It was during one of these scrambles that we were introduced, through a mutual friend, to Abe.Abe, who requested that his real name not be used in this story, had just moved to New York City and was hungry to play.

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She complained to me in passing about Abe; said that he seemed to be acting a lot stranger this year than he had the previous summer. “Adam, we have a big problem,” Abe said, dropping his voice to a conspiratorial whisper. They’re afraid of what I’m teaching them.” On the face of it, this didn’t sound too far-fetched. But as the days passed, Abe’s comments started to get more extreme.

As a high schooler, I had once written a school play that was censored by an overly moralistic administration. “I think Debbie or Mollie might be keeping surveillance on me,” he said, referring to the two camp administrators.

Unsure about how to proceed with him, I retreated away instead.

I set up structural boundaries in our work: he would direct his plays, and I would direct my musical.

She wants them to look fashionable.” “Ah.” He ignited the engine. Our first evening, the staff got into a circle and played icebreaker exercises; we had a week before the campers were to arrive, and this was our chance to bond as a team beforehand. ” “I guess so.” On the drive into town, Jake gunned it. “Please don’t tell people I bought this beer.” “All right, no worries,” he said. From the shoreline, I made my way over to the theater shed, where I found an electric piano.

I noticed that a lot of the girls wore pretty pearl stud earrings and a lot of the boys wore white baseball caps. He and Aaron blasted hip-hop with their windows rolled down as they took blind curves through residential neighborhoods at sixty-five miles per hour, screaming at the top of their lungs. I hadn’t ridden with drivers like this since high school. After the meal, we drove to a package store and picked up a case of Budweiser. It was curfew for the teenage counselors, so they had all retired for the night, leaving the camp empty.I was a 24-year-old theater teacher at a Jewish summer camp. As a result, those members would frequently change. In the early morning hours, we would eat coffee ice cream and plan our next tour, surfing the web and sending out email solicitations for new venues, new vans, new band mates. Fresh out of college and with no discernable professional skills, we didn’t have enough money to get our own place, let alone pay the members of our band.But these flaws, I reasoned, were just part of the tradeoff; Abe was a little prickly, but he was also a creative force. It was room, board, and more than ,000 for seven weeks of work.After camp got out, we would still have most of August to tour New England.At the time though, I faced a genuine moral quandary: I knew he was losing his mind, but what loyalty did I owe to the pledge of secrecy he had sworn me to?