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Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Priest

I am not sure how long ago this actually happened but I believe it was the summer before college. My good friend Dennis and I drove all the way down to San Jose to see the Egyptian Museum. It is a pretty neat place. The museum is build like an Egyptian temple complex and has one of the best collections of artifacts west of the Mississippi. As we perused the collection I noticed one tidbit, a ushabi*, a small figure that was marked as being from the 18th dynasty but had the dates from the 17th Dynasty. I was at the height of my Egyptian period and had read all of the great historical books on the subject that existed in the Burlingame library including Breasted and Steindorff among others.

I got the attention of one of the curators and asked him about it.

"Those dates are based on Steindorff," he told me politely.

"I have read Steindorf," I responded emphatically, "and those dates do not correspond to the dates in his book."

I could see the color draining from this guy's face.

"Well, I will talk to our historian," he said.

"I just thought you would want to know," I added. being young and stupid I should have realized that he didn't really want to know anything. Especially from a young kid like me.

As we walked around after that he followed us, dropping into the shadows if we turned and looked at him or pretending he was in the same room for other business. It was like this until we left to drive home. He acted like some Karloffesque priest. In succeeding years one or both of us would return to the place and he was always there, still shadowing us. Keeping an eye on us. "The Eye". Not just any eye.

Then five or six years passed and neither of had been back. Dennis and his wife, Sue visited the place. Afterward Dennis called me up.

He is still there. He followed us around. Creeped Sue out. I had to tell her the story of how Richard had ruined the Egyptian Museum for us. ;-)

Many more years passed. Maybe 30 years. I visited the museum on business. The old priest was gone replaced by a new priest who knew not Richard and Dennis. The man was very friendly. I held off telling him my story knowing somehow that he too would start shadowing us, lurking just out of sight.


*A small replica of the deceased inscribed with magical spells to assist in the afterlife.

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