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ERB 100-Word Drabbles
by Robert Allen Lupton
January 1: Wishing for a tranquil year. On this date in 1916, All Story published part 4 of "Son of Tarzan". Today's 100 word drabble, the 209th drabble in this series, honors that event. Here's "Meriem's Back."
Korak thought Meriem was dead and when he saw a woman fleeing a lion leap from the back of her horse and swing through the trees, he was shocked. There couldn’t be two women who could do what only he and his father could do.
He stalked the girl and was dismayed to see her kiss another man. He left a message for her to meet him.
Meriem knew the message was from Korak. “You knew it was me because I act like a monkey?”
“I knew it was you because I love you.”
“Good answer. Now, kiss me.”
January 2 and this date in 1916, "H. R. H. the Rider" was purchased by All-Story for $800 after Redbook had rejected the story. Today's drabble is "Redbook's Lament."
All-Story Weekly notified Edgar Rice Burroughs that they would pay $800.00 for H. R. H. The Rider. ERB considered asking for more money, but he was deterred by Redbook’s previous rejection of the story.
“Any sale is better than no sale and I don’t have the time to waste fighting with editors. I’ve too much to write,” he told his wife.
She said, “Those people at Redbook don’t know what their missing.”
“I agree. All-Story knows what they’re doing. They’ll probably be selling magazines a hundred years after Redbook is nothing but an ancient memory.”
“You’re right about that, dear.”
WE NEED A HERO
January 3, and on this date in 1916, Edgar Rice Burroughs considered writing "The Autobiography of Cain," but he was advised that such a rewrite of Genesis would be found too controversial by most religious groups. . Today's drabble is "We Need A Hero."
ERB wrote to All-Story Weekly. “Next, I plan to write “The Autobiography of Cain”. Cain never got a fair shake. I’ll tell his side of the story. Are you interested and would you consider an advance.”
The editor cabled, “No advance. Not interested. Who wants to read that bad guys were really good? Jack the Ripper wasn’t killing German spies. John Wilkes Booth wasn’t misunderstood and Judas wasn’t Christ’s favorite.”
There’s a war in Europe. People want heroes. Please, don’t write another violent story like “The Little Door.”
January 4 and on this date in 1922, Munsey (All-Story Weekly) bought Chessmen of Mars for $3500. Today you would pay more than that for a single autographed copy of the first edition in DJ. The drabble today is "Swollen Ego."
Luud, leader of the Kaldanes, ordered Ghek to guard Tara of Helium until he was ready for her.
“What do you want with a female like her, “Ghek asked.”
“She’ll be my servant. Perhaps, I'll have my rykor mate with her.”
Ghek said, “That's disgusting. Let her go.”
Luud glared with his large eyes and the multi colored band around his gigantic head glowed. “You’re not strong enough to fight me. The power of my mind will overwhelm you. I can control you, the woman, and a dozen rykors at once.”
“Probably, but don’t get the big head about it.”
January 5, 2019 and Tarzan artist, Russ Manning, was born on this date in 1929. Today's ERB inspired drabble. 'IQ Test," takes place out west.
Bull was mucking out the stable when Diane Henders unsaddled her horse.
“Miss Henders, I can take care of your horse.”
“No, I’m rested I slept most of the way from town. The horse knows the way home.”
“Horses are smart. I wonder who’s the smartest, horses or people.”
“That’s simple, Bull, I’d say horses are smarter.”
“But people build houses and towns. We build boats and castles.”
“Yes, but horses don’t fight wars or shoot each other.”
“But horses don’t sing, build statues, or write poetry.”
“Bull, you’re looking at this wrong. Who’s shoveling manure – you or the horse?”
A MAN WITHOUT A HORSE
It's already January 6. Christmas seems like yesterday. On this day in 1923, Argosy All-Story Weekly published "Tarzan and the Golden Lion" Part 5. Today's ERB inspired drabble is "A Man Without A Horse."
Bull revisited their conversation about horses. “Miss Henders, I still think people are smarter than horses.”
“So says the man with horse dung on his boots.”
“We plant crops and invent things. Men sailed around the world. What horse has done that?”
“Lot’s of ‘em and they didn’t have to build the ships or load the supplies.”
“Maybe, but what about inventions?”
“Horses don’t need inventions when they got us to feed and curry ‘em.”
“So horses need us.”
“Horses would be fine without folks. People, on the other hand, not so much. A man without a horse is afoot.”
January 7 and on this date in 1939, Argosy Weekly published the first part of Synthetic Men of Mars. Today's drabble, "Test Drive," honors that event.
Val Daj asked, “Why do you call them whole-mads. They aren’t whole. They’re hideous bits and pieces you’ve cooked up like a poor man’s stew.”
Ras Thavas said, “You must ride the thoat you’ve saddled. You can’t make swords from calot’s teeth.”
“They’re stupid, too.”
“I know, but you’re going to help with that.”
“No thanks, I’m happy as I am.”
Two homads seized Val Daj and Ras Thavas injected a sedative. Before he transferred the young man’s brain into a homad body he said, “Trust me. You’ve have six fingers and fourteen toes. What more could a girl want?”
January 8th and on this date in 1916, All-Story Magazine published part five of "Son of Tarzan." Today's 100 word ERB inspired drabble is "Elephant Love."
Korak rescued Meriam and killed Ali, the Sheikh's brother. The Sheik ordered, “Burn him at the stake."
Loyal Tantor trumpeted and raced to rescue the bound boy. The elephant ripped the stake from the ground and carried Korak into the dark jungle.
Tantor guarded him all night long. Meriam tried to untie Korak, but Tantor wouldn’t let her near the boy.
Tarzan arrived, thanked Tantor and freed his son.
Meriam said, “The beast is dangerous. It tried to kill me.”
Tarzan replied, “Don’t confuse loyalty with aggression. Once you’re free of the stench of the Sheikh's people, he’ll like you.”
January 9, 2018 and on this date in 1954. Bob Lubbers left the Tarzan daily. The story, "Tarzan and the Ghost" continued on the 11th with John Celardo artwork. The drabble today is "Bolgani Boogie."
Frank Garvey, a director for the Monopoly Film Company told Tarzan, “We film wildlife films, but I need something new.”
“I can take you to film Bolgani.”
‘No, Bolgani is the jungle name for gorillas. It’s far and dangerous.”
After many days’ marching, Tarzan cut open a tall cane and said, “The water is sweet and pure. Bolgani love it. We wait in this thicket.”
“Will we be safe?”
“Until the gorilla arrive. Be quiet and take your pictures. Don’t stand between them and the sweet cane water. It makes them unhappy. You won’t like it if they’re unhappy.”
WHAT'S IN A NAME
January 10, and this day in 1912 is the copyright date for the February issue of "The All-Story containing “Under The Moons Of Mars." The drabble today, ERB inspired is "What's in a Name." The illustration is the seldom-seen cover of that issue.
Dear Mr Metcalf, I was disappointed to see you changed my pen name to Norman Bean from Normal Bean. I chose the name to indicate that my story was written by a sane person.
Dear Mr. Burroughs, the magazine is on the stands and I assumed that “Normal was an error. Bean is bad enough, but Normal Bean is simply unacceptable.
Dear Mr. Metcalf, I would like my chosen non de plume corrected in future publications.
…Got it, Norman Bean, it is.
… Normal Bean!
…Yes, I understand. I make sure it’s Norman Bean.
…Never mind. Use Edgar Rice Burroughs.
I CAN FIGHT FOR MYSELF
January 11 and on this day in 1969, the Russ Manning Daily Tarzan Strip, "Tarzan and the Renegade part one, chapter one, Tarzan and the Pallids of Pal-Ul- Don" concluded. Today's drabble, "I Can Fight For Myself," honors that event.
Twilla, the old woman who wielded influence over the Pallid cannibal tribe said, “Tarzan you’ve angered them and they are many. Best they eat the woman. I’ve seen what happens to the women they keep alive.”
“It is not my custom to surrender myself or women. I still live.”
Hundreds of cannibals surrounded Tarzan and his companions, captured Marta, the female and imprisoned the men.
Tarzan and his friends escaped and attacked. Marta freed herself and routed the cannibals.
She held her bloody spear overhead and screamed. “Not my custom to let men defend me. I can fight for myself.”
January 12 and on this day in 1908, Joan Burroughs Pierce was born. "Radio Days" is today's Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired 100 word drabble.
Edgar Rice Burroughs smiled at his daughter, Joan, and her husband, the former Tarzan, James Pierce. “I’ve sold the rights for a new Tarzan show. You two will be Tarzan and Jane.”
“Dad, I’ve never done a movie and Tarzan and the Golden Lion was before talkies. James is a little old to play Tarzan.”
“Didn’t say it was a movie.”
James Pierce said, ‘I’ve never spoken on stage or screen, People have seen me, but never heard me.”
Burroughs said, “Changing it up this time. It's a radio show and people will hear you, but they won’t see you.”
January 13, and on this day in 1923, Argosy All-Story Weekly published part six of "Tarzan and the Golden Lion." Today's ERB inspired drabble honors that event. Here's "Jungle Crazy."
Estaban had lost his mind and thought he was Tarzan. Odobe, the cannibal witch doctor, also believed he was Tarzan and captured him.
The tribe imprisoned Estaban in a filthy hut. The tribesmen insisted, “Put him in the stewpot. He’s a mighty warrior and his flesh will make us strong and brave.”
Odobe said, “No, his mind sees unknown things and craziness lives inside him. He who eats him will become go mad as well.”
“What do we do with him?”
“Keep him imprisoned. The gods touch crazy men and curse the warrior who dares kill the man so chosen.”
Today is January 14, and on this day in 1939, Argosy Weekly published part two of "The Synthetic Men of Mars." Today's 100 word Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble is "Saddle Up."
Val Daj carried a saddle to the squawking and shrieking gigantic bird. It snapped at his arm.
“You expect me to ride this?”
Ras Thavas said, “That’s why I grew them. Malagors were extinct for thousands of years, but I found one unhatched egg and used the yoke to design the recipe.”
“He looks angry.”
“Hungry, not angry. I used parts from other creatures and the final result seems to have a taste for Red Barsoomians, homads, and calots.”
Val Daj saddled the bird. “Any advice.”
“Keep it well fed, but don’t handfeed it. Hunger makes them a little touchy.”
Today is the 15th of January, and on this day in 1987, Vern Coriell, founder of the Burroughs Bibliophiles went to that great Dum Dum in the sky. Today's drabble, inspired by Edgar Rice Burroughs is "Dream Cat."
Woola dreamed of chasing soraks. Usually, they were fast and elusive, but dream soraks were easy prey. Delicious too.
The worst was a silver-haired female who ruled the castle. She’d tormented him forever.
He dreamed he cornered her. She tried to escape and hissed when he caught her.
Woola shoveled her into his mouth.
He woke up screaming. His bleeding tail was in his teeth. The silver sorak put it in his mouth while he slept. She laughed and ran.
Woola didn’t chase her. He licked his tail and went back to sleep. He’d catch her in his next dream.
RIDE LIKE A WALLABY
January 16, and on this day in 1937, Argosy Weekly published "Back to the Stone Age" (Seven Worlds to Conquer) part two. Today's 100 word ERB inspired drabble is "Ride Like A Wallaby."
The flying lizard carried Von Horst to its aerie and left him paralyzed as to feed its hatchings.
Another victim taught Von Horst to speak the Pellucidar’s language.
Von Horst killed one hatchling and fed it to another. He built a snare from lizard hide, trapped, and killed the Trogon or flying reptile.
Von Horst said, “It carried me in a belly pouch like a wallaby.”
Dangar replied, “Me too. I felt as helpless as a baby.”
“You’re still paralyzed. I’ll carry you down.”
“Not in no pouch. If you’ve one under your shirt, just throw me down the mountain.”
YOU ARE NOT ASLEEP
January 17 - On this day in 1932, the one-shot Hal Foster and George Carlin Tarzan Sunday strip "Aboard a Slave Ship" appeared. The 100 word Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble today, "You Are Not Sheep," honors that event.
A sailing ship anchored in the remote African bay. The crew force native men and women below deck. Tarzan watched in anger.
Tarzan climbed aboard and confirmed it was a slave ship.Tarzan freed the natives and led them in battle against the slavers. When the natives were safely ashore, one asked, “You look like them. Why do you help us?”
“Man’s the only animal that enslaves its own kind and kills for pleasure. I’m not like them. Other slavers will come. You’re many, they’re few. Fight them. You are men, not sheep. You were not born to be shorn.”
IN THE SAME AIRPLANE
January 18, and on this day in 1942, ERB's son Hulbert enlisted as a photographer in the Army Air Corps. Today's 100 word Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble is "In The Same Airplane."
Hulbert said, “I went by Hickam Field today and enlisted in the Army Air Corp.”
His father said, “Proud of you, but why the Air Corp. I was always more of a cavalry man, myself.”
“I know, but wars aren’t fought on horseback. Starting now, wars will be fought in the sky. ”
“Edgar Rice Burroughs asked, “Hulbert, will you be a pilot.”
“No, they need photographers to document the war, take pictures of installations, and help with training manuals. I can do that.”
“You take care of yourself. When an airplane crashes, photographers get killed as fast as pilots.”
January 19, and on this day in 1935, ERB finished writing Tarzan and Jane, aka Tarzan and the Immortal Men, (which became "Tarzan's Quest")-- his 19th Tarzan novel. Today's 100 word ERB inspired drabble is "Title Quest."
“I completed another Tarzan novel today. It will be the nineteenth one. I finished today on purpose, January 19 – nineteenth novel.”
Florence said, “That’s nice, what will you call it.”
“Tarzan and Jane.”
“Sounds like a children’s book I read in school, “Dick and Jane.” What’s it about?”
“A tribe of bloodthirsty cannibals whose celibate priests can live forever because of pills they make from women’s glands, honey, and leopard’s spinal fluid.”
“Sounds messy. Perhaps you can call it “Tarzan and the Immortal Cannibals.”
“I don’t know. I’ll think of something. Sometimes the quest for a new title seems endless.”
THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA
January 20, and on this day in 1923, Argosy All-Story Weekly published the seventh and final part of "Tarzan and the Golden Lion." Today's drabble is "The Old Man and the Sea." It combines an incident in Tarzan and the Golden Lion" with one in another Edgar Rice Burroughs novel.
"Tarzan confronted the old man who followed him. The old man came to Africa as child stowaway on Stanley’s ship.
“Don’t remember my name. I escaped the Bolgani who now rule Opar. They plan to sacrifice La. I can show you a secret passage.”
With the help of Jad-Bal-ja, Tarzan led 5000 slaves in revolt and put La back on the throne. He found Jane alive and recovered the gold stolen from Opar.
“Thank you, old man. Stay with us.”
“No, I miss the sea.”
“Name your reward.”
“Don’t need no reward. I signed to cook on the Dolly Dorcas.”
WHERE THE WOMEN
January 21, and this day in 1939, Argosy Weekly published part three of "Synthetic Men of Mars." Today's 100 word ERB inspired drabble is "Where The Women"
Four large and angry Homads confronted Ras Thavas. “We are not pleased.”
“I feed you well. I made you strong large and strong. You are almost immortal. What else could you want?”
“It’s not enough. You haven’t given us what we need.”
“What can I do?”
“You will make more of us. We will become an army, search all of Barsoom, and conquer this planet to find what we need.”
“I let you rule yourselves. I created giant birds, the malagors, for you to ride. What else could you possibly need?”
“Where the women? We will seek Homad women.”
January 22, and on this day in 1938, Argosy published part three of "Carson of Venus." Today's Edgar Rice Burroughs themed drabble is inspired by that story and is named, "Maltu Mephis."
Carson Napier and Duare were in Sanara for several days. Political intrigue made Carson fear for his life. He expected execution, but instead was made a tokordogan, or lieutenant, in the Zani army.
He was ouside when Mephis, the Zani supreme leader paraded by. The men who weren’t Zani, stood on their heads and chanted “Maltu Mephis!".
Carson looked at the upside down chanters, the Zani men sporting silly Mohawk haircuts, and the citizens who poorly concealed a mixture of fear, rage, and frustration.
He shook his head. “Looks like I’m not the only one who went the wrong way.”
January 23 and on this day in 1915, All-Story Cavalier Weekly published part one of Sweetheart Primeval (The Eternal Lover). Today's 100 word ERB inspired drabble, "Wedding Present." honors that event.
Nu, son of Nu, spoke to Victoria Custer, the reincarnation of his prehistoric love, Oo. “I was hunting a sabretooth tiger. The ground shook, the cave fell on me, and I woke up in your time.”
“Was the tiger killing your people?”
“Did it prey on your livestock?”
“Why would you kill such a magnificent beast?"
“The tiger’s skin is a gift for Oo. It would prove my love and my manhood.”
“God, have men have been stupid forever? Nothing says “I love you” like a rotting animal skin.”
“Right. Says I’m brave too.”
"I’m sorry I asked.”
A MOTHER'S WORK
January 24, and on this day in 1932, the Hal Foster and George Carlin Tarzan Sunday newspaper strip, "The Baby of the Apes", was published. It was a one shot story. Today's drabble, "A Mother's Work," is based on that strip.
The ape mother accidentally dropped her baby into the river. A crocodile swam toward the child.
Tarzan dove into the raging current and saved the young ape. He saw himself when he looked at the frightened child. The child saw another predator when he looked at Tarzan.
The ape child ran from Tarzan. Sheeta ran after the baby. Tarzan saved the child again.
He returned the child to its terrified mother. “He doesn’t know danger from safety. You must be afraid for him, wise for him, and brave for him. You must protect him as Kala, my mother, protected me."
TEETH THAT BITE
January 25, and on this date in In 1965, filming began for "Tarzan and the Valley of Gold," featuring Mike Henry. Mr. Henry was injured a few times during the filming of his three Tarzan films. Today's drabble is "Teeth that Bite."
The doctor stitched up the chimpanzee bite on Mike Henry’s face. “I’m going to give you an antibiotic. You don’t want this to get infected. No worry about rabies, the chimp’s had its shots.”
“I should have paid more attention. I could tell the little heathen was upset about something.”
“How. Did he say something? You been playing Tarzan long enough that you think you can really speak to animals. Excuse me, Dr. Doolittle.”
“Don’t be an ass. It’s nothing like that. He looked exactly like an angry Alex Karras with the Detroit Lions. He bit me a couple times.”
IT'S ALL FAKE
January 26, and on this day in 1992, the first installment of "Wrestlemania," by Gray Morrow and Don Kraar, began in the Tarzan Sunday comic and ran for 12 Sundays. Today's drabble, "It's All Fake," honors that event.
Manager McCoy tagged and stepped into the wrestling ring where Tarzan, who’d agreed to participate in Wrestlemania, waited to fight. McCoy said, “Tired of your attitude, Lord Greystoke. I think you’re as fake as people say wrestling is. How ‘bout we do this for real.”
Tarzan growled, “You won’t like it if I really fight.”
McCoy charged and Tarzan countered. Lord Greystoke threw McCoy around the ring and pinned him five minutes later.
Tarzan’s partner said, “What took so long.”
“I was trying not to inflict permanent damage. It’s harder to fight when you don’t really want to hurt someone.”
January 27: On this day in 1918, Elmo Lincoln;s silent picture, Tarzan of the Apes, premiered at New York’s Broadway Theater. The 100 word Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble today is "Squeaky Toy."
Enid Markley said, “Elmo, I’m so excited that our movie’s finally been released. Do you think it will be a big hit?”
Elmo Lincoln, doffed his hat, helped Enid from the limousine, and whispered, “Wave to the crowd, Enid. Smile.”
“You didn’t answer me.”
He voice was higher than hers. “We looked fabulous in the film. Of course, looked best. I’m pleased movie fans can’t hear my voice.”
She jerked her arm from his grasp. “Big man with a voice like a little girl. If I sounded like a dog’s squeaky toy, I wouldn’t want people to hear me either.”
It's January 28 and on this date in 1996, Burne Hogarth passed away. The man could absolutely draw. Today's drabble is "Short Timer"
I had a computer issue and lost a month's worth of work. Nevertheless, today's drabble is "Shortimer,:
“So Burne, we looked at your drawings. Pretty impressive. Foster quit drawing Tarzan. How’d you like to take over the strip?”
“Foster’s a really tough act to follow.”
“We’re confident you can do it.”
“Can I write my own stories?”
“We’ll see. For right now, we just want you to be the artist.”
“All right, I’ll do it, but keep me in mind for something else. I’m afraid that people will hate my work compared to Foster’s and a man’s got to feed his family.”
“But you’re willing to give it a shot.”
“Only until I can find something else.”
HATE THE NAME
January 29 and on this day in 2008, Manuel Padilla Jr., Jai to Ron Ely's Tarzan and the youthful companion to Mike Henry's, passed away. Today's 100 word Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble is "Hate the Name."
The agent said, “You want it to say Manuel Padilla, Jr. on your contract?"
“Yes, what’s my character’s name on the Tarzan TV show? I hope it’s not Ramel, like in Valley of Gold. Ramel means frame. Who names their kid, frame?"
“Did you like your name in Great River?”
“No, Pepe means Joe. Joe of the Jungle sounds stupid.”
“They’ll call you Jai. It means bird.”
“Jai may mean bird in the dictionary, but it means ‘chick’, a bad girl, to the street gangs. Kids will tease me forever.”
“Could have been worse, they wanted to call you,” Bebe
A TIME TO FIGHT
January 30 and on this date in 1915, All-Story Cavalier Weekly published part two of “Sweetheart Primeval." Today's drabble is "A Time to Fight."
Victoria Custer was devastated when she and Tarzan discovered the skull of her prehistoric lover, Nu, Son of Nu.”
She said, “I have to leave Africa. I’m not comfortable here.”
“You can stay with us.”
“No, I need to be part of the Great War. I won’t sit and pine away. I’ll live life to the fullest until we find each other in future lives.”
“I understand, I’d go crazy if something happened to Jane.”
"Nu would want me to fight to make things right with the world. I’ll make him proud. Tomorrow, this Nebraska girl is going to war."
January 31 and on this day in history, Glenn Morris and Eleanor Holm died at the box office when "Tarzan's Revenge" was released in 1938, and then went on to die on the same day of the month. Morris died on Jan. 31, 1974, at the age of 61, and Eleanor passed away Jan. 31, 2004, at the age of 90. Today's drabble is 'Happy Anniversary."
Glenn Morris helped Eleanor Holm walk the carpet to the opening of “Tarzan’s Revenge.”
Eleanor said, “This is wonderful. We’ll be famous.”
“Maybe, but not for this movie. I’ve read the advance reviews. This thing will die at the box office faster than a swatted fly.”
“Glenn, I don’t think so. This will be a special day for us.”
“This day will be a curse for us."
“It’s not like we’re Jefferson and Adams. We aren’t going to die on January 31 the way they died on July the fourth.”
“Mark my words, Eleanor. This date is exactly that bad.”
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Copyright 2019: Robert Allen Lupton
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