Camp Dino

CAMP DINO

Robert Soul

Check your tie, he told himself again.

“Chet Arthur, moving to Big D.,” he said proudly, admiring his slender appearance in the elevator mirror.

Damn, I’m sweaty.

The door opened on the fifteenth floor of Bank of America Plaza. Thirty-seven floors to go.

I’m going to be late!

A tall, blond attractive woman stepped into the elevator.

“Which floor?” he asked, watching her slide into the elevator with supple looking legs and perfectly round, toned calves.

Wow. Gorgeous.

“Fifty-two,” she said without making eye-contact as the elevator closed.

Fifty-two’s already lit up.

Same as my floor.

He sighed and shook his head.

Why am I here? I should just go back.

But he’d done all he could in Oklahoma and he reminded himself this was about burning the ships. He couldn’t return until he brought back the spoils.

Chet repositioned a folder under his arm and began to check his tie again when he saw the woman looking at him and then look away. At that moment the elevator jerked suddenly and they both steadied their weight as the elevator shimmied, vibrating, shaking like a bowl of jelly, until it slowly became still again. He smiled in the mirror at the woman and raised his eyebrows.

“We’re going to die,” he joked, wincing.

She smiled back, with what Chet called ‘fauxliteness’, then looked away quickly.

She’s perfect and she knows it.

That’s exactly what he heard about Dallas women, rich, snobby, and untouchable, unless you had a lot of money, like ‘Daddy’.

Chet noticed the buttons on the panel were no longer lit.

“I don’t think we’re moving,” he said.

“No. We are,” she said, coolly.

“No. I think we’re really stuck. Look at the buttons.”

He could see her thinking as she studied the panel. She calmly pressed the emergency call button and the elevator rang, then the sound of a voice came through the panel.

“Security. Frances.”

“Frances, is there a problem with the elevators?” the woman said with authority.

“Not that we’re aware of. Who am I speaking to?”

“Beth Glover, Frances. I believe we’re stuck.” She glanced at Chet and smiled.

“Oh, Miss Glover,” the security officer said, “we’ll check into it. Just a moment, please.”

Beth Glover?

He opened his folder.

9:30am. Bank of America Plaza, suite 5200, Beth Glover.

He looked at her as she turned confidently to him.

“They’ll have us moving in no time,” she said.

He nodded and smiled.

She turned away again, looking straight ahead.

Beth Glover breathed in slowly through her nose and out through her mouth, stealthily, checking with occasional side glances, making sure he didn’t notice her nervousness.

Guys like him-

Two minutes later the elevator still hadn’t moved.

“I think I’m supposed to meet you at 9:30,” he said, clearing his throat and trying to ignore his own shortness of breath.

Beth straightened herself up nonchalantly, turned to him, and stuck her hand out to shake his.

“You’re Chet. It’s nice to meet you. I’m Beth Glover,” she said, shaking his hand firmly.

“I guess it’ll be okay for me to be late?” he laughed.

I’m not hiring him, she thought, as she pressed the emergency button again.

“We’re still waiting on maintenance, Miss Glover,” the security officer answered.

Chet thought about asking if she wanted to interview him right there in the elevator but due to her response to his last joke he thought he better not.

When we get off this elevator, she thought, I’m telling him ‘We’re sorry, we’ve already hired someone’.

That won’t work. No.

I’ll interview him now and when we get up to the office I’ll tell Drew I interviewed him and I didn’t like him. Drew can tell him we’re interviewing the rest of the week and we’ll be in touch.

I’m not  hiring  him.

“Tell me about yourself,” she said, turning halfway toward him.

Oh Lord, she’s interviewing me right here, on the elevator! Stay strong, Chester Arthur.

“I’ve been with Stanfield and O’Dell for ten years,” he started, slowly flexing his chest, “the last four as an Audit Senior, working primarily with several large churches across the country.”

Beth wasn’t listening. She didn’t care what his credentials were.

Guys like this are so full of themselves. Well, he’s just going to have to be disappointed this time.

She nodded when she thought he was finished talking.

“And how do you think you would fit in with us based on your experience?” she asked.

She’s so beautiful, he thought.

He suddenly felt nervous but kept it in check, answering her question, smiling, standing straighter and taller.

He’s cute. I’d probably date him if we met at some happy hour. But then I’d be so disappointed when I found out he’s just another UT frat boy. Oh, God, he’s probably from TCU.

Beth shook her head ‘no’ without thinking and Chet began having trouble hiding his nervousness.

“This damn, elevator,” he said, attempting to regain composure. “We’re going to be in here all day.”

He pressed every button on the panel attempting to make the elevator start up again.

Boys like him, she thought, were the boys who made fun of her when she was younger.

“Tell me about yourself outside the office. There’s more to you than just being a senior auditor,” she said, faking polite humor.

Chet began his next answer.

This is going well, he thought. He told her about the community groups he volunteered with, including one he himself had started, a rock climbing club that raised money for children’s camps. When she heard him say ‘children’s camps’ she asked him more about them.

This guy  talks  and  talks.

No. I would never go out with him, not the way he goes on and on.

“A children’s camp,” Chet continued, “for overweight kids called Camp Dino.”

He probably…what?

“What did you say?” she blurted out.

“About the camp?”

“Yes. The camp,” she said, stumbling over her words, “Did you say Camp Dino?”

“It’s a camp outside Oklahoma City for overweight children. When I was eleven-”

Beth suddenly grabbed him and pulling him close to her she examined his eyes.

Chet leaned away but Beth still had a firm grip on his arm, until she stepped back.

“Your last name’s Arthur.”

“Yes,” he replied.

She said his name slowly, “Chester Arthur.”

“Yes, I know. The President. That’s my actual name but I go by Chet.”

Her eyes glistened as Beth gave Chet an enormous toothy grin.

Chet was completely puzzled. “What am I missing? Do I know you?”

Her neck and face began to flush red.

“I’m Lizzieanne, Lizzieanne Glover. We were at Camp Dino together.”

“Lizzieanne?” Chet stammered.

“Yep. I’m a foot taller and fifty pounds lighter, but it’s me. Do you remember me?”

“Of course I remember you,” he answered, absolutely floored.

He took a step back into the elevator wall and marveled at her beauty.

“Oh my God. Lizzieanne, you look unbelievable!”

“You look really handsome, yourself,” she said, wishing she could hide the obvious blushing she saw in the mirror.

The button for the fifty-second floor glowed once again and the elevator began moving up.

“Wow,” he smiled.

Chet didn’t care now if he got the job or not. He knew exactly why he had come to Dallas.

“Wow. Camp Dino,” she said nodding, her eyes twinkling.

He’s getting this  job.

“Camp Dino,” they said in unison.

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