9.1 – The Great List of What’s Not Real

When I woke up it wasn’t the next day, but the day after that.  I knew I was supposta be at CFATTY’s for work, and they were calling me, but I didn’t call back.  I was also still Hungover, and didn’t have any Whatever-You-Drank-Two-Nights-Ago to cure it, but in another way I felt kinduv alrightcuz I knew The Great List of What’s Not Real…

I’m not The Bluebird, I’m just Jonathan.

 I’m not a MusicMan who MeToos via The Great List of Songs.  I just get mad when people don’t like the same songs as me.

I’m not a Reality Traveler cuz Reality Travel isn’t real.  I made it up cuz I was an insecure kid who wanted to feel more important. 

Everyone else I called Reality Travelers were also just insecure people who wanted to feel more important.

Wolf’s name isn’t really Wolf.  He doesn’t even really look like a wolf.  I just like animals a lot.

The Professor isn’t real.  I made up all the concepts and terminology and lessons of Reality Travel.

Reality Travel Training isn’t real.  I really went just went to graduate school.

Where-ThePlains-Meet-TheMountains is just a fancy way of saying Colorado.

The Crow repeatedly appearing inside places it shouldn’t have been was just a coincidence.

The Gods aren’t real.  Nothing created us and nothing cares if we’re destroyed. 

The OtherWorld isn’t real.  It’s just a hallucination caused by certain Perceptions, which are actually just drugs.

It’s impossible to TimeTravel.  You can only be in this present moment, which quickly vanishes forever.

The Goddess of Music isn’t real.  All songs from The Mix played during The Great Trip were just coincidences. I was not Touched and given The Gift, I was just naturally a good singer probably cuz of genetics.

The Goddess of Faith isn’t real.  She was just a fantasy of a woman who completely accepted me cuz no real woman ever has.

Because The Gods and The Goddess of Faith aren’t real, I will not get Eliminated for breaking God Rules and will continue to be alive.

Because Reality Travel isn’t real, I won’t even get The Malaise.

Because Reality Travel isn’t real, I didn’t break any Vow by going to War with The General&The Admiral, and they deserved to bleed.

The Professor would say The Great List of What’s Not Real is just a symptom of Big Doubt.  But like all other Reality Traveler BoobyTraps, Big Doubt is also not real.

8.16 – Retreat 

“What the fuck?!” TheGeneral&TheAdmiral said.

But before they knew what was happening, I just shoved them out of the way and started running.  I ran thru the living room and out the front door and down the stairs and out the building door until I got to Wings.  I dug my keys out and started the engine and squealed the tires as I backed out and sped away.  I didn’t look back, and I was crying the whole time.

When I got back to The Smaller Nest all the doors were locked, and I didn’t have a key.  I had to ring the doorbell a bunch of times, and then Dad finally answered in his underwear, and he looked like he didn’t want to be awake.

“You’re coming home late,” he said.

“I gotta throw up,” was all I could say.

Then I went straight to the bathroom, and everything was spinning, and everything in my stomach wanted to come out, and I pushed as much of it as I could into the toilet in huge bursts.  I couldn’t stand up anymore and hadta just lie there on the floor close to the bowl so I could throw up into it when I needed.  Dad came in to check on me.

“What happened?” he asked.

“War,” I said but I was too sick to explain much else.

“Is that a Reality Travel term?”

“I’m not sure Reality Travel’s even real anymore.”

“Our minds can create powerful stories that seem very real,” Dad said.  “They try to protect us by covering up the painful past Wounds on our Spirit.”

“Maybe my mind did do that.”

“But you can Awaken and see the truth like you are now.  You can choose to let go of the story and face the Wounds and then Forgive others and yourself for them.”

All I could do was throw up again.

“Remember this feeling,” Dad said.  “You don’t have to harm others or yourself like this again.”

“I won’t,” I said.  “I’m not Reality Traveling anymore.”

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.

8.11 – The Barracks

The Barracks was in a brand new luxury apartment complex.  There was a gate around it, and you hadta enter a code in order for it to open. Inside all the buildings looked exactly the same, and you hadta have someone like The Admiral tell you which one to go to or else you’d get lost.  Then when you got to the right building you hadta type in another code to get inside the door.  Then you hadta go to another door upstairs, and when you unlocked that you were finally allowed in The Barracks.

It was clean and organized, but there wasn’t much in it.  Aside from the basic furniture, there was just a globe and shelf with books about War. All the walls were bright white and bare, except for one that had an old fashioned sabre hanging up on it.

As soon as we got in the door The Admiral told The General we’d got in a car accident.

“No, we didn’t,” I said.

“Hahaha,” The Admiral, “it was close.”

“Some things never change, do they?” The General shook his head.

“Everything always changes,” I said.

Then a girl came into the room who looked just like La Renarde.  Everything on her was red.  Red hair, red lips, red tanktop, red skirt, red boots.

“Hahaha,” The Admiral said, “Red.”

“Oh my god!” she looked over at me.  “Hippie Dippie!  Do you remember me?”

I’d only seen her briefly a couple of times when she was just a kid.  La Renarde was older and always said they never MeToo’d about anything, and she couldn’t believe they were actually related.

“Sortuv,” I said, “I’m not Hippie Dippe tho.  I’m Jonathan or Ace or Bluebird.”

“You’re funny,” she said.  “I’m gonna call you HD for short.  Just like my favorite kind of TV!”

“No.”

But she ignored me and pointed to my chest.

“Oh my god, HD” she said. “Why are you wearing a sticker?”

“Don’t look at that,” I said and covered it up.  “Why are you here?”

“Oh my god, me and TheGeneral&TheAdmiral are are like friends now.  They come into my job at Applebee’s all the time, and they’re so much more mature than the boys at Ohio Future Adult Training School.”

Then she noticed The Stash we’d just brought in.

“Oh my god!” she said and grabbed a bottle of vodka.  “Is there any cranberry juice?”

The Admiral showed her what we just picked up on the gas station run.

“Oh my god, yes!” she said.  “Let’s get wasted.”

And then before you knew it everyone started raiding The Stash and grabbing different bottles to make their own drinks.

“Wait,” I said, “the best way to MeToo is if we all drink the same amount of the same Alcohol.”

“Don’t try to pretend like you know more about drinking than we do,” The General said.

“Hahaha,” The Admiral said, “we’re alcoholics.”

“I know what I’m talking about,” I said.  “I learned it from the great Perceptionist Reality Traveler Wolf.”

“I was born knowing Perception,” The General said.

“No, you weren’t.  It’s a Reality Traveler term, and you don’t even know what it means.”

“What I know is that there’s no way you’ll be able to drink as much as me.  I have a greater body mass and a genetically superior tolerance.”

“Only MeNotzies make drinking a competition.”

“Okay,” he shrugged, “then I’m a ‘MeNotzie.’”

There was nothing I could do to stop it from becoming Every Reality For Themselves.  Red drank the vodka and cranberry, The Admiral drank straight rum, and The General mostly only drank expensive beer from his own Stash that was already there. You couldn’t tell how much Alcohol they were drinking at once, but they were all drinking too fast.  I hadta make my own very powerful JacknDrPepper just to try and keep up.

It seemed like a good moment for The Goddess of Faith to show up, but she didn’t.  All I could do was look down at my Sticker.

“I’m The Bluebird, a MusicMan Traveler who flies to all Realities and sings to them,” I hadta say to myself.

8.8 – Applebee’s

TheGeneral&TheAdmiral wanted to meet at the bar at Applebee’s.

Applebee’s is a restaurant found in every city in America about having the most average food possible.  Often in Suburban areas they do not have real bars, and Applebee’s is the closest thing to one.

I didn’t even shower first, I just left on my Wedding Uniform cuz even tho it had a little Travel stink on it, the Professor-like tweed jacket still gave me the best chance of getting taken seriously.  When I got out to Wings I was hoping The Goddess of Faith was gonna be there waiting, but she wasn’t. I guessed it wasn’t the right key moment yet, and I hadta go to Applebee’s by myself.

TheGeneral&TheAdmiral were already there sitting at the bar.  The General was wearing a suit and tie Adult Uniform, and The Admiral was wearing some kind of workman’s jumpsuit Adult Uniform.  They looked like they’d just come from their jobs even tho it was the middle of a long holiday weekend.  The Admiral laughed as soon as he saw me.

“Hahaha,” he said, “what are you wearing, Hippie Dippie?”

I looked down.

“You mean my jacket?” I asked.

“Hahaha,” he said, “hippie jacket.”

“What are you talking about?  This jacket was very respected at the Wedding I went to yesterday.”

“Hahaha, why’s it got a sticker on it?”

I quickly covered it with my hand, so he couldn’t read it.

“Easy, Admiral,” The General said.  “Let him sit down at least before you start busting balls.”

“Thanks,” I said and took a stool next to them.

“So where are you living these days?” The General asked.

“Where-ThePlains-Meet-TheMountains,” I said.

“Hahaha,” The Admiral said.  “Never heard of it.”

“It’s many states west of here,” I said.

“So when did you fly in?” The General asked.

“I didn’t,” I said.  “I drove.”

“Hahaha,” The Admiral said, “but you don’t know how to drive.”

“I do now.”

“Hahaha, but you didn’t at as-soon-as-you-were-16 like you were supposed to.”

Then The Bartender came over and asked what I wanted.  I noticed TheGeneral&TheAdmiral were drinking beers, and even tho I didn’t like it I knew we hadta be in Common Perception, so I got one, too.

“Let’s do a toast,” I said.

“Nah,” they said. “We don’t do toasts.”

“Whatever,” I said and hadta say “GAM-BAY” quietly to myself.

ThenGeneral&TheAdmiral started catching me up on what they were doing in life.  The General worked at an office that designed rubber for weapons, and he was making a lot of money.  The Admiral worked at a factory that made rubber for weapons, and he didn’t make as much money but still a lot more than me.  Then it was time for me to tell them what I was doing in life, but I wasn’t quite sure how to do it.

“Hahaha,” The Admiral said.  “I know what Hippie Dippie’s doing.  He’s The Bluebird, a MusicMan Reality Traveler who flies to all Realities and sings to them.”

“How did you know that?” I said.

“Hahaha, why are you wearing a sticker?”

“Sounds like nonsense words,” The General said. “What does ‘Reality Traveler’ mean?”

Then I didn’t know what else to do but try to explain.

“A Reality Traveler,” I sighed,“is chosen by The Gods to Travel to as many Realities as possible and prevent War by MeTooing them.”

“Hahaha,” The Admiral said.  “Hippie Dippie did become a hippie!”

“No surprise,” The General said.

“Hahaha, The Admiral said, “peace, man.”

And then he mockingly held two fingers in the air like a Golden Age Reality Traveler.

“I’m just curious,” The General said.  “Who’s paying you for this Reality Traveling?”

“No one,” I said.  “I do it for free.”

“Then what do you do for money?”

“I deliver pizza.”

“Hahaha,” The Admiral said, “but you can’t drive!”

“I can now!”

“So a Reality Traveler is called upon by The Gods to stop War,” The General said.

“Yes,” I said.

“There are so many flaws in this, where do I begin? First, War is necessary. According to you we were supposed to just let The Axis Powers win World War II?”

“We should’ve MeToo’d them,” I said. “Focused on what we had in common.”

“What do you mean?  You think we could have stopped the War just by agreeing we both like sauerkraut or sushi?  That’s ridiculous.  We had to annihilate them or else they would’ve annihilated us.”

“But The Great MeNotzie Army wouldn’t have even formed if at the end of the First Great Reality War the winning Realities hadn’t blamed the losing Realities for totally starting the War.  They needed to say the Eleventh Hour MeToo that they were all being MeNotzies.  Instead it just made the losers feel more different and alone and afraid of all the other Realities around them.”

“Let’s say that’s true.  How are you personally going to stop War.  As we’ve easily predicted, you are not in any kind of influential position in the U.S. government.”

“War is happening all the time in little ways tho. Just Realities arguing and making fun of each other and wanting each other to change.”

“How can you possibly stop that?”

“Every Reality Traveler has a MeToo Specialty and mine is The Great List of Old Songs.”

“Hahaha,” The Admiral said, “Sunday Bloody Sunday!”

“How is a song going to help someone if they’re getting robbed or raped or murdered by some psycho?” The General said.

“Maybe if someone had MeToo’d them earlier about a song, they wouldn’t feel like doing that stuff,” I said.

“What if you can’t find a song you both MeToo?”

“There’s always gotta be at least one song.”

“I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that the only songs you know are the ones you heard on The Radio as a kid. How could you ever MeToo an inner city black guy or a foreigner or someone much older or younger?  One day in the future only a few people will ever have even heard of your favorite songs.”

“Then maybe I’ll start my own band and always be writing new songs Realities can MeToo.”

“What about people like me and The Admiral who don’t even listen to songs?”

“Then maybe I’ll write a book about trying to MeToo about music, and readers will at least MeToo about that.”

“How will you get us to read it?  We only read books about War.”

“Fine, if all else fails, there’s always Alcohol.”

“Hahaha,” The Admiral said, “I can actually MeToo that.”

“I’d still go to War with someone I drank with,” The General said.  “They’d let their guard down, and then I’d strike.”

“Or maybe your guard would be down, and you’d be easier to MeToo,” I said.

“How about we test this out then.  We’ll get drunk together tonight, and we’ll see whether we MeToo or go to War.”

“You’re on.”

 The General was about to order another round, but I stopped him and told him about The Stash.

“There’s still enough to get half a Wedding drunk,” I said, “and the best part is it’s free.”

“On my salary I can afford to drink all night at Applebee’s,” The General said, “but I can see how a pizza delivery driver would need that kind of break.”

“Hahaha,” The Admiral said, “minimum wage.”

Then they agreed to just go back to their apartment they called The Barracks and drink The Stash there.

“Only thing is there’s no mixers,” I said.

“We don’t use mixers,” The General said.

“Hahaha,” The Admiral said, “what about Red?”

“Oh yes,” The General said, “our friend Red is supposed to hang out with us tonight, and she’ll need her cranberry juice.”

Then he started giving us orders.

“Hippie Dippie since you apparently can’t handle your alcohol straight, you drive to the nearby gas station and get your mixer plus cranberry for Red.  Admiral you go with him to make sure he doesn’t screw up.  We’ll rendezvous back at The Barracks when your mission is complete.”

“Alright,” I said.

 “Hahaha,” The Admiral said when we got in Wings. “I hope we don’t crash.”

“Dammit, I’m telling you Admiral, I can drive now!”

8.6 – Memorial Day Weekend Dinner

Suddenly I was back in the traffic jam at the modern day Valley Forge.

“Dammit,” I said, “back in Alone Reality.”

Everything moved slowly.  Eventually The ShortCut took me to Road-76 Pennsylvania, and it was also full of traffic desperate to get to their Memorial Day Weekend plans.

Memorial Day Weekend is a holiday weekend about how you’re supposta be remembering past American Reality Wars, but you actually just go outside and have a barbeque with your family.

Even I hadta get back to The Smaller Nest where Mom and Dad were having their own traditional barbeque.  The Road ended up taking a long time, and I got sleepy, and my hangover came back, and my butt hurt, and I’d even heard The Mix so many times by then it had stopped giving me The Chills very often.  I was so Road-Weary all I could think was please just have at least something from The Great List of Food there when I get back.

When I finally pulled into the driveway I hadta go up and ring the doorbell cuz I still didn’t have a key. Dad answered.

“You’re just in time!” he said.  “The food’s all ready.”

Then he led me to the back porch, where there was a sizzling grill with meat smells and an umbrella table filled with platters of creamy mashed potatoes, fresh green beans, sweet rolls, a pitcher of homemade lemonade, and even a whole just outta the oven StrawberryRhubarb Pie.

“Oh my Gods!” I said,  “This whole barbeque is full of food from The Great List of Food.”

“Did you see what was on the grill?” Dad said.

Then he opened it up, and my nose hadn’t tricked me, it really was the grilled pink meat of a big salmon.

“Is this some kind of mirage?” I said.  “What bout Spiritual Growth and toxins?”

“It’s all alright,” Mom said. “It’s all organic so it has less toxins.”

“And the toxins it does have we can overlook because it’s a holiday,” Dad said.

It was great.  I didn’t feel any TimeFuck swirls, and even The Buddhawg wasn’t biting me for some reason.

“Where’s the dog?” I said.

Mom pointed, and he was just laying there on the porch quietly with a little pant-mouth smile.  Then he noticed me watching and got up and sweetly licked my hand.

“What’s going on here?” I said.

“Oh, he must be getting used to you now,” Mom said.

Then we sat down and started eating, and it was just as good as I thought.  My mouth didn’t want it to stop going in, and there was more than enough to fill my plate twice.  It was like I’d just TimeTraveled back to some perfect year from the very center of my childhood.  Eventually tho Dad did remind me I was on The Great Trip.

“So,” he said, “I hear you’ve been doing a lot of driving lately.”

“Driving?…” I said, but then looked down at my Bluebird sticker still right on the front of my jacket.  “Oh yeah.”

Then I told him all about it, like which exact Roads I’d taken, and where the worst traffic jams were, and how long it took to get from one city to another, and how many miles per gallon of gasoline Wings was getting.

“Wow!” he said, “you’ve really come along way. I remember when you wouldn’t even get on the tricycle.”

“He’s just like you now,” Mom said to him.  “All those vacations when we used to drive as long as you could without stopping.”

“Well, you can rest up here tonight before your big drive West again.”

“Actually I have to go out tonight,” I said.

“Tsst,” Mom said, “Why?”

“Reality Travel.”

It was hard enough explaining Reality Travel to Mom, but whenever I brought it up with Dad he always seemed to argue with me about it.

“Where are you Traveling to now?” he asked.

“TheGeneral&TheAdmiral,” I said.

“I didn’t know you were still friends with them.”

“I’m not.”

“Then why go?”

“Because I have to.”

“So Reality Travel means you have to spend time and energy on people you don’t care to be around?”

“Sometimes it does.”

“How will that make you feel?”

“I’ll feel great if I can MeToo them.”

“So you still need their Acceptance?”

“Look, Dad, I don’t know all the Self Growth Terminology, but according to Reality Travel not MeTooing could mean War, and that’s the worst thing that could happen.”

“What does War mean? The Pain of not being Accepted by them?”

“No, War means War.  Realities getting destroyed forever by guns and bombs.  By MeTooing them tonight, I’ll actually be saving The World.”

“Oh, so it has nothing to do with still feeling Wounded by their past Criticism?”

“Nope.”

“Or getting devastated by Criticism of any kind because you believe other’s opinions of you, and your self-esteem depends on it?”

“I know you’re trying to Self Growth me, Dad. But I don’t need it. I’m Grown enough.”

“Is it really Grown to feel terrible about yourself over something as small as someone not liking the same song as you?”

“You’re not getting it.”

“All I can speak from is my own experience. I’ve discovered thru my Self Growth that I have Wounds from long ago that make me Fearful of other’s Disapproval.  I became a doctor because I wanted Approval.  I built a big house because I wanted Approval.  I held back my Authentic Self because I wanted Approval.  But it’s only made me suffer.  Now I’m trying to Heal my Wounds, let go of the need for Approval, and learn to Follow My Heart.  I believe if you truly Follow Your Heart it doesn’t matter if anyone else MeToos you or not.”

“Well, me, The Professor and every other Reality Traveler believe that MeToos are everything.  And we’re not supposta stop until we MeToo every Reality in The World.”

“Supposed to? Who says?”

“The Gods!  I know you don’t think they’re real, but they are.  I’ve been to The Other World and seen them, and I’m even in Love with one.  She’ll probably even be coming here right now to prove it to you.”

We waited a few minutes, but The Goddess of Faith didn’t show up.

“Sometimes,” Dad said, “what we think is a Higher Power is really just a part of ourselves…”

“You don’t understand at all!” I interrupted.

Then I got up and grabbed a slice of pie.

“I’m going to my room to eat this and play Stuffed Animal War!” I said.

“We put all the stuffed animals in the basement,” Mom said.

“Then I’m going down there!”

8.4 – Track #10 of The Great Trip Mix: U2’s “Sunday Bloody Sunday” (Live)

One time La Renarde took me to the DowntownOIC(R) Music Store.

“This is where you get music so you don’t have to listen to only The Radio,” she said.

The store had a lot of music in it, but most of it came in outdated forms Realities hadn’t bought for years.  Many of them were out of their original packaging and looked pretty scuffed up.

“They’re not new,” I said.

“Used things are very Reality Travel,” she said. “Reality Travelers are supposed to be poor and not be able to afford new things.  Besides,they’re all still perfectly alright and may even sound better.”

I looked thru the racks to try and see which albums had the most Radio Hits.  U2 had one called “Greatest Hits” that was made of only their Radio Hits, and I knew like every single one of them already.

U2 is a band,from the far off and exciting Realities of Ireland,about causes.  Their songs are always trying to cause Realities to care about other Reality’s problems like starving, getting sick from diseases, unfairly owing money, or dying in a War.

“Hey,” I said to the La Renarde.  “Are U2 Reality Travel?”

“Yeah,” she said. “I mean, before they got on The Radio obviously.”

“I think I want to get this one.”

Then I showed her the Greatest Hits album.

“Greatest Hits albums are not Reality Travel at all,” she said.  “Here, let me pick out one for you.”

Then she picked out one that said “WAR” on it, and it had a black&white picture of a little kid with angry eyes and a bloody lip.  It had the Hit “Sunday Bloody Sunday” on it.

“Sunday Bloody Sunday,” is a song about blood.  The best way to win a War is to remove the blood of the other Reality cuz they won’t be able to be alive without it.  Sometimes a MeNotzie will use a gun to make big holes in a Reality that removes a lot of blood all at once.  Like one weekend in The Northern Ireland Front of The Catholic vs. Protestant Reality War, when the Protestant Army shot a bunch of Catholic Realities even tho they didn’t have guns themselves.

“Alright, I’ll get it,” I said.

“Actually…” La Renarde said.  “You know what would be even more Reality Travel?  The live album.  The songs sound slightly different than the studio versions, and there’s crowd noise and stage banter.”

Then she picked out another album called Under a Blood Red Sky, and that cover had the black silhouette of a singer surrounded by the blood red sky.  It also had “Sunday Bloody Sunday” on it, and it said it was recorded in the far off and exciting Realities of Where-ThePlains-Meet-TheMountains.

“Ooh,” I said, “I’ll get this one then.”

Then we listened to it, and La Renarde was right, the live version of “Sunday Bloody Sunday” was actually better.  At the beginning lead singer Bono goes,“This song is not a rebel song,” and in the middle he yells,“I’m so sick of it,” and you know he’s talking about War and really means it.  The guitars and drums are fuzzier and louder and you know they really mean it, too.  And then at the end there’s an extra round thru the chorus, and by the end you’re really pumped up to stop War forever.

I took the album with me everywhere after that, even when The General would drive me and The Admiral to school in his old minivan we called The Tank.  Usually we’d just talk about War the whole way, and the only Radio on would be an AM station that had The News.

“Hey,” I said, “how come we never listen to music in here?”

“Music is mostly pointless,” The General said. “While we’re over here listening to songs, The Chinese are building a huge Army to destroy us.”

“Hahaha,” The Admiral said.  “General Tso.”

“Some music is tolerable I suppose,” The General said.  “Marches and National Anthems and that sort of thing.  But most of them are just Love songs that make us soft and vulnerable, and don’t think our Enemies don’t know this.”

“Hahaha,” The Admiral said.  “Emotions.”

“Well,” I said.  “I just got this new album, and it’s so great that even you won’t be able to help liking it.”

Then I showed The General Under a Blood Red Sky.

“The album title does sound promising,” he said.

Then he put it on “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” and Bono screamed, and the snare drums charged, and the electric guitar fired right at you.

“Listen to this!” I said.  “It sounds just like a battle.”

“Hahaha,” The Admiral said, “Sunday Bloody Sunday.”

And then he sang along, but it was not so he could get The Chills, but in a fake voice so he could make fun of it.

“Hahaha Bloody Hahaha,” he sang.

Then The General suddenly just turned it off.

“I’ve heard enough,” he said.  “Listen to these lines.  ‘I can’t close my eyes and make it go away,’ ‘I won’t heed the battle call,’ ‘there’s many lost but tell me who has won.’  Ace, this song is disgustingly Pacifist.”

“Hahaha,” The Admiral said.  “Peace.”

“What’s so funny about peace,” I said.  “I’ve been thinking lately War isn’t so great. I mean people die in War, and I wouldn’t want to die.”

“I knew it all along, Ace,” The General said. “It was only a matter of time before you went Pacifist on us.  You’ve finally realized you don’t have what it takes to be a Great War-Man, so instead you’ll cowardly try to oppose War all together.”

“No, it’s cuz War is really bad, and it does more harm than good.  La Renarde thinks so, too.”

“Hahaha,” The Admiral said.  “She’s weird.”

“Admiral’s right,” The General said.  “She is very unconventional.  I assume she thinks more with her heart than her head, and she’s inventing fantasies because she feels insecure.  You can’t let her influence you just because you want to kiss her.”

“It’s not just her,” I said.  “There’re lots of other people who don’t like War.”

“Hahaha,” Admiral said.  “Hippies.”

“Maybe Hippies are alright,” I said.  “They stopped Vietnam, and everyone knows that was a bad War.”

“The Hippies would like to think they did that,” The General said, “but it was really President Nixon and Secretary of State Kissinger.  You can’t stop a War unless you’re actually in power.”

“Then maybe I’ll become a Diplomat,” I said.

“Hahaha,” The Admiral said.  “Dippie.”

“Really,” I said, “I’ll become a powerful diplomat, like the Secretary of State or maybe even the President, and America will never go to War again.”

“Hahaha,” The Admiral said.  “Hippie Dippie.”

“How are you going to do that?” The General said. “You can’t even drive yourself to school.”

“Hahaha, Hippie Dippie can’t drive.”

“Shut up,” I said.

“Hahaha,” The Admiral said.  “Let’s just call him Hippie Dippie from now on.”

“I’d have to agree,” The General said.  “In light of recent developments, Hippie Dippie seems much more fitting than Ace.”

And that’s what they started calling me, and that’s when I kinda stopped hanging out with them.