4.8 – Our Own Place

After our first year together Kat and I decided we Loved each other enough to live all the time in the same apartment, so we got Our Own Place. I was very excited cuz then I only hadta go to ALC just for classes and didn’t have to deal with the MeNotzie Dorms anymore. Kat had just graduated tho and had her own plans.

“I think since we have Our Own Place, we should start living like Adults now,” she said.

“What do you mean?” I said.

“I mean like we both get jobs, and we go to them every day during the week. And then on the weekends we go out and do things like buy furniture or paint the walls new colors. And we become experts on things like houseplants and coupons. And we get a kitten and raise it like our child!”

“I guess so,” I said.

So on the first day of Our Own Place we went to the pet store. On the way there was something I wanted to show Kat. I’d driven back and forth between OIC(R) and JONYCC a few times by then and had had a lot of time in Alone Reality listening to The Radio and discovered something. Whenever I tried to sing along to a song I was able to sound exactly like the singer. It was strange cuz most things I did at first I was a bad amateur at them, but singing didn’t seem to need any experience for me to be good. I just seemed to know by instinct how to make the air go off the right spots in my throat to match the pitch. I was even able to copy some of the most high and powerful ones.

“Hey, Kat,” I said, “listen to this…”

Then I put in The You&Me Mix to “I Wanna Know What Love Is.”

“Aw,” she said. “It’s our song.”

“Yeah, but listen to me sing it.”

I was nailing it right away on the verse. Then came the little pre-chorus part where Lou Gramm goes “in my life there’s been heartache and pain,” and the vocals suddenly get very high and powerful and I almost got it.

“You’re straining,” Kat said.

“But didn’t you hear?” I said. “I was hitting every pitch up until that last high and powerful one. And I think I can even hit that if I warm up a little. Maybe I should take Voice Training at Artsy Lawless.”

“Eh.”

I’d never heard Kat say that word before then.

“What’s eh?” I said.

“‘Eh’ is I used to take those kinds of classes too,” she said, “but they don’t help you at all when you become an Adult.”

“But what if I have some kind of natural talent?”

“You need to take classes that help you get a job. Like if you take math&science classes it can lead to you becoming a doctor. Then you’ll have a steady Adult salary that allows you to pay for all the things you need to survive.”

“But I don’t like math&science. I like singing a lot tho.”

“I’m telling you as someone who’s just graduated and out in The World now, singing is a waste of time.”

I started singing along with the song again anyway. I wanted to prove to Kat I really could nail every note.  The next time the chorus came along, you couldn’t tell any difference between my voice and Lou Gramm’s.

“Stop,” she said. “You’re ruining the song.”

“But I got it.  Didn’t you hear?”

“I put Foreigner on the mix, because I wanted to hear Foreigner, not Jonathan.”

Then I hadta shut up and decide not to sing in front of her again.

When we got to the pet store there was a really cute gray tabby that Kat had to have. She picked it up and snuggled it against her and it licked her face.

“He Loves me!” she said.

Then she handed it to me, and it licked my face too.

“Aw,” she said, “he Loves you too. It’s like he’s Your Son.”

“Alright,” I said.

But then the place where he licked got red and itchy, and my nose started sneezing.

“I think I’m allergic to it,” I said.

“But we have to get him. We Love him,” she said.

“What if I just sneeze all the time tho?”

“We’ll just get you some allergy medicine. You’ll be fine.”

“I guess so.”

Then we got Your Son.

4.6 – Track #12 of The Great Trip Mix – Foreigner’s “I Wanna Know What Love Is”

Kat was the only one I could trust at Artsy Lawless. Whenever I was at The Dorms the MeNotzies would get me. Like the time I put up the Mariah Carey poster on my wall. The poster would look over at me and smile, and sometimes at night when it was all quiet in Alone Reality she would sing lullabies. I thought it was safely hidden in my room, but the MeNotzies got in there somehow and saw it and told me it was “wrong” and “destroying music and Reality Travel” and made me take it down. Kat saw me rolling up the poster and stuffing it under my bed and felt bad.

“You don’t have to be at The Dorms all the time,” she said. “You can come hang out with me at my parents’ house. It’s really close by, and I can drive us there, and we can listen to Old Hits Radio on the way and then order Chinese Food and watch TV.”

“Yes,” I said. “I like all of those things.”

Kat’s house was just like my parents’ Nest, and it had a high fence around it, and when you were inside you didn’t even realize you were in Just-Outside-NewYorkCity County. It was even easy to MeToo Kat’s parents. They liked the same music and food and TV as me, and they let me stay overnight a lot.

One time we were in Kat’s bedroom, and she was showing me all her music mixes. She would take all her favorite Old Hits and arrange them by what the songs were about like Up n’ Down, Hot n’ Cold, Heaven n’ Hell, and Food Songs. She showed me a new one she’d just made called You n’ Me. Every song on it was about Love, and the first track was her favorite Foreigner song, “I Wanna Know What Love Is.”

“I Wanna Know What Love Is,” is a song about someone who doesn’t know what Love is and wants someone else to show them. Sometimes you think someone is showing you what Love is, but it turns out they’re actually showing you what Love isn’t. Then you still don’t know what Love is and have to find someone else to show you.

Kat liked the song cuz she’d always wanted to know what Love is, but no one had shown her correctly yet. I liked it for the same reason, and when we listened it made us start to kiss each other. It lasted for awhile, and Kat was purring the whole time, and it soon became obvious she wanted me to show her what Love is.

“I think it’s time for me to take my nightly shower,” she said.

“Oh,” I said.

“Do you wanna come with me?”

“Yes.”

Then we went to the bathroom and took our clothes off, and Kat’s naked body had everything I liked about naked bodies. We stepped into the tub and she turned on the water. There was only enough spray to cover one person completely, so to stay warm we had to stand together closely like we were just one person. We kissed some more, and then Kat got the soap and rubbed it all over both of us until our bodies were covered in suds, and they were very smooth and easily slid together.  Then she took one of my soapy parts and I took one of her soapy parts, and we combined them to show each other what Love is. We held each other up and showed each other over and over and over until Love came out all over our bodies. It was sticky for a second, but the shower quickly washed it all down the drain.

“I Love you,” she said.

“I Love you, too,” I said.

And then I didn’t care if I was a Reality Traveler or not anymore.

4.4 – Artsy Lawless College

I first heard about Artsy Lawless College from La Renarde. She always said college wouldn’t be Reality Travel enough for her, and as soon as HighSchool was over she was going to the far off and exciting Realities of Paris, France. But she did say if she was going to college she’d only go to Artsy Lawless in Just-Outside-NewYorkCity County, New York.

Artsy Lawless is a college about art and lawlessness. Most colleges are Future Adult Training Schools, and they have lotsa Rules to make sure you become one. Like you hafta  train to be a specific kind of Adult, like Lawyer-Adult or Doctor-Adult.  And you can’t take more than one Art Training class cuz no Adult job will ever need it.  And you hafta take a math class so you get used to how boring an Adult job will be. But at ALC they don’t care if their students ever become Adults, and there are almost no Rules. Students can take classes in whatever they want, even if it’s all art.

La Renarde said tons of Reality Travelers went there, and it was a big MeToo Party all the time. I also liked the idea of taking nothing but music classes and getting a real college degree just by writing papers on The Great List of Songs. So that’s where I went.

When I got there tho, nothing was like I thought it would be. Just-Outside-NewYorkCity County was like one endless Downtown OIC(R). It was full of huge and close together rundown buildings with tough-faced MeNotzie types hanging around. The ALC campus was a little island of trees and grass in the middle of it, but you hadta stay in The Dorms and live with a bunch of New Realities. They all came from different far off and exciting places, and looked like no animal I’d seen before. They all seemed like some kinduv ancient Greek mythological creature, half wing&talon bird and half monster-roar lion.

The first night there was a party in The Dorms so all the New Realities could start to MeToo. There was loud music and Alcohol Perception, and Realities gathered in small groups to talk. I joined one of the groups talking about songs. They went around with each Reality saying a song or band they liked, and then everyone else trying to MeToo them. They were all like La Renarde tho, and none of the things they said were Hits on The Radio, and I couldn’t MeToo any of them. When it got to me I knew saying something like Journey or Mariah Carey would be way too risky.

“I like Blondie,” I said.

No one said anything for a second. Then one half bird/half lion started laughing. Then all the others did too. They noticed I wasn’t laughing tho.

“Oh,” a mythological creature said, “he’s actually serious.”

“Old Hits Radio,” another one said, “ew.”

Then everyone started laughing again.

“But I only like the ones they don’t play on The Radio,” I lied, “like ‘Sunday Girl.’”

“But they play so many of their songs on The Radio none of their other songs count,” a classical monster explained.

“Gawd,” another one said, “Blondie’s like ‘Mom-Music.’”

Then everyone laughed the hardest, and I didn’t know what else to do but leave the group and the party and get to Alone Reality right away. It was all going on right outside my room tho, so I hadta go all the way outside. Even out there New Realities were all over the place laughing and drinking and MeNotting things, so I hadta go hide behind some trees so no one could see me at all.

“Ah, thank Gods, I’m back in Alone Reality,” I said to myself.

I was thinking about the horrible mistake I’d just made going to a MeNotzie college instead of a Reality Traveler college and wondering if I was allowed to drive back home to Ohio right away, when I heard a rustling in the trees next to me. It was bigger than a squirrel and heading right towards me. I ducked down so it couldn’t get me, but it did anyway.

“Hey,” it said, “What’s wrong?”

I looked up, and it was not a half bird/half lion but a whole cute-as-a-kitten girl. I didn’t know if she might still be a sneaky scratch-claw kinda cat, and I tried to ignore her, but she didn’t go away.

“It’s alright,” she said. “I’m one of the good ones. You can talk to me.”

Then she reached out her hand.

“I’m Kat,” she said.

I hesitantly shook it and told her my name.

“Nice to meet you,” she said. “You’re new, aren’t you?”

“Yeah.”

“Well, I’ve been at this place for three years and can tell you everything about it. First thing you need to know is everyone at this school is mean. They all think they’re this thing called a ‘Reality Traveler’ and that makes them better than everyone else. I only go here because I grew up like right next door, and they let you take more than one theatre class. I’m not a Reality Traveler at all.”

I didn’t tell her I was a Reality Traveler, cuz I was getting the sense that everything at the school was backwards, and the Reality Travelers were actually MeNotzies, and the MeNotzies were actually Reality Travelers. It seemed like Kat might be on my side even if she called herself the wrong thing.

“So what’s wrong?” she said. “Why are you out here by yourself?”

Then I told her what happened at the party.

“Yeah,” she said, “they don’t like the same songs as me either. My favorite band is Foreigner.”

Foreigner is a band about being the closest thing to Journey. They both had a lot of hits during the exact same years, and their lead singer Lou Gramm is nearly as high and powerful as Steve Perry.

“I like Foreigner,” I said. “And Journey is actually my favorite band.”

“I like Journey, too,” Kat said. “When I was a kid my dad would drive me places and play The Radio and teach me about all the Good Old Songs.”

“Hey, I would do the same thing with my Mom!” I said.

Then we ended up talking under the trees for a long time.