As soon as we left ALC the seriousness of Traveling to NewYorkCity hit me. I realized I wouldn’t be able to get close to MeTooing any Realities there without some immediate Alcohol Perception. So first I drove me and El Puma to the nearest bar. It was right next door to Artsy Lawless in the rich neighborhood, where there were lots of big nests with Porches in the driveways. The bar itself had a big golden sign and someone you could pay to park your car for you.
“This seems to be a very fancy establishment,” El Puma said.
“A valet!” I said. “This is all I’ve ever wanted!”
So I pulled in and gave my keys and one dollar to the guy out front and watched as he drove off and parallel parked it perfectly on the street.
“I have a good feeling about this place,” I said.
Inside everyone looked strange tho. It was fully packed with Realities wearing unwrinkled suits and dresses. Nearly all of them had shiny metals and jewels around their wrists and necks. Many had loose skin falling off their faces and jiggling under their chins. Some had no hair on their head, and a couple even had giant humps on their backs. Every one of them smelled like flowers or coffee or smoke.
“This is the most Adult thing I’ve ever seen,” I said.
“Yes,” El Puma said. “It reminds me of the Major Financial Newspaper.”
“Why are they all here right now?”
“I imagine because it is the weekend.”
“The weekend is very important for the Adult. They do not have to wake up early in the morning for work so they may stay up later at night. Many of them have probably even hired a babysitter to care for their children so they can be here.”
“My Gods, they have children? Just like our parents?”
“It is hard to believe, but yes.”
We continued deeper inside. All the Adults were huddled together at tables and laughing loudly. They were making large sweeping gestures with their arms and announcing things like “one in the hand is worth two in the bush!” and “you’ve got to spend it to make it.”
“Spend what?” I asked El Puma.
“Money, I believe,” he said.
I also noticed all the Adults were drinking. Their drinks came in a variety of oddly shaped glasses, tall ones and short ones and fat ones and skinny ones and cone ones and cube ones and curley-q ones. Some drinks were bright greens and purples and had things like olives and limes and umbrellas sticking out of them.
“Don’t worry,” I said. “We’ll be able to manage this better when we’re in Alcohol Perception, too.”
“You are a drinker now?”
“Yes, I learned how to do it the right way in The Training from an expert Perceptionist named Wolf.”
We found a couple of open stools at the bar and sat down. The Bartender was an Adult, too. Her face was covered in lines like webs and her eyes looked like two dark venom spiders.
“I’ll get a JackNCoke,” I told her.
A JackNCoke is a drink about being in Alcohol Perception and Pop Perception at the same time. It is not as good as a JackNDrPepper, but for some reason they never have Dr. Pepper at bars.
The Bartender looked at me suspiciously.
“Let me see your ID,” she said.
Then I hadta give her my Driver’s License.
“Where-ThePlains-Meet-TheMountains?” she said.
“Yeah,” I said.
She looked back and forth between me and the License a few times.
“You look like a Kid,” she said.
“I’m not,” I said. “It says so on the card.”
“Might be a fake.”
“I assure you he has been alive long enough to legally be in Alcohol Perception in this country,” El Puma said.
“Yeah?” she said. “Well, you’re wearing a nice suit at least. I guess I’ll take your word for it.”
Then she made the drink and asked El Puma what he wanted.
“Just a glass of water, please,” he said.
She rolled her blackwidow-eyes.
“El Puma,” I whispered to him. “You can’t get just water.”
“But that is all I want,” he whispered back.
“Look, you know Adults, but I know Perceptionism. It’s going to be extremely difficult to MeToo if we’re not in Common Perception. We’re already at a MeToo Deficit with the Bartender, and she’s the most important Reality here.”
“You are speaking of concepts I am not sure I understand. I have not had a wolf to teach me and have never trusted Alcohol. It makes me feel as tho my mind is too loose or something. I believe I will MeToo better without it.”
“Alright fine, you’re lucky you’re with such a Trained Traveler who can make up for this kind of Reality Handicap.”
After a few sips I started noticing the Realities closest to us. On El Puma’s side there was a very Adult looking Adult. Her face was covered in thick makeup with black eyelashes and too-pink cheeks and bright tomato-gross red lips. Her hair was gray and tied back into a tight knot, and she was wearing some kind of thick and rigid jacket that made her shoulders look very pointy. On my side was another Adult, but she was much younger and maybe our age. She was also wearing a jacket, but it didn’t fit her as well, and I assumed she had only become an Adult just a couple days before.
“Alright,” I told El Puma, “We might as well try to MeToo some Realities since we’re here. I think we should start with the ones right next to us, establish a Foothold, and then work our way out from there.”
“A perfect plan.”
Then we both turned toward our nearest Realities. The one next to me was already talking to a very suit&tie-y Adult. The hair on the top of his head was dark but the hair right over his ears was white. He kept using words like “Wall Street” and “The Nation” and she kept yawning and checking her phone. Then she looked over at me and smiled.
“I like your jean jacket,” she said.
“Thanks,” I said. “It’s my Reality Travel Uniform.”
“I’m not familiar with that company. Are they a travel agency?”
“No, it’s way better than that.”
I was just about to explain it all, when the Adult next to her butted in.
“Are you from Canada, ay?” he said and started laughing.
“No” I said. “Why?”
“Denim jacket and jeans,” he pointed at me. “A Canadian Tuxedo!”
He laughed harder.
“I actually used to wear a jean jacket all the time before I worked at The Firm,” the young Adult woman said.
“Oh, so you had no taste either?” he laughed.
“Stop,” she slapped his shoulder. “I looked good in it.”
Then they both laughed. I couldn’t take it and hadta turn around and see if El Puma was kinduv getting his ass kicked, too. But his Adult already had her arm around his shoulder , and they were laughing together. I grabbed him and turned him around.
“These Adults are bigger MeNotzies than I expected,” I said. “They can smell a Reality Traveler from a mile away, and it smells like a fart to them.”
“This is very true,” he said.
“What’s your Adult saying?”
“She says she is a financial advisor, who plays racquetball and is very concerned by the trade gap with Asia.”
“What’s a trade gap?”
“I believe it has to do with imports and exports.”
“Hmm… What else?”
“I mentioned we’re on The Travels.”
“Beware, El Puma. You can’t say that kinda thing to just anyone.”
“It seemed alright in this case. She says she has never heard of the term before, but when I described it she insisted that she, too, is a Reality Traveler.”
“No, she’s not.”
“She says she Travels to resort Realities around The World. She is interested that I come from South America and says she would like to take a vacation to my continent some day soon.”
“A vacation is not Reality Travel.”
“I imagine there is no harm in her believing this.”
“Yes, there is. You hafta tell her she’s just a boring Adult.”
“This does not seem wise, but you are the expert.”
Then he went back to talking to her. The chick next to me was still talking to the Adult guy. I hadta order another double JackNCoke.
Then Wolf called.