“Order! Order!” shouted Seen Nowood, clubbing the start of the Neanderthals Opposed To Fire Society’s umpteenth meeting. “Hey, Dik! Sit down, we’re burning daylight here. There. That’s better. OK, we’ve got to do something about this fire thing. Look at us. We’re all a bunch of gray beards. There’s not a hunter here under the age of 25!
“If we don’t find some new hunters to train soon, who’s going to bring us haunches of urik when we retire?
Clubs and stick butts thumped the dirt floor of the cave in approval.
“These new kids think that using fire is better than the old ways,” said Cunning Shoots.
“Get out of here Shoots. You know this is a men-only club!” said Nowood, pointing to the cave entrance with his Stick Of Authority. “By the Great Snake, first it’s this fire thing and then the women want in too.”
More thumps and cries of approval answered Nowood’s pronouncement.
“This is serious, Nowood,” said Dug Cliffseeker. “We have standards to uphold here. If we let just anyone out there hunt, how are we going to support our women?”
Dik Faker stood up, “You’re right Cliffseeker. Look at this whole cooking thing. If meat were meant to be cooked then the Great Snake would zap it with his mighty lightning bolts. No. Meat is meant to be eaten the way the Great Snake gives it to us. Just-killed warm with all the blood and fat still in it. I tried one of those fire-burnt haunches last week and it was all dry and tasted like black rock.
“That’s true Faker,” replied Cliffseeker. “There’s no life left in meat that’s been fire-burnt.”
“And then there’s the night hunting,” added Nowood. “Waving those torch things around shoots your night vision all to hell.”
“Did somebody call my name?” asked Cunning Shoots, sticking her head around the corner of the cave entrance.
“No, Shoots. I told you to get out of here,” said Nowood. “Go clean the lice out of your man’s beard or something.”
“So what are we going to do?” asked Faker.
“We’re the pros here,” said Cliffseeker. “I say we put it to a vote.”
“I second that,” said Faker.
“OK. Sounds good to me. All those who think real hunters don’t use fire say Ugh!”
“All those opposed?”
“Somebody kick Gomess in the butt.”
“Clearly hunting with fire is a bad thing. We’ve got more than 500 votes that agree and just Gomess’ pitiful little vote in opposition. And be careful Gomess. Keep this up and we’ll toss you out with Shoots.
“The voice of the professionals (cough) have clearly (cough) spoken! Now (cough, cough) how (cough, cough) do (cough, cough, cough) we… What’s (cough) goin’ on out there?”
“It’s the (cough) meat burners (cough) Nowood. They’ve built (cough) fires all around the outside of the cave!
“No one panic. There’s a (cough) room back here. (cough, cough) Everybody (cough, cough) deeper into the cave. We’ll be safe (cough, cough, cough, cough) there!”