Charlie Brown asks his friends what they think he should get the little red-haired girl for her birthday. Inspired by the book 'There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom!' by Lois Sachar.
A Special Gift
"Save the date, everybody! It's Heather's birthday on Saturday!" a tall brunette was shouting to everyone in the lunchroom one crisp, January afternoon at school. "You all better be at her party or you're a blockhead!"
Everyone started to murmur amongst themselves. Heather was one of the most popular girls in school. An invitation to her party was extremely scarce. This brunette was her best friend, Kalie. She was also one of the most popular girls. Basically off-limits to every guy in school. Especially a certain round-headed boy...
Charlie Brown sighed as he took his seat at a table in the corner of the lunchroom with his friends, Schroeder, Linus, Pig-Pen, Shermy, Franklin and 5.
"Sounds like Heather's party is going to be a thrasher, as usual," Franklin muttered, playing with his food absently. None of the boys had ever gotten into one of Heather's famous birthday parties, and they didn't have high hopes to do so.
"Yeah, what do you expect?" 5 scoffed.
Shermy shrugged. "Doesn't she have the entire football team wrapped around her finger?"
"Not to mention the whole cheer squad," Schroeder added solemnly.
Charlie Brown sighed again. His friends were only making the situation worse. "Can we talk about something else?" he asked the group helplessly.
Shermy raised his eyebrows. "Ah, you're just sulking because Heather didn't invite her 'Number One Fan' this year."
Shermy's comment summoned a blush to Charlie Brown's cheeks.
"It doesn't matter," he muttered, staring into his food. "She still doesn't know I exist."
"Maybe you should try talking to get for once," 5 suggested. The rest of the group stared at him, wide-eyed. The boy shrugged. "I mean it's a whole lot better than stalking her."
Charlie Brown shook his head sadly. "I can't talk to her, I've tried so many times but..." he couldn't finish his sentence. They all knew where this was going. Self-regression. Charlie Brown was the most famous for it.
The ever-philosophizing Linus finally contributed to the conversation. This was a rare occurrence, so the other boys turned their eyes expectantly to the younger boy as he spoke.
"Perhaps you might consider purchasing her a gift, Charlie Brown," he said intellegently. "Females tend to appreciate such acts of kindness and affection."
Charlie Brown thought about this for a moment. Sure, he could get her a present for her birthday! Why hadn't he thought about it before? But before he got too cheery, another thought crossed his mind and clouded his eyes.
What should he get her?
As if reading his thoughts, Schroeder finished chewing and inquired, "Yes, but what exactly might he buy her?"
The others considered.
"Shoes?" Shermy suggested. "All girls like shoes."
"Or maybe a shirt or something," 5 thought.
"Get her some records," Schroeder proposed, sipping his soda. "I know I always love getting records for my birthday."
Franklin rolled his eyes. "Yeah, but that's you, Schroeder," he said. "Heather isn't a Beethoven freak like you."
"But if she was..." he started. But it was no use. The others weren't paying any attention to him.
"Maybe you could bake her a cake," Franklin said. "Girls get all fruity when a guy can bake."
"I can't bake," Charlie Brown stated sadly.
"What about a set of encyclopedias?" the ever-quiet Linus offered.
Charlie raised his eyebrows but the others simply waved off the young boy's suggestion.
"No way," said Franklin.
"Too nerdy," Shermy agreed.
This gave one of the reasons Linus hardly ever offered any input into the conversation. He was much more of a listener, regardless.
But the question still remained: What in the world should Charlie Brown buy Heather for her birthday?
He figured his friends knew just about as much as he did. He would have to steer his inquiry in the opposite direction. So he brought the question to the one sturdy source he could rely on, even after all these years: Lucy Van Pelt.
"Girls like sugar, spice, and everything nice," Lucy responded simply to his question. She leaned back casually in the stool of her psychiatrist's booth and reconsidered. "No, wait, maybe that's what they're made of..." she scratched her head. "Well, I know what I like. And I'd say if she's anything like me"—
"I highly doubt that," Charlie Brown interjected.
—"she likes dresses, jewelry, hair accessories, you know, girl stuff." Lucy finished, ignoring him. "Maybe you should just ask."
Charlie Brown jumped nearly a foot in the air. Ask? Was she insane? "I can't just go up to her and ask her what she wants! That'd be suicide! Not to mention humiliating..."
Lucy smirked. "Okay, okay, fine, do it the hard way." she folded her arms across her chest with a look of indigence on her face. "And if you're gonna reject everything I suggest, I'm afraid I can't help you, Charlie Brown."
He sighed, paying his fee—which, unfortunately, with growing interest had increased to five dollars, as opposed to the senior price of five cents—and shoved his hands in his pockets, continuing his search for an answer.
"If it was my birthday," Sally was instructing him, "And it almost is, only four more months. But if it was this Saturday, I would want a new pair of skis... and a brand new winter coat!"
Charlie Brown sighed. His sister wasn't helping much.
"And a pony, and my own theme park, and—oh yeah! Tens and twenties!" she threw her arms in the air, moving closer to Charlie Brown as he shook his head and made to leave the room. "Are you getting this down, big brother?"
"Good grief," he muttered, shuffling out of the room, depressed.
"I just don't know what to do, Snoopy," Charlie Brown said with a sigh, addressing his pet beagle, who sat atop his doghouse, typing frantically on an old typewriter. "I've never been very good with girls. How am I supposed to know what to get her for her birthday? Everyone's telling me to get her something different, but I don't know what she likes! I'd get her clothes or shoes or something, but what if it's not the right size? What if she takes it the wrong way? I'd get her jewelry, but all those jewels and stuff have a bunch of secret meanings and stuff—what if I accidentally bought her the wrong one? She'd never talk to me, then." he rammed his large head into the side of the doghouse. "Oh, Snoopy, what do I do?"
His dog stopped typing for a moment and thought deeply. Charlie Brown watched as Snoopy went into a long, intelligible rant, a high screechig sound the only form of communication Charlie could hear. When at last he finished, Snoopy placed his paw over his heart and met Charlie's eyes meaningfully.
Charlie Brown's eyes lit up then. "That's it, Snoopy!" he exclaimed, frightening the poor dog a bit. "I've got to get her something from the heart! Oh, you're a genius! Thank you!" the round headed boy planted a kiss on his dog's face before scampering off.
The dog rubbed the spot on his cheek where Charlie had kissed him. I was actually telling him he should get her a new shirt, Snoopy thought with a shrug, But a genius? Well, shucks. he grinned smugly and resumed typing.
"So, Charlie?" Franklin confronted his friend the next day at school. "What'd you end up getting Heather for her birthday?"
Charlie Brown grinned from ear to ear and looked at them proudly. "I got her something from the heart."
Heather opened her locker early in the morning before school and almost jumped in surprise at the large, carefully-wrapped box that stared back at her when she did so. She looked at it curiously, noticing that it did not have any markings or a card to indicate who it was from, before lifting it out of her locker and tearing the paper off.
When she saw what was in the large box, she gasped, partly in shock and partly in confusion.
It was a large, full-scale model of the human heart, the box advertising 'Real Blood System' and 'Realistic Beating!'. She peered up and down the vacant hallway, her eyebrows still furrowed in surprise at the mystery gift.
When she was absolutely sure that no one was around to see, she picked up the box and tucked it safely back into her locker, a small smile playing at her lips.
Whoever the mystery person was, they must've discovered her lifelong dream of becoming a cardiologist.
This was the coolest gift she had ever gotten.