Return of the Orange Virgin

Dramatis Personae

the citizens of the tale

The Fata Morgana

Orange Virgin, Lady of the Wild Things, etc., etc. Bitchy, quirky, a goddess.


A quasi-divine meddler, an anthem to himself, busy about his own self-worth. He and the Orange Virgin had a disagreement many years before our story. They are both answerable to a higher power.

Biff Bangtree

A golem, Morgana’s plaything—the scapegoat, a paraclete, Jesus as Pinocchio. Biff’s teacher and companion, the Manticore—a beast with the face of a man, porcupine quills, lion’s body and the tail of a scorpion—is stuck in the wall of a castle cellar.

Harry Profitt Pease

The Priest of the Fata Morgana. Nearing 60, he was once the star center on the state champion basketball team.

Penfield Harrington

A lover of night nurses and truck-stop waitresses, he is redeemed by Linda Winkelman.

Linda Winkelman

The Priestess of the Fata Morgana. A knowledgeable competitor in the world of advertising. An attractive woman approaching 40, she could have had the Pork-A-Dillos account.

Tom Winkelman

Eight years of friendly, non-combative, often passionate marriage to Linda and Tom survives only as a name with no face. Then that, too, is gone.

Supporting Cast:

Jack Lamprey and Alf Tawse

Elder dwellers, the earth-spirits of Morgana’s world of exile. They are immortal but keep busy.

Cousteau McClonaghy

Restaurateur, he owns EAT, the diner where Harriet Hopwood slings hash.

Harriet Hopwood

Waitress at EAT. A tightly knit woman, she has the supple lower back and slim waist of a devoted rider of horses. Harriet has played the Innkeeper’s Wife in the ecumenical Christmas pageant.

Tim and Valerie Hatt

A pair of fugitive orphans, they pop up in various guises in the narrative. Harriet catches the toss of the cosmic dice and falls for Tim whilst Tom Winkelman has eyes for Val.

Paul Blackburn

A poet. Paul is a real person. He is dead and his books are out of print. An expert on Provençal troubadour ballads.

Alma Nightingale

She brightens and defines Harry Pease. A childhood sweetheart, she is friends with...

Joyce Gladstone (Mrs.)

Librarian at the Valiant Memorial Library of Moose City at which establishment...

Rev. Murtry

shows slides of the Holy Land and other elevating subjects on Friday nights in season.


The Rev.’s dog, a weimaraner.

David (Dim Lights) Morrissey

Pen Harrington’s pal.


A big yellow dog, likewise Pen Harrington’s pal. Not a weimaraner.


A nymph and Superintendent of the Plantings.

The Manticore

Scary at first meeting, he means well. He is Biff Bangtree’s cicerone, Morgana’s messenger and confidante.

The Moose of Circumstance

Of the wild cattle of Eternity, a herbivore. A symbol of forgiveness.

The Goat and the Cow

Allegorical figures cut from stone, they remain in the cellar where they dream of walking under the sky.

Elizabeth Profitt Pease

Harry’s sister. She thinks his eccentricities foreshadow future embarrassments and wants to pack him away downstate as a nut case. [see The Nine-patch Variation]

Bob Sawyer

The Happy Time Bread man, he is a county deputy.

Cap’n Dan

Pen Harrington’s employer. Dan isn’t choosy and is elated to have come up with a grownup who can speak and hear, drunk or sober. The high school kids are making 25 cents an hour more at McDonald’s than he is paying and don’t listen to his radio station anyway.

Champion, Everlast, Quigley

The minions of the Law. Two Mounties and a State Trooper.

The Wise Child

One aspect of the Fata Morgana in her dream-sendings. Her liturgical insignias are a bucket and a mop.

The Destroyer

Another aspect of the Fata Morgana.


The giant horse of the Wise Child. Thoughtful, a muncher of watercresses.

A mother and daughter

They watch the night sky and await a sign.

A castle child

with a finger in his nose. A toddler—the nose is runny and what better place for a finger?

The pig

who started it all, an innocent by-stander.


Tasty little curls of fried pork rind, a low cholesterol consumer item, dietary peccadillos.

The Dancing Lords

Proud of their manicured lawns and arboriculture—quite conducive to creative reflection. At a remove, the screams of the tormented ring from their torture pits. The Dancing Lords have disappeared by the time of our story—no problem.

George Amberson

exists as a mention in the Epilogue. George is the father-in-law of Dim Lights Morrissey, father of Maija, Mrs. Morrissey, and the putative grandfather and perhaps namesake of the reborn Biff.

How the Orange Virgin came to be

The how-come and wherefore—a brief history of the many adventures of the words you are reading. An exegesis and apologia with a tasty quote from Mehitabel the cat.

Somewhere, something is waiting to be known...

The Return of the Orange Virgin, an Armageddon-lite tale of the exiled Fata Morgana (Lady of the Wild Things, Queen of Heaven, etc., etc.) and her Ex, the Rider on the Storm, was first published online as a serial novel—monthly chapters lofted over three years (2006, 2007 and 2008). Audio files (MP3, Ogg Vorbis, M4b audiobook) of the individual chapters are yours for a click on appropriate link above. Basically, the same stuff you snoozed through in Sunday school except the Other Side wins. And for you audacious broadband downloaders, get the entire book in one gigundous package—compressed (.zip) files are: The m4b Audiobook (335 mb) here, and the mp3 Audiobook (514 mb) here. Dr. Carl Sagan is responsible for the Somewhere, something quote above. Thanks, Doc.

The m4b compilation

In three parts to be e-reader friendly, click a link to start your download.Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 (9½ hours total runtime) Why m4b? It will keep your place for you when you pause for a few hours, days, weeks. And you may access a list of chapters, hop around and browse. This book may be played in iTunes, Apple QuickTime, VideoLand VLC Mediaplayer, QuickTime, Mediaplayer Classic and your iPod player among others. And now at the Internet Archive—streamable, downloadable m4b Audiobook (the Advanced Audio Coding option), MP3 (the Variable Bit Rate option), and Ogg Vorbis versions.

Ogg Fish Ogg Vorbis?

Who wouldn’t prefer a compression technology inspired by Terry Pratchett’s Discworld? Ogg is the enclosure, Vorbis the codec—more bounce to the ounce and at a potentially lower bit weight than MP3s. There is a panoply of Ogg Vorbis players out there—I use the VLC player; you can download it here. But then, I am a Windows 7 holdout. The Windows 7 operating system comes with the Ogg-friendly Windows Media Player 12. Windows 10? Before you backup everything and yank the big red lever there is reading to do. I am putting this one off for as long as possible; there is no Media Player packed with Win10. There are add-ons for older and newer devices, too. Mac? Yep. For OS X follow the bread crumbs at

The music

The author is indebted to the composers and performers for the music that ornaments the audiobook version of The Return of the Orange Virgin. All selections are licensed under the Creative Commons and remain the property of their creators.

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