Earl and Keller had scratched their heads so many times during this excavation that they feared that they would need wigs.
There shouldn't be an Egyptian-themed burial chamber under the city of Constantinople. If it were the original Constantinople, it might make more sense, but this was a major city in the middle of Illinois. The Constantinople Museum of Natural History had received a call from city workers who had found a burial chamber in the way of a new sewer line. The museum had dispatched a pair of third-tier researchers.
"The Sokolov family has revoked a lot of their funding since their pater familias died. Find something interesting that will get us press or you're on the curb," they'd been told.
Earl and Keller had prepared their CVs after they began to x-ray the stone sarcophagus only to see the bones moving between slides.
With nothing left to lose, they decided to pry the sarcophagus open. They slid the edge of their prybars into the slim crack underneath the lid and pulled down so hard on the ends that Keller's legs lifted off of the ground as she put all of her weight on the lever.
The lid lifted by a few inches. Something shuffled inside of the sarcophagus and then the lid erupted off of the top, borne on the shoulders of a rising mummy who had amazing squat technique. He hurled the lid to the ground so hard that it cracked into a dozen jagged pieces.
Then the mummy stretched, adjusted his wrappings, and stretched.
"My kids did a good job on the sarcophagus, I couldn't get positioned to get any leverage until you both lifted it up a bit." The mummy held out a hand to the bewildered Keller.
"How do you do, miss," the mummy said.
"I'm fine," Keller mumbled, shaking the mummy's dry, bandaged hand.
"Good, good. And you, sir, how do you do?"
Earl shook the mummy's hand.
"I'm great. You are a mummy."
"And you have a heart in your chest rather than in one a coptic jar," the mummy said, gesturing at the animal-headed masonry jars in the corner, "but I don't think that most people consider that your defining trait."
The mummy hopped out of the sarcophagus and left the tomb. Earl and Keller glanced at each other and then followed.
"Wait, where are you going?"
"To the ATM!"
The mummy did something very rude with his hands and afterwards he held a slightly moist debit card.
"Hard to hide it from the embalmers, but I didn't get where I was in life, uh, death, whatever, by listening to all the people who told me 'they'll check there first!'"
The mummy climbed through the hole that Earl and Keller had bored through the door.
"I can't tell you how much this means to me," the mummy said. "Even if I had been able to lift the lid off of the sarcophagus, I don't think I would've been able to get through this."
"When were you buried here?" Keller said. Earl shot her a glance.
"We don't just ask the corpses! We're scientists!"
"It's quite all right with me. What year is it?"
Keller told him.
"About five years, then," the mummy said. "I'd always been very interested in the Egyptians. I gave plenty of money to the Constantinople Museum of Natural History. The name of Sokolov should stand for academic integrity!"
Keller and the mummy had to catch Earl as he fainted.
"I hope that I didn't accidentally curse him for desecrating my tomb!"
The Moral: Never trust an author to avoid injecting unnecessary continuity.