Coming to America 813 C.E.
Mr. Ibis writes a story of Vikings coming to America long ago. The Norsemen discover the inhabitants are unwelcoming yet they are unable to set sail again due to bad winds. They pray to their god, Odin, to give them favorable winds, carving a statue in his image and plucking out their right eyes in sacrifice. It is still not enough to appease their god so they burn alive one of their own. The wind picks up slightly so they know they are starting to appease their war god. They engage in a bloody battle against each other, killing each other until the wind picks up enough for them to set sail again. They never speak of the new world again. Over a hundred years later, Leif Erikson finds Odin still waiting with his war.
Shadow Moon is locked up in prison, lifting weights in the yard with his cellmate, Low Key Lyesmith. He is due to be released from prison in five days but has a premonition of a storm coming. He relates his uneasy feelings to both Low Key and later in a phone call to his wife, Laura Moon. She reveals to him that she and his best friend, Robbie Burton, are planning a surprise party for him when he comes home.
That night, Shadow dreams of an orchard full of skulls and bones and a massive tree with branches that reach for him, one of them slashing Shadow across his cheek. A noose drops in front of him. He is awoken by a prison guard, leading him to the warden who tells him of Laura's death in a car accident that morning. He will be released a couple of days early to attend her funeral.
Shadow is released from prison and arrives at the airport. He tries to exchange the ticket Laura bought him to Eagle Point from Friday to Tuesday. The Airline Attendant is unhelpful and Shadow remembers a story Low Key had once told him about Johnnie Larch who had been released from prison after five years. Larch hands the lady at the airport an expired ID and he argues with her that even though it is expired, it is still a valid ID. She calls security on him and he is back in prison. The moral of the story: "do not piss off those bitches in airports." Shadow pays with his credit card for a flight out the next day.
He spends the night in the airport and leaves a voicemail for Robbie. A man walks up to the counter, requesting a first class ticket. He seems confused and senile, causing the Airline Attendant to hurry him to first class anyway. Shadow boards the flight and discovers his seat is already taken by someone with the same seat assignment. The only seat left available is in first class, next to the old man who is now coherent and clear-headed, having scammed his way to a first class ticket. He greets Shadow with a Jack and Coke.
They strike up a conversation and the man knows that Shadow had just gotten out of prison. He introduces himself as Mr. Wednesday and asks what was Shadow's downfall. Shadow reveals to him it was small-time casinos and does a coin trick for him. Wednesday tells him he uses people's faith to con them. He passes Shadow a first class toiletries bag and offers Shadow a job. Shadow declines because Robbie is holding a job for him at his gym.
They fall asleep and Shadow dreams of the tree again. A white buffalo with flames coming out his eyes tells Shadow to "believe." Shadow is awakened to find out the flight has been diverted and the next flight to Eagle Point isn't until tomorrow. He rents a car and starts driving instead. He pulls over at Shakamak State Park and screams out over a cliff.
Somewhere in America
Bilquis is in a bar for a date with a man she met online. She takes him back to her place and into her bedroom. They undress and he tells her she's perfect. She asks if he doesn't think she looks "spent" and he replies that she is sexy. They begin to have sex with Bilquis guiding him. She asks him to worship her with his words and body and to pray to her. He worships her with his words as she starts to ride him. He prays to her and exalts her as she keeps riding him, swallowing him from the waist down, telling him not to stop and to give her his body and his life. She finishes consuming him with her vagina and relaxes, rejuvenated from his willing sacrifice.
Shadow has arrived at Jack's Crocodile Bar where Jack offers him her chili. Shadow heads to the bathroom where Mr. Wednesday appears from a bathroom stall. He is still offering him a job and he passes Shadow a newspaper with an article on the car crash. He tells Shadow that Robbie had also died in the accident that killed Laura.
Shadow admits to Wednesday that he is broke and jobless but he'll only work for Wednesday based on the flip of a coin. Wednesday calls Heads and Shadow is surprised to discover it is Heads when he rigged the toss. Wednesday goes to the bar for drinks and Mad Sweeney approaches Shadow to warn him about Wednesday.
Wednesday returns with three shots of mead for Shadow to drink. Shadow takes the first shot and Wednesday tells him the mead seals their bargain. Shadow will be his driver and bodyguard and will hold his vigil upon Wednesday's death. Shadow agrees to $2000 a week on the condition that he won't hurt anyone for fun or profit and that he will quit if Wednesday pisses him off. Shadow drinks the second shot to seal the deal and the third shot as the "charm." Wednesday spits on his hand and they shake.
Sweeney starts pulling real gold coins out from everywhere and Shadow asks how he does the trick. Sweeney tells him it's the easiest trick in the world to just pluck them out of the air. Shadow asks again and Sweeney challenges him to a fight for the answer. Shadow declines, yet Sweeney keeps egging him on. He starts to insult Laura and Shadow punches him in the face. They begin brawling, tearing up Jack's bar and fighting until Shadow blacks out.
Shadow wakes up in the back of Mr. Wednesday's car on their way to Eagle Point. He finds Mad Sweeney's gold coin and Wednesday says Sweeney taught him the coin trick. He cleans up in a gas station bathroom before dropping Wednesday off at a motel and taking Betty, Wednesday's car, to the church for Laura's funeral.
He is late and finds a spot in a pew next to Audrey Burton, Robbie's wife and Laura's best friend. She begins mouthing off about Laura and Shadow tells her he's sorry about Robbie. She realizes that Shadow doesn't know that Laura died with Robbie's "cock in her mouth."
The funeral proceeds to the graveside where Shadow stays through until the grave is filled. He doesn't understand why Laura would cheat on him. He had worked hard improving himself for her while in prison so he would be better than he was going in. He tosses Mad Sweeney's gold coin onto her grave.
Audrey stumbles over, doped up on Ativan and having just pissed on Robbie's grave. She pieced things together and figured out that Robbie and Laura having an affair for a long time. She goes into detail about Robbie's penis being severed in the crash and what she told the coroner to do with it. She is angry that she won't ever get closure before she breaks down crying and offers him a hug. He hugs her back and she next offers him an "eye for an eye, a blowjob for a blowjob." He refuses and comforts and holds her as she cries. The gold coin on Laura's grave sinks into the dirt.
As Shadow walks back from the graveyard, the street lights go out. He sees what looks like fireflies swarming over a box in a field off the side of the road. He investigates and the box opens and attaches itself to his face, transporting him into a virtual reality.
He is seated at one end of a long room with Technical Boy at the other end. Technical Boy's Children sit on either side of Shadow, prepared to hit him if he doesn't answer Technical Boy's questions. Technical Boy continuously blows rings of synthetic toad-skin bufotoxin vapor into Shadow's face as he grills him about Wednesday. When he discovers Shadow knows nothing, he tells his Children to kill Shadow, explaining he can delete and overwrite Shadow.
Shadow is transported back to the side of the road where the Children beat and then lynch him from a tree. The rope breaks and he falls to the ground as the Children are massacred in front of him.