I can feel the working voltages of decision-making in the collaboration between Kim’s mind and his will, hovering evenly—whether to snitch on Pippa to Lucan, or not. Kim’s choice may cast a shadow, both long in shape and deep in colour, upon either or both of the lives of Pippa and Shigem. There’s an unusual clarity and moment in this particular glimpse into the process of free will in action. Rather than just savouring it, however, I feel prompted to influence Kim, because I have an opinion as to which he should choose and because I’m the only one who can see and influence his choice. If there were time, I might consider whether my entitlement to act here is undercut by the fortuitousness of my power to act, but as it happens there isn’t time: if Kim is going to tell Lucan, he’s likely to do it next, during this walk, because this’ll probably be his only time away from Shigem today. He may visit Lucan on the way home, or he may have Lucan’s number and be about to call him…
I confess: I don’t think Kim should make this move. At least not before I’ve been back to Pippa’s place. Should I go to stop him? I lie here, deciding. I reach into my pocket, take out the Sound & Vision DVD and contemplate it. I picked it up this morning as a possible passport for me into Pippa’s apartment. Well, perhaps it can now be a passport for both me and Kim? I check the time; half past one. OK, then—here goes.
I get up, leave the island and the lake, go to the Boardwalk, walk briskly along it until I come into sight of Kim, then slow down to a wander. He notices me, I notice him and we join each other. “Hey, how’s it going?” I say.
“It’s happening… By the way, I never had time to say last night that Big Bang was just as amazing as the first one. It was like the same drug, except that this time, with those special effects, it felt as if the drug was rolled up in coloured papers with golden filters, like those Sobranie Cocktail cigarettes—do they sell those over here?”
“I don’t know, I don’t smoke. But if I did, I’m sure I’d choose those.”
“They taste normal but they don’t look it. Anyway, this time I don’t really want to know how you made it, so I won’t ask what you did in the studio: I’d rather just savour the memory.”
“Thank you very much. I shan’t tell you, then…” I look around. “You know, I was wondering this morning: just as a possibility, have you thought about the option of letting Lucan know who really made those models, now that we know who it was? For Shigem’s protection, I mean.”
“Shigem doesn’t want to do that. But I admit, it’s crossed my mind to do it anyway. I don’t know if I should. What d’you think?”
“It’s a tough call,” I say. “But I think we owe it to Pippa to pay her at least one more visit before telling Lucan, just to see if we can find any kind of confirmation she made those models. We think she did, but you know we could be wrong.”
“I guess we could…”
“Well, I’ve actually been meaning to take something round to her—just a copy of Sound & Vision, since she missed it. So why don’t I give her a call right now and see if we can pop round?”
He considers, then nods. “OK, sure. Let’s try it.”
I dial her number. “Hallo?” comes her flat voice.
“Hi Pippa, it’s Jaymi.”
“Hi. Look, I was just passing and I thought, why don’t I swing by and show you a bit of that Sound & Vision broadcast, like I promised at our picnic.”
“Oh… OK. Not right now but … in an hour? Come at three.” I can almost hear her blushing in the shadows of that hallway.
“Three o’clock?” I look at Kim, who nods. “All right. I’m going to be with Kim at three, as it happens, just running a few errands, but that’s fine, maybe I’ll see if he wants to tag along and come upstairs and watch a bit of it with us?”
“OK,” says Pippa.
“Good! See you then.”
“OK, bye…” her faint voice trails away.
I look at Kim, who shrugs and smiles. “Well, fingers crossed,” he says. “I should go back and help Shigem now, but I’ll see you outside hers at three. I’m glad I happened to bump into you.”
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