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ERB 100-Word Drabbles
by Robert Allen Lupton
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November 1: On this day in 1512, Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel paintings were released to the public. Today's drabble is "Poor Judgement."
Dejah Thoris and her friends hunted outside the safety of Helium. A Warhoon warrior challenged them. “Aren’t you afraid? Where your men?”
“We don’t need any men.”
He drew his sword, “Oh, woman’s work. You are my prisoners.”
Dejah drew her weapon. “I think not.”
He crossed blades with her. “Surrender or die. Pretty ladies never know how to fight. Be careful you don’t break a fingernail.”
She said, “Be careful you don’t die.”
She parried, stabbed him, and said, “Not the first man to think that pretty and weak mean the same thing. Unfortunately, he won’t be the last.”
CIRCLE OF LIFE
November 2. The drabble is "Circle of Life."
The scientist said, “Lions are the ultimate predator. Top of the food chain.”
Tarzan asked, “Food chain?”
“Some animals eat plants. Some eat other animals, but nothing eats lions.”
It’s not a chain, it’s a circle. Fleas, mosquitos, and biting bugs eat lions. Beetles and flies eat dead lions. Their remains feed plants which are eaten by the creatures the lions eat.”
“That’s a strange way to look at it.”
“Not at all. All take turns as both the dinner and the diner. All life is on the menu.”
The scientist slapped a mosquito. “I understand what you mean.”
TIME IS RELATIVE
November 3: On this date in 1534, the British Parliament enacted the "Act of Supremacy" establishing the English Ruler as the head of the Church of England - so much for separation of church and state. Today's ERB themed drabble, my 150th, is "Time is Relative."
Dian and David Innes returned from an eventful hunting expedition. They’d fought Mahars, been captured by a strange tribe, escaped, built a boat, and fought their way home.
Jepa, Dian’s friend welcomed them. She had grandchildren and her hair was grey. She said, “I gave up on you a thousand sleeps ago.”
David asked, “How is it she grew old while we slept but three times?”
“People under the eternal sun don’t age the same. It’s how you live that matters. She’s raised children and grandchildren. You and I were too busy to become old.”
“Then we’d best stay busy.”
November 4 and on this day in 1841, the first wagon train arrived in California. Ward Bond said he thought they'd never make it across the Rockies. today's ERB themed drabble is "Friends."
Tantor threw mud over his back and slept in the shade of the Acacia trees. The yell of his friend, Tarzan, woke him. Tantor raced through the brush and across rivers. He uprooted trees in his frantic charge.
Tantor charged into the village. He trampled leopard skin clothed natives, stomped the fire, and ripped the stake holding Tarzan from the ground.
He untied the unconscious Tarzan and sprayed him with water.
Tantor showed Tarzan the spear embedded in his massive foot. Tarzan removed it and cleaned and bandaged the wound.
They slept most of the next day. Friends help friends.
FREE AS THE AIR
Today is November 5 and on this date in the "Gunpowder Plot" attempted by Guy Fawkes failed when he was captured before he could blow up the English Parliament. The Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired 100 word drabble today is "Free as the Air."
Guards stopped John Carter and his men at the gates of Toothe. “Pay the air tax or leave.”
“Atmosphere machine makes air for free.”
Ras Thavas’s machine makes the best air. Pay or move on.”
Carter paid. He inspected the machine with Thavas. Air entered, was filtered, perfumed, and pumped into the sealed city.
“This machine is fake.”
“People believe my air’s best. I charge for that comfort. People deserve to be happy.”
Carter said, “People deserve the truth.”
He and his man destroyed the machine and barely escaped with their lives.
People never thank you for shattering their beliefs.”
On this day in November 6, 1861, Abraham Lincoln was elected President of the United States. The Edgar Rice Burroughs themed 100 word drabble of the day is "Bottoms Up"
The witch doctor said, “Drink this. Snake blood was the final ingredient. You won’t grow older.”
Tarzan asked, “Is there enough for you, me, and Jane?”
“I won’t drink it. I found the secret too late for me. I won’t live forever as a feeble old man.”
“So we’ll live forever?”
“You won’t age, but you can be killed.”
“Lions, spears, guns, knives, poison, or your own stupidity.”
Long life doesn’t make you smarter. Most old people make the same mistakes over and over again.”
Tarzan said, “Live and learn.”
The witch doctor said, “That’s hardly ever true.”
Today is November 7 and on this day in 1916, Jeannette Rankin became the first woman elected to the United States Congress. Today's 100 word Edgar Rice Burroughs themed drabble was inspired by Sue-On Hillman who deserves credit for the idea. Enjoy, "Mamma Says."
Dejah Thoris said, “Tara, dress for the party, but plan for a fight. You never know what the evening will bring.”
“Mother, my knives ruin how my gown hangs. They make me look fat.”
“Better to look fat than to be dead. Take your knives.”
During the third dance, an assassin attacked Tara and her partner. Her partner ran. Tara crouched with a knife in each hand, defended herself, and killed her attacker. Dejah killed another assassin.
John Carter stood over the dead men. Tara said, “Mother was right. I’m glad I listened to her.”
Carter smiled, “Dejah’s always right.”
Today is November 8 and the drabble today is "Harvest Time."
Abner Perry and David Innes planted cotton, Abner built a cotton gin and taught the villagers people to make cloth.
David Innes left on a journey of exploration and when he returned people wearing brightly colored cotton clothing filled the village. White sheets danced and billowed in the wind.
David said “A lot happened while I was away. I think I only slept a hundred times.
“We’ve been busy and you were gone a long time.”
“Longer than I thought. I feel like Rip Van Winkle.”
Abner tossed him a cotton shirt and trousers. He said, “You snooze, you lose.”
WHO LAUGHS LAST
November 9: On this date in 1842, the U.S. design patent for typefaces and borders was issued to George Bruce of New York City. This matters to those of us who are bibliophiles. The drabble today is "Who Laughs Last."
Bandits stopped the stage at Hell’s Bend near Hendersonville. Mary Donovan confronted them. “I didn’t leave Dublin to be robbed by the likes of you.”
“Mary, sit down and be quiet. No one needs to get hurt.”
She grabbed a gun. “I’ll show you hurt.
The bandit took the gun and said, “Be quiet. Let us do our job.”
“Calling it your job don’t make it right. For shame, robbing a poor widder woman.”
“Mary, you’re not poor.”
“No thanks to scum like you. I’ll remember your boots.”
The bandits laughed, but she laughed last. She did remember their boots.
NO EASY DAY
November 10: On this day in 1940, Walt Disney began serving as an informer for the Los Angeles office of the FBI; his job was to report back information on Hollywood subversives. Say it ain't so, Walt. The 100 word Edgar Rice Burroughs' themed drabble is, "No Easy Day."
D’Arnot rallied his men. Once more over the top. The Germans are weakening. Charge on my command.”
His men followed him on another unsuccessful foray into No-man’s Land. Some were killed, but most survived to huddle another night in the cold wet trench.
D’Arnot’s sergeant said, “You charge again and again. How can you do that?”
“Because our cause is noble. Right is on our side.”
“Right doesn’t stop bullets.”
“I choose to fight. Soldiers retire or die. The only two kinds are the ones who know that today is their last battle and the ones who don’t know it.”
November 11: On this day in 1918 the Allied powers signed a ceasefire agreement with Germany at Rethondes, France, at 11:00 a.m. bringing the war now known as World War I to a close. Yesterday's drabble, "No Easy Day", honored that conflict. Today's drabble is "Alliteration."
Burroughs’ editor said, “A lot of your most beautiful female characters have names that start with D - Dejah Thoris, Dian, Dilecta, Doria, and Duare. Why is that?”
“The names are beautiful and lend themselves to alliteration. Delightful, daring, delectable, discrete, delectable, daring, desirable, dynamic, dauntless, and defiant come to mind.”
“Some other adjectives aren’t as good. Damnable, damaged, decadent, dangerous, deceitful, deceptive, degenerate, and decrepit to name a few.”
I write beauty and hope. You see evil and sadness. It’s a good thing I’m the writer. You stick to your side of the Thesaurus and I’ll stick to mine.”
LIKE TAKING CANDY
November 12: On this date in 1941, Alma Heflin, the first American female test pilot for commercial aircraft, made her first test flight for the Piper Aircraft Corporation, Lock Haven, Pennsylvania. You go girl. Today's ERB themed drabble is "Like Taking Candy."
Mary Donovan played poker at Farris’s on Dearborn Avenue. She won steadily.
Farris said, “Begging you’re pardon, but perhaps you’d join me for a drink. My treat.”
Mary said, “Cash my chips and hold my seat. I’ll be back.”
Farris ordered top shelf whisky. “I know you’re cheating.”
“Cheat, a poor widder like me don’t need to cheat to beat these drunks.”
“Perhaps you’d care to work a table full time.”
“No thanks. Raising a stake to buy a place in Arizona.”
“Your loss,” said Farris. “If I’m ever out your way, remind me not to play cards with you.”
SAME UNDER THE SKIN
Today is November 13th and we take a brief moment of silence to honor Stan Lee, who passed away at age 95 on this date in 2018 __________________________ . Today's drabble is "Same Under The Skin." It could be interpreted as political commentary, but's it's intended as a satirical comment on the human condition.
Tarzan said, “Jane, everyone is standing in line.”
“It’s election day. We choose who will lead us.”
"Do they fight?
“No fighting. Everyone votes for whomever they want.”
“People vote for the strongest or smartest?”
“They vote for people promising the right things."
“Leaders are the same, no matter their promises. The lion king and the wildebeest bull want the best food and females for themselves.”
“Humans aren’t like animals.”
Tarzan looked at the disparity in home sizes, food supply, and clothing. He watched men ride carriages while others walked without shoes in offal filled streets.
“If you say so.”
It's November 14 and on today's date in 1851, Moby Dick was published, dooming countless future high school students to endless pain and suffering. The few of us who admitted we like the book were immediately ostracized or committed to treatment. The drabble today is "Spirit Guide."
Shoz-Dijiji sheltered in a cave. His vision quest wasn’t going well. He’d seen no visions and was hungry and cold.
An old woman was inside. She made fire and cooked gruel. He wolfed it down. She threw strange herbs on the fire. Shoz-Dijiji inhaled deeply and slept.
He encountered a large green six-legged beetle who walked upright and carried weapons. Shoz-Dijiji jumped above the treetops to escape. He got away and rested.
He woke to an empty cave, but Shoz-Dijiji was happy. His spirit guide was a powerful gigantic green beetle and no other warrior’s guide was nearly as powerful.
November 15. In 1720, the pirate, Anne Bonny, and others were captured by Captain Johnathon Barnet and taken to Jamaica for trial. Anne was convicted, but not executed. She was pregnant. She was later released and assumed to have lived another 50 or 60 years. The drabble today is "Fencing Practice."
Dejah Thoris practiced swordplay with Tars Tarkas and other Thark warriors who stayed in Helium.
Her young children, Carthoris, and Tara, fenced with her and the Tharks every day.
The Tharks towered over the young children who fought like acrobats to avoid the giants. Carthoris blocked a green man’s long sword, but the powerful blow rolled him across the courtyard.
Tara asked, “Mother, this isn’t fair. Why don’t we practice against other children like us?”
“Daughter, life isn’t fair. In a battle you don’t get to pick who you fight and your enemies won’t pick on people their own size.”
VIEW FROM ABOVE
November 16 and on this day in 1907, Oklahoma became the 46th state giving rise to the statement, "Boomer Sooner and more gravy." Go Oklahoma!" We check in with Barney Custer for today's drabble, "View From Above."
Barner Custer, the King of Lutha, took his prime minister on a flight in a biplane. They soared for about two hours over farms, fields, rivers, and roads.
The minister was overjoyed. “That was wonderful. Everything is peaceful and the world looks differently from above.”
I expected it to look like a map, but the countries and counties are all the same color. The boundary lines don’t show. Everyone’s land looks the same, except some land is better cared for. Most land is empty. There’s so much room."
“Makes you wonder why we fight about it, doesn’t it.”
Today is November 17, 2018 and on this day in 1558, Elizabeth 1, became Queen of England. Today's 100 word Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble is "Pillow Talk."
Johnny Lafitte put on his pants and said, ‘I’m not sure I’m cut out for this pirate business.”
La Diablesa, the unwilling mistress of Vulture, the pirate captain, said, “Blood always tells. You’re a Lafitte, are you not?”
“I’m still uneasy.”
She caressed him and said, “Lover, do you regret our love and betrayal of the Vulture? Will you return the loot or the women we’ve captured?”
“No, I’m not ashamed.”
“Do you want to return to your old boring life?”
“No, I feel pride, not remorse.”
“You’ll make a great pirate. Now shut up and come back to bed.”
It's the 18th of November and today's drabble is "Try Anything." Any inference the reader draws about animal poaching is a good thing.
The witch doctor said, “Tarzan, let’s capture all the lions. We’ll claim that powdered lion claws make man parts work better. We’ll be rich.”
“Lion claws won’t do that. I heard it was rhinoceros horns.”
“No, my great grandfather started that story a hundred years ago.”
“Didn’t know that. Will men believe us?”
“Old Desperate men will believe anything. There’s a story about an elephant and a magic feather. Their belief is enough,”
“Sounds bad for the lions?”
“Who cares? We can’t eat lions. Taste bad.”
Tarzan thought and said, “I do.” He killed the witch doctor and walked away.
Today is November 19, 2018. Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address on this date in 1863. Today's is drabble, "High Wire."
Tarzan smelled Nkima at a circus. His friend was leashed to a human clown.
Tarzan removed his shoes, dashed across the sawdust, and bounced across the backs of a dozen horses. He vaulted over performers, hit Nkima’s captor and broke the leash.
Tantor tossed the two skyward. Tarzan caught a rope and scampered to the trapeze. Three swings and Tarzan flew to the tightrope platform. They ran across and climbed the rigging out of the bigtop.
A roustabout said, “We’ll find him. No rube makes a monkey out of us.”
The ringmaster said, “Forget the monkey. Bring me the man.”
Today is November 20th and on this date in 1945, the Nuremberg trails began. Today's drabble, "True Wisdom," is not related to that event.
Before Carson Napier studied under the Hindu mystic. Chand Kabi, he searched the Himalayas for a guru to give guidance to his life. Rumors of man of great wisdom led him to the foot of a 20,000 foot mountain.
He climbed for days, slept in the cold, drank melted snow, and ate raw lichen and insects.
He reached the high cave. His hands and knees were torn and bloody. He could hardly breathe.
“I seek wisdom and enlightenment. Help me.”
“The bearded old man pointed a bony finger toward the trailhead far below and said, “It’s all downhill from here.”
November 22.. Ironically today is Thanksgiving and the 55th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963. A moment of silence for the man, please. The drabble is "Dirty Dancing." Cue the band to play "I had the time of my life."
Tara was bored. The fawning sycophants that pretended to be suitors were annoying and Gahan of Gathol was the worst. He preened needlessly, but the man could dance like his feet were on fire.
Her mother insisted she dance with everyone. She hated it, but resolved to endure the evening in silence.
Her boredom came to an end. Several Warhoon warriors broke in and attacked. Gahan twirled and spun her into a corner and said, “Baby, stay there. I’ll protect you.”
Tara drew her sword and shoved him aside, “Don’t call me baby. No one puts me in a corner.”
ANOTHER MONKEY'S MONKEY
November 23. On this date in 1936 the first issue of "Life" magazine was published. The drabble today is "Another Monkey's Monkey."
Tarzan heard screaming from the dum-dum tree. Nkima jumped on his shoulder and the two flew through the forest canopy.
It was too early in the day for the Mangani to dance. Several monkeys scampered and screamed from the treetops. The pelted the great apes with branches, fruit, bird nests, and anything else they could find.
When the apes tried to catch them, the monkeys fled to thin high branches and shouted insults.
Kerchak wiped disgusting goo from his face and said, “Tarzan do something. Control your monkeys”
Tarzan laughed and patted Nkima. “Not my monkeys, not my problem.”
Today is November 24. On this date in 1971 DB Cooper parachuted from a hijacked passenger plane and into mythology. Today's drabble, ERB inspired of course, is "Mantra."
Carson Napier thought about the teachings of his Tibetan guru while he huddled under scarlet leaves on Venus. He was cold and hungry.
His teacher said, “Go within yourself. Hunger and thirst are illusions with which the gods test us. You are the master of your body.”
Carson recited his mantra. He channeled the pain and discomfort into his mouth and spit it out, but he was still cold and hungry.
He pounded a broken branch into his palm. “Starvation can’t share a body with serenity. I’m the master of this club. Time to kill something and eat it. Ommm.”
Today is November 25, and on this date in 1867, Afred Nobel patents dynamite. Today's drabble is "New Girl."
Prince Michael’s life aboard the derelict ship was reduced to finding food and hiding from the old man who beat him daily. His only companion was a lion.
Ships avoided them like the plague. They unknowingly flew the smallpox flag.
The lion killed and ate part of the old man before Michael throws the remains overboard.
The ship grounded and the Lad and lion hunt together and save Nakhla from evil Arabs.
The lion finds a female. Michael tries to befriend her. The lion growls, “Find your own mate.”
There’s nothing like a woman to come between two good friends.
I SPEAK FOR GOD
Today is November 26 and on this date in 1942, the movie "Casablanca" premiered at the Hollywood Theater in New York City. "This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. The drabble today is "I Speak For God."
Tur-Kasan and his friend, Pak-stan, begged on the streets of Phundahl.
“Pak-Stan, we fought with honor as Panthans, but we starve and the Thern priests live well.”
“It isn’t fair.”
“The Thern priests lie about the gods.”
Tur-Kasan stopped begging and preached a religion of love. He called his god, Tur and said “God is Love.” Happiness reigned in Phundahl.
They died and new priests changed the message. “Life is death and love is hate.”
Soon fear and poverty reigned. The Jeddak demanded, “Who is Tur to say such things.”
The priests screamed, “Tur is Tur,” and killed the Jeddak.
November 27, and on this date in 1934, Bank robber Baby Face Nelson died in a shoot-out with the FBI. The Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble today is "Better Late," based on the immortality pills taken by Tarzan and Jane in "Tarzan's Quest."
The immortals, Jane Porter and Tarzan, survived thousands of years. Civilization crumbled as Earth’s atmosphere evaporated.
Tarzan went to Pellucidar hoping it was livable. Jane waited at the African Gridley Wave connection. Thousand waited with her.
Jane’s companions began to die. One asked, “Where’s Tarzan. We have to do something.”
“We are. My job is keep as many people alive as possible and his is to find a safe haven.”
“He may not come.”
“He always comes.”
Three days later an iron mole broke the surface. Tarzan said. “Follow the tunnel. The air’s fine inside.”
Jane smiled. “He always comes.”
THE TIME IS RIGHT
November 28, and on this date in 1720, Anne Bonny and Mary Read are tried, found guilty of pirating, and sentenced to death in Spanish Town, Jamaica, although their discovered pregnancies win them stays of execution. The drabble today is "The Time is Right."
Johnny Lafitte knew he was born to be a pirate. He told the first mate, “Reckon it’s my destiny to be captain”
“Captain might have something to say about that.”
“Don’t much care what the Captain says?”
“Probably have to kill him.”
“Reckon I will. You with me?”
“I’m with the winner, but I won’t rat you out. How will pick the time?”
“I’ll just know.”
After the pirates raided another ship. Johnny complained about his share. The Captain slapped his face.
Johnny killed the Captain with a cutlass. “It was his time to die.”
‘How’d ya know?”
CONTACT WITH THE ENEMY
It's November 29th and on this day in 1961, Enos the Chimp orbited the Earth twice continuing a tradition started by the Montgolfier brothers when the put a goat, rooster, and duck in the first balloon flight. The drabble today, inspired by Edgar Rice Burroughs, is 'Contact With The Enemy."
Jim Stone chewed his mouthpiece while his trainer rubbed his shoulder. “Jim, this kid is tough. He’s a comer. He always has a plan.”
“Unlike the other punks I’ve wrestled.”
“No, he’s smart. He’ll wear you down. He was an Olympic champion. He knows holds that don’t have names.”
“A deer plans to drink from the river and the crocodile plans to eat the deer. They both got plans.”
“Not the same.”
“The cave bear planned to eat me until I speared him.”
“Take this kid seriously.”
“Naw, everyone got a plan until I throw them out of the ring.”
Today is November 30 and on this date in 1940, Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball were married. The hard breakup cames years later. Today's Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble is "Hard Breakup." A tip of the hat to Joan Jett.
Tarzan said, “”I’m leaving. It’s time for me to go home.”
La cried, “Don’t go. I love you. I didn’t sacrifice you on the sacred altar. I gave you gold and jewels. Stay with me please.”
Tarzan shook his head. “I can’t. We fought Arabs and I helped you against the traitorous priests and priestesses. I’ll always help you, but I don’t love you.”
“I’m so frustrated. I gave you everything and you still leave me.” She stamped her feet and threw a flaming lamp against the stone wall.
“Don’t hate me.”
“I don’t. I hate myself for loving you.”
Copyright 2018: Robert Allen Lupton
THE 100-WORD DRABBLE SERIES by ROBERT ALLEN LUPTON
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