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The Short Form

“The Woman at the Tree”

Gabe Durham


Yesterday, Tad found me napping in my bunk and asked to borrow my water gun. I unlatched my prank trunk and showed him a good pump-action. He wanted something smaller. I said, “Covert mission, eh?” and gave him my little dollar store pistol. It holds next to nothing, it leaks, and sometimes it fails to squirt. Tad didn’t care.

He let me tag along past the cabins, past the snack shack and it’s winding, waving line, and we traded @ShitMyDadSays tweets. I figured we were headed to the pool, but Tad stopped instead at the Tree of Safety where eight pale kids worked Sudokus and Mad Libs. Tad pointed the water pistol at shy Elaine Schroeder and said, “Okay, Leni,” coining her now-ubiquitous nickname, “where do you want it?”

We read it in Fun Camp.

Originally published in Good Men Project.