A new life would be possible because of the object that he now carried in one of the interior pockets of his jacket: the Garnet of Hatshepsut.
Shortly after arriving in Cairo, Jack had procured an old map from one John Millhouse, a British professor of Egyptian antiquities. The map indicated the approximate location of the garnet.
“The garnet is worth a fortune,” John Millhouse had told him, as Jack handed over the money for the map. “Finding it will not be easy, but not many people know about it. If you find it first, you’ll be a rich man. You’ll be set for the rest of your life, in fact.”
And two days ago, Jack had finally found the garnet.
In order to find the garnet, Jack had endured hours in the sun, the dangers of the desert, and the constant grumblings of his Egyptian assistant, Tahmid.
But now, finally, the garnet was his.
Hatshepsut, Jack had learned, had been one of ancient Egypt’s lady pharaohs. She had lived about 3,500 years ago.
Jack had only the barest knowledge of ancient Egyptology. But once he was back in the United States, he promised himself, he would learn more about Hatshepsut. He owed that long-dead lady a lot. Or he would owe her a lot—once he sold the gem.
The garnet was a large red stone, with Egyptian hieroglyphics carved into its bottom, flat face.
It was a beautiful gemstone. The most beautiful gemstone that Jack had ever seen.
But Jack had no intention of holding on to it. He had already tied up most of his affairs in Cairo. Tomorrow—or the next day, at the latest—he would leave the Egyptian capital and catch a train to the port city of Alexandria. From there he would catch a steamer to New York.
In New York he would find a buyer for the garnet. There were dealers of rare gemstones in New York. Many of them would want to purchase a stone like the Garnet of Hatshepsut.
Jack had already determined that while he would not allow himself to become greedy, he would not be taken advantage of, either. A bidding war among the New York dealers of rare gems would not be out of the question.
After he had sold the garnet, he would take his bank draft payment to the nearest branch of a major bank.
He would put the bulk of his earnings into a new savings account, of course. He would permit himself a single indulgence, however.
He would visit one of the many car dealerships in New York. There he would purchase a brand-new Ford automobile—perhaps a DeLuxe Roadster or Fordor.
Or, for that matter, why not a brand-new DeSoto Airstream? Before leaving for Egypt six months ago, Jack had seen one of the 1936 DeSoto Airstreams in Indianapolis. The newest DeSotos were really something.
Whichever car he decided upon, he would pay cash. He imagined the look on the salesman’s face, the smell of his new car’s leather upholstery.
Over the past two days he had replayed the scene many times.
Then he would drive to Franklin, Indiana, where he would begin the rest of his life.
But before he did all that, he had to get the Garnet of Hatshepsut safely out of Egypt. And he was now concerned that a group of men might be specifically intent on taking it from him.
Men who were presently in this bar.