Aphelion Issue 294, Volume 28
May 2024
Long Fiction and Serials
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Jones Ropes a Thistle

by Mike Wilson

Jeremy watched as the giant freighters moved,
Serenely plying interplanetary lanes and lines.
Unaware of him and how he felt behooved
To keep this area of the galaxy sublime.

Jeremy was a giant thistle being, miles across -
Spoken of often in most spacefarers lore…
Known to destroy ships with a crunch and a toss,
His area of space was one wise pilots abhorred.

The word passed around was, “avoid this nebula,
For Jeremy lives here and is very dangerous!
Transit elsewhere if you know what’s good for ya!”
All avoided these parts but the most courageous.

Then one occlusion came a bold prospector,
Ore-jockey named Jones willing to go all out;
Prowling the nebula lanes, watching his detector,
Espied a mass of rare ores, of that he had no doubt!

Lined up his ship, matched velocity with whatever
The moving thing was, then fired his giant lasso
And snagged it, a living entity strong and clever;
He had Zeus himself by a gossamer wire grasp.

Well, they fought and they struggled, both bound
And determined to win this struggle some way or
Other. First Jones had Jeremy flailing, then found
He was being pulled the other way by this lively ore.

Like the epic tale of a whale and a sea
Captain centuries before, They were mortal foes
Locked in a dance with desperation, neither free.
Another difficulty only added to their woes…

A nearby star was drawing both Jones and Jeremy
Into it’s gravitational field, threatening the pair
With destruction. Only cooperation helped them flee,
Surviving to continue the battle waged in despair.

Finally, Jones executed a hard perpendicular thrust,
Using up his last maneuvering fuel in the feat
He cut into Jeremy’s heart, leaving a lifeless crust
And Jones clung to a now-pliable dead beast.

There sat poor Jonesy, out in a lifeless void,
Tethered to a dead creature, loaded with rich ores;
He issued a distress call, and managed to just avoid
A lonely death; He shared his prize without remorse.

His story ended happily, alive with new riches,
Sat in a bar sipping Regulan ale, telling his tale;
His version of the story had them all in stitches,
Thus they kept buying him more and more ale!

The saddest part of the outcome of this all,
Is the vicious hangover Jones had the next day.
Though grilling and taxation by authorities cast a pall,
The end result was Jones kept his hide, his pride and his gall.

© 2009 Mike Wilson

Mike Wilson has been writing short stories and poetry for several years now. He lives in Des Moines, Iowa with his cat, Snickers. You can see more of his work at http://radical-readings.blogspot.com

Find more by Mike Wilson in the Author Index.

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