Every summer I work at a wilderness camp in West Virginia. (Not really, but for the sake of this story, I can pretend that I do.) Two summers ago, I was the Dorm Dean, which means it was my responsibility to supervise the boy’s bunk. I also had to sleep there.
This particular summer, a lad called Ernie, and his brother, arrived at camp two days late. At the pre-session meeting, I had been warned that Ernie was a chronic bed-wetter, which means he wet his bed every night. (Chronic.)
Ernie arrived in the middle of the day three. It was a hectic day, and, forgetting about his special condition, I let Ernie pick whichever bed he wanted. There were only two left: a bottom bunk tucked away in a corner, and a top bunk situated close to my nook. Ernie’s brother picked the bottom bunk in the corner; Ernie picked the top one near me.
Everything seemed cool until the next morning. The wake-up bell rang at 7:30, and, as I was swimming towards consciousness, I heard an 11-year-old boy’s voice ask if it had rained the night before. I said I didn’t think so, not having heard the rain tapping against the cabin’s tin roof during the night. One glance out the window at the bone-dry ground confirmed my suspicions. But Nick, as the talkative kid was called, kept repeating that he could have sworn that it had rained, and, not only that, but that the roof had leaked too. As my eyes came into focus I saw that, indeed, even if it had rained and the roof had leaked, there was no way Nick could have gotten wet; he was on the bottom bunk.
But then I saw that there was another way he could have gotten wet — Ernie slept right above Nick. (Chronic.)
There’s a time for talk and there’s a time for action. This was no time for talk. I jumped out of bed and hustled Nick, a portly kid with unruly blond curls, into his Limp Bizkit shirt and blue jeans and out of the dorm, all the while agreeing with him that yes, what do you know?, it must have rained, and it must have been a very unusual rain, leaving no traces like that. When the other kids chimed in with their objections — pointing out the obvious, like the dry ground I had noticed earlier — I talked over them. Shut up you stupid kids, I thought.
Yeah, I screwed that one up. Maybe my friends will stop rubbing my nose in it.
Ernie peed on Nick. So what?