I Am Not the Mummy, by David Edward Nell
He had agreed to do the interview on one condition: that it be conducted in the middle of nowhere, inside an abandoned warehouse in Dunkirk. In addition, no one was to know. That’s why both of us had come alone. City germs–that’s the reason he’d cited. Personally, I figured his choice of location rather had to do with the reputation he was trying to mask. Criminal ties. Shady characters. Deadly deals. At least, that’s what the fringe suggested. I knew the risks, but couldn’t resist meeting one of the most infamous idols on the planet. Indeed, I was quite aware of the rumours about there being a hit on his head, too. Now that he was sitting in front of me, in the flesh, I was beginning to understand why his life was on the line.
I had been greeted with silence, made to wait until he was done with a call to his agent. In the awkward quiet thereafter, I discerned what was of his clothing. I figured those old bandages or perhaps the lingering rot of his bare feet was cause for the rank aroma. Grimacing past the torture, I was asked to lean over to feed his cigarette with my lighter; he’d run out, being the rich man he was. Parting his gauze, The Mummy treated his lips, and I had a glimpse at the horror which lurked behind that cover. I shook away the sight which I will not describe here, as it is a memory too painful to recall. When he was done, I sighed in relief.
“You’re a sweetheart,” was his response. Stretching, he dismounted a poster hanging on the wall above that was advertising Blazing Sands 2, a paranormal action film centred at teenagers. For whatever reason, even though there were no cameras about, he had hung it there, anyway.
I offered a hand. “Do you want me to–”
“Just leave it there,” The Mummy replied. “Let’s begin.”
So I clicked on my trusty tape recorder. “Mr Mummy, thank you for doing this interview with Shifting Slabs Esoterica Magazine. It’s definitely exciting to speak to you here today.”
“Awww, sure thing. I suppose you’re real honored, aren’t you?”
“I am,” I lied.
“That’s why they’ve nicknamed me Mass Appeal.”
“Friends, associates, people in clubs.”
“So how’s England?” he asked, staring at his cigarette which he was dangling in the air, coughing unexpectedly. “Strong stuff,” he muttered.
“Actually, I’m from Wales.”
“Freaking Wales,” he quipped, having a chuckle.
“That’s a bit cheeky, sir,” I was tempted to say. But I did say this, “Wales is a beautiful country.”
And he replied, “Bet you’re just saying that otherwise your king will smack your bum.”
I ripped open his chest and ate his heart. In my mind. In reality, ignored his jest. “I’d like to discuss this new project of yours.”
“Yeah, yeah. It’s gonna be huge.”
“Some consider you to be one of the most mysterious and opportunistic figures in show business.”
“I wouldn’t say opportunistic. The opportunities fall at my feet. I would say talented.”
“Not necessarily…in that order.” I straightened my spectacles. “With your reach in a variety of arts and even sport and business, you’ve certainly shown how flexible you can be. Thirteen big-budget television films, most of them in the martial arts genre; your very own infomercial network, which sells home appliances to retired folk; two autobiographies selling at all the Barnes and Noble stores; and a bronze medal for high-jump in the winter olympics. Or so you claim.”
“Those are facts. Wikipedia that shizzit.”
“Good for you. Plus, you achieved the latter fully-clothed, no less.”
“That’s how I do.”
“But you recently took quite a long hiatus from all this activity. Have you stepped out of the game?”
“Nah. I needed some time to relax and unwind.”
“So what are your new plans?”
“Hold on. I’m getting to that,” he said, and showed me his palm, which I envisioned biting. “To be humble for a minute, I consider myself a lucky stiff. If it wasn’t for the adoration of my peeps, I wouldn’t be running this one-man show.” The Mummy threw up a hand sign aimed at no one in particular, and I gently clapped–my hands, not his face–to appease him.
“Shall we say freakshow?” I dared to say, hoping he’d get the joke.
“That’s a little insulting. Nah.” Of course, he didn’t.
“My apologies,” I said. “Now, this new career venture of yours. Rap.”
“Allegedly, you’re about to open a record label and release your own album. Bit of a left turn, isn’t it?”
“I’m a pop star. I go with the wind. No one tells me what to do.”
“Ah. A rebel you certainly are. Can you tell us more about your decision?”
“I reckoned the shift to rap music was natural. Most people think they know me, but they don’t. I’m a creative juggernaut, an original. Hell, I’m creating my own sub-genre, which I call wrap music.”
“Rap with a W.”
“I get you,” I said.
“It’s gonna be the next big thing.”
“How would you describe this musical concoction?”
“Can you ask that question differently?”
“I didn’t get that word. Concoc-whatever.”
“How would you describe your genre?”
“It’s an underground rhythm straight from the Egyptian streets, raw and deadly, yo. Also, I’m releasing my own underwear line called Fruit of the Tomb. So look out for that in May.”
“I’m sure we will.” I asked what I’d been meaning to ask, “Do you consider yourself a man with a lot of enemies?”
“The media loves to hype,” he replied. At my behest.
“Can we talk about your longtime grudge with Boris Karloff and Karl Freund?”
“What’s there to say that hasn’t already been said? They ripped off my act, dirtied my image. I mean, who the hell walks like that? Nah, man, that was a terrible imitation. Shit.”
“What about all the offshoots? What do you think of those?”
The Mummy shook his head. “Makes my heart pain. They all took a big chunk out of my soul. But what can you do? It’s a thing of the past. Never say I don’t dwell on the future.”
“Okay. Is there any truth that you’ve had your life threatened? When you disappeared, there were claims that you’d been kidnapped.”
“I don’t know where you got that. Who’s your source?” he asked.
“There’s a number of sources, actually.”
“So you were kidnapped?”
“Maybe. Maybe not. You know, I’m a very successful businessman. There’s a lot of peeps that hate me, dig? They’re jealous, is all. Especially that overgrown nut on the East coast.”
“You’re referring to Frankenstein’s Monster, who runs the studio East Coast Death Jam?”
“Frankenbitch is more like it. And maybe,” he said, shrugging.
“Does he perhaps consider it a cheap shot that you’re stepping into his industry? Surely, reading this, he’ll take offense, will he not?”
“I don’t care. Next question.” He ate the rest of his cigarette.
“What role does The Blob play in all this?”
“That small-time jig can’t even find his own ass, okay?” The Mummy ripped away from his seat. “Wrap up this interview,” he demanded.
As he began storming off, I pulled a fiendish smile and asked, “Before you became what you are, you were said to have–and I quote–bought your way to fame. Where did this wealth come from, sir? Are you involved in illegal activities?”
“Who do you think you are, mother fucker? Are you from the feds?” The Mummy returned and brooded over me.
I saw his Mickey Mouse sweater underneath, and had a eureka moment. I gasped. “Are you the real Mummy?”
There was a bit of hesitation on his part. Then, in a sudden moment of rage, he put his hands around my throat, thrusting his thumbs into the small of my neck, my mouth desperate to gulp down breath, my face turning beet-red like the stains on his teeth I was now noticing. At the same time, I felt the need to retch. So I did, right onto his hands, yet he persisted in his need to kill yours truly. I must’ve blacked out right there, though the crash I heard was quite audible, enough to awaken me, and I wasn’t certain where it had come from until I was out of that swine’s grasp and on the ground, scouring the area that was filling with dust. Then I saw it. A hummer. Out of nowhere, it had come careening through the walls. There was even a head poking through its roof, another scaly figure who was gripping a crossbow and pointing that weapon at my ridiculous guest, looking exactly alike as he. I heard the Mummy pleading.
“I’m young and famous, B. I can’t die like this.”
His voice was right by me and I realized he was nearby, so I proceeded to slap The Mummy in revenge. And it was quite the resounding one, because he certainly didn’t have the gall to try me that instant, that humbled oaf. And for those reading this, don’t ever put your hands on me–you will regret it.
Next, the mysterious man, or thing, climbed out, lifted his target up, and pinched him by the ear to drag him to the vehicle. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t cheering on this public beating.
“Who are you?” I questioned of my hero.
“I should ask the same,” that man-thing said.
I was still hacking. “Just a journalist.”
“Did you do anything with my boy? Frolicking or suchlike?”
“No, not at all. But he was choking me and–” I was taken aback, hearing those words. “Your boy?”
“That’s right, my son. And his place is in the tomb with his family.”
After a confused pause, I said, “But he’s a grown man, isn’t he? He’s a…” I hesitated. “A celebrity?”
“Who, he? No. This boy is nothing but a reckless, thieving brat with his head in the wrong place, inside his own arse.”
“Well, sir, I guess I have to agree with you.”
He threw his voice towards the hummer, “Are you listening? I ought to smack you upside the mouth for stealing our money. Always with the fame and bollocks.”
I cleared my throat to get his attention. “Will he come back?”
“Never again, madam. Never again,” he said, and he left with The Mummy and drove back through the way he came.
That was the last anyone would ever see of the boy who wasn’t really a man who wasn’t really a human, that notorious figure who had once invaded an awards show to claim his rightful trophy. But there was one incident a year on, after my big story hit papers. Tabloids began printing photographs of someone appearing to be The Mummy, who appeared to be having a rested walk in Hollywood Boulevard with a poodle. However, it was determined later on that it wasn’t him after all.
Finally, I’d just like to say that I am not writing this to clear up the rumours that I, Shirley Watson, am actually The Mummy. I can assure you that this is impossible, and that the real Mummy was quite addicted to the allure of fame, not shy of it. So, crazy theorists, please stop referring to me as The Mummy. Thank you.
Having spent years trying to evade the Equestrian mafia, David Edward Nell now writes from a nameless hideout in Cape Town, South Africa. By night, disguised as numerous pop culture figures, he can usually be found scouring the African plains for loving. Stalk him at http://davidedwardnell.blogspot.com, but keep this a secret.