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Predator's Report On Tarak and the Traumatic Texas Trip
This is a true story as seen and reported by an eye-witness to the following events. Yes, they may seem incredible, but what else can be said about the mighty Tarak, mighty writer of all time, mighty poster, Doctor of Hyperbole, Summa Cum Laude graduate from Podunk University in Toledo, Ohio. ~ D.W.
I met Tarak within 10 minutes of landing in Houston for the 2002 DUM-DUM. He was struggling with his 800 pound suitcase pulling it around on some tiny wheels as he approached me. I later discovered it contained 775 pounds of coffee and maybe god-only-knows how many cartons of cigarettes. The rest was clothes and his laptop. It was quite embarrassing seeing him yanking that bag through Houstonís large terminal with ape-like grunts, his tiny muscles trying to valiantly pull that bag here and there, him pleading for help, little children scrambling for cover behind their Mommas, some of them crying after hearing the profanities of the little creature as he screamed at his 800 pound suitcase. The airport security people began trailing his ass all over that airport until we finally caught a bus to the car rental place. The poor bus driver cursed when Tarak only gave him a 10 cent tip for lugging that monster of a suitcase up the bus steps. Tarak told the poor guy he was a criminal defense lawyer from Toledo. The man could only nod in disbelief after Tarak told him no criminal ever gave him a damn tip after defending him.
|Oh yes, when he was doing the paper work at the car rental place, Tarak pulled from his back pocket about a 1000 rental discount coupons and dropped many of them on the floor. Unfortunately, theyíd all expired more than a year ago. It started another unsightly incident at the airport as Tarak argued with the car attendant about the unfairness of their stupid procedures. What the hell if they had expired, he yelled. Since when did that make a difference? If a murderer came to see him with a discount coupon a year old, he would still defend him at the discounted fee agreed upon. Tarak just couldnít rationalize any difference. He was very upset with that car manager.|
|We finally got to our car and he loaded up his suitcase in the trunk with the help of a forklift. I just put mine in the backseat. The back end almost dragged the pavement but we were finally on our way, or so I thought. During the next hour, he got lost 3 times despite asking for help in getting the hell out of Houston at least 5 more times. He became confused on which way north south east and west was. For a time he thought he was in Afghanistan looking for the Taliban. Tarak does have a tendency to forget where he is from time to time.|
The first time we got lost was Predator's fault. I told him we needed to take this exit, and he was adamant that we didn't want that one; and of course it was the correct one; and that cost us $2.00 in tolls, with Predator claiming that he didn't have anything smaller than a fifty.
|As we were driving down the highway, Tarak, with a cigarette in his mouth, another in his right hand and another in his left hand, one in the ash tray burning, ashes dropping here and there, started blabbing so much he forgot what he was doing. Finally I had to say something when the speed of the car hit 90 MPH in a 55 MPH zone.|
I'm not much of a leisurely driver; that's true. Predator wasn't the only one impressed with my driving skills at Dum-Dum. I had OJT and others clinging to their seat belts pretty tightly as I drove to restaurants and movies.
"It might be nice if you slowed down a mite should a cop come along." He finally smiled and said, "Hell, this cigarette smoke blurred my vision. I couldnít see the speedometer." I can believe that.
I regard it as like driving through impenetrable fog. The best thing is to speed up and get through it as quick as you can.
Tarak doesnít know how to drive. Your life is in constant danger with his leadfoot driving. He said Toledo didn't have any speed limits or any prohibition against making u-turns, running over children, stopping at stop signs or redlights, or driving under the influence. I can believe this too.
We finally made it to Texas A and M, barely alive, and after getting 6 hotel bellboys to lug his suitcase to the room, I was finally able to relax. He tipped the hotel clerks 10 cents each and said he was from Ohio where that amount of tip was common in his neck of the woods. When one of the clerks started to complain, Tarak bared his fangs and the guy walked away, disappointed he didnít have enough money to take out his date that evening. I could only moan at the sheer indecency.
Folks, you would need a first class gas mask to survive with this guy for more than a couple of days. It was embarrassing. Not only did he then unpack his cartons of cigarettes, but also his 700 packages of coffee. It was just terrible. He used up six coffee pots inside of a day. The hotel had to replace all that were in the room twice. The ashtrays were full every 30 minutes or so and had to be emptied on a regular basis. The toilet broke down after he flushed it at least a 1000 times on that first day. On the second day, the hotel finally gave up and put a clerk on permanent standby to get him cigarettes throughout the rest of his stay. He ran out of cartons after the first day. Iíve never been so humiliated in all my life.
Another thing Tarak can't do is remember where he parks the car. Twice we had to walk completely around the Hilton looking for the car. He couldn't remember where he parked it after he made some additional runs for cigarettes in the early morning hours when the hotel clerks were doing something else on that first day.
I did lose the car once. I'll admit that. We found it, though, as I tracked it through the vehicle jungle, my senses ever alert.
It was just terrible to be forced to room with this guy. The first morning the maids came to clean the room, three of them quit. They finally hired some out of work college students to come to the room to help lug the garbage cans full of butts and coffee packages and broken coffee pots to the dumpster. The hotel also had to furnish me with a second and third gas mask before our stay ended. The first and second broke. It was my understanding three of the clerks filed workman's compensation claims after we left.
I don't have to worry about killing Tarak in the future. The cigarettes and coffee will do that quite nicely.
Tarak couldn't wait to show me some digital camera photos of his tinker toy weight set on his laptop. He was so proud of himself. Naturally this led to us comparing bodies. I humored him and let him think he was doing well. I just couldn't break his heart by telling him that his tinker toy dumbbells weighed at most at pound. He was so happy he could do 10 curls in a row without losing his breath. It made his day.
We went the Golden Corral and ate one time. Tarak got in line and I was just shocked when he slipped his bill under George McWhorter's wallet as he was paying. He whispered to me, "George will never notice anything." I didn't think he could sink any lower until we were leaving the restaurant. He whispered he needed to take some snacks back to the room for later and thus proceeded to stuff barbecued ribs, mashed potatoes and corn on the cob in his pants pockets. Everybody in the restaurant could only endure as we left. When a friendly attendant opened the door for him as he walked outside, he told him he was George McWhorter just in case someone asked. It was just horrible. Hell, Tarak got lost on the way back to the hotel and Huck had to guide him back to the Hilton. Never have I witnessed such things as I saw in Texas. I had to tell that poor restaurant manager that poor Tarak was from Toledo, Ohio, and defended criminals. The manager could only nod his head and say, "Thank God he's not from Cleveland." I had to respond that was where Tarak was born, but the city didn't claim him and changed his birth certificate to say Toledo.
When Tarak got back to the room he started talking and did not stop until he finally crawled into bed. Even then he kept talking to himself as he dozed off. But once an hour, he had to get up and smoke a carton of cigarettes----yes, that cartons, not individual cigarettes----and drink coffee. I didnít get three hours of sleep while I was down there.
The next day we went to a barbecue restaurant and ate with Steve and Huck. It was just incredible what we had to endure. How many people in the world have you seen take pictures of your meal before you eat it? Well this crowded restaurant got a first hand look at that sight before Tarakís fangs sank into his ribs and slaw. But again, we finally had to pull Tarakís butt out of the restaurant when he became enraged that no smokes were available for an after meal wheeze. Steve and Huck could only look at the ceiling as Tarak berated everyone there, hissing, fangs showing, threatening a lawsuit for not having smokes for sale. We breathed a sigh of relief to escape that place with our lives, those big Texas boys looking for some ass to whip for insulting their Texas girlfriends and waitresses. Of course, Tarak believed he could whip every one of them by himself.
We went to see two movies while down there: Spiderman and Star Wars. I thought Spiderman was okay, but Tarak hated it. He thought Star Wars was great and hated Spiderman. It was his belief that Spiderman was simply unbelievable. I had to give him a double look and say, "DUH, like Star Wars is believable too?" Of course, the only reason he went to see Star Wars was because of Natalie Portman. Five or six times a movie attendant had to calm him down as he got in heat and had to be doused with cold drinks to keep him from panting and ranting to death. It was just plain awful with everyone us trying to move away from this lunatic we were stuck with. Itís something else to see Tarak in these periodic moments of over the top excitement.
Natalie might not be much of an actress; but she's in that class where who cares?
I thought things couldn't get worse until we went to see the $3,000,000.00 art collection at Brad's house. Tarak had three climaxes in less than 10 minutes. He also blew out 14 packs of batteries taking picture after picture. It was just horrible seeing him do these things. Brad was aghast at his behavior, but still was the good host for the cookout that night.
Finally, the banquet was held and Tarak once again had his feelings hurt as he wanted to give the dinner speech that evening. He said he had a number of things to talk about, none of them about anything that made sense, especially Toledo's new sewer system plan that's been in the works for a number of years. He couldn't understand why no one wanted to hear about that news topic. He said he had been working on that city problem for years and had his speech totally written.
I again risked my life in his drive back to the airport. We finally parted ways at the Houston airport after another rousing adventure. He only got lost 4 times on the way back. The car rental place did charge him a thousand dollars extra for cigarette damage to the carpet.
I don't think they could see it because of the flood damage.
I sat in my place seat and just shook my head all the way back. Never in my life had I experienced such an incredible trip.
I've read Predator's account of Dum-Dum, and he belongs on a fantasy list. I can go four minutes. Sometimes five, without smoking. This is ludicrous exaggeration of my health habits.
The fact of the matter is that I arrived in Houston and got my luggage which I trailed effortlessly behind me as I searched for Predator near the baggage claim for Continental. Then I noticed a huge suitcase moving and suddenly it burst open and this old gray guy shambled out, rolling around on the moving belt as he tried to stand up. Apparently he never did buy a ticket, and used somebody else's baggage ticket to put on this huge bag in which he was concealed. People were aghast as this drooping, bedraggled figure kept scrambling around on the thing, and eventually he tripped and stumbled off the conveyor onto the floor, holding a little purse-like bag, which was his actual luggage.
I hadn't seen him in two years, and could hardly believe this old geezer was actually on the loose, instead of confined in some nursing home; but then he yelled at me and I realized that this was in fact Predator.
We got this little rental car from Alamo, since Predator kept talking about Davy Crockett and was constantly humming "Born on a mountaintop in Tennessee" and he wouldn't consider any other rental place, and then we headed off for College Station. Immediately he was fearful of the people and highway, and about ten minutes after we had been on some expressway I told him that I thought the next exit was the one we needed. He said it wasn't. I said it was. Then he started screaming so I drove by it; and of course it was the one we should have taken, and two toll booths later we had turned around and returned and got on it. He claimed he didn't have anything smaller than a fifty on him, so that cost me two bucks extra.
We were driving through Texas, which I had never done; and Predator kept asking me where the cattle drives were; and singing Yippee Kai Yai Oh again and again. Finally we got to College Station, and I stopped at some place to eat and told him to visit the bathroom since I was smelling something odd.
After we ate we got directions to the hotel, and arrived. I do tend to like to get where I want to go pretty quickly when I'm driving, so we got there in plenty of time, fortunately; since by this time Predator was already whining that he needed a nap.
I was all set in a smoker's room with Huck and Bill, but later we heard a timid tapping on our door, and there was Predator, trembling and saying that he was afraid to room by himself, especially when it got dark. I checked out his room, and noticed it had a balcony overlooking the pool. The NCAA tennis championships were going on at Texas A&M at the time, and some good looking girls were at the hotel and out by the pool, so I agreed to room with Predator, even though it meant that every time he left the room I had to accompany him until we saw other people we knew who would give him reassurance and companionship. Most of the time he spent holed up in the room with the curtains drawn and generally in a fetal position, oftening whimpering "Nancy! Nancy!". It was hard to sleep with the blubbering going on in the next bed; and I never heard of anyone else who needed a halogen nightlight in every outlet, or who attaches "The Club" to hotel room doors instead of steering wheels.
During the weekend I drove everywhere, and Predator wasn't the only one impressed with my driving skills, as I demonstrated the kind of thrills only Cedar Point can deliver to several adventurous fans.
All in all, it was a great trip; and fortunately the room was on Predator's credit card, since the long-distance calls must have been beyond belief. At least a dozen times I'd come into the room and Predator would be crying into the phone, talking to his wife and saying he wanted to come home. I fielded several complaints from other guests in nearby rooms; and explained that we were on a field trip from the local asylum; and that worked pretty well once they got a glimpse of him. On Sunday I boxed him up and put him back on the baggage claim thing; but apparently he got home.
Although it was a small gathering, and I had to put up with Predator whining about smoke constantly, I had a great time; as I always do at these things. The next Dum-Dum is in Louisville, so we'll get to see George's collection again, and I can drive to that one in five hours. Predator survived because I want to be beyond U.S. jurisdiction when I do him in. I don't think Canada has laws against exterminating vermin. Now he's considering ECOF, and will probably find some excuse not to attend OkaR&R. Brad Vinson's home was the visual thrill of a lifetime, and I'm not sure I had more than a few conversations with anyone at that gathering. I was too busy staring at art and taking photos. JON would have been elbowing me all over the place if we had both been there with our cameras. They also served Bara for food, which I thought was appropriate. I can only afford one of these a year; since I go nuts buying books. I did take my bidding card with me when I left the room this time during the auction, even though Joan and Dejah weren't there. Mary Ann sent out checks today to Predator for the money I owe him on the room and for the respiratory therapy he'll undoubtedly need.
Here's one where Predator is trying to line up allies,
and even the painting is rejecting him
Dennis Wilcutt ~ George McWhorter ~ Laurence Dunn
aka: Predator ~ Tublat ~ Bloody British Hooligan
ERB fans tend to be a wild group,
forunately the members of THB group
immediately lent an air of dignified formality to the proceeding.
Tarak and Predator being restrained by Huck and Ghak.
I had never seen the St. John Golden Lion painting till I joined ERBlist five years ago and learned about the editions and the art from the original dust jackets. I generally enjoy the more modern, muscular depictions of Tarzan. Frazetta, Krenkel, and Vallejo who all have some great depictions of him. However, when I first saw that St. John GL art, it just mesmerized me. That is Tarzan. It's not the favorite art of many ERB fans, but few would argue that it's not the most famous depiction of the ape-man, and generally the best depiction of Tarzan ever painted. Brad's personal favorite paintings are his Schoonovers (below), which are color paintings of interior art from the McClurg edition of Princessof Mars. Another old one I enjoy is the painting for the McClurg Tarzan of the Apes. Tarzan himself is a bit scrawny, but the jacket itself, as a totality, is superb and captures what he is and represents. That one is the first thing you see on my web site. I love Frazetta's Tarzan and the Lost Empire cover, and will buy a painting simulation of that one soon. I'm also going to get a simulation made of Krenkel's Triumphant cover, at some point. I have a signed Vallejo print of his Tarzan and the Castaways paperback art, which is another of my favorite depictions of Tarzan. Vallejo was very nice and permits me to use his art on my web site: Tarak's Lands of Adventure. It seems that the art which one first encountered when one discovered ERB often tends to be the art one enjoys the most, but the St. John Golden Lion is a timeless masterpiece.
It was difficult to get my attention away from taking photos of ERB art, but Edie James did the trick.
Also, I am flanked to my right by a wall which has one or two original paintings from Dell Tarzan comics,
and then the original DJ painting for GL.
This is truly the most magnificent display of art crammed into a narrow hallway in the world.
WEBJED: BILL HILLMAN
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