Mar 31

Hotel Hijinks with an Heiress

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INTRODUCTION & DISCLAIMER – Enjoy a trip back in time to Egypt in 1926, where dashing young archaeologist Doctor James Banks and his team struggle to find any Pharaoh’s tomb, much less one as grand and opulent as that of Tutankhamen located four years earlier. James’s financial backer, ruthless American capitalist Humphrey Herbert is anything but pleased about the lack of progress, and is not shy about making his feelings known. Will Mr. Herbert’s daughter, the beautiful heiress Charlotte, be any nicer to James than her father?

Only characters aged 18 and over engage in sexual activities. All characters and events are fictional, with any similarity to real persons living or dead coincidental and unintentional.


The afternoon sun beat down relentlessly across Egypt, and there seemed no escape from the heat anywhere in Cairo, where the residents of the over-crowded city sought ways to keep cool, both inside and outside.

Among those trying to keep cool were three men who sat at a restaurant table at a hotel, wiping sweat from their brows as they discussed the progress, or rather the lack of progress, on the archaeology expedition in the Valley of the Kings.

The expedition leader was Doctor James Banks, a tall and dashing 32-year-old American archaeologist with dark hair and handsome, rugged looks specializing in Egyptology. The young man had published numerous papers on the subject and lectured extensively both in America and in England, but his expert knowledge of ancient Egypt was proving of precious little value now.

To the left of James sat the deputy expedition leader Doctor Martin Ward, a slim, red-haired American who like his boss was a world renowned expert on ancient Egypt, and also like his superior was finding out that publishing papers about Egyptian artefacts and lecturing on the subject was much easier that finding them oneself in the hot and sandy environs of the Valley of the Kings.

The third man at the table was an Egyptian named Ahmed, the foreman of the laborers who were working at the excavation site. Or rather, the team should have been working at the site. For week after long week, the only items dug up from the sand were rocks. However, when the team finally came upon an actual artifact – a small stone statue of a cat dating back some 3000 years – the majority of the superstitious laborers saw it as a bad omen and abandoned the site, fleeing into the night. This caused much consternation to the American expedition team, and to the level-headed Ahmed.

Superstition seemed to have overshadowed the expedition from the start. Gossip and talk of curses abounded not only among the locals, but among members of the American expedition. The discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamen by Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon four years previously had been one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of all time. But the premature death of Carnarvon and many others who were either in or connected with the expedition, not to mention the difficulties at this site even after the discovery gave rise to talk of a ‘Curse of the Pharaohs’. And when the cat statue was unearthed from the sand, it sent the majority of the laborers into a panic, the men feeling certain it was a bad omen.

James dismissed any notion of curses or jinxes, but could only ponder the bad luck of his expedition. The workers taking flight at a harmless cat statue was just the start of the problems. The administrators at the museum in Cairo had sent a telegram demanding a meeting to discuss the progress of the expedition, hence the one of the reasons for the trip to the Egyptian capital. Then there was the small matter of funding. The man financing the expedition was a wealthy New York tycoon named Humphrey Herbert. A ruthless capitalist who made other Wall Street multi-millionaires look like communists, Mr. Herbert demanded quick and fast returns on his investments. The man was less than impressed several months earlier when James sent him a telegram for a second round of funding, but the thought of another lost Pharaoh’s tomb filled with riches unseen for thousands of years being uncovered caused dollar signs to flash before Mr. Herbert’s eyes, and the funding was supplied with a stern warning that results were expected.

Now, this funding was almost exhausted and James would have to send a begging telegram to Mr. Herbert to arrange more. James doubted that Herbert would be very impressed by receiving such correspondence, but then it took a lot to impress the man anyway.

At the table, Ahmed picked up the statue of the cat and shook his head in frustration. “It is so silly, those who talk of curses. I will do my best to arrange you a new team, and you know me and my family will continue to work for you, but you know how gossip spreads so arranging more men may be hard.”

James nodded. “Yes, I understand. Thank you again Ahmed.”

Ahmed placed the cat statue down and got up from the table. “So, I will see you tomorrow at three?”

“That’s bursa escort right,” James affirmed.

Ahmed went on his way, and James and Martin remained discussing their expedition’s many failings to date. “Maybe there is a curse?” Martin joked.

James smiled and shook his head. “For there to have been a curse we would have to have found something. Apart from the cat statue, we have found nothing.”

“Do you think Ahmed might be able to arrange more laborers?” asked Martin.

“Ahmed is very reliable and level-headed,” observed James. “But I think he might find it hard, given the stories and old superstitions that linger. It was hard enough to get the last team organized.”

The two men got up from their table, paid their bill and walked towards the lobby. “Are you sending a telegram to Emma?” James asked his colleague. He was aware that Martin missed his wife and children when working overseas, and James was glad at times that he himself had not met the right lady as yet. Working away from a wife and family for months at a time would be difficult.

Martin nodded. “That’s right, I haven’t had much of a chance lately.”

“I’ll swap with you,” said James. “I’ll send a telegram to your wife, and you can send the telegram to Old Humphrey requesting more money.”

Martin laughed in response. “No, I’m good thank you. Old Humphrey will probably jump into the Atlantic, swim here and kill me.”

“He’ll do the same to me,” said James. “One thing is for sure, I will need to make the telegram really convincing to persuade Old Humphrey not to kill me, much less part with any more of his money.”

“Or you could ask ‘Old Humphrey’ to invest more money face to face,” came a strict-sounding, male American voice from behind them.

Startled, James and Martin whirled around and were astounded to see the tall, portly frame of their financial backer Humphrey Herbert standing behind them in the lobby. Despite the heat, Mr. Herbert was clad in a full black suit, complete with a tie, jacket and hat as though he was going to a meeting in New York, not in Cairo. The tycoon stared back at them with a stern, indignant expression, the man’s caterpillar-like moustache his most dominant facial feature.

Behind Mr. Herbert stood a second person just as familiar to the two archaeologists, in the slim and pretty form of Herbert’s 22-year-old daughter Charlotte. Unlike her father, Charlotte’s clothing of a short pink dress, the hem well above the young woman’s knees helped her cope with the Egyptian heat, while her matching pink headband kept her stylish bobbed blonde hair in place and absorbed any perspiration on her brow.

Charlotte often accompanied her father on business meetings and trips, and obviously this one was no exception. Mr. Herbert’s wife was a nervous woman, who disliked leaving the security of their expensive home, much less traveling overseas with her husband. When Mr. and Mrs. Herbert welcomed their daughter and son into the world in 1904 & 1905, Mr. Herbert had their futures mapped out for them.

The daughter Charlotte would attend the finest girls’ school in New York, and after completing finishing school would marry a wealthy young man from an old-money, East Coast blue-blood family. The younger child, the son Humphrey Junior, would receive the finest education money could buy at exclusive boys’ schools and progress to an Ivy-league university. At all stages of his education Humphrey Junior would achieve the highest academic standards and a star on the sports’ field, and as a young adult he would work with his father to learn how to run the business empire with a fist of iron.

To the great disappointment of Humphrey Senior however, Humphrey Junior turned out to be a weak and sickly child, confined to a wheelchair, having learning difficulties and severe respiratory problems that kept him out of sight behind the walls of the family estate. When Mrs. Herbert failed to fall pregnant again after the birth of his son, Mr. Herbert coped with the disappointment of a son not living up to his visions by substituting his daughter into the things he had one day hoped his son would do, such as accompanying him on business trips. It was something the thoroughly-modern young heiress seemed to like, and Charlotte could most often be found at her father’s side.

“Mr. Herbert, Miss Charlotte, what an unexpected surprise,” stammered James, as he tried to cover up his disbelief at their arrival, and his frustration at making a major faux pas with the man who with the stroke of a pen could end the expedition.

“Surprises are unexpected, Banks, why else would they be called surprises?” asked Humphrey Herbert gruffly, as first he and his daughter shook hands with James and then Martin.

“How are you finding Egypt, Miss Charlotte?” Martin asked the girl politely.

“Hot,” said the young woman, as she adjusted her headband.

“It must be all the red ink,” grunted her father.

“I’m sorry?” asked James.

“The bursa escort bayan red ink that is hemorrhaging from my funds financing your expedition that so far has not yielded one find must be what is causing the heat,” growled Mr. Herbert, his face looking as though he had eaten a green lemon. He pointed to four chairs in the lobby. “We will discuss the situation over there.”

Both James and Martin had served during the Great War, but neither felt as nervous at any stage during any battle as they did now. The archaeologists sat next to each other, opposite their backer and his daughter.

“I guess you must be wondering why I traveled all this way?” asked Mr. Herbert, as he lit up a cigar.

“Yes Mr. Herbert, the thought had occurred to me,” said James.

“I traveled thousands of miles to see for myself what progress you are making on my money.”

“Well, we have made some progress of late,” James began, before Humphrey Herbert cut him off.

“So, your men are close to unearthing a tomb equal to or more splendid than that of Tutankhamen?”

“Well sir, unearthing tombs of ancient Egyptian Pharaohs isn’t the easiest of tasks,” said James.

Humphrey Herbert puffed on his cigar. “So I can see from looking at my bank accounts.”

“But we are making progress,” James assured his backer.

“Yes of course. So, your foreman has already found a new team who have returned to the Valley of Kings at top speed and are currently on the verge of digging up a tomb?” Mr. Humphrey prompted.

“How did you …” James began.

“I overheard you talking Banks. How else do think I know that? Use some common sense, man.”

“Mr. Humphrey, it is a temporary setback. I can assure you we are making progress. Just this week, we unearthed this artefact.” James handed out the ancient cat statue to Mr. Herbert, who examined it with a sour and unenthusiastic expression.

“By the depth it was discovered, it is over 3000 years old,” said Martin.

“And it will look just great in your museum back in New York,” said James, trying to talk Herbert around.

“It looks like a sculpture I made in art class as a boy,” said Mr. Herbert. “Do you know what my art master said to me when I handed him my cat sculpture? He said that if I was to pursue a career in art, I would be sure to starve to death.”

Mr. Herbert handed the cat statue back to the archeologists, and again regarded both men with a severe expression. “One thing you should know about me Doctor Banks and Doctor Ward is that when I invest money, I expect a result. And that result must be a profit, not break-even and not a loss.”

“Sir, with respect searching for ancient relics is not like running an ordinary business operation,” said James.

“The ancient Egyptian civilization lasted thousands of years Banks. I know that there are more tombs out there like that of Tutankhamen, and with the money I am paying you, I expect you to find one.”

“We just need more time to explore more areas,” said James.

“And more money,” said Herbert. “Let me give you some free advice, Banks. I have provided two rounds of finance for your expedition, and you have dug up a stone cat. You must turn my lost money into a profit by finding another tomb just like the one found by Carter and Carnarvon. I do not invest in causes where there is no prospect of a profit. Just last week, one of my associates in California tried to convince me to invest in the development of talking films. And do you know what I said? I said no outright, as the whole concept of talking films is one that will never catch on.”

“Mr. Herbert, it did take Howard Carter several years to discover the tomb of Tutankhamen,” James pointed out.

“Banks, I do not seem to be getting through to you that the world is changing. In just four years’ time, it will be a new decade. With stability finally achieved in Europe, communism certain to die within the next year and the world’s stock markets continually rising in value, the 1930s will be a time of peace and prosperity not seen before. And peace and prosperity equals profit. All of my investments must make the highest return possible, so I enter the 1930s with my holdings at maximum value. Is that clear?”

“Very clear, Sir,” said James. “So, I take it you will be withdrawing further funding?”

“Did I say I was withdrawing funding, Banks? No, I did not. But I have also not said yes to more funding either. I have a chance to finance an expedition to find the ruins of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon in the Kingdom of Iraq. So now I have a choice; to continue investing in a project that has found a stone cat and has run over-budget, or to fund a new expedition to find ancient ruins that are certain to be found sooner rather than later.”

“I hope very much that you choose our expedition, Sir,” said James.

“It will take much more than hope, Banks,” said Mr. Herbert. “I will be working closely with you over the next few days. I will be going through escort bursa all of your plans and how you intend to spend any funds I invest in your venture. Only if I am convinced that you have a realistic hope of finding another Pharaoh’s tomb to rival that of Tutankhamen will I provide so much as a dime of funding. Do I make myself clear, Doctor Banks and Doctor Ward?”

“Yes Sir,” said James and Martin in unison.

“And now, I must see if my luggage has finally been taken up to my room,” said Mr. Herbert, he and his daughter getting up from their chairs.

James, although completely absorbed in his thoughts of ways to convince Humphrey Herbert to continue funding the expedition was unable to avoid seeing a quick glimpse of Charlotte’s white panties as the young woman got to her feet, her short flapper dress riding up ever so slightly. It sure was different from his younger years before the Great War, when all women wore long dresses down to their ankles.

The archaeologist continued to watch the young heiress as she followed her father to the hotel reception, Humphrey Herbert blustering, “Doesn’t anybody in this darn country speak English?” when his query was not adequately answered.

James and Martin looked at each other. Convincing Humphrey Herbert to part with more cash looked a more difficult prospect than finding a lost Pharaoh’s tomb buried for centuries under tons of sand. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon project looked the more likely to receive finance.


That evening, James made his way to his hotel room, worrying about how to handle Mr. Herbert the following day. Opening the door, the young man jumped in surprise when he saw the slim figure of Charlotte sitting on his bed. The girl still wore her pink dress and matching headband, but had removed her shoes and was barefoot.

“Miss Charlotte, what are you doing in my room?” James asked.

“I convinced a porter that it was my room, and I was locked out,” said the girl. She reached into her purse, removing a cigarette, a cigarette holder and a lighter. Inserting her cigarette into the holder, Charlotte lit it and took in a deep puff, exhaling a cloud of smoke.

“Just one question, why?” James enquired. He doubted that Mr. Herbert would be very happy that his daughter – the apple of the man’s eye – was alone in the room of a man who was definitely not on his favorite person’s list at the moment.

Charlotte took another puff of her cigarette, and this time exhaled a smoke-ring. “So I could tell you how displeased Father is with you at the moment.”

“Um Charlotte, you let yourself into my hotel room to tell me that your father is displeased with me?” the disbelieving James asked. “I already know that. A man who is blind and deaf could see that.”

“Close the door behind you, James,” said Charlotte. The girl was so firm in her direction that James found himself obeying this without question and stood beside the bed as Charlotte finished her cigarette, before tipping what remained of it into an ash-tray.

“Do you think that you and Doctor Ward will be able to convince Father to part with more cash?” Charlotte asked.

“I hope we can convince him by showing him through our plans,” said James.

“You won’t convince him,” said Charlotte, a smug expression on her pretty face.

James, who could see his expedition was going the way of the Titanic, was becoming irritated. “So again, you entered my hotel room without permission to remind me that your father was displeased with me, and that I have no hope of procuring more funds?”

“That’s right. You have no chance of convincing Father to invest any more money in the expedition.”

“Well, thank you for telling me Charlotte.”

The girl regarded James evenly with her pretty blue eyes. “But do you know who might be able to persuade him?”

“President Coolidge maybe?”

Charlotte laughed. “No, not the President, silly. The answer is me.”

“You?” asked James. “Why do you want to convince your father to provide more funds?”

“Two reasons,” said Charlotte. “Firstly, I am confident you will find another lost Pharaoh’s tomb, and it will be prestigious for my family to be involved in such an event. Secondly, I like you and want to see you succeed. I know I can persuade Father to change his mind about financing your expedition.”

“You’re joking, aren’t you?” asked James. He wasn’t convinced by what Charlotte had said, thinking that the young heiress was amusing herself with some sort of joke.

“No, I’m perfectly serious,” Charlotte assured him. “Father tends to listen to me, but not so much to people who are in his bad books. Like Egyptologists who have only one cat statue to show for the money invested so far.”

“I don’t know what else to say but thank you,” said James, still unsure if Charlotte would keep up her end of the bargain.

“Thank you is fine,” said the pretty young blonde. “Now, perhaps you could help me with something. What do you do to have fun in Egypt?”

James thought it through. He hadn’t had much fun during the expedition, just he, Martin and other members of the expedition pouring through hundreds of plans, maps and sketches and avoiding the heat and mosquitos.

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