It was time to write about King Anedjib, but I had writer's block. Instead I opened the mail and looked at the visiting card attached to the insurance offer.
“Family protection consultant… I thought I was talking to a Insurance telesales worker the other day,” I commented, “The titles are impossible these days. You have no idea what a person is doing, when the titles have been tweaked so they sound more prestigious. Imagine, the other day a friend told that she had been talking to the man who collects her garbage. The bin man. He had said that his official title is Waste management and disposal technician.”
Mummific was standing on a chair in front of the mirror, admiring himself and didn’t pay much attention to what I was saying.
“Did you hear what I said?” I asked him.
“Hmm? Something about titles. Good sounding titles they were…”
He adjusted his crown and for the first time I saw him holding the curly thingy that sticks out of a pharaoh’s crown. He was trying to get it to stick to his crown.
“Where did you find that?”
“I’ve had it all the time,” Mummific said, “It snapped off once and I never got to repairing it... Now I think I need to have it fixed.”
He took another pose, clearly trying to look royal. Probably it had to do with the book he dictated to me. Now he was so proud of his literary achievements he had been spending days admiring his royal self. Perhaps he was waiting for reporters to flock in or something of the sort and wanted to look presentable.
“Fix this for me,” he ordered, handing me the curly thingy.
“What exactly IS this?” I wanted to know.
“Not quite sure…” he said, “Maybe it is a bee’s tongue. You know – he of the sedge and the bee.”
“The royal title, quite… Would you mind moving aside a bit… I think I have the duct tape here somewhere…”
He rolled his eyes to the ceiling and descended from the chair. I rummaged through the drawer and finally found the roll of duct tape.
“Here, give me your crown,” I said.
Mummific withdrew three full steps, looking appalled.
“Thou shalt not be king!” he announced.
“What?” I didn’t get it.
“I shall not give you my crown, or else someone might think I have given you the right to rule!” he announced, arms folded on his chest.
“The right to rule what, exactly? My own home?”
Mummific mumbled something I shall not repeat her, but I did not force him to give his crown. I cut pieces of the tape, place them on the table to I could take them easily, and took the curly thing.
“Were there many occasions when someone took the crown with force?”
“Certainly. But these things are not talked about openly. A touchy subject in the afterlife, that. A lot like pretending to have ruled longer than you actually had… Many years of rule give you prestige, after all,” Mummific commented.
I placed the curly antenna-kind of thing against the inner crown and using my free hand fished a piece of tape from the table. A piece of paint came off.
“Dang…” I mumbled and slammed the tape so hard on the crown that it almost fell off Mummific's head.
“Indeed some people did take the crown by force,” Mummific commented dryly, “But not by knocking it off the head. There is talk about king Anedjib…”
“Really, what about him?”
“Not saying he was a bad king, not saying that at all. He was the first to use the royal title He of the Two Ladies together with He of the Sedge and the Bee. On top of that he took the title Two Lords. He already understood the importance of good titles. It raises respect in people. Much like the Family protection consultant and Waste management and disposal technician you mentioned.”
So he had been listening after all.
“Anedjib says he ruled for 74 years, but there are opposing opinions. Some say he had the throne for ten years only. There certainly aren’t that many official achievements on records to prove he had a long rule. But Den certainly made old bones…” Mummific made that odd puffing sound that told me he was laughing, “So perhaps Anedjib considered himself a coregent and calculated the years back to times when Den was still ruling. He tells everyone he celebrated two heb seds, but never answers when we ask how come all the objects where his heb sed is shown seem to have Den’s name erased and replaced with Anedjib’s name.”
“There…” I managed to get the other piece of tape from the table without destroying the surface any more and placed the tape crosswise over the previous one, “If that doesn’t hold your… curly thingy in place, I need to get a drill and some glue…”
Mummific allowed me to lift him back to the chair (mummified legs can be somewhat stiff) and then he turned in front of the mirror. Ta-Miu had appreared and sat on the table, looking at Mummific with a look I well recognised from my own cats.
“You should be aware that Ta-Miu is planning something…” I said.
“Nonsense,” Mummif said and continued his story, “The one person who might shed some light into the matter of Anedjib’s reign is not accepted into the Kings’ Club, and so he refuses to talk to us.”
“You mean Semerkhet?”
“Yes, Anedjib certainly bears a grudge against Semerkhet. They were related, but as neither will talk of the other, we don’t know if Semerkhet was Anedjib’s half brother or maybe his son… Whatever the case, there are rumors that Semerkhet was responsible for Anedjib’s short rule. Anedjib only had time to have a very small tomb built, but as least his had a wooden chamber.”
“Wooden…? Oh, I see. Wood was scarce and rare and expensive.”
“Yes, quite. So even if Semerkhet drove Anedjib to an early grave, he had time enough to build his wooden chamber which many of the other early kings envy.”
Ta-Miu positioned her toes at the edge of the table. I looked at the cat with interest. When it noticed my gaze it looked away as if nothing was out of the ordinary.
“Still, Anedjib is a decent old chap. We don’t mention the length of his rule too much and choose to concentrate on talking about his building projects. He also likes to talk about war memories – he had to put down many revolts in Lower Egypt… Woaaaa!”
Ta-Miu bounced into the air and landed on Mummific’s crown. Mummific lost his balance and fell backwards. I managed to catch him in the nick of time – otherwise there would have been mummy dust and bits of dry skin and wrappings all over the place.
With a quick yank of her teeth (which were in considerably better condition than Mummific’s) Ta-Miu pulled the curly thingy off the crown and bounced back on the floor.
“Give it back!” Mummific yelled and ran after the mummified feline. They vanished through the false door.
I figured I would not see Mummific for a few hours at least, so I lifted the chair back up, went to my computer and started typing a page about Anedjib.