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An ERBList Instant Pastiche



Tangor manages ERBList, a free-wheeling listserver embracing the life and works of Edgar Rice Burroughs. Since 1996 ERBList has spawned a number of pastiches...stories in the style of previous masters (in this case Edgar Rice Burroughs). Recently there appeared a new pastiche (Moon Maid at the Earth's Core) that generated a conversation between two ERBList persona heroines hoping to appear in the next Gridley pastiche. The conversation verged on "cat-fight," therefore Tangor, listmeister and pastiche author (Land That Darwin Forgot, Dead Cities of Mars, etc.) cooled things down by providing an off-the-cuff on-the-fly, hardly a moment's thought pastiche honoring the girls.

They met at the edge of a brown expanse of succulents, two strong women girt for combat. Regal, imperious, startlingly beautiful women who knew no master, who ruled all they surveyed with unquestioned authority. They vowed that only one of them could reign supreme.

"So, at last," sneered La, "you have accepted the Polodan's offer of arena."

"As did you, sister antagnonist. The Tangor will be cut to ribbons by my taregs before the day is through for interfering..."

"And will also experience the wrath of the Fifty Frightful," added La. "But that is AFTER we have settled once and for all who rules among these aging and somewhat stuffy spectators who hover like wafting mists over a jungle swamp and wins the heart of Gridley for the next pastiche."

Amar smiled. "Those others who lurk will be dealt with later but first," the lithe girl lunged forward and picked up an object, "you will be put in your place." Opening her mouth the dark brown-coated object disappeared between her dainty white teeth. "Caramel!"

Not to be outdone by the girl from Pellucidar, the High Priestess of the Flaming God consumed the nearest succulent. "Caramal, too. Damn!" Immediately she popped another from the field of battle into her full-lipped mouth. "Walnut!"

Amar scowled. She made her selection then chewed with determination. "Almond."

"Nuts!" screamed La. Making rapid selection she chose a smooth finished succulent. It burst in full flavor between her teeth. "Bon-Bon!"

Amar, distracted by the surface girl's prowess, grabbed the nearest item. "Creme-filled...double chocolate! Top that you..."

"Caramel fudge, you little..."

An orgy of battle followed. The spectators cringed at each savage bite. Within moments the girls wallowed and tussled in the curiously heart-shaped area bound by red walls and fulled with curiously creased white containers. "Nugat!" cried one. "Jellied!" cried another. Furious was the battle, succulent after succulent disappeared, the brown expanse diminished as each woman sought to triumph in this titanic battle.

Their glistening faces smeared with dark stains accumlated during the fight, there remained only two succulents left. Breasts heaving from combat, the two women eyed each other.

"It comes down to this," said Amar, choosing her last weapon. "There can only be one!" Biting deep, the Pellucidarian screamed with delight. "Cherry! Top that, La!"

La, with one hope remaining, consumed the last succulent. "Cherry," she scowled. Then, arms akimbo, she turned and faced the wafting mists. "There should have been a Cherry Amaretto." The High Priestess of the Flaming God petulantly embraced her adversary. "Amar, I think we've been had. Tangor's rigged the game."

Amar instantly reached for her stone knife. "The b-- Do you want to whittle or carve?" The Pellucidarian smiled as La's gleaming sacrifical blade filled her sister's lovely hand.

La, trembling, leaned against the cold granite of the cul-de-sac. The High Prietess of the Flaming God was exhausted by the long chase by the demonic THING which had pursued her across both miles and a lifetime. Cornered, with no exit and no hope, the weary girl drew her gleaming sacrifical knife to battle the THING which advanced upon her.

She did not wish to die, yet there was no fear within that little body, only a great weariness of the longsome struggle. Drawing deep from her inner resources, La rose to her full height and turned the blade toward the THING. "I will not go from this mortal coil without a struggle!"

As the THING charged there came a high-pitched battle cry. A half-naked woman clad in animal skins leapt from a ledge just above the Oparian's position. There was a surge of battle as the girl with the stone knife engaged the THING, then, with a savage cry of victory, the stranger fastened her teeth upon the THING. Moments later the THING disappeared.

Amar, smacking her lips, belched politely. "Chocolate covered cherries are SO dangerous to a girl's figure."

La sighed with relief. "Okay, you helped me out, so I'll do as I promised. Lead the way to Uncle Ghak's monstrous White Fudge and I'll SAVE you."

"Ghak!" Amar called. "Ghak!" The girl drew La by the hand through the humid foliage of the Pellucidarian jungle. "Where is he?"

La knew they had traveled through this dangerous landscape for many hours--if not days--but how could one tell under the glare of the eternal noon-day sun? "I'm hungry," La reluctantly admitted.

"There's a fat lizard," Amar said, drawing her stone knife.

Before the primitive huntress could slay the reptile, the High Priestess of the Flaming God touched the girl's wrist. "That's not what I had in mind. Spare that hideous creature so he can eat more of these tormenting insects! Use that homing instinct you of the inner world are endowed. Find that White Fudge before I lose my patience."

Amar scowled, plucking a leaf of spinach from the ground. "Salads are nice, don't you think?"

La stopped in mid-stride. "You were never in danger of Ghak's White Fudge, were you?"

The Pellucidarian giggled. "Of course not! Tangor's telepathic message from Poloda says it is to die for. And you know he's always right about just about everything--well," Amar blushed, "everything, actually."

For a long moment the girls looked at each other then, arms entwined and heads down turned with belated realization, they walked into the jungle.



Probably not for Amar and La. Gridley, you owe me for taking the heat off you. :)

What??? You expected a happy ending? I guess youse guys have not been reading Tangor Pastiches!