Make Lifelong Memories at Camp Chimpoochee!

January 2023 (Second Round)
Genre: Comedy
Word: Verge
Action: Shampooing Hair
Time Constraint: 24 hours
Length: 250 words

As I stood in line with the other 300 summer residents of Camp Chimpoochee, the thought of the buxom Nurse Wilmington finding lice in my hair was too embarrassing to even consider. So to say I was severely unprepared when she blared my diagnosis to the world is a gross understatement.

Her biohazard-grade gloves barely touched my head before they jerked back. “My god! It’s a whole nit convention! Linda! I’ve got an infested head here!”

My campmates’ chatter died as all eyes turned to me, and since the earth did not swallow me whole at that moment, I can now say with some authority that prayer doesn’t work. In fact, so spiteful is the universe that I swear time slowed as the camp counselors all independently certified with various levels of enthralled disgust that my hair had indeed turned into a parasite bed and breakfast.

“Are you going to shave my head?” I squeaked, on the verge of tears that would’ve most certainly turned my mortification lethal.

“Oh no, Lice-Away will do the trick.” She raised a brow. “But first, we’ll need a list of your friends.”

I would love to report that I withstood interrogation. That I didn’t sell out my closest companions. But… it was a moment of weakness.

Nonetheless, as the four of us scrubbed our heads with the pungent lice shampoo under Nurse Wilmington’s watchful eye, I can say with utmost certainty that misery does, in fact, love company… just not of the louse variety.

JUDGe’s Feedback

This one placed 5th, just barely squeaking into the final round! But whew! Comedy may be the toughest genre I’ve had yet!


{2104}  Wow, what a funny story. Every line held a nugget of humour for the reader to mine. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Your protagonist’s voice is clear and consistent, as well as realistic. I have met a few pre-teens that talk exactly this way. Your hook was great, as was your concluding line. Extremely well done!  

{1774}  This camper’s descriptions of the situation, the mortification and desire to remain steadfast in not identifying his lousey friends create truly amusing moments. There’s something so amusing about kids being embarrassed … and publicly.  

{2230}  A fun read! These are some creative takes on the prompts for this assignment, to be sure (and an all too relatable situation with those *very* public lice checks..!)  Great descriptiveness and attention to detail throughout; from the mention of the “biohazard-grade” gloves, to the varying degrees of disgust, to the very realization that prayer actually doesn’t work..! Excellent world-building here. Your story perfectly captures the mortification that a kid in that situation would feel, and you have strong comedic sensibilities. A nice button to end your story on, as well, with that line about the “louse variety”! Your story is written very well; kudos!   


{2104}  This is such a well-written story that there is not a lot to critique. I will make one comment, however. I would have liked to have seen some reaction from the friends. Even if they just glared at him through soap bubbles, it would make the final line even more powerful.

{1774}  Nurse Wilmington was described by the narrator as ‘buxom.’ Was the camper crushing on her? It might be amusing to revisit that particular attribute with the campers somehow. Did an ample bra size have any impact in the ‘moment of weakness” experienced by the narrator? 

{2230}  This is a relatively small suggestion… But is there any chance readers could catch a glimpse of this protagonist’s reaction to some of the other students getting lice checks? That intro makes for a nice hook! However, what if the campmate just ahead of them ended up having lice, causing them to pity the poor guy… That is, before they soon realize they have it, themselves (knocking them down a couple pegs..!) In terms of the comedy, this could make for nice status play as the protagonist goes from a high status player, to suddenly lower status. Some excellent humor could be mined from the juxtaposition of their initial pridefulness to their actual vulnerability. But regardless, very nice job crafting your comedic microfiction story; I quite enjoyed reading your work. Thank you for your submission!

5 thoughts on “NYC Midnight Challenge Entry: Make Lifelong Memories at Camp Chimpoochee!

  1. Hehehe I like this! You did a nice job, Hayley! I know you don’t usually write comedy, but you did well, my friend. I love your writing! Great imagery. Superb job writing from the MC POV!
    Keep up the awesome work :).
    And of course, GO HAYLEY! 🙂 Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Np 😀 How do you push yourself to get out of your comfort zone? 🙂 I think it’s great that you do so 🙂 I am cheering you on, friend :).

        Liked by 1 person

      2. This contest is definitely part of it! Writing stories of different lengths and genre’s definitely makes me stretch my creativity. Even when writing novels, I feel like I’m still exploring genres to see which one I like the best, but they each have their own challenges!


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