97 Lucan and Angel on the big screen

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97   Lucan and Angel on the big screen

That does it—I should tune in to Lucan, right now, and see if there's any damage brewing for Shigem. It'll be much more valuable if Kim doesn't talk, of course; not that he says much. I hesitate a moment, then just come out with it: "Did Shigem say that Evelyn mentioned the Metropolitan had a brief project where I did some spying into Angel and Lucan?"

"Yes. I hadn't known you could do that, as well as the hypnotic stuff, until she said."

"Yeah. Well... Anyway, in view of that gesture Kev just made, I think I'd like to do a second bit of tuning in to Lucan, while we're walking, if that's all right?"

"Sure, what d'you need me to do?"

"Nothing. Just keep quiet, if you would."

As we walk on in silence, it's with some trepidation that I push out my customary mental picture of Lucan, in what I realise is indeed only my second direct tune-in to him, expecting to find bloodthirsty evidence of the real violence and injury I know he has perpetrated on many people. The only time I tuned in to him, when I was on the toilet eavesdropping on him and Angel in his kitchen, I felt no such trepidation, as I simply found myself tuning in by mistake, being stoned. And in any case what I chanced upon then was the unexpectedly human memory of his attraction to Angel when they first met—this benign selection of mine being no doubt influenced by Lucan's mellow party mood at that moment. Now by contrast, I am braced for whatever I may find ... and as it happens, Lucan, you are staring through the window of the Cadillac, as Kev drives you somewhere without conversation. Nothing bloodthirsty here, but I do feel a blast of formidable street power, the flash of many drug deals and the sprouting up of much cash all around you. I also see a swathe of your internal landscape that's like a pulsing cloud of shadow with drips of red in its depths, and I know straight away that this flickering storm-cloud is Angel's housing, in all its opacity and exhilaration. No surprise that this dwelling should display a more ominous and complex mien than that of just your first memory of him: for those are the external ramparts of Angel's grand estate and seven-layered formal garden, as seen from inside you.

But I'm here now to hunt for something specific, namely whatever I can catch regarding any plans you have for Shigem; so I turn away from your Angel and cast about me. All I can find at the moment, however, temporarily drowning out all evidence of any other interpersonal dealings in you, is something I can identify as a well-honed fantasy of yours. We're in the anodyne environment of a Hollywood screening-room, where a new trailer is being unveiled for a VP of Marketing. "His name above the title," someone mutters, as the lights dim—and then it hits. Yes, Lucan: multiplied in close-up on a wall of television screens, a gun's safety catch is released in slow motion by your hand. Your biceps enters frame, lit in red against the sky. Your flesh shines with oil and has been misted just before the take, so individual droplets reflect the sinking sun. Photographed from lower down, your head scans the land, and your brows beneath a black bandanna frown low.

Now the music slams in, a mighty silver hubcap spins on each of the twenty screens, and roaring engines change gear. Pulling up and back through a crisp swirl of side-lit dust, the camera draws the whole tyre smoothly into sight, while flawlessly maintaining the hubcap centre-frame. (The visuals and sound design bear the hallmarks of a quite virtuosic skill, or at least a high budget.) The surface of a highway and the side of a truck appear, the truck's load covered with a green and black canvas camouflage. With no cut, the same take continues somehow upward as the army truck, below us now, is framed without a wobble, hanging stationary on screen between the yellow-painted streaks that mark the edges of its highway lane.

Two more trucks slide in to flank the first, then more behind, ahead and either side, identical in black and green; the engine roar swells and the whole screen-wall now displays one projection of this single moving shot, shared across the width of all twenty banked panels. A slow colossal drum joins the drone of the engines, as the ever-rising camera swallows six lanes of trucks, surging thunderous up a valley through the setting sun's light: the front of the convoy somewhere near the sun's disc; the rear end behind you, near a darker horizon.

"LUCAN ABAYOMI" unfurls across the screen in a red blast, and then is gone. A voice like the voice of a mountain resounds: "A soldier..." A heartbeat quickens under screeches of metal, over shots of wires coiling underneath a closed door and a clock dial ticking, then a ball of raging orange fire. The mountain voice concludes: "and a thief of minds!... This man commands, from a screen near you. See The Imagination Thief." That scarlet script unfurls again, across the screen's entire width, "THE IMAGINATION THIEF". Your gaze returns, scouring the horizon, left to right above the camera lens—and freeze-frame.

But instead of the trailer ending there, as it clearly should, there's been some mistake up in the projectionist's eyrie, or maybe it was back in the edit suite in post-production, or way back in production itself, or possibly longer ago in pre-production or even development ... for as your trailer carries on, Lucan, Angel leaks in through the walls of your screening-room, and seeps up the curtains either side of the screen, and infiltrates the fabric of the screen itself, and pours through the canvas of that army truck you showed us—and cut, to this interior. The canvas roof above us here is camouflage indeed, Lucan, now it is revealed: for underneath it, snug below the green and black, the air is dim but candy-lit, and here is Angel Deon, your freak in a skirt of snakes, writhing in introverted lust and peeping out through the glands of his libido and the curves of the lens, to your screening-room... Moist, purple-nippled, pert-cheeked and eaten up with endless sexual hunger, Angel pouts and whispers at us, up there on your trailer screen: "I'm your fatal attraction, Soldier! I'm exquisite damage. But you're the Ghost of Jealousies—a Stranger in Moscow." Despite your market strategy, despite straight lines, here he is still—hitching a ride in your army truck, tainting your trailer and suffusing your entire super-square action-blockbuster movie with his sumptuous poison. Carried on your tough tanks, aloft among your heavy-duty metal gun-turrets and astride the booming gun of your artillery, he's starkly incongruous within your wider image, Lucan, showing up your lies—but here you sit together nonetheless, just the pair of you, and here you shout together to the whole wide world!


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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