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On My Way (Work at Erwin's Orchard)

by Zachery Lee 5 years ago in career / humor
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Growing Up Separated—Fun at Work; First Job

I was 18 when I got my first job. My friend Amber (mini munch) was working at Erwin's Orchard as a seasonal monster for when they did the corn maze and haunted house. I dig the blood, guts and gore, and the money would be kind of sweet so, I jumped on it the first chance I got. It was actually a pretty sweet gig, I got to work with my munchkin and my buddy Nate. I got my face painted up every weekend to go stand in the strobe lights in the middle of a maze, lurking through the corn and sneaking up on people from a distance. I made 3 people piss their pants, and old woman shit herself, I also almost got jumped by a group of drunk Mexicans who were carrying bottles through the course. Best. Job. EVER.

I started off dressing up as a Zombie, working in the Corn Maze. I would pick up Nate and we would carpool to the Orchard. We got there around 8pm, it took us about an hour to get our makeup done, get our costumes picked, and get out to the maze. Occasionally I would have to help with Munchkin's hair when we were getting ready. I would have to tease it, which for those of you that don't know, is a very fucked up way to dress your hair. We would take a decent strand of her hair, and comb it backwards, knotting it up to keep it frizzy and able to poof out. Repeat until her entire head was teased up to look like a wall witch. It sucked doing it to her, but what was worse was having to watch her try to brush it out after the we were done for the night. Tears flowed on more than a few occasions therein. We still had a LOT of fun though, regardless of the background things.

I had gotten comfortable as a Zombie and kind of just wandered around through the maze picking different spots to jump out and scare people. My favorite part of the night was when the cart would pull up FULL of people ready to go through the maze. The conductor would scream out, and all of us monsters would growl, scream, rev the chainsaws, howl, whatever noises we were getting in peoples faces with is what would be recognized in that moment. Of course I did whatever I could to get better at my job as a zombie in the corn maze. One day, one of our cast people was out, and they needed someone to fill in the house. It was the ogre roll, and I had no idea what I would be in for, but I could low growl like no other, and I was ready to be inside where it was warm for a change. So I opted in and found out I was going to be wearing this massive muscle suit where I sweat my balls off on a constant, and basically stood in the corner until the machine ripped off the ogre's head from the body suit. That's when I would jump off the platform, and RUSH whoever was in the room. Screaming my lungs out every step of the way. It really was a pretty good time. Nate and Munchkin worked inside, and even though we were in separate rooms, every so often we they would pop in, or I would get to see them while we were on a smoke break. Amber didn't smoke, but she would come talk, and tell us how great everything was going. We would all get compliments from the people who had been there for years, they all loved us and were just having the time of our lives. The ogre came back but, wanted to play the role out in the maze, so I stuck with the suit for a few. Eventually I begged for my place out in the field back, the suit was too much to deal with, before the end of EVERY night I worked, I was dehydrated, completely drained of all energy I had, and I just couldn't keep up anymore. They swapped us back out FINALLY, and I got to go back to the maze.

One weekend, I was asked to fill in as the witch doctor, and I was super down for it, but I didn't really know much about HOW to play the part. I could laugh maniacally, I could wave around a hack saw and spat off nonsense talking to myself, and asking people to be a part of the experiment in a very interestingly morbidly creepy, stereotypical was that was "The Mad Scientist" voice but, I guess i just wasn't cut out for the part. I went back and played Zombie for another week, but the next week I was going through the costumes they had and, I found a 50s werewolf get-up. IMMEDIATELY I was hooked. It was an old flannel, with a hairy chest, they would darken my eyes and I would out on the mask. I wore gloves for the first night, but decided they weren't worth the hassle so I went without. in the following nights, all I heard about was how people were staying late for the campfire after the tours, and all they talked about was "The Werewolf" terrorizing the crowd, DOMINATING the scare game. I loved that job and could never forget the great times I had there.

With the good comes the bad though too, and I gotta tell you about that stuff as well. So, one night, it was pretty slow, we were ALL warned about drunken dumb fucks and how it's very likely we would have to deal with some, if they made any physical contact, we were within our rights to swing back but, it was best that we just tell someone and have them solve the issue. Anyway, so all the monsters were getting set up in their usual locations, I was wondering around looking for fresh spots to hide. I found this one corner in a dark spot. There was a strobe blinding the travelers as they turned the corner. So I could stand in plain sight and not be noticed. I got pretty good at sneaking up on people, and it worked out really well for a good while. On this night though, I had encountered more than a few groups of drunk idiots. Most of which were good sports about being scared by a kid in makeup. One in particular though, a group of larger Mexican males, grouped up with 2 somewhat pudgy females, and one FOX who followed shortly behind. I was standing beyond the strobe light, and as people would walk by, I would let them get about 2 feet from my face and I would poke my head out and say in the creepiest "SAW" voice I could hinge up. Like I said before, most of these groups would jump and scream, then laugh, and walk away, stumbling over themselves from time to time. This ONE GUY, walking up with a bottle in his hand, right along with his 3 friends/family members stepped up, and I ALMOST didn't do it to save myself the issue of probably having to deal with a drunk ass repercussion, but I did it anyway. I stepped right out and was probably a good foot and a half away from this guy, who squeaked up a raunchy scream, jumped back and went to swing on me. I could smell him from where I stood, the 2 fat bitches jumped themselves up and I got to watch one of them fall on their ass in the corn. As soon as I broke out laughing, the one who was "Mad Drunk" stepped up in a fight stance. He was like 4 times my size though, and as all of the group started to pass him up, he gave in and walked away from the corner. So of course, I backed up into my corner and hid from the next group to come. I got him a few more times that night, rustling the corn on the sides of the pathway, and of course, I let the other monsters know about his presence and how he would be a good one to fuck with.

Now, this is a Corn MAZE so naturally, there's hidden openings, side paths, and what we made out to be crop circles where anyone that smoked would pop in and hit a bowl, puff a cig, or both. NOBODY ever drank on the job, which was smart, even though sometimes it was wanted PURELY to keep warmed up and moving. I can't lie, there were a few times that I had imagined doing a lot more in those spaces buut, I suppose we could get into that in a separate article more on fantasy.

Everything was great, all the time while I was working at Erwin's. I had Munchkin, and Nate, and I think we REALLY made a difference that year as Erwin's was on the verge of shutting down, but with all the reviews they got, and all the word spread that we brought in, the Orchard is still open 5 years later. I don't like to toot my own horn, but I HAVE BEEN TOLD, that the Werewolf was the biggest impact point. Right along side of the Ogre. I was proud to be there, and even more blessed to have been given the opportunity to MAKE that difference. I loved hanging out with everyone, shootin shit and talking about different scare tactics and places we could run the groups out with.

One other thing that I thought was REALLY COOL is, we had a call for little kids, and overly sensitive people all together. OR, if someone was too scared and wanted out of the maze, the conductor would call out "FRIENDLY MONSTERS!" and we would all step out into the clear and make sure WHOEVER the call was for was taken care of. There was this little girl, probably around 7-8 or so. She was walking through with her dad and mom who talked to the conductor. He of course, shouted out the call and we all howled, growled, roared, we walked out of hiding and played nice with the girl. I was dressed a the werewolf that night so, obviously it was right into dog mode. As soon as she walked by, I rolled on my back, she tugged on my costume, I smiled, and she pet me like a dog. I stood up as they walked off, winked and nodded down at the little girl when she looked back smiling.

I had a lot of fun there, met some great people, and made some awesome memories. I will never forget that place, and I hope it stays open and running for another 97 years. Keep on reading if you haven't stopped. There's plenty of these stories within the stories I've written.

Written and lived by: Zachery Lee

This is part of a series. Read the main series of "On My Way" over at Families here!


About the author

Zachery Lee

Just a loner kid who's been through some things in his life. I have mountains of stories to tell, not all of them clean... I hope that my stories inspire, and maybe even teach you a bit of something about life.

Proceed with caution.

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