Fandom: Life on Mars
Word Count: Approximately 1000 words.
Notes: Gen insomnia fic. How I missed ye. This is bordering on crack.
1. Member of a Glam Rock Band
It was him and his guitar. Silver-green glitter over his cheekbones. Metallic bodysuit low-cut to show off his chest. He sang, high-pitched and frantic. Up on stage he was someone else. He was Ty, that glamourous, in-your-face rocker with fast fingers and looser morals. Not the boy lost in a time he didn't understand and a confusion he couldn't sort out.
When he'd first woken up and found he was wearing the costume, he'd been rightly concerned, but he soon grew into it. He'd always loved playing guitar, but always been too busy - reports and interviews taking up day after day.
Even though his music preferences had changed over the years, this was always to be the true style for him. So he did back-up vocals and supplied awesome riffs, with the Gene-Genie out front belting the main melody of songs with titles like "Psychodelia", "Princess Street's a Highstreet", and Sam's self-penned "Turn Off the Test Card".
2. Children's Television Entertainer
Mr Sockley was itchy. Really itchy. And his eye kept falling off. No matter how often Sam said this, called cut, or made a fuss, nothing was done about it. Sam had to sew Mr Sockley's eye back on himself, and he was fairly sure he'd done it four millimetres to the left of where it should have been, but when he said this, the Director didn't care a whit.
"Why'd I give a fuzzy peach in the first place?"
"Oh, I don't know, Chris. I thought you might be a stickler for detail?"
Apparently not. Sam was told to get back in front of the camera and use that nice modulated voice he had carefully cultivated. Sam was thankful it was in front of a camera and not a live audience.
Sam didn't dare admit that children scared him. He wasn't even sure how to explain why. Perhaps it was their beady eyes and tiny fingers. Maybe he was scared of the latent potential they held. Or it might have come down to the fact that kids were bloody vicious where he had grown up, so there was every chance they were bloody vicious here too.
3. Aspiring Astronaut
He'd always been obsessed with the celestial above. He'd stare up of a night-time, imagining soaring past the dots of light; a starman. Being told that he was Manchester's answer to Neil Armstrong had been a dream come true. Most likely it was still a dream. But it felt real, and that was all that counted. He flew to America and participated in fitness checks, and it all made him buzz with nervous energy. He was finally going up there, after all this time of wishing and hoping.
The thought of being in space, separate from all life forms but connected to the great unknown made him close to tears. The only thing which kept Sam grounded was his constant need to be on his guard. There was so much that he didn't know - so much that he couldn't know. Somehow, reading police procedurals hadn't provided him with the requisite knowledge to wing it. His colleague Ray had taken a great dislike to him, and he had to be careful, or he'd let something slip. Just the notion of this opportunity made it imperative he keep a lid on anything which might jeopardise happiness.
4. Sous Chef
Once upon a time he had liked cooking. Now he had decided; not so much. The life of a sous chef was a hectic life indeed. His meticulous need for order and perfection was supplanted by his vigorous need for his fingers to stay intact. He was expected to do everything quickly but skillfully, and despite a certain restlessness, Sam liked taking his time.
"Have you got the plate ready yet, Sam?"
"Not yet, Annie."
"Well, whenever you're ready. Some time today would be nice."
"I'm doing the best I can."
"Maybe if you didn't? Maybe if you just did what was asked?"
Sam learned early on that all of the joy and zest of creating fine cuisine was eroded by the process of creating fine cuisine. And this annoyed him, because it had been the method by which he could relax, before. Before waking up with an apron around his waist and a white cap in his pocket. He had started trying to solve miscellaneous kitchen mysteries, such as who had stolen the butter, to counter-balance his need for the real world.
Staring at the screen was maddening. Tapping at the keys was worse. He wondered how improper it was for him to be writing something completely autobiographical clothed as science fiction. He wrote about time travel to 1973, but he was really writing about alternative dimensions. Alternative lives. He was really writing about being lost and isolated and without escape. Hopefully, what he was doing was no different from that which most writers did; projecting their hopes and fears into the minds of others.
He thought that his characters were too cliché, too predictable, but he was only writing about the people around him, and they were. From Nelson, who made him pay through the nose for alcohol he desperately needed for creative sanity, to Phyllis, who pulled him along by the nose when she wanted accurate updates about his work. He had no choice. Sam found that from the outside, most people seemed cliché and predictable anyway. It was delving deeper than the outside that was the important thing. He still wasn't sure he'd found the way.
Being told that he had to churn out a manuscript by the end of the month nearly made his eyes fall out of their sockets, and he was tempted to just give up and go. But if he did this maybe he could get home. And he had to get home. This is what spurred him on, in this artificial reality - the thought that there was such a place as 'home' - that there was such a person as 'Sam Tyler' - but truth was beginning to blur with fiction, and he wasn't sure about anything.