Zhang was still scanning the room as Tommy took his seat.
“I want everyone to take note of this historic day!” Zhang said, making his way to the closet where yesterday’s corpse had emerged. Something told Tommy that Zhang had another equally horrific surprise in store.
“I was able to pull some strings with the school’s donation board,” Zhang prattled on. “What we have today is something very special!” He pulled out an ornate looking sarcophagus, which Tommy thought to be at least sixteen feet. At that length, it seemed like some sort of formidable sea creature. He imagined it swimming around in an aquatic darkness, its unnaturally long tail winding this way and that.
“I think I will let Tommy reprise his role from yesterday,” Zhang waved Tommy to the middle of the room. Tommy shakily complied. None of the students were laughing at him, though, which he had a hard time believing. Maybe they were so enraptured by the current spectacle that shaming seemed a little too boring by comparison.
“What do I do now?” Tommy asked.
“Just like yesterday. Take this scalpel, straight to the heart.”
Small bits of hail started to pelt the windows, and the wind became louder and more forceful. Tommy glanced outside for a second, trying to build up his reserves of courage. Every inch of himself was being scoured for the scarce resource. The outside wasn’t very soothing at all. Trees were swaying back and forth, the pale grey sky constantly flickering because nature just had to let out some angst. Nothing external was able to soothe him.
“This should be easier for you, Tommy. No blood. Just a dried out heart.”
“I’ll try,” Tommy said, amidst a couple snickers, but they might have been nervous ones. He stabbed the left side of the chest, rooting around and holding one arm over his nose. Eventually, all Tommy could see was a large hole that now defined the left side of the mummy’s chest. But no heart.
“I don’t understand, why isn’t there a heart?” Tommy asked.
“I believe you’re looking for this,” Zhang procured a jar from behind his back. It was made of red granite and had the head of a jackal. “The Egyptians were fond of the practice of removing vital organs before the process of mummification.”
“If you knew that, why did you let me dig around this desiccated corpse for nothing?!”
“Because most humans do not recognize their follies unless they’ve reflected on the amount of work put into them.”
Tommy just shrugged and took his seat, not too pleased with Zhang at the moment for what was an egregious waste of his time. Follies, his ass. If Zhang really wanted to spark rational curiosity in his students, he could’ve encouraged research before springing a desiccated corpse on him. The rest of the students were laughing, more at the absurd situation imposed by Zhang instead of at Tommy.
“Well, what we have next should be fun,” Zhang’s eyes gleamed as his mouth moved, like a ventriloquist dummy. “I have a little scavenger hunt planned. If any one of you can find one of these canopic jars, of which there are are four, you will receive one letter grade bump!”
The class cheered. This was quite the potential boon. Four students could receive a grade bump. Or a failing student could become an A student, a real overachiever, just like that. Tommy went from being pissed to being very excited.