Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: In-Law(s) (05/08/08)
TITLE: Palaeolithic Fertility Petroglyph #0039
By James Dixon
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The route crested a crag, atop of which stood Lover’s Rock. Ugfug pulled aside a tussock of grass that concealed an engraving of Mate and he, on the bottom right hand corner of the rock. He recalled days of feasting, dancing to the ecstatic beat of drums, late into the night and the… other… things they did together.
That was before baby arrived. Now there was the constant need for more food, skins and sleep. Added to which they hardly ever did the …other things… anymore. There wasn’t even time to hunt ‘properly’ – to sunbathe, whilst getting in tune with the environment.
He thought it could be worse. At least it wasn’t raining.
Ugfug ditched his sodden skins at the cave entrance. Mate scowled at the abandoned pile of clothes whilst baby whimpered in a recess, but he didn’t care.
“Marrrr, Parrrr” Mate pointed into the cave.
“Aaaaaaaaaarggg!” (Translation: I can’t cope with a visit from the in-laws just now).
“Ugg?” (Where’s the deer, dear?)
“N’ugg” (I’ve no deer, dear).
“Grugg?” (What’s for dinner then?)
“N’grrr” (I’ve no idea, dear.)
Mate pointed towards Trader’s hut. (Trade).
“Grrrrrrr!” (That’s too dear, dear).
Mate pointed at Ugfug’s spear.
“Aaaaaaaaaarggg!” (Not a chance! And I’m having the final word).
“Ug”. (Yes dear).
Mate ordered Ugfug to clear the mammoth remains from the spare chamber while she cooked the expensive haunch of venison. Ugfug dragged the stinking mass outside the cave. It is all very well getting a jumbo-pack, but it goes putrid before it can be used up. He hoped the hide could make a new bedspread, someday.
The sickening stench of decayed mammoth, the loss of his spear and snacking on too many maggots made Ugfug loose his appetite. Father-of-Mates fishing tales bored him. Fish weren’t that big. He left dinner and sulked in a cold, hard bed alone.
Next day, Ugfug was up with the dawn chorus, squatting over a pile of flints. Smack, chip, chip, “Aaaaaaaaaarggg!” went he, reinventing shrapnel for the umpteenth time that day. A shard drew blood so he stumbled to the stream in order to wash it from his eyes.
Ugfug’s vision cleared to reveal that Father-of-Mate could fish ‘properly’. He basked on a sunny rock while some trout spit-roasted over a fire. Mate’s father offered Ugfug a share of the catch. The tantalising smell was irresistible.
Ugfug discovered a fish breakfast concentrates the mind; the flints began to obediently split and chip into lethal barbs. He finished two new spears by noon. He presented one to Father-of-Mate, resisting the mild temptation to deliver it point first. What a pity Father-of-Mate was a hopeless hunter, incapable of moving quietly enough to get into striking range, without spooking half the forest.
Inspiration had trouble stalking Ugfug too, but today, the hunter had an idea.
It was high afternoon; Ugfug crouched on a shady trail. He was ‘in tune’ with the forest. There came a crash, an “Aaaaaaaaaarggg!” followed by the pounding of hooves as Father-of-Mate launched and unsuccessful ambush. Ugfug stepped onto the trail into the path of a fleeing stag. He grounded his spear then braced for impact. The deer impaled its self on the shaft and collapsed, mortally wounded, on top of the caveman.
Father-of-Mate came running. He delivered the coup-de-grace and freed Ugfug. The new friends whooped a victory cry and thumped each other on the back.
They bore their prize home and found the Mates preparing the mammoth fleece. Baby was in the middle attempting to escape the folds of the blanket while the women combed out the matter hair. They were delighted to see two companions returning with a week’s supply of meet.
That night, after they were stuffed with venison, Mother-of-Mate thrust the young couple out of the cave and pointed to where the tribe danced round the fire to the ecstatic beat of drums. It was just like the good old days.
They returned, late, to find that the mammoth hide was laid out for their bed. They sank into the warm, erotic, comfort of a new bedspread.
Anthropologists now call Lover’s Rock “Palaeolithic Fertility Petroglyph #0039”. The experts don’t realise that the pair of figures holding a baby, on the bottom right hand corner, are, in fact, Ugfug’s in-laws.
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