Chapter 3

The Main Event

We made our way through the straggly grass and stepped into the viney area that was the pumpkin patch. The ground was cold and a little damp, and I didn’t much like the idea of sitting in the dirt. I magicked us a couple chairs. I was getting more used to doing this kind of thing, but it still felt kind of weird, and I avoided it mostly, feeling like it was cheating to simply control life. I mean, what fun would that be? We spent a lot of time in Arla’s world, partly because it was mostly out of our control, and it being her story we didn’t know what was coming.

It started getting dark, finally, and Olive came up with a couple warm coats hidden among the pumpkins.

Finally, the star of the show, Linus showed up. It was pretty dark by then, but I guess he knew what he was doing. Technically I suppose the star of the show would be the Great Pumpkin, but for me it was kind of a bit-player. Linus was the one I was here to see.

Year after year, the strips always progressed from season to season, but no one ever got any older and that was held out, Linus being exactly the same looking as he was any other time. He had on a heavy coat and pants and was obviously ready to spend another night in a cold, slightly musty pumpkin grove.

He waved and smiled at us. “Hi, you here to see the Great Pumpkin?”

I have to admit that I admired him a lot. He had to be aware of all the years of disappointment behind him in never seeing the Great Pumpkin, but he never let on that he’d expect anything but that it would show up.

I nodded. “Yup, thought we’d keep you company this year. I’m Jane and this is Olive. It’s great to meet you, Linus.”

His cheer slipped a little, and he said, “It’s nice to have company. It’s pretty cold and dark here, later.”

Smiling, I said, “We’ll all be warmer when the Great Pumpkin shows up, though, right?”

He looked at me, a little too searchingly for the presumed five year old he was, but simply said, “Yes, that’s right. I’m looking forward to it!”

He sat in the little chair that was more or less a twin of the ones we were sitting in, and began his vigil. He didn’t seem to be too interested in conversation and Olive and I didn’t know what to talk about with a five year old. Although, considering the thoughts and opinions of the Peanuts gang through the years, we probably could have talked about world politics and the possibility of peace in the Middle East, or the price of tea in China. Or even what the heck an occasional table really is.

It got darker and colder. We all hunched in around ourselves, pulling our coats tight. I noticed at some point our shorts became pants and I smiled at Olive.

At the stroke of midnight, there was a rustle in the vines. And no, I’m not going there.

Olive and l looked up, having been a little mesmerized by the darkness. A deep voice with a smile in it said, “Ah, this is truly a sincere pumpkin patch. And thank you for being so faithful all these years, Linus! And Jane, and my friend Olive – I’ve always been a fan.”

It rose into the air, a giant pumpkin with tendrils from the top wrapped around a giant bag actually bigger than it was. From the top of the bag, several items popped out, one landing at each of our feet, and with that the pumpkin rose and dwindled into the distance.

A sleepy voice, from Linus’s direction. “Wha…what? Did someone say something?”

Olive and I were sitting in the living room, snarfing popcorn and watching TV. I sighed. “I guess you can’t really change history after all, can you?”

She smiled and hugged me. “There’s always next year, Jane. We can try again.”

Nodding, I said, “Yup. We sure can.”