Aphelion Issue 279, Volume 26
December 2022/January 2023
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Wandrin’ Star

by Iain Muir

I was out at the Rim of the Spaceways,
And Man, I thought I was Dead!
In a burned-out hunk - my hyperdrive junk,
And the lights on the panels all red.

I’d swear she came outta nowhere,
The answer to my dyin’ prayer.
No less an’ no greater than an old tramp freighter,
But she’d a hull full of wond’rous air!

So I made a dash for the airlock,
To stare at th’old girl from afar.
And as I stared out I could just make out
That her name was the Wandrin’ Star.

They threw me a line from their airlock,
And I shimmied along it right quick.
The glee of my jig as I abandoned my rig
Was enough to make any man sick.

Her Captain she asked ‘Where ya headed?"
"C’mon boy, we’ll give ye a jar!"
"I somehow think ye have need of a drink!"
Said the skipper o’ the Wandrin’ Star.

They took a-hold o’ my rig for salvage.
I couldn’t have cared less by far!
I was roaring drunk as I lay in a bunk
In the hold of the Wandrin’ Star.

So they dropped me off on Bethdish,
And I headed straight for the bar.
With the last of my wealth to drink to the health
O’ the crew of the Wandrin’ Star.

The ‘Mare’ was as packed as is usual
With wand’rers from near and afar.
But a silence fell that they heard in Hell
When I toasted the Wandrin’ Star.

Old Max he just looked at me funny,
But "Boy!" said a man with a scar,
"I dunno where you’ve been, but you can’t have seen
The tramp-freighter Wandrin’ Star."

"Cause I served on the Star her last voyage,
I bunked with her First Mate, Jafar.
And when her engine o’erloaded, the old girl exploded!
I’m the last of the Wandrin’ Star!"

Then I described to him his old shipmates,
That I’d just seen alive on the Star.
And with tankards a-clink we’d a thundering drink
To the ghost-freighter Wandrin’ Star!

© 1999 Iain Muir

Iain Muir lives in a suitcase somewhere in Europe, and is still trying to work out how many people he killed in his last life to deserve this. He pays rent on a place in the wilds of Africa, and tries to write science fiction, fantasy, and poetry in between catching flights.

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