Mikey felt a harsh kick in the back of his seat, but said nothing. He was scared that ratting on another kid would make Matt hate him more for coming on this trip. It wasn’t his fault though. Mom and Dad had made him come! They told him it would help him adjust better to new social situations and prepare him for middle school in the next year or so. He unwrapped the bologna sandwich Mom had packed for him, ripped off the crusts, and shoved the excess in his pockets. The sandwich was soggy and kind of disgusting. Bologna was Matt’s favourite and every week Mom would alternate between the boys’ favourite sandwiches for lunch. Mikey choked it down for fear that the cafeteria would serve only things he hated all week. He worried that Matt liked camp because of the food. He worried that he would wet the bed in front of the whole cabin. He worried they would see the stash of GoodNites that were rolled up in his sleeping bag. He took a long sip of his water and sat back, uncomfortably.
“Did that kid just kick your seat?” the teenage boy next to him asked, taking out his headphones. He was wearing aviators and a black Smashing Pumpkins “Zero” shirt.
Mikey shrunk back into his seat.
“Hey man, don’t be so freaked out,” the teenager smiled, “Did he kick your seat?”
The teenager stood up and looked back at the two boys sitting in the seats behind them. “Yo, Chris, if you don’t stop kicking my friend’s seat, I’m going to tell your dad you’ve been stealing from the tuck shop. Keep your feet to yourself!”
The chubby kid with mouth full of gummy worms nodded fearfully, “Yesh shir.”
The teenager grinned, showing his canines. “What’s your name anyway?”
“Mikey,” he whispered.
“You must be Matt’s brother! I’m Dave, the leader for Cabin 1. I hear you get to hang with the older kids in Cabin 6; that’s awesome!”
Dave went in for a high five and Mikey shyly reciprocated. “My brother likes Smashing Pumpkins too.”
“Oh! Yeah, they’re rad. Probably my favourite, maybe second to The Pixies.”
“Here, man. My buddy Peter made me this sweet mix tape. I think you’ll probably meet him – he must be leading Cabin 6 this week… anyway, have a listen.” Dave handed Mikey his headphones and his walkman.