This Escape Room Sure Is Fun

Wow! So much fun! When I first heard that people were locking themselves in rooms for hours to do pointless tasks, I knew I had finally found a hot new trend that was right up my alley. Naturally I wanted to review an escape room for the Independent right away. I must confess, however, that my team and I were thoroughly unprepared for the room’s string of puzzles; so much so that I am currently still ensconced in the escape room as I write these words. Today is the fourth day we’ve spent down here, I think. Maybe more, maybe less; I just started to tally the days on the wall so we don’t lose count. Oddly, my team members keep getting mad at me, raving about how, “We’ve only been in here fifteen minutes.” I’ve come to believe I’m the only one with my sanity left intact. It’s not all bad here. The theme of the room we’re in is ‘Cursed Pharaoh’s Tomb,’ so there’s a couple of thrones around to lounge in. They have Wi-Fi. I even ordered a pizza, and the delivery guy had to solve two escape rooms about the Titanic just to find me down here. I really should have tipped him more. My team members get angry with me a lot, which I suppose is to be expected given our grievous situation. I’ve taken up smoking to cope with the stress. As you can imagine, the team doesn’t like that one bit either. Frankly, I don’t think about consequences much any more. This dispatch, if you were wondering, was transferred out of the basement escape room to the street level via the building’s air ducts, some small makeshift scaffolding, and a system of pulleys that I set up. I probably should have just given it to the delivery guy, but we’ve got to use up the Independent’s budget somehow. I suppose I should get on to reviewing this place. For starters, the lighting is poor, always an eerie purple, so it can get hard to see at times (admittedly this may in part be attributable to my smoking). Also, the clues are terribly difficult: we’re still on the first one after all this time. In fact, my team got so frustrated with it that they turned on me entirely, leveling allegations like, “We can’t go on to the next room because you ripped out the electrical box while yelling that you’d found ancient Egyptian technology” and, “Stop trying to fill your backpack with those plastic golden scarabs, which, for the last time, are fake.” The first puzzle involved finding the hidden combination to a locked sarcophagus, so I started to look through the tomb. Underneath a frankly disappointingly fragile statue of a silver jackal, I located a hidden trap door leading to a dingy maintenance room below us. Inside I discovered two ‘treasure thieves,’ bad guys presumably there to guard the clue. I quickly took them both out with a sneak attack, though they didn’t spill the beans when I interrogated them back in the Tomb, prompting my team to further demean me as, “literally assaulting the escape room staff, dude.” Well, it’s the end of the fourth day and I’ve pretty much given up all hope of ever getting out of here. Indeed, I think I’m starting to come to terms with it: All the statues’ blank, stony expressions are a bit creepy, the room certainly has a gloomy, demoralizing dankness to it, and generally we’re all in a pretty miserable situation in here, but there’s nothing any of us can really—hang on, wait… Oh, okay. Okay. Hmm. That’s the door. They’re opening the door. Yep, our half-hour is up. I see now. Hmm. Huh. Okay.

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