Well... it's my birthday. As most of you know I like to do crazy things on my birthday, so why should this year, my 18th, be any different? ...It shouldn't. Here it is, gang. I'm back. The Muppets’ Mid-Age Crisis Prologue Once upon a time, in a kingdom far away, there lived a frog. Two frogs, actually. Those frogs were Kermit, a brave and valiant knight, and his nephew Robin. Although brave and valiant as Kermit was, he was not considered brave and valiant in the community at large—in fact, he wasn’t even considered a knight in the community at large. Just a frog with a sword. It wasn’t even his sword, to be honest. He had “borrowed” it from the stirrup of a gleaming white horse parked next to a cave so he could take out a pesky tree root that had sprung up in his lawn. He decided he didn’t need to give it back after those mysterious skeletal remains were found outside the local troll’s cave. So no, Kermit wasn’t really a knight. But Robin really was his nephew, so at least he had that going for him. Knight or not, Kermit did have a loyal squire named Scooter. He didn’t really want a squire… but he had one anyway (mostly because Scooter’s uncle owned the property deed to Kermit’s house). And really that’s all there is to know about Kermit the Frog, brave and valiant not-really-a-knight with a nephew, an eager squire, and a heart of gold. That could easily be the end of Kermit’s story—but what kind of story would that be? A short story. So Kermit’s tale continues with intrigue, danger, romance, and the occasional snappy song-and-dance— “Is that really how you expect to attract the wandering readers, mister omniscient narrator?" What the—…Ladies and gentlemen, Dr. Teeth, appearing long before his cue. The hairy head of the gold-toothed keyboardist nodded cheekily. “Many thanks to you, narrator," the musician said. “Greetings and salutations to you, fair readers, if there are any of you out there after that introduction.” Dr. Teeth, please, you’re really not supposed to be in the story until— “Yes, yes, I know," Dr. Teeth said, talking to the unseen narrator. “But I heard that repugnant introduction you just gave. Unbearable, even with your big, boomin’ voice!" Well how would you do an introduction, o’ professor of pomp, ye savior of circumstance? “Ah ha!" the good doctor proclaimed. “I’m glad you asked! That’s your cue, guys!" Floyd Pepper, Zoot, Janice, and Animal entered, all decked out in the attire common to the Middle Ages. Tunics for Floyd and Zoot and a wench-esque dress for Janice (Animal’s outfit was beyond description). That is not their cue! Not even close! “Oh, like, mellow out, okay?" Janice told the voice. “Yeah, man, dig on it, we’ve got an introduction that’ll bring light to the Dark Ages!" Floyd said with his raspy laugh following suit. “Intro! Intro!" Animal chanted. “Exactly," Dr. Teeth said, taking his place behind the oaky keyboard of an upright piano that had just appeared. “We am, is, are, and be they whom am are known as Dr. Teeth and the Candlelight Mayhem!" …What? “No electricity in the Middle Ages, baby," Dr. Teeth explained with a grin. …Well at least you did your research. “Like, can we go on with our intro now, please?" Janice asked. Sure. Why not? I could use a coffee break anyway. “Righteous!" Dr. Teeth shouted as the rest of the Candlelight Mayhem picked up their previously unseen instruments. “Hey, hey, readers, welcome to the story! We, Dr. Teeth and the Candlelight Mayhem, are a band of traveling minstrels who will traipse through this story whenever a musical number is needed—and sometimes even when one isn’t!" “Right on," Floyd said. “This is a tale of a frog—two frogs, even! A pig, a bear, a whatever, a squire, an evil wizard, and—” “Oh, like, you’re giving away the whole story, Floyd!" Janice chided the bassist. “Spoiler! Spoiler!" Animal shouted. “Too true, too true," Dr. Teeth said, nodding in agreement. “We wouldn’t want to give away the surprises.” Zoot poked his head up for a brief span of attentiveness. “Wha? Surprise? Whose party is it? Why aren’t there any streamers?" “Hey, hey, let’s start the song while Zoot’s awake," Floyd suggested. “Possilutely," Dr. Teeth agreed. “Two, three, and!" Janice opened with a light riff on her guitar, playing slowly and softly with no other sounds. “Come gather ‘round, Ye readers lots And hear the tale we tell," Dr. Teeth sang gently to the sound of Janice’s guitar. “About a grand adventure And a wicked magic spell About a hero’s bravery About a hero’s glory About the mighty knight at arms, The bold sir Kermit’s story!” Dr. Teeth picked up the tune on his keyboard and Animal entered with a repetitive melody on the drums. Floyd plucked the strings of his old-time bass guitar every break in the music, and Zoot blew his horn at the end of every chord. “A thousand years ago, A time so Dark you couldn’t even see," Floyd sang. “There lived a valiant knight With Robin, his tiny nephew, brave Along with squire Scooter, Though he was just a knave. Yes, he was just a knave!” “They set out on an epic journey To the castle of the king," Janice continued the song, holding her song on the guitar. “The goal of the knight so brave? To give the pig his ring! To ask the princess’ hand in marriage And maybe even stay. Mm-hmm, he would like to stay!” Dr. Teeth hit all the keys as he ran his green finger down. “The plan, of course, Is easier sang than done But if it wasn’t, well, It just wouldn’t be as fun! A dark wizard has a bone to pick With Kermit and his pig He’ll cast a spell and scheme and cheat— He’ll even do a little jig! He’ll do a little jig! It surely won’t be big!” “You’re stretchin’ that rhyme scheme, Dr. Teeth," Floyd added, not breaking tune. Dr. Teeth shrugged. “We’ve just gotta hold it for one more verse!" “So join us here And join us now In our story long," Dr. Teeth, Floyd, and Janice harmonized, Zoot and Animal still on their instruments. “We hope we got you readin’ With our catchy little song So do enjoy this tale, Although our rhyme scheme’s frail! You should at least like the story For it’s cheap and reasonable prices Enough of this minstrel song Here it is, The Muppets’ Mid-Age Crisis!” Dr. Teeth flashed a grin and gave a thumb up to the band. “Very nice!" “CRISIS! CRISIS!" Animal shouted heartily. Well whadaya know… that was better than my introduction.