This is my entry into the 1st Heat of Round One of the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge 2013. The aim is to produce, within 48 hours, a story of no more than 1000 words, based on a given genre, location and objection.
I was drawn in Group 1 and my given prompts are: A Romantic Comedy / A Swamp / An RV (Recreational Vehicle)
With already 24 hours gone on the challenge, and struggling with another story, this idea of a rom-com featuring Tarzan & Jane suddenly came to me.
I hope you enjoy and all constructive criticism is gratefully received.
Logline: He may be King of the Apes, Lord of the Jungle, but when Tarzan meets Jane for the first time not everything goes so swimmingly.
“When Tarzan Met Jane” by DBA Lehane
From the branch a small break in the jungle canopy allowed him a perfect view of the swamp below and the clearing in which a beaten-up old RV had been unceremoniously parked. Floating on the surface of the swamp itself, face up with arms outstretched and eyes closed tight, a naked young woman enjoyed the coolness of the water beneath the African sun.
Tarzan studied her closely from his high vantage point. She was certainly the most beautiful creature he had ever seen, not surprising really given that he had been raised by a troop of remote jungle apes from an early age and had rarely encountered other humans. But, as much as he was indebted to the apes for rescuing him from that plane wreckage, he had grown lonely in recent years and his heart now yearned for one of his own kind, one with whom he could share both his love and the jungle in a way he couldn’t with apes.
A sudden movement on the far side of the swamp caught his attention and he saw a crocodile slide threateningly into the water, its eyes fixed hungrily on the woman floating blissfully unaware a little way off.
Tarzan didn’t hesitate. He had to save her, this beautiful gift sent by the great Jungle God. Letting out the ululating yell of his war cry he stood and, with the athleticism and finesse of a high diver, leapt headfirst into the waters of the swamp below.
He hit the surface and the stunned crocodile at the same time, dragging the reptile down amongst the tangle of reeds and jungle roots in a frenzy of white foaming water. The creature struggled against him, its formidable teeth trying to rip apart the young man daring to grapple with it. Yet, despite his young age, Tarzan was strong and, more importantly, prepared for such a conflict. He hooked a strong bulging arm around the smoother underside of the crocodile and pulled fiercely back. The creature thrashed wildly, rearing up as it tried desperately to free itself, but eventually the young man felt bone crack and the crocodile went lifelessly limp.
As he emerged triumphantly from the swamp, Tarzan was relieved to see the woman had scrambled to the safety of the far bank.
“What the frikkin hell you playing at?” she spluttered angrily. “You could have drowned me.”
“There was…” he started, but the young woman wasn’t listening.
“And I’m going to have to redo all my makeup again, thanks to…”
She stopped in mid-sentence as her eyes fell upon the athletically toned golden torso of the young man, covered only by the skimpiest of loin cloths which had now lifted completely to an engorged forty-five degree angle.
“Oh shit,” she gasped, trying desperately to cover her nakedness that was clearly pleasing this handsome but wild-looking stranger. “You’re a dirty peeping tom, ain’t ya?”
“Me Tarzan,” he replied proudly, beating his chest. “King of the Apes, Lord of the Jungle.”
“Look, I don’t care if you’re the God-damned President of the U-S-of-friggin-A, you shouldn’t be spying on a lady like that,” she said throwing on a silk gown. “You could have killed yourself or, worse still, me falling from trees like that!”
“Sorry, girl in great danger,” replied Tarzan, sounding genuinely concerned for her welfare.
“I rather feared I was,” she said, looking back down at his loin cloth which was thankfully subsiding now. “I’m Jane.”
“Why Jane here?” asked Tarzan. “Jungle not safe for lonely, pretty girl.”
She pointed back at the RV, its front end completely sunk into a deep jungle pot-hole. “We got stuck.”
“We?” replied Tarzan, his heart sinking.
“Yeah, me and my bastard of an ex-husband. We’re driving this heap of shit down to a buyer in Lusaka. I don’t trust my Ex to give me half the sale price as agreed in the divorce settlement – so I’m going down with him before I then fly back to the States and start a new life.”
“Where Bastard now?” asked Tarzan, mistakenly thinking this was the ex-husband’s name.
Jane pointed back toward a trail that led away into the dark jungle. “He went to get help six hours ago. He’s most probably sat in some village, getting drunk as usual, without a single thought for me.”
Tarzan flashed her a smile and again Jane couldn’t ignore the thrill he sent shuddering through her.
“Maybe Tarzan help Jane.”
He took a step towards the stranded RV, inhaled and bent down to grip the vehicle’s front bumper.
As he did so he let rip a fart so loud it sent parakeets and other birds flocking noisily from the tree tops above.
Jane shook her head. “Yeah, I guess when you’re King of the Apes that’s perfectly acceptable.”
Tarzan said nothing and instead began to lift the RV clear of the pothole, his entire torso rippling with more muscles than Jane had seen on one man.
“Wow, impressive,” she said, her eyes lingering over his body rather than the freed RV. “Your partner must really appreciate you.”
“Cheetah my partner. He Chimpanzee,” replied Tarzan.
“Well, I guess it takes all sorts,” said Jane, turning towards the RV. “It must get very lonely here in the jungle after all.”
“Now Jane go?” asked Tarzan, a look of disappointment crossing his face.
“Hmmm,” replied Jane, stepping forward and placing a hand on his chest. “Perhaps I could stay until that good for nothing ex-husband returns. Why should he have all the fun, after all?”
Tarzan shrugged and thought back to the lion ravaged body he’d found in the jungle earlier that day. He doubted Bastard would be returning any time soon.
“Tarzan show Jane tree house,” he said sweeping her up into his muscular arms.
“Oh, I bet you say that to all the stranded girls,” gushed Jane as he ran forward, leapt onto a hanging vine and took them swinging off through the jungle.
This was my 1st Round 1st Heat entry into the Flash Fiction Challenge 2013. I received the genre of Romantic Comedy to be set in the location of a swamp, with a Recreational Vehicle included.