Rosco the Rascal Goes to Camp

Ten-year-old James and his seven-year-old sister, Mandy are off to summer camp with their loyal German shepherd, Rosco. While Mandy struggles with homesickness, James's week is threatened by a prank-playing bunk mate's antics. But during an unexpected thunderstorm in a game of capture-the-flag, the prankster finds himself lost and alone deep inside the forest. Rosco must play the hero and save the boy but not before he teaches him a hard-earned lesson about friendship. Wholesome, adventurous, outdoor fun, this Rosco the Rascal tale brings the magic of summer camp to life.
*136 pages
*Recommended for ages 6-10


6. Snake On the Loose

On Monday, James and his cabin mates spent the morning learning to tie fishing knots and then playing flag football.

Then it was time for lunch–hot dogs, baked beans, watermelon, and bug juice. The juice didn’t really have any bugs in it. It was just what Matt and Jennifer and the other counselors called any juice that was served at camp, to add a touch of the outdoors and fun to their daily meals.

Everyone joked that there were real bugs in it though, especially when they wanted to trick the new kids every year.

At each meal, the kids and the counselors walked through a cafeteria line and filled their trays with delicious food, then sat together at long tables in groups of ten. Each camper and counselor was responsible for bussing his or her own tray.

After lunch, it would be time for rest hour—an hour everyday that campers spent relaxing at the cabins, resting up for more activity. Some kids even napped.

Caleb, Josh, and several others of the twenty members of their cabin left the dining hall first and reached their cabin in the woods. They began kicking off their shoes and settling in on their bunks.

James and several others from their cabin walked slowly along the wide trail, in no hurry to lie down and rest. Rest hour was their least favorite part of the day.

All of a sudden a loud holler came from the cabin.

“What was that?” James glanced at his friends in alarm. The pack of boys quickly broke into a run.

They raced inside the cabin, letting the screen door slam shut behind them.

Matt and the other two male counselors from their group hadn’t yet returned from lunch.

“Snake! There’s a snake!” Josh yelled.

“Where?” James cried, looking around.

“On my bed! Under the covers!” Tim answered from the corner of the room. He pointed at his bunk.

The boys rushed over. “What kind it is? Is it poisonous?” James asked.

“I don’t know! I can’t see the head. It just looks big and brown, with patterned lines on its back!” Tim said.

The long, thick snake had spread itself out in an S shape inside Tim’s sleeping bag. Its body bulged under the covers. Its tail end stuck out.

Mike, a cabin mate who usually sat at James’s table for meals, stepped closer to inspect the creature. “My brother has a pet boa at home. I can handle this,” he said. He started to reach for the sleeping bag.

“Wait!” said James. “It might bite! We’re not sure if it’s poisonous yet!”

“I think you mean venomous. But it doesn’t have a rattle—it can’t be a rattlesnake,” Mike said.

“I know, but still!” James answered. He brought his voice down to almost a whisper. “You can never be too careful. Can someone go grab a stick?”

One of the boys quickly rushed outside and grabbed the first long stick he could find. He brought it in and handed it to James, who handed it to Mike.

“Okay, go ahead Mike,” said James.

The two of them stepped cautiously toward the bed. The rest of the large group of boys gathered around.

“Stay back, guys,” James said. “Just in case it strikes.”

Mike carefully used the stick to lift up the top layer of the sleeping bag. The sleeping bag wasn’t zippered so he was able to pull it back, very slowly.

Everyone waited and watched, eyes wide. Half of the snake’s body, from the tail to the middle, was now visible. But nothing happened.

Surprised, James and Mike stepped a little bit closer. Using the stick, Mike swung the rest of the sleeping bag off of the beast in one fast, sweeping motion.

There it was, the whole snake! Almost three feet long and two inches thick, its devilish eyes stared straight at the boys. Its long, skinny tongue stuck out at them. But still, it didn’t move—no hiss, no slither, and no strike.

“Wait! Wait a second! That isn’t real; I think it’s a fake!” Mike yelled. The boys all looked at each other in shock. Mike cautiously waved his hand in front of the snake’s face. Nothing happened. Tim stepped closer and yanked on his sleeping bag. Still, nothing happened.

“It is fake!” Caleb said. The boys looked around at each other to see who had played such a rotten joke.

“Gotcha!” Jeffrey broke into laughter. “You dummies! You guys all thought it was real! Ha ha ha! You should’ve seen the looks on your faces! Scaredy cats!”

But no one else laughed.

“That wasn’t funny, Jeffrey!” James said. “It could’ve easily been a real snake! We’re way out in the woods! It could’ve slithered in while we were at lunch.”

“Aw, come on. Don’t you have a sense of humor? Come on, guys! It was only a joke,” Jeffrey said. He glanced across the room. Everyone looked annoyed by his little trick.

Jeffrey walked over to the bed and picked up the large, rubber snake. He shoved it in Mike’s face. “It’s just a joke! See! Not real! Can’t you guys take a joke?”

Mike grabbed the snake’s hollow head and scrunched it hard with his fist. “Very funny,” he said flatly.

James climbed to the top bunk and settled down on his mattress. “We should’ve known it was you, Jeffrey. First the hat, now this. We’d all better watch our backs with you around.”

Jeffrey sat down on his own bunk. “Bunch of babies,” he mumbled.

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