Exploring the Life and Works of Edgar Rice Burroughs

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FLASH FICTION

By John "Bridge" Martin

Bridge is a prolific writer of short fiction ... He also specializes in something even shorter: Flash Fiction, as in a flash itched and he scratched, leaving behind a few words we can ponder, enjoy, or even find humorous.

These little tales cover all kinds of possibilities, thus this new page collects those flash fiction pieces that simply don't fit anywhere else.

And we couldn't be happier!

—The Editor.

Newest stories are usually at the top. Some stories are grouped for theme and may be out of order.

TARZAN GOES P.C.

Probably earlier, but shared on April 12, 2020

Korak always enjoyed the father-son outings with Tarzan, even though the ape-man could sometimes be a bit enigmatic.

Gazing out onto the veldt, Korak's sharp eyes picked out a herd of elephants. "Let's see if we can bring down one of those big fellows with our spears," suggested Korak. "The ivory can be sold for a lot of money, and the lower legs make great umbrella stands."

"No, Korak," Tarzan replied. "That's not P.C."

Korak frowned, but they continued on.

Eventually, the jungle-trained eyes of the younger Greystoke spotted the undulating tail tip that obviously belonged to a leopard mostly hidden by the leaves around the sausage tree limb on which it was perched. "Let's get us a Sheeta," Korak whispered, fitting an arrow to his bow. "The skins can be sold to make coats and wraps for ladies."

"No, Korak," Tarzan admonished. "That's not P.C."

Korak scratched his head but put the arrow back into his quiver and continued along the trail with Tarzan. Before long, they came to a river, where a huge crocodile was lying in the sun on the shore, seemingly asleep. "Let me jump him," Korak said, drawing his hunting knife from its sheath. "His skin will make great shoes, purses and belts."

"No, Korak," insisted Tarzan. "That's not P.C. either."

Korak was on his way to being totally frustrated, but just then Horta, the wild boar burst from the undergrowth and Tarzan, in one fluid motion, drew and shot an arrow into the heart of the beast, dropping it in its tracks.

"Now, we eat!" smiled Tarzan. Hauling out the hunting knife of his long-dead sire, he quickly cut into the side of the fallen animal. He ripped loose a clump of meat, still dripping with blood, and tossed it to his son, then carved out a large glob for himself. Korak was already flicking his Bic since he enjoyed his meat better after ruining it with fire

"Well, this must be P.C.," said Korak.

"The best there is," smiled Tarzan.

"By the way, Father," said the younger version of the ape-man, "just what exactly does P.C. mean, anyway?

Tarzan looked surprised at the question, but answered: "I thought it was obvious. It stands for Pork Chops. And Horta's have that special wild tang you don't get from the domestic hogs we keep back at the bungalow. I've had my taste buds focused on P.C. all day."

NUMA'S CLOSE CALL

March 19, 2020

Numa padded stealthily through the jungle, seeking the sweet meat of Bara the deer or the like to fill the empty cavity that was his belly. These were hard times and game was scarce.

Above him, in the lower terraces, moving just as silently as the great cat, was Tarzan of the Apes. The jungle lord did not relish the flesh of the lion but he was hungry as well, since the poachers had pretty nearly cleaned out all of the formerly abundant game in the gr eat Jahalahari tract.

At last Tarzan was directly above Numa at a moment when the beast paused to sniff the air. Tarzan reached for the hunting knife of his long-dead sire, his hand closing around the grip. But even before he had fully extracted the blade from its sheath, he knew it was the wrong knife. The feel of the handle was strange; the weight was off; the faint sound of the metal sliding against the leather scabbard was foreign.

The syllables of jungle Billingsgate that formed soundlessly upon his mouth would have made a lip reader blush. "That kid's been playing Tarzan again," he snarled to himself, thinking of the stocky toddler that was his grandson, "and he left the wrong knife in my scabbard."

Tarzan brought the offending weapon in front of his face and gritted his teeth in anger and frustration. It was a fair enough knife, and one that most hunters would have been proud to carry and utilize. But it was not his father's knife and, thus, it would simply not be right, in his mind, to use it on Numa, even to provide sustenance to meet his needs. And despite the fact that Numa was usually his enemy, he had respect for the King of Beasts and did not wish to dishonor him by slaying him with an inferior knife. He'd just as soon lie out on the veldt and wait for Ska to swoop down so he could snare the foul fowl to sate his hunger.

In disgust, Tarzan stabbed the blade into the limb on which he crouched and left it there to rust.

But now what? He considered dropping on Numa's back anyway and killing him by breaking his neck with a full Nelson and then using his teeth to rip into the tawny body. It wouldn't have been the first time Tarzan had dispatched a lion bare-handed. But, remembering that cat meat was far from his favorite, he decided to use his remaining strength to seek the elusive Bara instead.

And Numa, too, continued to hunt, oblivious to the fact that it was his lucky day.

MORNING ROUTINE

March 13, 2020

"Ouch!" she gasped, but continued on her way across the chamber.

"Ow!" she howled again, this time with more anguish.

"Dang!" she screamed, rubbing her left shoulder. But she jerked her hand back quickly when it was hit with a stabbing pain. She held it in front of her face to examine the fresh wound—two smarting and swelling puncture marks—and gave forth a moan of agony.

Medusa was repentant.

She vowed to never again head to the bathroom first thing when she woke up instead of taking a couple of minutes to get some mice for the snakes.

MEDUSA'S HAIRDRESSER

March 17, 2020

Medusa rang the salon bell to alert Pierre that she had arrived for her appointment. Quickly he lowered his head band to cover his eyes. He heard the door opened with a hiss and quietly counted her footsteps as she crossed the parlor floor and turned and backed into the reclining chair.

Pierre reached out and began feeling among the wiggling strands of her living locks to determine the best way to proceed. "I think we'll need to start by combing those rats out of your hair," he said.

"You leave them be!" Medusa snapped. "Those are for the snakes."

Slightly out of order as this follows the one above!

A QUICK MEAL AT GREYSTOKE MANOR

March 3, 2020

Tarzan's afternoon nap was interrupted by the ding of the microwave. He sat up on the French couch in the Greystoke bungalow and stretched like a great, tawny cat. Jane's voice came from the kitchen: "Dinnertime, dear."

Tarzan walked into the dining room and sat down at the head of the table, plucking the folded napkin with the Greystoke crest from the round, gold napkin ring, decorated by the Greystoke crest. He noted his reflection in the china with the Greystoke crest in the middle. He then took his fork with the Greystoke crest and looked up expectantly as Jane entered the room, carrying two small plastic trays.

"What's for dinner?" the ape man asked.

"You have a choice," said Jane. "Macaroni and cheese with corn, apple fritter and cookies, or popcorn chicken, crinkly fries, corn and pudding with sprinklies."

"You know I hate macaroni and cheese," said Tarzan.

Jane smiled indulgently. "That's okay, John," she said. "Here, you take the chicken and I'll have the mac and cheese."

"Why, thank you, Jane," smiled Tarzan. As he scraped the food from the tray onto his plate, he asked her, "How many more meals like this are we going to have to eat?"

"There's still quite a bit in the freezer from the stuff that Kids Cuisine sent us from the Disney Tarzan promotion a few years ago."

Tarzan rolled his eyes. "I wish Korak and Meriem would help by eating more of it," he said.

"I need to go back for the wine," said Jane, and—leaving her plate at the other end of the table—disappeared for what Tarzan knew would be a couple of minutes while Jane went to the cellar and back. He gave a low whistle and a great, golden lion padded into the room. "Here you go boy," said Tarzan, holding out the Greystoke dish for Jad-bal-ja to consume its contents with two great licks of his giant tongue.

When Jane came back, Tarzan was picking his teeth.

"Finished already, Tarzan?" she smiled.

"Just in time for some of that wine," the ape man replied.

But his mind was a few miles away, thinking of the hot, raw flesh of Bara the deer which he would be sinking his teeth into as soon as he could come up with a logical reason for leaving the house.

A FAMILY DINNER

March 20, 2020

"Jack, clean your plate!" Jane admonished. Little Jack was staring at his plate, stirring his mashed potatoes and gravy with a fork.

"Yes, Jack," ordered his father, John, who had just walked in the door. "It'll make you pretty, like your mommy."

"I don't want to be pretty," complained Jack. "I want to be a jungle man like you, dad."

"Well, you'll never grow up to be a jungle man if you don't eat that," said John, sitting down at the table and unfolding a napkin.

If it were possible to smile and frown at the same time, Jane accomplished it. She was happy with the way John supported her decisions, but not thrilled with the mention of the jungle.

"I made something extra special for you tonight," said Jane, walking across the kitchen with a plate piled high with meat and potatoes. John looked hungrily at the pile of food, then frowned slightly. "What's that?" he asked, poking his finger into the middle of a large chunk of meat.

"That's liver," said Jane. "We've never had it, but I'm sure you ate it lots of time in the jungl...er...in the past."

"Shoulder," said John. "Leg, thigh, chest, neck. But I don't eat the inside stuff. I leave that for the hyenas!"

"Now John, this is very good. And it's rich in iron."

"I don't care if it's rich in the gold of Opar," said John. "I don't like the smell of liver; I don't like the texture of liver, and I don't like the taste of liver. And furthermore..." Suddenly he glanced at young Jack who was leaning back in his chair, smiling, the pile of mashed potatoes and gravy still untouched.

"Wait a minute...did you say liver?" asked John. "I love liver. I thought you said river. I don't like river water. Too polluted, too full of little creatures and crocodile urine. But liver, I love liver."

John turned to his plate and began carefully cutting off slices of liver and putting them in his mouth and chewing. It seemed that he chewed for an inordinately long time on each piece, but at last his Adam's apple would move and a barely audible "gulp" would be heard.

Jack looked at his father in disgust. Then, resignedly, he leaned forward in his chair and began slowly, and between great gulps of milk, downing his mashed potatoes.

Submitted this date, but the story was written much earlier. Besides, it's a food tale!

TARZAN TURNS THE TABLES

March 20, 2020

"What's that thing in the middle of the table?" Tarzan asked.

"Oh," smiled Jane. "That's a lazy Susan."

"It doesn't leave much room for my spear," complained the ape man.

"You won't need it to stab and retrieve your food," Jane explained. "When you want something, you spin this around and the food you want will come right to you."

Tarzan grimaced but sat down, looking at the rotating food conveyance with suspicion. He gave it a slow spin to inspect the offerings.

"Well, do you like what I made?" Jane smiled.

Tarzan frowned. "It's all been cooked," he said.

DESSERT AT GREYSTOKE MANOR

Some time ago, 2019

"That was a wonderful dinner, Jane," said Tarzan, rubbing his belly appreciatively. "What's for dessert?"

"I tried a new recipe," she said, "Chocolate peanut butter pie."

"WHAT?????" scowled the ape-man. "I don't like chocolate peanut butter pie."

Jane looked almost frightened at the glare in her man's eyes. "But Tarzan..." she said. "How would you know? You've never eaten it. Won't you try a teensy weensy little piece."

Tarzan muttered under his breath, then held his thumb and forefinger as close to each other as he could get them without them actually touching, and grunted, "Okay. A teensy weensy, itty bitty piece. And that's all."

"And that's all I asked, John," said Jane. She cut a piece as small as she could and offered it on a plate to the jungle lord. Tarzan sniffed it, wrinkling his nose in disgust. Then, brushing aside Jane's offer of a fork, he ran his thumb across the plate and brought it to his powerful jaws with the sticky pie filling clinging to it. He stuck it in his mouth and then extracted it, as clean as an armadillo's back in a tropical rainstorm.

Jane saw his Adam's apple bob and a quizzical look appear on her savage mate's face.

"Tastes like Reese's," said Tarzan.

"Greasy?" said Jane. "I didn't use a lot of grease. Just a little shortening."

"No, not grease," said Tarzan. "Those peanut butter cups."

"Why Tarzan," Jane was starting to smile now. "You've never called me Butter Cup before."

"Dash it all, Jane," said Tarzan. "I'm talking about candy!!"

"Candy?" Tears welled up in Jane's eyes. "You've been visiting her again? You told me you wouldn't return to the land of the Salt Water Taffy People."

Tarzan stood up and grabbed his knife and rope. "I'm running out to get something with some fresh blood to wash my mouth out," he said.

"But Tarzan," Jane said. "You didn't finish the crust."

THE TEETH OF TARZAN

Some time ago, 2019

Tarzan had suffered some serious injuries in his lifetime, including a bullet wound or two. The most obvious wound was the scar on his forehead, where a bullet had grazed him as a young man. It still turned flaming red every time he was angry.

But Tarzan was thankful that, in all of his adventures, he had never lost a limb, or even a finger. But the longer you live, the more likely it is that something will finally happen to you, and now he was faced with a problem that was most problematical for the apeman.

Tarzan was toothless as the result of an encounter with The Little People.

The Littles were the descendants of John Little of England, foremost member of Robin Hood's band of Merry Men, who had fled Sherwood Forest after the death of their outlaw leader, when a new, evil king came to the throne and oppression broke out anew.

The Little group had fled to Central Africa to carve out a Little homeland in the jungle wilderness. But they had retained many of the old ways, including their large stature and what Little fighting ability they had.

It had happened one day when Tarzan chanced to come upon a Little stream and started across a log that spanned the banks just as a member of the Little clan was approaching from the opposite direction. Since neither would yield the right-of-way, a battle ensued aboard the log in midstream and, though Tarzan used all of his fighting skill, he was unfamiliar with the way the Littles brandished staffs, and the thick, caber-like, multi-purpose implement easily broke Tarzan's spear in two. Several rough blows to his head had shattered all of his teeth and sent him splattering into the relatively shallow water beneath the log.

Tarzan had not given up, though. Spitting teeth, he had sprang back onto the log and charged into his foe full force, managing a grin as he heard the giant involuntarily expelling all of the air in his chest cavity as the two of them went back into the brook.

From then on, they had become friends. Tarzan found out later that the log incident had been planned in advance, as Little scouts had seen him coming. It was a rite of passage for the tribe, and their only way of accepting new friends.

That, however, did not solve the problem Tarzan now had with his missing and broken teeth. Other steps would have to be taken.

And now Tarzan was walking out of the dentist's office in Roonga City and into the waiting room, where Jane put down the magazine she was reading and smiled, saying to Tarzan, "Okay John, give me a big grin so I can see that new set of choppers."

Tarzan responded with a slight grimace.. Being Tarzan he had, of course, refused any Novocain, preferring to experience the whole range of sensations when the last remaining chunks of teeth, some broken off at the gum line, were dug, pried and wrested from his mouth.

The dentist and his staff had marveled at Tarzan's ability to withstand the excruciating agony. There was no question that it hurt like the Devil. Tarzan had immortality but that did not mean he didn't suffer pain. But years of going barefoot in the jungle, with little sharp rocks, broken-off tree twigs, and thorns constantly stabbing into the bottoms of his feet, had given him a high tolerance for torture of his body.

"Sorry, no grin," he told Jane. "But I'll give you a nice smile. Trouble is, the bloomin' dentures they made for me don't fit, so they have to be relined. They won't be able to do that until the gums heal and the stitches come out."

"Oh Tarzan," she said, "How long will that take."

"Shouldn't be more than a week," he said. "It's okay. I can get along fine without the teeth for a few days. But it means I'll have to be pretty much on a diet of soft food, since I can't chew. And I'll be blowed if I'm going to be a gummer."

"Just soft food?" asked Jane.

"Yes," sighed Tarzan. "You know...pudding, yogurt, soup...and, oh yes [Tarzan smiled] ice cream."

"A whole week without Bara the deer, freshly killed, the warm blood dripping from your jaws as you rend the succulent meat with your teeth," asked Jane, her eyes tearing up slightly.

"Well obviously, Jane, since I don't have my old teeth, I won't be doing any rending until I get my replacements."

Jane brightened. "Well, if you want to go out and kill a Bara and bring it back, I can always stick some in the blender and grind it down to a bloody, gooey mass for you. You know, like baby food!"

The scar on Tarzan's forehead not only turned red in reaction to that, but it was pulsing in intensity like a traffic light. "Jane," he said, "Tarzan does not eat baby food."

Jane's eyes widened. "Oh...I'm sorry Tarzan. I won't mention it again."

"That would be good," said Tarzan, as the redness in the scar began to fade.

"But Jane," he added.

"Yes Tarzan?" she said hopefully.

"You can get the ice cream churn going when we get home and use that all you want."

AN INCIDENT IN THE JUNGLE

December 31, 2019

Korak the Killer was bouncing along the rough road in his Jeep when he became aware of the flashing blue and red lights of the Jungle Patrol in his rear-view mirror.

"Rats," he muttered, spiced with some other jungle Billingsgate, as he began to slow his vehicle.

Cpl. Koodoo of the Jungle Patrol saw the Jeep slowing but noticed the driver making a furtive movement, as if to conceal something beneath the seat. "Heh, heh," he thought.

Koodoo left his vehicle and went up to the driver's side of the open Jeep, where Korak was already fumbling to get his driver's license.

"Please step out of the car, sir, and put your hands on the hood. Got anything on you? Anything in your vehicle I should know about?"

"Uh, no, I don't think so," said Korak.

"You don't THINK so, eh?" said the cop. "Now, I know you hid something under the seat. You either tell me what it is or I'll find it myself, and if I have to find it myself, it'll go a lot rougher with you."

Korak turned red. "It's under the driver's seat," he said. "It's nothing really. Nothing illegal. Just my Gumby. I was...uh...embarrassed."

"Gumby?" said the officer. "What's a Gumby."

"Just a toy," said Korak. "I had one when I was a kid. Found one just like it on ebay. You see...it...uh...it smells nice. I like to take a whiff every now and then?"

"You snort it, eh?" said the cop. "We'll see about that."

He reached beneath the seat and hauled out the Lakeside Gumby. "Smells good, huh?" said the cop. He held it up to his nose and took a snoutful.

Suddenly, the patrolman's scowl was replaced by a soft, dreamy look. He smiled. He looked pleasantly at Korak. The Son of Tarzan relaxed.

"Say," said the corporal. "That DOES smell nice. What'd you call it?"

"A Lakeside Gumby," said Korak. "It's kind of old. The newer ones don't smell like that at all."

The cop took another whiff. "Where can I get one of these...uh...Gumbys?"

"Well, I know you don't want me to offer you THAT one," said Korak, "because that might smell like..."

"...Bribery," said the cop and Korak in unison.

"Give me your email address and I'll let you know if I see one on ebay," offered Korak.

"Cool," said the cop, reluctantly handing the Gumby back to the Killer.

"Uh...one more thing," Koodoo added. "Do you think they have any in doughnut flavor?"

WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAM

December 17, 2019

As The Lone Ranger returned to camp, he saw Tonto carving some steaks off a dead buffalo.

"I am hungry," the Masked Man said, "but rabbit stew would have sufficed. Why'd you have to kill a whole buffalo, Tonto?"

The faithful Indian companion rolled his eyes, responding, "Hard to kill just part of buffalo, Kemo Sabe. Anyway, only good buffalo is dead buffalo."

"I'm surprised at you, Tonto," said the Ranger. "Don't you know they're fast becoming an endangered species? Why the waste?"

"No waste," replied Tonto. "Coyotes have to eat, too. They come finish up what we can't."

"I see the wisdom of that," said The Lone Ranger. "In that case, I can enjoy a good steak." He took off his hat and hung it on a tree limb and watched as Tonto slapped the two hearty slabs of meat into the large frying pan that was sitting on the coals of the campfire.

THE SHARK

November 23, 2019

Once upon a midnight beery in a barroom dark and eerie,

I was just a little leery of the shark who challenged me,

Put a quarter on the table, swung his cue like he was able,

Spoke like he was fresh from Babel, racked the balls within the vee.

Put them in the proper order, just so everyone could see,

He had done it accurately.

 

I can finally bear to talk it: How he fired like a rocket,

Landing balls in every pocket as I watched in disbelief,

Then big fat Lenore the bar gal, said to me "Your luck's run out, Pal,"

"He strikes like a diving night owl, snagging victims like a thief.

"He will take you for your money, even take your taxi fare,

"Then he'll win your underwear."

 

Prophetic'ly he made each shot call, then with click of stick on cue ball,

He sent me right up the bar wall, as he ran the table bare.

" 'Tis his lucky night," I muttered, as he left the green uncluttered,

Knowing that his bread was buttered with his clever pool hall snare,

Then like many fools before me who had lost their souls to him,

I said, "Ed, let's play again."

 

He replied that, "It's a snap, and even with a handicap

"I can beat you, foolish chap; rack 'em up and we'll begin."

Thus Ed finally cleaned my purse out, even taking my last dry stout

Leaving me with just a slight doubt: Who was it who got the win?

Which Ed was it: Poe or Burroughs, who I played in tavern dark?

I know only: He's a shark.

A PAEAN FOR PAXTON

November 19, 2019

Edgar Rice Burroughs would have us

Believe there's a Martian named Thavas

Who, for a nice fee, from the rich,

Their brains to new bodies he'll switch.

 

A World War I captain named Paxton,

Had legs that someone used an ax on.

But nay, not an ax: but 'twas rockets

That blasted his limbs from their sockets.

 

But thanks to his heavenly stars,

He was quickly transported to Mars

Where he signed up for Thavas's class,

Who said, "You can just call me Ras."

 

But Ras said, "I'm not in the game

"Of mouthing your extra-long name.

"You need one that is much more narrow,

"So hence you'll be known as Vad Varo."

 

He trained Vad in Meds 101

So his lab man could help him turn young.

Ras gave Vad new legs in the lab,

As Vad noticed a babe on a slab.

 

He said to himself, "Mama Mia!"

While gazing on sweet Valla Dia

But Ras Thavas wasn't so nice,

And would do anything for a price.

 

He noted a queen name of Xaxa

"Has reached an old age where she lacks a

"Bod that would match Lady Ga-Ga,"

So her brain would be planted in Valla.

 

But Vad Varo (or, Captain Paxton)

Had read a book printed by Caxton,

That told him the way to prevail

Was to fight Xaxa's guard tooth and nail.

 

Now I know everybody is bending

To hear if there's a happy ending,

Well, Xaxa gets hers, and is buried,

And Varo and Dia get married.

MANU LEARNS A LESSON

November 18, 2019

Long before little Manu became a friend of Tarzan of the Apes, he frolicked and played in the jungle oblivious to what it would mean to be the faithful companion of the great Tarmangani.

Manu followed the code of the jungle: Look out for No. 1, eat when food is available, scamper away when danger threatens from Sheetah or other predators.

Now, Manu was sitting on a limb and gazing down at the delectable delight before him. He wondered what one of those things would taste like. They certainly looked appetizing enough.

Finally, he could stand it no longer. The great she ape who protected the little Balu had laid him temporarily aside on a bed of grass while she used both of her hairy arms to try to overturn a log, under which insects, grub worms and other delectables might lie.

While she was thus occupied, Manu leaped from the branch above, an outstretched hand aimed for the target area between the little hairless creatures legs. Just as he was within centimeters of making contact, though, he felt as if he had been struck headon by a freight train, although little Manu had no conception of what a freight train was. But he had no difficultly understanding the searing pain which focused on his jaw and radiated throughout his body, as he felt the helplessness of being propelled backward through the air at a speed with which little Manu could never have managed on his own.

The wind was knocked from him as his back slammed into the side of an aboreal giant, and his limp body slid down the trunk, landing him in the grass but a few feet from where Histah, hungry himself, was coiled.

Fifteen feet away, the great Mangani Kala was now using her powerful right backhand arm to cradle, cuddle and protect the tiny Balu once again.

And all the little Manus of the jungle learned a valuable lesson that day: Don't monkey with a testy she-ape or her ballsy Balu.

See link...

SCALING ON SCALES

November 8, 2019

Tarzan wanted to plug his ears, but instead he began a steady trot toward the sound of the chainsaws.

They were coming from the direction of the village of Obebe the Cannibal and, although Tarzan didn't think it likely that some guy with a Stihl and a hockey mask was in the vicinity, he did suspect that Obebe was up to no good.

Suddenly, the surrounding landscape changed abruptly and Tarzan immediately realized what was going on. The dirty man-eater had gotten hold of several new power saws and had his tribe at work cutting down all of the trees around the village so that it would be difficult to approach it without being spotted. And worse, the trees adjacent to the village—the ones with the limbs overhanging the compound—were now lying everywhere in various attitudes of death.

Some tribesmen were at work limbing the fallen giants while others were bucking them into fire pit-sized chunks.

"If they think that's going to keep Tarzan of the Apes from getting into their village and causing mayhem, they'lll soon learn that the ape-man is resourceful enough to make their best-laid plans of non-effect," swore Tarzan.

He knew he could easily scale the sides of the palisades. The timbers had enough rough spots to create perfect toe and finger holds. If rock climbers could scale El Capitan by holding onto one-eighth-inch outcroppings, Tarzan of the Apes could certainly get over the compound wall by grabbing a knothole or an extra rough chunk of bark.

But Tarzan had another idea, one that would teach the villagers a lesson. He took off at a trot again and made for the rocky plain where Histah the snake had his haunts. When you went looking for Histah, you didn't have to look too hard. You might have a hard time finding Histah, but Histah—with his infrared vision—would easily find you.

At last he came to the area he had privately dubbed Histah Hacienda and began walking noisily among the rocks. Soon a giant king cobra accosted him, rearing up in a threatening manner with its hood spread in warning.

Tarzan just laughed. Quick as a mongoose, he circled the snake until he had a chance to get a good grip on its tail. Then, swinging it in wide circles over his head so that it could not bring its slavering jaws close enough to bite him, Tarzan headed back down the trail toward the village of Obebe.

When he arrived, it was getting dark and the natives had headed into the compound for dinner.

Still twirling the angry and now dizzy Histah, Tarzan ran up to the wall and swung the business end of the snake upward as if it were a grappling hook. The head of the snake landed between two pointy-ended upright logs and—with hood still flared—it lodged there.

Tarzan then walked his way up the side of the wall, his feet finding footholds on the logs as his hands moved up the body of the snake.

At the top, Tarzan looked at Histah, still wedged at the top and unable to strike. The apeman tauntingly reached out with his hand and flicked the scaley beast in the nose with a snap of his forefinger and then grabbed it behind the neck, yanked it free of its position, and dropped within the compound.

In the center of the village, the tribe members were busy building a huge cooking fire with the chunks of freshly cut wood, while a worried Tarzan imitator watched from a nearby post to which he had been tied.

"Hungry, eh?" Tarzan yelled. "I brought you dessert."

The natives turned in surprise and, seeing Tarzan, they froze in shock and fear. Then they saw Histah staring at them with its evil eyes and menacingly flickering tongue and they lost it. As one they ran, screaming from the village.

Tarzan, still holding Histah in his iron grip, went to the pile of wood, kicked a can of chainsaw fuel over so that it spilled onto part of the dry kindling beneath the green logs, and—pulling his Bic out of his ditty bag—got the blaze going. No sense leaving the firewood for the cannibals to use on another victim.

The ape-man then threw Histah onto the top of the pile of wood, which was now beginning to smoke furiously.

"Hey, don't forget about me!" shouted the Tarzan imitator, struggling with his bonds.

"Oh, I haven't forgotten about you," smiled Tarzan. "You look enough like me to fool Histah. That smoke and heat oughta have him slithering off that wood pile in nothing flat. Since you're an ape-man wannabe, you can probably use your jungle lore to communicate with him and get him to bite through those ropes."

Tarzan then ran across the compound, easily leaped the palisade wall, and disappeared into the trees that grew beyond the clearcut area.

Another exhilarating day in the great outdoors.

MBONGA IN MIDDLE EARTH

June 22, 2019

Many mouths were left agape,

On reading "Tarzan of the Apes."

For in that book ERB did describe

Mbonga's fierce man-eater tribe.

 

Mbonga one day left his vill,

And found a cavern in a hill.

He went inside a bit too far,

And walked right down to Pellucidar.

 

There he fought with lizard men

Who came at him again, again.

He acquired many sore ribs

And battle scars from all these Horibs.

 

And of the Horibs who had died,

He would sometimes have them fried.

Sometimes boiled, sometimes roasted,

Never raw but sometimes toasted.

 

But, tiring of incessant battle,

Mbonga dreamed of eating cattle.

So back he went to land of birth,

The outer crust he knew as earth.

 

He looked for happier times above,

With singing birds and turtle doves,

With sweet sweet songs of little cherubs,

But found instead the awful Terribs.

 

In the comics of the Dell,

Tarzan battled Terribs well.

But some of them had got away,

And saw Mbonga as their prey.

 

So once again he went to war

And many Terribs did he gore.

The tasty critters made good eatin'

With just a little bit o' heatin'

 

But after awhile he had to say,

"A little of this goes a long, long way."

He longed to eat some luscious spare ribs

Instead of always fighting Terribs.

 

And so, he returned to Pellucidar

To try a bit of baked Mahar.

But there Mbonga once again,

Found only nasty lizard men.

 

He opened a string of butcher shops

Which specialized in Horib chops.

The Terribs came back down to see,

What had become of their enemy.

 

Mbonga welcomed them to his venue

And soon had added them to his menu.

Now, on this food, to have your dibs,

Ask for Horib d'oeuvres or Terra Ribs.