EXT. DAY. Some sort of veldt or taiga or what have you. KRANDAR and UDASH, two CAVEMEN, are squatting in a position that maximizes hip elasticity and digestive health before we ruined it with our westernized “sitting,” and poking at a fire.
KRANDAR: So I’ve been thinking about asking Skirset to move in with me.
KRANDAR: I…yeah. What, do you think it’s not a good idea or something?
UDASH: Why do you say that?
KRANDAR: I don’t know. Your tone of voice. Like you weren’t asking a question. Like you were disappointed.
UDASH: I mean, if you feel like it’s the right decision for you. I just —
KRANDAR: You just what?
UDASH: Her hip circumference?
KRANDAR: What about it?
UDASH: Exactly. What about it.
KRANDAR: Are you saying she’s too skinny or something?
UDASH: No. Not exactly. I’m just wondering how she’s going to successfully pass on your genes if your first attempt at reproduction ends up getting stuck halfway through and they both die.
[They are both silent. UDASH pokes at the fire.]
KRANDAR: What are genes?
UDASH: You know what I mean. You know what we’re supposed to look for. A big top part, and a little in-between part, and a big lower part, that’s what’s attractive. Because that means they won’t die, and that’s attractive.
KRANDAR: Are you saying I’m not really attracted to her? Because I feel very attracted to her.
UDASH: If you say so.
KRANDAR: She’s really smart, you know? I like talking to her.
UDASH: I don’t see how “smart” is going to help the two of you from surviving a cholera epidemic. But it’s your life.
KRANDAR: What’s cholera?
UDASH: Sorry, “blood sickness.”
KRANDAR: She is, though. Look at what she taught me.
[KRANDAR sketches several rudimentary symbols in the dust with his finger]
KRANDAR: Cool, right? This one here, that represents “water,” and this one over here, that means “the big rock by the tree where we make decisions,” and —
UDASH: That’s not good for you. You shouldn’t do that.
KRANDAR: What do you mean? It’s super helpful. Like, if I’m out gathering seeds, and Skirset wants to leave me a message but she doesn’t know when I’ll be back, she can just write me some of these symbols, and I’ll know what she was trying to say.
UDASH: Our hands didn’t evolve to make symbols in the dirt. They evolved to grab fish out of a stream. They weren’t designed for scratching out “here’s where the rock is.” You’ll ruin your hands.
KRANDAR: I think my hands can probably do all of those things, maybe.
UDASH: Do you think our Australopithicus forebears would have used their hands for dust-scrawlings? They weren’t even bipedal, man. We shouldn’t even really be walking. We should be using all four of our limbs to scrabble our way from tree to tree. This living on the ground shit isn’t natural.
KRANDAR: I like living on the ground.
UDASH: It’s artificial.
KRANDAR: I don’t know what that means, either.
UDASH: It’s not what we’re supposed to be doing.
KRANDAR: What are we supposed to be doing?
UDASH: Honestly? If we were really authentic? Squatting over a hole and eating lice off of each other’s backs. Not using verbal language, because our tongues were originally designed —
KRANDAR: You keep saying that. What were we originally designed for? When were we at the right stage of evolving?
UDASH: This multi-cellular organism situation we’re in is bullshit. Did you know that when we were still unicellular we were practically immortal? Fuck these complex, multifunctional systems. They cause aging.
KRANDAR: I like being multi…multi things. I like that. Having arms, and so on.
UDASH: And our eyes weren’t built to look at dirt symbols, either. They evolved to scan the horizon for predators and that’s it.
KRANDAR: Let’s talk about something else.
KRANDAR: That field of wheat we found last year is back. Gronset found it.
KRANDAR: Remember? That field of stuff we found out tastes pretty good when you grind it up and heat it over the fire?
UDASH: Fire isn’t for cooking. Fire is for worshipping and for scaring away mammoths.
KRANDAR: I don’t even think there are mammoths anymore.
UDASH: Our great-great-great-great-great-great-forebears didn’t discover fire at the top of the sacred mammoth to heat a bunch of seeds in it.
KRANDAR: Okay, listen, I think it’s great that you’re so concerned about what people used to do better than how we do them, but it actually saved us a lot of time, to re-plant that field and check on it for food later. Having your food show up in the same place all the time is really helpful. I didn’t have to spend a month chasing down ibexes. Which, by the way, half the time doesn’t even result in ibexes. They’re really fast, and it sucks running all over the goddamn plains chasing something you might not even get to eat.
UDASH: So…you guys are farming.
KRANDAR: What’s wrong now?
UDASH: Nothing. Nothing. If you like diabetes, and cancer, and sitting.
KRANDAR: I don’t know what sitting is. Why do you keep bringing up —
UDASH: Humans weren’t meant to find all of our food in the same place.
KRANDAR: Jesus Christ.
UDASH: I don’t know what Jesus Christ is.
KRANDAR: It’s — that’s not the point. You just keep finding fault with goddamn everything. And you act like there was this one magical time when we were perfectly evolved into harmony with our surroundings, as if human evolution isn’t just a series of various tradeoffs and compromises with our constantly-changing environment, and this insistently regressive attitude is really shitty because it totally ignores our current circumstances and frankly I do not have the time or the resources to hang out in trees scanning the horizon for fish or whatever, because I don’t have that much spare time to recreationally reenact whatever our pre-cavemen ancestors got up to before getting gored to death —
UDASH: You know, the human mouth was not evolved for monologues; you should really be more careful about how you use your jaw and tongue placement.
[KRANDAR begins attacking UDASH with a sharpened stick.]
UDASH: You know, clubs are more ergonomic —
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.