VINCENZO ANGILERI


THE THIRD MAN:
THE STORY OF MICHAEL COLLINS

Creative Writing for Odiseo 


Michael Collins was the third astronaut in the mission Apollo 11. And the only one who wasn’t allowed to set foot on the moon. This piece is about the meaning of reaching one own goals and the irony of life.






Michael Collins is the only human, alive or dead, past or present, that is not within in the frame of this picture. Collins was the third astronaut on spaceflight Apollo 11, the closest a man had ever got to the moon, without ever stepping foot on it.

He stayed alone in command module Columbia, waving farewell to his colleagues Armstrong and Aldrin as they left in the Eagle to enjoy a summer walk on Earth’s greatest satellite. These are his words.


“You’re not alone. You’re not lost. A bit lonely maybe. You’re fine. Why wouldn’t I be fine? I’m part of this. I’m part of what’s going to happen just a few hundred metres away. A historic moment. It isn’t exactly how I imagined this would be though. And I would be a liar and a fool if I said that I have the best of the three Apollo 11 seats. You’re essential to this mission. You’re a part of it.

“IT ISN’T EXACTLY HOW I IMAGINED THIS WOULD BE THOUGH. AND I WOULD BE A LIAR AND A FOOL IF I SAID THAT I HAVE THE BEST OF THE THREE APOLLO 11 SEATS”


Neil and Buzz have left the command module. I can see them floating through the infinite void towards the cratered satellite. The lunar module approaches its destination. I feel a huge weight crushing me. Any moment now, the Eagle will touch the surface. Neil and Buzz seem to be drifting away into empty space as the command module rotates. And then I see Her —the Moon, closer than any man has ever seen her before. And now behind her, I see Earth.

Shining, fragile, blue. Everything I know is right in front of my eyes. Right there. Yet so far away. Every story, every life, every death, past and future, every person I’ve known and loved, even those I’ve only heard about, the people who fucked me over, my parents, my friends; they’re all right there, in front of me. And I’m up here. It’s kind of ironic. Behind me, there’s just darkness. A blue dot. Earth. A tiny fucking dot, floating there, in the middle of nothing. I’m lonely.


Radio contact doesn't really comfort me. I hear the instructions and carry out the tasks I set out to do. I know them by heart: for years, I have replayed every second of this day in my head. Maybe a billion times. I can sense the nerves of the people in the control room. The whole team is counting on us. They are waiting for this historic landing. Everything’s under control.

Now we just wait. It’s so quiet. The first man on the moon. My god, I’m shaking. The Eagle’s doors are opening. Neil will be the first man to ever set foot on the moon. Fuck. The silence is deafening. Suddenly I hear screams and shouts of joy from the control room. From every corner of the world, I guess. The eyes of humanity pointed at my two buddies, my partners. Shit, I don’t think I’ve ever felt this lonely. I dreamed of this moment for a very long time. It was us who got selected, I deserved this too. It’s an honor, god damn it. It was always us three.

“EVERYBODY WILL REMEMBER MY NAME.
DAD. HOW PROUD HE WOULD BE RIGHT NOW.”


It’s an honor to be part of this expedition. An honor to be able to be here, to have come here, to be so close. I’m so close. I’m so fucking close to everything I’ve ever dreamed of. Everybody will remember me. This is it. We’re making history. Oh, Lord. Neil’s foot touches the ground — EVERYBODY WILL REMEMBER ME. The hero who went to the moon but never set foot on it. Put LUCKY on my tombstone.”



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THE THIRD MAN: MICHAEL COLLINS Short story for Odiseo Vol.13 
Fake Monologue

Text by VINCENZO ANGILERI
Photography MICHAEL COLLINS

Published on ODISEO VOL.13
Edited by FOLCH
Thanks to Emmy Koski and Bis Turnor

odiseomagazine.com
folchstudio.com


Mark