Case of the Stone Age serial killer

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The Independent Online
MARCUS PLANTIN, programming supremo of ITV, said the other day that the television detective was on the way out and historical costume drama was on the way back in. But surely you can combine the two by featuring a historical detective, can't you? I'm thinking, actually, of my historical detective, the Stone Age Sleuth himself, the great Thog.

Here to whet your appetite, and Mr Plantin's if he's looking, is another adventure featuring the world's first detective, entitled How Do You Mean, Serial?

One fine day a few million years ago, Thog was wandering along the seashore looking for empty seashells. His wife, Quogga, was having a party that night and she wanted to serve cold marsh rat in a cactus sauce. She was inviting 38 people. They only knew 38 people. In fact, as far as they knew, that was the entire population of the world.

'Ug,' she had said to him that morning, meaning: The marsh rat cubes would look really nice served in seashells and would he pop down to the seashore to get some.

So he did. And he looked and looked. But he didn't find any. All he saw of interest was a man carrying a stick who smiled as he passed and said: 'Ug.'

'Ug,' said Thog crossly, meaning he didn't go around saying 'Have a nice epoch' to people, and he didn't want people saying it to him, either.

Then, five minutes later, he found it. It was a body. In a cave. Its head had been removed.

'Ug,' said Thog, meaning that if the head was removed, the rest of it was probably dead. He found the head nearby. It was the face of Krag, the husband of Kragga.

'Ug,' said Thog to his wife when he got home. She started in surprise. What, Krag? Dead? That meant one less guest to cook for at the party tonight.

'Ug,' said Thog patiently. No, it doesn't mean that at all. It means someone has killed Krag. There is a murderer in our midst.

'Ug,' she said, meaning: Well, we won't ask him to the party either then. Thog sighed. It was sometimes hard getting through to her. Then he went off to break the news to Kragga.

Unfortunately, Kragga was also dead. She lay in her cave, clubbed to death. 'Ug,' thought Thog. I'd better tell Zag about this before I find everyone dead.

Zag the golden-haired; Zag the godlike chief of the tribe, was appalled. The known population of the world reduced by two, or at least 5 per cent? It was appalling, that's what it was. He called a meeting of the tribe.

'Ug,' he told everyone. They gasped. Thog had found Krag and Kragga dead? But who had killed them?

'Ug,' said Zag. They frowned as they tried to puzzle this one out. Was Zag really saying they should condemn more and understand less? And if so, what did 'understand' mean?

'Ug]' shouted Zag, pointing to the tribal cave. They gasped. Did he really mean that? Did he really mean that the cave paintings, showing scenes of hunting and war and killing, could have corrupted their minds and depraved one of them to the point where he did a copybook murder? Was that what their leader was saying? The concept was so hard that some of them fainted.

'Ug,' said Thog, nodding. He agreed with Zag. He could conceive someone being so sick in his mind that he enjoyed killing, and did more than one murder. Serial murder, he would call it.

'Ug?' someone shouted. Could he explain that?

'Ug,' said Thog patiently. Ah - first one murder, then another one. So that's what serial meant. But who . . .?

'Ug,' said Thog. They gasped again. A man? On the seashore? Carrying a bloodstained stick? But who?

'Ug,' said Thog. They gasped with disbelief. Not Frag? Not Frag, the cross-eyed one who made funny noises with his teeth, which would later come to be called whistling? They turned and looked at Frag. He broke down and confessed that yes, he had got the idea from the cave paintings that murder would be fun, and he personally blamed the painters who had put the idea in his mind . . .

That was as far as he got before they took him out and quietly beat him to death as a punishment. Later, Quogga's party was a great success - everyone in the world who mattered was there and everyone else as well - and she even agreed that marsh rat on little sticks was nearly as good as in seashells.

(Coming Soon: Thog and the Great Dinosaur Insurance Scandal])