Kathi had become a problem. She liked living in camp, sure, with all of the young people around and the social scene - but she didn`t like planting trees. She had often taken days off, in bad moods, claiming injuries. She would pretend to be working harder than she was, even faking vomit one day on the block, perfectly coordinated to when Cam drove by on his quad. She was vain and self centered, and traits like that come out very quickly here.
Cam and I left camp before the van. It was the day off, and we were on our way to fill up the water barrels at a nearby logging camp. The rest of the crew was in the van, likely hungover, making for the comforts of town. This was in the morning.
cam pulled his truck over at an intersection on the gravel road and started to roll a joint. I thought that this was out of character. Cam is in perpetual motion, a man who never stops rushing, so why would he here? It was just him and I, and I figured we were just waiting for someone to come by and show us where the logging camp was. Cam was distraught at the time, having just lost his best planter, Yossef, almost losing his own job, and wrecking his own vehicle. He looked like he had not been sleeping well.
He was halfway through rolling the joint when the van sped by, kicking up a thick, beige haze in it's wake. Hurriedly, he handed me the operation and sped after the van, eventually riding it's tail close enough for Jessie, the van's driver, to recognize that something was up. She pulled over.
I was holding an insurance paper cover with flecks of green bud on it as we pulled up alongside, like traffic cops. All of the planters were looking at Cam with a mixture of fear and expectation.
"YOU," he pointed at Kathi.
"Grab your stuff, let's go."
The tension was such that she obliged without protest or questions, grabbing the backpack that she had prepared for town that day. Cam asked the rest of the crew where they were heading.
We drove in silence, Kathi in the back, Cam smoking cigarettes in the driver's seat, and me bewildered in shotgun, ending up back in camp. I figured Kathi was being fired, and got out of the van as Cam was instructing her to pack up her tent. I walked away from the truck to avoid the conflict, and ended up at my tent, perched above the river. In the distance I saw Cam and Kathi, near her tent. Kathi was protesting with her arms folded, and Cam was looking at her. He walked around her and started to take down her tent for her.
Ten minutes later cam and I were in the vehicle together looking for the logging camp. When we got back, her stuff was all packed up and she was lying on a picnic table looking at the treetops. I helped her load her stuff into the pickup, and asked Cam where we were going.
Drayton. He didn`t want to face any noise from the rest of the crew. She never got the chance to say goodbye to her new friends.