As a waiter, I bet you’re used to customers who come here to eat and drink. Well, I am not one of those. I, for one, own a kitchen. No, I come for the battle of wits between man and placemat puzzle. However, if I must pay a charge to demonstrate my ability to solve a labyrinth worthy of Greek lore, then pancakes it shall be! Please tell your chef not to stack them. I will do that myself. For I have put more hours into Jenga than most people have put into not playing Jenga!

Yes, yes. Go tell the kitchen my order. Meanwhile, I shall contemplate my first move. Hmm, how do I bring this solitary scarecrow through this brambly maze to meet his scarecrow buddies? Focus! The fate of the farm’s crops is in your hands. Perhaps… no, a straight line won’t work. I’m surely dealing with the work of a master craftsman of twists and turns. He thinks right angles are his friends, but little does he know that I too am a bedfellow of Geometry!

More water? Yes, I will need some more water to lubricate my neurons. You see, these puzzles are very serious matters. In the olden days, village elders were selected from those who could set aside time from their meal to conquer a placemat’s challenge. Of course, placemats back then were vastly different then they are now. They were triangular. Regardless, the successful completion of the task is a time-honored tradition that must be handled with the utmost dignity and gravitas. I shall require a BLUE crayon!

You think I should work backwards to solve the maze? Oh, what a novel idea! And perhaps you should work backwards too! Simply bring customers a check once they walk through the door. Give them food they’ve yet to order. Then right before they leave, hand them a menu and tell them your stupid name! I’m sorry, but there is a proper order to things. I also apologize for insulting your name. My name is Greg as well.

Now you must stand aside, Greg. It’s time for these scarecrows to be reunited by the Blue Line of Guidance. Let’s see. Left here… okay… up… left again… down… yes… left once more… and voila! The Harvest Festival is back on! Greg? Where did you go? Oh, no! Did gazing at my godly problem solving send another poor soul to the Realm of Realized Inadequacy? I must remember that I am surrounded by mere mortals and—oh, you were getting the pancakes.

Well, I suppose this feat does warrant a celebratory stacking and consumption of treats. Ah, but I must not sully the vanquished placemat. It will soon be on a journey to the CIA’s Cryptography department. Those Langley lads can only deny my genius for so long before the stack of word searches, crosswords, and connect the dots force their hands. Sure, it’ll be hard work hammering out Sudoku after Sudoku, not to mention the Magic Eyes, but that’s undoubtedly how America’s enemies communicate, and they must be thwarted!

Oh, yes, the check. Is it all right if I pay in riddles?

Damn. I knew I shouldn’t have asked and just done it.