Saturday, March 05, 2011

The Awesome Adventures of Dana the Ninth Grader, part 9

As they opened the door to the back of the Lodge, Kellie ran smack into Greg and Dana bumped into her from behind. Although they were tall girls, they only came up to Greg's shoulders in height.

Greg was the other senior Outdoor Ed alumni recruited by Mr. Branson to help chaperone the class. In the fall, he played football with Kellie's older brother, Mike, and was generally famous in the community for his blocking skills and college football scholarship prospects. Kellie knew him way back before his local celebrity status when he was an awkward chunk of a boy who played xbox for a few hours every Saturday with her brother in their den.

Although their gaming days were almost over, Greg still hung out with Mike in their den, mostly talking shop about football and their futures. Mike was accepted already to go to University of Washington in the fall for the engineering program there. Greg was also considering UW, but wanted to be closer to his family and had decided to accept a full ride scholarship to Washington State University to study Wildlife Ecology instead.  The idea that they would be competing against each other was a constant joke between them, which Kellie could never figure out.  Why would being rivals be so funny?

"Yo, Strawberry Shortcake, what's the hurry?" When Kellie was a kid, everyone called her by her favorite dessert, which everyone forgot about except Greg.

"Nothing, Greg." He filled up the doorway and she was looking for a way to get around him. "Excuse us, we want to get through."

"You've got to wait, they're still cleaning the outhouses." With lightening speed, he grabbed Kellie's camera. "So, who invited you, paparazzi?  Whenever I see you with this thing I know you're up to no good."

"Just some nature scenes, Greg."

Greg looked at her skeptically.  "Tell me what you're planning, or I'm handing this over to Mike.  He's still mad about the photos you posted on Facebook."   He nodded his head toward the cleaning crew, which included the little Lipovsky kid that was on Kellie's hit list at the moment. "Let me guess, you were wanting some fun with those poor guys over there?  They're just doing penance for howling at the moon last night, Kells." Which was true, Mr. Branson assigned them the worst jobs on the chore roster for literally howling at the moon after quiet hours. 

For reasons that eluded Dana, Kellie confessed that she was mad and was planning to take some compromising pictures of Lipovsky cleaning the outhouse to put in the freshmen pages of the yearbook.  Greg still hung onto the camera and stayed in the doorway.

"So, he threw pebbles at you and you're going to roll a boulder on him? Revenge isn't justice, Kellie.  Over there, that's justice because Mr. B is the authority on this trip and he didn't make them do latrine cleaning duty because he was angry with them, but because they broke an actual rule and he made sure they paid the consequences.   What you're planning on doing is pure spite, Kellie."  Greg put the camera in his jacket pocket. "I'm hanging on to this until you cool down. I know you're furious at me, but I'm your buddy." He went out the back and walked towards the boys scrubbing the outhouses. "Aren't you done yet?  The faster you get it done, the less you suffer." The boys groaned. "Hey, I know what I'm talking about...Mr. B put me on latrine duty back in the day, too."

Kellie and Dana headed back to the fireplace.  Dana knew that Kellie had a giant crush on Greg for years, but she would never admit it.  She didn't deny it either when Dana teased her privately when she caught her looking at him from a distance or reading for the fifth time the blurbs about his performance on the team in the local newspaper.  They sat for a long silent minute.

"I wish that he wouldn't call me Strawberry Shortcake."

"I thought you like that?"

"Not anymore." Kellie stared at the fire. "But what he said was true.  When am I going to grow up?"

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