William Doonan

I write books and stories.

The Mummies of Blogspace9: Chapter Four

with 5 comments

June 12, 2011

Magdalena de Paz, Peru

Cavalcante          http://www.diggirl.blogspace9.ex

I miss you, Dr. Hanson.  I know this is supposed to be a public document, so I won’t focus on my feelings, but god, Bruce, you’re so far away.  It feels like Tordecillas, when the Pope cut the world in half, you over there and me here.  I hope you will keep in mind that the axis of your young world revolves around Peru. 

Peru is where your employer employs, where your studies evolve, where your dreams take you, where your nightmares keep you, and where your drop-dead gorgeous fiance misses you.  It’s true.  I’ve had two Pisco Sours tonight, and three Cuzquena beers as well.  They’re disgusting beverages, I’ll make no bones about it, raw local toxins blended by demons of old.  I can barely breathe after a swallow.  But the Pisco Sours were nice.  So what can I tell you, Bruce?  I’m trashed.    

But damn if you didn’t leave just when it started to get interesting!  We get ourselves out to the site at six this morning as usual, only Leonwas hung over and yammering about some nightmare, and then he falls asleep on the lab table as soon as we get there.  Then Cyrus is in a huff because some of our artifact bags have been moved around.  You know how we leave them out at night if we’re in the middle of a unit?  Yeah, well they weren’t where we left them.  It doesn’t look like anything was taken, but someone was having a good long look at our stuff while we slept. 

So check this out: Kim and I started digging, and we got down a meter and a half under the north wall of the sacristy.  I was loving life, loving my choices in life, loving archaeology, and then the soil went sterile.  No pottery, no crap, no cigarette butts, no guinea pig bones, just nothing.  And I’ll tell you something, Bruce, I was ready to call it.  But Kim, bless her little graduate-student soul, starts in on how it didn’t feel right.  It was too clean.  And then I kind of saw what she meant.  It was pristine, just sand for twenty centimeters, no garbage at all.  There wasn’t so much as a twig or a strand of fabric.  Just sand.

So I woke Leon up, and I had him come over to chop through it with the pickaxe.  I use him like that.  He might not be bright but he’s strong, and if you tell him something loud enough, and perhaps demonstrate, he often gets the idea.  So anyway, he shovels through another thirty centimeters, and it’s more of the same.  Fuck it, he says, in that rudimentary speech-like way he has of communicating.  So he gets out of the pit, Kim and I jump back in, and we’re not there half a minute before Kim trowels down on this board, on this piece of friggin wood.  I swear it is pine, actual pine. 

So we trace the edges and dig a little deeper and we see it’s a box.  It has writing on it but it’s so faded we can’t read anything except the word “Extremadura” and it has a drawing of a bottle.  Cyrus thinks it was from a sherry producer in Extremadura, so probably it would have held a couple of bottles of sherry back in the day. 

So we get the box to the lab and we have every last person there watching as Cyrus and Leon pry open the top, and guess what’s inside?  A Minoan cup?  Roman coins?  Even better…..it looks like a diary.  Or part of a diary.  It’s unbound, just a stack of papers wrapped up in a larger sheet of paper.  They’ve all got those wormholes all through them so they’re not in great shape, even worse shape I’d say than the scraps we find just in the fill.  But it’s definitely some kind of coherent text we’re looking at.  Cyrus has it in the study right now.  He says there are thirty-four pages, but most of them you can’t read. 

So here’s what we have so far, my beloved…stop all your work and see what you can do with this.  The document is signed Fra. Sebastiano XXX.  No last name, just three Xs, which is odd.  Maybe the good priest didn’t want anyone to know he wrote it.  Anyway, see of you can get any hits on that.  Cyrus wants to get some UV lights to get a clearer look at the ink.  And then, one word in bold cursive script – MALEUS – and what looks like part of an M.  We don’t know what comes after that word because the paper has ripped and rotted away, but geez, you have to be impressed.  Maleus even sounds evil.  Cyrus thinks it might be part of a translation of an old European handbook for dealing with witches. 

Cyrus is right here but he doesn’t want to say anything.  He’s showing me this one line, and his transcription.  It looks pretty good.  Here’s what it says, Bruce, “Padre, Padre, me perseguian.”  Father, father, they’re following me.  So there’s your work for tomorrow, my love.  See if you can crosscheck some sixteenth century friars out of Extremadura to figure out what ol’ Sebastiano is afraid of.  It shouldn’t be too hard – I’ll bet my last coins our dear priest is the eleventh or twelfth son of some grape farmer up there who didn’t know what to do with yet another child.  Off to the priesthood with him! Ciao!

June 12, 2011

Magdalena de Paz, Peru

Sanderson            http://www.CyrusSanderson.blogspace9.ex

Can all my personal archaeologists, historians, technicians, and other academics who I own, please focus on work.  The blog is nice, I’ll admit, and in saying that, I’m actually lying.  I think we should do our work first and then publish our findings later. 

You all think differently, I understand.  It’s a whole new world of information, of access, you tell me.  And that may be the case, but I’m the only one of us not employed by me.  And if any of you junior scholars ever want a real job, you’re going to need some publications.  So let’s dig some dirt first and write some papers later. 

Furthermore, as we are now unearthing some artifacts that can be deemed “sensitive” or “controversial” or “downright problematic,” we might be wise to clamp down on the information lid.  There are people out there, folks, who might be paying attention.  Are you sure we want that?


Written by williamdoonan

November 21, 2011 at 4:05 am

5 Responses

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  1. Not to quibble or anything, but they don’t actually make the sherry in Extremadura, they just distill the alcohol there for fortifying it. But if you don’t know that, how would she? So it’s all good. As a confimed wine nerd, I just couldn’t let that pass without comment.


    November 21, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    • I should pass the chapters by you before posting! This is what I like about doing this in serialized form — by the time I wrap this up in a year, and turn it into a poorly-selling book, most of the errors should be worked out. That being said, this tough little area of Spain produced more than their share of conquistadors. They also have a long history of wine making and distillation. And when those two things come together, you get something sherry-ish.

      We spent some time in Spain two summers ago when I was doing some work at the archive of the indies, so we got the chance to sample some local wines.


      November 21, 2011 at 5:14 pm

  2. Hey this is a good looking website, is wordpress? Forgive me for the foolish question but if so, what theme is? Thanks!

    Elaine Corneille

    March 22, 2012 at 1:06 am

  3. Typo: “…only Leonwas hung over…” (space between “Leon” and “was”) Sort of on the line of “they don’t make sherry in Extremadura,” the entire time I was in Spain I rarely saw any pork dishes. In fact, I may have seen it once. Mostly chicken and fish. I think that your girl sounds like a guy. It doesn’t sound like how a chick talks, plus her voice starts to sound like Hanson, too. Cyrus’s voice sounds okay. Maybe up the vocabulary a notch or two so the reader gets a feel for his superiority. Finally, I don’t know who calls their honey “beloved.” I’d think she’d say “babe” or “sweetheart.” She would most likely not call him by name in an e-mail: “Here’s what it says, Bruce…”

    Overall I like the way the story is progressing, how there’s always that one curious thing.

    Carole Avila

    September 14, 2012 at 11:03 am

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