65 Home in a nowhere town
"Cut," says a quiet voice.
Dark, quiet. Where is this? A fluorescent light flickers on. A squint at different great events, slanting through the windows of this same narrow room...
There's a whoop, in Evelyn's voice. The lights around the lenses, which have been cocooning me in my own space by obscuring what is behind them, are turned off and Rik is revealed in that small corner of the studio, behind the camera on my right which has been capturing my right half-profile.
"Fuck me, what a trip!" says Alaia, high-fiving me as she bubbles up out of the sound booth in that noisy black silk dress, and the two of us caper around the studio together.
As a big-stadium performance, this Big Bang climax felt just as electrifying as the climax of the international broadcast of Sound & Vision. It's a little strange, however, because of course this wasn't live: there weren't the tens or hundreds of millions watching in real time around the world; there weren't the tens or hundreds of thousands watching around the stadium (well, their level of attentiveness was debatable, at best, for Sound & Vision too, I remind myself); there weren't the New York broadcast crew watching it just a fraction before the TV viewers did; and once again there weren't even Evelyn and Rik watching it right here in the studio, because he was averting his gaze through the cameras and she was crouching behind me watching Rik's face and my rear end... Not for the first time, I feel gloriously ignored here.
Once Alaia and I have taken our leave of the other two and left the studio, I try, as planned, to take advantage of our euphoria to probe her subtly in order to get a feel about whether she'll be admitting to the subterfuge I fathomed: "You know, I was thinking earlier, it's possible Lucan may actually enjoy all the stuff on the DVD! D'you think he will?"
An element of propriety enters her manner as she replies, "I'm afraid he may, yes. Still, I doubt it'll occur to him that you might be testing out your sight on anyone other than Angel."
OK, so not a chink in the armour there.
"I meant to tell you," she says, "I spoke to Kim and Shigem on the phone earlier and I kind of promised that the two of us would go visit them now to say hallo, and then we'll meet Evelyn and go to Lucan's party."
"Oh, OK, sure—let's go."
So we set off, still bubbling about Big Bang. Nearing Shigem's front gate, we see him and Kim approaching from a block away with Pizza Plus bags.
"What a mess," says Alaia inside the apartment.
"I know," says Shigem, "and three days ago it was so tidy. Not that I'm super-particular about where everything goes in my life—just mildly tyrannical."
"I'd noticed," says Kim. "Which bodes well for our place in London, because I like to live in a creative compost."
"A pig-sty, you mean. Yes, it's going to be such fun. This is pizza for everyone, so jump in." We grab slices, perch on boxes and eat. "I tell you, I am so not going to miss that old trout who lives across the landing over there. It's so buttock-clenching, the way she makes this big production number out of me playing music even the teensiest bit louder than we're talking right now. Which gets really old, really fast. When she first complained, I thought I'd ask her round here, to win her over and break the ice: you know, 'Hallo, fancy coming over for stiff conversation, you old bag? We could have sherry and a selection of cheeses, and maybe I'll break out the cyanide cookies.' But somehow, going to the dentist always sounded like more fun than having her over, so I never asked her."
YOU ARE READING
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...