In a way, yes we are, whether we are penning quarter million word best sellers, carving the name of a lover on a tree or spraying Baz rools orlrite on someone’s brand new Bentley. Though I would strongly recommend there are other, more positive ways of exercising one’s latent literary talent otherwise you mind find yourself writing letters that begin….Dear Mam and Dad, prison food isn’t so bad….
Here’s something to make you smile….I hope.
The Nine Amendments is a fantasy novel with a humorous religious theme that is set on a post apocalyptic Earth.
The story tells of Judysear undertaker, Isack Knewtun and his trip to Sunniclimes, ostensibly to remove and relocate the newly discovered Mummy of Mo Sez, a Prophet who is believed by the Theocracy of Judysear to have been burnt to a frazzle by The One God atop Mount Sinisitis for being a dreadful sinner.
It says so…right there in The Book.
Other translations suggest it was because he was a dreadful singer. The issue has never been resolved and caused more schisms than the head of the church has had hot dinners. Or hot somethings.
But this is all a ruse…and Isack is far from being a simple undertaker and Mo Sez is far from dead!
The burial chamber was large, as befitting one of such importance, and full of all the accoutrements a former Pharaoh could possibly need in the afterlife.
Although there were no servants. That was something to be grateful for.
Convincing those stupid old sods that he did not need five hundred handpicked members of the Royal Household, including twenty-five of the most nubile and energetic concubines had been quite a feat of diplomacy.
He was relieved not to have that on his conscious
Though he remembered having to threaten them with all manner of dire and grisly death if they ushered anyone into his tomb after he had made his final journey.
He had made one concession: his favourite camel, Flem.
They were correct; he would need transport when he arrived. However, arriving back here was not part of their plan.
It was most definitely part of his. Although, in reality, he had never left.
The walls were full of carvings, detailing his life’s achievements, for all that was worth, he thought, as he scanned the archaic symbols.
Didn’t I add one of my own somewhere, he wondered? He looked at the wall above his sarcophagus.
‘There it is,’ he announced. He read the inscription aloud. ‘Mo was here.’ He chuckled. ‘I wonder what they’ll make of that. If they ever find it, that is.’
In the shadows, at the far end of the tomb stood Flem, snoring gently
‘Wake up, you cantankerous, moth-eaten old git.’
The sound of the Mummy’s voice echoed eerily around the chamber.
Long eyelashes fluttered. A wisp of breath escaped from its nostrils and a small plume of dust appeared from the camel’s rear-end.
‘Hrungnff’, said the camel.
‘Oh, for crying in a bucket. We’re cooped up here for I-don’t-know how long and the first thing you do is fart? The last meal you ate was so long ago there can’t possibly be anything inside of you that could warrant such a stink.’
Mo covered his nose with a bandaged hand. In a muffled voice, he continued to remonstrate with the camel. ‘The least you could have done was to wait until we’re out in the fresh air. Something that is now decidedly lacking in here.’
Flem turned his head slowly in Mo’s direction, gave one languid flutter of his eyelashes, swished his tail, and farted again. Then adding insult to injury, he belched loudly.
Mo shook his head in resignation. ‘Limber up a bit, I would,’ Mo advised the camel. ‘It’s been a while since either of us had any proper exercise. Don’t want you pulling up lame after five minutes out on the sand.’
The camel gave him a look of disdain; nevertheless, he began to move his legs while remaining in the same place.
Even such a limited amount of movement had the effect of kick-starting the camel’s digestive system and immediately produced several foul smelling ‘parps’ of ancient dust.
‘Okay, okay,’ Mo pleaded, ‘enough limbering.’
The camel came to a stuttering halt but continued to swish its tail suggesting an attitude of, ‘Any time you’re ready, chief?’
Mo contemplated the effect on a regiment of enemy infantry if one hundred farting camels were turned rearward at the moment of charge. Maybe it could be bottled he mused.
‘Food and water are a priority. I’ve got enough for a week,’ he said, hoisting a dripping, ice-cold crate from the sarcophagus, ‘but we’ll have to find something for you.’
The camel snorted in agreement.
‘Once we’re out in the desert, the nearest oasis is around fifty miles away, so we’ll have to make sure you have a full tank. We’ll wait ’til it’s dark before we leave. There used to be a bar near the palace called Seti’s, if memory serves? They had several water troughs and food bins for camels. If the place is still there, we’ll be all set. Mind, you, that was a long time ago. Keep your fingers crossed.’
The camel gave him a sideways look.
‘Figure of speech.’
Flem moved his head in an up and down fashion as if appraising Mo’s attire.
‘Yeah, I know. But what can I do? If I take the bandages off I’ll burn up like a thousand year old piece of papyrus.’
Flem jerked his head to the left, towards the sarcophagus.
‘I already checked. Nothing. It was a new-fangled idea some of the priests believed in. Something about being re-born. Except for the bandages, you entered the afterlife wearing the same gear as when you first came into this life. Well, if need be, I’ll try to find something when we get outside, alright?’
Flem smacked his lips and ground his teeth.
‘So what if we’re confronted? I’ll make a few woo-woo noises and wave my arms about. That should be enough to scare the you-know-what out of anyone.’
‘Okay, not you, of course, because effectively, you don’t have any you-know-what inside. Ha, ha. Not funny.’
The light began to fade as the sun dipped into late afternoon.
‘I suppose I’d better look for a candle or something, but with you farting every five minutes, I doubt there’s enough oxygen left in here for one to burn. By Dog, you stink. ‘Okay, let’s get ready to leave. Oh, I almost forgot.’
Mo reached into the sarcophagus and retrieved something oblong and metallic. It looked similar to a Tablet. Remarkably similar, in fact. ‘Don’t want to leave this lying around.’
He walked stiffly over to Flem, packed the saddle with supplies then slid the Tablet and the sceptre into a specially designed velvet-lined leather satchel.
‘If you would do me the honour, old friend?’
Flem knelt down and Mo swung gingerly onto the saddle.
‘Whenever you’re ready, old friend.’
Copyright ©Douglas Pearce