Guest Narrator: Emma Thompson
OUR STORY THUS FAR: Farta and Tago have spent the last three weeks drinking booze, looking at porn and telling stories of Farta's superhero creations, Flying Tago and Furry Night Bard Farta. After an ill-fated attempt at flying, which has left Tago with a broken leg, the pair has decided to reunite with their tribe. On their way, they ran into Artiste, a member of their tribe who has affected a French accent and has started drawing "masterpieces" in the dirt. Artiste tried to explain the concept of the pronouns "I," "you," "he" and "she," which alpha grunt-maker Dico has declared should now be used, but Farta and Tago remain reticent to adopt the change. Farta and Tago have also learned their superhero creations are repellent to females, which is fine for Farta, who already has a lifelong mate in Balchane, but distressing for Tago, who remains single. After meeting Artiste, Farta and Tago decided he had gone insane, and spent the night drinking and looking at porn to prepare in case the rest of their tribe had gone insane.
OUR STORY FROM HERE ON OUT:
Farta, Tago been thinking again.
Last time Tago thinked, Tago hurt leg.
No, no. Tago sober now. Tago been thinking about monolith.
Farta hate monolith. Since monolith come, nothing make sense.
Tago agree. But monolith not like rock or river or cloud or even bang bang bone. Monolith smooth, flat, noisy, change how Tago think and Farta think and Artiste think. Monolith not just fall from somewhere. Someone maked monolith, Tago think.
Who could make monolith?
Tago not sure. But Tago think...
Tago no grunt! Edge of mountain here. Last Farta saw tribe, just around corner.
Farta look, see if tribe there.
Farta afraid. If tribe gone, Farta not know what to do.
Tago afraid, too. Leg hurt bad. Tago can't walk much further. If tribe gone, Tago maybe gone gone bye-bye gone soon. Farta look to see if tribe still there.
Farta can't. Can't see far sometimes.
Farta can't or Farta afraid?
Okay, okay. Tago look.
Well. Tago going to look?
Tago need swig of grape juice first. Just in case.
Okay, okay. Not take long, Tago.
Okay. Now Tago look.
Good Tago. Tribe there?
Yes, some of tribe there.
All males of tribe.
All males Tago remember, except Farta.
Let Farta see.
It was true, dear reader. Indeed, all the males of the Fartago tribe had gathered in the center of the gap between the two mountains. Farta and Tago stared in wonder, for never before had they seen so many of their tribe gathered in one place - at least, never before save the night the monolith came. At first, Farta and Tago felt a twinge of fear that the monolith had returned to cause more mischief. But when Tago looked closer, he saw it was not a monolith, but three members of the tribe at a circle in the center of the gathering. At one end of the circle stood Bruto, the alpha male. Across from him, also facing out to the crowd, was another male of the tribe, Brongo. Standing between and a little ahead of them was Dico, whom Farta and Tago knew now to be the alpha grunt-maker of the tribe. Puzzled, Farta and Tago slowly made their way down the slope of the foothill to a male they recognized, Sliver.
Farta? Tago? Where yous been?
Farta... I and Tago been busy. Why males gather?
Today, tribe choose new alpha.
New alpha? But no females here. Females choose alpha.
Not yet even in-heat season for females. Why tribe need new alpha?
Mating with most females not only job for alpha male anymore. Tribe live in post-monolith world. Tribe need alpha who can protect from danger.
Tago confused. "Post-monolith world"? Sky still above. Earth still below. River still wet. Rocks still dry. World same. Only tribe changed.
No, no. It post-monolith world. Now tribe know many things can and wish to hurt anybody - Cat with Big Tooths, fire from sky, not enough food, not enough water. Tribe need strong alpha, smart alpha.
But no females here. Females in tribe, too.
Females too busy nursing babies. This job for males. Males stronger, so males smarter. Know better how not to be gone gone bye-bye gone.
Who decided all this? This post-monolith world, tribe need new alpha, males choose alpha?
Alpha decide tribe need new alpha? That make no sense!
Since monolith come, nothing make sense.
Bruto grunted last week. Sayed tribe choose best alpha to match against he. Dico call it "debate." Sayed debate today.
Tribe choosed Brongo? Brongo never mated with female since first make-baby-can season, and even then tried make-baby in Jana's ear!
Brongo run from rabbits and little birds that sing! Brongo worst alpha male!
When Bruto grunted, Bruto sayed, "Bruto welcome challenge from any opponent, even Brongo, who is formidable opponent and would make great alpha." After Bruto grunted, tribe thinked Bruto right. Brongo make good alpha maybe.
Tago think Sliver make better Alpha than Brongo.
I not want job. Too hard. World have too much danger. Brongo understand danger. Once outrunned Cat with Big Tooths. Besides, Sliver not... wait! Dico step forward. Debate going to start.
All the males of the tribe fell silent as stone as Dico raised up on his hind legs and raised his hands. Although they sensed something was amiss, Farta and Tago, too, remained silent. They harbored doubts about the debate, but they hoped to make some sense of what was coming.
Tribe listen! Today Bruto debate Brongo for who become new alpha male of tribe. Tribe listen, not grunt or make noise while he and he grunt. Except now. Tribe welcome Bruto.
Each have until I say to stop grunting to grunt. Bruto begin.
I thank you, Dico. Tribe! All yous males. All yous friends. All yous and I know, since monolith come, world different. Tribe not ask for monolith to come, but tribe cannot cower in fear at post-monolith world. With I as alpha, tribe will face dangers bravely. Dangers of world many and all around. Every day, tribe see new ways to be gone gone bye-bye gone. I will find way to make Cat with Big Tooths gone gone bye-bye gone. I will protect tribe from fire from sky, and always find enough food. Since monolith come, Cat with Big Tooths not eat anybody in tribe. This because I protect. I can't say how I protected, because not want to scare tribe. But I is ready to face post-monolith world.
Bruto grunted enough.
Tribe not make noise! Brongo, you grunt.
Tribe! Ah... er... I mean, I thank Dico... thank you, Dico. Brongo... er, I not seen Cat with Big Tooths since before monolith. It now season when days become shorter, nights become longer. It not yet cold season, but cold season coming. Last cold season, Cat with Big Tooths not seen. I not sure Cat with Big Tooths hunt in cold season. Maybe that why Cat with Big Tooths eated nobody in tribe since monolith. Also, four days ago, Bron... I see Cat with Big Tooths eated female from another tribe. Maybe Cat with Big Tooths hunting other tribe now. I think maybe best thing to find somewhere else to live, somewhere where no Cat with Big Tooths is. I not sure how he protect from fire from sky, but I think most important to feed everyone in tribe, even Imbecile. That best way to live.
Brongo grunted enough.
... ... ... Yay.
Okay. Now tribe choose new alpha. Who yous choose?
The roar of the was almost deafening, and it startled Tago, who instinctively leapt into Farta's arms. Farta, too, was horrified. Carrying his crippled companion, he slowly crept away from their fellow tribesmen, who had been taken by a madness as though possessed. They were tossing rocks, handfuls of grass and their own feces in the air and shouting the name of their past and current leader over and over again. Even Sliver was too caught up in the excitement to notice Farta's and Tago's departure. In the center of the crowd, Brongo tried to slink away, but he was quickly seized by two large males on the edge of the crowd and brought back to the center of the circle. Dico again raised his hands, and the crowd fell silent.
Winner of debate is... Bruto!
Now is time for punishing of loser!
All tribe punch loser in baby-maker!
One by one, the tribe's males lined up to pummel Brongo's crotch. Bruto was allowed the first three blows, which he took with a relish as the two burly males held his defeated challenger down. Dico was allowed two blows, and then every male in the tribe took one blow each. Farta turned away from the scene and found an unoccupied crevice in the foothills in which to set down Tago. They both did their best to cover their ears against the sounds of the punches and the agonized wails of the unfortunate wretch, but even muffled, the cacophony was nauseating. After several minutes, the tribe had finished its punishment. They ran off to the caves, carrying Bruto above them and leaving poor Brongo in the dirt. After several more minutes, Brongo's wails stopped, as the abused Homo habilis slipped into unconsciousness, and Farta and Tago were left alone with only the sounds of the crickets chirping in the setting sun. Tago waited a long time to break the silence.
Before monolith come, Farta always punished loser when new alpha was chosen.
Farta remember. Tago punished, too.
Tago remember. Why Farta not punish Brongo like other males?
Farta not know. Why Tago not punish Brongo?
Farta carried Tago.
Tago want punish Brongo? Brongo still out there.
No. Tago not want punish. Tago want grape juice. Tago want grape juice more than ever before.
Farta understand. Farta need wheat water.
Tago think Bruto knowed Brongo not make good alpha. Why Bruto sayed debate should be against Brongo?
If Tago was Bruto, and Tago knowed what would happen to loser, would Tago want to debate Brongo?
Yes. But Tago wouldn't want to debate anybody. Tago not want to be alpha or to debate or to choose new alpha.
Farta, either. What Farta not understand, why Brongo tried to be alpha?
Maybe Brongo thinked, if females not choose, no punishment. Or maybe Brongo thinked could win debate.
Or maybe Brongo right. Maybe Brongo have better ideas for being alpha.
Tago not know. Tago really need grape juice right now.
Tago draw porn?
No. Tago not in mood. Farta tell stories of Flying Tago and Furry Night Bird Farta?
No. Farta not in mood. Just get drunk.
That enough for Tago.
And so Farta and Tago spent a long, silent night together in the crevice, and they got drunker than they ever had. Even before the monolith came, neither of them had ever challenged to be alpha male, and they could not understand the intoxication of power could be greater than that of any grape juice or wheat water. Thus, it was impossible for them to conceive of the motivations of Bruto, Brongo, and Dico, let alone the beings who had created the monolith. The one thing they had both come to realize, however, was those who knew the seductiveness of power would go to any lengths, no matter how unnecessary or ill-advised, to gain or maintain it. But as they were simple Homo habilii, they wished never to know such power, and perhaps it was for the best, for neither had any illusion he was qualified to be alpha. And so it is with people. Not all of us are prepared to be leaders, but those of us who feel we are prepared must accept the consequences of our failures, and we must guard against excess in maintaining our power at all costs. And with that, dear reader, I, your humble narrator, bid you adieu.