It's late evening when Dipper descends the rubber coated steps of a hissing, grumbling bus just after it has arrived at 2103 San Pablo Avenue in Oakland, California.
It feels like the first step on the moon.
The air is different, somehow, and it's not just the exhaust that thickens it. He can't quantify it, exactly. It's less filling. It lacks substance.
Cars course down the nearby street; behind them, apartments rise up five, six floors. People gather nearby outside the bus building, waiting for everyone to depart.
Suburbia stretches out around him with all of its uniformity, street lights and paved roads and even lines. Through a chain-link fence, he sees there are pine trees just across the road.
They strike him as unimpressive, arranged. Fake.
Mabel stumbles blearily out behind him, Waddles held tightly in her arms. The pig is drawing more than a few stares from passersby. Waddles stares back.
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