Wanderlust

By Eugen Bacon & Don E Harpe

sfgenre‘LAPIS LAZULI,’ HE SAID. ‘That my name.’

He was not of this world, never from Earth. Not with those eyes, no.

He sat next to me, chewing popcorn and laughing, laughing, laughing at the jokes of a stand-up artist at the gay pub. The comedian, who was doing a ‘Who is this guy?’ feature, was rolling on a new gig, a Bill Clinton impersonation that worked so well it warmed patrons with mirth on that night of howling storm and feral wind. The performance was funny, so funny it almost brought the house down. And the decidedly beautiful alien chap beside me laughed heartily along with the rest of the mob.

An alien? you quiz. Surely, but not what you may think.

He was not odious, not at all. His mouth was sensual, seductive. He was an insightful creature, I could tell, one to be handled with care if I decided to try and get any closer to him. He moved about in a playful way, secure in his mirth, comfortable with his surrounding, accepting it, not once questioning the patrons or the bar itself. I stopped looking at the black guy on the dais, as he impersonated poor Bill choking on a red-hot chilli pepper regurgitated by Lewinski in the heart of a kiss, and found myself admiring Lapis. Sure, his skin refracted light. It gave him this radiant hue that outshone anyone I’d ever seen. Sometimes in the deepest throes of laughter, he paled more, yet he did so without losing that radiance.

You wonder at my taste, my intention… But it is not customary for specimens of that ilk to show up in a pub, let alone a gay one. He was desirable; really, I just wanted to take him home.

When a Greek ambassador in the act nearly caught Bill with his pants down, and dear Lewinski crashed out of a window swinging on a curtain, Lapis turned a deep, dark blue with big, ivory veins.

An hour later, I asked him why he was still laughing, the comedy act was done.

‘I not be laughing,’ he choked. ‘These be my tears. I am inversion, not the real me.’

‘What inversion?’ I said. ‘How isn’t this the real you?’

Turned out he’d been arrested for a trumped up charge, found guilty in a hastily convened court, sentenced to banishment from the land of Magnetroxis. His molecules had been refracted, turned him inside out. He no more resembled any of his kind. He had wandered the universe, floated alone, laughed when he should cry, craving his lazurite.

‘What is your lazurite?’ I quizzed, wanting and yet not wanting to know.

The half of his rib, he said, the mother of his unborn child.

‘Alas!’ I said. ‘I thought you were gay?’

‘Lapis Lazuli. That my name. Who be this Gay?’

‘Never mind. But banished? Why?’

He turned upon me opaque eyes ingrained with gold, eyes so full of personal appeal I wanted to gather him to my chest, hold him until those eyes shone with dawn. ‘General Adrastea,’ he sobbed-cum-chuckled. ‘Me feel no love, not love him back. I already get my lazurite, see.’

‘But how did you get here? Earth?’

A clap of thunder, he said. It polarised his fragments to shape them into the form he was now. Having lost transportability, he flittered onto the seat he was sat upon, and it was I, his first Earth contact, who leaned forward to give him food.

‘Popdibles,’ he said.

‘Popcorn,’ I corrected. ‘Tell me: what will become of her? Your lazurite?’

She shared his eternal fate. She would carry his little one in her womb until his punishment was complete, then, only then, could they once more be joined back home in Magnetroxis.

I stared in silence, run out of questions.

I did take him home. But not to surrender him to the comfort of my lips, so he might feel less lonely. I took him to my home in a fierce tug of impulse to warm him a glass of milk, to lace it with brandy and cover him with a blanket until he stopped laughing laughing…

Crying.

When the storm calmed, I took him out to the woods beneath a sky full of blackness where, without looking back, he leapt!

My hair madly billowed like a cloak in the consequent wind of his flight. I clasped my longing in tight palms. Pining ripped me inside out. I defied logic by needing him, but I did, and already I missed him. Lapis, dear Lazuli. I watched him open miles from me and then dissipate; dissolve into big and then smaller bubbles that floated the giant sky. The eaves of a big black cloud yawned to swallow them, dragged forlorn Lapis and the pieces of my heart to a world I could not inhabit, to a future without me. Took him back to intergalactic wilderness, to voices in the wind, where he would carry his wanderlust to the end of his banishment.

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About The Authors

Eugen M. Bacon

eugenbaconEugen M. Bacon has published over 100 short stories and articles, and has a creative non-fiction book out with Palgrave McMillan in 2017. Her stories have won, been shortlisted, highly commended, commended and long-listed in the Copyright Agency Prize 2017, Fellowship of Australian Writers (FAW) National Literary Awards 2016, Alan Marshall Short Story Award 2016, Lightship Publishing (UK) international short story prize 2013 and Fish Short Story Prize 2013/14. Eugen’s creative work has appeared in literary, science fiction and fantasy magazines and scholarly journals worldwide, including Award Winning Australian Writing, AntipodeanSF, Andromeda, Aurealis, Horrified Press anthologies, Meniscus, TEXT and through Routledge in New Writing.

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E. Don Harpe

Award winning author, poet, and songwriter E. Don Harpe has had a varied career. From military service in the 60's to years spent as an industrial engineer for a major appliance firm, and more years in the Nashville music industry. Harpe has been a published and recorded songwriter for nearly 40 years, and continues to write new material almost every day. Harpe writes in many genres, and with 10 books and nearly 40 short stories now available, he is constantly working on his next idea. Harpe currently lives in the mountains of North Georgia with his wife of over 52 years, Helen, and their three dogs and two cats. He is working on his 12th novel, and spends his spare time with his children, grand children and great grand children.

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In The Next Issue...

Coming In Bumper Issue 235

A Day In Caaatahlona 1 - City Beneath The Waves
by Robert Caldwell

Ace Zone
by Eugen M. Bacon

Arial
by Brian Biswas

Betty Cyberchin
by Steven Translateur

Broadcast
by Kathryn Flaherty

By Kindle Light
by Jessica Nelson-Tyers

Digital Gods
by Pascal Inard

Disposable World
by David Scholes

E-mageddon
by C A Clark

Emallgration
by Brianna Bullen

Lonely Hearts Of The Spinward Ring
by Paddy Kelly

Marhaen Sukarno In Las Vegas
by Wes Parish

Mickey Spillane Lies Bleeding
by Kevin J. Phyland

My Parents Went To Vegas And All I Got Was This Lousy Robot
by Matthew F. Amati

My Window
by Mark Tremble

The Sandman's Couch
by Matthew Kerber

Out With The Old
by Alexander Nachaj

The Master
by Kim Rose

The Queue
by Ishmael Soledad

Yen-Lo-Wang In "Scream Weaver"
by Steve Pool

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AntipodeanSF January 2018

ISSUE 234

Speculative Fiction
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The Australian Science Fiction Foundation (ASFF) is pleased to welcome entries in the Norma K Hemming Award for works published in 2016 and 2017. Designed to recognise excellence in the exploration of themes of race, gender, sexuality, class or disability in a published speculative fiction work, the Norma K Hemming Award is now open for entries. The award is open to short fiction, novellas, novels, anthologies, collections, graphic novels and stage plays, and makes allowances for serialised work.  For more information:  <https://normakhemmingaward.org/2017/11/08/entries-are-now-open-for-the-2018-norma-k-hemming-award/>.

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Genghiscon 2018:  Gaming convention. Trinity Residential College, University of Western Australia,19-21 January 2018. <https://2018.genghiscon.org/>.

Walker Stalker Convention: Walking Dead convention The Dome at Sydney Showgrounds. 3-4 February 2018 and 10-11 February 2018 Melbourne Showgrounds. <http://walkerstalkercon.com/sydney/>.

Confurgence 2018: Furry convention 23-25 February 2018. Amora Hotel Riverwalk, Melbourne. <http://ausfancons.com/confurgence/>

Swancon 2018 (Natcon): Pan Pacific Hotel, Perth. This is the 2018 Australian National Convention: “Transmogrification”, (Easter) 29  March to 02 April 2018 . Guests: Kameron Hurley, Ryan Griffen, Barb de la Hunty.  More information: <http://swancon.com.au/>

Continuum XIV: Conjugation. Melbourne’s SF Convention. 8th – 11th June, 2018. More information: <http://www.continuum.org.au/>.

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The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.

Arthur C. Clarke