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Hallucinating

an extract from the novel
by Stephen Palmer

...nicely ambient music...

It is 2049, one hundred years exactly since Edgar cover scanVarese composed "Deserts", the first piece of electronic music. Through an acrid Berlin downpour Nulight walks, head bowed, boots splashing through puddles, his nostrils twitching as the polluted air excoriates his mucous membranes. He is tall, athletic, his long black hair loose past his shoulders, wearing a mac and black jeans, his boots steel toed. On account of his thrusting jaw, Asiatic face and gullwing eyebrows people tell him he is a dead ringer for Lenin. He agrees.

Mild paranoia makes him glance over his shoulder as he tramps the concrete streets designed retro Carlo Scarpa style, makes him stare at umbrella wielding passers-by, makes him avoid the light pools of street lamps in case somebody recognises him. After all, he is Nulight, yeah Nulight, the boss of Voiceoftibet Records.

Down a passage he dodges, shoulders hunched, jumping when a splat of roof moss hits the ground just ahead, glancing up at the fluorescent club signs, looking for one picked out in lemon yellow that reads 'Gesang Der Junglinge', or would do if somebody had not made a masking washing line of optical cables out to the window opposite.

There it is. He pauses, looks behind him. Just a dog. Two, in fact, ripping apart the body of a giant rat. He darts into the club, bending down because the door is a metre and a half high.

He smells wet coats, pot smoke, mud on shoes, hair gel.

At a counter a girl sits reading a copy of "Ohr Zeit". She is petite, Telemusik, her hair bleached, her nose a posy of silver and gold loops, and she looks up at Nulight, but then, recognising him, returns to her read. Nulight can pass. He can hear the music in the club, and he is attracted to it like a berserker drawn to the rumour of war.

The club is a single space excavated like a cave from the rooms, yards and passages of properties surrounding it, an accretion of volumes bought over a period of thirty years by the owner of the club, Dieter Ohr. Its roof is composed of melted polythene, its walls are white-painted brick. The music emanates from a torus of Surroundsound stacks, ambient heaven, a continuous ocean of music that has become semi-autonomous, taking as its source material foreign radio broadcasts, CDs, MPs, samples and riffs filched through coagulated computer feeds from the internet, all mixed by club DJs who sit astride their music like a diver on a whale. Twenty fours hours a day, every day of the year, on and on and on...

This music has mutated over a period of two decades. It has never stopped since it started, yet in becoming semi-autonomous it has turned into something else, something vast. Many people try to control it, but they cannot. It is too complex now. Wiser folk, they just interface.

For twenty minutes Nulight absorbs the music, which is currently in an Indonesian phase, gamelan driven and supple as a sarong, head in Bali, feet in Berlin, stretched across the world like a digital mantra, absorbing culture--ever absorbing--and restructuring itself on all of its frighteningly many layers into a hypnotic fabric. Nulight for a few acid moments feels scared of this music that is never turned off, because it is alive, mutating according to the rules of binary heredity. People drown in oceans. Clubbers drown in this music. Sometimes their entranced bodies are dragged out of the club by Dieter's bouncers, the Zyklus Mensch; and if they are lucky their fazed minds return to a semblance of human normality.

One hundred feet down lies the nest of computers that is the brain of this music. The Zyklus Mensch must guard this nest. Dieter said so.

Nulight thinks he spots Dieter on the opposite side of the club floor. He takes a pencil light from the pocket of his coat and shines it across the chamber, and the beam stabs through smokes, clouds of exhaled breath and whiffs of oxygen from photosynthesis tanks, illuminating the faces of listeners twenty metres away. One is indeed Dieter. Carefully, avoiding supine clubbers, Nulight makes his way over to Dieter, who is explaining some new Japanese gizmo to a woman.

Nulight says, "Dieter, man, what you got there?"

The gizmo is a cross between a computer and an Armenian doudouk. Dieter swings around and nods. "Good evening, Nulight. Long time no see."

Nulight nods back, realising that the instrument must be a new toy that Dieter has stolen. The fibreoptic whiskers at its lower end irritate his sense of purity. He replies, "See you got a new giz. You ain't telling me that's software driven?"

"It is," Dieter replies.

Nulight makes a small scoffing sound. "Man, you don't wanna get wedded to that stuff. Software is old hat. What all the major thinking type dudes is talking about is soft environments."

Dieter shakes his blonde head and says, "This is the human face of technology."

Nulight glances away. The Indonesian slant is all wrong. "Man," he says, "this is gone bad. No way should there be Indonesian riffs spiralling around, it should have gone Japanese. Japanese after Californian. It's obvious, ain't it? The music's been taken over, it ain't autonomous--"

"Semi."

"-any more."

There is a pause. Then Dieter says, "What are you saying, Nulight? Are you citing external influences?"

"Yeah!"

Dieter shakes his head again, as if troubled by a child. "Absolutely not. We are still on a semi-autonomous tip. There are no external influences."

Nulight indicates the soft-doudouk. "I'm telling you, man, I ain't interested in the human face of technology, what I'm interested in is the alien face of technology. Your music's been taken over by aliens, man. It's an invasion. Red alert."

Dieter laughs, joined by the woman. "Are you telling me you think the Earth--"

"Yeah. What, it's so strange? This music is growing like a cancer, man, and you can't control it."

"I don't want to."

"That ain't the point. Never mind your stupid external influences, I'm talking alien influences. The Indonesian slant proves it. It should have turned Japanese. These gamelan samples and sequences are symptoms, man, symptoms of the alien influence. Don't you get it? They're coming to take us over."

Dieter pushes Nulight away. "You have swallowed too many hallucinations. You're paranoid."

"I ain't."

Another pause. Nulight reconsiders his position. This is a bad vibe. No way should it be Indonesian, that feels wrong. He's a muso, he owns a famous underground record label, he should know. Thoughts flutter into his mind with clarity. He has a revelation. (Another one!) He has got to warn the Earth about the musical alien invasion that is taking place. One thing though, could they have started in 1949? Were Edgar Varese and Pierre Schaeffer controlled by aliens? Hell, "Deserts" and "Symphonie Pour un Homme Seul" could have been alien manifestos, changing culture, subliminally perverting the course of the human condition, manipulating the direction of world affairs.

Jabbing the air with a forefinger he tells Dieter, "I'm telling you, man, this club is just the start of it. These aliens are subtle. They'll act so we can't tell what they've done, until it's too late and we're under their heels."

Dieter remarks, "If they are aliens perhaps they have not got heels."

Nulight answers, "Shut it. This is serious."

Dieter says, "Don't tell me what to do, small stuff."

As if reacting to the anger, the music inserts a menacing seventh into itself.

Dieter speaks coolly, acting almost, making himself appear as steel brutal as possible. "I do not want you breaking into my club and messing up my customers. Get out, small stuff, and detox your perceptions."

One of the Zyklus Mensch grabs Nulight from behind and chloroforms him with a hanky. Nulight half-feels the bumpy ride that follows, part conscious as he is; feels calloused hands under his armpits and smells the lager heavy breath of his assailant. Then he is soaking wet and out in the street. It is dark. Dogs sniff around him.

He struggles to his feet. This is the down side of his revelation, the nauseous drop over the edge of wonder, drenched by Berlin rain that brings down a thousand industrial chemicals. He looks over to the low door. There, Telemusik watches him, tears in her eyes, and Nulight suddenly realises this is the last time he will be able to enter the club, for he is now an exile. He staggers back. The semi-autonomous music has for years been a support to him. Now he will only be able to hear it on the internet. That bass drone will never again thrum at his sternum, and his tympanic membrane will never more vibrate to mutating hi-hats.

Telemusik waves goodbye as he plods down the alley, but he does not see her. He has to sort out this alien invasion thing, and there is only one place where he has friends who can help. But she... she might not want to see him again.

Nearby lies Berlin Airport. He hails an alky-taxi and tells the driver his destination over the intercom. The taxi floor is littered with junkie syringes, DMT wrappers, and the shattered jewel-cases of mini-CDs. He stuffs a hand behind the seat and sure enough finds the usual selection of detritus: smart coins, old credit cards, buttons, pill cases, the inevitable wrinkled old tissues. He pockets the coins and investigates the credit cards. Hmmm. One here belonging to Klaus Mueller that might retain some functions, while the smaller card with the hologram of Polanski would allow him entry to all the city's kinos. Pity that one is no longer any use, being, as it is, defaced.

He pulls out his MP player and listens to a ditty by Toru Takemitsu, remixed fresh by DJ Human.

At the Berlin Airport NetWise he spots a free seat on a hyperdart. Inside a comsat booth he manages to reconfigure Mueller's card, but he decides not to have the name changed, so that it is just a matter of tunnelling a little way into Mueller's stache and letting the digital drops leak out. No point complicating matters. As expected, the credit card was cancelled, but it sure isn't now.

So the seat is booked. He speeds through the airport, grabs soya milk, tofu bars and a packet of cheese'n'onion, then rushes down to customs. Nothing to declare. Authority believes him.

Now he is on the hyperdart. It is comfortable. The recliner seats are furry, temperature controlled. He loves them! To one side of him is an American gentleman reading the latest Electroloot, to the other a wisp of a goth girl dressed red/black like a vamp. He puts on an MP of Boletus Name's latest EP and ignores them both.

Boletus Name - Aquacision ... an album featured in Hallucinating  SemiAutonotic - Auton de Musique Nouveau ... an album featured in Hallucinating

...Isle of Avalon...

Peace and quiet and cosmic tranquillity enfold Nulight. He is standing by the reconstituted Glastonbury Abbey. He can see where the stone parts and the plastic parts meet: it is not very subtle, but it is artistic, and it gives the town an aura of history, of old objects, made more intense by the complete absence of cars. Fractal-dyed longhairs stroll up Magdalene Street, glancing right at the light-splattered Abbey, at the Celtic weirdos dancing skyclad in spiral patterns. An enormous number of reefers are being smoked by the audience.

Nulight turns, looks up at the Tor. There the setting sun illuminates a patchwork of green and brown and grey, as the magick permaculture enviros set up by the Tor People bathe in ruddy light. Bright little sparkles reveal the presence of solar gatherers, or peace-engines as they are locally known. And the windmills are turning.

A tall dread nods affably to Nulight. "You new here?"

Nulight shakes his head. "An old timer, me. You know where Kappa is?"

"Copper. Name ring a bell."

"Kappa. Red dreads. Pale, slim figure, quite tall. Sure you know her."

The dread shakes his head, but then he says, "D'you mean the Dean at the Faculty of Avalon?"

"Yeah, her."

The dread really is amazed. "You know her?"

Nulight had no idea that this particular ex-lover was the Dean--it's been years since they spoke--but he keeps his cool. The dread is seriously respecting him now. "We've... you know," he remarks.

"Well, the Fac still in the same place. Jus' go on up."

Nulight nods and carries on up Magdalene Street, imagining what will happen next, once the dread has told his friends, see that dude who's back in town, he's shagged Kappa! Nulight laughs to himself. If the dread knew he had been speaking to the boss of Voiceoftibet he would pass out there on the street. Passing out being the ultimate in respect.

Turning right into the High Street he waves at old-timer Simon Scott, who is standing outside the Tandoori Space Emporium, before turning right again into the Courtyard. The sounds of old Loop Guru CDs emanate from the Blue Note Café, reminding him painfully of the gamelan music he has left in Germany, so he hurries across the yard and leaps up the steps that lead into the Faculty. There, a shaven-headed Krishna type welcomes him with incense and bells, but Nulight waves away the religious stuff and just asks, "Man, you seen Kappa?"

"You mean recently?"

"Yeah. Like, today?"

The Krishna type smiles and replies, "She's gone."

"Gone?"

"Far gone."

Fright descends upon Nulight. "What, like a casualty?"

"To a hideout in Wales. Just for a few weeks. It's being seen as a sabbatical."

"Thanks, man."

The Krishna type gives him a card. "Here's her temp internet location. If you know the right passwords you'll find her."

Nulight recalls some of the old passwords. Feigning understanding he takes the card and pockets it, then returns to the Courtyard. But there the dread stands, and Nulight is momentarily spooked. This guy could become a hanger-on. The dread approaches and says, "Me name Partzephanaiah. Please to meet you."

They shake hands, both embarrassed but both automatically reaching out.

"What bring you here?" Partzephanaiah asks.

"Kappa."

"She gone, or so I jus' hear, gone to Wales, via Chester."

"Chester?"

"Summat to do with watchin' the skies."

Nulight hums and hahs. So Kappa Smythe is still watching the skies. Useful. He tells the dread, "Listen, man, there's an alien invasion just begun, you know what I mean? It's serious. You know the Gesang in Berlin?"

"I not been there meself, but naturally I heard of it. I partake of it over the internet."

"You ain't felt the half of it, then. But anyway. That club's the focus of the invasion. They're planning to take us over subtle, so nobody notices. But being into ambient, I got wind of their first stroke. We gotta stop them before it's too late."

Partzephanaiah nods. "You come with me, see what we see from the top of the Tor."

"You live there?"

"Sure. It cool."

The pair amble across town to the Tor. Partzephanaiah is pretty old, maybe forty, maybe fifty, one of the first of the lucky ones who set up Schumacher spots on the Tor, living and loving the life of ol' E.F. Saint Michael's church is now a shrine to deep green. They wind their way up the Tor, through a mess of trees, bushes and undergrowth, babies screaming in various places, people harvesting apples, potatoes and alfalfa by the last light of the fading day, until they reach the top. There lies Partzephanaiah's magick enviro--a wide, low tipi--his garden based around tomato, grape, and lots of the weed. He trades well. He has a prime spot. The only person higher than him is Old Mother, a crusty from the back end of the last century, known far and wide for her visions.

Nulight is introduced to Partzephanaiah's family, which consists of one lover, female, one nephew, male, and a couple of cats. A picture of Haile Selassie adorns the wall of the tipi; elsewhere lie a water bed and an oak desk. It is a decent gaff that nicely smells of Nag Champa. The view over Somerset is fabulous. Windy, yeah, but fabulous.

"When it rain it rain bad," Partzephanaiah explains, "but you got to take the rough with the smooth bein' one of the Tor People."

"Uh-huh?"

"We economically outa sight of the government. We make our own food, buy everytin' else local. We not partake of the National Grid. We trade local through LET Schemes. It the only way. Got to ignore traditional techno-capitalism, got to reach out to others and drop out."

"As you say, man," Nulight replies. This is his kind of rejectionist viewpoint.

"But this t'ing is the t'ing what I want to show you," Partzephanaiah says. From a sack he pulls a device, which seems to be a fresnel lens around which computer parts have been moulded. The whole looks like one of those dodgy VR spex from a few decades back.

Mildly interested, Nulight wonders what it is.

"Them alien be here, like you say. They been around for ages. We got special glasses to see 'em. The computer in these mould was made in Japan, see, special delivery. The sort of chip you get delivered by a stork, know what I mean? Ha ha! These computer is designed to amplify faint signals not of this Earth. Have a peek."

Nulight takes the device and walks out of the tipi. He lies on his back away from Saint Michael's, and, lens close to his eyes, looks upward.

Some time passes before he notices anything. The device is adjusting to his eyes. It is heuristic, and fast. Then he sees a tracery of lines across the stars, pale green, pale red, pale orange, some golden and shining like lances. Slowly the lines become more defined, emerging from faintly blurred to faintly sharp. They are random, but beautiful, and Nulight has an experience of unity as he realises that these are the sky exhaust traces of alien spacecraft, straight, yet kinked here and there, just like the white lines made by jets. But this is different. This is like peering so deep into the universe you leave your body behind.

Mesmerised, Nulight watches. None of the rainbow gridlines have actual craft upon them, but then a glowing dot appears, tiny, so tiny it is like a firefly at a hundred paces, and ever so slowly it moves across the field of view of the fresnel lens, leaving a red trace that fades to crimson. Nulight does not want to look away. The experience is so awesome, so wonderful, he feels he should never look away. But then Partzephanaiah lies at his side and whispers, "You seen 'em? Aliens out there."

Nulight pulls his gaze away with an effort. For a while all he sees is splodgy browns and greens against a dark sky, but then his eyes refocus. "Man, I saw them. For the first time I saw what I knew existed." Wiping moisture away from his eyes, he sits up.

Partzephanaiah says, "We should get a grip on this. Them up there be potential enemy."

"I know," Nulight replies with zeal. "That's why I gotta find Kappa. She knows more about these things than me. Me and her's gotta get together on this one."

"And away with the past, is that it?"

Nulight shrugs. "So you heard a few rumours. But she loved me once, and mebbe I loved her."

"Your name not be Nulight, by any chance?"

"Voiceoftibet Records incarnate."

"Jus' as I suspect. I love your last CD."

Nulight smiles. "Hanging Gardens of Fungus?"

"That be the one. Lovely kind of Egyptian vibe. You know the oldest music in the world come from the Nile? Them boat singers, you know that?"

"Sure I knew that," Nulight urbanely lies. He takes a mild stimulo out of his inside pocket and pops it on his tongue. "Oldest damn music in the world. Man, I gotta go out and sample some more of it."

"Been done, now."

Nulight shrugs. "I'd mutate it in some freaky environment."

Partzephanaiah nods. "What you going to do next?"

"Head up north. Thank Buddah it's summer else I'd freeze me bollocks off, or die of wet rot. How far into Wales has she gone?"

"I don't know. I jus' heard she go to Wales. You got the internet t'ing, so use it."

"Okay, okay. She must have gone up to catch something uforic."

Again the pair shake hands, and Nulight thinks he's got a friend here. Partzephanaiah is all right. He smells, but so does everybody. It has something to do with greenstyle. No chemicals. Something like that.

Surfer That Is Safe - Camel Tribute ... an album featured in Hallucinating  Semiotic Stew - Whirly-Wig ... an album featured in Hallucinating

...Welsh rain, Welsh globo...

Because globo was post drum'n'bass, pre virtualsmooth, it had nothing of sinuous, aquatic software systems style but lots of thunking, hissing percussion. Nulight listens to a globo remix of an old Speech Musipediment track. It is quite good. The virtualsmooth remix is not so good.

But now in 2049 virtualsmooth is old and the new music is auton. Nulight is not into auton, despite the fact that it is sweeping across Europe like globo before it, like techno before that, like hippy stuff before that. And so on, back to Edgar Varese. Electrick music is humanity's soul, Nulight thinks, and we are a century old. Right on. He can put that on the next Voiceoftibet release.

The auton remix of the Speech Musipediment track is terrible, not helped by the strange tuning of auton music. Frustrated, Nulight chucks the CD and replaces it with some Steve Reich.

He is on a bullet train heading north.

At Chester Station he disembarks, stepping onto the permapaved platform, where dayglo crowds mill around him. The station clerk checks ID plastic and registers bookings with flicks of his laser scribe, but Nulight remains cool despite possible credit card hassle. He is wondering if he ought to convert Mueller's credit into cash. The fewer net transactions the better. Trouble is, he could then become the victim of dosh-jackers, kid patrols who look out for likely victims and mug them with narcotic syringes. Is Chester like that? He does not know.

He wanders into town. In fact the place seems pretty quiet, more oldsters than brats. Sort of olde worlde, pretty tatty, cheap, not helped by the Liverpool/Manchester effect, that black urban splash that sucks all into it. Sipping cappuchino on-street he watches the crowds, then decides what to do. It has got to be cash.

With the credit card emptied he throws it into a bin, then hires a taxi westward to the border. The driver is a Mexican slaphead wired for alpha waves. He drives his taxi like a gaucho, and Nulight half expects him to send a lassoo out of the window to capture some hapless cyclist. Fifteen minutes later they are at the border, where the driver chucks him out, saying, "Call another when you're on the other side."

It is evening dark. Nulight walks to the border post. This is made of concrete and steel, its cameras bristling like the spines of a porcupine tree, and inside the portacabin sit five Celtic hunks, all steroid muscle and patriotic fervour. Two stroll out.

"Passport?"

Nulight offers up his oblong of plastic and they insert it into a cardreader. The computer screen comes up with his picture, details, business, and so on. They read the whole damn thing, as if making a point.

"Nature of business?"

Nulight shrugs. "Happy Valley."

The pair glance at one another. "OK, muso, you can go."

"Can I call a taxi?"

"Use the booth just down the lane."

Nulight walks through the border post and spies a single telephone kiosk lit by a yellow lamp. It stands there like some obsolete robot hitchhiker waiting for the optical revolution to come its way. He notices that the road signs have been changed by hand, so that the Welsh is uppermost and in bolder writing. Well, it has only been a few years since the collapse of the EU, maybe they haven't had the time or the money to sort themselves out.

After a twenty minute wait the taxi arrives. Nulight is amazed. This is a pre-millennium vehicle, petrol guzzling, like something out of Nostalgia Time on cable, blowing out clouds of... what is that, exhaust fumes? Have these people not heard of omni-cats, or alky?

So they chug into the night. "Drive me to an internet caff," Nulight tells the driver.

They end up in Ruthin. In a pub run by zippies, Nulight logs on to the internet. As expected the tipi encampment he is after is in the same place, and he is sure he will find Kappa there. He tries a few old passwords and one works. Kappa is listed as present: yesterday's date, too. Excellent. Better not forewarn her, though, better make it a surprise.

Back in the taxi, he says, "The tipi place."

"You one of them, like?" asks the driver.

Nulight shakes his head. "Man, I'm the boss of a famous record company. Business trip."

"Lovely."

At midnight they arrive: Dyffryn Clwyd, by the River Alyn, nice wooded spot; a line of distant hills like the backbone of an immense dinosaur. Nulight offloads all his loose change and keeps the notes, pushing them down the sides of his boots. He looks out over the valley. By the light of the moon he sees about two hundred tipis, a phantasmagorical sight as many of them have lamps inside and the tents are in most cases tie-dyed. Folk wander about. Drifting up from the camp heart comes the sound of music, mandolin, bouzouki, violins doing strange things, very strange things, that reminds him of auton... must be something about those microtones. Elsewhere he sees windmills, solar panels on stalks, and huge enclosures with chickens and other animals. Around the encampment and to a certain extent inside it are permaculture plots just like those of the Tor People, except these are greener and leaner, based around hardy fruits and veggies. The place smells of chicken droppings, soup and coconut incense.

He wanders down. He asks a rasta, "Seen Kappa?"

"She down de musicville, mon. Jus' over dere."

Nulight carries on.

Then he sees her. He stops. She is only a few metres away, her back to him, listening with friends to a group of fiddlers; she is tall and elegant, her crimson dreads down to her bum, wearing a dress of black velvet. Big silver jewelry clinks as she moves. Nulight's heart thumps loud.

He clears his throat. "Hey, Kappa."

She turns, and after a sec it's, "Sweets!"

They embrace. She is thrilled to see him. The friends and the fiddlers, who have stopped playing, are perplexed by her obvious joy.

"Nulight," Kappa says, "what are you doing here?"

"After you, lady."

"Quit the lady. There's got to be a reason."

"Of course..." Nulight grins. "So, pleased to see me?"

She hugs him again. "Yes! How did you know I was here?"

"Come up from Glasto."

"But why?"

"Aliens. Why else?"

Kappa laughs, then turns to face her friends. "This is Nulight of Voiceoftibet Records."

Murmured remarks: "Cool," and "Aren't Hedge Wine on that label?" and "Excellent festi gigs."

Nulight and Kappa depart hand in hand, making for a bench central in the encampment. Nulight begins his pitch. "Yeah, I'm choked to see you again, and, man, looking well. I really am--it's been years--but there was something else. Aliens. Met up with Partzephanaiah. You know him? Thought so. He showed me the spaceship tracks through the fresnel lens."

Kappa nods. "They're here, Nulight."

"We must stop them. Listen, I gotta mission and I ain't gonna buck it. We gotta stop them in their tracks before it's too late. I think they've taken over the semi-auton music at the Gesang Der Junglinge, but that's just the start. Invasion by stealth, yeah?"

Kappa nods. "Who else knows about this?"

Nulight grimaces. "Dieter thinks I'm paranoid. Me! I'll show him."

"What are you going to do?"

Nulight is trembling from the release of emotion, from the presence beside him of his ex-lover, and because of the plan that he is about to reveal. "I trust you, so I'll tell you. I'm gonna fly over to LA and see Marcia. I'm gonna take all the label funds and drop them back to me through a Swiss outfit. Those'll be the funds I use to get the investigation going. It's kinda... ethical, if you look at it from the right perspective."

Kappa is concerned. "But the label? A lot of people respect you and the label. You can't just ditch it. Even people here would lynch you. You're loved."

"They wouldn't lynch me, they're hippies."

Kappa scowls.

"Yeah, yeah."

"But what about the bands?" she insists. "No way are Mystery Trend going to let Voiceoftibet slide. They'd sue you. Maybe the other bands wouldn't, but they would. The last CD went platinum."

Nulight sits upright. "I can deal with them. It's only Chantal who gets stroppy, the bitch."

"And Marcia? She's in on this?"

"I'll bribe her. She's crooked when she wants to be. Man, I'll make her an offer she can't refuse. Most of Hollywood's sent funny money her way one time or another."

Kappa considers what she has heard. "Marcia's your accountant. You can't afford to lose her."

"There'd be others."

"Not like her."

Nulight knows he has lost that argument. "Maybe... we'll see what she says."

"Okay, but I'm coming with you."


© Stephen Palmer 2004
Hallucinating by Stephen Palmer
Hallucinating is published by Cosmos Books (2004).

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