Good Narrative Principles

Dog Years


IMG_3518All year long Jennifer waited to board the bus to camp. At camp Jennifer was Jennifer, never Jenny or Jen. Being Jennifer meant being popular, funny. At camp, Jennifer learned how to bank a special secret with each of her bunkmates — one that didn’t include anyone else save her and the keeper of the secret. A good secret could be built around anything, an embarrassing moment, a cruel observation about another bunkmate’s habit of chewing with her mouth open or a laugh that came out like a snort. Time in camp moved with more intensity, like dog years. But the latest string of rainy days was gumming up the works. Jennifer would have loved to have just perfected her game of jacks — squeeze the lemon pick up the pit — but instead, the camp counselors went into high gear, organizing a game of steal the bacon in the old leaky auditorium. This being a Jewish camp, the game was called something benign, like steal the pin. Athletic games of any sort were not Jennifer’s strong suit, and so she sat on the sidelines feigning menstrual cramps and sighing, unable to do anything but squander her precious camp time on nothingness. Drip. Drip. Drip.

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