Before I got to Chicago I was able to make Wings go as fast as I wanted in a long straight line, but suddenly there were lots of orange cones and Road-workers and Detour signs everywhere. If you wanted to stay on Road-80 to Ohio you hadta really pay attention to all the signs. It all forced you to go way under 75 miles per hour. And to make things worse I kept yawning, and my eyes kept shutting.
“This isn’t supposta happen, and I hate Chicago,” I told Wings.
I drank some more Dr. Pepper and played The Mix really loud, but it wasn’t enough. My head kept suddenly snapping up, and every time I’d realize I’d just been asleep even tho I was driving. One time when I suddenly woke I noticed the cars were going fast again, and there was a sign that said, “Welcome to Michigan.”
“No!” I said, “We’re supposta be in Indiana.”
“Dammit, Bad Driving Endurance,” I said and hit the steering wheel with my fist.
I was going 75 miles per hour again but down the wrong Road, and I could see how at that rate I’d quickly end up straight in the Slums of Detroit, home of riots and abandoned buildings and a MeNotzie basketball team that usta be known as The Bad Boys.
“No way,” I said.
But I didn’t know how to get back on the Road to Ohio Industrial City (Rubber). I just wanted someone else to be with me to tell me how to solve it.
“Dammit, dammit,” I said to Wings, “I hate Alone Reality.”
I was starting to panic again, but then I remembered my Training. I rolled down the window and yelled.
“Gods, it’s Bluebird The Reality Traveler, and I need help!”
Nothing happened, and then I realized I needed to make a sacrifice. I grabbed the first valuable thing I could find, my last two-liter of Dr. Pepper, and threw it out the window. I watched it fly back onto the Road, and the car behind me crushed it with its tires, and sweet pop sprayed out everywhere.
“Well,” I told Wings, “I guess it was getting warm anyway.”
Then suddenly a large bird came flying right at us. At the moment it should’ve cracked and splattered blood all over the windshield, it went thru like a ghost, and just like that my Guardian Angel was in the passenger seat. She wasn’t totally naked like the last time, but was still only wearing golden ribbons that covered certain parts.
“Bluebird!” she said. “What’s wrong?”
“I made a wrong turn,” I said.
“It’s Alright, Baby!”
Then she touched my arm, and her It’s Alright, Baby came inside and made me feel better just like it did in The Mountains.
“First,” she said, “I think you should get off at the next exit and park at a gas station and get in a powernap.”
“But I was supposta make it the whole way without sleeping. And I was supposta wanna go on this Detour and accidentally ends up in The Slums. And I was supposta follow that Goldfinch in Iowa. And I was supposta to save the Deer-in-Headlights from the Buffalo MeNotzies in Nebraska.”
“It’s Alright, Baby, you did the best you could.”
She rubbed my arm again with both hands, and then I didn’t care about Driving Endurance or Detours anymore. I pulled off The Road like she said. I went to a Michigan gas station parking lot and fell into a deep, peaceful sleep right away.
When I woke up later, my Angel was still in the car.
“How do you feel?” she said.
“Like I got a full night sleep!”
“That makes me happy!”
Then she handed me a fresh, cold 2-liter of Dr. Pepper.
“Here,” she said, “I got this when you were sleeping. Now you should have enough for a second wind to make it home.”
“Now you need to get back on the Road in the opposite direction. You’re going north so now you’ll have to go south. Then when you get back toward Chicago there will be a sign that says how to go east on Road-80 to get home.”
“What if I miss the sign again?”
“I’ll stay with you and keep my eyes peeled, too.”
Then we got back on The Road and I followed her directions.
“Hey,” I said. “What should I call you? Guardian Angel?”
“You can call me The Goddess of Faith.”
“I like it. It reminds me of the Journey song, “Faithfully.”
“I love that song.”
“MeToo. It’s on The Mix I made for the Great Trip.”
“Oh! I love Mixes. Let’s listen to it.”
Then I put it on, and The Goddess of Faith started singing along, and she had a great voice and knew all the words. Then I started singing along, too.
“Bluebird, you have such a beautiful voice,” she said. “It’s like a Goddess of Music touched voice.”
“Hey, wanna Rock Out to this?”
Then I turned up the volume and put the windows down and started moving my arms and shoulders any way they wanted to go. And she started shaking her head really fast and her golden hair bounced wildly all over the place.
“Hey, Faith,” I said, “watch this!”
Then I put Wings on cruise control and kicked my driving leg up.
“That’s The Kick,” I told her.
“I like it,” she said. “How bout this?”
Then she kicked up both legs into the air at once and wiggled them.
“Yes!” I said. “I came up with another very advanced Rock Out move last night called Head-Out-of-Window. I was even thinking of going for Whole-Torso-Out-of-Window, but it’s probably too hard to do in the middle of the day traffic.”
“Maybe I can help. What if I steered for you?”
Then she grabbed the wheel and gave Wings a little It’s Alright, Car-Baby, and I was free to climb outside. At first I stuck just my head out again to feel out the situation, and when I realized the Goddess of Faith had things under control, I started to inch out until my whole body down to the belly button was hanging out of the car. The wind pummeled worse than ever, and the cars next to me thought I was a reckless freak and MeNotzie-honked me, but it made me feel so powerful to withstand it. I couldn’t hear anything but The Road, but I could sense Steve Perry hitting his final intense “Oh-whoa-whoa-whoa-oh’s” and soon it was like each skin cell was going “woah-whoa!” and opening their wings like they were Angels.
“I’m getting The Chills!” I yelled back in to The Goddess of Faith.
“MeToo!” she said.
When I could take no more I climbed back inside and explained what had happened.
“It was like Double Chills,” I said. “One was the actual Music Chills, and the other was the temperature chills from the cold and hard Road-air.”
“It was a very genius Rock Out move,” she said.
“Thanks for helping.”
“It was an honor.”
It wasn’t long before we got back close to Chicago.
“There it is!” The Goddess said.
And then I saw a sign which clearly said “GO THIS WAY TO GET HOME.”
I made the right move, and we were back on Road-80. We clapped at first, but soon the Goddess of Faith got sad.
“I like The Mix,” she said. “I want to hear every single thing on it over and over and discover new frontiers of Rocking Out. But I have to go now.”
“Oh,” I said.
“Last time I got in trouble with my boss for staying too long with you.”
“It’s Alright. It was my fault. I know The Rules.”
“What are the Rules again?”
“There’re a few really important ones. But I’ll have to tell you later, cuz I really have to go.”
“Alright, I guess if you have to, but it gets very lonely on The Road.”
“Alright, well, then here’s one for The Road.”
Then she leaned in and hugged me and gave me a full armed dose of It’s Alright, Baby.
“How do you feel now?” she said.
“Like I’ll never be lonely again.”
She smiled and sprouted her wings.
“Bye, Goddess of Faith.”
Then she opened the door while the car was moving, and the wind blew in. She leapt out in one swoop, and then flew high into the sky until she disappeared into the sun.