Norman Normalson: A Biography: Part 2: Pirates In Space

Catch up on Norman’s Bio here.

Norman started his healing process by spending more time with his friends. Norman spent a lot of time with Julio in his family’s Shliplestein 4242Pac Holodeck. Arnold and Reginald let them have all the time in it they needed. Norman even got frequent hugs from Rosie, which was goofy yelpsnig. That means good. None of it was worth losing his mother, but it helped him heal.

One evening, Norman returned home later than usual. It was Burgerfest, so he didn’t have school the next day. With a new calendar comes new holidays and seasons. Burgerfest was named after Tom Burger who discovered a way to grow vegetables on the moon. Now, every year during the month of Rama everyone sticks to a strict vegetarian diet. Fortunately, the months are really short. Rama starts with the Harvest Moon, which is toward the end of what used to be September and lasts for 16 days.

Don’t overlook these little details. You never know what’s going to be on the test.

Norman was surprised to hear voices coming from his father’s room. At first, he just assumed his dad was watching television. As he got closer to his father’s door, Norman was positive one of the voices was Ned’s. He put his ear to the door and heard what he was sure was a woman’s voice saying, “Oh Ned, you’re so sweet.” He had to be watching an old video of Victoria. He couldn’t have a woman in there with him. That was his dad. His mom was dead. It couldn’t be her in there with him. That even wasn’t her voice. As far as Norman knew, Ned hadn’t even been dating. There’s no way he would have a woman in his room at 21:18.

Humans finally got rid of that ridiculous 12-hour clock that makes no digital sense. How do you have a 12-hour clock for a 24-hour cycle? The day doesn’t start over in the middle. Why does the clock? If you need a translation to your archaic mode of telling time, subtract 12. If you can’t subtract 12 from 21, get a calculator. If you can’t get a calculator, you have serious issues because every phone, computer, and tablet has one. If you don’t have a phone, computer, or tablet, you’re probably not reading this. The answer is 9. It’s 9:18 pm.

Norman rang the doorbell. Yes, every room has a doorbell in the year 112 N.C. Knocking was outlawed when people started becoming offended by what they perceived to be a violent gesture. The issue was compounded when doors started to sue people who were knocking on them for assault and battery. They had to be removed from the edifice and sequestered during the trials. It was easier to install bells for every door. Who wouldn’t prefer to press a button than hit a door with their knuckles? Especially the metal, sliding doors they use in 112 N.C.

The voices stopped. The door slid open. Norman entered. Ned was watching TV. On the screen on his wall was the face of a multicolored alien with a thick, black mustache.

“Hi, Dad,” said Norman. “I just wanted to let you know I’m home. I had veggie burgers at Julio’s. I’m going to bed.”

“Normy, will you come in here for a minute? There’s someone I’d like for you to meet,” said Ned.

Norman stepped into the room and looked around. He didn’t see anybody. His dad had officially gone crazy. Norman was going to have to have him committed. He was going to have to go live with Julio’s family. That wouldn’t be too bad. Actually, he’d probably have to go live with Aunt Nickie. She lived all the way over in Antioch. He could still ‘port over to see his friends. That might be all right. He would have to live with his annoying cousin, Nestlé.

Nestlé was named for a Swiss food company, best known for its chocolate products. In the 20th century C.E., Humans started this bizarre convention of naming their children after things, fruits, vegetables, numbers, directions, and so on.

“Normy? Norman? Are you still with me, buddy?” asked Ned.

“Uh… Yeah,” said Norman, with a slight shake of his head.

“Norman, this is Uhoria,” said Ned, gesturing to the screen.

“Hi, Norman,” said Uhoria, from Epatrus. She continued with the extremely clichéd, “It’s so nice to meet you finally. Your dad has told me all about you.”

“Uh…,” Norman said. “Hi, I’m Norman.”

“I know,” said Uhoria. “I’m Uhoria.”

“Um… It’s nice to meet you,” said Norman.

“I can’t wait to meet you in person,” said Uhoria.

“In what now?” asked Norman, incredulously.

“I haven’t told him, yet,” said Ned.

“Nedrick Neil Normalson, how could you have not told him yet?” asked Uhoria. “What are you waiting for?”

“A good time,” said Ned.

“When would be a good time? When you’re on the ship?” asked Uhoria.

“What ship?” asked Norman. “What’s going on?”

“Great news, Normy,” said Ned. “I met somebody.”

“You haven’t even told him about me?” asked Uhoria.

“I thought this was the best way,” said Ned. “I didn’t want him to be nervous about meeting you.”

Ned and Uhoria already have way more dialogue in this brief biography of Norman than they do in all of Norman Normalson & The Normals.

“That’s great, Dad,” said Norman. He patted his dad on the elbow and moved toward the door.

“That’s not all,” said Ned, with a timbre of excitement. “We’re in love.”

“Um… That’s weird,” said Norman. “She’s an alien with a mustache.”

“She can also hear you,” said Ned.

“It’s all right, Norman,” said Uhoria. “Ned and I have already worked out all the weirdness of interspecies dating. Well, most of… a lot of the weirdness of interspecies dating. We’ve talked about it.”

“O.K.?” said Norman. “That sounds like it’s probably gross, and I don’t want to know any details.”

“There’s nothing gross about accepting what one may view as physical anomalies and loving someone for who they are inside,” said Uhoria.

“That’s beautiful, dear,” said Ned. “It’s also true, Norman.”

“Oh,” said Norman. “O.K., I’m going to bed.”

“There’s one more thing,” said Ned. “We’re moving to Epatrus, so Uhoria and I can get married and live together.”

His dad had officially gone crazy. Norman was going to have to have him committed. He was going to have to go live with Julio’s family. That wouldn’t be too bad. Actually, he’d probably have to go live with Aunt Nickie. She lived all the way over in Antioch. He could still ‘port over to see his friends. That might be all right. He would have to live with his annoying cousin, Nestlé. She was four and always ran around singing this song from the ancient times. It went, “N-E-S-T-L-E-S, Nestlé’s makes the very best… Choc’-late.” Then she would say, “That song’s about me. I make the best chocolate.”

“The only chocolate you make is poop,” Norman said once. Then he mockingly sang, “D-O-O-D-I-E-S Nestlé makes the very best… Doo-dies.” That got him in a little bit of trouble, but it was well worth it.

Norman could hear his dad’s voice, but it sounded distant. It seemed as if his dad were in the other room talking to him through a paper towel roll, even though humanity hadn’t used paper towels in generations. Ned’s voice slowly grew clearer.

“Norman? Noooooormaaaaaan,” said Ned. “Are you still with us?”

Ned was kneeling over Norman, who was lying supine on the floor.

“Dad?” Norman asked. “What happened? I had the craziest dream.”

Before Norman could recover from his shock or anger, he was boarding the Flying Vessel Christopher Columbus, oddly named for an explorer most famous for getting lost.

Norman had a small amount of time to say goodbye to the only home he’d ever known. He had had friends he wasn’t sure if he’d ever see again. Julio had been his best friend longer than he could remember. Rosie was the love of his life. Fortunately, he was 7, and he would have, hopefully, much more life ahead of him in which to find love. Norman didn’t even know if there was soccer on Epatrus. For all he knew, the most popular sport on Epatrus was called eurgensplurgenflargus, which revolved around tying one’s hands and feet together and crawling around blindfolded picking zhartstinkquaf berries. He didn’t even know what zhartstinkquaf berries were or if there were any on Epatrus or anywhere else in the universe. He didn’t have much time left on Earth, and he fudge dang sure wasn’t going to spend it researching a planet to which he didn’t even want to go.

Norman wanted nothing to do with this trip and went straight to a stasis chamber on the spaceship where he was virtually frozen for the long trek to Epatrus. Even with ships that could travel at nearly the speed of light, the multi-parsec voyage to Epatrus took a while. Most passengers and even crew members traversed the majority of such trips in stasis, which allowed them to view the months-long journey as if it were nearly instantaneous. One could only enjoy the splendor and awe of being in space for so long. Computers and Radbots did the majority of flying and maintenance while the biological beings slept.

Time passes much more slowly on Epatrus than on Earth. Uhoria chose to spend the time in stasis. That allowed her to skip being nervous as the man she loved was traversing the universe to be with her. It also assured she wouldn’t age during the intervening months. Ned was happy about her decision, as well. It gave him a feeling of solidarity with the woman in his life. It also meant that she couldn’t meet anybody else while they were in transit.

Were the months the journey took measured by Earth time or Epatrus time? Now, you’re getting way too technical on me. Yamfennian time. How about that?

Norman didn’t even realize he was asleep before he was revived. They had arrived. He lay down, closed his eyes and said, “I don’t even want to go…” He was unconscious and frozen for the rest of the trip.

The voyage was pretty uneventful, at least for those who were in stasis. The ship was boarded by space pirates from space. They probably weren’t actually from space. I’m pretty sure they would have to have originated on a planet somewhere… somewhere in space.

The pirate ship, SSSS or the 4S, short for the Space Ship Stuff Stealer, spotted the F.V.C.C., Flying Vessel Christopher Columbus, on their radar. Captain Mauve Oyster immediately recognized it as a passenger ship. Passenger ships were the third best picking when it came to loot. The best was, obviously, cargo ships. The second was cruise ships. Cruise ships usually had rich people who insisted on bringing their riches into space. I guess they wanted to show off if they met an alien. “This is my golden eye patch. It’s made of 100% pure uncut gold. I don’t even need an eye patch. I just wear it because it’s gold.” Ms. Notimpressed, of the planet Golddirt, was not impressed. Apparently, Mr. Braggington didn’t know that gold is dirt and utterly worthless on planet Golddirt.

The worst ships for loot were warships. That was mostly due to the inability of the pirates to take over such ships.

Captain Mauve Oyster ordered his crew of scoundrels, thieves, and that one nice guy who got caught up with the wrong crowd to pursue that ship. The ship was pursued. The SSSS easily caught up with the F.V.C.C. Passenger ships are not nearly as swift as pirate ships. If they were, pirates would go out of business. Pirates can’t go out of business. It’s almost impossible to get another job after pirate. Who looks at a résumé and sees pirate and says, “You’re hired.”? Nobody.

The 4S hovered above the Chris for a few Zechistenian seconds before clamping onto them. Once the ships were hooked, it was impossible for a passenger ship to break away. Cargo ships had defenses for moves like that. They could cut the clamps with lasers. Passenger ships had no such defensive or offensive capabilities. Someone somewhere decided it was best if passenger ships didn’t engage in battles. It’s probably better that way.

Encountering other ships in space was an anomaly. Encountering pirates in space was even scarcer. Pirates usually depended on getting flight plans from a spy who worked for whichever company they wanted to rob. The SSSS had a secret method for finding targets. More on that later.

Once clamped, the pirates could ‘port over to the other ship without any worries of losing their ship or the targeted ship escaping. Before the pirates even clamped on, the computer was aware of the threat.

The Chris attempted evasive maneuvers. As I mentioned previously, passenger ships aren’t equipped with many defensive capabilities. The ship was easily overtaken.

Once aboard, the pirates were inhospitably greeted by a force of Radbots. The security force was armed with stun blasters and nets. The pirates were armed with blasters that were specifically designed to disable bots. They expected to meet bots of some sort. Bots were standard security on the majority of passenger ships.

Following their effortless victory over the Radbots, Flower Blossom McLotus, the one nice guy who fell in with the wrong crowd, was free to hack into the computer.

Flower Blossom McLotus never wanted to be a pirate. He wanted to be a ballerina ninja. They have those on Mantarius, his planet of origin. They’re sneaky and graceful and potentially deadly. He only planned to use his powers for good, to stop the evil forces of evil. Sadly, however, for the Mantarian his only source of gracefulness was in his fingers.

After flunking out of The Lexi P. Lodeham School Of Dance, Martial Arts, Chicanery, and Silent But Deadly Farts, Flower Blossom McLotus, or FloBloLo for short, resigned himself to working with his hands. He became a repairman. He got a job at Tony’s. Tony was one of the best repairmen on all of Mantarius, which was fortunate because he was horrible at naming businesses.

Seriously? Tony’s? Tony’s what? That name doesn’t tell anybody what he did. Did Tony make pizzas? Did he sell antiques? Did he wrestle crabs? Did he train dancing earwigs? Was he a cobbler? No. Not that kind of cobbler. I know he wasn’t a pie. I meant the type who makes and repairs shoes.

FloBloLo’s nimble fingers made swift work of any project Tony assigned to him. He could fix anything. Toasters, microwaves, blu-ray players, watches, cars, cameras, dogs, anything. Well, he could if Mantarius had any of those things. The point is, he was good with his hands.

Repairing was so simple for FloBloLo that he got bored with it. He started taking things apart to learn more about them. He began with uncomplicated things and quickly moved on to computers and robots. It didn’t take long for FloBloLo to start building computers and robots. It was only a natural progression that led him to learn to program.

FloBloLo respectfully resigned from Tony’s and got a job with the Shliplestein Corporation. The Shliplestein Corporation coincidentally was founded and had its headquarters on Epatrus.

For years, FloBloLo designed and programmed computers and robots. He was the happiest he had ever been or would ever be.

The Shliplestein Corporation, headed by Gargamel Von Shliplestein, paid him handsomely. The money on Mantarius is very attractive. He had four girlfriends. She was actually one girlfriend with multiple personalities. They were all nice, though, so FloBloLo was happy to date them all. He had an expensive apartment on the rich side of town. Then, it was all blown away like a fart by a fart.

FloBloLo was demonstrating of one his new inventions for a high-ranking Shliplestein executive when he farted. You’re probably thinking, “So? What’s the big deal? Everybody farts.” One of the many things FloBloLo partially learned at The Lexi P. Lodeham School Of Dance, Martial Arts, Chicanery, and Silent But Deadly Farts was, yeah, silent but deadly farts. He learned the art but not how to control it fully. The executive was dead in seconds.

FloBloLo was arrested. After a short trial, he went to prison. His defense of poor flatulent training was flimsy at best. He was sentenced to four years in a maximum security prison for the crime of involuntary Mantarian slaughter by way of flatulence. He lost his job. He lost his apartment.

FloBloLo spent most of his sentence in solitary confinement. No one thought it was a good idea to allow anyone around the Mantarian who could kill with his farts. He was locked in an aroma-free cell. I can think of a few people I’d like locked in one of those, at least sometimes.

Only one of his girlfriends agreed to wait for him while he was incarcerated. One of his girlfriends started dating one of the correctional officers, which was awkward. It caused some problems for FloBloLo when the guard got jealous that one of his girlfriend’s personalities was frequently visiting FloBloLo.

The officer took advantage of every opportunity to make FloBloLo’s life difficult. He would withhold rations, fart in his food, stick his tongue out at him when no one was looking, say mean things about his mother, and restrain him to the wall and tickle his feet. FloBloLo was miserable.

Upon release, FloBloLo vowed never to fart again. He made it five hours before his stomach hurt so much he had to release his pent-up flatulence. The time he abstained from expelling his gas compounded its potency. This fart killed seven people and a potted plant.

His last remaining girlfriend refused to wait for him this time.

During his subsequent stay in prison, FloBloLo learned to control the potency of his flatulence. From then on, he only used his farts to render people unconscious. A few more plants died before he perfected it.

Following his release from prison, every time he applied for a job, Flower Blossom McLotus had to confess that he had been convicted of a felony. The potential employers always wanted details. Farting felonies were the worst. He was unemployed and homeless when Captain Mauve Oyster found him.

Legends of the Mantarian who could kill with his farts spread far and wide, as well as near and narrow. Captain Mauve Oyster immediately offered FloBloLo a position in his pirate posse where he would be paid in plundered prizes. FloBloLo hated the idea of stealing from people, but his employment options were sparse.

FloBloLo accepted the pirate’s offer. He soon found himself flying around in space for megamonths at a time. Megamonths are boring months in space that seem to last forever. During his downtime, FloBloLo did what he loves. He tinkered and learned.

FloBloLo only had enough parts to make a single, short robot. He named it RDRR. FloBloLo and RDRR were best friends, mostly because that’s how FloBloLo programmed RDRR. Still, something was missing in FloBloLo’s life. He needed to create.

FloBloLo and RDRR spent most of their time in transit at the computer. They improved all the ship’s systems and upgraded all its software. When they were out of things to do, they started making programs.

FloBloLo was FloBloLonely. See what I did there? I made a dumb pun out of his name. The other pirates were already friends and relatives. They weren’t happy about Captain Mauve Oyster inviting in another guy. They were also afraid of him since he could kill people with his farts and farts can sneak up on anyone at any time. They immediately outlawed beans aboard the SSSS.

When he and RDRR weren’t working, FloBloLo spent a lot of time on social media. He made a lot of virtual friends but didn’t like the sites. The interactions were too limited. He wanted to express more of a range of emotion than like, and, for some reason, all the sites smelled like cheese.

RDRR suggested they make a social media site. FloBloLo had the skills. RDRR had the stamina to stay up all night programming. Together, they were a stoppable force, but no one stopped them. The result was FloBloLoSo. Yes, he named it after himself, Flower Blossom McLotus Social. RDRR only received credit in the fine print. FloBloLo didn’t program sensitivity or narcissism into RDRR, so it didn’t care.

FloBloLoSo slowly became the most popular social networking site in the universe. Even the pirates of the SSSS joined and shared, except Captain Mauve Oyster. He just watched the madness.

Captain Mauve Oyster monitored his pirates as they obsessed over the social network site. He started asking Flower Blossom a lot of in-depth questions about it. He saw a plethora of people on a plethora of planets socially oversharing. They posted their every move to FloBloLoSo. Every person on the site was easily traceable.

As the owner, creator, and supreme overlord of FloBloLoSo, FloBloLo was automatically connected to every user. He had all their information. Captain Mauve Oyster convinced FloBloLo to share all their sharing with him. The pirates used their new knowledge of when people all over the universe would be away from their homes to rob a ridiculous amount of people. They also knew the schedules of every company’s cruise ships and which were carrying the most booty. Then all his pirate pals loved him, as they shouted out with glee, “Ahoy, matey.”

FloBloLo hated it. It made him feel terrible. He didn’t even want to be a pirate. He didn’t want to steal from people. Maybe, if he stuck with it a little longer, he’d have enough money to retire soon if the pirates would let him.

What does that have to do with Norman? Nothing. I got carried away with the tragic legend of Flower Blossom McLotus. The point of all that was that FloBloLo was recruited by the pirates as a computer hacker. He hacked into the Chris’s computer and disabled the security system.

You’re just jealous because your biography isn’t nearly that cool. Can you kill someone with your farts? I didn’t think so. I know of very few who can.

Norman Normalson: A Biography: Part 1: Pacifica

Norman Normalson is a normal nine-year-old boy. He hates to brush his teeth. He hates to take a bath. He hates school, especially math. He can’t stand his younger half-brother. He’s not a big fan of his step-mother, either. He has a crush on a girl he’s sure doesn’t know he’s alive. He likes sports, especially soccer. He thinks his parents are the weirdest people in the universe.

Even with all this normalcy, Norman never feels like he belongs. He is not accepted among his peers. He’s ridiculed and bullied for being different. He is different. He doesn’t fit in. He doesn’t belong. Norman Normalson is an alien.

Norman Normalson was born to Nedrick “Ned” and Victoria “Victoria” Normalson on a quaint planet in the little galaxy called the Milky Way. The planet’s a pale blue dot called Earth. Earth is divided up into continents, countries, states, counties, boroughs, territories, cities, and towns.

Norman was from the North American city of Pacifica. Pacifica is on the coast of a state called California. Norman grew up, to the age of 8, going practically across the street to Linda Mar Beach. If you think fútbol, or soccer, is fun on grass, try it on the sand. It’s almost an entirely different game.

Norman Normalson and his friends would frequently walk the couple blocks to the beach, cutting through Linda Mar Shopping Center. When he wanted to play on real grass, he would ‘port, or teleport, across town to the schoolyard with Paul and Julio. They could almost always find enough kids to have a game.

Of course, there were plenty of indoor activities. Julio’s family had the top of the line Shliplestein 4242Pac Holodeck. Norman’s family only had the Shliplestein 3117Yot model. The grass in Norman’s felt like Astroturf and smelled more like pine than grass. Fortunately, Julio lived down the block. Norman scarcely even ‘ported there.

The only problem they consistently encountered was Julio’s older brothers, Arnold and Reginald. They were always using the holodeck with their friends and wouldn’t let poor Norman and Julio join in. Arnold was 12 and Reginald was 10.

Sometimes they even had to contend with Julio’s sister, Rosie. Norman didn’t mind deferring to her as much. She was at least nice about it and kind of cute. She would even occasionally agree to allow Julio and his friends to join her and her friends. That way, they could form an alliance that would keep Arnold and Reginald out.

Most days they were content to use their Shliplestein T.A.A.I.T.M. Dreamatorium Glasses. They were similar to virtual reality glasses but vastly superior. They didn’t provide the full-emersion experience of the holodeck. The glasses kept the wearer confined to the dimensions of their real-world surroundings.

In the holodeck, the floors and walls were on a track and could move to simulate traveling great distances or climbing mountains. Wind would blow in the face and around the body of a user who wanted to simulate skydiving.

The Dreamatorium Glasses only allowed one to see what one wanted to see. Traversing the world created for them by the glasses could be dangerous. For example, in the room in which I’m currently writing, I could walk into a bed, a desk, a dresser, a laundry basket full of clothes I have yet to put away, and three dogs, one of whom just farted.

One could buy the Shliplestein Dreamatorium Auto-Track as an add-on. The S.D.A.T. would allow the user to move in any direction one could normally walk and even simulate stairs. It was similar to a treadmill but not restrained to a single path. Julio, of course, had one, but his parents refused to buy additional S.D.A.T.s for his visiting friends.

Rosie was Norman’s first crush on an older woman. She was 8 while Norman and Julio were both 6. Yes, Julio’s parents were very regular in their childbearing. Each of their children was born on June 16th every other year for six years. There was one birthday party. Get it done. Done. As the years went by, Arnold was increasingly disgruntled by the growing number of little kids at his birthday party. To be fair, it was his first.

Norman’s life in Pacifica was a pretty good one. He had friends who lived nearby and a plethora of indoor and outdoor activities. His soccer team was in first place. His virtual soccer team was in third but improving. His crush, Rosie, paid attention to him and was even nice to him. Sometimes, they played together. Life in Pacifica, California was good. Then, suddenly, it wasn’t.

One evening, Norman’s mother was hovering home from work. She worked as a male model. No, it’s not what you think. She was a role model for men who needed help finding their feminine side. It helped men be more tender with women. Then, all they had to do was find women who wanted more feminine men.

She was driving her hovercar down the twisty Cabrillo Highway. Yes, they still have to use roads. They’re hovercars, not flying cars. She was zooming around a turn, which featured a residence that had a huge holographic display encouraging drivers to root for local sports teams. The holographic displays were a longtime family tradition, which started as signs draped over a fence. This was early November, so the presentation was encouraging support for the Giants of the neighboring city, San Francisco. The team was in the third round of the pre-playoffs. If they won that night, they would be eligible to enter the Wild Card Tournament. When baseball went global, it really extended the schedule.

Victoria Normalson was in a hurry to get home and watch the game with her family. Ned and Norman would already be seated behind home plate in the holodeck breathing in the pine scent of the Astroturf. She glanced over at the holographic display for not more than a second. A jolt of nervous energy ran through her body. Tonight’s game was going to be the biggest game of the year. When she turned back to the road, she had to swerve to avoid hitting a giraffe.

Someone’s pet giraffe had escaped from her yard and wandered onto the highway. In the year 112 N.C., everyone has a pet giraffe or monkey or wildebeest or koala or alligator or cat. 1974 saw a worldwide famine that was so bad people ate their dogs. By 1981, there were no more dogs on Earth. The snoring coming from behind me from one of the three dogs on my bed leads me to believe that might not be true. Maybe people just like exotic pets and owning one became fashionable.

The year 112? Following the global unification inspired by the near usurpation of the planet by alien races, a new world calendar became necessary. After years of bickering about which calendar to use, world leaders decided to start over. That was about 127 years ago. Yes, it took them 15 years to implement the new calendar. Humans are never in a hurry to change their ways. Some countries still use measurements based on a king’s feet. No, it wasn’t Elvis. Of what was Elvis the king? Poor fashion choices? I don’t know who it was or how it came to be, but I do know it makes those of us whose feet aren’t 12 inches feel awkward and somehow deformed. Thanks, King Foot Fetish. Maybe it was Dr. Scholl. I don’t know.

The N.C. stands for New Calendar, Nuwe Caledar, Novi Caledar, Nový Caledar, Nieuwe Caledar, Nouveau Caledar, Neuer Caledar, ΝΕΑ Caledar, Nouvo Caledar, Nuevo Caledar… You get it. It works in multiple languages. No, it’s not creative. It’s not even Latin. It couldn’t be a reference to a deity because not everyone believes in the same deity or any deity. It couldn’t be a reference to a specific event because not everyone gives the same significance to events. It had to be something extremely bland, or it would offend people. I’m actually offended by how bland it is. It was the only thing on which the members of the committee could agree. Given the difficulty they had implementing the new calendar, are you surprised?

All that matters now is that Norman’s mother, Victoria, swerved to miss a giraffe who had wandered onto the highway. She lost control of her hover car as she whipped the steering wheel to the right. The vehicle nearly slammed into the protective wall alongside the road. She spun back into the street. An oncoming car pushed Victoria’s car and turned her back toward the retaining wall.

All hovercars come equipped with deflectors. The same technology that allows them to float also keeps them from crashing into things. It’s a standard safety feature. As soon as Victoria lost control of her car, she was secured by the seat to keep her from thrashing around inside. After bouncing around the road, like a ball on a pool table, but without actually hitting anything, Victoria’s car came to a stop on the side of the road.

Victoria was understandably shaken up a bit. She called Ned to come to get her. Out of concern for his mother, Norman wanted to go too. They found her and were relieved she was all right. She was too shaky to drive, so Ned hooked up her car to his and towed it home. They all rode in Ned’s car. Norman wanted to ride in the car being towed. What 6-year-old wouldn’t? I want to, and I’m not even technically a kid. He was denied.

By the time they got home, the game was already in the ninth inning. Norman and his family missed most of the game. Sure they listened to it on the radio, but that’s not the same. They could watch a recording, but that’s not as exciting as watching it live. Besides, they listened on the radio. They already knew what happened.

To make things worse, the Giants lost to their hated rivals, the Smeshfield Dragons. You thought I was going to say the Dodgers. That rivalry cooled significantly when the Dodgers moved to New Delhi and renamed themselves the Diwalis. They hoped the reference to the Hindu festival of lights, which takes place in autumn, would help them achieve victory in the playoffs, which also take place in autumn. It didn’t work.

A year later, Victoria died from lung cancer. It doesn’t matter how many advancements humans make. They cannot figure out how not to be self-destructive. They also stubbornly refuse to view medical care as anything other than a business, so people still die of otherwise curable or preventable ailments. Good job, humanity.

Norman and his dad were obviously crushed. Cancer is a long, slow, painful process. Remember that if anybody offers you a cigarette. Just say, “No, thank you. I don’t want to die as long, slow, painful death. Nor do I want to be that guy and/or girl who always stinks even though I shower daily and has smoke and tobacco stains on my clothes and teeth and hair and skin.” Yes, it stains your skin. No, vaping is not better. It’s just douchier.

Norman and his dad tended to Victoria constantly as she was dying. It was severely difficult and painful for both of them. First, she lost her hair from the chemotherapy. As Victoria’s cancer metastasized, or spread, tumors started to grow on her spine, which impinged her nerves, and she lost the use of her legs. The heavy regimen of pain medication left her mind cloudy. Some days, she could hardly recognize her family.

Yeah, happy kids’ story. Cancer! Death! Boom! See? Don’t smoke. It ruins things for everybody.

No, humanity has not yet cured cancer. There’s much more money in treating diseases than curing them. There are far too many humans who would rather profit from the suffering of others than help people. If you know someone who helps others, give them a smile and a gold star for the day. Fine, you may give them a blue star but only if you’re entirely out of gold. You don’t get to give out blue stars and keep the gold ones for yourself. That’s selfish. Being selfish is selfish.

Emotions and pain make people do crazy and stupid things. Norman’s dad flirted with the idea of moving to Montana to be a dental floss tycoon. He wanted to get a pygmy pony to ride around his ranch. Fortunately for Norman, that’s not really a thing. It’s just a silly song by Frank Zappa.

With his wife gone and his aspirations of becoming a dental floss tycoon being potentially a severe mental condition, Ned was suffering from severe depression. This story got dark. Who turned the out the lights? Oh yeah, Cancer.

This story needs lightening. Ned needs lightening. Emotional pain is a hard thing with which to deal, and it’s often hard to move on from that. Fortunately for Ned and our story, Ned’s sister, Nickel, or Nickie for short, even though it’s the same amount of letters and syllables, took it upon herself to pull Ned out of his personal pit of despair.

Nickie knew she had to do something before Ned did something crazy, like move to Montana in an attempt to partake in a fictional profession or worse, move to Reno. She logged on to the I.I., or intergalactic interweb, and created a dating profile for Ned on Cosmic Love. The I.I. was relatively new to Earth, and Nickie didn’t realize that the dating site and app Cosmic Love was literally cosmic.

On Earth, a balding accountant widower with a 7-year-old son in his 40s who can’t grow a mustache isn’t considered a prime dating candidate. On Epatrus, being an accountant more than makes up for any deficiencies or baggage a man may have.

Before Ned even knew about the dating profile Nickie set-up for him, he was receiving messages from Epatrus. At first, he began responding out of decorum. Then, he decided he liked the attention. He wasn’t so sure about the green, yellow, or blue women with purple highlights. He was pretty sure he didn’t like the mustaches. That was a prejudice he learned on Earth. Human women don’t usually have mustaches, and when they do, men generally don’t consider it an attractive feature. Yeah, humans are weird. Ned had to admit there was something alluring about a woman with a prehensile tail. He didn’t know what it was, or, at least, he couldn’t express it in a story that’s supposed to be family friendly in spite of all the Cancer and death discussion. Two words: Old Yeller.

Misgivings aside, Ned was always excited to receive greetings from one particular woman. What started as simple messages in text form, soon expanded to live voice chatting and even video chatting. It’s a good thing there was no longer such a thing as phones or long-distance charges. Ned’s phone bill would have been astronomical, literally. That’s a pun. The I.I. made such communication almost instantaneous, like the ansible first imagined by Ursula K. Le Guin way back in Earth’s 1960s.

Uhoria Jhakurus was an Epatrusian from Epatrus. She was born and raised on Epatrus. She lived her whole life on Epatrus, except when she left. She was a mustache model. Yeah, her mustache was that sweet. You wish your mom had a mustache that nice. Unless you’re human, then people would make fun of you for having a mom with a massive, luxurious mustache.

Uhoria was attracted to Ned as soon as she saw the word ‘accountant’ on his profile. It’s that big of a deal on Epatrus. Accountants on Epatrus are like rock stars on Earth. Earth has some very famous rocks. Look at Mount Rushmore. That’s not what rock star means? What else could rock star possibly mean? Asteroid? Meteor? Comet? Technically, no, but they can be mistaken for stars, shooting stars.

Uhoria had never met a human before. She found Ned’s pale, pasty skin shocking and drab. His thinning hair was a conundrum. His eyeglasses made him look like he was wearing a disguise. It was like if he took them off and changed into tights and a cape, he would be completely unrecognizable. She didn’t know humans didn’t have tails. The most appalling and disgusting thing about him was that he didn’t have a mustache. On Epatrus, only infants and those with a genetic disorder didn’t have mustaches.

Even with all those defects, Ned was still an accountant. Count on! 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13… That’s counting. He was also a father. He had a paternal instinct. Uhoria wanted to be a mother more than anything. Could humans and Epatrusians mate? Yes. Maybe. He was an accountant. It was worth a try. Don’t ask Carl Sagan. If he were alive, he would tell you no, which would ruin the whole story.

Ned and Uhoria’s conversations became more frequent, more prolonged, and more intimate. It wasn’t long before they both saw past the oddities particular to the other’s species and began to like each other for the people they were. What they started out viewing as physical shortcomings slowly became attractive.

Ned came to find Uhoria’s skin color of yellow and blue with an interspersing of purple to be quite lovely. He always saw her color scheme as beautiful. It just took him a while to accept it as skin color. Likewise, Uhoria came to find Ned’s pale skin to be exotic. Epatrusian males are black with orange markings or red with black markings. She could see that anywhere. More importantly, it was the inner beauty of each that made them beautiful to each other. It’s what made them fall in love from parsecs away.

A parsec is a measurement of distance. One parsec is equal to 3.26 light years. One light year is equivalent to 30 trillion kilometers or 19 trillion miles. I don’t know if love can conquer all, but it sure can travel.

So, what the fart does all this have to do with Norman? Everything.

When Ned first started communicating with women around the universe, Norman had no idea. Nickie thought it would be easier for Ned to start dating if Norman didn’t know. It’s often hard for kids when their parents date someone who is not their parent, regardless of the circumstances. It might have been impossible for Ned to move on from his pain and find someone new if Norman had reservations. Nickie still had no idea Ned was talking to extraterrestrial women.

Norman didn’t pay much attention to what his dad was doing. At first, Norman and Ned experienced a bonding and closeness that came with Victoria’s death. After Ned announced his plan to move to Montana to become a dental floss tycoon, Norman didn’t talk to his father for days. He didn’t know it wasn’t really a thing. Other than the dentist, Norman had no idea from where dental floss came. He had never heard of Frank Zappa or even Tina Turner, who sang background vocals on the song. Norman actually thought he was going to have to move to Montana to farm dental floss. His reality turned out to be much worse.

 

 

 

Introduction To Norman Normalson’s Bio

In furthering my introduction to the world of Norman Normalson & The Normals, which is called Epatrus, I decided to write a biography for Norman Normalson. I imagined it to be in the same vein as what I did with The L Squad. I planned to sit down and type out a 6-to-7-page bio. Norman’s life refused to be contained. It demanded to expand and breathe. At 9-years-old, Norman has been through more than most living beings experience in 10 years. Space travel makes a lot of things possible.

I briefly toyed with the idea of writing a full prequel book. That may still happen sometime in the magical time known as the future. It may not. The only predictable aspect of the future is that it is unpredictable. The future never comes. It’s always dancing out there teasing us with its possibilities. Every time we think we’re getting close, it dashes away. We set traps for it, but it eludes them. We say, “Hey, future, how about you do this?” The future says, “No.” What was I saying?

Norman’s bio quickly grew to more than 11,000 words. That’s almost a quarter of the whole book, Norman Normalson & The Normals. It’s more than 26 pages. That’s not a quarter of the book. There’s not as much dialogue in the bio.

I decided to ration out Norman’s bio. I’m going to release it in parts. It’s already written, so it won’t come out slowly with sections separated by months. I’ll post new parts a few days apart or as I remember.

Without any further adieu, I’ll post the first part in a couple of days or whenever I remember to do so. What? I’m working on other things. I’m writing a Norman Christmas story. I’m not sure why. It just started. That’s coming soon if I finish it before Christmas.

Norman Normalson & The Normals Synopsis

Norman Normalson is a normal nine-year-old boy. He hates to brush his teeth. He hates to take a bath. He hates school, especially math. He’s irritated by his younger half-brother who gets all the girls, can drive and has a mustache… at nine… months-old.

Norman Normalson is a normal nine-year-old boy, except for the fact that he’s an alien. He misses his hometown. He misses his friends. He misses soccer. He misses toilets. He misses Earth.

Norman Normalson’s life was flipped upside down when his mother died. His life was further flipped when his father met a new woman online. Again, when his father fell in love with the woman and decided they should move in with her on Epatrus, many parsecs away from Earth. On his new home, he’s flipped upside down every time he has to go to the bathroom.

On Earth, Norman was normal. He wasn’t the most popular kid in school, but he had friends. Norman got decent grades. He wasn’t a genius, but he wasn’t dumb. He wasn’t a great athlete, but he liked sports and was above average in most he attempted. He loved fútbol, but called it soccer, which is kind of weird. Though, it is normal for his country to think they can take the world’s most popular sport and change its name. They’re arrogant like that.

On Epatrus, he was not normal. He was the only human in his school. He was the only one without a tail. He was one of the few who didn’t have a mustache. He was nine-years-old and couldn’t fly an F.T.O. His baby brother had to fly him to school. He was not good at playing brickenspricken. He was one of the few people who didn’t like to eat Epatrus’s primary food source, gwatuchorazz cheese.

He wasn’t the most popular kid in school, but he had friends. Norman was adopted by the outcasts of Gargamel Von Shliplestein Elementary School. Even among the outcasts, Norman stood out for the simple fact that he was human. Upon his inclusion in the group, they went from being called ‘freaks’ to being dubbed Norman Normalson And The Not So Normals. Eventually, their name was sarcastically shortened to Norman Normalson And The Normals or often simply The Normals.

Norman Normalson was slowly adjusting to the alien world that was now his home. Being picked-on became normal. Being flown around by his baby brother became normal. His dad going to work wearing tights, tap shoes, sweater vests, and curly blue clown wigs became normal. He was slowly adjusting to his step-mother. His friends were actually friends, not just the only people who would hang out with him. Norman Normalson was finally accepting the new normal when everything changed.

If Norman thought his life was turned upside down by the fecal extractor, wait till his baby brother disappears in a flash of light. Wait till his friends start disappearing. Wait until he and his friends take it upon themselves to solve the mystery. Wait until the robot that’s assigned to protect him tries to kill him. Wait until his friends and mentor try to convince him of the benefits of gwatuchorazz cheese. “It’s butt cheese.”

Norman Normalson & The Normals Logline

This blog has been primarily focused on The L Squad. There’s a good reason for that. The L Squad is the first book I completed and is the most polished. The L Squad is also the book I’ve been shopping to agents. Agents haven’t been overly enthusiastic as of yet. I can only assume, it’s because they are illiterate… or I suck. There may be some other possibilities in between.

While I am far from giving up and abandoning The L Squad, I decided to give Norman and friends a shot. I’ve recently completed a fourth draft. Yes, typos can hide for the complete first three drafts or so. They are clever buggers and champions of the game You Can’t Find Me, So Please Stop Trying And Declare Me The Winner And World Champion Of You Can’t Find Me, So Please Stop Trying And Declare Me The Winner And World Champion Of… or as humans call it Hide & Seek. Humans may have a better name for that game. On some planets, it takes so long to say the name that the game never actually begins.

With that in mind, the fourth draft, not the ridiculously long name given celestially to Hide & Seek, I’ve decided to give Norman Normalson & The Normals some much-deserved recognition. I will be posting more information on Norman and his group of misfit friends. Is ‘misfit’ offensive, now? At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if the word ‘friend’ is offensive. Anyway, there’s a lot more Norman stuff coming. I’m starting here, as with The L Squad, with the logline. I hope I won’t look back on this later, like I did with the logline for The L Squad, and realize it’s horribly generic.

Normal Normalson hasn’t been normal since he and his father moved to Epatrus. Adapting to being an alien on an alien world got a lot harder when his half-brother disappeared into a flash of light, and nobody believes what he saw.

If you thought that was exciting, just wait till more stuff comes. We didn’t even get to the butt cheese.

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