Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Crystool Maze

Physical, Mental, Skill, Mystery.
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I was enjoying a few jars down The Winchester the other day and had the most peculiar experience. As with most London pubs, the building is an old Victorian structure, and, typically, the route to the gents wound down a series of twisting staircases and corridors towards the belly of the city. Because the pubs are inside these centuries-old convoluted structures, a degree of imagination was required by their conversion architects to link the space for their plumbed innards with the liquid jollity residing above. But, in The Winchester, it was even more labyrinthine.

I had bade my friends farewell, to facetious ripostes of "Good luck", and set off towards the toilet tunnel's mouth. After the usual two sets of low-ceiling staircases and three dimly-lit corridors – their plaster flaking off the walls – I was surprised to find myself in a large expansive courtyard. Exotic plants climbed up the orange-stone walls, bamboo poles held up the leaf-palm roof and the repetitive dink-dink of a wooden water feature's swiveling see-saw made the place seem oddly serene. Birds tweeted amid the distant raucous calls of a family of howler monkeys.

Swatting the mosquitos from my arms, I found a door marked "Gents" in Aztec hieroglyphics and, noting the hourglass slowly filling with a yellow liquid, pushed it open. Inside, the room was like a cyber-punk future of shiny metal and lasers. I entered a cubicle and the vertically-sliding door locked automatically behind me. A countdown timer appeared in a red hologram, floating above the stainless-steel cistern, as I diligently emptied my bladder.

It took a while to maneuvre the ball-bearing in the bowl's maze in order to trip the security interface but, thankfully, I was relieved to be shaking off before the countdown timer had reached zero. I collected the small crystal that dispensed from a tube in the door's lock and made my way to the sinks.

I washed my hands but had no place to dry them, until I noticed a separate exit, marked "hand-dryer" in neon Klingon letters. The door arched open and I emerged inside an enormous glass dodecahedron. To activate the hand dryer, I inserted the crystal I had been given into a slot in one of the panels. An enormous fan in the floor began to whirr.

I dried my hands in the blast of air from below, before suddenly being engulfed in a flitting cloud of gold and silver hand towels. I flapped at a few, caught some, and once through with them, left them in the transparent bin provided.

Back upstairs, I relayed my tale to my friends Richard and Mumsie.

theleopard, Jun 01 2011

The Crystal Maze http://en.wikipedia...ki/The_Crystal_Maze
From a time when fashion sense had died. [DrBob, Jun 04 2011]

[link]






       Indeed, but after eleventeen pints of Scruttock's Old Dirigible, just finding the zipper can be an almost insuperable challenge, never mind closing it again without causing serious and very, VERY painful injury ...
8th of 7, Jun 01 2011
  

       May I suggest a glass of water after each pint of absinthe [+].
spidermother, Jun 01 2011
  

       Don't take too long though, or you get locked in, and then your buddies will have to let you out using one of their crystals. And that's worth five seconds drying your hands in the dome people!
theleopard, Jun 01 2011
  

       Predicated on the doubtful assumption that by that time in the evening, your "buddies" will care about you, or even remember who you are ...
8th of 7, Jun 01 2011
  

       Was going to have an "Ocean" zone, but some pub toilets in London already too closely resemble it.
theleopard, Jun 02 2011
  

       As long as I don't have to be followed into the loos by a balding elf-like gentleman with wild staring eyes.
zen_tom, Jun 02 2011
  

       All urination is accompanied by a bluesy harmonica, played just outside the cubicle door.
theleopard, Jun 02 2011
  

       //I regaled my tale to my friends//   

       gr. I think you mean "I regaled my friends with my tale", or possibly "I related my tale to my friends" or perhaps ... something else.   

       Also, you might want to look up what "codex" means.
pertinax, Jun 03 2011
  

       Thanks. I was in a rush, honest.
theleopard, Jun 03 2011
  

       I gathered that - when ya gotta go, ya gotta go.
pertinax, Jun 04 2011
  

       So put your drink in a clear mug with many pathways to try to get it out and drink it?
travbm, Oct 29 2015
  
      
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