Garfield and NermalI feel like there’s a lot of people in my generation whose primary association with Abu Dhabi is still “that place Garfield kept trying to send Nermal.”

So the orange cat had to go somewhere new in his world travels, and I figured I’d make it here. (Archive interiors look awfully similar no matter where you go, but there’s a public-domain photo of the Abu Dhabi skyline in the last few panels.)

…Wonder how many people would’ve noticed if I’d put in a background shelf of archival boxes, and wrote “NERMAL” on one of the labels.

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates: year 200X.

Archivist: Sadly, this collection has not yet been digitized. Your generous donation, of course, could help with that.

In the meantime, you are welcome to go through as many of the items on microfilm as you wish.

Ann’s Being: Wait . . . I can read this one.

Archivist: You can? We do not even have a Rosetta stone for that script! A translation would be a miracle for scholarship!

Ann’s Being: It inventories the possessions of King . . . a name, don’t remember how to pronounce it. Grab a pen — you’ll want to write this down.

Later that night.

Walker: I do hope you made up that entire translation.

Ann’s Being: Of course, boss! I would never give something like that away for free.

Walker: And you didn’t think we should just tell the archivist to make us an offer?

Ann’s Being: Oh, but now the UAE thinks it has the answer. There are Beings who would read the real contents for free, just for the pure joy of scholarship . . . and now, none of them are going to be asked.