A Bloomin’ Mummy

I got cursed by a mummy today.

Yes, I’m serious! A real live mummy! Well, I guess “undead,” at any rate.

Y’see, I was at Outback for lunch. I had kinda made plans with Rachel — y’know, from Marketing? No, the redhead. …Yeah, her. — made plans with her to meet up there. I had gotten there first; she was wrapped up in some brainstorming session… What? Oh, yeah, “wrapped up”. Funny. No, she wasn’t the mummy.

Anyway, I’m sitting there, in the booth, eating a Blooming Onion. Love those things. I’m just, y’know, picking at it, waiting for Rachel to show… I dunno, I think it’s like one of those big, sweet onions. Whatchacallem? Vidalias, yeah. Anyhow, I’m munching on this thing when the front door opens, and this mummy shambles in.

What, “shambles”? Yeah, I dunno. It’s really the only word that fits. Wasn’t walking, wasn’t limping… You ever see anything else shamble? Mummies do it, I guess, and that’s really about it. Well, that and maybe Karin after a great… nevermind. No, I don’t wanna talk about Karin. Just shut up… Yes, I know I’m the one who brought her up, but she made her choice, didn’t she? And that’s that. Anyway, where was I?

Yes, shambling! This mummy, all wrapped up in long, ratty bandages comes shambling in. He looks around…

…How do I know it was a he? Well, erm, you just kinda guess at these things. No bumps up top, if you know what I mean. No, I didn’t check to see if there were bumps down below! If someone comes walking in the front door…okay, “shambling” in the front door, wrapped up head-to-toe in bandages, I’m not gonna check the size of their package! Look, you wanna hear this or not?

The mummy, he starts moving towards me. Shoves right past the host-girl. Completely ignored her. Yeah, the perky one. She’d be cute if she didn’t try so hard at it. She did an excellent job of completely avoiding any physical contact with the guy. Like she was trained or something. I dunno, maybe they get, like training in host-school on how to avoid touching customers. Don’t wanna get, like, AIDS or SARS or nothing. She sees he’s heading to my booth, and I guess she kinda gave up on stopping him. I mean, I had asked for a booth for two; I didn’t specify if it was going to be girl, guy, or shambling mummy.

So, the mummy, he stops at the booth, and — get this: he starts to sit down across from me! Yes, I’m totally serious about all this, it took the guy, like half a minute to sit down. Listen, he creaked. Yeah, when you’ve been stuck, standing up in a sarcophagus for thousands of years, I guess it would take a lot to bend yourself into a sitting position. I mean, pieces of bandage are flaking off, the guy does NOT smell good, a couple of people are staring, while others are doing their damnedest to NOT stare, if you know what I mean, and this guy is sitting across from me.

Yeah, seriously? At this point, I’m really hoping that Rachel does NOT show up. That’s like a whole new level of awkward: “Oh, Rachel! Hi, yeah! We were just waiting for you. I know we’ve only been on one official ‘date’ date so far, but I still thought it might be time to — wait for it — introduce you to … my mummy! Haw!” Yeah, glad that didn’t happen.

What’d I do? What was I supposed to do? Supernatural being wakes up from its supposedly eternal rest and takes a seat across from me — I mean I assume the guy hasn’t eaten since he joined the Desert Division of the Choir Eternal, so I offer him some of my onion. What? No, I’m not kidding! If you wanna work in sales, you gotta know how to schmooze people — anytime, anyplace… Yes, even if they’re undead. Who knows; maybe he’s got some sort of psychic hotline to the future or something, wants to give me a hot tip. No, I’m not talking like Scrooge or nothing.

So, yeah, guy reaches out his hand, and his fingers–were they black! No, I don’t mean “African-American”; I mean they were jet black! I mean, whoever did the bandage work was definitely sub-standard or unionized or something, ’cause his fingers were just all out-there, for anybody to see, and they were nasty! He reaches out and takes a part of the onion. I pushed the dipping sauce a little closer to him, but he didn’t seem too interested in that stuff. Heh, wait. It was, like, a mustard sauce, right? So maybe it was like Dickens — “an undigested bit of beef or a blot of mustard”! …It’s from A Christmas Carol. It’s what he thinks Marley–don’t you read this stuff? You’d think a VP would get to the classics once in a while…Geez. No offense.

He brings the onion up to his mouth, but — you ready for this? His mouth is all bandaged up! Seriously, guy is jamming this onion at his face where his mouth is supposed to be, but sub-standard bandage wrapper must’ve gotten it just right in the head area. Couldn’t do a thing! He’s got his other hand scrabbling at his face, trying to yank on the bandages, but it ain’t working. I’m starting to laugh, ’cause I mean, at this point, what else can I do? I’m sitting in a booth at Outback, watching a frickin’ mummy trying to stuff it’s mouthless face with a Blooming Onion!

Turns out, “Mummy Dearest” has got a bit of a temper though. He wasn’t to thrilled about the onion to begin with, and me laughing at him? Well, guess that straw broke his camel’s back, cause he drops the onion, points at me with his one hand, and starts mumbling something. …I have no idea what he was saying, it was in like sanskrit or babylonian or something! Plus, even if I could speak any of that, he still has those stupid bandages around his head!

So, seeing that I have no clue what he’s going on about, he grabs the dipping sauce, sticks his nasty fingers into it, and draws a couple of pictures right there on the table with it! What were the pictures? Uh, like a dude with a pot, and a snake or something. Anyway, he finishes his drawing, barks out something else… Guy’s voice sounded like a rusty hinge, I tell ya. Then, he shambles right out the front door! Not another word, and his exit shambling was much faster than his entrance shambling, seriously.

So, at this point, everyone in the restaurant is, like, staring at me. I chuckle a bit, and say, “Hey, hieroglyphs. Is there an Egyptologist in the house?” Funny, right? …Except there was! Two tables down, this little bald guy walks up to me and says that he’s some high muckety-muck in the archaeology institute of Oxford or something, here in Gloaming Gap for a conference, and he starts staring at the table. Finally, he tells me the dude with the pot is some sort of peddler or something, and he calls the snake “Apep”, which is, like, seriously bad mojo guy or something. Ancient Egyptian devil or whatever. Anyway, bald guy is seriously into the drawings, and I tell him to go ahead, and help himself to the onion. …What? Not like I had any sort of appetite anymore. Stuff like that really throws you off your lunch. And I figured if Rachel was showing up, she would’ve been there already. Marketing and Sales just don’t mix, right? You know I’m right.

Image by Melanie Hill

So, yeah, that’s what happened at lunch today. Well, that and getting the memo to come down here to Human Resources. Yeah, funny thing: timestamp on the email was about the same time that the mummy was drawing on the table. I remember, ’cause it took him a while to finish the dude with the pot, so I got bored and checked the time. Speaking of time…man, I’ve been talking for a while, haven’t I? Damn, sorry about that. I guess I ramble a bit. What’d you wanna see me about, anyway?

Author: Jeff Burkholder

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