8.15 – War

When we got back inside everyone was shouting.

“Oh my god!” Red said.  “There’s a bird in here!”

She was ducked down on the floor covering her head, and The Admiral was on top of a chair holding a broomstick.  Just then a flash of darkness swooped around and divebombed them. It was The Crow.

Red screamed, and The Admiral swung at it and missed.  The Crow flew in a few circles and then noticed me and came straight towards me. I just stood there staring at it and didn’t flinch, and its claw scraped right across my face.

“Oh my god!” Red said.  “It got HD.”

“I’ll take care of this,” The General said.

Then he grabbed the sabre off the wall and pulled it out of its sheath.  The lights of The Barracks shined off the metal, and The General held it into the air like the leader of the cavalry.

“Where’d it go?” he said.

“Over there,” The Admiral said.  “It’s taking Ace’s music.”

It had The Great Trip Mix in its beak and was about to make another swoop.

“Oh my god!” Red said, “Get it!”

The General held his weapon high and charged.  The Crow dodged outta the way tho and turned back toward me.

“Go ahead,” I told it.  “Get me again.”

The Crow dove down at my face.  I didn’t flinch again, and it scraped my other cheek.  It perched on the globe for a second and looked at me confused.  It left its guard down for just that second, and TheGeneral&TheAdmiral took advantage.  The Admiral smacked it in the face with the broom, and then The General swiped at its wing with the sabre, and feathers flew up everywhere.  When they finally settled on the ground, The Crow had vanished.

“It must’ve flown out from wherever it came in,” The General said.  “Although I don’t know how it could’ve.  This place is a fortress.”

“Was that The Gods?” The Admiral asked.

“No,” I said, “It was just a coincidence.  It probably flew in from the balcony when you weren’t looking.”

“Oh my god, HD,” Red said, “your cheeks are all bloody!”

“I’ll be alright.”

Then I wiped them with my hands, and my fingers got all red.

“Oh my god,” Red said, “let me clean you up.”

Then we went into the bathroom so she could look at it.  She took a wet cloth and wiped the blood off.

“I think you need a band-aid,” she said.

Then she got some out of the medicine cabinet, peeled off the wrappers, and stuck one on each of my cheeks.  It was nice, and a little Alright, Baby, and it made her seem like she was someone else.

“Thanks, La Renarde,” I said.

“Oh my god,” she said, “I’m Red.”

“You look like La Renarde.  You have the same red hair.”

 

“You’re so funny, HD.”

“Are you guys like twins?”

“No I’m younger.”

But they really looked exactly the same to me.  I had one last vague sense I was being TimeWarped, but when I went to look down at my Grounding Device, once again it and the jacket it was stuck to weren’t there anymore.

“Hey La Renarde,” I said.  “Maybe if we kiss again it’ll turn out different this time.”

“Um, you’re acting kinda weird now.”

“Why did you kiss me if you were just going to be in Love with that other guy?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about. Let’s go back in the room, HD.”

“I’m not HD, I’m Jonathan, and I just wanted to be Reality Travel enough so you’d Love me.  I did all of this for you, and now you don’t even believe in it anymore.”

“I really think we should go back in.”

“Please kiss me.”

“I don’t like you like that.”

“So you’re still not going to kiss me ever?”

“Ew, no.”

Then she pulled away from me as far as she could and told TheGeneral&TheAdmiral everything that just happened.

“Hahaha,” The Admiral said, “hahaha.”

“I win again,” The General said.  “When will you learn you just don’t have the Gods on your side.”

I looked at Red’s hair again as she avoided me across the room, and it was so LaRenarde-red, and then when I looked away everything else around us was the same color.  The walls and the counter and the door and the floor and The Admiral’s face and The General’s face, all pure red.  Then suddenly I felt a redness build and surge from inside me.  It was redbird, and it felt powerful and completely correct.

“Ahhrgh!” it made me say.

And then I charged ahead and attacked them with my redbird.

“Oww!” it made them say.

I took a step back, and all the normal colors suddenly came back around me.  White and black and gray.  Except for Red’s hair and clothes and a little red splatter on the floor.  Red’s eyes were wide open and she covered her mouth with her hand.  The Admiral was dazed on the ground, and The General was standing up holding his face.  One little red drop fell thru his fingers and hit the floor in front of him, and it almost made it seem like he was crying tears of blood.

4.9 – Kat Bed

After the pancakes Kat hadta go straight to bed so she could get up early for her job, and I went with her even tho I wasn’t tired at all. She took off her dress and got in bed in her underwear. And then I joined her in my underwear. I put my arm around her, and her she was right up against me.

“Hey, Kat,” I said, “let’s take a shower.”

“It’s late,” she said.

“In the morning then.”

“You won’t get up.”

“I’ll make sure I do.”

“You’ll get up in the afternoon.”

Kat nuzzled in even closer tho, so I started rubbing up and down her arms.

“Prr,” she said.

It encouraged me and then I started rubbing other things.

“Prr, prr,” she said.

Then I started rubbing even other things. The purring got louder and so did her breathing.

It was clear we were being TimeWarped into Love, and our underwear was getting in the way.  We just starting taking them off when Your Son jumped on the bed and sat on the top of my head and started licking my hair. I tried to shoo him away, but he was on there good. And it didn’t take long before I felt a burning inside my nose. I tried to fight it, but it was too powerful, and suddenly snot came exploding out and some of it got on Kat.

“Ew!” she said.

“It’s alright!” I said.

And then I sneezed again and then again and then a bunch of times in a row after that.

“Ugh,” Kat said, “Hold on, I think we’ve got some Benadryl.”

Benadryl is a Medicine Perception about getting rid of allergies. It’s very effective, but it also makes you very drowsy.

She came back with a couple pills and a glass of water. I swallowed them, and then I started to feel the old familiar Benadryl Perception I used to hafta be in all the time. My eyes got heavy and my body sunk into the bed, and I didn’t have the motivation to do anything anymore, let alone Love. I briefly wondered what Wolf would think of such a Perception and then fell into a deep sleep.

4.7 – LoveKat

Eventually the Road-80 traffic started moving again, but it took so long there was no way I’d be on time for Kat Reality. The Goddess of Faith gave me some more IAB! when she said goodbye, but it wasn’t long after she’d flown high into the sky toward the sun that Kat called and it all wore off. I didn’t even answer. I just started making Wings go as fast as it could, even tho it was against the law. I even sped right past a sign that said “The Wilderness, PA,” even tho I knew the right Traveler thing to do was Sidetrack into BigFoot’s hometown. I felt like every second counted, and there was just no way.

When I finally got to Kat’s parents’ house it was way after dinnertime. I stayed in her driveway for an extra second to prepare myself. I knew I couldn’t forget a Grounding Device like the last Past Reality, so I tried staring at my Bluebird Sticker long enough for it to stick on the inside of my brain. Then I sighed and grabbed The Mix and put another old delivery sticker on that and wrote…

Play Kat

track 6

and sing

I crossed my fingers and got outta the car.

When I got to the door Kat was already standing there in a sparkly gold dress and makeup, which she rarely wore. She was frowning at me.

“You’re really late,” she said.

“It’s alright, Kat,” I said. “There was construction on Road-80 and they stupidly closed every lane except one and you hadta wait for a guy with a stop sign to tell you you could go…”

But before I could finish she pounced on me with a big hug.

“Oh, I don’t care,” she said. “I’m just glad you got here safe!”

“Really?”

“Of course, now give Your Son a hug.”

Your Son was the kitten we’d had together. He was right at her side, but when I went down to squeeze him he squirmed out of my arms and ran away. It made me remember cats only Love you when they want to.

“Aw,” Kat said. “He’s just shy today.”

She was looking at me totally like the LoveKat, the thing she was before she became the HateKat. I figured there must’ve been some kinda TimeWarp at play for her.

“Are you hungry?” she asked.

“Very,” I said.

“Well, it’s too late to go to The Golden Lion, but there’s lots of food here. I can make you something.”

“Alright!”

Kat was very good at the kitchen and knew how to make almost everything on The Great List of Food.

“What do you want?” she asked.

“I don’t know,” I said.

“You had your mind set on General Tso’s Chicken, and now you can’t think of anything else, right?”

“Yes, that’s exactly what’s happening.”

“I know you.”

Then she smiled and gave me another hug.

“I can think of something else you like,” she said.

“What?”

“Apple pancakes.”

“You’re right, I do like those!”

“With the apples in the batter instead of that gross apple syrup on top like at the diner.”

“Yes, I like it that way!”

Then she went into the kitchen and started working on it. She gave me a package of fudge grams to snack on while I waited. And then she did all her mixing and griddling and things in her cute outfit, and I hadta keep coming up from behind and squeezing her.

“Haha, stop,” she said. “I’m doing things.”

“But when you’re doing things is when I like to squeeze you the most!” I said and squeezed her again hard.

When she was almost ready she told me to set the table with plates and silverware and maple syrup. Soon she came out with a big platter full of fat apple pancakes, and she scooped them onto my plate, and I covered them in the syrup.

“Oh, I almost forgot something,” she said.

Then she left and came back in a second with a cold can of Dr. Pepper.

“Alright!” I said.

Then I ate the pancakes and washed them down with Dr. Pepper.

“Do you like it?” she said.

“I love it all!” I said.

We smiled at each other as we ate. The TimeWarp was strong and I wondered if we’d even have Love again. I remembered everything was perfect when we were at her parents’ house. It was only when we lived together at Our Own Place that things started going bad.

3.7 – Salad

When I came back in I was immediately attacked by The Buddhawg. I had to hold my hands way over my head so he wouldn’t nip them, but he jumped up and tried anyway.

“Mom!” I said.

“Don’t let him bite you,” she said. “We’re trying to train him out of it.”

“I’m not letting him. He’s forcing it to happen.”

Then she had to pick him up again and throw him back behind a high wall of metal wires. Even then the puppy kept staring at my fingers and barking at them.

“Mom!” I said.

“What?”

“I’m hungry.”

“I’m just about to make a nice big salad.”

“What’s that?”

“Salads are the best food. They’re full of the vitamins and minerals your Self needs to Grow and have none of the toxins that Shrink it.”

Then she made a huge bowl of it for me, but it was only made of things from The Great List of Gross Food. There was sharp, pointy weed-lettuce and tomatoes and red peppers and cauliflower and toadstool mushrooms and currents and walnuts and lots of seeds and no dressing on it whatsoever. I tried to eat it, but the taste was not good, and every time a bite went in I had to close my eyes and shake my head, and my throat would try to close off so none of the grossness could get in. I looked down and there was so much left I knew I wouldn’t be able to finish.

“Can I have something else?” I said.

“Like what?”

“Something from the Great List of Food.”

“Well, I guess you can look around.”

I got up and opened the refrigerator and the pantry, but nothing we used to eat was in there anymore. There were only unfamiliar things called ‘herbal tea’ and ‘tempeh’ and ‘quinoa.’ The Tingles got big and swirled. I got dizzy and wobbled.

“Mom!” I said. “I can’t eat anything here.”

“What’s wrong with the salad?”

“Everything. I want McDonald’s.”

McDonald’s is a restaurant about being able to get the same great fast food everywhere in America. Everything on their menu is scientifically designed for the most Realities to MeToo. And it’s ready to eat as soon as you order it. The best thing there is The Happy Meal. It comes with a cheeseburger, french fries, milkshake and a toy of a McDonald’s character like Ronald McDonald.

Ronald McDonald is a clown about being really happy.

“Tss, tsst, tsst,” Mom said. “McDonald’s is the most toxic food there possibly is!”

“But you made me like it, cuz we would always stop there on the way back from The Mall.”

Mom wasn’t listening tho, she just kept shaking her head and tsst-ing me.

I had to fight thru the TimeFuck and get out of there again. I made it to the garage and got in the car. But then I realized I got in the back seat. Then I realized it was Mom’s car, and my own car was actually in the driveway. And then I realized I actually didn’t want to drive anywhere ever.

3.2 – The Professor’s Training Lesson: Past Realities

“Beware of Past Realities,” The Professor said. “A Past Reality is a Reality you used to MeToo but haven’t Traveled to in a while. When Traveling to a Past Reality you will feel an overwhelming urge to MeToo in the exact same way you used to. This is known as a TimeWarp, and it will affect you no matter how long or far you’ve been away.

Meanwhile, Time changes all Realities, and you or the Past Reality may be very different now and not be able to MeToo about the same things. These changes are known as TimeFucks, and if bad enough, they can give you Travler Vertigo, a condition of disorientation and sickness which may render you bedridden and MeToo disabled. The Vertigo is difficult to overcome without the assistance of another Traveler or The Gods and must be avoided at all costs.

To prevent the TimeWarp/TimeFuck from kicking your ass, you must have on you at all times a Grounding Device, which keeps you connected to your present Reality and allows you to find new MeToos with the Past Reality.