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!

9.5 – My New Adult Life

When it was time to hit the Road again I tried to do it as Adult as possible, throwing all the trash out of Wings and vacuuming up the crumbs and dirt on the seats and floors.  Mom gave me a cooler with sandwiches and snacks and Dr. Pepper, and Dad helped me figure out a new route on Road-70 instead of Road-80 so it would be like a whole new trip.  The only thing missing was my Great Trip Mix, which was a casualty of the War at The Barracks, but I figured it would kinda just remind me of Reality Travel anyway, and maybe I wouldn’t even like it anymore.  I said goodbye to Mom&Dad, pulled out on the street, and immediately started to think about My New Adult Life.

First I would only go back to Colorado to get my stuff and tell The Pizza Boss in person that I wasn’t going to work there anymore.  I wouldn’t tell Wolf or any other “Reality Travelers” what I was doing, cuz they wouldn’t understand.

Then I would drive back to Ohio Industrial City (Rubber) Suburbs, move in with Mom&Dad, and pick up right where I left off before I met La Renarde.  I wouldn’t get a job in the Rubber or War industries cuz I didn’t want to see TheGeneral&TheAdmiral or La Renarde again, but I started to think it might be pretty nice to start working at The Bank as a Banker.

I’d been counting things my whole life, and it didn’t seem like it would kick my ass that much, even at the beginning when I was an Amateur.  I’d take it very seriously and work hard, and soon I’d be an Expert, and they’d give me promotions, and I would get more money.

Eventually I’d be making as much as Dad, and I’d buy the Bigger Nest back, or maybe even one bigger than that. The Nice-Banker-Who-Counted-My-Shoebox and I would fall in Love, and she’d live in The Nest with me, and we’d have kids, and we’d never hafta Travel anywhere.  The kids wouldn’t hafta learn to ride bikes, and they could just play Stuffed Animal War as much as they wanted, and the whole family would watch TV together at night.  No one would get their ass kicked ever, and it would be the most alright we’d ever felt.

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.

1.10 – Making the Great Trip Mix

“Woo yeah!” BigFoot said. “I like ‘Forever Young.’ I like Bob Dylan. I like that “Maggie’s Farm” song, too.

“Maggie’s Farm” is a song about a Reality Traveler who quits working on a farm cuz everyone there are MeNotzies who interfere too much with Reality Travel.

“That’s me. I’m working at Maggie’s Landscaping right now!”

“Yeah and you can’t work there no mo,” I said.

“You’re right. I gotta quit!”

“Yay, then you can go to The Wedding with me!”

Then I told him all about the nature of The Great Trip, and BigFoot got excited and messed up his hair again and opened up his mouth wide again and started adding in his own ideas.

“Yeah, yeah,” he said, “and we gotta stop along the way at my hometown in The Wilderness and see my family and all my old favorite spots like the trees and the ice cream stand and the sleazy adult bookstore. And we also gotta make sure the car is stocked with alotta snacks, and we gotta put together all the best songs we know and call it The Great Trip Mix and play it over and over and Rock Out the whole way! Woo Yeah!”

“Alright!”

There was no time to lose, and we rushed back to The Shadows of The Forest so BigFoot could grab a few things while I made a Great Trip Mix. An out-of-nowhere Chill came over me, and suddenly my mind was sharp, and I easily came up with 18 tracks from The Great List of Old Songs that I felt like we might need at some point on The Trip. I put them all together and there was even enough room for one more bonus track.

Meanwhile, BigFoot was calling up his parents to let them know we’d be stopping by. I overheard some of the conversation and noticed he was getting less and less excited as it went on. At first he was saying things like “I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s Landscaping no mo!” But then he was saying things like “but, Mom…” and then he was just saying things like “fine” and “I know.”

After the call BigFoot let out a sad, lonely whine.

“I can’t go,” he said.

“But BigFoot,” I said, “I’ve just created the perfect mix.”

“Maybe my parents are making sense. Someone has to pay for my home. Can’t just be a bum.”

“Reality Travelers are bums, tho.”

“Maybe the job isn’t so bad. At least it’s outside.”

“But what about ‘Forever Young’ and ‘Maggie’s Farm?”

“Just hafta go on the next Great Trip.”

“That’s what all the Adults say.”

But BigFoot barely put up a fight, instead he just yawned and lay down on his bed and curled up into a ball.

“What are you doing?” I said.

“Work makes me tired,” he said.

Then he yawned again and closed his eyes and I hadta shake him to try to get his attention.

“BigFoot! C’mon man… I can’t do the Great Trip alone.”

But BigFoot couldn’t hear me cuz he was so tired.

1.7 – Track #2 of The Great Trip Mix – The Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun”

The Great List of Old Songs was started by The Beatles.

The Beatles were a RockNRoll band, from the far off and exciting Realities of England, about making such good songs that they became the Leaders of The 1960’s Golden Age of Reality Travel.

The 1960’s Golden Age of Reality Travel was an era about having more Reality Travelers at one time than ever before. During the 1940’s The Great MeNotzie Army went to War with Every Other Reality in The World. The MeNotzies were eventually defeated, but not before many Realities got completely destroyed forever. The Gods hated it bad, and in response they Called Upon millions of Reality Traveler babies to balance things out. By the 1960s, the babies had grown up and started creating new and effective MeToo inventions like the BirthControl Pill, Acid Perception, and most importantly RockNRoll. And with them they were able to stop many old Reality Wars like White Realities vs. Black Realities, Men Realities vs. Women Realities, Democracy Realities vs. Communism Realities, and Repressed Realities vs. Sex Realities.

Few remember what music was like before The Beatles came along. It’s assumed there were songs, and they could’ve been alright, but the Beatles were the ones who invented all the most important things in music like high and powerful vocals, the four person band, harmony, the guitar lick, going on The Road, long hair, screaming fans, and songs that can change The World. My favorite invention by the Beatles is songs about everything being alright, like “Here Comes the Sun.”

“Here Comes the Sun,” is a song about it being cloudy for a long time but then the sun finally coming out. While it was dark everyone felt like everything was all wrong, but when it got light out again everything was alright.

Every time the Beatles say “It’s alright” in the song, it makes you suddenly feel alright too, even if the biggest, darkest, coldest, graymean cloud is all over you. And because of things like this, every band that came before The Beatles were suddenly never played on The Radio ever again, and every band that came after them sort of sounded just like them. Songs like “Here Comes the Sun” could MeToo people so much better than ever before that it erased whatever The Old List of Great Old Songs was and it started a whole new one.

1.3 – Track #9 of The Great Trip Mix – Journey’s “Faithfully”

I first learned about the Great List of Old Songs from Mom. When I was a kid she would drive me to places like The Mall and play The Hits Station on The Radio. Songs would come on and if one was good enough Mom would go, “ooh, this is a catchy one,” and then sing along. She especially liked the Hits by singers with high and powerful voices. One time one came on, and Mom said, “This is Journey. Their singer, Steve Perry, has the highest and most powerful voice in all of music.”

It was “Faithfully.”

“Faithfully” is a song about being full of Faith. And Faith is about believing in something no matter what. Like Journey was a band of MusicMen Travelers who were always on The Road playing songs that could MeToo far off and exciting new Realities. And when their Lovers were left at home, they worried that Journey might find new and better Lovers. But Journey reminded them that they were SoulMates in True Love and this meant they could believe no matter what that they’d be forever their’s, faithfully.

The song opens with the piano, and soon the high and powerful voice of Steve Perry comes in. Then the high and powerful drums and electric guitar join them, but Steve Perry’s voice is still the highest and most powerful thing. Throughout the song they keep building the intensity and somehow Steve Perry goes to a whole new level of high and powerful, and by the end he’s singing the word “Faithfully” over and over in the most high and powerful notes ever sung in a song. And it makes you think no one has ever meant that word more than this person does right now. You feel great for their reassured Lovers, and it makes you want someone to Love you like that, too.

“It’s making me shiver,” I told Mom.

“MeToo,” she said. “When a song is good enough and the singer is high and powerful enough, the music comes inside your body. You’ll feel a cold surge under your skin, and then your hairs will stand up, and you’ll start to gently shake. It’s called The Chills, and it’s The Goal of Music.”

“How does he sing so high and powerful?”

“Some people just have a God-Given Talent.”

Then I imagined there was a Goddess of Music who would go to hospitals and touch certain newborn babies, and they’d suddenly get musical superpowers. And then I thought how great it would feel if I were one of those babies.