He clicked out of the site, and swiveled to face Apryll who was standing expectantly behind his chair.
“Am I right?” she asked.
“About what?” he countered, stalling.
“Don’t play coy, Mufta. You know.”
He didn’t have to play dumb. “Help me out here. I have no idea why you just made me watch a YouTube video called Zombie in a Penguin Suit. I’m at a loss.”
“Mufta, Mufta. Always inscrutable.” Apryll hugged herself gently. “That’s why you’re such a good oracle. You don’t give anything away.”
He rose from the chair. “Apryll, stop with the oracle thing. I’m not a prophet. I drive a cab.”
“Exactly. Only you're Morpheus with the red and blue pill. You’ve pierced the Veil.”
Mufta shook his head. “The Veil? No. I’m more like Mr. Magoo, stumbling into places because I can’t see, and believing I’m really somewhere else.”
“But, Magoo pierced the Veil,” Apryll encouraged. “You said I have to think thinly. That’s what Zombie in a Penguin Suit does. It stretches my thinking until I feel the fabric of the Veil tearing slightly—and I can almost see beyond.”
Mufta laughed. “Mr. Magoo and zombies piercing the Veil? Why not Hello, Kitty or Dancing with the Stars?”
Apryll frowned and huffed. “You’re the one who said it’s all around us. That it’s like The Matrix only we’re not comatose. We’re just unaware. Too immersed in our own little world to feel the ones bumping up right next to us. Last night you swore there were a myriad of worlds near ours that we name religion and magic and science. You said they’re stacked all around us. Separated only by the Veil. Like ‘ghosts in the machine’ you said.”
“Ghosts!” Mufta chuckled. “I must’ve had a rough night behind the wheel.”
She hugged herself again, but not lightly. “Why do you do this to me? You always back off the magical things you tell me late at night. Like you don’t want me to know the truth about the Veil.” She slumped into the swivel chair. “Like you don’t trust me.”
With dread, she searched his eyes. “Just tell me if it’s real. The Veil. You go on and on about it after driving the city all night. You spill out these beautiful visions of worlds coming together, of peace, of transcendence. Then, in the broad light of day, after I’ve searched for this pathway between these places, you become evasive or laugh me off. It makes me feel like a fool for believing you. Tell me, Mufta, is it real?”
He stood unmoving. The stillness of truth. Around him, time expanded as space had done at the singularity, the inception, the point blank. She was there. Every manifestation of her, every atom, every story to be told.
“Drive the city with me tonight,” he urged softly.
Tears clouded Apryll’s pleading eyes. “Is it real?”
He held her. Two weary worlds of need. And, like a zombie in a penguin suit, the Veil lifted.