The Terminator trudged along the wooded path towards the lake, his gun dangling by his side, the taunts still ringing in his hypersensitive bionic ears. He stared at the ground as he walked, and didn’t even bother scanning anything with his infrared computer eyes. Summer camp was a total drag. The Terminator hadn’t made any friends. No one wanted to be his buddy for afternoon swim. Every time he tried to get into a sailboat, the weight of endoskeleton would sink the whole thing. Just now, in arts and crafts, everyone was supposed to spend the hour drawing something that they liked. The Terminator didn’t “like” anything. But he figured that he would “like” to kill John Connor. So he drew John Connor with blood pouring out of a giant hole in his chest. “Oooh,” one of the other kids had said, snatching the drawing from under the Terminator’s hands. “What’s this? A picture of your boyfriend!” Then he held the drawing up in the air and everyone joined in. “Oooh,” all the kids chanted, “Terminator has a boyfriend! Terminator has a boyfriend!”
“What’s his name?” the child who had stolen the drawing asked.
“His name is John Connor, and I have been sent from the future to kill him,” The Terminator said.
“Terminator and John Connor, sitting in a tree!” the kids began to chant. “K-I-S-S-I-N-G!”
“Shut up,” The Terminator said, “or I will shoot all of you children in the face with a machine gun.”
But the kids didn’t shut up, because of how they can be so cruel. “You’re really being jerks,” The Terminator said as he slunk out of the arts and crafts cabin dejected and feeling more alone than ever. “I won’t be back!” he yelled behind him. He took a waffle out of his leather jacket, which he had sneaked from the mess hall at breakfast for a mid-morning snack, to d some emotional eating, but he realized that Terminators don’t eat human food. They are machines, you see.
The Terminator sat by himself on the dock and looked out towards the pontoon dock where kids were doing cannonballs into the water, and two of the counselors were making out. Suddenly, he heard the thudding approach of footsteps. Didn’t people understand he just wanted to be alone right now? The Terminator raised his gun to shoot whoever was coming to tease him again in the face when he looked up and saw…ANOTHER TERMINATOR!
It was like looking in a mirror.
“But you…! But I…!” The Terminator said.
“How did you…? But we are…!” the other Terminator said.
They stayed that way for a very long time, just blinking at each other. Well, not blinking, because they were machines. But definitely staring at each other. Then they broke out laughing and gave each other muscular, dangerous hugs. “Mind if I join you?” The other Terminator asked the first Terminator. “Please,” the first Terminator said, waving his open hand towards the dock. They sat down and began to gossip about camp. It turned out they both had been having a lot of trouble making friends, mostly because of how they were both robots specifically designed for the assassination and eventual annihilation of the human race. “Also, I hate capture the flag,” the second Terminator said. “Tag, I’m out? How about bullet in your 12-year-old head. Now who is out?”
The Terminator nodded.
They had so much in common! In retrospect, the Terminator would never be able to remember who had suggested that they might be related first, which is odd, because Terminators are designed to store every experience in there 40 Gigabyte braindrives, but once they realized that they were twins, it was not long before they had hatched a plan to reunite their parents.
“It’s silly,” the Terminator said. “I know they still love each other. If we could just make them see that, we could be a family again.”
“I also hate how they are divorced!” the second Terminator said.
For the rest of the summer, the two Terminators were inseparable. They sat together at every meal. They switched with a couple of other campers to share a bunkbed in the Silver Fox Cabin, and would talk late into the night by flashlight. Best of all, the Terminator finally had a swim buddy! And all the time, they were working on their plane to get their parents back together.
Finally, it was the last night of camp. The Terminators were distracted at the all-campers bonfire and barely even touched their s’mores (again, they were machines). “Let’s go over the plan again,” the Terminator said, nervous, but excited.
“We’re going to switch clothes, and when our parents come tomorrow, they won’t realize that we’ve actually traded places. Eventually, we will have to conspire to somehow get them together for a candlelit dinner, but once we do that, they’ll fall in love, and dad will call off his engagement to that gold digger, and they’ll get back together, and we’ll be a family again.”
The two Terminators traded their identical leather jackets and looked at each other, excited about what they were about to do, but also scared! But the good kind of scared! Also, they weren’t scared, they were machines.
The next morning, all the campers piled out onto the main lawn with their Dora the Explorer duffel bags and their Hannah Montana sleeping bags as parents happily scooped them up into their arms. There were plenty of hugs, and tears, some people brought their dogs, and younger siblings who weren’t old enough for summer camp yet. The Terminators stood together, scanning the enthusiastic crowd for their parents. But no one came. The crowd began to thin as families piled reunited into cars and headed back to their unbroken homes. The Terminators looked at each other.
“Wait a second,” the Terminator said.
“What?” the other Terminator said. “What is it?”
“We don’t have parents,” the Terminator said. “We’re Terminators.”
“Oh my God,” the second Terminator said. “You’re totally right.”
They traded their identical leather jackets back. “That’s better,” one of them said. Then they killed everyone who was still on campgrounds before hijacking an 18-wheeler full of motorcycles and heading towards Los Angeles to look for John Connor and to kill him, together.