The Ecphorizer

November Cover Contest

Issue #05 (January 1982)

In the November Ecphorizer we asked for a "short story or vignette" inspired by our cover, a study of a macaque contemplating a human jaw bone. FIRST PRIZE goes to CARL C. PARTLOW for the following bit of archaeological whimsey. Carl is a law student and bridge aficionado, who has published numerous stories and poems elsewhere. He wins Joe Newby's original cover drawing; plus, if the opportunity arises, we will include his entry in a time capsule for the edification of future scholars, be they human or simian.


As archaeologist for the anthropoidian era of Earth, I delight in finding relics of the humanoid era. Every glimpse into the life of man fills me with awe. In truth, I believe man as far more capable than we Apes. Yet, we are learning, slowly filling the gaps in our knowledge. Take, for instance, this work of art. It resembles any of a multitude of human jaw bones scattered throughout Earth during man's final war. My practiced eye, however, sees more.

Note the holes in each tooth-like protrusion. Though they resemble cavities such as you might see in our children's teeth; they are, in fact, carefully patterned. Listen, now, as I blow into each hole.

Beautiful, isn't it? Soft, whistling music.

Note, also, its shape. JawlIke, yes. But larger than any jaw can possibly be. Why? So as to fit around the mouth, not in it.

Gentleapes, we have before us a treasured find. This musical instrument is designed for ease in blowing, carved to fit the mouth. It creates a soft, whistling melody. Can it be other than that fabled treasure so often referenced in man's many writings? Can it be other than "Whistlers Mouther"?

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HONORABLE Mention goes to DONNA May Harkness of Oakland for the following poem. When not lambasting the human race, Donna is a public health nurse with interests in art and music.

He contemplates the human mandible
Left in its silent form, token of
A rare creature, barely understandable
Once co-inhabitor, now unspoken of.

He thoughtfully strokes his furry chin,
"Can you imagine, we once were kin?
This bloody fool thought he ruled the earth
He ravaged it, poisoned it, for what it's worth."

"He drained it, then saturated it with
His fellows' blood, babies' bones were
Advertised in seasons of famine
But no copywriter found the answer."

"As large puffy mushrooms grew in
Scientists' heads, and the schoolboys
Chanted, 'one for you and one for me'
Or variations on the theme, 'Yours is
Bigger than mine, but mine is faster
And more deadly.' His dentation
Outlasts his glowing feverish eyes
That read computers, papers, and the
Latest market. Look at our flat head,
Brother macaque. Yet with that huge
Brain of his, he failed to grasp
A very simple truth. That's why I hold here --

The jawbone of an ass" 

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