You decide, instead, to go to the Moonlite All-Nite Diner, and have a slice of pie. The wind is hot, like always, and smells like honey and mud. Night is your favorite time. Daylight brings only a chain of visual sensations, none of which cohere into meaning for you anymore. Life has become out of focus, free of consequence.
As you drive, you turn off the headlights for a moment. At that moment, you feel again, above you, not even far away now, that planet of awesome size, lit by no sun. An invisible titan, all thick black forests and jagged mountains and deep, turbulent oceans. You see nothing but the faint moonlight on your dashboard, but you know the planet is out there, yawning in the unseen spaces.
The moment passes. You turn your headlights back on, and all you see is a road. Just asphalt! Just that. And you pass a man waving semaphore flags, indicating that the speed limit for this stretch is forty-five.
The Moonlite All-Nite Diner is radiant green, a slab of mint light in the warm darkness. You squint when you see it, like it hurts your eyes, but it does not hurt your eyes. You park near the front door. A man rolls by on the ground, his eyes bleary and sightless, whispering the word ‘mudwomb’ over and over. But you don’t have the money to tip him, so you go inside. You order a slice of strawberry pie, and the waitress indicates through words and movements that it will be brought to you presently. The radio speaks soothingly to you from staticky speakers set into a foam-tile ceiling. It is telling a story about you. Your story, at last.
A man slides into the booth across from you. You recognize him vaguely, although he looks considerably different now. It is that man who appeared to be of Slavic origin, but who dressed in an absurd caricature of an Indian chief and called himself the Apache Tracker. Except now, it’s difficult for you to miss, he has actually transformed into a Native American. You wonder if the pie will get there soon. The Apache Tracker smells of potting soil and sweat. He leans across the table and touches your hand, lightly.
You do not pull the hand away, because you know that there will be no consequence for any of this.
“Вы в опасности.” (Vy v opasnosti. You are in danger.) he says. “Они идут.” (Oni idut. They are coming).
You nod. He taps the table. Then, bringing his thick eyebrows together and pursing his lips, he leans down and taps the ground. You nod again.
“I think my pie is here now,” you say unnecessarily, as the pie is quite visibly placed in front of you.
You did not order invisible pie. You hate invisible pie.
He looks at the pie for a long time, and then lets his breath hiss out slowly through his nose.
“Они придут снизу. Пироги не помогут.” (Oni pridut snizu. Pirogi ne pomogut. They are arriving from below. Pies will not help.) He leaves. What an asshole that guy is!
[Cyrillic & translations provided by anonymous Tumblr users and noaarmstro, with help from annachibi.]