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.
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 more about "The Imagination Thief" by Rohan Quine, see
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