3.9 – Dogfight

When I came back in from the garage the Buddhawg was there waiting for me again. He leapt up and was quick enough this time to actually get a whole dangling finger in his mouth. It made me hurt.

“Sorry,” Mom said. “I let him back out because I thought you were going out.”

“How would I do that?” I said. “I can’t drive ever.”

But she couldn’t hear me cuz the air was full of barking.

“Hold on,” she came over. “Let me put him back in the cage.”

“No, wait,” I said. “This time I want revenge.”

Then I led the Buddhawg to the living floor and got down on my knees to his level. We stared and growled at each other.  We faced off like two enemy fighter pilots in the First Great Reality War.

“The old dog didn’t bite,” I told him. “Dogritos was a creature of Pure Love and only wanted to be cuddled and squeezed.”

“Yap, yap,” Buddhawg said.

“Now I’m going to overpower you and make you exactly like her.”

Then I lunged in and smothered him with the weight of my much heavier body. I got nipped on the hands a couple times, but I was able to grab him by the neck, raise him up, and smush my face right into his furry and vulnerable underside. Then I pulled away so I could pinch his little black nose and see how wet it was. The Buddhawg snorted and fought to break free, but my species was just so much more powerful.

“I’m doing it,” I said. “I’m winning. Just like Le Rouge Baron.”

Buddhawg didn’t give up tho. The moment I let up he squirmed away and got several nips in. I tried to pin him back down again, but the whole fight my head had been getting more TimeFuck swirly. Soon I was out of breath and hadta lay flat down on my belly. Then I was defenseless, and my hands got nipped so many times.

“Can’t beat him,” I mumbled into the carpet.

Then I hadta call Mom over to rescue me. She came over, scooped up and imprisoned the biting dog once again. I kept lying there tho.

“Tsst,” she said. “No wonder you’re so tired. You haven’t eaten or rested all day.”

“I don’t know,” I told her. “I just know I only want one thing now.

“What?”

“TV.”

3.7 – Salad

When I came back in I was immediately attacked by The Buddhawg. I had to hold my hands way over my head so he wouldn’t nip them, but he jumped up and tried anyway.

“Mom!” I said.

“Don’t let him bite you,” she said. “We’re trying to train him out of it.”

“I’m not letting him. He’s forcing it to happen.”

Then she had to pick him up again and throw him back behind a high wall of metal wires. Even then the puppy kept staring at my fingers and barking at them.

“Mom!” I said.

“What?”

“I’m hungry.”

“I’m just about to make a nice big salad.”

“What’s that?”

“Salads are the best food. They’re full of the vitamins and minerals your Self needs to Grow and have none of the toxins that Shrink it.”

Then she made a huge bowl of it for me, but it was only made of things from The Great List of Gross Food. There was sharp, pointy weed-lettuce and tomatoes and red peppers and cauliflower and toadstool mushrooms and currents and walnuts and lots of seeds and no dressing on it whatsoever. I tried to eat it, but the taste was not good, and every time a bite went in I had to close my eyes and shake my head, and my throat would try to close off so none of the grossness could get in. I looked down and there was so much left I knew I wouldn’t be able to finish.

“Can I have something else?” I said.

“Like what?”

“Something from the Great List of Food.”

“Well, I guess you can look around.”

I got up and opened the refrigerator and the pantry, but nothing we used to eat was in there anymore. There were only unfamiliar things called ‘herbal tea’ and ‘tempeh’ and ‘quinoa.’ The Tingles got big and swirled. I got dizzy and wobbled.

“Mom!” I said. “I can’t eat anything here.”

“What’s wrong with the salad?”

“Everything. I want McDonald’s.”

McDonald’s is a restaurant about being able to get the same great fast food everywhere in America. Everything on their menu is scientifically designed for the most Realities to MeToo. And it’s ready to eat as soon as you order it. The best thing there is The Happy Meal. It comes with a cheeseburger, french fries, milkshake and a toy of a McDonald’s character like Ronald McDonald.

Ronald McDonald is a clown about being really happy.

“Tss, tsst, tsst,” Mom said. “McDonald’s is the most toxic food there possibly is!”

“But you made me like it, cuz we would always stop there on the way back from The Mall.”

Mom wasn’t listening tho, she just kept shaking her head and tsst-ing me.

I had to fight thru the TimeFuck and get out of there again. I made it to the garage and got in the car. But then I realized I got in the back seat. Then I realized it was Mom’s car, and my own car was actually in the driveway. And then I realized I actually didn’t want to drive anywhere ever.

3.4 – The Smaller Nest

Me and my Mom and Dad and Brother usta live in a big house called The Big Nest. It was like a soft, but tightly strewn, perimeter of bramble that could secure and protect a fragile egg or baby bird too young to fly. It was so big, cuz Dad was a moneymaking Doctor, and everything inside it was big, too, like a big kitchen, big toys, and a big TV.

I moved away after I got The Calling, and whenever I came back Mom and Dad would always be talking about a strange new concept called Self Growth.

Self Growth is about your Self not being big enough as it is, so you have to do things to make it grow, like stretching, breathing, running, chanting, eating health food, and acquiring knickknacks from the far off and exciting Realities of Asia and/or Native America. Once your Self has gotten to a certain size you won’t need other things in your life to be as big.

At one point both my parents’ Selves had Grown enough that they didn’t even need The Big Nest anymore, and so they moved into a new Smaller Nest. Every time I went there it never felt quite right.

I got there this time early in the night. I went up to the front door and hadta ring the doorbell cuz I didn’t have a key. Inside I could hear unfamiliar high and powerful noises. When the door opened a small creature leapt out at me.

“This is the new puppy!” Mom said. “We named him Buddhawg after The Self Growth Guru, The Buddha.”

The Buddha was a Wiseman Traveler who MeToo’d via The Great MeToo – All Realities Will End.

“Oh,” I said.

Our old dog Dogritos had just died. We had named her after Doritos.

Doritos are a triangular snack chip about having a bold nacho cheese flavor.

I didn’t even know they’d replaced her with a new dog until that moment. It made me feel a TimeFuck tingle in my head.

The Buddhawg was very adorable tho. His shaggy black hair came down over his eyes, and you could only see a little nose and mouth, and you just wanted to smush his face in with Love.

 “Aww,” I said.

But when I bent down to pet him, he snapped at my hand, and I could feel little sharp teeth.

“Buddhawg, No!” Mom said and scooped him up.  “He’s still a little wild.”

Then she had to take him inside and put him in a little metal cage so he couldn’t attack me anymore.

As usual everything seemed off in The Smaller Nest. The walls and windows and carpets and furniture were all in the wrong places, and they were the wrong sizes and colors. It even had the wrong smell. I hadta shake my head to get all the TimeFuck Tingles out of it.

“Are you alright?” Mom asked.

“Yeah,” I said.

“Did you stop to rest at all?”

“No.”

“How did you stay awake?”

“Dr. Pepper.”

“Tsst, that stuff is toxic!”

“But I love it.”

“It’s making your Self Shrink.”

“I don’t feel like I’m shrinking.”

“It does it slowly and secretly until your Self is so small you don’t have one anymore.”

“But you usta buy it for us all the time.”

“We didn’t know better back then. But every Self Growth book and workshop and seminar says Dr. Pepper is bad.”

The Tingles wouldn’t go away, and they made me hafta sit down.

“So who’s wedding are you going to?” Mom said.

“Huh?” I said.

Besides the Tingles, my mind was also suddenly having trouble remembering things.

“You said on the phone you’re going to Philadelphia for a wedding,” she said.

“Oh yeah, that must be Wolf&Lamb’s I guess.”

“Do you have something to wear for it?”

“What I’m wearing now.”

I was in my Traveler Uniform, which I wore every day I Traveled – blue bandana, blue jean jacket, plain white t-shirt, blue jeans, and black tennis shoes.

“What about pants?” she said. “You can’t just wear jeans to a wedding.”

“I can’t?”

“Everyone else there will be wearing dress clothes.”

I hadn’t thought of that, but she was making sense. If I looked too different I could Stick Out Like a Sore Thumb and become a magnet for MeNotzies.

“What do I do?” I said. “It’s too late to change my Wedding Uniform now.”

“It’s alright,” Mom said. “We can go to The Mall early tomorrow and get a pair of khakis. I think there’s a sale.”

“But I hate shopping at The Mall. Maybe I don’t even wanna go to a Wedding.”

After I said that I realized that my head wasn’t right at all, and a TimeWarp must’ve been taking over. I tried to play “I’m Like a Bird,” in my head, but I couldn’t really remember how the melody went.

“Oh Gods,” I said, “I gotta get something from the car.”

Then I went to grab The Mix at once.