65 Home in a nowhere town

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"Bye bye!" Kim waves, in the direction of the woman's apartment. "Keep in touch, you old bag."

Shigem reaches down to retrieve three teddy-bears from the floor where they have been getting unceremoniously trampled, and introduces them: "The small pink one is Kum-kum, the smaller white one is Jason (he glows in the dark) and the bigger white one is Zéphire. Coffee?"

"Yes," says Alaia. "I'm impressed you can still find the teaspoons."

"Weeks of planning," says Shigem. "You know, I used to be really into kitchen utensils, but I've calmed down about them a bit, in recent years."

"What a strange town this is," says Alaia, looking out of the window.

"Yeah, it's not the kind of boring bland suburbia where I grew up," says Kim. "It's interestingly fucked-up instead."

"It's fucked-up for sure," says Shigem, "but in a funny kind of way I love it, although it battered me into the car-wreck I am."

"You're not a car-wreck," says Kim.

"No? Maybe I just look like one: I look in the mirror and I think, 'What a car-wreck, but I still love you!'"

"You're beautiful," says Kim.

"Charmed, I'm sure."

"You two are going to have a fabulous time living in London," says Alaia.

"Unless the plane crashes," says Shigem. "Then we'd probably have less of a good time. Oh well, that's just a risk we'll have to take. Who wants to be safe and contrived and always know everything's going to work out nicely? It's never too late for a nice little plane-crash, just like it's never too late to start smoking... Which reminds me, last night Lucan's Cadillac passed by us. The window was open and Lucan was in the passenger's seat staring out and he made that sign at me again, even more aggressive than he did on Sunday night"—and here he does a very Shigem version of Lucan's brutally eloquent self-decapitation gesture—"which has left me fucking stressed."

His bright brown eyes confirm this fear. "I'm not surprised," I say; and as if in confirmation of the stress, I only now register that the acne I saw on him last night is considerably worse today. "By the way," I ask, "why did smoking remind you of Lucan, just then?"

"Because Lucan makes me want to smoke."

"They should use him in smoking commercials," says Kim.

"Those would be commercials that only worked on me, though," says Shigem. "Not that I'd need them, because I've got him living here just a few blocks away, making gestures out of Cadillacs wherever I go. I go round a corner and wham—there he is again, in a different Cadillac, making this week's style of decapitation gesture. So they wouldn't be very cost-effective commercials. Mr Smoking and Mr Cigarette and all those other rich smoky fucks wouldn't have that warm glow of money well-spent."

"I visited Lucan today," Alaia tells him, "and I gave him a glowing character reference for you, and I swore I saw you myself in Paradise on Sunday night at the exact time the first head would have been taken to Downstairs."

"Did you? Thank you, Alaia, that was very sweet and brave of you! You're an absolute doll. How did he react?"

"He didn't give anything away, I'm afraid ... but he's got to take the heat off you. It's so stupid if he doesn't."

I think back a couple of nights, to see whether any similar alibi will also be available to cover Shigem for the discovery of the waxwork head of Kev on the following evening, Monday; but I abandon this when I recall tuning in to him and Kim at that time, after the gathering at Evelyn's place, to find them simply going to bed here with no other witnesses than me.

After more cheap pizza and another hour of nattering, the doorbell rings. "That'll be Evelyn," I say. "Believe it or not, the three of us are actually going to a party at Lucan's tonight, though I'm not sure why. Would you like to join us, Shigem?"

"I'll think I'll pass, thanks, but give him a big kiss from me and ask him not to kill me, please."

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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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