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!

8.3 – After the AfterParty

When I woke up I was surrounded by Realities passed out on the floor and Perception debris of every kind.  My whole body hurt, especially my head, which was spinning around like I had The Vertigo, and every time I tried to get up I felt like throwing up.  Wolf&Lamb, however, were somehow up and smiling and full of energy.

“We’ve gotta go to The Philadelphia Suburbs (Pennsylvania) Convenience store just like old times!” Lamb said.

“Yes!” Wolf scratched his chin, “nothing like greasy food and coffee in the morning after getting Shitfaced all night.”

“Hey,” I grogged to them, “how come you’re not sick or unconscious?”

“We’ve taken a guaranteed Hangover cure,” Wolf said.  “Let me make you some.”

“Great. I’ve gotta Hit the Road to Ohio like right now so I can Travel to TheGeneral&TheAdmiral Reality tonight, but all I feel like doing is hitting Scorpion’s toilet.”

“Hold on one moment,” Wolf said.

Then he shuffled around in the kitchen for a minute. When he came over to me I thought he’d have some cool Perceptionist potion, but instead he came back with a full glass of JacknDrPepper.  Just sniffing it made me gag.

“No,” I said. “I need to get less drunk.”

“Trust me,” Wolf said.  “It’s an age old Perceptionist trick called Drink-Whatever-You-Had-TheNight-Before.”

“Isn’t there a not gross cure?” I asked.

“No,” WildFuckingTurkey grogbbled from somewhere on the floor. “He’s right.  It’s the only way.”

“It’s best to drink it in one gulp to get it over with,” Wolf said.  “GAM-BAY!”

“GAM-BAY,” I said and then I poured it all in at once.

My throat didn’t want that much of anything at once going down it, and there was a second when I thought it might all come back out. But suddenly I had the strength to hold it in, and the spinning stopped, and I was able to sit up straight.

“I think it’s working,” I said.  “Thank Gods, we’re in Wolf Reality!”

“No,” Wolf said.  “Thank Gods we’re in Bluebird Reality.  You saved me last night, and as a token of gratitude I want you to have what’s left of the Alcohol Stash.  There’s still plenty.”

“Wow, thanks,” I said. “I might not be able to MeToo tonight without it.”

Wolf&Lamb weren’t the only ones up.  So was Scorpion, and he wanted to help me get on The Road, too.  He gave me directions for a ShortCut I could take out of town and then handed me a little plastic baggy with one large black&white pill in it.

“I imagine you have many hours ahead of you on The Road,” he said.  “This should help so you don’t get too tired or crazy with boredom.”

“What is it?” I said.

“It’s an old Weight-Loss Perception banned from the market for decades due to possible undesirable side-effects.  But I’ve Adventured with it before and found it to be completely harmless.”

I looked over at Wolf.

“That’s a very rare and powerful Perception,” he said.  “I’m jealous.”

“Thanks Scorpion,” I said and put it in my pocket.

Then me and Wolf&Lamb went out to Wings with The Stash, and there was The Goddess of Faith waiting there in a jean jacket and jeans.

“My Gods!” Wolf said.  “Is that really the Angel?  Did you sacrifice and summon her just now?”

“No,” I said. “She just comes now cuz we’re in True Love.”

“Oh my Gods!” Lamb said. “She’s breathtaking.”

“Oh my Gods!” The Goddess of Faith said. “Is that really Wolf&Lamb?  I watched your whole Wedding, and it gave me The Chills, and made me want to have a Wedding, too.”

“Thanks!” they said.

The Goddess was really excited, but she was also holding her head and stomach, and you could tell she was kinda sick.  I asked her if she had a hangover.

“I don’t know,” she said.  “Every time I fly I have to come back down and throw up.”

“It’s Alright, Baby,” I said.  “Wolf’s got a Perceptionist Cure.”

“What were you drinking last night?” he asked her.

“All of them,” she said.

Then Wolf went back and grabbed a glass and made an AllofThem drink for her.  She held her nose and GAM-BAY’d it down, and soon she was back to normal.

“Thanks so much!” Faith said.  “I know we have to go now, but I wish we could just hang out as couples today.”

“It’s alright,” they said.  “Today we have to go to our Honeymoon in the far off and exciting Realities of Jamaica.”

“Yay!  I’ve been there many times giving It’s Alright, Baby songs to the MusicMan Traveler Bob Marley.  You’ll love it.”

“Wow, Bob Marley?!”

“Yes, now let me give you both a Wedding present to help you enjoy the trip.”

Then she reached out and pushed them both together and gave them a huge It’s Alright, Baby squeeze at the same time.

“Mmm,” Wolf said. “Angel Hug Perception.”

“I feel like we’re already on a tropical beach with white sand and teal water and a gentle breeze, and everything is gonna be for certain Alright,” Lamb said.

“I’m so happy for you!” The Goddess clapped.

Then it was time to go, and we finished loading up the car, and we all hugged one more time.

“Be brave, Traveler,” Wolf said, “and you clearly don’t have to remember The Gods are very on your side.”

“You, too,” I said and then me and Faith hit the Road on a beautiful Sunday morning thinking nothing bad could possibly happen…

7.7 – Track #5 of The Great Trip Mix: Bob Marley’s “One Love”

Bob Marley was a ShaMan and a MusicMan Traveler, from the far off and exciting Realities of Jamaica, about MeTooing via Preferring Marijuana Perception and also songs about everything being alright.

I remembered I’d had a dream with Bob Marley in it the night before.  It started off in the furthest thing from Jamaica, Valley Forge.

Valley Forge is a historical site aboutthe beginning of America.  One winter during the America vs. Great Britain Reality War, General George Washington and his Army were getting their asses kicked by the British Army and hadta retreat into the wilderness outside Philadelphia.  The only place to stay was at Valley Forge even tho it was just a little iron forge covered in snow and didn’t have houses or meat or boots.  It caused the Army to start dying alot and start thinking about maybe just stopping the War, but their leader The Great Warrior George Washington wouldn’t let them.  They made it thru the winter, and they ended up winning the War eventually.

The Goddess of Faith was there in the middle of all the dying soldiers.  She wasn’t a Guardian Angel tho.  She was an Angel of Death, and when they died she hadta take their souls out of their bodies and carry them low into the ground thru the center of the earth to a part of The Other World known as The UnderWorld or Land of Dead Souls.  It was a total drag and the only way she could deal with it was by making the song “One Love.”

“One Love” is a song about The Dream of One Reality. Every Reality at some point imagines every Reality in The World MeTooing over the same thing at the same time, and then it not feeling like billions of different Realities anymore but like one single Reality and then everything finally feeling Alright.  MeNotzies want it to come true by Domination and War, but a Reality Traveler like Bob Marley wants it to come true by Love.

The song was the first time The Goddess of Faith had ever used the word “Alright,” and it made her feel Alright even tho she just carried dead souls around all the time.  She was so excited she actually broke The Angel of Death Corps Rules and went straight up to George Washington himself, even tho he wasn’t dying, and told him to sing the song to all his men.

“I don’t understand,” he said.  “We can’t Love the British.  They’re too different from us.  It’s like they come from a whole other bizarre Reality, in which forcing someone to pay slightly more taxes without representation is alright.  We have to kill as many of them as we can until they stop Dominating us.  Besides, I can’t sing.”

“Oh,” Faith said.

Then the dream skipped all the way ahead to the 1960’s Golden Age.  Bob Marley was there, but he did not have his big black dreadlocks or a huge rolled up joint of Marijuana Perception.  He was working in a factory, and he was sneezing a lot.  It sucked because product parts would come down an assembly line, and then he hadta put them together with other parts, and they’d keep coming like that all day even if he was bored with it.  Finally he took a break and went outside and cried out to the sky about how he didn’t wanna be an Adult anymore, and he hadta be a MusicMan Reality Traveler but he had too much doubt and didn’t know how.

Then suddenly the golden-winged Goddess of Faith came swooping down, and she was a Guardian Angel now.  She gave Bob Marley a big It’s Alright, Baby hug, and then the whole song of “One Love” suddenly went from inside her to inside him.  And then he knew what he hadta do to make life better for the Realities of The World.

“Thanks and praise,” he said with a huge smile.  “I feel Alright.”

“You’re welcome,” said the The Goddess of Faith.

And then I woke up.

 

6.5 – The AngelNest

“Do I need to take a certain Perception first?” I asked Faith.

“No, I’ll just use my Goddess Magic,” she said.

“Alright, but I’m a little scared of The Other World.  Aren’t there forces there which might pull you in forever whether you like it or not?”

“It’s Alright, Baby. It’s my home. I know everything there and can protect you.”

“Well, I guess it’s alright, as long as we make it back for the Wedding on time.”

“It’s Alright, Baby. In My World time stops.”

Then she grabbed my hand, and suddenly everything around us became bold and colorful feelings. Wings and The New Jersey Roads combined to become zoom! and the manufacturing plants and swamps around us became glorious stink!

“Are you ready?” she said.

“I think so,” I said. “Will Wingzooms be Alright here?”

“Yep, he’ll be paused until we get back.”

“Alright, then let’s go.”

Faith sprouted her wings and pulled me close.

“Now,” she said, “the last thing The Gods will expect is me taking you to The Other World, but we still have to be sneaky about this.”

“Of course,” I said.

“I’m going to take you in my arms and hold you tight so you’re covered, and they won’t be able to see you when we fly thru The Veil.”

“Got it.”

She made sure her arms were wrapped around me tight, and I was nestled snuggly into her chest, and then suddenly we jumped out of the car and launched up high into the sky and right thru the sun. It did not melt or blind us, but led us straight to Pure Other World, where there were only feelings, and they didn’t hafta match up with any actual physical things. The Goddess guided me ahead over I won’t let you fall and we were surrounded by take your time and easy does it, and there were big strong slam dunks! and happy birthdays! and power chords! above us, and little snuggles and sweets and ahh! floating around us, until finally we reached The Temple of It’s Alright, Baby!

“This is it,” Faith said. “We’ll have to be very quiet, and not do anything to draw attention.”

Then we went in and lay down on some so soft, supportive, and absolutely safe.

 “This is a great place,” I said. “It has all the things I’d want to be around every day.”

“Thanks,” she said. “I want to kiss you again so badly.”

“MeToo,” I said.

And when our lips touched again in the Other World a strange thing happened. I started to feel a surge of energy in the center of myself that swirled and vibrated and popped. I told the Goddess about it, and she said she could feel the same thing happening inside her.

“I’ve never felt anything like this,” she said.

“What do you think it is?”

“Maybe it’s telling us that we need to let it out and reveal our true selves totally and clearly.”

“Alright.”

Then she started removing her outer layer, and underneath she was pure It’s Alright, Baby.

 “Oh my Goddess,” I said. “It’s so much of my favorite thing at once. I Love it.”

“Thank you,” It’s Alright, Baby said. “Now you.”

I looked down and noticed I had a lot of protect myself still on. The It’s Alright, Baby reached over and helped me remove it, and some kind of pure essence of me started coming out. It was so raw and intense I kinda wanted to put the protect myself back on.

“It’s Alright, Baby,” It’s Alright, Baby said. “You can be yourself with me here.”

Then I let her completely strip me, and underneath I was pure Bluebird!

Not a moment later I felt a strange and powerful magnetic force acting upon me, just like the one from my Adventure in Perceptionism: Mushrooms. Before I could do anything, it grabbed up all of my Bluebird! and shot it straight out at It’s Alright, Baby! At the same time her essence shot out straight at me. There was a great explosion full of noise and light and heat and when it was over, we were suddenly fused together creating a whole new super-essence called Bluebird’s Alright, Baby!! and all the other feelings around us who witnessed suddenly became yes!!!

“LOVE,” Bluebirds Alright, Baby!! cried. And then it wanted to stay itself forever.

In the reaction tho there was just the littlest bit of outer layer and protect myself mixed in, and they combined to create oh no someone might see! It was enough to make the super-essence start to separate, and eventually we turned back into It’s Alright, Baby! and Bluebird!

All we could say was, “Whoa…”

5.3 – AfterKat

Kat dropped me off at my car, we hugged, looked at each other awkwardly, and then she went to catsit.

When I was back in Wings I wanted to say, “Thank Gods I’m back in Alone Reality!” but actually The Goddess of Faith was sitting there in the front seat waiting for me. She was wearing her angel tunic but with a modern human jean jacket over it. She started rubbing my shoulders as soon I got in and we drove off.

“It’s Alright, Baby,” she said. “I saw everything that just happened. I thought you were going to get mauled by The HateKat, but you survived!”

The IAB worked its way in good like thousands of tiny LoveKats into each shoulder cell and helped me put it behind and focus on the next Reality.

“I know,” I said. “I almost forgot that I care at all about Reality Travel. This time I’ll have to put my Grounding Device sticker right on my clothes.”

“That’s a good idea.”

“Hey, wait a second, Faith. I just realized you just came on your own!”

“I know. I’m breaking The Rules, but I just had to tell you about something!”

“You found The Crow?!”

“No, but I did see the Goddess of Music was watching you in the last Reality. She was highly invested and was ready to throw a lightning bolt when Kat MeNotted “I’m Like a Bird.”

“Alright!”

“Just like the Angels, The Gods of Things aren’t supposta intervene too directly in The Travels. But you never know, Music is kinduva rebel.”

“I understand. I’m one of her best singers, and she needs me to succeed.”

“Yes, is there anything you need help succeeding with right now?”

“I think I’m actually alright. I’m going to El Puma Reality, and we’re gonna join forces to become an unstoppable Traveler Team just like we were at Artsy Lawless.”

“Yay! I can’t wait to watch.”

“I might not even need any more IAB! before I go.”

“Not even just a little? Cuz I like giving it to you.”

Then she snuck in a little kiss on my cheek and the side of my face suddenly felt no inadequacy.

“Thanks,” I said.

“Hey,” she said, “can I kiss you again?”

“Alright.”

“I mean… can I kiss you on the lips this time?”

“I don’t know how it is for Gods, but when humans kiss each other on the lips it means something.”

“I know. It means the same thing when Gods kiss that way.”

“Ohh.”

Then at the next traffic stop The Goddess put her face very close to mine. I looked right into her sparkly gold eyes. They were like no human eyes could be. They were intense but comfortable at the same time, and they got closer and closer until our noses touched and then our cheeks and then our lips. Our mouths just knew to open at the same time, and then our tongues touched and it was by far the biggest dose of IAB! yet. We only stopped when the car behind us honked cuz the light had changed.

“I’m not even taking that honk personally,” I said. “I feel like The King of all ten million NewYorkCity Realities!”

I looked over and Faith was blushing and had a big smile.

“I didn’t know it would feel that good,” she said to herself.

“Have you kissed a lot of Reality Travelers?” I asked.

“No! Never. It’s way against The Rules.”

“Why did you then?”

“I don’t know. I just really wanted to. I couldn’t help it.”

“Do you want to again?”

“Yes, even more than the first time.”

Then at the next light we kissed again, and it was even better. I wanted it to keep lasting even if it made every other car get in a traffic jam forever, but this time The Goddess pulled away, and she wasn’t smiling anymore.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“I just realized that the Goddess of Music could be watching and who knows what other Gods,” she said. “They could tell someone at The Guardian Angel Corps, and I’d get in huge trouble.”

“Oh no.”

“I’ve gotta go before it gets too suspicious.”

“Just one more tho?”

“Alright, I can’t resist.”

Then we quickly kissed again as she sprouted her wings, and I reached back and felt them, and she made a little happy noise, and my hands were covered in It’s Alright, Baby wingfeathers.

“Alright,” she pulled away and said.

“Alright,” I said.

Then she smiled and opened the door and jumped out and flew high into the sky and thru the moon.

4.5 – Road-80 Pennsylvania

In order to go from Ohio Industrial City (Rubber) Suburbs to Just-Outside-NewYorkCity County you have to take Road-80 thru Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  For a new driver it was a hard Road to Hit, full of booby-traps they don’t teach you in Driver Training. Every time I went on it there would be something like a snow storm or a speeding ticket or an empty gas tank. Even on The Great Trip me and Wings encountered The Worst Traffic Jam Ever.

All the cars were stopped in front of us and we could only go ahead at zero miles per hour.

“Dammit,” I said to Wings. “We don’t have time for this.”

In most traffic jams the cars start moving again after a second, but this time they just stayed stopped. In fact we were stopped so long that Realities started parking and getting out and walking around. I got out too and tried to look ahead and see what the problem was, but all I could see was an endless line of stopped cars. It seemed possible I could be stuck on this spot in Road-80 Pennsylvania for the rest of my life.

I thought about calling Kat and explaining the situation to her, but I knew she wouldn’t understand. What I needed to do was eliminate the traffic with my own will. I wondered if maybe The Goddess of Faith had the ability to vaporize all the vehicles in front of us.

“My Angel!” I yelled out. “I need you again!”

Then I remembered again that I hadta make a sacrifice first. Unfortunately everything seemed essential. The Wedding Uniform, The Kerouac book, and The Mix were all out of the question. I looked in Mom’s grocery bag for something, but I kinduv really wanted everything in there, too. Suddenly I was startled by a knock on the window.

“Oh no!” I thought. “The stuck-in-traffic Realities have gone crazy and are coming to get me.”

But when I looked up I noticed it was actually The Goddess of Faith! She was in a classical age tunic and looked like the Roman Empire.

“Faith,” I said. “How are you here? I didn’t even sacrifice anything yet.”

“Oh,” she shrugged. “Whoops.”

Then she laughed and came in.

“So what do you need, Bluebird?”

“We have to get to the next Reality as soon as possible, but this traffic is in the way.”

“Oh, no! What will happen if you’re late?”

“Kat could turn into the HateKat, and then it will be impossible to MeToo her.”

“Oh, my poor baby bird.”

“Maybe you can use your God Powers to make the traffic disappear?”

“Aw, I don’t have that kind of power. All I can do is give you some It’s Alright, Baby! so you don’t care as much.”

Then she reached over and gave me some IAB! and I did care less.

“Now let’s see what else we can do,” she said. “First I think you should eat one of your mom’s sandwiches for energy. Then you should read your book so you don’t get bored. And then you should definitely listen to The Mix, cuz that makes you the most happy.”

Then I did all those things, and I stopped thinking about the traffic at all.

“Goddess of Faith?” I asked.

“Yes?”

“I was wondering… Are you The Crow who rescued me from Vertigo today?”

“No, I was watching the whole thing and wanted to help, but it’s against the rules for me to intervene.”

“Well, who’s The Crow then?”

“I don’t know. I thought it was just a bird that got accidentally trapped inside the closet.”

“No, there was no way it could’ve got in there. I’ve seen this before. I think it’s from The Other World.”

“I don’t know any crows in The Other World, but I could check it out.”

“Alright, I think we’ll need to. It seems important.”

“I’ll give you a full report next time I see you.”

“I was wondering something else. Can you only come when I’m having a problem? Cuz I kinduv wanna go thru the rest of the trip without having any more, but maybe I wanna keep seeing you.”

“Aw, Bluebird, I’m not really supposed to come unless you’re in trouble, but I really do love helping you.”

“Oh.”

“I wish I could come just whenever tho.”

“You do?”

“Yeah, I like Traveling with you.”

Then she leaned in and gave me a little It’s Alright, Baby! kiss on the cheek. It was the best IAB! yet, and I felt like I could wait for eternity for anything.

“I can probably stay tho until the traffic starts moving again,” she said.

“Great,” I said.

And then we ate sandwiches and listened to The Mix and waited together.

2.15 – The Goddess of Faith

Before I got to Chicago I was able to make Wings go as fast as I wanted in a long straight line, but suddenly there were lots of orange cones and Road-workers and Detour signs everywhere. If you wanted to stay on Road-80 to Ohio you hadta really pay attention to all the signs. It all forced you to go way under 75 miles per hour. And to make things worse I kept yawning, and my eyes kept shutting.

“This isn’t supposta happen, and I hate Chicago,” I told Wings.

I drank some more Dr. Pepper and played The Mix really loud, but it wasn’t enough. My head kept suddenly snapping up, and every time I’d realize I’d just been asleep even tho I was driving. One time when I suddenly woke I noticed the cars were going fast again, and there was a sign that said, “Welcome to Michigan.”

“No!” I said, “We’re supposta be in Indiana.”

“Dammit, Bad Driving Endurance,” I said and hit the steering wheel with my fist.

I was going 75 miles per hour again but down the wrong Road, and I could see how at that rate I’d quickly end up straight in the Slums of Detroit, home of riots and abandoned buildings and a MeNotzie basketball team that usta be known as The Bad Boys.

“No way,” I said.

But I didn’t know how to get back on the Road to Ohio Industrial City (Rubber).  I just wanted someone else to be with me to tell me how to solve it.

“Dammit, dammit,” I said to Wings, “I hate Alone Reality.”

I was starting to panic again, but then I remembered my Training. I rolled down the window and yelled.

“Gods, it’s Bluebird The Reality Traveler, and I need help!”

Nothing happened, and then I realized I needed to make a sacrifice. I grabbed the first valuable thing I could find, my last two-liter of Dr. Pepper, and threw it out the window. I watched it fly back onto the Road, and the car behind me crushed it with its tires, and sweet pop sprayed out everywhere.

“Well,” I told Wings, “I guess it was getting warm anyway.”

Then suddenly a large bird came flying right at us. At the moment it should’ve cracked and splattered blood all over the windshield, it went thru like a ghost, and just like that my Guardian Angel was in the passenger seat. She wasn’t totally naked like the last time, but was still only wearing golden ribbons that covered certain parts.

“Bluebird!” she said. “What’s wrong?”

“I made a wrong turn,” I said.

“It’s Alright, Baby!”

Then she touched my arm, and her It’s Alright, Baby came inside and made me feel better just like it did in The Mountains.

“First,” she said, “I think you should get off at the next exit and park at a gas station and get in a powernap.”

“But I was supposta make it the whole way without sleeping. And I was supposta wanna go on this Detour and accidentally ends up in The Slums. And I was supposta follow that Goldfinch in Iowa.  And I was supposta to save the Deer-in-Headlights from the Buffalo MeNotzies in Nebraska.”

“It’s Alright, Baby, you did the best you could.”

She rubbed my arm again with both hands, and then I didn’t care about Driving Endurance or Detours anymore. I pulled off The Road like she said. I went to a Michigan gas station parking lot and fell into a deep, peaceful sleep right away.

When I woke up later, my Angel was still in the car.

“How do you feel?” she said.

“Like I got a full night sleep!”

“That makes me happy!”

Then she handed me a fresh, cold 2-liter of Dr. Pepper.

“Here,” she said, “I got this when you were sleeping. Now you should have enough for a second wind to make it home.”

“Wow, thanks!”

“Now you need to get back on the Road in the opposite direction. You’re going north so now you’ll have to go south. Then when you get back toward Chicago there will be a sign that says how to go east on Road-80 to get home.”

“What if I miss the sign again?”

“I’ll stay with you and keep my eyes peeled, too.”

“Alright.”

Then we got back on The Road and I followed her directions.

“Hey,” I said. “What should I call you? Guardian Angel?”

“You can call me The Goddess of Faith.”

“I like it. It reminds me of the Journey song, “Faithfully.”

“I love that song.”

“MeToo. It’s on The Mix I made for the Great Trip.”

“Oh! I love Mixes.  Let’s listen to it.”

Then I put it on, and The Goddess of Faith started singing along, and she had a great voice and knew all the words. Then I started singing along, too.

“Bluebird, you have such a beautiful voice,” she said. “It’s like a Goddess of Music touched voice.”

“Thanks!”

“Hey, wanna Rock Out to this?”

“I do!”

Then I turned up the volume and put the windows down and started moving my arms and shoulders any way they wanted to go. And she started shaking her head really fast and her golden hair bounced wildly all over the place.

“Hey, Faith,” I said, “watch this!”

Then I put Wings on cruise control and kicked my driving leg up.

“That’s The Kick,” I told her.

“I like it,” she said. “How bout this?”

Then she kicked up both legs into the air at once and wiggled them.

“Yes!” I said. “I came up with another very advanced Rock Out move last night called Head-Out-of-Window. I was even thinking of going for Whole-Torso-Out-of-Window, but it’s probably too hard to do in the middle of the day traffic.”

“Maybe I can help. What if I steered for you?”

“Alright.”

Then she grabbed the wheel and gave Wings a little It’s Alright, Car-Baby, and I was free to climb outside. At first I stuck just my head out again to feel out the situation, and when I realized the Goddess of Faith had things under control, I started to inch out until my whole body down to the belly button was hanging out of the car. The wind pummeled worse than ever, and the cars next to me thought I was a reckless freak and MeNotzie-honked me, but it made me feel so powerful to withstand it. I couldn’t hear anything but The Road, but I could sense Steve Perry hitting his final intense “Oh-whoa-whoa-whoa-oh’s” and soon it was like each skin cell was going “woah-whoa!” and opening their wings like they were Angels.

“I’m getting The Chills!” I yelled back in to The Goddess of Faith.

“MeToo!” she said.

When I could take no more I climbed back inside and explained what had happened.

“It was like Double Chills,” I said. “One was the actual Music Chills, and the other was the temperature chills from the cold and hard Road-air.”

“It was a very genius Rock Out move,” she said.

“Thanks for helping.”

“It was an honor.”

It wasn’t long before we got back close to Chicago.

“There it is!” The Goddess said.

And then I saw a sign which clearly said “GO THIS WAY TO GET HOME.”

I made the right move, and we were back on Road-80. We clapped at first, but soon the Goddess of Faith got sad.

“I like The Mix,” she said. “I want to hear every single thing on it over and over and discover new frontiers of Rocking Out. But I have to go now.”

“Oh,” I said.

“Last time I got in trouble with my boss for staying too long with you.”

“I’m sorry.”

“It’s Alright. It was my fault. I know The Rules.”

“What are the Rules again?”

“There’re a few really important ones. But I’ll have to tell you later, cuz I really have to go.”

“Alright, I guess if you have to, but it gets very lonely on The Road.”

“Alright, well, then here’s one for The Road.”

Then she leaned in and hugged me and gave me a full armed dose of It’s Alright, Baby.

“How do you feel now?” she said.

“Like I’ll never be lonely again.”

She smiled and sprouted her wings.

“Bye, Bluebird.”

“Bye, Goddess of Faith.”

Then she opened the door while the car was moving, and the wind blew in. She leapt out in one swoop, and then flew high into the sky until she disappeared into the sun.