9.9 – “PYRAMID”

The Department of Public Safety announced that all street signs in Night Vale will be replaced with traffic cops wielding semaphore flags. Drivers will be required to learn this physically expressive maritime alphabet. This decision is not without its controversy, as the existing street signs are entirely in Braille.

One critic, Paul Birmingham, says removing these signs will deflate the Earth. As a member of the Air-Filled Earth Society, Paul believes that Earth is a precariously inflated orb that could pop or sag at any moment. “We’ve gotta stop teaching all this religious propaganda in our schools and start teaching real science!” Paul shouted from his lean-to behind the library. I have to admit, listeners, he makes a valid point.

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13.5 – A Story About You

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.