Peanuts Again, As Retold by an Unnamed Nobel Prize Winner
Guess who wants to join the party.
Patty and I come up from the field, following the path in single file. The dog comes, too, its eyes closed, walking on its hind feet as usual, showing off. I want to tell it, go on back, there’s no need for you to come along. We don’t need your silent witness, that whispery cluck cluck cluck of your tongue as you listen in, waiting until the last frame to BUBBLE BUBble bubble out your zinger and get your laugh. Go on home, dog.
Through the fence, between the spiky tufts of Peanuts grass, I could see what I wanted. I went to the place where the water was and I climbed the step and I drank. The water was cool and wet on my tongue. Chuck was talking about Father, about the day Father told him a story, saying Here, son, accept this tale as a mausoleum of all hope and desire, of the folly of believing that human experience is some heroic struggle for meaning, because as I in my turn was told by your grandfather, we fight no such battles, but wander in empty fields that reveal to us, if we will but look, our own folly and despair, the promise of victory in such a life an illusion of philosophers and fools. Know, too, son, that once I took a girl to the movies …
That round-headed kid talked on and on as the two of them trod soil made fertile by the blood of those who had come before, the dispossessed of Pogo and The Dingbat Family and Moon Mullins, all gone now, leaving behind them this howling waste of random fluffy clouds and a bush that might be a pile of leaves, a comic strip universe from which he too would someday vanish, unless possibly the Schulz estate should see fit to offer newspapers some of his 17,897 strips as, say, Classic Peanuts, not a bad idea really which, whenever that round-headed kid wraps up this seemingly interminable account of mistaken identity, he would mention to someone … oh, hold on, here’s my cue …