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Hi From Camp Dystopia

Appeared in The Cynic Online Magazine
Hi Mom and Dad,

Camp is so fun, so far (only a few weeks, I know). I sure am glad you sent me here cause you caught me reading all those dystopian type books like The Hunger Games and Monsters of Men and said I should see it for myself.

We write real letters here, no texting, no iPhones, no computers, only a piece of charcoal on a stretched out cloth, so I hope you can read this. You won’t be hearing from me that much, but don’t worry. Actually now I’m going to use a crayon that our counselor Joanne gave me when she saw I mushed my finger.

Seriously cool. I’ve been cast in a play. It takes place in a post-apocalyptic world (just like camp!!!) where Diet Coke and Pringles are illegal for regular people – can only be used by the king. I play a girl named Ethanagel (rhymes with bagel), who goes after the bloodthirsty beast outside our walled city. I’m supposed to be 23, the age at which we all die, because of gene slicing or splicing or something, but we can save ourselves if we kill the beast. My BFF here Laura plays the beast.

At rehearsal I got a plastic gas mask that covers my whole face, with a filter tube, kind of puts air in so I won’t choke. It protects me from whatever is destroying our kingdom, not sure whether an electromagnetic pulse, or dirty bomb, or anthrax. Whatever. It’s hard to see and breathe, and will anybody be able to see my face? For my first real part, I want to show off my talent.

Everything’s black or gray in camp, like my tunic – first form of clothing – who knew? Our yurt too, which we built ourselves out of sticks and goat hide (prepackaged). Joanne said, “There are limits, for God’s sake.”

First bad news so far – Camp Paranormal, coed, was a real drag. We swam over there the other night, then sat on blankets and stared up at the sky, concentrating the energies of our third-eye. We were trying to disable nuclear warheads or find missing satellites or meteorites or something. The Russians do it all the time, they told us. Who cares? I fell asleep.

Today we played a cool game where we fight to the death (don’t freak) – it’s a fake death. When you’re dead you hold your hands over your heart as if it’s going to get cut out and put in the Chac-mool, a Mayan thingy kind of statue. Everybody’s very into Mayan stuff here (you know, 2012, my personal fave movie of all time, including steamy-dreamy John Cusack). All our yurts have Mayan names, like ours is Two ik’ (name day) Xul (month). So Two ik’Xul—cool, huh? You could write me, but we don’t do regular mail in Dystopia. We just send out pigeons.

Best news of the whole entire summer so far. I met an older guy, okay boy two years older than me, 16, who’s at Camp Vampire. His real name is Josh, but he’s taken the name Leuthold for the summer. Also, he has longish black hair and those fake fangs, but he pulled them out three nights ago when we had an intercamp wienie roast. Not sure what was in the food, but afterwards I squashed a bug on my foot and everybody started screaming, ‘It’s Mr. Fowler, Mr. Fowler!” No, it was definitely a bug, but they said Mr. Fowler, the camp director, was a shape-shifter who could turn himself into a bug and fly around and spy on everybody. How dumb do they think I am? When I left, Leuthold put his hand on my shoulder (double don’t freak) and said, “Call me when you’re dead.” He really likes me but wants me to be one of them! Wait ’til he sees me in the play.

Whew, couldn’t write more because an old man the head counselor called Dr. Doom – spelled N-o-u-r-i-e-l R-o-u-b-i-n-i – came and gave us a talk about money (we don’t have any of that here, just wood chips and dried deer poo). You’d have been psyched because you always say I don’t know the value of a dollar. Afterwards I went up and talked to him. Do you believe? Especially since I didn’t understand anything except it’s all bad, like everything in the whole universe, especially “derivatives,” whatever they are. He was very nice and said you should give me more allowance and unlimited pizza.

I would send you a little bit of our dinner last night, 3 figs and a rock, for fiber, but we ran out of pigeons. Our “Mail Apps” are all out flying over the country to the parents of the other kids.

Dr. Doom said next summer I should go to Camp Hedge Fund.

Love, Ethanagel – Mindy to you