78 Theft four, and Alaia extricates herself

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78   Theft four, and Alaia extricates herself

I shake my head gently, return to this island and check the time. My spirits lift, as it is time for something that I shall miss, once it's ended, as it'll have to end soon: the recording of raw material for Jason, as fixed with Alaia on the phone. So I high-tail it back to meet Alaia, Evelyn and Rik in the studio, where I listen with renewed respect and some befuddlement to a quick account of the wizardry that was employed today when he edited together the final presentation of Big Bang from our three recordings, processed it in various ways and sent it barrelling up the pipe to the General Network's playout division for airing tonight. For him, after such post-production intricacies, setting up the camera now for a quick fourth spokes-sheep recording is evidently a bagatelle and he sets to it with a weary jauntiness. As for me, my hurry to get here, combined with my knowing there will only be one or two more of these sessions, contributes to the intensity with which I now psych myself up and spew out the five tune-ins I've done since last time...

First, playing it with all the sex and joy and sadness and emotion in the subject itself, I squeeze out Angel dancing at Lucan's party last night in the smoky basement den, with Lucan's pride in watching him, as a too-brief respite for Angel.

Then from today comes Pippa's hopeless yearning for the young man in the tower, how she should leave here but won't, and her favourable stars in the newspaper.

Here comes Kim and Shigem's beach idyll in its golden glow of early romance, and Kim's intimation of being in a story that somehow isn't real. (I've felt this too now and again in recent days, as it happens, and thus permit myself to embellish his feeling with two or three grace-notes all my own.)

Here's Pippa hiding in bed earlier this evening, the passing ship to New York and (to complicate our spokes-sheep a bit) the singing cats that she never knew were hers.

And here's Kim's moment of enchantment on the night-time street just now.

The screening we have straight afterwards on the TV monitor is moving for all of us. "Seeing those four people laid so bare on that screen—it focuses such a spotlight on them," muses Rik. "With each one, there's a small corner of human consciousness, and it's very detailed and urgent and deeply felt. And you wonder about all the influences that buffeted them around till they became just like that and not otherwise."

"I'm just glad I'm not trapped inside Pippa," says Evelyn. "Poor honey... Oh, I've just remembered, I heard from Flames that Lucan is spreading it about Shigem being responsible for all the waxworks now, including the new one of Angel. It's the same shit: Lucan doesn't have a clue who made them but he hates to look clueless."

"Then I'm worried for Shigem," I say. Now that the Angel on Damian's path has come together with the weaselly figures Kim has seen at Pippa's, thereby revealing who the wax-modeller must be, the easiest way to protect Shigem would be to tell Lucan it was Pippa and then just wait for his thugs to muscle into her apartment and lay bare the truth ... but none of us voices this option, as I think we're all aware that Pippa doesn't deserve it to be considered as an option.

"I've got it," says Evelyn. "We know Shigem was in Paradise when the first wax head appeared. Well, guess what—we have proof he was there. I mean we have the footage from Jaymi's first tune-in to Shigem in the club that night... Maybe we should just lend Lucan that footage too? He accepted that the stuff on the Angel DVD was genuine, so why wouldn't he accept the Shigem footage was real too?"

I don't need to look at Alaia to know she'll be squirming inside and working out permutations. I realise, doubtless at the same instant she does, that this Shigem footage was of course on the DVD Alaia gave Lucan, the DVD with "All 4" scribbled on it. Alaia must be calculating right now that if Lucan is next given the Shigem footage, then he'll tell Evelyn he's already seen it, so Alaia's secret will be out. "Oh," says Alaia, "I don't think there's any point in that, Evelyn. There's no proof that the footage showing Shigem at Paradise is from the same time the head was left. Jaymi could have absorbed it at any time in the evening. Not much of an alibi."

"It shows Shigem on a full dance-floor," says Evelyn. There wasn't a full dance-floor all evening. People could corroborate what time it was, they could verify he was there. Maybe the DJ—"

"We can't start bringing other people into this," says Alaia. "The aim here is to stop this getting out, not spread the news. So, no witnesses—no proof. Plus, frankly, I'm a little uncomfortable giving out footage of Shigem without his permission."

Evelyn raises her eyes to the ceiling. Feeling obliged to give Alaia some help, I add, "Giving out footage of other people aside from Angel—it's a bit risky for the cloning deal. Just giving Lucan the Angel footage was risky enough."

"And anyway," closes Alaia in triumph, "even if Lucan did see the stuff with Shigem in Paradise during the first head, and the timing was proved—still, as you pointed out before, Lucan could always say Shigem simply delegated the actual placing of the head."

I'll be impressed if Evelyn overcomes that triple-whammy of objections; and indeed she doesn't. "I'm just worried for him," she replies. "If we're not careful, someone's going to die here."

Alaia frowns and turns to me. "Jaymi, can you see that happening?"

I raise my hands in surrender. "You mean in future? Now the future's one thing I can't see, thank goodness! That would feel entirely different... By the way, would Shigem ever snitch on Pippa, to protect himself?"

"I very much doubt it," says Evelyn.

I'm about to ask whether she thinks Kim would ever snitch on Pippa to protect Shigem, but at the last moment I refrain, prompted by an instinct to keep this notion to myself, for whatever options it may provide.


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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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