Museum of Mummies

February 20, 2015

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Don’t ever go to a joint with a blockhouse john out front where they make you pay to pee and tip a mournful woman handing out tissues as you enter. I should leave especially after I see the ticket line four or five wide and long as two football fields. I’m not going to wait to enter the Museum of the Mummies in Guanajuato. I march up front and say, “How much?”

“Señor, you must start at the end of the line.”

“Come on, Jovencita.” I press a thousand-peso bill, about eighty bucks, into her soft hand. She nods and I walk in.

Okay, what the hell happened here? There was a cholera attack in 1833 and survivors quickly buried the dead to limit the spread of disease and sometimes buried those still living, supposedly by accident, but I bet not always. I’d like to ask little Ignacia Aguilar, found face down and biting her arm with a bloody mouth, but she doesn’t respond to my shoulder tap. Her guilty parents must be watching.

I’ll talk to others. These hundred or so people are in pretty damn good shape, considering. Inherent characteristics of the soil mummified and preserved them. Who shall I start with? Better be careful. Frankly, they’re a bunch of lunatics.

“Just relax, folks. Damn near every one of you’s screaming.”

“We’re not screaming, fool,” says a man with the biggest mouth ever. “Our damn lips have rotted away.”

I walk on and ask, “Sir, why did they strangle you?”

“They didn’t, idiot friend. The wire around my neck’s what holds me up.”

I move and say, “Hello, ma’am. When’s the baby due?”

“He’s better off inside me. Look over there at the smallest mummy in the world.”

“Incredibly small child.”

“It’s the fetus from a woman like me.”

I see some dead kids but mostly adults who I still say are screaming while they pray or clutch themselves or ponder the universe. Some have hair that could use a shampoo but most are bald. Some are lying down while most are standing. They may not be exactly alive but they’re not exactly dead either.

“You mummies are strange,” I say, and head for the exit but the exit’s not there. The other visitors have also disappeared. “What the hell?”

“This isn’t hell,” says little Ignacia Aguilar. “It’s your new home.”

George Thomas Clark

George Thomas Clark is the author of Hitler Here, a biographical novel published in India and the Czech Republic as well as the United States. His commentaries for are read in more than 50 countries a month.

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