Rugby camp with my son, was always one of the annual highlights, until –
Years ago, sixty dads and our Hornswood Junior Rugby-playing sons, attended a Northern Beaches fitness camp, bonding weekend. Canoeing, archery, orienteering, climbing, swimming and watching rugby with our sons all day. Then at night the dads sat around with beers, while the kids ran wild.
But this year there was a new Camp Supervisor from Germany, a big, serious guy.
Bartlet Bachler (addressing all the dads and kids) – “I am Camp Supervisor Bart Bachler. Fathers are not allowed to drink zhe alcohol outside of zhis dining hall, which will close at nine o’clock.”
I was way up the back, the sixty or so kids (and plenty of the dads after hearing the rule) were nattering loudly.
Me – “SORRY CAMP SUPERVISOR, I CAN’T HEAR YOU VERY WELL. DID YOU SAY YOUR NAME WAS, BUTT BUTLER?”
That’s what I thought he said. The place erupted into laughter.
Bartlet Bachler – “BART BACHLER!” He shot me a look of German Camp-Supervisor wrath.
Me – “THIS NON-DRINKING THING, I ASSUME THAT’S MORE OF A… GUIDELINE… THAN A RULE?”
Anyway, ten dads and kids had been allocated to our room. On the second night, one dad (who I didn’t know) had to head back home for some work emergency. His son Tyrone, was a really fat kid, played in the front row in another team.
Dad I didn’t know – “Can you keep a rough eye on little Tyrone for me tonight?”
Me – “It’ll be a very rough eye indeed (I waved my beer). Isn’t there somebody more responsible you could ask? It’s a classic how you call him little Tyrone by the way!”
Dad I didn’t know – “What do you mean?” He looked at me quizzically.
Me – “Nothing…”
We swapped mobile numbers.
We had eskys strategically hidden around the camp. If anybody saw big Bart Bachler coming, the call of JEEVES would go out and we would all hide our beers.
At 11:45pm I was still sitting around having contraband beer. All the kids and the Butt Butler had gone to bed. I got a text from “Dad I didn’t know” – I’m confident you’ll still be up Jase, ha ha. Just checking on little Tyrone.
OH SHIT. LITTLE TYRONE!
I hadn’t thought of him since “Dad I didn’t know” left that afternoon, about eight hours prior.
I text back – Will advise.
I rushed to our room.
Little Tyrone’s bed… IS EMPTY.
Me – “WHERE’S LITTLE TYRONE.”
My son (half asleep) – “Dad I haven’t seen Ty for ages. He hit his head on a bit of metal and ran off into the bush crying. We were going to find him, but Charles hit me with a wet tennis ball, so I had to chase him. And then I forgot.”
My mind flashed back to when the Butt Butler came to our room after dinner to do a head count. There seemed to be more than enough running around, so I just assumed they were all there.
The Butt Butler (checking his list) – “You must do zhe ‘ead count.”
Me – “We got no Ed’s here Butler… but we have two Johnny’s!” The Butt Butler didn’t smile. “YOU ALL HERE KIDS?”
The kids – “YES!”
Me – “They’re all here Butler.”
So little Tyrone is somewhere out in the pitch-black bush and has probably bled out. I told my son to go and check every room.
I went to wake up the Butt Butler.
He was not enthused to see me.
The Butt Butler – “VHAT ZHE ‘ELL? Is zhat a beer in your ‘and?”
He crossed his arms angrily. He looked like he was ready to annex Austria.
I rushed to the bin a few metres away to throw the bottle out. I went to swallow the last sip and in my agitated state, underestimated the amount I had left. I tossed the beer into my mouth and a lot more flooded in, than I was expecting. I coughed and the beer went up my nose and sprayed out like a fountain. I erupted into a terrible gagging fit.
Spluttering as my nose and eyes ran, I got a text from my son – All good. He’s asleep in Harry’s room.
The Butt Butler was REALLY pissed off, but I no longer had to inform him that I had potentially, irresponsibly, drunkenly killed one of the kids.
The Butt Butler (in that loveable German accent) – “VHAT YOU VANT???”
I was inebriated and had just been on a roller coaster of adrenalin-laden emotion, so I struggled to think of any explanation for my knocking.
Me – “Sorry… for calling you Butt Butler.” He slammed his door.
Then I get a text from “Dad I didn’t know” – Jason I’m concerned.
Me – Found him!
“Dad I didn’t know” – You’d lost him?
I wondered why these things always seemed to happen to me.
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