Sunday Snippet, Flash Fiction, Hot Rod On Mars by Bill Chance

“We earth men have a talent for ruining big, beautiful things.”

― Ray Bradbury, The Martian Chronicles

A painting I bought at the For the Love of Kettle event at Kettle Art in Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas. The artist is Jeycin Fincher

Hot Rod On Mars

After a hundred years of terraforming the air on Mars was finally breathable. The colonists had developed their own culture – often seen as odd and ridiculous from the point of view of their friends and relatives left on earth.

One of the most inexplicable cultural oddities was the popularity of hot rods on the red planet. All kinds of replica American muscle cars from the fifties, sixties, and seventies became the ride of choice across Mars.

Craig was very proud of his replica 1970 Dodge Challenger. I was white, like the car in the ancient film, Vanishing Point – one of the few classics that survived the great purge. Craig couldn’t resist though, and had a garish red and blue lightning bolt painted on the room.

But Craig’s testosterone was more powerful than his driving skills – plus he never understood that late-20th century muscle cars were designed for pavement and were dangerous and unstable on cross-country jaunts. The designers never intended their cars to be driven across the rocky plains of Mars.

It was inevitable that he would find a steep ditch and plunge the front end down into the gap, bury it in the dust that filled and hid the furrow. Craig climbed up onto the elevated back end to get a bit better satellite cell reception and decided to stay there as he waited for the star-shaped tow drone to fly to where he was. It was going to be an expensive accident… Maybe he would learn from this.

Probably not.

Returning to… if not normal then what?

“In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.”

― Friedrich Nietzsche

Turning and turning in the widening gyre   

The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

Things fall apart;

the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

—-William Butler Yeats, The Second Coming

The line to buy artwork immediately grows to fill the gallery.

I forget how long it has been since the world has gone mad. When I go out, I am astonished to see how mad it has gone.

Every year I like to go the the For the Love of Kettle competitive shopping event at The Kettle Gallery in Deep Ellum

The best way to understand this is to read my 2014 Blog entry, The Weird and Wicked World of the Singing Cowboy

The Weird and Wicked World of the Singing Cowboy by Clay Stinnett

I went every year, sometimes successful, sometimes not so… I didn’t write about it every year, but sometimes I did.

2016 Getting A Ross

Tethered to an Upside Down Giant by Richard Ross

2019 A Competitive Shopping Event

Painting #1 – by Brad Allbright
Day of the Dead skull by David Pech.

2020 A Very Human Way of Making Life More Bearable

“How We Measure Our Days” by Lisa Huffaker

Last year, of course, they did not have an event. I was excited this year to go back again.

Candy looked over the paintings that were listed on the facebook page and gave me a list of four to look for – pick one. There is no guarantee.

The DART ride down there was awful. Post COVID – the trains are overrun with insanity. I used to enjoy riding public transportation, but not any more. The cars reek of weed. Every car and every stop has at least on lunatic screaming and cursing.

There is track maintenance going on so the train had to empty and one stop, load onto a shuttle bus, ride to another stop, and get back on. The trip downtown took me almost two hours.

The worst was at the Lover’s Lane station. A lunatic roared across the platform pushing a stolen shopping cart full of shit – mostly broken pieces of plywood – cursing and screaming. He stopped a few yards down the line and stood there screaming and throwing stuff onto the tracks. When the train arrived, loaded and left, it paused at a street, waiting for the bar to lower, right next to this guy. He continued to scream the most awful obscenities while beating on the driver’s window with a big hunk of plywood. The train held several families on their way to the Mavericks basketball game – I doubt they will take the train again.

I made it to the gallery about an hour before the event was to begin – later than I planned, but I still was about the tenth person in line.

Line in front of the Kettle gallery starting up, an hour before the doors open.
The rules of the competitive shopping event, posted in the window.

I always enjoy talking to the people in line and the hour went quickly. Luckily the weather was good – only a little chilly.

We all ran in and I chose my artworks. Unfortunately, the numbers were small and black on silver, and my ancient eyes could not make them out. I had trouble finding the artworks Candy had picked out – this slowed me down and by the time I reached the counter, three-quarters of the artworks were already sold. I discovered that I had written a number down wrong, and had purchased a random artwork (this has happened to me before – my handwriting is so bad when I’m rushed).

In the end, I had a good time, though I’m not completely satisfied with the two artworks I bought. But they will go onto the wall where my choices from the past are arrayed… and will look fine alongside the others.

But I still have this frightening feeling that everything is spiraling out of control… the world is going to shit.

Broken and Reassembled Every Day

“All the animals, the plants, the minerals, even other kinds of men, are being broken and reassembled every day, to preserve an elite few, who are the loudest to theorize on freedom, but the least free of all.”

― Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow

Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas

Swans and Brompton

“His own image; no longer a dark, gray bird, ugly and disagreeable to look at, but a graceful and beautiful swan. To be born in a duck’s nest, in a farmyard, is of no consequence to a bird, if it is hatched from a swan’s egg.”

― Hans Christian Andersen, The Ugly Duckling

Artwork and a mobile sculpture

Brompton Folding Bike

Cedars Open Studio Tour

I Wanna Hold Your Hand

“You know the reason The Beatles made it so big?…’I Wanna Hold Your Hand.’ First single. Fucking brilliant. Perhaps the most fucking brilliant song ever written. Because they nailed it. That’s what everyone wants. Not 24/7 hot wet sex. Not a marriage that lasts a hundred years. Not a Porsche…or a million-dollar crib. No. They wanna hold your hand. They have such a feeling that they can’t hide. Every single successful song of the past fifty years can be traced back to ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand.’ And every single successful love story has those unbearable and unbearably exciting moments of hand-holding.”

― David Levithan, Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist

Sculptural Installation, Artist: Hobbes Vincent

Hobbes Vincent Homepage

Cedars Open Studio Tour

I Bruised Myself Against My Madness

“I walked into my own book, seeking peace.

It was night, and I made a careless movement inside the dream; I turned too brusquely the corner and I bruised myself against my madness.”

― Anaïs Nin, House of Incest

Sculptural Installation, Artist: Hobbes Vincent

Hobbes Vincent Homepage

Cedars Open Studio Tour