A/N: I thought about starting this in crossovers, but there's really not enough of Calvin & Hbbbes, so I just put it into the "Peanuts" section. I had some small ideas left after watching some Charlie Brown specials, and wanted to consider what was real. The sequence mentioned with Sally taking Snoopy with her is, IIRC, from the collection "Speak Softly and Carry A Beagle." A few fanfics mentioned, as well, like "Friends From Above," which has more on imaginary friends.
Imaginary Friend Forever 2 – The Nature of Reality
Charlie Brown and his friends were talking with other imaginary friends gathered for the "induction ceremony" after Charles Schulz' death. He found it fascinating to be here with those from a few other fandoms, and even dozens of stuffed dogs.
As they talked in the field outside a large building known as a "Yes Night Hall" – which looked like some sort of hotel/convention center - Snoopy whistled and waved his hand. "What's that dumb dog of yours doing now, Charlie Brown?" Lucy asked loudly.
Snoopy turned to her and said, "Chasing bunnies, of course," as he got into the cab, which was driven by a stuff dog who looked like Clifford, but was known as Red Snoopy. "Follow that rabbit!" Snoopy ordered.
"You want me to chase a Volkswagen?" the cab driver asked.
"Not that kind of rabbit. Look." Snoopy pointed at a bunny that was hopping along, writing as it hopped. The cab followed it.
"What was that, Big Brother?" Sally wanted to know.
Charlie Brown wasn't sure, but Linus suggested that, "It looked like a plot bunny."
Snoopy met up with Hobbes, Calvin's tiger, as the plot bunny disappeared down a hole some distance away. It had been decided that Calvin and Hobbes were only friends of one of the imaginary friends in this particular group. First, there wasn't quite the emotional attachment. More importantly Calvin had spent almost the whole time of the discussion fighting aliens on planet X-86, meaning he seemed too wild for the group. Still, Hobbes knew that – given the nature of some of the discussion – Snoopy could provide valuable help. "Hello, do you have time?"
"Sure," Snoopy said. He pulled out a stack of Time magazines from the cab, and gave them to Hobbes. "Does that help? Or, did you want to talk to me?"
"I was wondering if you could do something about Moe, this kid in Calvin's class."
Snoopy invited Hobbes to come with him back to the group. The dog was suddenly dressed as a detective. "How do you know he's in Calvin's class?" the World Famous Detective wondered as they walked toward the group of kids and stuffed dogs, plus a smattering of other stuffed animals.
"Well, he's called a first grader, for one thing," Hobbes pointed out.
Snoopy rubbed his chin. "And yet, he is rarely, if ever, seen in Miss Wormwood's classroom, right?" he asked. "Has he ever interacted with Miss Wormwood at all?"
"I don't recall him answering questions or anything."
Calvin showed up and said, "What kind of question is that? We have gym together, of course he's in my class."
"I'm only saying that we must examine all possibilities," Snoopy said. "When all else has been eliminated, that which remains, however implausible, must be correct."
Schroeder had a question. "What if Moe is the kind who just never answers questions? Aren't kids only going to notice the things that are important in their lives, anyway?"
Calvin's friend Susie had overheard, and scoffed. "If that was the case, Calvin would pretend Moe was some strange alien from another planet."
"Only girls are aliens from other planets," Calvin countered.
Lucy was first of several to shout, "We are not!"
"Well, don't worry, I'll take care of this Moe fella," Dennis the Menace said. "After all, remember the panel from the '50s or early '60s, where I said I almost whupped a second grader once?"
Charlie Brown shook his head. "No, Dennis, you are not fighting anyone," the round headed boy said.
"Gimme one good reason," Dennis shouted.
"Don't expect this blockhead to think of any," Lucy said. "I'm surprised he said you couldn't fight in the first place."
Charlie Brown, as expected, was a bit flustered, but tried to explain. "Well, I always try to protect my sister, and help her, and I just think that since Dennis is so young, I would probably say something to hopefully stop him, I think," he said, getting more wishy-washy as he thought about it.
"Maybe Snoopy could fight him," Calvin suggested. "He'd be better than Hobbes; Hobbes is a tiger! He should have been able to…where'd he get to?"
Sally said that wasn't possible. "Snoopy couldn't help me when there was a kid picking on me, and that kid wasn't near the problem Moe was."
"I serve in the Air Corps, not the infantry," Snoopy noted, suddenly in his World War One flying suit.
"That problem with Sally was never heard from again, though. Perhaps Snoopy did take care of it," Linus said. "Of course, it's just as possible that adults handled…" He was about to continue, but was interrupted by music.
"Listen, it's 'Hands of the Tiger,'" Sally said.
"That's 'Eye of the Tiger,'" Charlie Brown corrected her.
"You don't fight with your eyes," Sally countered.
Charlie Brown looked skyward and said "good grief" as he saw Dennis the Menace and Hobbes practicing boxing. Their shadows were clearly visible against the outside of the building. When the real Dennis and Hobbes stopped fighting, the shadows continued, until Dennis' shadow knocked out Hobbes'.
"That's the spirit, Dennis!" Calvin declared.
"No, it isn't!" Charlie Brown turned to Linus as Dennis and Hobbes stopped, and said, "Do something, Linus."
"Sun Tzu, an ancient Chinese philosopher on the art of war, said 'To know thy enemy is to know thyself,'" Linus quoted.
Lucy shook her head. "He means about keeping Dennis from fighting Moe. You've got to find some other way; Dennis is just a Kindergartener."
Schroeder looked as the now flat Hobbes shadow – despite the fact Hobbes was standing – and the Dennis shadow which had its hands raised high. "Although his shadow packs a wallop."
"I suggest we go inside, and consult with the stuffed animals in there. They – and some of the others – might have some solutions," Linus said.
"A good idea," Snoopy said. He was backing his detective outfit. "Meanwhile, I shall search for clues." He pulled out a magnifying glass, and began looking.
The "Peanuts" gang, Dennis, Susie, Calvin, and Hobbes went back into the Yes Night Hall, where the place was being dried after the huge water balloon fight. "We need help with a few things," Lucy said. "And these blockheads need help with a lot of things."
The "Full House" family was still visiting after the events in "Imaginary Friends Forever," when they were inducted as imaginary friends. D.J. Tanner spoke. "We should start with the sequence with Sally and Snoopy. Maybe it would help us have an idea how to help you, Calvin," she offered.
Bluey, a stuffed dog, remembered the sequence as they spoke. "All we see is that Sally got a little dirty, and her hair a little mussed. So, she just got pushed to the ground once. Which would still be upsetting for a kid that age, and yet, not that big of a deal overall. Especially because Sally tends to be excitable. Then, adults took care of it, and he didn't bother her anymore," he deduced.
"That makes sense," Linus said.
"An important question is, what exactly is the status of adults in the 'Peanuts' universe? Obviously, they exist," the stuffed dog Snoopy noted. "So, although it might seem a little convenient to say that, it's probably the most realistic."
"I think it's like the backyard pumpkin patch we mentioned earlier. It's very easy to put things in so they make perfect sense," Bluey noted.
Lucy complained, as usual. "Hey, I had my own, remember? It was when I tried to outdo my crazy brother."
Linus recalled. "That was the most insincere pumpkin patch ever, and always will be!"
"Look, no hands!" Dennis shouted, suddenly riding a horse from outside into the hallway. Michelle Tanner's eyes grew wide, and her mouth flung open so far, you'd have thought a bird could fly into it.
"Oh, good grief," Lucy declared after looking at Dennis.
"Maybe I'll just lasso him like Hopalong Cassidy, or Tom Mix," Dennis said. The boy was wearing a cowboy outfit instead of his suspenders.
Lucy put her hands on her hips and fussed at Linus. "And, you call my pumpkin patch insincere?! How in the world would any kid born after 1955 know Tom Mix?!" Linus fumbled for an answer beneath Lucy's glare.
"Cable, and Western channels," Stephanie Tanner said. "There were lots of Westerns on some cable stations in the 1980s, and they had VCRs. In between the '60s and then, it's storytelling. Why don't people get that his dad or grandpa could tell those stories?"
"The television generation has forgotten about family stories, I guess; or, at least the ones who are on the Internet complaining have," D.J. said. "There can easily be stuff that goes on that we don't see. Just like what's always been said about the stuff we did in that 99% of the time we don't see a sitcom family, with the 'Full House Chronology' and all." Lucy fretted at being out-argued, but said nothing.
"Actually, Snoopy's existence as a dog was put on display in that sequence with Sally, too. It's just like – if this is real life – by the time of 'It's the Senior Prom, Charlie Brown,' Charlie Brown has a different dog," Bluey noted.
"Beagles can live over 15 years, but yeah, you're probably right," Stephanie said.
"Well, he still should have been able to do something," Sally complained, as Snoopy – now dressed as a World Famous Attorney – handed her a business card.
"Which brings to mind a question – obviously, there's a sort of magical world at work here, but whose imagination is Snoopy in? Not only in the fics where they're in real life, like that senior prom one, but especially right now?" stuffed dog Brownie asked, as Sally looked at the card strangely. "I think you could make a good argument for several people," he said, as Dennis rode his horse out the door.
Bluey agreed. "Charlie Brown would be the obvious – he might feel more comfortable with imaginary friends, and if his baseball team is really that bad, at least he can pretend his dog is on it."
Michelle was stunned. "Wouldn't he rather pretend his dog replaced Lucy?"
"Not if he knows what's good for him," Lucy said.
"Although, Michelle has a point. If it really would be Charlie Brown pretending his dog is the shortstop, does that mean his shortstop is really bad?" D.J. said.
"Or," Brownie asked, "is it a pretty good player; after all, Snoopy plays well."
"Which is why Sally is also an excellent choice as the one imagining all of Snoopy's antics," Bluey noted. "Sally never actually plays, after all; it may be her way of picturing what happens. Plus, Snoopy was mostly dog-like, except for a few times standing on his hind legs, till about the time she came along."
Sally was stunned. "You think I'm another Calvin Coolidge?!" she asked.
Charlie Brown looked at her very strangely. "Calvin Coolidge?"
"Yeah. You know, like Calvin with Hobbes. He's named after Calvin Coolidge, right?"
Charlie Brown looked skyward and sighed. Calvin was named after John Calvin – just as Hobbes was named after a famous philosopher. And, President Calvin Coolidge was known as "Silent Cal" – Hobbes' counterpart Calvin was anything but silent! "Where do I begin?" he asked nobody in particular.
Stephanie reported, "Another good choice is Linus. He has the strips where he builds all those little snowmen and talks to them. He's very bright, and has verses memorized that very few – at least not kids - would normally memorize in the Bible. Same with his other quotes, like that Sun Tzu one. Maybe fantasies are his way of calming down from all that stress; along with always having his blanket, of course."
"A poll on Rapture Ready's 'Anything Goes' forum listed Charlie Brown as the one most likely, in the few votes that were cast," Linus noted.
"You and your trivia," Lucy complained. "Let's get practical – Calvin wants a way to stop Moe, and we need to make it so Dennis doesn't try to fight him."
"Why not? I've got everything I need," Dennis said. Everyone looked at him – he now sported hockey gear. "I'm even ready if we go to a fight, an' a hockey game breaks out."
"That's actually just a joke; sometimes people go to hockey games and a fight breaks out among players, because, well…" Charlie Brown shook his head. He didn't really think he could explain this. "Never mind. One younger kid is enough to try to explain things to."
"And, speaking of hockey, it's probably canon that someone plays, just like I play with Woodstock. Kids could try to put ice skates on Snoopy," real Snoopy said. "Well, that is, me, not the stuffed dog Snoopy, because I'm not their stuffed…never mind."
"I agree, a small town in Minnesota is very likely. There could easily just be two small schools that go K-8, and then a larger high school that's still rather small," the stuffed dog Weirdness said. "Thus, the backyard pumpkin patches – which can have Lucy trying to separate her own small group – and the relative peacefulness and safety."
Calvin replied by declaring, "Can't we get back to Moe here?"
Again in his detective outfit, Snoopy said, "My partner and I are still trying to find a solution," pointing at Woodstock.
"I think it's entirely plausible that Moe is not a big problem," D.J. said. "True, our own universes don't cover everything; not even the Book Universe. We're used to explaining things for that percentage of time we don't see. But, you have the opposite problem. In fact, one could argue that the situation mentioned with Sally didn't even happen."
"How is that possible?" Charlie Brown wondered.
"Simple," Bluey said. "You are all, at all times, a certain age, some give or take a year. Sally, you and Rerun are exceptions, I'll touch on you in a second. Let's take Dennis here as an example. You are always five, right?"
"Five and a half," Dennis insisted.
"Well, you can't be five and a half all year 'round, so let's just say you're five, and that will include the time you are five and a half."
Dennis put his hands on his hips. "Okay, but I'm gonna be five an' a half a minute after I turn five!"
"If that's the way you want to use the word, that's fine. There are 365 days in a year. Only a certain number of things can happen during that time," Bluey said.
Linus bounced excitedly and turned to his friend. "Charlie Brown, here's where we can stop Dennis from fighting Moe. We can say that he never actually did what that strip from the '50s or early '60s says. Or any of the strips where he fights."
"Precisely," Bluey said. "The Dennis of the 1970s or so onward is still funny, still a little wild in the '70s, but the culture is so different, he wouldn't be mentioned having fought other kids. And, you can still enjoy all your Westerns, just as they described it," the stuffed dog finished. "From cable TV, or family stories."
Dennis shrugged. "Aw, it's just as well." He thought a moment. "Hey, I bet Mr. Wilson knows some good cowboy stories, too." He ran off in search of the neighbor he loved to hang out with and bug.
Snoopy nodded as Woodstock fluttered alongside him. "Quite clever," Snoopy said. "Still, Moe must exist; the question is, how." He turned to Calvin. "Calvin, let me ask you about the questions in your class at school."
"I don't go to school; I am Spaceman Spiff, fearless explorer of the galaxy. Perhaps you are referring to my adventures on planet…" Calvin's voice was quickly drowned out by Woodstock's chirping.
"Yes, I agree, he will not be much help, Watson…I mean, Woodstock," the World Famous Detective said. "Susie, isn't it true that complex math, and questions like the capital of Poland before 1600, are asked?" She said it was.
"Will you stop with your questioning? I'm telling you, Moe's dangerous," Calvin said, pounding a hand with his fist. "He can't be trusted in my universe; never trust a first grader who shaves." Several stuffed dogs said they recalled that comment in a strip.
Dennis returned as Snoopy hummed. "Boy, you try to ask a guy some simple questions," Dennis said. "All I wanted to know was if the way I was doin' it was the way Tom Mix lassoed people."
"The way you were…" Stephanie's eyes grew wide with realization. "You mean you lassoed Mr. Wilson?" She held her head in one hand as he said "yes." Dennis' mother insisted that he go and untie Mr. Wilson. Dennis left again.
"Sometimes, the best scenes are the ones offscreen," a stuffed dog noted.
Snoopy was intrigued by the complexity of school subjects. He asked questions of a number of children, including the "Family Circus" ones who had been in the earlier discussion. Then, when Dennis returned, he asked, "Dennis, do you shave?"
"That's a funny one," Dennis said as he laughed. "Only my dad shaves."
"But, you like to copy him, right?" Dennis agreed. "That would be something that boys would enjoy doing, correct?" He agreed.
Snoopy then left to question Moe. He asked the same questions about school and schoolwork, seeming harmless enough, though to Moe, it got kind of annoying. Finally, when Snoopy seemed done, he began to leave, then turned and said. "Oh, one more thing. Do you shave?"
"Is there a point to all this? I can see you asking about school, but shaving?" Moe asked.
"Very well. Hmmm, come, Woodstock. I have a theory."
While Snoopy was gone, the others had been discussing changes brought about by the fact there was only limited time to insert years of happenings in comic strips. Lucy asked crabbily, "Speaking of changing things, is there any way you can make Rerun a sister instead of a brother?"
"Then I wouldn't have named him…" Linus began, before Lucy told him to be quiet.
"I'll take a baby brother if you don't want him," Dennis offered. His mother instantly shouted that he'd do no such thing.
Weirdness said, "I'm sorry, Lucy, but people can't switch genders here." He turned to Sally. "You and Rerun were aged a bit faster. Given when you appeared, it could be argued that you and Linus are either a year or two apart or five years apart, Sally. Still, it seems more likely you'd continue your crush on Linus if you were closer in age by the time you were in first grade than if you remained five years apart." He turned to Lucy and said, "Surely, Linus does not seem to be in sixth grade at the end, as you would be in seventh or eighth."
"Stop calling me Shirley," Lucy commanded.
"Wait a minute, I don't know if I want Sally to be that close in age," Linus declared.
"Nonetheless, her malaprops and mondegrens, and her school experiences, are such that first grade is much more plausible, only a couple years behind Linus, as none of the others ever seemed to be 11 or 12, although if the schools are small enough to be K-8, I can understand why some think they are. I just don't think the baseball could ever be that bad if everyone was 11 or so who was playing," Bluey concluded.
"You could make an argument for the competition being that age, though," Stephanie said. "Maybe that's why they usually lose by so much."
D.J. agreed, holding up a finger. "Which adds to the 'very small town' argument – no other teams within walking distance, so they have to play teams where a few kids are several years older. And, of course, everything's very safe and secure."
"Sally was in Kindergarten or first grade for a couple decades at least, but a smaller child for only a decade or so, so majority rules on time. I think we could eliminate that one sequence if you want," Bluey said.
Snoopy was back as the World Famous Attorney. "Yes, motion to strike, Your Honor."
Sally turned to him and asked, "Do we need our own picket signs?"
"What about Rerun? It's hard to say how old he was on our mom's bike," Linus said.
"Having the three Van Pelt children closely spaced is probably more normal," Bluey said, "so putting him in Kindergarten makes sense, with you in second, Linus, and Lucy in fourth; he can be in first at the very end. It lets Charlie Brown have his moment in the sun, when he won all of Rerun's marbles back for him, eliminates sequences that sound unrealistic, exaggerated, or done only to make a statement, and easily allows the most plausible strips to be put together for a few 365-day years," Bluey added.
"Uh, we still don't have a ruling on Calvin's situation," Charlie Brown said.
Snoopy, as the World Famous Attorney, looked at the door to an imaginary courtroom. "The World Famous Attorney sees his nemesis entering with his client."
"And the audience wonders why you can't stay the same thing," Lucy complained.
"The work of a World Famous Attorney is never done," Snoopy told her.
Lucy rolled her eyes. "Oh, good grief."
The defense attorney, the cat named World War Two, approached the bench. "Your honor, my client, Moe, faces a grave injustice. With only 365 days in a year, and Calvin and Hobbes strips spanning somewhere in the neighborhood of a decade, it is possible he might be wiped out of existence in this exercise of 'what was real.' This is not an invisible character about whom it can be argued that if anything even happened, it was just one little push that got Sally overly excited – as other things do on occasion. My client is considered to be a major character."
Snoopy was next to speak. "Your Honor, the only major characters to Calvin and Hobbes are the title ones, Calvin and Hobbes. Moe could only be a recurring one, if that, and is not even certain to be in Calvin's class."
"As is already noted in your briefs." Bluey held up a pair of briefs with writing and polka dots all over. Everyone started giggling at the briefs. "Order in the court."
Brownie, the puppy who acted as bailiff, whispered, "You know, you just walked into that, Your Honor."
"I know," Bluey said with a sigh as dozens of orders for pizza, chicken, burgers, and one roast dinosaur came from the gallery. "And, who ordered the roast dinosaur?"
"Me. I just wanted to see what would happen," Dennis said, now in his regular outfit.
"Figures," Bluey said as he rested his head in a paw.
"My client will not accept being wiped out from Calvin and Hobbes," World War Two said, "nor will he accept being minimized in this manner!"
Snoopy stepped forward. "My partner and I," he said, pointing at Woodstock, "have discovered new evidence concerning Moe, thanks to the theory I mentioned earlier. However, we need time to prepare. We would like a recess while we do so."
Bluey hummed. "Very well. We'll have a recess while you caucus."
"Who wants to play kickball?" Sally asked.
"Not that kind of recess, Sally." Charlie Brown and the others gathered. "Any ideas?"
"Does this mean I get to choose what kinda stuff really happens?" Calvin asked. "I've gotta keep the killer monster snow goons I made in the yard."
"I think your parents would have something to say about that," Lucy said.
"They could certainly do worse," Linus said. "I think that sequence is an excellent example of Calvin and Hobbes. It's symbolic of his wildness, but it's realistic with all the ice if a kid did that. Whereas most of the time you see something symbolic in our universe, like sitting outside the principal's office, there's not the need for it – a teacher correcting a child or making them move their desk outside is big trouble to some children, anyway - so anything like that can be argued to never have happened."
"Does that mean your dumb blanket is a symbol, and we can get rid of?" Lucy asked.
Linus looked at her and explained, "It's not just a symbol; it's a trademark." Lucy glared and tried to grab his blanket; he bunched it up and held it close. "Do you want to be sued for trademark infringement?"
"Now, now, the blanket stays. We'll…leave it to someone else to explain it realistically," Bluey said as he walked past. "Yes, a 'Peanuts' Chronology would have the kids all as generally well-behaved, with Sally overly excitable, but no major trouble at school; the worst would be something like…oh, a fic like 'Decisions, Decisions.'"
Schroeder agreed. "It's very plausible. I think the religion in 'Peanuts' helps, too. We know that there's an absolute right and wrong that we're taught from an early age."
"Precisely," Linus said, ready to quote Scripture in abundance, as he could do at times. "That doesn't mean we're perfect, but our families show the great love and mercy of God in accepting when we fail. 'For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.' The example of Godly mercy and unconditional love can be said to inspire us to want to follow them, and receive Christ's forgiveness ourselves by simple faith; it is all what Christ did that gets us to Heaven, none of our own works. 'For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast.' That salvation causes Him to come live inside us the make us new, then constantly work to make us more like Him in His love and kindness, so we can be separate from sin, still living in the world but not of it. 'Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new.'"
Lucy saw him about to quote even more Scripture, and groused, "If this keeps up, I'm going to have to bug our Sunday School teacher to give him a real challenge – saying his verses in Latvian or something."
"That would be interesting," Bluey admitted. He saw Snoopy coming toward him. "Snoopy, have you finished your preparations?"
"Yes, I have another witness," Snoopy said. Bluey said it was okay. "I call to the stand Mr. Gabe Kotter." Snoopy asked his name, and learned he was a teacher.
"Yes, I teach history," the lead character from "Welcome Back, Kotter" said.
Snoopy pulled out a piece of paper. "I hold here a note signed 'Epstein's mother' that says 'Please excuse Juan from homework, he was time traveling in the 1980s, and not only did he accidentally return right before school the next morning, the inverse relativity made him grow years younger.' Did he give you this note during a time we do not see you and your class in 'Welcome Back, Kotter'?"
"Yes, he did," Kotter said.
"Your Honor, where in the world is the relevance?" World War Two screamed.
"The answer will soon become apparent. I would like to recall the witness," Snoopy said.
Bluey nodded. "Very well; remember, you are under oath." He pointed to a large sign directly above Moe that said "oath" in large letters.
"Moe, I hold here a 'Calvin and Hobbes' strip wherein Calvin stated that you are a first grader who shaves. Is this you in the strip?" It was. "Why did he say that you shave?"
"I…I don't know. I don't shave. He musta just said that 'cause I'm so much bigger," Moe supposed, sounding a little nervous.
"Calvin and other boys his age enjoy pretending to shave, as noted in my questions to Dennis and others. Do you not find it strange that he would single you out when other boys, including Calvin, emulate their fathers in this way?" Snoopy asked. Moe didn't know. "Could it be that perhaps you do shave?!" Snoopy suggested.
"I…I don't know what you're talking about."
"Moe, why does Miss Wormwood, a first grade teacher, ask questions that would normally be on a tenth grade level?"
"Well…symbolism, like Linus was sayin'…" Moe said, fidgeting nervously.
World War Two rose. "Is there a point to any of this?"
Snoopy promised to get to it quickly. "Symbolism is appropriate when a child is trying to understand math. But, jokes can be made without that, and often are by Calvin. But, Miss Wormwood asked point blank what the capital of Poland was before 1600, when in fact if the punch line of 'Krakow' was the important part of that strip, Miss Wormwood could have asked a totally different question, and it wouldn't have mattered, right?"
"Well…maybe it was extra credit," Moe argued.
"A question best suited to high school as extra credit?!" Snoopy asked. "Why? Maybe because there was a student who shaved in that class? Who really was in high school?"
"I don't know what you're talkin' about."
"Oh, I think you do, Moe. I posit that you are not a first grader at all," Snoopy said. "I challenge that you are, in fact, a time-traveling version of one of the high school kids who looked like they were half a decade older, and that is the reason for Miss Wormwood's highly advanced questions at times. I challenge that you are a time traveling member of the Sweathogs on Welcome Back Kotter! That you are not Moe, but you are, in fact, Juan Epstein!" Snoopy declared. Gasps rose all around the Yes Night Hall.
The Tanner sisters came in with Epstein and the other Sweathogs at that moment.
"Dad, do something …" Moe sighed. "I guess I let the cat out of the bag, huh?
Sally turned to Charlie Brown. "That Moe is bad, if he put his own attorney in a bag."
"I…don't think that's the cat he means," Charlie Brown told his sister; he was unable to explain in the short time before Moe continued.
Moe went on. "Our family lived in Calvin's neighborhood for a couple years, including when Calvin was in first grade, then we moved back to Brooklyn. But, I'm not a time traveler, I swear. Juan's my dad, and he never time traveled! That note was a forgery!"
"Are you sure it was a forgery?" Snoopy asked.
"If we had that ability, my buddies and I would have traveled and kept the Dodgers from leaving Brooklyn. I looked years older in Mr. Kotter's class in high school, and now Moe always looks years older than his age. Which means he's just started to shave in first grade," Epstein explained.
Bluey nodded. "It has merit."
World War Two stood after Moe went over and whispered to him. "Your Honor, Defense is willing to stipulate to one sequence where Moe gets in trouble and says he's mad at whoever snitched on him, and maybe a few other small things. In return, my client agrees to be disciplined by his father, not be too much of a bully after that, turn out better, and move back to Brooklyn a year or two after Calvin's first grade year."
"Yeah, I'll make sure Moe behaves," Epstein said.
"We will agree to those terms," Snoopy said.
"Very well; it is so ordered," Bluey said.
Charlie Brown and the rest of the Peanuts gang walked out of the Yes Night Hall. "Well, Charlie Brown, you may not have deserved it, but you and that dog of yours managed to solve the case and help Calvin after all," Lucy declared.
"I owe it all to Snoopy," Charlie Brown said. "I knew he'd come up with something."
"And, now Dennis doesn't have to fight anyone, and we've settled stuff so it's all realistic," Linus said.
"But, how did he ever connect Moe with the Sweathogs?" Lucy asked incredulously.
Snoopy was once again a World Famous Detective. "Elementary, my dear Lucy. The idea of a first grader who shaves caused me to consider students who looked a lot bigger to a first grader. A first grader might say a bully looks a lot bigger, but shaving is something much more specific. Not only that, but boys pride themselves, often, on pretending to be like their dads, including shaving. I though it might be a joke, but I realized Susie was right. Why not alien pores, or something else? I felt Calvin might know something about Moe. I also knew the things beyond first grade work pointed toward an older student. From there it was a matter of finding a logical connection. And that, of course, was the time travel, as it states in the note. Which I still believe is real."
Michelle - who had been among those who brought Epstein in - whispered, "Should we tell him we found out? We just had to call his house and ask questions."
"No," Stephanie commented, "it's more fun to let the World Famous Detective have the limelight."
"Although, it does mean we'd fit in nicely with Inspector Gadget's niece," D.J. said.
Calvin held out a slip of paper with the word 'It" on it. "Well, I've got to hand it to you." Snoopy took the paper. "You really did a great job." He and Hobbes left.
"That's right; nothing escapes the grip of the World Famous Detective, not even time travelers," Snoopy said.
"He's even better," Sally said. "Snoopy's real to all of us."
"Sure, just like the funny things I imagine him doing with notes at times when I play my piano," Schroeder said. Others brought up other times, though Lucy was reluctant. "We all have lots of fun with him, imagining different things."
"Sure. That's the fun of having Snoopy around," Charlie Brown said. "I guess we sort of solved that question from earlier; about whether an imaginary friend can have an imaginary friend." He and Snoopy hugged. "Of course, the great thing about dogs is, they're real friends, too."