The hijackers sent along the museum’s own printed exhibition catalogue as their demand note.
The cover said:
Gold Of The Golden Boy King
Inside, someone had scrawled in provocative red ink across a glossy blank page.
Yes, we have all of these things.
It was an echo of the exclamation of ecstasy uttered by Howard Carter as he first held a candle to a hole in the tomb wall and peered at the treasures beyond. A candle that would set fire to the world and light a mania for ancient Egypt.
By now you will have learnt that a duplicate aircraft with fake museum crates has arrived in Los Angeles.
What do you do?
Wait for instructions.
Wait for instructions.
The countdown to destruction - and your opening day - is underway.
PS Your catalogue hardly does justice to these treasures.
The catalogue, delivered to the Director of the California Science Center in Los Angeles by an anonymous courier, was a pirated copy taken ahead of time from the printers, trumpeting details of the blockbuster exhibition due to open in two weeks’ time.
“It’s a demonstration of their complete control of the situation,” the Director said. “Designed to make our humiliation complete.”
“Not to mention the US authorities. But who are they and what do they want? A king’s ransom, or a pharaoh’s? Are they antiquities criminals? Or is it ideologically driven? To pull this off might have required state collusion at some level, perhaps a hidden government conspiracy.”
"The biggest question, where is the missing plane now? In America or sitting on the tarmac in some foreign country?”
“Oh God,” the Director’s assistant said.
“I just had a flash of Kim Jong Un - the golden death mask pulled down over his chubby cheeks...”
It’s a scenario almost too scary to think about.
And for me, it’s a subject probably too scary to write a novel about.
So the book doesn’t exist yet, if ever, except in the darkness of my nightmares where the images are unspooling like a length of horror film.
In an age of ‘fake news', a fake book - ‘The Taking of Tutankhamun*’, the idea sparked by news of the biggest ever Blockbuster Tutankhamun Tour event debuting in Los Angeles in 2018.
Roy Lester Pond is the author of The Smiting Texts and possibly the world’s biggest range of Egypt-based fiction (Amazon Kindle and selected paperbacks).
* THE TAKING OF TUTANKHAMUN A blockbuster exhibition, a golden target © Roy Lester Pond 2018