"What if the Minotaur had come across Ariadne’s string before Theseus had a chance to kill him?" I asked her.
"What do you mean?" she said looking up from her book.
"Well, let’s say Theseus is moving deeper and deeper inside the labyrinth sword in hand when the Minotaur finds Ariadne’s string. What would he do? What would you do if you were the Minotaur?" I said.
"Easy. I’d follow the string till I found Theseus. And then I would eat him," she said.
"Unless he killed you first, that is," I said.
"I would tie a cloth over my hooves to sneak up on him without being heard. I would get as close as possible. And then I would pounce on him," she said.
"That could work, I guess. But what if you followed Ariadne’s end of the string? What then?" I said.
"That’s even better. I’d find the exit to the labyrinth, and I’d make a run for it," she said.
She went back to her reading, and I looked at the waves breaking on the beach.
I imagined Theseus wandering around that haunted maze unaware that the Minotaur had left the building. I could see him move along endless stonewall corridors dimly lit by flickering torch flames. Driven by pride, he’d hunt his absent monster forever.
I thought of how we all hunt absent monsters in one way or another, of how we see our hunt as heroic, of how we fail to see our life slip us by in the process.
Barbie and the Minotaur stood up and went for a swim. They were a good-looking couple after all. Or maybe they just seemed more attractive because they were happy.
"I was just thinking," my friend said, putting down her book and turning towards me, "if I were Ariadne, I’d want Theseus to know the Minotaur had escaped."
I wasn’t too surprised by her words; she was always a bit of a mind reader.
"But how would you do that?" I said.
"Easy. I’d pull on the string until he came out," she said laughing and pulling me towards her.