Like many people, my breath was held, bated and tense, on Sept. 20. Would the raid on Area 51 occur? Surely the US Air Force had a contingency plan for thousands of people running into the base, ready to discover the aliens kept inside. It just couldn’t be that easy. Yet, throughout the day as news poured out, what was supposed to be a defining moment of our times had devolved into a poor man's Burning Man, replete with costumes, strange sights and probably a lot of people who hadn’t showered in a good long while.
But while everyone else moved on, I hadn’t. My mind remained on that stage, hoping for more. Surely at this point, I would never be the first man to “clap those alien cheeks,” but oh lord, I wanted to be in that number with the rest of those marching saints. That’s when word hit the street that a strange occurrence had happened out in Corrales. Apparently Big Jim at Wagner’s Farmland Experience requisitioned the help of aliens to build their maze, but those aliens had a run-in with a meteor and crashed down here. This was my chance. I, like Theseus, would enter and conquer this labyrinth. My goal: To get in, to get out and enjoy the sweet taste of victory on my lips.
Wagner’s has been around since 2005, starting off with their corn maze. This was my first time checking out their maze, so I can’t say how it compares to previous years. If it truly is constructed by alien design, as they claim, then these aliens have been working on their technique. Perhaps they’ve been studying the Overlook Hotel, crafting a very deliberate and perplexing maze. Or perhaps the aliens trapped here with us have seen the pictures and videos online, letting them know we want them. The answers I sought must lie within the heart of this maze.
With the convenient hours for pursuing love via complicated and confusing pathways from 9am to 6pm during the month of October, I paid my admission ($9 for 12 and up, $7 for ages 3 to 11, and kids up to 2 get in free) and braced myself. What was the best approach to solving a maze? I’ve heard that keeping your hand on the wall and continually taking right turns will eventually lead you to your goal, but this journey of mine was anything but right. I needed to take all the wrong turns to get to where I wanted to be. I took a deep sniff to get the scent for my trail, the air a mixture of green chile, corn, pumpkin and a hint of an alien musk, sterile yet enticing. This must be how they abduct folks in the back mountains of Nowhere, America, eventually dropping their unwilling passengers off to regale the tabloids of the supermarket with their stories.
As I began winding my way through the hewn path of corn to my ultimate goal, I realized that I needed more conviction. This wasn’t a journey to be taken lightly. Much like the greater Grecian heroes of yore, I too had a quest to prove myself worthy to the fates so I could reap the benefits of all that life has to offer. I strategized. I created a battle plan. I needed to storm Area 505. Head and chest angled near-parallel to the ground, I threw my hands behind me and I began to run. My speed was unmatched. I was near invisible. Alien conquest, here I come. Were those shadows I saw hidden within the corn around me, mayhaps clones of myself or others who had attempted this same trail and failed?
The goal was in sight. I had found the true solution to the maze. What happened next was amazing. It left me breathless, drenched in a cold sweat and ready to emerge from the maze as a new person. What was it that I found? Well, I can’t share that information. I was debriefed by the government. Want to know what lies at the center of that maze? Then you need to Naruto run over to Wagner’s yourself and find out. For more information on this year's corn maze, call 459-0719, or visit wagnersfarmlandexperience.