“IMAGINE OUR EMBARRASSMENT WHEN THE MUMMY WOKE UP!” SAYS THE MAN.
Last March, when orders went out for people to voluntarily self-quarantine themselves as the pandemic began to spread across America, Hank Heimlich didn’t think twice about it. Living in a lovely brownstone in Manhattan’s Upper West Side with his two children, Melinda (aged 9) and Hank Junior (aged 13), and his wife, Swifty, Hank thought he and his family could tough it out.
“We have an extra freezer,” he explains, “and we buy food in bulk, so I thought we were all set,” he said from a living room reeking of incense and Lysol spray. “After the first week, we realized we had forgotten to stock up on one essential…toilet paper.”
And, so, Hank, wearing a protective mask and rubber gloves set off to find the elusive TP. “I couldn’t believe it,” he recalls. “It was like watching a pay-per-view wrestling match. I saw people slamming lawn chairs over each other’s heads in order to buy two whole shopping carts of toilet paper. Come on, seriously, if you’re buying a hundred rolls at a clip, what the hell are you eating? I saw one guy with a power-saw, keeping people away from his paper towels.”
MAKING THE DECISION
Returning home empty-handed, he had to make a decision: use newspapers or dishtowels or see if there was anything left in the hidden dungeon below the bottom floor.
“I come from a long line of archeologist profiteers,” he says. “Basically, they were grave-robbers, making a profit by selling artifacts to other grave-robbers. My great-grandfather was the first to get in on it after the whole King Tut craze. He would’ve pilfered a pyramid if it weren’t for the shipping costs. My grandfather was a middleman for the Nazis. They’d steal art. He’d steal it from them. By the time they noticed, he was long gone. My Dad? He supplied the old ‘Ripley’s Believe It Or Not’ TV show with anything they needed. I decided to go straight and become a gambler.”
THE MUMMY IS AWAKENED
He recalls going into the basement for the first time in thirty years. “It was weird. There were all these valuables. It reminded me of growing up in the Jersey suburbs and having these ‘garage sales.’ They’d attract a crowd that looked like they had just been laid off from a James Bond movie. ‘Swarthy’ is the word that comes to mind.
“There, in the back corner, was this amazing Egyptian sarcophagus; a mummy’s tomb. I pried it open and came face to face with a fully swathed mummy. He was perfectly preserved but, more importantly, had all his wrappings intact. Lysol and disinfectant wipes in hand, I began to peel away the paper. It was perfect for TP use. It wasn’t ‘Charmin’ quality, but it worked. An added plus was the hieroglyphics.”
The second week of usage shocked him. “I’m peeling away the paper and the mummy woke up. He looked quite alarmed. I felt horrible. I got the family to help me take him upstairs. His teeth were chattering. We put him in fleece pajamas and got him bunny slippers and he seemed to relax. A few days later, our Amazon order of twenty pounds of toilet paper arrived. I offered to re-wrap him but he preferred his new outfit.”
By that time, the mummy, (“I call him ‘Boris,’” says Hank, “because I always loved Karloff as ‘The Mummy.’”), was shambling about. Hank noticed that Boris loved the art programs on his kids’ computers. Once Boris learned how to use curves in depicting the human body, he excelled. “He went from depicting people having limbs looking like T-squares to something that was straight out of Disney back in its heyday.”
“Boris and Junior have been having one heck of a time doing animation. We’re going up on YouTube next week. Boris is also teaching Melinda how to belly dance. In the kitchen, he’s introduced Swifty to the wonderful world of spices.”
“THEN, THERE ARE THE USUAL CURSES…”
Have their been any downsides to re-animating Boris? “Well, he is long dead so we’re burning incense by the pound,” he confesses. “And there are the usual curses involved with desecrating a royal tomb. The Goddess Isis gave us a hard time until she discovered the big-screen TV. She’s glued to the History Channel and those BBC hankie shows. Horus shows up, every once in a while, to play ‘Klondike Solitaire’ on the kids’ computers. Occasionally, they get frustrated by our casual attitude and do a poltergeist routine but, as the weeks go by, they’ve settled down. The ghostly guards are no longer causing car crashes in front of the house and I’m no longer pissing blood.”
As to who “Boris” can be? Hank leads Weekly World News back down into the basement. “All I know is he’s smart. I get the sense he’s absorbing things. I’ve seen him using different language translation sites. He’s been doing ‘Hooked On Phonics” late into the night.”
He leads Weekly World News towards the side of the tomb, picking up two short, squat almost funny figures. “That’s the god Bes. He’s the protector of mothers and children. And the child-like, the people who make other people as giggly as kids.”
He lifts a clay pot and shakes out the contents. “This is a mummified whoopee cushion,” Hank informs us. “And this, a mummified rubber chicken. And this? A crusty joy-buzzer.”
WWN is confused. Hank turns towards us: “People were buried with the possessions that they most used in real life. I think ‘Boris’ might have been a….Burlesque comedian for one of the ancient Pharaohs. Could you find out?”
WWN reaches out to its various staff Egyptologists, the unindicted ones, via cell phone -effectively sending out a historical “Have You Seen Me?” alert.
THE MUMMY’S IDENTITY IS REVEALED
Hank and Weekly World News rush up the stairs towards the children’s laughter as our cell phone starts playing “Send In the Clowns.” Weekly World News gasps at the info as Hank and WWN enter the room.
There are Hank’s two children, tumbling on the couch, laughing. Boris, the Mummy, is acting out the joke in an exaggerated manner, including the punchline.
“Rectum” he wheezes, “Damned near killed him.”
The kids dissolve into laughter. Weekly World News relays the cell phone information. “Hank? Meet Shecky Ho-Tep. Official Clown of King Apepi.”
The Mummy extends a hand. “I’m always a’ peppy. Howzit goin’? I’m gonna need a coupla things from you, Hank. First? Another set of duds. Maybe running gear. And another pair of slippers. Maybe just plush and not ‘Hey, I have cute dead animals on my feet?’ And, oh, yeah. I need an agent, a really high-powered agent.”
Shecky kicks his slippered heels. “Only a plague could stop my comedy career, now!”
Everyone in the room grows quiet.
“What?” Shecky asks. “WHAT?”