8.13 – Summoning

I left the apartment and went outside just in case the Goddess couldn’t for some reason get thru the Barracks’ defenses. When I got out to the parking lot to Wings she wasn’t there tho.

“Faith,” I said up to the sky, “where are you?”

But still there was no response.  I wondered if maybe I hadn’t made a big enough sacrifice earlier.  After all it was just gin which nobody really liked anyway.  I looked in the car for anything else that I would miss a little more. It seemed like I’d probably have to get into my Traveler Gear to really get her attention.  So I took my deodorant and threw it under the car.

“I’m going to get pretty smelly without that,” I said.  “It’ll make MeTooing that much harder.”

But she didn’t show up, so I figured I’d have to sacrifice even more, and then I took my pillow and stuck it in the middle of a nearby shrub.

“No good sleeping in the car for me anymore,” I said.

But she still didn’t show up.  Then I started to get mad, and I took Jack Kerouac’s On the Road and ripped all the pages out of it, and they fell all around me like book rain.

“C’mon Angel!” I said.  “Isn’t that enough?  Can you finally come now?”

But still she wasn’t there.  And then I got a bad thought.  What if something happened to her?  What if she’d been caught for breaking The Rules?

And then I got an even worse thought.  What if The General&The Admiral and La Renarde and my Dad were all right?  What if Reality Travel wasn’t real?  What if I was just a Creep imagining the whole thing in my head just to feel Special, and all the other Travelers, even Wolf, even The Professor, just hadn’t woke up to the truth yet either?

But I still knew if it was real at all then I needed my Guardian Angel more than ever and not just to help MeToo the MeNotzies inside.  So then I took the item that was most important to me and her, the Professor-style tweed jacket for my Wedding Uniform, which cost a whole week of pizza delivery money to buy.  I balled it up in my hands and tossed it inside the nearest dumpster.

“There!” I said and cried.  “That’s the biggest sacrifice I can make.”

But still there was no Goddess of Faith, the one Reality who was never supposta leave me HighNDry, and I couldn’t help but worry she’d never come, and I’d never feel her It’s Alright, Baby ever again.

Then all I could do was get the deodorant from under the car, pull the pillow out of the shrub and brush the prickers off, and gather up as many pages of On the Road as I could find.

Finally, I tried to climb up the side of the dumpster so I could reach in and grab the jacket, but it was very high and smooth, and I didn’t want to accidentally fall in and not be able to get out.

“Dammit,” I cried a little and hadta just leave it there and go back inside.

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!”

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.

6.6 – 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.

6.3 – New Day

I got up first thing in the morning, and El Puma was already gone cuz Adult jobs make you get up before first thing. He left a goodbye note saying I could stay as long as I needed, but he didn’t know I had the most important Travels of the whole Great Trip ahead. It was also the Travels that made me the most nervous cuz of all the New Realities. I took my time and showered and put on my Wedding Uniform — dress shoes, dress socks, khaki pants, belt, white dress shirt, blue tweed jacket. If I was several feet taller I would’ve looked just like The Professor.

When I got outside, NewYorkCity looked much different. The sky was Bluebird blue, and there were suddenly little sparkles in the concrete. There were relatively few other Realities around. The nocturnal CityRats had crawled back underground, and Wings was still parked right where I left it and unharmed with the sun bouncing off its windows.

“Hmm,” I thought, “Maybe this is a new day and everything will be alright.”

Then I thought about The Goddess of Faith and kinduv expected her to be in the car already, but she wasn’t.

“Where are you, Faith?” I said to the skies as I drove out of The World’s hugest buildings.

Still she wasn’t there, and I figured I’d just hafta summon her the regular way. I looked down at my Wedding Uniform and tried to figure out what parts were most and least necessary. The tweed jacket was number one, and I figured I probably wouldn’t have to go that far to summon the Angel. The pants and shirt also seemed pretty important, and the belt had to be there to hold the pants up. My dad’s shoes tho, they were nice and completed the Uniform well, but I could also see how no one might notice shoes at all, and, besides, my tennis shoes would be way more comfortable. So at the next stop I took the shoes off and threw them out into the fast moving traffic of the most challenging Roads in America.

“Gods,” I said, “This is Traveler Bluebird and I need my Angel Baby.”

Just then a giant flock of city pigeons came flying at the car. Hundreds of wings were hitting Wings, and their bird goo got on us. After a furious moment of wiping the windshield I looked over, and The Goddess of Faith was getting in and wearing a fancy gold dress from modern human times.

“Thank Goddess, you’re here,” I said. “I could really use some IAB! I was not good at Reality Travel last night. I had too much Traveler Pride and then the MeNotzies got me and El Puma in the end. And today is going to be even harder cuz of all the New Realities.”

“It’s Alright, Bluebird,” she said. “It’s all just learning, and you had a really great MeToo with the Moth.”

She was lacking her usual Goddess umph tho, and when she reached over she only gave me a little It’s Alright, Baby pat on the back. It was only about the same Alrightness as an aspirin. Her eyes were looking down, and her mouth was pretty frowny.

“Oh no,” I said, “you’re sad.”

“Yes.”

“I didn’t know Goddesses could get sad.”

“They can.”

“What’s wrong?”

“Kissing you.”

“That was a bad thing?”

“No, it’s the opposite of that. I want to kiss you too much now. I want to make you feel Alright too much. I like your fears and doubts too much, and I like your MeToo victories too much. What if kissing you is way more than just kissing you. What if it’s Love?”

“Oh my Goddess! That would be amazing.”

“I know, but remember I told you there’re Rules? Well, they’re really serious.”

“You mean like not intervening?”

“Exactly. I’m only supposta be there to encourage you during moments of Little Doubt and other Boobytraps, and I could get kicked out of The Angel Corps for helping you as much as I have. But even more important than that, it’s forbidden for any God to be in Love with any human.”

“I don’t understand. Wouldn’t the Gods want to help Reality Travelers as much as possible? If we had Angel-Traveler Kissing SuperTeams, we could MeToo the entire World, and all The MeNotzies would just shrivel up and turn to dust.”

“Reality Travel is like a movie to The Gods. It’s supposta be hard for the human or else it’s not entertaining when they succeed. And they think if a God is in Love with a human, then there’s no way the God isn’t going to get involved and make it too easy.”

“What would happen if we got caught?”

“We could both be Eliminated from Existence.”

“Oh.”

“Now, you see why I’m so sad. I think I might not be able to be your Guardian Angel at all anymore.”

Then some instinct took over me, and I reached over to her, put my arms around her, and held her.

“It’s Alright, Angel,” I said.

And then I looked at her face, and she was smiling.

“Oh Bluebird,” she said. “I just got the most wonderful feeling. Like everything is going to be Alright, and I don’t even care if I do get Eliminated.”

“You just got an It’s Alright, Baby?!” I said.

“I think so!”

“I thought you just felt like that all the time since it’s what you’re made out of.”

“No, I only really felt it now when you gave it to me!”

“Wow, and it actually felt just as good to give it to you as it feels to receive!”

“Now, you know how I feel!”

Then we looked into each other’s eyes, and we just couldn’t help it. Our bodies got closer and our faces and lips just moved on their own and kissed.

“Oh no,” I said. “We’re breaking The Rules again.”

“I know,” she said.

But we kept kissing and couldn’t stop.

“What if there are Gods watching?” I kissed.

“They may be,” she kissed. “We should find a safe place where they can’t find us.”

“But where?”

“We could go to my AngelNest. It’s private, and they’d never suspect we’d go there, but we’d still have to be very careful.”

“Is that in the Other World?”

“Yes.”