6.3 – New Day

I got up first thing in the morning, and El Puma was already gone cuz Adult jobs make you get up before first thing. He left a goodbye note saying I could stay as long as I needed, but he didn’t know I had the most important Travels of the whole Great Trip ahead. It was also the Travels that made me the most nervous cuz of all the New Realities. I took my time and showered and put on my Wedding Uniform — dress shoes, dress socks, khaki pants, belt, white dress shirt, blue tweed jacket. If I was several feet taller I would’ve looked just like The Professor.

When I got outside, NewYorkCity looked much different. The sky was Bluebird blue, and there were suddenly little sparkles in the concrete. There were relatively few other Realities around. The nocturnal CityRats had crawled back underground, and Wings was still parked right where I left it and unharmed with the sun bouncing off its windows.

“Hmm,” I thought, “Maybe this is a new day and everything will be alright.”

Then I thought about The Goddess of Faith and kinduv expected her to be in the car already, but she wasn’t.

“Where are you, Faith?” I said to the skies as I drove out of The World’s hugest buildings.

Still she wasn’t there, and I figured I’d just hafta summon her the regular way. I looked down at my Wedding Uniform and tried to figure out what parts were most and least necessary. The tweed jacket was number one, and I figured I probably wouldn’t have to go that far to summon the Angel. The pants and shirt also seemed pretty important, and the belt had to be there to hold the pants up. My dad’s shoes tho, they were nice and completed the Uniform well, but I could also see how no one might notice shoes at all, and, besides, my tennis shoes would be way more comfortable. So at the next stop I took the shoes off and threw them out into the fast moving traffic of the most challenging Roads in America.

“Gods,” I said, “This is Traveler Bluebird and I need my Angel Baby.”

Just then a giant flock of city pigeons came flying at the car. Hundreds of wings were hitting Wings, and their bird goo got on us. After a furious moment of wiping the windshield I looked over, and The Goddess of Faith was getting in and wearing a fancy gold dress from modern human times.

“Thank Goddess, you’re here,” I said. “I could really use some IAB! I was not good at Reality Travel last night. I had too much Traveler Pride and then the MeNotzies got me and El Puma in the end. And today is going to be even harder cuz of all the New Realities.”

“It’s Alright, Bluebird,” she said. “It’s all just learning, and you had a really great MeToo with the Moth.”

She was lacking her usual Goddess umph tho, and when she reached over she only gave me a little It’s Alright, Baby pat on the back. It was only about the same Alrightness as an aspirin. Her eyes were looking down, and her mouth was pretty frowny.

“Oh no,” I said, “you’re sad.”

“Yes.”

“I didn’t know Goddesses could get sad.”

“They can.”

“What’s wrong?”

“Kissing you.”

“That was a bad thing?”

“No, it’s the opposite of that. I want to kiss you too much now. I want to make you feel Alright too much. I like your fears and doubts too much, and I like your MeToo victories too much. What if kissing you is way more than just kissing you. What if it’s Love?”

“Oh my Goddess! That would be amazing.”

“I know, but remember I told you there’re Rules? Well, they’re really serious.”

“You mean like not intervening?”

“Exactly. I’m only supposta be there to encourage you during moments of Little Doubt and other Boobytraps, and I could get kicked out of The Angel Corps for helping you as much as I have. But even more important than that, it’s forbidden for any God to be in Love with any human.”

“I don’t understand. Wouldn’t the Gods want to help Reality Travelers as much as possible? If we had Angel-Traveler Kissing SuperTeams, we could MeToo the entire World, and all The MeNotzies would just shrivel up and turn to dust.”

“Reality Travel is like a movie to The Gods. It’s supposta be hard for the human or else it’s not entertaining when they succeed. And they think if a God is in Love with a human, then there’s no way the God isn’t going to get involved and make it too easy.”

“What would happen if we got caught?”

“We could both be Eliminated from Existence.”

“Oh.”

“Now, you see why I’m so sad. I think I might not be able to be your Guardian Angel at all anymore.”

Then some instinct took over me, and I reached over to her, put my arms around her, and held her.

“It’s Alright, Angel,” I said.

And then I looked at her face, and she was smiling.

“Oh Bluebird,” she said. “I just got the most wonderful feeling. Like everything is going to be Alright, and I don’t even care if I do get Eliminated.”

“You just got an It’s Alright, Baby?!” I said.

“I think so!”

“I thought you just felt like that all the time since it’s what you’re made out of.”

“No, I only really felt it now when you gave it to me!”

“Wow, and it actually felt just as good to give it to you as it feels to receive!”

“Now, you know how I feel!”

Then we looked into each other’s eyes, and we just couldn’t help it. Our bodies got closer and our faces and lips just moved on their own and kissed.

“Oh no,” I said. “We’re breaking The Rules again.”

“I know,” she said.

But we kept kissing and couldn’t stop.

“What if there are Gods watching?” I kissed.

“They may be,” she kissed. “We should find a safe place where they can’t find us.”

“But where?”

“We could go to my AngelNest. It’s private, and they’d never suspect we’d go there, but we’d still have to be very careful.”

“Is that in the Other World?”

“Yes.”

5.17 – El Puma’s NewYorkCity Apartment

El Puma’s NewYorkCity Apartment was in a really tall building in a neighborhood of only really tall buildings. There wasn’t an elevator, so you hadta take a lot of stairs to get to his floor. His room seemed too small of a habitat for a wildcat like him. The refrigerator was right next to the bookshelf, and the toilet was right next to the bed. When you looked out the window, the window of the next building was very close, but the ground was very far below.

“I don’t think I could live in a place like this,” I said.

“I know,” El Puma said, “but it is a very good price for this city.”

“I mean I don’t think I could live in this city. There are too many MeNotzies here.”

“Sometimes I agree. It is truly The Capital of The MeNotzies. But for me it can also be the most far off and exciting city in The World.”

Then I sat down on his one chair next to the stove, and he lay down on his bed next to the toilet.

“Do you think Wings will be alright?” I asked.

“Yes, those Rats were harmless cowards. They won’t have the courage to touch your car.”

“You’re probably right. I don’t think I want to go back out there tho.”

“This idea is easy for me to MeToo.”

A few seconds later he stopped talking and his eyes were closed.

“El Puma,” I said.

“Yes, Traveler Jonathan,” he said.

“Are you asleep?”

“It is possible. I had to wake up very early for work today.”

“Oh.”

“I am sorry I have become so Adult now.”

“It’s alright. I’m sorry I took you away from Love with Mi Amor.”

“It is alright. Our Love is beyond space and time, our Love cannot be defeated, our Love is perfect.”

“Hey, El Puma?”

“Yes, Traveler Jonathan.”

“Did we Reality Travel enough tonight?”

“You have MeToo’d a NewYorkCity Reality tonight. I know this city. You have accomplished a near miracle.”

“I guess so.”

Then El Puma stopped talking and closed his eyes again.

“Hey El Puma?”

“Yes, Traveler Jonathan.”

“I should’ve let The Duckling Love me.”

He was quiet for a while before suddenly saying something in Spanish.

El que signe su camino de viajes realidad hace el Amor con los angeles.”

“What does that mean?” I said.

He didn’t answer tho.

“El Puma?”

He didn’t answer again and I realized he was completely asleep. Something was soothing about what he said tho, and soon I was fast asleep, too.

5.16 – TheHeart-of-theStreets Street

“That was the greatest MeToo I have ever witnessed with my own eyes,” El Puma said as we got back in the car. “It had everything. A pure and genuine MeToo. From a Reality which at first appeared very different from our own. And of course The Gods were involved. I find myself very inspired now. Maybe I will quit the Major Financial Newspaper and become a full time Reality Traveler who helps The World MeToo via Love.”

“Yes!” I said.

Soon we were on Heart-of-theStreets Street, and everything was full of lights and Realities. There were streetlamps and traffic lights and car headlights, and every building had a neon light bar on the bottom floor. There was a light glow in the sky, and it was so bright it seemed like day instead of night. There were Downtown Hits coming at us from every direction, and Realities were even dancing to it in the middle of the street. In fact, there were so many Realities outside I could barely move Wings forward anymore. They were Realities of all types, but they were all talking in NewYorkCity accents and going “ey!” One chick even walked in front of the car, looked at the license plate and waved, “Eyyy, Where-ThePlains-Meets-TheMountains,” like she wanted to do the Horizontal MeToo right then and there with Wings.

“This would be a very good place to find Love,” El Puma said. “Here the chicks seem to hunt you.”

“I don’t even care about that,” I said. “I just wanna get out and MeToo as much as we can.”

“I am motivated by your second wind. My apartment building is nearby. Let us park there and walk back to this Heart-of-theStreets Street Reality Fiesta.”

When we got to El Puma’s block I couldn’t find anywhere to park. It was all parallel, and there were no good gaps to fit in.

“Dammit,” I said. “My main driving weakness. Are there any valet places around here?”

“Not that I know of,” he said. “But that space over there looks big enough.”

“Maybe, but it has to be way big for me to get in there. Do you see any Reality Traveler houseflies around here?”

“Perhaps we do not have to park directly in front of my building.”

“Alright.”

I kept driving around the block, but there was still nothing easy enough. I hadta go further and further until finally I found a whole street with no cars parked on it.

“Do you think we can park here?” I said.

“I do not know,” he said. “But I do not see any signs which say we cannot.”

I didn’t either, so I just pulled over and easily parked. It felt too easy tho, and I was nervous that Wings could get towed away in the night.

A couple of NewYorkCity Realities were standing nearby in the shadows.  They didn’t seem as joyful as the Heart-of-theStreets Realities. They were very close to the garbage and had pointed noses and whiskers like CityRats.

“Should we ask them?” I said.

“They look like they could be MeNotzie Perception Dealers,” El Puma said.

“Remember the Humility Mantra tho. They’re just like us. Also we can’t forget we’ve got a 100% MeToo rate on NewYorkCity Realities tonight.”

“This is true.”

We went up to them.

“Excuse me sir,” I said. “Do you know if it’s alright to park here?”

“Yoocrazy?” one of the Rats said. “Fuck no!”

“Oh,” I said and turned to El Puma. “I guess we hafta keep trying. I think there was a spot a couple streets ago that we might be able to squeeze into and only scratch the other cars a little bit.”

Then the Rats started laughing.

“I’m jus fuckin witchoo,” the one said. “You c’n pawrk here. Read da sign!”

He pointed to a sign we hadn’t seen that said you could park there. El Puma got mad.

“We are very nice Realities who approached you in a respectful manner,” he told them. “There was no reason to lie to us at first.”

“Yo, you gotta lighten up,” the other Rat said.

Then he came forward and punched El Puma hard in the shoulder. And then the other Rat came forward and punched me hard in the shoulder, and it hurt. Then both Rats started laughing. I looked over at El Puma, and we both had the same thought. We didn’t say anything else to the Rats and just started walking toward his apartment. They didn’t follow us, but we could hear them talking. They were trying to sound like us.

“Um, yes, uh, sir, uh…” one said in his wimpiest voice.

“Uh, yes, do you know if we could, uh, possibly park here…” the other said in his nerdiest voice.

It made them laugh really hard.

5.15 – Lost

“Where are we?” I asked El Puma.

At some point we were supposta get off the NewYorkCity Roads and enter the NewYorkCity Streets, but The Gods never told me how. There were lots of Roadsigns everywhere, but we couldn’t understand any of them, and then I hadta just pick a random exit.

“I have never seen these streets,” El Puma said.

They were dark with no street lamps and no street signs anymore. All the houses and shops had wooden boards over the windows, and someone had covered them with spraypaint paintings. As we drove thru I kept seeing mysterious moving shadows, and I didn’t know if they were from trees or dangerous Downtown MeNotzies. I tried to turn around and go back to the exit, but I couldn’t find a way to get back on.

“Dammit,” I said. “We’re trapped.”

“Where do The Gods say to go?” El Puma said.

“I don’t know. They won’t say.”

“The God of The Road has suddenly abandon one of his Gifted Realities?”

“I accidentally lied before. The God of The Road has no idea who I am. I was actually a terrible driver at first and hadta practice a lot just to be kinduv alright at it.”

“So anyone who practices could drive as well as you?”

“Yeah.”

“This encourages me, but also discourages me. How do we find our way now without The Gods lighting the way?”

“We probably hafta ask someone.”

“But you said a Reality Traveler never asks for directions.”

“No, that’s wrong, too. Anyone who’s lost has to ask for directions.”

“This makes more sense to me, but who do we ask? There is nothing but darkness around us.”

“I know. It’s scary.”

“Yes, I suppose we must keep going until we find some light.”

Soon we found a gas station with one dim lantern hanging high over it. The building was small and very spraypainted. Its windows had holes in them, and some of its pumps didn’t even have nozzles on them. It was kinda dark inside, and you couldn’t see anyone in there, and there was no open sign. It seemed too dangerous to get out and check. It seemed like you could hear bullets and screams in the near distance. But just as we were about to pull out and try to find a better lighted thing, I heard something else.

“Wait,” I rolled down the window to listen more closely. “There may actually be a God on our side afterall.”

“What is it?” El Puma said.

“Just follow me.”

Then I got out of the car, and he followed behind. We went to the door and jiggled the handle, and it opened. Inside behind a wall of bulletproof glass was a real live Downtown NewYorkCity Reality. He was a gray haired, gray bearded, old Adult, but he was up on his feet, flapping his arms, and dancing around beneath a flickering lamp like an old Moth who’d gotten inside the house cuz someone left the door open. My first instinct would’ve been to cover my ears and protect my wool wares, except he was listening to none other than Sam Cooke’s “Cupid” on The Radio. His voice was wheezy and not good, but he was singing and dancing with full passion. I started singing along, too, not to overpower him, but just enough to let him know I knew the song.

“How you know those words?” the Moth said. “This before your time.”

Then I told him about The Voice Professor and how I was supposta sing it for the Recital.

“That right?” he said. “This song a part of my past too. “Cupid” a song about my wife. Years ago we in the streets of NewYorkCity.  Outta a million people passing another million people we pass each other.  Arrow fly suddenly from the heavens right down into our chests.  Stops us in our tracks, we look into each other’s eyes, and know we gonna be in Love forever and we been ever since.”

“He’s a Lover like us!” El Puma said.

“Point is we think we in control,” Moth said. “But it really The Gods, and they be laughing at us. Ain’t nobody better than nobody else down here, ya know? Nobody a God but the Gods.”

“I know,” I said. “That’s pretty much the Reality Traveler Humility Mantra.”

“I don’t know those words. But I always known about The Gods.  Wasn’t even listening to the Radio tonight, but something tell me put on Old Old Hits station.

“The Goddess of Music,” I said.

“Yes,” Moth nodded furiously, “that exactly who it was.”

“I think she wants us to MeToo, so you can help us.”

Then we told him all about Reality Travel and how we were on a desperately important MeToo mission to NewYorkCity, but we got lost.

“Ain’t no shame in getting lost,” he said. “This a confusing place.”

Then El Puma told him where we wanted to go.

“Oh, that easy,” the Moth said. “Just take a right at the next light and then go all the way down Heart of the Streets Street, and then you home free.”

“Thanks,” we said.

“Gods bless ya,” he said.

5.14 – The Voice Recital

The Voice Recital was at the ALC Auditorium and there were lots of seats all filled with Realities who wanted to hear God-Given Gift singing. Even El Puma came.

“Your singing may be like a big net,” he said, “and when the chicks in the audience hear it, VUSH! You scoop up all their Love.”

I had worked on “Cupid” every week with The Voice Professor, and I was nailing it easily every time. I was even able to learn all the words without having to hear them. The Voice Professor didn’t know, but I was even nailing it without following The Rules of Singing. I never practiced cuz it was boring, and I Rocked Out hard every time I was in my car. It never seemed to affect my voice, and I wondered if I was just more Gifted than even The Voice Professor realized. I couldn’t wait for everyone to hear me and get The Chills and fall in Love with me.

Backstage everyone was singing their nonsense words to warm up. Including The Hottest Chick. She was finally all alone to talk to. I summoned my courage and trusted El Puma’s training would carry me thru.

“Hey,” I said, “you’re a really good singer.”

“Thanks,” she said.

“I’m in Private Voice Training, too. The Voice Professor says I have the Gift.”

“Good for you.”

“Are you also a Reality Traveler?”

“Yeah, isn’t everyone here?”

“I guess so, but I just got my Calling Card to the Reality Travel Training School.”

“I’ve known some Travelers who’ve gone there. How’d you get in?”

“I hadta MeToo a gritty down-and-out looking local truck driver.”

“I’ve MeToo’d a few truck drivers in NewYorkCity. Also truck drivers in Paris and Buenos Aires.”

“Sounds far off and exciting.”

“It was okay.”

“Oh.”

“Next semester I’m going to MeToo truck drivers in Sidney with my boyfriend.”

“Boyfriend? Does he go here?”

“No way. He’s a NewYorkCity Reality originally from Australia.”

“Like Crocodile Dundee?”

“I don’t know. I don’t watch TV.”

“Oh.”

Then she stopped looking at me, and I didn’t know what else to say to her. And the only thing to do was to start to pretend like I needed to practice my song. I was nailing it like always and vibrating air off all the right spots in my throat to make the right pitches. The Hottest Chick noticed and even raised her eyebrows. I wondered if my voice might be good enough to steal her away from Crocodile Dundee, but there was one little spot that wasn’t working right. I’d vibrate air off it, but it wouldn’t make a sound. I couldn’t even feel the air on it, and it was like it was numb and dead. But I really needed that spot, too, so I could hit the high and powerful “Cu” in “Cupid.”

“Dammit,” I said to the throat spot.

Then as I kept going thru the song I noticed other spots stopped working. It was like the numb spots were contagious, and soon I was missing lots of notes. It started to sound like I opened up my Gift and it was actually a wrapped up box full of poop.

I found the Voice Professor right away and told her about it. By that point even my speaking voice was coming out more scratchy and weak. She put her ear up close to my mouth, and I tried to sing for her.

“Uh huh,” she said gravely.

“What?” I said.

“It’s The Dead Voice.”

“What’s that?”

“Have you been following all The Rules of Singing?”

“Well, last weekend I did drive home to Ohio and sang a little bit in the car.”

“How much?”

“Really not too much.”

“Uh huh, The Dead Voice don’t lie.”

“Alright, I sang way hard for like the whole seven hours each way.”

“Uh huh.”

“I thought it wouldn’t matter.”

“No one is above The Rules.”

“But…”

“There’s nothing you can do now about it. The Gods gave you a Gift, and you didn’t take care of it, and now they’ve taken it away.”

“Forever?”

“No, but it ain’t coming back tonight.”

“But there are so many Realities here I have to MeToo.”

“Uh huh, and you would’ve. But sometimes you have to get humbled like this to respect The Gift.”

“Dammit.”

Then I didn’t wanna be there anymore. I didn’t wanna hear anybody else sing if I couldn’t prove I was better. And then I just wanted to get back to Alone Reality in my room as fast as possible.

“Hey,” The Duckling stopped me on my way out. “When are you singing? I don’t want to miss it.”

“Just leave me alone,” I said.

It was the last thing I could say loud enough to hear, and it was the last thing I ever said to her. When I got back to my room I cried. Tears came out of my eyes, but no sound could come out of my throat.

5.13 – The Road to NewYorkCity

El Puma and I got Wings back from The Adult Bar valet and plotted our next move.

“I suggest we return to the ALC party,” he said. “I will get to see Mi Amor again, and the Realities there are more likely to respect Reality Travelers of our caliber.”

“No,” I said. “I only wanna go to NewYorkCity.”

“I am certain your judgment at this moment is very precise, as always, but we are too late now to catch the last train.”

“I said I’ll drive us.”

“You have had very much alcohol, no?”

“El Puma, don’t believe what you hear. You can actually drive better in Alcohol Perception.”

“I did not know this.”

“Yeah, way better. Now you just hafta tell me which Roads to take there.”

“I am deeply sorry, but I do not know this information. I have only ever taken the train. Perhaps we should ask someone for directions.”

“A Reality Traveler never asks for directions. The Gods are on our side, and they will show us the way.”

Then we Hit the NewYorkCity Roads, the most advanced and complex in all of America. There were several lanes filled all the way at all times with fast moving cars. They were all in a hurry and flew around you with unpredictable, lightning quick, high-risk lane changes that almost always nearly hit you. And every single car honked the entire time, and we didn’t know if they were honking at us or just The World.

“You are driving very well on these Roads, Traveler Jonathan,” El Puma said. “The drivers around us make reckless decisions, yet we do not crash.”

“Yeah! Watch this lane change.”

“Two lanes at once! You are truly the maestro of The Road. How is it done? Hard work, practice, and persistently learning from mistakes?”

“It’s a Gift from The God of the Road and I’ve always had it. I don’t even hafta look. I can just sense what all the other cars will do before they do it, and then I make my move. It’s impossible for us to crash.”

“I suppose I will never have this sense then.”

“Nope, gotta be born with it.”

“Ah, this discourages me.”

“Here, let me cheer you up with the best part of driving!”

Then I put on The Mix and turned it to “The Sign.”

“Now we listen closely to this song and Rock Out,” I said. “No one can kick us out of here for singing.”

I turned up the song to the highest possible volume and screamed along and prepared to show the NewYorkCity Roads Entire-Body-Out-Window. But El Puma was holding his ears.

“What are you doing?” I said. “You can’t hear it when you do that.”

“Forgive me, but I just cannot MeToo. This song was very overplayed in our childhood, even in far off South America.”

“It doesn’t matter how many times you hear it. A great song is always great.”

“Perhaps I just do not like the song then.”

“How is that possible? Do you even know what it’s about?”

“I am not sure… It is a song about a chick who wants another baby?”

“No! It’s about you and me and how The Gods Love us more cuz we’re Reality Travelers!”

“I’m afraid I do not see how this song means this.”

“Oh, you don’t understand anything.”

And then I hadta turn the Mix off.

5.12 – More LoveHunting

“I know it hurts to fail at the LoveHunting,” El Puma said at the next Dorm Party. “It is a pain that hurts your body and your head and your heart and perhaps even past that to the deeper heart. I have this pain, too, because even tho I Horizontal MeToo’d the chick from the last party, she does not want things to get ‘too serious’ now and will not Love me again. But neither of us must give up, Traveler Jonathan.”

“Alright,” I said.

Then we started scanning the room for chicks again. I noticed The Hottest Chick was there again. I’d recently overheard one of her Private Voice Lessons, and it sounded like she was almost as good at singing as me.

“I don’t care if she’s a MeNotzie,” I said. “I want her.”

“Yes,” El Puma said. “I like this spirit.”

I knew this time I’d hafta talk to her myself tho, so I waited for a moment when she wasn’t talking to anyone else and then headed toward her. I was almost there when I got blocked by a crossing Duckling.

“Hey there,” she said. “What are you singing for The Voice Recital?”

“You probably don’t know it,” I said. “It’s older than the Great List of Old Songs.”

“Try me, I know lots of old songs.”

I told her.

“Sam Cooke!” she said. “I Love him.”

Then she started badly quacking “Another Saturday Night.”

“Another Saturday Night” is a song about a lonely person who can’t find anyone to Love them too many weekends in a row.

“I don’t know that one,” I lied.

“Oh,” she said. “I should play it for you.”

“Maybe.”

“You know I don’t really like these dorm parties. Do you wanna leave and go to my room and listen to some music?”

“I don’t know.”

Just then El Puma pounced in and grabbed me with his teeth.

“Excuse us for a moment,” he told her.

Then he dragged me aside.

“I am overhearing your conversation and want to offer my advice.”

“Alright.”

“This chick is showing every sign she wants to Love you tonight, and I believe you should accept.”

“Really? I don’t know if I want to tho.”

“But Traveler Jonathan, Love is the greatest thing that can happen.”

“Maybe she’s alright, but she’s also kinda strange and doesn’t sing well.”

“But I have overheard you exchange MeToos, no?”

“I guess.”

“This is an important thing. She may seem like The Duckling, but the MeToos may turn her into The Swan.”

“Alright, but I’d rather get Love from The Hottest Chick.”

“But look at how The Duckling looks at us now as we speak.”

We looked over, and she smiled back.

“This is the look I dreamed of so many times as a boy in South America. There is nothing better than this look. And because the Goddess of Love does not shine down on this school, it is very rare here.”

“But I’m a Calling Card Traveler now, and I have The Gift. I deserve The Hottest Chick.”

“Alright,” El Puma sighed, “This does not feel without flaw to me, but I wish you luck nonetheless.”

“Alright, thank you.”

Then I went over and told The Duckling I couldn’t go to her room.

“Oh, Alright,” she said. “I just like you and thought we could MeToo about a lot.”

She looked like the saddest Duckling ever, and it almost made me wanna change my mind. But I knew I justed wanted Love from The Hottest Chick so bad.

After saying goodbye to the Duckling I went looking for her. But it had been too long, and she wasn’t in the same place. I finally found her outside leaving the party with some friends.

“This party’s lame,” one said.

“Yeah,” the Hottest Chick said. “Let’s go to NewYorkCity.”

“Yeah, Realities are so much more Real there.”

“Totally,” she said as they walked outta sight.

Then I went back in the party. The Duckling was gone by then, and El Puma was busy Mouth MeTooing some new chick. I awkwardly stood in the middle of the room talking to nobody for a second and then left the party alone again.

5.11 – The Adult Bar Band

Soon after Wolf called, a band started playing at the Adult Bar. It was a classic drum-bass-two guitar-singer rock band just like The Beatles. I wanted them to be good, cuz they were covering old Radio Hits that could’ve MeToo’d everyone there, but the singer was like a quiet little mouse and his voice was so small no one even knew what songs they were trying to do. I hadta order another drink to deal with it.

I was doing pretty well at ignoring them until they started trying to play “Cupid.”

It sounded like Sam UnCooked.  It was low, weak, and had all the smoothness of sandpaper.

“No!” it made me scream out.

I needed someone to share in my frustration. I looked over at El Puma, but he was deep in conversation with his new best Adult friend. So I turned back to the Adult chick next to me.

“Can you believe they’re doing this song?” I said.

“Oh,” she said. “I hate to admit it, but I don’t actually know this one.”

“Well, this song is great! But the band isn’t doing it justice!”

Then I started singing the words so she’d know how it was really supposta sound.

“You have a great voice,” she said. “Do you sing in a band?”

“No, but I should be in their band right now.”

“Their frontman is a little timid.”

I looked back up and his posture was all shriveled up and his nose and eyes were pointed to the floor.  It seemed like he’d rather swipe a crumb and scurry into the nearest hole then play music.

“If you weren’t Touched by The Goddess of Music you shouldn’t even try,” I said.

“Goddess of Music?” she asked.

“Goddess damn right! Watch this.”

Then I got off my stool and headed up to the stage.

“Cupid draw back your bow and let your arrow go!” I sang loudly all the way up there, and it was easily way louder than the singer even tho he had a microphone. Then the song started sounding like the real version and nearby Adults started taking notice.

“Hey,” an Adult said. “This song was on The Radio when I was a kid!”

Then a few of the Adults came closer to the stage, and some of them starting singing along too and even dancing.

“This wouldn’t be happening without me!” I told them and kept singing.

When the song was over everyone clapped, but the singer looked upset probably cuz he knew he had nothing to do with it.

“You’re welcome everyone,” I bowed and went back to my stool.

“Did you hear that?” I asked the Adult chick next to me.

“Yeah,” she said, “but I kinda feel bad for the singer. You kinduv upstaged him.”

“Oh, who cares. The MeToo justifies The Means.”

Then I needed another drink, but when I asked for it the Bartender wouldn’t make me one.

“You’re cut off,” she said.

“What?! Why?”

“You’re too drunk.”

I looked over at the Adult chick next to me, and she was cringing. And the guy next to her was laughing.

“Can’t hold their liquor too well up in Canada, eh?” he laughed. “Lightweight!”

“I’m barely even in Alcohol Perception at all,” I tried to tell them.

“I’ve been at this for a long time,” The Bartender said. “I know the signs. No one sings that loudly unless they’re wasted.”

“No, you sing like that when you’re a Great Reality Traveler who’s been Touched by The Goddess of Music and just MeToo’d your whole fucking bar.”

“Kid, I can’t understand a word you’re saying.”

By then El Puma had caught wind of the situation and tried to jump in to help.

“This is the Great Reality Traveler Jonathan,” he told The Bartender. “His word is bound by The Gods. If he says he is not drunk, he is not drunk.”

“Look Mr. Just-a-Water,” she said. “Why don’t you get your friend to pay his tab and get out of here, before we have a problem.”

Then El Puma turned to me.

“I know this is a great injustice,” he said, “but I know these Adults, and we may not want to War with them.”

“All I know is a Traveler never apologizes when the other Reality is the one being bullshit.”

“I am sure this comes straight from the mouth of your finest Reality Travel Training Professors, but we have to remember the Adults are very close with the police.”

I looked back at the Bartender, the spiders in her eyes were extra crawly with way too many bristly legs and poison dripping off them.

“Alright, fine,” I said. “We’ll go, but only cuz this place is a MeToo-Impossible House of MeNotzism and Music-Death.”

I paid and was just about to leave when I checked the inside of my jacket and realized I had some final words for everyone in there.

“I’m The Fucking Bluebird,” I yelled to the whole bar. “I’m a Musicman Traveler who flies to all Realities and sings to them. But you’re all bullshit Adults. Fuck all of you!”

Then we ran out the door.

5.9 – WolfCall

“Bluebird,” he said, “how have you survived The Great Trip so far?”

“Barely,” I said. “I feel like I’m getting my ass kicked by BoobyTraps every moment, except the one when I kissed my Guardian Angel.”

“Kissed how?”

“On the mouth, like we like each other.”

“That’s unbelievable. Is that even allowed?”

“I don’t think so, she just wanted to.”

“Are you with her now?”

“No, I’m at an Adult Bar with El Puma, and every Reality here probably only wants to talk about their stupid retirement plans.”

“Try to hang in there, and don’t let Traveler Pride get in the way. Also, remember to stay at the same magnitude of Perception as those around you.”

“I know, I know.”

“Anyway, the main reason I called is to warn you about tomorrow. The last several days I’ve been in Wedding Planner Reality, and it’s clear they’re MeNotzies trying to Dominate the entire event. Lamb and I have been increasingly overwhelmed and disoriented. We may even get Vertigo if we’re not careful.”

“Oh no.”

“We’ll have a hundred other Realities there demanding our attention and may not have a chance to MeToo or even speak to all of them. I know you have a weakness for New Realities, but you may have to be all on your own there.”

“Oh.”

“Just letting you know what you’re up against, so you can prepare.”

“Alright.”

Then Lamb got on the phone, too.

“Bluebird, just remember one thing if you get in trouble.”

“The Gods are on my side?”

“Yes, but also remember to sing. No one can resist MeTooing your voice!”

“Oh yeah…”

5.8 – Adult Bar

As soon as we left ALC the seriousness of Traveling to NewYorkCity hit me. I realized I wouldn’t be able to get close to MeTooing any Realities there without some immediate Alcohol Perception. So first I drove me and El Puma to the nearest bar. It was right next door to Artsy Lawless in the rich neighborhood, where there were lots of big nests with Porches in the driveways. The bar itself had a big golden sign and someone you could pay to park your car for you.

“This seems to be a very fancy establishment,” El Puma said.

“A valet!” I said. “This is all I’ve ever wanted!”

So I pulled in and gave my keys and one dollar to the guy out front and watched as he drove off and parallel parked it perfectly on the street.

“I have a good feeling about this place,” I said.

Inside everyone looked strange tho. It was fully packed with Realities wearing unwrinkled suits and dresses. Nearly all of them had shiny metals and jewels around their wrists and necks. Many had loose skin falling off their faces and jiggling under their chins. Some had no hair on their head, and a couple even had giant humps on their backs. Every one of them smelled like flowers or coffee or smoke.

“This is the most Adult thing I’ve ever seen,” I said.

“Yes,” El Puma said. “It reminds me of the Major Financial Newspaper.”

“Why are they all here right now?”

“I imagine because it is the weekend.”

“So?”

“The weekend is very important for the Adult. They do not have to wake up early in the morning for work so they may stay up later at night. Many of them have probably even hired a babysitter to care for their children so they can be here.”

“My Gods, they have children? Just like our parents?”

“It is hard to believe, but yes.”

We continued deeper inside. All the Adults were huddled together at tables and laughing loudly. They were making large sweeping gestures with their arms and announcing things like “one in the hand is worth two in the bush!” and “you’ve got to spend it to make it.”

“Spend what?” I asked El Puma.

“Money, I believe,” he said.

“Incredible.”

I also noticed all the Adults were drinking. Their drinks came in a variety of oddly shaped glasses, tall ones and short ones and fat ones and skinny ones and cone ones and cube ones and curley-q ones. Some drinks were bright greens and purples and had things like olives and limes and umbrellas sticking out of them.

“Don’t worry,” I said. “We’ll be able to manage this better when we’re in Alcohol Perception, too.”

“You are a drinker now?”

“Yes, I learned how to do it the right way in The Training from an expert Perceptionist named Wolf.”

We found a couple of open stools at the bar and sat down. The Bartender was an Adult, too. Her face was covered in lines like webs and her eyes looked like two dark venom spiders.

“I’ll get a JackNCoke,” I told her.

A JackNCoke is a drink about being in Alcohol Perception and Pop Perception at the same time. It is not as good as a JackNDrPepper, but for some reason they never have Dr. Pepper at bars.

The Bartender looked at me suspiciously.

“Let me see your ID,” she said.

Then I hadta give her my Driver’s License.

“Where-ThePlains-Meet-TheMountains?” she said.

“Yeah,” I said.

She looked back and forth between me and the License a few times.

“You look like a Kid,” she said.

“I’m not,” I said. “It says so on the card.”

“Might be a fake.”

“I assure you he has been alive long enough to legally be in Alcohol Perception in this country,” El Puma said.

“Yeah?” she said. “Well, you’re wearing a nice suit at least. I guess I’ll take your word for it.”

Then she made the drink and asked El Puma what he wanted.

“Just a glass of water, please,” he said.

She rolled her blackwidow-eyes.

“El Puma,” I whispered to him. “You can’t get just water.”

“But that is all I want,” he whispered back.

“Look, you know Adults, but I know Perceptionism. It’s going to be extremely difficult to MeToo if we’re not in Common Perception. We’re already at a MeToo Deficit with the Bartender, and she’s the most important Reality here.”

“You are speaking of concepts I am not sure I understand. I have not had a wolf to teach me and have never trusted Alcohol. It makes me feel as tho my mind is too loose or something. I believe I will MeToo better without it.”

“Alright fine, you’re lucky you’re with such a Trained Traveler who can make up for this kind of Reality Handicap.”

After a few sips I started noticing the Realities closest to us. On El Puma’s side there was a very Adult looking Adult. Her face was covered in thick makeup with black eyelashes and too-pink cheeks and bright tomato-gross red lips. Her hair was gray and tied back into a tight knot, and she was wearing some kind of thick and rigid jacket that made her shoulders look very pointy. On my side was another Adult, but she was much younger and maybe our age. She was also wearing a jacket, but it didn’t fit her as well, and I assumed she had only become an Adult just a couple days before.

“Alright,” I told El Puma, “We might as well try to MeToo some Realities since we’re here. I think we should start with the ones right next to us, establish a Foothold, and then work our way out from there.”

“A perfect plan.”

Then we both turned toward our nearest Realities. The one next to me was already talking to a very suit&tie-y Adult. The hair on the top of his head was dark but the hair right over his ears was white. He kept using words like “Wall Street” and “The Nation” and she kept yawning and checking her phone. Then she looked over at me and smiled.

“I like your jean jacket,” she said.

“Thanks,” I said. “It’s my Reality Travel Uniform.”

“I’m not familiar with that company. Are they a travel agency?”

“No, it’s way better than that.”

I was just about to explain it all, when the Adult next to her butted in.

“Are you from Canada, ay?” he said and started laughing.

“No” I said. “Why?”

“Denim jacket and jeans,” he pointed at me. “A Canadian Tuxedo!”

He laughed harder.

“I actually used to wear a jean jacket all the time before I worked at The Firm,” the young Adult woman said.

“Oh, so you had no taste either?” he laughed.

“Stop,” she slapped his shoulder. “I looked good in it.”

Then they both laughed. I couldn’t take it and hadta turn around and see if El Puma was kinduv getting his ass kicked, too. But his Adult already had her arm around his shoulder , and they were laughing together. I grabbed him and turned him around.

“These Adults are bigger MeNotzies than I expected,” I said. “They can smell a Reality Traveler from a mile away, and it smells like a fart to them.”

“This is very true,” he said.

“What’s your Adult saying?”

“She says she is a financial advisor, who plays racquetball and is very concerned by the trade gap with Asia.”

“What’s a trade gap?”

“I believe it has to do with imports and exports.”

“Hmm… What else?”

“I mentioned we’re on The Travels.”

“Beware, El Puma. You can’t say that kinda thing to just anyone.”

“It seemed alright in this case. She says she has never heard of the term before, but when I described it she insisted that she, too, is a Reality Traveler.”

“No, she’s not.”

“She says she Travels to resort Realities around The World. She is interested that I come from South America and says she would like to take a vacation to my continent some day soon.”

“A vacation is not Reality Travel.”

“I imagine there is no harm in her believing this.”

“Yes, there is.  You hafta tell her she’s just a boring Adult.”

“This does not seem wise, but you are the expert.”

Then he went back to talking to her. The chick next to me was still talking to the Adult guy. I hadta order another double JackNCoke.

Then Wolf called.