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Horace of the Horizon-part 3
I looked up at the ceiling as I lay in bed and mouthed the words “Zep tepi”
I had no idea what that meant or why it came to me to say as I woke up.
I got up banged out the remnants of a box of bran flakes into a chipped white bowl. Frosted bran flakes of course.
I paused as I pulled the milk out of the fridge to give a moment’s thought. I sniffled and fumbled for a tissue.
I blew my nose.
I sat down at my rickety glass kitchen table. It was tall and narrow, and leaned slightly into the corner into which I had shoved it. The chair for it, the last survivor of a set of three, was a tall stool with a round padded vinyl seat, white turned to tan and with large gaudy blue flowers. It made an uncomfortable hissing noise when I sat down on it. I hunched over the table and started eating my cereal.
I had no clue what a Zep Tepi was.
Surinder spots a Cobra
When I got to work I found the van in the far corner of the Sun parking lot, with the cargo doors unlocked and swung a quarter ways open. I pulled the doors open to find Surinder Patesh sprawled out on stacks of newspapers and snoring loudly. Surinder was the guy I worked with. I made no sound but inexplicably he opened an eye.
“You’ll catch shit if they find you sleeping, so parking lot might not be the best idea” I warned him as I looked over everything.
Surinder pulled himself up from his makeshift bed of newspaper stacks “Yes, of course you are welcome Horace; it was a pleasure being in early to make sure all the papers were sorted before you even got in, even though I’m the one with a wife and a family”
I shook my head in mock disgust. “Unreal,”
I then jumped out of the cargo hold and walked around the van to pull myself into the driver’s seat where I began my daily ritual of mirror adjustment. “You won’t be such a smart guy after some crack head sneaks into the van and tries to infect you with something”
“If he can drive he’d been upgrade from your deadbeat ass” Surinder scoffed.
I stuck the key in the ignition and started the van. “We do the same job and I’m in charge, how can you call me a dead beat?”
Surinder laughed with muted cynicism “I’m a brown guy with a thick accent and a limp, what’s your excuse, guy?”
I was about to retort when I noticed an expensive looking car pull into the parking lot.
“What are you looking at?” Surinder asked from the back.
“Car,” I replied “Dunno looks kinda foreign, like Italian or something”
Surinder pulled himself over the seats and strained to look past my head out the window.
“British! “He announced with authority “Shelby Cobra, sweet ride, classic!”
“Wonder who the guy is?” I said pointing to the man getting out of the roadster.
It was a little hard to see him from across the parking lot, but he seemed to be a tall fit man, possibly Middle Eastern. Evan with the distance it was obvious that he was immaculately groomed. He walked with graceful authoritative steps. He radiated power and importance and had the suit to match. In his left hand he carried a kind of walking stick, taller than he was. It was forked at the bottom and seemed to have some sort of animal head at the top.
Surinder regarded the man for several minutes.
“I think that might be that Egyptology guy, think his name is Dr. Abbot Suty Apepi. Apparently he is also some kind of business guy or something or maybe just rich, but he’s famous for all that hieroglyphs and zep tepi shit”
I did a double take and was about to press Surinder excitedly for answers but instead managed to compose myself.
I began to back the van out of its spot “ah right, that zep tepi is a very big thing” I said as knowledgably as I could muster.
Surinder scoffed “So then you can tell me what it means, Dr Jones?”
I wheeled us around and pulled out of the parking lot. “Well I think we both know what it means Surinder, but you know there are so many interpretations of these things”
I started heading us West along the Toronto lake shore, the CN tower looming in our foreground.
“So I think we should ask what your interpretation is Surinder”
There was a pause for a second and I had for a moment thought I had sold it. The sudden cackle of laughter from the back of the van trounced any hope of that being true
“Oh my God, suck my smelly brown bag, Rostau you are a pathetic liar, just be a man and admit you don’t know!”
I fumed for several seconds as I drove, not because I was angry at Surinder for showing me up, but rather because I was embarrassed at my pathetic display at feigning any sort of knowledge.
After several more minutes of uncomfortable silence I finally spoke up.
“OK, so what is Zippo Teppo then?”
Surrinder chuckled “It’s ‘Zep tepi ‘ Horace, it is what the ancient Egyptians call ‘the first’ time in which their civilization was started and ruled by the Gods themselves, all of this thousands of years before the ancient egypt we know”
The idea sounded amazing and exciting to me “Wow, is that true?”
“No!” exclaimed Surinder emphatically. “Well, yes the ancient Egyptians believed it was true, but it’s just myth, no serious thinker considers it at all”
“That might be” I said as I concentrated for a moment to navigate a turn “But seems a bit of a dickhead move to pretty much ignore what the Egyptians say about their own history, I mean at least as how I see it”
“Well people agree with you, but only crack pots and pseudo-historians like Graham Hancock, not people you want to take seriously” to which he added “Hold on! Box here!”
I pulled to a stop and Surinder kicked the back door open and jumped out, hoisting a stack of newspapers as he did.
There was a box across the street as well, Surinder would be a minute.
The air filled with a hiss as I opened a can of cola. I took a large gulp and then placed the can in the drink holder, where it rested a little unconvincingly.
It was a hot day and I really should have been drinking water to actually hydrate me, and I had heard all manner of legends concerning bike chains, steel bars and human guts being rotted right through.
Just thinking about it made me queasy, but damn it all I liked the taste!
As I shifted in my seat I felt something uncomfortable jab my leg. I shoved my hand into my pocket and pulled out an envelope. It was the letter from my dad of course. I hadn't read it yet.
I clumsily tore it open. A pair of dental xrays fell out along with a small handwritten note.
“Maybe each age has it’s zep tepi, their ‘first time’ of the Gods. You too?”
I put the note and the x-rays as best I could back into the torn envelope and stuffed it all back in my pocket.
I felt more than a little creeped out by the whole ‘zep tepi’ thing being mentioned again. It was way more coincidence than I was comfortable with.
My reverie was interupted by the sound of Surinder jumping back into the van. I instantly decided that it would be best to say nothing to Surinder about what I saw in the envelope.
The rest of the day was quiet. I tried to fill it in as best I could with idle chit chat, but really my mind was on the letter.
I pulled the van into the parking lot and grabbed our usual spot right in the back.
We had to take back in any old unsold papers and fliers left behind in the boxes and to sign off for the day.
As we crossed the parking lot Surinder suddenly stooped down and snatched something off the ground.
“What’s that?” I asked.
“Flash drive!” he announced displaying it between his fingers “right in the spot where Dr. Suty Apepi parked”
He had a mischeivious sparkle in his eye.
“You’re welcome to whatever viruses you get” I deadpanned as I continued towards the building.
Surinder popped the flash drive into his shirt pocket.
He was welcome to it.
It couldn't possibly have anything to do with me.
To be continued..
Horace of the Horizon is intended to be an ongoing story that will unfold right here on Hub Pages in installments.
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