Last night before going to bed I began to read The Time Machine by H.G. Wells. I am only a few pages in, but I ran across this passage which led me to picturing the following short story.
Here’s the passage: “Don’t you think you would attract attention?” said the Medical Man. “Our ancestors had no great tolerance for anachronisms.“
Here’s the short story it inspired me to write.
Ugg, and Ungh are sitting outside. Ugg is on a rock. Ungh on a different rock. They are talking about how much they love rocks – they’re great to sit on, look at, and throw at stuff.
“But,” Ugg said, “they are not delicious.”
“No,” Ungh said emphatically, “they are definitely not delicious.”
Ugg and Ungh are cavemen. That’s not some hipster way of saying that, despite their trust funds, they live in caves. No, they are genuine cavemen from many years ago.
“You know what I don’t like?” Ugg asked Ungh.
“What?” Ungh said, very curious.
“… I forgot.” Ugg replied, sadly.
“Me too,” Ungh said, even more sadly.
Ugg and Ungh have extremely under-developed brains. This conversation is being translated from their native ‘language.’ Their language consists of grunts, groans, and occasionally hitting each other in the face with various items.
Like most cavemen, Ugg and Ungh hate anachronisms.
Ugg shivers, cold because he is naked.
Ungh, noticing Ugg shivering, takes it as a threat. Ungh begins to get up, and pick up his former chair, and current weapon. He is doing this slowly, having learned this tactic by watching animals stalk other smaller animals.
Unfortunately for Ungh and his predatory ways, Ugg is staring right at him.
“Ungh,” Ugg begins cautiously, “what are you doing?”
“Nobody threatens me by shivering!” Ungh declares, picking the rock up above his head.
“Ungh!” Ugg cries out, equally amused and scared, “I’m just cold!”
Ungh hesitates, then laughs and puts down the rock. “Boy!,” Ungh says, wiping away a tear from having laughed so much, “we really shouldn’t use shivering as a non-verbal threat then, huh!”
This is particularly true considering any form of clothing has not yet been conceived by these primitive screw-heads.
Ugg and Ungh see a figure approaching. It is another man.
Only, this man is not like Ugg and Ungh. This man is wearing a loincloth.
“What … what is that?” Ugg asks Ungh, confused and concerned.
“I … I don’t know!” Ungh replies.
Eventually the man reached Ugg and Ungh.
“Hello,” the man greets.
“Hey …,” Ugg and Ungh reply, unsure of this stranger.
“What’s that … thing that you’re wearing …” Ugg asks, the caveman version of Sherlock Holmes.
“Oh, this old thing? It’s a loincloth. I killed an animal and took some of his fur and wrapped it around me. I was constantly cold, and now I’m only cold 94 percent of the time.”
Ugg and Ungh share a look. They both nod.
Ugg and Ungh have identified this man, with his anachronistic loincloth, as a man from another time period altogether.
And remember, Ugg and Ungh hate anachronisms.
After Ugg and Ungh killed the time-traveler, they stared at the loincloth.
“You can’t sit on it, like with rocks.” Ugg points out, keenly.
“And it wouldn’t be very useful if you threw it to hurt something.” Ungh observes, intelligently.
“It’s not much to look at, either, what with that time-traveler attached to it.” Ugg notices, astutely.
Ugg and Ungh don’t understand the purpose of a loincloth. It’s no good for sitting on. It’s terrible for throwing. It’s nothing much to look upon. And, they soon learned, it tastes terrible.
Ugg and Ungh did feel a bit sheepish about a week later when they learned the group of cavemen just one ‘town’ over had all started wearing loincloths. It was no anachronism after all, but a fashion trend!
“Well, I’m a little embarrassed,” Ugg said, a little embarrassed.
“Yeah, and I feel a bit sheepish,” Ungh said, sheepishly.
Then they had a great big laugh, remembering how they’d thought that caveman was a time-traveler, and killed him, and then ate his clothing.
“Hysterical!,” said Ugg.
“Indeed!,” said Ungh.
Ugg and Ungh, let’s remember, are very dumb cavemen.