27 Nov


CAVEMAN photo: Caveman chiu_cavemanv3.jpg  In the midst of laughter there were tears. In the midst of life the kidling died.

That was the way of things back then. Death roamed the world, the village, the valley-floor, swam in the swashbuckling stream that surged in winter and oozed placidly in summer, climbed the mountains that led to other valley floors and other villages, left its trail wheresoever it went

Death was the only guaranteed companion to life, and few people survived beyond thirty summers without finally meeting it. And that was the age of the Oldsters, the Wise Ones: they were all around thirty summers old, and gnarled.

And now a kidling had died. Three summers old, and dead already, son of Dongle and Unga and, they had hoped, a promise for the future. Yet nobody was shocked and not even many people paused to mourn. If you mourned every life passing you’d be constantly mourning. That was how it was.

“What happens when we die?” asked Dongle one day. Dongle was so-called because his member was enormously long and widely admired throughout the neighbourhood, even as far away as the next village. Even Crud respected it. He had to.

Crud looked up. Being a self-elevated preacher and Minister of the Faith he couldn’t afford to show personal feelings, but he disliked Dongle and couldn’t help the sneer that formed at the corners of his mouth before replying, “We go to the Everlasting” in a breathy kind of meaningless sentence. He’d made it up on the spur of the moment because the question had never been asked of him so bluntly before and anyway he didn’t like the sense of jealousy that engulfed him whenever he looked at Dongle.

“What is the Everlasting?” asked Dongle, sitting cross-legged in the cave entrance with his disproportionate member dangling so low that it touched the sandy ground several inches away.

Crud needed time to think, so he resorted to one of his favourite contrivances. He noted the other’s oversized distinguishing characteristic and nodded wisely.

“Just as your member is resting on the ground, so your inner member is resting in the skies,” he said, seriously. “I had a vision…” Visions were his other favourite contrivance and he resorted to them so often it embarrassed him, though nobody seemed to think there might be anything wrong with the frequency with which he was visited by his gods, nor did they wonder why they never experienced such visitations themselves. Crud, as he had explained boringly frequently, was blessed with special powers. He was the voice of the gods, which is why everyone gave him often extravagent gifts on a weekly basis.

“What about my member?” asked Dongle, who might have been embarrassed by so personal a subject but wasn’t.

“See how it scrapes upon the ground,” murmured Crud, desperately trying to find a reason for mentioning it in the first place. The man’s tackle shouldn’t be so enormous … it’s a distraction… he told himself. “See how grains of sand cling to it where it touches the ground … now think of the spirit inside you … the man that is you, but invisible. Filled with your thoughts and deeds and angry or sad according to your mood … that spirit is dangling in the Everlasting, and invisible grains of Everlasting sand are resting on it. And when the flesh dies the spirit is set free … it will soar above the mountains and go to the firmament… and the Everlasting grains of sand will be set free…”

“Crud, you are so wise,” muttered Dongle without once letting the word gobbledegook enter his head. “I will have my woman Unga deliver a haunch of bamble to you before nightfall, cooked and ready to be eaten!”

“And your kidling will be waiting in the Everlasting,” said Crud with a smile, trying not to look grateful. “He will wait for you for as long as it takes for you to join him, and then you will spend forever in the Everlasting hand in hand together.”

“I just hope the waiting is long,” murmured Dongle, “for I need to see a little life before they take me to the burial slopes…”

“Even as long as your gigantic member,” added Crud, instantly wishing he hadn’t. It wasn’t polite to mention the dimensions of a fellow man’s member. Not polite at all.

“As long,” sighed Dongle, sloping off.

©Peter Rogerson 27.11.14



  1. pambrittain November 27, 2014 at 9:00 pm #

    Okay, different.

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