Photo by keith thomas on Unsplash
It wouldn’t have been so bad, being lost in a corn maze, not exactly his idea of fun, but no big deal. But then his cell phone died. No GPS to get out of this mess. And he remembered that he hadn’t applied the SPF 110 to his body before leaving the house, and at midday, he felt fried to a crisp at the center of the maze. He knew he was at the center; the sign saying “You have reached the center of the maze,” made it pretty obvious.
He hadn’t seen anyone for hours. His friends has gone off ahead of him when he’d had a moment of panic and pulled out his inhaler and waved them on with his starched handkerchief as he’d wheezed. They’d rolled their eyes at him, Sadie muttering “drama queen” under her breath as they’d pass by him and heading down a tunnel. At least he was at the center. But his water bottle was empty, and he was going to have to conserve his backup, and his backup a backup water bottle as well, if he wanted to make it out alive.
The sun shifted a degree while he fashioned a spear from a corn stalk, several strips of leaves, and a pointed cob he’d sharpened with his swiss army knife. It took a while, but he was certain he could make it out if he had to fight his way after it got dark and the vampires came out. Too bad he’d left his rosary at home. Would have come in handy. Being that it was sterling silver and all. He could have used some holy water, just in case.
Sweat was fogging up his glasses as he tied his shirt around his head in an attempt to block the sun that beat down on this scorching September day. Nearly October and it was 87 degrees. Or at least that was what it felt like. The pale skin on his back would be blistered by nightfall, he was sure of it.
Several wrong turns and a couple dead ends left him crying out for God to rescue him from this madness. He was slumped down against his spear, sucking down the last of his backup water bottle, knees in the dusty dirt, when he felt a tap on his shoulder. He nearly jumped out of his skin and turned, startling the young girl standing behind him. She was about 8 and had a lollipop in her mouth.
“You okay, Mister?” she asked with a slight lisp from the sucker in her mouth.
His mouth was too dry to answer. The girl frowned up a him and in an all girl fashion, flipped her braided blond pigtail over her shoulder.
“Did you get lost?” she asked.
“Well, I got lost too, the first time. But it’s easy. To more turns and we’re at the end. Want some help?”
He nodded again. Before he could take a step, she had looped her sticky fingers through his and started tugging him along.
“I’m Janie. What’s your name?”
“George,” he rasped.
“Oh, hi, George. My mom and daddy are just behind, we’ll be out in no time. I love the maze. It’s different every year. Last year it was a giant witch, this year it’s Frankenstein!” She tugged him along and in just a flash they were exiting out into the even brighter sunshine. Out into the waiting laughter of his friends who stood around at the end of the maze drinking beers and and giving him a round of insecure applause and mocking bows. “There are your friends, Mister,” the girl said, releasing his hands.
He nodded his thanks then watched in shock as she ran over to Molly who handed her a ten dollar bill.
“What was that?” he croaked.
“Eh, we paid the girl to hunt you down. She said she knew this maze inside and out,” Brian said, handing him a beer.
“So, vampires are gonna get you, huh?” Colton teased, jabbing him in his bare shoulder. He quickly yanked the shirt off his head and pulled it back on.
“You heard me?”
“Day one, I’m nearly out of water,” Molly impersonated. “It’s the fifth day and I’ve taken to fashioning a spear from cornstalks.”
“If only I had my silver rosary when the vampires come out,” Brian mocked.
“I wasn’t that bad,” he muttered into his beer.
“George, you are the biggest drama king ever. This wasn’t Castaway. You were forty minutes behind. And your cellphone you forgot to charge, you idiot,” Molly lightly punched him in the arm. “Come on, let’s go get some lunch.”
They pulled him along in the direction of the sandwich stand on the edge of the property where the maze was. George knew it was going to be a long time before they ever let this one down.
I was having a conversation with a friend about being in a corn maze and cell service dying. Then add in our very pale white skin that burns at mild 100 watt bulbs and being vampires…. bada boom bada bing, this hit my head. An overly dramatic guy pulling a Tom Hanks ‘Castaway’ vibe. Yes, it’s meant to be completely silly.
I’ve also been waiting to use the lyrics from the Paper Kites song Featherstone
“She went out to the hay in the morning grace
She went out and got lost in a tall hedge maze”
Hope you all enjoy.