I watch her recede up the white marble staircase and out of sight. I remember how she looked in the club last night when she brought us drinks on the dance-floor. I wish I could go with her to the studio today, but she clearly doesn’t want me there.
In any case, I’ve promised Evelyn that today I shall find out what I can about the three waxworks, by seeing what severed heads I can nose up inside our targets’ minds. The trouble is that my sight doesn’t really work in this search-engine-like way, because it is an incomplete sight: I’m restricted to the parts of people’s memories and imaginations that present themselves, voluminous though these are. There are swathes of their internal landscapes I just can’t see, or haven’t learned to see. I must give it a whirl, though. Plus, tonight is the last spokes-sheep session and therefore my last chance to make sure I do justice to the recording of our four targets for posterity, whatever posterity may make of them. I shall therefore go one last time to my island hideaway for a while. Before I leave my room, an idea strikes me; I pick up a DVD case containing a copy of Sound & Vision and put it in my pocket.
“Hiya! Where you going?” says Evelyn from her van when I step through the Metropolitan’s inconspicuous door.
“Jump in the van and I’ll give you a lift, I’m going to the locksmith’s.”
“Don’t tell me,” I say, climbing in. “Jason wants the Metropolitan’s door-locks changed as soon as Alaia and I have gone?”
She grins. “I’m sayin’ nothin’! How’s the head today?”
“A bit foggy. Yours?”
“Fresh as a cucumber, cool as a daisy,” she coos … and as you speak, Evelyn, I perceive how you are when you drive this van alone: there’s affection in your eyes for the people on the street, who have usually done their best with their clothes and hair and make-up; for those things take effort. Just to leave their house on time for work, morning after morning—you’d call that deserving of respect. For their relationships, their crappy jobs, their alcohol and drugs to spark their lives up, their over-numerous children and their interfering relatives, you feel a simple love, though you see them all too clearly. Through years here, you’ve seen so many people and their violence and their hassles and their dumb misunderstandings; and yet if there was love in them, you’ve seen that as well. You’ve seen them when they partied till they passed out, in bars, clubs, sitting rooms and doorways. You’ve seen them watching TV with their mouths hanging open, hundreds of channels piped raucous into cramped sitting rooms, and you’ve even loved them then—
My phone vibrates. I don’t recognise the number, but it does have a local 732 area code, so I pick up. “Jaymi, hi! Big Bang was so amazing last night” comes Angel’s lisping-snake voice. “So amazing.”
“Listen, I need your help. I just need you to help me find out something about Lucan. He’s treating me like shit. All I need is for you to do a tuning, or whatever you call it, and find out—”
“Angel, no. I can’t start getting involved in that way. Spying on people—”
“You spied on me and those other three,” he shoots back.
I glance at Evelyn, whose eyes are on the road. “Yes, just to test out my sight, but this is different.”
“Because this would be altering people’s dealings with one another, not just passive spying.”
“I can’t take Lucan’s abuse any more.”
“Angel, I can’t get involved like this.”
“Shit!” he spits. “OK, thanks for nothing. I’ll see you round.”
“Sorry, bye.” I put the phone away. “He wanted me to help him spy on Lucan.”
Evelyn nods. “The temperature’s rising there.”
“Any gossip on the wax Angel?”
“No, just noise. I have no idea who could be making those things.” She smiles. “I was talking about it with a friend of mine and she said Lucan should be suspecting Damian and me, because we’re the only ones who like Angel enough to flatter him like that model did.”
“Huh! Well … she should look at the model again, because it didn’t actually flatter him.”
“True! Anyway, I’m beginning to suspect you, Jaymi,” she deadpans. “I mean, you were the one who discovered the Angel model first, right?”
“OK. You’ve seen through me.”
“But seriously, we need to find a way to stop Lucan blaming Shigem, because he’s still stirring that shit around more than ever. We’ll work on it.” She pulls up beside Sunset Lake. “See you at Shigem’s later. Toodles.”
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