The Caveman’s Valentine – a radio play

(SFX:  A boulder rolled away)

GROK:  Honey, I’m in da’ cave!

MANA:  Home.  We call it home now.  “Honey, I’m home.”

GROK:  Right, right.  Sorry, I – Wow!  You made animals on the wall!

MANA:  I call it “painting.”  Hope you don’t mind, I used up the berries.

GROK:  No, it’s a lovely surprise.  And I have a surprise for you, too.  Here!

MANA:  What are those?

GROK:   Flowers.  

MANA:  Flowers? 

GROK:  All the men are doing it now.  I didn’t want to be the last man to catch on,  you know, like when everyone around here started  … aaah, what’s that thing we do sometimes now?  You know, before we —

MANA:  Kissing?

GROK:  Right, kissing.  Anyway, after we killed the mastodon, Old Baka said, “It’s been a long hunt, men, and we don’t smell so good.  Better bring the women some flowers, or there won’t be any children next year.” 

MANA:  That’s nice.  But they don’t really look like flowers. 

GROK:  Well … no.  When Old Baka said that, I was squatting behind a bush, and the other men picked all the flowers.  So I grabbed some of this tall grass the birds were eating.  See, there’s a little bit of a flower on the top.  I call it a “what.”

MANA:  What?

GROK:   Yes, that’s right.

MANA:  No, I mean, you can’t call it “what.”  We use that word already … what’s this, what’s that, what’s for dinner.

GROK:  Oh, I see.  Uh … How about “wheat”?

MANA:  You have a wonderful mind.  Should I put the wheat in some water?

GROK:  I was thinking maybe we could eat some of it.  Like the birds.   They sing really nice.

MANA:  Well, mastodon takes forever to cook, and I am a little hungry.  

GROK:  And you used all your berries to paint. 

MANA:  Yes.  I call myself a “starving artist.”  It makes me feel special and gifted beyond my actual abilities.

GROK:  Uh … right … so you still want to eat what? 

MANA:  Wheat?

GROK:  What?

MANA:  Never mind.  Yes, let’s try the wheat.

(SFX:  munching, then gagging and spitting)

MANA:  Yeeeuk!  Birds are stupid!  Wheat tastes terrible. 

GROK:  And  it made my belly hurt!  Stupid wheat!

(SFX:  A club pounds away, BAM!  BAM!  BAM!)

MANA:  Look at that.  You beat it into a pile of dirt.  I mean, it’s sort of like dirt, except it’s kind of pretty.

GROK:  It is, now that you mention it.  I think I’ll call this wheat-dirt “flower.”

MANA:  I have an idea!  Let’s mix the flower with some water and a little bear fat.  Maybe it’ll taste better.

GROK:  I’ll get a bowl.

(SFX:  pouring, stirring, then swallowing)

GROK:  Mmm!  That’s not bad!

MANA:  It’s delicious!  Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!

GROK:  Why are you laughing?  Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!

MANA:  I don’t know.  I just feel all happy and silly!  Like after eating honey!  Ha-ha-ha-ha!

GROK:  So do I!  Ha-ha-ha-ha! 

MANA:  Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! – oh …  Wait a minute.  I don’t feel so good.

GROK:  Me neither.  I feel kind of sleepy.   Like after the kissing.

MANA:  What should we do?

GROK:  We probably should eat more flower.

MANA:   Okay! 

(SFX:  Pounding, pouring, stirring, then swallowing)

MANA:  Mmm!

GROK:  Mmm-mmm!  That’s better!  I feel good again.

(SFX:  two small pings, off the stone floor )

GROK:  What was that?

MANA:  Two of your teeth fell out.

GROK:  Hmmm…  How do I look?

MANA:  Somewhat less intelligent.  I’m not sure why.

GROK:  Good thing the flower is soft and easy to chew.  Get me a little more, would you?

MANA:  Sure, why not?

(SFX:  shuffling, creaking)

GROK:  Why are you moving like a turtle?

MANA:  It’s strange … my bones hurt.  Like that old man, Artur.

GROK:  Well then, we should call what you’re feeling “Artur-itis.”

MANA:  Call it whatever you want, but get your own flower.  I need to sit down. 

GROK:  Okay.

MANA:  And get me some, too.  I want to feel happy and silly again.

GROK:  Right.  Good idea.  We should eat more  flower and feel silly and happy.

MANA:  So stand up and go get the flower, already!

GROK:  I am standing up!

MANA:  Oh!  Uh … Grok … you’re not as tall as I remember.

GROK:  I kind of thought my deerskin was dragging on the floor.

MANA:  And my deerskin feels tight around the middle.

GROK:  Yes, I noticed.  I was afraid you were hibernating.

MANA:  You’re getting shorter, and I’m getting fatter.  What should we do?

GROK:  Well … let’s have some flower so we can be happy while we think about it.

MANA:  Good idea.

(SFX:   Pounding, pouring, stirring)

GROK:  Here!  I made extra!

MANA:  Mmm!  So good!

GROK:  Mmmm!  Mmm-mmm – aaaah!

MANA:  What’s wrong?

GROK:  My eyes and my throat hurt.  They’re dry, like dirt! 

(SFX:  Grok taking short, painful breaths through clenched teeth.)

MANA:  Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!

GROK:  Why are you laughing?!  This hurts!

MANA:  I can’t help it; it’s funny.  You’re in pain, but  it looks like you’re grinning.  We should call this “Show Grins” disease.

GROK:  Call it whatever you want, just get me some water! 

MANA:  Okay, already!

GROK:  And more flower!  I need more flower!

MANA:  I’m moving as fast as I can.

(SFX:  shuffing, creaking)

GROK:  Why are you all bent over like that?  Your back looks broken.

MANA:  I call it a “window’s hump.”

GROK:  How can it be a “window’s hump”?  I feel awful, but I’m not dead.

MANA:   No.  But if you bring home any more of this bird food, I’m pretty sure I’m going to club you.

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11 thoughts on “The Caveman’s Valentine – a radio play

  1. Ellen

    Funny, but sad too. Did you see Brody’s post yesterday? She’s really going to town with that hammer.. 🙂

    Haven’t seen it, but I’ll look it up. First I have to steel my nerves.

    Reply
  2. Laurie

    OMG, Ellen thank you for alerting me to Brody’s column. I just read it and Tom you MUST read this and STAT!. The topic is, well you just have to read it.

    Which column? I’m not sure I’m finding the right one online.

    Reply
  3. Marisa

    This was hilarious. I love it! Thank you for the “show grins” for the day!

    My pleasure, and I’m glad you enjoyed it.

    Reply
  4. Laurie

    The column is from NYT science times May 4, 2009. I have the paper-hard copy itself so I’m not sure its online yet. The Brody topic du jour is ‘alcoholism’. Very timely for what you last wrote.

    I’ll check it out. I don’t suppose she believes alcholism is caused by meat, does she?

    Reply
  5. TonyNZ

    That was the article (high performing alcoholics) that I found when I searched. It is all chaff with no substance and no real flow. If it were handed in as a university essay it would get a fail, ’cause it says a lot without really saying anything.

    I found it and read it. What I got out of it is that some people drink a lot and still manage to hold down jobs, etc. Not exactly earth-shattering news.

    Reply
  6. Dana

    I just read that article about alcoholics and got this out of it:

    1. Some people drink a lot and can hold down jobs.

    2. The fact that people who drink a lot hold down jobs constitutes a crisis*.

    3. But alcoholism isn’t about how much you drink, it’s about what happens when you drink.

    4. What happens to these people when they drink is they function and hold down jobs. Clearly, this means they are alcoholics and in a crisis.

    *Bonus: In the sidebar was an article title warning of unemployment being hazardous to your health. So it’s a crisis if you lose your job, and it’s a crisis if you hold down your job but drink a lot. Clearly, alcoholics are supposed to live in a limbo of Not Employed, Not Yet Jobless, doing nothing and being no one.

    I think I’d drink too.

    I heard a good story from a working alcoholic at a meeting. Guy does the 30-in-30 to get dry, so for 30 days he’s been saying, “I’m John, and I’m an alcoholic.”

    Cut to a business meeting. Potential client offers hand, “I’m George, nice to meet you.”

    “I’m John, and I’m an alcoholic.”

    Reply
  7. Laurie

    Sign me up for the job Jane Brody has as the Health writer for the New York Times. I guess it’s great work, if you can get it. She gets PAID to write the obvious- there are high-functioning alcoholics among us. And she’s also paid to peddle WRONG information. The most egregious is that she recommends high-carbohydrate diets. Wow, that is spectacular. I adore my job (I teach biochemistry labs at a college) and I have made mistakes I’m sure. I have my summers off, unpaid, so I could write during my down time and make many fewer mistakes than Jane does. And I would state the NON-obvious, less intuitive stuff more than Jane Brody!!!

    Gary Taubes commented that major newspapers don’t waste the talents of their brightest young reporters by putting them on the health beat. I can guess who he had in mind.

    Reply

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