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!”

“No.”

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.

8.8 – 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!”

7.17 – Shitshow

As the sing-along continued, Wolf summoned me and Scorpion into the kitchen.

“Well done, Bluebird,” Wolf said.  “I can’t believe I got the full blown Vertigo.  It was actually fascinating, like its own Perception.”

“I’m sorry,” Scorpion said.  “I underestimated the significance of this RealityFuck phenomenon.”

“It’s Alright,” Wolf said, “but now that all these Realities are together again, we have to maintain the MeTooing with a Common Perception at once.”

“I don’t feel comfortable doing any Perception with that Marijuana MeNotzie here,” Scorpion said.

“I’ve been watching him all night,” I said. “He’s had a lot of chances to be a MeNotzie but hasn’t.  In fact, I think he’s dying to MeToo with us.”

Then we looked back in the living room at him. The Baby was jumping up and down and clapping and had a big smile on his innocent puff-cheek face.

“I’ll admit he does look quite innocent,” Scorpion said.

“Yes,” Wolf scratched his chin, “I trust Bluebird’s assessment.”

“Alright,” Scorpion said.  “The only problem now is that we’re already deep into our own separate Perceptions.”

“There’s got to be something we can do tho,” Wolf said.

“Well,” Scorpion said.  “It’s a risk.  But we could try a having a Shitshow.”

“Of course!” Wolf said.

“What’s a Shitshow?” I asked.

“It’s a fringe theory of Perceptionism,” Wolf said, “suggesting if a Reality is at an extreme magnitude of a given Perception, or in other words Shitfaced, then they will be able to MeToo another Shitfaced Reality even if in a completely different Perception.  It’s unproven tho, and even if it did work, I’m not sure how to account for all these Sober Realities.”

“What if the Sober Realities get Shitfaced on a weak and unpowerful Perception like, say, Caffeine?” Scorpion suggested.

“I’ve still got a lot of Dr. Pepper in my car,” I said.

“Alright,” Wolf said, “we have no choice but to try.”

I left to get the Caffeine Perception, and when I got back Wolf was in the living room directing everything.  He had Emperor Penguin and The Penguins play every Marley song they knew, and Lamb kept everyone singing along.  WildFuckingTurkey was going around with bottles of Alcohol around and making sure everyone was drinking more than they could handle.

“Bluebird,” Wolf came up to me, “make sure the Sobers get fucking wired.”

“Alright,” I said.

Then I started handing out whole Dr. Peppers to each of them.

“I loveDr. Pepper,” The Baby said, “but I’m not allowed to have any too close to bedtime.”

“It’s Alright, The Baby,” I said.  “You can drink as much as you want after a Wedding.”

“Oh, alright!” he said and started happily suckling on his very own two liter Baby bottle.

Then Scorpion came back with The Marijuana Perception.  He was still cautious and trying to sneak the Octobong behind his back.  But the Baby saw it anyway.

“Hey!” he said. “What’s that cool looking Octopus thing?”

Scorpion was startled and was about to crawl right back into The Hole, but Wolf stopped him before he could.

“It’s alright,” he said, “just show him what it is.”

Then Scorpion brought it over, and The Baby started playing with it like it was new toy.

“What’s it for?” The Baby asked.

“You smoke Marijuana Perception out of it,” Scorpion said.

“I wanna try!”

“You do?”

“Yeah!”

The Scorpion sat next to The Baby and showed him which tentacle was which so you could smoke out of it.  The Baby took a hit and coughed and a minute later was giggling uncontrollably.

“I like it!” he said.

After that everyone in the room was inspired to try every Perception available at once.  I even took a couple more hits off the Octobong, and Emperor Penguin put some Dr. Pepper in his scotch.  Soon we were all Shitfaced, and the MeToos were flying around the room, and everyone got a chance to sit on The Throne.  Then it’s hard to remember what happened next.  I remember at some point looking up and Wolf was in the middle of the whole Shitshow smiling with his arm around Lamb.

And I remember sometime later waking up on the hard living room floor, and my head was right next to Emperor Penguin’s.

“Hey, Where-ThePlains-Meet-TheMountains,” he said.

“What?” I said.

“You came all the way from there?”

“Yeah.”

“By yourself?”

“Yeah.”

“That’s Alright.”

“Thanks.”

 

“Hey, Where-ThePlains-Meet-TheMountains.”

“Yeah?”

“I think I’m gonna keep the band together.”

“Cool.”

“Hey… Wherethe…

“Yeah?”

“I’m shitfaced, man.”

“MeToo,” I said, and then I passed out.

7.15 – Drunk Angel

It seemed like the whole AfterParty was a Lost Cause, and I just wanted to go find Wings and hit the Road straight back to Ohio.  I went thru the first door I saw, which was the screen door in the kitchen, and I slammed it shut behind me.  But then I was trapped inside the backyard, and there was a high fence around me and no way to get out.

“Dammit,” I said with my scratchy voice.

I wasn’t even in Alone Reality cuz there was someone else out there.  They were trying to hide behind a tree, but you could see their dress waving in the wind.

“Bluebird? is that you?” she said, and when she turned around you could see it was The Goddess of Faith, and she was holding a big bottle of Alcohol Perception.

“Faithfully, what are you doing here?”

Then she stumbled over and tripped and fell on me. Her touch felt like It’s Kinda Weird, Babe.

“Are you drunk?” I asked her.

“Yass, Bluebebby,” she said.  “I swiped this when nobody was looking, and I’ve never been drunk before, and I love it.”

“Gods drink?”

“Yeah, when they wanna be your girlfriend, your human girlfriend, or probably your human wedding wife, and wanna go to fun drunk parties with you, but I can’t, and hate it, and this whiskey is the only thing that can lube up the machine of my broken-hearted sun.”

“Trust me, you don’t really wanna be in there. All that happens in there is you try to save everyone, but you just get your ass kicked, and your Traveler Allies are doomed to get the Vertigo.”

“I know, Bubbabird.  I’ve been watching.”

“If I had only just Rocked Out a little less on The Great Trip.”

“But you hafta Rock Out, you’re the Rockblockbok.”

“But my voice is too important.  It’s the only way I can MeToo anyone ever.”

“But you know songies. Maybe you can still find one everyone can MeToo, even if you can’t sing it.”

“Who’d sing it tho? That MeNotzie Emperor Penguin?”

“I knowww.  I couldn’t believe he’s actually a Reality Traveler, so I looked up his Angel Corps File.”

“And you found out he’s a fraud, didn’t you?  I knew it!”

“No he’s a Real Real, but he’s never actually Traveled outside PhillyDFeely cuz he’s too afraid.”

“So that’s why he hates Springsteen.  He’s never actually hit the Thunder Road, and he’s jealous.”

“Yes, he’s really just a fly-less bird.”

“Yes!”

“No, Blueblueblue, we have to MeToo him somehow. That’s what ReAlrighty Travelers do.”

“I guess you’re right.”

“We hafta make him and Wolf and everyone else in there feel Allllright, Baby!”

“But how?”

“I know how exactly.  I’m gonna just go in there in there with you, and be a Reality Traveler, too, and then we’ll gonna get them all to play “One Love,” which is a song I actually made and gave to Bo-baby Marley, and then we’ll MeToo everybody with a sing-along.”

“Wait, wait, you can’t just go in there.  One false move and we could both be Eliminated, remember?”

“Blah, blah, blahbird, I don’t care anymore.  I hafta help you.  Too in True Love.”

Then she started kissing me all over, and she even slipped her hand below my waist and tried to touch things in there, but I hadta brush it away.

“We can’t do that either now,” I said.  “What if Wolf just called in his Guardian Angel, cuz I didn’t come thru, and they’ll catch us red-down-the-pants-handed.”

“Oh this is so stupid and dumbbb!”

Then I hadta put my arms around her tight.

“I know, Goddess,” I said, “but It’s Alright, and the Perceptionist Professor told me how we can Love together in total secret later.”

Then I explained his idea about The Past World.

“Alright, we hafta do is make it thru tonight,” I said.

“Aww, Bluebird, thats gonna work perfect, I Love your Alright so much.”

Then we just held each other close and wanted to stay like that the rest of the night, but we knew we couldn’t.

“Alright, I’ve gotta go back in now,” I hadta say.

“Yes, Baby, do you know what you’re gonna do?”

“I’ll try to do the sing-along, even tho it might fail.”

“Yay! I’ll give you some It’s Alright, Baby so you’re so strange-strong.”

Then she gave me a kiss on the lips, and it was great and not weird anymore, and it made me feel like was a Bob Marley song myself.

“Alright,” I said, “I’m ready to make everyone get together and feel Alright.”

And then I started to head back in.

“Wait,” she said and stopped me.

Then she went to grab something in the backyard and came back with my tweed Professor-looking Wedding Uniform jacket.

“I love this and you need to wear it again,” she said and gave it to me.

I put it on, and noticed she’d found my Bluebird sticker and stuck it right on the front of the chest.

“I didn’t want you to forget who you are,” she said.

“Thank you,” I said.

“And don’t forget that I Love you more than anyone Loves anyone anywhere.”

“And I Love you that much,too.”

And then we kissed one more time before I went back in.

7.12 – The Emperor Penguin & The Penguins Show

The DrumPenguin got out his bongo drum, and the GuitarPenguin tuned up his guitar, but Emperor Penguin was slouched down on the couch even tho that was against The Rules of Singing.

“What are you doing?” Lamb’s Youngest Sister told him. “You’re not allowed to sit there.”

“Where else would I sit?” he said.

“Over there in the wheelchair,” she pointed.

“Why?”

“Cuz it’s The Throne.”

Then Emperor Penguin shrugged and got up and sat in it.

“Okay,” he said and pointed at Wolf, “this one’s for you from back in the HighSchool days.”

Then Emperor Penguin &The Penguins started playing “Smoke Two Joints,” popularized by Sublime.

“Smoke Two Joints” is a song about a Reality who likes Marijuana Perception so much that smoking one joint at once is not enough so they have to smoke two at once.

The band was actually nailing it. The BongoPenguin bopped away, and the GuitarPenguin hit the off beats of the reggae rhythm, and Emperor Penguin’s voice was just as high and powerful as Sublime’s singer Bradley Nowell.

But the living room audience was quiet, and no one was MeTooing.  Somehow despite coming to the party with him, it seemed The Penguins weren’t aware of the possible Marijuana MeNotzie.  For those who were, no one could seem like they were enjoying the song too much, and they were all staring at the Marijuana MeNotzie to see what he would do.

I wondered if you could throw a whole band in Perception Prison just for singing a song about that.  But The Baby didn’t throw anyone in jail, at least right away.  He didn’t cry or poop himself or anything either.  He just sat there with his thumb in his mouth, and didn’t seem to even realize what the song was about.

“Play another one,” Lamb’s Youngest Sister said.  “A good one this time, not a weird one.”

“Nah,” Emperor Penguin said.  “No one’s feeling it.”

Then he got up out of the wheelchair in failure.

“The problem is no one’s fucking drunk enough,” WildFuckingTurkey came back in and said.

Then he started going around the room trying to get everyone to take a swig from the jumbo bottle of Jack Daniels.  When he got to Lamb’s Sisters and The Baby they all shook their hands and said, “No thanks.”

WildFuckingTurkey wouldn’t let The Baby off the hook tho.

“You mean you’re a fucking Alcohol MeNotzie, too?” he said.

“I don’t know what that means,” The Baby said, “but your song made it seem like Alcohol causes a lot of problems.”

“Of course it causes fucking problems.  Problems are fucking fun!”

It almost seemed like WildFuckingTurkey was going to waddle-slap him in the Baby face.

“Not every Reality likes Alcohol,” Emperor Penguin butted in.  “Maybe he’s more of a Marijuana Reality.”

Everyone in the room gasped.  The Baby’s face got red, but he just shook his head and giggled.

“Speaking of which, Wolf,” Emperor Penguin said.  “Where is the weed?”

But Wolf by now was lying flat on his belly on the couch and could barely respond.

“I know that Scorpion is a total Marijuana Perception Addict.  Where is he, anyway?  Isn’t this his home?”

Wolf gave a weak little whimper.

“It’s about to happen,” he said.

“The Vertigo?” Lamb asked.

He nodded and then looked at me, and I knew it was time to save him.

“Alright,” I said, and then I took over The Throne.

7.8 – The Schism

Just before the Bob Marley joint got to me, a phone started ringing, and everyone froze.  It turned out to be Lamb’s.  She hadta leave The Hole to answer it, and when she came back she looked scared.

“There’s a problem,” she said.

Then she explained how her Youngest Sister just called, and they were on their way back from the concert, and her Younger Sister’s Date might be a Marijuana MeNotzie who might try to Dominate us or even go to War if he knew the Perceptions we were Adventuring with.

“They’ll be here any minute,” Lamb said.

“Gods, no!” someone screamed.

And then everyone panicked and scrambled to escape, hide, and/or air-freshen the room.  Wolf saw me moving too slowly and grabbed me.

“Bluebird,” he said, “Do you understand how serious this is?  Marijuana MeNotzies are the worst kind of MeNotzie.  If they witness any evidence of what we’ve just done, no matter how harmless it actually may be, they will send us all to jail.  You have to stay close and follow my lead.”

Then Wolf led whichever of us he could find to get as far away from The Hole as possible.  We climbed up the stairs and got to the living room and tried to act like what you’d act like if you hadn’t just been smoking Marijuana Perception. Suddenly the doorbell rang, and we all just looked at it.

“If we weren’t in Marijuana Perception,” Wolf said, “we’d answer the door, right?”

We nodded, and then he bravely volunteered. As soon as he put his hand on the knob, the door suddenly flung open, and Lamb’s Youngest Sister burst thru and shouted “Oh my god!”  And all of us had to try hard not to flinch and duck.

“Emperor Penguin is a total RockStar!” she said.

Then he came thru the door still in his golden bowtie tuxedo, followed by two other Realities wearing their own black bowtie tuxedos.  One carried a guitar case and the other carried a bongo drum.

After them was Lamb’s Younger Sister and her supposedly MeNotzie date.  I thought he was going to look like an armed and bulletproof trooper from the Perception Enforcement Agency, but he actually looked like a smooth-faced, bald-headed Baby, who might have a diaper underneath his sweat-shirt and jeans.

“Where is everyone?” Emperor Penguin asked Wolf. “Weren’t there more Realities coming from The Wedding?”

Wolf’s face got even paler, and it was hard for him to come up with words.

“Um, well, ya know,” he said.

“I don’t really care,” Emperor Penguin said.  “Where’s the Alcohol?”

Again Wolf had trouble speaking.

“Um,” he said and shrugged.

“You’re like this Star Perceptionist, and you don’t know where the Alcohol is?”

It was almost as if Wolf was freezing up like me with New Realities.  I wanted to follow his lead, but there was no lead to follow.  I didn’t want to talk to Emperor Penguin ever, but I felt I hadta do something.

“I know where it is,” I said.

“Why didn’t you say so, Colorado?” he said.

Then I took him and his band of Penguins into the kitchen where we’d left The Stash.  A few other Realities in there had already discovered it on their own.

“Gobble, gobble, gobble,” one of them said.  “Welcome to the fucking Alcohol Party!”

His face was reddish, and he had a big hanging adam’s apple, and he wore a brown suit with the collar popped up.

“Who are you again?” Emperor Penguin asked him.  “Turkey Dinner?”

“No, man” he said.  “I’m WildFuckingTurkey.”

“Hey,” he said turning to me.  “Fuck that weed shit earlier, right?  I saw this Stash and just wanted to get super fucking drunk from the start.”

“I know, MeToo!” I said.

Then he told us all how he’s a bartender from the far off and exciting Realities of Hollywood, California and how he’d make us whatever drinks we wanted.

“Great!” I said.  “I wanna JacknDrPepper with cherries.”

“Pff,” Emperor Penguin said.

“I know,” I sighed, “the cherries.”

“No, the whole thing’s a kid’s drink, Colorado.  Adults drink their bourbon straight.  Or better yet their scotch straight.”

Then he had WildFuckingTurkey pour him and his band nothing but scotch and ice cubes in a little glasses.  I wondered why a Reality Traveler like him would want to do anything like an Adult, but him and his band disappeared back in the living room before they explained anything.

“Don’t worry about their bullshit,” WildFuckingTurkey said.  “I say any fucking Alcohol is good Alcohol.”

Then he took the biggest glass he could find, and filled it up with way more Jack Daniels than Dr. Pepper.

“I’m gonna get you fucking wasted tonight, man!” he said.

“Alright!” I said, and we toasted.

Then WildFuckingTurkey started strutting around the kitchen, bobbing his head, and telling all of us in the room about what it was like in Hollywood.

“Celebrities are fucking everywhere there, dude,” he said. “One time the guy who fucking played Crocodile Dundee came into my bar.”

“What?!” I said.  “No way!”

“Long story fucking short, some fucker at the bar starts fucking with Dundee, ya know with some fucking “you call that a fucking knife,” tough guy shit, and ends up taking a swing at him.  Dude is totally wasted, of fucking course, and misses, but Dundee doesn’t even flinch.  He punches him right back in the face and fucking knocks him out cold.  He was a good dude.”

“Wow,” we all said.

Then Wolf came in stumbling and dazed.

“Wolf, you recently married fucker,” WildFuckingTurkey said.  “Let me make you a fucking drink.”

“Are all the Realities here in Alcohol Perception?” he asked us.

“Fuck yeah,” we said.

“Oh no,” Wolf said, holding his head.

“What’s wrong?” I said, and then he took me aside.

“Bluebird,” he said.  “I’ve just done a little reconnaissance of the situation here, and it’s not good.  There’s been a Reality Schism, and The AfterParty has split into at least three major factions.  Scorpion and the Marijuana Realities are hiding out in a secret underground bunker known as Beyond The Hole.  The Marijuana MeNotzie and the Sober Realities have taken over the living room.  Now I see you and the Alcohol Realities have settled in the kitchen. Everyone wants me to MeToo their faction at the same time, but it’s impossible.  And at the same time I’m experiencing TimeFucks everywhere.  Scorpion’s New Adult Hole has such nice marble countertops and fine wooden cabinetry, WildFuckingTurkey’s all grown up, and there’s something not quite right with Emperor Penguin, but I can’t seem to put my finger on it.  The room is beginning to spin, but not in a good Perceptionism kind of way.  I feel like I may be soon overcome with Vertigo, and I’m not sure what to do.”

“What does Scorpion say?”

“He’s not a Reality Traveler.  He thinks it should be Every Reality for Themselves.”

“Well, what do the other Reality Travelers here think?”

“Bluebird, you’re not understanding the situation.  We are the only two Trained Travelers here.  If anyone is going to solve this BoobyTrap it has to be us.  I’ll Travel back and forth between Factions as long as I can to buy some time until I can think of something, but this might have to come down to just you finding a way to MeToo us all.”

“But I don’t know how without music…”

WildFuckingTurkey overheard us just then and interrupted.

“Fuck yeah,” he said.  “It’s not a fucking party without some music.  Somebody gimme a fucking guitar.”

Then he left the kitchen to find one.

7.5 – Scorpion’s New Hole

Since Wolf had Graduated Perceptionism School, Scorpion had gotten a job, a wife, and a New Hole in Philadelphia Suburbs (Pennsylvania).  Wolf had never been there before, but we followed Scorpion’s directions.  I imagined he lived in some kinda pile of rocks or crevice in the desert or at least an unsuspecting boot, but when we got there it was actually a neighborhood of condos.  Each one looked exactly like the one next to it, and you hadta go thru a maze of identical looking streets and parking lots and landscaping before you got to one that had Scorpion’s van out front.

“This kinda looks like an Adult neighborhood,” I said when we got out.

“Yes,” Wolf scratched his chin and then held his head, “it’s making me a little dizzy.”

Then to cheer him up I showed him The Stash in the trunk.  There were two big cardboard boxes each holding nine bottles of all the different varieties of Alcohol.  Wolf looked at it and licked his chops.

“That does look tasty,” he said.

“How could Scorpion say no to this?” I said.

“How indeed… but he can be a bit of a Perceptionist Snob.”

“Oh.”

We decided we should bring it in anyway, and we all went inside. Wolf put down his box, and Scorpion and his wife hugged Wolf&Lamb, and then gave us all a tour.

The inside of Scorpion’s Hole looked as Adult as the outside.  The living room was full of furniture like a couch and a coffee table and a television.  The kitchen had appliances like a dishwasher and a microwave.  Everywhere the walls were a sparkling bright white, and there was no clutter or Perceptionist Paraphernalia anywhere.  The only strange thing was a mysterious shiny gold wheelchair hiding in a little nook under the staircase.  Otherwise it was not much different than my parent’s Nest or Kat’s parents’ place, and I wondered how such a mythic Perceptionist could live there.

All of the younger Realities from The Wedding seemed to be there already, except for Emperor Penguin, whose band apparently hadta play a concert before coming over, and Lamb’s sisters who went to see the show.  Everyone who was there hugged and congratulated Wolf&Lamb and told them how beautiful the Wedding was and apologized for taking off in the van so quickly.  No one seemed to notice I was standing there the whole time with a big box of Alcohol in my arms, except Wolf.

“Alright,” Wolf said to everyone, “it’s time to decide on the Common Perception for the night.  My fellow Reality Traveler, Bluebird here, has secured for us quite a bit of leftover Lubricant from The Wedding.”

Then he pointed at The Stash, but no one got as excited as I thought.

Scorpion stared at it, waved his tail just a little and shook his head.

“We have to choose something that all of us can handle tho,” Wolf said.  “We can’t just try to seek The Highest Most Powerful Perception tonight.”

Scorpion said nothing.

Wolf hadta shake his head like a wet dog.

“Alright,” he said.  “What do you have in mind then?”

Scorpion stared at him for a second.  “Marijuana Perception,” he then said.

“As you know Marijuana is my Preferred Perception, but I have to acknowledge that not every Reality here feels the same way.”

Wolf looked over at me.  Scorpion looked over at me too and then turned back to Wolf.

“So?” he said.

Then Wolf tried to explain the RealityFuck at hand and how important Common Perception would be.  But Scorpion wasn’t listening.  He raised one claw and pointed it at what looked like a basement door.

“The Marijuana Perception is in my Hole,” he said

“Alright,” Wolf said.  “If that’s the only thing you’re willing to Adventure with then that will just have to be The Common Perception.  But everyone has to do it together.”

Everyone agreed, and then I hadta put The Stash down and go into the Hole.