I checked the website again. The photos didn’t resemble anything I was looking at. Where was the lush, green grass? The tropical palm trees? The friendly people smiling and laughing, drinking cocktails by the sparkling, blue pool?
“Are you positive this is it Kooky?” Mr Smarts asked hopefully.
I knew he was begging me to say, “No Mr Smarts, I have made a silly mistake. It’s actually that other delightful campground we passed ten minutes ago. The one with the lagoon style swimming pool and outdoor swim up bar. Not this repulsive dust bowl with its kangaroo tails on display along the fence.”
Instead, I nodded nervously and ignoring the looks of dismay from the back seat we drove up the dusty track to the office.
“Welcome to Lucifer’s Camp Ground of Wretchedness, (obviously not the correct name, just saving myself from being sued), the manager said sticking his head through the car window. The putrid aroma of his breath had us all gasping for air. “Now here’s a map. Camp wherever you like. The pools over there next to the tennis court. The dunnies are over there and if you need anything else, don’t hesitate to holler.”
“What’s a dunny?” Pippa asked.
“It’s what some people call a toilet,” Will explained. “You know, like the crap house, the bog log, the …”
“Where do you want to camp?” Mr Smarts asked before Will could educate his sister further.
“How about over there?” I asked pointing to a patch of dirt with no other campers beside it.
Looking back now, perhaps I should have examined the map. It was at least a ten minute walk to the “dunny”. A big mistake on my behalf because, as we all know, when you’re camping everyone’s urinary alarm goes off at different times in the night and a ten minute walk to the loo, when you desperate is way too far away.
Sure enough at 2 am the next morning.
“Mum! Mum! I need to go to the dunny,” Will said peering down at me.
“Will, you’re a boy. Go kill a bush,” I said with my eyes closed.
“Not on the tent,” I yelled.
“Too late. I’m done,” he said, walking in with wet feet.
I screamed inside my head.
“Mum! Mum! I need to go to the loo!” Pippa said shining a torch in my face.
I shoved Mr Smarts hoping he would take her. There was no response. I kicked him. Still no response.
So Pippa and I trudged the ten minute walk, only to have to wait another ten minutes because three toilets were simply not enough to service a camp full of women and children. Even if it was the middle of the night.
“Mum, I need to go to the toilet,” Kate whispered in my ear.
“Can’t you just go behind a tree?” I begged.
“Are you kidding?” she was horrified. “Who knows what’s out there!”
“Wake your Dad,” I cried.
“I can’t go to the boy’s toilet!” she shrieked.
So once again, I found myself waiting in the que with all the other zombie mums who were half asleep and dreaming they were at a five star hotel. Well I know I was.
I woke in agony, on the cold, hard ground.
“Mr Smarts,” I groaned, rubbing my sore hips. “Mr Smarts wake up!”
No response. Tired and almost out of my brain I bit his ear.
“Ow! Kooky! What did you do that for?” he complained.
“The mattress must have a hole in it,” I hissed. “We need to blow it up again.”
Feeling extremely light headed, ten minutes later, we were back in bed.
I found myself lying on the cold, hard ground. I stayed there.
Bang! Crash! Bang!
“What the hell is that?” I asked myself. Everyone else was sleeping.
“See ya later,” I heard someone say as a car drove off.
Bang! Crash! Bang!
I peeped through the tent flap and stifled a scream.
“Mr Smarts! Mr Smarts wake up!” I opened his eye lids for him.
“What’s wrong Kooky?” he yawned.
“There are men dressed in camo gear and they have guns!” I said freaking out.
“Kooky,” Mr Smarts yawned. “You must be dreaming. Go back to sleep.”
I didn’t go back to sleep because I had never been asleep in the first place.
I watched the men unload more guns before they disappeared inside their caravan. All was quiet again until….
Part 2 of Lucifers Camp Ground of Wretchedness will follow in the next few days. It’s too traumatic for me to write all at once. Only joking…….sort of.