tagMind ControlNot Bible Camp Ch. 03

Not Bible Camp Ch. 03


Copyright 2010 by Donald Barber.

This story is about both religious repression and manipulation. The focus is more on sexual tension than explicit description, though it does not shy away from such as the story warrants. If you're looking for erotic encounter after erotic encounter, look elsewhere.

Also, this is part three of an ongoing story and is probably incomprehensible if the previous portions have not been read.

Any views expressed by any character are, at most, that character's and sometimes not even that. Many of the characters in this story are hiding something.


June 18

I'm gonna try something new. Counselor Jameson says I should practice writing dialogue the way they do in screenplays, so when I write mine it'll look like I know what I'm doing. Turns out the way I've been writing what people say is all wrong. I knew it didn't look like it does in books, cause lots of times I don't bother with quotation marks and such, but she said it's better to write like it's a play anyway, at least until I get the hang of how people sound. It's tough remembering all the stuff everyone says though. That's why I usually just write down the gist of it.

I figure I'll start with me and Jill's conversation during work duty. They seem to have decided we're a couple, which is OK with me as long as it doesn't get uncomfortable or we have a fight or something.

We're working kitchen duty this week, which meant today mostly we had to wash and peel a whole bunch of vegetables plus chop up a big bunch of beef for a stew. They came in every so often to check on us but otherwise they pretty much left us alone, at least at first, which meant we got to talk a piece, but we also kept on our work for a pretty good spell, so those parts I won't include. Counselor Jameson says it's OK if something that went on over a few hours gets written as if it was several minutes, as long as all the important stuff gets included.

(Setting: A kitchen. There is a large sink, currently empty. There is also a large bucket on the floor, and several shelves with many bags of vegetables on them. Jill and Chris are standing in front of the sink as the scene begins.)

Jill: You want to do the potatoes first?

Chris: That's as good a start as any.

(Chris walks over to one of the shelves and grabs a sack of potatoes.)

Chris: Does the list say we need 100?

Jill: It says we need thirty-five pounds. How much is each sack?

(Chris looks at the sack.)

Chris: It says twenty-five pounds. I guess we'll use the scale.

Jill: Empty that one out in the sink first. Then we have an empty sack to work with.

(Chris hauls the sack over to the sink and empties it. Then he and Jill walk to the sink together. Jill opens one sack and begins moving potatoes into the empty one.)

Jill: As long as it's between a half and a third, it should be close.

(Jill takes the sack over to the scale, which is next to a metal table. She weighs the sack, then claps her hands delightedly.)

Jill: Right on the money!

(Jill takes the potatoes to the sink, and dumps them in.)

Jill: Grab one of those buckets and I'll start rinsin' them off.

(Chris grabs a bucket while Jill turns on the faucet. She grabs the spray nozzle and aims it in the sink at the potatoes.)

Chris: You aren't gonna use any soap?

Jill: No need. We're peelin' them, and then they're gonna boil 'em.

(She keeps spraying, then picks potatoes out of the sink and puts them in the bucket near the sink.)

Jill: You can start peelin' these. I'll put more in soon as I rinse 'em. I wanna rinse each layer after I clear the one on top.

(Chris grabs a potato out of the first bucket and starts peeling. He holds it over a second bucket so that the peeled parts fall in it. Meanwhile, Jill is rinsing more potatoes.)

Jill: So I guess it's obvious they're trying to pair us up.

(Chris does not drop the potato. He puts it on the table and retrieves another one from the bucket.)

Jill: Don't tell me you didn't notice.

Chris: Yeah, I noticed.

(Jill pulls out another bunch of potatoes. Chris grabs another one out of the bucket.)

Chris: It wasn't my idea, but I don't mind.

(Jill sprays off another layer of potatoes.)

Chris: Do you mind?

Jill: Not mind exactly...

(Jill dumps what are presumably the last of the potatoes in the bucket. She then pulls out a potato and goes to join Chris in his peeling.)

Jill; I think I'd like it better if it had been your idea. Then if I wanted you to leave me alone, I wouldn't be hurting your feelings over something you didn't even mean to do.

(They each peel about ten more potatoes before anything more is said.)

Chris: I'd still rather you tell me, if you want to be left alone. Now matter how hurtful, there's nothing worse than being with someone who doesn't want you around.

Jill: I want you around.

(Chris smiles at that.)

Jill: But I'm a girl. I change my mood a lot. Just because I don't worry about makeup and pretty underwear and spiky shoes doesn't mean I'm always sensible.

Chris: So you might just stop likin' me one day?

Jill: I don't know. People usually decide they don't like me.

Chris: People can be mean. Sometimes for no reason.

Jill: Oh, they probably have reasons. I never try to act all interested in what other people like, and when I'm goin' on about stuff that interests me, well, you can't shut me up.

Chris: Well, what if you get married? Are you gonna try to get interested in stuff your husband likes?

Jill: I've asked God not to pick a man to be my husband unless I can respect him, so he'd have to care about things I took serious, not just sports and TV.

(They have finished peeling the potatoes and are now cutting them, using the metal table as a cutting board. The resulting pieces are periodically put into another bucket.)

Chris: We're using a lot of buckets.

Jill: We'll wash out the others so we can reuse them.

Chris: So what kinds of things would your husband need to be interested in?

Jill: Well, definitely he'd have to be a Christian.

Chris: Well, I coulda guessed that on my own. But you said you'd like a serious guy. Do you mean like a minister, or a theologian, or something?

Jill: Well...can you keep a secret?

Chris: Sure. What is it?

Jill: My first crush was on a minister. I was sixteen, and he was working as assistant pastor, mostly cause the head pastor, Reverend Jenkins, had gotten senile but nobody wanted to say anything, so we just got his nephew, Carl, to basically take over, but we called him assistant pastor.

He had dark hair, with kind of a wave through it, and brown eyes that looked black when the light was behind him, and he had these broad shoulders, and strong arms, you should of seen him lifting sacks of flour and such for the food bank.

I mean, he was good looking, sure enough, but that wasn't all of it. When he preached, he made the gospel seem young. Like how those disciples must've felt when Jesus preached it. It felt like something alive.

And as strong as he was in the pulpit, he was so nice outside of it. He never passed up a chance to give any girl or lady a compliment, and he never was anything but a gentleman.

I'm sure all the women and girls my age had crushes on him, and I know a couple of women tried just throwing themselves at him, like he'd just have to catch 'em. But if he ever did anything back it got kept real quiet.

Anyhow Reverend Jenkins got so bad he had to move into a home, and we all thought Carl would just take over, but the local chapter of our denomination decided we needed a more experienced pastor, and there was no way Carl could stay on, cause he really was the pastor, and everybody knew it.

But I've always known I wanted a man to make me feel that way, with energy and...conviction, Sometimes I wonder if he had to go cause we were all turning into love-struck teenagers.

But it wouldn't have to be an actual preacher; it might be too much like a wish come true, and I suspect that's the Devil's trick.

Chris (wistfully): You don't give a fella much hope, do you?

Jill (startled): Oh! Well, I guess I didn't think about...I mean...how you'd...

Chris: I mean...if you already know --

Jill (cutting him off): Hold on one second! Let's get one thing straight. (Holds up a finger.) I don't want an older man, and I don't expect you to act like one. I think you're a real nice guy, and I think neither one of us knows exactly what we plan to do with our lives.

If something happens between us, if we decide we're right for each other, well, that's just part of figuring out our futures. But until we get a handle on that, I can't promise anything else. That's all I'm saying.

Chris: So, what can we do? I mean, what are we? To each other, I mean...

Jill: Well, I hope we're friends. And I see the way you look at me, and I'll admit it, I...think about you. About what you could be. (Pause) Look, before this camp, did you ever think you could be a writer?

Chris: I guess I assumed I'd be a preacher.

Jill: Well, heck, preachers have to write! You think they get sermons in the mail? (Smiles) I always figured I'd work with seniors, maybe in a nursing home. I knew I couldn't afford art school, but they've really encouraged me here, so who knows?

Chris: Yeah, but I got a lot to sort out. You know I don't even have a real high school diploma? I couldn't even get into the Army if I wanted.

Jill: Well, good!

(There is a silence. They are now peeling carrots. After a minute, Jill speaks.)

Jill: I mean, not good that you didn't graduate high school, but you shouldn't be wanting to join the Army.

Chris (sounding shocked): You're the first woman I ever met who felt that way, except my mom, and I think she was just scared for me.

Jill: Well, I don't think any Christian should join the Army, except maybe as a chaplain, but only if they let him preach the Gospel, which I doubt they would!

Chris: Why do you think that?

Jill: Jesus told us to turn the other cheek. You think they let soldiers do that?

Chris: Yeah, but police ain't in the habit of forgiving people either, or judges. Are you saying they can't be Christians?

Jill: I know police sometimes shoot people, but they don't set out to do it. They tell people they're under arrest; they don't just pick people off. Not if they're good cops.

Chris: OK, maybe not...

Jill: Do you know what soldiers do when they go overseas? Even if they have wives or girlfriends back home?

(Chris shrugs his shoulders.)

Jill: They have sex with whores! Sometimes the Army even pays for 'em! Is that what you want?

(Chris gets a panicked expression on his face.)

Jill: And the things they push on soldiers. Did you know they used to give soldiers cigarettes? And the drinking that goes on, unless it's in a Muslim country. And they even give soldiers speed to keep them alert! How is it OK for Christians to...volunteer for that?

Chris (hands raised): It was just an example. I just meant my career path may need a bit of roadwork.

Jill (grips her hands together): Well, I hope you aren't afraid of a little hard work!

Chris (smiling): Never really had to do more than a little. I guess a lot might wear me out. But there's people on the streets lookin' for work, so I guess I can't turn my nose up at it.

Jill: I guess that's one thing this place has, is plenty to do.

Chris: I just hope it gets us somewhere.


Well, we didn't really get to talk too much after that. The counselor in charge of the kitchen, Counselor Horner, came in and decided he could speed us up and get us more efficient. He wasn't really bossy about it, and it wasn't like he was blaming us for being too slow, but he kind of took charge in a way that made carrying on a personal conversation sort of pointless, especially cause there was an audience.

Our meditation this morning was on Ruth. It seems that when Ruth "lay at the feet of Boaz," feet weren't exactly feet, and it wasn't just her loyalty Boaz liked.

Counselor Steele brought up Rahab again, and said that women in the Davidic lineage went through a lot of trouble and broke the rules more than once, both for survival and to ensure they had offspring and a husband so people wouldn't call their kids bastards.

He said people like to put women down as whores even when they're just trying to keep body and soul together, or when they're just trying to let a man know there's a good woman in the vicinity, and not pass up an opportunity.

He said men need to thank God he created women, and delight in them. And he said women need not to hold themselves above other women, not scorn the choices they make.

He said if Ruth had been a virgin, she wouldn't have known what to do to catch Boaz's attention, but if she'd been a whore, she wouldn't have been taken in by Naomi in the first place.

I've started to notice that a lot of our meditations are on sex. I guess I haven't read the Bible as much as I ought: I never guessed it had that much sex in it. I don't know why, but I'd always focused on the parts tellin' me what not to do. I guess I didn't want to get in trouble.

My meditation didn't go much of anywhere. I was thinking about what Jill might do to show me she was a good woman -- how she could maybe entice me.

But like I wrote earlier, I'm not even a real high school graduate. I don't think it's up to her to impress me.

Counselor Jameson agrees with me, I guess. She didn't think we needed to practice kissing this time, which was kind of a relief, specially since I kept thinking about her naked the whole time we talked. She said it was more important to project confidence, but in a persuasive way, than to worry about if I was a good enough kisser.

This was puzzling to me. Hadn't we gone to a lot of trouble to practice kissing if it's not a big deal? But I didn't question. It's not cause I don't have any doubts, but confidence sure seems like a good thing to have, so I'm willing to focus on that if I need to.

Counselor Jameson told me that to show confidence, I'm gonna have to learn to be an actor, just a little bit. She said this would help my writing, cause anyone writing a screenplay should have some idea how it'll feel for an actor to say the lines he wrote. It almost sounded too obvious, and I was red that I hadn't already thought on that, but I haven't even been trying to write a screenplay more than a few days, so I think I'll give myself some slack just this once.

So she's gonna get ahold of some movies to show me, so I can see what sort of acting makes you look confident. But in the meantime she gave me some exercises.

She said the first one is a simple relaxation technique I should do when I'm lying in bed tonight. I could've used it all last week when it was taking me hours to fall asleep, but oh well.

I'm supposed to say the words, "Relaxed, calm, tranquil," to myself with my eyes closed. I'm supposed to concentrate on what the words look like in my head. That doesn't mean how the letters are shaped, although if I see the words like they're printed on paper or even in big cartoons like they used to show them on Electric Company, that's great, too.

But even if they don't look like words in my head I should pay attention to the images that do come up. It may be as simple as a color, it may show up as a painting or someone's face (which I don't think is likely, specially not a painting; the only paintings I ever saw were in magazines and books, and those I only saw in doctors' and dentists' offices; Art history wasn't a course at any of the schools I attended); it might even be a memory of a place or a time I'd like to get back to.

The trick is to hold that image in your head without trying too hard. Every so often I can repeat the words if I need to. But the point is to find a place in my mind that's safe and calm, that I can get to when I need to. That gives me something to build upon. I'm curious to try it.

June 19

Well, I don't know if those relaxation exercises put me into a trance or something, but I went out like a light last night. I even overslept, but that was OK apparently. Everybody else in the cabin had gone on to do their morning activities and I guess the counselors had said to let me sleep cause I don't remember anyone even trying to wake me up.

One thing I noticed when I woke up was I had a green wristband around my left wrist, one of those stretchy cloth ones I've seen people use when they're jogging. It had a Post-it attached with "Please do not remove" written on it, and it wasn't until I reported to the kitchen that anyone explained what it meant. (I'd completely missed breakfast AND morning meditation.)

It seem we're all being evaluated in terms of our progress spiritually, and like Counselor Gunn said, "Some people need a boost, and some need more of a challenge." So we all get wristbands of different colors, and every so often we'll get pulled out of the normal course of activities based on the color, and we'll get more individually targeted instruction. I felt like I was getting pretty hands-on instruction already, but maybe this'll spread it around more evenly.

I was glad to see Jill had a green wristband too. I guess someone thinks we're pretty equal. When she said she missed me at breakfast I was kind of glad but then worried cause I couldn't really explain why I'd missed. I guess I could have told her about the relaxation exercises, but actually I was pretty fuzzy about just what did happen last night until I read over yesterday's entry. So I just said I slept pretty hard and she seemed to be OK with that.

Today we made dough for pizza, which was fun, mainly cause I was happy we were gonna have pizza. One of my high school friends worked at Pizza Hut and he certainly sounded sick of it the last time we talked, but almost anything can be fun if you don't have to do it every day.

It turns out you have to let the yeast swell up the dough before it's ready for cooking, so we got a lot more supervision than we did when it was just vegetables. I was kind of worried we'd keep getting yelled at for not being fast enough, but we had Counselor Giovanni supervising us, who's a really beautiful dark-haired woman who looks maybe a little old to be here, like in her thirties, but is just as nice as can be.

She just made sure we kept aware of when the yeast was ready to be mixed with the dough (we had a mixing machine, which made it a lot easier) and when the dough was ready to be rolled flat and fit in the pans, and then she took it to the oven room, where I guess they put on all the toppings before they baked the pizza.

It got to be such a routine I almost wished I could put on the toppings and cheese and sauce and stuff, just to give me something more to do, but she said part of this was learning to stick to your own task and "let the other parts do their part," like we were all one body, which I guess is the same thing Paul told people to do, so it must be a good idea.

Counselor Giovanni was almost flirtatious with me, calling me "handsome" and "cute." But she made sure to draw Jill into it, telling her "your boyfriend" this and "your boyfriend" that, but always keeping a smile in her voice so Jill wouldn't feel the need to correct her.

At one point, she whispered something to Jill that made her just blush all over the place, but I could tell she wanted to smile, too. It must've been pretty good, too, cause she wouldn't even tell me what it was, just kind of giggled when I asked.

Then, when we'd made our last batch of dough, we were all pretty messy, and Jill apparently thought the flour on her wrist band made it look tacky, so she made as if to take it off, and Counselor Giovanni got kind of upset. She said we should never take them off unless we were getting ready to put another one on, and that we should always go to a counselor and let them know if it needed changing.

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