The first things I saw when I opened my eyes were Scots, attacking my bandmates. Monstrously huge Scots, all tattooed and armed with clubs. John was in his pyjamas, wielding his Celestial Bronze dagger. As I watched, he stabbed a Scot and the monster evaporated. Three more were still in the room, and I was about to grab my special electric guitar and go to John’s help when the bathroom door burst open and Paul came out, swinging his curved sabre (also made of Celestial Bronze) and decapitated two Scots at once. John quickly took care of the last one. Soon there were only piles of dust and three-quarters of our band left in the room.
“Thanks, Paul,” John said.
Paul grinned and disappeared back into the bathroom.
“Morning, friends,” I yawned. “Did I miss much?”
“Only you would sleep through a monster attack,” said John, throwing a pillow in my face.
“They were just Scots,” I said dismissively. “I knew you had them under control.”
“Not Scots, Laistrygonians,” Paul shouted from the bathroom. He came out and hung up his towel. I was opening my mouth to say something smart when the door burst open. Our drummer, Pete, came in.
“What the hell is the matter with you lot? It’s early morning and you’re still making all this racket!” he stormed.
“Err… calm down, Pete,” John said, looking awkwardly at us. Despite having drummed with us for some time, Pete still didn’t know about our little problems. He was a regular mortal, with an unnatural incapacity to see through the Mist.
John wanted to tell him, but both Paul and I thought it might cause more issues. Besides, we’d have to spend a lot of time just explaining things to Pete, who had even less imagination than the school curriculum required.
Pete solved all our problems right then.
“You blokes always do this! I’m bloody fed up! What if I just walked out now? That would suit you fine, wouldn’t it?” he shouted.
“Ah, man, Pete, don’t do that! We can work it out!” John said.
Paul and I said nothing. I don’t know what Paul thought, but I never really liked Pete, so I wasn’t about to stop him.
Pete didn’t reply, just slammed the door and left.
“And, we’ve lost our drummer,” John said glumly, sitting on Paul’s bed. John had been sharing the next room with Pete, but we usually met in our room since it was bigger. Also, monsters liked attacking us more for some reason.
Paul shrugged. “How did those Laistrygonians even find us?” he asked.
“Zeus knows,” John sighed.
I snorted. “Or Zeus doesn’t know,” I pointed out.
“Shut it, George,” Paul said, warningly.
“Hey, we’re good with monsters,” John said, trying to sound upbeat and prevent me from blaspheming Zeus.
“Er, no. We’re not. I mean, look at Paul! He’s never even been to Camp Half-Blood! Even for the six-week course!” I pointed out.
“I kill monsters pretty well,” Paul said, in a hurt voice. “Besides, I did the correspondence course.”
John and I looked at each other. “There is no correspondence course,” John said.
Paul looked surprised. “So where did my five pounds go?”
I rolled my eyes and headed for the bathroom.
When I came out, Paul and John were talking. Paul sounded upset.
“I mean, just because I didn’t go to some camp in Cornwall, that doesn’t mean I’m useless!” he said.
“It’s all right, Paul, you’re not. You know George is cranky in the mornings.” John told him.
They saw me and looked awkward. I grinned at them. “Right, chaps, I’m off to find us some food,” I said, breezily.
“George, take some money. And don’t come back with it.” John said, sternly.
“Hey, that’s such a waste-” I began, but John interrupted.
“No more stealing from mortals,” he ordered me.
I shrugged. “Fine. Your loss.”
I turned to leave. John called, “Wait! George!”
“What?” I stopped moving.
“what say we go back to Camp Half-Blood, put Paul through the six-week course? We could also scout around for a drummer. It’s better this way, if we can get a half-blood drummer.”
I stared. Of all the dumb ideas I’d heard, this was certainly right up there with “go ahead and throw a rock at the hellhound.”
“John,” I said at last. “That’s a really bad idea.” I thought it was best to break it to him gently.
“Oh, I’m sorry. Would you prefer to go on running from monsters?” John asked, sarcastically.
“I don’t really see how visiting Camp Half-Blood is going to save us. It’s not like we can live there if we really want to hit the big time.” I pointed out.
“Well, we’re not going to live there, we can just visit, put Paul through the course, restock on our godly food supplies. We could get some pointers from Chiron and find a drummer too. Let’s do it.” John said.
“I want to try writing songs,” Paul said, looking up. “John says I might be able to contact me dad from Camp, maybe get divine inspiration.”
I snorted. “Really, John? You really think that?”
Paul sighed. “He’s never spoken to me… I’m hoping he will at the camp.”
I said nothing. Gods, he was naïve.
We came into sight of the Olympian Cliff and we had a puncture. We always have punctures. We got out of the car (John was driving) and walked the rest of the way. The camp is on the edge of the cliff. As we approached the borders of the camp (a magic shield to demigods and monsters; a Mist-enhanced fence with ‘Trespassers Will Be Prosecuted’ signs to mortals), we saw a satyr and a skinny bloke around our age with a really strange nose.
The satyr was disguised as a human but he’d forgotten a cap so we could see his horns through his hair. The other fellow didn’t look much more human than his companion.
“Look at his nose!” I whispered to Paul, grinning.
Paul looked embarrassed. We went through the barrier with the other two.
“Son of Athena, welcome!” the satyr said to John, once we were inside the camp grounds.
John grinned and waved.
“Your father’s name is Athena?” Ugly Nose asked.
“My mother,” John corrected him.
“Right,” said Ugly Nose, smirking.
“A welcome for me’d be nice,” I told the satyr.
He looked puzzled. It always happens. I’d been at the camp for six summers, John had come for three, but everyone forgot me and remembered Mr. Personality, of course.
“New man?” John asked the satyr, indicating Ugly Nose.
“This chap has no idea. Chiron’s going to have to show him the orientation slides.” The satyr said.
“Chiron? Is he a Jap? Sounds like a Jap name.” Ugly Nose said. He was probably spelling it Kai-Ron.
I opened my mouth to give him a scathing reply but John nudged me.
“No, he’s not,” John said, sounding faintly amused.
Chiron was waiting for us at the main building. He was in his wheelchair.
The satyr introduced Ugly Nose (as Richard Starkey- what a name!) and left.
“How did he find you?” Chiron asked.
Richard Ugly Nose shrugged. “I met him in a club down in Liverpool, where you drink champagne and it tastes just like cherry cola.”
John looked up sharply. “Sounds like an idea for a song,” he muttered to Paul. Paul nodded. “Only ‘Liverpool’ doesn’t really go,” he replied. John scribbled it down on a piece of paper.
Chiron nodded. “Do you know why you’re here?” he asked.
Starkey shrugged. “You want music? I dig music. I played drums in a band for a bit.”
John’s ears pricked right up. “Did you hear that?” he said, loudly.
Chiron turned to us. “Oh, John, hello. And who is this?” he indicated Paul.
“A demigod too. Paul. He knows his background and parent and stuff.” John said.
“Well,” said Chiron, “I’ll have a talk with Paul here and Richard, you go in with John. He’ll show you the slides. Oh, you too, George? I didn’t see you.”
“Most people don’t,” I muttered.
“Where’s the D?” John asked Chiron.
“I’m assuming you mean Mr. D, the director of this camp…he’s away at the moment. Go on in, boys.”
John went into the sitting room and drew the curtains.
“Come on, Ug-Richard,” I said, going into the room and getting the projector out.
“This a movie?” Ugly Richard asked.
“Just slides,” I told him. “The budget doesn’t run to film.”
The projector flickered to life and John narrated boring stories of the Greek gods.
“Man, this is stupid. Is this some school or something?” Stark-Nose complained when John stopped for breath.
“This is a story about your dad or mum. So shut up,” I told him.
John started again. I got out a pack of cards and played Patience until he finished, without having got to the main idea.
“I really don’t get it,” Stark-Nose said. His eyes had glazed over.
I ripped open the curtains and turned to Stark-Nose. “The Greek gods are still alive. And one’s your dad or mum. Thank you, have a nice day.”
“Blimey, this is way out! You fellows in the entertainment business or something? Wait, let me guess. That Chiron is American?”
I rolled my eyes.
We went out to the porch.
Paul looked happy. “I get to stay in the Apollo cabin,” he told us.
“Er, can I choose a cabin too?” Stark asked. He obviously still thought this was some kind of show.
“Your godly parent must claim you first,” Chiron said. “Until then, you’re in Hermes.”
I had forgotten that cute trick of bunging all unclaimed kids into my cabin.
We went to the cabins. The two cabins of the elder gods; that is, Zeus and Poseidon; were empty. In fact, through all my six summers, the only child of the Big Three was a nitwit son of Zeus named Elvis. Surprisingly, he became famous later.
The third god of the Big Three was Hades but he didn’t have a cabin because no one really liked him.
My cabin, Hermes, is always the fullest. Both because my godly parent always has affairs with mortals, and because all the unclaimed kids live there since he’s the god of travelers. It gets crowded. For two summers, I’d actually unofficially lived in the empty Poseidon cabin, alone and happy, but that stool pigeon Elvis had ratted on me and I’d been forced back into Hermes.
Stark-Nose insisted on grabbing the bunk next to mine. I gave him the slip and joined Paul and John.
“Man, that Stark-Nose is the limit!” I complained to the other two. “I’m so glad that after these six weeks we won’t have to see him again.”
John and Paul looked at each other. I hate it when they do that.
“We’re going to ask him to come with us,” Paul said.
We spoke to Stark-Nose about it the next day. He pranced along beside me. Sadly enough, he seemed delighted with the idea of joining us.
“So what do you call yourselves?” he babbled.
John answered. “We call ourselves the Beatles. How does that sound?”