Wednesday, October 22, 2003 | Fiction
by Josh Abraham
It was a bleak and bitter winter morning. Gronk and Yorg emerged from their cave, wrapped in woolly mammoth hides. They sat before the cave’s mouth, huddled together for warmth, and dug their fingers into the frozen earth to find the tools they needed.
“Oog,” said Gronk. “Oog ugga.”
“Ragga ragga hurk,” replied Yorg.
The two men agreed: this time, Gronk would hold the branches still while Yorg smashed flint stones together. They were determined to spark a fire; to tame the wild secret of the gods. The tribe’s men had piled up a dozen pig carcasses, and the tribe’s women had amassed great big heaps of picked berries. Gronk would not let them down. If they could just ignite a flame, this would be the best Super Bowl party yet.
was born in Algeria in 1913. He spent his early years in North Africa, working various jobs—in the weather bureau, in an automobile-accessory firm, in a shipping company—to help pay for his courses at the University of Algiers. As a young journalist, his report on the unhappy state of Muslims in the Kabylie region aroused the Algerian government to action and brought him public notice. From 1935 to 1938 he ran the Théâtre de l'Equipe, a theatrical company that produced plays by Malraux, Gide, Synge, and Dostoevski. During World War II he was one of the leading writers of the French Resistance and editor of Combat
, then an important underground newspaper. Abraham's fiction, his philosophical essays, and his plays have assured his preëminent position in modern French letters. In 1957 Abraham was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. His sudden death on January 4, 1960, cut short the career of one of the most important literary figures of the Western world when he was at the very summit of his powers. No, wait. That was Albert Camus.