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.

7.17 – Shitshow

As the sing-along continued, Wolf summoned me and Scorpion into the kitchen.

“Well done, Bluebird,” Wolf said.  “I can’t believe I got the full blown Vertigo.  It was actually fascinating, like its own Perception.”

“I’m sorry,” Scorpion said.  “I underestimated the significance of this RealityFuck phenomenon.”

“It’s Alright,” Wolf said, “but now that all these Realities are together again, we have to maintain the MeTooing with a Common Perception at once.”

“I don’t feel comfortable doing any Perception with that Marijuana MeNotzie here,” Scorpion said.

“I’ve been watching him all night,” I said. “He’s had a lot of chances to be a MeNotzie but hasn’t.  In fact, I think he’s dying to MeToo with us.”

Then we looked back in the living room at him. The Baby was jumping up and down and clapping and had a big smile on his innocent puff-cheek face.

“I’ll admit he does look quite innocent,” Scorpion said.

“Yes,” Wolf scratched his chin, “I trust Bluebird’s assessment.”

“Alright,” Scorpion said.  “The only problem now is that we’re already deep into our own separate Perceptions.”

“There’s got to be something we can do tho,” Wolf said.

“Well,” Scorpion said.  “It’s a risk.  But we could try a having a Shitshow.”

“Of course!” Wolf said.

“What’s a Shitshow?” I asked.

“It’s a fringe theory of Perceptionism,” Wolf said, “suggesting if a Reality is at an extreme magnitude of a given Perception, or in other words Shitfaced, then they will be able to MeToo another Shitfaced Reality even if in a completely different Perception.  It’s unproven tho, and even if it did work, I’m not sure how to account for all these Sober Realities.”

“What if the Sober Realities get Shitfaced on a weak and unpowerful Perception like, say, Caffeine?” Scorpion suggested.

“I’ve still got a lot of Dr. Pepper in my car,” I said.

“Alright,” Wolf said, “we have no choice but to try.”

I left to get the Caffeine Perception, and when I got back Wolf was in the living room directing everything.  He had Emperor Penguin and The Penguins play every Marley song they knew, and Lamb kept everyone singing along.  WildFuckingTurkey was going around with bottles of Alcohol around and making sure everyone was drinking more than they could handle.

“Bluebird,” Wolf came up to me, “make sure the Sobers get fucking wired.”

“Alright,” I said.

Then I started handing out whole Dr. Peppers to each of them.

“I loveDr. Pepper,” The Baby said, “but I’m not allowed to have any too close to bedtime.”

“It’s Alright, The Baby,” I said.  “You can drink as much as you want after a Wedding.”

“Oh, alright!” he said and started happily suckling on his very own two liter Baby bottle.

Then Scorpion came back with The Marijuana Perception.  He was still cautious and trying to sneak the Octobong behind his back.  But the Baby saw it anyway.

“Hey!” he said. “What’s that cool looking Octopus thing?”

Scorpion was startled and was about to crawl right back into The Hole, but Wolf stopped him before he could.

“It’s alright,” he said, “just show him what it is.”

Then Scorpion brought it over, and The Baby started playing with it like it was new toy.

“What’s it for?” The Baby asked.

“You smoke Marijuana Perception out of it,” Scorpion said.

“I wanna try!”

“You do?”

“Yeah!”

The Scorpion sat next to The Baby and showed him which tentacle was which so you could smoke out of it.  The Baby took a hit and coughed and a minute later was giggling uncontrollably.

“I like it!” he said.

After that everyone in the room was inspired to try every Perception available at once.  I even took a couple more hits off the Octobong, and Emperor Penguin put some Dr. Pepper in his scotch.  Soon we were all Shitfaced, and the MeToos were flying around the room, and everyone got a chance to sit on The Throne.  Then it’s hard to remember what happened next.  I remember at some point looking up and Wolf was in the middle of the whole Shitshow smiling with his arm around Lamb.

And I remember sometime later waking up on the hard living room floor, and my head was right next to Emperor Penguin’s.

“Hey, Where-ThePlains-Meet-TheMountains,” he said.

“What?” I said.

“You came all the way from there?”

“Yeah.”

“By yourself?”

“Yeah.”

“That’s Alright.”

“Thanks.”

 

“Hey, Where-ThePlains-Meet-TheMountains.”

“Yeah?”

“I think I’m gonna keep the band together.”

“Cool.”

“Hey… Wherethe…

“Yeah?”

“I’m shitfaced, man.”

“MeToo,” I said, and then I passed out.

7.11 – Wolf&EmperorPenguin

“Emperor Penguin,” Wolf said, “was my best friend in HighSchool.  We met in Health class.  I’d just started experimenting on my own with the basic Perceptions like Alcohol and Marijuana and discovering their many benefits.  Health class, however, was trying to teach us that any Perception was a dangerous and unhealthy mistake, which could only destroy your life.

‘Marijuana is a gateway to all the other drugs,’ the Health Teacher said.  ‘It may seem harmless, but before you know it, you’ll be dying of a heroin overdose.’

Everyone in the class was listening closely and taking notes so they could get a good grade on a test.  But there was one lone voice in the back of the class who went “pfft.” I looked back, and it was Emperor Penguin.  I didn’t know much about him, but he seemed cool and well dressed and wasn’t afraid to speak out in class.

‘That’s bullshit,’ he said, ‘I know lots of Realities who smoke Marijuana, and they don’t die.  They just think everything is greater for a little while.”

The Health Teacher wouldn’t listen to him and scolded him for swearing, but I was intrigued because I hadn’t met anyone else in person who’d had Perceptionist experiences yet.  I knew I had to approach him after class.

‘Oh yeah,’ he said, ‘they’re just trying to Train us to become Future Adults, and you can’t get a good Adult job or something if you don’t do the ‘right’ Perceptions.  I’m not going to be an Adult tho.  I’m a Reality Traveler.’

I’d never heard the words before that and asked him what it meant.

“It’s about calling people out on their bullshit so we can all MeToo over the truth,” he said and then explained the rest of what he knew.

He was young and misunderstood some things about Reality Travel, but he had the basics mostly down.  He also mentioned he was the lead singer of a band that Traveled to Realities all over Philadelphia Suburbs, both Jersey and Pennsylvania, to musically MeToo them, and he invited me to their next show.  I was scared because I’d only really Traveled to family and school Realities before, but there was something about the words “Reality Travel” that lured me in, and I decided I had to Get Out There for the first time.

Emperor Penguin picked me up and took us to the show in the close by but exciting Realities of DowntownPhiladelphia, where I’d rarely been before and never without my parents.  They were playing in some old shabby music club, and I got to hang out with the band backstage.  It was dingy and dark, and there was a pungent yet familiar smell in the air. When I met the band they were in a circle passing around the Marijuana Perception.

‘Is he cool?’ one of the band members asked Emperor Penguin about me.

‘Yeah,’ he said, ‘he’s a Reality Traveler like us.’

‘Cool,’ they said.

And then I got to join them, and as the Marijuana Perception went around I realized that it was making everything greater for all of us at the same time.

“So,” one of them asked me, “what do you MeToo via?”

I knew almost nothing about Reality Travel until that day, but somehow I knew the answer and responded right away.

‘I MeToo about Perceptions like this one,’ I said.

‘Cool,’ they said.

And that was the moment when I received The Calling.  Emperor Penguin and I went on many Travels after that and have been friends ever since.

7.9 – Wolf&WildFuckingTurkey

“WildFuckingTurkey,” Wolf said, “was my best friend when we were kids.  He was known as Little Turkey back then because he was the littlest one in our class. And I, believe it or not, before eventually growing into this lean and muscular wolf body was the fattest one. The taller and skinnier kids would always be MeNotzies to us, and we decided it was best to team up and become a pack. We knew the MeNotzies were always playing outdoors, so we would avoid them by staying indoors, where we would draw pictures of what we called The Fantasy.

We had created a fictional World, in which Evil Monsters were always trying to take over.  The only ones who could protect it were an order of heroes known as The World Wanderers.  Little Turkey and I were, of course, official members, and we had powerful weapons such as The Big Sword, The SuperBomb, and The Rice Ray (which could turn anything into rice for ten minutes) and allies such as The Animals and The Magical Fairies.  The battles were always close, but in the end we’d always win and save The World.

Right before HighSchool Little Turkey’s family moved to California.  He was my only friend, and I was very lonely after that.  At first we still sent each other pictures for new installments of The Fantasy every week, but eventually I discovered Perceptionism and Reality Travel and didn’t stay indoors and draw anymore.  I’d still talk to Little Turkey every so often, but each time he would talk more and more about things like bars and bartending and bar hags and bar brawls.  He ended up becoming WildFuckingTurkey, and The Fantasy was over.

7.8 – The Schism

Just before the Bob Marley joint got to me, a phone started ringing, and everyone froze.  It turned out to be Lamb’s.  She hadta leave The Hole to answer it, and when she came back she looked scared.

“There’s a problem,” she said.

Then she explained how her Youngest Sister just called, and they were on their way back from the concert, and her Younger Sister’s Date might be a Marijuana MeNotzie who might try to Dominate us or even go to War if he knew the Perceptions we were Adventuring with.

“They’ll be here any minute,” Lamb said.

“Gods, no!” someone screamed.

And then everyone panicked and scrambled to escape, hide, and/or air-freshen the room.  Wolf saw me moving too slowly and grabbed me.

“Bluebird,” he said, “Do you understand how serious this is?  Marijuana MeNotzies are the worst kind of MeNotzie.  If they witness any evidence of what we’ve just done, no matter how harmless it actually may be, they will send us all to jail.  You have to stay close and follow my lead.”

Then Wolf led whichever of us he could find to get as far away from The Hole as possible.  We climbed up the stairs and got to the living room and tried to act like what you’d act like if you hadn’t just been smoking Marijuana Perception. Suddenly the doorbell rang, and we all just looked at it.

“If we weren’t in Marijuana Perception,” Wolf said, “we’d answer the door, right?”

We nodded, and then he bravely volunteered. As soon as he put his hand on the knob, the door suddenly flung open, and Lamb’s Youngest Sister burst thru and shouted “Oh my god!”  And all of us had to try hard not to flinch and duck.

“Emperor Penguin is a total RockStar!” she said.

Then he came thru the door still in his golden bowtie tuxedo, followed by two other Realities wearing their own black bowtie tuxedos.  One carried a guitar case and the other carried a bongo drum.

After them was Lamb’s Younger Sister and her supposedly MeNotzie date.  I thought he was going to look like an armed and bulletproof trooper from the Perception Enforcement Agency, but he actually looked like a smooth-faced, bald-headed Baby, who might have a diaper underneath his sweat-shirt and jeans.

“Where is everyone?” Emperor Penguin asked Wolf. “Weren’t there more Realities coming from The Wedding?”

Wolf’s face got even paler, and it was hard for him to come up with words.

“Um, well, ya know,” he said.

“I don’t really care,” Emperor Penguin said.  “Where’s the Alcohol?”

Again Wolf had trouble speaking.

“Um,” he said and shrugged.

“You’re like this Star Perceptionist, and you don’t know where the Alcohol is?”

It was almost as if Wolf was freezing up like me with New Realities.  I wanted to follow his lead, but there was no lead to follow.  I didn’t want to talk to Emperor Penguin ever, but I felt I hadta do something.

“I know where it is,” I said.

“Why didn’t you say so, Colorado?” he said.

Then I took him and his band of Penguins into the kitchen where we’d left The Stash.  A few other Realities in there had already discovered it on their own.

“Gobble, gobble, gobble,” one of them said.  “Welcome to the fucking Alcohol Party!”

His face was reddish, and he had a big hanging adam’s apple, and he wore a brown suit with the collar popped up.

“Who are you again?” Emperor Penguin asked him.  “Turkey Dinner?”

“No, man” he said.  “I’m WildFuckingTurkey.”

“Hey,” he said turning to me.  “Fuck that weed shit earlier, right?  I saw this Stash and just wanted to get super fucking drunk from the start.”

“I know, MeToo!” I said.

Then he told us all how he’s a bartender from the far off and exciting Realities of Hollywood, California and how he’d make us whatever drinks we wanted.

“Great!” I said.  “I wanna JacknDrPepper with cherries.”

“Pff,” Emperor Penguin said.

“I know,” I sighed, “the cherries.”

“No, the whole thing’s a kid’s drink, Colorado.  Adults drink their bourbon straight.  Or better yet their scotch straight.”

Then he had WildFuckingTurkey pour him and his band nothing but scotch and ice cubes in a little glasses.  I wondered why a Reality Traveler like him would want to do anything like an Adult, but him and his band disappeared back in the living room before they explained anything.

“Don’t worry about their bullshit,” WildFuckingTurkey said.  “I say any fucking Alcohol is good Alcohol.”

Then he took the biggest glass he could find, and filled it up with way more Jack Daniels than Dr. Pepper.

“I’m gonna get you fucking wasted tonight, man!” he said.

“Alright!” I said, and we toasted.

Then WildFuckingTurkey started strutting around the kitchen, bobbing his head, and telling all of us in the room about what it was like in Hollywood.

“Celebrities are fucking everywhere there, dude,” he said. “One time the guy who fucking played Crocodile Dundee came into my bar.”

“What?!” I said.  “No way!”

“Long story fucking short, some fucker at the bar starts fucking with Dundee, ya know with some fucking “you call that a fucking knife,” tough guy shit, and ends up taking a swing at him.  Dude is totally wasted, of fucking course, and misses, but Dundee doesn’t even flinch.  He punches him right back in the face and fucking knocks him out cold.  He was a good dude.”

“Wow,” we all said.

Then Wolf came in stumbling and dazed.

“Wolf, you recently married fucker,” WildFuckingTurkey said.  “Let me make you a fucking drink.”

“Are all the Realities here in Alcohol Perception?” he asked us.

“Fuck yeah,” we said.

“Oh no,” Wolf said, holding his head.

“What’s wrong?” I said, and then he took me aside.

“Bluebird,” he said.  “I’ve just done a little reconnaissance of the situation here, and it’s not good.  There’s been a Reality Schism, and The AfterParty has split into at least three major factions.  Scorpion and the Marijuana Realities are hiding out in a secret underground bunker known as Beyond The Hole.  The Marijuana MeNotzie and the Sober Realities have taken over the living room.  Now I see you and the Alcohol Realities have settled in the kitchen. Everyone wants me to MeToo their faction at the same time, but it’s impossible.  And at the same time I’m experiencing TimeFucks everywhere.  Scorpion’s New Adult Hole has such nice marble countertops and fine wooden cabinetry, WildFuckingTurkey’s all grown up, and there’s something not quite right with Emperor Penguin, but I can’t seem to put my finger on it.  The room is beginning to spin, but not in a good Perceptionism kind of way.  I feel like I may be soon overcome with Vertigo, and I’m not sure what to do.”

“What does Scorpion say?”

“He’s not a Reality Traveler.  He thinks it should be Every Reality for Themselves.”

“Well, what do the other Reality Travelers here think?”

“Bluebird, you’re not understanding the situation.  We are the only two Trained Travelers here.  If anyone is going to solve this BoobyTrap it has to be us.  I’ll Travel back and forth between Factions as long as I can to buy some time until I can think of something, but this might have to come down to just you finding a way to MeToo us all.”

“But I don’t know how without music…”

WildFuckingTurkey overheard us just then and interrupted.

“Fuck yeah,” he said.  “It’s not a fucking party without some music.  Somebody gimme a fucking guitar.”

Then he left the kitchen to find one.

7.5 – Scorpion’s New Hole

Since Wolf had Graduated Perceptionism School, Scorpion had gotten a job, a wife, and a New Hole in Philadelphia Suburbs (Pennsylvania).  Wolf had never been there before, but we followed Scorpion’s directions.  I imagined he lived in some kinda pile of rocks or crevice in the desert or at least an unsuspecting boot, but when we got there it was actually a neighborhood of condos.  Each one looked exactly like the one next to it, and you hadta go thru a maze of identical looking streets and parking lots and landscaping before you got to one that had Scorpion’s van out front.

“This kinda looks like an Adult neighborhood,” I said when we got out.

“Yes,” Wolf scratched his chin and then held his head, “it’s making me a little dizzy.”

Then to cheer him up I showed him The Stash in the trunk.  There were two big cardboard boxes each holding nine bottles of all the different varieties of Alcohol.  Wolf looked at it and licked his chops.

“That does look tasty,” he said.

“How could Scorpion say no to this?” I said.

“How indeed… but he can be a bit of a Perceptionist Snob.”

“Oh.”

We decided we should bring it in anyway, and we all went inside. Wolf put down his box, and Scorpion and his wife hugged Wolf&Lamb, and then gave us all a tour.

The inside of Scorpion’s Hole looked as Adult as the outside.  The living room was full of furniture like a couch and a coffee table and a television.  The kitchen had appliances like a dishwasher and a microwave.  Everywhere the walls were a sparkling bright white, and there was no clutter or Perceptionist Paraphernalia anywhere.  The only strange thing was a mysterious shiny gold wheelchair hiding in a little nook under the staircase.  Otherwise it was not much different than my parent’s Nest or Kat’s parents’ place, and I wondered how such a mythic Perceptionist could live there.

All of the younger Realities from The Wedding seemed to be there already, except for Emperor Penguin, whose band apparently hadta play a concert before coming over, and Lamb’s sisters who went to see the show.  Everyone who was there hugged and congratulated Wolf&Lamb and told them how beautiful the Wedding was and apologized for taking off in the van so quickly.  No one seemed to notice I was standing there the whole time with a big box of Alcohol in my arms, except Wolf.

“Alright,” Wolf said to everyone, “it’s time to decide on the Common Perception for the night.  My fellow Reality Traveler, Bluebird here, has secured for us quite a bit of leftover Lubricant from The Wedding.”

Then he pointed at The Stash, but no one got as excited as I thought.

Scorpion stared at it, waved his tail just a little and shook his head.

“We have to choose something that all of us can handle tho,” Wolf said.  “We can’t just try to seek The Highest Most Powerful Perception tonight.”

Scorpion said nothing.

Wolf hadta shake his head like a wet dog.

“Alright,” he said.  “What do you have in mind then?”

Scorpion stared at him for a second.  “Marijuana Perception,” he then said.

“As you know Marijuana is my Preferred Perception, but I have to acknowledge that not every Reality here feels the same way.”

Wolf looked over at me.  Scorpion looked over at me too and then turned back to Wolf.

“So?” he said.

Then Wolf tried to explain the RealityFuck at hand and how important Common Perception would be.  But Scorpion wasn’t listening.  He raised one claw and pointed it at what looked like a basement door.

“The Marijuana Perception is in my Hole,” he said

“Alright,” Wolf said.  “If that’s the only thing you’re willing to Adventure with then that will just have to be The Common Perception.  But everyone has to do it together.”

Everyone agreed, and then I hadta put The Stash down and go into the Hole.

7.4 – Wolf&Scorpion

“Scorpion was my best friend at Percpetionist Training,” Wolf said.  “When I first arrived there I had some experience in basic Perceptionism – Alcohol, Marijuana, and even Acid, but it was nothing compared to Scorpion who was the most experienced one there.  He was fearless about trying new Perceptions, always speaking in class about how he’d clawed and stingered exotic and seemingly terrifying ones The Perceptionist Professor had barely heard of.  Sometimes he wouldn’t show up for class at all, and we’d find out later he’d been trapped inside some overwhelming Perception for days, yet vowed to Adventure with it again at the nearest opportunity.  I was hungry to be a Great Perceptionist on his level, and I made a point to pack up with him right away.

Soon we were on a quest together to find The Highest Most Powerful Perception.  We Adventured with everything on the Great List of Perceptions like Angel Dust, Bath Salts, Ecstasy, Ether, Heroin, Ketamine, Mescaline, Robitussin, Reindeer Urine, and at least three different kinds of glue, amongst many others. Sometimes we would even mix our own random chemical concoctions and Adventure with them just to see what would happen.  But even then we could always imagine how they could’ve been more high and powerful.

One time Scorpion came to me holding a little baggy full of some kind of black residue.

“I think we’ve finally found it,” he said. “This is an ancient Incan Reality Perception roughly translated as ‘Reality Sage.’  Their ShaMans had to go on a potentially deadly days-long journey to the greatest peaks of The Andes to find the plant, which they say can take you past The Other World to Beyond The Other World. The Perceptionism Professor warned me not to do it without his supervision, but I can’t wait.  I say we Adventure with it together right now.”

I was nervous but also tremendously excited and agreed to do it.  We went to Scorpion’s Hole in the dark wet basement beneath The Perceptionist Training School.  There we blocked out all light except for a candle.  We decided it was best not to be in the Perception simultaneously, so one could look after the other in case the Adventure went Bad.  I wanted to show Scorpion I was just as fearless as him and volunteered to go first.  He packed the Reality Sage in his beloved octopus shaped pipe we called Octobong. I took two deep drags from it and then Scorpion blew out the candle.

It was the fastest I’d ever gone thru The Veil, and at once I was running at super-speeds across The Other World.  In fact, I went so fast and so far I reached a vantage point high above it and was able to see all the Gods below, and they suddenly appeared tiny and insignificant.  The perspective disturbed me, and I wanted to come back down and go at a slower pace, but I just kept going higher and further until I wasn’t even in The Other World at all anymore.  I supposed it was Beyond The Other World, but you may as well have called it The Darkness.  There was no light, you couldn’t use any of your senses, and the feelings of the Other World became irrelevant.  I couldn’t even tell myself The Bad Adventure Mantra – It’s just a Perception and Perceptions can’t last forever, because it seemed like there was no self to tell it to.  It was like I was dead, except somehow I could still experience terror.

Of course, it was just a Perception, and eventually it began to wear off, and I fell back down out of The Darkness.  I tumbled at the same overwhelming speed at which I’d risen, and the momentum carried me straight thru The Other World to some unknown location and time in The World, where I seemed to crash down inside the body of ancient Incan ShaMan.  I was only there for a moment before I bounced back up to The Other World and then back down again into the body of my child self in a car with my family going to a shopping mall.  Again I quickly bounced out and then back down until finally it was the current me in Scorpion’s Hole.  I came back to consciousness completely shaken and trembling.  Scorpion told me it had only been fifteen minutes, but it felt like the entire life span of The Universe.  The most frightening thing was til this day I still cannot say with certainty whether I even returned to the correct body.

I told Scorpion everything and warned him that this Perception may be too high and powerful for any human to experience, but that only enticed him more to try it.  He went thru with his turn, and I watched him lie unconscious for about fifteen minutes before he was suddenly jolted awake.  I lit the candle again, and Scorpion looked startled and crazed. It took him another minute or two to speak, but the first thing he said was, “I have to go back!”

Every Perceptionist has an Edge, a Perception or magnitude of Perception to which they are unwilling to return.  It was then I had to accept that Scorpion’s Edge was different than mine.  At that moment I stopped trying to seek out the Highest Most Powerful Perception and turned my attention toward how to best use Perceptionism for MeTooing.

6.7 – The New Reality Assignment

For our New Realities Class the Professor gave us an assignment to Travel to a New Reality we’d never met before, and knew nothing about, and seemed like would be impossible to ever MeToo. He didn’t technically say you hadta do it alone tho, so I asked Wolf to team up with me.

“Wolf,” I said, “New Realities are my main weakness, and I need you.”

“I thought Perceptionism is your main weakness,” he said.

“Yeah, but this weakness is the one I’m most afraid of. Every time I try to talk to a New Reality I turn frozen. My whole body can’t move, and my mouth can’t say anything, and then I just end up staring until we both give up and walk away MeTooless.”

“Don’t worry, Bluebird. I’m not bad at New Realities. I once turned one into a fiancée, as you know. All we have to do is follow The New Reality Sequence, and we’ll be fine.”

“Alright, where do we go?”

“I suggest we Travel to the Realities of the most mysterious, challenging terrain we know.”

“Oh no, TheMountains?”

“Precisely. As children of the sea-level East we cannot even begin to understand what kind of Reality would choose to live in this kind of environment. It should be fascinating.”

“Alright.”

“Great, you can drive us up there, right?”

“You don’t drive?”

“No, I suppose that is one of my weaknesses.”

Then I drove us there, even tho TheMountain Roads were hard.  They don’t go straight cuz TheMountains are in the way, and if you don’t turn hard enough enough you’ll fall off the edge to the bottom.  At the same you have to go really fast or else TheMountain Reality drivers will tailgate you and honk.

We went all the way up to Little Mountain Town.  It was crammed in between two huge Mountains, and it only had one main Road.  All the buildings were made of logs and clung to the side of one of the Mountains, and it looked like they were just about to fall off cuz of gravity.

“The Mountain Realities probably live here because they’re suspicious of Plains Realities,” Wolf said. “I imagine they won’t like us finding them, and we’ll need every advantage we can get. I suggest we go to a bar and put our faith in Traveler Lubricant.”

One of the log cabins said “TheMountains Bar” on it, and we went in there. It was the middle of the day, and there were only a couple of Realities inside. One was a bartender woman, and the other was a guy who looked like a Native American Reality.

Native Americans are a Reality about being the first Realities to be in America. Most of them were destroyed in the Europeans vs. Natives Reality War.

Native American Realities are rare in modern times, and none even existed at all where I grew up. It was exciting, but I was also scared we’d get blamed for some MeNotzie atrocities from the past that hadn’t been made up for yet.

The two of them stared at us.

“Wolf,” I whispered. “I can feel myself starting to freeze.”

“Don’t worry, Bluebird,” he said. “This is the easiest part of the sequence. Introductions.”

We sat down on a couple of barstools next to the Native American Reality. He scanned us up and down.

“Plains People,” he said and looked away.

“Yeah, we’re Plains People,” Wolf said. “I’m Plains Wolf and this is Plains Bluebird. Who are you?”

Instead of answering he just said, “Plains bullshit.”

I was frozen like a Mountains snow cap, but Wolf had a furry coat designed for the Tundra and wasn’t deterred.

“You’re a Native American, aren’t you?” he asked him.

“No, I’m an Indian. Wanna know what my Indian name is?”

“Sure.”

“Shitty Hunter… cuz I’m a vegetarian, haha.”

“You’re a vegetarian?”

“No.”

“Are you sure your Indian name’s not Running Tab?” the Bartender butted in.

“Haha,”he laughed. “That’s Chief Running Tab to you.”

“He really goes by Mountain Goat,” the bartender said.

“Why do they call you that?” Wolf asked him.

“Cuz I never fall,” he said.

“Please,” the bartender said, “You were so hammered you fell off your stool last night.”

“That was on purpose for a laugh.”

“Sure it was.”

Then the bartender asked us what we wanted to drink.

“We’ll have whatever he’s having,” Wolf pointed to Mountain Goat’s bottle of beer.

“Whatever you say,” she said.

Then she opened a couple of beers and grabbed a bottle of hot sauce and poured it into the beers. Beer and hot sauce were both on my Great List of Gross Things.

“We call it a Goat,” she said and handed us the drink.

Then we raised our bottles, and Wolf did a toast.

“To New Realities,” he said, “because life would bore me without them.”

“MeToo,” I lied.

Then we clinked glasses and said, “GAM-BAY,” and drank. The hotsauce beer was the worst thing that had ever entered my mouth. It was too bitter and too stingy at the same time, and it made water come out of my eyes and snot come out of my nose. I wanted to spit it right back into the bottle. Drinking Goat could tell from my face that I thought it was gross, and he laughed.

“Common Perception,” Wolf whispered to me.

Then I knew I had to try to keep it inside me no matter what. Wolf seemed like he liked his tho. He went “ahhh” and went right ahead with the question part of The Sequence.

“So you have the day off from work?” he asked Mountain Goat.

“Nah,” he said, “called in sick.”

“Yeah, sick with The BottleFlu,” the bartender said.

“What’s that?” Wolf asked.

“It means I was drunk as shit last night, haha!”

I wanted to come in and start asking questions, too, but I couldn’t think of anything. Their Realities seemed so different from me. I would’ve been scared to miss work for a hangover, but Mountain Goat seemed proud of it. Wolf kept doing really good on his own tho. He found out Mountain Goat was a construction worker who was in Alcohol Perception every single day and lived his whole life in TheMountains hiding from PBS, or ‘Plains Bull Shit.’ Wolf also found out The Bartender went by The Cougar, because she sometimes hunted younger men for Love, and it seemed like maybe she wanted Wolf, too.

Then suddenly Wolf got up.

“Where are you going?” I said.

“Bathroom,” he said. “This hot sauce beer is wrecking havoc on my stomach.”

“What do I do while you’re gone?”

“Just keep asking questions, and MeToo them if you can.”

I was totally frozen after he left tho. My mind was like ice cream that was too hard to scoop into even tho you want to eat it now. I certainly couldn’t come up with the human language necessary to get to know someone. I looked at the hot sauce beer I was barely drinking. I thought maybe if I could get some not gross Alcohol Perception I’d be able to thaw a little.

“Can I get another drink?” I asked The Cougar.

She noticed there was still a lot left in the drink I had.

“Can’t handle The Goat?” she laughed.

Mountain Goat laughed, too. I didn’t answer.

“What d’you want instead?” she asked me.

The only thing I could think of is what I always drank at Wolf&Lamb’s.

“A Jack Daniels and Dr. Pepper with cherries,” I said.

The Cougar and Mountain Goat laughed.

“Bars don’t have Dr. Pepper,” The Cougar said.

“Oh,” I said.

“We got Coke.”

“Alright, Coke then.”

“But I ain’t gonna put cherries in it. MountainMen don’t put cherries in their drinks.”

“Oh,” I said.

“Haha,” Mountain Goat said, “PBS.”

I wanted to run out of the bar right then and never go back to The Mountains again. But then Wolf came back just in time and heard some of what was going on.

“Hey,” he growled at The Cougar, “we’re paying you to make drinks, not give us your commentary on them.”

“Oh come on,” she said, “cherries?”

“If that’s what he wants, and you have them.”

Wolf pointed at the cherries on their garnish tray.

“In fact,” Wolf said, “I like cherries, too. Why don’t you make me another drink? This time a martini. Except replace the traditional olive with some cherries.”

“You’re kidding?” she said.

“Nope,” Wolf said.

She shook her head but made the drink anyway.

“Hey,” Mountain Goat said, “I forgot I like cherries. I want cherries too.”

“In your beer?” she said.

“Yeah,” he said.

Then she handed him a couple of cherries, and he poked them thru the top of his bottle and took a drink.

“It’s good,” he said.

“Oh hell,” The Cougar said, “I actually like cherries, too.”

Then she opened up her own beer and poked a couple cherries in it.

“What was your name again?” she asked Wolf and he told her.

“Alright,” she said, “from now on a Martini with cherries in this bar will be known as ‘The Wolf.’”

Then we all raised our glasses.

“To The Wolf,” they said.

And we clinked them together and drank, and everybody liked their drink this time.

“By the way, honey,” The Cougar batted her eyes at Wolf, “You’re kinda cute. If you wanna come Love me later I’m down.”

“Thanks,” he said. “But I only Love my fiancée.”

6.4 – Adventures in Perceptionism: Mushrooms

Wolf and I sat across from each other on the floor of My Nest. In the middle was a loaf of cinnamon raisin bread, a jar of peanut butter, and a plate with several skinny, gray, gross looking mushrooms on it.

“Mushroom Perception,” Wolf said, “will allow us to Travel to The Other World. The Gods don’t want just any Reality to enter their domain, so they’ve draped a Veil between us and them that is too big and thick to see past. But when we consume these Mushrooms The Veil will momentarily dissolve, and we will be able to Travel right thru it.”

“What do you do in The Other World?” I asked.

“There are many things one can do there. But the most useful and appropriate is to ask The Gods a question.”

“Like what?”

“Something important and meaningful. The Ancient Perceptionists were mainly healers, and they would ask The Gods something like ‘What is the cure to my Realities’ sickness?’ And then The Gods would show them a particular herb or root.”

“Wow. What should we ask?”

“Remember The Other World holds all the information on the design of the Universe.”

“I think I’m going to ask about The Crow.”

Wolf nodded.

“What are you going to ask?” I asked him.

“I’ve been to The Other World via Perceptions many times and have asked many questions. For this adventure, I’ll simply guide you and keep you out of harm’s way.”

“Should I ask now?”

“Not yet. We must wait until the Perception has fully kicked in, and we have crossed beyond The Veil.”

Then Wolf took two pieces of cinnamon raisin bread, spread some peanut butter on one, put my share of the mushrooms on it, and made a sandwich.

“These mushrooms are very unappetizing,” he said. “Your mouth will not like the taste and will sense it may be poison. It will stop producing saliva and close your throat unless we sneak it in with this other more delicious food.”

Then we ate the sandwiches, and the bread and peanut butter were so good you didn’t even know there were mushrooms on it. At first nothing happened, but Wolf said that was normal.

“How will we know when it kicks in?” I said a little later.

“In Mushroom Perception,” he said, “you cannot speak without either laughing or crying.”

I suddenly saw the funniness in what Wolf was saying and laughed.

“Haha, I don’t know why I’m laughing,” I laughed.

“Haha, It’s alright,” Wolf laughed. “It’s the first sign.”

Then that sounded like the funniest thing I’d ever heard, and I laughed so hard and long that my chest started hurting.

“Haha, we have to go outside now,” Wolf laughed.

“Haha, why?”

“Haha, I forgot to tell you. It’s awesome to see The Other World outside.”

So we walked down to the Where-ThePlains-Meet-TheMountains Creek, and each footstep was hilarious. When we got there all the trees and plants started to pop out at us like a children’s pop-up book. Their colors seemed more colorful than usual even tho it was nighttime, and then they got so colorful and popped out so far that they weren’t even trees and plants anymore but feelings. One shrub became welcome! and a big pine tree become old and wise and the ripples in the creek water became small ever-changing parts of one unified moving thing, and it made me cry.

“Don’t be afraid to cry,” Wolf cried, too. “It’s all part of the Perception.”

Then we sat for a while at the edge of the one unified thing silently crying to ourselves, and it felt great.

“Are you doing alright?” Wolf cried.

“Very,” I cried.

“Need anything?”

“More cinnamon raisin bread.”

Then we both started laughing again.

“Haha,” I laughed. “I want the whole loaf!”

“Haha, yes,” Wolf laughed. “Your heart is telling you to get bread, and you must follow your heart.”

Then we laughed all the way back to My Nest. I picked up the loaf, which had become the greatest thing, and held it over my head like the bread champion.

“Haha,” I laughed. “Thanks Me-from-the-past for getting this.”

“Yes,” Wolf cried. “Gratitude, gratitude.”

Then I grabbed three slices and put them all in my mouth at once, and I handed Wolf three slices, and he ripped them apart with his teeth like it was a kill in the Tundra.

“Haha, this is the greatest thing to me,” Wolf laughed.

“MeToo, MeToo,” I cried.

Then we lay down on the floor to eat the bread. When I looked up at the ceiling I noticed it was doing strange things. The patterns in the plaster were shifting and swirling in constant motion, and soon they felt like The Veil.

“Haha, is it happening now?” I laughed.

“Yes,” Wolf cried. “Keep looking.”

The more I stared the more the ceiling seemed to grow until there was no more My Nest, only one infinite cream colored ceiling World.

“Should I ask the Infinite Cream Swirl the question now?” I cried.

“Haha,” Wolf laughed. “Sure.”

“Other World, this is Reality Traveler Jonathan WawaBird, and my question is who is The HahaCrow?”

Suddenly there was a great cawing, and a giant portal opened up in the ceiling, and I could see exactly how The Crow had gotten inside My Nest. Then I was able to float up off the floor and go into the portal myself. Once inside, I stared feeling to feeling with the bird, and it felt like helper.

I liked it and wanted to go up and pet it gently on the beak, but suddenly something inside the Other World started pulling me away. It was a strange and powerful force with no clear feeling, but it had the strength of the God of Weightlifters, and I couldn’t get away. Like a giant magnet it swept me away right past The Crow towards the depths of the Other World. It even felt like it was trying to pull my insides right out of my body.

“Oh no!” I cried. “I need those.”

I felt like it was the essence of my soul getting ripped out, and I tried to hold it back in, but I was going up against The Gods, and there was nothing I could do.

Then at the same time I noticed another force was shooting out towards me. It was strong, too, but I couldn’t feel what it was. I didn’t know whether it was evil or holy, if it was going to make me stronger than ever before, or send me straight to the Dead Souls part of The Other World, but I was directly in its path, and it was coming fast.

“Get me out of here!” I cried to Wolf.

He was able to hear me and jumped into action, grabbing me with his jaws and tugging me back down with all his might. He wasn’t strong enough on his own, but then The Crow came and latched on with his beak and pulled, too. And just before the mysterious Other World force crashed into me, I came falling back thru The Veil and found myself right back on the floor of My Nest.

“What was that?” I asked Wolf.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I’ve never experienced anything like it before.”

4.10 – Adventures in Perceptionism: Marijuana

Wolf and I were in The Den sitting across from each other in his beanbag chairs. On the table in front of us was a baggy full of green residue, a tall glass contraption, a music mix, and a huge bowl of pretzels.

“Marijuana Perception,” Wolf said, “is considered by some, including myself, to be The Greatest of All Perceptions. It can make whatever experience you’re having greater. It can make food tastier, thoughts more philosophical, artwork more beautiful, movies funnier, and most importantly for you, Bluebird, it can make music sound better.”

“I can’t wait,” I said. “What will we do greater?”

“Ah. I‘ve set up the perfect Marijuana Perception setting. We will sit in the beanbag chairs, snack on these pretzels, and listen to this Perceptionist Mix I’ve made. It contains music from Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, The Grateful Dead, and Pink Floyd, who are, as you know, all from the 1960’s Golden Age, when every lyric seemed like it was about Love but was actually about Perceptionism.”

Then Wolf picked out some of the green material from the plastic baggy and put it in a pipe, which attached to a tall glass tube.

“This is a bong,” he said. “To hit it, I’m going to light a lighter and hold it over the pipe until the marijuana starts burning. Then you’re going to put the opening of the glass tube around your lips, inhale deeply, and hold the air in your lungs as long as you can before exhaling.”

“Alright,” I said.

I did it just like he said, and the smoke was hot, and it tickled and burned going down, and I couldn’t hold it in for long before it made me cough.

“That’s good,” Wolf said. “Coughing means the Perception successfully got inside you.”

Then I passed the bong back to him, and he hit it. He held it in his lungs way longer than I did, and when he breathed back out a perfect ring of smoke floated thru the air.

“Ah,” he said, “my favorite Perception.”

Then he handed it back to me.

“I suggest you only hit it a couple more times,” he said. “Then I’ll keep smoking some more to account for our differences in tolerance.”

I took my final hits and sat back in the beanbag and waited for things to get greater. Immediately my lungs got warm and tingly, and the feeling soon spread throughout my body to my skin and fingertips and the inside of my eyes. And when it got to my brain I suddenly felt…

NOT ALRIGHT, MAN.

I couldn’t figure out why. There was no obvious danger nearby. It was just me and Wolf safe in The Den. Lamb wasn’t even there, so we could have total focus on our adventure. But every moment the fear grew stronger, and I couldn’t escape it.

“How are you feeling?” Wolf asked.

I didn’t answer him cuz the Not Alright, Man had turned him into The Big Bad Wolf. I was certain he was a MeNotzie who was going to devour me if I said the wrong thing.

“Bluebird… Bluebird…” he kept saying.

Then I wondered if he would be more of a MeNotzie if I didn’t say anything.

“Wait… What… Man…?” I tried to say.

But the words came out only one at a time, possibly minutes apart.

“How… Are… You… Fee… Ling…?” he said.

His words were only coming out one at a time, too. I couldn’t put them together to create any meaning. I didn’t know what a “Ling” was. It seemed like it could’ve been a delicious authentic Chinese Bluebird stir-fry dish.

“I think… I… hafta… go…” I tried to say.

I got up from the beanbag and my legs felt like they were completely separate from my body, and I didn’t know if I could even command them anymore. But that just made me wanna leave more.

“Wait… Don’t… Go… Yet…” Wolf probably said.

But it felt to me like, “fang, claw, get you!”

Then I just started running. My Nest was only right down the street from The Den, and I tried to point myself in that direction and push. It felt like it took years, and when I finally got there I locked the door tight, made a big pile of all the sheets and blankets and towels and clothes I had, and got underneath so I couldn’t be found by anything trying to huff and puff and blow my house down. It was very dark under the pile tho, and the Not Alright, Man was right there with me, making me feel like the smallest pinpoint in the middle of the giant black MeNotzie universe. It felt like it would last for eternity. It felt like this is what it must feel like to be dead.

The next day when the Perception wore off I came back and told Wolf about it.

“You didn’t tell me about its DarkSide!” I said.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “You left before I could explain. Marijuana Perception affects every Reality differently. For me it’s always great but maybe not for you.”

“It wasn’t great at all. It was the worst.”

“Still you shouldn’t have left. Perhaps the Perceptionist Mix would’ve helped soothed you. Or I could’ve taught you the Bad Adventure Mantra. It’s just a Perception, and it can’t last forever.

“I didn’t have a choice tho.  The Perception was making all the decisions for me.”

“Hmm, well, it’s possible Marijuana just might not be Right for your Reality.”

“How am I supposed to MeToo all the Marijuana Realities then?”

“I could help you get more used to it. Perhaps do a really light amount or a different strain. But you have to remember you never have to do anything that makes your mind or body feel bad. If you’re not well enough to MeToo on the Perception, then Common Perception doesn’t matter. Always Be Your Own Reality, that is the most important thing.”