Me and Bowie are reclining on a fluffy blue round bed out of the 60s. He opens a can of Copenhagen and tells me he's trying to quit smoking. I reach onto the nightstand and give him a Nicorette. "Tastes horrible," he says. Two retired opera singers named Franco and Carlo are going down on me. I have on a black shirt and Bowie's fully clothed. He lights a Dunhill and leans back. "So," he says, "I haven't caught since 1978. I only pitch. You'll have to catch today." I tell him that's just fine; with him, I say, I wouldn't have it any other way. Carlo moans, but it's not him Bowie wants.
Bowie's on me now, fully clothed (as I can see from the headboard mirror). He uses lambskin condoms. Franco and Carlo are in the corner now, singing the duet from Bizet's "The Pearl Fishers." Bowie is huge. He leans over and breathlessly whispers in my right ear, "We're getting metaphysical." He snorts some Rush and holds it down under my nose as he pushes in. I inhale deeply.
Suddenly we're someplace else and I know it's Europa, one of the moons of Jupiter. Franco and Carlo are turning into rocks and screaming. "Don't be afraid, it's only water," Bowie moans. A flock of egrets flies by.
I tell Bowie he looks good for fifty and I'm glad he's a Capricorn. He smiles, a bit disinterestedly. We're through and we're now at this outdoor cafe in Europa and Al Jolson and Jacques Brel are on a stage singing a duet while we sip double espressos that I paid for. "I should do more songs like that," says Bowie, and I notice his long fingers have turned into oil pastels. He draws a picture of me sleeping on the table and I wake up sweating.
I find myself in an art gallery reading Modern Painting, the editorial staff of which Bowie is a member. Suddenly a picture of a sculpture I've seen many times before speaks to me in Bowie's voice (the deep one), saying "Why talk shit about Damien Hirst? You don't understand him." I look up and there's Bowie himself, and he repeats the sentence. I tell him I prefer Francis Bacon. He waves a dismissive hand and says pshaw. I ask him if I can hang my paintings on the wall of the gallery. "It's not my gallery," he says, "And we have no paintings here. Only Art." The last word echoes and reverberates around in the now-empty space. I can't remember what was there before.
Bowie produces a large brush and begins to paint yellow squiggles on my now-bare chest. I ask him where it went my shirt. "Ha!" he says, and it appears back on me from his brush, although it's green now (it had been black). Bowie laughs. He sounds like Jeremy Irons.
I realize I need to get out of this ArtSpace, and pronto. Bowie's undergoing another metamorphosis. "I'm ready," he croaks. And suddenly we're spinning down a dark abyss and land on a bed in the middle of a 14th century monastery where the monks are chanting and masturbating. "See," he says, pointing his index finger into my neck and running it down to my navel, "Only Art." I become aroused as he offers me a Jolly Rancher (watermelon flavor). The monks are chanting loudly now.
I realize I'm being transformed by the same spirit that is animating Bowie. "Let's write a musical to be produced in the year 2,000," I say to myself. Bowie answers assent with silence. An elderly monk is rubbing me quickly.
The monk speaks with Bowie's voice: "I love your fractured energy." I tell him he's such a trickster. "You trickster you," says me, and I reach under his monk's robes.
And when I do I find me and Bowie at a murder scene in late 40s South Dakota. We both look down at it. "Ah, grizzly," he says, now looking like himself. "But beautiful." I ask him if we should use Ektachrome or print film for it. "Don't need to, ducky!" he screams. "We're already here!"
And we're covered with red paint that used to be yellow while lying in a big heap of to-be-recycled-paper. "I'm one with you now," he whispers through the bubbles. I see an old copy of his magazine and there I am, lying here in there. He holds up his fingers to simulate a camera. "Clicckk," he says, and smiles largely. I see a photo of myself waking up at home. I'm bleeding and I smell like paint and strong cologne.
Me and Bowie wake up in a holding cell and I don't know what we're in for but I know that we're in Valdosta, Georgia. There are several other people there too, lying around on the floor in various uncomfortable positions. I know that Bowie and I didn't come in together; he looks tired. "Why did you write that rubbish about me?" he asks. "Don't you know the only thing's the saxophone?" I remind him he's an actor, an artist and an archetype as well as a musician. He waves a dismissive hand and admits it's true. His fingers are longer than I'd have thought, like a Madonna's in a Mannerist painting. He's shrunk a foot since being locked up, somebody says.
The cops are coming to let us out. My Camry's outside but Bowie doesn't have a ride. He doesn't ask, just gets inside the car with me and sighs deeply. "Bunch of shit, wasn't it" he observes. He reaches in my glove box and gets out the peppermint schnapps. "According to what I said on the BBC documentary," he says as he takes a swig, "I don't drink anymore." We both laugh. This is indeed a hoot. "This is retroactive transformation," he says now. "Ah," I say, "So they locked us up in anticipation of what we did later today in the Okefenokee Swamp." "Right-O!" he says as he taps the end of his right index finger against the tip of my nose and grows back to his real height, which is a bit shorter than I expected. "It's already taken place."
And I recall sitting with him by a tree stump and playing Old Maid, which incidentally was originated in 1844 according to the Oxford English Dictionary: Shorter Edition, on which I'm sitting so as not to dirty my dungarees. Bowie is winning. He slides me a sly glance. "Now you know," he screams. And I look with panic at the cards on the stump but they depict the bedchamber of a castle somewhere in Moorish Spain where I'm rubbing linseed oil all over Bowie's back while he sits in front of a 1967 RCA TV set watching some rugby team beating up on the Green Bay Packers. The Packers punt on fourth down. "Should have gone for it," Bowie says, and I realize he's bored. He looks over his shoulder at me. "Let me pretend you're a different man," he whispers.
I tell him that whatever man that is is the man I've always wanted to be. I feel his palm against my chest. I look up and we're hydroplaning off a bridge going 80 on I-90 South. He grasps me, firmly. "The birds are molting," he chuckles. We're both breathing heavy and fast.
When we hit the water the water disappears and we stop outside of space and time as he pinches my nipples. I'm enveloped by his swan's wings and hidden from the sun. Night falls and I see cards pattern themselves along the stars. "What does that mean?" I ask him as he finishes inside me. He doesn't hear.
When he opens his eyes we're back in the holding cell. He's lying back and hands me a card. I take it and wish I was sleeping in a real bed. I look at the card and I see that I am. The upper left-hand corner is bent, and I know that Bowie is cheating. "It's like the sheets," he says. He touches my shoulder and I wake up kicking, the covers flapping like white flags in wind.