Coming to America
Mr. Ibis writes about a coyote leading a group of people across the US-Mexico border. They arrive at the Rio Grande river and wait for nightfall to cross. A woman leads the group in prayer before they attempt the crossing. The coyote warns them that the water is deep and if they can't swim, then they should remain behind. She leads them into the water while one man lingers behind, entering last. The group reaches the other side and one gives thanks to the Lord. The last man flounders in the water and begins to drown. Someone grabs his hand and pulls him up. As he crawls ashore, he looks back and sees Jesus walking on water. An engine revs and the shoreline is lit up by clearance lights on the top of off-road trucks. The coyote yells for everyone to get back in the water just as she is shot dead by one of the border militia. The immigrants are fired upon and murdered by men holding rosaries and guns with Thy kingdom come written on the barrel and loaded with Vulcan ammo. Jesus raises his arms to stop the slaughtering and they shoot him, too. He lays dead on the ground, a blood stain forming over his heart, his hand shot through.
Shadow and Wednesday walk along a desolate road as Shadow grills Wednesday about Marilyn Monroe massacring everyone in the precinct and how a tree stabbed him. He wants to know what the New Gods are. Wednesday explains that the massacre was a warning to Wednesday and a sacrifice to them. Shadow asks if they are gods and Wednesday gives him the run-around, asking whether gods came first or the people who believe in them. Shadow is now getting a glimpse of it through the window. Shadow admits to him that Laura is alive and was in his motel room.
They return to the motel and Shadow's room is in shambles. Shadow finds Laura's wedding ring on the bathroom floor. Wednesday tells him they should leave and they pack up Betty. He explains to Shadow that when the dead come back, they usually have a reason. Ravens begin to caw and Wednesday starts the car as Shadow jumps in. Wednesday peels out and turns up the radio, blocking out the sound of Laura calling for Shadow as she arrives at the motel just in time to see them drive away.
Laura's car is missing so she goes to the Front Desk clerk to find out where it is, only to learn that the police towed it because she was dead. She asks where all the police are and Mad Sweeney shows up, announcing that all of the police are dead. She asks if he has a car and they head out to the parking lot where she frees Sweeney from his handcuffs. Sweeney selects a taxi cab to steal because the alarm is easy to disable. He is doing this because he wants to help Laura find someone to raise her fully from the dead so she doesn't need his gold coin anymore to keep her alive. She needs his help because her body is in the process of decaying and she'll turn to soup otherwise. She asks him what he is and he tells her he is a leprechaun. A gun cocks and Salim asks them to stop stealing his cab. He also wants to know if Mad Sweeney ever met a Jinn. Sweeney replies that if Salim takes them to Kentucky, he will tell Salim where he can find his Jinn along with "a murder of gods."
As Wednesday drives, he pesters Shadow about Laura's death and his grief, offering to lift Shadow's pain with a charm. He starts discussing the various charms he knows as he looks over to see Shadow's side bleeding profusely. He pulls over to the side of the road and inspects Shadow's wound. The branch has infected Shadow as something wiggles beneath the surface. They crouch in front of the headlights as Wednesday takes a pull of vodka before getting behind Shadow and wrapping his arms around him. He holds tight to Shadow as he feels along Shadow's wound for the splinter left behind by Mr. Wood. He tells Shadow how Mr. Wood used to be an Old God of the trees and the forest before sacrificing his trees and forest to industrialization and becoming something else. He pulls a writhing root out of Shadow's side, tossing it to the side of the road. Shadow is panicked about all that has happened as Wednesday explains that in order to instill a fear of the gods, there needs to be a fearful element.
Laura sits in the front seat of the taxi as Salim talks about how much New York scared him but now he is no longer scared. Sweeney pipes up from the back seat that he's scared Salim won't ever be quiet. He mocks Salim's taxi license because he is not Ibrahim bin Irem. Laura asks if Salim killed Ibrahim and Salim says that he hopes Ibrahim was given a new life just like he was given. He was Salim but now he has a new life and doesn't plan on seeing anyone from his old life. Laura ponders about never seeing her mother again but plans on thanking Christ for that when he raises her from the dead. Sweeney tells her to shut up about Jesus and begins insulting her. Laura grabs Sweeney by the lips and slams his head against the divider, warning him to not use that language around her ever again. She asks Salim if she can smoke because the car smells like a toilet anyway. He tells her to roll down her window and asks her if she is dead because she smells like it. She tells him it is her afterlife. When she was little, she used to pray for her family to disappear and now her prayers have been answered. Salim replies that he prays in thanks, not to ask for things. He prays to find the Jinn because the Jinn is his afterlife and he wants to know more. Sweeney laughs at him as he pulls his cap over his eyes to sleep. Laura reaches over and turns the steering wheel toward Indiana instead of Kentucky.
In Virginia, the company town of Vulcan ammo is starting its morning. The supervisor greets employees as they go about their jobs. He heads upstairs to a catwalk over vats of molten metal. He leans against a railing that gives way and sends him plummeting into one of the vats, dissolving him into bullets. Shadow and Wednesday arrive to deserted streets. Shadow spots several white townspeople dressed in uniforms with red armbands and carting around rifles. They come across the funeral parade where the rest of the townspeople are marching behind Vulcan. Wednesday explains how a couple of people a year die in sacrifice at the factory because it's cheaper for the company to settle than to update the safety of the plant.
The crowd gathers in front of Vulcan as he gives a speech. Wednesday parks the car and gets out with a bottle of Soma to convince Vulcan to join him in his war. Vulcan finishes his speech and the crowd shoots their guns and rifles up into the air, causing Shadow to flinch. Vulcan tells the crowd to go in peace and Wednesday suggests for Shadow to take cover. Shadow gets back into the car as it starts raining bullets down, denting Betty yet falling harmlessly around Vulcan and Wednesday. After the bullets stop falling, Shadow joins Wednesday and Vulcan, confirming what Vulcan heard about Wednesday's plans to start a war. Vulcan offers to get them something to eat.
Sweeney wakes up in the backseat to find that they are not in Kentucky but have arrived at Jack's Crocodile Bar. They go into the bar and order drinks before taking a seat at a booth. Sweeney continues insulting Laura's looks and smell and she tells him to stop trying to shame her because it doesn't work. Sweeney warns her about bringing attention to herself and asks why she came back to Indiana. He tells her her old life is done and Shadow is not obligated to take her back because she's dead and he knows it. The kiss that made her heart beat made Shadow taste the death on her. Shadow has a new life with Wednesday and Salim got a new life with the Jinn and Laura needs to get a new life without Shadow.
Shadow stares at a noose hanging from a tree as Vulcan tells him it was an "old hanging tree." Shadow turns around and when he turns back, the noose is gone. Vulcan offers for them to stay as long as they like while Betty is getting fixed up but Shadow wants to leave. Instead, they head inside Vulcan's house, gratuitously littered with preserved animal carcasses and rifle racks. Vulcan pours a drink for himself and Wednesday, outright denying Shadow anything to drink. He discusses how sacrifices have built up his mini empire and suggests Wednesday could have the same by sacrificing himself as he had done before. Shadows looks uneasily out the window at the hanging tree as Vulcan asks him if he has ever seen anyone hanged before and that it's a terrible way to find faith. Vulcan has "franchised" his worship and he pulls out a gun as he explains that the people believe and worship him through firepower. He aims and shoots at a mounted deer head. Wednesday invites him to join them in Wisconsin but asks him to forge a sword for him first. Vulcan agrees and leaves them alone.
Shadow asks Wednesday if Vulcan is trustworthy and confronts him about how Vulcan knew Shadow had been lynched by Technical Boy. Wednesday claims he said nothing but the New Gods also knew about the lynching. He is going to have Vulcan make a weapon to deal with it. He notices Shadow is still distracted by Laura's death and return and tells him to close his eyes and think of Laura. Shadow's eyelids glow and he is able to view Laura in Eagle Point, spying on her mom and family as they decorate Easter eggs. Wednesday asks Shadow if he can let her fade away. Back in Eagle Point, Laura gets into the cab and tells Salim to drive.
Deep within the factory and over vats of liquid metal, Vulcan forges Wednesday's sword. Wednesday compliments Vulcan on his craftsmanship, favoring it over the manufactured guns Vulcan now makes. Vulcan tells him that he gets more blood spilled in sacrifice with bullets than with blades and Wednesday could use a blood sacrifice of his own. He questions why Wednesday is starting this war and says it sounds like Wednesday is the only one benefiting. Wednesday asks if Vulcan told the New Gods they were in town and Vulcan confirms they are coming. They put power back into Vulcan's hand when he was just a forgotten story and now he is prayed to with bullets. He calls Wednesday a martyr but Wednesday denies it, saying it is actually Vulcan's role. Vulcan pledged allegiance to Wednesday and forged him a blade and the New Gods killed him for it. Wednesday swings the blade and slices Vulcan's head off. He kicks Vulcan into the vat below and watches as he dissolves. Shadow is freaking out as Wednesday hands him the blade and unzips his pants. He urinates into the vat to curse the bullets made.
Salim lays out his prayer rug on the side of the road for his morning prayer. Sweeney stays with the taxi as Laura sits nearby in a ditch, smoking. Salim finishes his prayer with "Allāhu Akbar. God is great." Laura replies that, "life is great," and he agrees.