Counselors and counselors-in-training gathered at the information desk at the rear of the administration cabin. Tall and skinny, with a receding hairline, Director Vince LaChez held the all-important assignment list in his hands. Even Director Vince's daughter, Vicky, had shown up to learn who got what, knowing these assignments could make or break a summer at Camp Chippewa.
Camp Chippewa was located on the edge of Eagle Lake, part of the Finger Lakes region in northern Wisconsin. Surrounded by a dense forest of aspens and pines, the sleep-away summer camp welcomed campers from kindergarten through tenth grade. Each age group had their own log cabin with bunks, and the bath house had been upgraded to modern 50s amenities. A summer at Camp Chippewa included all the standard camp activities: swimming, archery, arts and crafts, horseback riding, and basic wilderness skills.
Rolled jeans, shorts, and casual shirts and tees were the standard uniform of both the campers and staff. Nurse Carol, the camp nurse, and Mother Julia, who ran the commissary and also obtained supplies for the camp, wore skirts befitting their age. Susan, of course, dressed in inappropriate white trousers and a pressed blouse, her blonde hair curled perfectly. She always got the tenth grade girls to indoctrinate into womanhood by making them into clones of herself.
Director Vince began reading the assignments, starting with the oldest group. (Susan got the tenth grade girls.) Everyone held their breaths, hoping their names would be called before reaching the Kinderpukes at the bottom of the list. No one wanted to deal with a summer of crying, puking, always-sick five and six year olds. Even first graders were preferable, though they weren't exactly wanted, either.
Director Vince tried not to play favorites (except for Susan) and re-arranged the returning counselors every summer, slotting in the new counselors-in-training into empty spots. High-fives and grins were exchanged as names were called, until only four remained unassigned. Alfred, Lucy, Michael, and Joan traded weak smiles and good lucks.
But good luck wasn't in the cards. Director Vince opened his mouth to announce the first grade girls' position when a violent tremor shook the earth, knocking everyone off their feet. The log cabin cracked, shifting on its foundation. Glass windows shattered. The signs fell off the wall, crashing onto Director Vince's prone form. Screams of surprised fear rent the air. Becky was the only one to see a red and gray mushroom cloud bloom in the distance, and her last thought was: The Russians really did it.
The shockwave slammed into Camp Chippewa, destroying everything in its path. Eardrums exploded, hollow organs ruptured. Bodies were thrown in the air. Brains rattled like pinballs inside skulls. The cabins and the surrounding forest were flattened within milliseconds, before the sound of the detonation even reached the camp. All life in the area of the blast was snuffed out of existence in the blink of an eye.
No one got stuck with the Kinderpukes, after all.