Exploring the Life and Works of Edgar Rice Burroughs
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John Carter of Counter Mars
By John "Bridge" Martin
Copyright © 2019
There was an instant of extreme cold and utter darkness, John Carter found himself standing on an alien landscape. About 50 yards away was a stunning woman in a white lab coat, holding a test tube and carrying a small black bag.
Carter ambled over to her and asked, "Who are you and where am I?"
"My name is Dejah Theorist," she replied sweetly, jamming the test tube into the bag. "I'm a scientist. And you are on the planet of Tars. We are like the planet Mars in size, but we orbit on the opposite side of the sun, kinda like Gor does with the planet you call Earth."
"Really now," said Carter, who was no fool and had read a book or two about the planets of the Solar System. "If this place is like Mars, how come I was able to walk normally over to you rather then make a fool of myself by flying through the air, flailing madly, and landing in a heap like The Greatest American Hero?"
"Simple," said Dejah. "The air on Tars is also much thinner than that you breathe on your home planet, so your body has to work harder to make even the simplest of moves. But, your pitiful physical exertion is being made easier by our lesser gravity, thus enabling you to walk normally, as you would on Jasoom."
"I never thought of that," said Carter. "But it makes sense. So now that I'm here, what next, and by the way, what's Jasoom?"
"Jasoom is our name for the planet Earth and if you're wondering how I knew that's where you came from, it's all right there on your nametag. As for what next, I think you should help the city of Helium in its battle against cruel Sad Sap," she said. "He wants to make us all slaves and to get married...to me."
"Well, we can never let that happen," said Carter. "As a matter of fact, I might like to marry you myself. You're not all that bad looking!"
Dejah blushed at the compliment. Just then, a horde of green warriors rode over the hill on huge beasts.
"Is that Sad Sap?" Carter wondered aloud.
"No," said Dejah. "That's Mars Markus and the Marks. They're going to fight on our side."
"Geez," said Carter. "They're extra tall and they have six limbs and some are using the middle ones as arms, and some of them are using them as legs."
"They're armbidextrous," said Dejah.
"Well, I guess I'd better get a sword if I'm going to help you fight. You probably don't have any Springfield rifles, do you?" Carter asked.
"We do have rifles," said Dejah, "but we Tartians prefer sword-fighting for most stuff. We like to get up close and personal."
"You must like to get dead, too," said Carter. "A lot better chance of getting stabbed yourself in a sword fight than if you can pick somebody off at 300 yards."
"Try 200 miles," said Dejah. "Our rifles can shoot a long way."
"Wow! For a shot like that you probably have to be good at figuring Kentucky windage."
"What?" said Dejah.
"Never mind," said Carter.
The Marks rode up and stopped. Mars Markus looked at Carter, sneered and asked Dejah: "Who's the palefaced wimp? This guy looks like the only time he goes out of his house is to hit the backyard to urinate." He turned to Carter, "Or do you do that from a window?"
Carter smiled at Markus. Somehow, he liked this rough-hewn, plain-spoken fellow.
"Careful what you say there, Grasshopper," said Carter. "In the Civil War we didn't even have guys like you for breakfast. We used them for midnight snacks."
Mars's eyes narrowed as he reached for his long sword. But another Mark was quicker, leaping from his mount and advancing on Carter. "Allow me, Jekkador," he said, not waiting for an answer.
This guy is obviously being insubordinate to his commanding officer, thought Carter. He needs to be taught a lesson. The two engaged -- four fists against two. But Carter had a secret weapon. It had never occurred to the Marks to use their feet in combat, and why would it? They had plenty of arms for that. Carter simply fired off a quick kick to the Marks' jewels and sent him sprawling backward, writhing in agony before convulsing and lying still.
"You killed him with one low blow," said Mars in amazement. "You will now be called by his name, Hal Tosis."
"Uh, I think I'll stick with John Carter," said the Earthman.
"All right," said Mars. "Well, enough of this thoating around. Carter, you take Hal's thoat and we'll go after Sad Sap."
"Uh, I think maybe Sad Sap has come to us instead," said Carter, looking at the fleet of warships advancing from the rear of the Marks.
Ropes were lowered from the ships and warriors began sliding down to do battle.
"What a bunch of idiots," thought Carter. "They could just bomb us and be done with it instead of opting for hand-to-hand combat."
Carter, using Hal's sword, fought the way he had been trained in the Confederate Army, slashing back and forth with the weapon that was not unlike a cavalry saber.
At last, the enemy troops had been dispatched and Sad Sap, coward that he was, had turned tail with his ships.
"Not bad for my first day on Tars," said Carter, wiping the blood off his sword.
"My hero," said Dejah as she rushed toward Carter and then rushed right past him and into the arms of Kan Doo, a red Tartian, who had accompanied the green horde.
"Just my luck," groaned Carter. "So who's left for me?"
Feedja Florist, well-fed sister of Dejah Theorist of the planet Tars, with carving knife for removing pits from fruit and veggies harvested from Ptooie Brothers farm.
He heard a giggle and turned to see a fat woman who somewhat resembled Dejah Theorist, walking toward him, her right index finger stuck in her mouth.
"Oh this is my sister, Feedja Florist," said Dejah. "She lives up to her name. If you like to eat, she'll Feed Ja!"
"Looks like she's been feeding herself," muttered Carter. "What I need right now is a good Thern amulet."
"Oooky, Oooky," grinned Feedja. "You want omelet? I make good one from malagor eggs."
"Oh well," said Carter, sidling up to Feedja. "At least I won't go hungry here."
Feedja giggled, removed her finger from her mouth and stuck it in Carter's mouth before he could stop her. Then, she returned it to her own mouth. "We swap spit. We married now," she giggled.
"This is beginning to feel like a bad dream," groaned Carter. "A bad dream...a bad dream...."
"I guess I'd better get a sword," remarked John Carter, who had managed to pack on a few pounds after encountering Feedja Florist, who seldom missed a meal.
* * * * * *
"John! John! Wake up sleepyhead. Dinner's ready."
John Carter opened his eyes and looked up at the pretty blonde woman staring down at him. He was home, back on the farm, back in the south. It hadn't really happened at all. Or had it?
Carter looked at his arm. It still had blood on it where it had splattered as he hacked away at enemy Tartians.
Maybe it had happened after all. Dejah. Kan, Mars Markus. And Feedja. He wondered, but kept his thoughts in his heart.
"I believe that they are waiting there for me," he mused quietly, "and something tells me that I shall soon know."
Images are drawn by Tangor based on Disney's "John Carter of Mars"™ movie characters by Vinlymation™ in the author's collection. For Parody Use Only.