57 How Kim met Shigem
I open my eyes, blinking. The warmest imagination I've tuned in to here has been Evelyn's. The most water-clear has been Kim's. The cloudiest has been Pippa's. The most purely beautiful, Shigem's. The most coolly passionate, Alaia's. But the most extraordinarily alive of all has been Angel's: never have I seen a greater drive to experience the full million volts that are available to any of us, did we but have the daring and the energy to conduct them. Angel's is the most addictive personality I have ever seen or heard of, allowing no insulating space between it and what presses in on it. In short, between him and Lucan, things are just as surmised by Alaia.
I get up and open my door, to go and knock on hers, but instead discover her right outside, about to knock on mine. "Hi," I say. "I was just coming round to say that Kim asked us over at any time today, if we want. They have to spend all day packing, so it won't be a proper visit, just a bit of moral support."
"You mean now? Sure."
So I call Kim to tell him we're on our way and we set out, without much conversation. Halfway there I remember: "Oh yes, I did tune in to Angel and your instincts were right. We are talking serious physical abuse of him by Lucan... I'm almost inclined to fear for his survival."
We are too nearly at Shigem's for me to begin it now. "I can't really summarise it quickly. The best thing would be for you just to watch it after we do the spokes-sheep session this evening."
"OK," she says, looking troubled.
At Shigem's apartment a chaotic packing scene is in progress, ready for their move to London in a few days' time. Kim clears sitting places for us in the box-strewn main room. "How's it going?" asks Alaia.
"I don't know, I've been obsessing over when we met Lucan on the street the other night," says Shigem, returning from the kitchen with mugs of coffee. "That gesture he made. Not that I think he's going to decapitate me, but I've known him for years, so I know what he's capable of. I know what he's done to people—bad shit. I've actually been pretty stressed." Looking at him, I can believe it, and it may have something to do with why the skin on his beautiful high cheekbones isn't just cratered as always but is today marked with fresh acne. His bright brown eyes open wider: "'Cos if he really has decided I did those wax heads, which he looked as if he had decided, then he really may hurt me, or destroy this apartment, or something terrible. I can't escape here till Sunday, so he still has time to get to me. Oh, well! It's a giggle to live life on the edge."
"Best get packing, then," says Kim.
We look around. This is not a small move. So we help: while Alaia and Shigem work on things in the kitchen, Kim and I sort books into different sizes before slotting them into boxes. As we work, I tune in ... and I see when you first met Shigem, Kim, three months ago. You'd gone to a party called Jungle, on a Monday at a club called Busby's on Charing Cross Road, with your friend Robert plus a friend of his. The three of you were sitting in an alcove on the left, when another friend of Robert's came over and greeted him. You took little notice but went to the dance-floor. A few minutes later you saw this new arrival dancing near you, glancing at you. You made recognition signs. He leaned towards your ear, but then said nothing. Flattered and amused by his shy approach, you smiled at him. "Can I buy you a drink?" he asked. You were attracted to him, no question. Everything was easy. "Yes," you replied. You felt his arm go round your waist, and his long black hair with its blond highlights spilling past your shoulder. His presence was permeated by gayness, somatically engrained—a luscious quality that spread, sleek and fluid as a dancer, through every move and every word of his, as blood pervades a body. The chemistry between you was enormous and immediate. With absolute naturalness, you both were embracing by the time you'd reached the bar. With such unholy speed did your relationship start: there never was a thing between the two of you, except it.
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THE IMAGINATION THIEF (mini-chapters 1-98)Fantasy
"The Imagination Thief" by Rohan Quine 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 bet...