Raiders of the Lost in Translation

Flash Fiction Month 2017, Day 3

“Once again, Doctor Jones, what was briefly yours is now mine.”

“You won’t get away with this, René. It belongs in a museum!”

“Yes.” The dastardly René Belloq stood, smiling, and held the golden idol aloft before the assembled tribe. “You could tell them…if only you spoke Hovitos.”

“Hold it right there!” shouted a man with a whip and a fedora who’d just appeared out of nowhere.

“Who the hell are you?” demanded René.

“I’m California James, and although I agree that the idol belongs in a museum, I’d like to suggest that it go to the Smithsonian specifically.”

“Hold it right there!” shouted another man with a whip and fedora. “I’m Leicestershire John, and that idol belongs in the British Museum!”

“How many of you people are there?!?” René asked Indiana Jones.

“Arrêt, s’il vous plait!” shouted yet another man with a whip and fedora. “Je suis Québec Jaques, et je requeste que l’artefact est donné au Musée canadien de l’histoire au Gatineau!”

“What?” René looked from Québec Jaques to Leicestershire John to California James to Indiana Jones. “No! Okay? No. None of you get a say in where the idol goes because none of you speak Hovitos. I’m selling it to a private collector for personal gain. End of story.”

“Je parle un peu de Hovitos.”

René slapped a hand to his forehead. “I don’t even know what you’re saying!”

“But I do!” a fifth man with a whip and fedora stepped into the clearing. “Alberta Jack. My vote would also be for the Canadian Museum of History, by the way. My colleague here says he speaks a bit of Hovitos.”

“What?” The colour drained from René’s face.

Québec Jaques held a brief conversation with the leader of the tribe.

“Ils sont en colère que Indiana Jones a détruit leur temple pour retrouver l’idole,” he announced at last.

“He says they’re a bit peeved that Indiana Jones wrecked their temple to get the idol,” explained Alberta Jack.

Québec Jaques conversed with the leader for a minute or so more before passing the gist of what he heard to his colleague.

“In addition to the whole thing generally seeming a bit sacrilegious, they’re disappointed that nobody considered the archaeological value of the dart, spike and boulder traps that their people have been faithfully preserving for several centuries. They trust that whoever does lay claim to the idol will be willing to cover the cost of the damages.”

For a moment, total silence reigned.

“Well,” said Leicestershire John, “I for one think this item would make an excellent addition to the collections of the Smithsonian.”

If you’ve enjoyed this story, you can find my work from previous Flash Fiction Months collected in these books:

OCR is Not the Only Font Cover REDESIGN (Barbecued Iguana)Red Herring Cover (Barbecued Iguana design)Bionic Punchline eBook CoverOsiris Likes This Cover

Click any cover to find that book in your choice of format.

You might also be interested in my sci-fi murder mystery novella, Ten Little Astronauts, which is currently crowdfunding at Unbound. Most pledge levels include all the books shown above, and all will include your name in the back of Ten Little Astronauts itself as a patron of my work.

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