The Camp Prospero Files: Jack Ferguson

REPORT #053567234: PSYCHOLOGICAL EVALUATION, CAMP PROSPERO PERSONNEL

The following report and its contents are classified TOP SECRET under Federal Code 7906-A. The information contained within is the exclusive property of the United States Department of Defense, The Bureau of Magical Affairs, and its branch offices. Any unauthorized release will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Interviews conducted by professional staff for the purpose of determining the mental status and fitness of key training camp personnel.

 

Subject: Jack Ferguson

Designation: Class 5 (INACTIVE)

Rank: Senior Scout

 

INTERVIEWER: Welcome, Jack. Please, have a seat. Make yourself at home.

JACK FERGUSON: Damn, man. If I knew it was going to be that kind of interview, I would’ve brought a beer or three. [laughs] Oh well. Easy come, easy go I guess. [shrugs and lays sideways across chair] So I’ve been at Camp Prospero for three years now and this is the first time anybody’s asked me if I wanted to talk about stuff. What’s the deal here?

I: We just want to talk with you, Jack. As you said, we acknowledge that in recent years the Bureau may have neglected to monitor the well-being of those under our purview as carefully as we should, and we’re trying to remedy that situation.

JF: Uh-huh. Okay. [raises eyebrow] You know how I know you’re full of crap?

I: Umm–how?

JF: You used a lot of big words right there, and I didn’t understand anything you said. [sighs] But then again, I’ve never really been a big fan of books. Or reading. Or work. So overrated.

I: Yes, well–getting back to the subject at hand, tell us a bit about your mental state.

JF: My what now?

I: How are you doing?

JF: Oh. Huh. [shrugs] I mean, I’m okay, I guess. Year’s been pretty good. Took a little break. Just chilling. You know how it is.

I: I assume you’re referring to the leave of absence the BMA granted you after your last summer at camp?

JF: You mean the vacation? [smiles] Yeah, it was pretty sweet. I went to Nepal. Found these monks and got the hook-up at their place for a while. Slept on the couch. Well, I don’t know if they have couches, but they gave me a room and stuff. It was nice to forget about everything and just unwind. Plus, it was fun. Those guys thought I was hilarious. You’d think they never heard a knock-knock joke their whole lives. We had some pretty great parties, too. Did you know you can make a great cocktail out of rum and goat’s milk that’s got a–

I: Interesting, I’m sure. But you must admit the last two years have been rather stressful ones: changes in camp leadership, personnel problems, etcetera. And that’s not even beginning to address personal trauma. [pauses] About your magic–

JF: [sighs] Dude, can we not talk about all that? You’re bumming me out.

I: I’m sorry, Jack, but it’s important. I understand your magical abilities have yet to return.

JF: Yeah. That’s kind of what happens when a crazy-ass witch tries to drain your life energy or whatever. What do you care?

I: Jack, you’re the first–perhaps the only–Class 5 wizard on record. Your aptitude is stronger than any magical individual the BMA has ever encountered. Regardless of the current status of your abilities, you are a high-priority asset. Surely you recognize the need for us to keep tabs on you.

JF: Not really, man. I never asked for this, you know. I don’t want to be magic Jesus or whatever. Besides, with all the trouble I’ve caused at camp, I figured you all would be happy I was out of commission.

I: Are you happy?

JF: In general? [laughs] Sure. I’m Mr. Positive. Ask anybody. It’s all good.

I: You’re deflecting. I mean, are you pleased to be without your magic? That seems like an odd reaction.

JF: You think so, huh? [scoffs] Okay, I’ll level with you: yeah, I’m happy. I’m glad my magic’s gone. And you know why? You know what people called me? They never did it to my face, but I heard it. Behind my back. Between you adults. You guys gave me a nickname.

I: I’m not aware of–

JF: I might not be able to read your mind anymore, but I know you’re lying.

I: [coughs] Yes, well–Worldbreaker. They’re calling you a Worldbreaker. A wizard so powerful your abilities could literally–

JF: I know what it means. But you know how that feels? Huh? I don’t want to break anything–except maybe the nose of whoever decided to put me in this room. All my magic did was set me apart from everyone. Made people scared of me. Destroyed things. And it was all my fault because I had these powers or somebody else wanted them or I wasn’t trying hard enough–you name it. Why would anybody want that kind of pressure on them? So screw it. I hope my magic never comes back. There, I said it. Can I go now?

I: Not just yet, Jack. We have more questions for you.

JF: Like what? You’ve got my whole file there or whatever. What else do you need to know?

I: We need to determine your mental fitness for the upcoming term at Camp Prospero. You must admit, you’ve done some pretty strange things over the past two years. I’m quoting from Scoutmaster Hasselberry’s own reports: “…running of commanding officer’s underwear up the flagpole every day for a week…mesmerizing Centaur and Quetzal scouts into switching places with your troop for official inspection…holding a ‘Come as Your Favorite Roman in a Bedsheet Party’…on report half a dozen times for drunk and disorderly…out of uniform…conduct unbecoming a scout…” Need I go on?

JF: [rolls eyes] Gee whiz, I don’t know why. Maybe because a bunch of people with bad haircuts and worse attitudes are trying to order me around like I owe them something and ruining people’s lives when they disagree with them. Give me a break. Hey, I’ve got a question for you: how come government and stuff turns everybody into total assholes? No offense.

I: Umm–none taken. Do you need a moment?

JF: [blinks] What? Nah, I’m good. Forget about it, man. Just venting.

I: Right–anyway. Regardless, it appears you’ve got quite a following at Camp Prospero. Do you think you’re a disruptive influence?

JF: What am I, a chemist or something? Chemists do that disruption stuff, right? Or is that pilots? Whatever. I mean, I can’t help it if people think I’m cool. They’re not wrong. But I’m not trying to be a problem or anything. Last thing I need right now is more people hanging around me. It cramps my style. I just want some space.

I: Are you sure that’s the reason?

[Long silence]

JF: Did I ever tell you about my buddy Danny? Maybe you talked to him already. Short kid? Eyepatch? Geeky clothes? Comic book in his back pocket? Anyway, he said the funniest thing to me the other day–

I: Jack.

JF: That’s my name. Don’t wear it out. [chuckles] What’s up?

I: I asked you a question. You still haven’t answered it.

JF: Was it the one about what conditioner I use?

I: I never asked about that.

JF: Pretty sure you did, bro. Let me see those notes. I bet you have it written down somewhere.

I: Those are confidential.

JF: Confidential, shomfid–umm–whatever. Let me see real quick.

I: Jack, control yourself!

[A brief scuffle]

JF: Okay, okay. Jesus. You guys don’t have to threaten to tase me. Don’t want to go through that again. I mean, without fair warning. [laughs]

I: Uh-huh. [sighs] My question was about why you want to be alone when you clearly have a history as an extrovert. What caused this change of heart?

JF: I don’t want to talk about it.

I: Is it because your friends’ opinion of you has changed? Do you worry about not being able to protect them?

JF: Protect them? [snorts] I think I’ve done a pretty lousy job so far, don’t you?

I: You seem to think so.

JF: That’s it, dude. I’ve had it with this.

I: Jack, calm down–

JF: Or what? You’ll shoot me or something? [spreads arms] Go ahead. You’re probably doing the world a favor. Take me out before I get my scary powers back and blow it all up because I’m a dumbass loser. I don’t want to be that guy. I just want to be normal. You hear me? Normal! I wish I never heard of magic or the BMA or any of it. Tell all your buddies behind the two-way mirror, too. I’m out. [walks toward door, then stops] And for the record, my friends don’t need me to protect them. They need to be protected from me. If they’re smart, they’ll get as far away from me as they can. If the last two years taught me anything, it’s that nothing good happens to people who hang out with me. And I’m done with it.

[Walks out and slams door]

I: Right. I think we have what we need. Send in the next candidate, please.

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