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ERB 100-Word Drabbles
by Robert Allen Lupton
The 7/1/2018 100 word drabble takes us to the desert near the Bar-Y ranch before the events chronicled in "The Bandit of Hell's Bend." It called "Good Grub."
A big rattlesnake spooked the horses and Texas Pete shot it. He cut off the head and gutted the snake. He and Idaho boiled beans and made coffee. They roasted thin snake strips over the fire.
Idaho washed strips down with scalding coffee and said, “Don’t taste like chicken.”
“Why in hell would snake taste like chicken?"
“I just heard tell.”
“Hearing don’t make it true. I know Bull, the foreman at the Bar-Y ranch. I hear he’s hiring. Let’s head thataway.”
“I hope they don’t serve snake. Can’t say I care for it.”
“I notice you ate your share.”
DON'T MAKE THE MAN
The 100 word drabble for 7/2/2018 takes us to Barsoom ten thousand years after the events chronicled by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Here's "Don't Make the Man."
Life was hard in the dead sea bottoms without almost no water and the few red and green people scrabbled to survive. In Helium, an ancient empty city, Daltor raided a monument to the Warlord of Mars and took the undefeated sword of John Carter. He’d never be hungry again.
He attacked a camp with four men and three women. Daltor wanted food and women.
“Surrender. I wield the sword the Warlord, John Carter, dead these ten thousand years.”
The men cut Daltor to pieces. One picked up the ancient sword. “A hero’s blade doesn’t make a man a swordsman.”
The pre-independence day drabble is just for fun. It's called "Pageant Winner."
Dejah Thoris, the most beautiful woman on three planets entered the interplanetary beauty pageant representing Barsoom. She killed two judges and one official during the preliminary sessions.
She said, “I don’t tolerate rude behavior.”
For the talent show, she slew three Warhoons.”
Her white gown was simple and her bathing suit consisted of a warrior’s harness and jewelry. She commented. “We drink water, we don’t play in it.”
They asked what the solar system needed.
“Kill the men who live inside Jasoom’s moon and Sasoom’s Skeleton Men.”
“No interplanetary peace?”
“Peace comes when they’re dead.”
She won the contest easily.
The July 4th 100 word drabble takes place in Africa during the early days of WW2. After I finished it, it made me think of a line in a Toby Keith song. "There ain't no right way to do the wrong thing." The drabble is called "Except Sometimes. I wish you happiness and safety on the holiday.
The German soldiers marched contemptuously through the African jungle. Muviro and Tarzan followed the armed expedition.
The invaders killed without need, burned villages, and forced natives into servitude.
Muviro said, “They wear a cross on their uniforms. If they follow your god, they should behave better.”
Tarzan said, “It’s a swastika, not a cross. They’re Nazis.”
“Best the Nazis don’t find my village. Muviro don’t like Nazis.”
“No one likes Nazis. It’s not rocket science.”
Tarzan thought and continued, “Except when it is. Jane calls it situational ethics.”
“Sounds stupid. Wrong is wrong.”
“I wish everyone saw things that clearly.”
THE LION FEEDS TONIGHT
Having survived the Fourth Of July with my fingers and faith in America intact, we is the 100 word drabble for July 5, 2018. It's called, 'The Lion Feeds Tonight."
Tarzan and Korak accompanied an Eastern European Expedition seeking Oparian gold and jewels. The Baron leading the expedition held Jane hostage to ensure the two jungle men behaved properly.
The Europeans killed more food than they needed and abandoned partially butchered carcasses at every campsite. Tarzan and Korak could smell the dozens of predators that followed the safari.
The Baron sought privacy in the jungle. Korak asked, “Tarzan, should we tell him he’s walking toward a dozen hungry lions?”
The bushes thrashed and the jungle was filled with screams and growls followed by silence.”
Tarzan said, “I think he knows.”
Today's 100 word drabble takes us back to Dearborn Street in Chicago, about a month after "The Girl From Farris's". Enjoy "Fresh Start."
Bud delivered bootleg liquor on the south side of Chicago and Farris’s on Dearborn Street was his best customer. They paid cash. He hated the job.
Farris’s was a bawdy house, but a man’s gotta work. He was fascinated by a girl named Alice, but he was shy.
There was a big commotion the night the third girl ran away. Bud found Alice in his truck. She said, “I stabbed a rough customer. Farris will kill me. I gotta leave town.”
“Where you wanna go?”
Bub smiled, loaded the truck, and they headed south. “Always wanted to see Texas.”
The 100 word drabble for July 6, 2018 takes place during the story of the Efficiency Expert by ERB. It's called "Overqualified."
Jimmy Torrance held several jobs and couldn’t keep them, but he knew more at the end than at the beginning. He learned hundreds of ways not to do things.
With help from Eva, a prostitute, and a pickpocket named Lizard, Jimmy convinces Elizabeth, an acquaintance, to ask her father to hire him as an efficiency expert. There’s a thief at Dad’s factory.
Elizabeth asked what qualified him.
“Every scam, mistake, or scheme Eva and Lizard haven’t done on purpose, I’ve wandered into by mistake, misfortune, and inexperience. Having done everything wrong myself, I’m an expert."
Elizabeth said, “I’ll tell Dad.”
The 100 word drabble for 7/7/2018 takes place as Tarzan and Jane prepare to move into the house on their African Estate. it's called, "Yardwork."
Tarzan and the Waziri worked every day to finish the house before Jane finished shopping in London. The veranda wrapped around all four sides. The kitchen was separated from the main house by a breezeway.
Jane arrived with furniture, dozens of rugs for the hardwood floor, drapes, and the most recent inventions including an icebox, even though ice wasn’t available in the jungle.
Tarzan presented the house.
Jane said, “It’s lovely. Thank you.”
“You’re not happy. What’s wrong?”
Jane touched a wheeled machine with sharp blades and a long handle. “Our grass is like everyone’s grass. Ours should be shorter.”
The 100 drabble for July 9, 2018 takes place on an unspecified date in medieval England. it's called "Be Prepared".
Norman of Torn spent the night of his twelfth birthday sharpening his sword. He had the callused palms of a warrior, but it was rough work for young hands. Sweat burned where the whetstone abraded his flesh.
He didn’t complain, his father, du Lac, was a cruel taskmaster.
His father noticed tears in Norman’s eyes. “Don’t cry. Be a man.”
“Why do I have to clean and sharpen my sword daily?”
“Take care of your sword tonight and it’ll take care of you tomorrow. A dull sword isn’t a weapon, it’s a pry-bar. We’re highwaymen, not thieves in the night.”
HE MAY BE HEAVEY, BUT HE'S NOT MY BROTHER
Drabble 100 words, July 10,2018, is called, "He May Be Heavy, But He's Not My Brother."
Tarzan found the decapitated head of Motango near Pal-ul-don. The scent of Waz-don was strong and Tarzan tracked the killer to a river crossing. The blood-stained shore made it clear crocodiles had eaten the killer.
Tarzan carefully wrapped the head and hurried back to the Wazari village. He sought out the brother of Motango and asked, “Is your brother missing?”
“Gone for a month.”
Tarzan unwrapped the grisly package and held it high. “Is this him?”
The warrior starred up at the decaying head and said, “No, that’s not him.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, I’m sure. He’s not that tall.”
The 100 word drabble for 7/11/2018 is called, "Dental Appointment.
Dejah Thoris was concerned. Woola only chewed on one side of his mouth. She called the thoat doctor. No one treated calots.
The doctor said, “Painful abscessed tooth. I’ll have to drain it.”
The doctor mounted a sharp knife on the end of a wooden pole and carefully lanced the swelling. Woola thrashed and bit the pole into several pieces.
He spit out the pieces and the gunk from the abscess, growled, and turned his back.
The doctor said, “He’ll be fine. I’d hate it if someone shoved a knife in my mouth. I’m just happy I have my fingers.
July 12, 2018 the 100 word ERB related drabble takes place in Zodanga. (not Zamboanga where the monkeys have no tails.) It's called "Brain Food."
Fal Sivas of Zodanda, a strange child, was fascinated with brains and convinced he could create mechanical brains superior to the finest Barsoomian minds. Twenty years after he hatched, he dissected the brains of hundreds of people every year. He preferred the brains of young beautiful women. He said, “Life’s too short to spend it around ugly people.”
A new assistant noticed Fal Sivas removed the brains after each procedure, cooked, and ate them. He asked, “Do you like the taste or do you believe eating brains makes you smarter.”
“No, but a mind is a terrible thing to waste.”
TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE
July 13, 2018, the 100 word ERB drabble takes place on Barsoom. The title is "Too Good To Be True." Scarlett O'Hara would be proud.
Valla Dia a Duhorian princess, was captured during an Amhorian raid. She wouldn’t marry their prince. The Phudahlians freed her, but sold her to Ras Thavas, a Toonolian mastermind.
She fought ulsios and feral soraks in the slave pits for edible garbage and a warm place to sleep.
Her captors noticed her beauty and she forcefully declined offers to trade honor for better treatment.
The aged Jedarra, Xaxa, coveted her youth and beauty and bought her. The old hag said, “Your duties will be light and I swear, with Issus, as my witness, you’ll never be cold or hungry again.”
SQUARE PEG, ROUND HOLE
Here's the drabble for July 14, 2018. Another visit with Ras Thavas. The title is "Square Peg, Round Hole."
Ras Thavas was a troublesome child. He was always cutting up and he wouldn’t put things where they belong. His parents took his pets away because he mixed and matched their body parts. He had a calot with a sorak head and a sorak with an ulsio tail.
Later, he worked at the zoo and put banth legs on a white ape, an orluk heart in a thoat, and the malagor wings on an apt. The zookeeper said, “Put them back the way they were.”
“Thavis placed the zookeeper’s brain in a zitadar’s body and said, “Why? Parts is parts.”
A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME
July 15, 2018, the 100 word drabble takes place in Pellucidar in the town of Tanga-tanga. It's called "A Rose By Any Other Name."
Furp, the king of Tanga-tanga, wasn’t sure O-aa was a real goddess, but he believed in playing it safe. O-aa, the Noada, might not be divine, but she was still the high priestess.
David Innes arrived in a balloon and was worshiped as the great god, Pu. It was all he could do to keep a straight face. He wanted to belch whenever he said the king’s name. A god named Pu was too funny to believe.
“Oooo, Aaah. Poo. it’s all the mighty Pu-pu can do-do to say Tanga-tanga. I could just furp.
The King didn’t get the humor.
July 16, 2018. Today's 100 word drabble takes during the times of "I Am A Barbarian." I call it "Power Play"
"Cornelius Lentulus Gaetulicus loved being a Roman General as much as the people loved him. Perks included power, fame, and women. Two of the women were Caligula’s sisters, Julia Livilla and Julia Drusilla. They hated their brother and seduced Gaetulicus into a conspiracy to kill Caligula. “With our support, you’ll be emperor.”
The general resisted, but the sisters were beautiful, beguiling, and reassuring. “Our brother is busy enjoying himself. Don’t worry. What he doesn’t know, won’t hurt us.”
It worked out badly. “He wasn’t the first man to believe beautiful women and they weren’t the first women to be wrong.”
EYE OF THE BEHOLDER
Today's drabble July 17,2018, 100 words and entitled, Eye of the Beholder"
John Carter was enjoying the ball celebrating the engagement of their daughter, Tara, to Gahan of Gathol. A group of men argued nearby. Loudly.
One said, “Look how Dejah Thoris is dressed. Disgraceful. Her swords and knives are out of place. The gown and shoes don’t match. The princess should dress perfectly."
Carter couldn’t take any more. “The princess doesn’t dress for you.”
The man went continued to rant. Carter cut him down.
Dejah Thoris looked questioningly. Carter said, “I knew what he meant when he said he didn’t like your gown, but he went on and on and on… "
LOST IN TRANSLATION
The July 18, 2018 drabble of 100 words is in honor of the upcoming Morgan City Dum Dum, which I hope I can attend. It's called, "Lost in Translation."
John Clayton, Lord Greystoke flew to Louisiana to inspect his foundation’s investments. While he was there, he noticed signs in the hotel for a Dum Dum.
Curious, he decided to attend. A number of people discussed the writings of Edgar Rice Burroughs, sold memorabilia, and watched films starring various movie Tarzans
There was a contest for the best Tarzan yell and after listening to a few weak efforts, he asked if he could participate. His yell was loud, long, and rattled the windows, but he didn’t sound anything like Johnny Weissmuller.
The group voted him an honorable mention for effort."
The following link is to an eight minute video of the Tarzan Yell competition in Morgan City in 2012: Tarzan Yell
WHO DO YOU FEED
July 19, 2018 drabble, exactly 100 words. The Tarzan story is called, "Who do you feed."
"Tarzan and Mugambi discussed children over dinner. Tarzan said, “Your twin boys behave completely differently. Tamba is brave and forthright, but I don’t understand Bando. He doesn’t speak the truth. He’s sly and devious. You treat them the same.”
“My father told me that all men have two strong spirits inside them. The lion spirit and the hyena spirit fight for control. Some men become the brave lion and some men live in the shadows and prey on weaker people.
“Which animal spirit takes control of a child? Which will rule his life.”
“The one the boy feeds the most.”
Today's 100 word drabble is a non-ERB horror story called "Slip-Sliding Away."
His hands slipped on the grease-slick rope and the rough hemp cut his palms like thousands of tiny wooden splinters. He dropped a few inches before he tightened his thighs.
Exhausted, he forced his eyes open. To sleep was to die. The words usually had unrelated meanings, but this time they combined in a perfect tautological statement. He climbed the rope to escape the hungry cave bears. He hadn’t slept in two days. Over a hundred feet to the top. Sleep was death. “Just keep climbing,” he thought.
He climbed ten more feet and started to slip downward. He yawned.
Here's the 100 word ERB themed drabble for July 21, 2018. "Lying Eyes."
Five days crossing the dead sea bottoms without water and Dor-nal was hallucinating. It could be the thirst or it could be the withered plants he’d chewed in search of moisture.
He saw non-existent cities, fountains that weren’t there, and Red Martian women carrying amphorae filled with wine and water. He saw Tharks, thoats, and long dead Evil Therns.
He ignored the imaginary banth drinking from a small artesian well. The banth swung its head and water droplets sprinkled Dor-nal’s face.
The banth killed Dor-nal while the man stood in disbelief. Sometimes a man has to trust his lying eyes. Who you going to believe?
ONE EVERY MINUTE
The 100 word ERB drabble for July 22, 2018 takes place on the south side of Chicago in a tavern / brothel on Dearborn Street. It's called, "One Every Minute."
Farris watched the drunken jerk pick three fights, paw four waitresses, and complain about the booze. The idiot broke a chair.
Farris him another drink, “You look like a connoisseur. I’ll get you a private room and congenial companionship. “
“It’s about time.”
Farris said, “Clear your tab.”
The man paid, chugged, and tipped generously.
Farris led him to an upstairs doorway. This girl costs $200.00. She performs the famous egress. There’s nothing like it.”
The man leered and paid. Farris shoved him through the door and the man fell to the muddy alley.
Farris smiled. “Worked for PT Barnum.”
JUST FASTER THAN YOU
The 100 word drabble for July 23, 2018 is called, "Just Faster Than You.", a good thing in Pellucidar.
Hodon, one of David’s Innes' runners, was known as the fleet one. He wasn’t born fast, but he practiced every day. When he was a child alone in the jungle, a Sagoth hunting party captured him. The beast men didn’t bother tie the boy as they took him to their Mahar masters.
The party was discovered by a pride of Tarags, large saber-toothed tigers. Everyone ran, but only Hodon survived.
His father asked, “Did you learn not to play alone in the jungle.”
“No, Speed is relative. Today I didn’t have to outrun the fastest Tarag, just the slowest Sagoth.”
ANY OTHER NAME
Today's ERB drabble, 100 words, takes us to Barsoom, centuries before the arrival of John Carter. It's called "Any Other Name."
The first man to reach Barsoom was a slave from Africa. He arrived in Phundlah before Cheops built a pyramid and convinced people he was a god. They built a temple with a giant hollow statue. He could hide inside and issue commands. It’s good to be the god.
After becoming a god, he chose the name, Tur. Tur meant chicken poop in his native language. Hearing the Phundlahians chant “Tur is Tur” was the best part of his day.
He hated witch doctors and believed that tur, and whatever name use for their deity are interchangeable. Tur is Tur.
IT'S HOW YOU SAY IT
July 25, 2018 and the 100 word drabble takes us to the High Seas for a little Pirate Blood. I call it, "It's How You Say It."
Johnny Laffite learned to read in the first grade. His math skills were good and his penmanship was excellent. His friends made fun of his diction. In spite of his teachers’ best efforts, he never pronounced his r’s properly. Instead of saying arrange, he said arrr-rrrrange.
After watching the movie, Treasure Island, Johnny stopped trying to pronounce words like rapid, rabbit, and remove like his classmates. He drew his r’s out even longer.
In the fourth grade, the kids were asked what they wanted to be when they grew up. Johnny said, “Avast therrrrre, matey. I’ll be a pirrrrate king.
DON'T GO NEAR THE WATER
Here's the 100 word ERB drabble for July 26, 2018. I expect you'll know what book. It's called, "Don't Go Near The Water."
Ralph Waldo said, “The other boys re becoming boy scouts. It will be smashingly fun. I’ll learn to hike, build fires without matches, and construct shelters out of what I find in the woods.”
His mother replied, “You’re a Smith-Jones. You don’t need those things. You play three instruments, can identify the art by the masters, and have beautiful penmanship. One day, you’ll tour Europe and become an artist or a composer.”
‘But mother, I need exercise.”
“Learn to play squash. Boy Scouts is a waste of time. You’ll never spend a night in the forest. You aren’t a caveman.”
DRESS FOR SUCCESS
July 27, 2018: The 100 word ERB Drabble for today is called "Dress For Success."
The man from Zodanga had perfect hair. His leather harness was dyed blood red and the buckles and fastenings were polished gold. His apt-skin boots were flawless and shined like twin mirrors.
His long sword gleamed and the blade was razor sharp. He bowed and said, “I’ve come for Dejah Thoris. She should be with a real man, not a Jasoomian.”
John Carter leapt from the podium and drew his sword in mid-air. A thrust, a parry and a thrust and the challenger was dead on the floor.”
Carter cleaned his blade and said, “Nice clothes don’t make a swordsman.”
The 1000 word ERB themed drabble for July 28, 2018 is called "Greed."
Trusseinburg hurried from the storage rooms beneath Opar, scaled a high cliff, and ran through the forest. He didn’t carry gold, but only a small bag filled with rubies, emeralds, and diamonds.
He abandoned his companions to face the Oparians. He ran out of ammunition and fresh water. He didn’t know what plants were edible. He weakened and rested under a fallen log. His rest was eternal.
Three years later, Tarzan spotted the clean bones in rotted civilized clothing. He found the jewels. He didn’t question how they came to be there. With jungle pragmatism, he shrugged and took them.
WHAT TO WEAR?
July 29,2018: The ERB themed drabble of 100 words is called "What to Wear?"
Jane Porter checked the things she’d packed for the excursion to Africa one last time. The maid said, “Miss Porter, you taking those jungle clothes. Long dresses, boots, sun hats and stuff like that, but you ain’t packed nothing nice. Let me pack some dresses and nice shoes for you.
Jane said, “This is a working trip. I don’t imagine there’ll be any fancy balls or formal dinners in the jungle. I pretty sure the natives don’t dress in Parisian fashion.”
The maid insisted, “You might meet a nice man.”
“A nice man in the jungle? What a strange notion.”
ART VERSUS LIFE
7/30/2018 - The ERB themed 100 word drabble of the day features the art of Gauguin. It's called "Art Versus Life" The Gauguin art I wanted to use to accompany this short story doesn't meet Facebook standards of decency, so I settled on the love piece attached.
Ralph Waldo Smith-Jones visited the art museum and gazed at the Paul Gauguin. He spoke to his companion. “This Gauguin fellow has a wonderful imagination. Women like these can’t exist in the real world. These South Sea Islands can’t be this beautiful and the exotic women can’t be this attractive and innocent. I fear the women I know and their many layered schemes, but these women are different. Their faces bear no trace of guile or deception.”
His companion said, “Gauguin lived with them. I’m sure it’s real.”
“I have to see for myself. I’ll leave as soon as possible.”
KEEP YOUR HANDS TO YOURSELF
July 31, 2018. The ERB themed 100 word drabble is called " Keep Your Hands to Yourself."
Victoria Custer sheltered from the rain outside Grand Central Station. It was dark, cold, and wet and the cab drivers had gone home or to a tavern.
“A finely dressed man said, “Excuse me, new in town? Iowa, I think.”
“Nebraska. I need a cab.”
“I’ll take you in my automobile.”
“Gentlemen help ladies?’
“I do you a favor and you do one for me.”
“I don’t do favors for gentlemen.”
He grabbed her upper arm and said, “I insist.”
“So do I.” She freed her arm, broke his nose, and left him bleeding on the sidewalk.
Copyright 2018: Robert Allen Lupton
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