Fandom: Life on Mars
Word Count: 960 words.
Notes: Gen, for neuralclone.
“Tyler, I want that article on my desk by 3, got it?”
Sam sighed, typing out the final paragraph of his exposé. Well, of course the article was due by 3. All articles were due by 3. He was never given enough time to get his facts straight and his sources sorted, oh no, everything had a deadline.
And he hadn’t minded the idea of that, at first, because he’d thought he’d be making a difference. He’d worked up from doing the horoscopes (Aries: Only good things will come to you. Your lucky number is 1973 and your lucky colour is beige) to doing ‘cute anecdote of the week’, to finally being given responsibility of real, hard-hitting stories. But he’d never truly been happy, because instead of doing real, hard-hitting stories, he was left with conjecture and insinuation.
He stared at the last words he’d written and was tempted to take the paper and crumple it into a ball.
Family and friends will gather to mourn the loss of DCI Gene Hunt at a private wake later on this month.
Sam always tried to keep his expression impassive during these sessions. He was to remain non-judgemental. He was a voice of reason, not condemnation. But listening to the problems of a man who’d sold his soul decades before made this a difficult task and his skin was stretched taut as he maintained his façade.
“Y’see, I love her, but she drives me nuts,” the man was saying and Sam could almost see himself punching him in his tired and wrinkled face. “Sometimes you’ve just got to show ‘em what’s what, don’t you?”
“Have you spoken to Eve about your concerns?”
“Nah. Speaking’s a load of rubbish, innit? For cuckoo birds.”
Sam cracked his knuckles. “Why are you here, Mr Crane, if not to speak?”
“Court order, young Sammy-me-lad. Believe you me, I’d not step foot near you by choice.”
Sam longed to tell Anthony Crane that this was very much his choice too, but he said nothing. Instead, he thoughtfully tapped his pen against his notebook and waited for Crane to continue explaining his homicidal urges.
Smile and wave. Just smile and wave.
Sam wasn’t used to grinning so much. He thought he’d crack his face open, and then where would he be in the opinion polls? Nothing like raw blood and sinew to put off potential statistics in his favour.
He was doing his best to appeal to all demographics, kissing babies here, talking to babes there. He was using his carefully cultivated charm and panache. Just that morning he had had a long and engaging chat with Police Commissioner Skelton, saying how he’d always wanted to get involved in law enforcement.
And he felt like the worst kind of liar, which he supposed made him the best kind of politician.
He told himself he was doing it for the benefit of society --- and he was, he really was. But there was no denying that Sam Tyler, MP, was also in it because it made him feel powerful. If there was one thing Sam had always wanted from a young age, it was the notion that he could influence others, that he could control whole worlds.
Smile and wave.
His perspective frame was up and he had his palette ready. He had an extra coat just in case the weather turned on him, as it invariably did. The English sky was fantastic and dramatic, but he only had so many tubes of grey, or black, or white.
Inspiration wouldn’t come.
He needed a model. He needed a muse. He sat on his small, three legged stool and sighed as the leaves rustled. An older woman, maybe his mother's age, was sitting on the bench across from him. He was tempted to ask if she'd consider giving him some of her spare time.
Once upon a time, he had had an amazing imagination. He had constructed scenes and scapes that he couldn’t remember ever seeing before, and yet, had been told by many that they once used to visit a corner shop just like that, and that the blue door seven buildings down on the left lead into the record place of their youth. He loved it. He felt like he connected with these people on a very visceral level.
He missed that connection. He thought it darkly amusing that becoming a better artist should make him lose his basic humanity.
5. Cage Dancer
It started out as him needing the money. He hadn’t done as well as he’d wanted to with his A-Levels and he was trying to get enough cash together to take night classes. So he was a DIY monkey by day, dancer by night.
He quite liked it. Liked the attention. Loved the music. Even managed to score some mind-altering substances when he was lucky --- took them back home and stuffed them into a drawer as he looked up information on his Sunday off. Thought it was best he’d tried the drugs he was going to eventually clear off the streets. And hey, he was young, he was impressionable, he was curious.
Sometimes, during the day, he looked at the costumes he wore and his eyes bugged out of their sockets --- but at night, it was all alright, he didn’t care, about anything, he just... grooved. Rolled. Writhed. Danced in time to the beats and the bass.
And it earned him money. Oh, boy, it earned him money. And pretty soon, he’d be able to take his night classes, and later, take the Police Initial Recruitment Test. But in the meantime, he'd dance for the dirty old man with the sparkling blue eyes.