“Emperor Penguin,” Wolf said, “was my best friend in HighSchool. We met in Health class. I’d just started experimenting on my own with the basic Perceptions like Alcohol and Marijuana and discovering their many benefits. Health class, however, was trying to teach us that any Perception was a dangerous and unhealthy mistake, which could only destroy your life.
‘Marijuana is a gateway to all the other drugs,’ the Health Teacher said. ‘It may seem harmless, but before you know it, you’ll be dying of a heroin overdose.’
Everyone in the class was listening closely and taking notes so they could get a good grade on a test. But there was one lone voice in the back of the class who went “pfft.” I looked back, and it was Emperor Penguin. I didn’t know much about him, but he seemed cool and well dressed and wasn’t afraid to speak out in class.
‘That’s bullshit,’ he said, ‘I know lots of Realities who smoke Marijuana, and they don’t die. They just think everything is greater for a little while.”
The Health Teacher wouldn’t listen to him and scolded him for swearing, but I was intrigued because I hadn’t met anyone else in person who’d had Perceptionist experiences yet. I knew I had to approach him after class.
‘Oh yeah,’ he said, ‘they’re just trying to Train us to become Future Adults, and you can’t get a good Adult job or something if you don’t do the ‘right’ Perceptions. I’m not going to be an Adult tho. I’m a Reality Traveler.’
I’d never heard the words before that and asked him what it meant.
“It’s about calling people out on their bullshit so we can all MeToo over the truth,” he said and then explained the rest of what he knew.
He was young and misunderstood some things about Reality Travel, but he had the basics mostly down. He also mentioned he was the lead singer of a band that Traveled to Realities all over Philadelphia Suburbs, both Jersey and Pennsylvania, to musically MeToo them, and he invited me to their next show. I was scared because I’d only really Traveled to family and school Realities before, but there was something about the words “Reality Travel” that lured me in, and I decided I had to Get Out There for the first time.
Emperor Penguin picked me up and took us to the show in the close by but exciting Realities of DowntownPhiladelphia, where I’d rarely been before and never without my parents. They were playing in some old shabby music club, and I got to hang out with the band backstage. It was dingy and dark, and there was a pungent yet familiar smell in the air. When I met the band they were in a circle passing around the Marijuana Perception.
‘Is he cool?’ one of the band members asked Emperor Penguin about me.
‘Yeah,’ he said, ‘he’s a Reality Traveler like us.’
‘Cool,’ they said.
And then I got to join them, and as the Marijuana Perception went around I realized that it was making everything greater for all of us at the same time.
“So,” one of them asked me, “what do you MeToo via?”
I knew almost nothing about Reality Travel until that day, but somehow I knew the answer and responded right away.
‘I MeToo about Perceptions like this one,’ I said.
‘Cool,’ they said.
And that was the moment when I received The Calling. Emperor Penguin and I went on many Travels after that and have been friends ever since.