Short Imagined Monologues
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A Tour Guide Attempts to Salvage His Lecture On a Series of Recently Vandalized Cave Paintings.
BY DJANGO GOLD
Alright, everyone, follow me, please! Be sure to watch your step here, these rocks can be slippery! Is that everybody?… nine, ten, eleven, twelve of you, okay, great! While your eyes get adjusted to the dark, let me tell you what we’ll be seeing today. As you know, we currently stand in the legendary Painted Caves at Lake Cachuma, one of the few known cave-painting sites in North America. More than ten thousand years ago, the Chumash tribespeople arrived on the California coast, settling from modern-day Oxnard all the way up to Paso Robles, and today we’re fortunate to have this unique Native American cultural site in our own backyard, as it were, mere minutes away from the popular off-campus student housing neighborhoods around UC Santa Barbara. The cave paintings you’ll see today offer a stirring glimpse into the everyday lives of the noble Chumash people, and I’m looking forward to sharing them with you all, so let’s go ahead and take a look, shall we? Flashlights on, everyone!
(Oh, Jesus. Oh, Jesus. Ohhhh… you bastards…)
Uh, okay. So here we are at the first painting you’ve paid good money to see. The images on this wall depict a group of Chumash performing a traditional religious ceremony. Here, they’re honoring Kokopelli, the god of fertility, as evidenced by the giant erections on full display by the assembled tribespeople. On every last one of them. Scholars believe ceremonies like these were performed in hopes of encouraging a productive crop season, which indirectly explains what the shaman here is doing. He’s the one in the center, the one… spouting. That symbolizes rain.
At this point, I’d like to remind you all that photography is prohibited in the Painted Caves. Let’s please move on.
Alright, here we have a scene that may be familiar to many of you: the hunt. Here, the Chumash are tracking a small herd of antelope, all of whom appear to be exceedingly stimulated by the proceedings. Because sometimes the fertility ceremony would continue in the form of… well, the thing is… because—Yes?… That’s a great question. You see, as was the case with many of our nation’s native peoples, beginning in the early 19th century, the Chumash had substantial contact with various American expeditionists. So the tribespeople would have picked up a few English phrases, as you can see on these walls. “Chris was here,” for example. Or, “Chris is a homo.” And all the others. Exactly. And, before you ask, “Skrillex” is one of the lesser-known Chumash gods. He’s the god of boat building.
(Oh, how they will pay for this.)
Now, if you’ll turn your attention to the opposite wall, you’ll see a series of pictographs, which are not to be confused with petroglyphs. Can anyone tell me the difference between a pictograph and a petroglyph? Well, a pictograph—such as this depiction of a marijuana plant—is one that’s merely drawn on a wall, whereas this image over here that’s irrevocably carved into the stone is a petroglyph of another goddamned penis.
Which conclusively demonstrates that the noble Chumash people—whose history and folklore their artists dutifully recorded with no more than what colors could be drawn from the earth itself, presenting a vibrant story that I have dedicated my entire professional life to preserving and sharing—were a bunch of perverts. You might say the writing’s on the wall, eh?
… Alright. Well, let’s move along, I guess. Just a few steps in this direction and you’ll see a large collection of ancient Chumash artifacts, including several dozen of their discarded aluminum drinking vessels. Follow me, everyone!
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