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Volume 7079

PART IV: Dec 17-21
Written in the Spirit of OB and St. Nick
by John Martin

Dec. 17: Chapter 4 ~The Ghost of Christmas Looter
Dec. 18: Chapter 5 ~ A Christmas Trek to Opar


Chapters 1-3 are featured  at ERBzine 7078

December 17
Chapter 4: The Ghost of Christmas Looter

Tarzan was getting a little annoyed with the whole ghost thing,  but he muttered aloud:  "Oh well, only one more to go. I'll wait and see  what it wants."

Tarzan looked at the clock. It was 3 a.m.  A heavyset figure in a  white shroud had entered his bedchamber. There was something  about that whole scenario that seemed vaguely familiar to Tarzan, maybe  something he'd read in a book. He glanced quickly at Jane but she was  still asleep. It might be hard to explain to her what a scantily clad  ghost was doing in their bedroom at that hour.

Then the ape man's keen senses realized this was not what it seemed. "You're Terkoz," he snorted. "What are you doing wearing that  woman's nightgown?"

"Kreeg-ah!" growled Terkoz. "They made me wear this thing and they're calling me Rosie behind my back!  Grawr! I hate it! I hate it!"

Tarzan laughed at the ghost's discomfiture, then got down to  business. "I've been visited by the Ghost of Christmas Pabst and the Ghost  of Christmas Presents, so you must be the Ghost of Christmas Turkey."

“Actually," said the apparition. "I'm the Ghost of Christmas Looter. You've been looting Opar for years.”

"Look," said Tarzan. "You say it was looting. I would call it  making proper use of available resources. Just because that gold was in a  vault near the place where the Oparians actually dwelled,  it doesn't mean it belonged to them. And besides, I checked, and the land  which Opar occupies is listed by the British East African government as public domain territory, and people are free to pick up any manmade  items and carry them off. In fact, according to environmental laws, people are actually encouraged to do so."

"But gold is a natural resource," said the ghost.

"In its original state, yes," said Tarzan. "And I am aware of  laws governing mineral rights. But this gold has been processed by man  and put into ingots. That makes it available to anyone. If I were to find a gold wedding ring lying in the jungle, would I be entitled to pick it up and put it in my quiver?"

"Well, I suppose so," said Terkoz.

“Then tell me," said Tarzan, "other than the value, what's the difference?”

The ghost thought for a minute. "I guess there isn't much difference," he said. "But don't blame the messenger."

December 18
Chapter 5: A Christmas Trek to Opar
  The third ghost had disappeared, but Tarzan could not sleep. 

  He was thinking about the possibility that there were children in Opar. And then he thought about Christmas. Did Santa visit those children? What kind of Christmas did they have?

  Christmas morning, Tarzan began making his way toward Opar, followed by 50 Waziri warriors with white-plumed head dresses, each bearing loads of fruitcake, stockings full of carved native toys, and candy canes. Jane had happily taken all of the candy canes off of the Greystoke tree and given them to Tarzan to take to the children of Opar.
  At last, they reached the rocky jungle habitat where dwelt the mysterious, savage, human-sacrificing, blood-quaffing denizens of Opar.

  Tarzan stood outside the walls and shouted, in the language of the Great Apes, "People of Opar. We mean you no harm. We have come with Christmas gifts for your children."

  There was an eerie silence, punctuated occasionally by a loud, weird mournful cry.

  At last, La the High Priestess herself emerged, surrounded by a retinue of her lower priestesses.

“Tarzan," she said, wrinkling her brow. "What on earth are you doing here?”

“We come bearing gifts," said Tarzan, "Christmas gifts for the children of Opar.”

  "Children?" asked La. "What children? Have you ever seen children here in Opar, Tarzan?"

  It was Tarzan's turn to wrinkle his brow. "Well no," he said. "But I just thought...."

“Really, Tarzan..." La, with her left hand, brushed a stray clump of hair back into its place. "Do you really think I'd want to give birth to a little boy that looks like one of our male monstrosities?”

  Tarzan laughed. "Well do I know what you think of that, La. You've rejected every high priest that comes along. And you're right. I never saw any kids here. But I just figured they were all in a nursery...or something. I thought it was probably the lower priestesses who were having all the kids."

  "Tell the truth, Tarzan!" snapped La. "The truth is, you never thought about it at all. Every time you were here you were either managing to escape or in the process of rescuing someone. The last thing on your mind was whether we had any kids or not."

  Tarzan smiled slyly. La had probably not realized the significance of what she had just said. But Tarzan had caught the full implication of her words. "Well, tell you what, La," he said. "We marched all the way here with all these gifts and we don't want them to go to waste. So we're going to leave them here and if you have any kids running around, you can give them to them. If you don't, well, I'm sure you can find some other use for them," he said, glancing at a number of the beastly men who had crept out from the ruins, behind the lower priestesses, and were eyeing the candy canes and fruit cake hungrily.

  "Set 'em down," said Tarzan to his Waziri. In an orderly fashion, without any pushing or shoving, the Waziri formed a line and came up to La, one by one, depositing their gifts in front of her.

  "Merry Christmas, La, and Merry Christmas to all of Opar!" shouted Tarzan. The Waziri shouted Merry Christmas in the Waziri language, the lower priestesses smiled prettily, the beast-men of Opar grunted, and La blew Tarzan a kiss.

  "We'll be on our way now," he said.

  ... A few miles from Opar, Tarzan raised his hand and the Waziri halted. "This is far enough for tonight," he said. "We'll make camp here." 

 "Aren't you worried the men of Opar will try to hunt us down," asked Muviro.   "Not at all," said Tarzan. "I didn't really think we'd see any children in Opar, so I asked Jane to spike the fruit cake with rum. I think the men of Opar will be a little preoccupied for a couple of days. As for us, we're not going back empty-handed."

  "More gold?" smiled Muviro.

  "You're darned right," said Tarzan. "Did you hear what La said? Every time I've been here it's been to rescue someone or save my own hide. She said nothing about me being here to loot the vaults of Opar, so that means she doesn't know about those visits."

  "And it also means," chimed in Muviro, "that she doesn't even know there's gold in them thar hills, or she'd probably have noticed that the pile was slowly diminishing each time she went to make a withdrawal."

  "You are so right," said Tarzan. "Now let's get some sleep. Tomorrow we'll load up on gold and get back home."

  "And the Waziri tribe will get the usual ten per cent?" asked Muviro.

  "You know," said Tarzan. "It's Christmas. So this time you get 10.5 per cent."

  Muviro beamed happily. "Tarzan," he said. "You are truly our Santa Claus."

  The End

December 19
Jane looked away from her computer screen and toward her husband, the ape man.

"I've been looking at some furniture, Johnny," she said. "Christmas is coming and I'd prefer to surprise you but I think it's better if you help me pick out your gift. Come and look at these online deals. I think, after a hard day of dashing through the jungle, you'd enjoy kicking back with a Lazy Boy."

“What?" said Johnny. "Me no need another lazy Boy. Already have one lazy Boy. Never do what I say. Run around jungle with Cheeta. Get in trouble. Johnny have to rescue.”

“No, not THAT kind of Boy," said Jane. (Maybe he'll understand if I use a different word, she thought.) "How would you like a Chaise lounge?”

“What?" said Johnny. "Why me want chase lounge? Lounge not run away. When Johnny want to go into our lounge, he just go there. Not chase.”

She was frustrated, but Jane tried once more. "I'm talking about a recliner, Johnny," she said. "You know, a chair you can lean back in and put your feet up."

Johnny brightened. "Ah, Johnny understand now. Johnny go get recliner."

“No, wait," said Jane, "that's not what I meant....”

But Johnny had jumped out the bay window and disappeared into the jungle. Before long, she could hear the distant roar of a chain saw.

A bit later, Jane heard a clatter in the living room and came in from the kitchen to see what was going on.

"Nothing like good tree, shaped just right, for Johnny to recline," the ape man said, plopping several neatly sawn tree limbs in a pile on the floor. Then, he jumped into the middle of the pile and seemed to land just right on the expertly arranged limbs. He stretched out and smiled, a look of deep contentment on his face.

“Johnny recline now," he said. "I think me eat dinner right here.”

December 20
 Santa Claus rubbed his temple with the eraser end of his pencil and mumbled outloud, "Oh my, oh my, oh my."

 "What's the matter, Santa?" asked chief elf Tommy Tinker.

 Santa looked again at the lengthy list before him. "It's Tarzan," he  revealed. "I just can't figure out whether to classify him as naughty or  nice."

“I thought Tarzan was nice," said Tommy. "I mean...hero of the jungle, helper of the helpless, vindicator of the victims.”

 "Oh, he does all that," admitted Santa. "But two wrongs don't  make a right, you know, and he does have some black marks against him." 

 "Like what?" the nosy elf asked.

 "Like theft," said Santa, "stealing Opar's gold and then paying  the Waziri only a pittance to haul it home for him. Then he goes off on  jungle jaunts without telling his wife where he's going or how long  he'll be gone. And he kills people. Oh, I suppose in most cases they  deserve it, but he doesn't actually follow due process."

“Sounds bad to me," Tommy agreed. "Why don't you just give him coal in his stocking?”

 Santa tossed his pen on the desk and sighed: "That's another problem. He doesn't own any socks."

December 21

If Tarzan the ape man was Santa Claus,      
His toy shops would be in the trees,      
His garb is not fit for that cold polar air,      
And Santa does not need to freeze.

If Tarzan the ape man was Santa Claus,,      
He'd have to put on a fake beard,      
'Cause Tarzan, when young, learned to shave with his knife      
Each time that his fuzz reappeared.

If Tarzan the ape man was Santa Claus,      
He wouldn't employ any elves,      
For Nkima and kin would keep him informed      
So you'd better watch out for yourselves.

If Tarzan the ape man was Santa Claus,      
The reindeer would not pull a sleigh,      
For Tantors, like Dumbo, would fly through the air      
With present-filled howdahs! Hooray!

If Tarzan the ape man was Santa Claus,      
They'd have to rewrite Clement's line,      
To respell the "eight" as "ate" tiny reindeer,      
The ones on which Tarzan might dine.

If Tarzan the ape man was Santa Claus,      
Your library'd never be bare,      
For Tarzan would bring you the latest new books      
To read while you lurk in your lair.

If Tarzan the ape man was Santa Claus,      
He never would make any bungle      
He'd faithfully fill all the stockings you'd hung,      
Then give out the cry of the jungle.

If Tarzan the ape man was Santa Claus,      
There'd never be post-Christmas bills,      
For he'd scatter them freely like dry winter leaves      
And count them among all his kills.

If Tarzan the ape man was Santa Claus--      
But he's not! Still, the best dividends      
Are gathering, giving, "redeeming the time,"      
At Christmas, with family and friends.

Chapters 1-3 are featured  at ERBzine 7078

Click for full-size promo collage

By John Martin

ERBzine 7076
PART I: Dec 1-5
ERBzine 7077
PART II: Dec 6-11
ERBzine 7078
PART III: Dec 12-16
ERBzine 7079
PART IV: Dec 17-21
ERBzine 7080
PART V: Dec 22-25


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