After Kat I had to move back into the ALC Dorms, and they were still having the same kinda parties there. Everyone but me was Adventuring in Alcohol Perception and gathering in circles and MeTooing about things I didn’t know about. Like NewYorkCity. I hadn’t been there yet, cuz Kat never wanted to, and I was kinda scared to after how it went in the last huge city I went to. But I guess they’d never had anything like that happen to them.
“I partied so hard in NewYorkCity last night,” or “Realities are so much more Real in NewYorkCity,” or “My boyfriend lives in NewYorkCity,” they’d say.
And they would also always play NewYorkCity music. It would mostly be some La Renarde-like local band that wasn’t supposta be on The Radio, or it would be New Downtown Radio Hits.
Downtown Hits are songs made for Realities from Downtowns instead of Suburbs.
New Downtown Hits were on a different Radio Station than Mom listened to, and I hadn’t really heard any of them. Most of them seemed to have no singing and went too fast to even know what they were about.
At one party I couldn’t believe an old Suburban Hit called “The Sign,” actually came on…
“The Sign” is a song about getting lost. Sometimes when you’re trying to get somewhere and don’t know the directions, you end up in a dark place you don’t want to be. Then you hafta hope you see a sign that leads you back in the right direction to some light place where you belong.
I’d always liked the song and was seeing new ways it could be about my life after Kat and how I’d got the Calling Card sign and was getting back into the light of Reality Travel. I looked around the party for anyone to MeToo about it, but they were only making faces like something smelled bad.
“Oh my god,” a Reality held their nose, “Is this Ace of Base?”
Ace of Base is a band, from the far off and exciting Realities of Scandinavia, about trying really hard to sound like American Downtown Hits. Their songs all accidentally ended up on American Suburban Hits Radio tho.
“I’m sorry! I’m sorry!” someone came running, “That was a mistake! I’m changing it.”
Everyone laughed and took a deep breath, and then the song was off and soon replaced by more pure Downtown Hits made by actual American Downtown Realities. It all made me want to escape to Alone Reality in the trees outside again.
But before I could, a girl from Group Voice Training came up and stopped me. She’d had a terrible offkey singing voice that sounded like a quacking duck. She’d also always wear a heavy down coat and snow hat no matter what, as if she’d just been in a cold pond at all times and needed them to prevent hypothermia.
“Hey,” she said. “How come you don’t come to Voice class anymore?”
“Because I’ve advanced to Private Training,” I said.
“That’s awesome! You are like a really, really good singer.”
“So don’t you think The Voice Professor is kinda weird? What’s with all the baby noises and ‘uh huhs’?”
“I like the ‘uh huhs.’”
“I know, MeToo!”
I didn’t really want to be talking to her anymore. I couldn’t stop remembering the sound of her duckily bad ‘wa-was.’ Also her down coat looked way too stuffy, and it was making me sweat.
“Can I get you a drink?” The Duckling said.
“I don’t drink.”
“What do you mean? Doesn’t everyone drink?”
“I don’t. It makes me throw up.”
“Ha, are you some kinda Lightweight?”
Then she poked me in the chest with her finger and it kinduv hurt.
“I think I’m going to go now,” I said.
“Oh, but I’m just teasing you,” she said.
But I didn’t want to be teased by such a bad singer, so I kept going toward the door. On the way I was stopped by yet another Reality. He leapt in and put his arm around me even tho I didn’t know who he was.
“Pardon me,” he said in a foreign accent. “I could not help overhearing your conversation. May I say you did the right thing by walking away. I also do not drink at these parties. I feel I must keep my eyes focused and alert for Love.”
As he spoke his vision scanned the room like a jungle cat.
“Allow me to introduce myself,” he said. “I am El Puma, the Reality Traveler from South America.”
It was the first time I’d met someone from such a far off and exciting location. I introduced myself and told him I was a Reality Traveler too and had just gotten a Calling Card.
“Wow!” he said. “This comes as a great relief to meet such an expert as yourself, Traveler Jonathan. This party is full of MeNotzies. All night I have been hunting for a chick to Love, but so far have had little success. Tell me, does a chick Love you?”
“I don’t think so, not anymore.”
“Ah, then you are now ready for a new chick to Love?”
“I guess so.”
“And you are also hunting for one here?”
“I don’t really hunt. I just kinda wait for someone to come to me.”
“Come to you?! But you may have to wait an eternity for this. If you hunt well enough you can fall in Love again right at this very moment.”
“I don’t know how to hunt tho.”
“Do not worry Traveler Jonathan. I have some expertise in this and can show you.”
“Alright,” I said.
And then me and El Puma became a Traveler Team.