The Son plays video Pong. His father comes over and gets the Son's attention, and has him practice the piano. As soon as the Son finishes, he goes back to his game.
The Son plays on his Game Boiy, and the Father puts on a record of classical music by Bach and tells the Son to listen. The Father talks about how the song personifies Bach's grief at losing children, and tells his Son that it's how men like him pray.
Later in his dorm room, the Son is programming and hears someone playing Bach. He follows the sound to another room and finds a girl playing Bach on the violin. He asks her to play it again, and then goes to his desk and finds a book of Bach's music, "Chaconne". Soon at home, he's playing it and the Father listens, nodding to the notes. Once the song is over, the Father says that it's beautiful like Bach and the Son explains that he translated Bach's music into a database and created his own song programming random variations into it. The computer is writing more now.
When the Father dies, the Son attends the funeral and listens to a string quartet play Bach. The Son visualizes Technical playing along. Through the church, the mourners tape their feet and fingers as Technical Boy manifests.
Shadow lies in bed, sleeping, and dreams of a goddess coming to him. The goddess, Bast, says that she's glad that Shadow came. They fall back on the bed but Shadow stops, saying that Laura will kill Bast. Bast kisses him anyway and Shadow kisses her back. She then licks the scars on his body and has sex with him, scratching his back with her fingernails. Once they're done, Bast tells Shadow to rest and let it go, and Shadow lies back on the bed and dozes off.
The next morning, Shadow wakes up and a cat walks away. He looks at the scratches on his body and realizes that it wasn't a dream.
Ibis is cutting open a corpse when Shadow comes in. He gets the god's attention and Ibis asks if he slept well. Shadow says that he did and Ibis explains that he works for the county medical examiner doing autopsies, and they're a funeral home in Cairo. He says that they found their niche after the Civil War when they became the funeral home for the blacks. Bast is seated on a footstool, and Ibis whistles at her. Ibis explains that they never thought of themselves as African but Egyptian. Shadow asks if there's anyone else there, and Ibis says that Laura isn't there. Wednesday comes in and motions to Ibis to say nothing, and Ibis tells Shadow that he doesn't know where Laura is. He warns Shadow that Laura isn't the same person that she was.
Wednesday interrupts and says that they should seize the day and go. Shadow follows him out and says that he needs to find Laura, and Wednesday tells him to enjoy his life and leave the past where it belongs. He says that he's going to St. Louis and there's money there. They drive off and Bilquis enters the funeral home. She goes to a cathedral and finds Ruby sitting in front of a coffin. Ruby wonders how Lila knew her grandmother, Lila, and Bilquis has no idea who Lila is. Bilquis says that she came for a man named Shadow, and Ruby assumes that Shadow died. The goddess says that the coffin is empty, and Ruby explains that they have Lila in the back and she'll be buried in a few days. Meanwhile, she prays to the idea of Lila. Bilquis says that a woman's heart should never be so dedicated to God that she doesn't know.
Nancy comes in and says that men have to seek God to find Bilquis. He notes that Bilquis goes back and forth across the battlefield in the middle of a war, and Bilquis says that World might have convinced her if he hadn't killed Zorya Vechernyaya. Bilquis figures that Wednesday will understand, and wonders if he thinks she should have hidden. Ruby wonders if they know each other, and Nancy tells her that they're acquainted.
In World's stronghold, New Media notices that Technical Boy is nervous and says that they need each other. Technical Boy laughs and asks if he was there when Media died. He says that she changed into New Media, and New Media says that she can feel Media inside of her and the next version of Media will feel all of them. New Media asks if Technical Boy wonders about such things, and Technical Boy tells her that people are aware that they're going to die and pray to the old gods to stop it. Animals don't, and his point is that Media isn't a person or animal. She understood that she was a god.
World walks in and Technical Boy admits that Argus' death is a setback. His superior doesn't want to his excuses, and insists that wars are won with information. He tells them that he's blind without Argus' data and drives his thumbs into Technical Boy's eyes, and Technical Boy desperately says that he has a plan. After a moment, World lets him go and walks away, and New Media shrugs.
Shadow and Wednesday drive to St. Louis and stop at a diner. When Shadow points out that money isn't really worth anything, and Wednesday explains that money is worth a story that it's worth something and the whole world loves it. He pronounces it the greatest story ever told, and figures that if they get Money on their side then they'll win the war. Mama-Ji comes over and pours coffee, and says that she's at even motel in America. She complains that Wednesday drifts around and says that her and her followers battled for every scrap that they have. Wednesday figures that she misses the real battles and describes a battlefield that she strode over. Three Penny Scouts enter the diner and stare briefly at Wednesday before moving along. Mama-Ji tells Wednesday that "he" will be the death of Wednesday and walks away.
At Xie Comm, Technical Boy goes in and gets a text from Media saying that he's afraid of World. Technical Boy mutters that he hates her and goes into an office. The CEO--the former Son--greets Technical Boy as his old friend and says that he always thought he'd see Technical Boy again. He figures that Technical Boy is there to show him something new, and Technical Boy tells him that it's time to get back in the game.
Ibis continues his work on Lila's body and Bilquis comes in. He compliments her on her beauty but she says that the country has not been kind to her face. Bast and Nancy come in and Bilquis tells Nancy that they should be on the same side. Ibis reminds Nancy that Bilquis is on their side and that he chooses peace so he didn't attend the meeting Wednesday held with the old gods. When Ibis says that he's seen ages and accumulates wisdom, and wonders why Nancy brings his rage there, Nancy explains that peace is a beautiful but shitty idea. He wants to understand what the news gods are offering and taking, and explains that his followers know that slavery is not a condition but a cult. Nancy tells Ibis and Bilquis that every 30 seconds another colored girl gets snatched, and the snatchers have built a pipeline to transfer children from school to prison. He talks about how the blacks in America have been programmed with traumas so they don't notice what's done with them. Ibis says that he hears Nancy and hears each voice, and writes each name in the Book of Thoth. Bilquis points out that the suffering is eternal, and Ibis eventually collects them all.
Nancy tells Bilquis that the world assumes that black people are naturally bad. When something good happens because of a black man, they figure that eventually the animal will rear its ugly head. Nancy points out that Ibis and Bilquis preach restraint and insists that war is upon them and an old white lady is dead. Wednesday is avenging her because she was white and he's white. Bilquis tells Nancy that the men of today see right through her and kisses Nancy, then asks what he proposes. Ibis suggests that they have a drink, and Nancy kisses Bilquis' hand and then says that a king needs a queen as they follow Ibis out.
Technical Boy tells the CEO that with the death of Argus, there's an opening. Now he captures information of every secret and every thought, and his followers have returned his favor a thousand fold. Now Technical Boy needs the eyes that Argus had, and he asks the CEO if he understands.
Shadow and Wednesday pay their bill and Wednesday buys candy from the Penny Scouts on credit. He identifies himself as Odin and says that Shadow is his assistant. When Shadow gives his name, they say that Shadow isn't on their lists as a creditor or a debit. Everyone else in the diner disappears and the lights go dim, and Wednesday wonders if Shadow is an off-the grid freak. Shadow explains that Laura handled it all, and Wednesday warns that Money hates people that live off the grid. He tells the Scouts that Shadow is just the hired help, but they announce "Access Denied".
In the funeral home chapel, Bilquis returns and hears Ruby praying. She asks what God gives her, and Ruby tells her that she either prays or runs five miles and she can't run since she jacked her leg. Ruby tells Bilquis that God gives her comfort and community, and if she hadn't injured her leg then she would have been in college instead of with Lila as she died. Bilquis wonders if God gave Lila money, and Ruby says that there's no money and Lila never let anger or jealousy guide her. The goddess says Jesus was a troublemaker and died because he angered the men in power and refused to be controlled. Now he commands worship, and Bilquis figures that he was onto something. Ruby introduces herself and Bilquis says that it's good to meet her.
Wednesday tells Shadow to buy some candy, and Shadow points out that the Penny Scouts won't sell to him. He demands to know why Wednesday picked him, and Wednesday says that he picked Shadow because he means nothing to any living or dead person and has no worth. Shadow says that the only explanation is that he does have value to Wednesday, and he doesn't know why Wednesday won't tell him.
Technical Boy says that he's handing the CEO the future, and the CEO tells him to show him. World comes in and says that he's never seen a god so effectively argue his obsolescence. He tells Technical Boy to show the CEO, and when Technical Boy doesn't do it, New Media appears on a computer screen and kisses it from the inside. She smiles and fades away, leaving a string of code. The CEO stares at it, fascinated and ignoring Technical Boy. Technical Boy says that he was the CEO's only friend and brought him into the presence of God. The CEO stares at the code and smiles, and World tells Technical Boy that the CEO has forgotten about him. Technical Boy mutters that it's a mistake and walks out. The screens on the walls shut down around him and he breaks into a run. He tries to get out of the building, and a metal drone leaps onto his head and absorbs him.
World walks to the reception desk and the Penny Scouts ask if he wants to purchase candy. The god says that he retired a god, and the Scouts take him to the diner. He tells Wednesday that he's sorry about Zorya's death but Wednesday should expect consequences. Wednesday says that when World messes with his people, he should expect disproportionate consequences. The Bookkeeper seated at a table says that he wants to pay. World tells Wednesday that the world is digitized and encrypted, with data sent to accounts with no physical information. Wednesday figures that Money loves profit and the two men sit down with the Bookkeeper. The old god explains that war inflames people's passion and the more passionate they are, the more they spend. World tells Wednesday that his kind are dying or dead. The Bookkeeper--Money--says that's enough and he's interested in investments, not emotions. He refuses to "invest" in either side, puts money on the table, and leaves. World is satisfied, and Wednesday warns him that people like him more than they like World. World says that he prefers to be feared and he's not Wednesday's enemy, and leaves.
The diner returns to normal, and Shadow sits down with Wednesday and stares at him.
Written by Gadfly on Mar 31, 2019