6.17 – The Storm

The Storm came down fast and hard with lots of thunder and lightning and wind and rain and even hail, and when it hit your skin it felt like sharp little iceballs. Me and The Perceptionism Professor hadta go back to the tent so The Storm couldn’t get us anymore.  When we got back Planner Ants were everywhere like a lollipop had just fallen on The Wedding. They were scrambling to get everything out of the rain before it got wet, and at the same time Wedding guests were running for cover under the tent and clogging up the entrance.  The tent itself was getting blown hard by the wind, and its thin plastic walls looked like they could just blow away at any moment.

I’d had enough of The Wedding.  I’d gotten my New Reality MeToo and just wanted to get outta there.  I just hadta find Wolf&Lamb, say a quick goodbye, and then I could get to The Goddess of Faith so we could make a Bluebird’s Alright, Baby!!somewhere in history.

I found a gap in the crowd of Adults and managed to get inside The Tent.  I lost The Perceptionism Professor in the chaos, but I couldn’t look back.  I zeroed in on Wolf&Lamb, who were, thank Gods, sitting alone together at The Important Realities Wedding Table.  They were actually looking better than they were before, and it seemed like their pre-Vertigo state must’ve been wearing off somehow.

“Bluebird,” Wolf said.  “I know you probably want to get out of here.”

“You read my mind,” I said.

“I don’t blame you,” he said, “but The Wedding is ending soon anyway as The God of Weather is making clear.  And then comes The AfterParty.”

“What’s that?”

“It’s a party at The Best Man’s house in Philadelphia Suburbs (Pennsylvania),” Lamb said.

“There won’t be any Adults invited,” Wolf said. “Only Reality Travelers like us. We’ve been waiting for this all day.”

“Alright,” I said, “how do Iget there?”
“The Best Man hired a van to take us all there,” Lamb said.

“Since you drove here,” Wolf said, “you just need to find the van and follow it when it leaves.”

“Where’s the van now?” I asked.

“Let me show you,” Wolf said.

Suddenly The DJ turned off the music and came on the microphone.

“Attention everyone,” he said.  “The Wedding is over.  I repeat The Wedding is over.  Please say your final goodbyes to The Bride and Groom, and then leave.”

Then all the Realities looked over at us and quickly formed a mob.

“Oh Gods no,” Wolf said.

Before I could get directions to the van or say goodbye myself, I was rammed out of the way by the crowd.

All I could do was go outside in The Storm and try to find the van myself.  On the way out I ran into The PerceptionismProfessor again.

“I need your help,” he said.  “I just discovered the open bar still has a giant stash of unused Alcohol.  Those MeNotzies, as I suspected, were over-rationing, and I heard they’re just going to take it all and use it at their next wedding unless we get to it first.  That’s Wolf&Lamb’s by right, and you’re going to need it for The AfterParty.”

“You’re right,” I said. “What’s the plan?”

“Follow me.”

We headed to the open bar, and somehow in the chaos it was unmanned.  I kept a lookout, while The Perceptionist Professor went behind it and started putting all the bottles into two boxes.  I noticed The Bartender nearby getting yelled at by The Queen.

“Why haven’t you taken down your station yet?” she said.  “Can’t you see there’s a Storm outside? A Wedding’s worst enemy!  Everything must be carried into our underground Wedding tunnels at once!”

“Quick,” I told The PerceptionismProfessor, “they’re coming back!”

“Thanks,” he said.  “I got as many as I could.”

And then he handed me a big heavy box full of jumbo bottles of every variety of Alcohol Perception.

“Hey!” The Bartender saw us. “Put those down.”

I looked over at The Perceptionism Professor who had picked up his own heavy box.

“Run!” he said.

Then The Perceptionism Professor took off like a bunny darting thru the meadows, and I followed.  The Bartender ran after us, but The Perceptionism Professor was an expert at using the Realities in front of us to screen him off. When we got to the exit, it was still clogged up with guests and Planners, but The Perceptionism Professor was able to find a little hole in their legs and slideunder it, box and all, and he even managed to keep his top hat on the whole time. I tried to follow his lead, and found a little hole, and also made it thru altho I accidentally hit a few Realities’ legs with my box.

“We’ve gotta take these to the van!” I said when we got outside.

“Where is it?” The PerceptionismProfessor said.

We couldn’t see it at all, but you could hear the Bartender yelling behind us, “Help, they’re getting away!” and then we had to keep running anyway.

“Let’s just take it to my car,” I said, and we both ran toward Wings.

We looked back, and it seemed like we lost The Bartender, but there was another Ant in a raincoat who’d taken up his place and was now close behind.  She kept yelling “Hey!” at us, and she didn’t have a heavy box and was catching up fast.  I wondered what they’d try to do to take The Stash away, and I wondered what The Perceptionism Professor would do to defend it.  Just as I got to the car, a hand grabbed my shoulder.

“Get away you MeNotzie!” I said.  “Nobody likes how you planned this Wedding, and you owe us this Stash.”

“No, Bluebird, it’s me,” she said.

When I turned around, she’d taken her raincoat hood down, and I saw it was The Goddess of Faith.  She pulled out a big umbrella and held it over our heads.

“Holy shit!” The Perceptionism Professor said.  “It’s an Angel!”

“Don’t worry,” I told Faith, “he’s on our side.”

“I know,” she said.  “I’ve been watching.”

Then I introduced them to each other.

“Actually,” The Perceptionism Professor said, “I’m known to The Gods as Magic White Rabbit.”

“Nice to meet you,” she said.  “Actually I’d like to be known today as Bluebird’s Date.”

The word “Date” gave me The Chills, and we looked at each other and smiled.

“My Gods,” Magic White Rabbit shook his head, “You really truly are in True Love.”

“Shhh,” The Goddess put her finger to her mouth.

Then we looked around and cars were quickly leaving the parking lot, but we still couldn’t find the van.

“They must’ve left already,” Magic White Rabbit said.

“I guess we’ll just have to pack it up in our own cars,” I said.

“I wasn’t gonna make it to The AfterParty anyway,” he said.  “I’ve got Adventures in Perceptionism to lead at The Training School tonight.”

Then he helped put both boxes in Wings’s trunk and shook my hand.

“It’s been a pleasure,” Magic White Rabbit said.  “And I hope the best for you.”

“Alright, you, too,” I said.

“I’m parked just down there.  Mind if I borrow you and your umbrella, Bluebird’s Date?”

“Alright,” she said.

Before she went tho, she whispered in my ear.

“I have to go now, but I just had to be here for one second with you, so I could officially be your Date.”

“Thank you,” I whispered back.  “I TrueLove you.”

“Oh, Bluebird, I TrueLove you,too, my SoulMate.  And I’ll try to sneak back and see you as soon as I can.”

“I hafta kiss you now.”

“We can’t tho.  We’ll just have to say the words ‘kiss,’ and that will have to be good enough for now.”

“Alright, kiss.”

“Alright, kiss.”

And then she walked The Perceptionist Professor over to his car, and when she was done flew high into the sky and thru the stormclouds.

I got in Wings, and wondered how the hell I was going to find that AfterParty.  As we drove out of the parking lot, I looked at The Wedding and the tent was coming down and the last of The Wedding Planners were running down into their underground Wedding holes.  All the Wedding guests were gone, except for two who came running toward my car shouting. As they got closer you could see they were wearing a tuxedo and a Wedding Dress.

“Wolf&Lamb!” I said and scooped them up out of the rain.

“Bluebird!” they said. “Thank Gods you’re still here.  The AfterPary van left without us, even tho we’re the most important Realities at The Wedding.”

“How do we get there then?” I said.

“Don’t worry,” Wolf said, “I can get in touch with Scorpion and get the directions, as long as you don’t mind driving us.”

“Not at all.”

“It smells like pizza in here,” Lamb said.

“It smells like Where-ThePlains-Meet-TheMountains in here,” Wolf said.

And they both went “ahh.”

6.16 – Hideout

“Thank Gods, I’m back in Alone Reality!” I said when I got back to Wings.  I wondered if I’d been at enough of The Wedding that I could just leave, or maybe I could just wait out the rest of it, come back at the end to say goodbye, and pretend I’d been there the whole time.

When I opened the door and tried to get in the car, The Crow was right there on the front seat.

“Ah, it’s my friendly OtherWordly helper,” I said.

But when I went to sit down next to it, the Crow took its beak and pecked right at my hand. I looked down and my fingers had a little bit of blood on them.

“Ow!” I said.  “Why?”

But The Crow just stared at me with its dark black eyes and went “CAW!”  It wouldn’t move off the driver seat, so I went around to get in the passenger side.  But then it flew over to that seat and puffed out its wings and started flapping them and going “CAW! CAW! CAW!”  It seemed like for some reasonThe Crow didn’t want me to be in Wings at the same time as it.

“Dammit,” I said.

Then I hadta just lean against the side of the car, and it was a bad Hideout cuz anyone could see me standing there like a Sore Thumb and wonder what I was doing.  It made me feel like a Bad Traveler.

“Can’t you just MeToo one New Reality here?” I said to myself.  “Stop being so afraid of getting your ass kicked.  You’re in True Love with an Angel for Gods’ sakes.”

Then I decided the only way I could feel like a good Traveler again was to introduce myself to the next New Reality I saw, even if they looked like a MeNotzie “Electric Slide” loving Adult, and try to MeToo them.

Soon a Reality wearing a white tuxedo with a black top hat walked into the parking lot. It made him look like a magic rabbit falling upside down.  Old Wolfy had introduced me to him earlier, but it was so fast I couldn’t remember who he was.  He was walking to his car alone, like maybe he was trying to escape to a Hideout, too.  I took a deep breath, told myself the Gods are on my side, and walked over.

“Hey,” I said.

He looked up from under his tophat and just as I was beginning to freeze he smiled at me.

“Hey!” he said. “You’re The Guy Who Drove All The Way From Where-ThePlains-Meet-TheMountains, right?”

“Yeah.”

“Man, driving that long is hard.  You get tired, and your butt hurts, and your mind can go crazy from boredom.  You must be a Great Traveler.”

“Thanks, what was your name again?”

“I’m The Perceptionism Professor.”

“You mean The Perceptionism Professor from Wolf’s Perceptionist Training School?”

“The one and only.”

“Wow,” I said.

Then we shook hands.

“So you’ve done every Perception ever?” I asked

“Yeah,” he said, “and somehow I’m still alive!”

Then I told him how me and Wolf met in Reality Travel Training together and had gone on all our Adventures in Perceptionism.

“Alright!” he said, “How bout an Adventure with me right now?”

“Like what?” I said.  “I’m still not that advanced.”

“How bout a little Lubricant Adventure?”

“Yeah, but they’re only serving it in little cups in there.”

“I know, that Open Bar is a Perceptionism tragedy.  That’s why I stole a whole bottle when they weren’t looking.”

Then he took off his top hat and like magic pulled a bottle of Jack Daniels from it.  He handed it to me, and I took a swig, and then he took a swig, and we kept passing it back and forth.

“Thank Gods,” I said as I felt the machinery of my mind loosen up.

“I was hoping I might be able to MeToo this with someone,” he said.  “My date had to leave, and everyone else is trapped in IceBreaker Hell over there.”

“That’s why I’m out here,” I said.

Then I told him all about The Wedding Mix and how, as a MusicMan Traveler, it was my only chance to MeToo, but it was ruined by their renegade DJ.

“They were supposta play things like ‘Magic Carpet Ride,” I told him.

“Oh yeah,” he said, “I love that song.  It’s about more than just a carpet ya know.  It’s about The Other World.”

“I know!  And when it came on I was going to tell everyone about that time I listened to it at Wolf&Lamb’s Den, and it led to us going to Karaoke for the first time and Lamb and I singing ‘A Whole New World.’”

“The song from Aladdin?”

“Yeah!”

“I saw that movie one time in Acid Perception.  The Genie was actually The Veil, and I had to go thru him to get to The Other World.  I asked The Gods if I could have three wishes, but they told me I didn’t need any, my life was Alright just the way it was, and that meant I was free. And it all made me cry and laugh at the same time.”

“Wow, you know everything about The Other World, don’t you?”

“Sure, it’s like my second home.”

“Then maybe you can explain The Crow.”

Then I told him my history with it and how it was inside Wings at that very moment.

“Oh my Gods, let’s see it!” he said.

But when we went over The Crow was gone.

“It was there a minute ago,” I said.  “I swear.”

“I believe you,” he said. “You’re not talking to just some Adult here.  I know Other World creatures appear and disappear whenever they feel like it.”

“Do you have any idea who The Crow is?”

“I’ve seen it before, but I don’t know much, other than it hangs out around The Veil sometimes, flying back and forth between this World and The Other.”

“Sometimes I think it’s trying to help me, and sometimes I think it’s just mean.”

“Maybe sometimes it helps you by being mean.”

“Ohh.”

“We could track The Crow down right now if you want to.  I have a couple Perceptions on hand that could take us straight to The Other World.”

“Actually, I don’t think it’s safe for me to be in The Other World right now.”

Then I explained everything that happened earlier with The Goddess of Faith.

“Wow!” he said.  “I’ve never heard of anything like that before. My Guardian Angel is called The Goddess of Manning Up, and whenever I’m in doubt she blows a loud whistle in my ear and tells me to get my shit together.”

“When I’m in doubt Faith gives me It’s Alright, Baby! and I don’t think I can live without it now.”

“It sounds like this is a True Love situation, and you can’t give up on it.  You just need to Love her where you can’t be caught.”

“We can’t be in The Other World, and we can’t be in this World. Is there another World I don’t know about?”

“There’s also The Past World.”

“You mean, like, Time Travel?”

“Exactly, your Angel can go back to any time and place she’s been before.  For the Gods it’s like watching a rerun of their favorite show.  But she could take you with her and Love you somewhere no one has been watching for ages.”

“And we can’t get caught by the historical Realities?”

“No.  The only way to get caught is if another God were Time Traveling back to the exact same moment in history at the same time as you.  It’s pretty much impossible.”

“Yes! Man, am I glad I introduced myself to you out here.”

“MeToo!”

Then there was a flash in the sky and a loud boom, and then it started to get dark.

“Looks like The God of Weather,” we said.

6.15 – Track #1 of The Anti-Mix: That One “Hot, Hot, Hot” Song

As a MusicMan Reality Traveler I have always done my best not to be a MeNotzie about any song.  Even if I don’t listen to them or know about them, I would never MeNot someone else for liking them.  But if there is just one song I cannot take, it’s That One “Hot, Hot, Hot” Song by someone I never bothered to find out.

That One “Hot, Hot, Hot” Song is a song about heat.  When you first get on a dancefloor your body is cold.  Your arms and legs are frozen solid and can’t move and you hafta just stand still in the back like an ice sculpture.  Gradually, as great songs play or Alcohol Perception kicks in, your body begins to warm up and then you can move and dance successfully. But That One “Hot, Hot, Hot”Song tries to heat you up all at once whether you’re ready to be thawed or not.  It makes everyone on the dancefloor get in a long line in which each Reality holds the shoulders of the Reality in front of them.  The Line then goes in circles collecting all the Realities it can even if they resist.

I was right on the edge of the dancefloor when I heard the first “ole, ole, ole, ole” of the song, and The Line began to form.

“Yeah!” the DJ Ant said.  “It’s time to par-tay!”

And then suddenly all the nearby Adults ran to the dancefloor.  I got caught in the middle of the chaos and tried to escape, but more Adults trying to join The Line kept blocking my way. I bumped into one and got knocked back and found myself face to face with The Head of The Line.

“Allaboard!” The Head of The Line said and made a ‘choo-choo’ motion with its arm like it was a train.

When I refused The Head of The Line didn’t like it.

“Oh come on,” it said.  “Don’t be a par-tay pooper!”

And then it began to encircle me.  Even Wolf&Lamb had been swept up in it, and I knew it would get me if I didn’t act fast.  The only thing I could think to do was run right thru the line, busting apart all the arms and legs in the way until I was free.

“Boo!” the line said as I fought thru, but I made it.

When I got to a safe distance away I ran into the Queen Ant and demanded answers.

“This shouldn’t be playing right now,” I said.  “What happened to Wolf&Lamb’s Wedding Mix they carefully compiled over months?”

“Oh,” she said, “we’re disregarding that, but don’t worry we know what people at weddings like.  Go have fun!”

I looked back at the dancefloor, and now they were playing “The Electric Slide.”

The Electric Slide is a song about electricity.  When you first get on a dancefloor your pulse is low.  Your heartbeat isn’t fast enough to make your arms and legs move and you stand there like a corpse.  Gradually, as great songs play or Alcohol Perception kicks in, blood will pump thru you and then you can move and dance successfully.  But the Electric Slide tries to jolt you to life all at once with an electric shock, whether you’re ready to be alive or not.  The song makes everyone on the dancefloor get in lines and follow a series of instructions like “now slide!” even if you don’t want to slide.

It only made me run straight back to my Hideout at the car.

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…

6.13 – The Ceremony

I went back to Wings in the parking lot and took off my jacket.  Old Wolfy was right, it was just way too stuffy, whether I looked like The Professor or not.  It was nice back at the car, a perfect Alone Reality hideout where no one could find me, and I hadta fight the urge to just stay there and not go back to The Wedding. But I knew I still might have a chance at some MeToos when the music part happened.  And I knew The Ceremony was coming up, and I did want see the exact moment when Wolf&Lamb became married.

The hardest part was gonna be how to sit down.  I knew I didn’t wanna sit next to anyone else, and I noticed a lot of empty seats in the back where I might be safe.  Emperor Penguin was in charge of it tho, and it seemed like he was probably going to seat me in some MeNotzie kinda way.

I watched him from a safe distance. He was good at seating.  His motions were smooth and effortless, and he would put his hand gently on a Reality’s shoulder or back and guide them ahead with a clear voice that never um’d or stuttered.  He knew each Reality’s unique needs, whether it was going extra slow for a really old Adult or kneeling down and high-fiving a little kid. Most of the Realities laughed at something he said.  It started to seem like his ‘chaperone’ comment could’ve just been some kind of fluke or misunderstanding, and he was a true Reality Traveler who would be gentle and MeToo with me.

I walked up to him and took a chance.

“Hey,” I said, “Can I just seat myself?”

“No,” he said.

Then he put one hand firmly on my back, while the other one pointed.

“I’ll seat you right here next to these fine people,” he said.  “That way you don’t have to sit alone.”

They were a couple of younger looking Adults.  I couldn’t remember who they were at all.  It was possible they were imposters out to destroy The Wedding for the fun of it.

“But I want to sit alone,” I told Emperor Penguin, but he didn’t listen.

He used his usher hand to force me ahead just like the Planner Ants.

“This is So&So,” he said and pushed me down into the chair.  “So&So, this is Colorado.  He’s got some nice sneakers on, doesn’t he?”

I looked down at So&So’s shoes and theirs were both black and shiny, and then I looked at mine, which were all scuffed up with holes in the sides and the laces unraveling, and I realized I was Sticking Out Like a Sore Big Toe.  Once again Emperor Penguin didn’t even say,“I’m just fucking with you,” and when I looked back up he was gone.

Then So&So tried to start talking to me.

“So,” So(Female) said, “do you know WolforLamb?”

“I’ve never heard of WolforLamb,” I said.  “I only know Wolf&Lamb.”

“Oh…” she said.

“So,” So(Male) said, “you’re The Guy Who Came All The Way From Colorado.”

“No,” I said,  “all the way from Where-ThePlains-Meet-TheMountains.”

So&So looked at me like they wanted me to say more, but I didn’t want to cuz it would’ve taken half a book to explain everything the right way.  Instead I just froze up and stopped talking to them, and eventually they got the picture and left me alone.  I could still feel them right next to me tho.  Sometimes So would accidentally brush me, and I would hafta inch my seat over a little, and I would wonder why they got to sit there instead of BigFoot, or the Iowa Goldfinch, or My Mom, or Kat, or El Puma, or The Goddess of Faith or Nobody.

After everyone was seated, The Ceremony began by playing The Wedding Song.

The Wedding Song is a song about being played at the beginning of every Wedding.  It starts off “Dun-Dun-da-dun, Dun-Dun-da-dun,” and when you hear it you know a Wedding is starting.  It keeps repeating until all the Important Wedding Realities march down an aisle between the Wedding Guest seats and take positions in front.

Wolf&Lamb soon took their positions right next to the Queen Planner Ant who got to be Ceremony Leader.  No one knew her before that day or what her knowledge of The Gods was, but apparently she had the power to legally marry you.  The Queen then made a big speech about Love, but it was all about hard work and hivemind and digging, and there was no talk of SoulMates or Cupids or sparks or crazy magnetic forces in The Other World, and I eventually tuned out.

I started thinking about The Goddess of Faith and wondered if she was watching the whole thing at that moment.  I thought about if we had a Wedding, and how we’d make sure there’d only be our favorite Realities, and no one would be a New Reality for anyone else, and everyone would get to be one of the Important Wedding Realities, and The Ceremony Leader would be The Professor, and The Ceremony would just be a recap of The Story of How We Met, followed by us forming Bluebird’s Alright, Baby!!for everyone.

Then I finally heard Wolf&Lamb talking for themselves.

“I’ll Love you forever no matter what,” Wolf told Lamb.

“I’ll Love you forever no matter what,” Lamb told Wolf.

“Alright,” The Queen said, “you’ll be married now as soon as you kiss each other in front of everyone.”

Then Wolf leaned in and put his mouth on Lamb’s mouth, and I was sortafar away, but I think I did see a fiery little spark or two fly out from their faces, and it gave me The Chills.

6.10 – Introductions

I could feel a coldness starting at my furthest body parts and working its way in until I was a completely frozen statue in the middle of the crowd of Adults. They were all in the middle of their own private conversations and had their backs turned to me. Sometimes one would accidentally look over their shoulder, notice my Uniform, and make a face before going back to their conversation. I was thinking about finding a hideout, somewhere I could see all the Realities of The Wedding, but they couldn’t see me, and I could learn all about them from afar and only come out to MeToo when it was a sure thing.

Then suddenly another hand grabbed my shoulder from behind.

“Let go, you Planner Ant!” I almost said, but when I turned around I noticed it was actually one of the Adults. He was wearing a tuxedo like everyone else, and he had gray hair, and intense hunting eyes.

“You alright?” the grabber asked.

I didn’t know how to answer, so I just stood there frozen.

“Hey,” he said, “you’re the guy who drove all the way from Where-ThePlains-Meets-TheMoutains, aren’t you?”

I nodded.

“Wow,” he said, “I heard about you from Wolf&Lamb. Man, that is some Traveling! Let me shake your hand.”

Then we shook hands, and his grip was so hard you couldn’t get out of it even if you wanted to.

“I’m Old Wolfy,” he said. “Wolf’s father.”

I’d heard about Old Wolfy from Wolf. He was a Salesman Traveler who MeToo’d via products. He would Travel up and down The East Coast selling the products to New Realities and hadta become an expert in things like handshakes, looking you in the eye, and handing out business cards.

He handed me his card, and it was bright white and made of a firm material. It said “Old Wolfy – Sales” on it with his contact info and a little Wolf logo in the corner. It made me think of my Bluebird sticker, which I realized was still stuck to the inside of my jean jacket.

“That’s a nice coat you got there,” Old Wolfy said and pinched the collar. “What is that? Tweed?”

“Yeah,” I said.

“Isn’t it a bit warm tho? It’s the end of May for crying out loud.”

I hadn’t realized it til he said something because I felt so frozen inside, but the sun was really bright that day, and it was warm. I was already sweating a lot. I looked around at all the Adults, and they all knew what time of year to wear what fabrics.

“Don’t worry about it,” Old Wolfy said and gave me a pat. “Ya look great.”

“Thanks,” I said.

“So is your date around here somewhere?”

“I don’t have one.”

He looked confused.

“Ya mean you’re here all alone?” he asked.

“Yes,” I said.

“Well, why didn’t you say so? Let me introduce you to some people.”

“That’s alright, you don’t have to.”

“Oh, I know, as a Reality Traveler you probably meet a hundred New Realities every day, right?”

I didn’t say anything.

“Well, why don’t I get you a head start anyway?” he said. “It’ll make me feel like a good host. Come on.”

“Alright.”

Then he put his hand against my back and pushed me forward at an unnaturally fast SalesMan pace.

6.8 – The Wedding

The Wedding was in Philadelphia Suburbs (New Jersey).

Philadelphia Suburbs (New Jersey) are Suburbs about inventing the Suburbs. At first no one lived in New Jersey, and they called it The Garden State, because the only things there were plants and things that went into salad. But it was surrounded by big cities, and when the car was invented Realities realized they could work in those cities without having to actually live there in the overcrowding and danger and stink. Then they all moved to New Jersey where they finally had enough room to build things like indoor shopping malls, strip malls, mini-malls, mega-malls, outlet malls, and outdoor shopping malls.

To get to the Wedding you had to go past an indoor mall and sneak between two strip malls, where it surprisingly opened up into an original Garden with grass and trees and vegetables and a lake. Beside that was a big white tent and rows of chairs and a whole lotta New Realities.

As soon as I walked in I almost felt like The Goddess of Faith had never existed before. Wolf&Lamb were young Reality Travelers, but everyone at their Wedding were somehow strange looking old Adults. They were all in pairs, and their clothes were way fancier than mine. The men wore neckties and shiny shoes, and the color of their jackets and pants were an exact match. The women were in bright colored dresses of fine materials and wore jewels all over, and when the sun hit them it would shoot a beam of light at your eyes. There were so many Adults you couldn’t see anything else. I didn’t know where Wolf&Lamb were, and I wondered if I was even at the right wedding at all.

Suddenly someone came up from behind and grabbed my arm. The grip was strong, and they used it to march me thru all the Adults to an opening near the lake. There several guests had been lined up in a row like they’d committed an unforgiveable crime against The Wedding, and a MeNotzie firing squad was going to execute them all. Organizing the whole scene were several Realities in red jackets, who had the purpose and teamwork of a colony of army ants.

“Wedding Planners,” I said to myself.

One was The Queen Ant, and she held up a clipboard and called out the orders.

“Make them come here, make them stand there, make them stay still, we’re running out of time!” she was saying.

Others were Soldiers Ants following the orders, swiftly moving around people up to twice their size with brute arm-grabbing force. Some were Worker Ants scrambling to arrange flowers and furniture. And at the center of it all, there was one Drone Ant with a camera, taking pictures of the whole creepy crawly process.

The Soldier who had me by the arm had orders to interrogate me.

“Which side are you on?” the Soldier asked me.

“I don’t know,” I said.

“Wolfgang’s or Elaine’s?”

“Who?”

“Wolfgang’s or Elaine’s?!”

“I think I might be at The Wrong Wedding.”

“Wolfgang’s or Elaine’s?!”

“Do you mean Wolf&Lamb?”

“Yes, the Bride or Groom?!”

“Um… The Bride&Groom.”

“What do you mean ‘&’?”

“I know both of them.”

“No one knows both of them.”

“I do. I met both of them pretty much at once.”

“How?”

“Reality Travel Training School.”

“Where is that?”

“Where-ThePlains-Meet-TheMountains.”

“Nonsense words!”

Then they hadta bring in The Queen to figure it out.

“I don’t know which group to put this one in,” The Soldier said.

“We don’t have time for this,” The Queen said.

“But what do we do with him?”

“Which side is he on?”

“He says he’s not on a side,”

“Everyone’s on a side. Where’s he from?”

“The Mountains or something.”

“Mountains? There are no mountains here.”

“That’s what he says.”

“Then put him in The Mountain Group.”

“But I don’t think anyone else here is from there.”

Then The Queen turned to me directly.

“Who else is with you from The Mountains?” she asked.

“No one,” I said.

“What about your date?”

“I don’t have one.”

“What do you mean? You’re here alone?”

“Yes.”

The Queen looked at me like no one had ever answered the question that way before. Then she shook her ahead and shouted out, “He’s all alone. Just do it with him alone!”

Then the Soldier forced me to march again to the very edge of the water. There they used their hands to move several parts of my body like my back and arms and chin so that everything was rigid and pointing up. When they finally backed away, I was able to realize Wolf&Lamb were actually standing on either side of me. They were rigid and pointing up, too, and they were not in their regular t-shirt and jeans Traveler Uniforms either. Wolf was in a shiny silver Tuxedo, and Lamb was in a white dress that was so long it had to lay on the ground behind her.

“Wolf,” I said, turning my head towards him.

“Don’t move!” The Planners yelled.

Then the Soldier came back and moved my face back to where it was.

“What is this Reality?” I had to say to Wolf without moving my face.

“Hell,” Wolf said without moving his face.

“What should we do?” I asked.

But before he could answer the Planners yelled at us all to smile and kept yelling until our smiles were big and perfect enough. Then we were blinded by multiple bright flashes.

“Got it,” the Camera Drone said.

“Get him out of here, and bring in the next one,” The Queen said. “Time is precious!”

Before my eyes had adjusted and I could say anything else to Wolf&Lamb, the Soldier grabbed me again and marched me away. I found myself back in the crowd of Adults, all Realities I’d never seen before in my life, and I realized there was no one else to help me MeToo them but me.

6.6 – The Road to The Wedding

We got out of The Other World and back to Wings and The Road to The Wedding as fast as we could.

“Nobody saw that, right?” I said.

“I don’t think so,” she said.

I told her how it was just like the force the other time I was in The Other World.

“Yes!” she said. “I remember one time not too long ago when I was in my AngelNest, and suddenly I got pulled away by a mysterious force.”

“Maybe there’s some kind of physical reaction that happens between us whenever we’re both in The Other World.”

“I agree,” Faith said. “It’s probably not safe there anymore. If any Gods were nearby there’s no way they wouldn’t notice something like that.”

Then Faith started crying.

“It’s Alright, Faith,” I gave her some IAB!.

“Thank you,” she said, “but I don’t know if it is.”

“Why not?”

“Because now I know that I’m completely and totally and entirely and fully in Love with you.”

“I now know I’m in Love with you that much, too.”

“I don’t want to spend a moment away from you. I want to go on all your Travels. I want to go to The Wedding. I even put on this awesome gold dress, pretending like I was.”

“It looks really good. It like how shiny it is.”

“Thanks, and I like how Professorial your Wedding Uniform is.”

“Thanks.”

“But how are we ever going to get away with this?”

“I don’t know. Are you saying we shouldn’t be together?”

“No, we can’t do that. We hafta be with each other. I’m not sure how yet, but we definitely can’t be together at a Reality Traveler’s Wedding that will be watched by other Angels and even The Goddess of Love.”

“I understand.”

“We’re already getting dangerously close as it is. I probably should go.”

“Let’s just give each other as much It’s Alright, Baby! as possible before you go.”

“Alright,” she said.

Then we pulled over to a New Jersey rest stop and held each other quietly in the parking lot.

“I TrueLove you,” she said.

“I TrueLove you,” I said.

“We’re in True Love. I know it, and that means everything will have to be Alright, Baby in the end.”

“Alright.”

Then she gave me one last big kiss on the lips, and then she hadta sprout her wings and launch into the sky, and I could hear her crying as she flew thru the sun once again.

Then I suddenly realized I hadta go to The Wedding all alone.

“New Realities,” I sighed.