Ear­li­er this week, C. Alexan­der Lon­don wrote about being an acci­den­tal adven­tur­er and sequels and the Torah.

In hon­or of the end of Book Expo Amer­i­ca 2011, and appear­ing on a blog aimed at the Peo­ple of the Book, I am pre­sent­ing the full, unedit­ed text of the first book I ever wrote: Lawrence and Luther Lizard Go to Camp.

This work, writ­ten in 1988 with my coau­thor Jon Klein­man, tells the epic tale of two lizards on their first trip to sum­mer camp. With its ele­ments of the para­nor­mal and vivid depic­tion of dystopi­an soci­ety, it was sure to be a best­seller had we ever got­ten around to our revi­sions. As it stands, the book, writ­ten on an Apple IIe and print­ed on an old dot­ma­trix print­er, was inspired by our own pre­vi­ous summer’s adven­tures at camp Ken­nebec in Maine, which, while being most­ly filled with Jews (Wet Hot Amer­i­can Sum­mer sums it up pret­ty well) had, like so many Jew­ish sum­mer camps, appro­pri­at­ed North Amer­i­can indige­nous cul­ture in what I am sure are ter­ri­bly offen­sive ways. That’s prob­a­bly a blog entry for anoth­er time.

For now, I present Lawrence and Luther Lizard Go to Camp. I will leave the exege­ses for the com­ments section.

It was the last day of third grade for Luther and Lawrence Lizard. They just said good­bye to their teacher, Miss L.E. Phant, and hopped on the school bus for home.

When they got home Mrs. Lizard had their favorite snack wait­ing for them; crick­ets and water. Mmm Mmm.

They were very excit­ed because next week they were leav­ing for their first sleep­over camp.

Camp Swampy­land was far away from their home in Maine. Lawrence and Luther were only 9 years old and they nev­er been away from home with­out their par­ents. They were a lit­tle ner­vous but they were hap­py to be away from their brat­ty lit­tle sister.

The week flew by and before they knew it, they were dri­ving into the camp’s front gate. They saw the big lake and the cab­ins. There were lots of oth­er guys all around. Every­body was play­ing and Lawrence and Luther couldn’t wait to join in.

They got out of the bus and saw a very large man. He intro­duced him­self as Chris Croc­o­dile, and said that he was their coun­selor. He said they should get their stuff into the cab­in and get ready for swimming.

Chris took them to the lake for swim­ming and they met their swim­ming teacher, Fred Fish. Both of the boys passed their deep water tests and had fun goof­ing around on the water­slide and the big air tube. They asked Fred Fish if he would take them out for a canoe ride.

Fred said yes, so off they went. It was time for lunch. Every­one always com­plained about camp food. Luther said, I bet this place­mat will taste bet­ter than the food here!” Lawrence said, Gee, I hope they serve crick­ets once in a while.”

They day went very quick­ly. At night the boys lis­tened to ghost sto­ries around the camp­fire. Then they went to bed. The next day was great! They played base­ball against anoth­er cab­in and won 6 – 2. They played foot­ball and went swimming.

The it hap­pened! It was time for lunch. Every­one was say­ing they would rather be kiss­ing a frog. The coun­selor told them about the big dance with Camp Swampy­land for Girls. At the dance they served fresh crick­ets and water. The boys danced a lot and had fun. The next day they got a let­ter from their mom. It said, How’s the camp food? Are you hav­ing fun? By the way, your sis­ter wrote you a note: I miss U. I like ur toys-Linda.”

Lawrence and Luther sud­dent­ly want­ed to be home and to make sure Lin­da had not touched their new sci­ence kit! The next dauy was the begin­ning of switch week. This was when the kids became coun­selors and the coun­selors became kids. Lawrence became the head coun­selor of the camp and Luther became his assis­tant. The new cook, who was the boys’ friend Iswald, made won­der­ful meals. He fried crick­ets, roast­ed crick­ets, bar­be­cued crick­ets and even mashed crick­ets. For desert one night they even had crick­ets with choco­late sauce!

The next day was very excit­ing for Lawrence and Luther. Their bunk was going on a cam­pout. The cam­pout was so much fun it went by too quick­ly. When they came back it was final­ly Sat­ur­day and the boys could wear what­ev­er they want­ed. They didn’t have to wear their camp uni­forms that nobody liked. All too soon camp was over and the boys were sad.

Back home every­one said they had missed them. Lawrence and Luther remem­bered their sci­ence kit and raced upstairs to check it. They found it just the way they had left it. It was the end of a per­fect sum­mer, and they would soon have to go back to school.

Orig­i­nal first edition/​printing can be read below:

C. Alexan­der Lon­don is the author of We Are Not Eat­en By Yaks: An Acci­den­tal Adven­ture, and the forth­com­ing sequel, We Dine With Can­ni­bals. As Charles Lon­don, his grown-up alter ego, he wrote One Day The Sol­diers Came: Voic­es of Chil­dren in War and Far From Zion: In Search of a Glob­al Jew­ish Com­mu­ni­ty