Noble rode the trust train back to West Hollywood, staring out the window, noting the huge distances between buildings, the lack of people walking on the streets.
When the train went underground again, she counted out each individual minute and by the time she arrived in Hollywood the count had made it all the way to twenty-seven.
Like two different planets, she thought, walking out onto the street, realising she was nowhere near West Hollywood, igniting her rocket boots and stealthing between buildings and alleyways until she was back at the gallery.
‘Good walk?’ asked the Philosophy Student, smoking something green.
Later that evening, Noble waited for the others to go outside then told the Philosophy Student about what had happened in Compton.
‘That’s good,’ she said, stubbing out another cigarette. ‘A bit snobby, but good.’
‘They said what they needed next was enough cash to invest in film equipment so the kids could make films.’
‘Maybe we could help with that?’
‘I don’t know. Donate some money to them.’
‘Hmm. And then what?’
‘Then they’d be able to buy the film equipment.’
‘Okay, but then what, Nobes?’
The Philosophy Student reached forward, put a hand on Noble’s forearm, lit up another cigarette with her other. ‘Sorry, but you’re missing the sad reality here. They can make their films and do their art but there’s still a ceiling waiting for them. You see? Say one of them makes a good short film, then what? They take it to the next level, but it gets rejected cos minorities get rejected at the first gate, that’s the reality. That’s the system. Maybe one or two get through, but not a mass of them, and only with shit that’s compromised. Come on, Nobes, you know it’s true, in your gut. There’s only so many places they allow for people like us. The invisible quota. Sì, I know it sounds harsh but the system is racist and sexist and that’s the way it is. All the way through, at all levels.’
‘I understand that, but-…’
‘Not done yet, Nobes. See, the reality is this system is not ready for the poor yet, not on their own, it needs to be changed by us. Trust me, I learnt this the hard way, in the trenches. We need to get well-connected people of colour like Debit and the gay Chinese guy in, get them in at boss level then we all move up. Expand the quota, create more spaces. You do see that, don’t you?’
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