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Volume 6418

A pastiche by Jess Terrell
First appearance was in Lilla and Jess's Facebook group in March and April 2017

Hidden deep within a lost jungle, where no man has survived, there stands a structure that is ancient, mythic, and rarely used but tonight it is alive with shrieks, maniacal laughter, boasting and threats until the gaggle is silenced by the clap of aged hands.

Then an ancient voice commanded attention.

"Ladies, Ladies, almost time for our meeting. If you haven't visited the snack table we've a variety of chocolate. I hear the bon-bons are to die for." Her mouth twisted into the snarl of a rabid dog.

"There is that Jasoom delicacy called Rocky Road. From Barsoom I’ve brought Thark Tapioca and Apt pie. And if you're watching your weight (and who isn't?) we have Kaldane Kola. So get your snack and let's gather together girls. And you’ve just enough time for one last tinkle." Waves hands in air. "But our time tonight is limited. Our kingdoms can’t be left alone for long".

All but one of the women avoided the snacks. The ladies each selected a chair as the speaker struck the gavel against the podium. The speaker then brought an index finger to her lips (with pinkie up and thumb over middle fingers) to signal silence. “Ladies, your attention please.” After a brief pause the speaker called the meeting to order.

"Welcome to the monthly meeting of The Burroughs chapter of Evil Queens Anonymous. My name is Issus from Barsoom.” A survey of the room showed no reaction to this proclamation. “If you are looking for a cure this isn't the place. There is no cure for being an Evil Queen and we don't want a cure. “ A group “sigh” passed through the room.

“Our destiny is to rule and torture our subjects especially the men in our lives.” Issus noted smiles among the scattered giggles. “But it is such hard work to be an Evil Queen. Tonight we have come together to discuss our problems." Nods and applause signal the onlookers’ approval.

A voice from the back row, “You know if being an Evil Queen were easy anyone could do it ..... except for a man". A murmur of giggles oozed from the all female audience.

With a crooked smile Issus proceeded to conduct the meeting. "As this is our first meeting we have no old business."

A disturbance arose amid a shuffling of chairs as one of the evil queens rose. "I have old business".

"Oh really." Issus, the goddess of life eternal, raised a single eyebrow while looking down her nose at the impertinent wimp who would interrupt her.

"What makes you the leader? We didn't vote or nominate or nothing". A young red woman from Barsoom stood defiant while sporting bandages of a recent head trauma.

Issus straightened herself as much as her aged frame would permit. “Wimp I can see you’re from Barsoom but I don’t recognize you.”

The arrogant red girl stood proud before the entire room, seemingly growing in stature. “You don’t recognize Xaxa, Jeddara of Phundahl? That’s because I’ve been to the ‘Ras Thavas School of Body Transfer’. Look in the mirror, Issus, you could use a little work. But look at me! Am I not now the most beautiful? Obviously I’m better suited to lead than you, old woman!” Xaxa stood defiant with hands above head waiting for a response.

The most evil of sneers gripped Issus's face. "I am the leader honey because I am the most evil of all. An entire world worshiped me and swore their allegiance to my religion until John Carter ruined it all.” Then with determination, “I will get him." Most of the audience nodded their approval.

With hands on hips Xaxa crowed. "I know John Carter. You are no match for him. All Barsoom loves the Warlord".

"You think so?"

Issus’ unwavering stare caused Xaxa to step back but she still pressed the attack. “Issus have you looked in the mirror? Your pallor is as dead as the people you eat!” Muffled laugher peppered the room.

The slight raise of both eyebrows was Issus' signal for trapdoors in the ceiling to open dropping four of the black pirates of Barsoom on either side of Xaxa. Before a gasp could be uttered the helpless girl was bound, gagged, and carried off out of the room and out of sight.

"I hope you like vegetables, you impertinent Xaxa.” The name was dragged out as though it too were pulled from the room. “The plant-men of Barsoom will enjoy having you for dinner." Issus took in the shocked faces from the circle of queens then resumed her evil smile. "If there is no more old business then I open the floor for new business."

One of the Jasoom women stood and respectfully spoke, "Queen Issus I have a testimony".

"Come forth child that's why we are here, to work our problems out together. What is your name?"

This new speaker was covered in jeweled ornaments about her arms and legs. A leopard skin hung at her waist supported by gold rings and covered in diamonds. "My name is La, I am the queen of Opar".

"Yes, dear La, I am aware of you." Issus mustered a weak imitation of a warm smile. "What is your trouble?"

La rolled her eyes and took a breath. "Well, there is this guy I really like and he comes over once in a while but just doesn't seem interested in me. But he keeps coming back and...” La paused as the tears glistened on her cheek. “... and I so miss him when he is gone." La dabbed at her nose.

"Maybe we've heard of him, what is his name?"

"I doubt you know him on Barsoom, he lives in Africa, not far from me. His name is Tarzan."
Gasps, giggles, and a couple of snickers leaked from the audience.

Seeing that another of the Jasoom women stood, Issus motioned for her to speak. "Do you have something to share that will help La? What's your name deary?"

As beautiful as La is this new speaker was even more so. "Thank you Issus, my name is Nemone, I'm from Cathne. La, didn't you try to sacrifice Tarzan?"

La dragged the words out slowly hesitant to admit, "Well yeah maybe. Maybe just a little."

Nemone continued, "Honey you hurt the ones you love but you don't sacrifice the ones you love."

Another voice from the back of the room, "That's right, play hard to get not happy to kill."

La perked up at this second speaker. "She-who-must –be-obeyed, why are you here, you're not even a Burroughs character?"

She-who-must-be-obeyed stood, twirling the dangling end of her waist band. Of all the women in the room her beauty glowed more than any. "We’re all friends here, call me Ayesha. “ After a look around the room to note the effect of her name, Ayesha (‘She’) continued. “Honey I inspired Burroughs to create every one of you girls. You wouldn't be here if it wasn't for me".

Nemone turned to face the speaker who was behind her. "Ayesha so good to see you I thought you were dead."

"Honey I could say the same thing about you. I even heard Tarzan came back to Cathne but you weren't there."

Nemone yawned to feign boredom with the question. "It was only a brief vacation at a spa. At your age Ayesha, you must understand." Nemone cackled with delight.

"What!" La stamped her foot and clenched her fists. "Tarzan came to see you again!"

Nemone twisted her nose to look down at La. "What of it? Tarzan has visited you more than anyone. And you still don’t own him".

"Hey La have you checked your vaults? Missing any gold or jewels?" A voice proclaimed from the rear.

A deep sigh was heard from Ayesha. "La she has a point, Tarzan just wants your money but not you".

Nemone's expression changed to pity. "La I know how you feel. He turned his back to me to say 'Tarzan does not desire you'. He refused to look me in the face. Then he killed my lion. He's married to that blond but he's never home."

"But I want him so." La began to cry.

"It is time for some honesty." Ayesha moved closer to point at La's plate. "Who has the biggest stack of bon-bons of any one here? Why no one else is eating!" Ayesha wiggled her finger in the air then points at La. "You know what they say La, Big bon-bons make the big Butt-Butt." Ayesha bent over laughing. "Don't they have mirrors in Opar?" Her maniacal laugh echoed through the hall.

"La don't listen to her, Frazetta draws everyone with a butt." Nemone turned to face She-who-must-be-obeyed. “Ayesha, What are you doing here? You died in the Pillar of Fire in front of Leo Vincy. I read about it in Haggard's book. It was all over the Dum-Dum news".

This artwork by Mike DeCarlo features Lilla Pop as Ayesha 
exercising her powers over Nemone who is falling to the floor.

"Honey, Issus may be the most evil. But I'm the most powerful. My legions will follow me anywhere. I give both life and death. Shall I demonstrate?" Ayesha raised her finger to point at Nemone casting an unblinking stare in the same direction. Instantly Nemone dropped to her knees gasping for breath.

Seeing Nemone crumpled and hurting, La leaped towards Ayesha then slapped the Queen of Kor with all her strength again and again and again. But Ayesha did not blink, did not budge, and did not waiver. Nemone lay crumpled on the floor giving her last gasp. Ayesha retained her mental lock with one hand towards Nemone.

From the girdle about her waist, La drew a long, jeweled knife. It was none other than the sacrificial knife held so many times above the altar at Opar.

This new threat made no impression on Ayesha who raised her free hand in La’s direction. "La, how dare you strike me. Now feel my power!" La, like Nemone before her, fell to the floor gasping for air. The Sacrificial Knife of the Flaming God lay useless nearby.

Just behind Ayesha, La glimpsed blond hair, pale skin and the steel of a short sword.

The new attacker moved with stealth. Occupied with her captives, Ayesha was unaware of the surprise attack. Ayesha felt a handful of her hair grabbed from behind and the point of a sword pressed just below her rib cage. A voice commanded, “Ayesha release them both!”

“Phaidor, I knew you couldn't be trusted.” Ayesha attempted to twist her arms to address this threat but the sword continued to make its point.

“Go ahead Ayesha, try it. My sword is very close to your vitals don’t you agree?”

"Very well. I was just having fun." Both La and Nemone relaxed their bodies as they resumed normal breathing.

Issus clapped her hands together. "Oh my girls look at the clock. We're all out of time. Well I hope today's meeting has helped us all to feel better and work out our issues. We'll get together next month."

*** THE END ***

["Evil Queens Anonymous" a pastiche by Jess Terrell with artwork by Mike DeCarlo.]
[Copyright Jess Terrell 2018.]

Tarzan Untamed Core Values
Moon Maid Glossary Update
Evil Queens Anonymous
Sleepover at Opar

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