Am I aging now? he asked God, and perhaps himself. Will I finally get taller? Will they let me into high school, and maybe college? Will I have to get a job?
There were no answers he could hear.
Charles Schulz has announced his retirement, and the Peanuts gang has to face the fact of going on without him. Before he and his friends go separate ways, Charlie Brown calls a last get-together where the gang argue the perils of changing and growing up.
Other works by Dark Mark with a tropes page include: Hellsister Trilogy, Kara of Rokyn, A Very Kara Christmas, A Force of Four, Dance with the Demons, With this Ring... (Green Lantern), Funeral for a Flash, Superman of 2499: The Great Confrontation, Superman and Man, The Unfantastic Adventures of Bizarro No. 1, Here There Be Monsters, The Vampire of Steel, A Prize for Three Empires, X-Men 1970, FIRE!, Devil's Diary and Maybe the Last Archie Story.
This story contains the next tropes:
- All Love Is Unrequited: Apparently played straight when Schroeder rejects Lucy for the final time, and Charlie Brown acknowledges he's run out of chances to win the Little Red-Haired Girl over, but then it's subverted when Charlie decides to keep hanging out with Peppermint Patty -who has a crush on him- after his gang breaks up.
- Back for the Finale: Shermy, a character who was present in the early years of the strip but vanished after 1969, reappears to say goodbye to Charlie Brown, at the same time lamenting the fact he'll never be in a canon story again.
- Bad Liar: Nobody believes Lucy when she says she will let Charlie kick the ball for once. And for good reason.Lucy: That isn't important. The thing is, I'll hold it while you run up and kick it.
Patty: I agree, Lucy. You'll just pull it away and poor Chuck will break his neck when he tries to kick it.
Lucy: How can you even think such a thing? This is the last time we may have to ever do this. The very last time. Don't you think I'd give him a real chance to kick it, after all these years? Don't you?
Patty: No, I don't.
- Big "NO!": Uttered by Charlie when Lucy wants to pull the Football Gag for the last time.
- Big Sister Bully: Lucy slugs Linus because she believes he might be insulting her in stealth fashion.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Charlie Brown gathers his friends to discuss their creator's retirement and the final of the strip. Lucy complains that Charles Schulz wouldn't even let them negotiate for an extension. Shermy grieves because he'll never be in a story again. Linus is kind of angry because Schulz never let him see the Great Pumpkin. To sum up, the fourth wall is well and truly shattered.
- The Bus Came Back: Several characters who hadn't been seen in years or even decades return to say their goodbyes to Charlie Brown: Shermy (who made his last appearance in 1969), Patty (1997), Violet (1997) and Pig-Pen (1999).
- Comic-Book Time: Invoked in universe. The gang has remained frozen in time since 1950, but now they have no choice but to grow older.
- Damned by Faint Praise: As saying farewell, Violet praises Charlie... somewhat.Violet: Yeah. For a round-headed kid with no potential at all, you're kind of a nice guy. Kind of, I mean.
Charlie Brown: (awed) Gee, girls, that's the nicest thing you've ever said to me.
- Dedication: This short story is dedicated to Charles Schultz.And, quite obviously, this one's for my favorite cartoonist of the last 40 years. So much for that.
- End of an Age: The Peanuts gang remained eternally young for almost fifty years, but that's over. From now on they'll grow up, and they'll eventually join the adult world.
- The Fellowship Has Ended: Charlie calls his friends for a last meeting before they go separate ways.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Lucy slugs Linus just in case her brother was thinking something unflattering about her.Schroeder: We'll all die someday, Charlie Brown. Maybe that won't be the end of it. Maybe we'll get to see each other once we do die.
Linus: I suppose that depends on us all ending up in the same place.
(Lucy hauls off and knocks him off his pins.)
Charlie: What'd you do that for?
Lucy: (huffing) Well, when he starts making comments about not all of us being in the same place when we die, I'm sure he was thinking about maybe me being in someplace other than where he expects to go!
Charlie: Oh, Lucy. It's maybe the last day before we have to start aging, and get on with our lives, and you want to celebrate by slugging your brother.
Lucy: How would it be if I slugged you?
- Hammerspace: All of sudden, Lucy pulls a football out of nowhere. Charlie bluntly asks where she got it from, but Lucy dismisses his question."Charlie Brownnnn," called Lucy, ominously.
He looked in her direction.
She was holding a football.
"Where'd you get that?" he asked, wonderingly.
"That isn't important."
- Hidden Heart of Gold: Lucy's good side is real well-hidden, but it exists. She's the one who reminds Charlie that his baseball team always stayed with him.
- I Know You Know I Know: Lucy goads Charlie Brown into trying to kick the ball, knowing he knows she'll pull the ball away again.
- Missing Mom: Patty's mom left her family some years ago, and Patty tried to help her father move forward.
- Nice Guy: Charlie Brown is too nice for his own good. When Lucy wants to pull the Football gag for the last time before saying goodbye to him, Charlie accepts only to make her happy.Patty: That was a very nice thing you did for her, Chuck. Stupid, but very nice.
- One Last Field Trip: Knowing that their stories are about to come to an end, Charlie Brown and his friends have one last gathering to say goodbye to each other.
- One of the Boys: Patty confesses she could never be like the Little Red-Haired Girl because she can't not be a loud, sport-loving tomboy.
- One Steve Limit: Averted with Patty and Peppermint Patty. The narrator has to specify when it's plain Patty speaking.
- The One That Got Away: Charlie Brown finally ran out of chances to introduce himself to the Little Red-Haired Girl.
- Rage Against the Author: Lucy van Pelt openly calls Charles Schultz a "jerk" because he won't draw their stories anymore, even though her friends tell her he can't help it because he's very sick.
- Rage Against the Heavens: Deconstructed by Linus, who states they can't make demands of God or Charles Schulz, and Lucy's whining is just childish and ridiculous.Lucy: "IT AIN'T FAIR! Nobody asked US about it!"
Patty: (disgusted) "Nobody ever asked you if you wanted to get born, either, Lucy. Or if you want to die."
Lucy: "Well, let me put my answers forth right now, so you can record them. One, I wanted to get born, despite having to put up with my brother here. Two, I don't want to die. That's IT. We will not compromise on those demands."
Linus: "You can't make demands of God, Lucy. Or of him."
- Riding into the Sunset: As the sun is setting, all characters say their goodbyes to Charlie one after another and then leave.Patty took one step, then another, and others in succession, over the field as the shadows lengthened and the sun's corona was barely visible in the distance.
- Throw the Dog a Bone: Charlie Brown gets a little of happiness sent his way, for once. Long-time bullies Violet and her friend Patty praise him a bit in their own way, and Lucy Van Pelt points out that his baseball team always sticked by him, even though they hardly won any games. Peppermint Patty also gets a bone when Charlie decides to keep hanging out with her.
- Undying Loyalty: Lucy, of all people, points out that Charlie's baseball team always stayed with him, even if they hardly won any games.
- With Friends Like These...: Even though it's their last day together, Lucy and Violet still feel the need to casually put Charlie Brown down.