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!

9.17 – (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!”

9.6 –Altamont, Illinois Gas Station

I made it all the way to Illinois before I started getting tired and my butt hurt.  Because I wasn’t a Reality Traveler anymore and didn’t hafta MeToo as many Realities as possible there was no rush, so I’d planned to rest whenever I needed to and maybe even get a hotel room.  But once I was on the Road I still anxious to get to Where-ThePlains-Meet-TheMountains as soon as possible, so I could start My New Adult Life right away.

My Dr. Pepper was only so powerful, and I had no music to keep me pumped up, and I was thinking about taking a short Power Nap, when I remembered I still had the mysterious pill Scorpion gave me.  I dug it out of my pocket, and there it was all fat and black&white and shiny looking like a piece of candy.

“Hmm,” I said.

Then I shrugged and swallowed it and washed it down with Dr. Pepper.  It kicked in almost right away.  Suddenly I was wide awake, my butt felt great, and my eyes grew to twice their size and could see everything on The Road.  I didn’t even seem to get any jitters or twitches like Speed Perceptions usually give you.  I just pushed the pedal down and felt like I could keep driving until an ocean got in the way.

Wings needed more gasoline eventually tho, and I decided to pull off Road-70 at an exit that said Altamont, Illinois, cuz it reminded me of the concert at Altamont.

Altamont was a concert all about The End of The 1960’s Golden Age of Reality Travel.  It was supposta be just like Woodstock, The Peak of the 1960’s Golden Age, where every single RockNRoll band played and a huge crowd MeToo’d at once about Music, Perceptions, Peace, and mud.  But at Altamont not every single RockNRoll band played, and for some reason a huge crowd of MeNotzies went and ended up going to War, and four Realities got destroyed forever.  It gave everyone who was there Big Doubt, and they all realized The Golden Age was over, and then everyone started quitting Reality Travel to become Adults.

There was only one gas station off the exit, and it didn’t have any of the names I was familiar with.  It just said “IT’S A GAS GAS GAS” on the sign, and there was no one there except the Reality working inside.  I’d been in Alone Reality for hours and wanted to keep it that way, but I hadta go in to pre-pay again.

“Okay,” I said to myself, “all you have to do is go in there and pay.  You don’t have to MeToo them or anything.  You can even go to War if you have to.  When you start Your New Adult Life, they’ll give you a credit card, and you’ll never hafta do this again.”

Inside the girl behind the counter was wearing strange tattered gray robes even tho it was modern times and sunglasses even tho it was nighttime.  When I went up to her she didn’t say hello or even seem to realize I was there.

“I need gas,” I said and handed her money.

“In time,” she said confidently.

She didn’t take the money or even notice I was holding it out for her.  It seemed like maybe she was blind even tho she’d hafta have vision to be able to succeed at a gas station.

“Can you see?” I asked her.

“Yes,” she said, “just not right in front of me.”

“Don’t you need good eyes to help me?”

“Don’t worry about that, Reality Traveler.”

“What?  Why would you call me that?”

“Because that’s what you are, Bluebird.”

“Who are you? Where did you hear that name?”

“I didn’t hear it.  I saw it, because I’m The Seer.”

I noticed her nametag said “THERESA S.”

“What do you mean?” I said, “like a psychic?”

“Yes,” she said.  “I can see thru nearly all time and space.  The past and the future.  This World and The Other World.

“Yeah, right.”

“Silence Big Doubter!  Serious things are happening right now in The Other World. The Gods are wise to your illegal Love affair, and The Goddess of Faith has been arrested.  Soon they will hold a Trial in The Underworld to determine both of your Fates, but there is still an opportunity to save her and yourself if you dare Travel to that dark and treacherous realm.”

“Look, I think I see what’s going on here.  I’m having some Side Effects from Scorpion’s Pill, and you’re just a normal gas station person, and I’m hallucinating all of this.”

“No, Scorpion’s Pill is making you see thru The Veil more easily.  Now you must listen to me and follow these instructions.  As you continue down this Road you will encounter The Guardian of The Gates of The Underworld.  If you can evade this powerful defender you will come to The Tollbooth, at which you must pay The Ferryman to take you to The Heart of The Underworld where the Trial is being held.  There they will listen to The Testimony of Witnesses, and if they are moved by your courage, they may allow you to Testify on behalf of yourself and The Goddess.  I cannot yet see the exact outcome of this, but I assure you it is the only way to avoid certain Elimination.”

“Nope, none of this is Real.  And if you can’t just do the pre-pay for me I’ll just go to another gas station, thanks.”

“Believe me or not, your journey inevitably leads to The Underworld.  It’s your choice whether you make a stand and possibly return or back down and get sent there forever.”

9.4 – Track #8 of The Great Trip Mix: Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’”

To Graduate Reality Travel Training you hadta write a long paper, called The Thesis, on something no one had ever thought about Reality Travel before.  Wolf was doing his on how important Common Perception was, but I didn’t know at first what I wanted to do.  It seemed like everything about Reality Travel had already been thought about by the Great Travelers of the past.

Then one time I was delivering a pizza to the Colorado Future Adult Training School Dorms, and when I got there everyone was singing Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.”

“Don’t Stop Believin’” is a song about continuing to believe in something. Like how a Small Town Reality, a South Detroit Reality, and a singer Reality in a smoky room all believe they can find Emotion hiding somewhere in the night.  Sometimes it’s hard to believe in something like that, but if they stopped and didn’t hold onto that feeling, then they would for sure never find it.

I listened to that song all the time, cuz I always wanted to stop believin’in things.  After La Renarde I wanted to stop believin’ anyone would want to kiss me again. After Driver Training I wanted to stop believin’ I would ever be able to drive.  After the first night of Artsy Lawless I wanted to stop believin’ in going to school there.  After Kat I wanted to stop believin’ anyone would want to kiss me again.  After Chick Hunting with El Puma I wanted to stop believin’ anyone would want to kiss me again.  After The Dead Voice I wanted to stop believin’ I could sing ever again.  After the first day of Reality Travel Training I wanted to stop believin’ I could take my ass getting kicked.  After Marijuana Perception I wanted to stop believin’ I could take any more Adventures in Perceptionism. After my first day at CFATTY’s Pizza I wanted to stop believin’ that I could work any job. But every time I listened to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” I couldn’t help but keep believin’ in those things.

I wondered tho what all the Future Adults at CFATS didn’t want to stop believin’.  It seemed like becoming an Adult was the easiest thing in The World for most Realities, but maybe they had other things that were harder to believe in.  Maybe some were actually really Reality Travelers. Or maybe some just wanted to find a certain Emotion like in the song.

I started noticing “Don’t Stop Believin’” played around more than any other song.  Realities would always be playing it in their cars as they drove down street, or it would be on when you went inside a store or a restaurant.  Whenever I watched TV it was on there, and when a sports team won a championship they’d be singing the song, too.  Sometimes random Realities would just start humming in public in front of you, and one time it was playing at CFATTY’s Pizza, and The Pizza Maker who didn’t know any English started singing along word for word.  It started to seem like it might be The Most MeTooable Song on the whole Great List of Old Songs, and maybe the song itself had been Touched by The Goddess of Music with its own Gift to heal Realities.

I came up with a theory that if it could cure moments of Little Doubt about so many things for so many Realities, then maybe “Don’t Stop Believin’” could also be a cure for the Greatest Reality Traveler BoobyTrap of all, Big Doubt.  I hadn’t gotten it myself yet, and I didn’t know any other Traveler who’d had it, so there was no way to prove it for sure.  But I studied every fact about the band and the song and every major personal and Worldwide instance of it being played, and wrote the required 25 pages for The Thesis about how if there was one song high and powerful enough to beat Big Doubt this had to be it.  I turned it into The Professor, and he read it and said it was a good enough idea that I could Graduate Reality Travel Training.

9.2 – The Professor’s Reality Travel Training Lesson: Big Doubt

“Beware of Big Doubt the most,” The Professor said. “There will be times when you get your ass kicked so badly from The Travels that you will stop believing Reality Travel is even real anymore.  I told you the first day how badly it would kick your ass, and how if you weren’t 100% willing to accept all the sacrifices of your Calling then you should leave The Training.  But no one ever listens.  They are too excited and think it won’t be hard for them, but as soon as they see how powerful The MeNotzies are, how hard The BoobyTraps are, how no one is grateful for the vitally important service you’re doing for The World, and how all those Realities who’ve never even heard of Reality Travel seem to be living such peaceful, prosperous, ass-protected lives, they just can’t take it.  Big Doubt can happen to any Reality Traveler, and it is the hardest BoobyTrap to escape.  Fellow Reality Travelers, including me, will not be able to convince you.  You summon your Guardian Angel for assistance during moments of Little Doubt, but once you’re in full blown Big Doubt they’ll only seem like a figment of your imagination. This is when a Traveler must Dig Down Deep, find a reason to believe, and try to save themselves.

9.1 – The Great List of What’s Not Real

When I woke up it wasn’t the next day, but the day after that.  I knew I was supposta be at CFATTY’s for work, and they were calling me, but I didn’t call back.  I was also still Hungover, and didn’t have any Whatever-You-Drank-Two-Nights-Ago to cure it, but in another way I felt kinduv alrightcuz I knew The Great List of What’s Not Real…

I’m not The Bluebird, I’m just Jonathan.

 I’m not a MusicMan who MeToos via The Great List of Songs.  I just get mad when people don’t like the same songs as me.

I’m not a Reality Traveler cuz Reality Travel isn’t real.  I made it up cuz I was an insecure kid who wanted to feel more important. 

Everyone else I called Reality Travelers were also just insecure people who wanted to feel more important.

Wolf’s name isn’t really Wolf.  He doesn’t even really look like a wolf.  I just like animals a lot.

The Professor isn’t real.  I made up all the concepts and terminology and lessons of Reality Travel.

Reality Travel Training isn’t real.  I really went just went to graduate school.

Where-ThePlains-Meet-TheMountains is just a fancy way of saying Colorado.

The Crow repeatedly appearing inside places it shouldn’t have been was just a coincidence.

The Gods aren’t real.  Nothing created us and nothing cares if we’re destroyed. 

The OtherWorld isn’t real.  It’s just a hallucination caused by certain Perceptions, which are actually just drugs.

It’s impossible to TimeTravel.  You can only be in this present moment, which quickly vanishes forever.

The Goddess of Music isn’t real.  All songs from The Mix played during The Great Trip were just coincidences. I was not Touched and given The Gift, I was just naturally a good singer probably cuz of genetics.

The Goddess of Faith isn’t real.  She was just a fantasy of a woman who completely accepted me cuz no real woman ever has.

Because The Gods and The Goddess of Faith aren’t real, I will not get Eliminated for breaking God Rules and will continue to be alive.

Because Reality Travel isn’t real, I won’t even get The Malaise.

Because Reality Travel isn’t real, I didn’t break any Vow by going to War with The General&The Admiral, and they deserved to bleed.

The Professor would say The Great List of What’s Not Real is just a symptom of Big Doubt.  But like all other Reality Traveler BoobyTraps, Big Doubt is also not real.