin roundtwo a baseball bathad fivejust finishedthen the tag hot the dog next eating contest, so things times, person on your team. got a little ESS Y. But we M were playing against two guys who had just finished the hot dog eating contest, so things got a little M ESSY.
Mom tried to get me to enter a mother-son dance contest with her, but there wasn’t enough money in thetried worldtotoget getmemetotoenter agreea mother-son to THAT. dance Mom contest with her, but there wasn’t enough money in the world to get me to agree to THAT.
I entered the pie eating contest, because I thought I might actually WIN. But they held it at the samethe time the belly f lop because contest,I and I entered pieaseating contest, WIN my seat was the one closest to .the thought I might actually Butpool. they held it at the same time as the belly f lop contest, and my seat was the one closest to the pool.
Speaking of the belly f lop contest, too many contestants got on the diving board at the same time, and of it wasn’t builtf lop to carry thattoomuch weight. Speaking the belly contest, many contestants got on the diving board at the same time, and it wasn’t built to carry that much weight.
After the party activities wrapped up, Mom talked us all into getting in the water for a quick family swim. After the party activities wrapped up, Mom talked us all into getting in the water for a quick 174 family swim. 174
The pool was crowded and nobody was really doing any swimming, anyway. It seemed like the only people having any fun and werenobody the ones RAFdoing TS. The pool was crowded wasonreally any swimming, anyway. It seemed like the only RAFlook TS. But thehaving rafts any werefun all were taken, didn’t people theand onesit on like anybody was willing to give one up. But the rafts were all taken, and it didn’t look like anybody was willing to give one up.
Then Mom spotted a giant empty inner tube in the middle of the pool. That thing was so big it must’veMom beenspotted an AeroPLANE tyre or something. Then a giant empty inner tube in So all swam outpool. to itThat beforething someone took thewe middle of the was else so big it it for themselves. must’ve been an AeroPLANE tyre or something. So we all swam out to it before someone else took 175 it for themselves. 175
The tyre was so huge it was almost impossible to get into. But, with a little teamwork, we finally did it. The tyre was so huge it was almost impossible to get into. But, with a little teamwork, we finally did it.
Once we all got on, we found out why that thing was empty to BEGIN with. Once we all got on, we found out why that thing was empty to BEGIN with.
After we got tossed from the giant inner tube, Mom was done with the pool party. And I felt bad because I tossed knew how wanted After we got frommuch the she giant inner tonight tube, to bewas special. Mom done with the pool party. And I felt bad because I knew how much she wanted tonight A of other people were starting to clear to lot be special. out, too, but there were still a few stragglers coming into the people party. were And starting some of them looked A lot of other to clear F . there were still a few stragglers ouAMILIAR t, too, but coming into the party. And some of them looked FAMILIAR.
The rest of my family got out of the pool, but I decided to stay put. I didn’t know if those teenagers recognize wasn’t The rest ofwould my family got me outorofnot, the but pool,I but willing to take any put. CHANCES I decided to stay I didn’t. know if those teenagers would recognize me or not, but I wasn’t 177 willing to take any CHANCES. 177
There were still a lot of people in the pool, so it wasn’t that hard to stay hidden. But when those guys stepped in athe it got harder There were still lotwater, of people in the pool,forso me it to staythat out of sight. wasn’t hard to stay hidden. But when those guys stepped in the water, it got harder for me to stay out of sight.
And my situation got a whole lot WORSE when the next two people showed up at the party. And my situation got a whole lot WORSE when the next two people showed up at the party.
I knew the camp director So I decided to go in the which wasthe DOWN I knew camp .director So I decided to go in the which was DOWN.
was looking for ME. only direction I could, was looking for ME. only direction I could,
I went to the bottom of the pool and sat there. And I planned on STAYING down there as long as it took. I went to the bottom of the pool and sat there. And I planned on STAYING down there as long as it took.
I was actually starting to run out of oxygen when something WEIRD happened. There was aIfwas lash actually of light,starting like someone taking to run out aofpicture oxygen underwater. And WEIRD then everyone started getting when something happened. There was out of the pool. like someone taking a picture a f lash of light, underwater. And then everyone started getting out of the pool.
Ten seconds later it was empty except for ME. And that’s when I came to the surface. Ten seconds later it was empty except for ME. And that’s when I came to the surface.
The first thing I noticed was the RAIN, which was really coming down. Then LIGHTNING RAIN, why f lashed andwas that The firstacross thingthe I sky, noticed theexplained which everyone in such a hurry get out of the pool. was reallywas coming down. ThentoLIGHTNING f lashed across the sky, and that explained why everyone was in such a hurry to get out of the pool.
The teenagers and Juicebox were long gone, and so was my FAMILY. I really didn’t wanna get JuiceboxI’d electrocuted, I figured get out The teenagerssoand werebetter long gone, andof there, too.FAMILY. I really didn’t wanna get so was my electrocuted, so I figured I’d better get out of I left too. the pool area and headed for the camper there, van. But in the dark and the rain it was hard to see where wasarea going. I left theIpool and headed for the camper van. But in the dark and the rain it was hard to 181 see where I was going. 181
There was a HUGE crash of lightning, and it sounded like it might’ve hit something nearby. There was a HUGE crash of lightning, and it sounded like it might’ve hit something nearby.
Then which Then which
the air-raid siren at the lodge cranked up, made everything even more STRESSFUL. the air-raid siren at the lodge cranked up, made everything even more STRESSFUL.
I realized that if I stayed outside much longer I was gonna get burned to a CRISP. But nobody in any of the that deluxeifcamper vansoutside would much let melonger inside.I I realized I stayed was gonna get burned to a CRISP. But nobody in any of the deluxe camper vans would let me inside.
I finally made it to our camper van. And when I opened the door my whole family was already there. I finally made it to our camper van. And when I opened the door my whole family was already there.
Mom said she thought I’d run ahead to the camper van when the rain started, and it was a MIRA CLE was OKI’d . run ahead to the Mo m said sheIthought camper van when the rain started, and it was a MIRA OK.I felt the same way. To be CLE honestIwith was you, That theIperfect moment, and I To be storm honestcame withatyou, felt the same way. almost felt like it was the work of a higher power. That storm came at the perfect moment, and I Or maybe wasitjust cosmic almost feltitlike was one the big work of a JOKE higher .power. JOKE Because one one thing learned tonight, Or maybeif itthere’s was just bigIcosmic . it’s that God has a sense of HUMOuR. Because if there’s one thing I learned tonight, it’s that God has a sense of HUMOuR.
Wednesday If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be sprayed by a skunk, I can tell you from firstWednesday handyou’ve experience. It feels what like you’ve gone , If ever wondered it’s like to BLIND be and yourbyeyes sting like CRAZY . from firstsprayed a skunk, I can tell you hand experience. It feels like you’ve gone BLIND, and your eyes sting like CRAZY.
So you have to f lush them with water, if you’re lucky enough to have any nearby. So you have to f lush them with water, if you’re lucky enough to have any nearby.
Once your vision improves, you start to notice the SMELL, which is like a mix of rotten eggs an d royour adkillvision . Andimproves, you don’tyou juststart SMELL it, you Once to notice TASSMELL TE it. But, trust me, athe thing iseggs to the , which is like mixbest of rotten SMELL it, you not thedon’t FIRSjust T place. and get roadsprayed kill. Andinyou TASTE it. But, trust me, the best thing is to FIRST One of the booksinwethebought at place. the camping store not get sprayed had a chapter on what you should do if you got sprayed by abooks skunk.weBut it wasn’t thatcahelpful, One of the bought at the mping store since couldn’tonget anyyou of should the ingredients until had awechapter what do if you go t the storebyopened in the sprayed a skunk. But morning. it wasn’t that helpful, since we couldn’t get any of the ingredients until the store opened in the morning.
We knew we couldn’t go to sleep smelling like skunk, so we tried to find something to cover up the knew odour.we couldn’t go to sleep smelling like We skunk, so we tried to find something to cover up Luckily, there were a bunch of ketchup and the odour. mustard packets in one of the drawers, and we rubbed the condiments all over Manny Luckily, there were a bunch of ourselves. ketchup and found a bottle Gary’s cologne between mustard packetsofinUncle one of the drawers, and we the seatthe cushions, but all that stuff smelledManny almost as rubbed condiments over ourselves. bad as athe SKUNK . Gary’s cologne between found bottle of Uncle the seat cushions, but that stuff smelled almost as bad as the SKUNK.
We all had a terrible night’s sleep, and when we woke in the morning we realized it wasn’t just US all that It was everything inside thewe We hadstank. a terrible night’s sleep, and when camper too. woke in van, the morning we realized it wasn’t just US that stank. It was everything inside the 187 camper van, too. 187
So we emptied the whole thing out. And it was pretty clear we were gonna have to throw almost everything away, our FOOD . it was So we emptied theespecially whole thing out. And pretty clear we were gonna have to throw almost everything away, especially our FOOD.
Mom gave me money and sent me up to the camp store to get the deskunking supplies and some groceries. on myand waysent up there Mom gave But me money me upItocould the tell camp something wasn’t . supplies and some store to get the RIGHT deskunking groceries. But on my way up there I could tell something wasn’t RIGHT.
By the time I got to the store, all the food was GONE, and the shelves were practically bare. I was luckytime there was to stillthe some hydrogen By the I got store, all theperoxide food was GONE and baking because I’d got bare. thereI , andsoda the left, shelves were if practically awas fewlucky minutes therelater was somebody still some probably hydrogenwould’ve peroxide scooped themsoda up,left, too. because if I’d got there and baking a few minutes later somebody probably would’ve scooped them up, too.
I tried to ask someone what was happening, but I guess the ketchup and mustard weren’t doing their job of covering the skunk I tried to ask up someone what smell. was happening, but I guess the ketchup and mustard weren’t doing their job of covering up the skunk smell.
After I paid for my stuff and left, I ran into DooDoo, who didn’t seem to even NOTICE the way II smelled. After paid for my stuff and left, I ran into DooDoo, who didn’t seem to even NOTICE the He me the reason people were acting crazy waytold I smelled. was because last night a bolt of lightning struck thetold bridge to the campsite, and oncrazy e He me leading the reason people were acting section of the totally DESTRstruck OYED. was because lastbridge night was a bolt of lightning the bridge leading to the campsite, and one section of the bridge was totally DESTROYED.
He said the truck that brings supplies couldn’t get on to the property, which explained why everyone wassaid snapping up everything at supplies the store. He the truck that brings couldn’t get on to the property, which explained why everyone 190 was snapping up everything at the store. 190
But now I was the one who was panicking. Because if nobody could get INto camp, that meant nobody getthe OUT either. But nowcould I was one, who was panicking. Because if nobody could get INto camp, that meant OUT I ran back Mom and Dad what was going nobody could to gettell , either. on. But by then our neighbours had woken up, andran apparently theyMom weren’t crazywhat aboutwas thegoing I back to tell and Dad skunk on. Butsmell. by then our neighbours had woken up, and apparently they weren’t crazy about the skunk smell.
I filled Mom and Dad in on the bridge situation. Mom said the most important thing was that we didn’t , because neverbridge helps.situation. And she I filledPANIC Mom and Dad inthat on the said whatmost we should be focused on right Mom that said the important thing was that now we PANIC was getting rid of this that odoUr . helps. And she didn’t , because never said that what we should be focused on right now 191 was getting rid of this odoUr. 191
The deskunking instructions said to pour the baking soda and hydrogen peroxide in a hot bath, but it’s not like there were a bunch of The deskunking instructions saidbathtubs to pour on thethe baking campsite. So we usedperoxide the next soda and hydrogen in best a hotthing. bath,And but it it’s turnslike outthere dogswere don’ta like theofsmell of skunk, either. not bunch bathtubs on the campsite. So we used the next best thing. And it turns out dogs don’t like the smell of skunk, either.
We must’ve soaked in the hot tub for an hour. But in the time it took to scrub our bodies and our clothes clean, things at camp had for goneanThour. OTALL We must’ve soaked in the hot tub ButY off thetime rails.it took to scrub our bodies and our in the clothes clean, things at camp had gone TOTALLY It started off the rails.with the WATER. When the camp store ran out of water bottles, people used the tap started by the main toATER fill up. When their containers. It with lodge the W the camp store ran out of water bottles, people used the 192 tap by the main lodge to fill up their containers. 192
Some people took more than they needed, though, and the well ran DRY. Some people took more than they needed, though, and the well ran DRY.
So then people got water from wherever they could FIND it. So then people got water from wherever they could FIND it.
Things got REALLY ugly when people ran out of the coins they needed to operate the showers. Things got REALLY ugly when people ran out of the coins they needed to operate the showers. 193 193
So now quarters were like GOLD, and I about a woman who sold her wedding ring seventy-five cents. So now quarters were like GOLD, and I about a woman who sold her wedding ring seventy-five cents.
heard for heard for
Some people got frustrated they couldn’t get their hands on any coins, so they raided the ARCADE. Some people got frustrated they couldn’t get their hands on any coins, so they raided the ARCADE.
People hit the laundrette next. And I knew this whole place was gonna stink after everybody ran ou t of hit cleantheclothes. People laundrette next. And I knew this whole place was gonna stink after everybody ran out of clean clothes.
Eventually someone got the bright idea to get the water directly from the plastic tank above the shower someone block. got the bright idea to get Eventually the water directly from the plastic tank above the shower block.
The tank fell off the roof and rolled down the hill, where it leaked out half the water before coming to afellstop of and the sandpits. The tank off at theoneroof rolled downThen the the OTHER emptiedoutouthalf intothe thewater sand.before hill, wherehalf it leaked coming to a stop at one of the sandpits. Then the OTHER half emptied out into the sand.
Now people were REALLY freaking out and tried to save what they could. But the sandpit turned into QUICKSAND , andYa freaking few people Now people were REALL outactually and tried had to be RESCUED . But the sandpit turned to save what they could. into QUICKSAND, and a few people actually had to be RESCUED.
Around dinnertime, everyone started getting HUNGRY. Some people had enough food to last them a few days, but everyone else was counting Around dinnertime, everyone started getting HUNG RY. their on getting from the camp store. Some groceries people had enough food to last them a few days, but everyone else was counting So things started to get afrom littlethe CRAZY .A on getting their groceries camp store. bunch of people raided the snack shack, and CRAZY onethings personstarted stole a to giant of food from. the So getbag a little A pet-friendly area. bunch of people raided the snack shack, and one person stole a giant bag of food from the pet-friendly area.
The animals must’ve got the sense that things were getting out of control, so they banded TOGETHER . The animals must’ve got the sense that things were getting out of control, so they banded TOGETHER.
And when one of our neighbours fired up their BBQ to cook some hamburgers, a pack of dogs made its move. And when one of our neighbours fired up their BBQ to cook some hamburgers, a pack of dogs made its move.
A few people ate the leftover hot dogs from the pool party, and the teenagers from the hill salvaged some ate of their slingshothot ammunition down A few people the leftover dogs from at the the poolfield. party, and the teenagers from the hill salvaged some of their slingshot ammunition down at the field.
I was more nervous than hungry. People do crazy things when they’re desperate, and I had vous would no was idea more how ner bad things So I kept I than get. hungry. Peop le dmy o shirt to show that I didn’t a crazy off things wheneveryone they’re desperate, and have I had lot idea of MEA on things me. would get. So I kept my no howTbad shirt off to show everyone that I didn’t have a lot of MEAT on me.
The other thing I was worried about was the WEATHER. Dad’s phone said another storm was coming tonight, thatworried was the LAS T thing The other thing and I was about was the WEA THER this place needed. . Dad’s phone said another storm was coming tonight, and that was the LAST thing this place needed.
Mom said everyone was OVERREACTING, and that by morning someone would repair the bridge CTING, and and everything would back to normal. Mom said everyone wasgoOVERREA that by morning someone would repair the bridge But when nightwould fell things campsite got and everything go backattothe normal. a whole lot worse. And when one of the deluxe camper vans tipped by peoplegot who But when night fellgot things at over the campsite wo rsehoarding they were canned and athought whole lot . And when onefood of the toilet paper Momtipped finallyover admitted things deluxe camperinside, vans got by people who were SERIOUS . hoarding canned food and thought they were toilet paper inside, Mom finally admitted things were SERIOUS.
Now we ALL wanted to get out of this place, but nobody could figure out HOW. And that’s when we I ALL thought of the ST REAM Now wanted to get out of .this place, but nobody could figure out HOW. And that’s 200 when I thought of the ST REAM. 200
I remembered there was one part that was really SHALLOW, and I said we might be able to drive the camper the rocks I remembered there van was over one part that and was get OW, and I said we might be able to theSHALL other side. really to drive the camper van over the rocks and get to the other side.
I thought everyone would say my idea was stupid, but when a camper van two doors down got tipped overthought we wereeveryone ready to would try just ANYTHING I say about my idea was stupid,. but when a camper van two doors down got tipped over we were ready to try just about ANYTHING.
We didn’t wanna call a lot of attention to ourselves by turning on the engine, so we pushed the didn’t camperwanna van off padofand down the We callthe a lot attention to hill. And, oncebyweturning got it on going, the camper really ourselves the engine, so wevan pushed started MOvan VING the camper off. the pad and down the hill. And, once we got it going, the camper van really started MOVING.
The only problem was we forgot to detach the sewer pipe before we got rolling, and it made a giant MESS on our The only problem wassite. we forgot to detach the sewer pipe before we got rolling, and it made a giant MESS on our site.
But there was no going back now, and when the camper van started picking up speed we all climbed on board. But there was no going back now, and when the camper van started picking up speed we all climbed on board.
We coasted to the bottom of the hill, where the lake emptied into the stream. And when we were far coasted enough away everyone else, seemedthe safe We to thefrom bottom of the hill,it where to the into engine. lakestart emptied the stream. And when we were far enough away from everyone else, it seemed safe We kept the engine. headlights off because we didn’t want to start anyone to SEE us. But that made it tricky to find the shallow spot in the stream. we didn’t want We kept the headlights off because anyone to SEE us. But that made it tricky to 203 find the shallow spot in the stream. 203
By now it had started to RAIN, and it was coming down pretty hard. But when we turned the now headitligh ts started back on,toIRAIN finally, found By had and it the was place where shallow. coming the downstream prettywashard. But when we turned the headlights back on, I finally found the place where the stream was shallow.
Dad put his foot on the accelerator. We edged out slowly, and for a minute it looked like we were gonnaput be his ablefoot to make it accelerator. all the way across. Dad on the We edged out slowly, and for a minute it looked like we were gonna be able to make it all the way across.
But once we got to the middle of the stream there was an awful sound, and the camper van ground But oncetowea halt. got to the middle of the stream there was an awful sound, and the camper van ground to a halt.
We were stuck on a giant ROCK, and something got knocked loose from the bottom of the camper van. ROCK I’mwere not stuck an expert on cars or anything, but, got We on a giant , and something whateverloose thatfrom thing it looked it wasvan. knocked thewas, bottom of thelike camper pretty TANonT.cars or anything, but, I’m notIMPOR an expert whatever that thing was, it looked like it was pretty IMPORTANT.
But it turned out that was the LEAST of our problems. The rain was getting a lot H EAVIER, LEASso T of our and all of a sudden the was stream But it turned out that thewasn’t SHALL OW more. problems. Theany rain was getting a lot H EAVIER, and all of a sudden the stream wasn’t so SHALL Now ourOW sewage any hook-up more. was UNDERWATER, and it didn’t take long for the system to back up. Now our sewage hook-up was UNDERWATER, and it didn’t take long for the system to back up.
The mess in the bathroom overf lowed into the main living area, and we scrambled to keep off the fmess loor.inWe we couldn’t stay into insidethe the The theknew bathroom overf lowed camper van,area, so weand tried get O UT But by main living we to scrambled to. keep offnow the water stream was moving fast the it f loor. in Wethe knew we couldn’t staysoinside wasn’t SAFE camper van, sotoweleave. tried to get O UT. But by now the water in the stream was moving so fast it 206 wasn’t SAFE to leave. 206
The camper van was filling up with water, and we had to climb even HIGHER. Rodrick pulled himself on the roof and then helped the and RESwe T Thetocamper vanfirst, was filling up with water, of ustoupclimb to safety. had even HIGHER. Rodrick pulled himself on to the roof first, and then helped the REST of us up to safety.
But once we were all on the roof the camper van started to tu rn. But once we were all on the roof the camper van started to tu rn.
By now the stream was overflowing, and the camper van lifted free from the rock it was stuck on. Five seconds laterstream we were downstream. By now the wasdrifting overflowing , and the camper van lifted free from the rock it was stuck on. Five seconds later we were drifting downstream.
We were headed right for that BRIDGE. And, if we had stayed where we were on the roof, that BRIDGE thinwere g would have right takenfor our that HEADS off. . And, if We headed we had stayed where we were on the roof, that thing would have taken our HEADS off.
That’s when I noticed that some of the seat cushions from the kitchen had f loated outside the sidewhen door.IInoticed jumpedthat first, andofeveryone That’s some the seatelse followed my lead. cushions from the kitchen had f loated outside the side door. I jumped first, and everyone else followed my lead.
The only person who didn’t jump was MANNY. He had climbed back down into the camper van and was sitting in person the DRIVER ’ S seat. The only who didn’t jump was MANNY. He had climbed back down into the camper van and was The rest were freaking out, because the sitting in of theusDRIVER ’ S seat. camper van was about to hit the BRIDGE. The rest of us were freaking out, because the camper van was about to hit the BRIDGE.
But at the last second Manny pulled the wheel hard to the right, and the camper van started to TU Andsecond when itManny reached the the bridge the But at RN the. last pulled wheel camper intothe place like avan puzzle piece. hard tovan thesnapped right, and camper started to TURN. And when it reached the bridge the 210 camper van snapped into place like a puzzle piece. 210
Manny wasn’t finished, though. He grabbed something out of the glove compartment, then he finished, shot offwasn’t the flare gun for the secondHe time this trip. Manny though. grabbed something out of the glove compartment, then he Even though it was hard,time thethis f laretrip. lit shot off the flare gunstill forraining the second up the sky. A few minutes later we saw headlights comingthough our way. At first I thought werelit Even it was still raining hard,people the f lare coming us. Butlater when got to up the to skyRESCUE . A few minutes wethey saw headlights the bridge they At justfirst keptIGO ING. people were coming our way. thought coming to RESCUE us. But when they got to 211 the bridge they just kept GOING. 211
It took a full HOUR for all the vehicles to cross to the other side. It took a full HOUR for all the vehicles to cross 212 to the other side. 212
And when the very last motorcyle drove over the bridge, the only thing we could hear was the rain. And when the very last motorcyle drove over the bridge, the only thing we could hear was the rain. 213 213
Saturday After the campsite emptied out, we were the only ones LEFT. With all the people gone, we were Saturday finally able campsite to enjoy emptied ourselves. And, for once, After the out, we were the only Campers’ Eden livedallup its NAME ones LEFT . With thetopeople gone,. we were finally able to enjoy ourselves. And, for once, Campers’ Eden lived up to its NAME.
So all it took for this place to turn into paradise was for everyone else to LEAVE. So all it took for this place to turn into paradise VEdelivery Two dayseveryone after the the truck came was for elsestorm, to LEA . back to supply the camp store. And that night we ate likeafter KINGS Two days the. storm, the delivery truck came back to supply the camp store. And that night 214 we ate like KINGS. 214
We had the whole lake to ourselves, too. And, since the water was nice and deep, we actually had FUN . the whole lake to ourselves, too. And, We had since the water was nice and deep, we actually had FUN.
I don’t wanna be corny or anything, but we actually did make a few happy memories during our stay.wanna be corny or anything, but we I don’t actually did make a few happy memories during our stay.
But I just wanna point out that I was right, because it took a miracle for it to happen. But I just wanna point out that I was right, I’m notitsure all that because tookwea needed miracle to forgoit through to happen. DRAMA, though. So maybe the next time we do something as awefamily, ick withallsom ething I’m not sure neededwetocan go st through that DRAMA boring, ,though. like minigSoolf. maybe the next time we do something as a family, we can stick with something boring, like minigolf. 216 216
I’m really looking forward to telling Rowley about my holiday when I get back. But I’ ll probably leavereally out the partsforward that weren’t so great. I’m looking to telling Rowley about my holiday when I get back. But I’ ll probably And change a few othersodetails leave I outmight the parts that weren’t great.here and there, because you should never let the truth get in theIway of achange good story. And might a few other details here and there, because you should never let the truth get in the way of a good story.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Thanks to all theAfans who WLEDGEMENTS ha ve made m y dream of becoming a CKNO cartoonist a reality. Thanks to my wife, Julie, and to my whole family Thanks to allme the who deadlines. ha ve made m y dream of becoming a for cheering onfans through cartoonist a reality. Thanks to my wife, Julie, and to my whole family for cheering me on K throchman ough deadlines. Thanks to Charlie for being m y par tner in crime for all these years, and for your dedication to making great books. Thanks Thanks Charlie K ochman for being m y par tner inAndr crime all to ev erto yone at Abrams, including Michael Jacobs, ew for Smith, these years, and for your dedication making, Mar great books. Thanks Hallie Patterson, Melanie Chang, KimtoLauber y O’Mara, Alison to ev er yone at Abrams, Andr ew Smith, Ger vais and Elisa Gonzalez.including ThanksMichael also to Jacobs, Susan V an Metre and Hallie Patterson, Melanie Chang, Kim Lauber , Mar y O’Mara, Alison Steve Roman. Ger vais and Elisa Gonzalez. Thanks also to Susan Van Metre and Steve Roman. Thanks to the Wimpy Kid team (Shae’Vana!): Shaelyn Germain, Vanessa Jedrej and Anna Cesary. Thanks to Deb Sundin, Kym Havens, Thanks to the Wimpy (Shae’V Shaelyn Germain, and the incredible team atKid An team Unlikely Storyana!): . Vanessa Jedrej and Anna Cesary. Thanks to Deb Sundin, Kym Havens, and the to incredible team An Unlik elyy Stor y. outstanding support. Thanks Rich Carr andat Andrea Luce for your Thanks to Paul Sennott for your expert advice. Thanks to Sylvie Thanks toand RichKCarr and Andrea Luce y foryou yourdo outstanding support. Rabineau eith Fleer for ever ything for me. Thanks to Thanks P tooindexter Paul Sennott your, exper t advice . Thanks Sylvie Roland , RalphforMillero Vanessa Morrison andtoMichael Rabineau and K eith Fleer for ev er ything you do f or me . Thanks to Musgrave for bringing fresh excitement to the Wimpy World. Roland Poindexter, Ralph Millero, Vanessa Morrison and Michael Musgra bringing fresh excitement tofriendship the Wimpyand World. As alwave ys,for thanks to Jess Brallier for your support. As always, thanks to Jess Brallier for your friendship and support.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jeff Kinney is a #1 ABOUT New York Times author and a six-time THEbestselling AUTHOR Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Award winner for Favourite Book. Jeff has Jeff Kinne y is one a #1ofNew Times bestselling and aPeople six-time been named TimeYork magazine’ s 100 Mostauthor Inf luential in NickW elodeon Choice foropica, Favourite has the orld. HeKids’ is also the A crward eatorwinner of Poptr whichBook. was Jeff named been of named TimeWmagazine’ s 100 Mosthis Infchildhood luential People in one Time’one s 50ofBest ebsites. He spent in the the W orld. He is also the cr eator of Poptr opica, which was named Washington, D.C., area and moved to New England in 1995. Jeff lives one of 50 tw Best Websites. He spent hiswher childhood in thea with his Time wife’s and o sons in Massachusetts, e they own Washington,AnD.C ., arely ea and to New England in 1995. Jeff lives bookstore, Unlik Stormoved y. with his wife and two sons in Massachusetts, where they own a bookstore, An Unlikely Story.
Table of Contents The Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series Title Page Copyright Dedication Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Deep End Acknowledgements About the Author
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