Spit and Sawdust: Chapter Two

“What do you think they’re like?” he said.

“Koalas?” She didn’t bother opening her eyes to answer. “Chlamydia, small brains, drunk on eucalyptus. You’ve told me your sexual obsession like a billion times…”

They were lying on their backs in a wooden rowing boat, rocked side to side by the gentle ripples of Lake Fandango, sizzling under the afternoon sun. Her long legs were dangling over the side, bare toes dipping in and out of the cool water.

They were meant to be fishing, at least that was the reason they’d told Chris to take the boat out on the water. Their Camp Captain’s eyes had widened with glee at the prospect, when they’d gone to him with the suggestion that morning. Getting the twins out the way always brightened his day. His smile was an improvement on the barely contained disgust when he looked down at their T-shirts.

She wore a comedy Marlboro packet spoof with Marijuana across the logo, while little brother puffed out a Nemesis the Warlock clone with the words ‘Be Pure, Be Vigilant, Be Have.” The wardrobe was another up yours string to their anti-camp bow.

There was a relay race scheduled that afternoon and no-one wanted the terrible twins on their squad, not after the last race, when her bro had dropped the baton and collided with two other runners trying to retrieve it. The resulting Twister pile of bodies made her wish she’d a camera, although she didn’t need it – the image was ingrained behind her eyes for life.

She smiled at the memory. He was a dreamer, the romantic, while she was the troublemaker. It had been her idea to start the point scoring, to see how far they could push the rules past breaking, but he eagerly followed and often surpassed her without trying.

Whereas she often had to plan her carnage with care and deliberation, chaos came naturally to her sibling – he was an agent of instinctive destruction. There was raw talent there, impulsive brawn being the yin next to her overthinking brainbox yang.

THEY WERE READY FOR PRIVATE PARTY DAY AND THE STONING WAS COMING ON

“I mean the Dawners,” he said. “I mean, why are there so many stories about them, like, how bad can they really be?” There was a languid slur to his drawl – the buzz was rising, either through alcohol, sunstroke or just wishful thinking.

They’d raided their parents’ drinks cabinet before leaving home for the enforced prison holiday, siphoning off small amounts of anything going – whisky, vodka, tequila, schnapps, sherry, cointreau, snowball – mixed with orange squash into Panda Cola bottles for just such an occasion.

There was no way they were doing any fishing – the rods hung over the side for show and they’d emptied the stinking bait into the water when they’d set off.

“Bring back supper,” said Chris hopefully, after insisting they couldn’t take the boat with an outboard (“rowing will be good for your arms”). Fat chance. They weren’t veggie, but didn’t share the blood-lust of killing innocent animals their peers enjoyed. Even boggle-eyed bottom-feeders counted.

Besides, they just really hated being told what to do and had their own agenda. Together with 10 stale Lambert and Butler cigarettes found in a bin and a C90 mixtape, they were ready for private party day and the stoning was coming on.

“They’re just poor kids,” she said. “Camp Dawn is a youth hostel scheme for families on benefits. Give them a break from the estate and see a bit of greenery in their lives. Nothing wrong with them – they sure as shit don’t turn into monsters and eat babies for breakfast.”

She sighed. Her brother’s naivety was part of his undoubtable charm, but that willingness to believe only strengthened her cynicism to counterbalance. Or was her deliberate antagonistic nature a sign of deep-seated insecurity?

Did fear of failure with potential friendships relegate her to self-imposed outsider status? Or was she really just a big fucking bitch like the other kids said? Was her brother really her only friend? Did that count?

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