Ian The Intrepid
By Lou Blodgett
What first had been a groove, Ian found to be a rut
as he gathered information, slowly going off his nut.
Narrowly supporting his professional addiction.
Ignoring his degenerating knuckle-bone affliction.
Promotion only placed him at the rank of tallish pawn.
His love-life stank since Beverly had told him to move on.
Ian harbored little more than data in his noggin.
Sitting with those details in a limbo-bent toboggan.
He started to look into opportunities more choate
in amorphous venture plots disguised as work.
A glowing form inquired: “Are you willing to relocate?”
Then: He was “Ian, The Intrepid Data Entry Clerk.”
Ian, lonely Ian, what does Mother Earth don’t have
that you think you’ll find among the stars above?
Listen, Ian, dammit. You don’t have to leave the planet
to garner warmth, stability and love.
He took his leave of Earth, already missed the color blue.
Buffeted by exo-sphere, with a tablet he would travel.
To Mimos. On that quirky clod, in a bubble with a view,
he learned the local language. Watching Saturn’s rings unravel.
Ian took to Miman culture. He even studied verse.
But he discovered that the classes weren’t a ‘must’,
as he fielded poll responses, partisan and terse.
Their preference for pizza with a thick or crispy crust.
Ian, woeful Ian, is this gig entirely right?
The only plus in this assignment seems to be the awesome sight.
You should break your contract. Your Betelgeusian contact
can’t be wound considerably tight.
So he went to Mercury. The champion of the dash.
Where every day’s a holiday. They frolic in the ash.
Then on Pluto, Ian found, words are spoken without sound.
They fall frozen with no meaning ‘till they shatter on the ground.
Ian’s rep got out of rehab, and got a wild hair.
Which is funny, ‘cause he had no fur, but scales.
He said to Ian, “We’re transferring you somewhere.
So gird your carpal tendons and set your solar sails.”
Against the Milky Way itself.
Some promotions come when you’re buried on the shelf.
It was with a far-off government ours doesn’t recognize.
But if anyone accuses, plausibility denies.
Ian, stupid Ian, how many parsecs will it take?
How could you shade your star? Your galaxy forsake?
That’s so beyond the pale, you can do like Dorothy Gale
and your heels will blister what with all the clicks you make.
Fleer Gameer is where they put him, against the best advice.
In the Fleer Gameeran Navy, on a planet made of ice.
If he’d have known where he was going, he would have packed more clothes.
He learned the humanoidal lingo which springs up from the toes.
And to write and sift the info, such a unit was required
with consoles, keys and levers on the scale Rick Wakeman sired.
His misery. He owned it like a musk ox on the tundra.
Whirring drives voiced Ian’s angst. He played in the penumbra.
And his chilly fingers patted rhythm to that song.
Gameran troops stepped in just to listen before long.
From the Rime Stockade. They allowed their hands to thaw
and feasted on their rations, cello-wrap and all.
Artillidrum Re-Smashalists sheathed their dreaded picks.
They understood the tones that they heard in Ian’s mix.
And once a Full-Tilt Rumbler graced the data cave
and enjoyed the sonic soul lavage the rare contraption gave.
But Ian. Silly Ian, what did your system lack
to have you span the space between, so vast and inky black?
Was it the wisdom that you gained through this journey wrought with pain?
You’ve gone so far so fast that you’ll be younger when you’re back.
One brittle night she came into the dim transcription hall
and leaned her fractal scimitar against the frost-burnt wall.
She was a Non-Collisioned Trouncer, maximental grade.
She listened to the hum and plink the data station made.
He marked and moderated speculations that were written.
Moderating specs, he was moderately smitten.
As he typed, he scanned her shiv. It had a cast that hardly beckoned.
“It slices, and it dices, and makes julienne fries in seconds.”
He muttered to himself that advertising kitsch.
She was into Earth TV and had heard that Popeil pitch.
The chortle that she hooted brought our Ian to his feet.
With her laughter she’d exuded some of her beef jerky treat.
And then the time had passed for sharing words.
He had a break-time scheduled and she had a thing for nerds.
An ultra-distance tie? They both knew that wouldn’t work.
He made her happy for awhile. She made him feel like Captain Kirk.
Ian. Calling Ian. Your output’s trending slow.
Your work bay is inactive and the word rate’s very low.
There’s nothing coming from your station, and we’ve just run out of patience.
You’re not meeting standards, so we’ll have to let you go.
He made it home soonafter, and took a look around,
and thought the nation could be great if we left carbon in the ground.
So, Ian didn’t die, though at times he wears a tie.
His promotion transferred through, though his CV had a lie.
His Earthling kin and colleagues knew from where he had been skyping.
Now he’s auditing and staging. Which involves a lot less typing.
Oh, Ian. Weary Ian, the distance you traversed.
You saw the Horsehead Nebulae in the flesh and in reverse.
Could you be heaven-blessed? Did you pass some kind of test,
having lived in places that were worse?
Now Ian- The Earthbound Ian- lives a life that’s tame.
Firmly planted on the Terra. Off the interstellar game.
Though his life’s now rather tepid, he waxes less-than-trepid
when he recalls that distant posting, and his Fleer Gameeran Flame.