The Documents of Hector Maze: 6.4

Posted in The Documents of Hector Maze on November 30th, 2005 by bill

The first couple hours were a hellish slog through blinding rain. It was all I could do to keep my eyes open and the nose of the car pointed south; every time I passed a semi my windshield was pummeled by a curtain of water and for a few long seconds I was sure I was going to die.

But I didn’t, and just as “Cry Baby Cry” started for the second time, I came out of the rain. It was the first moment of real peace I’d had in ages. Before long the sky was completely clear, and some last reserve of energy that I didn’t know I had kicked in. The rest of the drive was effortless, and I found my way without even having to think about it, although I couldn’t have explained how to get to Lee’s place if my life depended on it.
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The Documents of Hector Maze: 6.3

Posted in The Documents of Hector Maze on November 29th, 2005 by bill

I wish that I had stayed with Lee then, quit my job and gotten cleaned up; it would have saved me a lot of time. But I only spent one night there, during which we went for a long, tiring walk with no visits from mysterious entities. We discussed what the presence might have been, but all we agreed on was that the two obvious answers—God and aliens—didn’t satisfy us. God, we thought, would have made himself heard more clearly; and it just didn’t seem like extraterrestrial behavior. There was no abduction, no anal probe, no “take me to your leader.” And how would Martians know about bongo drums?

Shortly after dawn I got back in my car, popped a couple pills, and went back to my speedy, shallow, pointless life. Which was how I ended up in the phone booth, in the rain, if you can remember back that far.
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The Documents of Hector Maze: 6.2

Posted in The Documents of Hector Maze on November 26th, 2005 by bill

I must have looked askance, because Lee was moved to comment, “Just for the record, Hector, I was stone cold sober at the time.”

“Hey,” I responded, waving my hands to ward off the suggestion that I’d ever thought otherwise. “I didn’t say anything. Tell me about the light.”

“It was orange-yellow, round, like a little sun. As I walked it seemed to move with me, lighting up the ground around me, like I was in a spotlight. I felt a presence…a consciousness…and then it started talking to me.”
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The Documents of Hector Maze: 6.1

Posted in The Documents of Hector Maze on November 26th, 2005 by bill

Lee’s house was much nicer inside than it appeared from the outside, although his housekeeping left something to be desired. Dirty dishes and used teacups were everywhere, as were stacks of books on subjects ranging from hard science to Eastern mysticism to the Kennedy assassination. There was also a wide selection of Classic Literature, from The Brothers Karamazov to Moby-Dick to Gravity’s Rainbow. An old, lopsided gray cat eyed me cautiously from a corner.

“Sorry, I don’t do much entertaining,” he said as he cleared some papers off a chair to make a place for me to sit. There was something new in the way he carried himself, but I didn’t know what to call it. There was a grace to it, but then he had always been graceful; this was something different.

Lee offered me a cup of tea and I accepted without stopping to think that hot tea was the last thing I wanted in this climate. It was even hotter inside than out and I could feel the sweat gleaming on my forehead, but Lee looked cool and comfortable. I found this highly annoying. Heat makes me cranky.
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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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