"Not to campers like you." There was one coffee machine in the counselors’ break room. Michael used it more than anyone else, at all hours of the day. He would pull more cups of coffee than was necessary, blaming the machine for producing weak water downed coffee and causing him to double his intake. He couldn’t sleep when he was at camp and preferred long hours, hopped up on caffeine, and listening to his campers cry and scream into the night.
"Peter Murphy is straight and married with two kids. The last place he wants to be is here." Michael sucked on his cigarette hard. As a camper, he had to make a presentation to the camp counselors on why bands like Bauhaus were good Christian influences; Peter Murphy accepted a heteronormative, heterosexual (conformist) lifestyle in a highly religious country. The camp heads were convinced enough to let Michael keep some of his paraphernalia when he was promoted to camp counselor. It reached a point where Michael even started to believe what he was saying, with an undertone of bitterness and Catholic guilt…but all Pete needed to know was that Peter Murphy was a breeder and not the subject of his school boy fantasies anymore while he was at camp.
Michael rolled his eyes as he flicked ash off the end of his cigarette. “Quit the act, poser. I’m just down the hall, so if you don’t want your summer to be a living Hell, you would listen to what I have to say—and I say you need to go to fucking dinner or I’m turning this room upside down until I find your wrist cutters kit.”
He thought the novelty of this responsibility thrust on him would be over once he hit eighteen, but one summer later, he was back at Camp New Grace donning the obnoxiously bright camp uniform, ready to usher in young homosexuals, and lead them on the right path to the Lord.
Michael almost choked on his cigarette at the thought.
Truthfully, he had been sent to Camp New Grace at the tender age of sixteen by his religiously conservative mother and father when they found a folder of obscene photos of Peter Murphy on the family desktop computer. Amid suicidal and self-harming teenagers, Michael took sadistic pleasure in the self-flagellation of his camp mates. He miraculously was ‘cured’ through an act that took zero fucking effort at all (he wasn’t gay, he kept telling himself, he wasn’t like any of these limp-wristed fags lisping through their teeth) and had been volunteered as a camp counselor once he hit the required age of seventeen.
At Camp New Grace, Michael found religion in music and the literature was pretty fucking hardcore especially in the Old Testament. Mass was mandatory and the pastors were fucking jokes, but he took it in stride. What he really looked forward to was being in a position of authority over a gaggle of vulnerable boys with their thumbs up their assholes. It was too easy to push most of them to the breaking point until they either offed themselves, were instituted, or joined a monastery upon release.
The camp counselors were all so proud of Michael for being a major influence on the growing influx of boys taking up the cloth after Camp New Grace. They implied Michael should go down the same path, but he insisted there was just so much more work to do at the camp as a counselor.
Michael stomped out his cigarette and emerged from behind the main office building. Immediately, the owner of the camp approached him.
“Michael! It’s good to see you.” The owner’s bleached white teeth were fucking blinding. “I actually need your help with something. One of our new campers wasn’t at dinner and we were wondering if one of our most esteemed camp counselor can maybe convince him to come out?”
He hummed in response. New campers always spent the first 24-48 hours skulking in their rooms as they tried to find some way to kill themselves. After the total number of deaths racked up to fifteen last summer (with a whopping four suicides in one week inspired by the tragi-couple that saw a suicide pact through to the bitter end), the camp has been trying to be vigilant about nipping depressive tendencies in the bud.
“His name is Peter and he’s in your wing,” the owner tried to helpfully supply. “He’s been partnered up with Mike Makowski—and while we all love Mike, we feel that this new one might need a firmer touch.”
The corner of Michael’s lip twitched at the unintended innuendo.
“Sure, whatever.” He instinctively went to his back pocket for his cigarette case, but stopped himself. Had to keep up appearances, after all. Instead, he gestured toward his building and parted ways with the owner.
He knew exactly where Mike fucking Makowski’s room was. Mike wasn’t that much younger than him and fucking hard to break. The most Michael could do was make him feel bad for being a fake vampire pussy, but since Mike found Anne Rice after that Twifag author, he was fucking indestructible. There were many nights that Michael was close to driving a sharpened crucifix through his chest.
He didn’t see Mike around when he arrived at the room, thank fucking God. Michael banged loudly on the door, the noise echoing down the hall.
“Hey, open up.” He knocked again with a clenched fist. “You’ve got ten seconds until I kick this door in and your parents pay for the damages.”