41 It's only a shell

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41   It's only a shell

I return to the quiet of my room and sprawl flat. My head still echoes with our conversation in the bedroom. It's funny, I came down here thinking I would be in charge of things, that this would be an adventure we'd control. After all, we'd rehearsed enough. Outside the specifics we've presented on camera, however, it's felt as if we've just been swept along. Well, we'd better hold on tight, then.

My alarm clock tells me it's a quarter to two, but I'm not sleepy yet. It occurs to me that the only kind of tune-in Jason mentioned in Times Square was the kind I should do in the company of whomever I'd be tuning in to; and so far this is the only kind I have done here. I recall, however, that if I already know who somebody is, then their live presence isn't necessary for me to be able to tune in to them. I first discovered this on Liberty Street when I located what I can only describe as Marc's "frequency" up in the GE Building, and then again when I tuned in to him through his office wall behind the yucca. Surely, then, I should be able to locate our targets' frequencies from right here? After all, in relation to these four I've now done much better than just reading a detailed profile on them, which was my sole source of knowledge about Marc before Liberty Street: I've not only met these four but even tuned in to all of them in person already. Let's try it, then, solely for the sake of Jason's thieving deal.

I close my eyes and hold aloft in my mind as vivid a picture as possible of Kim and Shigem, assembling this both from their physical presence here in the Metropolitan and from my tuning in to Shigem last night in Paradise and Kim tonight. I throw this picture out into the world and send my attention bounding after it like a dog in pursuit of a rubber ball. Straight away I find my attention is hauled sideways towards the window and somewhat downwards too, to home in on where the pair of them are crossing Liberty Square, having left Rik's and Evelyn's not long after I did ... just as Kim is saying, "Oh, I told Jaymi about the figure at Pippa's."

"I hope I don't have more nightmares about that tonight," says Shigem. "Those nightmares just went on and on. There was another part of them I forgot to tell you about. I kept wanting to look through those door hinges you mentioned—maybe because you said you couldn't see through them in real life—but someone kept telling me I was too trashy to look through them. Am I trashy? I don't think I'm as trashy as people probably think I am, but maybe I'm trashier than I think I am. You're not as trashy as me, I know that. How did you manage that? Maybe it's just part of me. When you grow up around brainless chatterboxes like my family, you have to fend off the trashiness—I could just feel waves of it coming at me throughout my childhood. My sister used to decorate her room to match her rabbit."

Leaving the square, they disengage hands, as a figure appears a block or two ahead. "You're as strong as anyone," says Kim, laughing. "I used to think you were a fragile fern, you know."

"Oh, some of me is pretty quailing and fern-like—you won't be entirely disappointed." The figure up ahead disappears into a house. "But the rest of me is about as subtle as a truck, it's true. I'm glad you're perceptive and not just a male bimbo."

"Have you been with many bimbi?"

Shigem nods. "Usually not the brightest bulbs in the box." He feels his right ear: "Oh, I've lost my ear-ring. It's a disaster. I wonder if it's at Evelyn's or on the street?"

"Shall we walk back and look for it on the ground?"

"No, it was just a cheap one." They walk on a bit in silence. "...But I don't think it was trashy. It was just a simple silver hoop. Well, silver-plated."

Turning around while they walk, Kim stares back towards the ocean, at the carcass-building, which stands open to the night between its bare concrete columns. "I wonder how long that building's going to stay there as only a shell," he says.

Shigem pretends to break down in tears. "It's only a shell!" he wails.

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For some nice reviews and interviews about The Imagination Thief, in The Guardian and elsewhere, see http://www.rohanquine.com/press-media/the-imagination-thief-reviews-media/

For a quick synopsis of it, see http://www.rohanquine.com/home-the-imagination-thief-novel/synopsis-and-characters-list-the-imagination-thief/

For the 12 Films in The Imagination Thief, see http://www.rohanquine.com/video-books-films/12-films/

For the Audio-book version and the Video-book version of each of its 120 mini-chapters, see http://www.rohanquine.com/home-the-imagination-thief-novel/audiobook-tumblr-wattpad/

For links to the retailers, see http://www.rohanquine.com/buy/the-imagination-thief-novel-ebook/ and http://www.rohanquine.com/buy/the-imagination-thief-novel-paperback/

And for its Amazon pages, see http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Imagination-Thief/dp/0992754909 and http://www.amazon.com/The-Imagination-Thief/dp/0992754909

The Imagination Thief is about a web of secrets, triggered by the stealing and copying of people's imaginations and memories. It's about the magic that can be conjured up by images of people, in imagination or on film; the split between beauty and happiness in the world; and the allure of various kinds of power. It celebrates some of the most extreme possibilities of human imagination, personality and language, exploring the darkest and brightest flavours of beauty living in our minds.

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