Once dinner was over, the students from Reverend Davis’ youth group came in with board games of every possible description. They divided into groups to play Scrabble, Monopoly and Game of Life. Claire and her buddies chose Mystery Date. To be specific, Claire chose it and they went along.
Madison and Patti got into a cut throat game of Monopoly with Brad and a boy from the Denver group. Maddie wasn’t sure what his name was. Everyone called him Beef. He was a big boy, not so much fat as solidly built. He was friendly, unless they landed on his property, then he was ruthless. He and Brad owned virtually all the property and had hotels on everything. They argued about the rules constantly, refusing to listen to Patti read them aloud. They were both wrong, but didn’t want to admit it. Eventually, the girls split their property and money evenly between the boys and left to find something else.
Some of the Denver group were playing charades. Patti urged Maddie to join. They each went on a different team and sat down on the floor. Maddie chose and opened the folded paper holding her challenge. Trying to keep her face immobile, she read and re-read the words.
“Maddie, why don’t you go first this time?” Dora, one of the Denver girls said.
“Okay. Give me a moment. I have to think how to do this.” She got up, dusted off her jeans and took a neutral pose. After a moment, she held up five fingers.
“Five words,” her team guessed.
She gestured to show that it was a song and continued. It took a moment for them to guess that her first word was War. Second word is. Third was a little more difficult, but one of here teammates yelled “Mean. Tough. Strict!”
“War is strict?” the same boy said.
Another short word—as. For her final hint, she gestured to encompass the building. The first guess was church. The next, building. Shaking her head, Maddie knelt as if praying.
“God,” the same boy yelled. “No—Jesus! War is strict as Jesus!”
“What’s that from?” Dora asked.
“It’s from Pippin,” someone else said. “Lyrics from the song Glory.”
“I got to see that when I was in New York,” another girl said. “Such a good show.”
The discussion moved away from charades to the musical, then back to the game. It was now Patti’s turn. Maddie spoiled it by yelling out the answer, so they gave Patti another chance. Maddie barely managed to keep her mouth shut, but she put both hands over her face so she couldn’t blurt. Later, she apologized.
“It’s okay. I was doing the same thing with yours. Next time, let’s try to get on the same team.”
The Denver youth headed home and the Nebraska contingent got ready for bed. Patti and Maddie bedded down as far from the others as they could, making sure they were between the Polly and Caroline. They didn’t trust Claire and her friends one bit. The group shared a short prayer and the lights were out. There were streetlights outside that cast an eerie, distorted glow in the room. At least they’d be able to see if they had to get up during the night.
© 2015 Dellani Oakes