The Maze

by: C.J. Galaway

August 18, 2014
Jade walked into the American Legion hall and looked around. The open hall that was used for the weekly bingo game had been converted into a labyrinth of small tables that seemed to follow a path. The lighting had been lowered and each of the tables had a small lamp as if to encourage conversation. To Jade it looked like a maze her lab rats ran in one of her college psychology classes. “Well I’m here; I may as well get this experience over with.” With a shake of her head she removed her sunglasses and walked over to the bar where several people were already milled about. The bartender looked up as she approached. “What can I get for you Miss?” “I’ll have a glass of chardonnay please.” He nodded and poured the wine. “Where do we register for this?” “All you need is your first table assignment and I can give that to you. May I have your name please?” “Jade George,” the blonde smiled. The bartender nodded and scanned the page. “Ah yes, here you are. You’ll start at table thirteen and you will move to your left. Good luck.” She took a sip of her drink and went in search of her table. **** The bell chimed and she moved to the next table. Most of the guys had been the same, talking about work and complimenting her on her good looks, blonde hair and curves. She snickered at the last that had compared her to Marilyn Monroe. If only he’d known about the rumors of her being a distant relative. “Why hello there beautiful,” she looked up as the next guy sat down. He was as average as all from before; polo shirt, jeans, and sheepish grin. Except this one carried a notebook with him. “It’s nice to meet you, my name is Adam. I’ve got an idea for a modern version of a children’s game. Have you ever heard of Mouse Trap?” “The board game,” she lifts her hand to signal for another glass of wine. “I haven’t seen that since I was a child.” “This is going to be huge, it will make me famous. I can finally get out of my mother’s basement. You can get in on the ground floor…” Thankfully the bell rang and Jade sat up and moved to the next table where a burly guy in overalls sat playing with a beer bottle. He looked up and grunted as she sat down. “Mike’s the name and mice are my game…killing them that is.” He pointed to the simple mouse trap that sat in front of him. “This is my favorite method of getting rid of the furry menace. Just snap and it’s all over!” He clapped his hands together for emphasis and she jumped, scooting her chair back just a little bit. He noticed and grinned, leaning in closer. “What’s the matter girlie, don’t tell me you like mice?” “It’s just that-.” The bell rang and she gratefully made her exit. **** After that it was a blur of men and mice. From the businessman talking about rats in a maze and getting the cheese or it getting you to the hippie who thought all mice should be cherished…it seemed that all the last group of guys wanted to talk about was mice and traps. With a shake of her head she walked to the bar for a break and another drink. Once she got to the bar, she turned to watch the crowd. It was interesting to watch as the people moved from table to table in search of the possibility of true love. “It seems like you’re having as much luck as I am.” Jade turned to see a redhead dressed in jeans and a t-shirt standing beside her. “Every time I swear I’m not coming to the next one and yet here I am.” She held out her hand. “My name’s Eva, what’s yours?” “Jade,” she shook the other woman’s hand and gestured to the crowd. “How has your luck been?” “Simply horrible, I keep running into guys with their “eye on the prize” and winning.” She rolled her eyes. “What about you?” “Mine seemed to be obsessed with mice and the mouse trap,” she set her glass untouched back on the bar. “It was funny at first but it got creepy really quickly. Why do we do this to ourselves?” “For a good laugh and because we’re gluttons for punishment,” Eva replied with a chuckle. “What do you say we go grab a bite and talk about the loonies, I mean men, we met tonight? I want to hear more about the mice and men.” “Sounds like fun, but this is going to be a very weird tale.” Jade replied, laughing as the two women left the American Legion together.

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