Picture Perfect 117
They drove out the museum which was opened for general pubic except for the area roped off for the banquet for the anniversary. Dan showed his guest pass and made sure his Lifend video flow was turned on as they made their way to the Exhibits Hall.
There were dioramas for each decade complete with posters, mannequins in circus costumes, & in some cases performers recreating the sideshow acts. Knife thrower, sword swallower; crystal ball reader. The Tut-mania was the most elaborate of the 80’s. Snakes in glass tanks graced either side of its entrance. Behind them were live belly-dancers. It was a weird mix of Aladdin and Cleopatra. There was several people inside being given tour by one of the Museum guides.
“As you can see the centre piece is an approximation of the actual tomb of Tut. All the artifacts were created for our exhibit. There’s no claim that any of them are authentic.”
“So, that’s not real gold?” Someone asked.
“No.” The guide said. “The total weight of golditems and jewelry in his tomb was about 1200 kilograms. Worth over seven million dollars. So no this isn’t real gold.”
The group laughed.
“The mummies are fantastic.” A woman said. “I’ve seen some in Cairo and these look like the real thing.”
“We were painstaking about getting things as accurate as possible. That’s why we were all so disappointed when the Tut show was a flop. It took the wind out of the owners. They didn’t even want to tour the show the next year.”
“Where were they fabricated?” Dan asked.
“Some of the work was done by our own staff.”
Mummies of various sizes were posed as if worshipping Tut. A couple were on their own marble altars.
“These small ones.” The guide explained. “Were children who were sacrificed at the same time. They were sent so Tut would have playmates in his afterlife.”
The word ‘playmates’ jolted Dan. No!
“These are the original mummies fabricated for Tut-mania?” he asked.
“Oh yes. We’ve had them in cold storage. Costumes too. The mummies didn’t all arrive at once at the time. It took a few weeks to get them all.”
“Do you have any idea of how they were made?”
“You want trade secrets?”
The guide went to one of the playmate mummies.
“Rest assured The Happy Hippo couldn’t afford real mummies any more than they could afford real gold. These are wire under-frames wrapped in gauze.” The lifted the arm of the mummy gently. It came loose and a real bone protruded from the unravelling gauze. The gauze was a mix of real gauze & various fabrics.
“That’s Timmy’s t-shirt.” Dan said involuntarily.
“Timmy?” The guide stared at the arm.
“Don’t drop it.” Dan commanded. “Put it gently on the floor.”
While the guide was putting the arm down Dan texted Robert Warszawa a top-priority code with his location at the exhibit.
“On my way.” Warszawa replied.
“Get forensic unit.” Dan texted.
“What did you think you’re doing?” Another of the guides pushed people aside. “Oh it’s you! Not getting enough publicity for your stupid show. Get out of here before I call security.”
“They’re on their way.” Dan said.
“And put that camera down.” The guide turned to Cameron & tried to push him back.
“Too late.’ Cameron said, nodding at one of the news reporters with a camera on the other side of the crowd.
Jennifer stepped into the exhibit & held her hands over the shoulders of another of the mummies.
“Another one.” She paled with the realization.
“Get out of there!” The first guide pulled her back into the crowd.
Warszawa arrived with Sergeant Coster with him.
“We’ve found them.” Dan said.
“Which them?” Coster asked.
“The remains of some of the children.” He pointed the the display. “Mummified.”
Sergeant Coster kneeled to inspect the arm on the floor. She stood. “That is a human bone. How can you be sure it is one of the children?”
“The fabric.” He pulled up the photo of him & Timmy sitting on the steps. “The same stripes. The same colours.”
“Okay.” she sighed deeply. “We’ll have to close down the exhibit to the public.”
“You can’t …”
“We can & we will.” She said.
“This is some cheap publicity stunt. How do se know you didn’t plant this here.” The guide stared at Dan.
“Ask your security cameras.” Dan pointed to one of them.
“Everyone please exit the exhibit hall.” Coster & two officers escorted the public from the hall. “The forensics team require all the space they can get.”
“You can’t shut me down!” Winston Chamberlain strode into the hall. “Not now. With what’s going on!”
“Mr. Chamberlain, the Tut exhibit is closed to the public. The rest of the facility will remain open.”
“Just because one of these … props had a bone in it? You don’t even know if it’s a human bone. Or even a real bone.”
“I know it’s a real bone.” Sergeant Coster said. “The forensic’s team will be here shortly. If it a human isn’t then you can reopen. Is this all of the mummies?”
“No. We left three in storage. There wasn’t enough space to put up the entire array.” Winston said.
“Okay, we don’t know for a fact that these are the remains of any of those children.” Warszawa said. “Mr. James, do you have any proof other than your fuzzy photograph?” Winston made air quotes when he said fuzzy.
“I trust my gut. This is them. Maybe not all of them but some of them.”
The forensic team arrived followed by some TV crews that had been covering the gala.
As they arrived a reported stepped to the entry of the hall.
“Stacy Molefski, here. We are interrupting the broadcast of the Chamberlain Gala with breaking news. Authorities have discovered human remains in one of the museums exhibits. Remains that may be a clues in the recently re-opened cold case of the children who disappeared in the 80’s …. Mr. James. Mr. James?”
Dan reluctantly went over to her.
“What can you tell me about this unexpected discovery?”
“Stacy you know about as much as I do. I can’t comment until we get confirmation for the Forensic team that these are actually human bones.”
“And if they are what can they tell about those missing children.”
“First they’ll need dna testing to ascertain identity. That could take up to two weeks.” Dan said. “It’s not like you see in TV crime shows where they put a drop on the bone, run that result through a computer & up pops photos of the victim.”
“Dan?” Warszawa waved from him to come back to the exhibit.
“As you can see I have official business to take care of.”
“Thanks for your time Mr. James.”
Dan walked over to Warszawa.
“You were right.” Warszawa said. “These are human bones. The examiner believes the size indicates the ones here are children bones. They’ve done a cursory check of the other mummies & there are bones of some sort in all of them.”
“They’ll all be taken to the regional hospital to be X-rayed before they are unwrapped though.” Costner explained. “They want to make sure before disturbing the uh …. remains unnecessarily.”
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