Genre: gen, non-linear, invocation, menu?
Characters: Sam, Dean
Word Count: 550
Summary: All roads lead to the Roman Diner.
There's a rendezvous of strangers around the coffee urn tonight--Tom Waits
I. Guardians of the four directions, all interstates lead to,well,the Roman Diner off Highway 62, where the blue-plate is a meatball sammy, and the waitress ash-rinsed, the dishwater grey as the Allegheny in a rainstorm. Are you feeling alright honey, the waitress says, and he isn't, really, but what's he gonna say, something about whiskey-fumes, and maybe havin’ a fever, about brothers and bloods and visions and hell. It's not a good road to go down. It’s not a good road.
II. Sam’s on one of his camping trips; desert, rock-walks, joshuas, black-tongued agave up from the hell-fields. Hello, the little girl says, waves to his face, are you hallucinating. Sam stops his hot shuffle, sigils the air. City of the dead is lovely this time of year, the little girl says; it’s the capital of the big empty; you should know. I don’t, Sam says, but I know what all roads lead to, eventually; I know where to run. I’m not a demon, says the little girl, or an angel; you’ll see me again someday, soldier; tell your brother.
III. A woman married a changeling down in Texas, went half-mad with grief. They went to make right; drove breakneck into faerie, or Brownsville, Dylan on the radio, trespass and traintrack, gunslingers, red-haired girls. There was a thrum in it, the airwave. They killed a thing and the road came back at them out of the earth, Winchester-growl. They made a run for the border, horror at their necks, orders up. That was the first time, with the blue-plate, the hum of 62; the rest was much later.
IV. Their hands had never been fine on the runes, on the spellwork, not as fine as real witches’;their hands had never been fine. They knew spells but their hands were rough on them, and years of mark & lock, lore & long-deads, hadn’t taken the hunters’-hands, ones that joined sweet over a shake-splashed diner counter, drew blood on the fleckwork and joined; conjured a flash and a banishing.
V. Sam comes in out of the cold, nods to the four directions, takes Dean’s collar with a fingertip: let’s go. The leave the menus. They leave the neon. They leave the cold food, fried to life. They leave the formica, the state. They leave the weather of that country. They leave.
VI. Sometimes the whole country sings with memory: diner, motel, mini-mart; liquor store, laundromat, lotto; school church living room convention hall, hot lunch swept under the counter; grounds, crust. Badge, DNA. They're ghosts. Bits of soul too, maybe, precious. Motels. Ashtrays. There’s no part of them that isn't somewhere. Once when they went to heaven a waitress in a diner where they'd once spilled secrets, eaten the blue-plate, sent a demon to hell, banished an angel, put her hand to a lightning-migraine, oh god. Skin hair nails, places they've bled, knelt, a knife of grass; at last, a feather. Sometimes the whole country sings with memory, and the sun comes up. We leave pieces of ourselves (Sam said); places come and we stay; our sins, transgressions; our terrible moments our tears. Our violence, our saucers, our tires, our tread, our love.
The waitress, all waitpersons everywhere, puts another pot on, keeps a weather-eye when they go.