Heath Wilcock

Lloyd and Joy: A Scientist’s Explanation

Lloyd and Joy didn’t have the common problems of their counterparts in Neanderthal Companionship Counseling, such as: miscommunication, overly aggressive behavior, and depression due to questioning the purpose of existence.

Lloyd and Joy’s problem was their difference in size.

The average male and female Neanderthals were about the same height and weight. However it is my theory, according to the skeletal structures found, that Lloyd was severely petite and Joy was much larger than the average Neanderthal. We at the Neanderthal Reenactment and Study call her “Mammoth Joy.”

The role-of-dominance portion of the Neanderthal Companionship Counseling might have been embarrassing for Lloyd. The females were asked by the counseling director to lie on their backs on the ground and allow their male companions to drag them ten to fifteen feet by the clumps of hair on their heads. Each would have been successful at doing so, the women giving off their trained howls and hoots of submissive trust. But I imagine Lloyd holding on to Joy’s thick wooly hair, unable to budge her a few inches. I might be embellishing a little, but I really believe that Joy might have helped out at this point. Maybe scooted herself a little and tried her best at giving off fake hoots and howls. The counseling director, perhaps a man who delighted in others’ humiliation, might have made Lloyd and Joy switch positions. Joy would have dragged Lloyd without much effort across the dirt, his body paralyzed as a branch while the other Neanderthals jumped up and down, clamoring, slapping the ground with their palms in laughter.

Being with Lloyd and his overall ineptitude with prehistoric living, Joy may have developed an early form of sympathetic concern. And not being familiar with this advanced emotion might have transferred over to the more common rage—which would have been directed toward the companionship counselor for allowing the scene of Lloyd’s shortcoming.

Judging from the size of Joy, each of her hands was roughly twice, maybe three times the size of mine. The meat on them would be tough from the wear and tear of daily sharpening stones and digging pits for food storage, the palms calloused and resembling a tool more than a piece of human anatomy.

Leaving Lloyd on the ground, Joy possibly walked up to the counselor as he continued to bellow, and she might have slammed the palms of her hands on either side of his head, over and over, until she smashed his skull like a thick rind fruit. Or if his skull did not implode, he might have received an aggravated itch or sting from Joy’s pounding, which would discomfort him for years until he would get on all fours and ram the top of his head into a sharp rock, hoping to stop the chime.

The other scientists will tell you differently. They might even say that Joy and Lloyd weren’t a couple, that it wasn’t even possible. They’d say that if Joy even knew Lloyd—they believe she wasn’t associated with him at all—she’d be the kind of Neanderthal to break Lloyd’s limbs and use them as weapons. They believe that early Neanderthals were about survival and that companionship only occurred as a way to better that chance. I like to think that Joy and Lloyd—given their circumstance—were early demonstrators of compassion. It’s hard to see it on those jutted brows, but I really think there was more to them than crude selfishness.

Paleontologists will disagree when I say Lloyd was lifted up and carried away by a rare giant-clawed pterosaur.

Here are the facts: the tiny-boned structure of Lloyd was discovered at the top portion of the mountain named Todd. The steep sides of Todd are made of a thick bitumen soil that is impossible to scale due to the constant dampness of the valley, which creates a slick and ungraspable climb. Some stronger Neanderthals might have been able to notch a couple feet up the side, but they wouldn’t have been able to get all the way to where Lloyd’s bones were found. The pterosaur is the only explanation for his being there.

I believe that pterosaurs picked up and dropped numerous Neanderthals in an attempt to relocate such a large meal back to their nest. However, because of the size and heft of the average Neanderthal, the pterosaur would clasp onto their shoulders and lift only to drop a few moments later, a little farther away from where the Neanderthal was previously positioned—more of an annoyance than a threat. The Neanderthals swiped at the pterosaurs as we would a bee or house fly.

Lloyd wasn’t the hunter in the relationship. He might have attempted when first courting Joy, out of pressure from the other Neanderthals. He was most likely unsuccessful, returning to their bivouac with a stringy runt from a litter of tusked pigs, possibly already dead for days, not even scavengers having bothered to pick at the un-fresh meat.

It was easier for the other male providers, each bringing home a medium to large deer, goat, or in the case of Stroope—who was the most desired male Neanderthal among the females—an entire megatherium, enough meat to prevent the whole Neanderthal community from starving during the cold period.

Even my closest scientist friends would scoff at this, but I really believe that there was some kind of competition between Stroope and Lloyd. There were Neanderthals and then there was Stroope—imagine his offspring being stout and sturdy like sand bags.

I believe that Stroope’s genitalia was so large and cumbersome that it resembled a thick pork loin, possibly even tied up in a bunch with twine. If it were to fall out or break the twine, the weight and girth of his penis could swing and knock his kneecap out of place, his entire body then collapsing to the ground.

The truth is: I don’t believe Joy was or would ever be interested in Stroope.

How would Joy tell Stroope that her tiny Lloyd rubs his soft hands—like lamb’s ears—over her bare back, actually allowing her to build up a mood for mating? How can she explain that Lloyd was the kind of guy to stay afterwards and not leave to mate again with another woman? He most likely only had the smell of Joy on his crotch: how can she explain to Stroope that this was important to her? She wouldn’t even understand the term loyalty let alone try to pantomime or grunt its meaning. How could she even articulate these experiences with Lloyd without—once again—transferring over to rage and having to lash out bludgeoning an unfortunate bystander or biting and locking her jaw on the whole of Stroope’s groin until his banging of fists on Joy’s back and his loss of blood made him pass out?

After Lloyd was picked off the ground by the pterosaur and was possibly heard squealing a pathetic cry for help, Joy probably tied an animal hide sack and filled it with sharp stones and dried meat. But Neanderthal communities didn’t allow a single venturer to leave a campsite, and this rule was especially applied to Joy, given the dangers the community could face not having one of the strongest Neanderthals present.

Stroope might have approached her, the group of Neanderthals behind him watching as he might persuade Joy to be his new companion. The role of dominance might have been initiated as Stroope handled Joy in such a way that was unfamiliar to her while in Lloyd’s hold. Stroope possibly bent Joy over and was preparing to mate. But perhaps unraveling the twine too quickly, he might have swung the whole of his genitalia, dislocating his knee and tumbling to the ground. He would then crawl away, his broken parts in tow.

Or he possibly could have started to untwine but stopped when he realized that Joy submitted, showing the kind of brute he was.

There was no struggle, and looking at Joy’s backside, her stone-like dirty buttocks, Stroope knew that Joy was Lloyd’s companion.

Joy might have turned around and maybe with water in her eyes wanted to smash Stroope’s skull in, but she was only able to give a couple pats on each side of his head after seeing his face: ashamed. She knew that together with Stroope, they would have been able to build the Neanderthal community with magnificent offspring who would ensure protection from a stampede of mammoths—each member of the Stroope and Joy family hugging a mammoth leg and stopping the herd before they trampled through the Neanderthal campsite.

Stroope might have wandered off, not receiving what he was always accustomed to, and not understanding that. It might have transferred over to rage later on, when he was by himself, swinging his arms at bushes or pulling up petite trees by the roots.

Heath Wilcock is finishing up his Bachelor’s Degree in English Creative Writing at Arizona State University. He is currently wallowing in the MFA application process. On weekends, he performs improvisational comedy at The National Comedy Theatre. Heath lives with his wife and three-year-old daughter in Tempe, Arizona.