Last summer our campers thwarted my plans to take over Colvig Silver Camps. Each Special Day, my attempt to rid the Red Creek Valley of fun was stamped out. I schemed every night over the year in my lair and my resolve strengthened with the 2017 summer growing near. My pride dictated I must once again try to destroy camp on special day. Sure, my plan might not have worked four times in a row last summer, but there’s no room for flexibility in the midst of an evil vendetta.
Eli Beck poured creativity into his special day, reimagining a classic and important document in film history: Jumanji. Mack, our Art-Barn Coordinator, painted staff’s faces to represent various menacing animals from the 1995 film. This was my chance. I chose face paint to match the mischievous monkeys that torture Jumanji’s main characters whenever possible. My faithful assistant counselors joined me and I declared myself the Monkey King.
Judy and Peter were overcome with grief. The dangers unleashed by Jumanji threatened to run through camp forever. Pleading, they called upon the campers to help bring back the dice, and finish the game. The campers split into groups and toured camp, partaking in activities to retrieve dice and bring Alan back.
They practiced their jungle projectile skills with Van Pelt at the archery range. Then they wrestled with crocodiles in the Outpost Lake. In the Art-Barn, they painted their faces to resemble jungle animals. Lions were tamed at the campfire ring. Monkeys led tag games in the Art-Barn field. Campers battled a mosquito with water balloons on a giant slip n’ slide. At each activity station the campers collected dice for the game.
Sarah brought the campers to the lake and surrounded it. They called upon us to return the Jumanji board and we laughed in triumph. Then the campers threw fistfuls of bananas into the lake! Before I knew it my ACs were abandoning me. They jumped right into the lake, for I’d forgotten to feed them throughout the day. It was just me now, defending the board from being used for purposes of fun.
A curious look came across Sarah’s face as all my ACs swam away with bananas in hand.
“Why didn’t you jump?” She asked.
“I didn’t want to get wet!” I replied.
“Al…Alan?” She inquired.
“I know no Alan,” I shouted, “I am the monkey king!”
Sarah told me everything was going to be okay. I’d been trapped in the game for so long I’d forgotten who I was. She told me she understood the pain I felt, how I’d been fighting to survive for a long time. That the game hadn’t been fun for me so I’d taken it upon myself to ruin the fun for everyone else.
A feeling I had not felt in a long time came back to me. I did not cry. I had gotten something in my eye around the same moment I realized the truth. I AM ALAN! I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN ALAN! I’ve been trapped in my quest to destroy fun the same way Alan was trapped in Jumanji. I allowed Sarah to cross to my island. She convinced me to take my turn in the game. The dye was cast and landed on five. I was free.
“JUMANJI!” The campers yelled in triumph. And the game was over.
After a long day braving the dangers of the jungle, our campers settled in the lodge to witness the classic film. They celebrated a day well-spent rescuing an old friend.
But I would return to my villainous ways very, very soon…