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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

A Hollywood summer of fat camp, sharks, two stunning blondes, and murder

The summer wind came blowin in from across the sea.

The summer wind came blowin’ in from across the sea.

I had one incredible summer. A classic, really. Someone could turn my summer into a movie — six movies actually.
My storied summer started immediately after the last day of school. I came home only to be told by my parents that they’d be sending me off to camp. Fat camp! I was reluctant at first, but then I saw some of the cool stuff they had at camp, like the Blob, a giant inflatable bat that launches you into the lake when someone jumps on the opposite end. They also had Go Karts! I couldn’t wait to ride them because I’m slow, and I always wanted to go fast.
Alas, it was too good to be true. On my first day at Camp Hope the owners told us they had sold the camp. We met the new owner, who looked like Ben Stiller. He wanted us to call him “Uncle Tony.” He was crazy! He stole all our candy and our letters home, and he yelled at us and called us names.
Enough was enough when he tried to make us climb a thousand-foot rock wall. We captured him and put him in an electrified cage. When our parents came to visit us, “Uncle” Tony escaped, but it was too late. Our parents had already watched the tape we made that showed all the cruel things Tony made us do.
Tony was out and our favorite camp counselor was put in charge. Camp ended in the most glorious way possible. For the first time, we beat the jocks from Camp MVP in the relay. It came down to me and the kid from MVP in a Go Kart race and I won!
My wild summer didn’t end there. When I got home something horrible had happened. There was a shark terrifying the beaches. Everyone was saying it was so big it could swallow a person whole.
The shark had already killed a girl and a boy. The mother of the boy put out a reward for anybody who would kill the shark. Soon there was a shark-hunting frenzy. The shark hunters must not have been that good because on the Fourth of July, the shark killed another man and almost killed the Sheriff’s son. That was the last straw.
The sheriff, a biologist, and the best damn shark hunter on the island went out to find and kill the thing. And they did! The sheriff shot a pressurized scuba tank that the beast had in its mouth and blew the fish to smithereens. It was so cool!
Sharks were not the only murderer I met this summer. There was also that one time when someone in a raincoat with a hook was chasing my friends and I trying to kill us. It could have been the ghost of the guy we accidentally hit with my friend’s car last summer, or maybe it was just someone who knew what we did.
Anyway, I’ll never forget the hottest day this summer. My main man Mookie threw a trash barrel through the window at the pizzeria he works for.
Things were getting ugly, so my dad sent me and my mom to Maine. He forgot my paddle and went back for it. I don’t know what happened but our neighbor told us he was hanging out with a new neighbor of ours an awful lot — said she was a commercial actress and former model. A real beaut. Even got a picture with her white-halter dress almost blowing all the way up as she was standing over subway grate to feel the breeze.
Dad eventually made it to Maine with my paddle though, and I don’t think anything happened.
My one-for-the-ages summer went right up to the last day before going to college. I met my friends at the usual place, Mel’s Drive-In. We did what everyone always does, which is cruise around looking for stuff to do. I was contemplating whether I wanted to go off to college when everyone I knew and loved was right here in my hometown. My friend Steve was sure about it though.
On the way to the sock hop a beautiful blonde in a Thunderbird mouthed “I love you” to me. Before I could say anything, she drove off!
I was on a mission to find her, but I got sidetracked when some greasers caught me sitting on their friend’s car and made me be a lookout while they stole the quarters from arcade games. They also made me hook a chain to a cop’s police axle. We sped by the cops and when they tried to pursue us, the back axle ripped right out! I’ll admit, it was exhilarating.
Still I had a mission: to find that blonde. I went to the radio station just outside our city, where a DJ called “the Wolfman,” who everyone listens to on the radio, works. Don’t tell anybody, but I met “the Wolfman” and asked him if he would read my note asking the blonde to call me that night.
She called and said maybe she’ll see me cruising the next night, but I told her I’d be gone because I’m going off to school. When I was in the plane on my way to college, I gazed out the window and saw the thunderbird. I wonder what might have been.
It was a fun summer.