The Camping Trip

Short Story Day 52 of 365

Matt Sawyer loved camping and his Scout troop. He had few friends and his father took off when he was three, so it was an opportunity to pal around with kids his age and their fathers.

The trip was planned for Friday night through Sunday noon.

On the Monday before the trip, Scoutmaster Jeff Browning took a survey of Scouts who would be going on the trip. Based on that number, he’d plan the meals, transportation, and additional help. Technically, the Scouts were supposed to help with the planning, but Browning knew his Scouts. If it were up to them, they’d bring strawberry toaster pastries and donuts for every meal and think nothing was wrong with that plan.

The headcount was only six. For whatever reason, this weekend had a lot of conflicts. In a troop of 28 registered Scouts, six on a camping trip was pathetic.

But six was enough for Browning to make his plans and go buy the food two days before. With only six Scouts, he wouldn’t need additional adult assistance or transportation since he had a large vehicle, though it’d be nice if he had help.

When Friday at six o’clock came, Browning and Sawyer were the only two in the parking lot. Browning had received texts from three of the six that day stating they had other things come up since Monday. He hadn’t heard from the other two.

“Well, my friend, let’s wait another ten or fifteen minutes.”

 They chatted about school and girls and grades and camping and sports. Browning had a small son and showed Matt photos of his family.

Browning checked his watch once more and shook his head. He tilted his head back and closed his eyes, letting out a long stream of air.

“We’re not going, are we, Mr. Browning?”

“No, Matt, we’re not. I’m really sorry.”

“I understand. No, really, I do.”

“I’ll make it up to you, kid.”

“That’s not necessary. Go home and be with your family.”

“Ok, let me run you home so your mom doesn’t have to come all the way back here.”

“All right. Sounds like a plan. I’ll call those other guys and see what their problem is.”

Matt said he’d call them, but he never did.

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