Challenge #01651-D190: Ill-Met By Neon

The city sleeps, if the city is large enough to support night workers, cops, nurses, cleaning staff and cab drivers, somewhere there is a place open with hot coffee, hot food, a place to sit and grab a meal or snack before heading home to sleep. -- Knitnan

Towns can sleep. Villages definitely slumber. Cities? Cities never close. There's always somewhere going. Some light that is on and someone who is using that illumination for something. Not always something nice, because the have-nots figure out where the haves are and attempt a little manual redistribution.

But neither of those are here, in this tiny island of light in the darkened streets. It's a spot where the permanent and the itinerant alike come for a moment. A moment of peace. A moment to think. A moment to have a coffee, or bitch about politics, or catch up on a news station that isn't interrupted by static. The regulars sit with their laptops or their studies, and ask Joe about his corns or his lumbago. The people who aren't regulars watch the shitty television in the corner and process their food and beverages.

This is a space for the Night People. The flotsam and jetsam who just don't fit in the daylight. Those for whom the sun is their enemy. Those for whom normal is not obligatory, and unusual is acceptable. It is a realm of cheap but neat clothes and fading uniforms. And into this speck in the night-time galaxy of the city, there comes a complete stranger. Trouble about to happen.

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