Summers in the Abyss


It was during our week of summer camp at the Crossett Lake Scout Reservation, which was one mountain ridge east of Lake George, way up in the Adirondacks. We arrived on Sunday, and by Thursday the kitchen ran out of food completely. There wasn’t even white bread left, and we would’ve gone hungry if our scoutmaster hadn’t gone to town and brought back a couple buckets of Kentucky Fried Chicken.

There was a dog at Camp Crossett too. A big golden half-breed, but I don’t remember seeing the mutt after the food ran out.

“You can’t say you’ve never had dog once you’ve had the burgers at Camp Crossett.”

That was the campfire joke told constantly by our assistant senior patrol leader, a Star Scout named David Jones. The only thing Davie liked better than telling that joke was demonstrating his expert skills when torturing frogs and other small creatures. Countless amphibians that week were chopped in half with scout hatchets. They were boiled in water and sometimes thrown straight into the fire.

Around the time the food ran out, Davie developed a new technique. He figured out that he could lift a large rock by winching it through a low tree limb, and once he discovered this trick, he dropped the rock on one frog after another until there were no more frogs to be found.

When I returned home, I found one of Davie’s cassette tapes inside my backpack. It was Slayer’s first album, Show No Mercy. I don’t know how it got there and I don’t remember listening to it, but after our week at Crossett Lake that album didn’t leave my Walkman cassette player for a very long time.

If you’ve never heard Slayer or or Show No Mercy listen to them here.





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