Oops, Wrong Tent

Copyright ©1978, 1981, 1992 John Wm Beckner - All Rights Reserved

In the Rocky Mountains, a Jamboree was held,
On the north side of a lake, the Boy Scouts dwelled.
On the lake’s opposite side, the Girl Scouts were entrenched,
That first evening there, a monsoon got us drenched.

Our time together, Pam and I had prearranged,
Unable to talk during the last week, I hoped the plans were unchanged.
The plan was simply that Pam’s tent would be at the shoreline,
In a canoe I would cross, she would be waiting and all would be fine.

I crossed to the forest, and followed a trail,
I reconnoitered the beach, but to no avail.
A quick check of my watch, it was just before midnight,
Being a little early, I was sure everything was all right.

A half hour later, I saw her leave her tent,
She watched out over the lake, her gaze intent.
I snuck around back of the tent row,
Into her tent so early, I was surprised she would go.

Her vigil ceased, I awaited her return.
Maybe she gave up, was my concern.
Her tent was the standard 3-person variety,
I stealthily approached, with increasing anxiety.

I could only hope that she had informed her tent mate,
So I whispered her name, not knowing my fate.
I heard a rustling, then a voice, “Come in.”
Too late I realized, there was only trouble within.

“Camilla, you can’t invite a boy into our tent!”
I entered a girl’s tent without Pam’s consent.
“I’m not getting into trouble over this,” the excited girl said,
“Rhonda, there won’t be any trouble, he can sleep in my bed.”

“What don’t you understand about, ‘He can’t stay!’?”
“But he’s so cute!” Camilla, in baby-talk, did say.
“If you continue this way, I’ll get Mrs. Lovett.
“It’ll be your funeral, you won’t read my obit.”
“I thought my girlfriend had entered this tent,
“I must find my Pam, I won’t relent.
“I’ll leave you now, I’ll make a new plan.”
As I left the girls, Camilla exclaimed, “Aw, man!”

For another hour, I kept a vigil on the beach,
But Pam was not there, she was out of my reach.
I paddled back to the north shore,
Knowing I’d try the next day all the more.

The next night, I waited again at the forests edge,
Out of sight behind a chokecherry hedge.
Finally I went back to the same tent,
I asked to enter, Camilla gave consent.

Rhonda said to Camilla, “You’re stupid, you know!”
“Stupid enough,” Camilla replied, “to keep my voice low.”
“I won’t stay but a moment,” I interjected then,
“And if you say the word, you’ll not see me again.”

"My girlfriend Pam, I cannot find.
“If the mystery is not resolved, I’ll go out of my mind.”
Camilla leaned forward, assuming a provocative pose,
I wondered aloud, how much should I disclose?

I reiterated the plans that I had with Pam,
I needed their help, then I’d take it on the lam.
I could find my girlfriend if their help they would lend.
Camilla smiled seductively, saying, “I’ll be your girlfriend.”

“Just ignore her,” Rhonda said, “And don’t worry about Jean,
She takes sleeping pills, but it’s okay, she’s eighteen.”
Rhonda continued, “You’re a scout, we’re Scouts, so help we must.
Tell us everything, and we give you our trust.”

After describing Pam, both physically and spiritually,
Camilla fake swooned, saying, “A boy will describe me like that, eventually.”
“Wow,” Rhonda softly said, then she shook her head to clear the reverie,
We came together with a plan to which we all could agree.

Jean was a scribe, and could check the rolls,
I concluded these girls had very good souls.
I would come back the next night per the plan,
They’d find my Pam, this motley clan.
Suddenly there was a voice just outside the tent,
“Girls,” said the voice. Her entrance I couldn’t prevent.
Camilla answered, “We were just chatting, Mrs. Lovett.”
“You must get some sleep, you’ll need every bit.”

After 30 minutes, I peaked out the tent flap,
At the water’s edge, wearing a stocking cap,
Mrs. Lovett stood, facing the lake,
Coming here was obviously a mistake.

I laid beside Camilla to await Mrs. Lovett’s leaving,
For the seeming bad luck, I was still unbelieving.
Camilla stared at me, as I lay on my back,
She suddenly kissed my cheek, I was taken aback.

I thought I’d wait for one full hour,
But I fell asleep, and dreamed I had power.
The power to teleport to the north shore,
And the two night’s troubles, I would simply ignore.

When I awoke, I came to with a start,
I knew that I must hastily depart.
Camilla was draped over me, quite an entangle,
Extricating myself, she awoke nerves a-jangle.

She was startled awake, as I sat up quickly.
As she disentangled, my groin felt her knee,
Rhonda jerked awake, followed by Jean,
Rhonda began to look a little green.

Through tightly clenched teeth, Rhonda said,
“I knew you were trouble and now we’re dead!
“Why didn’t you leave? We’re so busted!
“Guys can never be 100% trusted.”

Her diatribe interrupted, as Camilla said, “Stop it!”
Jean awoke while Rhonda was throwing a fit.
Rhonda noticed, saying, “Jean, don’t freak.
“He’s a weird friend, kind of unique.”

Jean finally spoke, “I’m not freaking out.
“Boys sleeping with girls is no reason to shout.
“Camilla, I knew you’d finally steal a boy.
“I guess you’re going to keep him as your personal toy.”
Rhonda planned, “Johnny, stay ‘til seven, then go.
“We’ll muster for breakfast, ‘til then you lie low.
“Leave when it’s safe, then come back tonight,
“We’ll report on Pam, just after last light.”

Camilla said, “We have to change into our uniforms.”
Jean said, “We can change at the bath house just the other side of the dorms.”
Camilla responded, “That’ll look suspicious.”
“I’m changing now, Johnny’s not injudicious.”

“I’ll close my eyes, so you can get changed.
“Have no worry, I’m not deranged.”
They all changed clothes and left the tent,
Pam’s whereabouts unknown, I was feeling torment.

I stealthily watched the scouts milling about,
Looking to leave by any clear route.
The girls came back about a quarter to eight.
Their coming in the tent may have sealed my fate.

“I see you’re still here,” Jean noted sullenly,
“I wish I could leave, then we’d all be free.”
I continued sardonically, “I just love being here,
“Find a witch doctor to make me disappear.”

“No sarcasm needed, I figured this out,”
Rhonda continued, “It’s time for you to be very devout,
“We’re going to the nondenominational church service,
“I hope church doesn’t make you nervous.”

“I don’t see how that’ll help,” I said.
Jean said, “It’s the only time the Scouts are co-ed.”
The girls ran out towards the beach, noisily.
I slithered under the tent wall, relieved immensely.

That night I returned to the girls’ tent,
Jean checked the rolls and found that Pam was present.
Jean said, “Your girlfriend is in campground B,
“We’re in campground A, you see.”

“I didn’t know there was another campground.”
“It’s about a mile,” Jean said with a frown.
Camilla said, “You can stay here tonight.”
Rhonda interjected, “No, that’s not right.”
“Thanks for all of your help in true Scout fashion,
“You’ve shown a cynical world there can be real compassion.
“I’ll remember you always for your kindness,
“But for me being here please show only blindness.”

The next night I found my Pam,
Perfectly according to our program.
The next three nights were pure bliss,
As I cuddled with my little miss.

Time with Pam I learned to covet,
Until my run-in with Mrs Lovett.
Pam was not on the beach,
Which I thought was quite a breech.

So I went directly into her tent,
I assumed her implied consent.
She was unexpectedly sound asleep,
I lay next to her without uttering a peep.

I quietly put my arm around her,
But not once did she stir.
I squeezed her tightly to me,
She turned toward me, her face I could see.

Fear coarsed through me as I suddenly saw,
Her eyes opened wide, I saw my flaw.
This wasn’t Pam, who was it?
Oh no, it was scout leader Mrs Lovett!

I ran away, into the woods so deep,
I had to run far, for my skin to keep.
She couldn’t have gotten a very good look,
She probably thought I was a sex-crazed crook.

Scouts and deputies formed a skirmish line,
They’d never find me as I climbed a vine.

(This poem is incomplete)


This poem was originally a part of the “My First Love” poem. My poetry mentor has asked me for
several years to separate it, as it was never married into the timeline of the host poem. So, I
finally agreed. I believe the poem is written in such an explicit and detailed way that no backstory
is needed. But, as with “My First Love”, it remains unfinished.