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Updated: Mar 12, 2023

Stone. George McClean’s masterpiece. His purgatory and his paradise. Years of passion, agony and perseverance. All of it leading to this. A restaurant full of guests and two Michelin stars on the wall. Reams upon reams of good reviews and not a dissatisfied soul in sight. Yet despite all this, George was still not content. His life’s passion was to bring people closer to their primal selves and he had done so with Stone. A place where folk came to eat not on fine china and with forks of silver, but off the floor or slabs of slate and with sharpened sticks or with bare hands. But all of this aside, he had never felt further from his own primal self. He stood at the door of the kitchen and watched on with apprehension as guests ravaged his latest addition to the menu. A whole boar, belly splayed open revealing all of the beast’s entrails, each of which had been removed, roasted and then returned to their original setting. Great care had been taken to keep the boar whole. Even the fur had been removed prior to cooking so that it may be placed back before being served. The guests ate and George watched on. His eyes darted around the room, examining every inch of the restaurant he had built.

Stone. The first restaurant to be set inside a cave. A cave that had housed some of the first Homo Sapiens, as demonstrated by the cave paintings that dotted the cave walls. It was truly, a place of pure, primal energy. Miles away from any town or city or road. All guests had to walk a mile from the nearest car park and leave all technology and modern world luxuries behind. The restaurant upheld a strict dress code – No shirts, no suits, no dresses, only moccasin outfits provided by the restaurant were to be worn. George had originally wanted guests to be in the nude or at the very least, in furs, but he had encountered some significant pushback by investors.

The host entered the kitchen. “All good George. Smiles all round!”. George nodded. His focus was elsewhere. He had nothing but praise about his work. The culinary world was in awe of what he was doing but still, still, he was no closer to being satisfied. No closer to feeling the full force of the primal world. He had hoped that bringing people close to it would in turn bring him closer, but all it had done was leave him empty and sad. “I can’t do this anymore”. George took off his chef’s jacket and hung it up.

“Eh?”. The host looked at him, full of questions and confusion. “George, there’s a cave full of guests out there waiting for you”. George turned to the host; tears welled up in his eyes. No words found their way to him. He shook his head and made for the exit. “George?”.

Two months later and George was trekking down the Yukon. Spring had appeared and with it all the wonders of the natural world. From blossoming wildflowers to mother bears and their cubs, rutting Moose and birds a many. All he had was a simple belt of tools and a small pack with nothing but absolute essentials. This was it, he thought, this was the primal life he wanted. Not serving whole boar to guests who knew nothing of the process it took to get that food to their plate. He looked around and soaked in his surroundings but rather than smile, he sighed. Something was still missing. He was still not yet getting that true primal feeling. The true primitive emotions that his ancestors had felt.

That night, the rain came. He was wet, he was cold, and he was hungry. But still, still he was not satisfied. “WHAT IS IT?”. He yelled. “WHAT IS IT I WANT?”. He listened out into the night and heard nowt but rain and wind. He sat up, unzipped his tent and leant his head out to once more ask the universe the ultimate question. “WHAA…”. He stopped prematurely. Something was out there. His heart rate quickened. His senses elevated. Finally, he thought, here it is. The feeling he’d been longing for. Something in the darkness stirred. He leant back slowly and put his backpack on. A stench came his way. A rotten, damp stench. A bear? Maybe a wolf? He got out of his tent. Standing up tall in the dark, he held himself strong. “AHHHHH”. He yelled out. “THIS IS IT!”. Still, nothing but the rain, the wind and that stench. This is it, this is it, this is it. He buzzed with excitement. The sun was coming up slowly to his left. A large meadow was on display. To his right, a thicket of trees. To his front and back, nothing but darkness. The stench grew. A branch behind him snapped. He span round. Nothing was to be seen but he felt a presence. He span towards the meadow and ran with all his might. Screaming as he went. “AHHHHHAHAHAHAHAHA”. Manic laughter spilling out of him. “THIS IS IT. THIS IS IT!”. Finally, he thought, finally he was feeling it. Loud thuds came from behind as something massive approached him at speed. The thing let out a roar. After years of being the hunter, being on top of the food chain and feeling nothing, he was now the hunted and feeling everything. The meadow stretched out in front of him, the downpour had ceased and a rainbow was forming in front of him. The smell of wet grass and freedom filled his nose and his heartbeat filled his ears. This is it, he thought. This is it.

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