Newbie

On the main Bermingham beach, Orange Nova ponders dying and being so stupid about the last days of his physical existence. A boy walks up and stares at the back of the ghost white man-shark sitting on the other side of a rock, listening to him ranting on. George again.

He eavesdrops for quite a while, attempting to piece together the bare-bones story of the newcomer. George understands that he had his own realm, his kingdom, and somehow lost it through treachery. The word “bludgeoned” came up several times, always with forced pronunciation. Surprise attack in the night. It rang a bell for the lad. Also: something about cherry trees.

The boy introduces himself by answering a question the creature had just asked himself. “The place is called Bermingham, mister. The greater half of Muff and Bermingham. Not to be confused with Mutt and Jeff. That’s just Muff again.” He walks up to Orange Nova and, without fear, sits down beside the huge creature.

“At least I can feel the ground over here. The sand. Water? Let me test it.” Orange rises up and wades into the sea before him, but runs into some kind of invisible barrier about 15 feet out. He tries and tries to walk through it.

“No use, mister. That’s the end of *this* realm. Realm of Bermingham.” The boy waits for a logical response but still gets none. He begins to understand that this man-shark might be a little slow as he watches him continue attempting to break through an impenetrable barrier. Not that he judges — just an observation. “You might as well stop,” he repeats. “You’ll never get past it. Come on up to the shore here with me. Talk to me. Tell me who you are and a little about yourself.” Yes, the kid was much wiser than the grown-up in this case. He was use to being a counselor for the confused.

“You say there’s no use in keeping trying?” Orange Nova repeats back.

“No,” says George patiently. The creature finally turns around and waddles back to shore.

They sit together in silence for a time. Then Orange Nova began. “I was killed. Treachery. I was owner of my own realm, or close to it. Orange. My name is Orange Nova. I am one of the Novas they use to call super. You probably have heard of me.”

“No,” lies George. He knows who this is now. “It could be that you’re just famous in your *own* realm, not here. It could be,” he continued slyly,” that no one will know you here atall. There’s a good chance.”

“That wouldn’t be good. I rule through power and respect. If no one knows me — if I’m a nobody — then I’m nothing. I have zilch.”

“Not true,” responds the child. “You have yourself and your own consciousness and that’s always present. You are yourself here.”

Orange Nova remained addled. “I am my own self here?” He had a bad habit of repeating back anything anyone said that didn’t make sense to him. Which was quite a lot.

“Yes. Look around.” George waves his arm. “Newcomer’s Beach, the Magenta Sea, Master Duncan Avocado’s place over there.” George indicates his friend’s house to their left.

“This is what you have now. This is all yours. This is all ours. We are the dead and the unborn. I prefer the latter, but I’ve been here a while. Not too long to get back now.” But he knew his words would mean little to Orange Nova.

Ignoring what the boy had just said, Orange proclaims he is hungry, and asks what there is to eat around this dump. George explains that there’s no need to eat here. “No eating, no defecation. The whole digestive system has been ripped out, hehe. You can breath underwater too. You can fly. You can pass through walls, if not the wall that separates this realm from others. You have more powers here than you did before, even if you don’t realize it now. Trust me, it will come. Perhaps sooner for some than others but it will come.”

George stared steadily at Orange Nova now and the expression on his face, his aura. He’d give this one about a thousand years before a return.

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