Archives de catégorie : Retro games camp

Retro games camp, episode 25, to the peak of boredom

At Cousinette, the festivities were going on.

At a quarter to seven, the boys heard someone knocking on the door of their room. Fright woke them up immediately. What was happening. And they heard the stern voice of Cousinette :
Time to get up.

Fuck, it was earlier than on a school day!

No breakfast for Cousinette. She was to take communion. Hopefully for the two boys, they had not got the proper sacraments and were not allowed to. And Cousinette hot chocolate was damned good!

Then she grilled them on religion. Measuring the extent of the ignorance of Thomas and challenging the protestantism of François.
– Why aren’t you a catholic like everybody?
It was not his choice, but his parents’ but he did not want to betray them. He stayed quite and stoically endured a long fulmination.

And enduring a fulmination was nothing compared to the boring lesson that follows about the mass and the repetition of the main prayers.

At least they were ready and on their way to the church in the company of Cousin, the very very old lady, mother of Cousinette, as sweet and charming as her daughter was acid and forbidding.

In church, it was special. Women on the left, all wearing hats or scarves over their hear, men on the right and six altar boys. Six! Only boys! With attire which could have done for queen Elizabeth’s jubilee.

The sermon of Curé Marotel was, in a way, the culminating point. So boring that the curé seemed on the verge of  falling asleep while giving it….

Summary and link to previous episodes :

Retro games camp, episode 18, Worse than school

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Pierre reminded clearly, there was nothing written in the notebook the first time he had seen it, nothing at all! Now, there was something on all the pages.
First pages was the title: retro games camp exercise book. Least one could say was that it began badly… In short, they had to answer 22 questions in proper French and with a reasonable amount of faults of grammar and orthography to be authorized to enter the Tardis to go back to Paris 2012. The questions were variegated : »where does the name Latrecey comes from? », « write a ten lines essay about the people of the village », « draw a tractor », « why le tour des pans? », « what extraordinary thing happened to Le Raymond in le champ de foire », and « about the . Ask Albert Antoine for help.

He had to fetch the help of a ghost to go back to his life using a mean unknown to him… Nobody could see him so he cried a little from despair.

When he got down, the Raymond petulantly sent him out:
– Goddamit! Jesus Christ! Hey Pierre, you’re white. You need fresh air.

So Pierre went out wondering where one could find a ghost in that bloody village …

Retro games camp, episode 17, Cuts

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Next day began as usual. Thomas and François spent the morning sleeping while Pierre, up with the hens, worked in the fields.

A neat little man with a trunk who had lunched with them and a few other guests around the gigantic circular table d’hôte covered with an oilcloth which hid its uneven surfaces but did not prevent some of the things put on it from leaning sometimes more than Pisa tower. After an awesome meal-the cooking of the Raymond tasted as good as it was unhygienic – the talkative little man dragged his trunk in the café room and morphed it in a hairdresser’s.
From 2 to 6, men and kids came in and went out regularly. A crow cut for the men, a bowl cut for the kids. Only one woman came in. She went out with a crew cut. The little man was speaking non stop.
At 6, the flow halted suddenly and the hairdresser proposed a cut to the boys who had been playing cards in a corner of the café all along the show with just a break for their collation.

They immediately had something urgent to do. Thomas and François rushed out to ride their bikes and Pierre darted to the bedroom to rummage in his backpack.
He mechanically took out the retro games camp notebook and opened it and fell flat on his back on the bed from stupefaction.



Retro games camp, episode 16, waffles

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The return from the dip had been morose and tense. Thomas and François resented Pierre for having let the girls go and for the mocking smile he sported since.
While the two younger played belote with the Fernand Barbier and the porridge blower, Pierre went in the dining room to check what the Raymond was concocting in his kitchen or rather his lair. His rudimentary cooking equipment was lodged in a small veranda. The place was as dark as a cavern and a dimly lit by a greenish light filtering through roses and mold plus years of greasy fumes. Nevertheless, one could not help noticing the utter absence of hygiene of the place. The Raymond showed his massive back, sang and grumbled while bustling about. An old sorcerer fulfilling a strange rite.

Pierre understood after the diner while the Raymond had lit a fire in the huge chimney. He took objects resembling more weapons than cooking instruments, oiled them with a greasy bit of something and put them in the fire. He fetched the batter, retrieved one of the iron wafflers, opened it and poured batter in it.

Pierre had eaten many waffles. His mother was a keen waffle maker and a good one too. He had even been in Brussels to try the Belgian ones. But, the sizzling, the smell, the consistency, soft inside, crusty outside and the taste,  the casual ease with which the man handled  those long and heavy cast-iron instruments.. That was pure magic. No doubt, the grumpy Raymond had something of Merlin.

Retro games camp, episode 15, girls

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Pierre had planned to stay quiet at the Raymond after his exhausting morning in the fields and lunch but just after desert two girls about his age had entered the café. They wanted to go to the dip. Would Thomas and François accompany them? Pierre immediately guessed why the nitwits appreciated so much retro games camp and cycled so much.
Pierre had pleaded his cause vehemently, spoken of his exhaustion. In vain. He had been ordered to go. Six kilometers was no big business for a boy of nearly fifteen!

Now, he was on a simili beach of gross sand after an exhausting ride on a bumpy road under the blazing sun and a long crawling in a narrow trail under bushes bordered by scratching brambles. He had put his hand in the water. Ice. He would not dare his life. He stayed on the sand. The girls did the same. They sat and began chatting one with the other without paying any attention to their male companions. Thomas and François tried to impress them by undressing quickly, jumping in the water and swimming like mad.
While they were making a show of their underwater swimming aptitudes, two boys around seventeen appeared on the trail. They hailed the girls who grabbed their belongings, jumped on their feet and rushed away to join them… « Bitches » hissed Pierre but they were already too far to hear him.

Retro games camp, episode 19, the excursion

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Just before sending them to bed, the Raymond told the boys that the following day, the program would be different from usual. They were to visit a camp. He refused to say more.He did not want to spoil it.
Thomas and François discussed with animation in bed. They wondered happily about the sort of games they would play.
Pierre remained silent. He was sure no fun was to be expected. It was a new scam.

And Pierre was right.
A coach had hooted in the street before the end of their breakfast. They had left the café in a hurry with the Raymond.
In the coach, apart them, oldies. 3 men, 17 women.

At the end of the day, after a comforting good meal, while falling asleep, Pierre tried to determine what had been the more depressing: the long hours spent in a coach with old chatter boxes, the unpalatable lunch in a drab place with the same chatter boxes or the visit of the only concentration camp situated in France, the Struthof’s camp?

Post sriptum: this episode as the preceding ones is inspired by real people and event. We are 6 cousins and the Raymond was our grandfather. The struthof’s visit was one of the summer distractions he offered to most of us with the pilgrimage to Lourdes (night journey by train and a 5 days stay) and the visit of Douaumont’s ossuary. The only thing vaguely resembling to fun was the visit of the gouffre de Padirac with the boat trip. And the Raymond was one of the most joyful person I have ever known…..


Retro games camp episode 20, poodles

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After the trying visit of the Struthof’s camp, even Pierre slept late. Not as late as the two other campers nevertheless…

At ten he was in the streets on his bike. He wanted to find the ghost.
He first went where he had met the very very old Lady the first time. He waited, waited, but she did not come out.
Then, he got a new idea, the cemetery. That was the ideal place to find a ghost.
He rode to the place. And, all of a sudden, something stroke him. All the women he had crossed this morning looked like poodles. What the fuck! This strange hair style was not flattering!

The cemetery was at the top of a hill. It was a nice place. A few people were there, obviously tending their family graves. The very very old Lady was one of them.
– Hello Pierre, you’re looking for Albert?
How on earth did she know
– He’s not here at the moment. He will pay you a visit in your bedroom after the cinema.
Ouch! How on earth will he be able to discuss with a ghost in the company of the two nitwits. And what was that story of a cinema?

Retro games camp, episode 21, wrath

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On Saturday, after lunch, the three boys had accompanied the girls to the dip. Thomas with enthusiasm, François with vigilance and Pierre with utter reluctance. Once again as soon as the boys were in the water, the girls had vanished with older boys. But this time, none of the boys cared. They had come for the ride and the bath. And that time on their way back, they had crossed the infuriated parents of the girls. François had told the girls before accepting to go with them « you think we are your cycling coaches ». None of the boys had realized that in 1972, teens had very little freedom compared to them as far as frequenting the other sex was concerned.

At the café, they were not waited by angry parents but by the fulminating Cousinette. She was having a row with the Raymond. He was stunned. She vociferated.
– How do you dare! How do you dare! You intend to expose those young souls to your decadent show! It’s a shame, Raymond, a shame. You’re the salesman of evil.
– Goddamit! Jesus Christ!! You’re a mad crone!
– Sex, sex, you have only sex on your mind.
– You’re a tight bigot! It’s you the obsessed one!
– Raymond, you’re a bad catholic! You even refused to put a curtain between the café room and the dining room last time curé Marotel ate here. And during our pilgrimage to Lourdes you obliged me tho sleep with men.
– Crazy old bag! I just told you that you had no choice but share your sleeping couch with the people Sncf put with you. Believe me, none of the poor men who had to put on with your circus would have wanted to approach you. Even the looniest man would not want to.
– I did not sleep of the night because of your perverse machinations!
– Stop shouting, you’re disturbing my clients!
The clients who had gathered near the door between the café and the restaurant rooms looked far more interested and distracted than disturbed.

All of a sudden, Cousinette changed her target. She looked at the boys and ordered:
– Thomas and François, go upstairs to fetch your bags.
The boys stood still terrified.
Cousinette hissed:
– Go.
Raymond tried to placate her:
– Stop screaming, you’ll terrorize them.
– I won’t leave that room without them!
The Raymond yelled loudly, but was no real fighter. He let go.
– They’ll come. Please, boys, go and fetch your things.
The three boys moved slowly.
Cousinette eyed Pierre ferociously and hissed:
– I don’t take you. You’re impious, soulless… Thomas and François will be far better without you!

Retro games camp, episode 23, cinema

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At the Raymond things began when they ended at Cousinette. There had been little preliminary action. A guy had arrived in a van, parked it in the courtyard and the Raymond had given him the key of the cinema’s room.

At thirty seven, the cinema man had joined the Raymond, Pierre and a few guests in the restaurant room for an animated dinner.

From eight to eight thirty while they were enjoying desert and coffee, liquors and cocoa, a boisterous crowd had gathered in the courtyard. The racket then increased rapidly. When brawling began, the Raymond and the cinema man went out. A big yell of the Raymond and the noise diminished considerably. Pierre saw through the windows that the café owner was selling tickets and ushering people into the cinema room.

Then, he came back and took Pierre directly from the restaurant room to the cinema room via the bedroom stairs and a side door. People were chatting noisily and installing themselves in the greatest disorder. The young slumped down in old and battered couch seats from sending big whiffs of dust in the air and provoking sneezes and coughs around. Some slumped down so heavily and clumsily that they fell on the ground… provoking loud laughs. The other spectators took place on iron benches with wooden folding sits. As uncomfortable as noisy.

Then the lights went out and the chatting went on. Advertisements and news. And, what the fuck, president René Coty dining in Versailles with queen Elizabeth. Pierre knew his history. They had traveled further in the past…. At that rhythm,, he would soon be like the very very old lady back to WW2.

The lights went on again. The Raymond walked around wearing a wicker basket and crying eskimos, bonbons, chocolats. And the film began while the selling of sweets went on. The protestations did not disturb the Raymond who retorted louder than the protesters. At least he had finished.

Just when he opened the side door to exit, an explosion, the film stopped, fumes and swearing coming from the light plywood box where the cinema man operated. Noises in the cinema room and the film went on. Obviously the guy had had to skip one or two scenes. A few minutes. A crucial scene. The room was quiet for the first time, apart from some frantic kissing in the couch seats… and the Raymond opened the side door. Disturbing light, then his high and large silhouette passing before the screen. Unfortunately the cellar’s door was situated beside the screen on the right. New protestations. The Raymond passing back….

On going out, the spectators expressed their satisfaction. Only one break. They had been able to watch the film till the end and the Raymond had made only seven incursions…. A quiet session in short.


Retro games camp, episode 22, a very short evening,

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At Cousinette, things went quite fast.

At six thirty, they were eating their dinner in a doll’s kitchen. Everything she served them tasted special. Special good for Thomas who ate with pleasure. Special special for François who struggled to eat at last half of his food under Cousinette’s blazing eye. Hopefully the hot chocolate which followed was normal and he drank it to the last drop.

At seven, the dinner was over. Cousinette washed the dishes and ordered the boys to dry them while she locked the house as if the Huns were to arrive.

At ten past seven, she declared they could read a little and showed a pile of reader digest’s magazines. Thomas learnt about the destiny of Helen Keller and François about milk pasteurization.

At seven thirty, Cousinette declared it was high time to go to the toilets and wash their teeth before going to bed.

At a quarter to eight, she took them upstairs, indicated a room at the end of a corridor and reminded them to pray. She opened a door, rushed in a room, closed the door and François heard distinctly the click of a lock. He was so stunned that he lingered in the corridor.
When he arrived in the bedroom, Thomas had vanished. That was the last blow. François called his cousin with a trembling voice. A muffled sound came from under the bed.
– Fuck, I slid. I can’t get out.
Cousinette’s passion for wax and a bed carpet strategically positioned had made the trick.

They spent long hours waiting for sleep. Their only distractions was the permanent clicking of clocks and the concertos given each quarter of an hour by the house clocks and the church bell…