If I won the Powerball and suddenly found myself with around a billion dollars to blow, I would announce a contest—the entirety of my fortune to anyone who could figure out how to bring David Bowie back from the dead.
I’d have to buy Bowie’s corpse, probably—a ghoulish notion, but only if this reanimation scheme fails to bear the desired result, so actually the prize money would be whatever was left after that. I guess I’d need to get some lawyers on retainer, and advertise the contest, too. Kind of chipping away at the pot, but still a hefty sum left at the end of the day.
I imagine the contestants would be an unruly mix of black magic weirdos and scientists with wild ideas about nanotechnology and stem cells and algorithms that mimic human consciousness.
I would absolutely not abide by any puppeteers wanting to turn Bowie’s remains into a marionette—this contest is serious, and that kind of thing is disrespectful to the dead, especially when the corpse in question meant so much to so many people.
I’d have to pay for a security team, too. Well, it would be worth it.
One by one these dreamers would file through, they’d give their big ideas a shot, fail and leave with their heads hung low, and as this stretched on and on I’d begin to wonder if I was the one at fault, if maybe offering an enormous cash prize to anyone capable of achieving mastery over death wasn’t a strange idea doomed to failure. Maybe my money would be better spent on a fleet of lavish boats, one for each day of the week.
One day I’d meet a female contestant, one of the weird ones, with short black hair that framed her face and deep almond eyes and a tattoo of a lightning bolt on her right wrist. She’d present one little glass bottle filled with the tears of exactly one hundred fans and another filled with the blood of Bowie’s son, Duncan, and declare that mixing these over the corpse while reciting a certain spell would bring Bowie back to life.
There’s no way, I’d think, but I’d humor her. Let her go through with the whole thing and act as confused as she when the body, now streaked and stained, remained inert. I’d suggest the tears of two hundred fans, and maybe blood from Bowie’s daughter, too, and she’d say it was worth a shot and go off to collect those things, but not before kissing me once to thank me for the encouragement and second chance. Her lips would taste like lips and her hair would smell like hair but it would be the taste of her lips and the smell of her hair that I wanted, more even than Bowie alive again.
I’d anguish over her return. The weeks would plod along.
One morning, in the midst of her absence, a wise old man would place a fat brown frog on Bowie’s forehead—I’d keep the body frozen to preserve it, and only bring it out briefly when a contestant presented themselves—then he’d slash the frog’s throat with a knife. Blood would trickle down over Bowie’s face, and as it did the color would return to his cheeks, his eyes would flutter, then open…
With Bowie alive there’d be no reason for the woman to return, and like an idiot I wouldn’t have taken her number. I could slap the frog and blood away, re-kill Bowie if necessary, pretend this all never happened and wait for the woman to come back…
Fuck me, that’s what I’d do. I’d deny this magical miracle and the world more music. Because I’m selfish, because I’d want those almond eyes back before me more than anything else. I’d send the old man away—with his prize in hand, fair is fair after all—but keep the pretense of the contest going, even though all my money would be gone, until the woman returned.
And when she came back her spell still wouldn’t work, no matter how much blood or how many tears she brought along with her, and when I offered to buy her dinner by way of consolation she’d quickly mention her boyfriend.
So at the end of this I’d have no money, no woman—I’d basically be right back where I started, except for owning Bowie’s body.
Which I guess would still be pretty cool, come to think of it.