Thus revealed, the creature buried its nose in the tire-tilled soil...
March 15, 2004
Wes in the Crystal City Labyrinth!
Category: Photo … Travels

If you live in the MD-DC-VA metro area and have a crush on someone who's anything like me, you just found the perfect date spot. Admittedly, one of the reasons that I don't drive is that I like to wander around on foot (since I'm never in a hurry and don't at all mind being away from here). Few things are as much fun for me as getting lost in some new and previously uncharted place. Of course, I always know that I'll eventually find my way back, but I have no idea how long it'll take me -- or, more importantly, what I'll see on the way -- and that's really exciting.


So when I stepped off the Metro in Crystal City around 5:00 PM on Friday, I was in for an adventure seemingly tailored to my liking.

At first, I had no idea how vast the labyrinth was. I just kind of wandered along, past a number of shops, most of which were closing -- this gave the place a sort of ominous feel, as the lights were dimmed and people's faces were painted with those slightly irritated "can't wait to get the hell out of here" expressions. I encountered a strange dollar store not unlike those found on the boardwalk, where they sell transparent plastic sparking guns in flimsy transparent plastic bags stapled at the top, where they sell googly-eyed frogs visibly hot-glued to seashells and poorly sculpted plastic cliffs, and where they also sell legitimate Digimon figurines -- but in rows and rows of the same two characters (a cactus with boxing gloves and a green slug), but for one other Digimon (a red fire thing), hidden amongst the firemen toys, in a package that looked like someone had stomped on it. And the name of the store was "The Dollar Store" -- appropriate, yet fantastic still.

The Dutch Lady.

And then there was "The Dutch Lady". Some of you might be tempted to ask how much she was selling for -- given the wares one can find in the Netherlands -- but this small booth of a store sold hand-knitted linens and handkerchiefs. It did, however, appear to be run by a Dutch lady, whose picture I would have taken had I not found her incredibly attractive (natural redheads get me everytime, even that really annoying lady on "Suddenly Susan"). If she'd been less than a looker, it would have been easy for me to ask if I could photograph her, but I figured that an attractive lady would probably be annoyed with the request -- and besides, I was much too shy to approach the Dutch lady to even ask in the first place. Because I kept my distance, I was unable to discern whether she wore wooden shoes or not.

Kelly's men's wear.

But isn't Kelly a girl's name? Hmmm... I didn't know the meaning of this at the time, but something compelled me to take a photograph of the store name. In due time, all would be revealed...


It was around the time that I encountered him in the lonely corridors of the Crystal Labyrinth that I began to seriously wonder where the hell I was. By this time I had taken a stairwell and found myself in a hotel lobby, wandered about the streets above for a bit before finding another entrance to the labyrinth below, and had found myself in a completely different section of the place. Oh yes, I was quite lost by this point, and was beginning to enjoy myself, when Ronald McDonald appeared to strike fear into the depths of my very soul. Note how he almost seems to be inviting me to sit down at his side, so that he can wrap his arm around my shoulder and hold me there while he feeds on my life energy for as long as it lasts. I backed away in terror, but not before withdrawing my camera from my pocket to keep a visual record of our encounter. Lucky for me, the clown did not give chase.


And now you see Kelly's terrible agenda revealed. By this point, just about all of the shops had closed their doors, but for a few scattered Chinese and Japanese food places -- and even here, the employees had abandoned the kitchen and were sitting at one of the front tables, playing cards or chatting with each other in a language that I could not understand. They did glance up every time someone passed by, however, as if they would return to the stove upon request. But other than them, the place was deserted. I began to think that I should probably start heading back to the Metro, but I was really lost by this point. I ventured down long stretches of hallway and only passed by one or two persons in each, and upon seeing the Dutch Lady laughing and pushing a wheelbarrow of dead flowers, I seriously began to question my sanity. What was the Crystal City Labyrinth doing to my mind?!?!?!?!?


The light in this darkened store's window offered to bring clarity to my delusions, but I declined, venturing on in my folly, hoping that I would eventually find the exit...


I was walking on walls by the time I looked up and saw, in the distance, the great outdoors! Or so I thought -- I rushed forward to escape into the fresh air outside, but alas, it was only a mural painted on the wall. To taunt me, this next stretch of corridor was also decorated with lush ferns, but the darkness of the hallway served to remind me that I was trapped below, and thus, until I stumbled upon a staircase, all appearances of the outdoors had to be regarded as tricks of decor and illusion.

But finally, with the Minotaur bearing down on me, a bloody white dress in his champing jaws, I reached the exit -- and was free at last! But was this new realm into which I had escaped any better than the one I had left?

In the land of the dead...

Noting that there are quite a few graves behind me, you be the judge.


Hope you enjoyed that photo entry, someday to be a Scary-Crayon article -- including the adventure in the realm of the dead. But if you're in the mood for more pictures, take a look here: Super Michaelangelo Fan Art! Drawn by me, of course. I'm really pleased with how it turned out. And if you enjoy the artwork or found the photo post interesting, feel free to e-mail me and let me know. 🙂

Until next time...!

-posted by Wes | 11:54 am | Comments (0)
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