What Shermy said echoed in Charlie Brown's mind...
"Now, let's see...how do I renew the personality? What did Calvin's manual say? ...You twist the arrow away from both options and tap the button twice, right? Yeah, I think that's it."
"The personalitifier has a manual...written by someone named Calvin," Charlie Brown quickly concluded. He smiled. "Maybe it can help me get Lucy and Linus back to normal!" Yeah, right, part of his mind said. You never suceed at anything!
Well, I might as well try... Charlie Brown thought. But then I'll just fail! Maybe if I just don't do anything, that'll be better. But in his heart, he knew that wasn't true. He sighed.
"Alright, I'll just start looking for it," Charlie Brown said in a melancholy voice, walking in the general direction of Shermy's house. As he did so, he thought.
He remembered how things had been mere days ago. He had been more enthralled than he had ever remembered being in his life. It seemed like Shermy was becoming his best friend. But, no. It wasn't meant to be. Now the very thought of being friends with Shermy was disgusting.
Just as he was walking towards Shermy's domain, he was enveloped in a cloud of dirt and dust. He coughed furiously.
"Hi, 'Pig Pen'," he hacked.
"Hi, Charlie Brown," said the aformentioned boy. "I just wanted to ask if you wanted some bubble gum."
"Um..." Charlie Brown stared. "Well..."
Before Charlie Brown could say, "Not really," 'Pig Pen' continued.
"Here you go, Charlie Brown," he said, spitting a grayish wad of gum into a piece of paper and handing it to Charlie Brown. Dirt flaked from his face and stuck to the candyish substance as he did so.
"Urrghh..." Charlie Brown felt his stomach churn. He looked away, feeling the urge to throw up. But for some inexplicable reason, he looked back at the dirty boy's offering.
He gasped as he saw the text on the paper. It was clearly labeled, in sketchy, childish handwriting, "caLviN'S maNuaL 4 the persoNaLiTifiER".
Charlie Brown instantly snatched the dirty, gummed-up paper from 'Pig Pen's hand. "Thanks, 'Pig-Pen'!" yelled Charlie Brown as he ran off.
'Pig-Pen' stared after Charlie Brown. "He...accepted it..."
It was almost impossible for him to comprehend. "No one ever accepts anything from me...but...yet...wow."
'Pig-Pen' walked off. He felt his mind blown. He smiled. Good ol' Charlie Brown! he thought.
Disgusted, Charlie Brown held the paper. Trying to keep his stomach under control (which was an extremely difficult feat), he turned the gummy cover and read the first page:
by CALviN the SUPER GEnius
COpyRiGhT CaLvin THE GrEAT
ALL rights ReSerfd
Who IS this Calvin person, anyway? Charlie Brown couldn't help but wonder as he turned the pages.
HOw tO UsE pErSonAlitiFIer
POinT aRrOW to OpTion AND press the ButTon.
Not useful...Charlie Brown turned more pages.
ACCOrding to CALvin's GreAt TheOrY of PerSonAlties alL PerSonaLities wiLL tRy 2 REturn 2 ther OriJinel HOSt
Charlie Brown flipped a few more pages, looking for new information.
TruBBle ShooTing SEction
1) WhAt dO I dO iF 2 peOples' perSONalities ARe mixEd uP aNd I waNt tO tuRN them bAcK 2 noRmel?
This is exactly what I want! Charlie Brown thought eagerly. But as he read on, he was disappointed.
ASk CAlvIn 4 furTher Info.
"AUUUUGGHH!" Charlie Brown wailed. "I don't know where Calvin is! I don't even have the faintest clue WHO he is!" He sighed. "Good grief..."
Just then, he was filled with determination. "I just have to find Calvin! It's the only way to restore Lucy and Linus' personalities! What's the point, though?" he sighed. "I always fail! How can I find what to do?"
Charlie Brown thought for a minute. Well...first, when I didn't know what to do, then I suddenly remembered what Shermy said...and then, when I was hoping to find his manual, 'Pig-Pen' just happened to give it to me! A total coincidence...all my success so far is just dumb coincidence. He felt melancholy.
But then again...maybe...maybe someone's looking after me. Maybe it's not a big coincidence. Maybe...maybe...
He didn't want to allow himself to be so hopeful, but somehow, he just had to have hope. He smiled to himself - maybe he would succeed after all! He then tried to make himself excitedly go on to the next step of "saving" Linus and Lucy, but the problem was...he didn't know what the next step was. He sighed, hopelessness again creeping in. He boredly flipped another page in the mysterious manual.
"Huh?" He flipped another page. And then another. There were several troubleshooting questions-and-answers, but all of them had the same "answer" - "ASk CAlvIn 4 furTher Info."
As he was skimming, he boredly read aloud question after question. "What to do if someone has multiple personalities and you want to absorb one in particular...how to absorb all of them...what happens when you add personalities to inanimate objects...how to diversify your 401k with personalities...how to absorb just one personality trait instead of the whole personality...tips on being a successful personality salesman...how many personalities can the personalitifier store at once...what to do when the personalitifer suddenly turns purple... wait...WHAT?"
He looked at the question again. "The personalitifer suddenly turns purple?" he exclaimed. "WHAT?"
Just then, he read a note right after the "ASk CAlvIn 4 furTher Info": "if THe perSONalitifier PURplfies (turns purpLe), IT siGnifieS a release of perSonalIty-BArriEr-ENerGy thAT mAY slOw pERsonalitY deveLopment, AS shoWN in CLinical REsearch."
Charlie Brown scratched his spherical head. What does it all mean? he couldn't help but wonder.
Just then, Shermy ran by, furiously running and looking around. "Hey, Charlie Brown," he said, panting, "You didn't happen to see the manual for the personalitifier, did you?"
"You mean this?" Charlie Brown said.
"YES!" Shermy proclaimed with a gasp, snatching it from Charlie Brown's hands. He flipped through it thoroughly.
"Why do you need it? Did the personalitifier turn purple?" Charlie Brown asked.
Shermy stared at Charlie Brown and gasped. "YES! How did you know?" he cried. "You...you...you didn't SABOTAGE it, did you?"
"Of course not. Why would I do that?" Charlie Brown said, annoyed. "I was just flipping through that book and..."
"Why were you flipping through it?" Shermy demanded.
"I... uh... well..." Charlie Brown gulped. "No particular reason!" He ran off as fast as he could, his face burning from his fear and his lie.
From the distance, he heard Shermy say, "Grrr! Thanks to the personality-barrier-energy released, my efforts at developing a personality could be ruined! I need to talk to Calvin right away!"
Just then, something stopped Charlie Brown from running. Wait... he's going to Calvin now. If I could follow him and find out who this "Calvin" person is and talk to him, I might be able to restore the Van Pelts to normal!
He gulped. No, I couldn't do that! If Shermy found out what I was doing, he'd KILL me! And I'd probably fail, anyway. He became depressed.
But then there was that voice - something, no SOMEONE - urging Charlie Brown to trust in Him and do the right thing, the brave thing...
"I must be crazy," Charlie Brown said. He sighed. "But I can't get out of doing this!" he said, looking up to the sky. "I... I... I'll do it!" he said, as if talking to the Greater Power.
Though still extremely nervous and desperately wanting to not do what he was about to do, he tried to gulp down his fear and took several deep breaths to slow his rapidly pounding heart. He was unable to quell his fear, but he simply had no other choice but to do what he knew had to be done. Relunctant, hesitant and nervous, he nonetheless forced himself to run after Shermy.
He had to trust in God, because he could've never guessed what was in store...
(Wow! The first chapter in forever, folks...keep the reviews coming!)