By Don Wooster
After laboring for months in the green hills of southern Bulgaria, Professor Feldstein and his team of archaeologists had finally found the long-lost tomb of a Thracian king. It was a rare find indeed: The stout, stone door of the tomb, crusted with soil and lichens, had clearly not been moved in millennia. Feldstein scraped away some loose dirt and ran his fingers over the cold granite, his heart racing like that of a graduate student on his first dig.
With the help of several mules, the door was pried open and he squeezed through the entrance and into the gloomy anteroom. Outside, Feldstein's colleagues listened for that first, breathless exultation as his light fell upon what they expected to be a sparking trove of gold and jewels.
But it was not to be. "No!" they heard him wail. "Dear God, not again!" A string of curses echoed against the stone walls, and soon the professor stumbled out of the tomb and into the arms of Kathryn, his young and eager assistant. "What is it, professor?" she asked, stroking his wispy gray hairs. Feldstein didn't answer. He tore himself away and collapsed under a nearby tree, where he buried his face in his hands and began to sob. Kathryn grabbed the flashlight and rushed into the tomb.
The air inside was cold and damp, and it smelled, curiously, of stale cigarette smoke. Everywhere Kathryn looked, amphorae and other ceremonial objects lay broken and scattered along the floor. She made her way to the center of the main chamber and saw a heap of empty beer cans, but the king and his riches were nowhere in sight. Frustrated, she shined her flashlight toward the far wall and discovered a breathtaking, early-Hellenistic fresco; on it, someone had drawn two testicles and an enormous, ejaculating penis.
A seasoned archeologist in her own right, Kathryn now had little doubt as to who had desecrated the tomb. Then she saw the clincher: a pair of fresh tracks that wove around the floor of the chamber in a haphazard circle before trailing off into a narrow passageway, tracks that bore the unmistakable tread pattern of tires on a late-model Chevy Camaro.
Kathryn emerged from the tomb no less anguished than the professor had been. Feldstein, his dusty face streaked with tears, grabbed her arm and pulled her to his side. "Was it who I think?" he whispered hoarsely. “Was it–"
"Yes," Kathryn groaned. "I’m afraid so. Somehow, those troublesome teens from Elmwood High School have stuck again!"
(The inspiration for Don Wooster’s newest tale comes from his abiding passion for Thracian history. Wooster is also interested, almost pathologically so, in marching bands, frozen pizzas and the birds of Madagascar. Look for dozens and dozens of stories on these subjects in the near future.)
Thursday, May 25, 2006
By Don Wooster