“You need to wake up, Andy.” Tyler shook his boyfriend’s shoulder trying to rouse him. “You missed colors this morning, and Rex looks pissed.”
Andy cracked an eye open. “Isn’t Rex always pissed about something?” He turned and sat up on the folding cot, pushing the light blanket off his semi-naked body. “He realizes this is a summer camp, and not the fucking military?”
“Yeah, well, he looks extra pissed this morning.” Tyler helped Andy stand up and shoved his camp uniform at him. Olive drab shorts, a tan button shirt, and knee-length socks in the colors of olive drab and red. All were adorned with badges and rank insignia for the Boy Scouts of America. “I saved you some breakfast.”
“Thanks.” Andy stole a kiss and got into his uniform.
“You need to be careful doing that. You know the BSA frowns on gays.”
“Fuck them. The way I’m feeling, I really don’t give a rat’s ass.”
Tyler shook his head and sighed. “You should care. This has been the best two months of my life. We get to be with each other, instead of talking on the phone and email.”
“I know but I hate hiding us. It would be different if I could sleep with you.” Andy smiled some. “Remember when we first met? It was here, on the other side of the lake where you took my virginity.”
“That was mutual, if you remember. We were each other’s first.”
They shared a laugh as Andy finished getting dressed and grabbed his backpack with supplies.
The pair walked out of the large military style canvas tent. It was one of many in the excluded area for staff members, known as Staff City. The tent was raised up on a concrete foundation with permanent supporting struts holding it in place. They shared it, and was large enough for their two cots, their footlocker trunks, and two open-faced wardrobes. A power outlet rounded out the creature comforts.
Andy stopped right outside the tent and checked the fire buckets to make sure they were full. Satisfied they were in order, he caught up to Tyler.
“Do you have an excuse for why you were missing this morning?”
“I do, and it’s a legit one. Medical told me to stay in bed and take it easy today.”
“Your asthma is really getting to you, isn’t it?” Tyler looked concerned.
Andy blew out a breath and nodded. “It is. I’m barely keeping it contained. Marie says I should resign and go home.”
The couple walked from Staff City, headed towards the Nature Lodge and Quartermaster Shack. Dust from the dirt road kicked up as they swiftly moved along it. Taking a shortcut, they made their way along Copenhagen Trail, through the pine, ash, oak, and palmetto scrub woods that led to the parade field.
Andy shook his head clearing out the memories. Where the fuck did that come from?
He looked around his bedroom, trying to remember what he was doing. He spotted the picture that brought about the brainlock of memories. Andy picked it up and sat down upon the bed. It was a simple picture in a 3x5 frame, of him and Tyler at the Nature Lodge at the BSA summer camp. They were camp counselors and were posing for the Nature Lodge Staff’s summer photo.
“Why do I torment myself, with things I can’t have?”
“Are you talking to me Andy?” His Uncle calls from the other room.
“No… It’s nothing important.” He sighs as he puts back the photo on the dresser.
Andy sits there, his hand on the picture frame, as another memory comes forward.
“What do you want, Rex?” Andy stared at his boss. “What’s so important, you take me out of the class I’m teaching and send the campers off for the rest of the time?”
Rex, with a sour look glares at Andy. “First off, remember I’m your boss, not the other way around. Second, you missed colors this morning.”
“Didn’t you talk to Marie? She knew where I was, why I was there, and about the restrictions I’m on today. Which I’m disregarding because we’re short-handed and you didn’t replace my staff.”
Silence was the only reply as the stare down continued between the two men. Rex was the first to look away.
“Well, you’re about to become even more short-handed. The Nature department is your area, you’re responsible for everything that happens here. So, you get to fire Tyler.” A gleaming smile was on Rex’s face.
Andy was stunned. “Wait… what? Why is Tyler getting fired for?” He cleared his throat and shook his head in disbelief.
“His old Troop is here next week, and his former Scoutmaster came up to complete the documents. He saw Tyler and wanted to pass on a suspicion. We think Tyler is homosexual, and with him being nineteen we can’t have him here.”
Andy’s face turned red as he trembled. “You want me to fire someone with no proof? Go fuck yourself Rex.”
“Don’t talk to me like that.”
“I’m not firing him. There is no evidence, and I will not fire someone that doesn’t deserve it.”
Rex smirked. “It’s you fire him, or I fire you for insubordination and then fire him. Your choice.”
Andy looked over Rex’s shoulder at Tyler as he stood in the doorway. “You don’t have to fucking fire me. I quit.” He reached down and packed away a few supplies into his backpack.
“I’ll be off property tomorrow morning.” Andy stepped over to Tyler and squeezed his shoulder as he walked out of the lodge.
Andy wiped his eyes as the tears started and turned back to working on his research paper on his laptop. He still could not recall what he stood up to go do and waved it away as unimportant. It was a difficult time for Andy to work, as memories of him and Tyler dredged up from the past, blocked what he needed to do.