Chapter 2

“Toons.” – Eddie Valiant

We stepped through into a whole different world. The sun was shining, and I could actually see it hovering up there. It was just a big circle with light coming out of it, but nothing that was too bright to look at. The landscape was pretty well evenly lit all across the board. And that was kind of a literal board, since there wasn’t much detail in the scenery. There were scraggly bits of grass, and here and there a tree or two.

Olive was a pretty close match for her regular skin color, her hair its usual sculpted-to-her-skull look. Her black tee shirt was a simple black tee without her usual wry commentary. She wore black shorts and the effect was carried to her shoes – black. It was echoed in me, or what I could see. My usual pale skin with a few speckly freckles, white tee shirt, black shorts and white shoes.

“Not a lot of detail here, Olive.”

She shrugged. “Charlie didn’t do much in the landscape department, his cartoons were about people and interactions. A lot like you, Jane.”

“What are you trying to say?”

She wandered off in the direction of the sidewalk. “Nothing. C’mon.”

I came on, and we stopped at a brick wall. I realized that both the brick wall was short, and I was too.

“Hey, I’m a kid!”

Olive said, “There are only kids in these stories. Remember that Miss Othmar was never seen. Even in the cartoon TV shows, she was just a disembodied voice.”

“Uh huh. We got everything we needed from the one side of the conversation. Gee, just like real life.”

Olive made with the googly eyes, “I always listen to you!”

“I rest my case.” I stuck my tongue out at her and she returned the favor, so that still worked, even in cartoon world.

We sauntered along the sidewalk, passing a kid-sized baseball field. Across the field, I could see the school building, its angular lines simple but somehow still making a building.

A bell rang and kids came pouring out. A few glanced our way, probably wondering why we weren’t in school with them. There were quite a few kids, and it was something of a surprise. I always kind of felt that the world here would be populated by the few Peanuts characters and nothing else. I guess it’s a real town.

After the school, we arrived at a little residential area, and behind one of the houses, I could see Snoopy’s doghouse complete with Snoopy!

I pointed and poked Olive. “Think I should ask him for his autograph?”

She grinned. “I guess it would be one way of seeing if he really can understand people talk.”

I chickened out, tromping through someone’s front yard into their back yard and asking their dog for an autograph might be a little rude even in a cartoon world. It would be a real downer to get yelled at by a cartoon parent that you never knew existed, too!

A couple houses down, we saw something of a vacant lot and a cluster of vines with some pretty good-sized pumpkins growing.

“You think that that’s the pumpkin patch, or would it be in Linus’s yard?”

Olive shrugged. “I doubt it’s Linus’s yard. I mean, how many people would have a big enough pumpkin patch to hide a pumpkin god?”

“A pumpkin god?”

“Well, I suppose. Although, Charlie was a pretty strong Christian so it’s probably a metaphor of some kind.”

I considered a minute. “Come to think of it, I remember reading an article someplace about Charles saying it was more Santa than God. Which kind of makes sense, distributing toys to good kids.”

“I think we’re done beating this horse to death, aren’t we? I thought you just wanted to make Linus happy.”

I smirked at her. “I’m famous for over-thinking.”

“You’re not famous, Jane.”

“You like me anyhow, Olive.”

I could see her struggling with a smile, but it broke free and came out. “Yeah. I do.”

Looking around, I said, “Well, I guess the best thing to do is just go sit in the pumpkin patch and wait for dark.”

“Good thing for you I made it October 31st, otherwise you’d have a long, cold wait.”

I bopped her. “It would have been kind of silly to make it anything else BUT Halloween, right? I mean, that was the point of the exercise.”