(The Saga of Caveman Hom, Episode 14)
In morning me wake sudden. There big shouting — Fooella gone! We look twine. It cut. Tribe puzzle. But then Ruti remember: she try cut willy, but it already gone! When she see, she gasp. She drop knife on ground, but never pick up. Now knife gone, Fooella gone. Ruti feel stupid. She begin big sorry, but Fem interrupt.
‘It mistake,’ she say. ‘Me forgive. But now it no time talk of regret. If move fast, maybe we find Fooella. You — Cheri and Fab — you good at track animal, so maybe you track human too. Take Arca, and go quick. If you find, you catch. Then bring back to cave.’
‘But me hungry!’ say Fab.
‘Eat quick,’ say Fem. ‘Then go.’
After eat, Arca take arrow and bow. Fab pick up spear. Cheri grab plenty twine. Then tracker leave cave for try find Fooella. It not much hope, but try never hurt.
Rest of tribe walk to cave of stick for visit Pevette. Still outside is Ali, Cul and Cal. They tired, need return big cave for sleep. They also hungry, so Garda go back for make food.
Fem enter cave of stick, she greet. Me follow. It small, so tribe wait outside.
Gel get up, she give hug and kiss. Then Fem say, ‘How Pevette?’
‘Me have bad feeling,’ say Gel. ‘Pevette lose much blood. Me think soon he die.’
‘What?’ say Fem. ‘Why not you say this before?’
‘You not ask.’
‘But this important news! Me need know!’
‘Then why not you ask? Why not send messenger? Me not know magic, only medicine. How me read Chief mind?’
Fem angry for moment, but then she calm. ‘You right,’ she say. ‘Me sorry for shout.’ She shake head. ‘This bad situation — emotions strong. But shouting solve nothing. It important stay calm.’
Me agree. Fem wise. But she only human.
‘Me make mistake,’ say Fem. ‘We lucky it small. So now me fix — me speak Pevette now.’
Gel frown. ‘He sleeping. That important for medicine.’
‘Me understand. But me need hear story. If he die soon, it no time for waste.’
‘That true,’ say Gel. ‘So me allow. But me ask speak quiet, and short time only. Me not want Pevette excite. It bad for heal.’
Fem agree. She poke head outside cave, speak tribe, order quiet. Then she reach forward, touch face of Pevette. She stroke gentle. ‘Pevette,’ she say. ‘Wake up. It Fem here.’
Me see eyes flutter, then open. Pevette groan, then he speak. ‘Fem?’ he croak. ‘Chief Fem?’ He cough.
Gel offer water. Pevette drink.
‘It me,’ say Fem. ‘How you?’
Pevette smile, but he sad. ‘Me hurt bad,’ he say. ‘Me sorry.’
Fem frown. ‘Me not understand. Why sorry?’
Me laugh quiet. Fem cunning. She not want reveal knowledge. She not want Pevette change story for agree with Fooella. She want only truth. So she play small trick.
Pevette drink more water. ‘Me sorry for try steal woman.’
‘What mean, steal woman?’ ask Fem. ‘Me think you only touch boobies.’
’That true,’ say Pevette. ‘But it more. Me make big plan for impress King Tra. It no woman in tribe, but he want. So me decide go over mountain, find woman. Me want catch and bring back for give Tra. Then me important.’
‘What mean, it no women in tribe?’ ask Fem. ‘You not woman?’
Pevette laugh. ‘Me not woman. Me only pretend, for fit in.’ He shrug. ‘It politics.’
Fem nod. ‘Me know politics. It nonsense. But sometimes it necessary.’
Pevette smile. ‘You good Chief,’ he say. ‘You clever.’
‘What Fooella? He say he woman too.’
‘That different. He crazy. He really think he woman! He even cut off willy.’ Pevette shake head. ‘But it no difference. He still man, same like me.’
‘But yesterday you say you woman.’
‘That true,’ say Pevette. He think for moment. ‘It strange. It like me have two mind at same time. One mind believe. Other mind know it nonsense. This make first mind angry. Me confuse. So me pretend other mind not exist. But it always there. Maybe me crazy like Fooella, but less.’ Pevette frown. ‘Me sorry. Me bad at explain.’
‘Mind is mystery,’ say Fem. ‘It part of Nature Spirit.’
‘It different,’ say Pevette. ‘Mind lie often. Nature Spirit always tell truth.’
Fem smile. ‘You good man.’
‘No,’ reply Pevette. ‘Me bad.’ Then he begin cry. ‘You want truth? Me have big problem — me want see boobies often. When tribe have women, problem small. Boobies plentiful, me look, me see, me happy! When women leave, it no boobies, so me sad. Me make picture of boobies in mind, but it make problem worse! Soon me see boobies everywhere! But boobies not real, so sadness stay. It grow. And one day me decide, it enough! Me want real woman — no more pretend with coconut. Me want see big boobies! So me make plan for catch woman. Me tell Tra, he say it good idea. He send Fooella for help catch. He say timing good — snow fall soon. If we catch woman, it no chance rescue soon. We keep woman whole winter, have plenty sex. King Tra promise big reward for catch woman with big boobies.’
Pevette stop talking for cough again. Gel offer more water, he drink. But still he cough. He not stop. Then he begin groan.
‘That enough,’ say Gel. ‘No more talk! Pevette need sleep.’
‘But me have question,’ say Fem. ‘It only one.’
Gel tut. ‘Then ask quick.’
Fem nod. Then she speak Pevette. ‘In end it bad luck — you not catch woman. We catch Fooella, but he escape. Me think he go back over mountain. He find King Tra, tell story. What happen then?’
‘Me not know,’ croak Pevette. ‘But me think other men come. They bring many spear. They want catch women. They want see boobies too. They want punani! It better than pig.’
Fem sigh. ‘Me think same.’
‘Boobies nice,’ say Pevette. ‘For men, it meaning of life.’ He smile. ‘Why you think you win election?’ Then he cough more.
‘Talk finish,’ say Gel. ’It time for leave.’
Fem agree. She hug Gel. ‘Soon we bring food,’ she promise. ‘And more herb.’
Me also hug Gel. Me give long kiss.
Then we go.