The Antiquities Dealer

Simeon Drake knew that in the antiquities smuggling game it was important to cultivate a certain notoriety. When people had heard stories about you, they were less likely to double cross you, or to try to stiff you, or give you bad intel that would lead you to dig for days in the sand for nothing at all. And so the reason he had Marcus Phineas buried up to his neck in a snakepit, and the reason he had Lawrence Underwood’s bed filled with scorpions, and the reason he had the stuffed boar’s head in Nelson Peterson’s library carefully replaced with a living boar that hung out of the wall until it woke up from the drugs were all the same – so that when little Petey Foster came across the actual, honest to god personal seal of Pharaoh Tutankhamen himself, it was to Simeon Drake he came to.

Now this notoriety had also placed him in the orbit of a woman who had herself a bit of notoriety. Her name was Gretta von Truce, and she was spectacular. Such were Simeon’s feelings for this woman that he had been looking for a big enough job that he could leave the smuggling business forever. And Petey Foster’s find was just that ticket to get him out.

The problem was that Simeon Drake was not a bad man. On the contrary he had been working with the British Museum to try and prevent the truly rare pieces of arcana from disappearing into the lawless wastes of private collections. His notoriety was a mask that let him work among the criminal underground. But he knew that to get a stake large enough to leave and support Gretta he would need to sell the greatest Egyptian artifact the world had ever seen to scumbags.

Simeon Drake sat on his couch, handling the seal, and wondering, really wondering, that if circumstances had put King Tutankhamen here in his room on the other side of the couch, if the king would understand what he meant to do, what the king would say to him, what the king would want him to do.

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Written on 10/27/16 at Nox for a couple that were into antiquities.

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