The Return of the
Macho Jungle Guy:
The Lost City

An Interview with the Rich and Dangerous

John "Bridge" Martin returns with yet another exclusive interview with the elusive World Famous Macho Jungle Guy, known to be the most brazen casually lethal, politically incorrect explorer, and awesomely abrasive adventurer ever to walk the face of Planet Earth.

The following in-depth exchange occurred over a number of days in mid-December, 2020 at an undisclosed location. Martin, in private letters to his editor admitted: "I barely got out of there! Escaped by the skin of my teeth!"

Martin pens his interview in the voice of the masterful Macho Jungle Guy simply because that worthy had said: "Do it any other way and you'll be looking over your shoulder for the rest of your life."

Martin, of course, complied enthusiastically! His prior interview with Macho Jungle Guy had resulted in a series of strange experiences—potentially fatal!—following his initial interview with the mysterious fellow. For that initial report by Martin see: Tales of the Macho Jungle Guy.

Editor

Illustrations provided by The Macho Jungle Guy. We can only assume MJG obtained any copyrights required, though he assured us he took all the images himself. On the other hand, if it looks like somebody's stuff, we imply that all copyrights are recognized by whoever holds them, after all this is a Parody Production with Tongue Firmly Inserted in Cheek.

Chapter 1

Beginning the Quest

I am a pretty macho jungle guy. I consider myself to be the best there is. I know some people favor the other guy.* I myself have come close to engaging him in battle although the darndest things seem to come up that keep that encounter from happening.

* "the other guy" is a character of near mythic proportions based on some obviously opium dreams by an obscure American Author prone to "visions" and "hallucinations" that some publishers of pulp magazines from the 19teens to the mid-thirties attemped to pass off as "real life adventures". These works are so patently absurd no further comment will be offered. —Editor.

There was the time, for instance, when we both started to cross a log across a river, at opposite ends, at the same time. We both had our spears, which also work pretty good as staves, and I was looking forward to meeting him in the middle and giving him a good whack to knock him into the drink. Unfortunately, right then, I heard the plaintive cry of a snakebitten mongoose and felt I should go and rescue the helpless animal, so I had to make a hasty exit. But someday, the circumstances will be just right for me to prove my superiority to the other guy at last.

Anyway, my resume as a Macho Jungle Guy was pretty darned good. I have killed just about every animal there is, or at least subjugated them to my iron will. I have a victory cry that would freeze the blood of an Eskimo and...

Well, I could go on and on but I also excel in modesty so I'll ease off a bit.

One important thing I was lacking on my Macho Jungle Guy resume was that I had not yet discovered a lost city. Africa is a big place and there is room for lots of lost cities. My competitor, the other guy, had been credited with discovering lots of them over the years, even though a careful examination of the facts show that he virtually stumbled upon all of them by sheer, blind luck. He hadn't shown initiative by actually going out and looking for them, and thus had not used intelligence, logic and jungle craft to locate them.

Well I, the Macho Jungle Guy, figured that if he could wander into these lost cities by happenstance, I could certainly locate some dandies if I put my brains to it.

So that's what I decided to do.

Chapter 2

How to Find a Lost City

As the Macho Jungle Guy, my first step in finding a lost city was to get several maps of Africa, including topographical maps and satellite maps, in order to locate a likely spot for a lost city. Hey, did that other jungle guy ever hear of maps? Oh yeah. He found one once and then apparently couldn't even hang onto it very long. We never heard of it again except in some pastiches written by a few best-seller wanabees.

Lawyers Strike!

A pre-publication draft of The Return of the Macho Jungle Guy: The Lost City was somehow released by a disgruntled employee of ERBmania! which fell into the hands of agents for Robert Redford and Brad Pitt, claiming copyright infringment over the use of "A river to run through it". MJG stepped in to address the lawsuits and took the Plaintiffs to court for harrassment and intent to unlawfully enrich their clients with a bogus legal action. The court delivered a judgment affirmative for the Defendant (MJG, ERBmania!, author JBM and editor DBB) and return of all legal fees and court costs. This proves once again you do not mess with the Macho Jungle Guy!

Editor

But I poured over my maps carefully, checking out the wild, remote areas, so I would have a good place to start. And I knew that, once I found the right area, I needed just one thing more: A river to run through it.

Having isolated a wild area (30,000 square miles), I was ready to set forth on my quest to find my own lost city. Since the other jungle guy usually never set out deliberately to find a lost city, he usually came across them with inadequate equipment on him. Sure, I know the stories. He traditionally needed only his spear, his rope, his bow and quiver full of arrows and the hunting knife of his long-dead sire.

"Long dead sire." That one always cracks me up. Sentiment may work for hanging something on a mantle but a guy like me is smart enough to take along several knives, some Swiss Army Knives hanging by metal rings from the belt holding up my khaki shorts and a couple of longer ones by my side. I also have one of those nifty sheaths that has a little pocket in it to store my whetstones, so I at least can keep my knives sharp. And two of my knives have little compasses embedded in the top of the hilt.

Speaking of sharp, I have a Sharps four-shot pepperbox derringer for close-in power and a Wyatt Earp Colt long-barreled special which works great on charging black rhinos.

For good measure, I also carry a few grenades. You never can tell when one is going to come in handy.

Footwear is important in the jungle, so I wear loggers caulked boots for non-slip grip on damp, mossy tree limbs as well as for a barrier to snakes. No messing around with bare feet for me. I'm a no-nonsense guy when I go into the jungle.

To keep my eyes in top shape I wear a pair of Louis Vuitton sunglasses that I picked up for free while I was in China competing as a one-man basketball squad against the tallest quintets that the Reds could dig out of their steroid mills to tower over me.

I have other gear that could come in extremely useful as well, more gizmos in each pocket of my khaki cargo shorts and in strategically placed pouches, far more than Batman has in his utility belt.

Which means I'm loaded for bear—and anything else that gets in my way.

Chapter 3

The Quest to the West

It was a seven-day hike west just to get to the point where I would start my systematic search for my own lost city. At last I reached my starting point, the mighty, mud-colored Zampeachi River, which was flowing fast and hard.

You have probably heard it said that if you ever get lost in the wilderness that the best way to save yourself is to find a body of flowing water and simply follow it to where it leads, since, by law (the law of gravity), all rivers must ultimately lead to civilization. Even if they come to a halt at a harbor or a beach instead of a city, you can still go from there along the shoreline and you will eventually come to a place where men dwell.

Sounds easy, huh? R-i-i-i-i-ght.

What they don't tell you is that rivers have a few surprises along the way. Mostly, they're called tributaries. Some are small creeks that you can step over, but some are pretty good size rivers in themselves, all flowing from every direction imaginable to make the river you are following bigger and bigger. And, as you encounter those tributaries, whether you are going upriver or downriver, they have to be crossed.

This doesn't mean merely getting your feet wet again and again. It could also mean being swept downstream by swiftly moving water or beset upon by any number of beasts which may inhabit that water, including crocodiles, hippos, numerous species of poisonous snakes and tiger fish, which behave in a manner not unlike South America's piranha.

Being the Macho Jungle Guy I am able, of course, to handle any of these nuisances and help them exit this miserable life. But when I'm on a quest, I prefer to travel fast and light without having to stop every five minutes to deal with some dangerous denizen.

Since I am the clever and resourceful Macho Jungle Guy, though, I reasoned that, by going upriver, it was likely that tributaries would be progressively smaller and progressively easier to cross. They would also be progressively colder as I reached higher elevations, so the likelihood of having to deal with cold-blooded creatures was lessened.

In any event, nothing—as far as I was concerned—would deter the Macho Jungle Guy.

Chapter 4

Bargaining with the Natives

In my quest for a Lost City, food was no problem. I easily killed any animal I encountered whenever I was hungry and I'd slice off a hunk of meat to consume raw and dripping with blood and other bodily fluids as I went along. I just left the carcasses for the ants and any other jungle meat-eaters who happened along. They have to eat, too.

After three more days, I saw up ahead several women pretending to wash clothes in the muddy waters of the river. It looked to me more like an exchange of dirty dirt for a new batch of slightly cleaner dirt, since any grime floated down by the river had, at least, been subject to the action of the water.

 

 

I walked boldly in their direction until finally one saw me and pointed and gave out a shriek. They ran back toward their little village screaming and soon the warriors were waking from their siestas and coming out with stern looks on their faces. I could tell they meant business because each of them was carrying a tray of goodies full of the curiosities they collect that they think they can sell to unwary tourists—odd-shaped sticks, rocks, and dried leaves. I didn't want any of that junk and I certainly didn't want to trade any of my good stuff for their worthless treasures.

"No boota! No boota!" I said, shaking my head and waving my hands in a dismissive gesture. "Me see chief. Me wantum see chief now."

They had no idea what I was saying, of course, but the mere fact that I was refusing their treasures had them giving me ugly looks, which wasn't too difficult since they had a head start on ugly. They had no choice but to do the very thing I wanted—usher me into the presence of their king. I'm a sly devil and I know how to get my way.

Chapter 5

Chiseling the Chief

The chief of the village was as ugly as his underlings, and had a lot of fat to augment it. I smiled at the chief and raised my hand in the universal gesture of goodwill. I then reached into my leather bag and pulled out one of the trading treasures I had brought—a knockoff Swiss Army Knife, made in China which I had acquired at the same time I had lifted my Louis Vuitton sunglasses. But he didn't know the difference between that and the real thing.

It did have several blades, though, one of which was a pair of scissors suitable for clipping fingernails and coupons, and an actual fingernail cleaner. I demonstrated on my own fingernails the purpose that blade served, then handed it to him and pointed to his fingers, which were filthy and grimy. He got a big grin on his face and began attempting the cleaning, and was thrilled when, after his first pass beneath a nail, there was an accumulation of fingernail jam on the blade. He laughed and everyone standing around laughed, too.

He then invited me into his thatched hut for a palaver and I was happy to go in with him as this was my real purpose. I wanted to gain some intelligence on the location of any lost cities or ancient civilizations in this area. He gave me a few pointers and when I had bled all of the information out of him that I needed, I bade him farewell, casually picking up my gear and, at the same time, palming the knockoff knife once again. I might need it later on to come through a similar situation. I figured my well-being was more important than him having clean fingernails. Besides, I knew it was only a matter of time before one of his lackeys would steal it from him anyway.

Chapter 6

Getting to the Goal

The village chief had told me that wild game had been getting scarcer and scarcer about 50 miles to the north. That told me that evil men must be wantonly slaying a lot of animals for trophies since animals themselves are careful to keep the population of predator and prey in careful ecological balance, taking only what they need and even going without several days at a time when they sense that they have been predating too profusely and they note the start of a paucity of prey.

Where there were men killing animals, there must be a city, and that would have to be the lost city I sought since my maps showed no signs of known civilizations in this area.

I covered the 50 miles easily, running at a body- and endurance-building trot most of the time for a few days. Whenever I needed a break, I just kicked into high gear and ran faster for a few miles.

At last I came to what was described on my map as the Doowap Plain, named that for no particular reason since no one had ever explored it and had no idea if the name Doowap was at all relevant.

I now began moving more cautiously, not that I was afraid of being confronted by any of the locals but because I would find it more enjoyable to take them by surprise.

On the third day of exploring the plain I began to notice footprints left by the careless denizens of the area and I knew the city must be near. Finally, I sensed that the city itself was within eyesight and yet it eluded me. But I soon understood why. It was disguised, its walls painted to resemble the surrounding foliage so that it was nearly impossible for any other than the most discerning jungle guy (ahem!) to spot. Obviously, the dwellers here were artisans who were skilled with the brush, and I don't mean the kind of brush that grows so prolifically throughout Africa.

I used the binoculars from my ditty bag to watch from the bushes for a long time to see what I could learn about the people of the city before venturing in. There was a main gate, but it seemed to have cobwebs growing over it and I could pick out rust spots from the hinges, so it didn't appear to be in use.

As I watched, I observed a small party of warriors, perhaps from a competitor lost city nearby, stealthily approaching the gate. But as they neared I heard a loud and wild quacking sound, such as ducks make when you throw rocks at them. And, indeed, I saw giant duck-like creatures flying suddenly over the walls and swooping down on the invading party, catching them in their tooth-lined bills and ripping them into shreds, oblivious to their screams for mercy. It was over in just a few seconds and the ducks gathered 'round the dead bodies like a pack of vultures and began indulging in a grisly feast.

I could hardly keep a broad smile from lighting up my face. Here were worthy foes for the Mighty Jungle Guy to deal with.

But then I heard a noise—a low, moaning as of someone in extreme agony. The ducks must have heard it too but they ignored it. I moved quietly in the direction of the sound to determine from whence it came.

Chapter 7

Flight of the Ducks

I followed the sound of the pathetic wailing to a tree-sheltered glade where stood several small structures, slightly larger than telephone booths. Perhaps these were torture chambers, I thought, similar to the kinds of "boxes" used to punish prisoners in southern prisons, such as the one in "Cool Hand Luke," a movie I like since Paul Newman resembles me quite a bit.

Then, as quickly as it had begun, the sounds of wrenching pain ceased, because they were blending into a sigh of serenity and relief. This, and the accompanying odor, told me the booths were actually an outhouse enclave. This city was so primitive it didn't even have any indoor toilets and apparently all business had to be done outside the walls.

I hid and watched carefully as the door on one of the booths opened and out came a man buckling up his loin cloth, unaware that a two-foot piece of white tissue had been caught between two of his toes and was being dragged along with him. This was all the evidence I needed to confirm to me that this was the source of the mournful sounds I had heard. I determined to follow him to see how he would get back into the city, especially with the threat posed by the vicious ducks.

But when he came to the camouflaged wall, he lifted his head toward the top and cupped his hands around his mouth and made a strange quacking sound and followed it up by sticking his fists into his armpits and moving his elbows up and down as if to simulate flight.

Immediately two large ducks flew from their disgusting feast to the man and I feared for his well-being. Despite their innocent looking ducky expressions they had characteristics of dinosaurs as well, with claws on the ends of their wings.

With the rows upon rows of razor-sharp teeth in their spoon-shaped bills they clamped onto the leather shoulder harness which carried the man's weapons. Once they had a grip, they flapped their wings furiously to gain liftoff and then flew with the man over the top of the wall, the tissue dangling from his foot fluttering in the breeze.

So, the mystery was solved. The ducks helped ferry citizens of the city in and out to do their dooty but were deadly to all intruders.

I couldn't imagine them mistaking me for one of them, the memory of the unfortunate warriors fresh in my mind. But then I had an idea, and returned to the outhouse the man had exited and stuck my spear into the one-holer to bring up some of the biological material within to give myself the scent of the city.

I reached into my ditty bag and pulled out the duck call I keep in there just for occasions such as this. I stuck it into my mouth and began quacking with it and was able to do the wing-flap too. Soon the ducks were diving toward me. They easily lifted me, weapons and all, and flew me over the wall and put me down in a courtyard below.

Chapter 8

Taking Charge

Immediately after the ducks deposited me inside the walls of the Lost City, I was surrounded by about 100 women warriors with spears and bows fully drawn, their sharp arrows, dripping with something that could easily be poison, aimed directly at my heart.

 

 

"Freeze!" shouted the lead woman in perfect English. "No sudden moves."

I chuckled to myself. I considered making a sudden move and then dropping swiftly to the ground so their loosed shafts would fly harmlessly over my head and into their comrades on the other side of the circle.

But I guess even the Macho Jungle Guy can be soft-hearted at times. Besides, this was my opportunity to say something I always had wanted to say: "Take me to your leader."

As they motioned me in the direction I was to go, keeping their arrows pointed at me, I chuckled again. I had just given them a direct order and they were now obeying it. They were under the control of the Macho Jungle Guy and did not even realize it.

A sign above the entrance to a large structure said "Palace Proper" but I noticed that was because time, erosion and a poor mortar job had caused the "ty" to fall off the end of the building's name. I was taken through ornate hallways, dripping with diamonds, gold, rubies, and emeralds, into what appeared to be a throne room, except there was no one on the throne, since those were all outside the walls in the outhouses. There was, however, a sink and a bathtub, and a woman who I presumed to be the queen was in the tub, bathing in what I presumed to be blood. Suspended above the tub were what I presumed to be the lifeless bodies of several young women, presumably virgins, whose throats had been cut, presumably to fill the tub.

"Come, join me, exotic stranger," she said, smiling wickedly.

Chapter 9

Blah of the Bath

Although the makeup-smeared woman who I presumed to be the leader of the Lost City had invited me to join her in her bath, I folded my arms and replied, "I would not presume upon your majesty, for royalty is what I presume you are."

(This was, of course, not true. I have done a lot of presumptuous presuming in my life, but I was putting on a moral act because I figured that, in this case, it would advance my cause).

"You do well not to presume," said the blood-slathered woman snappily. "Had you accepted my invitation I would have immediately called the guards and they would have charged in from all directions to cut you to ribbons, your blood thus sweetening my bath."

She, of course, was sadly mistaken as to whose blood it would be sweetening the bath. She most likely didn't realize she was dealing with the Macho Jungle Guy.

Suddenly she stood up in the bath and I gasped, considering whether I should cover my eyes to avoid looking at her body in all its glory. Then, I gasped again, in disappointment, because it turned out she was wearing a bathing suit. And it was one of those old-time outfits like the gals used to wear in the early part of the 20th Century when modesty ruled.

She called for a slave girl to bring her a robe. It was a blood-red terry cloth robe which probably never needed washing.

"Come, outlander," she ordered imperiously. I could have flaunted her order but I was in a mood to find out what happened next, so I walked behind her into a luxurious room which had a gold-trimmed couch, padded in purple, upon a dais of marble. She reclined upon the couch and bade me, with a motion of her graceful arm, to sit beside her.

"I'm not sure I should be that close to you," I smiled. "I don't even know your name."

"I am Blah," she said, "also known as Her to Whom You Must Harken. And you are?"

"I'm Dunbar of the Dalai Darkwoods," I said proudly.

A look of puzzlement crossed her face. I imagined she was revealing her amazement that she would ever actually meet me.

"I never heard of you," she said.

I laughed. Of course she had heard of me, but I figured she was probably in a little bit of shock just from the mere mention of my name. "You know, the Macho Jungle Guy," I offered.

She smiled slyly. "O, of course. Yes, we have all heard of the Mighty Jungle Guy..."

"Macho," I corrected her. "That's Macho." The lady must have been really rattled to make such a mistake.

Chapter 10

Harassing the Hooter

Blah, ruler of the Lost City I had just discovered, was well named. Her overall features were rather blah. She was not what I would call good looking, but kind of a plain Jane, not beautiful, not ugly. Just rather...blah.

I could tell, though, that she had a high opinion of herself and thought she was really something.

"I need someone to share my throne...and other things," she said, wetting her lips with a small sponge she had plucked from a dish beside her royal couch.

At that moment the curtains parted and a man dressed in a regal-looking outfit came in. He took one look at me and I could see his face turning red with anger, the jealousy slowly consuming him.

"Why does Hooter dare enter the sanctity of my chambers," challenged Blah.

"A message of importance, your majesty, " he said. He looked at me with disdain, "For our eyes only."

"This is Dunlap," she said. "I have no secrets from him. And if that changes," her expression hardened and she began stroking the dagger at her hip, "he can always be dealt with.".

I ignored her implied threat and corrected her on my name. "That's Dunbar," I said. I turned to Hooter. "What's up, man. Whatcha got for us?"

His small, black eyes darted between me and Blah. He was extremely annoyed. But, trying his best to ignore me, he made his report to Her to Whom Ye Must Harken. "It's the Gazzer," he said. "It has apparently made its way back into the caverns beneath the palace and has popped out of crevices here and there to grab some of our hapless citizens."

"We must rid the city of Caffy of this scourge once and far all," seethed Blah. "Take 50 warriors and hunt the thing down and slay it."

"What about him?" Hooter asked, pointing at me.

"He's going too," said Blah. "Aren't you, Dunston?"

"Dunbar," I corrected her. "I wouldn't miss it for the world. Your gal guards probably need a Macho Jungle Guy like me to lead the way." Hooter made no sound, but the look in his eyes was a like a serpent's hiss.

Chapter 11

Hooter the Hoodwinker

We were off to kill the Gazzer which was terrorizing the Lost City of Caffy.

The warriors were quickly assembled and we headed down into the depths beneath the palace, Hooter and I in the lead.

We came to an iron door in the stone corridor and Hooter ordered one of the warriors to remove the heavy bar, and open it. The dark gloom inside smelled of mold, dampness, rotted flesh, dead fish, toe fungus and just about every other disagreeable odor known to man. We stepped past the door, where the hallway split into two corridors. "You take 25 women and go that way," he indicated to the right, "and I'll go this way."

I wasn't about to let him boss me around so I replied. "Here's my plan. I'll go to the right and you take the left fork." He smiled thinly and nodded. So far, it was a tie.

I turned to the right, not waiting to see if the warrior women would follow. I had to show the confidence of the Macho Jungle Guy.

But I wasn't surprised when I heard a roar of laughter behind me and then the scraping of a door which slid out from a recess in the passage wall. It closed with a clank. They thought they had trapped me in the system of caverns where lurked the Gazzer, whatever it was.

They may have expected me to give them the satisfaction of going back and banging on the door and saying, "Hey, joke's over. Lemme outa here."

However, they had actually played right into my hands, allowing me to achieve the accomplishment of killing he Gazzer all by myself.

Yes, I would continue on, kill the Gazzer, and then leave this joint, something I could actually do anytime I chose. If the Gazzer had somehow "returned" and gotten into the maze of catacombs, there must be a way out. My brawn and bravery is matched only by my brains.

It was a Stygian blackness but my way was lighted softly by a faint glow given off by phosphorous in the rocks and I was able to supplement the light with the small but powerful halogen flashlight I always carried in my ditty bag, one of the useful items I didn't mention earlier but am never without.

As I proceeded, the foul odor increased in intensity, and I realized the Gazzer could not be far. I mused over what weapon I might use to dispatch it and my hand closed upon the dog spray I had gotten off the body of a jungle mail carrier who had been set upon by a pack of wild canines. I had left his body for the poor, starving animals to consume but the spray had come in handy on a few occasions in encounters with homely jungle women.

I wasn't too impressed when I finally saw the Gazzer. It was as large as a Volkswagen bus and had a long mouth full of razor-sharp teeth and serpentine eyes. Its eight legs were each covered with sharp, hooked claws and it turned upon me with a baleful look that was, at once, a look of hunger, anger and a smile of anticipation.

Chapter 12

How to Guzzle a Gazzer

The Gazzer confronted me in the caverns beneath the Lost City of Caffy, at least in its own mind. In reality, I—the Macho Jungle Guy—was the one doing the confronting.

I aimed the nozzle of my spray can so the solid stream went directly into its nostrils, which sent the beast howling with rage, pain and confusion as it began rolling on the floor of the cave, poking at its nose with its claws which, of course, resulted in it puncturing several more holes in its face and I filled them with spray as well. The stupid thing. It didn't realize it was making things tougher on itself. Next I sprayed its lidless eyes, succeeding in both blinding it physically as well as with rage.

I laughed at its misery and fished a grenade from my utility belt, pulled the pin with my teeth like John Wayne, and rolled it up to its belly and plugged my ears I'm a pretty good earplugger so I didn't even hear it go off but I felt the splatter of warm, wet flesh on my body so I knew I'd succeeded.

I cut off a bit of meat for myself and pulled out my Sterno stove and cooked some sustenance. I could have eaten it raw, of course, but I figured cooking it first would be an added insult to the thing.

I had my face split with a big grin because Queen Blah had not thought this thing through. It wouldn't be long before this huge carcass would begin to rot and the fumes would be drifting upward through tiny cracks in the ceiling and work their way into the Palace Proper.

All I needed was to get out myself and, you know, I almost hate to admit it, but it was pretty simple.

Chapter 13

From the Gazzer to the Girl

Left for a horrid fate beneath the Lost City of Caffy, I had overcome the odds and dealt with the loathsome Gazzer. Now it was time to free myself from the caverns and deal with those up above.

Like all things which I—the Macho Jungle Guy—assay to do, it was relatively easy for me. I still had some hand grenades. It was the work of but a few moments to find my way back to the secret door, pull the pin, and heave it at the barrier. It blew the door off its hinges and I easily walked through. There was no guard. None was necessary since they thought they'd seen the last of me.

I toddled on up toward the royal chambers, smiling as people gave me shocked expressions. Apparently the word had spread about how they'd tricked me into getting locked in the chambers where lurked the Gazzer.

I strolled into Blah's throne room and wasn't surprised at all to see Hooter sitting on the dais with her, stroking her hand with a leer on his face. Blah spotted me first and jerked her hand away. "How did you get in here?" she demanded. Hooter was standing, reaching for his sword.

"Lady, when I want to go somewhere, I just go. But why are you surprised to see me? You knew I was macho. Didn't you think I could handle the Gazzer?"

She began to stutter a bit and her eyes darted from Hooter to me. "I, uh, of course. I knew you were up to it," she tried.

"Then why did you have Hooter trick me and shut me up in the chamber all by myself," I snarled, folding my arms.

Feigning innocence, Blah turned to Hooter, scrunching her face into a furious formation of flesh. "Hooter!" she said. "Did you do that?"

"It was an accident," he claimed, continuing the attempt to put me off my guard. "That door had a spring closing device and it just snapped shut and locked before we knew it. I was really sorry that happened to Dunbar."

"You're not a good liar and you're an even worse swordsman," I said, drawing one of my custom Swiss Army Knives. "En Garde!"

Hooter looked puzzled. "What does that mean?" he asked.

"You wouldn't understand," I snapped. "It's French—a language spoken by cultured people, one of which you are not."

Hooter's face reddened and, sword in hand, he advanced at me. I merely pointed my knife at his heart and pressed the little white cross emblem in the red shield and a dart shot out, imbedding itself in his thumper. I got that knife with the specialty weapon through a catalog. I am the Macho Jungle Guy and I will do whatever it takes to win.

Hooter looked surprised, as well he should have, and pawed at the dart, which had already done its work. The tip was slathered with Gomboli poison, the venom of the renal sand snake.

He hit the floor with a clunk, dead as a dud.

Chapter 14

Cleaning House in Caffy

After I effortlessly dispatched Hooter, the lapdog of Queen Blah, she ran toward me with open arms. "My hero," she said. "Come and share my—" She stopped. "What's that smell?" she said, wrinkling her nose.

"Just the rotting, fetid corpse of the Gazzer," I returned, "starting to decay and stink up the place." I looked at my watch, which had a mini-calendar. "I estimate at least six months of stench, and then you'll have to air out the place for two years. Your minions will soon be calling this place Palace Putrid instead of Palace Proper. Meanwhile, I'll be long gone. A Macho Jungle Guy like me needs fresh air to stay in shape."

"No," cried Blah. "Take me with you. Don't leave me here to sniff the stiff."

I considered her offer. "I could use a good pack animal," I said. "But you would probably do. Besides, my jungle rival has his wife and a couple of other gals who are real interested in him. I do have a good female friend named Beulah, but if you ever saw her you would understand why we're nothing more than just good friends.

"You're no looker yourself, but it's only right that I have someone to fawn over me, just as that other jungle guy has."

"Then you'll take me?"

I looked her over again. "That diaphanous gown won't last long in the jungle," I assessed. "Better get some heavy duty clothes and let's see if you can get a knapsack filled with some good eats to carry along for the both of us."

"Your wish is my command," said Blah.

Before long, we were ready to go. The giant ducks on the walls of the city gave us a lift over the parapets. Blah had invented a story that we needed to go out and visit the outhouses and her subjects had thought it not unusual at all.

In fact, as a last gesture of goodwill toward the city that had brought her so much happiness over the years, Blah had brought along a sack with several roles of toilet paper and placed a roll in each of the outhouses

Once outside, we quickly made our way into the jungle, me whistling a happy tune and Blah carrying a heavy pack with two sleeping bags, a tent, and about a month's supply of dehydrated stew packets.

I had achieved my goal of deliberately locating a lost city to top the other guy who found all of his lost cities by happenstance, and I had gotten me a beast of burden in the process.

I thought over the options for my future. There was one thing that was better than being a regular Macho Jungle Guy and that would be to find a way to keep my youth for ages to come. Out there somewhere in the jungle there had to be people or tribes with the secret of longevity. Maybe I would search out something like that. Or maybe I would decide on some other type of adventure, like capturing and training a vicious animal to be my fighting companion and pack animal, so I could dump Blah as soon as possible.

The End?