Mastodon bones

I stood in the dusty and fly-blown museum before a display of mastodon bones. All the tiny building’s doors and windows stood open to the blazing July heat radiating from the ancient Italian rocks lining the street outside.

The stone floor echoed with the clicking of high heels. I looked up to see a chic woman in a business suit, her hair immaculate in a dark twist atop her head, her eyes flaming with anger. Paolo! she shouted, and burst through a small door into what looked like . . .

Author: Virginia DeBolt

Writer and teacher who writes blogs about web education, writing practice, and pop culture.

2 thoughts on “Mastodon bones”

  1. “I have big bones,” she explained, in a tone of finality.

    I looked at the doughy flesh between chin and chest, the pendulous arms, the bulging rolls from neck to knees, the ankles oozing over the shoes. Big bones. Oh dear. How was I going to approach this one? Her obesity presented immediate and long term risks to her health. Where to start? What to say? She might be…

  2. It was blazing . It had been like that since six am .
    Actually rocky .And dusty . Dust bowl kind of a place . With outcroppings , sudden undulations . There was not even a clear road to follow , for Christ’s sake .
    “How do you navigate this woebegone place ?” She wailed for the nth time .
    “Here “. He tapped his head dramatically . ” It is all in here. All the maps you’ll ever need . All the weather charts . ” He smiled , a lips-caked-with -dust smile . Happy , nevertheless.
    “How can you be so happy ? And so arrogant ? All the time ?” She skipped to keep up with him . Panting slightly . He was annoying but the only human in this vast waste . What was she doing here ? With a cro-magnon man for company ? Who didn’t mind dust and sun and treeless , lifeless moonscape they were trudging on .
    Actually , he was walking . Steadily . Plonk , plonk , his huge stick hit the hard earth.
    She was just surviving . Slowly following his lead , in his giant shadow.
    He didn’t answer . He rarely spoke . Saving his energies . Another survival skill she lacked .
    She spoke too much . She thought . She speaks too much . he thought .

    A kite swirled lazily overhead. Slowly whistling . She shaded her eyes and looked up . If it was a giant kite , it could mistake us for rats. She looked at the outcrop looming ahead . A sun bleached , white , undulating , lifeless mass of caked dirt .
    She wondered what the kite ate , in order to survive. That thought prompted hunger . Thoughtlessly , she ran a tongue on her parched lips . And immediately tasted the desert .Salt and sand and dust . “Ptooi” , she spat noisily . Another mistake . He had spoken on the necessity to not spit . Conserve body fluids .

    “Water ?” He spoke finally . Framed against the outcropping , he looked askance at her . She shook her head . Being brave . Saving water .Precious , life giving fluid.

    She looked up , and saw something terribly familiar , and terribly out of place . The unmistakable globe of a femoral head , white, bleached , gigantic , sticking out of the outcropping . The shaft concealed in dirt . Eroded but a bone , nevertheless.

    “Mastodon bone !” She shrieked .
    “Where ?” He whirled around startled as if she had seen a snake .
    “There ” She pointed to the outcropping behind him .
    “What ? No !! That be rocks ”
    “No rocks .” Rejuvenated by the sight , she raced ahead of him . Dislodging pebble showers , she nimbly climbed up , cupped her trembling palms around the mound , triumphantly announcing ” I told you !!”

    He sighed . He knew the signs . Trusted her instincts. Whisking out the walkie-talkie , he barked some commands . A team was on the way.

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