“The new neighbors invited us for breakfast”, I told my him. I was grinding wheat outside.
“Which neighbors?” He asked. “You don’t mean the giant rats hiding in the caverns?” My husband lounged under a deerskin nearby, smoking. “They’re not exactly our neighbors”, he said after a pause. “Anyway I thought they were moving out this summer.”
“How am I supposed to know! They can’t speak.” Little by little giant raindrops began to fall. I pulled a hardened deerskin over my workspace, and pulled my baskets close.
“I thought you said they could speak”, my husband admonished me.
“They can speak to each other. And they sign.”
“You don’t have a hard time speaking to one of them from what I heard.” His pupils were luminous under the shade of the animal skin.
I shook my head. “I wasn’t talking to him. Where’s my barley?” The sharp rhythm against the grindstone broke the air as I worked.
“What were you doing then?” my husband asked.
“I showed him where the red berries are.” I said, breathing with the rhythm of the rolling motion.
“What a fucking faggot!” My husband lay unmoving. “Where’s his wife? And why does he whack off at the creek?”
“How am I supposed to know!”
Things started with the Neanderthal on the way back from the creek one day. Me, Nana, and my cousin’s wife went to get extra water. We saw him sewing outside, fashioning hide into clothing. They said he was looking at me. They mimed him ogling my tits while chewing on animal hide with his big teeth.
The Neandertal looked down at himself as we walked past. His Schwanz almost reached the ground. He walked over to us to peer into the jugs we carried. He couldn’t see their contents in the bright sun and haze. Smoke billowed from the caverns. He kept blinking. He gestured to the berries we picked. I told him I would show him where we picked them. The next day I showed him the best bushes in the upper meadow.
I thought the Neandertal didn’t have a wife. He didn’t wear a wedding amulet. But when we returned from the meadow I saw her inside. I could tell by the way she looked at me that she was his wife.
from the short story project DYSAUTONOMIA. Comments and discussion welcome on blog entries. Follow me on twitter for updates to this serial story and future stories from this ongoing project