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Abner my Ass fina
“Abner my ass!”
Joe Hartnagel Jr.
Two caveman, Oog (a Neanderthal) and Gronk (a Cro-Magnon), bored are hanging out in a field as they always do, sunrise to sunset, day after day after day. But on this particular day as these two friends are walking along a path, Gronk stubs his toe on a rock. Oog stands there chuckling as he watches his buddy hopping up and down as he coddles foot in hand, grunting in pain.
Gronk, annoyed, bends down, unearths the rock and throws it at Oog. A nice hard toss glancing off his shoulder as he turns in self-defense. Miffed, Oog backs away.
Still hurting and grunting in pain, Gronk stumbles over, picks up the rock and once again throws it at Oog. This time Oog darts away as the rock sails past his head narrowly beaning him in the cranium. Irritated Gronk flails his arms in the air whipping his head side to side in disgust, kicking the dirt with his sore foot.
Upon impact with the dusty ground Gronk winces as he once again hops around in pain, coddling his foot in hand. Oog meanwhile backs away from his agitated friend begins to chuckle and shakes his head in amusement. As Oog distances himself from his friend the rock once again whizzes past his head. Annoyed Gronk briefly gives chase only to be slowed by his aching foot.
Moments later, Oog, out of breath comes upon the family cave where he is met by his mother.
(She is cut short as her son excitedly waves his arms and murmurs out some primal grunts.)
Oog! What is going on? What happened?
(Gesturing with hands)
Gronk throw rock at me! I stop it with it with my shoulder. It hurts, (pause) real bad!
You don’t say?
Yeah, then he chase it down and throw it again. Almost hit my noggin! And then…
Wait, wait right here. I’ll be right back.
Moments later the mother emerges from the cave wielding a club. Confused, Oog tilts his head side to side. The mother sensing the utter cluelessness of her son shakes her head and mutters to herself.
The mother then hands her son the club of which he fumbles and drops to the ground. The mother once again shakes her head and mutters to herself.
The son bends over and picks up the club holding it awkwardly (hands separated by at least 6-7 inches).
(Rolling her eyes.)
She simulates a throwing motion followed by a likewise simulated swing of the club.
Oog stares at her intensely trying to figure out what she is trying to convey. A few silent moments pass when the mother slowly closes her eyes and bows her head.
She grabs the club from her son, rests it against her lower body.
Watch and pay attention!
Oogs’ head shrinks into his shoulders as his eyebrows raise up and down as he intently watches as his mother once again simulates a throwing motion.
She then reaches for the club, picking it up by its handle, cocks the club back, steps forward with her front foot and takes a mighty swing.
Oogs’ eyes open wide in amazement! He had never seen such an action.
The mother raises the head of the club up off of the ground and once again cocks the club back, raising her front foot and swings as she takes a step forward.
Hit rock, then run home!
Oog is beside himself! He shuffles his happy feet in place as he wrings his hands together in delight. While nodding his head in approval.
Oog excitedly reaches for the club. Beaming in delight as he once again awkwardly grabs the club. Oog attempts to straighten himself while cocking the club back and loses his balance as he makes a half-hearted swing, just barely maintaining his grip as he grunts in pain as the bat comes to rest on the ground as he completes the follow through.
Oog rotates his shoulder as he tries to loosen it up for yet another attempt.
(At first excited then with a sheepish grin)
Oogs’ mother retreats back into cave as Oog continues practicing those hacks as the sun sets and darkness falls.
OOGS’ CAVE EARLY MORNING-EXT
Oog dragging the club in one hand, excitedly exits the cave as the sun begins to rise. He has a determined look on his face as he pauses, picks up the club, grips the end with both hands, cocks the club back and takes a half-hearted swing as he steps forward barely maintaining his balance. Unfazed, he picks the club up, cocks it back and once again swings this time maintaining his balance. Oog musters up a smile and nods as he starts down the path toward the field where he will meet up with his buddy Gronk.
Oog comes upon the clearing in the field where just the day before he and his buddy Gronk ended the day with a good natured spat that found Oog heading home with a sore shoulder and Gronk heading home with a sore toe.
It is still early as Oog stands there, sun in his eyes as he repeatedly goes through his routine, trying to perfect his swing. In the distance Oog finally sees Gronk, his buddy exhibiting a slight limp, the after affects from the previous days’ mishap walking down the path toward him. Oog rests the club on the ground holding it steady with one hand.
As Gronk gets closer it appears that he is clutching an object in his hand. Oog squinting, finally notices that it is in fact the rock that had bruised his shoulder the day prior. Oogs’ eyes widen as he lets out a series of inquisitive grunts.
Grunt? Grunt? Gr…
Before Oog finishes his grunting, Gronk notices the club that Oog is steadying against his body. Gronk lets out a series of grunts of his own and before you know it the two find themselves in a ‘grunting match’.
Grunt? Grunt? Grunt?
Grunt! Grunt! Grunt!
Perturbed, Gronk steps back a few steps, raises his arm, rock in hand and begins his wind up, taking dead aim at his buddy Oog.
Oog meanwhile, reacts accordingly and postures himself with the club cocked back with the image of his mothers’ tutorial flashing through his mind. Suddenly, the rock sails toward Oog and almost like second nature Oog swings the club and lo and behold, he makes contact, just barely advancing the rock a mere 3-4 feet in front of him.
Stunned, Gronk stands there with a look of bewilderment on his face as he is trying to figure out what had just happened. This look turns to anger as he realizes that his buddy has come up with a defense against the thrown rock.
Oog meanwhile is ecstatic! He made contact! He protected himself. The moment only lasts for a few seconds as he looks out at his angered buddy. He suddenly realizes the second part of his mothers’ message-run home!
Gronk is angered as he watches his buddy Oog start to run away. He points a finger then clenches a fist as he sneers in disgust as his old friend vanishes down the path.
Oogs’ mother tending to some chores outside the cave, hears some faint sounds getting louder and louder. She turns to find the source of these sounds and she notices her son Oog heading toward the cave wildly strutting up the path, one arm dragging the club while pumping the other in the air.
(Seamlessly out of control)
I hit rock! I hit rock! I hit rock!
Upon hearing this, the mother stands a bit taller, proud of her son.
See, I told you so!
Meanwhile Gronk limps home, saddened, is met by his mother.
Son, why you so sad? Did you not play with Oog today?
Mother, I throw rock at Oog and he take club and hit it away, then he run home!
Son, you gotta understand, he with club will always try to hit rock and then run home!
But, but, but…
Son, listen (slight pause) you throw rock high and tight. Tomorrow you take rock and throw high and tight.
High and tight?
(Uttering under her breath)
Gronk looking at his mother as if she is speaking a foreign language.
(Grunts in frustration)
Son, throw at (points to head) cranium.
Yes, at cranium. He no hit rock when thrown at cranium!
A new day has come and Oog is already poised with club in hand. Possessed with confidence that this will be another good day.
Gronk meanwhile limps slowly to where rock lay from the day before, replaying his mothers’ message over and over in his mind.
High and tight, high and tight!
Gronk backs away from his old buddy, grasping the rock in hand, closes his eyes as he starts his wind up, once again processing the message from his mother. He opens up his eyes in the middle of his delivery to see Oog standing there with a firm grip on the club. He unfurls the rock right at Oogs’ head. Oog backs away as he drops the club and watches the rock sail past his cranium.
Both boys stand there with blank looks on their faces, neither one of them met success, and they don’t know how to react! They stand there all day long, dumbfounded, looking at each other, not knowing what to do next! The sun begins to set and both boys head home.
Gronk is met by his mother.
Well son, how did it go today?
(Motioning with his hands)
I throw high and tight, just missed. Rock no come back!
(Shaking her head)
Oh boy. Rock no come back? Tomorrow you take brother, he throw rock back.
Oog arrives quietly and is met by his mother.
Son, how did it go today? You hit rock far?
No mother, rock almost hit me in head! Make me mad!
When you get mad, you swing harder!
(Eyebrows raised, to himself)
The boys along with Gronks’ brother find themselves in the field, Oog with club in hand and Gronk a stones’ throw away, wait for Gronks’ brother to retrieve rock which still lie in its final resting place from the previous day. Moments pass when Gronk has to remind his brother what to do.
Ma says you throw rock back to me.
The brother picks up the rock and whips it to Gronk, bouncing it in front of him careening off his shin. While fumbling to pick up the rock, Gronk glances at his brother and gives him a ‘what for’ look.
Gronk, steadying himself with rock in hand, unleashes a throw that his old buddy Oog connects with. As soon as the rock makes contact with the club, Oog starts to run home.
Fortunately for Gronk the rock comes right back to him where he picks it up and throws it at Oog, beaning him in the backside. Gronks’ brother jumps up and down in delight as Oog continues home disappearing out of sight.
Oog, out of breath, trying to suppress his grunts of pain is once again met by his mother.
I hit rock, start to run home. Gronk pick up rock and hit me.
Oogs’ mother pauses for a second or two.
I got it! First you run to cousins’ cave. You be safe there!
What is now becoming habit, the boys position themselves in the field, Gronk with rock in hand, Oog grasping club while Gronks’ brother stands behind Oog.
Just as the day before, Gronk goes through his motions hurling the rock toward Oog and once again Oog swings the club making contact just like the day prior, except this time the rock is hit to the right of Gronk who chases the rock, picks it up and surprisingly notices that Oog has taken a new route, running in an opposite direction, not toward home!
Oog dashes towards his cousins’ cave. Gronk turns, chasing after his old friend and whips the rock which almost hits Oog in the head as he arrives safely at his cousins’ cave.
Oogs’ cousins are ecstatic! They all jump up and down pointing at Gronk, high fiving Oog. Then they notice Gronk approaching, chasing after the wayward rock. The cousins’ then push Oog in the direction of his cave.
Run home! Run home!
Oog excited, starts to run for home when after a few steps, he feels the thud of the rock ricocheting off his backside. When he arrives at his home cave he is met by his mother.
Son, what is wrong? Didn’t you first run to cousins’ cave?
(Out of breath, still rubbing his backside.)
Yes, rock just missed me. While at cousins cave I get high five! Gronk chase rock down, cousin tell me to run home, but Gronk hit me with rock.
Is that so? First run to cousins’ cave, (momentarily bows head and continues with) then run to sisters’ cave second. You be safe there.
Sister cave second.
The next day comes and we find the two boys along with Gronks’ brother occupying their familiar positions and just like the day before, Gronk hurls the rock toward Oog whom once again makes contact, this time he hits the rock a little bit further away from Gronk.
Oog takes off, headed toward the cousins’ cave. Once at cousins’ cave Oog briefly stops to see if the rock is headed in his direction. It is not and he is waved on to continue his trek home. Oog alters his course and slightly changes his cadence as he remembers the advice of his mother as he heads over to his sisters’ cave.
Oog, out of breath, stops at sisters’ cave. He looks out into the field and notices that Gronk is between sisters’ cave and home waiting for him with rock in hand. He turns around with a blank stare.
Oh no, Gronk at home with rock in hand.
(Starts to rub backside)
He gonna hit me with rock.
Look, before you run home, you run to grandmothers’ cave. You stay there, safe.
Oog nods his head as he continues to grandmothers’ cave and waits and waits. A long time passes when Gronk who is eagerly waiting for Oog at home loses patience and goes looking for his old friend.
Before long Gronk notices Oog outside his grandmothers’ cave. He runs over to Oog and waits for him to start running.
Oog does not run, he just stares at Gronk and Gronk stares back. Hours pass as the two friends continue to stare at each other as the day comes to an end as the sun finally sets.
The sun rises and we see Gronk still standing at the grandmothers’ cave with no sight of Oog, he had run home in the darkness!
Saddened, (feeling duped) Gronk returns home as he can be seen explaining to his mother what had transpired.
Mother, I wait all nite for Oog to run home. Daytime come and no sign of Oog. He made it home!
You wait all nite long and he still make it home? (pauses) Listen, you making it too easy for him to hit rock. You need to throw it harder.
Gronk nods in acknowledgement.
Gronk heads back down to field where he sees a small crowd of people, eight of them to be exact, cheering Oogs’ name. Oog, feeling infused with energy from the small gathering of fans taps his club against the ground, then holding it in one hand, points it out in the distance.
Gronk, more confident than ever heeds the advice of his mother and unleashes a throw as hard as he has ever thrown. And within a split second a piercing crack can be heard echoing off of the club as Oog has connected with a mighty swing sending the small gathering of fans into a frenzy.
In a flash, Gronks’ head is looking skyward, tracking the rock that Oog has just blasted out of sight.
Oog takes off running, first to his cousins’ cave, then to his sisters’ cave followed by a brief visit to his grandmothers’ cave and finally to his home cave.
Gronk in utter disbelief, head down, kicks the dirt and heads home where he once again is met by his mother.
Mother I did what you say I throw harder, he hit harder. Rock no come back!
Go get the rest of your brothers and sisters then come with me.
Gronks’ mother leads them all to the field where Oogs’ family is still whooping and hollering at the sight that had just befell them.
Gronks’ mother shoots them a brief stare with one eyebrow raised then turns her attention to her family. One by one, she puts her hand on each childs’ shoulder and directs them where to position themselves throughout the field.
With Oog still at home, two of his brothers fight over the club, to see who will be the next to hit. With no apparent winner, the club falls to the ground. One of the boys picks up the club, tosses it up in the air and snatches it in his grasp before it falls to the ground.
Another brother steps in and puts his fist above that of his brother, closer to the end of the handle, with the thinking/intention that the club is his and that he will be the next hitter, only to have yet another brother step in and grab the club, yet closer to the end of the handle. Smiling, while thinking that he has control of the club and that it is his turn to hit, a sister steps in and grabs the club by the knobbed end, smiles and walks away with the club ready to hit.
The game progresses with each team taking turns hitting and as the sun sets we notice that one member of Oogs’ team does not get a chance to play-his father!
Mother, why can’t father hit? He hit far, real far!
That may be true son, but he horrible fielder-atrocious!
But, but Mom…(pause)do you think that father could D.H.?
Listen son, Homo sapiens are gonna land an Apollo lunar module and drive a NASA lunar rover on the moon before there is a D.H.!
Oh, (pause)Mom…What’s a Homo Sapien?
Gronks’ mother shoots them a brief stare with one eyebrow raised then turns her attention