Official Edgar Rice Burroughs Tribute Site
Since 1996 ~ Over 15,000 Webpages  in Archive
.Volume 1542

Apeman on Trouble Trail
Originally published in ERBapa 42, Summer 1994.
By John Martin
Apeman woke up in the jungle one day,
And stretched in the fork of the tree where he lay.
He reached 'neath his loincloth and scratched his behind,
Then let out a bull-ape yell, just to unwind.

He felt a bit hungry, so, grabbing his rope,
He dropped to the ground and took off at a lope;
His nostrils soon told him that breakfast was near,
As he caught the fresh odor of Bara, the deer.

He leaped to a tree limb with greatest of ease,
And in upper terraces soared through the trees.
'Til Bara he found in a clearing below,
and dropped 'round its head a grass rope lasso.

He tightened the noose as the dear gave a start,
And Lord Greystoke hauled up his meal, a la carte;
As he reeled in the deer, Bara wiggled and lurched,
All the way to the tree limb where Apeman was perched.



A flash of the knife Apeman's father once wore,
And Bara the deer was a livin' no more;
Apeman cut out some steaks and, settling back,
Savored his type of a Big Mac attack.

And when he had eaten as much as was wise,
He wiped off the grease from his hands on his thighs;
Then he toted the deer like a tuxedoed waiter,
And buried it deep for another meal later.

The Ape-Man's keen ears then picked up a sound,
So he listened more closely, with head to the ground;
The thuds and the thumps from a faraway trail,
Were read by the Ape-Man like we read our mail.



He could tell a safari was coming his way,
With two evil men who had quite an array
Of ivory stolen from elephants killed,
And pockets which jewels from Opar had filled.

Along with the men was a pretty French lass,
Who wasn't a thief: She had too much class;
Twenty-two natives were toting the loads,
The white men exhorting the bearers with goads.

All of this, Apeman could know for a truth,
By the way that the noises were sounding: Forsooth!
He leaped to his feet with the grimmest of looks,
And set off to deal with this party of crooks.


Now, Tantor the elephant, Apeman's best friend,
Encountered the men as he rounded a bend;
One man gladly shouted, and grabbed for his gun,
And quickly as elephants can -- Tantor spun.

He let out a bellow and poured on the speed;
This kind of people ol' Tant didn't need;
As he ran from the men in his natural fear,
A bullet nicked Tantor up high in the rear.

The bullet bounced off, but the pain settled in,
And Tantor saw red, and it made Tantor sin;
His pain overwhelmed him; his mind it did fill;
And Tantor desired but one thing: to kill.

He roared down the trail like a lumbering freight,
Where the Ape-Man approached with a jungle-bred gait;
Apeman knew by the scent that his pachyderm pal
Was not far away, so he let out a yell.



Now, Apeman's yell usually made Tantor feel good,
But, clouded by rage, it was not understood;
They both saw each other about the same time,
And Apeman, quite suddenly, felt like a climb!

But 'ere he could leap for a low-hanging limb,
The elephant smacked full-bore right into him;
The force of the blow sent the Ape-Man a flyin'
And soon in a bush he was, unconscious, lyin'.

Tantor's insanity left him like -- Zap!
But he wandered away with a memory gap;
He didn't realize he had decked Tarmangani,
And waded a river to cool off his fanny.



Apeman, conked out, in the bush by the trail,
Was found by the men who were on Tantor's tail.
"Look, Jacques, a wild man!" said Slipp'ry Pierre.
"I'll grab his feet, and you grab his hair!"

So, Apeman was trussed up and tossed in a cage;
At sideshows back home, he'd be all the rage;
They'd earn lots of money as, week after week,
People would pay for a look at the freak.

They camped out that night in a tree-shaded glen,
And drank so much whiskey, they slept in 'til 10;
All morning the natives were playing some tricks,
And poking the "wild man" with spear points and sticks,.

But all this attention the Ape-Man ignored,
And sat like a stoic as the two white men snored;
Finally, the natives gave up on their sport,
And turned to adjusting the packs they would port.



With others ignoring the cage for a spell,
The pris'ner saw coming, a mademoiselle;
Her lipstick was red and her eye shadow, blue;
Apeman's eyes stuck to the woman like glue.

Her golden hair shimmered beneath the bright sun;
In spite of the jungle, her socks had no run;
Like a queen from the movies, so pert and so perky,
But, best of all, she brought a fistful of jerky.

Now, a free meal the Ape-Man was not one to fault,
And he ate all the jerky in spite of its salt;
The maiden sat watching the Ape-Man's repast,
And her little French ticker began beating fast.



Then she held up a ribbon, as red as could be,
And tied to the ribbon: A sparkling key.
"I'll open the door and I'll let you go free,
"But first you must promise that you'll rescue me."

"These men are my uncles but, blood ties aside,
"They're scoundrels and villains who've cheated and lied.
"They're not very nice; they ain't no Ralph Naders,
"They're planning to sell me to Arab slave traders."

"I'll help you," said Apeman. "Just open the door."
She did, and our Ape-Man was untamed once more;
He beat on his chest and let out a roar;
The natives all jumped about 10 feet or more.

"He's loose!" cried the head man, in perfect Swahili.
"We'll have him for supper, or my name ain't Pele!"
The natives launched spears, and blew poison darts and
Shot burning arrows at grim, smiling Apeman.




The Ape-Man quite nimbly sidestepped every missile;
"Ooh la la," said the French girl, and gave out a whistle;
As the final two spears came flying like quips,
Apeman grabbed one in each of his powerful grips.

Unarmed and outclassed, the natives went white,
And, shrieking and scattering, vanished from sight;
With all of the noise, the drunks finally awoke;
Pierre grabbed his gun and Jacques grabbed a smoke.

"What's going on? It sounds like a fight!"
"Nah, it's the natives; they're restless tonight."
"You idiot! Night? It's already day!
"It's way past the time we should be on our way!"

"Hey listen . . . it's quiet now. Was it a dream?"
"A little TOO quiet, if you know what I mean."
A foot or two outside the tent, Apeman lurked;
He speared the tent top and then powerfully jerked.



The tent pegs popped out and the canvas went flying;
Jacques froze in mid knot as his shoe he was tying;
Slipp'ry Pierre was more quick to react,
He raised up his pistol, the hammer pulled back.

Now if he'd been smart he'd have fired a round;
Instead, he told Apeman to drop to the ground;
The Ape-Manjust fired his spear like a shot;
It knocked Pierre's gun right onto the cot.

Then Apeman grabbed Jacques and gave him a boot,
That sent him cart-wheeling right into the loot;
Pierre turned and grabbed for the gun on the cot,
But he stopped when he heard Apeman say, "Better not."

The French girl ran up and gave Apeman some hugs.
"My hero," she sighed, "You've stopped those two thugs."
They stood 'neath the trees, so tall and so leafy;
"Who hugs me?" asked Apeman; she said, "My name's Fifi."



Just at that moment, there came a new voice:
"Stop hugging Apeman, the man of MY choice!"
"Good grief," thought the Ape-Man, "it's Jane, with Waziri!"
He pushed the girl from him in one big fat hurry.

Then turning, the Ape-Man dropped open his jaw;
It wasn't his Jane; it was High Priestess La;
And with her were 50 from Opar's elite,
Short, bearded men with bare, stinking feet.

"We've come for our jewels," the high priestess said,
"These fools will soon pay, as their blood will be shed;
"The sun's near its zenith, now bring me those two;
"Stake them out on the ground for the ritual I'll do."

As the 50 Oparians did as she said,
Apeman walked over to La and he said,
"Hi, La, how's it going? Long time no see."
She smiled at Apeman and whispered, "Miss me?"

Meanwhile, the high priest, a guy name of Grout,
Was staring at Fifi, with tongue hanging out;
She looked back at him, and as their eyes met,
The rockets went off like the blast from a jet.



She smiled at him, and he smiled at her,
Then she reached out and patted his head full of fur;
He spoke the ape language, and she spoke the French,
But Love is the language that straddles the bench.

La looked at the pair and gave Apeman a smile;
"I think Grout will leave me alone for awhile!"
"You know, La," said Apeman, "I really must say,
"In civilized places they don't act this way!"

"They just don't take people without a fair trial,
"And tie them and knife them in sacrifice style;
"These fellows are bad ones; there isn't a doubt,
"But is this the best way to work the thing out?"

"Oh, Apeman," La chuckled, "for one moment there,
"I almost believed you!" La fussed with her hair.
"Now quit being funny by looking surprised,
"You know very well that I'm NOT civilized!"

"I know," grinned the Ape-Man, "just thought I would see
"If you'd mellowed at all since you tried to knife me.
"Well, I must be going," he said. "It's near noon."
"Oh, Apeman," said La, "You're leaving -- so soon?"

The Ape-Man just smiled, then took to the trees,
As Fifi told Grout 'bout the birds and the bees;
La stamped her foot and cursed at the air,
Then turned her attention to Jacques and Pierre.


Apeman, the Jungle Lord, raced through the trees,
'Til there came to his nostrils a spoor on the breeze;
He lifted his voice with a summoning cry,
And heard back the answer, an elephant's sigh.

"Tantor, old boy!" Apeman saw up ahead,
A massive gray bulk with a friendly gray head.
"Don't worry, old friend, you're forgiven, you know;
"It wasn't your fault, and no other need know."

The elephant ambled, as night followed day,
As Apeman, at ease, on the great back did lay;
Time to relax and stare up at the moon;
Another adventure was sure to come soon.



by John Martin

Gene Autry signed him to a role
'Cause he liked what he'd seen,
And as the "Rider" of the "Range,"
He blazed the TV screen.

And then, as Yancy Derringer,
He tipped his hat again;
You could safely place a bet:
This hero'd always win!

But next, he donned a villain's hat,
A Coy, but not so coy,
And "Tarzan the Magnificent"
Took care of this bad boy.

How many men have ever played
The villain...then, the good guy?
Well, Jock Mahoney's one, we know,
Who turned in quite a good try.

He battled Gordon Scott (and lost)
When Gordon was the ape-man,
But later donned the cloth himself,
And had us all agape, man!

In India the bad guys said,
"The elephants be dammed!"
So Jock, as Tarzan, drove that herd,
Up to the wall, and rammed.

Challenges? Jock wanted more,
And so, he got to be
A Tarzan in the mystic East,
Where "Challenges" were "Three."

Was it the climate, or the water?
I don't really know.
Jock got sick but, challenge met,
He finished up that show.

I never got to meet the man,
But other fans have told,
Of a Tarzalumnus who loved his fans,
And had a heart of gold.

Once a villain, twice a hero,
Tarzan movies three,
Have earned our Jock a solid place
In Burroughs history.

Well, more than just in "history"
(Though that's a place to start),
For Jock Mahoney's earned a place
In every ERB fan's heart.

-- John Martin

ERBzine Weekly Webzine
Visit our thousands of other sites at:
ERB Text, ERB Images and Tarzan® are ©Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.- All Rights Reserved.
All Original Work ©1996-2006/2012/2019 by Bill Hillman and/or Contributing Authors/Owners
No part of this web site may be reproduced without permission from the respective owners.