The Documents of Hector Maze: 5.4

Posted in The Documents of Hector Maze on November 19th, 2005 by bill

Next thing I knew I was being ushered into an oddly-shaped room with mirrors on every wall. The mirrors made the room look infinitely large and made the 30 or so people in the room look like thousands. All of us stood around awkwardly for a minute waiting for something to happen.

Then it did. The lights went out and some strange, Middle Eastern-sounding music was piped in. A moment later the floor started sinking. If I wanted to have my mind blown, I’d certainly come to the right place; this was much better than the Pink Floyd laser show.
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The Documents of Hector Maze: 5.3

Posted in The Documents of Hector Maze on November 18th, 2005 by bill

I woke up in a state of confusion. The sun was punishing my eyes and I couldn’t seem to remember where I was.

I sat up and put on my sunglasses. That helped with the sun, and as my eyes adjusted I made out the rollercoaster in the distance. It all came flooding back: the phone call, the job, the theme park. Right. Everything’s under control.

I had a hard time standing up for some reason. After a moment I steadied myself and started walking, but I felt unusual. Almost as if…
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The Documents of Hector Maze: 5.2

Posted in The Documents of Hector Maze on November 15th, 2005 by bill

I’ll say that again in case you missed it: The track ended abruptly, in midair. It didn’t start again until about a hundred yards ahead and twenty yards below, as if we were meant to fly through the air and pick up the track again on the other side.

I wasn’t afraid, though. No, I was terrified. My heart turned inside-out and the screaming around me reached a deafening crescendo as we leapt off the tracks and started flying.

Or at least that was what it felt like. In my rational mind I was sure that we were still on a track that had somehow been erased from visual reality—I mean, no one would build a rollercoaster that flies through the air, would they? That’s insane. But my eyes were telling a different story, and maybe it was just the power of suggestion, but I certainly felt like we were gliding frictionless through the air.
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The Documents of Hector Maze: 5.1

Posted in The Documents of Hector Maze on November 15th, 2005 by bill

Near where I came out of the ferris wheel thingie there was a sign that said “WARNING: MOVING WALKWAY.” As people passed it they started gliding away at a steady rate, just like at the airport. What was odd was that the ground beneath them didn’t appear to be moving; it looked like an ordinary field of grass. This aroused my inner technophobe, who likes to feel that he has at least some idea of how things work. In this case the illusion was so seamless that I felt like a superstitious native suddenly confronted with a 747.

I decided to go in another direction, so I found a path that led off through a canopy of trees. Birds were singing overhead and the air was cool and loamy; within 50 yards I might just have well have been in a park somewhere, so cut off was I from the surrounding environment. But a minute later I emerged from the trees and in front of me a towering rollercoaster gleamed orange in the sun.
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The Documents of Hector Maze: 4.4

Posted in The Documents of Hector Maze on November 14th, 2005 by bill

It was a short walk from the park to the local tavern. We ordered whiskeys and I tried to get Lee to tell me where he’d been for the last three years. He was evasive. He’d been around the world, he said. Spent some time at sea. Been to Africa and the Arctic. Now he was working a high-powered job for an aeronautics company down south.

Which was an odd thing for him to be doing. But by the time we got to that part of the story, I was two drinks to the good and not in the mood for an interrogation. I was happy just to see him, and we soon got into one of our usual conversations about aliens, the nature of existence, and Jimi Hendrix. We kept on drinking till closing time, then wandered off into the cool, surprisingly starry night. There was no teary goodbye, just a handshake and a manly half-hug. I turned to walk home, and Lee strode off in the opposite direction.
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The Documents of Hector Maze: 4.3

Posted in The Documents of Hector Maze on November 11th, 2005 by bill

Then Lee began to change. Toward the end of the year, he gave up all of his bad habits, gifting me with an assortment of drug paraphernalia and a big bag of mushrooms he’d squirreled away under his bed. He stopped going to class and began disappearing altogether for longer and longer periods of time. One day during finals week, I saw him for the first time in ten days and asked him what was going on. There was a fire in his eyes I’d never seen before. It scared me a little.

“I have to leave this place, Hector,” he said. (His speech got pretty biblical-sounding sometimes.)

“Why?” I asked.
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The Documents of Hector Maze: 4.2

Posted in The Documents of Hector Maze on November 10th, 2005 by bill

When I got outside, it had of course started pouring rain. How perfect. Hard, cold drops landed all over my body and I felt soaked almost immediately. My car was blocks away and the only shelter in sight was a phone booth on the corner, so I made for it with haste.

Once inside, I closed the door behind me and slumped against it. So there I was: wet, exhausted, disheveled, unemployed, huddled in a phone booth with raindrops beating loudly on the glass. I had absolutely no idea what my next move was. And then I thought of Lee.
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The Documents of Hector Maze: 4.1

Posted in The Documents of Hector Maze on November 9th, 2005 by bill

If you’ve never gone six months or so without a good night’s sleep, I doubt I can adequately describe to you how deeply tired I was toward the end of the speed era. Sex, food, money, fame — all these were as nothing to me compared to the prospect of a nap. But I kept taking the pills, so there was no sleep for me.

Finally, one morning, my body served notice that it was not going to take this anymore. It was going to sleep right now, and I could go to hell. So I stayed in bed throughout the morning and into the early afternoon. The phone rang; I ignored it and let the machine handle it. The phone rang again; I ignored it again. The third time around, I forced myself to roll over and pick up.

It was my boss. I told him I wasn’t feeling well, which was the truth. With a cold edge in his voice, he said, “Hector, I need you to come into the office right now.” So I willed myself to a vertical position, shocked myself with scalding hot water, and drove downtown.
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The Documents of Hector Maze: 3.4

Posted in The Documents of Hector Maze on November 8th, 2005 by bill

I blinked, and my surroundings transformed. Whereas a moment before I had been spinning upward into a pale blue sky, now I found myself and the ferris wheel in near-darkness. It appeared that we were in a large underground cave, the walls of which I could faintly discern at a distance of several hundred yards.

I was nonplussed. This was an unexpected development, and a part of me wanted to freak out, particularly when I thought I saw something move and thought of bats. Yet I felt oddly calm. In any case, there wasn’t much I could do about the situation at the moment, so I decided to relax and see what happened next.
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The Documents of Hector Maze: 3.3

Posted in The Documents of Hector Maze on November 8th, 2005 by bill

I nearly choked when the attendant told me how much it cost to get in. I had just enough in my wallet to cover it. I kept the receipt, making a mental note to try to write it off. The attendant handed me what appeared to be a small medallion which I was to wear around my neck — it contained an embedded microchip that would identify me as a paying customer.

About 20 yards past the entrance, there was a crossroads where signs with arrows on them indicated the locations of various attractions. I scanned them briefly and then, realizing that I had no data on which to base a decision, decided to just turn right. When all else fails, I turn right to get into something, left to get out. This rule of thumb usually works out well enough, not that I’d recommend it for general usage.
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