In 1968 Philip José Farmer wondered, what if William S. Burroughs had written Tarzan instead of Edgar Rice Burroughs? His short story, “The Jungle Rot Kid on the Nod” gave us a short glimpse of what that might have read like. Ed Morris had the same idea, but he took it in a totally different direction. Instead he showed us a world in which this could have happened, a world where a young Phil Farmer meets WSB just as he begins to write about the jungle lord.
by Edward Morris
We sat together at the morning’s end, my earnest young friend and I, and talked of science fiction while we barred the door and waited for the bombs to start falling.
Outside my wide, white suite, chaos reigned supreme throughout the sordid rooms of the Chelsea Hotel. I was tempted to go out and fire my .38 into the ceiling as a warning shot, but on further thought I determined that might not be so good. I have no love for flatfeet, especially in hysterical times when it’s every crumb for himself. Today met and far exceeded the latter conditions.
Early this morning, just after my new friend had come to call, two explosions had rocked the Five Boros. There was dust falling in the streets like snow. My fellow New Yorkers and I had witnessed scenes such as we had believed were never enacted outside the covers of pulp magazines.
Two mere office buildings, whose destruction threw the country into mortal terror. One ludicrous instant accentuated the brutality at home and abroad forever, stole the ground from beneath unborn feet forever and made widows and widowers. Forever. The whole thing could have been avoided. But now there was no …
(Copyright © 2010 by Edward Morris)
The rest of the “Infamy” can be found in The Worlds of Philip José Farmer 1: Protean Dimensions. Keep watching this space for more 200 word excerpts.