Thag Go Grunka Gathering!

Barley under prehistoric blue skies

Everyone at the Grunka Gathering was in good spirits, except Thag.

Every fifth or sixth summer, depending on the position of the stars, all of the Grunka clans would gather and share their stories, swap items (sometimes mates too) and have a bit of a prehistoric party.

It was a grand affair, and luckily for Thag’s tribe, the Thunka Grunkas, they only had to travel five or six days to join in the festivities.

But Thag was not having as much fun as he hoped. First of all, nobody was willing to swap for Onga, despite her beauty and physical charms. Her affair with the Thunka Grunka shaman, Weasel-Scratch-Face-Brother, had become somewhat of a Grunka legend, and nobody wanted that kind of trouble. (Even though there were lots of mates willing to be swapped to Thag, despite his lack of physical beauty and charm. His cleverness as a hunter, and even more importantly, as an avant-garde cave painter was also something of a legend.)

Worse than all of this though, was the new respect shamans had for Weasel-Scratch-Face Brother. They were all quite taken with the idea that there were supernatural beings who controlled the element, and that only they had the magic to communicate with them. In fact, they had spent most of the Gathering eating mushrooms that made them act quite strange, and coming up with a list of these new “gods”.

Thag had taken to heckling them during these psychedelic meetings.

“Where god? Thag see no god. Show Thag god!” he demanded. Eventually the shamans had had enough and the Grunka elders told Thag to desist.

Then the Drunka Grunkas arrived to the Gathering with a new invention they were very excited about sharing with the clan.

“What be?” Thag asked his colleague, the leader of the hunters from the Drunka tribe, Barga.

“We drop barley in water, let sit sun. Good. Try. Make you feel all squiffy.”

Thag took the proffered skin, filled with this new drink Barga and his tribe had invented. It WAS good. A bit bitter, but there was something nice about it. And what was that delightful feeling in his head?

Suddenly, the shamans and their invisible gods didn’t seem so important.

“You show Thag how make? What called?” he asked Barga.

Barga nodded. “We show all Grunkas how make. We call beer.”

Barley and blue sky by neilalderny123. More things that will make you feel squiffy can be found at Alltop. Originally published in 2006.

Thag do meditation!

cave lions

Cave lion(esse)s, Aurignacian era, Chauvet cave, France

Every morning before they started the hunt, Thag would sit down away from the others, close his eyes, and listen to the wind. It was more than that, but that is what he told the other hunters. Really what he did was sit, and let his mind go blank.

At first it would be filled with thoughts and concerns — mostly about Onga, his mate, and his running feud with that phallus-with-ears shaman, Weasel-Scratch-Face-Brother. He would not concentrate on those thoughts, but let them wash away, and eventually, his mind would loosen, and he could hear the wind distinctly; its whooshes and gusts, its whispers, and then the smells would come to him.

This morning ritual heightened his ability to sense the prey.

In stark contrast to Thag, Gnock had another way of preparing for the hunt. This ritual involved a lot of shouting, and banging the shaft of his wooden spear against his head, numbing himself to pain, and more importantly, fear.

Gnock had been doing this since his brother Grunk had been killed by the wooly rhino.

One morning, Thag came back from his meditation earlier than usual, and told the other hunters: “go higher ground, upwind. Smell cave lions. Many.”

“Many hunting us?” asked Vlog, one of the sharpest hunters.

“Un,” Thag confirmed.

This was bad news indeed. Cave lions did not normally travel in groups, and they would not fear the humans if they had numbers on their side.

“Much goodly!” Gnock, who had stopped bashing his melon long enough to hear this news, said.

“You mammoth gas sniffing?” Vlog asked Gnock.

Gnock just grinned insanely, and said, “hunt us cave lion!” Then he started shouting: “here cave lion. Lion, lion, liiiiiii-on!”

“Gnock be quiet,” Vlog hissed.

Gnock ignored the sensible suggested: “Lion, lion, liiiiiii-on!”

Thag had been meditating, but if anything it made his reaction quicker. He used his own spear to whack Gnock on the back of the head, much harder than Gnock had been doing to himself.

The shouting stopped, but the trouble was just starting. The wind stopped blowing for a moment, and Thag heard something. He told the others: “they come. Climb trees.”

Vlog looked at Gnock and said, “what him?”

Thag looked down sadly at Gnock, and just shook his head. “Not time carry up tree.”

Scientific evidence: Meditation builds up the brain | Gene turnoff makes meek mice fearless. Lions image via Scientific American. Other skull bangers here. Originally published 2005.

Thag want be millionaire!

Grunk's career had been cut short by the business end of a woolly rhino

Grunk’s career had been cut short by the business end of a woolly rhino


It had been an unlucky hunting season.

First of all, their big man, Grunk, got himself gored by a woolly rhinoceros in the first week of the expedition.

Grunk — always the big swinging dick that Grunk — had tried to stab it in the eye instead of dodging to the side. Still, if he’d been successful, that would have been sweet. They could have ended the trip right there. The jackpot. Instead they had to chase the rhino until Grunk’s massive bulk finally fell off the horn.

After Grunk’s wipe out, morale was low. Their youngest and cockiest hunter, Mrog, made the somewhat risky decision to prove to the others that the Thunka Grunka clan still had the moxy to take down any prey they wanted. Including cave lions.

Yep, Mrog had been an idiot. It was probably best that he hadn’t had a chance to mate before he became cat food.

That just left Thag as the only other hunter with an ounce of creativity or ambition. After all, if they came back to the Grunka village without a shitload of meat, his mate Onga would be sharing slappies with that bastard shaman, Weasel-Scratch-Face-Brother the next time he went out hunting for sure. Especially since their last fight and the total failure of the shalli whacker.

So when they saw it, Thag knew they just had to take it down. It was the fabled unicorn — basically a tall woolly rhino with twice the speed, and twice the horn.

Remembering Grunk, the other hunters were keen to just let it go on its way, but Thag said no, they should risk it, but no hot-dogging. They would work as a team.

Later, Thag would remember that as the defining moment of his life, and always told the youngsters to take risks, but calculated risks.

It didn’t solve the problem with Onga though.

Inspired by:Elasmotherium | Too scared to be a millionaire?.

Now all our horny creatures are on the web. Originally published in 2005.

Thag brain not hear, honey

Sideview of Thag's brain, on task“Thag, don’t forget to bring home that chunk of mammoth meat you left to hang in the forest.”

No response from Thag, who is knapping flint with his whacker. He is making more flint arrowheads to replace all of those he lost on the last hunt.

“Thag?”

Thag is absorbed by his work, and does not respond to his fetching mate, Onga, despite her proximity, and his deep love for her. He is not ignoring her, his brain is simply not hearing her.

“Thag!”

The whacker slips and several hours of work are wasted as Onga’s frustrated shout breaks through his concentration.

“What?”

“The meat.”

Thag gives Onga a blank look. “I was reminding you not to forget the mammoth meat you left in the forest. We need it for tonight.”

Thag grunted.

“You know, Weasel-Scratch-Face Brother listens to me.”

“Weasel-Face is a woman,” Thag rumbles. The Shaman was always sniffing after Onga.

“And you are a jerk!”

Onga storms off, and once again, Thag is in trouble.

Though his brain cannot tell him exactly why. It might have something to do with meat. He shrugs, and returns to his flink knapping.

Other wiring problems here. More reliable testimony about the Essential Difference here. Originally published 2005.