GUILD CONTRACT TALKS STALLED AS
NEGOTIATOR HACKS OFF MEDIATOR'S HEAD


By Horta Brozat
Barsoomian Blade Writer

ZODANGA -- Contract talks between employers and Local 47 of the Assassins Guild broke down after a union negotiator chopped off the head of a mediator on Tuesday.

"The work stoppage will continue for as long as management treats the practitioners of our noble profession like calots," said union boss Ur Jan.

Ur Jan stomped away from the bargaining table and lobbed the head of mediator Hoffa Silvas into a rubbish bin. Silvas had been appointed to mediate the dispute when it became apparent a settlement wasn't forthcoming.

The 137,056 members of the Zodangan Guild of Assassins went on strike last month, demanding full health benefits, higher salaries and biggerbonuses for the disembowelment of victims.

"Disembowelments have always brought much higher bonuses than traditional decapitations or heart- thrusts," said Ur Jan. "The dry-cleaning bills alone cost a fortune."

Tyrants, despots, mad scientist and jilted suitors have grown increasingly impatient with the work stoppage. As the strike entered its 71st day, a coalition of would-be employers demanded action from the Warlord of Barsoom himself.

"This is intolerable," lamented Bulbous Farnham, a greasy nobleman who wants to have his wife's lover assassinated. "I never dreamed it would be so hard finding someone to hack off a guy's head."

John Carter's Zodanga office issued a statement that said everything possible is being done.

"We realize the importance of having fully trained assassins available for duty," the statement said.

Meanwhile, scabs trying to cross the Guild's picket line have had little success.

"I think I'll try to find work as a flier mechanic," said would-be scab Noodle Puff, walking away with a short-sword in his ear.

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