The creaking and cracking of poorly maintained shocks rattles the bus. The smell of sweat and unhygienic seventh grade body odor fills the bus as the kids barrel down the highway on the way to seventh grade camp. The expectations of the children barely crest above sea level. One of those kids is me. I have no idea what I had no idea what I was about to endure at this seemingly normal campground.
I arrive at my cabin with all of my best buds. Our cabin; titled the Santa Fe, reeked of dirt and mildew. Peering at the stained wood walls; the only thing that came to mind is water damaged cement walls of an old basement. No electricity. No power. No water. Nothing. The bare bones feel added to the novelty of the Santa Fe. The ranch style cabin was very simple in structure. Two rooms, no doors, no nonsense. The loud creak of every step by every person in the cabin was heard from miles away. There was no other cabin like the Santa Fe, and i've never had a night quite like this one.
Unpacking my bag, taking out my clothes, underwear, socks and my toothbrush, something heavy remained at the bottom of the duffel. I creep my hand down to the bottom of my bag, digging under all of the clothes I had brought for our five day, four night stay. I reach down only to find my metal horseshoe puzzle from when i was younger, and I finally remembered. I brought my horseshoe puzzle because I wanted to brag all of my friends that I could get the ring detached and they couldn’t. At this time, I didn’t know this puzzle could also be used as a weapon.
“Hey guys, check this out!” I scream, Only wanting to show my friends how much smarter I was then them.
“Spice, what the hell is that?” Asks Joe. “Are those horseshoes?”
“Eh, kinda. It's one of those puzzles. Here, check it out!” I throw him the 10 lb. metal puzzle across the room from my bunk to his.
“Oh s*** man this is heavy!” Says joe, only joe and I knowing how right he truly was. “Dude i can’t get it, can you?”
“Yes I can!” I exclaim with pride. I felt as if i had the biggest chest in the room, intellectually emasculating everyone in the room. “Hey Ry, do you wanna try this out?” Knowing he could only dream of figuring it out.
“Yeah dude toss it over joe!” Boasts ryan. In hindsight, this was the moment that s*** really hit the fan. Joe winds up to throw the metal horseshoe puzzle at ryan, with all of the arm he could possibly muster up, to show off of course. He releases the horseshoe, hurling it in the direction of ryan's bottom bunk. But the end destination of the horseshoe wasn’t on ryan's bunk as planned. First, it made contact with the ladder, bounced off, and nailed ryan directly in his temple.
“Clinkkkk!” The ring of the metal ladder from that contact made us all wince as if it was nails on a chalkboard.
“I'm gonna go to sleep nahhhhh…” Says ryan as he dozes of into what i can only assume is a coma.
“Oh my god dude, what did you do?” I scream at joe, with the thought in my head that my friend ryan is dead. All of us wondering the same exact thing. “Is he alive?” I ask, with all of my laughter turning into sincerity. And none of us knowing at least the slightest bit of common sense to check his pulse to see if he was still breathing. The murmur and the screaming of all of our cabin mates created a crescendo of noise. The smell of fear filled the air as we were all whining in terror. We all tucked our heads into our sleeping bags and went to sleep, hoping that this whole situation would just vanish. It was so hard to fall asleep that night, with real fear that our dear friend ryan was permanently injured.
The next morning, we wake up and check on ryan.
“Is he OK man?” Wonders Joe. I couldn't imagine how grief stricken he felt for being responsible for throwing our friend into a coma.
“Well, he still isn't moving, so that's not good.” I exclaim, trying to make the best of a terrible situation. As the first activity of the day was starting soon, we had no choice but to leave him resting, and check on him when we get back to the cabin for lunch, poor guy. All we could think about was Ryan. If he was OK. What he was doing. Until suddenly, while we’re are our next activity, we see a messy head of hair crest above the hill to the main activity center, and we all take a deep, receiving breathe.
“Hey guys, what happened?” Mumbles ryan with his hand on his temple, with a hell of a story to bring home to his folks.