Your door clicks, you swivel in your chair, to greet … whom? Your son? Brother? Wife, down from Westchester, in town on a whim? But no: you start in your chair, to see a figure enter, dressed in a black suit, softly close the door and turn its gaze on you. It’s thin, pretty, watchful, with big brown eyes that hold your gaze in silence as it pulses like a cat through the stretch of space between you. “Forgive me for intruding,” the figure speaks and glides to a halt the other side of your desk. “My name is Jaymi. You’re busy, I’m aware, but I shan’t be long.”
—And before Marc Albright can reflect, we are sitting face to face, either side of his desk. His corporate suit is topped by a head that is solid, wide; the face flattish, white, in its sixties, with clear grey eyes of bird-like brightness. I imagine that his perky half-smile would change little, whether it heralded a business handshake, a brutal put-down or an anecdote at a dinner table after his plate had been cleared by unnoticed hands. He shakes his head. “Who are you?” he barks.
I haven’t planned this, but as I hoped, I know exactly what to say: “Marc, look harder. You’ll remember.”
He looks harder indeed, and just like music, I make us both focus on a scene from his internal landscape. The scene is startling and vivid, and for him clearly “primal” in some deep way. I watch him while he thinks of it; and while he stares at me, the eyes of that figure stare him down—the eyes from the ballroom party, just as they stared him down across that crowded ball without a warning, cutting straight through the heads of a hundred other guests when he turned to fill his champagne glass—eyes he’d not expected but had known before, from somewhere. Singled out and pinned where he stood, glass in hand, he knew that he was powerless against this figure, though no one else seemed to be aware of it at all. Never since that evening in the ballroom has its blazing golden gaze left his memory. The figure seemed above the crowd, its eyes strangely one: Marc felt as if he stared at a great gold Cyclops three metres high, sprouting horns like a Baphomet’s, its claws hanging down resting easy on the grey heads carpeting the ballroom, its heavy eye transfixing him—
“Stop!” he cries.
“Yes, Marc,” I murmur. “I can fuck with your head—so listen hard. But I’m not here just for that. I’m here for enchantment, and for business. Your ballroom remains yours and mine alone to know about. But everyone has primal scenes and private screams and radioactive mines, like yours. Their own magic ballrooms, wonderful and terrible, which everyday life tends to cancel and destroy.” He eyes make me think of a hunted baby eagle, as I turn up the pressure. “When I turn on the gaze I aimed at you just now, those who look at me will not look away until I let them, as I’m lighting up their scenes in burning bloodlight like they’ve never seen before.” I pause, to let this statement sink in—into me as well as into him, since I’m learning with amazement while I speak. I lean in towards him and raise the voltage still higher, until he’s pinned onto his seat. “And the hundreds of millions who don’t dare look at their own scenes will be forced to look—d’you hear me, Marc? Self-knowledge breeds thinking and compassion, every time, across the world. That’s evolution, that’s enlightenment of mankind, facing into cold dark space as we are.”
Knowing to give him a quick break, I glance down at the varnished wooden angles at a corner of his desk. In so doing, I register that there is a distinction between how I looked into him from the corridor and how I looked into him just now: from the corridor my looking was unseen by him, whereas just now of course he was all too aware of being forcefully hypnotised and dragged around on a journey I controlled…
“But that just leads me to the clincher, Marc: alongside the basic hypnotic effect, I’ll be projecting my own red-hot imaginative stuff. It’ll mix with every viewer’s own imagination in a unique way, but they’ll all receive the same original stuff of mine, and they’ll all recognise that stuff by itself as a big part of the unique live experience they had. And you’ll have captured my stuff by itself, from when we broadcast it, so you can then sell it to all those viewers in various formats and re-issues with all kinds of bonus features and fun add-ons, and they’ll all buy it! D’YOU UNDERSTAND ME, MARC?”
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A full transcript and various stills from this film are at
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