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!”

5.5 – Meeting up with El Puma

I parked Wings in the ALC parking lot and stuck my Bluebird Sticker on the inside of my jacket so it wouldn’t stand out too much, but I could still check it whenever I needed to. Then I went to The Dorms where I was supposta meet El Puma. I almost didn’t recognize him at first. He was standing outside, wearing a strange Adult looking suit and tie, and lacking his usual pouncing vigor.

“What are you wearing?” I said.

“They make me wear this for my job at the Major Financial Newspaper.”

“A what newspaper?”

“Major Financial.”

“What do you do there?”

“They say finance words in English, and then I tell them what those words are in Spanish.”

“Does it take a long time to do that?”

“Many hours, every day.”

“That sounds like an Adult job.”

“It may be. But living in NewYorkCity is very expensive, and I must admit I need their money.”

“My Gods, you must have The Malaise like crazy!”

“Yes, I am very fatigued all the time. I am hunting for a better job at a minor-financial newspaper in Just-Outside-County, where possibly I can be a Reporter-Man Traveler who MeToos via scoops. But they require me to have the American Driver’s License. This is why I was at the Department of Driving today.”

“Did you get it?”

“Unfortunately, no. I did not know enough of the American Rules of Driving, and the MeNotzies there would not let me pass.”

“Well, don’t worry, El Puma. The Reality Travel Cavalry is here, and it’s gonna be nothing but MeToos for the rest of the night.”

“Ah yes, this is what I was hoping for. I am happy you have time for me after Love with the Kat.”

“Actually, we didn’t end up Loving. In fact, I barely got out of there unscratched.”

“Oh no!”

“It’s alright. I was able to handle it all with The Always Be Your Own Reality & Roll with the Punches strategies.”

“Ah ha! I see you have picked up new terminology in The Training.”

“Yes, I’m like a whole new Traveler now.”

“And do any Reality Travel chicks Love you for this?

“Even better, I think an Angel may Love me for this. I just kissed her a few minutes ago.”

“Wow! An Angel. I never had a doubt this would happen to you, Traveler Jonathan.”

“Thanks.”

“I am thrilled for you to now meet my Mi Amor. She is inside. Shall we go in?”

“Yes, but we’ll hafta beware. As soon as we get close to the Past Realities of The Dorms we could be TimeWarped into acting like amateurish failures.”

“I do not know of this TimeWarp you speak of. But this is not so much past for me. I am still here almost every weekend to see Mi Amor.”

“Oh.”

“But you will be alright?”

“Oh yeah, TimeWarps are nothing. You just need a good Grounding Device.”

I showed him the inside of my jacket.

“Grounding Device! I am lucky to have such an advanced Traveler with me tonight,” he said.

“Yes, you are.”

Then I took a good look at my sticker, and we went in.

4.7 – LoveKat

Eventually the Road-80 traffic started moving again, but it took so long there was no way I’d be on time for Kat Reality. The Goddess of Faith gave me some more IAB! when she said goodbye, but it wasn’t long after she’d flown high into the sky toward the sun that Kat called and it all wore off. I didn’t even answer. I just started making Wings go as fast as it could, even tho it was against the law. I even sped right past a sign that said “The Wilderness, PA,” even tho I knew the right Traveler thing to do was Sidetrack into BigFoot’s hometown. I felt like every second counted, and there was just no way.

When I finally got to Kat’s parents’ house it was way after dinnertime. I stayed in her driveway for an extra second to prepare myself. I knew I couldn’t forget a Grounding Device like the last Past Reality, so I tried staring at my Bluebird Sticker long enough for it to stick on the inside of my brain. Then I sighed and grabbed The Mix and put another old delivery sticker on that and wrote…

Play Kat

track 6

and sing

I crossed my fingers and got outta the car.

When I got to the door Kat was already standing there in a sparkly gold dress and makeup, which she rarely wore. She was frowning at me.

“You’re really late,” she said.

“It’s alright, Kat,” I said. “There was construction on Road-80 and they stupidly closed every lane except one and you hadta wait for a guy with a stop sign to tell you you could go…”

But before I could finish she pounced on me with a big hug.

“Oh, I don’t care,” she said. “I’m just glad you got here safe!”

“Really?”

“Of course, now give Your Son a hug.”

Your Son was the kitten we’d had together. He was right at her side, but when I went down to squeeze him he squirmed out of my arms and ran away. It made me remember cats only Love you when they want to.

“Aw,” Kat said. “He’s just shy today.”

She was looking at me totally like the LoveKat, the thing she was before she became the HateKat. I figured there must’ve been some kinda TimeWarp at play for her.

“Are you hungry?” she asked.

“Very,” I said.

“Well, it’s too late to go to The Golden Lion, but there’s lots of food here. I can make you something.”

“Alright!”

Kat was very good at the kitchen and knew how to make almost everything on The Great List of Food.

“What do you want?” she asked.

“I don’t know,” I said.

“You had your mind set on General Tso’s Chicken, and now you can’t think of anything else, right?”

“Yes, that’s exactly what’s happening.”

“I know you.”

Then she smiled and gave me another hug.

“I can think of something else you like,” she said.

“What?”

“Apple pancakes.”

“You’re right, I do like those!”

“With the apples in the batter instead of that gross apple syrup on top like at the diner.”

“Yes, I like it that way!”

Then she went into the kitchen and started working on it. She gave me a package of fudge grams to snack on while I waited. And then she did all her mixing and griddling and things in her cute outfit, and I hadta keep coming up from behind and squeezing her.

“Haha, stop,” she said. “I’m doing things.”

“But when you’re doing things is when I like to squeeze you the most!” I said and squeezed her again hard.

When she was almost ready she told me to set the table with plates and silverware and maple syrup. Soon she came out with a big platter full of fat apple pancakes, and she scooped them onto my plate, and I covered them in the syrup.

“Oh, I almost forgot something,” she said.

Then she left and came back in a second with a cold can of Dr. Pepper.

“Alright!” I said.

Then I ate the pancakes and washed them down with Dr. Pepper.

“Do you like it?” she said.

“I love it all!” I said.

We smiled at each other as we ate. The TimeWarp was strong and I wondered if we’d even have Love again. I remembered everything was perfect when we were at her parents’ house. It was only when we lived together at Our Own Place that things started going bad.

3.2 – The Professor’s Training Lesson: Past Realities

“Beware of Past Realities,” The Professor said. “A Past Reality is a Reality you used to MeToo but haven’t Traveled to in a while. When Traveling to a Past Reality you will feel an overwhelming urge to MeToo in the exact same way you used to. This is known as a TimeWarp, and it will affect you no matter how long or far you’ve been away.

Meanwhile, Time changes all Realities, and you or the Past Reality may be very different now and not be able to MeToo about the same things. These changes are known as TimeFucks, and if bad enough, they can give you Travler Vertigo, a condition of disorientation and sickness which may render you bedridden and MeToo disabled. The Vertigo is difficult to overcome without the assistance of another Traveler or The Gods and must be avoided at all costs.

To prevent the TimeWarp/TimeFuck from kicking your ass, you must have on you at all times a Grounding Device, which keeps you connected to your present Reality and allows you to find new MeToos with the Past Reality.