Kiss Arse

(The Saga of Caveman Hom, Episode 11)

[Index]

[Previous Episode]

‘When women leave tribe,’ say Fooella, ‘King Tra get angry. It no women left, only Krone, and she old. Tra want woman for sex, but Krone no good. Instead she want young one with nice boobies. But tribe not have.’

‘That own fault,’ say Nizzi. ‘Tra stupid.’

Fooella smile. ‘Me hear funny rumour. Me hear King Tra want sex Krone, but she laugh. Tra try beg, but it no good. She try threaten, but Krone not scared. So then Tra grab stick. She try hit, but Krone move fast, grab stick from hand. She hit Tra with stick many time. Tra cry. Krone give good beating, then give back stick. She crumble herb in cauldron, heal wound. Soon Tra stop crying, but she humiliated. She never touch Krone again.’

Tribe laugh. 

‘Krone fierce,’ me say. ‘Me glad she give beating. But what wrong Tra? Everybody know Krone is woman who like sex only woman. She have sex man only for make Hom. Then she stop. She not want man again.’ 

‘But Tra is woman,’ say Fooella. ‘Not man.’

‘He say he woman, but he have willy. So what difference? Only coconut.’

‘You wrong,’ say Fooella. ‘It more.’

‘What more?’

‘If man say he woman, then he woman. If woman say she man, then she man.’

‘That nonsense!’ say Fem. ‘And it beside point. You, Fooella — finish story! Me want eat.’

So Fooella continue. He not so good tell story, so me change words. These words of Hom. But story still same:

He say Tra want sex woman, but tribe have only men. It problem. But then Buz have idea. One day he decide he woman, and he young — this mean he sexy! He find good coconut for wear on chest. He use stone for scrape hair from leg. He learn walk with wiggle. He speak in high voice. Then he find Tra. 

He say, ‘You Tra, King of Women! Me woman, so me beautiful, and have good smell. Me have nice boobies here behind coconut. Why not we have sex?’

Tra agree. He have sex Buz. He make Buz Queen. Then he remember father of Buz, name Boz. Boz once Chief, before Fem, but he drop big stone on foot; he get bad injury, trigger election. Now Tra give Boz special name too — he call him Father Queen. Boz very proud. 

Then Tra make rule. He say King, Queen and Father make Royal family. He say all tribe must kiss Royal arse. When see Father Queen, they kiss once. When see Queen Buz, they kiss twice. When see King Tra, tribe kiss arse twice, then once more with tongue. 

This new rule, but Tra not let tribe vote. He say democracy bad — it lead to chaos! Instead he have better system — he make rule for everybody. It no debate allowed. Then Tra wave stick. He say Royal family born to rule. They all women, so this mean women better than men. Women always gentle and pretty. Women clever. But men stupid. Also, they ugly and smell bad. So women need hit men with stick, for keep control. He say this natural.

At first men not agree, but soon have same idea like Buz. They scrape hair from leg. They wear coconut on chest. They have sex Royal family. Soon it no men left, only women! Everybody walk with big stick, but they not find men for hit. For short time is peace, but then come trouble. Everybody want be best woman in tribe, make big boast of own beauty. But who have most? It much discussion, but not reveal truth. Fighting begin, but question remain — who is great beauty of tribe? Who best for Royal sex? Nobody know. So fighting continue. It big problem.

But Fooella have idea. He think it clever. He remember he expert on worm. He know all baby worm is girl, never boy. No baby worm have willy. But when worm grow up she want sex. When worm meet other worm, she check for willy. If she find willy, then worm have sex. If not find, then one worm grow willy — it not matter which! Then worm have sex. 

After Fooella think about this long time, he know meaning. It mean girl worm same like boy worm, except one thing — boy worm have willy! If boy worm lose willy, he girl again. So why not human same? If man cut off willy, he become woman. Maybe he lose hair on leg. Maybe he grow boobies, and feet shrink. He get pretty face! Then, he not only woman — he good one! He most beautiful woman in tribe. When Fooella think this, he smile! He very happy for expert knowledge! Thanks to worm, he know exactly what do.

So Fooella take stone knife. He make very sharp. Then he place willy on flat stone. He position knife, take deep breath. Then he cut willy. He scream! Then he pass out. When he wake up, he feel terrible pain! He look — willy hang by thread, and much blood. He determined, so he finish cut willy. Again he scream, but nobody come. He feel faint, but he get up, find Krone. Blood drip on ground while walk. When Fooella find Krone, she shake head. She tut. But she say nothing, only try heal. She give food. Then Fooella sleep. 

[Next Episode]

Tears of Hypocrite

(The Saga of Caveman Hom, Episode 10)

[Index]

[Previous Episode]

Ali, Cul and Cal stay for guard Gel while heal Pevette. Rest of tribe return to big cave for eat — later, we bring plenty food for guard. Fooella still tied, he not walk well, so me help Gai carry. At first he drag feet but Gai shout and thrust spear. Fooella cry again, but now he make effort, support own weight. 

At cave we find hide of rabbit. It good for small shoe. It also good for keep man quiet. We tie Fooella tight to big rock. We shove hide in mouth, tie with twine. Now he not escape, he not talk. This good. Now tribe make food. Today we not hunt, so make soup with dry meat from deer. It need cook long time. In end it good, but fresh meat always better.

While soup cook, tribe talk. Fem ask Arca and Cheri what happen. She hear it already, but not all. Now she want tribe hear too. This time she want full story.  While listen, we not idle. Some make arrow or shoe. Some prepare hide. Me make spear. Mat sit by fire, draw mark on ground. Tix sit with him. She clever. She learn much already. She good daughter, make Hom proud! 

Arca begin story. She say, ‘We go cave of stick for smooching. At first it little bit, but soon it grow more. Me remove loincloth. Me horny! Then Cheri reach down with hand. She begin—’

‘Enough!’ interrupt Cheri. ‘They not need sex details!’

‘Me want details,’ say Fab. ‘Details important.’

Everybody laugh. Then Fem say, ’You want sex details? Use imagination!’

Fab grin. ‘Me only joking. Me like naughty humour.’ 

‘Humour good,’ say Fem. ‘But this not time for joke.’ She turn to Arca and Cherry. ‘Me sorry for interrupt. It rude. Please continue story.’

‘Me also sorry,’ say Fab. ‘Context important.’

Arca continue. She say she smooching in cave with Cheri. Suddenly she see man at entrance. She not recognise. But it Pevette, he watching! He wear coconut on chest. Arca shocked. She not know what do! Then Pevette grab Cheri — he put hand on boobies! He squeeze, he rub! Arca scream. Cheri turn, she scream too. She grab club of antler, she swing. It miss! Arca reach for bow. 

Then Arca see other man — it Fooella. He shout Pevette, grab arm and pull from cave. Arca come forward with bow. Cheri swing antler, but again it miss. Arca push past Cheri, get to entrance. She not want men get away! Now Cheri throw antler. This time it catch Pevette, tangle in leg. He fall. He land on cave. Sharp stick go through side. He scream! Cave collapse. 

But Arca emerge. She have bow and arrow! She try shoot Fooella, but angle bad — it miss, but close. Fooella stop running. He stand still, stare Pevette. Then he bend over for throw sick. Arca stand. She aim arrow Fooella. ‘Stay there!’ she say. ‘If move, me kill!’ 

Fooella not move. He put hand in air. Then he point Pevette. ‘It her fault,’ he say. ‘Me innocent!’ Then he begin cry. ‘Please not shoot,’ he say. ‘Me mean no harm! Pevette have big problem,’ say Fooella. ‘She obsessed with boobies! When Pevette see nice boobies, she lose control. She not think — she only want touch! Me try stop her, but she not listen. She crazy one, not me!’ 

Fooella say this through tears. Arca tell him stop talking. He obey. Then Arca look Pevette. He impaled on stick, still screaming. She hear footsteps running, make many crunch on fallen leaves. She know tribe coming. So she order Fooella sit on ground, hands on head. Arca aim arrow, she wait. Then tribe arrive.

Story finish. Arca sit. Tribe mutter — everybody angry! Women angry more.

’This big outrage!’ shout Ruti. ‘We leave old tribe. We go mountain, start new life. Much hardship, but we survive. We make new tribe, new rules. We learn hunt pig. We tribe of women! But we strong. Why men come here? We no threat. Why not men leave alone, live own life?’ Ruti spit on ground. ‘Men scum!’ Then she remember, some men here, we part of tribe too. She add, ‘Not all men. Me know some men good.’ She point Fooella. ‘But this man bad. What name? Foo? Fooella? It not matter! He scum, like other man, Pev. He deserve death!’

When Fooella hear this, he try speak. But with hide of rabbit in mouth, he only make noise with no meaning. He very scared. It obvious. It show on face. 

Now Ruti grab spear. ‘Me kill!’ she shout.

But Gai stop Ruti. He put hand on shoulder. ‘No,’ he say. ‘Not kill. Look,’ he point. ‘He so scared, he make piss in loincloth!’

Me look — it true! Fooella make puddle on ground. Loincloth wet. Piss drip down leg. He cry tears of shame. He bad man, but me not feel hate. He too pathetic. 

Ruti shake free. She glare Gai. ‘You man!’ she say. ‘You not understand.’

‘Me man,’ admit Gai. ‘It true. But me human, like woman. Foo also human. If human kill other human, it bad. This man no threat. He unarmed. If kill, it murder. Murder wrong, it against Nature Spirit. That bad luck for tribe.’

‘Pah!’ say Ruti. ‘This typical. Man always defend other man.’

‘That true,’ say Nizzi. ‘But Gai make good point. Murder bad.’ She smile. ‘So me have better idea.’ She point Foo. ‘This man, so he have willy. But he say he woman. If he woman, he not need willy. Why not we cut off willy, send back over mountain? This punishment, but better — it warning! Then men tribe fear women tribe. They not make trouble. They stay away.’

Ruti smile. ‘This good idea,’ she say. ‘Nizzi wise.’ She drop spear, pick up knife. ’Me cut!’

‘Ruti!’ shout Fem. ‘No!’

But Ruti ignore. She run forward with knife. Fooella make big noise. Me see eyes widen.

‘Stop!’ shout Fem. ‘Me give order! Me Chief!’

But it too late. Ruti reach Fooella, pull loincloth aside. She wield knife for cut willy! Now all tribe shouting. It chaos! But suddenly Ruti stop. She gasp, drop knife. Then she sink to ground. ‘What happen?’ she say. ‘Where willy?’ And Ruti begin cry.

Now all shouting stop. Tribe silent. Me stare at crotch of Fooella, but me not see willy. It gone! Now he have only stump. It ugly with scar. It look rotten.

‘Who do this?’ sob Ruti. ‘It evil!’

Gai shout her. ‘What matter? You want cut off willy, but too late! It gone already! You miss chance, so now you sad. Pah! You monster! You weep tears of hypocrite!’

Chief Fem speak quiet. ‘Gai,’ she say. ‘That enough. Now shut mouth.’

Gai give angry look, but he fall silent at face of Fem. She have deadly stare of mountain cat. He not dare argue.

‘Me sorry,’ say Ruti. ‘Me so sorry.’ She wipe eyes. ‘Me not monster. Me human, same like man!’ She lower voice. ‘Same like Foo.’ Then Ruti reach up to face of Fooella. She undo twine, take hide of rabbit from mouth.

Fooella cough. ‘Me not Foo,’ he say. ‘Me name Fooella. Me woman!’

Nizzi frown. ‘You silly,’ she reply. ‘You not have willy, but you still—’

But Chief Fem interrupt. ‘What happen willy? Who cut?’

‘That long story,’ say Fooella.

‘Me not care. It plenty time. Me want hear story.’

‘Me tell,’ say Foella. ‘But first me need drink. And me hungry.’

Fem smile. ‘Soup come soon.’ She raise voice. ‘Where water?’

‘Me fetch,’ say Min. Then she bring water in coconut. Fooella still tied, so she put coconut to lips. ‘Sip slow,’ she say. ‘Take time.’

Fooella drink. Tribe wait for finish. Then Fooella tell story of lost willy.

[Next Episode]

No Smooching

(The Saga of Caveman Hom, Episode 9)

[Index]

[Previous Episode]

Autumn continue. Leaf turn red, then fall from tree. It pretty. Day still warm, but now rain fall often, wind strong. Night cold, and morning have bite. Winter come soon.

One day come big noise from forest — it screaming! Someone hurt very bad. It sound like man. Maybe big mountain cat attack! But this strange. We see big cat from distance many time. At first we scared, but she never bother us. Me think she not like eat human, she prefer deer and goat. This good news for tribe.

There also small cat in forest. They good at hiding. Sometime small cat creep slow to fire, try steal fish. Mostly she not succeed — when dog see cat he woof, cat run. Sometime cat lucky, but we not mind small cat — she harmless. 

Big cat different story, she deadly. Me think she know we good hunter, so she stay away. She not same like small cat — she wise. She not want trouble with human. So why she attack now? It not make sense. 

But this not time for thinking — it action! Me jump up quick with other hunter. We grab weapon, move fast through forest. Scream come again — we run to noise. Me hope it not too late. If man screaming, it mean he alive. Maybe he lucky, like cat. It still chance. 

We find man at place in forest where tribe build special cave from stick and leaf. This private place for smooching. Sometime me come here with Gel for make loud sex. It better sex than cave. Always in cave is other women. Maybe they make harsh judgement of sexual prowess? This big worry for all men. So tribe happy for cave of stick. We not discuss detail, but everybody come here for private smooching. If cave occupied, we not mind wait. But we discreet.

But now in cave is no smooching. Cave broken! Man lie on ground nearby. He still screaming, but now it weak. He covered in blood. It look like man fall onto cave. Sharp stick pierce body — it poke through side, under arm. It very bad injury. Then me see Arca. She hold bow with arrow ready. It point at other man. He sit on ground with hands on head. He tremble. He not injured, but very scared. He turn head at noise when arrive, but Arca not move. She keep arrow pointed. Then me notice, Arca not wear loincloith — she naked! Me look for Cheri, but me not see.

‘Where Cheri?’ ask Ali. He think same like Hom, but he ask first.

‘In cave,’ say Arca. ‘She safe.’

‘What happen?’

‘These men try join in,’ say Arca. ‘We not want. So men attack.’

‘It not true!’ say man who not screaming. He speak in silly voice, but he sound familiar. Me look closer. Me recognise — it Foo! He expert on worm, from old tribe. But now he wear coconut on chest, like man who say he woman. 

‘Foo,’ me say. ‘It Hom!’

He turn, he see me. ‘It good see Hom again.’

‘Why you speak in silly voice? Why you wear coconut on chest?’

‘Me woman now,’ he say. ‘Name Fooella.’

Now me notice Foo wear many small flower in hair. Some flower pink, some blue. Flower pretty. But flower in hair bad mistake for Foo. He not pretty man, but now flower show truth — if he woman, it worse.

‘What this?’ Ali laugh. ‘You make joke?’

‘Me serious,’ say Foo. Then he jerk head toward injured man. ‘You remember man, name Pev? Now she woman too, name Pevette. This mess her fault.’

‘You, Pevette,’ say Arca. ’Stop noise or me kill Fooella. Then me kill you.’

Me look again at injured man. He wear coconut on chest, like Foo. Me move closer, for see face. Me recognise — it really Pev! He also have flower in hair, but it few. Maybe rest fall off in fight. 

‘Pev,’ me say. ‘What happen here?’

But he not answer question. ‘Pev gone,’ he groan. ‘Me name Pevette.’ Then he sleep sudden. Me bend down, examine wound. It very bad — me hiss through teeth. But when me look close me have small hope. Stick go through side, but it not hit lung. Maybe it not hit any organ. It possible he survive. 

Me turn to Ali. ’Go fetch Gel,’ me say. ‘Quick!’

‘Me bring Chief too,’ say Ali. Then he go. 

Me say Arca, ‘We have spear. It no need shoot Foo. Hom, Gai, Cul — we all here. We good hunter. Foo not escape.’

‘Fooella,’ say Foo. ‘Me name Fooella!’

Arca glare. ’Me want kill now.’

‘That murder,’ me reply. ‘Me not know what happen, but he no more threat. He only annoying.’

‘But he try… he try…’ Suddenly Arca lower bow and cry. ‘Cheri,’ she sob. ‘Cheri!’

Cheri crawl out from broken cave. She also naked. ‘Me here,’ she say. ‘Me have bruise and few small cut. But me no problem.’ 

Arca drop bow on ground. She run forward for hug Cheri. Hug last long time. Then Cheri crawl back in cave of sticks. She pull out loincloth. ‘Here,’ she say. ‘It chilly. These warm.’

When Chief Fem arrive with Gel, Arca and Cheri wear loincloth. Fem bring twine of deer sinew — it very strong. She hand twine to Gai. She point Fooella. ‘Tie him,’ she say. ‘And make strong. Me not want escape.’

Gai take twine. He tie hands of Fooella. Then he tie feet. Me help. Cul watch close. He keep spear ready for kill Fooella if trouble. Arca pick up bow and arrow, she also watch ready. But Fooella not make trouble. He only cry. 

Pevette still unconscious. Gel go quick, examine wound. She shake head. ‘It bad,’ she say. ‘It possible treat, but first me need remove sharp stick. Then much blood come, me need work fast. So me not pull stick yet. Me need prepare.’ Then Gel fetch cauldron and herbs. She light fire, boil water in cauldron. By now arrive whole tribe. She ask fetch two hide of deer, now dry and ready for wear. We fetch. Then Gel say, ‘Me treat here, but it need shelter for make warm. Cave need fix.’

Fem agree. ‘But this difficult,’ she say. ’This man — name Pevette?’

Me confirm.

‘Pevette in way.’ Fem point. ‘He lie on cave. If fix cave, need move.’

‘Me know,’ say Gel. ‘Me nearly ready. Me wait only for boil. Then it time pull sharp stick. Me clean wound, stop blood. While me do this, tribe fix cave. When cave ready, in go Pevette. He stay here for night. Me also stay.’

‘Me understand,’ say Fem. ‘But what if he wake? Maybe he try kill. Me think it need guard. Who volunteer?’

Me speak up, but Fem smile. ‘Not you, Hom. You husband of Fem. This smooching place. Me worry you distract Gel.’

‘Me not distract. Me guard!’

‘Word final,’ say Fem. ‘Who else want guard?’

In end, Fem choose Ali and Cul for guard. They good with spear. She also choose Cal. She good with arrow, and have good temper, always calm. 

When water boil, Gel drop hide of deer in water. She add herb. Then she stir cauldron with stick. Steam rise with smell of herb. Gel sniff air, then nod. ‘Me ready,’ she say. ‘Time for move.’

Tribe take position for lift Pevette. Ali slide hand under body, take hold of sharp stick. ‘It slippery,’ he say. ‘Much blood.’

‘That nothing,’ say Gel. ‘You see.’ She pull hide from water. She put handful of herb in mouth. She chew. Then she take position by Pevette, near wound. ‘Ready?’ she say.

Everybody ready.

‘One,’ say Gel. ’Two. Go!’

Now tribe lift. It take much strength. We grit teeth. Ali hold stick firm, he pull. Slowly, stick move. Pevette open eye, he squeal like pig on spear. At last stick come out. Blood gush hard. Tribe lower gently to ground. Then Gel do medicine. She move fast. She spit out herb in hand, she press in wound. Pevette make bad noise of pain, then he sleep again. Gel wrap hide around body, she make tight with twine.

Meanwhile, tribe work hard, fix cave of stick. Bivi supervise — she design cave, so she know what do. We follow instruction, but sometimes there mistake — then Bivi angry, she shout! She say she not know we so stupid. She say it miracle we survive! Tribe smile. Everybody like Bivi. She small, but she fierce! Nobody argue — only fix mistake, then continue. We work fast. Night come soon. But we lucky. Cave finish in time. Bivi inspect. It messy work, she say, but it enough for use. She tap cave with foot. She say it sturdy. Tribe proud of work. Maybe cave messy, but we not mind. It still good.

Pevette still sleeping, but he groan in sleep. Gel brew more herb in cauldron for use later. But first we need move Pevette into cave. Bivi have idea. She take many stick, tie together with twine. It make long platform for carry. Tribe lift Pevette gentle, put down on platform. This time he not wake. Then we carry platform into cave, leave there. Gel fold more hide. She reach over, lift head of Pevette, then place hide under. Then she go back to cauldron.

‘What think?’ ask Fem. ‘He live?’

‘Me not know,’ say Gel. ‘Wound bad. In morning, me look again.’

Fem nod. ‘Me understand,’ she say. ‘Medicine always uncertain.’

‘Life uncertain,’ say Gel. ‘It work of Nature Spirit.’ She smile. ‘Medicine same.’

[Next Episode]

 

Counting Fact

(The Saga of Caveman Hom, Episode 8)

[Index]

[Previous Episode]

Time pass, weather turn warm. We hunt many time. It not success always, but often. We catch more rabbit, we catch goat. We catch pig. We find mountain stream, catch fish in net. We roast fish on fire with herb — it yum! We study deer, then try hunt deer same like pig. It work! Not always, but often. Then dog join in — he chase deer, he catch rabbit. Tribe have much meat. If not eat, we dry over fire. We take skin of animal for shoe and coat. We take bone of animal for tip of arrow, bone of fish for needle. We use sinew for make twine. We take antler, and use for club. 

In evening Cheri make bow. She show children how make arrow, they make. In day Arca teach tribe how shoot. We shoot bird — sometime it hit! We climb tree, steal egg of bird. Egg tasty! Tribe pick many mushroom, much herb. In summer some tree make sweet fruit. Some tree make nut. We pick more than need and dry for winter, like meat. 

In tribe is woman, name Garda. She have big idea for make more root. In spring she dig few root, she cut each in piece. Then she choose place and clear all plant from ground. She use antler for dig earth, make many hole. In each hole she put piece root, then bury. Then Garda put water on ground. She do this every day. After few week green shoot come where bury root piece. Garda happy — she show green shoot to tribe. 

‘Look this,’ she say. ‘Here come many plant. They grow strong, make plenty root for eat.’ 

Tribe laugh — Garda crazy!

‘What point?’ say Mat. ‘It same. You start with big root, you cut small. Now is many small plant, small root. It no difference! It big work for nothing. It better leave work to Nature Spirit. She know how make root for eat. No need interfere.’

‘You wrong, counting man,’ say Garda. ‘Root grow big — in end, it more. You see.’

‘You have dream,’ say Mat. ‘But me know counting. Counting fact.’

Then Fem say, ‘Counting fact, but idea also good. Me want see what happen. Who know? Maybe Garda clever — like Mat, but different. If she right, it big help for tribe. So we wait. We see. For now, idea continue.’

Garda smile. Then she stick out tongue at Mat. She blow fart with mouth! Tribe laugh. Mat laugh too. Maybe it true Garda crazy. But she make good fart noise. Fart always funny. 

Soon Garda have other idea. One night after eat, she stand up. She say it bad hunt baby animal. Tribe grumble. Garda not hunter, so maybe she not know — but it easy catch baby. Baby also good for eat — meat tender, with plenty fat. But Garda not care baby tasty. She remind tribe fact of life. She say baby is future. This true for tribe — it also true for animal. If tribe kill baby, it not grow big. It not find mate for sex, make own baby. Then in future, maybe tribe not have animal for eat. We starve. This why it bad idea hunt baby. It better hunt old one. 

Hunter still grumble — they want eat baby, it taste good! This true. Young one always better. Old animal not so good — it strong flavour, but meat tough. Me also want eat baby. But me think Garda make good point. So me stand up for agree. Me say Garda wise, she think ahead to future. Future important. Tribe discuss more, then Fem call vote — tribe still democracy. Garda win vote. So now we not kill baby or young one. We hunt clever. And tribe have much meat.

After summer come autumn. Now sweet fruit on many tree. It plenty, but winter come soon. Every day, tribe gather more than need. Soon Garda dig up root — she right, they grow big! Mat wrong — he admit. But first he count root. He say it many. When include size, it more, and quality good! Mat impressed. He say he have more to learn of counting. Then he go, he sit. He take stick and make mark on ground. When Mat like this, it mean he counting very hard. We not interfere. Everybody know counting important.

Mat stay like this more than day. He stop only for eat, sleep. Then he go count more. He sit on ground, make mark with stick. He rock body like tree in wind. Next day after eat come talk. Mat stand up. He have big announcement! He invent new number, name ‘three’.

‘What three?’ ask Fab.

‘It when one go with two. When one and two go together, it always three.’ Then Mat approach fire. He take stick. He make mark. ‘See? This one.’ 

Tribe agree. Everybody understand one. Mat make other mark. He point to both mark. He say, ‘This two.’ 

Tribe yawn. We not stupid. Everybody know what is two. Then Mat make other mark next to two mark. He point to all mark, say, ‘This three.’ 

Fab frown. ’It two and one,’ he say.  

‘That right. Two and one make three!’ Mat grin. ‘Understanding perfect!’ Now he draw other mark. ‘Me also invent four.’ He point. ‘Here four mark.’

Now everybody laugh. 

‘What mean? This nonsense!’ say Cul. ‘This two mark, and again two mark.’

‘That right!’ say Mat. ‘Two and two make four. Also three and one make four.’ Now Mat draw one more mark. ‘This five mark,’ he say. ‘It four mark and one mark. It also three mark and two mark. And it same like two mark and two mark and one mark more.’

‘You crazy,’ say Fab. ‘This few mark — but you say it same like one mark, two mark. It not!’ Fab grab stick from Mat, make few more mark on ground. ‘Me make more mark — so what this? Me think it many.’

Mat stare at ground. ‘Yes, it many. But look!’ He point. ‘Here two. Here is other one. That make three! Now here is other two, and two again. That four. But forget four, it just mean two and two. Four simple. Now look more — here again is one and two. It three! And here other one. So all together it three, and two and two, and three, and one! Together it many, but many always made of one, two, three.’

Tribe stare Mat. We look ground, see many mark. We see it made of few and few and few together. We also see here one mark, there two mark. But so what?

‘Everybody know few and few and few is many,’ say Cul. ‘But three mean nothing. Mat waste time. Time limited. So Mat bad.’ Then he rub out mark with foot. ‘Now you count nothing.’

Mat look sad. He go quiet. Discussion move on. But Mat not speak. He stay by fire with stick, make mark again. He never stop counting. He obsessed! But he still clever. Me think maybe it good learn counting. Maybe it fun. Me stupid, but me have daughter, name Tix. She not like shoot, she not good make arrow. But she clever, she like think. So maybe Tix learn counting from Mat. Me think this good idea, but me not sure. Next day me discuss with Gel, she agree.

But that come later. For now me take two piece fruit, go sit by fire with Mat. He make more mark on ground. Me not talk, only watch. Me not want disturb counting. Me say nothing, but me tap Mat shoulder, give one piece fruit. He take. He turn to Hom, he smile. He bite into fruit. Then Mat go back to counting.

[Next Episode]

Green Shoot

(The Saga of Caveman Hom, Episode 7)

[Index]

[Previous Episode]

It long winter, but nothing last forever. When spring come, everywhere me see green shoot poke up through melting snow. Blossom appear on tree, bring many insect. Without snow, rabbit hard to track. So we make hunting trip down mountain into valley. There grass long. We find many mushroom. We pick. We dig up plant for root. We search for lair of pig. We find shit, but pig still hiding. It not matter — we find deer! 

It big herd, many young. Deer gather in clearing, eat grass. Suddenly stag turn. He stare. He bellow. He very fearsome, have antler like tree of thorn. He angry, he attack! Hunter throw spear. But stag change direction, he run away after herd. He very fast. Spear miss. Then Arca shoot arrow, but she not hit stag. This surprise. Arca hit rabbit easy. Stag much bigger than rabbit. So why she miss? Me look Arca. Me think she sad, but she smiling. 

‘Me not miss,’ she say. ‘Look.’ She point at place where arrow fly. 

Hunter look, we shade eye. Me see nothing, but Cul, he closer, have good eyesight. He laugh. He run forward through tree, bend to ground, then straighten. He smile. He hold up baby deer! It dead from arrow in throat. Now everybody cheer. Me pat Arca on back. 

‘This good shooting,’ me say. ‘You hero!’

‘It nothing,’ say Arca. ‘Only luck. Next time we not get close. Deer clever.’

‘This true,’ me say. ‘Why deer not smell hunter?’

‘Me not know,’ say Arca. ‘But need good plan, or not catch again.’

We go back up mountain to cave. We bring baby deer, mushroom, and root. On way back we find goat. Goat injured. She have broken leg from fall in hole where weasel live. Goat in pain, she bleat. She not survive. When goat die, weasel appear, he eat. Or maybe weasel not wait, he eat goat alive. 

Me shudder. Goat bleat again. Me not like bleat. It sad, like baby cry — me feel distress. But then Cul kill goat quick with spear, and me feel relief. Cul pick up carcass and carry over shoulder, back to cave. This hunt big success!

That night soup nutritious. It thick with root and lump of meat. Whole tribe fill belly, and still some left. We save for morning. Tomorrow we hunt again. Tonight we make plan. Me want hunt pig, but it difficult. Today we find only shit. It good tracking by Cheri, but not enough — pig still hidden. Cul think maybe it better hunt deer. 

Tribe discuss. We good hunter, but we not know deer like know pig. Everybody know pig. Pig dangerous, but he predictable. We know what pig do. Way of deer still mysterious. After much discussion, Fem decide. If see deer, sit quiet. We watch, learn way of deer. If chance come, good — we kill. But deer not target. Tomorrow we hunt pig.

‘But me see problem,’ me say. ‘Pig strong. We tribe of women, only few men. Some men good with spear. Gai, Ali, Cul — it not enough. Me also good with spear, but me have bad leg. If hunt pig, need plan. Thinking important.’

‘This true,’ say Fab. ‘Hom wise.’

But me not wise. Me stupid. Me not know how hunt pig with women. Tribe discuss problem, but words go over head. Me far away like dream, me see pig run, he turn like stag, but other way — he run at woman! He attack! 

Maybe he run at Cal. Maybe he attack Cheri. Maybe he kill Arca! Pig very dangerous. He big and strong, with sharp tusk! Without spear, even strongest man not win fight with pig. And women small. Maybe they have spear, but they not strong, not skill — they only learning! They no match for angry pig. Maybe we use arrow — but pig have thick hide! Maybe arrow slow him down, but for kill it take many. Arca good with bow, but nobody that good. And Arca too important. If she injured, tribe finish. It better not take big risk. 

But suddenly me have idea. Maybe it clever.  Me stand up. ‘Me know Arca good with bow,’ me say. ‘Who else?’

Next day hunter set off early. With help of Fab, Cheri search forest for lair of pig. It take half day, but they find! We close enough see pig, but she not see us. We stay downwind so pig not smell. We move slow, quiet — she not hear. Hunter take position. Then me give signal. 

Ali run at pig with spear! He make big noise. Pig very scared, she run. Then Gai jump up with spear, he also make shout. Pig squeal! She turn, she run into clearing — but it trap! Hiding in tree is Arca, Ruti, and Cal. Women shoot pig with arrow — two hit! Pig scream — she wounded. Then come Ali and Gai quick with spear, kill pig. 

But then second pig come! He run at Gai with tusk, but Gai fast, he jump away. Then Cul come running, he also have spear. He shout very loud. Second pig turn, but arrow come — it miss, but pig terrified. He turn back, he run — now he move towards Hom! 

Me have spear ready. Me crouch in long grass. Me hidden. Me wait til pig close, then me throw spear with full strength. It catch pig in throat! He fall. He try squeal, but bad noise come. Pig choking. Soon Cul reach pig and finish him. It success! 

Women climb down from tree. But then Cheri have idea — she take Arca and Fab, go quiet to lair of pig. They find pig baby. Baby run, but it no good — Arca kill two with arrow. Fab kill other one. We kill whole pig family! It great triumph. Everybody happy. It all thanks to clever plan of Hom! Me proud.

We tie pig to stick for carry, then we go. We walk up mountain, sing song of hunting prowess. On way Cal pick many mushroom. Ruti find good herb for cook pig. Me pick sweet berry. Fab dig root. Food plentiful. It time for feast!

But Chief Fem say no to feast. She say it too much, too soon. Today we lucky with hunt. But food always limited. Tomorrow maybe hunt fail, tribe go hungry. So it better not eat all pig. Mother pig and baby is plenty meat for soup. We have good herb. We have root, and sweet berry. We not need eat Father pig. Instead we butcher careful, dry meat on high stick over fire. We dry mushroom same way. Now if hunt fail, tribe still have food. We also dry hide of pig for make shoe or warm coat. Winter here hard, say Fem. It important prepare. We start now, she say. Then tribe ready. 

Me grumble in head — me look forward to feast! But me know Fem right. She wise. So me stay quiet. Other hunter also sad. But it not last long. There plenty soup — it very tasty with herb and berry. Again whole tribe eat well, and enough left for morning. 

Fem approach while me eat. She smile, then speak quiet. ‘It good idea hide in tree. Make big success!’

‘It very good!’ me laugh. ‘Me not expect it work so well.’ 

Fem frown. ‘How you think of plan?’

‘Me not know.’ Me shrug. ‘It pop into head, like magic!’

Fem lower voice to whisper. ‘It good idea,’ she say. ‘But maybe it not come from Hom.’

‘What mean?’

‘Min say idea first,’ say Fem. ’She say we hide in tree, shoot pig from high.’

‘What?’ me exclaim. ‘Min have same idea?’

’She speak quiet. Maybe you not hear.’

‘Last night everybody talk,’ me say. ‘But me not listen, me think. Maybe Min say it. But me not remember.’

Fem nod. ‘Me remember. Min say it first, but nobody care. But when Hom talk, tribe pay attention.’

Me stare Chief Fem. She stare back, gaze even. Me know she tell truth.

‘This strange,’ me say. ‘Why it happen?’

‘Answer simple. It because you man.’

‘That not make sense,’ me say. ‘Me man, yes — but so what? Idea is idea.’

‘Me agree,’ say Fem. ‘It stupid. But it truth.’

Me shake head. ’It not right. Me feel bad.’

Fem smile. ‘It not fault of Hom. Problem small. Fix easy.’

‘How fix?’

‘After food, me give thanks. Then Hom have chance for speak. Hom give thanks Min for idea. Idea is not plan. It Hom who make plan. But plan come from idea. So Min also deserve credit.’

‘This true,’ me say. ‘But me not hear what Min say. Me think it coincidence. Me think Hom and Min have same idea.’

Fem nod. ‘Maybe it true. But truth not matter now. This politics.’ Fem reach forward, squeeze shoulder in friendship. ‘You want easy life? Give thanks Min.’

‘Me not understand,’ me admit, ‘but you Chief. Me follow advice.’

‘This good.’ Fem smile. ‘Hom wise.’

So after eat, when me get chance, me give thanks Min for good idea hide in tree. Min smile. Everybody cheer. But it strange — cheer for Min make Hom proud. It feel like cheer for Min also cheer for Hom. Me confuse. Me look Chief Fem — she happy, so me know me do right thing. Now me feel better. And after applause for Min, me thank Fem for wise leadership. 

[Next Episode]

Winter Berry

(The Saga of Caveman Hom, Episode 6)

[Index]

[Previous Episode]

Last time Hom tell how tribe have mutiny after elect new Chief, name Fem. She woman. Some men not want take order woman, so there big fight. Fem captured. Mutiny led by man who say he woman, name Tra. He think he King of Women. He want hit bad women with stick, but he lose election. Tra angry. He bad loser, but he have good support from men of tribe. They not like women laugh at willy. They think it good idea hit bad women with stick. They never accept woman for Chief, but they want follow man who say he woman! These men crazy.

Me not like mutiny. Fem win election fair. Mutiny against rules of tribe — it cheating! This mean Tra liar. He not make good Chief. He not win loyalty of Hom. Instead, me loyal to real Chief, Fem. So me gather friends, make plan. We rescue Chief, then escape over mountains, make new tribe. Tribe have many women, few men. Many children also. And dog. At first me not like dog, but he make friends. He good dog.

Me get injury in leg from fall down mountain. It heal strong, but now me walk with limp. Walk not so bad, but run slow. Me look silly when run. Sometimes if me sit long time in bad position, leg ache and go stiff. This not good for hunt pig. 

We find big cave on mountain. We lucky — it enough for whole tribe! There plenty firewood, so inside cave it warm. Outside cave, it very cold. Snow fall often. It cover land deep. Near cave entrance it only go to ankle, but in many place it up to knee or more.

Winter hard. Food scarce. We take turn, wrap warm in fur and leave cave for find food. We find few winter berry. We try dig roots but ground too hard — it frozen! We hunt rabbit, we try hunt goat. It difficult, but we lucky — in tribe is woman, name Arca. She very good with bow. Arca have friend Cheri. She not so good with bow, but she much better at make than use. And she very good at tracking. 

Me think Arca and Cheri both women who like sex only woman. So me think maybe they special friends. Me think this, but me not know truth. And me not ask. It no business of Hom who like sex who. Me not care. What matter is together Arca and Cheri make good hunting team. They catch many rabbit. They also catch squirrel. One time they even catch goat! It more success than other hunter. Tribe still hungry, but rabbit soup keep alive. Everybody grateful to Arca and Cheri. 

Me also try hunt. Me fail, but nobody complain. Everybody know Hom play big part in escape over mountain. They know wife Gel wise woman of tribe, with healing power. Children also popular. We important family for luck. If food, we eat. Dog also good luck, so everybody give bone. He wag tail, lick face. Dog make tribe laugh, lift heart. He good friend of tribe. He eat well.

In evening after eat, tribe gather round fire, stay warm in cave. Children cuddle. Always Chief Fem speak, give thanks to Nature Spirit for gift of life. Sometime she say more, want big discussion, everybody speak. Fem always listen careful, talk soft. At end, she decide.

When discussion over, it nearly time for sleep. But first come story. Or sometimes it poem, or soft song. Some people good at this — but it need practice! So we take turn. First time me try tell story, whole tribe laugh. Me think this mean me bad at story, so me stop. But tribe want continue. They say story good. Tribe say me funny, like dog. Me proud! This big compliment for Hom. After that me not fear tell story. Me enjoy.

[Next Episode]

Election ceremony / Snow fall

(The Saga of Caveman Hom, Episode 5)

[Index]

[Previous Episode]

Last time, me tell how Chief Boz drop rock on foot, get hurt very bad. Me fetch mother, name Krone – she wise woman of tribe. When Krone see foot, she shake head. She use healing herbs, but she say Boz not walk again. 

Krone say tribe need new Chief. She call election ceremony. Then night fall. 

Long time pass since ceremony. Much happen, great hardship! But at last me ready tell more. Now story continue:

Next morning Buz, son of Boz, beat drum. Drum summon tribe to meeting place. Everybody come, men, women and children. This important event for tribe. Nobody want miss election.

Boz there already. Foot still broken. It wrapped in leaves and mud for healing. Boz face show pain, he very pale. But he still Chief. He look around at tribe. He hold up hand for quiet. And all talking stop.

Boz sip water from coconut, then he speak quiet. ‘Me thank tribe for come see Chief. This important day. For seven years me Chief, tribe prosper. But now foot broken, me useless! So Krone call election ceremony.’ Boz pause. He cough. He sip more water.

‘This good, it fit with ancient rites. Me thank Krone for healing poultice. Krone know magic, so maybe me not die. But reign over. Me hereby relinquish position of Chief. But me have right to nominate successor. So me nominate son, Buz.’ 

Now Krone rise to speak: ‘Me thank Boz for kind words. Tribe grateful for long service of Boz. He no longer Chief, but he nominate successor – son Buz!’ Krone point Buz; Buz stand. 

Krone continue: ‘Now election begin. It simple. If everyone want Buz for Chief, then finished – Buz Chief. But if anyone not want, now is chance to speak! You name own choice successor. This not problem, this important part of ritual. After this is vote. Winner become Chief.’

Tribe chatter, much excitement! Then someone shout: ‘Me want be Chief!’. Everybody look – it man who say he woman, name Tra. He say, ‘Why always man is Chief? Why not woman? Tribe sexist! This bad.’

Krone reply, ‘Tra want be Chief, but need nomination! Not allowed nominate self – ritual important! Who else want Tra be Chief?’ Soon Foo step forward, he big expert on worm. ‘Me not sexist. So me nominate Tra. He woman, but he clever! He make good Chief. Who second Tra?’

‘Me second,’ say Min. Me surprise! Min is wife of Boz. She also mother of Buz. Why she want election? Why she support Tra? This fishy. Me look at Krone. She say, ‘Foo nominate Tra; Min second. So now Tra stand against Buz!’

Then Mat walk forward; he official Counting Man. Mat hold Bag of Voting. 

Mat begin speak, but Gel interrupt. She say, ‘Me nominate Fem!’ This cause much argument. Some men laughing. They say, ‘You Hom! Control your woman!’ 

But me not want control my woman.

Me say, ‘Gel is member of tribe. She have right to speak! Me not interfere.’

Men jeer at Hom, say, ‘Hom weak. In cave of Hom, it Gel who wear short loincloth. She make Hom cook food. Hom dance like woman! Gel hunt pig, not Hom!’

Me reply ‘Me cook. It true. Me dance too. But me not woman. Me man.’ 

Men laugh. ‘But Gel nominate Fem for Chief! This stupid! Fem is woman! How can woman be Chief?’

Now me angry. Me shout, ’No, you stupid! Why not woman be Chief? What wrong with woman?’

‘Woman not hunt pig,’ say Foo. ‘Woman not catch fish. Woman soft, good only for make babies. If man follow woman, he no longer man. If make woman Chief, it big trouble for tribe.’

Now Gel say, ‘But Foo nominate Tra! Min second! Tra stand in election; he oppose Buz. But now Foo say woman make only trouble? Foo think Tra is woman. But me think Foo scared of real woman!’

Tra now angry, he shout at Gel, ‘What you say? You say me not real woman! Pah!’ Tra spit on ground. ‘Me more woman than you, Gel. You ugly.’

Me shout, ’What? You dare insult wife of Hom? You want fight?’

‘No need fight,’ Foo say, ‘Of course Tra is woman. Look coconut! He use coconut to cover boobies. Only woman have boobies. You, Gel – why you not wear coconut? You want other men see boobies? You not like sex with Hom? You want real man?’ 

‘Right!’ me scream. ‘That it, Foo! You ask for it! Now me kick your arse!’

But Krone raise voice. ‘Enough!’ she say. Her voice ring out, and all argument stop. Me feel shame. Me whisper, ‘Sorry mum.’

Krone ignore me. ‘Foo say Tra is woman. Foo nominate Tra. Min second. Nobody complain. So woman is allowed. Debate finished. Now where Fem?’

‘Me here,’ say Fem.

‘You, Fem – you recieve nomination. You want be Chief?’

Fem nod. ‘Me want,’ she say.

‘Very well,’ say Krone. ‘Who second Fem for Chief?’

Now friend Gai raise hand. ‘Me second,’ he say. ‘Fem make good Chief. She very skilled at hunting pig.’

‘Fine,’ say Krone. ‘Foo nominate Fem, and Gai second. So Fem also stand for election.’ She pause, look around at tribe. ‘Any more?’ she ask. But no-one come forward. ‘Where Counting Man, Mat?’ say Krone. ‘Where stones?’

‘Me here,’ say Mat. ‘Me have stones.’

‘And Bag of Voting?’

‘Me have bag too,’ say Mat. He hold up bag for tribe to see. ‘It made from bladder of pig,’ he add. ‘Best quality.’

‘It fine bag,’ say Krone. ‘It perfect for voting. Me give thanks.’

Mat bow.

‘Now,’ say Krone, ‘Official counting man will please hand out stones.’

Mat give stones to every member of tribe. He give out black, white, and red stones, one each. Then he explain: ‘White stone mean Buz. Black mean Tra. And red mean Fem.’

‘That bad!’ shout Tra. ‘Why Fem get red? Me want red!’

‘What matter?’ ask Mat. ‘What wrong with black?’

‘Don’t pretend you not know! You insult me!’

‘Me not understand,’ say Mat. ‘What is problem?’

‘Me know,’ say Gel. ‘Tra think red mean blood. Women bleed with moon, so he think red mean woman. He think if he get red stone it mean he woman. But you not give him red stone. He think this mean he man.’

Mat shake head. ‘But colour mean nothing. It just for counting.’

‘Me want red!’ shout Tra. ‘Me woman! Me exist!’

‘You stupid,’ say Mat. ‘You not make good Chief.’

’Stop it!’ shout Krone. ‘No need more nonsense. You, Counting Man – can you make red stone mean Tra?’

Mat scratch head. ‘Of course. But me not see—’

‘Then me decide,’ say Krone. ‘Red mean Tra.’

Mat shrug. ‘No problem. Now red mean Tra. Black mean Fem. And white mean Buz. It simple,’ he say. ‘To vote, everybody put one stone in bag. Make sure you pick right colour. One stone only. After everyone vote, me count coloured stones. Me compare. Most stones decide winner.’

Krone say, ‘This clear? Any question? No? Good. Then we vote now.’

One by one, everybody walk up, put stone in bag of voting. Krone watch close, make sure no cheating. Everybody watch. Election important – decide future of tribe.

After vote come count. Mat take stick, draw circle on ground. Then he tip stones from bag of voting. He very careful – he not let stones escape. He shake bag, make sure no more stones inside. Then he count. 

Mat big expert on counting. He count slow, but careful. Rest of tribe watch close, but we not know counting – we leave that to expert. Mat count stones twice. Then he count again. He very careful. He want get count right.

Finally, Mat stand up to announce vote. ‘Me count stones,’ he say. ‘Me very careful. Me count stones twice, then me count again. And now me know answer: Black stones is more. Black mean Fem, so Fem win election. This is official result.’

Krone cry out, ‘Election finished. Ritual complete! All hail Chief Fem!’

Much noise errupt! Much cheering, but me hear men grumbling; they not want woman for Chief! Children dancing – they happy. 

But when me look at Tra, me see he crying. But me not see sadness – me see rage. Tra stare at Fem with face of hatred. He sore loser. Me look away. Me not want see his face.

Soon tribe leave meeting place. Krone go with Boz, make fresh poultice for foot. Me return to cave for fetch spear. Me go hunt pig.

Hunt successful! Me return to cave with much meat.

Gel see me coming, she run out! She throw arms around Hom. She crying!

‘What matter?’ me ask. 

‘Big trouble!’ sob Gel. ’Fem overthrown! She captured!’

‘What?’

‘It true!’ say Gel. ‘We just talking, but men come with spear!’

‘Who come? What men?’

‘Many men! Buz, Foo, Pev, plenty others. But leader is Tra.’

‘Tra? What he want?’

‘He take power. He say he Chief now.’

’This treason,’ me say. ‘It very bad.’ 

‘Yes,’ say Gel. ‘Tra crazy! Me scared for Fem. Me think maybe Tra… Tra…’

‘Ssshh,’ me say. ‘Me not let that happen.’

‘Me love you,’ say Gel. 

‘Me know.’ 

She kiss me long time. It nice, but now me cry too.

‘Where children?’ me ask.

‘Children fine,’ say Gel. ‘They hiding in cave. They scared.’

‘Me scared too,’ me admit. ‘It no shame. But what do?’

‘Me make soup,’ say Gel. ‘We talk while eat.’

Me nod. ‘That good idea,’ me say. Then bad thought come. ‘What about Krone? Where she?’ 

But Gel shake head. She not know.

In cave me find children hiding with friends of Gel, name Ruti and Cal. Everybody scared. But we hungry too, and soup ready, so eat. Ruti say she there when men come with spears for capture Fem. She tell whole story. 

Then me ask questions – who there? What about Gai and Fab? Ruti say they not with men. Ali not there either, she say. This good, me think. Friends loyal. After eat me give hug all round. Then me take spear, me go to cave of Gai and Fab. 

Me explain what happen, then together we go find Ali. He in cave with wife Nizzi and son Cul. We talk fast, then Ali tell Cul fetch spear and two big stick. He tell Nizzi go, join others at cave of Hom and Gel. Nizzi run. Then friends pick up weapons. 

We walk quick to cave of Boz, but when we close we go slow, we go quiet. There we find band of traitors led by Tra. They talking to Boz. We stay quiet. We hide in trees. We listen.

Boz speak quiet. He in pain. He sound weak, but he angry! ‘This wrong!’ he say. ‘This treachery! Fem win fair election – she Chief, that that!’ 

‘But she woman!’ shout Foo. ‘Me not take orders from woman!’

‘Oh? You not take orders from woman?’ Me recognise voice – it mother, Krone! She safe! Me glad.

Now Krone laugh. ‘What about Tra? Is he not woman, too?’

‘That different,’ say Foo. ‘He special kind woman. He man.’

This make Tra furious! ’Me not man,’ he scream. ‘Me woman! Me all woman!’

‘That right!’ laugh Krone. ‘Tra is King of Women! It no problem take orders from King of Women.’

Boz groan. ‘What happen to tribe? Why we go so crazy?’

‘We human,’ say Krone. ‘We all fools. But it not your fault.’

‘Of course it my fault!’ snap Boz. Then he cough bad. 

‘Sssh,’ say Krone. ‘No need talk, Boz. You rest.’

Me give signal, and suddenly all friends run towards cave. Ali hit two men with big stick, they fall! Gai jump Tra, hold him to ground; Fab point spear at chest – he captured! Cul catch Foo same way, and me catch Buz. 

Ali stand by with stick in both hands. It standoff! Me thrust spear at Buz. ‘Where Chief Fem?’ me shout. Buz point at corner. Fem there, she tied up in net, unconscious. She look bruised, but she alive. 

Me glance at Krone, ‘How you, mum?’ me ask.

‘Me good.’

‘How Boz?’

‘He not so good. He need medicine, but me not allowed gather herbs.’

‘What this?’ me say to Buz. ‘You want Boz die?’

‘Not me! Me only follow orders!’ say Buz. ‘It Tra in charge.’

’That right,’ say Tra. ‘This my tribe now.’

Me look around. Friends still outnumbered. We lucky with sneak attack, we take good hostages. But on other side is too many men. If fight break out, we lose.

‘We not want violence,’ me say. ‘We want negotiate.’

‘What you want?’ ask Tra. 

‘We want leave tribe,’ me say. ‘We take Chief Fem. We take Krone. We take whoever want come, and we go. We go over mountains, far away. We form new tribe. We not bother you again. That all we want. And in return, we not kill anyone.’

‘This good deal, King Tra,’ say Krone. ‘Me suggest you take it.’ 

“Hmmph,’ say Tra. ‘Maybe.’

Krone smile at me. ‘Me proud of you, son Hom. But me not come with you. Me too old for mountains. And me needed here, with Boz.’

‘But you wise woman,’ me say. ‘Tribe need wise woman.’

’That right,’ say Krone, ‘But me needed here, in this tribe. You have other wise woman, she young one.’

‘Who that?’

‘You not know?’ Krone laugh. ‘Men so stupid! But all women know – it obvious! So no problem; you ask wife.’

Me not understand, but not argue with Krone – that always bad idea. 

Negotiations continue – Tra resist, but Fab thrust spear at face and soon he give in. Cul untie Chief Fem and sling across back, and we leave. We happy avoid bloodshed, but we still nervous; we not trust King Tra and his men. So we walk quiet, watch out for ambush. 

After while we hear footsteps – someone coming! They running fast. We stop, turn to face sound – we ready for attack! But then we hear voice: ‘Wait! Me want come with you!’ Me recognise voice – it Min, wife of Boz! 

‘Me want leave tribe,’ she say, ‘there nothing for me here. Tra hate me – he think me traitor! And Boz think me plot against him with boozy plums. Me not want stay here! Me want see mountains!’

Me not understand about plums, but me not care; me always like Min. ‘No problem,’ me say. ‘Please come.’

When arrive at cave, everbody happy we back safe with Chief Fem. Cul put Fem down on soft fur. She still unconscious. Gel concerned. She boil water. She send Nizzi get special herbs, put in water. 

Gel dip moss in water, wipe Fem face clean. She see bruise on head, look close. It look like mark of big stick.

She say, ’Chief sleeping, but soon she wake.’

‘This good,’ me say. ‘When she wake, we go. We not wait for morning.’ 

Me look around. Me see more women come, many children. Mat also come. Me say, ‘We leave tribe. We go over mountain where safe. We not return. We go soon, get ready! Bring food, water, animal skins for keep warm.’

Me think more, then me add: ’Bring spear and stick. Bring net for fish. Bring bow and arrow. Bring kindling, and stone for make fire. Bring plenty twine. Bring shoe. Bring all – but quick! When Chief wake up, we go. We not wait for you. Me not trust Tra. Maybe he attack.’

People hurry, fetch supplies. Everybody move fast. Me stay behind, butcher pig and rabbits from today hunt. While me work me look Gel. She still tending Chief Fem. 

‘When you learn medicine?’ me ask. ‘Who teach?’ 

Gel laugh. ‘You so silly,’ she say, ‘Where you think? Me learn from Krone many year. She say me have gift.’

‘So you wise woman now?’ Me laugh. ’That make sense, but how me not know? Mother right – me stupid!’ 

Gel say, ‘Husband not stupid. He cunning! He brave. But medicine women’s business. We not share secret with men.’

Now Chief Fem wake up. She groan. Gel feed Chief soup with herbs. Me ask Fem what happen. She not remember much, only hit with stick. 

Gel explain what happen, Chief Fem listen. Me think Chief cry, but no, she strong. She say, ‘It shame, but Hom right – we run to mountains, find safe place. Then we make new tribe. We find new way of living, better way. We find peace.’

Soon everybody return to cave with supplies. More children come. Someone bring dog. Me not like dog, but not complain. Chief awake now – she wise. Me follow orders.

We share out last of soup. We put out fire. We go.

When morning come we already at foot of mountain. We rest few hours, then begin climb. Mountain pretty – me like! But it steep too. Footing treacherous! We go slow, cautious. 

We not know way, but we trust in Fem – she Chief. She trust in good luck. Along way much talking. Ruti, Cal, Fem, Min and Nizzi – these women clever, make big plan for tribe.

Mountain high. It higher than look. It take days to climb. High up it get cold. We go slower, keep stop for make fire and eat. Wind blow hard, make cheeks red. Still we climb, but now food get scarce. We think we bring plenty, but we not expect journey so long, so hard. 

Men try catch prey – we see rabbit, but they too clever for us. We see goat, but they see us first. We not catch prey. We see big mountain cat, but we lucky – she ignore us. We find only small berries, very bitter – not good for eat. 

Everybody hungry. Children cry. Even dog sad, he howl. Me think maybe we eat dog one day. But me not want eat dog. He friend of tribe. It bad luck eat friend.

Then snow come. It pretty at first. Everybody laugh! Children play. But snow keep coming. It very cold now. Me feel freeze in feet. It hard to walk, but me walk. And at last we reach peak of mountain, we find narrow pass through rocks. We clear snow, make it through. 

Me exhausted. Me need sleep. More snow fall. Me hear noise in head, like buzz of bee. Me not understand. Me see only white. Me not see friends, only snow, falling falling. Feet slip on rock. Now me falling too. Me feel peace. Me dead. 

But then me wake! Me feel pain in legs, shoulders. Me not dead. Me warm. Me smell food. Me hear voices, talking soft. Me hear Gel! Me hear children. Me open eyes. Me see cave; me inside. Me lie on soft furs. Me safe.

Me try sit up, but back hurt. Much pain! Me groan.

‘You awake!’ say Gel. ‘This good. But you not move, you hurt.’

‘What happen?’ me croak. “Me think me fall.’

‘Not talk,’ say Gel. ‘Keep still. Me fetch Chief Fem.’

Chief come. She kiss Hom on head. She smile. ‘You big hero’, she say, ‘You save us all!’

‘Me not understand,’ me say. ‘What happen? Me think me fall in snow. Me think me die on mountain. But me not die. Me live! How possible?’

Fem laugh. ’You fall,’ she say. ‘That true. You fall long way, get lost in snow. You nearly die. But tribe search for Hom. We search long time, we never give up! We find marks in snow from falling. We follow marks – find Hom! You half frozen, but heart still beat.’ 

‘Tribe have hope,’ continue Fem. ‘We decide gather firewood. We look around – we find cave! It right there, where Hom fall. Without Hom, we not find shelter. We all die on mountain. You fall, you find cave. It good luck! You save us all!’

‘What?’ me say. ‘Me do what?’

‘It true,’ say Gel. ‘You hero.’

Me smile. ‘Me hurt. How bad?’

‘You live. Here, me help you sit. Me make porridge. You need eat.’

Next day me still hurt, but me feel better. Me manage walk to cave entrance, me look out. 

All land covered in snow. Me see valley below, many trees. It very beautiful landscape. It good place for hunt pig. 

Me see children, they play in snow. They wrapped in warm fur. They laughing, singing. Children see me, come running. Someone throw snowball! Me duck but too slow! Snowball hit me in head. Me laugh, wipe face. 

Me hug children tight. Then they run off, play more in snow. Me smile. Life good. Tribe continue. Me cry, but me very happy. 

[Next Episode]

Secret women meeting

(The Saga of Caveman Hom, Episode 4)

[Index]

[Previous Episode]

Next day me, Hom, tell wife Gel about big men meeting. Me say Chief Boz think women make big trouble, so he want make rules, stop trouble. Me tell Gel of Tra – he man who think he woman! Me say Chief Boz want make Tra King of Women, so he supervise other women. 

Then if Tra hear bad women, he hit with stick, report to Chief. Me tell of men-only vote. Boz win, new rules pass. But we catch Tra cheating so Boz say vote not count. Gel say never mind cheating; men-only vote illegal! Me agree, hang head in shame. Me sorry. 

But me warn Gel, me think men not care vote illegal. Many men want stop women talking, stop always laughing at men willy. So me think another vote come, again men-only. Maybe rules pass, no cheating – then big problem for women. 

Me know vote still illegal, but men bigger, stronger – so what women do? Situation bad. Gel understand. Me look eyes, she angry. But still much love. We hug, kiss. Then she get up, leave cave, go visit wise woman, name Krone. 

Me stay cave with children. Me help children mix paint, make picture of cat on wall of cave. Paint make big mess. It fun!

Krone live in forest, in special cave of sticks, leaves. She mother of Hom, but she not want live with tribe. Sometimes she visit, but she not stay long. She not interfere. She good woman, but she strange. Krone like walk in forest, talk to plants, animals. She hug trees. 

When woman give birth, Krone come. She make medicine. She sing song. After few days baby safe, mother safe. Then she go back to forest. Everybody know Krone – everybody respect. 

Some men fear Krone, but they silly. Me know she have power, but me not afraid. She strange, but she still mother. Me always love mother.

Night fall. Me light fire, skin rabbit, make soup for evening meal. Gel return, hug children. We kiss. She see picture of cat, she laugh. Soup ready, we eat. Children tired, soon sleeping. Gel sit with me by fire, want snuggle. She not speak of visit to Krone. 

But Gel ask favour. She say, ‘Tomorrow, you go, collect grub from bark of tree. Collect many nuts, berries. Try catch pig. Soon we have visitors.’ Me curious, but me not ask questions. ‘No problem,’ me say. ‘Me fetch water too.’ Gel smile, but she sad. More snuggle. Then sleep.

All next day me gather food. Me get many fat grub from tree, also nuts, berries. Me also catch pig, and few rabbits, easy! Me good hunter, but me know me not that good. Me just lucky. 

That night Gel ask more favour. She say, ‘Tomorrow here is meeting, woman only, in afternoon. Top secret. Me want you cook, serve food. Me not want women go hungry.’ Me agree. Then Gel say, ‘Meeting dangerous. If Chief find out, he angry! It dangerous.’ Again me agree. 

Then Gel ask, ‘You have friends? Good men? You trust friends not tell Chief? Then you ask friends, come, bring spear. Keep watch. If other men come, they warn women. Women run, hide. We not want fight. But if fight, good men protect women.’ 

Me think careful. Me say, ‘Yes, me have friends. Me know Gai, he not like rules. Gai have special friend Fab, he same – like sex only men. Me think they help women. Maybe other men also help. Me ask, but careful. Asking dangerous. Few is better.’ 

Gel very happy, she give big hug. ‘You clever,’ she say. ‘You understand. Me trust.’ Then she want snuggle. Then sex. Me like! But after, me worry. It long time before sleep.

In morning me leave early, go find Gai, Fab. Me ask help – no problem! All agree. Me also find friend Ali, he agree too. Ali promise bring son, name Cul. Cul have keen sight, sharp ears, he good at climbing. He hide up tree, keep lookout. 

If other men come, Cul make noise like call of owl. Then we hear, we know men coming. We warn women, they hide. Then good friends of Hom come quick to cave, sit by fire, make loud boast about big willy, sexual prowess, skill at hunting pig. 

Ali think this fool other men easy; they not think women meeting, they go away. But if not, if trouble, then no problem – we fight! Ali very good with spear.

Me think this good plan. Me hug Ali, promise repay favour. Then me go back to cave, light fire, prepare food for big secret women meeting.

Me roast grubs on fire, dip in sauce of sweet berries. Friends spread out, keep watch for men. Cul climb tall tree. Soon women come, small groups. Me put grubs on sticks, offer women. They take. Me skin rabbit, make soup. More women come. Me offer more grubs while soup cooking. 

Women talk quiet. Me not listening – hear few words only. Some women leave before soup. Some stay eat. Me keep out of way – me not want trouble with women. After women eat, some soup left. Me put in coconut and take out for friends. 

Me also bring few grubs, nuts, berries. Friends happy, like soup. Me go back to cave, cook pig. Women come, women go. Always small groups, quiet talking. Always thank Hom for make good food. They say it very tasty.

Night fall, and soon all women gone. Only Gel left. Me go fetch friends, we sit by fire, eat last of soup, finish pig. Much laughter – we worry for nothing. We happy, sing songs of friendship.

Then come big shout! Man come running to cave! Ali reach for spear – he ready for fight. But no need – it only Foo, man who expert on worms. He very upset – he crying! He say Chief Boz injured very bad! Me afraid. Me think maybe women attack Chief Boz. 

But no. Foo say Boz spend all day eating old plums. Plums good to eat when old – all boozy! Everybody know Boz very fond of boozy plums – he always eat many – he like pissed up feeling. But this time he eat many many – he have big argument with eldest son, Buz. 

Buz tell Boz he man now – he want make spear for hunt pig. But Boz say no, Buz not man, he still only little boy – weak like woman. Buz argue with Boz – he say he not weak, he strong! He say he big enough kick Boz arse into next solstice! Boz say ‘Oh, you think you big man now?’ 

Boz point at big rock – he say Buz, ‘You think you real man? You pick up rock! You throw. Then I throw.  We look how far rock go. Then we know who is biggest man in cave!’ Then Boz eat more plum. But Buz pick up rock easy – he strong! And he throw rock far. 

Boz impressed – he stand up, but he so boozy he fall down. He get up again. He go with Buz to where rock land. It go far – Boz smile. He tell Buz maybe he man after all. But maybe not, he say! He make Buz carry rock back to cave. 

Then Boz pick up rock – he strong too! But he still pissed out of mind. He try throw rock, but grip fail. He drop rock on foot – he scream! He fall over, bang head. He get nasty gash, much blood. But much worse – now foot all smashed up. 

Buz scared – this bad injury! He scream for help. Foo hear, come running. He see foot, he very afraid – bones all broken. Foo think foot ruined. He think fast – he think of wise woman, Krone. He think maybe Krone can fix foot with herbs and magic song. 

Foo say he not trust magic, but it only hope for Boz. But Foo not know where Krone live. He not know forest. He not like walk through leaves. He scared of snakes and spiders. He scared of Krone. But he know Krone is mother of Hom, so he come here, find Hom, ask help fetch Krone.

Me agree fetch Krone quick. Me pick up spear, run through forest to cave of sticks. When me arrive, she there waiting. She lean on long stick. Stick have animal skin tied on top, filled with herbs. Krone say me, ‘Hello son. Is problem?’ 

Me kiss. “Hello mum,’ me say. ‘Yes, Chief Boz drop rock on foot. He hurt bad.’ Krone nod. She say, ‘We go, but me old. Walk slow.’ Me say no problem. Then Krone point at tree. ‘You want plum?’ she say. ‘Plum good. Very ripe.’ 

Me not want plum, but me never rude to mother. So me pick few plum for journey. Krone hand over clean animal skin for carry. Me wrap. Then we go. It not take long. It dark, but Krone know shortcut – go straight to cave of Boz.

Boz lie on floor of cave, he very pale. Me see gash in head – it not so bad, no bleeding. But when me see foot, me nearly throw sick. It real mess! Krone see foot, she hiss through teeth. She know this bad. She ask Boz wife, Min, go fetch water, heat on fire. 

Min go. Then Krone slowly sit down. Me hear bones creak – she old. But she not complain. She open animal skin, take out herbs. She peer close at Boz foot. ‘This very nasty,’ she say. Boz groan. ‘Please Krone,’ he say. ‘Help me. If you help, me send fresh meat every day.’ 

Krone laugh. ‘Me not need meat,’ she say. ‘Me have plenty food. But me here to help. Me use herbs, ease pain. Me clean wound. Maybe you not die. But foot never heal – that me know. Foot finished.’ Boz start to cry, but Krone sing song of healing. 

She stroke Boz head, gentle. Slowly, he calm. Soon Min bring hot water. Krone crumble herbs in water. She wash Boz foot. He scream, but Krone sing as she work, and soon screaming stop. He asleep. 

Krone take wet herbs, pack around foot, wrap with leaves. Then song finish. Work done. Krone say Min, ‘See water with herbs left over? Keep hot. When Boz wake, he drink. He feel better, sleep again. He probably survive.’

Min very happy hear this, she cry, she jump on Krone with hug! But still bad news. Krone say, ‘Boz survive, but he never same. He invalid now. Tribe have problem – need new Chief. Tomorrow, we must begin election ceremony.’

[Next Episode]

Worm sex

(The Saga of Caveman Hom, Episode 3)

[Index]

[Previous Episode]

Since big meeting two day pass. Me still worry. Wife, Gel, see worried face, she ask what wrong. But me lie, say ‘Nothing wrong.’ Gel know I lie. She give look. But she not ask more, just cook breakfast. Gel know me. She not need fight me, just let me think. Me talk when ready.

After eat me take net, go river catch fish. Me see other man, name Foo, he sit by water. Me greet, go sit with Foo. Me put net in river, wait fish. We quiet. But me thinking: Foo at big meeting, but he stay quiet. So me ask Foo, ‘What you think? You like idea Chief rules?’

Foo say ‘Me not sure. Some rules silly. But need rules. Me like idea hit bad women with stick. Women big problem – always talking, laughing, make fun men. Me not like. Bad women always plotting. If hit with stick, stop trouble! No more laughing, only obey. This good. Me like.’

Me say, ‘No need hit women with stick. So what women laugh men? Some men silly – it true! If women make joke, no problem. Me like laugh.’

But Foo not like this. He wag finger, say, ‘You forget rule: women not funny. Funny is men-only. Women not laugh men, only men laugh women.’

Me think rule silly, but not want fight Foo. Me want catch fish. Me check net – empty. So me change subject, say, ‘What you think man who say he woman – name Tra? You like? You think he woman? You want Chief make Tra King of Women?’

Foo say, ‘Yes, he woman. Why not make King?’

Me say, ‘Because he not woman! How can Tra be woman? He man! He have bulge in loincloth! Big hands! He have willy! Man not woman, man man. Me think you confused.’

Foo say, ‘Me not confused. Me just very clever. You not know some woman have willy? You stupid. It fact.’

Then Foo, reach down, open fishing bag. He rummage, then pull out worm! He hold worm in hand, he show me. ‘See worm?’ He say. Worm wiggle.

‘Me see worm,’ me say. ‘What point?’ 

Foo say, ‘Worm have no willy. No worm have willy. But still, two worm have sex, make baby.’

Me still not see point. But Foo explain. He say he big expert on worm. He study many years, make big discovery! He say all baby worm same – all girl! When worm grow up, worm find other worm. If find girl worm, he grow willy! If find boy worm, no need. Then worm have sex.

Foo put down worm, say, ‘Worm sex good proof man can be woman. So if Tra say he woman, he woman. Why not? It just like worm.’

Me stare Foo. Me not believe he say this – maybe he crazy!? Me not want make Foo angry, so me careful, speak quiet. ‘But Tra is man,’ me say. ‘Not worm.’

Foo say, ‘Me not stupid. Me know Tra not worm! Me not say Tra is worm. Me say he woman.’

‘But Tra is not woman,’ me say. ‘Tra have willy! He man!’

Now Foo laughing. ‘You so silly! You think sex simple! Me show worm, try teach worm sex life, but you not learn. You hopeless.’

Me not expert on worm. But me know worm is worm. Worm is not woman. Only woman is woman. If Foo not know this he spend too long with worm instead of woman. Maybe he lonely.

Then water ripple, net twitch – success! Me lucky, catch big fish. Me leave. Foo not catch. He stay.

Me gather wood for fire. Me find mushrooms, me pick. Me also gather berries, nuts, edible leaves. Me dig up few turnips for make thick mash. Then me take all back to cave for cooking. All time, me thinking – what happen Foo? What go wrong? Maybe he eat bad mushroom? Me not know.

Me arrive at cave. Children run up, laughing, smiling! See fish, see berries – so happy! Wife Gel hear laughter, she come see. Big hugs, much kissing. Children giggle. Me look Gel eyes, much loving. She trust me.

And now me decide. Me need tell Gel about big men meeting. 

[Next Episode]