The Pegasus Awards

The Ballad of Stan Long

Joe Haldeman

Pegasus Nominations

Year Category  
2005 Best Space Opera Song  

The Ballad of Stan Long
(a sexist epic)

words & music Copyright 1978 by Joe Haldeman- All Rights Reserved
Used by permission

(Massively folk processed by Bill Sutton)

I've drunk his health in a hundred bars from Betelgeuse to the sands of Mars,
And I'll drink his health again if you'll just buy.
I knew Stan Long for a hundred years, that's just about a hundred thousand beers,
And I'll tell you his sad story if you promise not to cry.

CH: Stan Long he was a man, he was a mighty fightin' {drinkin'} man,
But drinkin' wasn't really his fort~B,
He loved a hundred girls on a half a hundred worlds
And he loved 'em in a most peculiar way.

I first met Stan on the white-hot sands of Parran's World, where murderous bands
Of aliens tried to kill us all with blaster, sword, and shield.
Fought back-to-back for seven days, fought steel with steel and rays with rays,
'Til the Corps came in on the seventh day and made the aliens yield.

Now, Parran's World is a terrible place where they put all the dregs of the human race,
But it's a place where you can get yourself a girl (or a boy, or a drink ...)
So Stan and I retired that day to a cool dark dive on the side of a bay
Of sulphurous water colored one unnatural shade of pink.

So we sat down to drink some beer, drank all of it and then I fear
Drank all the wine and rum and scotch and gin, tequila too.
The world was in an awful whirl when I said, "Stan, I need a girl."
Stan poured a glass of Creme de Menthe and said, "Well, I'll take two."


I looked at him in wild surmise, tried to focus bleary eyes,
And told him, "Stanley, stop a minute. Think of where you are.
These girls are built like sides of beef, all muscle, bone, and claws, and teeth,
When they get through with you there'll be some moaning at the bar."

Well, Stan just laughed and drank some green and told me, "Joe, you think you've seen
'Bout all there is to see in terms of sexual relations.
But I'll take me two Parran chicks, I'll take 'em and I'll get my kicks,
And they'll pay me for my peregrinations."

I shook my head and watched him go and got myself a gal named Mo
Who seemed about the gentlest of that none too gentle lot.
But her biceps were the size of either of my thighs
And the strongest muscle on her ... those were not.

I spent a day or two in traction, then went out to get some action
"Cause I'd heard a tank ship'd landed beer and booze.
Went back to that sleazy dive, didn't expect to see Stan alive,
To shack up with two Parran maids is not the death I'd choose.

I limped into that sad cafe feelin' guilty, sad to say,
For lettin' poor old Stanley take those two girls off to die.
But there he was, in the middle of the floor, surrounded by those he-man whores
Who gazed at him with lovelight in their rheumy, bloodshot eyes.


"Stan," I said, "I know you're tough. We've fought and bled and killed enough
Together now that you won't mind if I express my thought.
The least of this unholy crew put me in bed. In traction, too,
And I just can't help but wonder what you have that I ain't got."

"It's really easy to explain," said Stan, who felt no whit of pain,
"But wait and let me tell you when I think the time is right.
Reactions from my fellow men when I explain what makes me win
Leads some to laugh, and some to cry, and some it leads to fight."

"You might belong to that latter bunch (although you don't, I have a hunch),
But just in case I'd like a chance to even up our scores.
See, I've been drinkin' steadily since after midnight, two, or three -
You owe me twenty beers. Drink up, don't pay, it's on the whores."

The girls had brought me twenty beers and favored me with lurid leers.
As soon as I would gulp one down, they'd put one in my fist.
By the seventeenth or eighteenth I was slightly higher than the sky
But knew that soon or late I'd have to go and take a piss.

(Footnote) See, spacer men have a tradition that no matter your condition
The first poor boy to leave the bar is the one who buys the round.
So though the whores were buyin' it, tradition is tradition. Shit,
I'd cross my teeth and grit my legs and never give up ground.

Stan noticed my discomfort and he ordered me a rum for it,
Which I sent down to my kidneys with a pagan, hopeful prayer.
And he laughed and said, "Oh, all right, I don't think you're fit to fight.
I'll walk you to the outhouse arm-in-arm, it's only fair."

Now the atmosphere on Parran's World's enough to rot your teeth,
So the stench inside the outhouse was a positive relief.
They had three piss-tubes in the wall so as not to slow the crew -
I took the first one on the left, Stan took the other two.


He noticed I was staring and remarked at his bipartate gland,
"Two heads are better than one is what the ancient sages say.
But put yourself in my position. Empathize with my condition.
I'd rather have the love of one good woman any day."

Well, Stan and I we roamed the stars, fightin' wars and wreckin' bars,
For twenty good long years we blazed a rough and randy trail.
And if police we underrated we might sleep incarcerated,
But like as not three females would come by and make our bail.

The ending of this story is a moral, in a poor way,
That two plus two can equal one or four or even eight,
And if a billion women come through your life you'll find the one
Just made for you. That's love, that's luck, or if you choose, it's fate.

We were bustin' up this carnival on Io when Stan spied a gal
With lovely hair and eyes and cheeks, four legs and other charms.
He went and asked the obvious, she answered yes and that poor cuss
Just fell apart. He laughed, he cried, he swept her in his arms.

They were married in December by a drunken priest named Captain Bligh
And settled down to work upon a yeast farm in Des Moines.
Now Ioway is kinda dull, you've seen one yeast, you've seen 'em all,
So by August their first pair of twins had sprang from out their loins.

Much to his surprise Stan found he liked the little guys,
And round about July the next year they came up with another pair.
Tweo more children came next May, and then Stanley, sad to say,
Had to get himself vasectomized - the law on Earth is stern but fair.

Now every time I condescend to go to Earth I see my friend
Up to his ass in diapers or puttin' girls and boys through school.
And, yeah, the girls all have two legs, the boys half that many pegs,
Such unstable mutations never follow Mendel's rules.

Stan Long still loves to fight and drink, but he doesn't do it much, I think,
Not just because the bars in Ioway close down at nine.
He's got responsibilities and even acts quite ill at ease
When I regale his kids with tales about their father's time.

CH: Stan Long he was a man, he was a mighty lovin' man,
But he settled in a quiet country place.
Seven bedrooms, well appointed, and, not mentioning Des Moines, it
Has a bathroom that's unique in all of space!





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