Disclaimer: Most characters belong to Charlaine Harris, but character portrayals influenced by True Blood depiction. "Greg" Ferguson and Charlie "Shine" belong to themselves!
Inspired by the Snarky Sidekick and the Indie Fic Contests.
Alternate Universe Sookehverse, pre-Great Revelation.
Sauntering over to her maker, Pam dropped a manila folder down on his desk.
"Pam, what's this?" Eric Northman flipped open the folder.
"It's my marketing ideas."
Eric glanced up at his child. "For the camp?"
"Tell me." He closed the folder.
Pam grabbed a sheet from the folder and read. "Are you tired? Restless? Not getting enough out of life?" Pam tittered at her own joke. Eric grinned. "A weekend seminar at Valkyrie might be just what you need. Award winning self-help guru Eric Northman will, using time-proven techniques," Pam paused to laugh, "help you find your best self and propel you on a path for success."
Done reading, the centuries old vampire fixed her gaze upon her maker. "So? What do you think?"
"Remember I had that 'Best Maker' plaque made up for you?"
Slowly nodding, Eric sat back in his office chair, his fingers interlocked behind his head. "Well, I like the part about 'not getting enough out of life.' Very clever."
"Thank you. You know how much I enjoy puns."
Eric wasn't sure it would qualify as a pun to anyone not undead, but he figured he'd keep silent as Pam was so enthused over it. "Were you thinking print ads?"
"Actually, I thought we could film a commercial and buy ad time on channels that meet our target market."
Eric nodded. Pam could be very thorough when she wanted to be. "Have you determined what those markets would be?"
"Well, Lifetime will bring us women unfulfilled in their lives. FOX News will bring us agitators who need something to occupy their minds. The History Channel will bring us angst whores harkening to the past." Pam fell silent. "Am I missing anyone?"
Eric gave Pam a sideways glance. He had to give her credit. She certainly made the most out of basic cable. "What about those addicted to reality shows as they find their own lives so worthless?"
"They're a cross-section of the other three groups. Besides I came up with a change to the business model that's sure to bring them in." Without warning, Pam fell silent.
Eric could tell his child was dying to tell him but didn't want to just offer up the information. She wanted him to ask, ask he would. Raising an eyebrow, he posed his question. "What's the change to the business model?"
"I think we should film the weekend and turn it into a reality show!"
Eric gazed thoughtfully at his child. "How do you propose we do that?"
"Obviously we film them eating, sleeping, and exercising."
"Who will film it?"
"Who do we have monitor them?"
"We hire a second daytime man. I believe I have found someone." Pam took a second sheet out of the folder and handed it to her maker. "His name is Charlie Shine. He's a former actor. I don't think we even need to glamour him. I will just tell him he is a drill sergeant and that he must keep our campers busy while we are dead."
Eric nodded. Pam truly seemed to have covered all bases.
"How do we get them to the camp?" He asked, not unreasonably. "We don't want them to be able to get there on their own."
"We charter a bus. Charlie will drive, Bobby will film it, and I will conduct registration and orientation."
Thinking, Eric's face remained impassive. Finally, he cracked a smile. Sure, it was a ridiculous scheme and they'd probably lose money on it, but it might provide some amusement. Looking at Pam, he continued to grin. He was happy he'd summoned her back to him. She kept things interesting.
Who Let the Dogs Out
"SIR, YES SIR!"
Pam smiled. She'd instructed Charlie to act like a drill sergeant but she'd done it too soon. Since their weekend campers had yet to arrive, it was only Charlie, Bobby, Eric, and herself. Charlie, an inherently surly individual, in his guise as drill sergeant, shouted at her, calling her an "amateur" and a "moron." Eric found it amusing, suggesting Pam give Charlie a raise. Pam was not amused. She instructed Charlie to act like a drill sergeant with the others, but to respond to her as though she were his drill sergeant. The travel time between the camp and the pick-up spot was 45 minutes and it hadn't gotten old yet. Pleased, Pam smiled.
Heeding Pam's instruction, Charlie turned the bus into the near-empty parking lot of the bar and grill. Bringing the bus to a stop, Charlie turned off the engine. Almost immediately, a dog came out of the bar. Pam rolled her eyes.
"Open the door."
"SIR, YES SIR!"
The shaggy dog with rust-colored hair approached the vehicle. Pam made her way down the steps of the bus.
"Hey, I own this restaurant and-"
The dog had started barking without looking at Pam. When his eyes finally focused on her, he fell silent.
"Woof," said Pam.
The dog's jaw hardened. Pam could tell the instant he was housebroken. She smiled.
"Listen, I own this place and I don't know what you have planned-"
"All I have planned, shifter, is a weekend seminar at Eric Northman's Be Your Own Viking."
"What?" The dog looked confused. Like someone hid his milkbone treats.
"You heard me." Pam shrugged. "I'll try again in your language. Woof, woof."
That got the shifter's hackles up. "Why are you here?"
Pam rolled her eyes. "We needed a parking lot big and empty enough for the bus. We'll be out of here as soon as our campers arrive." Pam smiled. "If you get more customers, we'll have to go to the diner next time."
The dog made a face. Maybe he had flatulence. Finally he started barking again. "Campers? What campers? Who?"
Pam looked at the shifter. His questions were growing tiresome. She glanced at her clipboard. "Our campers are: Bellefleur. Compton. Ferguson. Fortenberry. Hennessey. Herveaux. Mott. Stackhouse. Stackhouse. Thornton."
"Whoa! Hold on! Stackhouse?"
Pam looked down at the sheet a second time. "Jason and Sookie."
"Jason and Sookie Stackhouse are both going to your crazy camp?"
Pam smiled. "Yes. We pride ourselves on running a family-friendly operation."
"Bullshit. I don't know what kind of scam you're running but if anything happens to any of those people, I'll track you and stake you. You understand me?"
With that, the dog finally returned to his doghouse and Pam was left with Charlie and Bobby to wait for their campers.
On the Bus
An hour later, the bus was pulling into the camp. Pam sat up front with Bobby, who had turned on the camera and was filming the bus ride.
Unfortunately, several of the campers presented an unforeseen challenge. Toying with the idea of calling Eric immediately, Pam decided against it. She wanted to use the time during the drive to brainstorm possible solutions. Towards the end of the ride back up to the camp, Pam, pleased with herself, thought she had actually come up with a solution.
Finally, the bus pulled off the rural route and into Valkyrie. Pam stood as Charlie brought the bus to a stop.
"Turn off the engine, Charlie. I need to address the campers."
"SIR, YES SIR!"
"Bobby, is the camera running?"
Turning to look at the campers, Pam smiled. Time to make Dear Abby proud.
"Hi. As you know, I'm Pam. I'd like to congratulate each and every one of you for taking the first step toward being the master of your own destiny. It's not easy coming to terms with being a loser, emo, pathetic, a joke, but you all did that and now you're ready to recover from the failure that has characterized your-." Pam almost said 'life' but her eyes happened to fall on one of the vamp campers - "existence to date. Eric and I will be there to help guide you in your spiritual growth and awakening. With our assistance, you will overcome the pre-existing condition that fate has dealt you-that is, your loathsome personality-and reinvent yourself into something new, and vastly improved."
The busty blonde raised her hand. Sookie Stackhouse.
"Yes?" Pam responded.
"I don't know about all that. I don't think it's right-you calling us losers. We 're here because we want to improve ourselves. That's not to say we're as bad as you make us out to be."
Watching the girl, Pam couldn't help but realize the girl was most definitely going to be a problem. Pam had tested her glamour on the campers as they'd boarded the bus. Obviously, she couldn't glamour the two vampires. There was no need to glamour Herveaux since he was there at Eric's request to ensure the weekend's ten slots were full. This girl, however, Sookie, had put a hand up to her head and innocently commented that she was getting a headache. But she'd given no indication that she was succumbing to Pam's glamour. There was, of course, the chance Eric might be able to glamour her, but Pam was skeptical. The girl appeared to be immune. She was definitely a trouble-maker as she was already causing trouble. But Pam knew how she could recover.
"Bravo," Pam called out as she clapped her hands.
The girl quirked her head to look at Pam. "What? Why're you bravo'ing me?"
"I am bravo'ing you because you stood up to me," Pam replied, her head nodding animatedly. "Your counterparts said nothing in their own defense. Instead, they allowed me to denigrate them without further thought."
"Yes, you are obviously quite special, Ms. Stackhouse. Since you're so advanced in your self-actualization, I can see we will need to place you in an advanced class." She fell silent, glancing around the bus. "Several others here," her eyes squinted as she looked at the vampires Bill Compton and Franklin Mott, "are also advanced. I think it would be best that we place a few of you in an advanced seminar."
The campers glanced around the bus, quietly sizing one another up.
"Now, I will give you this opportunity to ask questions. After you disembark from this bus, you will be discouraged from speaking. Silence is an important element of Eric Northman's Be Your Own Viking. We value our silence and Charlie strictly enforces our quiet time. Isn't that right, Charlie?"
"SIR, YES SIR!"
"There is one more thing," said Pam. "I'd like to ask you all a question. I'd like to know how you found out about the seminar." Pam's eyes darted around the bus. "Shall we start with you, Sookie?"
"Ah, sure, ah..."
"You all may call me Pam."
"Pam." Sookie fell silent. "I saw a commercial on Lifetime."
Pleased, Pam nodded. She made a note on her clipboard. "Do you have any questions?"
"Uh, why's it called 'Be Your Own Viking'?"
"Eric is descended from Vikings. He takes pride in his heritage and it is the strength of the Viking warrior he channels and conveys to you." Pam responded. "Next! You." She looked at her clipboard. "Mr. Ferguson."
"Oh, hallo." The man had a Scottish accent. Pam noted he was slightly unkempt. "I say, you can call me Greg."
"How did you learn about 'Be Your Own Viking'?"
"Oh, funny thing actually," Greg nodded. "See I'm an out-of-work actor and I saw that you were doing a reality show and I thought this would be a good way to get discovered."
"I see..." Pam again made a notation. "Do you have any questions?"
"Well, I noticed that the program is geared to night hours. Does this mean we get to sleep in during the day? I say, that would really work well for me, but I need to know if there are heavy curtains on the windows?"
Catching a movement to the rear of the bus, Pam saw Bill Compton furiously waving his hand.
"Just a minute Mr. Compton," said Pam. "We're still talking to Mr. Ferguson."
"Ah had the same question. Ah, too, am nocturnal bah nature. Ah'd like reassurance that the windows have heavy curtains."
Frowning, Pam looked at the vamp. "Don't worry. We're not idiots. You will have adequately dark sleeping quarters." She turned her head to address Franklin Mott. "Same with you."
"Oh," Mott shrugged. "Wouldn't dream of insinuating that you're an idiot! May I go next? Huh? May I? Please? Pretty please? With sugar on it?"
Pam, although she originally hailed from England, had little accent to her voice. This vampire, however, spoke with an obvious British accent. Working class Pam suspected. A slight look of disgust on her face, Pam responded to Mott. "You may."
"I saw the commercial on Lifetime. I love watching Lifetime. I love women's programming. I love women." He fell silent. "I'd like to be a woman."
Pam scrunched up her face, like she smelled something putrid. "Thank you Mr. Mott." She scribbled on her notepad. "Do you have any questions, Mr. Mott?"
"Is sex included in the price of the weekend?"
"You'll have to ask Eric." Pam smirked. "Next."
"Ah would like to go next."
The vampire Bill Compton. "Yes, Mr. Compton. How did you find out about Be Your Own Viking?"
"Ah saw a commercial while watching the History Channel's Civil War Week. It was forty hours of programming. Ah am a big supporter of the Civil War."
The corner of Pam's lip turned down. "Good for you. Do you have any questions?"
"Yes, Ah do. Ah would like to know what kind of assurances you offer that it works? Is there a money-back guarantee?"
With considerable effort, Pam refrained from rolling her eyes at the vamp's words. "Mr. Compton, if your mind is fixated on the need for a money-back guarantee, that's a serious indicator that your mind is not in the right place for success. If your failure to succeed is the result of your inability to move past your own self-prescribed hang-up, then we here at Eric Northman's Be Your Own Viking are not to be held accountable. Do you understand?"
Compton's features worked themselves into a snarl. "Ah do not agree. Ah think you should offer a money back guarantee."
"Well, you may take that up with Eric, too. Next."
"Ah am not done saying mah piece-"
"Hey, lady said you're done, paleface. Give somebody else a turn. Some of us wanna get off this bus before sunrise."
The vampire Compton looked displeased that someone dared put him in his place. Pam fought back a snort. Who was this irritable human? She glanced at her list.
"Mr. Bellefleur, thank you. Please continue."
"I saw a commercial during Glenn Beck's show."
Ah. FOX News. "Your question?"
"Yeah. I know it says meals included. I wanna know what kind of food you're gonna give us. I'm hungry and I don't sleep well on an empty stomach."
"Rest assured. Charlie is in charge of the grill. You should eat well during your entire stay in Valkyrie. Isn't that right, Charlie?"
"SIR, YES, SIR!"
Pam smiled. Glancing around the bus, her eyes fell on the statuesque-yet-timid girl seated next to the busty blond.
"You!" Pam called her and the consulted her list. "Tara Thornton. How did you come to join us this weekend?"
"My friend Sookie convinced me it was a good idea."
The blonde is a strong-willed influential character and the brunette is easily malleable. Good to know. "Do you have any questions, Tara?"
"I do!" A rather handsome man with blonde hair called out. Pam looked at her list.
"Jason Stackhouse," said Pam. "Please tell me how you found out about the seminar?"
"Rather not, if it's all the same to you."
Sookie suddenly spoke. "Jase! What're you going on about?" She leveled a glare at Jason, who Pam was now thinking must be a sibling, not a spouse. "Pam, he was visiting me and I had on Lifetime." She turned back to her brother. "You know girls don't really have cooties, Jason. It's okay for guys to watch Lifetime."
A snickering could be heard on the bus. Pam's eyes shot around to discern the origin of the laughter. The older man. Catfish Hennessey.
"Sook, I know that! But Hoyt and my boss are both here."
"Yeah, and I'm sure Catfish watches a lady's movie now and again. Don't you, Catfish?" asked Sookie.
"No, Sook," the older man shook his head. "I watch the History Channel." He twisted in his seat to speak to the vampire Compton. "The Civil War Week was excellent."
"Yes, it was," the vampire agreed.
"I bought all the DVDs." Catfish announced.
"Did you? Ah wanted to but Ah live on a fixed income and so must often deny mahself things that would give me pleasure."
Pam fought another eye-roll. She was wondering if she should've just glamoured them first thing when they boarded the bus. Of course, she couldn't have glamoured the broody vamp and he was the one she found most nauseating.
"That's too bad, friend," replied Catfish. "I can lend it to you."
"Thank you," nodded the vampire. "Ah'd appreciate that."
"Please," Pam's gaze traveled to each of the ten campers. "We'd all like to get off this bus. Mr. Bellefleur is hungry." Andy Bellefleur grunted his assent. "If we could just finish up with questions, we could get on with our weekend of empowerment."
Contrite, the group fell silent.
"Mr. Stackhouse, do you have any questions?"
"Uh, yeah. This is a little awkward-what with my sister, my boss, and my best friend here-but will this program-us leaving here all empowered and confident...Will it change our sex abilities? I don't have nothing wrong with mine, so I'd prefer they not change."
Pam stifled a snicker. "I guarantee you the program will not affect your sex abilities."
"Jason! I don't believe you asked that!" The blond shot a look of disgust at her brother.
"Sook, I was just wondering. I...uh...have like two masters of my domain. I need to keep 'em split."
The girl frowned. "Oh, God forbid, your brain step in on your dick's decision-making!"
"Sook," Jason shook his head. "Firstly, what would Gran think to hear you talk like that? Secondly, exactly!"
With that the two Stackhouses shot dirty looks at each other and settled back onto their seats.
"Mr. Hennessey, since you've already shared with us how you found out about us, why don't you go next? Do you have any questions?"
"Well, I'm having a bit of a mid-life crisis. Catfish is a lofty name to live up to. Catfish Hunter received both The Sporting News's "Pitcher of the Year" award and the American League Cy Young Award in 1974. He won 200 games by the time he was 31 years old." Catfish shook his head. "I'm just wondering if confidence alone can really get a person what they want?"
"Well, I imagine that depends. What do you want?"
"I wanna play major league baseball."
Pam's squinted her eyes at the man. "How old are you?"
"Mr. Hennessey, I see challenges in that. You'll have to talk to Eric."
Pam glanced at her list. Two left including Alcide Herveaux.
"Hoyt Fortenberry, why don't you go next?"
"Aw, sure," smiled Hoyt. "Well, uh, actually. I was over at Jason's-"
"Jase, it's nothing to be ashamed of." Hoyt twisted around to face Sookie and Tara. "Sook, Jase watches Lifetime movies all the time."
"Geez, Hoyt! Did ya hurt your back throwing me under the bus like that?"
"Jase, it's no big deal. I watch Lifetime sometimes with my mama. I think it's funny you and my mama got something in common. Anyway, I was over at Jase's and we were watching the Pick Flick one night."
"Drinking beers, too, of course" injected Jason.
"Yes, of course," agreed Pam, a look of amusement on her face.
"Anyway I saw the commercial then." He nodded. "Anyway, my question is how long the effects will last?"
"Well, they should last forever," her eyes fell on the two vampires. "More or less," she finished with a shrug. "Okay, time to get off the bus."
"Wait!" The blond called out. She was a little troublemaker. Pam didn't know what they were going to do with her all weekend. "That man didn't have a turn."
Pam glanced over in the direction she pointed and sure enough it was Alcide Herveaux. "Mr. Herveaux, please. If you would?"
"I was referred by a friend."
Very good. "Any questions?"
"How much longer are you gonna pull this-"
"Thank you, Mr. Herveaux." Pam glared at Herveaux. She and Eric would not tolerate his insolence. Not for a minute. Glaring at him, she sought to make this clear. Done, she turned her attention to the matter of the reality show filming.
"Bobby, did you get all that on film?"
"Got it, Pam."
Pam nodded and then turned to speak to Charlie.
"Charlie, bring the bus around to the cabins so our guests may get settled in their quarters."
"SIR, YES, SIR!"
As the campers disembarked from the bus, Pam directed them to their cabins.
"Sookie and Tara," she called out to the girls. "You share Cabin #3. It's right behind us." Pam pointed to a cabin on the other side of the bus.
"Thank you," replied Tara.
"Should we go there now?" asked Sookie.
"Yes," nodded Pam. Better tell the breathers what they can expect so they don't get angsty. "Charlie will grill your dinner at eight-thirty. I know a couple of you are on special diets." She directed pointed looks at Bill and Franklin. "We have something to meet your needs at the main house." Pam gestured to a two-story building they'd passed about fifty yards back along the camp's main road.
"At ten, we will all convene at Valhalla."
"What's Valhalla?" asked Sookie.
"It's the Great Meadow." Pam replied. "See there?" She gestured towards the field.
"Oh, I don't know about that. Looks pretty far." Greg Ferguson complained. "It'll take a long time, won't it?"
Pam turned to give him an annoyed look. "What is the matter with you? You are here for an empowerment weekend. You must demonstrate endurance to master empowerment. Do you wish to be driven there?"
"Oh, no," Greg shook his head. "I'm fine walking, actually. But is it okay if I snort some coke before we head out?"
"Hey, hey, hey!" Andy Bellefleur, a disgusted look on his face, stalked over to glare at Ferguson. "I'm a police officer. You won't be doing any snorting of anything while you're here!"
"Whoa! Really? YOU? I'd have never guessed YOU were a narc!"
Andy, disgusted, just kept shaking his head.
What the hell is wrong with these breathers? They came for help just in the nick of time. "Sorry, Ferguson, you heard Officer Bellefleur. Maybe next time." She glanced at her list. "Originally I had Compton and Bellefleur sharing #1 and Mott and Ferguson sharing #2. I think Compton and Mott should take #1, while Bellefleur and Ferguson take #2."
"Aw, hold on a minute! Geesh! Are you telling me I came here to get away from everything and you're gonna have me bunking with that crackhead? Well, hell! I'll be working all weekend keeping an eye on Snorty!" grumbled Andy.
"It will help build your Viking character." Pam smiled.
"My Viking character?" Andy harrumphed. "I don't like this. I don't like this one bit." He threw another look of disgust at Greg Ferguson.
"Well, you're not exactly my cup of tea either!" Greg replied heatedly. "I might've preferred Mr. Cheapskate over there!" He pointed to Bill. "Or even that weirdo playing with his dandruff!" He pointed to Franklin Mott.
Everyone turned to look at Franklin Mott.
"Oh? Somebody say SOMETHING to ME?"
Pam frowned. She needed to get them under control. She grabbed her whistle – the Storm Whistle from the All-Weather Safety Whistle Company – and blew.
Everyone stood still—except for Charlie Shine who dropped to the ground, covered his head with his hands, and screamed. "SHUT UP! STOP! MOVE FORWARD!"
Pam, frowning, kicked him with her sneaker. "The silence starts now. Not another word from anyone." She looked around at the campers, making eye contact with each of them. "Herveaux and Hennessey are in #4 while Jason Stackhouse and Hoyt Fortenberry are in #5. Go to your cabins, unpack your stuff, and remain there quietly until Charlie summons you for dinner. Do you get what I'm putting down?"
The campers exchanged uncertain looks.
"SIR, YES, SIR!"
Pam made a face. "Not you, Charlie." She nudged him again with her foot.
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Pam walked quickly up the gravel path that led up to the main house. Entering the building, she quickly made her way to her maker's office. He sat at his desk rifling through several files.
"Eric, we have a situation."
Eric's head shot up. He had sensed trepidation in her earlier. He knew immediately that something had not gone according to plan.
"What's the problem, Pam? Is it Charlie Shine?" Eric had had reservations about taking him on as a daytime man.
"No, Eric," she shook her head. "Charlie Shine is working out better than I would've expected."
"What's the problem then?"
"We have two vampires and one unglamourable human in the class."
Eric's eyebrow shot up. "Two vampires didn't recognize my name?"
Pam shrugged. "I was surprised too. Until I spent time with them."
"Who are they?"
"Bill Compton of Bon Temps and Franklin Mott of Mississippi."
Eric made a face. "I don't know Franklin, but I do know Bill. He's an idiot."
Pam nodded in agreement. "Mott is a headcase."
Eric let out a breath. "So these two vampires believe they have really signed up for a self-help seminar?"
"Yes," she smirked, remembering. "Compton is going to talk to you about a money-back guarantee."
Eric shook his head. "The gift of eternity and the fool is destined to spend it as a fool, lacking time management skills."
Pam chuckled. "I thought you'd appreciate that."
"Fortunately, I do have time management skills. Enough for Mr. Compton and myself."
"You'll talk to him?"
"I'll deal with him." He paused. "Tell me about the unglamourable human."
"You'll like her," replied Pam. "If you don't feel the need to kill her."
Eric looked at his child. "Explain."
"She's feisty. Beautiful. Speaks her mind."
Eric thought Pam's description odd. She knew he wasn't interested in making a new child.
"Pam, I don't play with my food and I'm not interested in making a new child. What exactly are you saying?"
"Whatever," she shrugged. "Maybe you'll see what I mean."
"So what is your plan for dealing with this, Pam?"
"I suggest you handle most of the campers, glamouring them as we had planned. In the meantime, I'll conduct a real self-help seminar for the two vamps and the girl."
Eric frowned. When one thought of Pam Ravenscroft, the words 'positive reinforcement' weren't exactly the first ones that sprang to mind.
"How are you going to do this?"
"I have a book."
Eric squinted his eyes as he looked at his child. "What book?"
"The Best of Dear Abby."
Eric's eyebrow shot up. "Your plan is to sell centuries old vampires on a self-help class you're going to wing with the aid of a Dear Abby compilation?"
Eric shook his head. He had a bad feeling about this.
The Bitchin' Rock Star from Mars
At nine forty-five, Pam left the main house to head back to the cabins. Well before she reached the outdoor grill area she could hear the campers speaking.
"I'm tired of pretending I'm not a total, bitchin' rock star from Mars." Charlie was off on one of his rants.
"Oh yeah? I'm tired of pretending you're not nuts." Andy Bellefleur. "Give me another hot dog. Don't skimp on the relish this time. What are you trying to do? Save it for posterity?"
"Hope is for suckers and tools. It's about winning. Sorry." Charlie again.
"Yeah, I'm sorry too. Sorry I wasted my money to spend the weekend with a bunch of freaks and Jason Stackhouse." Bellefleur again.
"Hey Andy! I can hear you!" Jason Stackhouse.
"I don't give a damn what you can hear, Stackhouse! Just keep your fingers off my plate!"
"You took all the carmelized onions, Andy."
"Aw, did I, Stackhouse? Geez, what was that wind I just felt? Oh, I know! Must've been the Jason Stackhouse waambulance!"
"Andy, what got stuck in your craw?" Hoyt Fortenberry.
"Are you a trainer here, too, Charlie?" Tara Thornton. "Sook, this guy is so hard to talk to!" Tara whispering to her friend.
"I know, Tara. I gave up an hour ago after he called us all 'sad trolls.' I just can't stomach rudeness like that." Sookie Stackhouse.
"I say, so you want to play baseball but you're too old. Is that right?" Greg Ferguson.
"Yeah, that's right." Catfish Hennessey.
"Well, why don't you build a time machine and then go back in time so you're younger?"
"You think it would work?"
"Oh, I KNOW it would!"
Pam finally closed in on the final stretch of the walk. She toyed with using vamp speed but there was still the non-glamourable human who, presumably, would leave the camp with all her memories intact. Besides, Pam had to ask herself just how much of a hurry she was in to get back to her campers?
Be Your Own Viking: Advanced Seminar
By quarter after ten, Pam was in the small meadow behind the cabins with her 'advanced' group: the non-glamourable human, Sookie Stackhouse, and the two vampires, Bill Compton and Franklin Mott. She stood in front, holding her book, facing her three students.
Although she had explained the intent of the advanced class, they were not embracing it.
"Wait up, Pam," said Sookie. "You're gonna just read to us excerpts of a "Dear Abby" compilation? I could've stayed home and read Dear Abby, worked on my tan, and saved myself two hundred dollars."
"Be that as it may, Sookie, it will be different coming from me."
"Well, I'm not only going to read it to you, I'm also going to explain it to you."
"Pam, I don't recall ever having to stop reading Dear Abby 'cause I didn't understand something."
"Well, you are very precocious, Sookie. With a little further training, your success could be immeasurable."
Sookie frowned. "I'm not so sure about that."
"Do not underestimate yourself, Sookie." Pam replied, with feeling. "You are sounding like your fellow-classmate here," Pam gestured to Compton, "General Lee. It is a truly foolish person who does not believe there is always something new to be learned from Dear Abby."
Sookie, obviously unsettled, shook her head. Suddenly Compton was in on it, too.
"Ah must agree with Sookie, Pam." He paused. "Not about working on mah tan. But Ah could've stayed home and read Dear Abby and saved mah money. Speaking of which, Ah still feel we should be offered the option of a money-back guarantee."
Pam, frowning, looked at each of her three campers in turn. Finally her eyes settled on Franklin Mott.
"What about you? Are you dissatisfied?"
"Oh, no! I find this all quite interesting. I would, however, still like to talk to Eric about having sex this weekend."
Pam rolled her eyes. She was certain her master would not be willing to put out for a mere two hundred dollars. As it was, it seemed that there was little option but to give up on these three and let them have their refunds. As long as Eric was able to glamour his six students into believing themselves adequately empowered, Eric Northman's Be Your Own Viking came out ahead.
Use of the campsite cost them nothing since they'd glamoured the owner into signing over the deed. Due to the elder Herveaux's gambling addiction, they were able to compel Alcide to do all upkeep and maintenance for the facility, as well as fill a slot when necessary. They glamoured a butcher to provide the food and kept a human in the main house for sustenance. They paid Bobby Burnham's salary regardless and Charlie Shine was so insane he didn't realize they'd offered him no payment for his services.
Pam was certain that, with some tweaking, she could perfect her business model.
"Bobby, the camera is running?"
"Am I in the shot?
"Well, shall I start?"
"We are here tonight to present Certificates of Completion to those strapping modern day warriors who have successfully completed Eric Northman's Be Your Own Viking seminar.
"It was truly a weekend of endurance, as we shall soon see. Charlie, can you hit play on the projector?"
"SIR, YES SIR!"
"Are you filming, Bobby?"
"The campers as they view the screen?"
FOOTAGE BEING SHOWN ON PROJECTOR
Charlie Shine up close to camera, lecturing.
"It's a war. And it's on."
"What's the matter with you? Are you on drugs?" Andy Bellefleur.
"The only thing I'm addicted to right now is winning."
"Is that right? Good thing I don't have my Breathalyzer on me."
"Oh, Andy, I've got mine if you want to borrow it?" Greg Ferguson.
Campers doing jumping jacks.
"My success rate is 100 percent. Do the math." Charlie Shine.
"What are you talking about? You're not making any sense!" Sookie Stackhouse.
"I don't like math. Can I ask Pam for a calculator?" Jason Stackhouse.
"Dying is for fools. Amateurs." Charlie again.
"Ha ha ha! You're HILARIOUS!" Franklin Mott.
"You have an odd sense of humor, sir." Bill Compton to Mott.
"Don't speak to me again or you'll be part of that History Channel you love so much." Mott to Compton.
Campers running laps in the field.
"Get over here and enjoy the ride, bro. We're starting to win." Charlie Shine.
"Want me to help keep an eye on him? I think 'win' is code for drugs." Greg Ferguson, loud whisper.
"Can you get the hell away from me?" Andy Bellefleur.
"Sook, I don't know about this." Tara Thornton.
"Tara, I'm right there with you." Sookie Stackhouse.
"I'm feeling my legs!" Catfish Hennessey.
Campers doing push-ups.
"It's funny how sheep rhymes with sleep." Charlie Shine.
"It's also funny how jackass doesn't rhyme with anything." Andy Bellefleur.
"Hey, you sound like you're talking in sound bytes." Hoyt Fortenberry.
"Aw, that is funny. 'Cause you know how when you're tired but you can't sleep you're supposed to count sheep? Man, that's deep. Shit! That rhymes with the two of them!" Jason Stackhouse.
"I hope my old man appreciates this." Alcide Herveaux.
Charlie Shine close up to camera.
"Faith is for winners. Hope is for losers."
END OF FOOTAGE
"What the hell? Did I pay two hundred dollars so I could be yelled at by a lunatic and share a cabin with a junkie?" Andy Bellefleur again.
"Hey, hey," replied Greg Ferguson. "Why can't you ever be nice to me?" His eyes started to water. "Didn't I offer to massage your feet the other night?"
"You disgust me."
Once more Pam blew on her All-Weather Safety Whistle Company Storm Whistle.
"Yes, Charlie Shine served his purpose. He kept you active and exercising during the day. But your real training came from the time you spent with Eric Northman. Close your eyes. Now. Remember. Unleash your power. Be Your Own Viking."
With that the six who had been glamoured by Eric, demonstrated an unleashing of their power, chanting, "Be My Own Viking, Be My Own Viking." Their hands rolled into fists, they pumped them forward in time with their chants, alternating the chants with guttural growls.
"Grrr, grrr. Be my own Viking, be my own Viking. Grrr, grr."
The two vamp campers exchanged looks of skepticism. Sookie Stackhouse caught the eye of Alcide Herveaux. Realizing that the other wasn't chanting, they exchanged smiles. Pointing at the chanters, Sookie started giggling.
Pam, observing, frowned. She obviously needed to provide Eric with pointers on what the campers should remember, post-glamouring.
Pam and Eric stood watching as the bus pulled away. Charlie and Bobby were returning the campers to the shifter's parking lot.
"Well, what do you think?" asked Pam.
"What do I think?" Eric responded, his tone thoughtful.
"I think," Eric paused, "we should revisit the bar idea..."
Pam nodded again. "I agree. That did not go as I had planned."
AN: OMG. I keep forgetting how much I love Andy but then I write him in something and I fall in love all over again. If anyone doesn't know who Charlie "Shine" is, google the word "WINNING". I've been wondering for weeks how I'd incorporate him and it took a suggestion from my sister to recognize what was staring me in the face.
Thanks for reading. Reviews seriously appreciated.