The Happiest Place on Earth

July 1, 2001

Dear Buffy,

Well, I've been here for three days and what can I say? Lake Aburrido Summer Camp may be "the happiest place on Earth" but I've seen hellmouths that are nicer. And warmer. It was like minus a million last night and I slept in three layers and with all my blankets and my sleeping bag and I was still frozen. Finally we had to open some candy to cheer ourselves up. It's supposed to be mild and sunny tomorrow. I'll believe it when I see it.

Our cabin is kinda nasty in a rustic sort of way: army cots on a dirt floor with a door-less bathroom and tiny little toothmarks on a curtain-free shower rod. I asked my counselor about that and she got this funny look in her eyes and said something about raccoons, but personally, I have my doubts.

We had our swimming tests yesterday and they were so lame. Three laps on your front, three laps on your back then tread water for three minutes. Somebody has a major three thing, what's up with that? I passed, of course. Flunk this Survivor-esque skill-test and you have to wear a life jacket during water sports, no thank you. Especially since the life jackets here are, like everything else, major gross. They have those same funny toothmarks as the shower curtain did.

So do you miss me yet?

Love Dawn

***

July 4, 2001

Dear Dawn,

Happy fourth! Did you guys get some cool fireworks out there? Congrats on passing the swim test---I know those things are a pain but at least it's out of the way now, right? And you'll have free reign on the water sport thing---that's gotta be fun---water sports, huh? What kind of water sports? And have you done any other cool stuff?

It's pretty much the same-old here. I'm taking a summer class with Willow and Tara on the history of witchcraft. It's pretty cool. Patrols have been pretty quiet and everyone in the gang says hello. They're all gonna try and write you, 'kay? Oh, and Giles wants to know if you can send him a sketch of the funny-sounding toothmarks.

Love Buffy

p.s. Do you want me to send you anything?

***

July 7, 2001

Dear Buffy,

Ooh, packages---that would be cool. I need a spiral notebook, a toothbrush, and "The Hobbit." Thanks.

I'm doing all right, I guess. The water sports are way over-rated. They took us sailing, meaning an instructor sailed the boat and we sat in the boat watching. They made us wear lifejackets even though I passed their swim test. But once we got out far enough, we tipped the boat and had a water fight. Way fun. Oh, and we did a ropes course yesterday which was kinda cool---we had to walk over these logs and climbs these nets and stuff. We went with cabin two, this guys cabin, and they were such dorks. They were all "we can so beat these wussly little girls" and I was like hello, have you SEEN my sister? Not ALL girls are wussly. And I know you have super-powers and all, but you also train and stuff so I think you'd still kick ass. And it was cool being with a boys cabin for a bit: this one boy Brad was totally hitting on me. It was kinda gross, but he's cute--- sandy-coloured hair and freckles and he has one blue eye and one green eye-- -neato, huh? I'll keep you posted on how things work out.

Yesterday we got a break from the icky camp food for once. The twins in cabin seven had a birthday and got to invite one other cabin to a pizza party with cake and stuff. They picked us. It was nice to have real food for a change---the food here is, like many, many other things, way gross. It is over-cooked and has way too many funky spices.

Love ya lots, Dawn

p.s. Just clarifying that I want the book "The Hobbit" and not a real actual hobbit, 'kay?

***

July 9, 2001

Dear Dawnie:

Package will be on its way tomorrow. Have everything but the toothbrush.

Glad to hear you're starting to have a little fun. I was a bit worried when I saw that warm-fuzzy brochure: happiest place on earth and all that. Trying way too hard, if you ask me. Anyone that has to brag like that is obviously hiding something.

Boy with two colours of eyes, huh? If I didn't know any better I'd say he was up to something. Giles says thanks for the drawings, by the way. He isn't sure what they are, but he says that those definitely are not raccoon bites. Did you see them anywhere else but in the shower and by the water?

Things are good hear. No big bads worth mentioning (they don't screen your letters, do they?)

Love Buffy

p.s. Sorry about the food sitch. I wanted to send you some candy, but the camp says only flat mail and I wasn't sure it would get past the censors. Spices, huh? Weird.

***

July 12, 2001

Dear Buffy:

No, they don't screen my letters. So don't skip on cool and exciting slayer stuff, 'kay? I could so use the entertainment, and you know that if you won't tell me I can always worm it out of Xander.

Nice to see that you're taking school seriously. Too bad you're only doing it so you can bug me. Brad's just a boy, Buffy. Not everything is about magic and demons and stuff. I mean, didn't you send me here so I could get away from all that? Sheesh.

But if you do know magic maybe you could charm the kitchen staff. The food is way weird, Buffy. I'm serious, this goes beyond bad camp food. I mean, does EVERY dish have to have cucumber in it?

We did the ropes course again and it was fun, but the water sports remain uninspiring. They took us windsurfing in this little bay half a mile up the beach, and it took me three days to get the smell of rotten fish out of my hair.

Love Dawn

***

July 15, 2001

Dear Dawn:

So, did my package come? I am happy to see you taking an interest in literature. Willow says it's high time we got you into some classics. Tolkein's actually pretty cool.

We've now officially finished the fun section on history of witchcraft. We got past the pagan roots and everything we're into the lost years parts where it all went underground. I'm told things won't heat up again until we hit the Puritans. We're getting a new prof after midterms next week, and I can't wait. Professor Charles is ancient and shouts his lectures as if we too were going deaf.

Same old-same old on the patrol front. See stake. See vamp. Stake vamp. The end.

How goes things with Brad the non-magic boy?

Love Buffy

p.s. I have a lead on your toothmarks. As soon as Giles digs up the vanquishing spell, I'll let you know

***

July 19, 2001

Dear Buffy:

Midterms, huh? Couldn't pay me to do that. I'll take my fishy-smelling toothmarky water sports any day. And seriously, must everything be about work and stuff? I mean yeah, the raccoon excuse was lame but I don't really think Giles needs to get involved. It was probably just drunken counselors fooling around or something.

Brad the non-magic boy is great. He's so into me! The other night he snuck into my cabin and left a wilted daisy on my pillow while I was asleep. I woke up sneezing. I think he's going to ask me out.

Oh, gotta go. The bugle horn for lunch is blaring and I don't want to miss my cucumber sandwiches.

Love Dawn

***

July 21, 2001

Dear Dawn:

Sweetie, I have news for you. Lake Aburrido Summer Camp is infested by a Kappa demon. All the signs fit: it's a water demon, and it also eats its victims so toothmarks near the lake and shower are consistent. And according to the mythical creatures chapter of my witchcraft textbook, it smells like rotten fish.

Fortunately, it is a pretty stupid demon and easily fooled. Its head is filled with water, and if you bow to it, it'll bow back and spill the water. It'll have to go back in the lake to refill itself and by then you can run away.

And you said all the food has cucumber, right? Dead giveaway. Kappa demons have a thing with cucumbers. According to Willow who knows far more about such things, all you have to do is carve your name and age into a cucumber and toss it in the lake and the demon will leave you alone.

There is a vanquishing, but you'll need supplies for that. Do the cucumber thing in the meantime and Giles and I will do the vanquish come visitors day.

Love Buffy

***

July 23, 2001

Dear Buffy:

God, you are a freak.

Love Dawn

p.s. And a freak with no boyfriend, unlike some of us :-) Na na na na na :- P