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…

7.17 – Shitshow

As the sing-along continued, Wolf summoned me and Scorpion into the kitchen.

“Well done, Bluebird,” Wolf said.  “I can’t believe I got the full blown Vertigo.  It was actually fascinating, like its own Perception.”

“I’m sorry,” Scorpion said.  “I underestimated the significance of this RealityFuck phenomenon.”

“It’s Alright,” Wolf said, “but now that all these Realities are together again, we have to maintain the MeTooing with a Common Perception at once.”

“I don’t feel comfortable doing any Perception with that Marijuana MeNotzie here,” Scorpion said.

“I’ve been watching him all night,” I said. “He’s had a lot of chances to be a MeNotzie but hasn’t.  In fact, I think he’s dying to MeToo with us.”

Then we looked back in the living room at him. The Baby was jumping up and down and clapping and had a big smile on his innocent puff-cheek face.

“I’ll admit he does look quite innocent,” Scorpion said.

“Yes,” Wolf scratched his chin, “I trust Bluebird’s assessment.”

“Alright,” Scorpion said.  “The only problem now is that we’re already deep into our own separate Perceptions.”

“There’s got to be something we can do tho,” Wolf said.

“Well,” Scorpion said.  “It’s a risk.  But we could try a having a Shitshow.”

“Of course!” Wolf said.

“What’s a Shitshow?” I asked.

“It’s a fringe theory of Perceptionism,” Wolf said, “suggesting if a Reality is at an extreme magnitude of a given Perception, or in other words Shitfaced, then they will be able to MeToo another Shitfaced Reality even if in a completely different Perception.  It’s unproven tho, and even if it did work, I’m not sure how to account for all these Sober Realities.”

“What if the Sober Realities get Shitfaced on a weak and unpowerful Perception like, say, Caffeine?” Scorpion suggested.

“I’ve still got a lot of Dr. Pepper in my car,” I said.

“Alright,” Wolf said, “we have no choice but to try.”

I left to get the Caffeine Perception, and when I got back Wolf was in the living room directing everything.  He had Emperor Penguin and The Penguins play every Marley song they knew, and Lamb kept everyone singing along.  WildFuckingTurkey was going around with bottles of Alcohol around and making sure everyone was drinking more than they could handle.

“Bluebird,” Wolf came up to me, “make sure the Sobers get fucking wired.”

“Alright,” I said.

Then I started handing out whole Dr. Peppers to each of them.

“I loveDr. Pepper,” The Baby said, “but I’m not allowed to have any too close to bedtime.”

“It’s Alright, The Baby,” I said.  “You can drink as much as you want after a Wedding.”

“Oh, alright!” he said and started happily suckling on his very own two liter Baby bottle.

Then Scorpion came back with The Marijuana Perception.  He was still cautious and trying to sneak the Octobong behind his back.  But the Baby saw it anyway.

“Hey!” he said. “What’s that cool looking Octopus thing?”

Scorpion was startled and was about to crawl right back into The Hole, but Wolf stopped him before he could.

“It’s alright,” he said, “just show him what it is.”

Then Scorpion brought it over, and The Baby started playing with it like it was new toy.

“What’s it for?” The Baby asked.

“You smoke Marijuana Perception out of it,” Scorpion said.

“I wanna try!”

“You do?”

“Yeah!”

The Scorpion sat next to The Baby and showed him which tentacle was which so you could smoke out of it.  The Baby took a hit and coughed and a minute later was giggling uncontrollably.

“I like it!” he said.

After that everyone in the room was inspired to try every Perception available at once.  I even took a couple more hits off the Octobong, and Emperor Penguin put some Dr. Pepper in his scotch.  Soon we were all Shitfaced, and the MeToos were flying around the room, and everyone got a chance to sit on The Throne.  Then it’s hard to remember what happened next.  I remember at some point looking up and Wolf was in the middle of the whole Shitshow smiling with his arm around Lamb.

And I remember sometime later waking up on the hard living room floor, and my head was right next to Emperor Penguin’s.

“Hey, Where-ThePlains-Meet-TheMountains,” he said.

“What?” I said.

“You came all the way from there?”

“Yeah.”

“By yourself?”

“Yeah.”

“That’s Alright.”

“Thanks.”

 

“Hey, Where-ThePlains-Meet-TheMountains.”

“Yeah?”

“I think I’m gonna keep the band together.”

“Cool.”

“Hey… Wherethe…

“Yeah?”

“I’m shitfaced, man.”

“MeToo,” I said, and then I passed out.

7.16 – The Concert to Save Wolf

Emperor Penguin &The Penguins were in the kitchen when I got back in, but they were busy and didn’t seem to notice me.

“I can’t take it anymore,” Emperor Penguin told them.  “I mean, a Philadelphia Suburbs (Pennsylvania) community center basement? Our gigs just keep getting shittier and shittier.”

The Penguins nodded.

“We’re just going backwards,” he said, “and we’re not getting money or recognition.”

“But aren’t we in it for the MeToos?” the band said.

“Even those are fewer and fewer.”

“What do we do tho? Give up?”

“It may be time to face the facts.  We’ve gone as far as we can go with this band. A Reality I know says he can get me a fulltime job in an office.  I think I’m going to take it.”

“I don’t know, man. That’s sounds pretty Adult.”

“Maybe we should’ve just tried to be Adults all along.”

“What about Reality Travel?  I heard if you quit The Gods will make you depressed.”

“I’m not sure I even believe in Reality Travel or The Gods anymore.  Maybe it’s just something we made up to feel more important than we are.”

“So we’re breaking up?”

“I think so.”

Just then WildFuckingTurkey came in.

“Hey,” he said, “Lamb just sent me.  We need your fucking help.”

“We’re in the middle of something,” Emperor Penguin said.

“Okay, but Wolf’s apparently got some fucking Traveler Vertigo thing, and he’s pretty much passed out cold, and doesn’t even know who he is anymore, and she doesn’t know what to fucking do.”

“I don’t know. I’ve never even heard of ‘Traveler Vertigo.’”

“But you’re a fucking Reality Traveler, right?”

“Not anymore.  Ask that Colorado kid, he’s actually Trained believe it or not.”

Then I came forward.

“You’re a fucking…?” WildFuckingTurkey asked me.

“Yeah,” I rasped.

“What happened to your fucking voice?  You sound like my hangover tomorrow.”

“Pfft,” Emperor Penguin said, “he blew it out over-singing that Springsteen.”

Their comments knocked me back for a moment, but I was able to easily look down and see My True Traveler Name and it helped me keep going.

“Enough!” I rasped.  “I’m the Bluebird, and I have The Dead Voice just cuz I’m too passionate about car singing.  But none of this matters right now, cuz we all have to work together to save Wolf.”

Then they knew I was for real and listened up as I explained how Vertigo worked and how we needed all the AfterParty Factions to come together to end The Schism and MeToo.

“How are we going to do that?” Emperor Penguin said. “We can’t even find half the party.”

“We can lure them in with music,” I rasped.

“We’ve been playing music.  No one’s into it.”

“We’ve only been playing for ourselves tho.  We need to play one that MeToos everyone.”

“There’s no song that can MeToo everyone.  That’s a myth.”

“Bob Marley’s ‘One Love.’  I know for a fact it was written by The Gods themselves, and it’s got as good-a-chance as any.”

“That is a good song,” The Penguins said.

“Yeah it fucking is,” WildFuckingTurkey said. “Getting together and feelin Alright is actually all I ever want.”

Everyone looked over at Emperor Penguin and waited for his ‘pfft.’

“It’s probably not going to work,” he said, “but it is a good song.”

“I can’t sing,” I told him, “so you have to lead the sing-along.”

“Alright,” he shrugged.  “Let’s play some Marley.”

Then we gathered everyone we could find and led them back into the living room.  Everyone in there looked completely bored or Vertigo’d.  Wolf was on the couch with his eyes shut and his mouth hanging open, while Lamb wiped off his drool with a napkin.

“Hey!” Lamb’s Youngest Sister looked up. “Are you going to play again?”

Emperor Penguin nodded and Lamb’s Younger Sister wheeled the Throne over to him.

“Wait a second,” Wild Turkey said.  “This is Wolf&Lamb’s fucking Wedding night, they should be sitting in The Fucking Throne, right?”

We all agreed and then worked together to lift Wolf’s Vertigo’d body up from the couch and stuff him in the seat, while Lamb sat on his lap.  Then Emperor Penguin stood in front of us in a RockStar power stance.

“Alright,” he said, “it’s time for the Concert to Save Wolf.  Anyone here dig Bob Marley?”

“Yes!” everyone said.

“Alright then,” he said.  “Let’s do a little number called “One Love.”

Then he nodded to the band and The Penguins came in and they knew that one cold,too.  Then Emperor Penguin came in and started nailing it with his high and powerful voice, and it made everyone sit up in their seats and start clapping to the beat.

“Alright, everyone,” he said when he got to the next chorus.  “You all know the words.  Sing along.”

One Love, One Heart, let’s get together and feel Alright,” we all sang.

Many Realities in the room could not sing. WildFuckingTurkey continued to gobble off key, and The Baby sang nonsense goo-goo-ga-gas instead of the right lyrics, and I could only sing in a whisper.  But somehow it all sounded good and much more high and powerful than any one Reality could sing on their own.  It felt so good we just kept singing the words over and over.

One Love, One Heart, let’s get together and feel Alright.”

 And then we saw a Reality peaking their head up from The Hole.  They started creeping forward to get a closer look, and we waved them towards us.  Then other heads peaked out and followed.  And when they got into the living room they couldn’t help but to sing along, too. Finally Scorpion came out and had a suspicious look on his face and pointed his stinger at the Marijuana MeNotzie, but the song soon calmed him, and even he ended up getting swept up in the sing along.  I looked over at Wolf, and his eyes were now open and alert, and his body was upright, and he was howling the loudest out of all of us.

 One Love, One Heart, let’s get together and feel Alright.”

7.8 – The Schism

Just before the Bob Marley joint got to me, a phone started ringing, and everyone froze.  It turned out to be Lamb’s.  She hadta leave The Hole to answer it, and when she came back she looked scared.

“There’s a problem,” she said.

Then she explained how her Youngest Sister just called, and they were on their way back from the concert, and her Younger Sister’s Date might be a Marijuana MeNotzie who might try to Dominate us or even go to War if he knew the Perceptions we were Adventuring with.

“They’ll be here any minute,” Lamb said.

“Gods, no!” someone screamed.

And then everyone panicked and scrambled to escape, hide, and/or air-freshen the room.  Wolf saw me moving too slowly and grabbed me.

“Bluebird,” he said, “Do you understand how serious this is?  Marijuana MeNotzies are the worst kind of MeNotzie.  If they witness any evidence of what we’ve just done, no matter how harmless it actually may be, they will send us all to jail.  You have to stay close and follow my lead.”

Then Wolf led whichever of us he could find to get as far away from The Hole as possible.  We climbed up the stairs and got to the living room and tried to act like what you’d act like if you hadn’t just been smoking Marijuana Perception. Suddenly the doorbell rang, and we all just looked at it.

“If we weren’t in Marijuana Perception,” Wolf said, “we’d answer the door, right?”

We nodded, and then he bravely volunteered. As soon as he put his hand on the knob, the door suddenly flung open, and Lamb’s Youngest Sister burst thru and shouted “Oh my god!”  And all of us had to try hard not to flinch and duck.

“Emperor Penguin is a total RockStar!” she said.

Then he came thru the door still in his golden bowtie tuxedo, followed by two other Realities wearing their own black bowtie tuxedos.  One carried a guitar case and the other carried a bongo drum.

After them was Lamb’s Younger Sister and her supposedly MeNotzie date.  I thought he was going to look like an armed and bulletproof trooper from the Perception Enforcement Agency, but he actually looked like a smooth-faced, bald-headed Baby, who might have a diaper underneath his sweat-shirt and jeans.

“Where is everyone?” Emperor Penguin asked Wolf. “Weren’t there more Realities coming from The Wedding?”

Wolf’s face got even paler, and it was hard for him to come up with words.

“Um, well, ya know,” he said.

“I don’t really care,” Emperor Penguin said.  “Where’s the Alcohol?”

Again Wolf had trouble speaking.

“Um,” he said and shrugged.

“You’re like this Star Perceptionist, and you don’t know where the Alcohol is?”

It was almost as if Wolf was freezing up like me with New Realities.  I wanted to follow his lead, but there was no lead to follow.  I didn’t want to talk to Emperor Penguin ever, but I felt I hadta do something.

“I know where it is,” I said.

“Why didn’t you say so, Colorado?” he said.

Then I took him and his band of Penguins into the kitchen where we’d left The Stash.  A few other Realities in there had already discovered it on their own.

“Gobble, gobble, gobble,” one of them said.  “Welcome to the fucking Alcohol Party!”

His face was reddish, and he had a big hanging adam’s apple, and he wore a brown suit with the collar popped up.

“Who are you again?” Emperor Penguin asked him.  “Turkey Dinner?”

“No, man” he said.  “I’m WildFuckingTurkey.”

“Hey,” he said turning to me.  “Fuck that weed shit earlier, right?  I saw this Stash and just wanted to get super fucking drunk from the start.”

“I know, MeToo!” I said.

Then he told us all how he’s a bartender from the far off and exciting Realities of Hollywood, California and how he’d make us whatever drinks we wanted.

“Great!” I said.  “I wanna JacknDrPepper with cherries.”

“Pff,” Emperor Penguin said.

“I know,” I sighed, “the cherries.”

“No, the whole thing’s a kid’s drink, Colorado.  Adults drink their bourbon straight.  Or better yet their scotch straight.”

Then he had WildFuckingTurkey pour him and his band nothing but scotch and ice cubes in a little glasses.  I wondered why a Reality Traveler like him would want to do anything like an Adult, but him and his band disappeared back in the living room before they explained anything.

“Don’t worry about their bullshit,” WildFuckingTurkey said.  “I say any fucking Alcohol is good Alcohol.”

Then he took the biggest glass he could find, and filled it up with way more Jack Daniels than Dr. Pepper.

“I’m gonna get you fucking wasted tonight, man!” he said.

“Alright!” I said, and we toasted.

Then WildFuckingTurkey started strutting around the kitchen, bobbing his head, and telling all of us in the room about what it was like in Hollywood.

“Celebrities are fucking everywhere there, dude,” he said. “One time the guy who fucking played Crocodile Dundee came into my bar.”

“What?!” I said.  “No way!”

“Long story fucking short, some fucker at the bar starts fucking with Dundee, ya know with some fucking “you call that a fucking knife,” tough guy shit, and ends up taking a swing at him.  Dude is totally wasted, of fucking course, and misses, but Dundee doesn’t even flinch.  He punches him right back in the face and fucking knocks him out cold.  He was a good dude.”

“Wow,” we all said.

Then Wolf came in stumbling and dazed.

“Wolf, you recently married fucker,” WildFuckingTurkey said.  “Let me make you a fucking drink.”

“Are all the Realities here in Alcohol Perception?” he asked us.

“Fuck yeah,” we said.

“Oh no,” Wolf said, holding his head.

“What’s wrong?” I said, and then he took me aside.

“Bluebird,” he said.  “I’ve just done a little reconnaissance of the situation here, and it’s not good.  There’s been a Reality Schism, and The AfterParty has split into at least three major factions.  Scorpion and the Marijuana Realities are hiding out in a secret underground bunker known as Beyond The Hole.  The Marijuana MeNotzie and the Sober Realities have taken over the living room.  Now I see you and the Alcohol Realities have settled in the kitchen. Everyone wants me to MeToo their faction at the same time, but it’s impossible.  And at the same time I’m experiencing TimeFucks everywhere.  Scorpion’s New Adult Hole has such nice marble countertops and fine wooden cabinetry, WildFuckingTurkey’s all grown up, and there’s something not quite right with Emperor Penguin, but I can’t seem to put my finger on it.  The room is beginning to spin, but not in a good Perceptionism kind of way.  I feel like I may be soon overcome with Vertigo, and I’m not sure what to do.”

“What does Scorpion say?”

“He’s not a Reality Traveler.  He thinks it should be Every Reality for Themselves.”

“Well, what do the other Reality Travelers here think?”

“Bluebird, you’re not understanding the situation.  We are the only two Trained Travelers here.  If anyone is going to solve this BoobyTrap it has to be us.  I’ll Travel back and forth between Factions as long as I can to buy some time until I can think of something, but this might have to come down to just you finding a way to MeToo us all.”

“But I don’t know how without music…”

WildFuckingTurkey overheard us just then and interrupted.

“Fuck yeah,” he said.  “It’s not a fucking party without some music.  Somebody gimme a fucking guitar.”

Then he left the kitchen to find one.

7.6 – The Common Perception

I made sure I talked to Wolf before we went down the Hole.

“What if I can’t take this Marijuana Perception,” I said.  “I think it’s my Perceptionist Edge.”

“Of course Always be your own Reality,” he said, “however, sacrificing for The Common Perception would go a long way right now.”

His face was already getting pale, and his eyes seemed more hunted than hunting, and I could see the first signs of Vertigo.

“It’s alright,” I said.  “I’ll do it for The Common Perception.”

“Thanks,” he said. “I think I’m going to need you tonight.”

“Don’t worry, Wolf, I’ve Got Your Traveler Back.”

When we went down The Scorpion Hole it felt like we suddenly left an Adult Condo and entered some kind of secret Perceptionist Lair. It was very dark except for a dim bare lightbulb, and everything was made of concrete except for a couple ratty looking mattresses.  Against the wall was a shelf of containers and tools and contraptions and lights and plants used for Marijuana Perception.  Everyone sat down in a circle on the floor, and I tried to sit right next to Wolf, but I was quickly butted outta the way by Scorpion’s tail. Everyone seemed to want to sit next to the bride&groom, and in the commotion I ended up on the other side of the Hole from them next to So and So.  There was barely enough room for everyone, and your leg hadta touch the leg of the Reality next to you even if you didn’t want it to.

Then Scorpion took out a baggy of green plant residue and a large black glass sculpture that looked like an octopus.

“Octobong!” someone said.  “Nice!”

He put some of the marijuana in one of its tentacles and passed it and a lighter over to Wolf, who knew just which of it’s other tentacles to start burning and which of it’s other tentacles to put his mouth around.

“It’s good,” he coughed and everyone cheered.

Wolf then passed it to Lamb.  Since she’d been living with a Perceptionist for so long, she’d gotten usta Marijuana and took a hit without any problems, and then she passed it to the Reality next to her.  After that The Octobong moved quickly around the circle.  Soon it got to So (Female) right next to me, she took a good long hit and then passed it and the lighter to me.

The sculpture was heavy and hard, and it’s red eyes looked demonic, and I could almost feel NOT ALRIGHT, MAN just from touching it.  I couldn’t figure out which of its eight tentacles did what, and I hadta study it carefully, and it was way longer than anyone else had taken.  I looked over at So (Male), and he was waiting.

“You gonna smoke it or stare at it?” he said.

I almost wanted to leave the room right then, or even just pass it over and accept whatever MeNotzie reactions followed, but I told myself again I hadta do it for Wolf.

“Smoke it,” I said, “but I don’t know where.”

So (Male) looked at me like was the strange looking deep sea creature.  Then he sighed and pointed to which tentacle was which. I also hadta flick the lighter to make a flame come out of it, but I’d never done that before either.  Then So (Female), who was watching the whole thing, sighed and lit the lighter for me while I smoked.  I felt like the biggest amateur, but I knew the alternative would’ve been worse. I finally passed it over to So (Male), and he nodded.  Soon I could feel the Marijuana getting inside my body just like everyone else there, and then sat back and waited for it to kick in.

I actually felt alright at first.  My skin was a little tingly and my eyes felt fuzzy, but The Marijuana Perception kinda did make the Hole seem a little greater.  It at least felt like maybe the greatest cobwebs, mildew, and torn mattresses I’d been around for awhile. But soon Scorpion was packing the Octobong again and sending it around the circle another time.  When it came back to me I didn’t know what else to do but smoke out of it again.  I tried to take the littlest hit so not too much more could get inside me.  After that I was still feeling alright enough, and wondering if maybe my Perceptionist Edge was just three hits, and I could handle anything below that.  But it didn’t take long before Scorpion had taken more Marijuana, rolled it up into a huge piece of paper, lit it on fire, and passed that around,too.

“Whoa,” someone said, “that’s like a Bob Marley joint right there.”

7.5 – Scorpion’s New Hole

Since Wolf had Graduated Perceptionism School, Scorpion had gotten a job, a wife, and a New Hole in Philadelphia Suburbs (Pennsylvania).  Wolf had never been there before, but we followed Scorpion’s directions.  I imagined he lived in some kinda pile of rocks or crevice in the desert or at least an unsuspecting boot, but when we got there it was actually a neighborhood of condos.  Each one looked exactly like the one next to it, and you hadta go thru a maze of identical looking streets and parking lots and landscaping before you got to one that had Scorpion’s van out front.

“This kinda looks like an Adult neighborhood,” I said when we got out.

“Yes,” Wolf scratched his chin and then held his head, “it’s making me a little dizzy.”

Then to cheer him up I showed him The Stash in the trunk.  There were two big cardboard boxes each holding nine bottles of all the different varieties of Alcohol.  Wolf looked at it and licked his chops.

“That does look tasty,” he said.

“How could Scorpion say no to this?” I said.

“How indeed… but he can be a bit of a Perceptionist Snob.”

“Oh.”

We decided we should bring it in anyway, and we all went inside. Wolf put down his box, and Scorpion and his wife hugged Wolf&Lamb, and then gave us all a tour.

The inside of Scorpion’s Hole looked as Adult as the outside.  The living room was full of furniture like a couch and a coffee table and a television.  The kitchen had appliances like a dishwasher and a microwave.  Everywhere the walls were a sparkling bright white, and there was no clutter or Perceptionist Paraphernalia anywhere.  The only strange thing was a mysterious shiny gold wheelchair hiding in a little nook under the staircase.  Otherwise it was not much different than my parent’s Nest or Kat’s parents’ place, and I wondered how such a mythic Perceptionist could live there.

All of the younger Realities from The Wedding seemed to be there already, except for Emperor Penguin, whose band apparently hadta play a concert before coming over, and Lamb’s sisters who went to see the show.  Everyone who was there hugged and congratulated Wolf&Lamb and told them how beautiful the Wedding was and apologized for taking off in the van so quickly.  No one seemed to notice I was standing there the whole time with a big box of Alcohol in my arms, except Wolf.

“Alright,” Wolf said to everyone, “it’s time to decide on the Common Perception for the night.  My fellow Reality Traveler, Bluebird here, has secured for us quite a bit of leftover Lubricant from The Wedding.”

Then he pointed at The Stash, but no one got as excited as I thought.

Scorpion stared at it, waved his tail just a little and shook his head.

“We have to choose something that all of us can handle tho,” Wolf said.  “We can’t just try to seek The Highest Most Powerful Perception tonight.”

Scorpion said nothing.

Wolf hadta shake his head like a wet dog.

“Alright,” he said.  “What do you have in mind then?”

Scorpion stared at him for a second.  “Marijuana Perception,” he then said.

“As you know Marijuana is my Preferred Perception, but I have to acknowledge that not every Reality here feels the same way.”

Wolf looked over at me.  Scorpion looked over at me too and then turned back to Wolf.

“So?” he said.

Then Wolf tried to explain the RealityFuck at hand and how important Common Perception would be.  But Scorpion wasn’t listening.  He raised one claw and pointed it at what looked like a basement door.

“The Marijuana Perception is in my Hole,” he said

“Alright,” Wolf said.  “If that’s the only thing you’re willing to Adventure with then that will just have to be The Common Perception.  But everyone has to do it together.”

Everyone agreed, and then I hadta put The Stash down and go into the Hole.

7.4 – Wolf&Scorpion

“Scorpion was my best friend at Percpetionist Training,” Wolf said.  “When I first arrived there I had some experience in basic Perceptionism – Alcohol, Marijuana, and even Acid, but it was nothing compared to Scorpion who was the most experienced one there.  He was fearless about trying new Perceptions, always speaking in class about how he’d clawed and stingered exotic and seemingly terrifying ones The Perceptionist Professor had barely heard of.  Sometimes he wouldn’t show up for class at all, and we’d find out later he’d been trapped inside some overwhelming Perception for days, yet vowed to Adventure with it again at the nearest opportunity.  I was hungry to be a Great Perceptionist on his level, and I made a point to pack up with him right away.

Soon we were on a quest together to find The Highest Most Powerful Perception.  We Adventured with everything on the Great List of Perceptions like Angel Dust, Bath Salts, Ecstasy, Ether, Heroin, Ketamine, Mescaline, Robitussin, Reindeer Urine, and at least three different kinds of glue, amongst many others. Sometimes we would even mix our own random chemical concoctions and Adventure with them just to see what would happen.  But even then we could always imagine how they could’ve been more high and powerful.

One time Scorpion came to me holding a little baggy full of some kind of black residue.

“I think we’ve finally found it,” he said. “This is an ancient Incan Reality Perception roughly translated as ‘Reality Sage.’  Their ShaMans had to go on a potentially deadly days-long journey to the greatest peaks of The Andes to find the plant, which they say can take you past The Other World to Beyond The Other World. The Perceptionism Professor warned me not to do it without his supervision, but I can’t wait.  I say we Adventure with it together right now.”

I was nervous but also tremendously excited and agreed to do it.  We went to Scorpion’s Hole in the dark wet basement beneath The Perceptionist Training School.  There we blocked out all light except for a candle.  We decided it was best not to be in the Perception simultaneously, so one could look after the other in case the Adventure went Bad.  I wanted to show Scorpion I was just as fearless as him and volunteered to go first.  He packed the Reality Sage in his beloved octopus shaped pipe we called Octobong. I took two deep drags from it and then Scorpion blew out the candle.

It was the fastest I’d ever gone thru The Veil, and at once I was running at super-speeds across The Other World.  In fact, I went so fast and so far I reached a vantage point high above it and was able to see all the Gods below, and they suddenly appeared tiny and insignificant.  The perspective disturbed me, and I wanted to come back down and go at a slower pace, but I just kept going higher and further until I wasn’t even in The Other World at all anymore.  I supposed it was Beyond The Other World, but you may as well have called it The Darkness.  There was no light, you couldn’t use any of your senses, and the feelings of the Other World became irrelevant.  I couldn’t even tell myself The Bad Adventure Mantra – It’s just a Perception and Perceptions can’t last forever, because it seemed like there was no self to tell it to.  It was like I was dead, except somehow I could still experience terror.

Of course, it was just a Perception, and eventually it began to wear off, and I fell back down out of The Darkness.  I tumbled at the same overwhelming speed at which I’d risen, and the momentum carried me straight thru The Other World to some unknown location and time in The World, where I seemed to crash down inside the body of ancient Incan ShaMan.  I was only there for a moment before I bounced back up to The Other World and then back down again into the body of my child self in a car with my family going to a shopping mall.  Again I quickly bounced out and then back down until finally it was the current me in Scorpion’s Hole.  I came back to consciousness completely shaken and trembling.  Scorpion told me it had only been fifteen minutes, but it felt like the entire life span of The Universe.  The most frightening thing was til this day I still cannot say with certainty whether I even returned to the correct body.

I told Scorpion everything and warned him that this Perception may be too high and powerful for any human to experience, but that only enticed him more to try it.  He went thru with his turn, and I watched him lie unconscious for about fifteen minutes before he was suddenly jolted awake.  I lit the candle again, and Scorpion looked startled and crazed. It took him another minute or two to speak, but the first thing he said was, “I have to go back!”

Every Perceptionist has an Edge, a Perception or magnitude of Perception to which they are unwilling to return.  It was then I had to accept that Scorpion’s Edge was different than mine.  At that moment I stopped trying to seek out the Highest Most Powerful Perception and turned my attention toward how to best use Perceptionism for MeTooing.

7.3 – Hitting The Road with Wolf&Lamb

Me and Wolf&Lamb hit The Road from Philadelphia Suburbs (Jersey) to Philadelphia Suburbs (Pennsylvania).  It wasn’t a long distance, but we hadta go right thru the middle of a major city, and there was a lot of traffic.  It gave us enough time to catch each other up on our recent Travels and compare notes on The Wedding.  Wolf got more and more distracted as we went along tho.

“I know Bluebird and Wings from Where-ThePlains-Meet-TheMountains,” he scratched his chin, “but we’re driving on The Roads I know from my hometown, and we’re on the way to Realities I know from Perceptionist Training, where I met my fiancée.”

“I’m actually your Wife now,” Lamb said.

“Oh my Gods, you are, and I Love you very much, but this is concerning.”

“What is?” she asked.

“I didn’t realize it until now, but we’re heading into a possibly major RealityFuck for me.”

Then he started telling us about all the different Realities who would be at The AfterParty, like his childhood best friend WildFuckingTurkey, his HighSchool best friend Emperor Penguin, and his Perceptionist Training School best friend Scorpion.

“I know it’s incredible,” Wolf said, “but they’ve never even met each other until today.”

“I haven’t even met them all yet,” Lamb said.

“Exactly,” Wolf said, “and then add in all their dates and wives and partners and our other friends and families and their dates…”

“Hmm,” I said, “that’s a lot of different Realities to MeToo.  What if you get The Vertigo?”

“That’s what I’m afraid of,” Wolf said.  “Yet, although it won’t be easy, we have to remember we’ve spent the last two years Training in tactics to deal with just these types of BoobyTraps.  This will be a perfect opportunity to test my Reality Travel Training Thesis on Common Perception.”

“That reminds me,” I said.  “There’s a whole Stash of Alcohol in the trunk as we speak. Me and The Perceptionism Professor swiped it from that bullshit Open Bar when they weren’t looking.”

“Good work,” Wolf said.  “That crooked bartender wouldn’t even serve us more than a Dixie cup at a time.”

“We don’t have to worry about rationing anymore,” I said.  “There’s enough Lubricant to keep the whole AfterParty in Alcohol Perception for the next week!”

“Normally,” Wolf said, “I would agree that Alcohol is the perfect choice for Common Perception in such a RealityFuck, but I’m not certain it’s the Preferred Perception for some Realities there.”

“Who could possibly not like Alcohol Perception?”

“Scorpion for one.”

 

6.14 – The Reception

After The Ceremony The Ants demanded we all get in a big line to congratulate Wolf&Lamb.  It went slowly, and I hadta listen to the Adults next to me talk about The Wedding.

“I don’t really know The Bride or The Groom” an Adult said, “but it was nice.”

“What’s Wolfy’s boy do again?” an Adult asked another Adult.

“I dunno,” they said. “I think he’s a Traveling Realtor. Is that a thing?”

“I think they both do drugs,” another Adult said.

“No, no,” another Adult said, “they’re good kids.”

I was too frozen to tell them what Wolf&Lamb were really about and just hadta pretend I didn’t have ears for awhile.

When you got to the front of the line The Ants gave you a few seconds to say something before they pushed you away and the next Reality went.  Wolf&Lamb looked bad.  Their bodies were stiff, their faces were gray, and their eyes just stared out.  It seemed like it might be the first stages of Traveler Vertigo.

“Are you guys getting your ass kicked,too?”  I cut to the chase, “I keep getting too frozen to do the New Reality Sequence, and I haven’t MeToo’d anyone yet.”

“Hurry up,” an Ant interrupted. “It’s a long line.”

“Just shake my hand and say,congratulations,” Wolf told me.

I did what he said, and then he pulled me close and whispered, ”Traveler Lubricant… Lots of it… Now shake Lamb’s hand and congratulate her,too.”

I did what he said and then Lamb pulled me in and whispered, “There’s an Open Bar, all free.”

“Where?  How?” I asked.

But before she could answer a Soldier came to grab my arm.  I didn’t want my arm grabbed again so I dodged it and then hadta just run away.

I kept going until I got to the tent.  It wasn’t like a camping tent.  It was more like a building with thin plastic walls and windows, and it was big enough to hold all of the Realities of The Wedding inside.  There was another long line in there leading to a table with some kinda Bartender Ant who was surrounded by bottles of Alcohol.  “Ah,” I said and got in.

“You supposta be in this line?” an Adult next to me said.

I didn’t say anything.

“Where are your parents?”

“My parents?”

“Yeah, do they know you’re in this line?”

“I’m not a kid,” I said.

“Well, you don’t look like an Adult,” they said.

Then I hadta point my head down and stare at the ground so they wouldn’t say anything else to me.

“What do you want?” The Bartender said when I got to the front.  “It’s all free.”

“Great!” I said.  “I want an entire bottle of Jack Daniels and an entire 2 liter of Dr. Pepper.”

The Bartender laughed, and when he made the drink, there was only a little of both poured in a tiny paper cup.

“Have to make sure there’s enough for everyone,” he said.

“Oh,” I said.

I looked around and everyone only had a tiny paper cup, even Adults like Old Wolfy and his SalesMen friends.  You’d see them drink it down in one gulp and then hafta get right back at the end of the line for another.  The line looked so long you figured your first small drop of Lubricant would probably wear off before you got the next one.  I realized I’d be in the lowest magnitude of Alcohol Perception the whole rest of The Wedding.  I drank my drink in one gulp even tho I knew I’d still have some squeaky tight mind machinery anyway.

Inside the tent there was a big dance floor with lots of tables around, which had namecards by each chair.  It looked like they were organized by Reality Groups, like Lamb’s Distant Cousins’ Realities or Wolf’s Distant Cousins’ Realities.  One table was higher up than the other tables and all of its namecards were in fancy gold writing.  Bride and Groom, Bride and Groom’s parents, Best Man and Wife, Maid of Honor and Date, Usher – The Important Wedding Realities.

Then I found my namecard at some kinda Miscellaneous Realities table.  I’d never heard the names before, and neither had anyone else there.  Soon everyone sat down there to eat and hadta start asking each other questions.  Like WolforLamb?  Name?  Hometown?  Job?  And marriage status?  I didn’t answer any of them.  I just sat there frozen waiting for the music to come on.

Then The Important Wedding Realities got to make speeches.  An Ant came around with a microphone and handed it to each one of them, and they said what they thought The Wedding was about.  Some were heartfelt like Lamb’s Dad.

“The Wedding is about my daughter being happy,” he said,“and that’s all a dad wants.”

Some were shy like Scorpion.

“The Wedding is about…” he said, “um, I don’t know…  Congratulations I guess.”

And some were a RockStar like Emperor Penguin.

“The Wedding is about everyone here being Great,” he said.  “I don’t really know Lamb, but I’ve known Wolf since HighSchool. And I know he only chooses to be around Great Realities.  Like me (pause for laughter).  And that means Lamb must be a great Reality, and if you’re at this Wedding you’re a Great Reality, too.”

It was a cheap MeToo, but it worked, and everyone laughed and felt good cuz they felt like they were a Great Reality.  It only made me wanna make my own speech, maybe about the first time me and Wolf&Lamb went to Karaoke and how they meant a lot to me.

Then Ant passed the microphone to another Ant who was set up at a table on the side with a bunch of music.

“Now it’s time for The First Dance,” a DJ Ant said.

“Yes!” I said.  “Finally.”

And then Wolf&Lamb got to get up and go to the middle of the dancefloor, while everyone stood up around them and watched. The DJ started playing Coldplay’s “Sparks,” and Wolf&Lamb got close together and slow danced.  I was just about to tell everyone I was the only one there who was actually around when they chose the song.  Realities around me started whispering tho.

“I’ve never heard of this song,” an Adult said.

“Me neither” another one said.  “Who is this?”

“Is this Dave Matthews Band?”

Dave Matthews Band is a band about Dave Matthews’s high but unpowerful voice.

“No, it’s John Mayer.”

John Mayer is a musician all about John Mayer’s high but unpowerful voice.

Finally Emperor Penguin stepped in.

“Pfft,” he said.  “You’re all wrong. This is Coldplay.”

And the “Pfft” was a horrible sound that was maybe even worse than “tsst” or “eh,” and it made it seem like Coldplay didn’t deserve to make music ever.

“Oh,” everyone said.

And they all rolled their eyes and shook their heads and went “pfft,” too.  And I couldn’t find anyone who looked like they would MeToo liking it.

When the song was over, the DJ told everyone they could come on the dancefloor now. And then, to make matters the worst they could possibly be, he put on That One “Hot, Hot, Hot,”Song…