In February of 1936, the American archaeologist Mrs. Martha Cunningham, began in Alexandria a long journey by ship to transfer to America the mortal remains of her husband. She was so attached to him that at no time wanted to separate from his coffin and it was said that in the transatlantic that was driving them back home, they were seen walking both of them on the first class cabins’ deck. Naturally, the coffin did not walk by its own means but was pushed in a cart by a baggage handler. In the New York harbor, a vehicle awaited them that took them both to their residence of Park Avenue. Before embarking on their trip to Egypt a year before, all the servants had been dismissed, but Mrs. Cunningham was in no hurry to replace them. Naturally, her family and friends knew that in that coffin did not travel her husband for the very simple reason that she was not married and, in fact, she was proud of her spinsterhood which gave her the freedom she wanted. Many members of the New York upper class had courted her in vain.
Well, the day after his arrival in New York, on the recommendation of his friend Mayor LaGuardia, Mrs. Cunningham knocked on the door of ENIGMA CONSULTANTS S.L. Michael Schlimazl and Jacob Schlemihl were aware of the return to the city of the rich heiress. What they did not know was that she had brought with her from Egypt an overwhelming mystery. The wise reader will have already guessed that this mystery was contained in the coffin that had crossed the Atlantic with her. But as the movement of the coffin in the company of its owner through the streets of New York would have made her the talk of the city (the previous year, without going any further, the walks through Central Park of Mrs. Silverman in the company of a penguin had generated a lot of gossip in the upper echelons of New York society), Mrs. Cunningham asked Michael and Jacob to move to her house on Park Avenue to witness the mystery that she wanted them to solve.
Mrs. Cunningham had prepared rooms for them to spend the night. Their hostess had been elusive when it came to explaining what the mystery she wanted them to investigate was. She just told them they would find out for themselves. And most certainly, that very night they discovered it… An old wall clock struck twelve chimes, awakening Jacob who was a light sleeper. After a short while, he clearly heard footsteps in the corridor. Finding it odd that someone was walking around the house at that hour of the night, he opened the door half-way and what he saw made his head swim. A figure completely wrapped in strips of brown linen solemnly paraded down the corridor with arms outstretched. When the figure rounded a corner, Jacob hurried to knock on Michael’s door. He persevered until waking his friend, who was sleeping soundly.
“What the hell happens to you? Have you seen a ghost?”
“There is a mummy walking around the house.”
“Don’t say nonsense.”
“I’ve seen it with my own eyes.”
“I don’t doubt you’ve seen a mummy. The house is full of antiques. Mrs. Cunningham is an archaeologist. What I don’t believe is that this mummy was for a walk.
“Accompany me if you don’t believe me.”
Michael put on a robe and went out into the corridor.
“You’ll have dreamed it.”
“In that case, you’ll also dream it now, you’ll see.”
They both moved down the corridor, Jacob stealthily, Michael with aplomb. After a while of touring the house, the mummy suddenly appeared around a corner. It walked slowly without bending her knees and with her arms extended forward, just as Jacob had seen it minutes before. Michael stopped in his tracks, shocked.
“What do you say now? Do you still think we’re dreaming?”
“Let’s hide! It is coming here.”
“It can’t see us.”
“How do you know?”
“Because it has no eyes. They are covered by bandages. It’s hard to see anything without eyes.”
“Shut up, smart ass! It’s gonna hear us. Or is that it doesn’t have ears either?”
“I don’t know. I haven’t seen them. But if I’m not wrong, mummies are dead people wrapped in bandages. And as far as I know, the dead can not hear anything even if they have ears.”
“And as far as you know, smart ass, can the dead walk? Come on, let’s hide.”
They both hurried to hide behind a curtain until the mummy passed by.
“Now what do we do?”
“Go to sleep. There will be time tomorrow to discuss this with Mrs. Cunningham.”
The next morning, during breakfast, Michael brings up the subject on the sly:
“Do you know, Mrs. Cunningham, that there is an intruder in this house?”
“Ah, I see that you have already discovered for yourselves the mystery for which I’ve hired your services. Have you heard about a similar case? No? I haven’t either. All the mummies I’ve known behaved as they should. That is, as what they are: corpses. But this one… It’s a rebellious mummy, and I want you to bring it to order. I have smuggled it from Cairo to swell my collection of antiques, not to wander around the house. Under these conditions, it’s impossible to have servants or guests.”
“Do you want us to … kill it?”
“Well, it’s already dead, so I don’t think that makes a big difference. But, above all, do it without spoiling it.”
The next night, Michael and Jacob were stationed behind a door waiting for the mummy to pass. Michael held a rope. Suddenly there were footsteps in the corridor. Immediately Michael tensed the rope while Jacob opened the door. Michael pounced on the mummy and placed the rope around its neck. Then, each one pulled strongly from one end. At that moment, the mummy’s head sprang from its body, which went on its way as if nothing had happened. Michael and Jacob watched it, speechless.
“What do we do now?”, Jacob asked.
“Get the baseball bat, hurry!”
Jacob rushed to his room and came back with the bat. Michael snatched it from his hand and ran after the mummy. And when he caught up with it, he started hitting it with the bat. With every thump, the mummy became more misshapen until there was nothing left of it but a mass of bandages. Michael and Jacob waited to see if it kept moving. But no. This time it was really dead.
“I don’t think that Mrs. Cunningham likes how it looks”, Jacob said.
“Because the head is missing. Go look for it!”
Jacob returned right away with the mommy’s head, which Michael placed on top of the pile of bandages as if it were the icing on a cake.
Needless to say, Mrs. Cunningham was not satisfied with the services rendered by the two investigators.