“Have you seen Lucy?” Linus asked Charlie Brown, and then sipped his beer. “She told me she was coming. I hope she’s not crabby.”
“I am so over all that kid stuff, Linus,” Charlie Brown said.
“Really? Well, how come you are still wearing that same yellow shirt with the black zig-zag on it?” Linus asked.
“Look who’s talking! You may try to pull off that cloth in your top pocket as a blue hanky, but I know it’s part of your original security blanket,” Charlie Brown said. “How are your grandkids?”
“They are adorable, but don’t listen to a word I say. It’s like they don’t even hear my voice, but instead hear a muted trombone or something,” Linus said.
Pig Pen, resplendent in an Armani suit, was sitting at the table at the front of the hotel conference room. He tapped a spoon on the side of his water glass.
“Welcome! So glad you could all make it,” Pig Pen said. “If everyone will take your seat by where your name tag is on the tables, we can begin.”
They all sat down and Pig Pen continued.
“In front of you there’s a gift with your name on it. We are going to take turns opening them and announcing what’s inside,” he said.
One by one they did as instructed. Sally yelled out, “I got a Best Buy gift card!”
Violet said, “I got an iPod!”
Charlie Brown unwrapped his and could not believe that the whole exercise was not to show off Pig Pen’s wealth and generosity, but to set up a joke.
His “gift” was a rock.
Charlie Brown refused to once more be the butt of the joke and flung the rock nonchalantly over his shoulder.
Unfortunately, Schroeder was walking by with his bust of Beethoven, to place it on the baby grand piano by the bar. Schroeder stumbled on the rock, lost his footing and accidentally flung the bust in the air. It came crashing down on top of Woodstock.
Snoopy watched the whole ghastly scene unfold from across the room and, although he was close to 350 in dog years, flew across the room, cursed in beagle, and began to choke Charlie Brown. He had been emancipated from Brown 30 years prior, but still held residual resentment over years of late suppers.
Charlie Brown fell to the ground and was surprised at the grip his former pet was able to get, using paws. As he started to black out, Charlie Brown’s mind wandered and he suddenly realized why the woman next to him looked familiar.
She was the Little Red-Haired Girl! More accurately, she was now the Rather-Chunkified-Somewhat-Red-But-Mainly-Gray-Haired-Woman-Who-Reeked-of-Cigarettes.
Sally was screaming, Linus was praying loudly to the Great Pumpkin, and Franklin tried to break it up, but it was Peppermint Patty who saved Charlie Brown by punching Snoopy in his snout.
“You OK, Chuck?” Peppermint Patty asked, helping Charlie Brown up. Snoopy tended to Woodstock, who appeared to have recovered.
Charlie Brown’s neck hurt, as did his pride, and he would have just left, but right then he saw Lucy in the doorway.
Blinding hatred instantly made his neck pain dissipate. It had always been a toss-up between what was more intense, his loathing of the Kite-Eating Tree or of Lucy Van Pelt, aka evil incarnate. He was sure he hated her more now.
He tried to leave, but Lucy disarmed him with a bear hug. Charlie Brown tried to keep his hate up, but Lucy was a changed person. They sat and talked and even laughed about their nickel psychiatric sessions and wild exploits on the baseball diamond.
“Speaking of sports, Charlie Brown, I have a surprise,” Lucy said opening her purse. She pulled out a shiny new football still in its protective cardboard container. “I thought about it a lot and I owe you one time of letting you kick the football.”
Tears welled up in the corners of her eyes and Charlie Brown was startled to realize his own eyes were moist. They embraced and made their way outside.
Moments later a loud AAUGH! followed by a percussive WUMP! was heard.
Reach Fairfield writer Tony Wade at [email protected].