I pulled the pants on, buttoned up the shirt, and pulled the hood over my head. I took off my sandals and placed them neatly on the stairs and slipped my feet into the huge kodiak boots. I propped the hockey mask over my forehead. I slipped my wrists into the handcuffs and then I sat on the bottom stair and waited.
I heard the cheers when Caroline and Angus took the stage. I could barely make out the voices of the leaders of each team as they told the audience who they thought was the culprit. There would be a small burst of cheers and booing after each. And still I sat on the step trying to calm myself.
It was probably a good ten minutes before I heard Angus finally punch through the back stairwell doors and peek around the corner to see me sitting patiently.
“You ready for your debut?”
“Yup.” I said as I stood up and took a deep breath and pulled the face mask down.
“Here we go!” Angus said as he picked me up and tossed me over his shoulders in a fireman’s hold.
“Oh my!” I giggled at the abruptness of it.
“No more giggling, Anne, Remember! You are a hardened criminal!” Angus whispered.
“That’s it.” Angus walked to the doorway and Caroline pushed the door open for us. Angus stepped sideways through the door and into the dining hall with me on his shoulders. With every step his shoulder dug into my gut. It was pretty uncomfortable. Add to that the handcuffs that were digging into my wrists. Being the bad guy was painful.
“LET. ME. GO.” I yelled in a deep voice as I kicked my feet in the air and waved my handcuffed wrists. Angus carried me to the stage while the campers broke out into cheers. Angus plunked me down on my feet on the stage. I looked around the dining hall from behind the hockey mask. The campers eyes were bright with excitement and curiosity. Craning their necks, some stood up trying to get a look at me.
“We have successfully apprehended the culprit! Caught red handed while trying to coax a hungry black bear into the kitchen so it would eat all our food!”
“Yeah!” I nodded and looked around the room. The campers yelled and scolded me.
“Enough!” Angus turned to me and pointed his finger. “We won’t let you ruin Camp Acorn anymore….” Angus said and then pulled my mask off.
The silence was momentary. Then there were gasps. Then, from the back of the dining hall, sweet little David from the Deer hut, the little lost camper, stood up.
“It was you, Nurse Anne?” David said, his tiny voice full of confusion.
“Ya it was me David! Hah! I wasn’t even one of your suspects, was I?” I said with a snarl. “Who would think it was the kindly volunteer nurse? But I was the one ruining Camp Acorn.” I narrowed my eyes as I slowly scanned the room.
“But why Nurse Anne?” Angus asked.
on the camp staff shirt!
“I came up to this camp and I saw how lovely it was. The lake, the forest, the beach.” I said dreamily with a far-off look. “Why, this property is probably worth millions. But you kids…” I sneered, “you spoiled, little, bratty kids…you don’t see the beauty! No! No, you kids take it for granted. And you take me for granted too. You come to me with your belly aches, and your smelly, filthy feet and your bug bites and your scabby band aids! Oh! The scabby band aids are the worst!” I wailed as I wrung my hands. I was really pouring it on now. Some of the campers giggled.
“So I figured you kids didn’t deserve this beautiful camp. I appreciate it, so I deserve it.” I said as I poked at my chest. “I was gonna scare all the campers away so no one would ever want to come back to camp. Then Camp Acorn would be ruined and then of course Father Brian would have to sell the place real cheap cuz no one would want it and then…I would buy it, see? And this would alllll be mine!” I paused a moment for dramatic effect. “And I would have gotten away with it too, if it hadn’t have been for you meddling kids!” I pulled the mask back down over my face.
“And it’s never gonna happen, is it campers?” Angus shouted as he clamped his hands on my shoulders. The place exploded in cheers. Kids jumped to their feet and clapped. The teams started into their cheers again. The sound made my eardrums beg for mercy.
I took some deep breaths as I slowly looked around the room. My performance was now done. I could begin to relax. And that is when I noticed him. Standing just beside the organ, leaning against the wall, arms crossed and with a small duffle bag by his feet. My husband had a most bewildered look on his face.