Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Encounter at Giza (Part 3)

"Stole Troy?"  Polly scoffed.  "How can anyone steal a city?"

"You would be surprised at the sort of debauched 'archaeological' practices Hiney has engaged in over the years.  Troy was my discovery, but he took the credit.  Then he smuggled Priam's treasure out of the country—the pieces he didn't forge, that is."

"Stop calling me 'Hiney'!  You may have told me, in rather general terms, where you suspected Troy was, but I'm the one that-" 

"That wasn't my treasure," interrupted the feline indignantly.  "Mine was way better than that.  I know because I'm the reincarnation of King Priam."

"One is the company he keeps, it seems.  The cat is just as insane as his rather rotund German friend,"  Frank said to no one in particular as he took out his pocket watch and gave it a hard stare.  "I do not have time for this nonsense.  Unlike you unprofessional, uncouth 'treasure hunters', I have actual work to do."

Buppa handed him a rolled-up sheet of parchment.

"Right.  I shall take my leave now.  Farewell, plebes."  Frank turned on his heel and sauntered off arrogantly, his Gurkha following closely behind.  

I turned back to Polly.  "I want to know what that foppish dandy is up to.  That scroll he held looked suspiciously like a treasure map."

"Rich, did you really do those things that he accused you of doing?"

"What?  No.  Well, yes.  But, you see, Frank had been digging in Hisarlik for ages as sort of a hobby.  He only owned the eastern half, though;  the Ottoman government owned the rest.  When I excavated the mound, I found remarkable artifacts—he didn't, so of course I was the one that made it into the press releases.  That's hardly stealing creditI have no control over what the media does."

"What about the smuggling?  And the forgery?"

"Why shouldn't I have kept the treasure?  I found it.  The original owner is too dead to care what happened to it.  If the Turkish government wanted access to the cache, they should have put in the effort to dig it up themselves.  I don't work for free, you know.  I was considering making copies to take out of the country instead, but eventually I decided that the academic community and the world ought to see the originals."

Polly's eye widened.  "Your arguments are uncharacteristically coherent today.  For once, I actually agree with you."

"So, you'll continue to accompany me on my travels?"

"Of course.  What do I care about the trifling affairs of humanity?  All I want is as much free food I can cram into my face, and to puke up a few hairballs on the floor of your tent."

"You are a true friend, Polly.  Come.  Let's get some beers and then make haste to the solar boat museum.  I've always wanted to strap myself to the bow of a ship and pretend to be one of those mermaid figureheads.  Here, take the camera."

"And now you've lost me again.  How have you not been arrested?"

"Achtung, fertig, los!"

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