Song Title Short Story #2

The Man Who Sold The World – David Bowie

As he walked up the stairs to his car, Jim pondered his seemingly perfect life. Lovely girlfriend, flash car, reasonably sized house and enough disposable income to make anybody sick. He was busy texting Sarah, and so wasn’t looking where he was going and collided with someone coming down the stairs. He looked up, ready to offer his apologies and was somewhat taken aback to see a man who looked similar to himself. Shock left him speechless as he locked gazes with this person before him. He looked like a less well off version of Jim, and was dressed in the same way that he had used to before the job enabled him to dress in designer clothes and shoes. Jim tried to summon the ability to speak, but nothing came from his open mouth. The Jim-a-like looked at him and waited.

An eternity passed, or a minute in real time, but Jim was beyond speech. Eventually, the man shattered the silence – “Hey, you probably don’t remember me, but I sure know who you are!” Jim was confused, but the man continued – “yeah, we used to hang out in the old days.” Jim finally recovered his voice – “We did?” The man sighed deeply – “Yeah, you remember. We used sit in your bedroom and listen to music.” He laughed, and patted Jim’s shoulder – “you remember our David Bowie phase? Your mum gave you such a bollocking when you did your Ziggy Stardust thing with her make-up!” Jim dug into his distant memory, and sure enough that incident came to mind. But strangely, he didn’t remember anyone else being there at the time. He laughed outwardly, but before he could say any more, the man had started to walk off and continued on down the stairs, singing a familiar song about a man who sold the world. Jim shrugged his shoulders and continued his way to his shiny Audi.

As Jim drove home, he reflected on the incident in the stairwell. He had certainly recognised himself in the man, or a previous version of himself. He thought back to the days when he had been far less confident than he currently was. Living at home with his parents, no girlfriend, and a dead-end job in a fast food restaurant. He had dreaded waking up every morning, but wake up he did, and got through the day somehow by promising himself that he wouldn’t be there forever. Then, one day, while he was absent mindedly flicking through the job adverts, he happened upon the perfect opportunity. He duly applied and got the job. Soon, he was in a flat of his own and before long, that awkward, uncomfortable boy was long dead, and replaced by the suave, self-confident (but not teetering over the line into arrogance) man he was now.

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