64 Big Bang: run to the sun

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64   Big Bang: run to the sun

During the afternoon I toy with the idea of tuning in to Alaia, to confirm her trying to sabotage Jason's deal with me; but I don't. This is because she is still my best friend and I don't want to snoop into her, but it's also because I don't want to see the resentment that I fear must have contributed to her sabotage effort.

She returns to the Metropolitan late in the afternoon. "Mission accomplished at Lucan's?" I ask.

"Yes, he took the DVD of Angel. He even seemed in quite a good mood, so I took advantage of that to ask him very gently if he hasn't any compassion for the addicts he caters to."

"Alaia! Your stern moral compass makes me feel louche and weak, and I love feeling louche and weak, so please keep it up."

"You do need emotional guidance, Jaymi, yes. I think you may also benefit from a little therapy, and as soon as you're ready to ask me, I have a recommendation or two in that direction."

I'm never quite sure how much she's kidding when she says things like that. Nor am I quite certain she's wrong. "What did Lucan say?"

"He laughed rudely, said I was a bleeding heart from New York who's out of touch with the real world, and asked if I'd ever tried to earn a living here myself. To which I said, 'Actually, Lucan, I have been employed, right here in Asbury Park, as a singer—perhaps you've heard about it.'"

"Touché! What did he say to that?"

She laughs. "He said, 'Fuck you, sister, I'll see you at the party!' and shut the door on me."

"Are you going to go?"

"I think we should show our faces for a while, with Evelyn, yes, because it might help us to help Angel and I want to know if Lucan's watched the disc. But I don't want to stay long, because I don't want to start getting pally with Lucan—no way."

She's not coming across as someone who'd be likely to admit to the subterfuge that I think I've fathomed, but I shan't probe her because it's not the moment most conducive to her openness: that moment will occur in the context of the euphoria we shall inevitably share after our seven o'clock recording for the broadcast.

Before long, then, I am back in my Big Bang black, standing alone at the window of my room for a few minutes, letting the sound of the ocean seep into me, until the bells across town chime seven. Then she and I are back in the studio with Rik and Evelyn for our third and last official recording session, so that Rik can spend tonight and tomorrow combining the fruits of all three sessions in post-production, ready for airing tomorrow evening. He has spent today reprocessing our recording yesterday evening featuring the return of the giant ship, and he's clearly eager to see what final helping we have for him now.

Today Alaia and I are not sparking with each other, after the technical checks, as much as we were yesterday, so Rik doesn't repeat his trick of throwing us in at the deep end but returns to the established drill of a silent focus period before the countdown. Then the cameras roll and bam—time to go! The stadium balloons out around me ... and are you all ready out there in the stadium now, for the last time? Hallo America, and hallo world!—and the audience roars in the distance, gigantic. This is just a little song I wrote while we were on the road (I think it was in a run-down motel in Phoenix, but those run-down motels all run together when you've been on the road as long as we have), a song about how I'd like to get away from here... D'you all ever feel like that, out there? I'm sure you do! Well, just so you all know, I feel your pain, yes I do, I do, I do... So now at last we fly away and unfurl, from body-form to something grander, freer, lighter, stronger. I don't want the eating and the fighting and the struggle down here—I was made to be aloft and to fling silver rainbows and fly in a wide curve out past Jupiter, a comet's light for food and the music of the spheres beneath my wings. I'm unimpressed that this has taken until now. How natural to expand by a quantum leap, exult between the planets and the quasars, and travel at the speed of light!

So I get into the plane parked here on the ship's deck, and lay the stadium down in the cockpit beside me. Up we fly, close beneath the sky's giant dome, over mountains and forests and seas, and there appears far below, through clouds and sunset light, a city dancing wickedly as night falls. A night-time rainbow flickers up, connected via multi-coloured lightning to the city, which is spraying up light and heat as harp-strings sound—every plink a highlight on a champagne drip. Zooming in to the city, we descry queen-palms among the street-lights and freeways, and the harp-plinks are heard to be the chirping of crickets. The plane dips low and veers out from the city, down a valley, in between coloured mountains. The plane's roof is down but there's no wind in my hair.

I twirl a dial, and as the aeroplane spins around its fuselage's axis, the horizon spins slowly round a point upon its length, like a double-headed compass needle. Continents unroll on either side. We fly above a golden country far away, a country of colours all different from the earthly ones, where stately masked figures walk in poppy fields. The tips of two golden clouds pass by each other, while a golden moon behind them blinks soft through their vapours, like a gong's bronze clang. A river of light flows around a chateau of air, reflecting a magenta-crystal sky upon its ripples. Flowers burst aflame in a pale space of foliage where white lions roar under fountains of light, as we fly through a tunnel, disappear in a sunburst and land upon the centre of an opened tangerine, pierced through with the howl of the beauty of its segments!

Tangerine magma rises under us; we soar through the clouds and up and out from the atmosphere and curve toward the sun, which hangs in a black sky. As earth recedes, we hurtle with the sun-blast pulling us, up to a mad speed. Specks of dust streak past, in thin cutting lines. The surface of the sun is rippled, raging and lethal. Streaming solar wind and shafts of light from other stars slash down through infinities of space, with a cold perfect cosmic enormity of scale. The disc of the sun has grown already somewhat bigger; I feel its hidden roar and its engines of destruction. A huge solar flame arcs out from it in ragged shreds, and rays of something shoot from some explosion at the flame's tip, receding at the speed of light in straight lines splayed in all directions to the ends of space. Exultation pumps in me—I scream, and my scream stabs out from the open-roofed cockpit, faster than the speed of sound. I scream again, tears stream out from my eyes, streaking back—

Across the solar system, a choir of sprites sings on Saturn (icy cold and deep black and acid-green chartreuse), ranged on a cloudscape, shooting out strains of a song in high soprano, sharp and ethereal. Above their little pointy ears and sharky shaped eyebrows, the giant planet's rings curve divine across the blackness of space.

And there I shall leave us: running to the sun, with the sprites for a soundtrack. Oh, you know you want it! My face fades to black on screen, Alaia's voice fades out, and Big Bang glides to the smoothest of halts.

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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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