General Fiction posted March 26, 2014

This work has reached the exceptional level
Two tales intertwined in time and place

The Clovis Point

by bhogg

Dan Morgan figured that a few moments of notoriety were better than none at all. The television reporter was smoothing down her dress and checking her make-up prior to her field interview. Looking at her, all he could do is smile. His thought a simple one: How in the hell do the networks get away with their total sexism? Surely somewhere, there is a fat, ugly girl who would like to be a reporter. This one was just about perfect.

As an archeologist, most of Dan's work tended toward scholarly and sedate. Today he was being interviewed about his current work. A controversial endeavor as it closed down a construction site with considerable visibility.

The reporter practically barked at the camera man, "Are you ready yet? We're close to closing the window for the 6:00 news."

"Hey, I've been ready, but I don't have to smooth my hair and check make-up." He gave Dan a quick wink.

She turned to Dan, a scowl still present. When the red "go" light blinked on the camera, she was transformed, all white teeth and impeccable smile. "Hi Dr. Morgan, I'm Carla Bates with KYCG, the Fox affiliate out of Albuquerque. Can you tell the viewers what you've uncovered at the site? As you know, lots of people have expressed great annoyance for the construction delay."

"Hello, Ms. Bates. People are often frustrated when science slows down what they see as progress. What we have here is the remains of a large Mexican fort that dates back to the early 1800's. For now, we're isolating our search to three different large holes that were dug at one time. They were approximately five feet deep and three feet wide."

"What made you seek out those holes?"

"In our business, we are always on the lookout for anomalies. In the case of a dug hole, you can generally tell the difference from the surrounding ground. Even when they fill in, there is generally a dip or inclination, suggesting a hole was there. Plus, the holes were dug in a rough square, not a design you see in nature too often."

"The holes don't make much sense to me. They sound too small for a grave. What purpose did they serve"

"Without question, these were sanitation stations for the Mexican troops and families of the fort."

"Sanitation stations? I'm not sure I understand."

Dan looked at the camera man, who was smiling. "Well, ma'am, they probably would more commonly be called out-houses."

After a pause and an incredulous look, the reporter finally asked, "Do you mean to tell the viewers that you're causing construction delays while you're looking around some old, dried out poop holes?"

"Yes, ma'am, that's about the size of it. These things can be a treasure trove for artifacts. We've recovered pots, pans, army buttons, and other smaller items. We've even uncovered a flintlock pistol."

"Why in the world would a soldier throw away a pistol?"

"Just a guess, but I would think that dropping it was an accident, but not retrieving it was a conscious decision."

The reporter looked away from Dan and toward the camera. Her summation: "There you have it folks. Now you know that your construction site is in the toilet, at least for the time being. This is Carla Bates, signing off." With that, she turned to the camera man. "Let's wrap it. Yahoo, what a non-story. I could use a drink." She brusquely turned and stomped toward the car.  Both men watched her accentuated, ass twitching exit.

Looking at Dan, the camera man said, "At least your holes aren't still full of shit." Jerking his head toward Bates, he continued, "Like some people I know."

Dan smiled. He knew tomorrow would be a better day. Just two miles from the site, next to a small river, was a suspected Clovis Indian hunting encampment. It was estimated to be between 8,000 to 10,000 years old. As a Paleoindian archeologist, his specialty was the study of these Indians, their remarkable culture, and what represented the most prolific reminder of their presence, Clovis points. Simply put, they were bi-facially flaked spear or dart points. They were quite distinctive from other types and to Dan, they were beautiful.

The next morning represented what was perfect in a day in Eastern New Mexico. Not a flicker of wind, high wispy clouds and blue on blue skies. Dan got an early start. The drive was a short one, but to him, uplifting and enlightened. He thought, The Clovis people were right here. Probably the greatest hunter society of all times; with knowledge and profound understanding of their environment, they hunted and killed the largest animals in North America. No knowledge of raising plants and seeds. These folks were killers.

Dan parked where a friend had suggested. He stepped to the edge of a butte, took a glance around and took a deep breath. There was no development here, no smog, no noise, no pollution, or suggestion of society of any kind. He wondered, did it look like this to the Clovis People?

Dan carefully worked his way down a slope of loose, small rocks, working toward the river. With water, some things never change. Water is life and life is water. True today and true in the days of the Clovis. He stopped for a breath and to take a swig from his canteen. A month from now and it would be hellishly hot. For now, the heat was just a bitch.

Walking briskly for about one mile, Dan thought he spotted a short cut to the water. It appeared that if he cut left, a gentle slope led to the river side. Confidently stepping toward the river, he lost his footing. The scrub brush hid a gap in the hillside. It was impossible to see. He lost his footing and fell roughly twenty feet. He tried to grab roots and cliff-side, but it was useless. He landed painfully on a rock escarpment and passed out.

When Dan woke, he was in incredible pain. Almost reluctant, he looked down towards his left. His leg was tilted in an unnatural fashion. A snapped bone jutted out between his knee and groin. Lots of blood. He almost passed out again. He knew better than travelling in the bush alone; an unwritten law not often violated. Glancing around, he saw a stout stick that could serve as a possible splint. Dragging himself to the splint, his hand brushed against a sharp object, which brought a gasp. Looking down, he spotted a large Clovis point. It was dark in color, perhaps obsidian. This was generally considered the toughest mineral to work with. For what he could see, it was perfect. Two feet away was another point, almost perfect as well. He stuffed both into his pocket and grabbed the splint stick. Cinching his leg tight with his belt brought tears. How ironic. The best find ever and he had no idea how to get back to show them.

He discussed his trip with no one. His car was parked away from the road and not casually seen. The river was below him. He knew that a mile downstream was a bridge. If he could crawl to the river and slip in, perhaps he could float to the bridge and climb out.


Dron was almost a man. He sprouted man hairs the past winter and had his first woman in the spring. Strange to him, the woman was the daughter of Ang, the leader of his clan. She was payment for making spear points. Although young, Dron was gifted. The tribe's primary flint napper had chosen him as apprentice two summers past. The napper once told Dron the reason he was chosen was because so few could hear the stones speak. He could. His points were desired not only in his clan, but for trade with others.

Still not considered a man. In his culture, manhood had little to do with art and accomplishment. It had to do with killing. Their culture was one of slaughtering large animals, primarily mastodon or large bison. Dron had participated in group killing of these large beasts. Manhood was defined in the one-on-one killing of the tribe's natural enemies, the large carnivores. The older boys were challenged to kill a saber toothed cat, a Dire Wolf or a giant short faced bear. Many left, not all returned.

Dron wanted to sleep with Ang's daughter again. He knew he would have to kill one of the large carnivores to make that happen. His choice was a Dire Wolf. They were the easiest to find and if possible, the least dangerous. He spotted a family of wolves near the river and felt that he could hunt and kill one.

On the brisk fall morning, he rose from underneath his bison sleeping skin. Walking to the edge of the cave, he pulled his penis out and peed. The pungent flow hit the ground with a splash of steam. He shivered and thought, today I become a man.

Dron outfitted himself simply. He brought two spears, tipped with some of his best work. In addition, he brought some stone scraping tools and a knife; once again, his own creation. A small leather bag held some dried meat and leather straps. He brought a single robe, assuming only one night away from camp. After walking for several hours, he eased his pack off close to where he earlier spotted a Dire Wolf family. With any luck, the alpha male would be gone.

Before he made a camp, he heard the distinctive huffs and barks of a young Dire Wolf.  Dron tied  his kit high into a Pinion tree, gathered his spears and tools and trotted out. There was plenty of day left. His slow, easy trot created puffs of dust with every step.

He rounded a large upright boulder and saw a large female Dire Wolf. She seemed to be dragging her rear foot and limped badly. He smiled, because he knew this was all a ruse. Apparently, she had cubs nearby and her act of injury was to distract him. No matter, he would kill the mother and then return for the cubs. He intensified his trot. Squeezing between two large boulders, he came face to face with the wolf. She was waiting for him. Her look was vicious, almost hungry. The limp was gone. With a lunge, she broke directly and leapt at Dron. He dropped to his knee, anchored his primary spear to the ground and awaited her charge. The momentum of her leap met the spear with her chest. Dron twisted hard to his left and the she-wolf landed with a loud howl. The blood escaping from her chest bubbled, indicating lung damage. This alone could be a killing wound.

Dron was surprised to see the wolf rise, turn back through the boulders and run. His spear was still inside her and banged on the ground. Grabbing his other spear, he began chase. She was moving quickly, but Dron was gaining ground. He could see the river in front of them and felt that was where she would head. Shifting the spear in his right hand, he anticipated getting close enough to strike the wolf. All of a sudden, the wolf disappeared from sight. He tried to slow his momentum, but was too late. The scrub brush hid a gap in the hillside. He fell through the chasm, just as the wolf had.

It was still light when Dron came to. Next to him was the wolf, quite dead now. With a grimace, he looked down to his leg, a source of great pain. A snapped and jagged bone jutted out of his right leg between his knee and groin. The Shaman from his village routinely set bones, but when the bone broke through the skin, it was generally a death sentence. He only knew one survivor, the man known as, Cloud. He could walk sporadically with the help of two poles. He lived by scraping hides. People kept him fed from scraps from their own meals. He wondered if he could live like that. He didn't have to wonder long. The broken bone had pierced his femoral artery. He felt cold. The light seemed to fade. Dron died.


Two fishermen found Dan's body two days later. They were fairly sure who he was. A ranger showed them his picture the day before as they headed to the river. His body was pinned in a partially submerged tree about one hundred yards from the bridge. Pulling his dead body to shore, they checked his pockets for identification. A driver's license confirmed the identification. One of the fishermen pulled the two Clovis points from Dan's other pocket. "Will you look at this? These are about the best looking points I've ever seen. I wonder what the story is there?"

Story of the Month contest entry


My muse was a History Channel piece on the Clovis Indians. Very interesting.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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