Chapter 1 “Hey, cool it, cool it! Listen up, amigos!” The Electric Mayhem’s song came to the usual crashing halt as Dr. Teeth called for their attention, waving a torn envelope in his hand and ordering Zoot and Animal to stop playing. They were in their room of the Muppet Boarding house, spending the day playing random music. They, along with the rest of the Muppets, were not doing a lot recently, so they tried to fill the void of boredom as much as they could. Resolutely dealing with the problem, Dr Teeth had recently been making calls to book gigs, but with no such luck. “There, now that I have your utmost attention, I have some posolutely, fandabulous news.” He grinned, showing off all his pearly whites and a single glittering gold tooth. Floyd, Zoot and Janice leaned forward in their beanbags, while Animal hovered over his drums in wide-eyed curiosity. “What is it?” Floyd asked. “Like, tell us,” Janice said. “TELL! TELL! TELL!” “Alright, Alright! I had intended that” Teeth laughed as Animal jumped up and down in his stool. Floyd grabbed Animal’s chain and gave it a sharp tug. Instantly, Animal was still, but his breathed heavily in excitement. “The good news, of which I present to you,” Teeth announced, indicating to the letter. “is that we have a gig in the next coming fortnight!” “Like, finally!” said Janice as she and Floyd sprang up and whooped for joy. Zoot stayed sitting, smiling and nodding with approval while Animal started jumping again, screaming, “GIG! GIG! GIG!” “Hold it, hold it! Whoa, cool it, everybody! That was the good news.” With that and another yank of chains, the band fell silent again. “Yeah?” said Floyd, narrowing his tube-like eyes. “What’s the bad news?” “Well…umm...” Teeth stopped grinning. He scratched the back of his head and his eyes wandered to the floor. “It’s…kinda… an opening act for another band.” Floyd yelled in outrage. “WHAT?!” “Oh.” Janice and Zoot said, simultaneously disappointed. Animal, on the other hand, kick-started in yelling, “GIG! GIG! GIG!” again. Any excuse to play drums and chase women was just fine with him. “Well, like, Animal’s right!” Janice perked up. “We’ve waited fer a rully long time fer a gig and I suppose it’s, like, a start, fer surely!” “Yeah, I suppose it’s better than nuttin’” Zoot agreed. He flopped backwards into his beanbag. He was snoring in an instant. Dr. Teeth was grinning again. “Alright! You guys are taking this better than I ex-” “No way!” Floyd interrupted, fuming. “There is absolutely, positively no way you are going to get Sgt. Floyd Pepper to open for another band!” Teeth’s grin vanished. “Never mind.” Floyd sat back down on his beanbag, folded his arms and continued to grump, a heavy contrast to his usually laidback personality. Janice sighed. “Oh, rully.” She bent down next to him and tried to reason with him. “Come on, Floyd. We haven’t had a rull gig in a rully long time. This might be the best we can get fer now.” “Yeah, man” Teeth interjected. “You haven’t had a problem with opening the old show!” “That’s different, man!” Floyd argued, pointing at him. “With the Muppets, some people in the audience wanted to see us. This is for another band, baby! Those folks don’t wanna see the opening act! Everyone knows that they’re never good! They’ll think we’re not good. They wanna see the main event! Trust me, I’ve been at plenty of concerts and festivals to know!” “Oh, come on, hon! You’re just overacting, fer sure.” Janice went to stroke his face but Floyd turned his head away and remained scowling. “Besides, I’m sure we’ll be just as good and popular as the main band, right Dr. Teeth?” “Abso-poso-lutely!” exclaimed Teeth. “Except…” “Except what?” Floyd growled, fixing him with a glare. Teeth opened the envelope and produced a letter and a picture. He showed them the picture. “This is the main band. Their manager was kind enough to provide a picture, for the sake of the plot. Heh, heh!” Floyd took the picture and stared at it in horror. It showed four embarrassingly tanned human teenage boys all standing in a line against a sparkling backdrop. They were wearing different variations of black clothes (which still somehow looked remarkably similar) and all had dirty blonde hair and the same pouty expression. “Teeth,” Floyd said, in a dangerously quiet tone. “Who are these?” “Oh, like, I know who they are!” Janice stated. “They’re B.L.T.!” Zoot grunted in his sleep. “N’thanks, I’m not hungry.” he mumbled in his sleep, before rolling over and snoring again. “B.L. what?!” Floyd cried in disbelief. “B.L.T. They are, like, the newest boy band from England. I heard they’re meant to be, like, rully good, y’know, but I’ve haven’t actually listen to their music, just read about them in magazines, fer sure. I do know that their names are, like, Damian, Josh, Andy and Spike, though I don’t know why he’s called Spike, he doesn’t look anything like a dragon, rully, and they know each other fer all their life and Damian likes cats, which I think is rully cute, fer sure. And Andy’s favourite ice cream is strawberry, Josh’s is mint chocolate, which I personally find totally gross-” “Let me get this straight,” Floyd said directly to Dr. Teeth, standing up and cutting Janice off. “You not only booked us as an opening band, but to a-” He paused as his lips pursed, struggling to say the next word. Finally, he spluttered; “Boy-band?!?!?!” There was a jerky snort from Zoot’s direction. “Wha? Teeth did what now?!” he cried, still not fully awake. “BOYBAND! BOYBAND! BOYBAND!” Animal screamed louder than ever. “Animal, down!” Floyd commanded. “DOWN!” Floyd turned back to Teeth. “Man, we are better than this!” he complained. “We’ve been doing this for years and performed with the best musicians and singers in all of show business. This, man, is just low! Real low! ” He lifted up the picture and pointed at it. “Last time I heard music that came from something that looked like that, I nearly died from un-hippness! I can’t even tell them apart!” Dr Teeth sighed and shook his head, sadly. “I know what you mean, Floyd, I really do, but I’m afraid this was the only one I could find and I was desperate. Like Animal and Janice said, a gig’s a gig, and we’ll just have to work our way back to the top.” He smiled again. “Besides, something positive might come out of this new experience we are about to embark!” Floyd crossed his arms and frowned, but said nothing. Zoot stood up and joined the two. “I hate to say it too, man,” he said to Floyd. “but Teeth’s right. Who knows. We might get some new…er…um…” He scratched the bald spot under his hat and looked like he was thinking hard. “Fans, Zoot,” Teeth said. “Yeah, them.” Floyd turned his back on them. “What if I still refuse?” It was Dr. Teeth’s turn to cross his arms. “We’ll just have to get a new bass player,” he answered, flatly. “Fine by me.” “A replacement.” “You do that.” “A permanent replacement.” Floyd twitched and there was a very un-manly and un-hip squeak. Animal slowly cocked his head and his eyes grew wide. “GIG?!” They all looked at his back expectedly, but he didn’t move for a while. Finally, his shoulders sagged, exhaling a loud sigh. “I hate you all.” *** A couple of days later, the band were on their way to the stadium of the concert. Dr. Teeth had told them that a “lovely young lady”, who had also agreed to give them a tour, invited them to the practice. As Teeth drove on, Janice, Zoot and Animal were playing their instruments that somehow ended up as music, or “jamming” as they liked to called it. Normally, Floyd would’ve joined in, but he was still in a bad mood, so he sulked at the back while everyone left him to it. Even Janice gave up on him, which was rare. Eventually, the bus pulled over to a parking lot and everyone got out. Carrying their instruments, they followed Teeth to the entrance with Floyd taking up the rear while pulling lazily at Animal’s chain. An attractive brunette woman with a clipboard and earpiece approached them as soon as they passed through the automatic doors. “Hello, there,” she said rather breathlessly. Her voice was light and her accent was British. “You must be Dr Teeth. I’m Abby, the stage manager. We spoke on the phone.” “A pleasure to make your acquaintance, Miss Abby!” Teeth tipped his hat and they shook hands. Animal glanced up and his eyes brighten. “WO-MAN!” Abby jumped in fright as Animal attempted to lunge at her, only to be held back by a forceful Floyd. “Cool it, man!” Floyd growled as Dr Teeth and Janice laughed. “Down!” “DOWN!” Abby stared in alarm at Animal, who was now sporting an odd smile, then her mouth turned into a slight unsure smirk. “So, you must be Animal the drummer.” “DRUM-ER! AH HA HA!” “Ah, don’t worry about him,” Teeth said. “As long as he’s on his chain and he’s been fed every two hours, he should be fine.” After a beat, Abby shrugged. “Well, if you just leave your stuff here, the staff should take them and set them up while I show you around the place.” She smiled and gestured to their surroundings. “Shall we?” Dr Teeth grinned. “Lead the way.” “Fer sure.” Janice said. Zoot glanced up, as if he just realised where he was. “What?” “LEAD! LEAD!” “Oh.” The band set their cases down and followed the manager. Only Floyd didn’t say anything as they ambled after Abby for their tour. He was still scowling at anything and anyone who dared meet his sight. Man, this is going to be such a stone drag, he thought. He couldn’t be more wrong. *** Apart from Abby, all characters featured in this fiction are copyright to Jim Henson Company, Th Muppet Studios and Disney. I own nothing but Abby and the story.