Lifesong by Carol James Marshall is a 56-page short story about a harmless sounding, unnecessary, but maybe nice-to-have new app. It will wake you up each morning with a different song. And it will do more than wake you up; it will guide you through the day. Whatever the song of the day is emphasizing, listeners’ daily activities will change to follow the lyrics.
On Monday Billy Idol told Thomas to expect more, to ask for more, and even to demand more. This was true for most things and included food. Thomas didn’t realize or monitor the effects of the endless coffee he drank. The pizza he bought on the way home didn’t make it home. The good effects of this app were the happiness and increase in wealth of the pizza delivery guy. Thomas only felt his desires to consume more until 8 PM when he heard the opening words of the television news announcer. Thomas was aware something strange had happened to him but he didn’t question it.
Tuesday was a different song and this time Thomas should have been a bit more inquisitive. Thomas didn’t fit into his clothes anymore. Or his car. Or his desk at work. He hit his head on unexpectedly lower door frames. Except they weren’t lower; he was bigger. Thomas didn’t question this; he just tried to deal with it. After 8 PM, everything returned to normal.
Wednesday brought rain because that was what the song was about. Rain was unusual in California. The State had always had a reputation for weirdness of all types but this was so unique to Thomas he should have paid more attention. It only rained where he was. It rained on his car while other cars in a traffic jam were dry. True, he did notice another person who also appeared “individually soaked” but he didn’t really question what was going on. He began to suspect the app was more than it appeared.
The Thursday wake-up call was a love song. Possible bad news for any female co-workers or bosses. After a couple of Karaoke performances, Thomas planned to delete the app. He always forgot the planned deletion after the announcement of the 8 PM news.
The Friday wake-up call was extremely dangerous. Read this short story to find out what happened to Thomas (and a bunch of other people).
Carol Marshall has written a short story hard to put down as we want to read further to find out the next day’s musical inspiration. The music is the prompt and the plan. Marshall suggests the implementation, at least as far as Thomas is concerned. This is a fantastic base for a long novel if Marshall wanted to create a complex interacting group with different levels of relationship problems. In this short story, there is even a moral. Without writing a spoiler, here is my interpretation of the moral:
I gave this four Amazon stars, not five because I see annoying proofreading problems. Words appear in the text that are not necessary, not related, and make no sense in a sentence. There are not a lot of these but they are annoying.