49 Theft two, and nattering about bikinis

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49   Theft two, and nattering about bikinis

We get out of the van, slip through the unmarked door into the Metropolitan, through the hallway, down the long dim corridor and up the back stairs to Evelyn's door. She goes in, then after a few minutes emerges with a sleepy-looking Rik and the four of us go back down to the studio.

"Fresh as a daisy, I see," Evelyn tells him.

"Fresh as a badger's armpit," he says.

"We're not doing proper camera make-up for these recordings for Jason, are we?" asks Evelyn.

I shake my head. "I shan't even end up recognisable, from these."

As I settle myself comfortably onto my tall seat, I realise I'll be projecting from no fewer than seven segments of tune-in, all done today since the first secret spokes-sheep recording we did this afternoon. It's now nearly 4 a.m. by the studio clock, and I'm going to award myself a late lie-in tomorrow morning. —Oh no I'm not, because there's my late-morning picnic date with Pippa. Damn, why did I suggest the morning to her? "Action," says Rik. Oh well, here goes...

So first, from the party, comes Kim's childhood in archetypal suburbia: comfortable, alone and always behind-a-pane-of-glass from what he wanted.

Here come his golden days at college, not studying; then fun in London and the quest alone for love.

And here, from my tune-in to him and Shigem together, comes their both setting off home earlier this evening from Evelyn's and Rik's apartment upstairs, looking back towards the building that was only a shell.

Here is Kim's freeze-frame on the street outside, and his memories of music alone through the headphones in London with his first sense of passing time.

Here are the pair of them together again, finishing their journey home tonight: talk of Shigem's growing up, a love for masses versus individual people, and so to bed.

Here is Angel's lewd dance, the she-wolf inside him that will eat or else be eaten; his sinking, his spaciness, his need to be a victim; and his drive home with Kev in horrid silence in the Cadillac.

And here at last is Pippa: her not going out tonight to trip the light fantastic; her relentless days, her visitor, her feeling she's been killed.

I cut through my active gaze. The image-stream's tail-feathers streak away and dissipate around the camera lens, like a ragged end of celluloid spinning to a halt around a spool on a projector. The tiny red light beneath the lens dims to black.

Rik flicks the studio house-lights back on. I take a deep breath. For me, that required just as much stamina as our first imagination-theft did this afternoon. "You were right," I tell Evelyn. "My memory couldn't have held much more than those, so I'm glad we captured them before they started seeping away. It makes you realise what a huge volume of stuff just gets wasted, through leaking out of our memories."

Evelyn snorts: "Good riddance, to most of it!"

"Were you projecting anything from Angel?" asks Alaia.

"Well, you saw the dance on the street and the she-wolf and—oh, you mean you couldn't see the monitor? I knew Evelyn would be glued to her brightness gauge, but I thought you'd be able to watch." We all look at Rik.

"Yeah," he says, "if I'd been more than half-awake I'd have remembered to say: from now on we can watch these after they're done, but while they're being recorded the monitor's going to be over here, just so that I can keep an eye on the framing. Sorry, but I need Jaymi to be doing his thing without being aware of anyone just 'watching television' in real time while he's doing it."

"I don't mind if Alaia's just watching—or Evelyn," I say.

"Yeah, but I do," he says, "because for me it would then start to feel like a live taping of a TV show, which is an entirely different vibe from what I need here."

"That's fine, I don't mind when I see it," says Alaia. "I was only asking if Jaymi projected Angel, because I'm sure Lucan abuses him. I can sense it."

"Yeah, he thrives on that," says Evelyn. "That was his specialty when he and I were hooking. He constantly had bruises and black eyes."

"How can he thrive on that?"

"He does," I say. "I saw a foreshadow of it today and it was included here. You'll see when we watch it."

"I can't wait to see me wearing this skirt on Kingsley Street, from the recording this afternoon," laughs Evelyn. She looks at the clock. "It's too late to watch these two sessions now, we'll see them tomorrow. What top did I have on with this skirt?"

I cogitate on this. "A kind of bikini, I think. I remember your golden rings, though."

"OK, are we going to be nattering about skirts and bikinis all night?" asks Rik. "Because I have a date with a pillow right now and we should lock up here."

"Maybe Angel does thrive on it," Alaia says. "But he still wants revenge on Lucan. Real revenge; I can sense that too."

"Well, maybe he'll get his revenge one day," I say.

She shrugs. "People usually don't."

"I bet I was wearing that pastel yellow bikini top with this skirt. Was that it?" Evelyn asks me.

"I don't think so," I say. "Anyway, would you really have put that with bright magenta? A bright yellow like this one works fine, but a pastel yellow?"

"Hallo," says Rik. "I hate to interrupt the fashion commentary, but I'm locking up the studio now, and you can sleep on the nice hard floor here, if you'd prefer it to a soft bed."

"It would be a bold contrast in tone as well as colour, yes" pronounces Alaia, "but that's not the same thing as a clash—"

"Look!" says Rik. "I'm going to get quite cross in a minute. I know I'm just the trog behind the camera who's taking care of the trifling matter of the second global broadcast event, and of course I'd never dream of processing Alaia's voice until it's unrecognisable there—"

"We're gone!" says Alaia, shooting him a flirtatious look, and we all step out of the studio.

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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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