Manik pulled up to the curb, powered down the engine and looked across the dusty roadway at the diner.
As if on command, the neon sign over the doorway sputtered to life, strobing weakly at first before coming on strong, 'Starlight' in deep blue over 'Restaurant' in brilliant orange, with a sky-blue arrow underlining both before turning up toward the night sky.
Reflexively he looked up and down the roadway before crossing, a precaution hardwired from youth, wasted for more years than he cared to count.
The door put up a little resistance, the detritus of neglect drifting against it over time, but once he pulled it clear he was able to step inside, and the door closed easily behind him.
Inside it never changed.
The long low dinner counter down the left side, stools topped in polished vinyl, the laminate surface trimmed in chrome, screwed neatly along the edge at regular intervals. Behind the counter, several dozen bottles filled a small, tiered back-bar, a black bottle of Hendricks Gin