“Where are we?” I asked El Puma.
At some point we were supposta get off the NewYorkCity Roads and enter the NewYorkCity Streets, but The Gods never told me how. There were lots of Roadsigns everywhere, but we couldn’t understand any of them, and then I hadta just pick a random exit.
“I have never seen these streets,” El Puma said.
They were dark with no street lamps and no street signs anymore. All the houses and shops had wooden boards over the windows, and someone had covered them with spraypaint paintings. As we drove thru I kept seeing mysterious moving shadows, and I didn’t know if they were from trees or dangerous Downtown MeNotzies. I tried to turn around and go back to the exit, but I couldn’t find a way to get back on.
“Dammit,” I said. “We’re trapped.”
“Where do The Gods say to go?” El Puma said.
“I don’t know. They won’t say.”
“The God of The Road has suddenly abandon one of his Gifted Realities?”
“I accidentally lied before. The God of The Road has no idea who I am. I was actually a terrible driver at first and hadta practice a lot just to be kinduv alright at it.”
“So anyone who practices could drive as well as you?”
“This encourages me, but also discourages me. How do we find our way now without The Gods lighting the way?”
“We probably hafta ask someone.”
“But you said a Reality Traveler never asks for directions.”
“No, that’s wrong, too. Anyone who’s lost has to ask for directions.”
“This makes more sense to me, but who do we ask? There is nothing but darkness around us.”
“I know. It’s scary.”
“Yes, I suppose we must keep going until we find some light.”
Soon we found a gas station with one dim lantern hanging high over it. The building was small and very spraypainted. Its windows had holes in them, and some of its pumps didn’t even have nozzles on them. It was kinda dark inside, and you couldn’t see anyone in there, and there was no open sign. It seemed too dangerous to get out and check. It seemed like you could hear bullets and screams in the near distance. But just as we were about to pull out and try to find a better lighted thing, I heard something else.
“Wait,” I rolled down the window to listen more closely. “There may actually be a God on our side afterall.”
“What is it?” El Puma said.
“Just follow me.”
Then I got out of the car, and he followed behind. We went to the door and jiggled the handle, and it opened. Inside behind a wall of bulletproof glass was a real live Downtown NewYorkCity Reality. He was a gray haired, gray bearded, old Adult, but he was up on his feet, flapping his arms, and dancing around beneath a flickering lamp like an old Moth who’d gotten inside the house cuz someone left the door open. My first instinct would’ve been to cover my ears and protect my wool wares, except he was listening to none other than Sam Cooke’s “Cupid” on The Radio. His voice was wheezy and not good, but he was singing and dancing with full passion. I started singing along, too, not to overpower him, but just enough to let him know I knew the song.
“How you know those words?” the Moth said. “This before your time.”
Then I told him about The Voice Professor and how I was supposta sing it for the Recital.
“That right?” he said. “This song a part of my past too. “Cupid” a song about my wife. Years ago we in the streets of NewYorkCity. Outta a million people passing another million people we pass each other. Arrow fly suddenly from the heavens right down into our chests. Stops us in our tracks, we look into each other’s eyes, and know we gonna be in Love forever and we been ever since.”
“He’s a Lover like us!” El Puma said.
“Point is we think we in control,” Moth said. “But it really The Gods, and they be laughing at us. Ain’t nobody better than nobody else down here, ya know? Nobody a God but the Gods.”
“I know,” I said. “That’s pretty much the Reality Traveler Humility Mantra.”
“I don’t know those words. But I always known about The Gods. Wasn’t even listening to the Radio tonight, but something tell me put on Old Old Hits station.
“The Goddess of Music,” I said.
“Yes,” Moth nodded furiously, “that exactly who it was.”
“I think she wants us to MeToo, so you can help us.”
Then we told him all about Reality Travel and how we were on a desperately important MeToo mission to NewYorkCity, but we got lost.
“Ain’t no shame in getting lost,” he said. “This a confusing place.”
Then El Puma told him where we wanted to go.
“Oh, that easy,” the Moth said. “Just take a right at the next light and then go all the way down Heart of the Streets Street, and then you home free.”
“Thanks,” we said.
“Gods bless ya,” he said.