9.19 – The CrossRoads

Suddenly my head snapped up and my eyes opened and me and Wings were driving on The Road again.  There was a big bright sunrise behind us, and somehow we’d gotten all the way to The Plains of Colorado.

 “Am I in the clear?” I asked Wings.  “Did the Perception finally wear off?”

Wings didn’t answer back, and I took it to mean things were going back to normal.  Then I stopped to get more gas, and when I went in the station it was just a regular Reality in there, who wasn’t a psychic or a monster or a God, and he did the pre-pay for me easily.

I was almost to the Road that led to Where-ThePlains-Meet-TheMountains, and it seemed like I was pretty much home-free.  Except when I got back in the car The Crow was there in the front seat.

“You’re just a Perception!” I yelled at it.  “You can’t last forever.”

“I’m not just a Perception,” The Crow said in a strangely familiar voice.

“Yeah you are, but I guess since you’re here and can finally talk I am curious who you imaginarily are and why you were imaginarily helping me when I believed in imaginary Reality Travel.”

“Alright,” he said.

Then suddenly it wasn’t The Crow anymore but The Professor.  He was almost too big for the car and hadta adjust the seat all the way back so he’d fit.  He also had his arm in a sling.

“Yes,” he said, “The Crow has been me this whole time.  When you become advanced enough at Reality Travel you can Shapeshift into your True Animal Spirit.”

I knew that humans turning into animals was another thing on The Great List of Things That Aren’t Real, but I decided to play along anyway.

“What about all that stuff about how I couldn’t call and hadta Travel on my own and get my ass kicked?” I asked him.

“As part of The Training, each Traveler is entitled to get secret help for their first Great Trip,” he said.  “You’ve seen how hard the Travels are now.  You still needed The Training Wheels but also to feel like you were doing it all on your own.”

“Well, you imaginarily failed cuz I broke the imaginary Vow and gave up.”

“You’re not the first Traveler to go to War or to have Big Doubt.”

“Big Doubt’s not real.”

“It is, and it’s time for you to Dig Deep and Cure yourself or else you’ll be Eliminated.”

“Even if it was real, I’d have no idea how to Cure it.”

“Yes, you do… Remember your Thesis?”

“Please, if a Guardian Angel can’t even save you, why would a stupid song?”

“Because stupid songs are your True Passion.  They may not work for every Traveler, but it can work for you and many others.”

“Even if it could, I don’t have The Great Trip Mix anymore.”

“But I do.”

Then I looked over, and it was right there in his hand.

“I knew you’d be in trouble last night after I found out your Guardian Angel had been detained, so I came in to wake you up and inspire you to avoid War with The Eleventh Hour MeToo, but it was too late, and the Big Doubt was already beginning to set in.  I predicted what would happen from there and knew to rescue your most precious item, The Great Trip Mix, before it was lost or destroyed.”

Then he put it on and started playing Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.”  As soon as I heard the piano intro I could feel something changing inside my chest.  I tried to fight back tho and keep thinking about The Great List of What’s Not Real and the vision for My New Adult Life, but Steve Perry’s high and powerful voice came in and the feeling in my chest grew.  It was my Bluebird essence that had been pushed down into some deep corner of myself, and the song kept digging it out whether I wanted it to or not.  Then Steve Perry got to the line “looking just to find emotion hiding somewhere in the niiiiiiiiight,” and it was so high and powerful that some Bluebird got dug so far up it started coming out of my eyes as tears.  Soon the song got to its unconventional at-the-end-of-the-song chorus, and when I finally heard the words “Don’t stop believin’” I knew with total certainty that Reality Travel was real again.

“Oh my Gods!” I said when the song was over.  “I can’t believe I let that happen to me.”

“It’s Alright,” The Professor said.  “Now you’ll know how to deal with Big Doubt if it arises again.”

“But now what? This means The CrossRoads is totally real, and I hafta make the right choice or else!  What should I do, Professor?”

“I can’t make the choice for you, but I think you know in your heart the right thing to do.”

“Heart?  Does that mean choosing The Goddess of Faith because True Love is the most important thing even if we get Eliminated for it?”

“That would be a noble choice.”

“Or should I pick Reality Travel cuz that’s like the Love for all Realities in The World no matter what, and then neither of us will get Eliminated?”

“Also a noble choice.”

“But either way I’d be sacrificing too much.  I’m not sure if I can even handle Reality Travel without The Goddess of Faith.  I would just feel too Lonely, not Alright, and I’d get my ass kicked all the time. I’m not a very good Traveler, am I?”

“You have a lot of room for improvement.”

“What if I’m never that good?”

“Reality Travel isn’t about being good.  It’s about MeTooing in any way you can.  Maybe you’ll never be able to introduce yourself in person to New Realities very well, but you are good at singing, so sing to them.  Sing to them about getting your ass kicked and having the courage to keep going anyway, and believe me, Realities will MeToo.  Sing to them in every way you know how.  Sing to them with The Great List of Songs, with your own songs, and if that isn’t enough, sing a novel to them.  You have to trust me, if you just sing to them everything will be Alright.”

Suddenly I realized we were coming up on the point where Road-70 met Road-25, and where I’d hafta decide if I was going back to Where-ThePlains-Meets-TheMountains or not.

“This is The CrossRoads, isn’t it?” I said.

“Yes,” The Professor said, “and only you can make the decision about where to go from here.”

“But which Road means what?” I said.

But The Professor suddenly disappeared, and I hadta think about it all Alone.

“Alright,” I said to myself, “if I were still in Big Doubt I would’ve just gone North back to Where-ThePlains-Meet-TheMountains, so that would probably get me Eliminated.  Going West will take me straight to the hard and treacherous Mountains where I’m terrified to Travel, and going South will take me to the Desert, which is also hard but at least it’s flat and the sun is always shining.  But I’m not sure which Fate is which.”

I was quickly approaching the exit when suddenly I saw The Goddess of Faith fly out of the sun from The South.  She seemed to be escaping from Guard Gods who were right on her tail, and I really wanted to try and save her.  As she got closer I could see her It’s Alright Baby glow and I realized how you only get one SoulMate and I would never Love or be Loved again like I am with her.  And even if we are both Eliminated at least it would be together and neither of us would have to feel the pains of Lonely existence ever again.

“Bluebird,” The Goddess of Faith yelled out, “I True Love you.”

“I True Love you, too,” I yelled back.

But at the moment it came time to change Roads I couldn’t do it.  I could only think about all The Realities of The World who might be destroyed by War and needed MeToos, and if I or The Goddess of Faith wasn’t there it would just make things a little worse for everyone.  It seemed too selfish to choose a Love that only we could feel for just one last second.  Even tho it would be hard, I knew I had to Love everyone in The World no matter what.

I kept driving down Road-70 right past Road-25 South and The Goddess of Faith and headed straight towards The Mountains. I didn’t know where it would lead, but as the Road started to go higher up, I started to feel so high and powerful.  I hit the gas down hard and pointed Wings to the sky, and soon we started flying above The Road, and over The Mountain peaks, and over the clouds, until soon we were so high we were in the OtherWorld, without even taking an outside Perception, and then there were just the feelings of high! and powerful! and I couldn’t help laughing and crying at the same time.

Just then I felt a surge of energy inside me start to collect and suddenly shoot out.  I let all my outer layers fall away, and I was pure Bluebird!  And The Crow and all The Gods were watching me, and The God of Judgment nodded his head, and The God of The Road was pumping his fist, and The Goddess of Music was leading the Other World RockNRoll Choir to sing for me.  And then I saw The Goddess of Faith in the rearview mirror, and she was smiling and happy for me even tho we wouldn’t get to be together again.  But suddenly all my Bluebird! gathered together and aimed towards her, and her It’s Alright, Baby! gathered together and aimed towards me, and in one swift moment they couldn’t help shooting at each other, and when they crashed together they exploded and formed Bluebird’s Alright, Baby!! and every one who witnessed it went,“Whoah we were all so wrong.”

And when The Professor Crow saw it he said, “Yes!”

And when The Goddess of Love saw it, she said, “True Love!”

And when The Goddess of Angels saw it, she said, “She must be his Angel forever!”

And when The God of Judgment saw it, he said, “Let The Record show that this is something beyond any of us, and we cannot stand in its way.”

And when The Goddess of Music saw it, she told her RockNRoll Choir to sing,“Here Comes the Sun,” and everyone in The Other World sang along, too.

And when we descended back to The World the Bluebird’s Alright, Baby!! finally broke apart, and we were The Bluebird and The Goddess of Faith again, and we were together in Wings driving thru The Mountains, and we were not afraid.  We were ready for the next Reality and everything was going to be Alright, Baby!

9.18 – The Judgment

“After considering all the Witnesses and Evidence,” The God of Judgment said, “I conclude that The Goddess of Faith and The Bluebird have broken God Rules by showing each other what Love is.  It is inconclusive who seduced whom and why exactly, yet both The Defendants have proven to have some value to us, therefore I will not Eliminate them at this time.  I do, however,sentence The Goddess of Faith to remain in Godjail, while The Bluebird is sentenced to The CrossRoads, where he will have to choose his own Fate.

The first direction will be the choice to continue to give in to Big Doubt and no longer be a Reality Traveler.  If he takes this route, it will be no good to The Gods anymore, and we will Eliminate him at once, in which case The Goddess of Faith may resume her duties as a Guardian Angel.

The second direction will be the choice to continue Loving The Goddess of Faith.  If he takes this route, he may mercifully be with her for one final act of Love, but because we will then not be able to trust that either won’t interfere with The Show, we will Eliminate them both.

The final direction will be a choice to continue Reality Travel but without The Goddess of Faith.  In this case, he will be assigned a new Guardian Angel, and The Goddess of Faith will be assigned a new Reality Traveler, and they will be forbidden to have any further contact.

The Bluebird will have a small amount of time to consider his decision, but once made, it will be final.”

9.17 – (Witness) Me

Then I hadta go up and sit in the seat by The God of Judgment.  I got a close look at his white judge wig and big black gown and his red devil face.

“Sing for us, human,” he said.

But I didn’t feel like it.

“Did you hear what I said?  In a God Trial you have to do everything I tell you.”

I shrugged.

“C’mon,” The Goddess of Music yelled out, “don’t you wanna save your ass?”  Sing him ‘I Won’t Back Down’ or something.”

But I still didn’t.

“Why aren’t you singing?” The God of Judgment asked.

“What’s the point?” I said.

“The point is to decide your fate.  You could be Eliminated forever you know.”

“No, I won’t.”

“You don’t believe I have the power or the guts to?”

Then his eyes started glowing red and flames started shooting out of them right towards me.

“I won’t,” I said, “because none of this is actually real.”

“What do you mean this?” he said.

“The Other World, The Gods, The Trial…”

“Even me?”

“Especially you and your fire eyes.”

“But I’m right here talking to you.”

“You’re just a hallucination caused by Scorpion’s Pill.”

“What’s a Scorpion’s Pill?”

“It’s a Perception that’s sending chemicals into my brain, which is causing my imagination to seem real, but it’s actually not.”

“But you were a Reality Traveler before you took this Perception and you had to believe in The Gods.”

“I only did cuz it felt better to believe, but that only led to getting my ass kicked, and now I know the truth.”

“Why did you come all the way to The UnderWorld then?”

“I didn’t, cuz there is no UnderWorld.”

“This is so ridiculous,only a human could come up with it.”

“I don’t care what you think.  Pretty soon you’ll disappear, and me and Wings will be back on The Road in Kansas.”

“I’ve heard enough.”

Then he dismissed me and brought The Goddess of Angels back up.

“Goddess of Angels,” he said, “do you have any explanation for his delusional behavior?”

“It appears to be Big Doubt,” she said, “a BoobyTrap in which The Reality Traveler stops believin’ in Reality Travel anymore.  Most Travelers never recover from it.  Even more reason why we should just Eliminate him.”

“Could he snap out of it?”

“He has to Dig Down Deep and find a reason to believe, but I’m telling you he doesn’t have it in him.”

“Yes, he does!” The Goddess of Faith yelled out.  “Just give him a chance.”

“Crazy human! Crazy human!” the crowd chanted.

“Order!” The God of Judgment pounded his gavel.  “I’m ready to make my final Judgement!”

9.16 – (Witness) The Goddess of Music

The crowd looked around, but The Goddess of Music didn’t appear.

“I don’t think she’s here,” someone said.

“That rebel,” The God of Judgment said, “always doing the opposite of what the crowd does.”

Then he summoned the Guard Gods.

“Go find her and bring her back at once, and if she resists tell her you have a Subpoena, and she’ll be thrown in GodJail again if she doesn’t come.”

Not too long later The Guards came back with The Goddess of Music, kicking and screaming that it was all “bullshit.”  She looked kinda like my Mom, except she had big spiky hair and was wearing a punk style black leather jacket over her tunic.

“Goddess of Music,” The God of Judgment said, “What’s wrong with you?”

“I hate Trials,” she said.

“Well, relax, The Trial isn’t for you this time.  It’s for The Bluebird, who I assume you know.”

“Never heard of him.”

“Really?  You haven’t heard of one of your MusicMan Reality Travelers?”

“Everyone thinks they’re a MusicManorWoman.  I don’t even pay attention anymore.”

“So you’re saying if he was a better Reality Traveler he might’ve gotten your attention?”

“What’s it to you?”

“Haven’t you heard, Music?  The Bluebird’s on Trial for Love with a Goddess.”

“That’s a stupid Rule.”

“I don’t have to justify The Rules to you, rebel, and you can just leave if you don’t have anything to say on behalf of The Defendant.”

“Maybe I do know him, but first I hafta know if can get in trouble for anything I say here.”

“You’re granted immunity for your own crimes if you give us any helpful information.”

“In that case, yeah, I do know The Bluebird.  When he was a baby I gave him The Gift.  I made it so he’d be awesome at singing anything off the Great List of Old Songs.”

“Have you been watching him on The Travels?”

“Not only have I been watching, but I’ve been helping him.  Yeah, that’s right!  I gave him the divine inspiration to know all the songs to put on The Great Trip Mix, and then I’d try to make those songs play at moments when he really needed a MeToo. The only time I fucked up was with The Radiohead song, cuz I forget it was supposta be “High and Dry” instead of “Creep.”  So sorry about that Bluebird.  But yeah, God of JERKment, I’ve been Intervening this whole time!  Haha, whatcha gonna do about it now?!”

“Shame on you, Music, how will we ever know whether The Bluebird was actually a good Reality Traveler or whether you were just carrying him?”

“Oh come on, we all know that the MeNotzies are way too strong now. I’m just evening things out. Besides a Reality Traveler is supposta have The Gods on their side right?”

“Yes, but how much is not for you to determine.”

“Whatever, if you really wanna know if he can MeToo anyone just listen to him sing.  He’s great.  He’ll give you all The Chills.”

“Alright then, I now call upon The Bluebird himself to take The Stand.

9.15 – (Witness) The God of The Road

Then The Goddess of Angels got down and The God of The Road took her place on The Stand.  He looked just like my Dad except he was wearing a Jack Kerouac style Road-Uniform of a plain white t-shirt and jeans.

“God of The Road,” The God of Judgment said.  “What do you know about The Bluebird?”

“Honestly,” he said, “I’d never heard of him until just recently.  But I started seeing him on The Road more and more when he began delivering pizzas.  Then he went on The Great Trip driving across most of America with On The Road at his side, and I liked that.”

“Is The Bluebird a Great Driver?”

“I sure as hell didn’t give him a Gift for it or anything.  In fact, he was once terrible and barely able to pass Driver Training.  He’s never learned to drive a stick shift, and he’s still terrified of parallel parking, but he has improved alot. He can deliver a pizza quickly now, he’s got pretty good Road Endurance, and he survived NewYorkCity, which are the toughest Roads I’ve made.  But here’s the craziest thing, he was somehow able to out maneuver The Guardian of The Gates of The UnderWorld.  See for yourselves.”

Then a movie came up that showed me and Wings driving thru the rain in Kansas City. When it got to the part when we had to fly over The Monster to finally break free, the crowd went “ooh!”

“Isn’t this impossible to do in a standard Suburu automobile?” The God of Judgment asked.  “Did you help him?”

“No way,” The God of The Road said, “he did it all by himself as if he were flying a jet plane.  I’ve only seen something like it before from Drivers I’ve Touched.  He may not be as good as them, but he is sometimes somehow able to access The Magic of The Road.”

“Let The Record show The Bluebird is a pretty good driver now, but does this help him MeToo any better?”

“I can say he can at least Travel to almost any Reality in a car, but whether he can MeToo once he’s there, I don’t really know.”

“Does any other God here have more information on how well The Bluebird can MeToo?”

He gave it a minute, but no one came forward.

“Wait,” The God of Judgment said, “The Bluebird is supposed to be a MusicMan Traveler right?  Where is The Goddess of Music?”

9.14 – (Witness) The Goddess of Angels

Then The Goddess of Angels came out of the crowd and took The Stand.  She was like a bigger more important version of The Goddess of Faith with a long white dress and feathery wings and a golden halo that was shining so bright you couldn’t look at her for more than a second.

“The Goddess of Angels,” The God of Judgment said.  “When did you first meet The Goddess of Faith?”

“One day she came to me begging to be part of The Guardian Angel Corps.  She said she’d just quit being an Angel of Death, and didn’t want to see any more Realities get Destroyed forever in War ever again. She said she just wanted humans to feel Alright, Baby!  It moved me, and it was one of the best Angel Slogans I’d ever heard, so I hired her right away.”

“Is she a good Guardian Angel?”

“She is a great Guardian Angel.  She is always assigned to Music Travelers, and she’s not only soothed them out of doubt countless times, but she has also inspired them to write some of the greatest and most MeTooable songs on The Great List of Old Songs.”

“Did it ever seem like The Goddess of Faith liked humans a little too much?”

“All of my Angels Love humans in the way that you Love everybody no matter what.”

“Did she ever go too far intervening in The Travels?”

“Not at all, not until she was assigned to The Bluebird.”

“What happened then?”

“At first it was just normal.  I matched her up with the next new Music Traveler like always, but during her first summoning she ended up staying with him for an entire night instead of the standard few minutes.  Then she started watching him all the time, and ignoring some of her other Travelers. He would summon her all the time for the smallest things, and she’d come anyway, whether there was an acceptable sacrifice or not.  After awhile she even started coming on her own with no sacrifice at all.  She thought I wouldn’t notice, but I saw everything.”

“Did you see them try to show each other what Love is?”

“I did not see it until everyone else did just now, but I had my suspicions.”

“Has one of your Angels ever behaved like this before?

“No.”

“Including The Goddess of Faith?”

“No, not until Bluebird.”

“How can you explain this?”

“I cannot.”

“Tell us what are the consequences for a God falling in Love with a human, especially a Reality Traveler?”

“A Guardian Angel is only supposed to give their Reality Traveler a minimal level of encouragement to keep things balanced.  If they are in Love they will not be able to help giving more than that and create an unfair advantage.  It only means something when humans are able to MeToo all by themselves.  Also, if the Love affair was to end for some reason it could do irreparable damage to the Angel’s or Traveler’s confidence.  It’s hard enough to keep good ones around as it is.  Either way it basically compromises the entire Show.”

“Did The Goddess of Faith ever cause The Bluebird to MeToo a Reality he wouldn’t have otherwise?”

“Yes, it was her idea to MeToo Wolf&Lamb’s Wedding AfterParty with a Bob Marley sing-along.”

“You ruined The Show!” the crowd yelled.

The Goddess of Faith was face down on the Defendant’s table. She was crying deeply like only a brokenhearted angel could.  But still I could feel nothing for her.

“Is it fair to say,” The God of Judgment said, “that The Goddess of Faith should be removed from her position or even Eliminated?”

“Neither.”

“What?!” the crowd yelled.  “Eliminate The Perv!  Eliminate The Perv!”

“Why not?” The God of Judgment asked.

“Given the spotless record of The Goddess of Faith before she met The Bluebird, I can only infer he must’ve somehow seduced her.  If we give her another Traveler I am certain she’ll resume being a model Angel again, and if we give Bluebird another Angel he’ll only try to seduce them again.”

“Oooh!” the crowd said.

“Despite seducing an Angel and relying on her to MeToo,” The God of Judgment said, “is Bluebird otherwise a good Traveler?”

“No,” she said, “he has many weaknesses.  Despite his formal Training, he’s prone to just about every BoobTrap, such as an over fondness for Alone Reality, a tendency to get sucked into TimeWarps, a vulnerability to severe moments of Traveler Pride, and an unacceptable terror of New Realities.  Worst of all, he recently broke The Traveler Vow by causing two Realities’ faces to bleed.”

“Given the shortage of Reality Travelers, would we miss him if he was gone?”

“No, we accept that most Reality Travelers won’t make it for long anyway.”

Then The God of Judgment called out to the crowd.

“Are there any Gods here who have anything else to say on behalf of The Bluebird?” he asked.

The crowd looked around at each other for a moment until one God suddenly emerged and came down.

“God of The Road,” The God of Judgment said, “please take The Stand.”

9.13 – (Witness) The Goddess of Love

Then The Goddess of Love came out of the crowd and took The Stand.  She looked like a little kid who shouldn’t be an expert on anything yet.  She also was carrying a bow and had a quiver of arrows on her back, and I wondered how safe it was for her to play with toys like that.

“Goddess of Love,” The God of Judgment said, “how does Love work?”

“Um, there’s like different kindsa Love,” she said.  “Like there’s the kind where you Love everybody no matter what.  Like when a Reality Traveler Loves the whole World, and even tho it’s really hard they try to MeToo everyone so no Reality gets Destroyed.”

“No, not that kind. Tell us about the kind that’s just between two Realities.”

“Sometimes I shoot my arrows at Realities, and when it hits them it makes them fall in Love, and then they wanna be around each other all the time, and show each other what Love is, and then maybe get married and maybe even have babies.  It can kinda wear off tho.”

“Do you ever shoot Gods?”

“Sometimes, hehehe.”

“Did you shoot The Goddess of Faith to make her fall in Love with a human?”

“Nope, never.”

“Is there another kind of Love that doesn’t require you shooting anyone?”

“Yeah, True Love.  That’s when you’re made of the same Universe stuff as someone else, and you can’t help being in Love with them, and it lasts forever.”

“Is it possible The Goddess of Faith is in True Love with The Bluebird as she insists?”

“I don’t think so,” she said.  “It’s only ever happened between Gods and Gods or humans and humans, cuz we’re not made of the same Universe stuff.  I mean we were here first and made them, ya know?”

“If it was True Love would there be a physical reaction in The Other World like the Goddess described?”

“Yeah, I’ve seen it before.  A whole lotta energy-stuff builds up inside them and shoots out, and then they explode,and then they’re one thing instead of two.  It’s really cool.”

“Do you have to be in The Pure Other World for it to happen?”

“I think it happens automatically there, but if you’re really SoulMates you should be able to do it anywhere if you really wanna.”

Then The God of Judgment looked over at us.

“I order you to form one thing instead of two before all of us right here in The UnderWorld,” he said.

“It’s Alright, Baby,” The Goddess of Faith put her hand on my shoulder.

But it only felt about as Alright as an invisible imaginary hand on me.  Faith could sense it and started to panic.

“C’mon, Bluebird,” she said.  “I think we can form BAB!!, but we probably just hafta take off our outer layers of protection.”

But I looked down at my outer layer, and I liked it cuz it was the only thing making me comfortable in this crazy Perception.

“No,” I told her.

And then she started to cry again, and I hadta look away.

“Let The Record show,” The God of Judgment said, “that The Defendents were unable to prove their True Love on command.”

“Liar, liar, liar!” the crowd chanted.

“Goddess of Love,” The God of Judgment said, “if the Defendants are not in True Love, and you didn’t shoot them into Love, then why would they show each other what Love is together in Valley Forge?”

“Um, I dunno,” The Goddess of Love said. “Maybe The Goddess of Faith just wanted to know what lust is.”

“And what is lust?”

“It’s when you don’t actually Love someone you just Love their body.”

“Pervert, pervert, pervert!” the crowd chanted.

“Hold on.  We can’t judge her as a guilty pervert quite yet,” The God of Judgment said.  “I still want to understand her better.  Therefore, I call as my next Witness, The Goddess of Angels, Head of the Guardian Angel Corps and The Goddess of Faith’s supervisor.”