Word Count: 500
by Michael S Jones
A first-day intern discovered it. Newbies always think they find something “earth-shattering.”
I truly enjoyed watching her jouncing towards me with that “eurika” grin.
Anna was, as they say, well developed, so at that moment I decided to develop a dalliance.
If you praise a worthless “discovery” you’re halfway there. It’s a professorial perk that offsets mosquitoes.
But Anna gave a name to the Personage whose grave we exposed. She found a polychrome pot without a crack, though it shattered my life.
At the excavation she gently brushed dirt away from the pot’s rim. “I know that glyph,” she gushed. “It’s a jaguar profile! Balham in Mayan.”
“Excellent my Dear,” I said, glancing down her shirt. A bra in this heat? Silly girl.
Then I saw the prefix glyph. Ajaw. Lord. And I forgot her body.
“It’s the king,” I said “You found the king.”
Mere children make discoveries. Never archeologists. We get the credit but minions get the rush. It’s unfair. Since bones and beads were found mere yards away, I’d had hopes but no expectations. Three weeks of digging with toothbrushes and the Personage had a name. Lord Jaguar, founder of both city and dynasty, “discovered” by a girl with bosoms for brains.
“What’s the inscription say?” asked Anna. “Is there a curse?”
“No such thing. This ain’t Indiana Jones girl.”
“But all bones have curses,” she replied. We locked eyes and she smiled.
“Even Shakespeare’s grave has one: ‘Blest be the man who spares these stones and cursed be he who moves my bones.'” So I played along, the better to bed her.
“Roughly translated it reads, “Finders weepers.”
I mailed my wife the Mexican papers and married Anna before the book was printed. Not a life-support system for mammary glands after all, she edited my manuscript.
That’s when the curse kicked in. The non-curse. The curse I made up to attract a woman. My deliberate mal-translation: “Finders weepers.”
If a picture is worth a thousand words a single glyph can have a thousand meanings. The jaguar is the easiest glyph to read. It’s a jaguar for cripes sake. But saying that the rest are subject to interpretation is like saying that Niagara is damp. To quote one of my critics “Has this man never heard of peer review?”
I rushed to judgment and then into marriage and finally to publication.
I misinterpreted writing on the rim of a bowl so I misidentified its owner. No dynastic founder was he; rather an undistinguished descendant. And since I got that wrong my grasp of the entire site was wrong.
Thus the whole premise of my book was a besotted blunder. Infatuated foolishness.
It sold only the copies I purchased.
Anna has left me for a still famous archaeologist. My reputation is shot. Gone to pot.
I brought my career crashing down like a collapsed trench. I invented a curse that turned real. If I could rename my unsold book, it would be The Curse of the Jaguar King.