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“Wait!”

Arthur paused the eraser mid-stroke, a swathe of clean white cutting through the mess of outdated design sketches.

“Let me get a picture first.” Ariadne motioned Arthur aside with her phone.

“Sorry. I didn’t see anything ...” Arthur stepped back and scanned the whiteboard for sections labelled ‘DNE’ or ‘DO NOT ERASE’.

“Your lyrics or rap or whatever,” Ariadne dropped into a squat to frame a couple of selfies against the lower half of the board. “I want a record of this in case you break big.” She shrugged, “Or if I ever need to blackmail you.”

Brow furrowed, Arthur skimmed over the — oh. Oh.

‘Massive/ PASIV’

Bright blue, underscored. The capitals a bit spiky, the slash an emphatic vertical line — unmistakably his handwriting.

There was more, of course.

‘Inception/ Stage Direction
‘Architect/ Misdirect/ Intersect’
‘Limbo/ Career no!/ Things Grow’

“I’d drop the lines where you get repetitive,” said Ariadne, swiping through images on her phone, “With ‘architecture and conjecture’. Let’s be honest, you’re not ready to freestyle.”

Arthur tilted his head and studied the last few lines where the words grew cramped and erratic, just as his did when he was rushed.

‘Musical theme, in the extreme? criminal scheme
Mainstream/ Esteem
Particle Beam?
Egg Cream
IN A DREAM???’

“Well,” he said at last. “It’s a work in progress.”

Ariadne shouldered her bag then leaned in, conspiratorial, “Whatever you say.”

The door banged shut behind her. Arthur rocked on his heels and waited.

A few moments later Eames wandered out of the kitchen with a steaming mug of tea and settled at the work table. There was a smudge of ink on his forearm. Bright blue.

Eraser in hand, Arthur gestured at the whiteboard. “You rhymed ‘intestinal worm’ with ‘pachyderm’."

“I am rather fond of that one, actually.”

Arthur bit the inside of his cheek, fighting off a grin.

“There’s more,” Eames reached across the table and flipped through his notes. “Gravity, depravity — ah here we are…”

He took a sip of tea and read:

“Hard core point man don’t flinch at paradox
more game plan per square inch than Sherlock’s.
Rocks a fourteen karat golden cock.”

Eames paused as a dry-erase marker bounced off his forehead and clattered on the linoleum.

“Quite right,” he reached for a pen. “Twenty-four karat golden cock.”

“Asshole," Arthur sighed. "It should be cubic inch."