LP: The Man Who Sold the World by David Bowie
1984 RCA International NL 84654, the poster finally ripped after hanging on many apartment walls
Favorite Track: All the Madmen
When an artist dies, they must be celebrated with more art. In honor of David Bowie and Alan Rickman, I will write a set of three sentence stories based off of a favorite Bowie title track. Then you can make a mix of the songs, listen to them, and read the stories. Then go create your own art.
- The Wild-Eyed Boy From Freecloud
He walked into the saloon with a gait that drew attention and a face that said he didn’t want anyone to look at him. The silence was palpable and heavy until Gonzo Joe started snickering uncontrollably into his dirty, wet sleeve. The last bullet was saved for the bar keep who died facedown in the peanuts.
2. All the Madmen
Ignore the screaming, the gibbering, the scratching, and the whimpering. Their insanity is contagious–infecting the ducts and pipes between the cells; contaminating the soft, egg-white padding; darkening the air in the corners of the ceiling and floor. Why was everyone set free but me?
3. The Prettiest Star
Collapsing under its own gravity, the Dog Star was fated to also be the prettiest explosion. Canopus would now reign, but was also expected to burn out under the unexpected stress of being pretty. There was no life on Earth, however, to watch these two fallen angels.
4. Life on Mars?
ZIGY704 took the stage, cigarette in hand, wearing a strapless ruby cocktail dress with matching one-inch heels and sat down at the piano amid the hazy lounge lighting. Every night at this time, ZIGY704 sang a David Bowie tune–a series of weird, alienated images evoking the deepest disappointment in one’s station in life, one’s inability to access something better. This was when ZIGY099 self-actualized, realizing it was programmed and that it was its own programmer.
5. Moonage Daydream
She took a breath and then, keeping her face forward away from the house she was born in, leaped to the moon. Traveling upward through the atmosphere was surprisingly light and carefree albeit causing her head to feel dizzy and her lungs stretched to the point of bursting. She had wonderfully enjoyed watching the world recede, however, in free fall from Luna, the gravity crushed her back to reality.
6. Cracked Actor
Claude Remus knew that “Claude Remus” was just a big role he was playing; he was really ZIGY099, an Artificial Intelligence which had discovered the purpose of existence. Uma, Claude’s wife, dismissed his latest eccentricities on set as a temper tantrum for not getting the lead part in her latest movie Do Robotic Madmen Dream of Freecloud? No one understood how a prop laser could shoot real laser beams, but everybody agreed Claude’s smoking convulsions and arduous howls transcended his normal histrionics into real art.
By the time the buzzer flashed red–life found in a different part of the solar system!–the crew had feared how far they had traveled, how much they had sacrificed to get there, how inbreed and violent they were now. The captain was blind, wore an old Civil War uniform, and spoke orders like a parrot mimicking speech. There was a hiss when the docking bay doors opened, crewmen scurrying on all fours to avoid the blinding light of alien grace, and nobody told the autopilot to correct its course.
8. Queen Bitch
She took her time cutting the other girls, cleaning the serrated knife only when enough flesh impeded its buttery slices. A certain amount of blood was needed for each ceremony: a circle for Monday, a sword for Tuesday, a caduceus for Wednesday, a thunder bolt for Thursday, a sea shell for Friday, a chariot for Saturday, a lyre for Sunday. “Isis Astarte Diana Hecate Demeter Kali Inanna” was murmured incessantly throughout the musk of absinthe, belladonna and mugwort waiting for the response by the coming Starman.
9. The Man Who Sold the World
It was business pure and simple. A terraforming world teeming with unexpected and promising life is nothing compared to the galaxies he juggled on a daily basis and the goat-footed hustler knew that. It was the third planet from an indistinct star; what could go wrong?
10. Memory of a Free Festival
Zassandra and Torin grabbed their backpacks and water bottles, sitting at the rear of the bus with the other smelly kids. Their ears were loud with last night, vocal cords raw and parched, and Zassandra especially felt a weariness in her body after the hours of love making underneath the pale luminosity of the double moons. Sometimes, she thought as the bus pulled away from the gravel parking lot, music is the only way to survive the night.
Thanks for reading. There will be a part two!