Tut came to us via aircraft. He was contained on a large piece of rolled up papyrus. The beautifully crafted artist’s rendition of King Tutankhamun’s death mask was bought as a souvenir by my husband after he had toured the great pyramids. I was so pleased with the beautiful colors and level of artistry that we made plans to have it framed and hung on the wall of our living room when we could afford it. In the meanwhile, he lay on top of the table in the formal dining room.
The first night both car batteries died. The second morning the washer broke. The coup de grâce arrived a few hours later. The patio door from my bedroom to the pool deck burst, sending glass pebbles into the pool and throughout the master suite, ending up in the master bathtub twenty-four feet away.
No one was injured. All these incidents could be explained. We were living in Florida and car batteries don’t last as long there. The washer was a surprise as it was new, but it could have been a lemon. The man who replaced the glass mentioned that if the glass wasn’t securely fastened in the door frame at the top, the weight of the glass could cause it to break, but it was unusual to have it send glass in both directions.
After lugging my fifth grocery sack of glass pebbles to the curb, I turned around and looked at the house and asked myself, what had changed? Jim had come home and brought with him a souvenir. Was it or another item cursed? I’m not normally ruled by superstition but…
I walked into the dining room and stared at the rolled up papyrus. I unrolled it and looked to see if this objet d’art looked different? No, but the house felt different. I picked it up, grabbed my purse and headed to the frame shop. The clerk and I talked about ways of preserving the portrait. She suggested to vacuum seal it between two sturdy pieces of Plexiglas. Fine. We picked out a green marble for the frame, and by the time we finished with the odds and ends, I could have flown to Egypt cheaper than the cost of Tut’s new entombment.
I was told to pick up Tut in a few days. The manager called later and asked for a few more days. Evidently, the store lost electricity and the framer quit.
Now I know that the spirit of the 18th Dynasty Egyptian Pharaoh isn’t embedded in the papyrus. There is no curse on us for inviting the image of the young lad’s death mask into our home. There is however energy. It could be the sweat of the artist, the elements in the paint, or just the belief that there are things in this world that can’t be explained. All I know is this: once that puppy was sealed, and the portrait was hung on the wall, all the little incidents stopped.
We have since moved. Tut was hung up before any box was unpacked. He rests proudly on the dining room wall. He’s more than a topic of conversation; he has become one of the family. Just like Murphy.