TRUE BELIEVERS: Chapter 45 — Origins & Endings

Thom Dunn
7 min readApr 30, 2020

This is the final chapter of True Believers, a full-length novel by Thom Dunn, based on his play of the same name. It’s a satirical tale of star-crossed lovers, aspiring comic book creators, crazed fanboys, cybernetically enhanced humans, women in refrigerators, real-life superheroes, and girls who dress like Slave Leia as their lives intertwine over a whirlwind weekend at a comic book convention in the early 2010s.

The book has been serialized on Medium throughout the month of April 2020. Here is the first chapter. Hope you’ve enjoyed the journey!

Chad’s instincts keep alternating between wanting to hug Calvin, and wanting to slap him. The kid is sweet, of course, but his naivety is a super power in its own right. But Chad knows what happens when he lets his impulses get the best of him, and now that there’s nothing left for him to lose, well, he knows that he should try to make the best of it, instead of opening his big mouth again.

He tries one more time to clearly and succinctly explain his pitch to the incognito superhero-artist before him. “Well, it’s about a superhero. Called Avenger. Come on, Calvin, work with me here,” he says, before clarifying: “Not ‘the’ Avenger, of course, just regular Avenger. No prepositions. Now go stand over there, in the light.”

Chad pulls a small moleskin notebook out of his back pocket, its unfamiliar touch and worn blank pages reminding him of the hole that it’s been burning in his pants for far too long. It’s been ages since he’s been compelled to take notes, or to scribble down a sudden stroke of genius before it escapes his mind. But the click of pen from his right pants pocket inspires a Pavlovian response (he also remembers that Pavlov reference, which is something he hadn’t thought about in a while either).

With Calvin positioned tentatively beneath the lone overhead light in that far corner of the bar, Chad decides it’s time to get to work. “Take off your shirt off,” he says. It doesn’t come out quite the way that he intended, judging by Calvin’s raised eyebrow. “Not like — you know what I mean.”

Calvin gives an enthusiastic nod and a big, showy thumbs-up before unbuttoning his shirt and revealing the bright spandex inspiration underneath. He strikes a pose as he throws the…



Thom Dunn

Writer of fiction, article, songs, and more. Enjoys quantum physics, Oxford Commas, & romantic clichés, esp. when they involve whiskey. HATES Journey.