8.16 – Retreat 

“What the fuck?!” TheGeneral&TheAdmiral said.

But before they knew what was happening, I just shoved them out of the way and started running.  I ran thru the living room and out the front door and down the stairs and out the building door until I got to Wings.  I dug my keys out and started the engine and squealed the tires as I backed out and sped away.  I didn’t look back, and I was crying the whole time.

When I got back to The Smaller Nest all the doors were locked, and I didn’t have a key.  I had to ring the doorbell a bunch of times, and then Dad finally answered in his underwear, and he looked like he didn’t want to be awake.

“You’re coming home late,” he said.

“I gotta throw up,” was all I could say.

Then I went straight to the bathroom, and everything was spinning, and everything in my stomach wanted to come out, and I pushed as much of it as I could into the toilet in huge bursts.  I couldn’t stand up anymore and hadta just lie there on the floor close to the bowl so I could throw up into it when I needed.  Dad came in to check on me.

“What happened?” he asked.

“War,” I said but I was too sick to explain much else.

“Is that a Reality Travel term?”

“I’m not sure Reality Travel’s even real anymore.”

“Our minds can create powerful stories that seem very real,” Dad said.  “They try to protect us by covering up the painful past Wounds on our Spirit.”

“Maybe my mind did do that.”

“But you can Awaken and see the truth like you are now.  You can choose to let go of the story and face the Wounds and then Forgive others and yourself for them.”

All I could do was throw up again.

“Remember this feeling,” Dad said.  “You don’t have to harm others or yourself like this again.”

“I won’t,” I said.  “I’m not Reality Traveling anymore.”

8.15 – War

When we got back inside everyone was shouting.

“Oh my god!” Red said.  “There’s a bird in here!”

She was ducked down on the floor covering her head, and The Admiral was on top of a chair holding a broomstick.  Just then a flash of darkness swooped around and divebombed them. It was The Crow.

Red screamed, and The Admiral swung at it and missed.  The Crow flew in a few circles and then noticed me and came straight towards me. I just stood there staring at it and didn’t flinch, and its claw scraped right across my face.

“Oh my god!” Red said.  “It got HD.”

“I’ll take care of this,” The General said.

Then he grabbed the sabre off the wall and pulled it out of its sheath.  The lights of The Barracks shined off the metal, and The General held it into the air like the leader of the cavalry.

“Where’d it go?” he said.

“Over there,” The Admiral said.  “It’s taking Ace’s music.”

It had The Great Trip Mix in its beak and was about to make another swoop.

“Oh my god!” Red said, “Get it!”

The General held his weapon high and charged.  The Crow dodged outta the way tho and turned back toward me.

“Go ahead,” I told it.  “Get me again.”

The Crow dove down at my face.  I didn’t flinch again, and it scraped my other cheek.  It perched on the globe for a second and looked at me confused.  It left its guard down for just that second, and TheGeneral&TheAdmiral took advantage.  The Admiral smacked it in the face with the broom, and then The General swiped at its wing with the sabre, and feathers flew up everywhere.  When they finally settled on the ground, The Crow had vanished.

“It must’ve flown out from wherever it came in,” The General said.  “Although I don’t know how it could’ve.  This place is a fortress.”

“Was that The Gods?” The Admiral asked.

“No,” I said, “It was just a coincidence.  It probably flew in from the balcony when you weren’t looking.”

“Oh my god, HD,” Red said, “your cheeks are all bloody!”

“I’ll be alright.”

Then I wiped them with my hands, and my fingers got all red.

“Oh my god,” Red said, “let me clean you up.”

Then we went into the bathroom so she could look at it.  She took a wet cloth and wiped the blood off.

“I think you need a band-aid,” she said.

Then she got some out of the medicine cabinet, peeled off the wrappers, and stuck one on each of my cheeks.  It was nice, and a little Alright, Baby, and it made her seem like she was someone else.

“Thanks, La Renarde,” I said.

“Oh my god,” she said, “I’m Red.”

“You look like La Renarde.  You have the same red hair.”


“You’re so funny, HD.”

“Are you guys like twins?”

“No I’m younger.”

But they really looked exactly the same to me.  I had one last vague sense I was being TimeWarped, but when I went to look down at my Grounding Device, once again it and the jacket it was stuck to weren’t there anymore.

“Hey La Renarde,” I said.  “Maybe if we kiss again it’ll turn out different this time.”

“Um, you’re acting kinda weird now.”

“Why did you kiss me if you were just going to be in Love with that other guy?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about. Let’s go back in the room, HD.”

“I’m not HD, I’m Jonathan, and I just wanted to be Reality Travel enough so you’d Love me.  I did all of this for you, and now you don’t even believe in it anymore.”

“I really think we should go back in.”

“Please kiss me.”

“I don’t like you like that.”

“So you’re still not going to kiss me ever?”

“Ew, no.”

Then she pulled away from me as far as she could and told TheGeneral&TheAdmiral everything that just happened.

“Hahaha,” The Admiral said, “hahaha.”

“I win again,” The General said.  “When will you learn you just don’t have the Gods on your side.”

I looked at Red’s hair again as she avoided me across the room, and it was so LaRenarde-red, and then when I looked away everything else around us was the same color.  The walls and the counter and the door and the floor and The Admiral’s face and The General’s face, all pure red.  Then suddenly I felt a redness build and surge from inside me.  It was redbird, and it felt powerful and completely correct.

“Ahhrgh!” it made me say.

And then I charged ahead and attacked them with my redbird.

“Oww!” it made them say.

I took a step back, and all the normal colors suddenly came back around me.  White and black and gray.  Except for Red’s hair and clothes and a little red splatter on the floor.  Red’s eyes were wide open and she covered her mouth with her hand.  The Admiral was dazed on the ground, and The General was standing up holding his face.  One little red drop fell thru his fingers and hit the floor in front of him, and it almost made it seem like he was crying tears of blood.

8.14 –TheBalcony

I tried to get back into The Barracks, but there was a code you hadta enter to get in the front door.  I hadta call up The General, and he hadta press a button so it would open for me.  Then when I got up to his apartment I hadta knock on the door, and then The Admiral hadta let me in.  I was expecting him to go “hahahahahahahahaha,” cuz I didn’t have any Gods with me, but he actually looked sad.  The General and Red were laughing tho, as they wrestled with each otheron the floor.

“Hey, Ace,” The Admiral said, “I’m going out to the balcony for a smoke.  Come with me.”

“I don’t smoke,” I said.

“Come out anyway. Let’s talk.”

“Alright,” I said and then I followed him out to the balcony.

It was little deck that could only fit about two Realities on it.  He lit up a cigarette, and then smoke was everywhere, and it smelled bad and burned my nose and eyes.

“I hate smoking,” I said.  “What do you want?”

“You know how we were listening to that one song earlier?  Creep?”


“Well, don’t tell the others, but I think I am one.”

“A Creep?”

“Yeah, and it’s not funny at all.  I hate working at the factory, and I drink all the time, and Red wants The General, and there’s nothing Special about me.

“What are you telling me for?”

“I thought you could do your Reality Travel thing on me.  You know the MeToo thing.”

I had the instinct to look down at my jacket, but I wasn’t wearing one anymore.  I realized I didn’t feel like MeTooing him at all.  In fact I felt like making him hurt.

“Hahaha,” I said. “I can’t MeToo being a creep, cuz I’m Special.”

“Oh,” he said.

His face looked like a sunken ship, and it made me feel good.  Then I just left him there to finish his cigarette alone.

 When I got back in Red and The General were still on the floor, but they weren’t wrestling anymore.  The General was very close to her face and trying to kiss her on the lips, but she wouldn’t let him.

“I don’t like you like that,” she said.

“Seriously?” he said.  “But we were just wrestling, and you’ve been giving me The Look all night.”

“That doesn’t mean anything.”

“It means you’re leading me on.”

“Oh my god, no.”

“Do you like The Admiral instead of me?”

Before she could answer The Admiral came back in from the balcony and saw them very close on the floor.

“Can you two not make out right in front of us?” he said to them.

“Oh my god,” Red got up quickly and said, “we weren’t doing anything.”

“I know what I saw.”

Then The Admiral went right up to the General and stood over him.

“You’re always trying to rub shit in my face like this,” he said.

Then The General stood up and got right up next to The Admiral, and their chests were almost touching.

“Calm the fuck down, Admiral,” he said.

“No, you calm the fuck down, General.”



“Oh my god,” Red said, “I can’t believe you guys are fighting over me.”

“Hippie,” The General said.

“Frenchman,” The Admiral said.

Then they both shoved each other.

“HD,” she said, “help me stop them.”

“I don’t care,” I said and didn’t do anything.

Then Red got between them herself.

“Oh my god,” she said, “it’s not like I want either of you.  I only like you guys as friends.”

“This is ridiculous,” The General said and pulled away.  “I’m going out for a smoke.”

Then he looked over at me.

“Come with me, Ace,” he said.

“I don’t smoke,” I said.

“I need someone to talk to tho.”

“Alright,” I said and followed him out to the balcony.

He lit up a cigarette and offered me one.

“I just said I hate cigarettes.  What do you want?”

“That Red,” he said, “I could’ve sworn she had a thing for me.”

“I’m not surprised she doesn’t.”

“Ace, don’t tell the others this, but I’m very lonely.  I was dating this girl for awhile, but we just broke up.  She said I was too argumentative for her.  Can you believe that?  I’m actually still heartbroken and wonder if any one will ever Love me again.”

“Why are you telling me?”

“I thought you could say something like you’ve had your heartbroken, too.”

“I haven’t. I’m good with girls.  I break their hearts.”


“Yeah, and maybe Red doesn’t like you two cuz she likes me instead.”

“I highly doubt it.”

“Why don’t we go back in, and I’ll prove it to you, and finally you’ll understand The Gods like me better.”

“You’re on.”

8.13 – Summoning

I left the apartment and went outside just in case the Goddess couldn’t for some reason get thru the Barracks’ defenses. When I got out to the parking lot to Wings she wasn’t there tho.

“Faith,” I said up to the sky, “where are you?”

But still there was no response.  I wondered if maybe I hadn’t made a big enough sacrifice earlier.  After all it was just gin which nobody really liked anyway.  I looked in the car for anything else that I would miss a little more. It seemed like I’d probably have to get into my Traveler Gear to really get her attention.  So I took my deodorant and threw it under the car.

“I’m going to get pretty smelly without that,” I said.  “It’ll make MeTooing that much harder.”

But she didn’t show up, so I figured I’d have to sacrifice even more, and then I took my pillow and stuck it in the middle of a nearby shrub.

“No good sleeping in the car for me anymore,” I said.

But she still didn’t show up.  Then I started to get mad, and I took Jack Kerouac’s On the Road and ripped all the pages out of it, and they fell all around me like book rain.

“C’mon Angel!” I said.  “Isn’t that enough?  Can you finally come now?”

But still she wasn’t there.  And then I got a bad thought.  What if something happened to her?  What if she’d been caught for breaking The Rules?

And then I got an even worse thought.  What if The General&The Admiral and La Renarde and my Dad were all right?  What if Reality Travel wasn’t real?  What if I was just a Creep imagining the whole thing in my head just to feel Special, and all the other Travelers, even Wolf, even The Professor, just hadn’t woke up to the truth yet either?

But I still knew if it was real at all then I needed my Guardian Angel more than ever and not just to help MeToo the MeNotzies inside.  So then I took the item that was most important to me and her, the Professor-style tweed jacket for my Wedding Uniform, which cost a whole week of pizza delivery money to buy.  I balled it up in my hands and tossed it inside the nearest dumpster.

“There!” I said and cried.  “That’s the biggest sacrifice I can make.”

But still there was no Goddess of Faith, the one Reality who was never supposta leave me HighNDry, and I couldn’t help but worry she’d never come, and I’d never feel her It’s Alright, Baby ever again.

Then all I could do was get the deodorant from under the car, pull the pillow out of the shrub and brush the prickers off, and gather up as many pages of On the Road as I could find.

Finally, I tried to climb up the side of the dumpster so I could reach in and grab the jacket, but it was very high and smooth, and I didn’t want to accidentally fall in and not be able to get out.

“Dammit,” I cried a little and hadta just leave it there and go back inside.

8.12 – Track #17 of The Great Trip Mix: Radiohead’s “High and Dry”

I knew TheGeneral&TheAdmiral would still be tough to MeToo, but I didn’t know much about Red.  I waited for them to go to the balcony to smoke, and then I went up to talk to her.

“Did La Renarde ever tell you about Reality Travel?” I asked her.

“Who’s that?”
“Your sister.”

“Oh you mean Fox.”


“Oh my god, she usta be so weird,” she said.  “I’m glad she’s finally starting to get normal now.”

“Reality Travel isn’t weird.  It’s all about the best thing in the world, MeTooing.”

“Oh my god, my sister usta say that word all the time.  I hated it.”

“You don’t like when someone relates with you about something?”

She shrugged.

“Wouldn’t it make you feel good if I said something like I’m getting kinda drunk too right now?” I said.

“Oh my god, you must be a Lightweight,” she said and poked me.  “I’m not drunk at all!”

“You’re on like your second huge vodka and cranberry tho, and you have a pretty small body weight, and I just saw you stumble over the couch a minute ago.”

“No, I didn’t.”

“Red, don’t be a MeNotzie.”

“I hate that word, too.”

“It’s a good word, cuz you’re not supposta be one.  Especially a HighNDry MeNotzie, just like in the Radiohead song.”

“Never heard of it.”

“Radiohead’s “High and Dry” is a song about The Worst Kind of MeNotzie.  One who could easily MeToo a Reality, but chooses to lie about it instead.  Like you might both be low and wet, but they’ll say they’re high and dry, and then you feel all Alone when you didn’t even have to.”

“Sounds boring.”

“It’s not at all. You just hafta listen to it.”

I’d made sure to bring The Great Trip Mix in with me just for this kind of MeToo opportunity, and then I played it for her.

“This is old and depressing,” she said.

“Do you really think that, or are you just lying and leaving me HighNDry again?”

“I never lie.”

“Every Reality lies sometimes.”

Just then The General&The Admiral came back in.

“Hahaha,” The Admiral said, “music.”

“Sounds to me like another futile attempt to MeToo,” The General said.

“It’s not futile,” I said.

And then I started singing along to the song, so at least the highness and powerfullness of my voice could MeToo them.  It turned out my Dead Voice from the night before had magically worn off.  I was back to full strength and nailing it right away.  It raised all of their eyebrows, The Admiral didn’t laugh, The General nodded his head and went,“Hmm,” and I noticed Red was even rubbing her arms.

“You’re getting The Chills aren’t you, Red?!” I said.

“No, it’s just a little cold in here.”

“My Gods!  It’s alright to tell the truth.”

“Ah, yes,” The General said.  “The Gods.  The ones you were chosen by to become this Reality Traveler thing.”

“That’s right,” I said.

“Tell me, how do you know if they’ve chosen you?”

“You just know.”

“How do you know it’s not just all in your own head?”

“I’ve seen them.  I’ve spoken to them.  I have a Guardian Angel who’s my girlfriend.”

“Hahaha,” The Admiral said.  “Imaginary.”

“She’s completely real.  I could summon her right now.”

“I would love to see that,” The General said.

“Alright,” I said, “but first I have to make a sacrifice.”

Then I took one of the bottles from The Stash and dumped it in the sink.  Everyone cringed for a second, but I motioned for them to trust me.

“Goddess Faith,” I said, “Now is the time.”

But after a couple minutes nothing happened, and she wasn’t there before us.

“Hahaha,” The Admiral said, “no Angel.”

“As predicted,” The General said.

“She’s just slowed down for some reason,” I said.  “She’ll definitely be here soon.”

“Hahaha,” The Admiral said.  “Don’t hold your breath.”

“Wait,” I said, “I have another way to prove The Gods exist and are on my side.”

Then I pointed at The Mix.

“I’ve been touched by The Goddess of Music,” I said, “and she’s been helping me on the Great Trip by serendipitously playing songs from this Mix when I need a MeToo.  If we turn on The Radio right now, I guarantee one of these exact 18 tracks plus bonus track will be playing.”

“Hahaha,” The Admiral said.  “Apollo.”

“That’s no proof of anything,” The General said. “That could just be a coincidence.”

“Sometimes the odds of something happening is so low it has to be The Gods,” I said.

“The only way I’ll accept this challenge is if I get to choose The Radio station,” The General said.

“Alright,” I said.

The General had a Super Radio that had every different kind of station on it.  A lot of them I’d never even heard of before.  He started to go thru them all.

“90’s Suburban Hits,” he said.  “I bet you’d loveme to put that one on, wouldn’t you?  But for this to be a true test of The Gods, I think it should be a station you’d never ever listen to.”

“I listen to lots of stations,” I lied.

“Is that so?  Because I have a feeling you wouldn’t listen to something like… New Dance Hits.”

“Oh my god!” Red said. “I love that station.”

“Alright,” I said, “put on New Dance Hits.  The Gods will still come thru for me.”

Then The General put it on, and the first song playing was Radiohead’s “Creep.”

“Creep” is not a New Dance Hit at all.  It’s a 90’s Suburban Hit about wanting to be Special but actually being a Creep.  Everyone can MeToo with a Special Reality, but a Creep Reality is so different from everyone else that no one can possibly MeToo them.

We double-checked to see if the station was right, and it clearly still said “New Dance Hits.”

“It’s a Goddess of Music miracle!” I said.

The General, tho, was looking closely at the Mix’s track listing.

“Yes,” he said.  “Except this song isn’t on there.  You lose.  As always.”

“But Radiohead is on there,” I said.  “‘High and Dry.’ We were just listening to it.”

“I see that,” The General said, “and this is some strange anomaly I will agree, but the deal was it had to be an exact song on your Mix, and the fact is this is ‘Creep’ not ‘High and Dry.’”

“Isn’t it close enough?”

“Close only counts in hand grenades.”

“Oh my god,” Red said, “this is even more old and depressing than the other one.”

“Hahaha,” The Admiral said.  “Creeps.”

“What are you laughing at?” I said.  “You’re a Creep.”

“Hahaha, you are.”

“No you are, you drunk.”

“Hahaha, I’m not drunk at all.  I’m a sober skipper.”

“Shut up.  We’re all drunk.”

“Oh my god,” Red said, “I’m not even feeling a thing yet.”

“She’s right,” The General said.  “We’ve barely drank anything.  I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re already drunk tho.”

“I am drunk.  I’ll admit it.  We all wanted to get drunk, and now we are.  We did exactly what we wanted to do.  Why lie about it?”

“Hahaha,” The Admiral said.  “Lightweight.”

“Stop leaving me HighNDry, you Creeps!”

“The only Creep here is you,” The General said.

“You’re the biggest Creep I’ve ever met.  I bet you’re actually miserable inside and feel like there’s nothing special about you.”

“No, I’m a very happy person.  I have a lot of money and people like me.”

“I don’t like you.”

“That doesn’t sound very MeToo to me.  What do you think Admiral?”

“Hahaha,” he said, “me neither.”

“I mean, what must The Gods think of you right now, Hippie Dippie?”

“I know what one God thinks of me,” I said, “and I’m going to get her right now.”

8.11 – The Barracks

The Barracks was in a brand new luxury apartment complex.  There was a gate around it, and you hadta enter a code in order for it to open. Inside all the buildings looked exactly the same, and you hadta have someone like The Admiral tell you which one to go to or else you’d get lost.  Then when you got to the right building you hadta type in another code to get inside the door.  Then you hadta go to another door upstairs, and when you unlocked that you were finally allowed in The Barracks.

It was clean and organized, but there wasn’t much in it.  Aside from the basic furniture, there was just a globe and shelf with books about War. All the walls were bright white and bare, except for one that had an old fashioned sabre hanging up on it.

As soon as we got in the door The Admiral told The General we’d got in a car accident.

“No, we didn’t,” I said.

“Hahaha,” The Admiral, “it was close.”

“Some things never change, do they?” The General shook his head.

“Everything always changes,” I said.

Then a girl came into the room who looked just like La Renarde.  Everything on her was red.  Red hair, red lips, red tanktop, red skirt, red boots.

“Hahaha,” The Admiral said, “Red.”

“Oh my god!” she looked over at me.  “Hippie Dippie!  Do you remember me?”

I’d only seen her briefly a couple of times when she was just a kid.  La Renarde was older and always said they never MeToo’d about anything, and she couldn’t believe they were actually related.

“Sortuv,” I said, “I’m not Hippie Dippe tho.  I’m Jonathan or Ace or Bluebird.”

“You’re funny,” she said.  “I’m gonna call you HD for short.  Just like my favorite kind of TV!”


But she ignored me and pointed to my chest.

“Oh my god, HD” she said. “Why are you wearing a sticker?”

“Don’t look at that,” I said and covered it up.  “Why are you here?”

“Oh my god, me and TheGeneral&TheAdmiral are are like friends now.  They come into my job at Applebee’s all the time, and they’re so much more mature than the boys at Ohio Future Adult Training School.”

Then she noticed The Stash we’d just brought in.

“Oh my god!” she said and grabbed a bottle of vodka.  “Is there any cranberry juice?”

The Admiral showed her what we just picked up on the gas station run.

“Oh my god, yes!” she said.  “Let’s get wasted.”

And then before you knew it everyone started raiding The Stash and grabbing different bottles to make their own drinks.

“Wait,” I said, “the best way to MeToo is if we all drink the same amount of the same Alcohol.”

“Don’t try to pretend like you know more about drinking than we do,” The General said.

“Hahaha,” The Admiral said, “we’re alcoholics.”

“I know what I’m talking about,” I said.  “I learned it from the great Perceptionist Reality Traveler Wolf.”

“I was born knowing Perception,” The General said.

“No, you weren’t.  It’s a Reality Traveler term, and you don’t even know what it means.”

“What I know is that there’s no way you’ll be able to drink as much as me.  I have a greater body mass and a genetically superior tolerance.”

“Only MeNotzies make drinking a competition.”

“Okay,” he shrugged, “then I’m a ‘MeNotzie.’”

There was nothing I could do to stop it from becoming Every Reality For Themselves.  Red drank the vodka and cranberry, The Admiral drank straight rum, and The General mostly only drank expensive beer from his own Stash that was already there. You couldn’t tell how much Alcohol they were drinking at once, but they were all drinking too fast.  I hadta make my own very powerful JacknDrPepper just to try and keep up.

It seemed like a good moment for The Goddess of Faith to show up, but she didn’t.  All I could do was look down at my Sticker.

“I’m The Bluebird, a MusicMan Traveler who flies to all Realities and sings to them,” I hadta say to myself.

8.10 – Gas Station Run

I easily drove us the two blocks from Applebee’s to the gas station without crashing.

“Hahaha,” The Admiral said.  “It’s a miracle.”

“No, it’s not,” I said.

Then we went in and got the supplies we needed, and The Admiral got a pack of cigarettes.  On the way out a woman behind us shouted “Hey!”

“Goddess of Faith,” I said, “finally.”

But when I turned around it wasn’t her at all.  It was shockingly La Renarde from HighSchool.  The Admiral laughed and went straight back to the car.  I stayed, and she came up and gave me a big hug.

“Jonathan!” La Renarde said.  “It’s been so long.  I didn’t know you still lived here.”

“I don’t,” I said. “I live in Where-ThePlains-Meet-TheMountains.”

“What do you do there?”

“Reality Travel.”

“Oh my god, you’re still Reality Traveling?”

“Of course, I even went to The Reality Travel Training School.”

“I didn’t even know there was one.”

“Yeah, it’s so Reality Travel.  You have to mystically receive a Calling Card to get in, and there’s The Professor, and he knows everything about Reality Travel, and he warns you about all the BoobyTraps like TimeWarps and RealityFucks, and you have to take a Vow against War, and, oh yeah, the best part is you get your own Guardian Angel…”

“Wow, sounds like you’ve gone pretty far with this thing.”

“I was just trying to keep up with all the far off and exciting Travels I imagined you must’ve been having.”

“Really?  I mean I was in Paris briefly right after HighSchool, but it kinda kicked my ass. I ended up coming back here and going to Ohio Future Adult Training School.  Now I’m doing PR for one of the Rubber companies.  And the best part is I’m about to get married!”

She showed me the diamond ring on her finger.

“He’s a doctor, and we’re going to move into a big house in the neighborhood your parents used to live,” she said.

“I don’t understand,” I said.  “Are you saying you’re an Adult now?”

“Ha, yeah, I guess I am!”

“What about Reality Travel?”

“I don’t know.  I realized one day it was just something overly romantic outcast teenagers make up to feel important, and I had to grow out of it.”

“Aren’t you sick with The Malaise?”

“I don’t know what that is, but I feel fine.”


Just then a car horn started honking over and over. I looked over and it was The Admiral.

“That’s the Reality I’m Traveling to tonight,” I said.

“Wow,” she said, “you really do still believe in it.”

“Of course.”

The Admiral kept honking.

“You should probably go then,” La Renarde said. “You wouldn’t want him to turn into a MeNotzie, haha.”

“Yeah,” I said. “I guess I should.”

“Now be brave Traveler, and…how’s the rest go?”

“Don’t forget The Gods are on your side.”

“Oh my god, right. The Gods, haha.”

Then she tried to hug me goodbye, but I was so TimeFuck dizzy I could barely hug back.  Then I just turned around and headed back to the car.

“What the hell, man!” I said to The Admiral.

“Hahaha,” he said, “you took too long.”

“Well, that was an important conversation.  I haven’t seen her since HighSchool.”

“Hahaha, she’s so weird.”

“She’s changed a lot.”

“Hahaha, her sister Red is coming over tonight.”

“That’s her sister?”

“Hahaha, yeah.”

“Isn’t she just a little kid?”

“Hahaha, no, she’s grown up and hot now.”


Then we pulled out of the gas station, and I watched La Renarde get into a Porsche with a guy in blue scrub Doctor Uniform. It made me so dizzy my eyes couldn’t work for a second.  Suddenly I heard squealing breaks and a loud honk.

“Hahaha,” The Admiral said, “whoa!”

When my eyes started working again I noticed I’d almost hit another car pulling into the gas station.  The Reality inside the car rolled down his window and looked right at me.

“Learn how to drive, asshole!” he said.

“Hahaha,” The Admiral said.  “You still don’t know how!”


8.9 – One of the Good Ones

Even tho I only hadta MeToo one New Reality there to pass The Training, I still kept working at CFATTY’S Pizza.  It was nice having some money, and I wanted to save up for Wings.  The job also started to get a lot easier.  After awhile I’d driven down all the CFATS Roads a bunch of times, and I knew which of them led to which other Roads.  I even started to see the addresses better and would remember where the hidden ones were. I could go fast down The Road and turn into the right driveway at the last second, and no one would hafta honk at me.  I almost always successfully delivered the pizza and never hadta surrender and take it back to the store for any reason.  I would get back right away, and The Pizza Boss would notice.

“I ain’t gonna fuckin lie,” he said once, “we’ve got a huge order for The Head Chancellor of CFATS’s office, and I can only trust The Good Ones do to it right.”

I looked up to see which of The Good Ones were going to take it, but I realized a lot of them didn’t work there anymore.  A lot of them were CFATS kids who’d graduated and moved away, or who didn’t really have to work and just quit one day for no reason.  Even some of the older workers suddenly left for a different job that gave them more money or seemed more Adult.  The Pizza Boss called it “High Turnover.”

“Bluebird,” The Pizza Boss came up to me.  “You’re on this one.”

“Me?” I said.

“Who else is there?”

“I guess you’re right.”

“Now I ain’t gonna fuckin lie, we got those pizzas in the oven late, and there’s no time.  And they said if we fuck up one more of their deliveries they might not order from us again.

“Alright,” I said, “I’ll do my best.”

Then I took all the pizzas out of the oven, and cut them, and put the little table thingies in the boxes so they wouldn’t get crushed.  I also grabbed a bag and gathered up all the two liter pops and plastics cups and napkins and paper plates they asked for and even extra parmesan cheese and red pepper packets even tho they hadn’t asked for them, and I carefully but quickly loaded everything into Wings.

I looked at the clock and saw I only had a couple minutes to get it there.  I’d been to The Head Chancellor’s Office before for smaller orders and actually knew exactly where it was, but when I hit the main CFATS Roadthere were problems right away.  There was a big traffic jam just past the store, and you didn’t know how long it would take to go the couple miles to the CFATS campus.  At the same time there was so much steam coming out of the pizza boxes that all my windows fogged up, and I couldn’t see The Road.

I hadta think quick.  First I rolled down my window and stuck my head all the way out so I could see. Then I knew of a small ShortCut that would bypass the main Roadjam.  It was a narrow path that was only meant for students to walk down to class, but I’d heard one of The Old Good Ones say he’d driven down it in desperate times. I made a quick pull off onto the Shortcut and crossed my fingers there wouldn’t be any pedestrians or CFATS Security in the way.

It actually worked and I sped down straight to The Head Chancellor’s Office where I parked illegally right in front of its door.  Then I ran in the first load of pizzas quickly but carefully, and the first Reality I saw said, “Oh, you’re just on time!”

The rest of the delivery went smoothly, and they helped me bring in all the stuff, and we set it up in their Conference Room where The Head Chancellor himself came up to me.  You could see why he’d be the head of a Future Adult Training School cuz he looked like a very good Present Adult with his suit jacket and turtleneck and pipe.

“I’ll handle the payment, son” he said.

“Great!” I said.  “All you have to do is sign this receipt and we’re all set.  Here, use my pen.”

“Thank you so much.  Our last few orders from CFATTY didn’t go so well, but looks like you’ve improved your operation.”

“No, thank you, sir, for being such a great customer!”

And then he filled out the receipt and left me a huge tip.

When I got back to the store, The Pizza Boss was waiting for me.

“We just got a call from The Head Chancellor,” he said.  “Sounds like you really came thru.”

“I don’t know how I did it,” I said.  “I just suddenly wasn’t an amateur anymore for some reason.”

“You work here long enough and that happens.”

“Does this mean I’m One of The Good Ones?” I asked.

“Bluebird, I ain’t gonna fuckin lie, you’re probably One of The Best Ones.”

“Yes!” I pumped my fist.

8.8 – Applebee’s

TheGeneral&TheAdmiral wanted to meet at the bar at Applebee’s.

Applebee’s is a restaurant found in every city in America about having the most average food possible.  Often in Suburban areas they do not have real bars, and Applebee’s is the closest thing to one.

I didn’t even shower first, I just left on my Wedding Uniform cuz even tho it had a little Travel stink on it, the Professor-like tweed jacket still gave me the best chance of getting taken seriously.  When I got out to Wings I was hoping The Goddess of Faith was gonna be there waiting, but she wasn’t. I guessed it wasn’t the right key moment yet, and I hadta go to Applebee’s by myself.

TheGeneral&TheAdmiral were already there sitting at the bar.  The General was wearing a suit and tie Adult Uniform, and The Admiral was wearing some kind of workman’s jumpsuit Adult Uniform.  They looked like they’d just come from their jobs even tho it was the middle of a long holiday weekend.  The Admiral laughed as soon as he saw me.

“Hahaha,” he said, “what are you wearing, Hippie Dippie?”

I looked down.

“You mean my jacket?” I asked.

“Hahaha,” he said, “hippie jacket.”

“What are you talking about?  This jacket was very respected at the Wedding I went to yesterday.”

“Hahaha, why’s it got a sticker on it?”

I quickly covered it with my hand, so he couldn’t read it.

“Easy, Admiral,” The General said.  “Let him sit down at least before you start busting balls.”

“Thanks,” I said and took a stool next to them.

“So where are you living these days?” The General asked.

“Where-ThePlains-Meet-TheMountains,” I said.

“Hahaha,” The Admiral said.  “Never heard of it.”

“It’s many states west of here,” I said.

“So when did you fly in?” The General asked.

“I didn’t,” I said.  “I drove.”

“Hahaha,” The Admiral said, “but you don’t know how to drive.”

“I do now.”

“Hahaha, but you didn’t at as-soon-as-you-were-16 like you were supposed to.”

Then The Bartender came over and asked what I wanted.  I noticed TheGeneral&TheAdmiral were drinking beers, and even tho I didn’t like it I knew we hadta be in Common Perception, so I got one, too.

“Let’s do a toast,” I said.

“Nah,” they said. “We don’t do toasts.”

“Whatever,” I said and hadta say “GAM-BAY” quietly to myself.

ThenGeneral&TheAdmiral started catching me up on what they were doing in life.  The General worked at an office that designed rubber for weapons, and he was making a lot of money.  The Admiral worked at a factory that made rubber for weapons, and he didn’t make as much money but still a lot more than me.  Then it was time for me to tell them what I was doing in life, but I wasn’t quite sure how to do it.

“Hahaha,” The Admiral said.  “I know what Hippie Dippie’s doing.  He’s The Bluebird, a MusicMan Reality Traveler who flies to all Realities and sings to them.”

“How did you know that?” I said.

“Hahaha, why are you wearing a sticker?”

“Sounds like nonsense words,” The General said. “What does ‘Reality Traveler’ mean?”

Then I didn’t know what else to do but try to explain.

“A Reality Traveler,” I sighed,“is chosen by The Gods to Travel to as many Realities as possible and prevent War by MeTooing them.”

“Hahaha,” The Admiral said.  “Hippie Dippie did become a hippie!”

“No surprise,” The General said.

“Hahaha, The Admiral said, “peace, man.”

And then he mockingly held two fingers in the air like a Golden Age Reality Traveler.

“I’m just curious,” The General said.  “Who’s paying you for this Reality Traveling?”

“No one,” I said.  “I do it for free.”

“Then what do you do for money?”

“I deliver pizza.”

“Hahaha,” The Admiral said, “but you can’t drive!”

“I can now!”

“So a Reality Traveler is called upon by The Gods to stop War,” The General said.

“Yes,” I said.

“There are so many flaws in this, where do I begin? First, War is necessary. According to you we were supposed to just let The Axis Powers win World War II?”

“We should’ve MeToo’d them,” I said. “Focused on what we had in common.”

“What do you mean?  You think we could have stopped the War just by agreeing we both like sauerkraut or sushi?  That’s ridiculous.  We had to annihilate them or else they would’ve annihilated us.”

“But The Great MeNotzie Army wouldn’t have even formed if at the end of the First Great Reality War the winning Realities hadn’t blamed the losing Realities for totally starting the War.  They needed to say the Eleventh Hour MeToo that they were all being MeNotzies.  Instead it just made the losers feel more different and alone and afraid of all the other Realities around them.”

“Let’s say that’s true.  How are you personally going to stop War.  As we’ve easily predicted, you are not in any kind of influential position in the U.S. government.”

“War is happening all the time in little ways tho. Just Realities arguing and making fun of each other and wanting each other to change.”

“How can you possibly stop that?”

“Every Reality Traveler has a MeToo Specialty and mine is The Great List of Old Songs.”

“Hahaha,” The Admiral said, “Sunday Bloody Sunday!”

“How is a song going to help someone if they’re getting robbed or raped or murdered by some psycho?” The General said.

“Maybe if someone had MeToo’d them earlier about a song, they wouldn’t feel like doing that stuff,” I said.

“What if you can’t find a song you both MeToo?”

“There’s always gotta be at least one song.”

“I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that the only songs you know are the ones you heard on The Radio as a kid. How could you ever MeToo an inner city black guy or a foreigner or someone much older or younger?  One day in the future only a few people will ever have even heard of your favorite songs.”

“Then maybe I’ll start my own band and always be writing new songs Realities can MeToo.”

“What about people like me and The Admiral who don’t even listen to songs?”

“Then maybe I’ll write a book about trying to MeToo about music, and readers will at least MeToo about that.”

“How will you get us to read it?  We only read books about War.”

“Fine, if all else fails, there’s always Alcohol.”

“Hahaha,” The Admiral said, “I can actually MeToo that.”

“I’d still go to War with someone I drank with,” The General said.  “They’d let their guard down, and then I’d strike.”

“Or maybe your guard would be down, and you’d be easier to MeToo,” I said.

“How about we test this out then.  We’ll get drunk together tonight, and we’ll see whether we MeToo or go to War.”

“You’re on.”

 The General was about to order another round, but I stopped him and told him about The Stash.

“There’s still enough to get half a Wedding drunk,” I said, “and the best part is it’s free.”

“On my salary I can afford to drink all night at Applebee’s,” The General said, “but I can see how a pizza delivery driver would need that kind of break.”

“Hahaha,” The Admiral said, “minimum wage.”

Then they agreed to just go back to their apartment they called The Barracks and drink The Stash there.

“Only thing is there’s no mixers,” I said.

“We don’t use mixers,” The General said.

“Hahaha,” The Admiral said, “what about Red?”

“Oh yes,” The General said, “our friend Red is supposed to hang out with us tonight, and she’ll need her cranberry juice.”

Then he started giving us orders.

“Hippie Dippie since you apparently can’t handle your alcohol straight, you drive to the nearby gas station and get your mixer plus cranberry for Red.  Admiral you go with him to make sure he doesn’t screw up.  We’ll rendezvous back at The Barracks when your mission is complete.”

“Alright,” I said.

 “Hahaha,” The Admiral said when we got in Wings. “I hope we don’t crash.”

“Dammit, I’m telling you Admiral, I can drive now!”

8.7 – Stuffed Animal War

The Smaller Nest Basement was the shadowy and cold floor underneath the first floor.  Like Scorpion’s Hole it was made of all concrete, the lights were dim, and there were spiders in every corner.  Except instead of being nearly empty, it was full of all our old stuff that usta fit in the Big Nest but now had nowhere to go.  There were things like TV’s and couches and desks and bedframes and paintings and papers and rows and rows of unknown boxes.  Almost one whole wall was just the stuff that was in my old bedroom.  There sealed inside a bunch of plastic bins were all my stuffed animals who usta be on my bed where they’d protect me at night and prepare for War with each other during the day.  I opened up the bins and dumped them all out on the floor.  Then I separated them into two Armies and began a fight-to-the-death Stuffed Animal battle royale just like the ones I had my whole time growing up.

The Giant crushed The Wolf with his bare hands, and The Killer Sheep got The Bigfoot after it underestimated her ferocity, and The Crow murdered The Angel, and The Fox outwitted The Buck into running straight into traffic, and The Buffalo stampeded over Yellow Bird, and The Skeleton was already dead so it couldn’t be killed but it had all of eternity to kill The Crocodile like Dundee, and The Coyote laughed at The Pidgeon until its self esteem was so low it killed itself, and the Kitten swatted The Fly, and The WildCat’s quick reflexes snagged The Parrot, and The Mallard cooked The Rubber Chicken but choked on its bones, and The BusinessMan sued The Mouse and then he was homeless and starved to death, and The Moth was drawn to The Rat after it lit it on fire, and The Cougar hunted The Goat right in the barnyard, and The Ants swarmed The Pizza which turned out to be poison, and The Penguin lured The Scorpion to Antarctica where it froze to death, and The Bunny made The Turkey into a sandwich, and The Babydoll was actually a timebomb that blew up George Washington, and The Army Men were all divebombed by Ace the ratty old Blue Bird who’d been in my crib since my first day of life, and whose side ended up winning big time.