Tag Archives: tarzan & jane

Swing When You’re Spinnin’

Sidey’s Weekend Theme is “swings and roundabouts”…..

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Something would have to be done about the Green Glade junction.

Each morning a line of apes would swing through the tress in a North-South direction, heading for the water-hole. At the same time a group heading to the banana-trees to the East would arrive from the West. There would be delays, grid-lock, and sometimes vine-rage.

Each evening the same thing would happen in the opposite direction.

Tarzan and Jane had decided to do something about it.

They made an odd couple. Tarzan, discovered as a baby in airplane wreckage by apes who then raised him, was not the sophisticated, clean-shaven, modestly loin-clothed creature we see in films. He was as naked as his foster-parents, walked as if he was carrying two invisible bowling-balls and continually rooted in his hair for fleas.

When he had first met Jane at the watering-hole he had beaten upon his chest, made that ape-noise that sounds like someone stepping into too cold a shower and then shown her his arse.

Jane too had been found in airplane wreckage, but by a herd of elephants, so she had replied by taking a huge mouthful of water and then blowing it down her nostrils into his face.

They had realised, though, that they were different, and this had drawn them together. And now, as they watched the daily traffic-jam at Green Glade junction they had come up with a plan.

“It’s called a roundabout,” said Tarzan, showing the apes the diagram that he had drawn on a huge leaf, with a stick. This tree here is the focal point. As you approach it, if there is an ape swinging towards you from the right you let him go first. When it’s your turn you swing around the tree and then off in the direction you want to go.”

“The two things to remember,” said Jane, flicking a bun up with a twitch of her nose and into her mouth, “is that you must indicate when you are leaving the roundabout, and that you must go around it in a clockwise direction.”

The apes looked doubtful, but they agreed, since they more than once seen Tarzan wrestle a crocodile, so generally tried not to piss him off.

The plan started from the following morning. Jane arrived in a traffic-cop outfit that she had made out of some old rags (Tarzan found himself oddly turned on the by the sight of her in a uniform and also, though he had no idea what they were, had to keep fighting off the urge to ask if she had made handcuffs). She blew her whistle, and the morning rush-hour began.

In the beginning all went well. The first ape to arrive grabbed a vine in his right hand, swung half-way round the tree, then grabbed another vine in his left and swung off in the desired direction.

As I say, the beginning went well. But that was the end of the beginning. What happened next was the beginning of the end.

As that first ape passed though the ape approaching from his left made the discovery that while yielding to traffic might be simple on paper (or leaf), on a vine travelling at speed it is no easy matter, since there is no known way of stopping it in mid-swing. His only answer was to let go, dropping onto a branch below like a schoolboy slipping off his bike-saddle and onto a crossbar, then sliding off to crash onto the jungle floor.

The next ape was doing fine as he went round the tree till he met an ape coming the other way, because if you don’t have clocks, then of course the word “clockwise” means nothing to you. The pair collided head-on, then dropped like stones, clinging to one another, onto the jungle floor.

The next ape remembered at the last second that he was supposed to indicate, and did so with the wrong hand, the one holding his vine. He joined the others on a jungle-floor that was increasingly being peppered by ape-droppings, in every meaning of that phrase.

The next ape lost his bearings as he swing around the roundabout, couldn’t figure out which was his exit and just continued to rotate around the tree, with his vine getting shorter and shorter, until he crashed face-first into it. He then dropped, not onto the jungle floor, but onto Jane’s Mum, who was passing by underneath. Enraged by this Jane’s Dad grabbed the ape in his trunk and, just when the ape had been thinking that he couldn’t possibly get any dizzier, swung him round and round before propelling him into a bush.

Within less than two minutes it was over and, in fairness, there was no traffic jam. Down below on the jungle floor, however, there were over thirty apes, in a huge heap of pain, dizziness and even flatter noses than usual.

Tarzan and Jane stared down at them.

“Now that,” said Tarzan, “is possibly the most literal use ever of the phrase “traffic pile-up”.”

The Case of The Body Switchers

Of all the many nefarious deeds that Sherlock Holmes and I witnessed during our years together, surely none was as terrifying as the case which began when a short telegram was delivered to our Baker Street rooms. “It’s gone too far. We must meet. Tuck.” was all it said.

Holmes was in Dorset, solving the Case of the Pilates Instructor and the Left-Footed Squirrel (a tale for which the world is not yet prepared) but this message was actually for me, so I summoned a cab and hastened to the address given. Down a dark, foreboding alley I found a dark, foreboding doorway, knocked once, and was admitted.

Friar TuckThe room in which I found myself was full of familiar faces, and I was approached by a gentleman in a monk’s habit, who extended a hand in greeting. This was Friar Tuck, Chairman of the Sidekicks Union. “Ah, Watson,” he said, “welcome. Our emergency meeting is about to start.” So saying he moved to the front of the room, and a hushed silence descended.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” he said, “all of us here are sidekicks to more famous companions, and I think it is fair to say that our role is not always easy.”

“Indeed not”, said Jeeves. “I have devoted many tiring years to caring for my employer.”

Tarzan & Jane“Yeah, but your job’s easy,” said Jane. “I bet you’ve never tried getting lion’s blood out of a loincloth. And you don’t have to sleep with your Mr Wooster. Honestly, Tarzan comes home after nine pints of banana juice, and he’s like an animal. I don’t get a wink of sleep.”

“Sounds heavenly,” sighed Miss Moneypenny.

“Really, Moneypenny,” said Lois Lane, “I don’t know why you stick with Bond. I mean, he must have had about four thousand women by now.”

“Two hundred and forty-two,” said Moneypenny. “Er, not that I’ve been counting or anything.”

ANYway,” said Tuck, “while our roles could be challenging, they had the advantage of permanence. We effectively had jobs for lives. Now, of course, all that has changed, thanks entirely to Disneycorp.”

A shudder ran around the room. Just as the evil corporation Skynet was a force to be feared in the fictional Terminator stories, here in the real world inhabited by my fellow sidekicks and I Disneycorp were a continual threat.

“When Disneycorp first took over Marvel, the headquarters of crimefighters, they promised there would be no change. We have been monitoring the situation, however, and have noticed a growing number of worrying cases.”

“For example,” said Lois Lane, “the Famous Five now consists of Julian, Dick, Anne, George and Foghorn Leghorn.”

“Doctor Frankenstein’s Igor has been replaced by Donald Duck,” said Jane.

Jessica Rabbit“And Mary-Jane Watson is gone,” said Jeeves. “Spiderman’s girlfriend is now Jessica Rabbit.” There was a silence after this, and I could see mixed emotions on the faces of some of the men. Mary-Jane was one of us, and we did feel sorry for her, but we thought of her querulous voice and constant nagging, and we thought of Jessica Rabbit’s figure, and we secretly reckoned that all in all Peter Parker had done pretty well out of the deal.

“More and more,” said Tuck, “sidekicks are being replaced by cartoon characters. The amazing thing is that no-one seems to notice – not our companions, not our fans, no-one.”

“That’s coz no-one gives a shit about us,” slurred Robin drunkenly. There was an embarrassed silence. Robin was an exception to the “jobs for ever” nature of our lives. A number of years ago a poll of readers voted that Robin should be killed off “because he was a twerp”, and most people, Batman included, believed that he had actually died. In fact, we had sneaked him out of the semtex-filled Batmobile at the last second, and had hidden him away here in Union HQ ever since, but he had never forgotten the insult from the readers, and had turned heavily to drink.

Marcus“Well, we’ve learned now that Disneycorp are getting more and more ambitious,” said Lois. “Just this morning the X-Men all came into work and found that Wolverine had been switched. Apparently it was decided that he looked too much like Marcus from Big Brother.”

“Who replaced him?” I asked.

“Bashful”.

What!? The Dwarf?

“Indeed. So, as you can see, they are starting on the big guns now. None of us are safe.”

“Well, most of us may not be,” I said, “but I work for the greatest detective that ever lived. There is no way they could switch me without him noticing.”

“Er, have you seen your Agency’s ad in today’s Times?” asked Jane, handing me a copy. I looked at the ad she pointed out.

“Holmes and Dumbo, Private Detectives”, I read. “Well, I must say that’s a bit rude. I know I’m not the cleverest half of the team, but…” my voice faded to nothing as the true meaning of the ad sank in. “They’re replacing me with an elephant?” I said.

“A flying elephant, to be fair,” said Lois. “At least Holmes won’t keep having to rush to catch trains everywhere.”

“But…but,” I spluttered, “they’ll never get away with it. Do they really think Holmes won’t notice the elephant in the room – literally?”

“Watson,” said Tuck gently. “He takes opium. He’s just going to think he’s having a really bad trip.”

I slumped back in my chair.

“Well, if we’re all in danger,” said Lois, “what are we going to do?”

Suddenly I felt a surge of hope. “I’ll tell you what we should do,” I said, “We should all start up in opposition to our bosses. You can become a gentleman, Jeeves. You can rob from the rich & give to the poor, Tuck, and Jane, you can, well, swing out of stuff. I’m going to start my own detective agency. I’ve been watching Holmes for years, it’s pretty easy.”

Robin snorted. “Er, are you sure?” said Jane dubiously.

“Of course I’m sure,” I said. “Look, I’ll prove it. See our new member there, that golden-haired person who hasn’t spoken yet? Just by looking at him I can tell that he’s a Catholic, a vegetarian, and has a ticket for a locker at Waterloo Station in his coat pocket. I surmise that he is the goalkeeper with Melchester Rovers, that wonderful team who do so much of the work for which Roy of the Rovers gets all of the credit.”

There was a short stunned silence.

“Actually,” said Jeeves, “that’s Sweep. As in Sooty and.”

My castle of dreams crashed around my ears.

“We’re screwed,” said Lois.

“Speak for yourself, unfortunately,” murmured Moneypenny.

“But we can’t let them get away with this,” I wailed. Surely we can talk to someone about it.”

“We’ve tried,” said Tuck. “ We’ve gone right to the top. We spoke to Barrack Obama.”

“Really?” I said, filled with hope. “And what did he say?”

“He said ‘meep, meep’”.