Fan Fiction - Written by Doug Fowler - Book & Television Universe

My Friend Norton
Written by: Doug Fowler

A little piece which will hopefully inspire others about the many daily things they can write about that are, like this show, good and wholesome.

"This isn't right."

The voice, one of sadness mingled with frustration and perhaps a little bitterness over not being the only one anymore, came from Donna Jo tanner, nearly five.

"What's wrong, Dear?" her mother Pam asked. She sat next to the girl, who went by D.J., as she sat holding her pillow person - an adorable pillow with eyes, arms, and legs - and moping on the couch.

"Everyone's paying attention to baby Stephanie, saying she's soooo cute," D.J. complained. "All I have is this Pillow Person."

Pam put the baby, now two weeks old, in her bassinette and put an arm around D.J.. Her daughter was usually so happy and wanting to explore - she recalled vividly when they moved into their house. D.J. had run around squealing for days, it seemed, so amazed by the size; they'd been helped by her husband's biological father, a payment to compensate for how he'd ignored the family, part of the reason he and Danny's mom had divorced. D.J. had loved to make a game of going up one staircase and down the other.

"I know it's rough, honey," pam said soothingly. "But, you loved that pillow person when I brought him home for you, when I brought Stephanie home from the hospital."

D.J. agreed sullenly. "It's okay, I guess. I made a new friend today, anyway. So, I don't really need it as much," she said, trying to feel some control over the situation. "But, why couldn't I have been an only child?"

Pam ignored the "new friend" comment to focus on D.J.'s main concern. She and Danny knew one of the negative aspects of waiting till a child was old enough to play independently and help a little with a baby was that she'd be too accustomed to having all the attention all the time. However, Pam explained that D.J. could be a great big sister. She'd been super excited about doing that before Stephanie was born, after all. She was ready to do everything, even change diapers.

Danny wasn't ready for her to do that yet, and even Pam thought she was a few years too young for diapers. But, Pam was excited, and in her excitement she couldn't tell D.J. was having mixed feelings when pam was pregnant. On the other hand, though they'd tried to explain, D.J. probably hadn't totally comprehended just what having a sister would mean.

"Here, while she's awake, why don't you hold Stephanie?" Pam chuckled. "Daddy will think I'm nuts for letting you hold her yet," she said, adjusting pillows and showing D.J. how to hold her arms to keep the baby still.

"If you want me to give in by looking at how cute she is, it won't work," D.J. stated with certainty.

"Oh, no, Dear," Pam said, not wanting to push too much, but wanting merely to ease D.J. into it. "Just talk to baby Stephanie. She likes hearing people talk to her in a nice, tender voice," Pam said as Stephanie started to gurgle. "Listen, it's almost like she wants to start talking herself." Pam finally handed the baby to her.

D.J. knew her mother wouldn't back down. "Okay," she said reluctantly, accepting Pam's suggestion, yet drifting more into that fantasy she'd begun creating to escape the doldrums. "Hey, Stephanie. I'm D.J.. Guess I get to be your big sister forever, huh? Well, maybe it won't be so bad. It was just Mommy and me all day. But I'll be in Kindergarten this fall. And Norton and I have a good time here."

Pam raised her eyebrows. "Who's Norton?"

"Norton, my new friend. He's right over there," D.J. indicated with her head.

"Oh," Pam said, suddenly realizing she meant an imaginary friend. The mother was eager to play along, and went and pretended to shake his hand, to encourage D.J.. "What a charming boy you are, Norton."

D.J. gave the best eye roll she could for a four-year-old, not wanting to be rude, yet a little perturbed. "Mommy, Norton is a duck," D.J. said with a hint of annoyance.

"I knew you had a duck all along." D.J. shook her head, but said nothing; she could tell her mom was just trying to sound a little more intelligent than she was. She didn't know why; she knew Pam already seemed to know what she'd do before she did it.

Danny came through the kitchen, having come home from work. "You what?!" He forgot about the previous words he'd heard, as he noticed D.J. holding the baby. "Are you, uh, sure she can do that?" he asked, a little nervous.

"I'm fine, Daddy," D.J. said with a little insistence. "Say 'hi' to Norton."

"Where...honey, you and D.J. didn't have a duck follow you home from the park, did you?" Danny asked, fidgeting as he looked around for him.

Pam couldn't stop giggling at Danny. "Dear, Norton is imaginary," Pam told him. "The name probably came from a local history show." Recently, they'd seen a show on the independent station Danny worked for about an eccentric fellow who went around calling himself Emperor Norton of the United States back in the 1860s.

"Oh, right. I knew that." D.J. looked oddly at him, wondering why her parents pretended to know things they clearly didn't. He told D.J., "That's fine, honey, but tell Norton we won't bow down to him."

"Why would you do that? He's just a duck," D.J. asked, a little confused by the question. If she had caught the name "Norton" earlier, the reason for it had slipped her still growing mind by this time. Norton the Duck was rather regal in his actions, but never really bossy.

"Yeah, why would you, Daddy," Pam teased. Out of D.J.'s hearing, she quipped, "If she wanted an emperor, she'd have made him a penguin."

D.J. slowly got used to having Stephanie around, but still enjoyed the fun of having her imaginary friend. D.J. kept him as an imaginary friend for a little over a year, till she became friends with Kimmy.