From left to right: Norm and Norman

Prologue

The Dopediddley Adventures of Norm & Norm


This is a tale of two wide-eyed worms and their kaleidoscopic journey to find home.


Life was sweet. Living inside a ripe, plump red apple would make you think so anyway. For two small, rather unadventurous worms who knew and cared little of anything beyond their scrumptious home and who won the next argument, things couldn’t have been better.

Norm and Norm (or Norman as he often preferred to be called) were best friends, and had been since before either could remember. Neither fellow had ever come in contact with another of his kind, so it was lucky they got along so well. The two spent every waking and slumbering hour together and spoke freely about whatever opinions, often opposing, they formed from day to day. Happy and at ease, the worms never imagined anything beyond their simple existence.

Now, being a worm is quite unlike being a human, or most humans at least. Neither of the Norms ever came in contact with his parents, so life was simply instinct, as they were never taught or told what to do. To this day, Norm can’t pinpoint the exact moment he had the epiphany to give himself a name, but he remembers distinctly that Norman immediately copied his idea, thinking nothing of it. Norman was always a step or two behind.

Physically, there are really only two defining features for worms —length and oddly shaped freckles. Norman’s skin was nearly spotless, and he never let his freckly friend forget about his extra bit of length. On the other hand, Norm was very comfortable with his shorter length claiming he fit into cozy spaces better, and he really did.

The basic necessities came easy for the friends. Food and shelter were never a problem. You might consider the Norms to be the most adventurous eaters you’ve ever heard of. That or simply the least picky. Whatever was happened upon could make a tasty meal. Before lucking into their penthouse pad inside the lush red apple, they had lived in a variety of spaces. Norm’s favorite being the hallowed out snail shell they found tucked inside a dandelion patch. They might have stayed there had it not been for the wispy voices Norman swore he heard in the night; he was convinced the place was haunted by a very slow and slimy ghost.

In all their time as friends, the only thing that neither Norm found suitable for conversation was their own sexuality. It’s quite understandable since they had no detectable attraction to each other beyond friendship, but often had strange and tingly feelings of which they couldn’t describe. Feelings like these must surely affect all unaware hermaphrodites.

All in all, being a worm had plenty of advantages, and was, aside from the slight bit of gender confusion, quite simple and enjoyable.

Every morning the Norms would squeeze out of the luscious apple they called home, slide up its stem to a thick and sturdy branch, and slowly scoot on down to the base of the tree to munch on whatever detritus looked the best that day. Some horsing around was usually in order as well. As the sun set, they would make their way home, and once there would do their best not to nibble too much of it away. The only problem with having a scrumptious home is that it will disappear if you’re not careful.

The days passed swiftly for the two friends, and the days were good.

Around sundown this day, Norm heard an imposing sound from somewhere in the distance. It was rather like the sound of your own voice underwater, and through the walls of the apple was almost inaudible. It was a sound he had maybe heard before. He brushed it off and went back to arguing with Norman about the intrinsic properties of dirt, and why he found a thin, dustier consistency to be a more pleasurable snack than harder, pebble-like chunks. Norman was appalled by his friend’s preference, as he enjoyed a bit of crunch to his dirt. This argument, as mentioned, took place inside the apple — an apple that happened to be situated on a branch that was of course attached to a tree which was very carefully planted in the front yard of a once quaint house where a very nice human family once lived.

A very nice family once lived.

Out of the house stormed a pale, wily and thin young man. He laughed abrasively as he flung the front door open then yelled behind him, “don’t worry about finding it, I’ve got an idea!” This yelling was the sound that Norm had just forgotten about.

Bounding from the stoop down onto the lawn, the young man stopped underneath the apple tree. He bobbed his head back and forth as he looked up into the tree, his eyes narrowing as he focused on the fruits dangling from its branches. There, he saw it, a bright, plump, almost flawless red apple. He reached up with fingers extended and clasped the firm fruit, tugged slightly, and felt it give way from the branch. “Thik,” the apple was his. He tossed it up a few inches and caught it effortlessly, rearranging it to fit in his palm more comfortably. He then strolled back inside, shutting the front door behind him.



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