Who Killed Shanidar3?

I’ll tell you who. It is Aunt Ja that kills him, only she doesn’t mean to, and she figures anyway, he deserves it.

It all starts when we camp in Zagros on our way to Denisova for the winter, on account of Uncle Tok having a shared cave up there, and it being his turn. (We do not call it Denisova, of course, that is a word the Anatomically Modern Humans use, but times change, and Uncle Tok says the wise proto-hominid changes with them). We are just settled into our camp, with a very modern fire and separate workrocks for the men and the women and the boysandgirls, when this Neanderdude wanders in.

I don’t know if you are at all familiar with the Neanders thereabouts, but they are short stocky guys, built like fireplugs (for those of you who see your way clear to inventing fire already) with muscular arms and odd skulls, and they all think they’re the lightning gods gift to tall trees. They have these big heads, and they claim they dream and see things the rest of us hominids can’t. They even claim they invent poetry and rhymes and such (to which I say “Right, and how many words rhyme with ‘ug’?”). Now, I admit they really do invent textiles (which are like animal skins you make yourself), and they wear these cute little knitted crotchcovers, with flowers in their hair, like they are on a trip, going somewhere.

Now this Shanidar3 item wanders in, looking all high and mighty with his muscles oiled up with last months onager fat. That is how he grunts his name, by the way, with a 3 at the end. I hear that somebody tells him sometime that putting a 3 on his name sounds very cool, very post-paleo, so ever after, he does it. Even Uncle Tok, who cannot count beyond ten without taking off his pants, is smarter than these guys. Anyway, he struts into the camp, sneers at Uncle Tok in his old wolverine skin, and tells Aunt Ja her mammoth dung hairdo looks very coiffure moderne.

Aunt Ja looks down at Uncle Tok, rolling his eyes and holding his sides and laughing. She looks back at Shanidar3, and then slaps him. Very hard. She doesn’t know what coiffure moderne means, but she is sure it is an insult.

So, you know how when a sabercat is wandering around your camp and you are throwing…smellystuff…at him to change his geospatial payoff function? That is how Aunt Ja slaps, with a big underhand swing. Only this time she is holding the pestle she uses to mash up pistachios (Zagros pistachios are famous). It is a short length of runforit bone, and when you are holding it you cannot open your hand to slap properly, and you cannot close your hand to make a proper fist. That does not seem to matter. Her fist-with-bone hits old 3 and knocks him knitting-over-flowers.

Shanidar3 gets up, shakes his head and then slaps Aunt Ja back. He slaps overhand, palm out, and mostly wrist, so it only hurts the flies crawling around on her cheek. But then 3 goes too far, and he pulls her hair. I am afraid that her coiffure is a little old for something so moderne, and parts of it fall apart in a cloud of dried dung and flies, and it leaves her looking like she is one of those hunting women from the other side of Beringia.

That makes her really mad. So she reaches up and pulls the Levallois out of his hair, which is made up into the kind of hairdo we name after a fish. This pull on his Levallois (a long, thin denticulate shape, that holds the hair and the flowers together) makes the flowers fall out, and now he’s mad, and he is getting ready to slap Aunt Ja again, when she takes the Levallois and sticks it in his ribs. She does a pretty good job of it too, what with taking two steps back and then doing a balestra step, followed by a fleche en passant (I think that is right, I am translating from the Anatomically Modern Human here), and since she is now behind him, she follows up with a kick in the butt that makes his crochet fly up.

So, Shanidar3 stumbles across the camp with his Levallois sticking out, and every place he hits he leaks redstuff. Then he rolls down the hill and into the dark and the blackberry bushes. There is a lot of thrashing and cursing (ugUgugugugug ug ugug, ugUgugugugug ug ugug, ugUgug ugug, ugUgug ugug… and you know, it does rhyme, a little), and the noise gradually drifts off. Aunt Ja gives Uncle Tok a kick in the ribs that finally stops him laughing. She says we probably should leave this camp tomorrow, pistachios or not, and head north to Baku. There is a place where stuff comes out of the ground that makes your skin soft, and lets you do amazing things with your hair.

The next day we up and leave, and Aunt Ja is all embarassed when she finally finds out what coiffure moderne means. So we never go back to Zagros, and we never hear of Shanidar3 again, except there is one guy we talk to later that says the Neanders of Zagros are really down on tourists.


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2 Responses to “Who Killed Shanidar3?”

  1. Kurt Says:

    This was damn funny. Didn’t you write at least one other short tale a while back that neandered?

    There are a lot of words that rhyme with Ug, although most are just Ug prefixed with a consonant. In fact, I’m pretty sure that Slug Bug originated with Neanderthals as a sort of physical poem.

    • FoundOnWeb Says:

      If you string enough of the consonant+ug-rhymes together you get some pretty good rap. On the other hand, you need to read 3’s ugs aloud.

      And you can click on the Aunt Ja tag fot the other two stories.

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