Me and my Mom and Dad and Brother usta live in a big house called The Big Nest. It was like a soft, but tightly strewn, perimeter of bramble that could secure and protect a fragile egg or baby bird too young to fly. It was so big, cuz Dad was a moneymaking Doctor, and everything inside it was big, too, like a big kitchen, big toys, and a big TV.
I moved away after I got The Calling, and whenever I came back Mom and Dad would always be talking about a strange new concept called Self Growth.
Self Growth is about your Self not being big enough as it is, so you have to do things to make it grow, like stretching, breathing, running, chanting, eating health food, and acquiring knickknacks from the far off and exciting Realities of Asia and/or Native America. Once your Self has gotten to a certain size you won’t need other things in your life to be as big.
At one point both my parents’ Selves had Grown enough that they didn’t even need The Big Nest anymore, and so they moved into a new Smaller Nest. Every time I went there it never felt quite right.
I got there this time early in the night. I went up to the front door and hadta ring the doorbell cuz I didn’t have a key. Inside I could hear unfamiliar high and powerful noises. When the door opened a small creature leapt out at me.
“This is the new puppy!” Mom said. “We named him Buddhawg after The Self Growth Guru, The Buddha.”
The Buddha was a Wiseman Traveler who MeToo’d via The Great MeToo – All Realities Will End.
“Oh,” I said.
Our old dog Dogritos had just died. We had named her after Doritos.
Doritos are a triangular snack chip about having a bold nacho cheese flavor.
I didn’t even know they’d replaced her with a new dog until that moment. It made me feel a TimeFuck tingle in my head.
The Buddhawg was very adorable tho. His shaggy black hair came down over his eyes, and you could only see a little nose and mouth, and you just wanted to smush his face in with Love.
“Aww,” I said.
But when I bent down to pet him, he snapped at my hand, and I could feel little sharp teeth.
“Buddhawg, No!” Mom said and scooped him up. “He’s still a little wild.”
Then she had to take him inside and put him in a little metal cage so he couldn’t attack me anymore.
As usual everything seemed off in The Smaller Nest. The walls and windows and carpets and furniture were all in the wrong places, and they were the wrong sizes and colors. It even had the wrong smell. I hadta shake my head to get all the TimeFuck Tingles out of it.
“Are you alright?” Mom asked.
“Yeah,” I said.
“Did you stop to rest at all?”
“How did you stay awake?”
“Tsst, that stuff is toxic!”
“But I love it.”
“It’s making your Self Shrink.”
“I don’t feel like I’m shrinking.”
“It does it slowly and secretly until your Self is so small you don’t have one anymore.”
“But you usta buy it for us all the time.”
“We didn’t know better back then. But every Self Growth book and workshop and seminar says Dr. Pepper is bad.”
The Tingles wouldn’t go away, and they made me hafta sit down.
“So who’s wedding are you going to?” Mom said.
“Huh?” I said.
Besides the Tingles, my mind was also suddenly having trouble remembering things.
“You said on the phone you’re going to Philadelphia for a wedding,” she said.
“Oh yeah, that must be Wolf&Lamb’s I guess.”
“Do you have something to wear for it?”
“What I’m wearing now.”
I was in my Traveler Uniform, which I wore every day I Traveled – blue bandana, blue jean jacket, plain white t-shirt, blue jeans, and black tennis shoes.
“What about pants?” she said. “You can’t just wear jeans to a wedding.”
“Everyone else there will be wearing dress clothes.”
I hadn’t thought of that, but she was making sense. If I looked too different I could Stick Out Like a Sore Thumb and become a magnet for MeNotzies.
“What do I do?” I said. “It’s too late to change my Wedding Uniform now.”
“It’s alright,” Mom said. “We can go to The Mall early tomorrow and get a pair of khakis. I think there’s a sale.”
“But I hate shopping at The Mall. Maybe I don’t even wanna go to a Wedding.”
After I said that I realized that my head wasn’t right at all, and a TimeWarp must’ve been taking over. I tried to play “I’m Like a Bird,” in my head, but I couldn’t really remember how the melody went.
“Oh Gods,” I said, “I gotta get something from the car.”
Then I went to grab The Mix at once.