“OK,” says Evelyn as we come within earshot of the music spilling out of Lucan’s house, “we don’t want to get too involved here, we don’t want to get too chummy or stick around too long, because you two are still meant to be keeping a low profile. So let’s head straight across the front hallway and downstairs to the den, because then the lighting will be low. Also, down there it’ll be more about music than talk, and half the people will be dancing or stoned—so even if they do recognise Jaymi, they probably won’t care. Plus Lucan’ll be down there.”
“I want to know if he watched the DVD,” says Alaia. “It might help us to help Angel.”
A couple of guys are stationed on the front porch, flanking the open door. They nod to Evelyn and we pass inside, straight across the hallway where a few people are milling around, and down a steep flight of wooden steps to the source of some fast, dirty drum and bass. At the bottom is a capacious smoky basement den, half-filled with a couple of dozen figures I can barely see, so dimly is the space lit by various red and yellow lights. I can make out Flames nearby, talking with someone and holding a bass saxophone by his side; he sees us and greets us amiably, giving Evelyn a kiss on the cheek. I’m pleased to be able to see no sign at all of Kev, who must be upstairs; but I do spot Damian sitting alone on the other side of the room, glowering on a bean-bag and nursing a tall glass of what I suspect may be grapefruit juice. I give him a wave and he nods back with respectful gruffness.
And what an upbeat but mellow party it is. I was half-expecting some new and gruesome wax dummy head to unveil itself, but no. Soon the drum and bass gives way to some booming old dub track full of basement chat and slow echoes, to which Flames improvises artfully and softly on his saxophone, leaning against a wall. The combination of sounds is like a rich thick whisky running over elephant hide, somewhere in a cavernous dance-hall, with the rain splattering down onto a corrugated iron roof high above.
As this segues into a dance-hall track, Flames keeps pace with it. A group of people near us drift away, so for the first time I see Angel where he dances in a corner by himself, and very much for himself, stoned and beautiful … and for the room too, you must admit, my little Angel, for several here are watching you with warmth while they talk and dance and sway. Lucan is among them, grinning as his eyes track your movements. He banters with the others all the while, taps his feet and dips his head in time with the beat. He’s so genial tonight that you almost forget his dictatorship and the tyranny he exercises over you—different as it is from the other tyrannies he exercises over many others here. So you just let go and bliss out, while in your mind you lie in comfort on the warm bouncy surface of an elevated roadway made from the horizontal stiff cocks, rooted alternately on left and right, of two lines of Lucans standing shoulder to shoulder who face one another just to hold you off the ground! You’re making subtle love with this music and this moment and the watching of the others, while you dance, with a pinpoint of red light reflected in the silver of your earring. Music never does harm, you tell yourself. So tonight you will dance, transcending all that needs transcending, till your stark black Angel’s wings will lift this whole smoky den up over Asbury Park and out across the USA. Lucan smiles and winks at you across the red and yellow space; you smile back weakly, hot and swirling in the dimness, wishing it could always be as now and never change…
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