And inexplicably, he woke up laying on a sidewalk, in the middle of a Norman Rockwell painting.
Sawyer patted himself down. Nothing appeared to be damaged except his ego. But where was he? And what happened to everyone?
He looked around to get his bearings. It was your typical small town. Quaint street lights. Little gazebo in the town square. Ice cream shop - oh, excuse me, shoppe - probably run by some tubby townie. The diner looked all right - it was hard to go wrong with a diner. Hamburgers, biscuits and gravy, homemade apple pie. Maybe if he was lucky, they'd have decent fried chicken. And the waitresses were always pretty young things, working after school to earn money for their first car. Eye candy. He stepped inside and the little bell over the door rang out in greeting.
An Asian woman was wiping down a table, and flashed him a glare like he'd just farted in church.
"Beg your pardon?"
"You wish to eat here, or are you just going to stand there, letting in flies? Close the door and sit. Or, if you want to eat where you were resting, we can get you a doggie bag."
He put his hands up in surrender. "Okay, alright, I give. Where ... you got a booth available?"
"Don't be cute. Find a table. Sit down. Would you like coffee, or did you bring your own bottle of Mad Dog?"
"Uh, coffee. Sir." He grinned a little.
The glare came back, more menacing than before. This was a woman who had killed people before. He quit grinning and put on a humble face.
"Ma'am. Excuse me. Ma'am." He tipped an invisible cap to her.
She flipped over his coffee cup and filled it. If it was possible to pour a cup of coffee with malicious intent, she did it.
He ignored the food items - he knew what to eat in a diner - and stared at the logo on the front. "Luke's," it proclaimed in cartoony letters. Great. Where was Luke's? Where was he?
A scruffy guy in a baseball cap came rushing over. "I'm really sorry," he whispered.
"Sorry for what?"
"Well, Mrs. Kim's a little short with people sometimes," he said, still whispering. "Don't take offense. She's just covering some of her daughter's shifts until ... "
"Over medium is not one of the options!" the woman shouted from across the room. "No over medium, no over sort-of, no over part-of-the-way, no over just-a-little-bit. Do you want your eggs over easy or over hard? This is not rocket science!"
A terrified patron squeaked out, "Over easy! Easy!" He brandished his menu to protect himself.
The man grimaced a little and then stuck out his paw. "Luke Danes."
"Luke." And then the light went on. "Luke's Diner."
"Yeah," he nodded.
"All right, now I getcha. Don't worry about it. I've beat up meaner women than her."
He didn't quite smile, but he wanted to.
"Hey, listen, I don't want to seem like some kind of crackpot..."
"Well, you were the one sleeping on the sidewalk, so you might have some more work to do there."
"Yeah," Sawyer muttered sheepishly. "Still trying to figure that one out. Anyway, where the hell am I?"
"Blasphemer!" shouted Mrs. Kim, from somewhere behind the counter.
Luke peered at him. "Excuse me?"
Now Sawyer was whispering. "I don't know how I got here. Why I woke up on your sidewalk. How I got off the island."
"Never mind. But look... where is this place?"
"You're in Stars Hollow. "
"Mm." He considered that for a second. "Is that some kinda code name?"
"No, it's the name of the town. Stars Hollow, Connecticut. Look, mister, I don't know who you are..."
"The name's Sawyer. "
"...Sawyer, fine, but listen... You need to get yourself together. It's a small town, and you're already at strike two. No one knows who you are here, and you just suddenly appeared when the Town Selectman just went missing. "
"Yeah. Nobody's seen him. People are out looking for him. Which, if you knew him..."
Sawyer suddenly realized what the diner guy was saying. "Okay, wait a second. I showed up and at the same time, Mayor McCheese goes missing, and now all of a sudden everyone's giving me the evil eye. All right, here's the deal, Mel."
Luke glanced at him, suddenly confused. "Who's Mel?"
"I'm going to level with you. I don't know what in the hell I'm doin' here. I don't know how I showed up, how I just ... I guess, I just materialized on your sidewalk or something..."
"That's not what happened."
"You didn't materialize. A lot of people saw it. Some guy pushed you out the side of a Volkswagen bus."
Sawyer looked incredulous. "A Volkswagen bus?" He thought for a second and, unconsciously, muttered, "son of a bitch."
"Blasphemer!" bellowed Mrs. Kim.
The phone rang then, violently.
"Excuse me," Luke said and walked around the counter. Mrs. Kim appeared then, with catlike speed.
For a second, Sawyer forgot he was in a diner. He looked at the menu in his hand, a foreign thing, and then snapped out of his haze.
"I ... uh ... I haven't had time to look at this yet. Can you give me..."
"I will give you the food you order, when you order it. I will not give you time. Time is precious. Some of us have lives to return to, tasks to accomplish. Not like you, and your party-hearty buddies who think it's funny to throw people out of moving cars. I won't give you time, so you can put your head down and fall asleep on the table for a few hours and sleep off whatever drunken adventure you obviously had. Make a decision!"
She stood there, in silent furious vigil, while he scanned the menu desperately.
Chicken-fried steak." He tapped the menu with his fingertips. She made a noise in the back of her throat and ripped it from his fingers.
"Something else to drink? We don't serve beer, so you'll have to settle for non-alcoholic refreshment."
"Hey, I'm good with coffee." He consciously added, "ma'am." She swept around the counter to deliver the order to Luke, who was animatedly talking on the phone.
"I know he's sitting right here," Luke whispered, looking around uneasily. "I've got eyes, you know. Look, I don't have a lot of options here. Cesar's sick, so I'm pulling double duty behind the grill. Lane's out, and Mrs. Kim's ... well, I've got my hands full.
"Okay. I'll tell him. But you stay away from him. I'm not kidding."
Sawyer was so engrossed in eavesdropping that he didn't see the man come up behind him. Slowly, the man pulled out a huge butcher knife and lifted it above his head in one hand.
"KIRK!!!" Luke shouted. He came tearing around the counter.
Sawyer started, and then he saw the scrawny man standing behind him, wielding a knife at the back of his head.
The man raced around the table, across from Sawyer. "Aw, geez, Luke, I'm not going to kill him. I know how hard you work to keep these floors clean."
"Give me the knife, Kirk." Luke's eyes were huge.
"Can't do that, sir."
"Calm down, boss. This is all I was going to do." With his other hand, he put down first a hand-drawn map and then a brochure for the Dragonfly Inn. Then he raised the knife again.
"Fine." He spun the knife in his hand deftly, and tucked it away in his belt. Then he rapped on Sawyer's table with his knuckles.
"What you need can be found here," Kirk said.
And he spun on his heel toward the door. Sawyer was too dumbstruck to even move.
"Who the hell are you?! And what the ... what are you talking about? 'What I need.' How'n the hell do you know what I need?!"
"I think I may know you better than anyone. James."
At that, Sawyer flinched.
Kirk leaned against the door frame. Unexpectedly, the door opened and he stumbled. "Ahh, cripes." He stepped out the door as Babette and Miss Patty walked in.
"Ooh, look," said Babette in the loudest stage whisper imaginable. "There's that creepy guy who pulled the ol' bodysnatch on Taylor!"