5.11 – The Adult Bar Band

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

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

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

“No!” it made me scream out.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Their frontman is a little timid.”

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

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

“Goddess of Music?” she asked.

“Goddess damn right! Watch this.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You’re cut off,” she said.

“What?! Why?”

“You’re too drunk.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then El Puma turned to me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then we ran out the door.

5.10 – Track #1 of The Great Trip Mix – Sam Cooke’s “Cupid”

“The Goddess of Music,” The Voice Professor said, “touches certain humans at birth, giving them The Gift to perform music at the highest possible level.”

“What about if you can cry you can sing?” I asked.

“If you can cry you can sing, yeah, but if you got The Gift you can cry and sing better, uh huh.”

“Alright!”

“All of our favorite musicians were Touched. Little Richard, James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Prince, Whitney Houston… And I believe, tho raw and untrained, you have been, too.”

“Alright!!”

“Uh huh, but you have to understand, The Gift is a precious thing. It’s not enough just to have it, you have to take care of it. You gotta work really hard. You gotta almost pretend like you don’t have The Gift in order to make the most of The Gift. I can help you do this, but you gotta do exactly what I say, uh huh?”

“Uh huh.”

Then she handed me The Great List of Singing Rules.

- Practice every single day
- Warm up with nonsense words before singing songs
- Stand up straight
- Breathe
- Exercise
- Drink plenty of water
- No smoking
- No drinking
- No singing in the car
- No oversinging, especially right before a performance

I didn’t like a lot of the things on the list.

“Singing in the car?” I said. “But that’s where I do all my singing.”

 “Uh huh,” The Voice Professor said. “See, but what’s the most important thing about singing?”

“The Gift?”

“Nuh uh, the most important thing is air. You gotta think of your body as an air machine that needs to be operated correctly. When you’re sitting in a carseat, the machine is like a bent straw. You know what it sounds like when you blow thru a bent straw?”

“What?”

“Phht.”

“Oh.”

“When you’re bent you gotta use too much energy to get sound out, and if you blow too hard you could blow out your whole voice. You always gotta stand up straight to sing.”

“Alright.”

“The Rules ain’t always gonna be fun, but you still gotta follow em, uh huh?”

“Uh huh.”

“Now we gotta pick a song to practice all The Rules on and then sing at the Voice Recital.”

“But what if no one likes the songs I like?”

“That don’t matter, cuz you not gonna blow them away with the song, you gonna blow them away with the voice. Now how bout that oh-oh-oh-uh-huh song you were singing in class?”

“Faithfully?”

“Uh huh, who does that one?”

“Journey.”

“I have never heard of them before, can you play it for me?”

Then I brought it in, and we put it on. The Voice Professor turned it up loud and stuck her ears right up to the speaker and kept saying “uh uh” and “mm” and “I see.”

“Tell me,” she asked. “Who is this singer here?”

“Steve Perry,” I said. “The highest and most powerful voice in all of music.”

“Uh Haha!” she laughed. “Whatever you say.”

When she finished listening to the song, she gave one final “uh huh.”

“Yeah, I can see what he’s doing,” she said.

“What?”

“He’s doing Sam Cooke.”

Same Cooke was a high and powerful soul singer about having many Really Old Hits just before The Beatles started The Great List of Old Songs.

“What do you mean?” I asked. “Steve Perry isn’t a true original?”

“You kidding, right? Everybody in music trying to sound like somebody else.”

“Even the Beatles?”

“Please, they were doing Chuck Barry and the Righteous Brothers and Little Richard and the hundreds of now nameless to history Rhythm&Bluesmen from the South who came before them.”

“No way.”

“Uh huh way. Now if you wanna sing like this Steve Journey we gotta go to the source.”

Then she put on Sam Cooke’s “Cupid.”

“Cupid” is a song about The Goddess of Love coming down from The Other World in the form of a winged baby and shooting arrows at Realities to make them fall in Love.

“Now listen to this,” she said. “Your boy may be high and powerful, but Sam Cooke is high and powerful and smooth, uh huh!”

She was right. Sam Cooke’s voice was one of the best I’d ever heard. He could give you The Chills just from one note without even knowing what the song was about.

“Go ahead and sing along,” The Voice Professor told me.

Then I did and I was able to nail it right away.

“Uh huh,” The Voice Professor said. “The Gift.”

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.

5.1 – Voice Training

The next year at Artsy Lawless I signed up for Voice Training. It was taught by The Voice Professor, an old Downtown NewYorkCity Reality who always wore a bright yellow and green sweatsuit that made her look like a parrot.

First she needed to figure out whether to put you in Amateur Group Training or Expert Private Training, so you hadta do an audition where you sung something you already knew by heart. I had never sung before without The Radio being on at the same time and couldn’t remember the words to things without it. When it was my turn I had to be honest.

“I don’t know anything by heart,” I said.

“Uh huh,” The Voice Professor said. “See that’s not true, cuz everybody at least knows how Happy Birthday goes.”

“Happy Birthday” is a song about wishing someone is happy on their birthday. All the words are known by every Reality everywhere.

I did know that song, and sang it for her, but it didn’t give me a chance to match any high and powerful vocals. I couldn’t help sounding like a kid who just wanted the song to be over so they could get cake and presents.

“Uh huh,” she said. “We’re gonna put you in Group Training.”

Group Training was me and several other Realities. The Voice Professor would make us stand in a row, and she’d go down the line and sing nonsense words at us like “wawamamawama,” and then we were supposta sing it back. Some Realities were able to repeat it exactly, and then she’d go “uh huh” to them. But most Realities just quietly mumbled the wrong pitch, and then The Voice Professor would ask them if they could cry.

“Yeah,” they’d say.

“Well,” she’d say. “If you can cry you can sing. Now go ‘Waaah!”

Then they’d try to go “Waah!,” but they still wouldn’t do it right.

It was like this for a long time until one class The Voice Professor said we could finally sing a line from a real song of our choice. The only thing I could think of was the “oh whoa whoa whoa oh,” part of Journey’s “Faithfully” cuz it didn’t have any lyrics to remember. I knew there was a good chance the class was full of MeNotzies who hated that song, but most of them had also embarrassed themselves by poorly singing nonsense words so I went for it.

“Uh huh?” The Voice Professor looked confused. “Could you sing that again?”

“Alright,” I said.

Then I sang it again, and she squinted her eyes and leaned her ear in right next to my mouth. Her eyes suddenly widened.

“Ooh!” she said.

She hadn’t said that word in the class ever before.

“Can you sing the rest of that song?” she asked.

“Not the words,” I said.

“What about the sounds? Can you just sing the sounds?”

“Maybe.”

Then I did the song just singing ‘la’s’ instead of the lyrics, and I realized I did know the melody and was actually nailing it.

“Uh huh!” The Voice Professor said. “I think you may… I think just maybe… You’ve got It.”

“Got what?” I said.

It.”

“What’s It?”

“You don’t know what It is?”

“No.”

“Uh huh, well, It is The Gift.”

“A Gift from whom?”

“The Goddess of Music.”

“Ohh!”

After that I didn’t have to go to Group Training anymore, cuz I was in Private Training.