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(TFT) the rare AD&D game

   I go to Robbies
house for the rare AD&D game.  Our
Parents are the
only ones who don`t have an injunction against D&D.  Remember that this is in
  Rouge, and the televangelist Jimmy Swaggert is still
rising in power.
Mostly we play outside


   Robbie and I stage
a play and stunt show
for his family.  It`s
a combination of vaudeville and slapstick. 
We have a
lot of fun becoming our lines. 
His mom flatters me by saying ``Mike you could
be an actor.``  Which convinces me that acting is easy.  Just don`t say
anything until you really believe
it.  But at the time I think this is the
last nice thing she ever said to me.  Especially after what we pull over
summer camp
at Camp Avondale
in the Boy Scouts.



   Each company has
rows of old fashioned WWII pole & beam field tents, with a metal frame bunk
each side.  There are tie straps
everywhere outside.  The entrance flaps
be tied back.  The back flaps tied
closed, or open for a cross breeze.  The
walls can be rolled up and tied so now the tent is just a roof, staked to the
ground.  I mean anything.


   Of course the first
week there are numerous
cases of bunk walking. 
People wake in the morning to find their entire bunk
and mattress in the
middle of camp, down a trail, or just randomly in the
middle of the woods.  Companies start to compete with each other
and kids wake
up on the pier, in the wooden framed showers, and even in the
middle of the
camp road.  Unfortunately for
junior scout leaders this last one cause the
posting of guard duty and the whole
affair comes to an end.


swimming in
the lake at the pier that I see my first fluorescent colors.  A
bright glowing orange & blue inflatable
2 man raft.  I have never seen
so bright that isn`t a light in my life. 
It even has a little orange
nylon rope around the perimeter that people
can hang onto.  The roped off area
to the pier is full of scouts splashing around and calling out to each
other.  The kids riding in the raft have two glowing
orange oars.  The whole
thing glows so
bright is seems to illuminate the surface of the water around


   The two kids are
terrible boatmen though and seem to just paddle in
circles.  With a sudden yen for boating I take Ray
Farrell over to see if we
can use one of the camp canoes.  We get one. About 5 are already on the lake.
``Get in.`` I tell
him and push the canoe out climbing into the back.  ``Lets
play Spartacus.  I`ll steer and you`re power.``


   He stops rowing and
looks back at me like he`s going to protest but I`m leaning way forward.
Digging deep with my oar and stroking way
back.  So he joins in on the
side.  I aim us a little ahead of one of
the other canoes.
``Ramming speed!``  and we both start rowing long and deep.  Like a couple of
Indians at war.  Aluminum canoes sound funny in a collision.


``Watch where you`re


   I reply with ``You`re
it!`` and start a
fierce back paddle. 
They start paddling sloppily trying to come around on us.
Ray and I race to another canoe and swing
around the other side coming along
side them.


   ``Hello.``  They look at us puzzled.  And while distracted
they don`t see the other
canoe coming straight at them.  I back
row and turn
us away.


   The sounds of
collision and ``You`re it.``


   Ray and I
rowing to the next canoe to hide behind. 
We continue to play canoe tag
for a half hour.  Everyone is fired up and wearing out from
paddling with a
purpose.  Then we beach
and leave.  Just as we set down our life
jackets and
step away a camp instructor comes running down the hill yelling.


the hell are
you kids doing to my canoes!*  Stop
that!  Everybody out of the
water!``  His is, like, really mad.  Ray and I give each other guilty eyes but
just keep walking up the path and back to our companies site.


   So late
afternoon Raven Patrol is sitting around a picnic table talking and
playing hearts
when two kids not from our company enter camp. 
About every
eight tents there is a picnic table.  Three in a row on this side, and three
the other row of tents.  The two kids,
one older and one young, are going
from table to table talking to each
patrol.  The young kid looks upset and
scared.  The older kid does all the
talking and gestures to the young one.
I would be scared
to enter another companies site too.  I
mean different
companies bunk walk each other, they don`t make friends.  I can`t wait to find
out what is going
on.  They approach our table.


   ``Hey.``  The older one
says as they come closer.  ``We are going around to each company asking
anyone has seen his raft.``  He
indicated the younger kid.


immediately know
what they are talking about.


   ``It`s an
rubber raft, and it`s brand new . . .``


   I interrupt.  ``Was it bright
blue and orange.``  I say eagerly.


   The young kid looks
up from his
feet.  ``Yes.``  And nods.


   I continue ``did it
have two orange

   ``Yes.`` The kid
looks like he might smile.  ``It did.``
I seal the
deal.  ``And this little orange rope that
went all the way around
the outside.``


   ``Yes! Yes. That`s
it.``  He`s practically standing on


   I slump back into
my seat, sag my shoulders, tilt my head
sideways and like a perfect bastard say
``never seen it in my life.``
It takes the older
kid and the whole patrol to keep him from flying across the
table and taking my
life.  They leave.  The kids hair is messed up.  The older
kid is calling back over his
shoulder.  ``You`ll hear from us.``


   I look
around the
table and realize everyone is looking at me with suspicious eyes.
I wave my hands towards my tent which has all
sides completely rolled up.
They can see
my dressed and empty bunk.


   ``What.``  I say innocently.
``Where would I hide it.``


   They all shift gears.  The body language of
the entire table changes.  They don`t think I have the raft.  But they still
disapprove.  Ray Farrell is not sure he knows me.  So I lean forward put my
hands together and
change the subject.


   ``What are we gonna
do for
parents day?``


   A murmer.  Now no one wants to make eye contact.  One
kid raises his head, mumbles something,
then goes back to studying the table


   ``Wait what did you


   ``A magic trick?``
He asks


   ``A magic trick.``
I say neutrally.


   ``A skit.``  Someone
else says.


   ``Yeah a skit.``


   ``Of what though.``


skits are


   ``I know a joke.``  Mike Munt says.


   ``Tell us
the joke.``  I say.


   ``These two men are
fighting in a bar.  The police
come in
and this kid runs up to them and says . . .`` 
He gives us the
exchange and punch line. 
It`s an ok joke.  I guess.  Nobody laughs.
``Ray and I can do
stunts.  We could be the two men


mean do the
joke as a skit.``


   ``Why not.  We can set up this table as a
bar.  Have people sitting here drinking cups of
water and playing cards.``  I
the cards.  A few eyebrows go up.  ``I guess we could draw badges on
paper and
button em to two shirts for . . .``


   ``I have a badge.``
Everyone looks at
him in disbelief.


   ``It came with a
cap gun.  I have
it in my bag.``


   That cinches
it.  I look around the table and see
unanimous accent.  ``How much does this
table weigh.``  I stand up.  It`s
frame is 10cm welded iron tubes fitted
with broad planks like the deck of a
``The amphitheater is a ways from here.``  I act like I`m going to lift
it.  Everyone gets up to help.  We lift it easy.  It`s heavy. 
But there are
enough of us.




   So we have a week
to rehearse.  I gotta say.
Rehearsal is more fun than the actual
performance.  We get to try
We figure out what level to
fill the plastic cups for maximum splash when Ray
gets thrown and slides the
length of the table.  Ray and I spend a
bit of time
perfecting when he flips me. 
When he pretends to punch my chin I move my head
and slap my hands
together out of sight to add the noise of impact.  He does
the same when I punch him.


   Someone has a black
tee shirt that makes the
cops badge stand out even more.  We dress rehearse it for a platoon in our
company and they think it is great.  We
even find a picnic table right next to
the amphitheater.


   So parents night
comes and there are just cars
Camp Avondale
up and down every road is one huge parking lot.
That evening all the parents are sitting in the bleachers.  Then its two
skits, a recitation, and we are
on last.  All the companies of scouts and
4 acts.


   We come jogging out
around the bon fire carrying the picnic
table between us.  People sit, the cop has his back to the
audience, the kid
is pouring drinks from his canteen.


   Ray punches me in
the stomach, I
double over.  Crowd goes


   He cracks me in the
Jaw, I make a loud
slap and snap my head to the side.  I hear a gasp.


   I punch him in the
stomach.  He catches my arm, twists it
around and flips me over to land on my


   ``Mommie are they
really fighting?``


   I get to my feet
crack him in the jaw and it spins him around facing the table, he does a
perfect slap.  It`s so loud you can hear
it echo back from across the lake
behind us. 
I catch him by the shirt and belt and run him to the table.  I can
see a sprinkling of parents standing,
out of their seats on the bleachers.
The people playing
cards just lean back.  Ray goes sliding
the length of the
table.  Drinks explode
everywhere.  Multiple gasps, and
exclamations, go up.
The cop turns to
face the audience.  I run behind the
table to get to Ray on
the other side. 
The kid comes out right where I disappeared and tugs on the
cops sleeve.




   The cop looks down
at the


FIGHT.``  I get to Ray and start wresting
on the ground with him.


   ``Which one is your
Dad, son.``


what they
are fighting about.``


   The parents
explode, and it`s not
laughter.  Everyone
is up and out of their seats talking at once. 
No one
hears Mike Munt stand up from the table, put down his cards and
say ``Gin!``
We get the picnic
table and cups and get the hell out of there. 
Scout masters
are being converged on. 
So like I said, Robbie Flammangs mom was there.  And
the time she said I could be an actor
maybe the last time she`s ever said
anything nice to me.  But Robbie isn`t worried.  He`s go a new dungeon he`s
gong to take his
little brother Jimmy and I on.  And get
this.  It`s got a
second level.


   So after summer
camp is over he has me over to his house
again anyway. Even though when I call
now I can hear the cool reception in
Mrs. Flammangs voice.  At least she still puts Robbie on the phone
when I ask
if he`s there.


   The second level
can be dangerous.  We leave and go back
to town, restock and aquire more men. 
Robbie rolls encounters on the way to
and back from town.  Jimmy and I reenter Robbies dungeon.  We plan to continue
to the second level and
pick up where we left off in making our map. 
along the way we encounter goblins. 
They have moved into the rooms we have
already cleared and done their
own exploring while we were gone.  My
dungeon war ensues.  Our base is at
the entrance and control of the first
intersection.  The goblins are trying to push us out.


   Jimmy and I have
lot of Henchmen.  We notice our henchmen
are getting a lot of experience
from this dungeon war.  Which is cool.  The goblins aren`t just in room 4, or
3.  They maneuver around and control
different hallways.  We realize that
can break through and go down to the second level or we can systematically
cordon off and clear the entire first level. 
We go systematic.


don`t carry
much money.  Disappointing.  After our war the creatures on the
level are easy, with our own second level henchmen overwhelming them.
We kill the ogre chief in one turn.  Before we can ask him where the treasure


   Jimmy and I
discover the treasure is no where.  What
kind of freaky dungeon is this anyway. 
Cows keep getting in the way in every
hall of the second level.  No treasure to speak of anywhere.  We spread out
our men and search every
section of wall.  We search, and search,
and search.
This is the hardest dungeon
we have ever been in.  Jimmy and I get
sinking feeling.  We bring everyone
back to town.  We won every fight, and
war, but the whole adventure is a loss.


   Jimmy and I are
back in town,
and feeling low.  We spend
a lot of our money restocking our party on arrows
and food.  We are now broke.  Jimmy makes one last effort into taunting
into telling us where the treasure is.


   ``Aw, come on.  Can you give us
a hint?``


   I`m still open to
the equipment price list in the players
handbook, when ignoring Jimmy, Robbie
says to me casually . . .


much does a
cow go for in there anyway?``


   Jimmy looks at me,
I at him.
Stunned I look down into the
book.  The number is huge.  One single cow is a
payday.  I pass the book to Jimmy.  His eyes bulge.


   ``How many cows
were down there.``  I ask.


   ``I don`t
know.  A lot.`` He says.


takes our party
two days to get back to the dungeon.  By
the time we do
someone has already taken the cows and left.  It would have been the biggest
payday ever.


   Robbie lectures
us.  ``Livestock are one of the oldest
forms of wealth.``


   The physics nerd
has a professor of economics for a


David Michael Grouchy II
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