By the time Akbul had got back into his cramped flat he was absolutely parched, and the muscles in his arms burned from the weight of the item he had bartered the pharaoh for. He kicked the portapotty door open and clunked the heavy, bright object down on the rickety coffee table in front of him, which immediately collapsed under the strain.
He mopped his brow with his forearm, exhaled a lungful of air and gazed down at the most magnificent treasure he had ever seen. The bust of Tutankhamun lay on the floor between the shards of coffee table and dirty cups. The simple vision of the item took his breath away. He knew that having this in his possession must mean that it must now be missing from the ancient tomb in the present, and so he must act quickly to get from the flat to his storage room.
He stepped over the bust and jogged, as much as his flip flops would allow, into the kitchen, clicking the kettle on and getting two cups out of the cupboard. He threw two lumps of sugar into each cup along with a teabag and grabbed the glass of milk from the refrigerator. He waited by the kettle, his fingers rapping on the worktop until finally it clicked. He sloshed the water into the cups and stirred them frantically with a spoon from the side, adding a splash of milk to each cup as he went. He made sure to add plenty of milk, partially to hide the taste, but mainly to make the horrible sweet drink as cool as possible. He picked the cups up and headed back to the living room, taking painful, flesh-searing sips of molten hot tea with each step.
He stood over the bust. Something about the eyes drew him in. They brought a sense of peace to him which was welcome, given the amount of caffeine he got through each day. His hands stopped shaking and before he knew it the cups of tea had gone stone cold in his hands. He took long, large gulps until both cups were empty and tossed them onto the sofa.
He opened the door of the portapotty and held it open with his foot before scooping the bust up and dragging it into the portable toilet with him. The door closed and opened simultaneously and he dragged the bust back out of the door and into the dark abyss containing the infinite staircase and a cow. He lay the bust halfway up, and indeed halfway down, the staircase.
The cow tilted her head, then looked between her legs. Then she looked at Akbul.
What she appeared, according to Akbul at least, to be saying was:
What she was actually saying of course was, “If you don’t milk me right now, I’m going to ruin this staircase.”
“You already have some.” He told her, gesturing at the bowls of grass and water before hopping back in the portaporty and back to his flat.
The cow wondered up, or down, the stairs. She was never quite sure anymore, and looked at the bust which she absolutely swears told her in no uncertain terms to “sod off.”
She did another sneeze and fell over onto her side, where she lay as stiff as a doorpost.