William Doonan

I write books and stories.

The Mummies of Blogspace9: Chapter Seven

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June 16, 2011

Seville, Spain

Hanson       http://www.historyismine.blogspace9.ex

First things first: who was at the door?

Second things first: Leon, you can yank it!  If memory serves, you do not hold an advanced degree, so calling yourself an archaeologist is misleading.  You are merely an excavator, a mover of dirt.  Like the trowel and the shovel, you are a tool used by archaeologists.  You don’t even move dirt on your own accord.  Rather, you do so only when directed to do so by others.  Perhaps one day you might have something more to contribute.  But for now, my learned colleagues and I shall employ you as best we see fit, digging ditches, heavy lifting perhaps, or more likely than not, for ballast or shade.

That being said, greetings all!   It’s 5:00 in the evening here, so lunch time in Peru.  Hope your day is going well.  As for me, I’m having a few drinks.  Perhaps after that, I’ll have a few more.  I’m kind of freaked out here.  Again.  See if you can figure out why.

I went to the police station this morning to file a report on my run-in with the gypsies.  What is it about cops that makes them just not give a crap?  Is this some universal police thing?  Because I told these two cops my story, and they were not even interested in writing it down. 

When I told them about the old dead guy in the house, they just stared at me.  And OK, I can kind of see how that might sound strange, but wouldn’t you at least want to follow up?  I asked them that very question, and only then did they take out a notepad and ask for the address, which of course I didn’t have because I was lost.  I thought about going back this evening to see if I could retrace my steps, but I’m not sure I’m ready for that.  In fact, I’m pretty sure I’m not.

On the way out of the station, one of the cops caught up with me.  He told me to stay away from Sacramonte, the gypsy guy.  Apparently he owns a dance club in the city center and he’s super-rich, but he still runs his own scams.  One of his favorites, the cop told me, was prowling the archive.  Why?  Because the average researcher is a young student who has come alone to Seville for a short period of time.  That makes them the perfect mark.

Apparently, last year there was this student from Ecuadorwho had a nervous breakdown after Sacramonte scared the crap out of him with some ghost story.  That was after the guy forked over more than $12,000.  No arrests, of course, because he went back to Ecuador before pressing charges.  So I guess I’ve learned my lesson.  From now on, I’m staying away from gypsies.

Moving along, I got to the archive by about 9:30, a little later than usual, but I have my groove all worked out by now.  After passing through the metal detectors, I climb up to the reading room, sign in using my investigator license, and then head for my cubby.  People come and go, but I’m one of about six regulars. 

This one guy Tomas is a grad student at the University of Puerto Rico, and he’s studying the first fifty years of the island’s settlement.  Then there’s this girl Eva who looks like she’s about fifteen but is a law professor in Barcelona.  She told me what she was looking at but I couldn’t understand her accent.  In any case, we’re all good buds now.   We watch each other things when nature calls, which isn’t really necessary since there are two armed guards always present in the room.

This morning, I started working on the names and word fragments you sent me from the diary.  I keyed in ‘Fra. Sebastiano.’  There are dozens of references to priests named Sebastiano, including a Fr. Sebastiano from Extremadura who got killed by headhunters in New Guinea in 1933, but I doubt he’s your guy. 

Then I started looking in some more obscure places to try for cold hits.  A couple of hours into my search, I came across a reference to a document called (and I will translate for those of you not well versed in sixteenth-century Spanish) “The Flora and Fauna of Trujillo as compiled by Sr. Fulvio Benavides with special consideration of the men of God performing His work in this land.”  I can’t imagine why the good Mr. Benavides decided to write about flowers, beasts and priests in one volume, but I’m thankful he did.

So I punched in the code to make a formal request for the document, referencing again my investigator number.  But this being close to lunch time, I had to wait until 2:00 before one of the curators wheeled a little trolley up to my cubby, and gently placed the document in front of me.

I snapped my cotton gloves on and had a look.  This is an original manuscript, so the guards pay special attention.  The archivists are trying to digitize all the original docs, but there are still tens of thousands left to do, and this one is probably not high on the to-do list.  There probably have not been too many researchers interested in the ecclesiastic mammals of old Peru.

I spent about two hours reading.  The document is forty-four pages long.  It goes on and on about the lizards and the guinea pigs and the flowers in bloom in the greater Trujilloarea in 1585.  But it also had a section on the monastery that was founded in 1536.  And since Trujillo was/is the biggest city on the north coast, this monastery would have been the administrative center for all the churches in the region. 

And there’s a nice list of priests and their hometowns and dates of arrival in country.  In 1580, there arrived in Trujillo, a ‘country boy from Extremadura, prone to sickness and distresses of the psyche named S. Gota.’

How’s that for a hit, guys?  That fits the timeline.  There are no first names in the list, only initials, but I’m thinking that’s our priest –S. Gota is Father Sebastiano Gota!  I think I just earned my keep.

So I got all excited.  Then I turned to the last page, on which only one line was written.  “Vendra portigo ahorra.”  It means ‘he’ll come for you now.’  Sound familiar?  That’s the same thing the gypsy guy told me.  Coincidence?  My hands were shaking when I closed the book.  Guess what was written on the back cover?

“Vendra portigo ahorra.”

It’s evening here now.  I’m sitting at the bar at this little bistro called Duplex which is right next to my apartment.  I’ve been coming here every day so they know me.  The food is cheap and tasty, and the beers cost about $1.50.  My only complaint just now is that I’m staring at the front window where two little gypsy twins are staring back at me.

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Written by williamdoonan

December 11, 2011 at 10:27 pm

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