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Volume 7019

ERB TALES IV
Written in the Spirit of OB

by John Martin

CONTENTS
1. JOHN CARTER OF COUNTER MARS
2. THE APE MAN DOES FACEBOOK
3. THE APE MAN: OBSERVER OF NATURE
4. ALL'S FAIR IN TARZAN AND JANE
5. TARZAN VS. THE MUMMY
6. TARZAN'S HAPPY MEAL
7. WHO WAS THAT MASKED APE MAN?
8. HALLOWEEN IN THE JUNGLE
9. TARZAN IS SCARY
10. THE SHARK

1. JOHN CARTER OF COUNTER MARS

  There was an instant of extreme cold and utter darkness, John Carter found himself standing on an alien landscape. About 50 yards away was a stunning woman in a white lab coat, holding a test tube and carrying a small black bag.

   Carter ambled over to her and asked, "Who are you and where am I?"

   "My name is Dejah Theorist," she replied sweetly, jamming the test tube into the bag. "I'm a scientist. And you are on the planet of Tars. We are like the planet Mars in size, but we orbit on the opposite side of the sun, kinda like Gor does with the planet you call Earth."

   "Really now," said Carter, who was no fool and had read a book or two about the planets of the Solar System. "If this place is like Mars, how come I was able to walk normally over to you rather then make a fool of myself by flying through the air, flailing madly, and landing in a heap like The Greatest American Hero?"

   "Simple," said Dejah. "The air on Tars is also much thinner than that you breathe on your home planet, so your body has to work harder to make even the simplest of moves. But, your pitiful physical exertion is being made easier by our lesser gravity, thus enabling you to walk normally, as you would on Jasoom."

   "I never thought of that," said Carter. "But it makes sense. So now that I'm here, what next, and by the way, what's Jasoom?"

   "Jasoom is our name for the planet Earth and if you're wondering how I knew that's where you came from, it's all right there on your nametag. As for what next, I think you should help the city of Helium in its battle against cruel Sad Sap," she said. "He wants to make us all slaves and to get married...to me."

   "Well, we can never let that happen," said Carter. "As a matter of fact, I might like to marry you myself. You're not all that bad looking!"

   Dejah blushed at the compliment. Just then, a horde of green warriors rode over the hill on huge beasts.

   "Is that Sad Sap?" Carter wondered aloud.

   "No," said Dejah. "That's Mars Markus and the Marks. They're going to fight on our side."

   "Geez," said Carter. "They're extra tall and they have six limbs and some are using the middle ones as arms, and some of them are using them as legs."
   "They're armbidextrous," said Dejah.

   "Well, I guess I'd better get a sword if I'm going to help you fight. You probably don't have any Springfield rifles, do you?" Carter asked.

   "We do have rifles," said Dejah, "but we Tartians prefer sword-fighting for most stuff. We like to get up close and personal."

   "You must like to get dead, too," said Carter. "A lot better chance of getting stabbed yourself in a sword fight than if you can pick somebody off at 300 yards."

   "Try 200 miles," said Dejah. "Our rifles can shoot a long way."

   "Wow! For a shot like that you probably have to be good at figuring Kentucky windage."

   "What?" said Dejah.

   "Never mind," said Carter.

   The Marks rode up and stopped. Mars Markus looked at Carter, sneered and asked Dejah: "Who's the palefaced wimp? This guy looks like the only time he goes out of his house is to hit the backyard to urinate." He turned to Carter, "Or do you do that from a window?"

   Carter smiled at Markus. Somehow, he liked this rough-hewn, plain-spoken fellow.

   "Careful what you say there, Grasshopper," said Carter. "In the Civil War we didn't even have guys like you for breakfast. We used them for midnight snacks."

   Mars's eyes narrowed as he reached for his long sword. But another Mark was quicker, leaping from his mount and advancing on Carter. "Allow me, Jekkador," he said, not waiting for an answer.

   This guy is obviously being insubordinate to his commanding officer, thought Carter. He needs to be taught a lesson. The two engaged -- four fists against two.   But Carter had a secret weapon. It had never occurred to the Marks to use their feet in combat, and why would it? They had plenty of arms for that. Carter simply fired off a quick kick to the Marks' jewels and sent him sprawling backward, writhing in agony before convulsing and lying still.

   "You killed him with one low blow," said Mars in amazement. "You will now be called by his name, Hal Tosis."

   "Uh, I think I'll stick with John Carter," said the Earthman.

   "All right," said Mars. "Well, enough of this thoating around. Carter, you take Hal's thoat and we'll go after Sad Sap."

   "Uh, I think maybe Sad Sap has come to us instead," said Carter, looking at the fleet of warships advancing from the rear of the Marks.

   Ropes were lowered from the ships and warriors began sliding down to do battle.

   "What a bunch of idiots," thought Carter. "They could just bomb us and be done with it instead of opting for hand-to-hand combat."

   Carter, using Hal's sword, fought the way he had been trained in the Confederate Army, slashing back and forth with the weapon that was not unlike a cavalry saber.
   At last, the enemy troops had been dispatched and Sad Sap, coward that he was, had turned tail with his ships.

   "Not bad for my first day on Tars," said Carter, wiping the blood off his sword.

   "My hero," said Dejah as she rushed toward Carter and then rushed right past him and into the arms of Kan Doo, a red Tartian, who had accompanied the green horde.
   "Just my luck," groaned Carter. "So who's left for me?"

   He heard a giggle and turned to see a fat woman who somewhat resembled Dejah Theorist, walking toward him, her right index finger stuck in her mouth.

   "Oh this is my sister, Feedja Florist," said Dejah. "She lives up to her name. If you like to eat, she'll Feed Ja!"

   "Looks like she's been feeding herself," muttered Carter. "What I need right now is a good Thern amulet."

   "Oooky, Oooky," grinned Feedja. "You want omelet? I make good one from malagor eggs."

   "Oh well," said Carter, sidling up to Feedja. "At least I won't go hungry here."

   Feedja giggled, removed her finger from her mouth and stuck it in Carter's mouth before he could stop her. Then, she returned it to her own mouth. "We swap spit. We married now," she giggled.

   "This is beginning to feel like a bad dream," groaned Carter. "A bad dream...a bad dream...."

  "John! John! Wake up sleepyhead. Dinner's ready."

   John Carter opened his eyes and looked up at the pretty blonde woman staring down at him. He was home, back on the farm, back in the south. It hadn't really happened at all. Or had it?

   Carter looked at his arm. It still had blood on it where it had splattered as he hacked away at enemy Tartians.

   Maybe it had happened after all. Dejah. Kan, Mars Markus. And Feedja. He wondered, but kept his thoughts in his heart.

   "I believe that they are waiting there for me," he mused quietly, "and something tells me that I shall soon know."


2. THE APE MAN DOES FACEBOOK
(A tale definitely not from the Edgar Rice Burroughs Universe)

Tarzan, after much instruction from Korak, had mastered some of the technicalities of his new Facebook account and was settling down with his morning coffee to scroll through his feed.

One of his facebook friends was Patricia Smith-Oldwick and Tarzan came upon a post on her timeline. He clicked through several pictures of bunny rabbits, baby deer and flowers, interspersed with poetry. At the bottom it said: "Only five per cent of people are brave enough to share this on their timeline to make others happy. Do you have the courage to do so?"

Tarzan grit his teeth and a low growl ascended from his throat. "How dare she imply that Tarzan is not brave," he snarled. While yet speaking, he placed the cursor over the "Angry" reaction emoticon and pulled the hunting knife of his long dead sire from its scabbard and stabbed the mouse on the left side. He watched with grim satisfaction as the frowning red face appeared beneath her post.

He took another sip of coffee and a lungful of smoke from his cigarette. "Ahhhhh," said Tarzan.

He felt better now.


3. THE APE MAN: OBSERVER OF NATURE

Histah was exasperated by the pesky flies.

Flies everywhere -- crawling on his elongated body, crawling around inside his mouth, even crawling across his eyeballs and -- darn it all -- Histah didn't have eyelids to blink them off. And he didn't have hands to brush them off.

Not only were they all over him, but they were all over his food. Didn't they know he was a snake and that he could decimate them if only he could get his needle-point fangs to embed themselves in their quick-moving bodies?

Then Histah had an idea. He would go for a cool swim. The flies would be washed off.

As Histah slid into the waters of the slow-moving stream, Gimla the crocodile waited and watched. Gimla had just polished off the remainder of the rotten hippo meat from his last kill, but he needed just a little bit of icing on the cake, so to speak. He saw Histah enter the water and reasoned that a good gulp of Histah would be just about the right portion to top off his latest meal and fill the small empty spot remaining in his stomach.

He began quietly gliding across the stream, on an interception course with Histah.

Tarzan of the Apes, perched on a tree limb above, was a mildly interested spectator. He had no use for Histah, and he had no use for Gimla. In one sense, it mattered not to the ape-man which of the cold-blooded creatures survived to glide across the dark grey waters another day, although if he had to pick a favorite he supposed it would have been Gimla, just because he despised Histah so much.

And it looked as if Gimla might prevail. Histah was a python, but he was not a huge one, like the fool constrictor which had tried to swallow an alligator in Florida and had burst at the seams after getting the thing swallowed. When Tarzan had discovered the photo on the internet, he liked it so much that he had posted it on his facebook page, as well as made it his desktop image for the time being.

Tarzan's reverie was interrupted as Gimla approached the snake on an intercept course and slipped beneath the water, surfacing a moment or two later with jaws agape and Histah squirming as Gimla's yellow and crooked teeth closed upon it..

The snake thrashed wildly and Histah struck with futility again and again at the side of Gimla's armored body. Suddenly there were two Histahs. Well, not really. Gimla had bitten the snake in half and the rear part was twitching on one side of the croc's jaws while the head end still thought of itself as a living, whole snake and tried to swim away.

But then Gimla turned and snapped its jaws onto the front of the snake and soon had swallowed the serpent. Tarzan watched it disappear into Gimla's gullet like a strand of spaghetti being sucked down by Cheeta the movie chimp, whom Tarzan had invited to dinner at Greystoke Manor when he had graciously hosted a Hollywood crew that was filming a new Tarzan movie.

The scene below him was one that would live on, not only because Tarzan had a pretty good memory, but also because he had preserved it with his digital camera. He stuffed the camera back into his quiver, grabbed a convenient vine, and swept to the riverbank. He now had something new to replace the older image on his desktop.

To see the previous photo on Tarzan's facebook page, go to it and scroll down. Or, if he hasn't yet accepted your friend request, you can see it here


4. ALL'S FAIR IN TARZAN AND JANE
One March Eve in Virginia, Elmo hopped in his Lincoln and ordered Minnie, his Driver, to go Miles and Miles to the Kingston Fair.

He walked past the spinning Margot-round where the Callies-ope music was Merrilly playing, passed by the Barnes full of Morrises and Lamberts and even more quickly hustled past the booth where they Pierce your navel.

He headed directly to the animal show, where he paid to look at the Pollar bear, the Wolf, the Hart and the rare Kamuela Crabbe, though he was careful not to get too Close.

As Crosby crooned "Da Doo Ron Ron" into the Mike on the Fair loudspeaker, Elmo saw Gordon, Andie was with Brenda. They all went to Lydie's Denier and sat at the Dunbar, where Elmo ordered a Jock Buster, Gordon asked for a Scott on the Brix, Brenda called for a Miller's, Frank settled for a cup of Joe, and Bo went without anything.

Elmo picked up the Tabler, took out a fifty and Bennett, and told Tony the bartender to keep any extra Mahoney.

Gordon and Brenda went to see the fortune teller, a Wise Muller; Vanessa bought some Aloe Vera, and Elmo stopped by the Maureen recruiter's booth and picked up some free refrigerator magnets.

Soon he re-Joyced to head down the midway, where the carnival Barker was suckering Markeys into games of chance. His LaSkar guard reminded him they'd use any Fimmelsy excuse to Robbie you. "It's plain Larson-y," he said.

But Elmo said, "Schramm, you're Kellan me." He knew he had a Locke on the anagram game, rearranging the letters in Enid's name to spell Dien, thus winning a free tour of the fairgrounds in Casper's Van.


5. TARZAN VS. THE MUMMY
The loathsome, shuffling creature plodded through the African forest after being released from its sarcophagus by the evil Egyptian priest of the Ancient Order. Somehow, it knew its mission was to find, and throttle, a man whose ancestor, Lord Greystoke the Bald, had desecrated the sacred tomb of the High Priestess Anunka.

Tarzan of the Apes knew the mummy was coming. He could tell by the fetid odor which assailed his nostrils and the clumsy progress of the lumbering giant.

At last, the mummy stood beneath his tree and the ape-man deftly dropped a noose around its neck and hauled it up into the foliage beside him.

As the undead thing flailed its arms helplessly, the ape-man plucked a small can of Ronson lighter fluid from his pouch and sprayed it onto the horror before him, then he flicked his lighter and applied the flame to the cigarette which dangled from his mouth. He took a couple of satisfying puffs, then flicked the glowing butt at the mummy, which burst into flames.

"I can't believe that priest thought nine tana leaves was a match for the Lord of the Jungle." he sneered.


The foregoing a parody from the mythical "Ape Man of October" archives that has no part in the ERB Universe!


6. TARZAN'S HAPPY MEAL

Jane Clayton scanned the overhead menu and then addressed the girl behind the counter.
"I'll have the chicken Caesar salad," she smiled.

The server looked at the glowering giant next to her. "And you sir?" she inquired.
Tarzan, too, had scanned the menu, but seemed a bit undecided.
Then, with a faraway look in his eyes, he said: "I'd like a thick steak, raw, the steam from its own body heat rising in barely visible wisps, and its blood still flowing freely."

"And would you like that to go?" asked the server.
ďNo thanks," said Tarzan. "I'll kill it here.Ē


7. WHO WAS THAT MASKED APE MAN?
What type of Tarzan mask will you be wearing when you go out trick-or-treating?
A few different ones have appeared over the years and there might even be one out there in the stores today!
No true Tarzan fan actually needs a special mask, though, since we all pretty much resemble the ape man anyway. If you donít believe that, just ask us.
However, those Tarzan fans who are bald should at least don a nice toupee, while those who still have heads of hair may need to apply a little black die to make their shock of hair more closely resemble the color of Tarzanís.
In either case, remember to add the flaming scar on the forehead. This can be applied with various kinds of makeup, red markers or even special plastic stick-on ones with a battery-powered, light-emitting diode so Tarzanís savage fury can be illustrated.
However, what works best is an actual scar. If you lack one, simply extract a rolling pin from the kitchen and go to the missus, hand it to her, and say something that will persuade her to create one for you.

Some of the masks pictured:
www.erbzine.com/mag1/0171.html
www.erbzine.com/mag37/3799a.html


8. HALLOWEEN IN THE JUNGLE
Jane was bending down, making a circuit of Tarzan's easy chair, picking up the candy wrappers he had discarded like so many banana peels.
She was interrupted by a knock at the door.
"Who in the world would that be?" muttered Tarzan. "I didn't think the Waziri let their kids stay out past 7:30."
"I guess we'll find out," said Jane cheerfully, walking over to the door and opening it up. A bunch of squat, hairy creatures stood beyond it, and one, apparently the leader, said, in a guttural voice, "Trick or Treat!"

"Oh, Tarzan," tittered Jane. "Look! There's a bunch of kids who have dressed up like men of Opar to try to scare us."
Tarzan of the Apes wrinkled his nose and sniffed the effluvia of the creatures as it wafted through the door.
"Uh, Jane," he said, not wishing to alarm her. "Don't give them any of that salt water taffy. I have another little treat, especially for them." He walked to a cabinet and took out a bowl of round, golf ball-size objects that had the appearance and aroma of chocolate.

"Here you go, kids," he said, smiling somewhat devilishly as one by one each individual from the band of 50 snatched one from the bowl and disappeared into the darkness beyond the porchlight.

As the last one departed, Tarzan closed the door, leaned against it, and grinned at Jane. "That ought to fix those little monsters," he said.
"Oh, Tarzan," gasped Jane, "you didn't give them those chocolates with the razor blades in them, did you?"
"Oh no," said Tarzan. "Nothing like that. But when they get back to Opar, there's going to be a long, long wait for the men's restroom."


9. TARZAN IS SCARY

Joe Jusko Art
Someone mentioned to me that, unlike ghouls, goblins, werewolves, etc., Tarzan is not scary.
I beg to differ.
Before you answer the door tonight, consider whether Tarzan may be there to trick-or-treat...
The beasts that are hairy
Know Tarzan is scary,
He'll take out his knife
And shorten their life.

The beasts that have scales
Know Tarzan prevails;
He frightens them silly
And turns their blood chilly.

The creatures with wings
Have felt Tarzan's stings,
He's downed them with spears,
To heighten their fears.

The goblins and ghosts,
Curtail all their boasts,
When Tarzan's around;
To run them aground.

Of Tarzan, be leery:
He's creepy and eerie,
So breach not his scene
On this Halloween.


THE SHARK


I wrote the following bit of nonsense after being inspired by a comment from a friend that
he likes both Edgar Allan Poe and Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Although he ranks Poe highest as an "abstract intellect and creative genius,"
he said he would prefer ERB's company around a pool table with a few brews.
 
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."

Propheticly 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.


READ ALL OF JOHN MARTINS FEATURES IN ERBzine

www.ERBzine.com/martin

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