Taps was at 10pm at Camp Zoe. Campers soon drifted off to sleep in the Ozark darkness. For some of us, the fun began when the lights went out.
Our cabin was the largest in camp and contained a big central space with table and chairs. The gabled ceiling had rafters and air vents high above the floorboards. One night in 1977 a late-night bull session and poker game commenced. The subject was girls. Who were the hot babes in camp? Were you going to ask one for a slow number at the next dance? My best friend Stu and I enjoyed great popularity that summer as girls outnumbered the boys 2 to 1.
We didn’t have a lot of cash so we played cards for snack shack credit too. A good night at the table might get you and extra slush and some candy. It wasn’t the world series of poker, but when you were 12 it was good loot. I was down 50 cents when I finally got a decent hand; three kings on the draw.
Someone at the table looked up and noticed a bat in the rafters. Great uproar ensued. Stu stood on the table and tried to knock it down with his beach towel. Snack shack tickets, coins, and cards went flying. The bat swooped and darted through the central room while campers dove for the safety of their sleeping bags. I couldn’t stop giggling. I think I swallowed my gum.
Suddenly, camp owner Jack appeared at the screen door. He patrolled the campgrounds after taps to quell exactly this kind of nonsense. No one could hide from the searing glare of his Sears search beam. That is, no one who didn't have a bunk to jump in and play possum. I suddenly became a deer in Jack's flashlight. I turned into a demure Eddie Haskell, uttering a few "Yes Sirs" and "No Sirs" before being dismissed. I don't remember what happened to the three kings. Maybe they flew out the vent with the bat. Our counselor slept through the whole thing.