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Volume 6765

ERB 100-Word Drabbles
February Edition
by Robert Allen Lupton

February 1 and Karla Schramm was born on this day in 1891.She spent half of her Hollywood career playing Jane, appearing in "The Son of Tarzan" and "The Revenge of Tarzan," both in 1920. She made just two other movies, both with uncredited roles. She was a child prodigy pianist. The drabble today is "New Jane on Set."

 Samuel Goldwyn said, “You must be Karla Schramm. It’s nice to meet you. You’ve been recommended to play Jane in my new Tarzan film, “The Return of Tarzan.”

“Lovely, when does the filming start?”

“No, so fast. I fired my first Jane. She’s afraid of animals and terrified of the stunts.”

“I can take it. I played piano concerts in foreign counties when I was 10 years old. I survived drunken audiences screaming insults and throwing things at me in countries where the government changed weekly. Jungle animals are nothing compared to my childhood. I can take it.”

You’re hired.”

It's the second of February, on this day in 1924, Argosy All-Story Weekly published part one of "Tarzan and the Ant Men," Today's drabble, "Bad River Devil," honors that event.

Esteban Miranda convinced Uhha, daughter of the cannibal tribe’s witch doctor, to set him free. Uhha went with him.

Uhha said, “If you’re truly the River Devil, why are we hiding in the jungle?”

“I lied. I’m Tarzan and this pouch contains valuable diamonds.”

“Are they magic or edible? Can you fight?”

“No, but I can sell them. I’ll be rich”

“They’re nothing but worthless rocks. I hear lions. If you aren’t really Tarzan or you can’t fight, we won’t be rich, we’ll be dead.”

“We should run.”

“I’m doomed, I knew you were too pretty to be any good.

February 3, and on this day in 1962, the John Celardo daily comic strip story, "Tarzan and the Butu Sickness" concluded. Today's drabble is based on that story. It's called "Bad Medicine."

The Butu’s medicine man wanted to be chief and he accused Tarzan and Nurse Naomi and the Butu Chieftain of poisoning the water supply.

The tribe captured Tarzan, but the apeman escaped and saw the medicine man poison the water supply.

Tarzan gathered the people. “The witch doctor carried poison in this gourd.”

“You lie.”

“Then drink from the gourd.”

The medicine man raised a spear and attacked. Tarzan threw him into the poisoned water. He stabbed himself and drank the water. He died from his own poison.

Tarzan said, “Evil men frequently die from their own schemes. Good riddance.”

It's the fourth of February, and on this day in 1939, Argosy Weekly published part five of "Synthetic Men of Mars." Today's drabble is "The Headless Homad."

Tor-dur-bar, a Homad, was beheaded when fighting John Carter and Vor Daj. The Heliumites kept the severed head.

Tor-dur-bar’s head said, “Vor Daj, would you mind turning me around so I can see. May I hang from your saddle instead of under your thoat’s tail? Back here, the scenery never changes. Smells bad too.”

“Your head survives without your body?”

“Yes, Ras Thavas made us to never die. I’m thirsty.”

Vor Daj filled Tor-dur-bar’s mouth with water. It poured from the Homad’s neck and drenched Vor Daj's boots.

“I’m sorry.”

It’s okay. I’m thankful it wasn’t filtered through your kidneys.”

February 5 and on this day in 1938. Argosy Weekly published the fifth part of "Carson of Venus." In today's drabble,"The World's a Stage," Carson visits a theater in the town of Amlot for a particularly Zani production.

The widow, Zerka, was an important and powerful Zani. Carson Napier was fortunate to gain her friendship and protection.

They went to a theater in Amlot to watch the only play allowed, “The Life of Mephis.” Citizens were required to attend. The entire play takes 101 nights to perform.

Zerka said, “Don’t face the stage. We face the rear of the auditorium and watch in mirrors to spare the actors the shame of having us look at them.”

Afterwards Zerka asked, “So, what did you think?”

“If I was in that play, I wouldn’t want to face my audience either.”

February 6,  and on this day 93 years ago in 1926, A. C. McClurg and Company published the first edition of "The Moon Maid." Today's Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble. "Family Ties," honors that event.

“Let me get this straight, I’m talking to Julian 5, am I not. It’s hard to keep track. Sometimes when you’re remembering memories of Julians dead or Julians not yet born, your voice and personality changes.”

“I wasn’t aware of that.”

“Pronunciation and mannerisms change over time. There’s definitely some differences.”

“So now you believe me.”

“I’m not good on the whole “time is an illusion” idea, but I’m willing to accept that you believe that you are your own grandfather and grandson.”

“Not just me, it’s the same for everyone. I’m just the only one who’s aware of it."

Today is February 7, and on this day back in 1929, Edgar Rice Burroughs completed "Tarzan at the Earth's Core." Today's drabble, "Crossover," is the 247 drabble in this series and is about an imaginary conversation on that day.

“Emma,” said Edgar Rice Burroughs, “I’ve finished Tarzan at the Earth’s Core,”

“Wonderful. I know you were worried about mixing storylines.”

“The editors said it would sell more books.”

“I have mixed feelings. I’d hate to see you write Barney Custer on Barsoom.”

“Small chance of that. If this doesn’t sell really well, I won’t do this again. Everyone needs to stay in their own books.”

“I was looking forward to Dejah Thoris of Hell’s Bend.”

“I thought I’d have her meet the Outlaw of Torn. She can be Tarzan’s great-great grandmother.”

“You wouldn’t dare.”

“No, Dejah would kill me.”

It's the 8th day of February, and on this day back in 1828, one of Edgar Rice Burroughs favorite writers, Jules Verne was born. "Fair Play" is today's drabble.

Edgar Rice Burroughs said, “Raise a glass and toast Jules Verne. It’s his birthday.”

His guest replied, “I read Off on A Comet. Loved it”

“I never read it, but I’ve got a dozen of his books in my library.”

"Do you suppose Jules Verne has any Tarzan books in his library?”

“No, I don’t. The man died before I wrote “Under The Moons of Mars.”

“If you bought a dozen of his books, he should have bought at least one of yours.”

“The man died in 1905.”

“Hardly seems fair. Turnabout, don’t you know.”

“Don’t think. Finish your drink”

It's the 9th day of February  and on this day in 1924, Argosy All-Story Weekly published part two of "Tarzan and the Ant Men." "No Bullies Allowed" is today's Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble and it honors one scene in that marvelous book.

Tarzan was hunting and he saw a female of the Alalu tribe surrounded by a war party of men who were less than a foot high.

The woman held one small warrior in her fist. “Leave me alone or I’ll crush him.”

Tarzan shouted, “Put him down and I’ll help you.”

“No, he’s mine. I’m keeping him. Make them leave me alone.”

“Put him down or I’ll kill you myself.”

The woman tightened her fist and Tarzan killed her. The freed ant man said, “Why did you help me.”

“I hate it people don’t pick on someone their own size.”

February 10th and on this day in 1939, "Tarzan the Avenger", a Dell Fast-Action Book, was copyrighted. The drabble today is #250 in this series. It's called "Out of Control."

Edgar Rice Burroughs picked up the Fast Action Book, “Tarzan the Avenger.”

“This isn’t a Big Little Book and I didn’t write anything like this.”

“No, it’s from the comics. It’s actually, “Son of Tarzan”, drawn by that Rex Maxon fellow.”

“Is that supposed to make me feel better? I don’t like the art and I don’t like the format. I bet I don’t even make any money on this.”

‘No, you got paid for the daily comics and they have the right to reprint them.”

“Charming. Hate the cover. Tarzan’s hair’s the wrong color and the gorilla looks drunk.”

February 11 and on this day in 1939, Argosy Weekly published part six of "Synthetic Men of Mars." Today's drabble is "Business Plan."

Ralf and Nor-tun weren’t cut out to be warriors. They were as ugly and mismatched as any other Homad, but they didn’t want to fight.

Ralf had big plans. “Nor-tun, I’m quittin’ the army. I’m gonna put seats in a big thoat pulled wagon and charge people to ride.

“Stupid idea. People won’t pay to ride when they can walk.”

“People buy thoat saddles don’t they? Everyone wants to ride.”

“Not me. I gotta job in the sewers. I’m staying underground ‘till the war’s over.”

“The sewers are full of crap.”

“Yep, I’d rather shovel crap than to take it.”

It's the 9th day of February and on this day in 1924, Argosy All-Story Weekly published part two of "Tarzan and the Ant Men." "No Bullies Allowed" is today's Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble and it honors one scene in that marvelous book.

Tarzan was hunting and he saw a female of the Alalu tribe surrounded by a war party of men who were less than a foot high.

The woman held one small warrior in her fist. “Leave me alone or I’ll crush him.”

Tarzan shouted, “Put him down and I’ll help you.”

“No, he’s mine. I’m keeping him. Make them leave me alone.”
“Put him down or I’ll kill you myself.”

The woman tightened her fist and Tarzan killed her. The freed ant man said, “Why did you help me.”

“I hate it people don’t pick on someone their own size.”

February 12 and on this day 85 years ago in 1934, Edgar Rice Burroughs took his new airplane, Doodad, for his first solo flight. Fly, Edgar, Fly. Today's 100 word drabble is "Doodad."

“I flew solo today in “Doodad?”

Joan Burroughs Pierce said, “Outstanding. How fast does your Security Airster fly?”
“Doodad’s not very fast, but she’s fast enough for me.”

“I still don’t understand why you named your airplane, Doodad.”

“Sure you do. It’s that little doodad on the spine of my books.”

“Father, you’re a writer. You make your living with words. You know it’s called a colophon.”

“It was a doodad when I designed it. For all I knew, a collie fawn was a cross between a deer and a dog. Besides, colophon is a stupid name for an airplane."

On Friday the 13th in 1915, All-Story Cavalier Weekly published part four of “Sweetheart Primeval." "Different Worlds" is today's ERB inspired drabble.

Everyone believed Nu killed Victoria Custer. Everyone except her brother, Barney, who believed she was alive. Barney taught Nu English. The Caveman wanted to find Nat-al and Barney wanted to find Victoria. Neither knew they were seeking the same woman.

Nu searched for her.

Abul Mukarram, a slaver, captured Victoria. Nu killed the slaver and professed his love.

She said, “Don't. This will be hard. Our worlds are so different.”

Nu put his spear to his throat. “I’ll die and be reborn in your world.”

She kissed him. “I said it would be hard, I didn’t say we shouldn’t try.”

Valentine's Day, February 14, and on this day in In 1927, Ashton and Florence Dearholt visited ERB to discuss adapting his books into movies. Could the first spark of ERB and Florence's future romance have been struck that Valentine's day? In February 1934, Ed left Emma and moved into residence at the Garden of Allah in LA. In 1935, Ed and Flo were married in Las Vegas and honeymooned at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Honolulu. Today's drabble is "New Friend."

Aston Dearholt said, “Thank you for meeting with us. This is my wife, Florence.”

“Always happy to talk to people who want to pay me money. You said you have some ideas about future movie projects.”

“Yes, I’ll let Florence explain.”

At the end of the meeting, Aston said, “I’ll be gone on location for a few weeks.”

Florence made eye contact. “Ed, I’ll type up our notes and bring them by in a few days – if that’s alright.”

“That sounds like a wonderful idea. It’s always exciting to imagine how new friendships will develop.”

Florence smiled. “Isn’t it though.”

February 15: ERB Inc. published a novel on this day annually from 1934 through 1938. In 1936, the novel was "Swords of Mars." "Size is Relative" is today's drabble.

“Hello, Burroughs. This is Kennicott at Blue Book. I just finished "Swords of Mars". Loved it.”

“Glad you liked it. I look forward to the contract and your check.”

“I really liked the part where John Carter and the rest shrank proportionally as they approached the moon, Thuvia. An interesting premise. How did you think of that?”

"Remember those guys, the Munchkins, in Baum’s OZ books. People love little people. Make ‘em feel big. My Tarzan Ant Man book sold like hotcakes."

“I see. I loved the idea of things growing smaller.”

“Small’s good, unless you’re talking about my check.”

February 16 and on this day in 1924. Argosy All-Story Weekly published part three of "Tarzan and the Ant Men." Today's 100 word Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble takes place between the lines on that novel. Enjoy "One Size Makes You Smaller."

Tarzan labored in the Veltopismakus quarries. A beautiful woman, Talaskar, cooked for him and on other man, Komodoflorensal.

Tarzan asks, “How did the little men grow big?”

Komodoflorensal replied, “They didn’t grow. They maKe you small so they can force you to work for them, but it won’t last. They have to repeat their process to keep you small or you’ll grow big again.”

“I won’t stay here. I’m going to escape. You and the woman, Talaskar, will come with me.”

“They’ll kill you if you try to escape.

“I’m not worried. Bigger men have tried and I still live.”

February 17 and on this day in 1942, ERB and a press photographer took a ride in a B-17 in Hawaii. The drabble today is "Up In The Air."

The pilot, 1st Lieutenant Bird, circled Molokai and invited Edgar Rice Burroughs to the cockpit of the B-17, a Flying Fortress.

“I hear you’re a pilot. Want to take over.”

“My license is limited to a little Airster. I’ll leave flying big planes to folks like you.”

“She’s not much different than a little plane. Faster and responds slower. You’re welcome to take over. It’ll be a story I can tell my kids.”

“No thanks. You can’t tell ‘em anything if I kill us. Reporters are watching us. I read that any news coverage is good for you, except your obituary.”

It's February 18 and on this day in 1922, Argosy All-Story Weekly published part one of "The Chessmen of Mars." This was the first book by Edgar Rice Burroughs that I read. The drabble today is "Who's My Cute Baby?".

Tara of Helium hugged Woola and scratched behind his ears. “Woola, men call each other calots because they don’t know any better. You’re my cute little baby.”

Woola smiled a toothy smile and drooled under her caress. “Gahan hasn’t earned the right to me speak of love.”

Woola’s tail pounded the flagstones and he rolled to his back.

Tara rubbed his stomach. “A man blinded by what he thinks is love, isn’t a calot, he’s a hungry banth with no thought except to feed his hunger.”

Woola wiggled his feet in the air and his tongue lolled to the side.

January 19 and A. C. McClurg published the first edition of "The Outlaw of Torn" on this day in 1927. Ride Norman, ride. Today's drabble s is "Bertrade's Dilemma." It focuses on the many names of the main character. The book raised an interesting observation for me. In those days of limited travel and no photography, a man could be anyone he claimed to be.

“Are you the Norman, the Outlaw of Torn, Roger de Conde, the long missing Prince Richard, or perchance, Jack-be-nimble, or Simple Simon. You use so many different names. What’s a girl to think?”

“Alas, Bertrade, I don’t know. I gave myself none of these names. The only name I desire is to be called your friend.”

Her cheek dimpled. “You think I’d befriend an outlaw or a pretender to the throne?”

“I’m the same man inside, no matter my name.”

“Go now. Fight your wars. Be you outlaw, king, knight, or nursery rhyme character, I’ll look forward to your return.”

It's February 20th and on this day in 1937, Argosy Weekly published "The Resurrection of Jimber-Jaw."

“Hello, Joan. Bad connection, can you hear me? How’s my grandson.”

“Keeps me busy. He’s in four places at the same time.”
“Hug him for me.”

“I saw Argosy on the stands. I don’t remember “The Resurrection of Jimber-Jaw.”

“Elmer was the original title. The editors hated it.”

“Thank God for small favors. The only Elmer I know is that stupid Senator Burkett from Nebraska. His only legislation was to establish Mother’s Day.”

“Don’t forget the skull in our den.”

I didn’t. I bet the skull is smarter than the Senator. He needs a checkered hunter’s hat and a shotgun.”

February 21 and on this day in 1925, Argosy All- Story published part one of "The Moon Men." The cover identifies the story as the sequel to "The Moon Maid." The drabble today is "Beyond The Last Wall."

Julian said to the female, “You have wings. Are you an angel?”

Nat-ee-lah said, “I don’t know angel. My people are U-Gas. We live nearby. We hide from the four-legged Va-Gas, they eat my people.”

“Looks like they eat everything including each other.”

“You’ve no wings and only two legs.”

“I’m from another planet.”


“Beyond the last rock wall is open space stretching almost forever. Huge balls called planets float in space. I live on one.”
“A wingless man would fall off a ball. Speak true or leave me.”


“But me no buts and spin me no tales.”

February 22 and on this day in 1932, Edgar Rice Burroughs began to write "Pirate Blood." The protagonist, Johnny LaFitte, unlike almost all ERB protagonists, was not a particularly good guy, but what's a little piracy and murder between friends. Today's drabble, "Wet Landing," is based on that story.

Policeman Johnny LaFitte chased Bill Perry, a teller who robbed his own bank, onto a dirigible. Perry cut away the mooring ropes.

The two form an uneasy alliance, but when the dirigible began to lose altitude, they fought. Perry jumped into the ocean and left the untrained LaFitte alone on the ship.

LaFitte battled to keep the dirigible airborne. He remembered what Perry said. “If we don’t pick a place to land, the airship will pick one for us.”

LaFitte yelled into the wind. “Pick a place, damn you. The ocean is the same everywhere. At least I can swim.”

February 23 - a busy day in history, but in the world of Edgar Rice Burroughs, on this day in 1924, Argosy All-Story Weekly published part four of Tarzan and the Ant Men. The drabble today is "Big Talk for a Little Man."

Tarzan and Jane reunited in the cannibal village of Obebe. Esteban, the pretend Tarzan, was irrevocably mad. Tarzan killed the witch doctor.

Jane said, “I don’t know how I could have mistaken Esteban for you.”

“Not as handsome as me, but, he fooled most people. Let’s go home.”

“I’d like to meet the little people before we leave.”

“I’d rather not. My tongue and lips weary from tripping over names like Trohanakalmak, Veltopismakusian, Zoanthrohago, Veltopismakus, Komodoflorensal, Talaskar, Kalfastoban, Hamadalban, Caraftap, King Elkomoelhago, Mandalamakus, Gefasto, Gofoloso, and Dalfastomalo.”

“Why such long names?”

“Not sure, small stature needs big names, I suppose.”

Today is February 24th and very little happened on this day in Edgar Rice Burroughs history, but the Bob Lubbers/ Dick Van Buren Tarzan Sunday strip "Tarzan and the Panther Men" concluded in 1952. This is one of the few strips not available on ERBzine. If you've got those pages hidden in the recesses of you collection, you might consider sharing them. Today's drabble, "Saving Jane," isn't based on the Sunday strip.

Jane had been kidnapped again. It didn’t make sense, it never made sense. These people were stupid.

Tarzan shook his head. Sometimes the kidnapper wanted gold or jewels. Sometimes they wanted to compel Tarzan’s compliance or participation in some poorly conceived scheme.

Sometimes a man simply wanted Jane. That never worked out well for a rapist wannabe. Jane was a fighter.

It didn’t really matter why. Tarzan donned his loincloth and sheathed his knife.

He sniffed the trail. Foreign soldiers and Askari. Tarzan patted Jad-bal-ja. “Let’s find Jane and kill some bad guys.”

The lion growled and followed the scent.

February 25 and this day in 1922, Argosy All-Story Weekly published The Chessmen of Mars part two. The Ballantine edition with the Robert Abbott cover was the first ERB book I read. I almost didn't buy it because it cost 50 cents instead of 40 cents, like an Ace paperback, but fortunately I did. The drabble today is "Life Is Not A Game" and the illustration is the Argosy All-Story cover from February 25, 1922.

Gahan said to his fencing master. “I’ve learned to play Jetan. I bet I can beat you.”

“Get the board and pieces”

Gahan won three straight games. The master said. “Outside of Gathol there are people who play differently. Every move has consequences. Poor play brings pain and even death.”

“I would learn to play that way.”

They played again. Gahan captured a piece. He reached to remove it.

The master slapped his hand and snatched Gahan’s piece instead.

“That’s not fair.”

Life is almost never fair. If you would take the piece, fight for it. That’s how life works.”

Today is the 26th day of February and on this day in 1921, Argosy All-Story Weekly published the third part of "Tarzan the Terrible." "Tell the Tale of the Tail" is today's drabble. Tarzan encountered a pithecanthropus and offered him food.

“Thank you I’m Ta-Don.”

“You have a tail.”

“As does God.”

Before Tarzan answered, an untailed pithecanthropus named O-Mat joined the two men.

To-Don said, “Pity you two aren’t human. God made men with tails.”

O-Mat growled. “God and true men are tailless.”

Tarzan said, “All men create god in their own image. It’s strange that men who are petty, evil, and selfish imagine a god like themselves. The true god doesn’t care whether we have tails, big ears, or white hair. We must work together. Fighting about God’s tail is foolish.”

Today is February 27 and on this day 88 years ago in 1931, Edgar Rice Burroughs began writing (mostly dictating) "Tarzan and the Raiders." Burroughs hoped this novel would be his ticket into the "slicks,' more expensive and better paying magazines printed on slick paper instead of pulps. The story was published as "Tarzan Triumphant." The Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired drabble today is "Nice to be Invited."

“I’ll call this one, “Tarzan and the Raiders.” It’ll be my ticket to break into slick magazines like The New Yorker.”

“Why? They never show any interest in your work.”

“Pride. Like a girl who doesn’t want to go out with a specific boy, it’s nice to be asked. I’ll modify my style, throw in some evil communists and take another shot at religion.”

“Slicks don’t publish controversial stories.”

“They like to sell copies.”

“They publish articles about makeup, hair color, and happy marriages. You don’t write those.”

“I Never will. Looks like it’s Blue Book and Argosy for me.”

It's February 28, 2019 and on this day 94 years ago in 1925, All-Story Weekly published part two of "The Moon Men". The drabble today is "Who's For Dinner."

“My God,” said Julian. “I shoot one of those lunar centaurs and survivors slit its throat.”

Orthis replied, “Like draining the blood from a deer so the venison won’t spoil.”

“Are they cannibalistic.”

“Maybe. They do use knives. I bet they’re intelligent predators and will eat about anything.”

The beasts overpowered Julian and Orthis and took them to their village. They ate their dead before teaching the Earthmen their language.

The first words Orthis said to Ga-va-go, the No-van leader, was, “My name is Orthis and my flesh is foul. He is Julian. His flesh is sweet. Eat him first.”

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Copyright 2019: Robert Allen Lupton


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