Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Psamtik the Scarecrow--The Sorcerer Gaumata

Psamtik sat on the minor throne he had occupied before the death of his father, the Pharaoh. His scrawny shoulders shook with indignation as the priests explained to him for the tenth time that he had to wait for the ceremony before he could ascend the pharaoh’s throne. His face was thin and his nose hawkish. His eyes bulged from their sockets and his lips were so thin that his steward had to paint them to make them more visible.

Matwa watched Ankhare as he looked at the young man in disgust. Matwa could see that Psamtik’s claw-like hand was clutching the arm of his throne and he watched as a blue vein pulsed in the skinny neck under a gold neckband. One time Ankhare had told Matwa that he would never have such a poor specimen even clean pots for his troops, but this scarecrow who seemed to be certain that he was already a god, would be the Pharaoh. Matwa felt a sharp twinge of doubt and he looked away. He was going to have to accept it, but his mind continued to doubt. Could they, the priests, transform this weakling into a god? Didn’t they need better material to work with?

“It is now time, Prince Psamtik,” Matwa began, “for you to come to the room where your father, god of the underworld now...”

“No, no, no!” Psamtik interrupted, “I want to lie down now for my nap! I always do! Just because the old Pharaoh died does not mean that I have to change my schedule.” Psamtik’s eyes were red and his thin lips set in determination.

Matwa looked helplessly at Ankhare, as if for help, but the general was studying the ground and blushing furiously in shame. Kawaba, Psamtik’s mother, stood up and took the young man’s hand without further arguments and began to lead him from the room. He stood quite tall, as almost all of the Pharaoh’s children did, but as he left, they saw his backbone clearly. His shoulder blades protruded like the tucked in wings of a pelican.

Matwa knew what Kawaba was doing. He’d actually seen the disgusting thing before, since Psamtik was unashamed. Kawaba would lie down on the bed after settling her son in. She would lift her sash and when he opened his mouth wide to take in most of her sagging breast, she always winced. He would suck vigorously, although she was as dry as a mummy’s tit in late summer. He always did this when he felt insecure. Matwa groaned as he imagined the young pharaoh-to-be with his eyes shut—those eyes that looked like balls with a thin membrane stretched over them— while he made loud sucking noises. He looked away in disgust and began to study the cracks in the stone floor.


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