After the Apocalypse
Chapter 92: The Masquerade

by Mark Bollman--> and Steve Donohue

With John's tacit approval, Dave, Lou and Mark set about making their plans a reality. First, they quietly let the other goons know that they were holding a midnight masquerade on Friday, leaving everyone almost a week to make their masks. Predictably, there was some confusion as to whether midnight Friday meant the beginning or the end of Friday, but in the end it was resolved that it would be the end of Friday, the beginning of Saturday and the first great weekend of the Goon World Order.

Next, they quietly arranged with John to have goons pulling all the guard duty that night. John was a little concerned at the loss of security. He eventually resolved his dilemna by secretly bringing Ron into the fold. Although the party crew didn't know it, Dr. Beast would quietly arrange for some guys to get their backs during guard duty. John was satisfied with the plan as was Dr. Beast who hoped a party would improve everyone's spirits.

With the major preparations under way, Dave launched part two of his plan by suggesting they have a masquerade Friday evening. Eager to find new ways to divert everyone's attention, the Elders agreed and even allotted some supplies for mask making and for hors d'ouerves during the party. The Midnight Masquerade was shaping up nicely.

The excitement of the party took everyone's mind off their fears about the Night Razers and, when nothing more had been heard from them by Friday morning, the party was given the final green light. It appeared that the Razers either considered Winter Camp harmless, couldn't find it, or didn't care, any of which would have been fine with John and the other elders.

For his part, John couldn't shake a vague premonition of danger, but blamed it all on nerves and a little of Jeff's paranoia infecting him. He had managed to arrange to attend the masquerade himself and he and Jaime were looking forward to it.

The Friday evening party went well with both kids and adults in attendance. There were contests for the best mask, most creative and a variety of other categories. Most of them were won by children and everyone had a good time. Jeff even made a point of seeking Dave out to thank him for his great idea.

Dave felt a little guilty at that, since the evening's festivities were nothing more than a cover for his later plans, but he accepted Jeff's praise as gracefully as he could and even stammered an apology for what had become known as "the cake incident".

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Jeff would not have been nearly as happy a few hours later when campers began quietly leaving their cabins to head for the Trout Lake building. By the time the first campers arrived, Dave and Melissa already had a roaring fire going in the fireplace and were sipping a little cognac.

Several bunks had been brought into the main room to serve as couches and the extra mattresses were piled against the windows, held in place by the bunks and blocking the light of the fire and the many candles which dotted the room. Suspended from the ceiling in the center of the room was a gigantic ball of tinfoil, compliments of Dave Wood, which redirected the light in a million tiny cascades. It was easily the most elegant ball ever held in camp.

It was also the most adult ball in camp. Carefully set out in the kitchen were a wide variety of beers and liquors along with plastic glasses and more snacks. John surveyed the room as the guests gathered and couldn't help but feel slightly overwhelmed. There were more single women at this party than had attended all the parties he and Jaime had thrown combined.

Dave surveyed the scene with a satisified look. The party was all he'd hoped for and, with Melissa asking him to dance, more.

The party raged for several hours and all those involved appeared to have a good time. The only person under thirty who appeared to be missing was Joe Hall. Everyone else was so busy enjoying themselves they never even noticed if he had arrived or just left early. As 3:00 am rolled around, everyone began heading back to their cabins.

Dr. Beast watched them, chuckling at their occassionally odd gaits and glad he'd been able to help them have their fun.

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