Friday, May 22, 2009

I was the Seventh Lover of Alexander the Great.

I flew through the non-space of the techno-mind and brought up before my inner-gaze the Earth of ancient Greece, three hundred years before the so-called Common Era. I landed, feet firmly placed on hallowed ground where philosophy had grown and flowered with the perennial inquiry as to what the Universe was made of and what a human’s worth and purpose was on this wondrous planet. Was there a soul in each person’s breast, was it eternal, did it cause them to truly love, and how was it possible for the multifarious multitudes to live in harmony with each individual’s needs met? These are BIG questions but I was mainly concerned with the influence of sexuality on history, and so I sought out the man-god of my obsessions, someone I’d chase through all of time just to be his friend.

I stepped into history in the city of Memphis, Egypt, choosing as my avatar a perfect specimen of male beauty from the rough-and-tumble mountains of the north of Greece, Leonnatus, son of Onasus, with the blood of old Macedonian warrior-stock running like molten gold in my veins. I felt confident to shape-shift to the person who best fit my intentions, a boyhood friend of the future king, Alexander. Leonnatus was a shy, uneducated lad who had always been kept on the outer circle of Alexander’s admirers, as an unremarkable country bumpkin he was rarely noticed and so I could slip into his persona without anyone questioning any strange behavior I might embue him with. I awoke to the glorious day when my cherished ambition was realized for I was chosen from the ordinary army regiments to join the exclusive company of Alexander’s personal bodyguard, the Seven Royal Companions. They had watched me from a distance and now I was brought close.

In that illustrious band of special Companions I replaced Arrybas, who had died valiently in battle with the Persians, the very battle where my King had taken note of my valor and prowess, for he admires no one more than a courageous fighting man. Yet it was my diplomacy with the captured Queen of the Persian King, Darius, that commended me above others, for Alexander esteemed above all others those with intelligence and kindness of heart as well as bravery in war, and he desired to have around him only the best of men. I had climbed up through the ranks by impressing my commanders with ingenious tactics and daring exploits, but my blonde good looks may have helped my cause as well, enticing the King to look my way and notice my actions. All of the seven bodyguards are extremely beautiful, brave and intelligent and are more like loyal friends than subjects of Alexander and I am truly honoured to be included in their number.

In Memphis the Great King had himself crowned Pharoah of all Egypt and son of the God Ammon. The oracle of Ammon had reassured him of his divinity at the Oasis of Siwah in Libya; he had always secretly believed the God Zeus had touched his Mother the night of his conception while she was performing her ecstatic role as Snake Priestess. I could readily believe in his godhood as Alexander had a bright presence as well as great personal beauty, and he could inspire legions of men to follow him, even to death. Not that I believed in the gods, but as man made god in his image Alexander fit the bill perfectly and he was such a remarkable character who achieved such incredible feats he definately had some extraordinary spark powering him.

And the whole universe was a party to his endeavours, such as the eagles that attended the outset of his every campaign, and the two hissing snakes that led him and his lost army across the desert to the Oasis of Siwah, where he was told he would indeed conquer the world. Some say he used divinity to magnify his importance in the eyes of his subjects, to appeal directly to their hearts rather than be feared like the harsh, arrogant Macedonian kings of yore. But I think he believed in his god-given mission, as if he had some kind of divine madness.

I think he truly is special, with his keen intellect, super-human endurance and uncanny instinct for the right move, his fearlessness in battle and nobility to those he defeats, all mark him out as a superior human being and can only be explained by him having some type of divine essence. He has been daring in all his pursuits and habits, with his own inimitable style, being the first to shave and bathe daily like an Athenian democrat, unlike his fellow uncouth Macedonians, and was copied by all the Companions such was the high regard they had for him. With his golden hair, piercing blue eyes and shining bronze armour, he looked part-god to me and I was determined to follow him to the ends of the earth if needs be.

At last I was near to the one whom I had adored from afar and worked so hard to reach. I tasted of his food for him and stood guard by his bedroom door, and I prayed to the Gods that there would come a night when he would welcome me to his bed. I dreamed he would take me as a partner to protect his back in the maelstrom of battle and I’d have gladly died by his side, like the ultra-masculine lover-warriors of the Sacred Band of Thebes.

But since childhood Alexander had the devotion of a best mate whom nobody could surpass in his affections, number one in the shining seven, Hephaestion; still I could live and hope that my turn might come some blessed day. Alexander was enchanted by the great heroes of Greek literature, particularly from Homer, and he tried to emulate and better the hero’s feats, repeating the tasks of Hercules, dancing further over the horizon than Dionyssus, achieving greater fame in war than Achilles. My fondest wish was that I could have played Patroclus to his Achilles but that role was assigned to Hephaestion and I could only look on and wonder at what such intense male love could be.

It was at Zariaspa, after the success of the Bactrian campaign, that I nearly lost the friendship I had barely begun with the great Alexander. I had been somewhat swayed by the speech given by Callisthenes protesting the debasing act of prostration Alexander was encouraging in the court, forgetting the lessons in democracy he received from the great thinker Aristotle. I had lately come to question my view of Alexander as a divine incarnation for he revealed in his attitudes and mannerisms an all too human nature.

He could be brutal and vengeful, not only to those who stood against him in war but even old friends were unsafe from his murderous tempers, as in the case of his killing one of his Royal Companions, Cleitus, in a drunken argument. He broached no insult and suffered criticism badly, and was prone to flattery by the court sycophants, something that got on my nerves as well as Cleitus. When he conquered all Persia he seemed to forget he was a Macedonian King, surrounding himself with the pomp and decadence of an Asian satrap and to the scandal of many, dressing in Median fashion. He swapped the tunic for trousers and he donned the pointed bonnet instead of the crested helmet worn by Macedonians since time immemorial.

Worst of all was Alexander had come to expect and enjoy the humiliation of prostration from the vanquished Persians. He had contemplated aloud that it would be a good thing if we Macedonians copied this foolishness as a mark of respect to his evident godhood. Even I, Leonnatus, devoted companion of the King, baulked at such a ridiculous, dehumanizing act, for the ways of Macedonia have held true for countless generations and I could not see why we had to adopt such foreign, barbaric ways just because we conquered their country. I was already infamous for boorish fights, for being kept at arms length by Alexander had me drinking too much and taking it out on whoever crossed my path, the whole Persian influence had made me more cantankerous, especially the adoption of eunuchs into the court, their effeminate carrying-on such an insult to the manliness of the Royal Companions.

One little catamite named Bagoas particularly got my goat as he caught Alexander’s attention with his doe-like eyes and lithe body, and he became a beloved favourite, taking up much of the great one’s free time, leaving little for anyone else. Hephaestion himself was relegated to the sidelines for awhile and I rarely got a look-in, and I hated that little Persian sodomite with a vengeance.

My seething jealousy and hysteria came to a head one night at a court function for all the Persian overlords whom Alexander had chosen to rule the conquered territories in his name. Many of the Royal Companions were present and resentful of the amount of power Alexander was entrusting to these vanquished enemies. While the Macedonians refused to prostrate themselves in front of Alexander up on his throne, the chief diplomat of the Persian contingency flung himself upon the floor. He groveled in such a silly manner that I could not help but burst out laughing, quite raucously, garnering the attention of everybody in the room. The Persians were highly embarrassed and Alexander was furiously angry with me for disrupting the sanctity of the occasion and what he felt was having a dig at his pomposity.

He wouldn’t even look at me for weeks and I was relegated to the back tents on slops duty, until I achieved further valorous deeds and looked sufficiently humble enough to be in his sublime presence again. And all the while his little bugger-boy, Bagoas, gave me smug looks and cryptic smiles so that I wanted to strangle the catamite, only that would’ve finished off my relationship with Alexander for good. It was better to let time pass, Alexander would surely tire of the girlish Persian eunuch given the fabulous masculinity of the warriors around him.

I got myself into his good graces again by fighting harder and thinking smarter than our foe in the following clean-up operations till Alexander was compelled to admire me. He convinced me that his adoption of Persian ways was a political move to appease and win the hearts of the vanquished masses and make the ruling of them less fraught with misunderstandings. Alexander is such a brilliant tactician in all things military and wise in the ways of governance that I came to trust his judgment implicitly as he constantly proved his genius in every one of the campaigns. While he was a butcher to those who scorned his supremacy, he was in the main a benign ruler, replacing despots where ever he found them with humane leaders who would provide just, compassionate governance to the masses, and for this I truly loved him. He was the epitome of the masculine ideal, athletic frame, beautiful face, sharp mind and courageous heart, a living representative of the male supremacy lying at the centre of our ancient Greek system of values. Like Narcissus, I got lost looking for my own reflection in his glorious being.

After he took the impregnable Rock of Sogdiana, Alexander felt exultantly invincible and so he marched his army quickly to the more formidable Rock of Choriennes, confident of somehow conquering its sheer twelve thousand feet height. It was here I excelled in my duty and commended my diligence to my King, who smiled brightly at me again after our estrangement. The Rock was seven miles in circumference and surrounded by a deep ravine with only one narrow path winding up to the fortress at its summit and thus easy to defend and difficult to conquer. Alexander was dauntless and, on viewing eagles flying above the Rock, he was inspired that it augured victory.

He ordered his men to fell the pine forests near the Rock and make ladders of them to climb down to the deepest part of the ravine and there drive in stakes, to have layers of woven wattle placed atop them. Then a layer of soil was put down and thus the ravine was gradually filled to enable his army to climb the rock. We worked day and night, with protective screens built over us to block the bombardments from above, and I was put in charge of the night shift, making a great accomplishment of the job. King Choriennes himself had taken refuge in the fortress and, seeing the relentless success of the Macedonian army in broaching his Rock, was persuaded to surrender, trusting in Alexander’s magnanimous character to treat him honourably. And this Alexander did, believing in the sincerity of Chorienne’s submission, treating him with the utmost consideration, even reinvesting him with control of the Rock and its surrounding territories.

Alexander continued his infatuation with the Persian eunuch, Bagoas, much to the disgruntlement of the Royal Companions. I had other reasons to be jealous as after the Sogdian campaign Alec took a fancy to the Bactrian Princess, Roxanne, and married her. I thought we had lost him to the allure of womanhood but he rarely visited her, keeping her in a tent down the back with all the other Companion’s concubines. I believe the whole affair was a political act to appease the Bactrians, for she was the daughter of their recalcitrant King Oxyartes and Alexander wanted to bind his loyalty to him more surely. He performed his conjugal duties then left her much to herself, preferring the company of Hephaestion or other of the Companions or that little whore, Bagoas. Alexander was a real man’s man and I gushed with pleasure on the days he sought out my presence, whether for a hunting expedition, a military tactics session or a wild carouse with good Macedonian wine.

After all his victories he gave animal sacrifices to the Gods in thanksgiving and he held literary competitions and athletic games in celebration. Everyone vied for the top honours and while I excelled at the physical sports, it was my readings from classic Greek literature that had Alexander swooning and he would look at me tenderly, eyes bright with tears. He loved to hear of Hercules and swore that the blood of the hero ran in his veins. The God he made obeisance to most often after a victory was Dionyssus, patron of the arts and culture, and of ecstatic revelry in wonder of being alive and master of the natural environment. Dionyssus was reputed to have danced all the way to India and Alexander was determined to follow in his footsteps, even to go one better and conquer all India and thus bring the whole world under his domain.

Dionyssus is my own personal patron God and so I wholeheartedly agreed with the grand march to the vast, unknown subcontinent of India though it took me ever further from that land of great thinkers, Greece. We all believed the Universe got involved with men’s fates, especially that of the bright and powerful, and all the world’s manifestations did seem to foretell of Alexander’s greatness, the very animals of the land and air promised him success, and I could only go with the flow.

Alexander did indeed reach India, crossing the Indian Caucasus Mountains where he received the homage and support of King Taxilas of the country below the caravan town of Kabul. Unfit soldiers and friendly natives garrisoned the town of Taxila while Alexander moved on towards the Indus River, conquering all the tribes along the way.

These Indian warriors were the most courageous and ferocious of fighters that Alexander’s men had encountered in all the long campaigns and, in taking the first town we came to in the Aspasian’s territory, Alexander was wounded slightly in the chest by an arrow. The Macedonians slaughtered the whole town and put it to the torch in revenge for the harm done to their king. I myself was wounded and was honoured to spill blood alongside my lord and master. Past the town of Arregaeum we were confronted by an army twice as large as ours and I was given charge of one third of the soldiers and in three sections we attacked the Indians charging from their fortified hilltop. My troops were able to vanquish a superior force allowing the other sections to batter and defeat the rest of the diehard natives. Forty thousand prisoners were sold into slavery and 230,000 oxen captured, of uncommon size and beauty, the best of which Alexander had his pick to send back to Macedonia.

The town of Massaga proved very difficult to take, the siege and attacks spread out over four days. The defenders only asked for a truce once their chief was killed by a missile and Alexander admired their fierce courage so much he asked them to join his army as mercenaries. They agreed but planned to sneak away in the night, as they didn’t have the heart to kill their fellow Indians. Alexander got wind of their desertion and he surrounded their camp, caught them in their escape and had them slaughtered to a man. We went on to conquer the Rock of Aornas, something that fabled Hercules himself could not achieve and thus Alexander continued to outshine the great heros of yore. In all this vicious fighting I proved myself the most valorous and proficient of leaders and Alexander chose me more often as the one to stand guard over him while he slept. And there I stood, deep into the night, thirstily drinking in his precious exhalations.

We were marching ever closer to the Indus River and once across, the whole of India would lie ready for his possession. The legions of Macedonians who had accompanied him the full distance were now tired from the long trek, weary of war and homesick for their own country, aggravated by the harsh Indian environment and with no wish to discover any more new worlds. Alexander had an overwhelming lust to explore and conquer; he had to discover what lay beyond every horizon and could not relax until he had done so. He had been promised the whole world and he felt conquering all India was a necessary part of fulfilling his destiny. But many of his followers did not feel the same and they kept up a continuous grumble about their painful frustrations.

I myself loved the Indian experience and like Alexander was highly desirous of pressing on. Finally arrived the night when I stood guard over his sleeping chamber and we were discussing our mutual love of the mysterious Indian landscape and he invited me to sit on his bed. I couldn’t help myself, before long I veritably fell towards him and kissed him gently on the lips. At first he passively allowed me to make chaste love to his divine figure, kissing his delicious throat, muscular arms, the curves of his chest, his erect nipples. It was deliriously splendid to hold him in my arms and kiss his lips, for a moment I felt like I had melded with divinity and my every fiber was lightning-struck.

For a long while he seemed only half there, enjoying the comfort and affection but his eyes seeming to gaze into infinity. Then of a sudden he came alive and arched his back and moaned so that I held him close and felt his erection throbbing up against my abdomen. He pulled my head up and kissed me with total abandon as I lay between his legs. Gradually he raised his legs and as he bit me on the lip I fell into him, I entered his body and felt his flesh close around me. We rocked to and fro in a delirium of pleasure, a bonfire ignited in my head, a timeless Void engulfed us and we fused like two stars in the black heavens, one radiant sun bursting between us. I recovered consciousness some hours later and found myself alone in the bed and I lay there contemplating my love, stunned by the knowledge that I had fucked Alexander the Great.

For a short while I allowed myself to forget that he was committed to Hephaestion heart and soul, and I prayed that we might grow into discovering a great love. But that little Persian poof, Bagoas, got any left-over lust, I never got looked at in that way again. In a blue moon he chose one of the Companions or outstanding captives as his bedmate, though rarely for more than one night. His greatest, over-ruling lust was for battle, victory, power and knowledge, it was these that drove him ever onward, and myself with him. He never mentioned what had passed between us, never made an intimate gesture and never asked me to his bed again though I groveled at his every beck and call, my nerves tingling in memory of our tryst. I out-achieved the most valiant of warriors in the hope that I could replace Hephaestion as his eternal, one true love but I was wasting my energies. Yet we all live in hope.

At a town called Nysa Alexander was met by a delegation of the locals who gave submission but begged freedom of governance, as this was the very town founded by Dionysus when he came to India and the god himself had given them their freedom. They praised Alexander at having penetrated the subcontinent further than their revered god Dionysus and this appealed to his hubris, having bested his patron God. He acquiesced to their wishes and left them alone to run their own affairs as he wished the same thing for the cities of Alexandria that he had founded all over the world. It is easy to believe that Dionysus had indeed come this way, spreading his ecstatic practices, for the Indians are inordinately fond of singing and dancing and lose their inhibitions in festivities at any given opportunity.

Alexander fervently wished to visit the sacred spot of Mount Merus as it is the only place in all of India where the Ivy plant, dedicated to Dionysus, is to be found. The priests of the shrine prepared a sacred potion from the juices of the vine, mushroom and poppy and Alexander drank of it with deep reverence, along with his Companions and chief officer’s. Once the ivy crown was placed on all the Macedonian heads, we seemed possessed by the god himself, shouting ‘Euoi, Euoi”, dancing wildly and losing our wits in true Bacchic frenzy. Alexander laughed and danced in total abandonment and claimed he could see Mount Olympus in the clouds and that all the gods were streaming from the gates to bestow their blessings upon him. I only had eyes for the King himself, who radiated sublime light like some exquisite treasure.

It was in the battle for the principal town of the Mallians that we nearly lost our magnificent King and leader and where I won the greatest commendation of my military career. As always, he insisted on leading the charge over the walls, being the first over and down into the fray. In battle he went berserk, as if in ecstasy, and gave not a thought to his personal safety. He didn’t notice that the rest of his army was having a hard time scaling the walls, their ladders breaking beneath them, and he was virtually alone in fighting off the hordes of the enemy. A couple of us leapt down with him and helped beat off the ferocious onslaught, for Alexander’s famous huge, white crested helmet informed the attackers of his identity and so they threw themselves at him with murderous eagerness. We slashed and hacked as if possessed by the furies yet the blows rained down upon us so heavily that Alexander received many grievous wounds and collapsed helpless upon the ground.

Peucastas, who had been given the duty of carrying the Shield of Achilles alongside Alexander in battle, held the Shield over him for protection, while I fought like a maniac to keep the enemy at bay. On hearing of Alexander’s danger, his army went berserk, tearing the walls down with their bare hands to rush to his rescue. Thus the town was eventually taken and all its inhabitants put to the sword for the dire act of endangering the King.

Alexander lay very ill for several weeks and we feared he indeed might die, the army wailing at his door day and night. As well as logic and ethics, Alexander had learnt much medicine from his old mentor, Aristotle, and was able to guide his attendants to give him an effective healing regime. I myself nursed him throughout the ordeal, cleaning and stitching his wounds and applying herbal poultices to them, and I gave thanks to the Gods when he eventually recovered.
A captive prince of the defeated Mallions had been kept in chains awaiting Alexander’s verdict once he survived his heinous injuries. This Indian Prince was of uncommon beauty, with skin the colour of dark honey and huge, limpid black eyes shining proudly from his manly face. He was reported to be the bravest, most fearless of warriors and was captured only with the greatest of difficulty.

Yet he had a very sweet disposition and keen intellect and recognizing Alexander’s superiority he lay humbly at his feet, accepting of the King’s will, honoured to be dealt with by the best of men. Alexander took a great liking to the fellow and kept him by his bed like some kind of exotic pet. I myself witnessed their first night, cold and chilly at that time, when the proud prince offered his body as a foot warmer to the shivering King. This endeared the fellow further to Alexander and he laughed and pulled the husky devil up onto the bed with him where they lay most of the night hugging and caressing. They talked at great length on philosophy, fighting styles and the proper governance of Kings and Alexander seemed to take deep consideration of this barbarian’s ideas. I was furiously jealous for it was I who had saved his life and I should have been the one to receive his ardour. On hearing of their intimacy many of the Royal Companions thought it scandalous, for only pure blooded Macedonian warriors were deserving of the honour of sharing the King’s bed.

After so many weeks he gave the Indian prince his freedom and the governance of a large territory, such was his great affection and trust for the fellow. Hephaestion had been sent off ahead with some battalions to prepare the ground and I hoped I would have Alexander for myself at last. Then, because of his act of bravery at the town of Mallian in protecting his life, Alexander elevated Peucastas to the company of Royal Bodyguard Companions, bringing their number to eight and breaking the sacred number of seven, which really irked me. He favoured Peucastas in all things, keeping him constantly by his side and rarely giving me any private moments of intimacy, as if he was avoiding that side of me, though he continuously praised my part in his rescue. My jealousy and disappointment increased till I thought I might go mad from it and tear the whole world asunder.

Yet I followed my King faithfully, entrusting my destiny with his, and we crossed the mighty Indus River and moved on into India proper, conquering all the tribes that stood in our way. The Indians are such magnificent fighters that we were tested to our utmost strength, and only Alexander’s military genius and inspiring leadership got us through. The Indian terrain and climate made it extremely hard going and the Macedonian veterans’ complaints and grudges increased till they became quite unruly. They felt they had finished with conquering Asia and it was time to turn back towards home.

They massed at Alexander’s tent and demanded a hearing. After patiently listening to their grievances, Alexander launched into an impassioned speech, reminding them that his father, King Phillip, had changed them from swineherds and hill brigands to be citizen warriors inferior to none and that he himself had made them everything they were, commanders of a world-wide power. Did he not lead them in battle, march with them, thirst with them, eat with them and undertake their hardships with them? Had he not won them much glory and treasure? Why should they give up now when more treasure than they could dream of lay waiting for the taking in India? He then declared he disowned them and would carry on with the more loyal, foreign mercenaries. His oratory appealed to the soldier’s deepest ideals and shamed their pride, and so they wept and begged his forgiveness and even stoned the ringleaders of the quasi-mutiny to get back into Alexander’s favour. He soon relented and offered all the army a pay increase according to length of service and so things settled down for awhile.

I stood by my king throughout the entire debacle and he grew to trust me entirely, giving me much of his army to command while he went off exploring far into the Indian hinterland. He took a fancy to hunting and capturing wild elephants and adding them to his battle ranks. I had to move the troops down to the town of Pattala on the Indus Delta and wait there while Alexander sailed off into the Indian Ocean to see what lay off the coast. I had come to love the country dearly, the amazing vegetation and wildlife, the beauty and hospitality of the friendly natives, and their simple, satisfying, blissful lifestyle, seemingly in tune with the world and at peace within themselves. They worshiped different gods than us but still had the same reverence for life and love and I for one was disappointed at all the talk of turning back.

Alexander had inexorably returned to his first true love, Hephaestion, and no one else could get close, they shared all duties and sports, continuously had their heads together whispering, and had eyes only for each other. Even the Persian boy, Bagoas, was dropped from favour, Alexander too wrapped up in exotic India and his final campaign to find the boy of interest, and he rarely called him to his tent. The poor lad was devastated, moping about the camp, making sad cow eyes at the King whenever he passed, doing any menial task that the King’s household needed, he was like some devoted, neglected lap-dog.

One night the little catamite gave me such seductive looks that I must admit I was aroused for I had been celibate for long, keeping chaste for Alexander alone. I was tired after a long march and had been drinking and the little devil kept plying me with strong wine. Somehow we ended up in bed together and I sodomised the devious creature and he acted as if he was some divine houri in my arms, able to convince me of anything. Relaxed and off my guard he started plying me with questions about Alexander and Hephaestion, would they ever tire of each other? And, if Hephaestion should disappear, could we both get back into his heart? I was so drunk I’m afraid I contributed to the slander of my King, calling Hephaestion his whore and a witch for enchanting Alexander so, and wishing the gods would strike him dead or some brave soul get rid of him. I blathered on about Alexander being my one true love, I lived and fought only for him, I hoped to die next to him, on and on, cursing and moaning. All the while Bagoas sat smiling cryptically, eyes narrowed as he contemplated some nefarious scheme, but I was so inebriated I passed out and virtually forgot my stupid outburst until much later in the game.

The exploration of the Indus Delta was as far as the men would go, they were fatigued, diseased, lost and estranged and they just couldn’t go on, and Alexander had to take mercy on them, either leave them there to die or take them back home to Macedonia. Alexander realized the odds were against him and with a heavy heart he surrendered to their wishes and set off with his army on the long, arduous return journey. At the town of Oreitae I was left in command of half of his army to await the arrival of the fleet off the coast. I was also to tend to the new settlement, helping to introduce such order and discipline among the Oreitae as to induce them to be more obedient to their governor. Alexander marched off into the Gedrosian Desert with the rest of his force and so uninhabitable was the region that I constantly fretted over Alexander’s safety. I was resigned to being always left behind to complete the dog’s body of the work, for me it was yet a grand honour to serve him to my best, though I sorely missed being in his company.

Though warned of the terrors of the desert, Alexander blundered on regardless, possessed of the idea that he could overcome any obstacle and even outperform the Gods and thus at times had lead his men to disaster trying to better the previous accomplishments of explorers and conquerors before him. Such was the case with the Gedrosian Desert for when he finally straggled through to the other side to meet up with my contingent and the fleet of ships he had lost three quarters of his men. I suppose I should’ve been grateful I missed out on that catastrophe but the truth is I would’ve shared any hardship or danger just to be near him, for though fallible, I’m sure Alexander’s name will live forever as one of the greatest of men. And perhaps my own name will live alongside his.

During his Indian sojourn Alexander met with many of the country’s wise sages and he was much impressed by their peace of mind. He tried to convince the best of them to accompany him back to Macedonia but they spurned his invitation, telling him he had nothing they wanted. One old seer by the name of Calanis, deviating from his tribe, did agree to the journey out of admiration for the brightness of Alexander and sheer curiosity about the world. Alexander had him always squatting in a corner of his tent and took intense pleasure in having philosophical discussions with him, often applauding his advice but rarely acting upon it, being the contrary leader he was since childhood. Calanis was a wonderful old man and I felt at peace just sitting near him while he did his extraordinary contortions and meditations.

He seemed to endure the march across South Asia well though on reaching Persia he fell ill and declared his days were over. He demanded a funeral pyre built and against the protestations of Alexander and his retinue, all of whom were extremely fond of the old sage, he walked steadfastly into the flames. He then calmly lay down in the conflagration and, chanting his prayers, disintegrated into ash without blinking an eyelid or twitching a muscle. It left all of us in awe and I have come to believe some men are so knowledgeable they are capable of overcoming earthly restrictions. Perhaps Alexander is one of these sublime men.

At Susa, near Babylon, Alexander held a huge wedding festival, marrying off many of his army to Asiatic brides. His officers and Royal companions were given Persian princesses yet still they grumbled, for Persian ways were not theirs and they preferred the good women of Macedonia. To Alexander it was a political ploy as it would bind all the important vassal families to him and make the territory easier to govern. He even took a wife himself, Barsine, daughter of the assassinated King Darius of Persia, even though he already had a wife in Roxanne. All this Persian claptrap riled up the Macedonian’s conservative angst for they were too narrow-minded to see the political expediency in the mass wedding ceremony. I myself asked for a captive Indian Prince as my companion for only men could arouse my ardour, I had no wish to be weighed down with feminine needs, and I had taking a liking to the Indian’s caramel skin, doe-like eyes and lascivious nature.

It was at Susa that I also received my most impressive symbol of honour, a gold crown, placed upon my head by Alexander’s own hands in a marvelous ceremony to acclaim my achievements in all the campaigns, especially the saving of my King’s life in the battle with the Mallians. Peucastus also received a gold crown for his valiant part in that rescue and he was made Governor of all Persia, adopting their mannerisms and fitting in so well he became a superb and honourable administrator for many years. To Hephaestion, Alexander gave Drypetis, another of King Darius’s daughters, and all this Persian elitism made the Macedonians even more resentful, criticizing the King and his favourites for demeaning themselves with the barbaric customs of the country. Alexander, yet again, had to give them a good dressing down but honeyed his sharp words with bonuses for everyone, especially those who would settle in Persia and help rule it in his name.

Then the big calamity occurred and it resulted in the ruination of our whole life’s purpose. At Ecbatana Hephaestion fell ill and, after seven days of fever, died. Alexander was inconsolable, lying upon the body of his friend for a full day, weeping uncontrollably for several days after that and cursing the gods for his bereavement. He had the Shrine to Asclepius, the patron of medicine, raised to the ground, as no doctors could save the soul and love of his life. He held the most elaborate funeral rites the world has ever seen, spending ten thousand talents on the pyre and forcing the whole nation to make obeisance. He tried to have the god Ammon declare Hephaestion a demigod, the oracles refusing to comply, and so Alexander made do with the building of a giant funeral cortege, like a towering temple to the glory of his friend. He had it dragged right across Asia and Greece on a colossal cart to finally rest in honour at the city of Alexandria in Egypt. In all this extravagant mourning he revealed his ever ongoing obsession of out-performing the heroes of classic Greece, his grief for Hephaestion being deeper than the grief Achilles felt for his dead lover, Patroclus.

Rumours abounded of foul play; that Hephaestion might have been poisoned, for there were many who were jealous of his secure relationship with Alexander and of his marvelous achievements. I felt guilt at my own antagonistic thoughts towards the man though I would never have dreamed of harming him, as his was such a decent soul. I thought back to my querulous outburst of murderous nonsense to that little bugger Bagoas, and I wondered if he was capable of such a heinous deed. He had knowledge of poisons and for some time had worn a look of sheer loathing whenever he crossed paths with Hephaestion, so that I wouldn’t put it past the dirty little bastard. I watched him closely for weeks and he did indeed seem to slink around with a stricken face, averting his eyes, avoiding conversation, not even a greeting. I felt horror to the bottom of my heart for if it were true then I was an unthinking party to the murder and would bear the guilt to the end of my days. For the death of Hephaestion also meant the eventual death of the great Alexander, and this defeated all the machinations of the jealous murderer, for the object of his obsession was irretrievably lost in such a stupid act. Everybody was left with nothing to cling to but a ghost with a famous name.

Alexander was never the same after the death of his soul-mate, he seemed to waste away and was not as enthusiastic as of yore, though he still continued to carry out campaigns and subdue rebellious tribes. Despite the fact that he was warned by several soothsayers not to go to Babylon for it would be the end of him, unusual for him, he ignored their warning and carried on into the ancient city, defying fate and perhaps indulging in a death wish. All was well, Babylon rejoiced at his entry and the omens seemed mistaken. On an expedition down the Euphrates River he suddenly caught a fever, perhaps he picked up some exotic disease when he swam in the miasmic water, or, I dread the thought, perhaps his enemies poisoned him like they poisoned Hephaestion.

I, personally, think it was a broken heart over the loss of his one love that debilitated him so, for he gave up the ghost without his usual struggle, dying after seven days of painful infirmity. At the very last he still had the strength to call his good friends, officers and loyal Companions to his bedside to bid them farewell, thank them for their endeavours on his behalf and commend them for their immense valour. The whole army wept, howled and tore its breasts, for their great leader was gone and they were inconsolably lost without him.

Alexander, for all his detractors would naysay it, was the greatest leader the world had yet seen. Brave and adventurous, hungry for fame, temperate in the pleasures of the body with a passion for glory only, he was intelligent in his deductions of observed facts and wary of cheats. His word was inviolable, he was generous and compassionate to those who deserved it; he was the best of men and rulers. He was accused of taking on the pomp and arrogance of Asiatic Kings, cruel and barbaric, but I knew him to be noble of heart and sincerely sorry for his mistakes, giving pardon to many of those who had stood against him. He displaced incompetent and despotic rulers wherever he found them and tried to instil a society of peace, prosperity and justice in all the territories he subdued.

He was a man ahead of his times, with an eye for sensible innovations and rational consistencies. Yet he was also perfect for his times, for the whole world lay ready for the grasping for such a man as he, of great will, strength, intelligence and courage. He was the King of Kings and no one could replace him, his vast kingdoms falling to ruin and anarchy not too many years after his demise. Only Alexandria of Egypt lived on in history to bear his name forever.

I was nothing and heartbroken without him and I will never regret my great love for him, as such love has long been revered in Greece as a necessary part of our warrior’s social fabric. In Alexander’s private circle were renowned homosexual lovers such as Hermalaus and Sastratus, whose affection was so great they dared to plot against their King for a slight he gave one of them and they died together as a consequence. Then there was Alexander and Hephaestion themselves, and one could only wish to emulate their mutual devotion. Yet I am resolved never to go home to North Macedonia due to my inner shame that somehow I wished the whole tragedy into existence. I feel I must somehow pay recompense, do penance by living cut-off from everything I have ever known, abiding in an alien country, cursed by the gods unto the seventh generation, half the man I was under Alexander.

I'm afraid one only gets one great love in this life, he was my mentor and my shining light and I will never love another man again like him. I am returning with my Indian friend to the land of his birth as there he declares I will be treated like a god and life will be blissful. I did so much love India that I do not mind too badly my self-imposed exile to that far off land, for if there is any site in the world where I might rediscover some peace of soul and awe of life, that place could be there.

I had lived out the life of a warrior in the time of Alexander the Great, even had him as a lover for a few fleeting ecstatic moments, all my dreams come true. Somewhere deep in the jungles of India my avatar must fade into the mists, as all souls must do in this entropic universe, but there are many more worlds and times for me to explore and I can only marvel at where my soul’s desire may lead me next. And so adieu, beautiful, sad, unfulfilled Leonnatus, son of Onasus, it was glorious to be you and stand next to the divine Alexander.

If you enjoyed this story please go to the WEB address above and consider buying my book of tales about growing up anarcho-queer, rock and roll punter and mystic adventurer in Australia and India of the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Evolution of Homo Homo Sapiens Sapiens.

Flying through an infinity of cyberspace I concentrated on the exotic world of my desire and there it was before me, Paleolithic Earth made virtual. I flew into a hothouse planet, mist enshrouded, jungle covered. The epoch I’d entered was about twenty-one thousand years before what the Ancients termed the Common Era, where in prehistory a mysterious event occurred, humanity had made the leap from a kind of dull awareness of being in an overwhelming world to the sharp consciousness of being self-aware and able to influence that world, with language and the rudiments of culture. My implant had collated all the scientific theories and archeological proofs reconstructing the ‘grand event’ and pinpointed it to an equatorial region and I was intrigued to explore the era and find out for myself, especially to see if sex had anything to do with it.

I zeroed in on a huge river cutting through a sandstone escarpment, giant snow-covered peaks in the distance, with signs of human habitation in the jungle nearby. I created as my avatar a form not too different from my real appearance as I need to get accustomed to this cyber-virtuality of shape-shifting before I start experimenting with bodies. With my dark burnished skin and hair matted into dreadlocks I hoped I wouldn’t stand out too much as an alien by the tribe of primitives I allowed myself to be captured by, that they'd see me as an outcast from some distant clan. They were a ferocious looking Negroid race, naked except for bone and shell jewelry, and at first shook their spears at me to scare me off. When they saw me making hand-prints of red ochre on a cave wall, and stick figures chasing horned creatures in the hunt, they were fascinated, their primitive minds lit up, I was magical and worthy of respect.

The wonders of nature like lightning storms, starry nights and fiery sunsets had long had humanity dancing and singing in awe, they mimicked the sounds of nature, the animal and bird calls, and their proto language was able to build upon these zoomorphisms, supplementing it with hand gestures and powerful sounds like grunts, howls and hisses. But mostly they communicated in a sing-song voice like the birds, and they told each other about the shaping of their universe and how to ward off hostility if possible. I watched them intently for the first few weeks I was kept tethered in their grass-hut compound and quickly picked up the essence and flow of their language. I eventually convinced them I could be a boon to the tribe, especially as I applied some basic healing methods to their hurts and ills, like washing wounds in fresh water and exposing them to sunlight, applying Comfrey herbal poultices and encouraging potent wild-garlic drinks morning and night.

At night, around the campfire, they told stories in birdsong whistles and mime about the creation of the world and the birth of Humanity within the animal kingdom. They sang tales about surviving a demonic flood that had destroyed their original homeland, and of the endless wandering of their ancestors across plains, deserts and mountains. And they sang of some original Mother tribe that had found its way around the Red Sea, foraging for sea-food along the coasts of Arabia and into India, Cro-Magnon types evolving into Homo Sapiens, trekking over the horizon to see what lay there. While many tribes pressed on in different directions to eventually inhabit Turkmenistan, China and Australia, some Sapiens took up permanent residence in the subcontinent to hunt and fornicate in the lush jungle wilderness.

They were black skinned and they reified their dangerous world into an all-consuming Black Goddess, who dealt out life and death randomly, and they propitiated Her with sacrificial rituals, including song and dance as ever. At nights they sat around the communal fire, men on one side and women on the other, and they had competitions in storytelling, the men often disgruntled because the women always managed to one-up them with ingenious innovations and existential insights. Many of the wittiest of the raconteurs went on to mate with each other as they discovered their intellectual compatibility made their sexual communion more interesting.

I found myself falling into the psychic embrace of a tribe that clicked its name to sound like Alackananda and that’s what I called them, the Alackanandas, for they had developed a cohesive identity, a sense of being different from the other tribes marauding on the edges of their territory, and they had their own animal totem, the Wildcat, that they much honored. To guard against inbreeding the tribe was organized into sub-clans, the Bob cat, the Fishing cat, the Leopard, the Lion and certain cats could only mate with certain others. They had been waiting for their next shaman, whom they called the Alack, to appear amongst them, the old one had died a generation before. They hoped for a Clever Man who could soothe their fears, follow the Song Lines and interpret their destiny, and though I wasn’t born of their loins, as a weird-acting alien they saw me fitting that role, the sexually ambiguous Berdache, the Medicine Man and Vision Quester.

The tribe ranged over a wide expanse of jungle, with many numinous sites scattered throughout, like sacred trees, outlandish rocks and sweet-water springs to which they made obeisance, all the while singing/whistling various songs to map and know the landscape. Their favorite sites for camps were besides rivers, ponds and waterfalls. In winter they lived in caves, in the summer in thatched lean-tos, most of the year they wandered from campsite to campsite chasing game and the season’s fruits. Their vast territory over-ran the hunting grounds of two other human tribes plus a hungry Neanderthal community still clinging to the edges of existence downstream, and clashes over resources were inevitable. The jungle teemed with voracious wildlife that could carry a man to oblivion in seconds, where everyone had to be constantly on guard against attacks from giant cats, bears, boars, elephants and snakes. Life was tough and short for most. The men had to become warriors as well as hunters, and the boys were trained hard so that they grew up strong and able.

In the last few generations the Alackanandas had learned to capture the wild orynx, the horned-cow, and consume its milk. It took much learning to trap and tether the terrified, bucking beasts, squeezing as much milk into gourds as they could manage. While many tribals grew ill from the first experiments at consumption of cow’s milk, others managed to find nourishment in the miraculous white substance and over time the tribe thrived, those with the genetic mutation to digest the milk being a boon to the rest. The extra protein, vitamins, fat and calcium gave them the strength to defeat their enemies and range over bigger territories. They had more leisure to improve their tool and weapon making, their weaving, pottery and painting, and their communication skills. And if the jungle was bountiful more time could be devoted to ritual and story-telling, music and dance, games and sexual practices. When winter or droughts set in they had the fortitude to weather every setback.

In different seasons the men wandered far from their base camp, to follow the herds of horned game for meat and the milk of the cows, or to fight off any alien interlopers, or to attend to male initiation rites. There were times of the year when the women ordered the men out of the camp, demanding their own space for their special mysteries, refusing sex with the excuse that they weren’t in the mood. They disrupted domestic harmony until the men went off and, after the long break, returned with copious protein and spunk.

Imagine the barren cold of winter when game was scarce, the food stores had run low and tempers were frayed from the continual confinement in the caves. If the omens augured well, the women would set up a commotion and all the men would trudge off in different directions, except for the very young and the very old, who were banished to a distant camp. I chose a group of six mates, with me as the pathfinder, the optimal number of seven that allows cohesive action, and we set out in the chilly mists of dawn, in jubilation at the new moon slung like slim horns on the horizon’s brow. As the women ullullated a send-off chorus, their arms affectionately around each other, we men sang in strange bellows to attract us to the cattle, we were off to track down a cow herd and initiate an adolescent into manhood and Clever-man status, namely me. I was to achieve this eminent position by capturing a wild bull with its harem of cows that could then be pacified and submitted to milking.

The tribe had noticed the many scars across my body and thought I’d undergone the rites of puberty some years ago. Now what I needed was the rite of passage into true manhood, to be a leader and warrior, dare-devil and wise-seer. They’d seen the hair sprouting in bunches like a halo around my arse-hole and considered this the sign of warrior-maturity. I’d made it to twenty-one years old and ready to take on leadership responsibilities. As we strode through the jungle, hooting and whistling melodically to follow the path of destiny, I was made alert to all the variegated life-forms bursting around us and, my mind ticking over, I thrilled with anticipation for the adventure ahead. I had exercised for hundreds of hours, mimicking the prowess of the animal kingdom, swift and agile as the deer, poised and silent as the cobra, supple and lively as the river-trout.

They’d given me the personal name of Watcher as I was to be found most nights awake till dawn, peering from the hut or cave entrance, at the rustling jungle and the sparkling stars, alert to the dangers in the dark; they revered me for it, I could warn them against dangers like hungry big cats and crafty cannibal enemies. Watching and Seeing made up the seven talents a Shaman needed, along with Healing, Dancing, Singing, Knowing and Ecstasy.

I also revealed my cleverness with the plastic arts, clay and bone sculptures falling magically from my fingers, sketches of daily life on animal skins to hang on the walls and reflections of the tribal-soul projected upon the cave walls via stick-figure drawings that had even the tribal elders in awe of me. Thus I felt confident as I led my special comrades into the wilderness, seven of us, each with a particular talent that I esteemed. The horned moon grew to a half moon and then full as we trekked for many days, the wild cattle having being scared off to distant pastures.

Each night I had to endure hours of tortuous tattooing, singing visionary songs throughout, then dancing wildly, leaping over the fire, twisting sinuously about my fellow tribesmen, somersaulting over their heads, the inspired drumming and rattling driving me on, all enthralled by my athletic voluptuousness. I felt the maddened drums pounding in my heart. I lifted off, I could beat anything, I was afraid of nothing, except my destiny, for if I can’t ride the Bull and placate the great Horned One, I’m not fit to be the Alack, mediator with the Black Mother of Chaos, for all my special training. And I’ll be caste out into the dark.

Yet all my fellow travelers whistled in admiration when I danced, for I the Watcher, man from the future, am cut out to be the Alack, whether I have the physical prowess or not, because several times I’ve gone into an ecstatic trance and flown to the spirit world on a winged horse and there I met my animal helper, Bhageera the Panther, who clawed my leg and made me his own, and he’d tell me the type of demon that was plaguing the tribe and I’d exorcise it with song, myth and wisdom. I was able to return to consciousness and direct people to stop drinking from a certain pond or find the best herbs for a particular illness or discover the reason for someone’s disquiet, usually a mating-rivalry problem which I would mediate.

This moon I was ready for the final initiation into Shamanhood and attain independence in my travels and choices, especially those of a companion. With eagerness I followed the passage of mythological sites through the jungle, looking-out for fresh cow dung and trampled tracks. We foraged and hunted for small game and ate of the rare winter fruits along the way, and my excitement and dread grew for all that was left for me to complete was ride that terrible bull.

We walked till the moon grew nearly full looking for the signs of a herd’s passing that way, and on one occasion encountered our tribe’s despised enemy, the alien Monkey-men, drinking at a pool. My fellows drove the sub-humans away under a rain of missiles and grunted curses; the Neanderthal’s crude clubs were no match for the Homo Sapiens’ advanced weaponry of spears and crude bows and arrows. I held back pretending to be the detached mystic but really I felt some compassion for the Neanderthals’ emaciated desperation, also I had personal reasons for empathizing with them. Every night my six male companions camped out under the stars, lying snug around the fire, each resting his head on the buttocks of the one in front of him, leaving me the Watcher as night sentinel, with no one to comfort me.

On the night before the big final ritual, when all the men had finished grooming each other and had settled down to sleep, I sat gazing at the stars splashed across the heavens, ecstatic at the beauty and wonder of being alive. I glanced around at the men snuggling into each other, massaging, caressing, licking each other’s crotches, even in the midst of sleep they would nuzzle their noses in their fellow’s furry buttocks, muttering low moans of pleasure. I longed to join them and enjoy such privileges of adulthood, full body grooming by my mature clan-mates. I’d enjoyed the few times I was asked to give massages to the older warriors’ prostate-relaxed butt-holes, now my turn was coming, all I have to do is ride the Bull.

I couldn’t help drinking with my thirsty eyes the men’s bulbous buttocks, spread open as they lay in fetal position with their mate’s face cushioned lasciviously within; I was excited by all the gaping, wet hairy orifices and the heady, musky perfume the pile of bodies gave off, it screamed of horny delirium from my cellular structure upwards. The pink anuses glowing from their hairy crevices reminded me of the women’s vaginas on those celestial occasions when they flashed themselves red-hot to get some sexual attention from us men. From seven feet away the hairy boy-pussies shining like a Cyclop’s eye atop the silken-sheen of the legs looked like cunts, like Venus-flytraps. Indeed, the Alpha male warrior of our gang, Gronk, an incorrigible pussy-hound back in the village, was right now lapping up the hairy crack of his second-in-charge, for his favorite female had refused him access since birthing her last child.

My gaze was dragged inexorably to the other side of the fire where my new-found best mate, Hanu, slept alone, no one nuzzling into him though he’d reached adulthood last year. For he was different, half Neanderthal, jeered as a Troll by the tribe and nobody desired to groom his matted, louse-ridden body, except for me, I’ve secretly given him a good going over out in the deep jungle. I think Hanu is lusciously cute but the difference of his Neanderthal features has the others teasing and excluding him and it means I’ll have to give him lengthy psycho-grooming sessions if he is to be my friend to smooth over his atrophied emotions and let him know he is loved for his difference.

As he slept Hanu wrinkled his endearing brow-ridge in the loneliness of his dreams and shivers ran along his extremely broad, muscular back. His buttocks and legs were covered in a pelt of glistening black hair, with masses of curls sprayed around his exposed anus, and I longed to run my fingers through that soft luxuriance. Hanu’s Sapient mother had been captured and raped by the Monkey-men, and when rescued had brought back with her this half-caste boy. He had been the butt of everyone’s ire since, except of late for me, who knows his keen naturalist’s talents, his dreamy meditations, his soft heart, and I have learned to love him. The day will come when the Tribe will have to accept with resignation and respect the choice of Hanu as my partner and assistant in healing vision quests. Brutes like the warrior Gronk ask what use is he to the tribe, no woman would mate with him, he won't be able to procreate and carry on the tribal traditions. But as my partner he will be honored, his mother will receive gifts and extra sustenance and her other children will also thrive, grow fierce and maybe bear stronger children even than Gronk.

Out of the corner of my eye I caught the reflected glint of green cat-eyes from the undergrowth and froze, hand tightening on my spear, muscles poised to throw. With calmed breath and emptied mind I zeroed in on the big cat, to catch its attention, to feel its intentions, to warn it off, this was family sleeping around me, not prey. From out of the lush vegetation emerged a large Black Panther, green eyes flashing, and it surreptitiously approached me in long stealthy strides.

Confident that I could call my fellows to my rescue in seconds, I voided my breath and fear and melded with the universe, still and calm as a rock, and waited, curious as to cat-nature. The Panther slunk right up to me, put its muzzle in my face and sniffed me all over, particularly the claw marks on my right leg, then stared into my eyes for a few infinite moments, purring.

Suddenly the beast slavered out a huge pink tongue and gave me a wet lick across my smiling face. I slowly reached out and ran my hand soothingly along the sleek, black back of the Panther, all the way to its long tail. The big cat then turned on its heels and bounded off into the jungle, as I gulped in breath and flung my arms at the sky in jubilation. Yes! The real thing had come to me, validating the Black Panther as my personal totem. I glanced over at Hanu who I found staring at me, fascination shining from his black eyes. I winked and put my finger to my lips, there was no need to disturb anyone, it was all part of the course. I am the Punk Poofy Cat.

As the full moon loomed overhead I found fresh cow dung and located a small herd of the large humped bison we favored above all horned creatures. We marked out the bull and I figured my coming strategies. Nobody informed me how I was to do the great deed, dance upon an angry bull’s back, I had only learned of past initiation feats from folkloric pantomimes around the campfire and I had to sift their humorous antics for clues. The night set in and my crew set up a wailing and howling brouhaha, drumming up hysteria while I painted my body in psychedelic patterns, with a peacock-feather headdress, and mixed up a potion of Soma, oil of cannabis with opium poppies, ephedrine plant and Goldtop mushrooms.

I drank it and so did a couple of my best mates, including Hanu, to support me on my trip. I danced about the fire in wild animal abandon and lifted off in my mind’s eye, we seemed to be in a canoe paddling together furiously into the celestial realms. Nebulae gave birth to stars, galaxies crashed together, I chased the star formation of Taurus and lassoed it with a thought beam and rode it on a crashing wave of singularity particles.

I came back to consciousness and earth at dawn, clear-headed and light-footed. We prepared our tools and weapons, camouflaged our bodies with jungle stripes and crept up on the grazing herd. Hanu and I separated the big bull from its cows by firing small arrows into its rump and chasing it towards a sacred Peepul Tree growing not far off. My comrades had already prepared a long hemp rope and had it waiting, ready to tie it firmly to the tree, a noose fashioned at its free end. With much energy we chased the beast about, firing arrows into it, directing the rampaging creature close to the Peepul Tree by dancing in its face, and ducking from its charges, getting braver and braver, my brains and daring outmaneuvering its bellowed head-tossing and attempted goring, though terrified of it we got it closer to the tree.

I danced swiftly around the bull’s heaving flanks and lassoed it around the neck as I somersaulted over its humped back, throwing the rope to Hanu who with the others lashed it firmly to the tree. As Hanu threw more ropes around it to further restrain its heaving fury, I climbed into the tree and leaped upon the creatures back only to be instantly bucked off. I knew how to tumble and so was able to clamber back up and repeatedly kept jumping, sometimes riding it for minutes, doing handstands, even a bucked up somersault before I was thrown by a side kick. But up I would jump and have another go at clasping the horns and swinging myself through them, the drug had made me indefatigable and devil-may-care.

 The other five tribesmen assisted Hanu and threw more ropes over the furious beast, attempting to hold it down. Gradually the monstrous bovine tired and slowed its threshing about, allowing me to leap from side to side and straddle it for many minutes, clasping its flanks firmly with my legs and hanging onto the hump. I did many somersaults between the bewildered horns to prove my established prowess and my fellows whistled in encouragement. With the ropes ever tightening, the Bull knew the futility of its rage and cowed by the hours of athletic maneuvering of myself and friends, eventually it slowed and stood shivering in resentful resignation, bucking and heaving only occasionaly, pinioned by the ropes.

The cows had loyally followed in the wake of the bull and their herd-agitation settled down somewhat along with their stud. The Alackananda tribesmen fell upon each cow and tethered her down, though at first she struggled hard to escape, bucking and kicking; they quickly, deftly milked each cow into the bunch of gourds they’d carried with them, drinking great gulps of the delicious white fluid as they went.

They selected three calves for slaughter and made sacrifice to the Great Black Mother, then settled in for the night, to feast and celebrate my ingenious accomplishment in riding the Bull. They were now reassured of a new, strong Alack to lead them in the Underworld, and that I was an Illuminated Dancer augered well for the Tribe’s health. The bull snorted and struggled against its restraints in the background while I jumped up and performed a victory dance around the fire, the cows’ bellowing becoming part of the music. We ate plenty and prepared cheese and curds from the milk and wrapped it in banana leaves to eat as we trekked, then as deep night descended we curled upon the ground to sleep.

Each tribesman presented himself to me, the shining Clever Man, as I lay butt-up on a bed of leaves, and they performed a token grooming and prostate massage upon my fresh-washed boy-pussy, and as much as each caress was welcome and thrilled me to swooning, I waited for the last of them, Hanu, my best mate, to lay his head upon my muscular buttocks and nuzzle into my groin. And taking him by the hand, to the surprise of the others, I led Hanu to the other side of the fire where we curled up together, faces in each other’s crotch, and gave each other an orgasmic prostate massage. This is what manhood meant, the mutual giving, taking and protecting of an adoring companion, and for this Watcher the ecstasy was worth the wait.

In the morning we milked the cows some more then released them, the Bull last of all. It gave one almighty, insulted snort and stampeded with its cows off into the wilderness much to the glee of the tribesmen. I had mastered the Horned One and now was a fit devotee to attend to its consort, The Great Black Mother, whose milk gave life and death. We strung the veal carcasses on poles, slung the gourds from our necks and waists, and took a more direct route back to winter’s camp, singing valorous songs as we went. The men had a spring in their step for the protein they brought back should get them ingress to the woman’s sexual welcome and abandonment and, with a warm tingle in his arse, each man felt ready for a marathon session with the woman of his choice.

I the Watcher was the only one who didn’t think of women on the return journey, still wet between the legs, I walked directly behind Hanu and my eyes perused those flexed, hairy buttocks with great affection. I could still smell our rutting session of the deep night and I felt like I was walking on air, confident and fulfilled.

At last the Tribe had a new and exceptional Alack, I had gained manhood and possessed an intelligent soul that could lead where few men dared go. Already I was dreaming on the possibility of corralling the wild bulls for longer periods so the cows could be milked more frequently and not chased about the country with such enormous expenditure of energy. I knew they were wild and vicious beasts and it would take many thousand more years to domesticate them but at least I could plant the seed idea.

As a Warrior/Shaman I could henceforward procreate with whom I pleased, or not procreate at all if my skills lead me elsewhere. I had consolidated a life-long partnership with the friend of my desires, he would help me through good times and hard, and the Tribe would have to accept my quirky lifestyle of having a husband instead of a wife as my honored shamanic prerogative. I sighed with pleasure and relief as I gazed upon Hanu, my chosen one, the friend who would keep me company on those long, dark night vigils that stretched to eternity ahead of me. And if I should disappear back into the quantum flux I have trained him well to take my place, the Alackananda tribe will still have their shaman and he will at last have the respect he deserves, sweet soul that he is.

The night before we reached the home caves, as the others slept, I stared into the luminous heavens and matched the star-shapes up with those of the animals we depended on for our survival, their position above the horizon perhaps indicating the time when the bulls, deer etc would be plentiful or not. I thought of the vastness of the universe, the infinite potential, the other worlds where my kind might exist and what a bright, glorious future they might have, living, loving and knowing in an awesome Nature-wonderland that would continuously evolve into stunning variegated shapes. And hopefully the ongoing evolution of consciousness would include me. In some distant night, when I felt it was time to do so, in my Mind’s eye I will fly to those new worlds and live other, marvelous lives.

If you enjoyed this story please go to the WEB address above and consider buying my book of tales about growing up anarcho-queer, rock and roll punter and mystic adventurer in Australia and India of the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s.