94 Theft five, with suicide and soup-of-the-day
"Are we ready for the last recording?" asks Rik in the studio. "If Jason's client hasn't got enough for a spokes-sheep after this one, then I'm sorry but I can't help them. I only hope the sheep gives all this stuff a good home."
"After tonight, I'll never need to tune in to any of them again—it's the end of an era," I say. "I'm glad it's the last session. I'm starting to feel we should give our targets their privacy again."
"Hear, hear," says Alaia, "I applaud you for that," and I feel as if I've just been given marks out of ten by some strict but strangely glamorous maths teacher.
"OK, we're all set up," says Rik. "What harvest of fruits d'you have for us this time? Once more with feeling, please."
"Oh, something for all the family." I feel an exhilaration of finality infusing me, as I psych myself up to project two tune-ins from last night and five from today, vowing maximum accuracy...
First off is Angel's love for the waxwork, glimpsing himself as an elf in a turret, one dagger in his hand and another in his chest, his heavy violent feelings and his constant excitement.
Next comes the only stoned tune-in I'll have projected (and the only unreliable one), to Shigem in Paradise: his memory of the imperious club owner, the five non-existent bartenders and his weighty conversation with Tapette.
Now here are Kim and Shigem waking up this morning, their pleasure, their remembering Kim's blue elephant dream; and going out and bumping into Evelyn.
Here's Kim leaving Southport alone for London, and meeting people but still being alone; and the Asbury Park waterfront staring at him quietly.
I pump out Angel's foreplay, then his anger and haste, then his relentless nakedness in public and his spiritual enrichment on the crucifix.
Here comes Pippa's rainy walk, her sinking, not connecting on the street, her friend's silence on the phone, and her wander through the lonely edge of town to sit by the highway.
And we coast in for an unforgiving finish, with Angel exhausted in the Cadillac but unlikely to escape Lucan; Angel's Baby Doll on her trapeze, his dancing in the empty hotel ballroom—and grabbed awake.
Half an hour later, still on a glowing high from the session, I'm reclining on a sofa in Rik's and Evelyn's apartment, with Alaia, as the four of us embark on four bottles of red wine.
"Were you doing film stuff in Glasgow?" I ask Rik.
"Yeah, first I was a runner, for pennies, then I was doing the sticks, then pulling focus—all the time living in a squat in Castlemilk. Then one day I was actually allowed to look through a camera. And after I'd worked out which end of the camera you look through, I found they were actually going to pay me to operate it. So I could finally start living in a place with wall-to-wall ceilings, and floor-to-ceiling walls too. Then down to London and slid towards post-production, with all kinds of audio-visual toys in Soho. Then someone said there was a job opening at the GN in New York that needed some of the fine-tuned optimisation stuff I'd been doing between PAL in the UK and NTSC in the States, so I applied. They needed someone who'd been doing all that from the UK side. So that got me a work visa here, an H1B. But even with the GN behind me, getting the actual visa was still a long, complicated process. It turned out, bizarrely, that I had to stay for three weeks on a tourist visa in a small town in East Texas, 'cos that was the only place I could stay for zero money, with somebody I already knew, having run out of credit cards before the GN were allowed to employ me. Not to lapse into any clichés, but it really was all cow-tipping down there, and potted meat and Spam-moulding contests. The whiff of the KKK was still in the air, from the 'fifties, and scary religious people everywhere. If you were looking for a bit of incisive verbal cut and thrust, you were in the wrong place. Try to have an interesting conversation—you might as well watch dust settle. And no fashion show either. Bad clothes happening to good people, everywhere you looked. But you know what they say: when a chicken pecks you on the ass, you do what you have to. It was only three weeks till the visa came through, then suddenly I was working for Jason in Manhattan, so I had to go cold-turkey on the cow-tipping."
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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...