According to Camp Green Lake, if you take a bad-boy and make him dig holes all day, it will make him a good boy. So what would it do to a girl? Toughen her up? Nothing? Turn her into a boy? Seeing as the place is an all-boys facility, they don't have to answer that particular question. So I guess I'll have to answer it myself.
Call me Alan, I guess.
It's amazing really how much length of hair determines your gender. Long, flowly, auburn hair down; a cute girl. Hair tucked up into a bright orange hat; average boy. I think it has something to do with the shadows that hair cast, but hey, I'm no hair expert. I should just be thankful that putting up my hair and shaping my body with extra fabric allow people to see Alan instead of Alania.
You're probably really confused, I would be. My real name is Alania Walker, a seventeen year old girl from Boise who committed a little crime. A crime that landed me in Camp Green Lake, where there is no lake or anything green for that matter. Now I bet you're asking how did a girl get into an all boy facility. Easy, I fooled the government. It wasn't really that difficult; I just took two letters from my first name and bubbled in the circle for 'boy'.
Another question you might ask-why the hell would I chose to go to Camp Green Lake? Well, as a girl, I only had one option-prison-and there's no way I'm ever going back there, not after what happened. A boy gets two choices, sexist, I tell you. He can choose either prison or this camp. Basically, I turned myself into a boy before the cops showed up at my front door.
My sister wasn't really okay with it. Her name is Suzy, the girliest name out there behind 'Lucy', in my opinion. She's twenty-four, and my legal guardian since my dad got arrested a few years ago. Like father, like son (Ha-ha-get it?). But she knew my dilemma, I couldn't go back to prison, and so she agreed to sign to send her little brother to Camp Green Lake.
So here I am now, sitting on a dusty bus with two grumpy dudes. One holds a shotgun, as if I'm going to try to jump off the bus or attack him. I think he's asleep until he aims the gun at me when I reach inside my bag.
"Chill dude." I say in a sarcastic voice as I pull out a stick of gum. "If I offer ya a piece, will ya not shoot me?"
He mutters something and lowers the gun. I glance at the windows behind him, hoping to see at least something, but all I see is dirt and more holes than I can count. The air in the bus is thick with heat and hard to breath. The only window that opened on the bus to allow some circulation was up by the driver.
I begin to see the dirt flying up from smaller holes. Heads covered thick with dirt pop up to find the source of the noise. They watch the bus drive by; maybe hoping it'll be taking one of them home. Buildings appear in the distance, and I know the camp is close. We pull into the main camp which consisted of tents and a couple buildings. The guard grabs me by the arm and yanks me out.
Boys stare at me. Is it because they can see through the hat and body shapers? Or is it just because I'm the new kid? Some of the boys are still covered in thick dirt, them heading for the smallest building with towels and a folded orange jumpsuit. The cleaner boys either headed for one of the tents or a bigger cabin. I don't have time to figure out what's in those buildings, though, because the guard grips my arm hard and pulls me into another building.
A puff of smoke hits my face the second I step in. A man with a tight face sits at the desk and pulls a cigarette out of his mouth and stares at me.
"You must be Alan." He says as if he's been waiting for me. "I am Mr. Sir. When you talk to me, you will address me as Mr. Sir when you speak to me, do you understand?"
"Yeah." I respond, a little amused by his stupid name.
"Yeah,who?" Mr. Sir says angrily.
"Yes, Mr. Sir." I spit out, rather annoyed. He sits quiet for a moment and takes another drag from his cigarette.
"You thirsty, Alan?"
"Well get used to it, you're gonna be thirsty for the next eighteen months." Mr. Sir laughs as he pulls out three cans of pop from a little fridge behind him. He expects me to reach for it when he hands out it to the driver, but I don't. I know he probably does and says the same things to each kid that comes. It's probably all he gets to do.
Mr. Sir dismisses the driver and guard as he leads me to a small building behind his little cabin. It's full of orange jumpsuits, t-shirts, boots, and other supplies. Snatching my backpack out of my hands, he shifts through it and examines everything in there. He sees a comb, some boxers, a pack of paper, and a pen. I'm thankful when he doesn't check the little secret area that's barley visible. It contains a few items that'd look odd for a boy to carry around; a few bras and a shit ton of tampons.
Nodding, he tosses the bag back to me and heads over the shelves full of supplies. He throws two orange jumpsuits, a white t-shirt, black boots, a hat with a rag like thing attacheted the back, and a canteen at my feet.
"Change." He demands. Crap. I might get away with having the wrap around my chest, but what about the odd metal things that hide the girly curves and make me look like I have a boyish box shape? To my luck, someone calls out, saying it's an emergency. He waddles out with an odd limp as I change as quickly as I can. I am dressed in the jumpsuit when he returns, sticking a gun back into his pocket.
"Yella-spotted lizard." Never heard of them. "Now, you have two sets of clothes. One will be for working and one for relaxation. Every three days, we do laundry. Your work clothes get washed and your relaxation clothes become your work clothes, understand?"
"Yes, Mr. Sir." I keep my voice low and husky.
"Let me show you around." When we step outside, Mr. Sir drops his cigarette to the ground without stepping on it. There was nothing flammable anyways. The dirt on the ground was so tightly packed it felt like walking on cement. "There's the showers, the rec room," He points to each. "The warden's cabin. The number one rule of Camp Green Lake, don't upset the Warden." His warning was sincere. "Ah, Pendaski! I've been doin' your job for you, showing this kid around."
A small man approaches, with a big friendly smile.
"Thank you! It gives me more time to introduce Alan into his tent mates!" Mr. Pendaski pipes as Mr. Sir bitterly staggers off pulling another cigarette out. I wonder how this creepy little dude already knows my name. What, was he waiting for me?
"Come on, now. You'll be assigned to Tent D. You seen all these tents? Each has seven boys. And you'll be the seventh boy in your tent!" He says this with too much enthuasim. This statement is incorrect; I will be the first girl. I smile to myself.
We step inside the tent, which contains six boys. The all stare up at me with curious eyes. I mentally try to shield myself. I am a boy, I am a boy, I am a boy...
"Hello boys! This is your new tent mate, Alan!" They just stare at me. "This is Rex-"
"It's X-Ray." The darkest boy with dirt covered glasses interrupts, but Mr. Pendaski ignores him.
"Armpit." The biggest one says.
"Zigzag." He has a huge mane of frizzy, wild, blonde hair and large blue eyes.
"Haystack." This boy is significantly younger. These boys all look between sixteen and eighteen; Haystack looks only fourteen, but seems just as tough as the rest.
"Barf Bag." An average boy answered. Who would be proud of a name like that?
"They all have their little nicknames. And that's Zero." This boy, unlike the others, didn't try to correct Mr. Pendaski. He was small like Haystack, but he seemed much softer. He lay in his cot silently and stared up, as if nothing was going on around him. I didn't know whether his name was actually Zero or he was just the only boy Mr. P called by his nickname, but I didn't say anything.
Mr. Pendaski pointed at the cleanest looking cot and told me it would be mine. Zigzag mentioned how he was glad Daniel was gone. I assumed that no one liked him, seeing as he didn't have a nickname by the time he left. Mr. P leads me to an empty crate stacked on top another and shoves my bag inside it. He tells me what time I'll be waking up tommorrow-5:30 in the freaking morning. Great. He leaves after telling me dinner will be soon.
"So-Alan, what'd you get busted for?" Barf Bag asks.
"Breaking into this seafood place." I make sure my voice is even huskier. The boys all laugh with smiles. I can't tell whether they're laughing at me or at what I did.
"Really? Why?" Armpit laughs.
"I donno, why not?" This was an honest answer. I had a pin in my hair, just read how to pick locks, and tried it on the first good-looking building. It worked and the door popped open after a few minutes. And then the alarm sounded. I ran for my life, I ran home and was locked in my room before the police even showed up at sea-food place. I know they'd get some witnesses or cameras to see who had broken in. I luckily already had my hair tucked into the hat and a baggy shirt on. Someone who only caught a glimpse of me or the distorted image camera could easily assume I was a boy.