Catch up Norman’s Bio here.
Norman was assigned a guide who the school labeled a buddy. Norman was more embarrassed about being assigned a friend than he was to have no friends. His buddy was odd looking, even for an Epatrusian. He? She? Norman wasn’t sure. His buddy had a pointy head and spoke robotically.
Through the magic of conversation, Norman learned that his buddy was a girl and her name was…
“Hey, Pinhead, who’s this? Your new pet,” taunted Langle Dodger, the school bully, and all-around not nice person.
“This is Norman,” said Pinhead. “Norman is a new student. I am Norman’s buddy and guide.”
“Pinhead has a buddy,” said Dangle Hartzakk. “That’s sweet.”
“What is it?” asked Langle Dodger. “It’s weird looking, even weirder than you, Pinhead.”
“It is a human from the planet Earth,” said Pinhead. “You may recall learning about humans in our alien species class earlier this year. They are technologically deficient but are an interesting species.”
“They’re gross,” said Dangle Hartzakk. “Look Langle, it’s beige and doesn’t even have a tail.”
“Or a mustache,” Langle Dodger added. “What’s wrong with you? Did someone cut off your tail and mustache and bleach you in butterscotch?”
“What?” asked Norman.
“Humans typically range in color from dark brown to off-white,” said Pinhead. “They lost their tails due to an evolutionary anomaly. Though, I am fairly certain they are supposed to have mustaches, except females. It may be a female.”
“I’m not a female,” said Norman. “We don’t all have mustaches, especially not at 8-years-old.”
“Why not, human?” asked Langle Dodger. “Can’t you grow one?”
“No,” said Norman. “I’m 8.”
“Hey, Langle, look at me, I can’t grow a mustache, ’cause I’m only 8,” said Shmelton Smelzlykbhut, another of Langle Dodger’s cronies.
“I’m 8, and my mustache is yelpsnig,” said Dangle Hartzakk.
Shmelton continued in his mocking tone, “I can’t grow a mustache, ’cause I’m only a girl.”
“What’s wrong with being a girl?” asked Kjhyu Rohtijhok. “I’m a girl, and I have the best mustache here.”
Another girl who was walking by was offended by Shmelton’s remark. “Seriously, Shmelton? You are so ignorant.”
“I mean human girls,” said Shmelton. “Human girls are gross. You’re wonky yelpsnig, KAI.”
Kjhyu smacked Shmelton with her tail. “What about me?”
“Why are you guys always picking on people?” KAI asked. “You’re so immature.”
“It’s the immature one,” said Dangle Hartzakk. “It can’t even grow a mustache.”
“Humans mature at an exponentially slower rate than Epatrusians,” said Pinhead.
“Yeah, humans are extraspelantially slow,” said Shmelton.
“Exponentially,” Pinhead corrected. “It means we mature much faster than them.”
“Humans abduct people, you know,” said Shmelton.
“No, we don’t,” said Norman.
KAI said, “You better get to class before the doors lock.” She shook her head as she walked away.
“Come on, you guys,” said Kjhyu. “I’m not spending another period with the Splajargón.”
“Yeah,” said Langle Dodger. “See you later, Pinhead, Human.”
“I am certain you will as we are in the same class,” said Pinhead.
“Who were those guys?” asked Norman, when Langle Dodger and his cronies were safely out of sight.
“Langle Dodger, Dangle Hartzakk, Shmelton Smelzlykbhut, and Kjhyu Rohtijhok,” said Pinhead. “They are bullies. They like to pick on my friends and me. They call us The Freaks.”
“You have friends?” Norman asked. He immediately blushed as he didn’t intend for it to come out sounding so mean.
“Of course,” said Pinhead. “Do not you have friends?”
“I did on Earth,” said Norman.
“I see,” said Pinhead. “I will be your friend. I will ask my friends if they would also like to have you as a friend.”
“Thanks, but I’d like to try to make my friends myself,” Norman said. He was wary of starting his new life on Epatrus as one of The Freaks.
“That is understandable,” said Pinhead. “My offer will remain open to you should you fail to make friends of your own.”
“Uh, thanks,” said Norman. “Is your name really Pinhead?”
“No,” said Pinhead. “My name is Survey Schlitziholtz. I am often referred to as Pinhead due to an unfortunate physical feature of which you may be aware.”
“Yeah, I noticed,” said Norman.
“My friends call me Schlitzie,” said Pinhead. “It is an affectionate truncation of my surname, Schlitziholtz.”
“I get it,” said Norman. “My name’s Norman.”
“I am aware,” said Schlitzie. “You said you are not a female, despite your complete lack of mustache. Is that correct?”
“Yeah, I’m a boy,” said Norman. “What about you? I hope that’s not a rude question. I’m new to Epatrus. I can’t always tell. On Earth, a mustache is a good indicator. On Epatrus, everybody has mustaches, even the babies.”
“I am a female,” said Schlitzie. “I also hope it is not a rude question. I cannot always tell. I often offend people with my blunt, direct questions and statements.”
“It wasn’t intended to be rude,” said Norman.
“That is what counts,” said Schlitzie.
“So, if we’re not on time, we can get locked out of class?” asked Norman. “I might be late a lot.”
“I would not recommend it,” said Schlitzie.
“It was a joke,” said Norman.
“Not only do the doors lock, but the floors open,” said Schlitzie.
“What now?” Norman asked, incredulously.
“It is a security measure that acts as a deterrent for truancy,” said Schlitzie. “It keeps students from being late or escaping classes.”
“Escaping?” asked Norman.
“Some people do not like to learn,” said Schlitzie. “I do not understand it. I desire to know everything.”
“Is that possible?” asked Norman.
“No, but I will do my best,” said Schlitzie.
“What’s a Splajargón?” asked Norman.
“The Splajargón is a creature that lives under the school,” said Schlitzie. “When the floors open, anyone who was standing on them will drop into its pit.”
“Does it eat them?” asked Norman.
“It used to, but parents complained,” said Schlitzie. “I do not know why. I guess parents even love bad children.”
“Wait, the creature doesn’t eat kids because parents complained?” asked Norman.
“That is correct,” said Schlitzie. “Here is our class. Ms. Chartel is a good teacher. She is tough but fair.”
“Who was that girl?” asked Norman, pausing at the door.
“Which?” asked Schlitzie.
“The one who was talking back to Langle and them,” said Norman.
“That was KAI,” said Schlitzie. “Are you attracted to her? Most of the boys in school are.”
“No. I… I don’t know,” said Norman, embarrassed. “She’s an alien with a mustache.”
“Here, you are the alien,” said Schlitzie.
“Oh yeah,” said Norman. “She’s nice.”
“I concur,” said Schlitzie, as she opened the door.
Norman and Schlitzie entered. The doors locked behind them.
“You’re cutting it close today, Survey,” said Ms. Chartel.
“That is correct,” said Schlitzie. “I have been placed in charge of the new student. I was showing it… him around.”
“You must be Norman,” said Ms. Chartel. “Norman Normalson.”
“I am,” said Norman.
Ms. Chartel extended her tail toward Norman. She paused awkwardly when she realized he didn’t have a tail to shake.
“Class, this is our new student, Norman Normalson,” said Ms. Chartel. “Norman is a human. Does anybody know from where humans come?”
“Uranus,” said Dangle Hartzakk.
“You’re very close, Dangle,” said Ms. Chartel. “Good try.”
In the back of the class, a small girl whispered to a boy beside her. The boy wagged his tail in the air.
“Yes, Algernon,” said Ms. Chartel.
“Earth,” said Algernon, last name withheld.
“Excellent, Algernon,” said Ms. Chartel. She added semi-sarcastically, “Good answer, Ylna. Good teamwork.”
Ylna, the girl who gave Algernon the answer, slunk down in her seat.
Schlitzie took a seat in the back next to Ylna and Algernon and their friends. One of whom didn’t have a mustache. The other looked like he or she, Norman still wasn’t always sure, had robotic arms and legs. Norman followed and sat by Schlitzie.
On the way to his seat, Norman saw Langle Dodger, Dangle Hartzakk, Shmelton Smelzlykbhut, and Kjhyu Rohtijhok. They were in a section, whispering to each other and smirking at Norman. He also saw KAI who smiled as he walked by. Norman blushed and looked away.
The first half of the day seemed to last forever. Even during recess, Norman had to stay in and talk to the teacher. Ms. Chartel wanted to talk to Norman and get a feel for how he was feeling about his new school and where he was with his education. Norman tried to explain as politely as he could that he felt significantly out of place and that school on Epatrus was nothing like school on Earth. Ms. Chartel assigned Schlitzie to be Norman’s tutor. Norman tried to resist, but Ms. Chartel insisted.
Norman could either accept Schlitzie as his tutor, take the bonus school courses during breaks, and study like knowledge was water and he was lost in the desert or go back to preschool and start from the beginning. Norman already had two strikes against him. He was human, and he wore the same clothes every day. It was hard to find clothes that would fit a human on Epatrus. All the pants had holes in the butts for people’s tails. Starting over in preschool as an 8-year-old would make his status as an outcast permanent. Norman accepted.
Schlitzie was happy with the assignment. She was brilliant and loved to put her wealth of knowledge on display. She also liked the idea of having someone to study with and the possibility of a new friend.
During lunch, Schlitzie dragged Norman along to meet her other friends.
“Norman, this is Ylna Aleny, Tasha Rhokzmisox, Doebee Kazkah, and Algernon, last name withheld,” said Schlitzie.
As Schlitzie said their names, they each reached out their tails to Norman. Realizing Norman didn’t have a tail, they all patted him on the back while muttering some form of greeting.
Norman thought they looked pretty normal, for Epatrusians. None was as odd looking as Schlitzie. Ylna was pretty small. Doebee was the one with mechanical arms and legs, but that was kind of cool. Algernon didn’t have a mustache, but he could have shaved it. Maybe it was a fashion statement. Tasha looked completely normal. She was also the only one he knew for sure was a girl.
“Ylna, Algernon, Tasha, and Doebee, this is Norman,” said Schlitzie. “He does not come with a tail.”
“Of course not,” said Doebee. “Humans have neither tails nor hearts.”
“Humans have hearts,” said Ylna, “but only one.”
“’Cause they eat the other one, right?” said Tasha. “They’re unusual.”
“No, they only have one,” said Ylna.
“They don’t have mustaches,” said Algernon. “It’s nice not to be the only one for once.”
“Some humans do,” said Norman. “I just can’t grow one, yet.”
“That’s what my mom says about me,” said Algernon. “It’s just something nice people say to people with disabilities.”
“I’m not sure not being able to grow a mustache counts as a disability,” said Norman.
The others looked at him like he just said, “My sister is a lobster, and she’s going to marry the Prince of Egypt in a special ceremony inside an active volcano on the moon.”
Epatrusians have never heard of lobsters, so that would make no sense to them.
“Hey look, the human’s right at home with The Freaks,” said Dangle Hartzakk.
“Yeah, it’s Norman Normalson And The Not So Normals,” said Langle Dodger.
“It looks like you’re still the only girl in the group, Tasha,” said Shmelton.
“I’m not a girl,” said Tasha.
“You’re not?” asked Norman.
“I’m a girl,” said Ylna.
“I am female,” said Schlitzie.
“It is funny, I would think the cyborg would be the one to talk like a robot,” said Kjhyu, mimicking a robotic accent.
“Get his arms,” said Langle Dodger.
Shmelton and Dangle each got on one side of Doebee, grabbed his arms, and pulled. His arms detached. They ran around chasing each other with Doebee’s arms. Doebee chased them. His robotic legs caught up quickly, but he couldn’t do anything without his arms.
“Come on, Norman,” said Tasha. “We have to help Cy.”
“Who’s Cy?” asked Norman.
“Doebee,” said Algernon. “It’s his nickname. It’s short for cyborg.”
“I wish I had a nickname,” said Tasha. “Anything would be better than having a girl’s name.”
“Ha ha! You’re a girl,” said Gonyul Squompfus.
Gonyul wasn’t officially a member of Langle Dodger’s group, but he liked to come around when they were picking on people. In typical bully style, he couldn’t bully anyone by himself.
“Very original, Gonyul,” said Tasha. “You’re such a goofus.”
“I’m gonna tell. That’s hurtful,” said Gonyul.
Bullies love to be mean to others, but can’t take any reproach. Gonyul ran off crying.
“Ooh, you made Gonyul cry,” said Kjhyu. “You guys are gonna get it.”
“Why would you get in trouble for Gonyul making fun of you?” Norman asked Tasha.
“Gonyul’s Principal Exsor’s pet,” said Tasha.
“Yes, Principal Exsor always takes his side,” said Schlitzie.
“That doesn’t seem like appropriate behavior for a principal,” said Norman.
“Let’s go, everybody,” said Langle Dodger. “Gonyul’s crying again.”
Langle Dodger’s posse reformed like an evil Voltron and ran off. On their way, Shmelton and Dangle threw Cy’s arms into a nearby recycling chute.
Everything on Epatrus is recycled. There is no waste. Even waste gets recycled. There’s more about that in Norman Normalson & The Normals. The recycling chutes automatically separated all recyclables. The foodstuff was composted to assist in growing more food. The containers were sterilized, broken down, and made into fresh, new containers. So on and so on.
Things that weren’t supposed to be recycled were separated and sent to the recycled and retrieved. Cy’s appendages ended up there often. The recycled and retrieved attendant knew Cy was coming every time a robotic appendage wound up in her stack. Cy missed a lot of classes due to recovering an arm or a leg or two. On those days, he stayed in there and helped Sindee, short for Sindularia, sort through the items. He got to know what belonged to whom pretty well.
“Don’t you guys know it’s not cool to bully people?” Norman asked.
“It’s way cooler than getting bullied,” said Shmelton.
“Bye, freaks,” said Dangle Hartzakk.
“Bye, normals,” said Langle Dodger, sarcastically.
“Normals,” said Kjhyu. “That’s a good one, Langle.”
“Dang right,” said Langle Dodger. “That’s why I said it. Norman Normalson and the Normals.”
With that, Norman was officially one of The Freaks.
Cancer! Death! Boom!