It was a few weeks ago when my best friend, Jared, invited myself and Aaron to his birthday shindig at the Queen Mary. For those unfamiliar, the Queen Mary is a famous luxury liner that has been docked in Long Beach, CA for decades. Over the years it has become a major tourist attraction, and every October they decorate the ship and surrounding area for Halloween.
As if luxury liners weren’t frightening enough by themselves, they make the extra effort of turning the ship into a haunted maze. Neither myself nor Aaron are easily scared by the supernatural — global warming and child abductors, yes, but definitely not ghosts or zombies.
Anyway, there was a large group of us, and we decided to carpool with Jared and his current romantic interest, Benjamin. The two have been going on dates for months, but at this point Jared had become very frustrated by the fact that things hadn’t been moving forward with them. I had never met Benjamin before that day, and we hit it off immediately. Jared, Benjamin and I had fun talking through the long drive to the Queen Mary, but Aaron, fearing the worst, chose to sit in awkward silence and hold my hand.
As it turns out, when 25,000 people all decide to visit a ‘haunted’ luxury liner, it ends up missing the point. For the entire evening we waited in lines, whether it be to enter the mazes, buy a churro, or use the restroom.
While waiting in line I decided to make a game out of creating false lore around the Queen Mary itself, in hopes that someone would overhear it and believe me. We had great fun in coming up with the most elaborate and absurd lore possible. My personal favorite involved how the Queen Mary used to transport Nazi gold across the Atlantic, the ship’s crew tossing the gold overboard, and also, the Nazis who were transporting it. They vowed revenge, and every night at 11:43 they say you can still hear their screams. These are the kinds of games I play when I’m bored. Deal with it.
The crowds themselves were very polite, and the event’s organizers did a fantastic job of keeping things organized. This is a something of a rarity in Southern California, as other local haunted houses often become a focal point of chaos and gang violence. Between the polite crowds and the lackluster quality of the ‘mazes’ themselves, I didn’t fear for my life once. How disappointing.