For the past, oh, 6 years or something, I have taken an annual week-long vacation to Squam lakes in New Hampshire, as the mooching guest of some rich people I know. In 1999, I thought I would bring a camera and try and post the pics as a substitute for real site content, thinking it would be interesting. I was wrong, of course. Still, as long as the stupid pics are eating space on my host, I might as well do something with them, so here they are. If you are in grade school or something, feel free to steal these pages and turn them in as your own "What I Did On my Summer Vacation" report.


One:  The BIMBO Scam

Let me take a moment here to describe the oddness that is Deephaven, the "camp" where we stay. When Max first told me about the trip, ("Hey, wanna go on this cool camping trip my family goes on every year?") I thought, "Wow, I haven’t been camping in a while, but what the hell." Packing some rope, blankets, an axe, several knives, and other assorted stuff, I got in the car and wound up at this place which I could not have thought of as a "campground" by any stretch of the imagination. Here’s what Deephaven is like…

 

  • You are in the woods, and staying in a cheesy cabin, so it’s kinda like camping.
  • You have electricity and hot and cold running water, so it’s kinda like being at home.
  • Every day you have 2 nubile maids cleaning up your mess and some dorky guy with a bad hat bringing you ice and firewood, so it’s kinda like… uh… I don’t know, being at someone else’s home.

This situation leads to an interesting realization… you don’t really have to do anything. Nice. It was pleasant to be able to sleep for some 16 hours a day when I felt like it, backed up with about 20 hours of poker, which was the primary source of amusement available, unless you’re some freak who wants to go outside and stuff. However, as the years rolled by, Max and I began to realize something very important and fundamental was missing from our spiritual quietude… BIMBOS.

Editorial Note

At this juncture, let me speak to all of the 3 or so female readers of the site who might be taken aback by my use of the incredibly descriptive term BIMBOS. I make no apologies for being an all-out man-pig at my core, as charming and erudite as I might pretend to be sometimes. Men want sex. Most men want sex from women. It’s a genetic imperative. Sure men may pretend to like women for their company or conversation, and occasionally it might even be true, but most of the time it’s because there’s this little demon in that back of our minds urging us to try and become the most interesting male in the area, for at least as long as it takes to get sex and fool our brains into thinking we have propagated our DNA, since our genes don’t realize that our offspring-generating cells have been trapped in a little latex sheath, or propelled out with hope and purpose into a sea of toxins courtesy of a spermicide-filled diaphragm, or better yet, on their way to be broken down into core protiens and sucrose by a woman’s digestive tract. Men want sex, and for this purpose there is nothing better than a BIMBO, a woman who is fortunate enough to think so little that her own need for ass-spanking, hair-pulling sex is unfettered by a bunch of artificial hangups, and is more common and a safer bet than that rare, precious woman who is intelligent and conversant and actually interesting to be around while also recognizant of her own desire for hot monkey love. Have no doubt, the latter type is far more pleasant to be with, and usually the more creative lover, but is usually married by the time you figure this out. Also, with the latter type you actually want to talk after sex, and even when not having sex, which is more conducive to a long-term relationship. (Props to that woman of the latter type who coined the phrase "ass-spanking, hair-pulling sex".) For those men out there who vigorously object to these statements about being a man-pig and deny that their primary interest in women (as a group) is in getting sex… keep it up, you sly dog. You’ll get some. Just hope she never finds out you were lying about that personality thing.
 

Every goddamn year we talk about some way of getting BIMBOS trapped at the cabin, and yet we never manage to do it, usually because we never really had a plan. However, in ’99 I had this dorky website, which might be misused as a publicity tool for our noble cause. And thus, the Mu and Max Vacation Getaway Contest ’99 was born!


 
You could be here…

Do you have plans for late August? Does the idea of a week-long idyllic woodland retreat sound good to you? Are you interested in getting away from it all in the White Mountains of New Hampshire on beautiful Squam Lake (the shooting location for On Golden Pond)? Do you like nature but would rather experience it from inside the pampered shelter of a maid-serviced cabin? Are you a hottie? Then read on! Your fantasies could be fulfilled!

Win a trip to picturesque Squam Lakes, where you will spend a week in the company of web luminary Musashi and his wacky sidekick Max Longstreet. Play tennis all day and endless rounds of vicious cutthroat poker all night. Take a canoe out onto Squam itself and fish for Walter, the mythical bass. Hike up rugged Rattlesnake Mountain and enjoy the breathtaking view. Rub elbows with filthy rich people who are trying to maintain a low profile. Stay up into the night, listening for the lugubrious cry of the endangered loon, native to the lake. And sunbathing. Lots of sunbathing. Mmmmm.

Previously only open to a select few, the "Squam Trip" has a long and colorful history. Some of the incidents which those lucky enough to have been there fondly recall include the 40-hour poker game, the manatee incident, banishing giggly annoying people to the longhouse, driving those damn Brae Covers nuts, lobster unlimited, the "guess what those stupid kids screwed up this year" game, and of course, sleep.


The view from atop Rattlesnake Mountain, well worth the hike.

Here’s what you get:

  • A week (somewhere around the end of August 1999, we’ll figure out when in a bit) in Squam, N.H., with Mu and Max.
  • If you don’t live too out of the way, transportation from the New Jersey area to Squam via a seemingly endless trip in a cramped, ancient vehicle. Return trip at Mu and Max’s discretion.
  • Ready access to recreational activities including hiking, fishing, tennis, swimming, and sunbathing. Mmmmm.
  • All the bland starchy food you can stand at a really bad cafeteria, and limited mooching rights to Mu’s gallon-sized bottle of Tabasco to cover it up.
  • Lots and lots of beer, homemade sangria, bizarre snack foods, hard liquor, single malt scotches, and overwhelming amounts of Mu’s cappucino to counteract the effects of the alcohol. Any sort of other alcoholic beverage which you may be particularly susceptible to can be stocked upon request from New Hampshire’s fine assortment of state-sponsored booze marts.
  • Personalized instruction in the classic non-computer games of our century, including poker (training funds of no less than $300 not included), chess, whatever RPG or boardgame Mu and Max tossed in their bags before coming up, and sunbathing. Mmmmm.

 


Many people take boats out to fish, explore islands, or just to relax.

Here’s who qualifies:

Females only, at least 18 years of age (21 to drink legally, huhuh hehe huhuhuh). Males can enter as well, but their prize is limited to sending us their money so that we and the contest winners may better enjoy the trip, ridicule on the home page, and possibly a vicious beating.

Because of the isolated, get in touch with your feelings nature of Squam, only single females with no current serious relationships will be accepted in order to avoid complications arising from pining emotions, confusion regarding loyalty, and angry boyfriends. Exceptions can be made for those willing to roleplay a single uncommitted female for the duration of the vacation.

Plusses: impressionability, selflessness, roleplaying talent, ability to keep secrets, proficiencies in internal martial arts of southern China, voice like Girl 6, understanding attitude toward slavery, contortionist background.

Disqualification can occur for any reason Mu and Max can dream up, but especially if you look significantly different from your picture.

 


The endangered loon is native to Squam’s unusually pure waters, where they sing, nest, and only rarely attack human beings.

Here’s how to enter:

Send email to Musashi including the GIF/JPG images that you feel best exemplify your qualifications, including a full body shot. Mmm huhuh hehe huhuhuh. In addition, include a short essay/novella/catch-phrase describing why you are the right person to accompany us.


The path that people say leads to Ol’ Boo Hadley’s place.

Here’s how winners (up to as many as we think we can get away with) will be determined:

The judging panel, consisting of Musashi and Max Longstreet, will review the entries based on factors which absolutely no one can even begin to fathom, but suffice to say that visual evidence is more compelling than anything on the face of the planet. Mmm huhuh hehe huhuhuh.


This would not be an acceptable entry, but might give you some ideas.
 

Questions? Concerns? Complaints?

All queries regarding this contest, especially those of a negative nature, should be directed to cranky ex-Deathlands StarCraft league administrator Lagavulin.

Disclaimer: This is not a real contest, but prospective hottie entrants may still be invited to go to Squam with Mu and Max based on the same criteria outlined above. Any replies, entries, etc. are subject to posting on the site, possibly resulting in hilarious ridicule. Any attempt to deduce that Mu and Max are desperate losers from the contents of this page are probably correct, but more Max than Mu. If you think this page is funny, charming, and mildly arousing, feel free to share you comments with Musashi via the forum or email. If you are offended by this page, it was all Max’s idea.


We got a total of 3 entries…

Jenny Heng a.k.a. CandyFloss Pink a.k.a. Henry the Insane a.k.a. H.  I was so touched by this entry that I gave her her own page.  Or two.

Jennifer Love Hewitt.

Hi.

I’m 22, and I consider myself to be good looking. I don’t think there’s anything else you need to know. My name is Jennifer Love Hewitt, and I am the hot star of Party of Five. I just wanted to let you know that I like your page, but you are an insensitive pig that I would never consider doing (unless you were into bondage…)

Umm Anyway… You make me sick.
(By the way, go rent Can’t hardly Wait and drool over my nice round boobies)

—JLH

I can’t stand that damn show. Have you done any soft porn?

Well, yeah, but only me and my boyfriend get to watch it. Not pigs like you. Stupid insensitive MAN. Blah.

Oh that’s ok… I’ll just wait until he gets pissed at you and starts showing the video to his friends, one of whom will sneak it off to his MPEG encoder and shares it with the world. Probably after some sort of "insensitive man-pig" comment. 8P

I doubt he’ll get pissed at me as long as I’m giving him head. Which I will do while he’s still a cutie. He’s my Leopoofie. Altho I think he’s gonna be busy if he gets this star wars thing…

-JLH

And a shocking last-minute entry from Shayla Shayla of Atlantic! She already had her own section on the site. Some selections from her questionnaire…

understanding attitude toward slavery: Against it in all ways. One of the great things about humans is the right to pick what you want out of life. To bad most people pick wrong. (Judges: "Bad")

contortionist background: I can touch my toes but I don’t see how this will get me the free food or vacation. (Judges: "Pliable")

catch-phrase: Well in UO I have "Get Ready…. TO DIE!!" on a macro with my war mode. Or you can just take one off of that stupid gif of me. (Judges: "HEPL PK!!!111")

It was with heavy hearts that the judging panel came to the conclusion that there were no suitable winners, and the contest was declared a draw. Not like we were actually going to shell out for airfare or anything. Unless the winner was really, really hot…


Two:  Getting There and Setting Up

Preparation for this trip is a fairly involved process. In fact, it is probably about the only time that I ever think about buying things like socks, shoes, premium espresso, etc. My normal process for going on a trip consists of tossing a bunch of random stuff into a bag 5 minutes before I leave the house and buying a bunch of stuff I forgot when I get there. However, the epically absurd proportions of our debauchery on this particular trip required extra thought. Contrary to my normal unpreparedness, I actually made a list before leaving. Here’s sorta what was on it…

  • Bunch of identical black t-shirts
  • Bunch of identical black kung fu pants
  • Whatever mismatched socks I managed to dig up
  • Traditional full length black leather trenchcoat
  • Huge freaking bottles of Aussie shampoo and conditioner
  • Four pounds of Cracker Barrel extra sharp cheddar cheese (yellow)
  • Two jars of Vlasic pickles (normally Zesty, but I had to settle for Kosher)
  • One jar of somewhat ok-quality black lumpfish Russian caviar
  • 3 boxes of Carr’s water crackers
  • Cream cheese
  • Wooden caviar spoon
  • Sangria pitcher
  • 2 12-oz bottles of Tabasco sauce to color the horrible food we might encounter
  • One and a half cartons of Nat Sherman MCD brown cigarettes
  • Several Partagas #4 cigars in hermetically sealed and humidified containers
  • Two pocket micro soldering torches (as lighters)
  • One Krups Il Primo cappucino machine
  • One coffee grinder I stole from Shadwolf’s roommate for the trip (and returned without his knowledge of the crime)
  • One German U-boat issue K-55 utility/combat knife
  • Two pounds of premium espresso beans and 1/2 pound of French roast hazelnut or Jamacian Blue Mountain
  • One tower computer, Pentium II 333MHz overclocked to 412MHz
  • Viewsonic P815 Professional Series monitor
  • Altec Lansing subwoofer speaker system
  • One pair Sony MDR-NC20 noise cancelling studio headphones with independent power supply
  • Whatever portable CD player I haven’t managed to break yet
  • Assorted CD’s, traditionally including early Prince, Frank Zappa, Wagner’s Ring cycle (preferably Fritz Reiner/Chicago Symphony recordings), Kid Rock, Rage Against the Machine, Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring and Petrouchka (Boulez/Cleveland Symphony), Cyndi Lauper, 311, Queen, and some completely retarded disc called Songs from Outer Space by Leonard Nimoy that Max found somewhere
  • One fine-edged katana actually made in Japan
  • Two matched sais
  • Two matched hardwood tonfa
  • Muay Thai gloves, target pads and shields
  • Two decks of cards (Bicycle)
  • Poker chips
  • USCF regulation chess set and board with algebraic coordinates
  • Whatever lame comics, magazines, and that dog-eared copy of Shibumi I always have in the car for no reason
  • One cheapass disposable camera to take pictures that would turn out to be really bad and uninteresting, yet still used as site filler

All other supplies to be acquired on-site, including massive amounts of liquor courtesy of New Hampshire’s state-sponsored alcoholism practices, toothbrush, cheap sunglasses, cases of soda and beer, etc. We always forget the corkscrew though, a source of continuous yet never-resolved moaning on everyone’s part.

Usually we take 2 cars there, not really for anything more important than the decadence of going to the dining hall (1/4 mile from the cabin) in seperate vehicles. This year, however, Max pleaded the cause of taking only my car, for the convenience of having multiple drivers (and to save wear on tear on his much-overused Escort). naturally, if there was only one car being taken, it would have to be mine, if only because (1) I could smoke a lot on the way up, and (2) my car still smells better than his for some reason. being a shrewd negotiator, I agreed to the unholy pact, on the condition that we make a geeky side trip to Turbine’s offices, something which Max had absolutely no interest in. Here are some of the exciting views I was treated to on the incredibly long trip up. (Note: I made the trip in 6 hours. Damn Max and his old lady driving.)

My typical view of the cockpit while Max hunched over the wheel like a nearsighted octogenarian driver, somehow managing to be slow and dangerous at the same time. Note the unimproved stock Saturn stereo system with the 5 dollar Radio Shack CD player converter, the air conditioner set to coldest all the time in order to keep us from falling asleep from the boredom of our own company, and the strategically placed cigarette, right in the path of the air currents leading right to Max’s unamused face.

Note Max’s tense neck, thrusting his head forward as if being 3 inches closer to the road might make him a better driver. Now note the fact that Mu’s hair is in his eyes the entire time as he pegs along at 75-80, the ponytailer carelessly left on his wrist, cutting off his circulation and making his ability to react to emergencies somewhat poor. It was a dangerous trip.

As planned, we left late, and got lost on our way to Turbine, so the place was pretty abandoned once we got there. Here I am trying to figure out how to best break the glass door so we could get some pics of me being thrown out by security. Eventually Katie showed up and foolishly let us inside, where we managed to distract her long enough to twink up my character’s stats.

Finally, after much trouble and tribulation, we managed to get there crazy late at night, and only began the unpacking process the following morning, which pretty much consisted of looking at our bags and the computer, then thinking about them while spreading caviar and cream cheese on water crackers. Note the blurry view of the lake past the table full of cigarettes, beer, caviar, exotic fruit, and other camping necessities. This is about as much of the pristine wilderness as we saw the entire trip. Nature schmature. The first time I went up there, I hadn’t been out of New York City for 3 years. I started to faint as soon as I got out of the car due to the air’s overwhelming oxygen content. After choking down 2 cigars in under 8 minutes, I was functioning normally.

 


Three:  Games People Play and Games We Couldn’t

Naturally, the whole point of getting away from it all, leaving behind our jobs and homes, was to play even more computer games than ever. (Yeah I said I was doing it to work on the site, but I lied. 8P) Fate and the Windows 95 networking architecture were against us, though. Just before we left, we had crashed at Shadwolf’s place, and I thought it would be a pretty good idea to hook up the box to his LAN for some quick and dirty Starfleet Command action. Well, that worked out all right, but when tearing down, I made the fatal mistake of turning off the machine, pulling the cheesy 8-bit ISA NIC, and assuming that the operating system would be able to deal with it. Duh. Here’s a quick tip for those of you who are thinking of bringing your machine to a LAN party: don’t. Or, if you must, remember to first remove the NIC from your system menu, shut down, remove the NIC, then turn on the machine to see if it still works. Otherwise, Windows might look for that goddamn thing forever and force you to waste countless hours in a cabin troubleshooting a problem that should never occur in the first place.

Here are some of the games that were ready to go yet never got played:

  • Starcraft: Brood War
  • Master of Orion II
  • Fantasy General
  • Half-Life
  • Total Annihilation: Kingdoms (before we knew what a POS it was)
  • Starfleet Command

The saga of trying to get the computer to work was a long and ugly one. I must have booted into command line mode about 50 times trying to reconfigure the INI files so I could boot without network searching, to no avail. We checked out the possibility of resources in nearby Plymouth, which turned out to be nil, although we were captivated for a while by a sales clerk in a bookshop where we wound up buying some diskettes. And magazines. And paperbacks. And, uh, anything that would let us stay in there and ogle a lot. Oink oink.

After several days of this BS, I actually deigned to take it to a shop in Concord to see if they could re-access my data or, miraculously, get the stupid OS to realize there was no goddamned NIC in it and boot normally. The conversation (from their side) went sorta like this: "Welp, you got a lot er stuff in heah that’s sorta, whatcha say, over-driven, that mus’ be da problem… Welp, downloading device drivers might be a problem, cuz we gots one 33.6 connection and da boss likes ta surf… I dunno if we kin stick dis here drive in a SCSI array and get yer data off it, it seems kinda hard… Mebbe we could do it by like two weeks from now…"

 

We were so despondent over this problem that we were forced to play non-digital games. Here we see Max trying to punch me to stop me from taking a picture of his terrible position resulting from his bungling of the midgame position in the Colle System (white d4, Nf3, e3, c3, Bd3, Nd2, or something like that, in a move order that tries to fool black into thinking along the lines of a Queen’s Gambit), a favorite of his which is incredibly trappy, aiming for an eventual breakthrough of e4 and tactical control of the center. Note the position here: white Kc4, Rb1, black Kb6, Nc6, connected passed pawns on a4, b4, and c3. Muahahaha. To his credit, Max did win some games, but I’m sure he cheated somehow. I refuse to believe my losses were because I insist on using the English Opening (1.c4), the King’s Indian (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7), and the Alekhine Defense (1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.c4 Nb6) as my standards, despite the fact that I really don’t understand any of them.
After a shattering defeat like this Max would spend hours brooding in his bed.

Of course, the game of the week, indeed what many would say was the whole purpose of thr trip, was POKER. The Squam vacation has been the source of many legendary poker games, including the 40-hour non-stop during a hurricaine game where the lights went out and everyone played by flashlight. This week hosted no such insanity, unfortunately, but there were some interesting moments.

Here is my first hand of the week… a royal flush of diamonds in straight 7-card stud. Despite what the makers of that terrible movie Maverick might want you to think, this is a hand that most players never see at all in their careers in non wild/common card games. Eb, our host, has been a heavy player for some 400-odd years and has never gotten one. (He did get a straight flush once, in a game against his wife who had aces full, which was an ugly story in itself.) I was really tense when I got this, because I caught the Jack on the 7th card, and also because nobody else had dogshit. Look at that cheesy pot! A crime, I tell you. I was hoping everyone else had a high full house and would be throwing in their house keys and stock certificates.

Another legendary moment was the fateful hand of Night Baseball between Max and myself, that had me estimating the value of my car as collateral. Here are the rules of night baseball, for those who might not be familiar with it, or use a different system for baseball (which I have played about 4 variants of):

  • No peek… each player gets 7 cards and does not look at them
  • 9′s are wild
  • 3′s are wild but if one turns up the player must match the pot (doubling it) or fold immediately
  • 4′s get you an extra down card from the deck
  • One person rolls, then you bet, then the next person rolls until he beats the previous person, then you bet, etc., until one person wins or everyone else has folded out

 

Editorial Note

A lot of players deride the use of wild card variants, twists, etc. as not being "real poker". I have come to the unalterable conclusion that weird variants actually favor the better player, since you have to be able to re-calculate your pot odds, what comprises a stong hand, and odds of improvement for yourself and everyone else at the table based on a constantly shifting standard. No-peek games are even more autopilot, since the only things you have to calculate on are what is showing and what has not showed, giving full advantage to the stronger mathematical player. Of course, you can go too far, as with our occasional drunken favorite "Fool’s Gold", a game we invented last year, which is played like 5 card draw, but after the draw and second bet, a die is rolled to determine the rules: 1-2 is baseball (3′s and 9′s wild, 4 is an extra card), 3-4 is Rembrandt (all face cards are wild), and 5-6 is straight poker. It’s really a silly game, in which the "lock" hand is KKKK9. After actually analyzing the possibilities and betting options in games like this, I have to deride "straight poker only" advocates as plebes who can’t do basic math in their heads. 

 

Night Baseball is a particularly treacherous game in this circle, since we use pot limit betting stakes (i.e., your maximum bet or raise is whatever is currently in the pot), and the fact is that strategically correct play in any Baseball variant demands that if you match on a wild 3, you must then bet the entire pot, since you wouldn’t be matching unless you think you can win. This can lead to some very out of control pots.
This particular hand started with some rather annoying early betting (something which most sane players avoid in Night Baseball, considering how the pot tends to explode in the late game), and after a few 3′s and such, Max and I were the only players in, and the pot was up to about 70 bucks. Max turned up some good cards and bet the pot, which I matched. I then turned a 3, and matched ($210), and then bet the current pot ($420). Max at this point thought a lot, and then pointed out that his hand was strong enough to demand that he raise (match the $420 and bet $1230), which I would be forced to call, since our odds were close enough, and I had already bet the damn $420. After about 15 minutes of analysis from everyone around the table, it was agreed that no matter how the hand played out, one of us would wind up working as a valet at the other person’s house for several years to pay it off, and we agreed to a split (normally disallowed in high-only games). This was probably a good decision, as turning the cards up after the hand was split revealed a few more 3′s and several thousand dollars in bets in our immediate future. Ah the beauty and friendship-breaking potential of cutthroat poker. (For those of you who think that these pots weren’t all that out of control, please keep in mind that the initial pot in the game was $0.25, and both Max and I are basically paupers who make our living selling pencils out of a can on streetcorners.)

Other variants that upset stodgy people who can’t handle anything past draw and 7-stud…

  • 7-28. Not specifically a poker game, but popular. Each player starts with one down card and one up card, followed by a betting round. The purpose of the game is to be as close to 7 or 28 at the end of the game, at which point the pot is split. Values: aces 1 or 11, face cards 0.5, 2-10 numerical value. Every round, each person is asked in turn if they want a card, with a betting round after each draw option, until nobody wants a card. Legendary amounts of money have been won and lost at this game, especially if one person is locked for low against 2-3 high players, and then starts drawing cards at the end just to feed the pot. Evil. (High-low games like this are subjected to a $5 maximum bet/raise, which doesn’t really help that much.) A friend of mine from Denmark said his great grandfather lost the deed to his flour mill 3 times playing a very similar game.
  • Fiery Cross. A common card high-low game. Each player starts with 4 cards in hand, and 5 cards down are in the center in the shape of a cross. There is a betting round, then the center is turned, one card at a time, starting with the outside cards clockwise and ending with the center, with a betting round after each roll. After this there are two rounds of sub and buy ($1/$2 to sub a card in your hand, $2/$4 to buy an extra card), with betting rounds. You can use the cards in your hand plus one arm of the cross to make your final hand, or both of them if you are going high-low. A strategic favorite.
  • Anaconda. A familiar game, also called "screw your neighbor" in some "friendly" games, I am told. High-low, everyone gets 7 cards, then you pass 3, 2, and 1 cards in a chosen direction subsequently, discard 2 cards, place the 5 you want face down in the order you want to roll, and bet after each roll, declaring before the last card. We all got yelled at once by a fat lady at the next cabin because me, Max and Milo were in a hand of this where is looked like we were all going for a high flush (I rolled 10, Jack, Queen, King, all hearts), and at the end I went low and showed a 6 of clubs, busting my draw and causing much laughter.
  • Supermarket. One of the most tacticaly interesting high-low 7-card games. Each person starts with 2 cards down, then you bet. Then 3 cards are placed face up on the table, and the player to the dealer’s left gets the option of buying the first card up for $0.25, the second card for $0.50, the third card for $0.75, or go fishing off the bottom of the deck for $1.00. When an upcard is taken, the others above it are "marked down" and a new $0.75 card is drawn off the top of the deck, and the next person gets to buy, until everyone has either bought or folded. Then a round of betting, and the first buyer rotates to the left. Last down card is free from the top of the deck. It’s always entertaining to see someone buy a card which is less beneficial for their own hand, just because it screws up another player who looks like he’ll be in competition with him.

Four:  Rich People Eat the World’s Worst Food

Our depression at being unable to fry our retinas with my uber-monitor while wasting time playing video games was not softened by the fact that we were eating like prisoners, and not those "cool" tax evasion prisoners in country club detention centers. This has never ceased to amaze me… Deephaven is specifically designed to rake money in from rich people. Everywhere you look, there are guests walking around, pretending not to be members of the US Treasury Board, CEO’s of major conglomerates, or the lazy inheritors of generations of wisely invested slave trading and cotton plantation money. They try really hard with "casual" clothes, but the green pants and docksiders give them away constantly. They show up every year, desperate to keep their yearly "claim" on highly sought-after tiny drafty firetraps of cabins that cost as much per week as I like to spend on 6 months’ rent. You would think then that their palates would demand a higher quality of comestibles. Think again.

Everyone takes their meals at the "starch bar," as I have been calling the dining hall since my first summer as an invader to Deephaven. Bland slop is warmed up a little by uninterested college students in an ancient kitchen and then ladled out into steam trays by similarly bored, hot young euro trash chicks who thought working at Deephaven would be a cheap way to see America. (Ha ha.) The quality of the food, despite the camp’s no doubt incredible profit margin, is at the same level as anything you might have experienced in a public elementary school, sleepover sports camp, or halfway house.

The fact that this food is just so goddamned awful tends to increase our weekly expenses as we trek far far away from the dining hall in order to search for something remotely digestible. Keep in mind that Deephaven is approximately 4 light years from the closest "town," a label used generously to describe any area with a population density of greater than 1 per square mile. These trips are almost always dismal failures, as the few residents of the area know that it’s tourist season, and "dem rich folks is a comin’ through to give up some big bucks for our leftover hog feed." Considering the low low quality of the Soylent Green substitutes we get force fed at the slop line, leftover hog feed sounds pretty damn good.

Here are some of the things we were forced to eat at Deephaven, and the long-distance substitutes we gratefully shelled out huge wads of cash for:

 

Deephaven Slop Line
Superior Tourist Season Supplement
Rendered animal products poured into a taco shell Rendered fish products siphoned into a "crab roll"
"Just Add Water" brand mashed potatoes "Just Add Tons of Hot Sauce" brand spicy chicken arm bones
Frozen pizzas under a heat lamp Frozen pizzas under a heat lamp with oregano
10% fat-free burgers with big tasty gristle bits 20% fat-free burgers with meat texturing
A salad bar consisting of iceberg lettuce and motor oil Grass from a cow pasture
Unidentifiable "minestrone" simmered in a garbage can Nobody eats soup
Powdered fruit-colored drinks, powdered milk, and powdered lake water Wiedeman’s beer, which runs a close second to Pabst Blue Ribbon in overall quality
A single gigantic roast beef-like thing which was eventually transformed into other dishes throughout the week as it slowly decomposed with the help of a small colony of flies Fasting

The only positive side to eating at the "dining hall" for me is the looks of sheer terror I get when stalking into the place on the first day, the gasps, the women holding their children tightly until I’m a safe distance away. Maybe it’s the black leather. Maybe it’s the ambiguous ethnicity. Maybe it’s the fact that not only am I pretending to be poor, I am poor, a fact which radiates from my worn clothing and pavement-scuffed Lugz as clearly as a big neon warning light flashing over my head saying, "AMBIGUOUSLY ETHNIC SCARY PERSON WITHOUT TRUST FUND, PLEASE REMAIN CALM." Once in a while I pretend like I’m just an eccentric genius millionaire, like when I used to visit my dad at the World Trade Center and gain access to all the secure server rooms because I look like a wacked coder. It never works… you can dress up as nice as you like, but there’s no hiding the fact that you didn’t get your ripped and broken Jansport knockoff belt pouch at Louvier.


Five:  My Greatest Ally

I often wonder, as I walk beneath the rustic and very expensive rotting beams of the Deephaven structures, why it is that I am not routinely escorted off the grounds when I am alone. Sure, if I’m obviously with the Fabers, I can always pass myself off as their manservant or maybe a forestry version of a railroad coolie. It could also be genuine tolerance, as I thought when I saw the first black person I have ever witnessed at Deephaven, until I realized she was working as a nanny. Ultimately, though I have to credit my freedom of movement amongst the unthinkably rich to one factor, a factor that is my greatest ally whenever I find myself bringing people of all races, philosophies, and economic standings together in a state of forced brotherhood, and that is fear.

There are many ways in which fear is my constant ally in this place. Fear of offending my masters who may be higher in social standing than the enemy. Fear of me writing an expose on their exchange student slave labor program. Fear that their wooden palates will be exposed to the world though some gossipy rag that nobody reads. Fear of the hordes of yellow devils I may call down upon them at a moment’s notice. Fear of having one’s head split open like a melon so that one’s still-beating heart can be safely stuffed therein. Fear that I may be a spy for an antitrust prosecutor they may be reticent to encounter anytime soon. Fear that yes, I really am that good at poker. Fear that one day the worker class shall be driven to the point of no compromise, at which time they shall rise up and revolt against their erstwhile monarchs, taking control of the woodland retreat like Chicago’s meat packing district circa 1906.

Fear is good.

I always seek to help along the cause of fear whenever it seems to be for the greater good, or perhaps my own good, or maybe just when it’s possible at all. For these purposes, Deephaven has thoughtfully included in the gargantuan price of a week’s stay in a hovel on cinderblocks a journal. These journals are typically used so that visiting families can leave behind such insightful observations as, "We love Deephaven! Can’t wait to come back! Thanks to the little people who clean up!" Every year, though, I have a different purpose in mind.

 

Journal Entry

I leapt at the chance to accompany my dear friends the Templetons on their annual jaunt to New Hampshire. I had just gone through a messy divorce, the agony of which still tore at my heart and caused me to break down and weep uncontrollably. They saw I was in pain, and they held out their hand, and so here I came.

I was quite impressed with the countryside… the crystalline lake, the untouched forest, the haunting cry of the loon late at night from across the water. Here, I was away from my worries, away from my work, away from Myra. I could breathe again.

Nothing seemed amiss until my third day here, when I noticed that there seemed to be some sort of odor rising from the porch’s floorboards. It was quite disagreeable, a rotting smell, and my first thought was that perhaps a small animal had skittered beneath the cabin to meet his demise. I happened to catch the eye of a cabin boy, a largish fellow with a Slavic accent named "Mikhail," I believe. I drew his attention to the problem, and he stared at me for a bit, as if he was not quite comprehending the issue. After a re-explanation, he said he would be back to take care of it, and trundled off with his wheelbarrow.

I then went for a refreshing dip off my private dock, and relaxed for a bit in the late morning sun, before returning to the cabin to change for lunch. I noticed that the smell was still there, and was somewhat annoyed at the somewhat cavalier attitude of the cabin boy in regards to prompt service. I had some time before lunch, and decided to have a look for myself… I do not consider myself the squeamish type, although I would not consider removing the animal myself. I would not wish for Mikhail to escape the duties of his station.

I knelt down outside the porch… I suspect I may have looked a little odd to any passersby, but fortunately no one was about. A cursory examination of the ground beneath the proch revealed naught but some dead leaves and such detrius, but the smell was definitely stronger. I sought out a slender branch from the woods nearby and proceeded to shift away the obstructions so that I might be able to clearly point out the location of the dead animal.

What I saw after the first pass of the branch caused me to yelp and fall backwards, scrambling away from the building as my heart leapt into my throught. I had unconvered something pale and naked, not the furred corpse I had been expecting. I shut my eyes tightly and breathed, trying to rationalize what it was that I had seen, but the image only came more clearly into focus in my mind. It was a human hand.

Stricken by panic, I leapt to my feet. The next few minutes were somewhat hazy as I scrambled down the dirt path, startling several families on their way to the dining hall with their children in tow, but they asked me not what was wrong, and I did not volunteer to tell them. I remained silent, save for my ragged breathing, until I had reached the camp office, where a bewildered Norwegian girl listened to me gasp out my request for someone to come to my cabin immediately. Again, I offered no explanation; what could I say that would communicate the horror of what I had witnessed? She called for a senior staff member, and we returned to my cabin forthwith.

I asked him to look under the porch, and he did so, but claimed to see nothing. Disbelieving, I looked as well… the hand was gone, and the leaves more or less back in place. There was still a faint odor of corruption in the air, which he could smell, and assured me that whatever its source was had undoubtedly been removed. I told him of Mikhail, but I pronounced it "Michael." He said no Michael was on staff that summer. I then pronounced it more carefully, and he got a strange look on his face, but reiterated that there was no such staff member. I described the burly cabin boy, and he said it sounded somewhat familiar, maybe from several years ago, but that no, there was no Mikhail working at Deephaven at the time.

I was livid. How dare this young man insult my memory! I demanded to see the camp director. It seemed he was unavailable, but another official agreed to speak with me. He restated that there was no Mikhail in the housekeeping department, and that perhaps I had gotten the name wrong. Still, something in his face told me that my words had disturbed him, and so I began to quietly inquire among the help as to the mystery worker, but all I got were vague rumors, half-hearted recollections, and more infuriating stares of incomprehension.

My bags are packed. I must leave this place behind me. Perhaps someday I will look deeper into the whispered half-truths I have been told while investigating this "Mikhail." Perhaps I will find some kernel of truth to the ghost stories about an insane boy from Lithuania who quietly disappeared from the camp, and from camp records, in the wake of a hushed-up murder. I may one day stand face to face with the camp director and demand to know why his wife has not been seen in public for the past two years. One day… but that day will wait, for I cannot stay here one moment longer. I must flee, back to the city, back to my shattered life, leaving behind me this place called Deephaven, a name which will hereafter ring in my memory with overtones of mystery, blood, and terror.

 

My first story was ripped out of the cabin book the following year, and I started writing travelogues about prison inmates who fled to New Hampshire in the wake of parole board corruption and mass releases for the sake of bedspace. I don’t know if they’re still there.

Fear is good.

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