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So We'll Go No More A-Roving, for Fear of Furry Monsters

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by newsmanfan, Sep 12, 2011.

  1. The Count

    The Count Moderator Staff Member

    Spy? No, not spy, pie, I trodded one earlier.

    Kate, if you need the lo-down of Kris's stories, they're in the FLI in order, except for this one because we're still waiting on the epilogue to have it added just before I've Got My Muppet.

    And allusions to the new coupling of :news: and Gina have been made elsewheres like in Kermie's Girl and a couple of my own oneshots, conveniently found in the FLI as well. :electric:

    But I'm glad you're back online with whatever version of Jaws, the screenreader, not the shark.
    *Leaves some fudge and oatmeal 15 cookies for Fraggie.
    Fragglemuppet likes this.
  2. Fragglemuppet

    Fragglemuppet Well-Known Member

    Ooh, breakfast! Why thank you Ed!

    A few more things...

    I got the shock of my life the other night when I found out Snookie is a canon character! I knew Swift Wits sounded familiar, but didn't realize it was a muppet thing. Then I went looking for clips of Carl, and voila! Now I had a voice to go with all the emotion and drama that goes with the character in your story! Hosting the shows in the same usually insulting way as he did Swift Wits, angrily protesting the conditions he had to work under, his depressed and broken moments...
    I loved the Sesame Street scenes, especially at Kermit's house and the theater!
    I gotta be honest, I'm not really liking Constanza. I know she's trying though...
    newsmanfan and The Count like this.
  3. newsmanfan

    newsmanfan Well-Known Member

    Thanks Fragglemuppet! Yeah, when I first saw some of the "Swift Wits" sketches I knew I had to do something with this character...well, this duo, really, as Carl and Snookums work so well together.

    Carl: Like butter and brown sugar.
    Snookie: Just kill me now. Please.

    Er...so to speak...

    Epilogue in progress. My writing time has become virtually nil the past several weeks but I'm trying. Thanks to all still reading for your patience. :news:
    Fragglemuppet likes this.
  4. The Count

    The Count Moderator Staff Member

    UD (*Insert Muppet "maniacal" smilie*: Kill you now? That, can be arranged.

    Epilogue... Iiiin... Progress! ! !
    *Waits for the finishing cherry on the top to this marvelous masterpiece.
  5. Ruahnna

    Ruahnna Well-Known Member

    Yay! She APPEARS! (briefly, but still....)
  6. newsmanfan

    newsmanfan Well-Known Member

    Part Fifty-Four (I)

    Our Lady of Muppaphones Church was larger and more ornate than the Newsman had expected. Located in a quiet, Norman-Rockwellesque section of Jersey City, either the church had more parishioners than Newsie would have expected, given the oddly fluffy exterior, or else this many people had come specifically to see Ethel Muppman off to her final rest. He looked around once more, his gaze passing over his stepcousins Fred and Mary and their spouses, lingering a moment on the bored children piled into the same pew, and venturing on to the mingled Whatnots, cute furry animals, and sombre humans filling the large chapel to capacity. Gina squeezed his hand, and Newsie glanced at her, nodding to show her he was all right. On his other side, Chester – Snookie, he prefers to be called Snookie; what an odd nickname. Wonder if he enjoys billiards?—sighed deeply and pursed his lips.

    “I had no idea Auntie Ethel was so popular,” Snookie muttered.

    On his other side, Constanza shifted around uncomfortably on the worn wooden seat, her legs dangling above the floor. “It’s good to see so many of the nonfelted appreciated her. She must’ve been a good woman, and a credit to Muppethood,” Constanza offered, then growled under her breath, “Although I don’t get why she’d choose a church that doesn’t even have Muppet-friendly seating...”

    Snookie noticed someone just now coming into the aisle and looking around in vain for an empty seat, then taking up a standing position along the side. The ex-show host nudged his cousin. “Hey. Check it out. That’s Uncle Milquey.”


    “From Cheddarbreathe Hollow. Aunt Wilhelmina’s brother. I think he’s a lawyer.”

    Newsie grimaced. “Not more lawyers!” Just this morning, he’d had to hand the phone to Gina to explain to the stuffily sonorous Bland (he thought; wait. Maybe it was Blander...) that Newsie couldn’t possibly come to the law office today to discuss terms of his suit against KRAK. Even the “recent developments concerning the city’s suit against Nofrisko and its subsidiaries of which KRAK was a member and therefore willing to make concessions in order to avoid total dissolution by the Benson’s Board for Beneficent Businesses” had to bow to the more pressing engagement of Ethel’s memorial and the reading of the will. Bland had expressed condolences but nattered on in legalese until Gina hung up on him.

    Snookie grinned. The hot pizza, warm bath, and a night spent on the couch opposite Constanza had done wonders for his health; his felt practically glowed yellow-gold, and his sleek hair was once again shiny. Of course, the fact that the entire night hadn’t been spent on the opposite end of the couch from his new love might also have something to do with his more cheerful demeanor despite the solemn surroundings. “Nah, not like that. He does family law. Probably here for Ethel’s will.”

    Newsie sighed. “That seems like a ridiculous formality. I’m sure whatever she had left from Uncle Joe has been spent on her care the last couple of decades.” He glanced again at his nonfelted relations. “It’s nice to see...see family again, though.”

    Snookie followed his gaze. “Yeah. What’s up with them, anyway? I got a distinctly unfriendly vibe off that Fred guy when we shook hands.”

    “What’d you expect from them?” Constanza snorted.

    Snookie turned to her with a frown. “Look, they may not be Muppets, but you can’t choose your relations, all right? Isn’t there anyone in your family that stands out the same way?”

    Constanza opened her mouth to object, then blushed. “Uh...penguins.”

    Snookie challenged her. “Excuse me? What was that, dear?”

    She glared at him. “One of my cousins married a penguin, okay? We...we don’t talk about her.”

    Snookie grinned. Gina interrupted them. “You guys...is that the minister?”

    All eyes turned to the raised platform at the front of the church, where a man with a furry orange mitre atop his head stepped behind the lectern and waited for silence. The organ softly playing “Nearer My Frog to Thee” drew to a quiet close. “Funky hat,” Snookie commented.

    “That’s not a hat,” Newsie said as the mitre sat up and blinked at all the people.

    “Get on with it already,” the Muppaphone atop the minister grouched. “We gotta wedding to perform at eleven!”

    The minister, grandly ignoring the griping fluffball sitting on his head, opened the book on the lectern. “Ahem. When I have fears that I may cease to be, before the fluff has fallen from my frame; before high-piléd sweaters, in mimicry, hold like marshmallows the new-spilled stain...”

    “What the heck chapter and verse is that?” Gina whispered, baffled.

    A woman in the pew behind them leaned forward to hiss, “It’s from the Book of Common Muppaphonics. Shhh!”

    Gina exchanged a querying look with Newsie. Both shrugged, and sat still while the rest of the strange verse was solemnly intoned. After the religious proceedings had finally dragged to a close (with numerous interruptions from the Muppaphone-hat, which the congregation all seemed to regard as perfectly proper), the minister asked for any family who wished to say a few words to come up and do so. Gina nudged Newsie, but he shook his head, abashed; most of his memories of Ethel were from his childhood. What could he say about a woman he’d barely known the last couple of decades? Fred was already on his feet and making his way onto the dais.

    “Ethel Blyer married my grandfather, Joe Muppman. I was a boy when she came into my family’s life. I admit I was wary at first; after all, she was short, and...and different,” Fred began in a low, strong voice. Apprehensive murmurs traveled around the church, but Fred continued: “But I soon discovered that my new gran was one of the sweetest, most cheerful and supportive people in the world. She was always baking cookies for the whole neighborhood; she invited us up to her lake house every summer, and those were some of the best years of my life...and she never said a word against the people who remained so prejudiced they snubbed her, just because she was a Muppet.”

    Newsie blinked, stunned. Was that really Fred up there? He didn’t realize he’d whispered the thought aloud until Snookie muttered in reply, “Maybe it’s a pod people.”

    Newsie snorted. Gina stifled a giggle. Fred went on, “So I just wanted to say that, whatever our differences through the years...and despite the cruel dementia which took her reason toward the end...I loved my gran, and I always will. No matter what anyone thinks.” He cast a glare around the room as if daring anyone to say a word against Ethel. Mary patted her hands lightly in soft applause. A few people murmured, “Hear, hear,” and “Yeah, bro.”

    As Fred resumed his seat, Gina suddenly pinched her Muppet reporter in a sensitive spot. He jerked to his feet, startled and only barely silencing a yelp. The minister nodded at him, and the irascible Muppaphone grumbled, “Well, come on up here then, we ain’t got all day.” Embarrassed, everyone’s eyes upon him, Newsie realized he had little choice now, but as he headed for the front of the church, he grabbed a snickering Snookie’s tie.

    “Fine – but you’re coming too.”

    Snookie shrugged, and together they climbed up to the podium next to the small urn holding Ethel Blyer Muppman’s earthly remains. Newsie was a bit unnerved to realize the urn was fuzzy...and pink, with a cute bow tied around the top. Ethel must’ve picked that herself; looks like her, he thought, then tried to compose himself. Snookie cleared his throat and grabbed the mic like a born showman. “So, here we all are, and here you are, Aunt Ethel...and looking as cheerful as ever!”

    Dead silence filled the church. Somewhere in the back, a cricket chirped once.

    Newsie took the mic from his cousin. “Er...what Snookie means is...Ethel was always so positive, with such a wonderful sense of humor! I’m sure she would have loved this whole ceremony.”

    More silence. People stared at Newsie in puzzlement.

    Snookie took back the mic. “Heh heh heh, what my way-too-politic cousin here means is: Ethel was about as fuzzy as you can be – especially these last few years, from what I hear. Now, I hadn’t seen her in twenty years, but I’m told that right up to the end, she cherished small wonders and laughed every day, and that’s not a bad thing no matter what your diminished mental capacity!”

    Gina was now covering her face with both hands. Her shoulders shook in silent mirth. The churchgoers began to mutter in displeasure.

    Newsie, feeling his cheeks burning, grabbed the mic away. “You know what? I’m sad Ethel’s gone. I am! But...but look at all of you!” The crowd stared at him, but Newsie, angered, bulled on. “She was always quick to laugh, even at herself, and she – she taught me that it was okay not to be serious all the time! Even when other people mock you or – or don’t take you seriously when you want to be...even then...it helps to keep a sense of humor.” He fell silent, struggling with emotion. He jumped when Snookie clapped his back.

    “Frog yes,” Snookie stated firmly. He spotted a communion chalice sitting out on a side table, apparently left out from a prior service or waiting for the next one. He lifted it up, and shouted, “To Ethel!”

    A number of the audience echoed, “To Ethel!”

    “Now that’s more like it,” the Muppaphone agreed. “Pass that thing! I’m parched!”

    “You’re stuffed already,” the minister objected, but he took the chalice after Snookie had wet his tongue with the overly-sweet wine inside, and held it aloft over the urn. “To Ethel, one of the few people who truly lived the Fluffy Rule in all she did.”

    Even the hesitant in the congregation applauded that, and Snookie and Newsie tromped back to their pew feeling less disapproved-of. Gina hugged Newsie as he slid next to her again. “That was well said, sweetie,” she murmured, kissing him.

    “I shouldn’t have—“

    “Ah, these yokels needed a dose of good sarcasm,” Snookie opined, settling one arm around Constanza. “The Ethel I remember would’ve told ‘em all to lighten up, and then offered ‘em snickerdoodles.”

    Unsure if he’d just ostracized himself further from his family, Newsie snuck a quick look around. Mary was beaming, and even Fred seemed mollified. Along the wall, the Whatnot Snookie had identified as Uncle Milquey was waiting attentively for the service to finish, but he seemed to feel eyes upon him and turned his head. Seeing the Newsman, he nodded once, and Newsie relaxed a bit. More people, whether felted or not, rose and shared memories of their time with Ethel, but most of them were happy stories or jokes; the entire mood of the church seemed to have lifted. When at last the minister declared the final hymn should be played, Newsie was startled to recognize the strains of “C’mon Get Happy” wheezing through the old organ.

    “Oh my,” one of the old ladies sitting behind him gasped, blotting her eyes with a tissue. “This song always makes me cry!”

    “Or gag,” Snookie muttered before being silenced by a kiss from his blue-and-pink girl.

    “Move it, move it, turn those flowers around,” the Muppaphone hat snapped at some ushers slowly swiveling the black bouquets at the front of the altar around to show white carnations and roses instead. “The weddin’ party’s already waiting in the refectory!”

    The nicely-suited Whatnot stopped Snookie and Newsie as the crowd filed out behind the urn, carried reverently by Fred’s daughter. “Pardon me. Are you Chester Blyer and Aloysius Crimp?” the short man asked, mispronouncing Newsie’s given name.

    It was a common enough mistake, and Newsie simply offered his hand. “I go by Newsman.”

    “Uncle Milquey, how ya been?” Snookie asked, shaking the Whatnot’s hand as well.

    “Fine...as anyone in the family who’s actually kept in touch would know,” the Whatnot said, though his tone was mild. “Both of you, please come with me. I’ve arranged for privacy in one of the church offices.”

    “Hey, little hard to keep in touch when you’re being held prisoner by crazed Frackles,” Snookie grumbled. He looked at Constanza. “Mind if my squeeze here joins us?”

    Milquetoast frowned. “I’m sorry. Nice to meet you, Miss, but this is a family matter.”

    “Maybe I am family,” Constanza snapped, clutching Snookie’s arm tighter.

    “Gina goes where I go,” Newsie added. Snookie cast an incredulous look at Constanza.

    She shrugged, blushing. “What? I’m thinking about it...do you have a problem with that?”

    “I. Uh.” For once, the game show host seemed wordless.

    Constanza smirked. “Good.”

    The lawyer frowned and shook his head, but after a moment’s consideration shrugged and beckoned them through a door off the nave. “Well, I suppose Ethel wouldn’t mind, seeing as how her own marriage was rather a...rather a blended one.” He peered after Fred and Mary and their families. “Could someone call back her grandkids? They’re named as well, and it would be more proper to inform everyone at the same time.”

    “Inform us of what?” Newsie wondered. Suddenly he had a nightmarish vision of being asked to care for Ethel’s dried, wilted pet cabbage in perpetuity; her insistence on dressing it in frilly frocks and carrying it everywhere had been the first serious indication years ago that the old woman might have lost a few screws.

    Milquetoast appeared grave, and didn’t answer directly. “Just ask them to join us, please.”

    Gina squeezed Newsie’s shoulder. “I’ll go get them, sweetie. You go ahead.”

    He frowned. “Are you sure?”

    Gina smiled...a little too nicely. “Absolutely. I think it’s time I introduced myself properly to your relations.”

    Constanza liked that thought, and moved to go with her, but Snookie held her arm firmly. “Hey! I want to go say hi too!”

    “One of you is an ambush,” Snookie argued. “Two is an invasion force. Come on. Let’s go hear how many tea cozies I inherited.”

    The Newsman sighed, watching his beloved hurry after the departing crowd, half proud of her and half mortified. Even after this probable waste of time, he still had to get in touch with Bland and Blander to see if they’d made any progress in restoring his job, or at least his reputation as an employable journalist. As he followed his cousin and the girl now protesting loudly that as a liberated Muppet she had no interest in tea cozies, petticoats, or elevated shoes, Newsie reflected: As weird as October was, I hope November turns out better...or at least calmer.

    The site was fenced off and still marked with biohazard caution tape, but Gonzo slipped easily past the security bear arguing with a couple of city inspectors about the legitimacy of their ID badges. He held Camilla’s wing gently as he guided her over the rubble to the cracked stone steps leading down, the only part of the hotel which had survived the combined forces of the Underchicken and a psychokinetic mass spectrum catastrophic event. “I’m sorry you didn’t get to meet ‘em last night, but trust me, they’re really great guys...just don’t say anything about their back fur; it’s kind of embarrassing, I think.” When Camilla cawped softly in confusion, Gonzo leaned closer to whisper, “It’s way too short.” The chicken clucked her comprehension, and carefully they descended.

    Banging, sawing, and other construction sounds ricocheted through the tunnels as collapsed passageways were either shored up or walled over. Gonzo looked curiously around; the studios which had sustained the least damage appeared to be running again. He peeked around the open doorframe of a game-show studio and saw what looked like a knitting show: a terribly fat bat in a poncho was demonstrating how to do a two-clawed purl to make Christmas stockings out of red-and-green-dyed, thick ropes of silk. Suddenly a giant orange spider face thrust out of the studio. “Hey Pew, you bring cookies?”

    Camilla bawked and clutched Gonzo; Gonzo froze, but the spider saw who it was and jerked back, then turned red in the mandibles. “Oh. Huh huh. Is Great One! Sorry, Great One.”

    “Uh...hi,” Gonzo murmured, petting his chicken reassuringly. “See, sweetie? They all love me down here.”

    “Awww,” the spider chuckled, dragging three feet bashfully through the rock floor and gouging new tracks in it.

    “Are you guys filming again already?” Gonzo asked. “I thought the FCC, the FBI, DHS, and MMB shut you down for good!” Camilla clucked a question. “Monster Mistreatment Bureau,” Gonzo explained.

    Steve the Spider shrugged. “Got no transmitter no more. Was tasty though.” He beamed, gesturing at the fussy bat beckoning a camerafrackle in for a close-up of the stitch held on two elongated wing-claws like knitting needles. “Got show-how show. Clarence made me booties.” Proudly he held up his two front legs; adorably knitted and pompom-tufted covers made the deadly striking claws almost festive.

    Gonzo looked past the spider; the whole studio was filled with the ropy, sticky threads that the bat was determinedly trying to incorporate into Christmas stockings and a matching scarf-and-mitten set. Instead of all the fancy electronics Gonzo had seen before in many of these rooms, the only other occupant was the lone green Frackle holding a small videocamera to its beady eyes. “But if you got banned from broadcasting, how are you—“

    “Web TV,” Steve explained. Some of his eyes shifted to Camilla. “Ooh. You bring cookie?”


    “Gotta go,” Gonzo said, hustling his chickie down the hall.

    Lights flickered overhead; startled, Gonzo looked up to see nary a glowworm. Instead, daylight-spectrum bulbs were being screwed into new fixtures along the formerly gloomy passageways. A giant roach, spooked by the sudden illumination of its hiding-place in a wall niche, skittered away and ran antennae-first into a furry purple hand. It never even had the chance to squeak before being stuffed into a mouth already so full of haphazard teeth that chewing was problematic. Three contented eyes lifted and saw the Whatever and the chicken. “Gazza!”

    “Thatch! Hey!” The two odd-looking creatures slapped one another’s backs. “Where’s Rosie?”

    Thatch McGurk hooked a claw over his shoulder. “Ah, Ragga ahvahzeega dah nooza eleggabba jennehrazza.”

    “New electrical generator? I didn’t know you guys were electricians,” Gonzo said. He perked. “Say, any chance Rosie would want to help me out back at the theatre? I had a dream for this fantastic new act involving Tesla coils and tapioca...” Camilla nudged him, clucking, and Gonzo shook himself. “Ah, never mind. I have some...family business I gotta tend to first.”

    Camilla sighed happily, nuzzling him with her beak, and Gonzo giggled. “Camilla! Not here...”

    Thatch led the way to the large room which had formerly been the studio for Break a Leg! The stage platform still stood – re-braced by a number of ramshackle two-by-fours and one very displeased shark – but instead of the reality-contest-show’s set, a giant plastic wheel had been erected center stage, with a tangle of cables and wires snaking from it. The benches down front were filled with an assortment of small furry animals, giant slugs munching popcorn from huge buttered buckets, and a few strange creatures such as a winged kitten purring in the front row. Thatch called out as they walked toward the platform, “Razza! Morga powah!”

    “Ooh, hurry, the show’s starting again!” one of the horned jackrabbits called out, and a creature who seemed to be half Whatnot and half monster stopped chatting with a skinny goblin girl and rejoined the small audience.

    “Oh, jolly good. I love it when they make the sparks fly, especially,” the creature enthused, curling his wings up so he wouldn’t block the view for his fellow former prisoners. The spectators hid the bottom of the wheel from Gonzo’s sight, however, until he climbed the steps behind Thatch and saw what was making it spin.

    Rosie McGurk spotted Gonzo, dropped the clipboard he’d held and bounded over to hug his friend, and then to politely drool on the wing of the chicken. “Gazza! Tankah fah nooga hama!”

    “De nada,” Gonzo replied broadly, and at Rosie’s befuddled expression, added in a knowledgeable undertone, “French.” Rosie grinned. Gonzo spread his arms in wonder. “Wow, Rosie, when you said this morning you wanted to come back here and do some cleaning up, I never realized you meant this!”

    The pink-furred monster beamed, all thirty teeth sticking out at every angle. Camilla warily stepped a little more behind her daredevil, but the monster only proceeded to proudly explain the new system he and his brother had rigged up to supply the power needs of this new, free monster community just beginning to put out feelers to the civilized world...as well as tentacles and creepy little legs. “Vegabba dah vegga inna wheeba...”

    “Uh huh,” Gonzo nodded at the panting creature standing in the middle of the now-still giant hamster wheel.

    Rosie pointed out cables and switches and relays still being fixed into place by a crew of cheerful Frackles and a millipede wearing a dozen multitools on a canvas belt. “Powagg gaffa aaaaaarr deh undahgrabba,” Rosie bragged. He brightened, turning to Camilla. “Wabba lygga demastragga?”


    “Sure we’d like a demonstration!” Gonzo agreed. “Crank this baby up and let’s see what she’ll do!”

    “Excuse me? She? Is my fur that long?” protested the occupant of the wheel, brushing his long spiky whiskers back from his snout and readjusting the lab goggles over his beady eyes.

    “Welease dah bunneh!” Rosie crowed. A panel in the short wall behind the possumized Van Neuter slid open, and a gray-green-furred monster with floppy bunny ears strapped over his horns poked his head through.

    “Hi!” Carl barked.

    Van Neuter started in fear – and then started running. “Oh! Oh! Oh! Mercy! Haaaaaaalllp!”

    Gonzo and Camilla watched a minute as the vet ran flat-out, making the wheel spin so fast sparks shot from the gears and traveled along the cables. A cheer went up from the audience, and Rosie bowed to the scattered applause. Carl swiped repeatedly at the doctor from his window, snagging the hem of the tattered lab coat once, which only made Van Neuter shriek and run faster. “Neat,” Gonzo observed, “but what happens when it runs down?”

    Carl, soon bored with the prey he couldn’t quite catch, popped out of the window and strolled offstage. “Eh, ta heck with this. Anyone wanna pumpkin sundae? There’s lots left over from the jack-o’lantern smash!” he called out as he left, and a few of the crowd went with him. Van Neuter slowed, gasping, about to collapse, but Rosie merely put his fingers between his foremost teeth and whistled.

    “You look delicious!” Gorgon Heap cried, trying to force his bulk through the tiny window. Van Neuter let out a girlish scream and renewed his frantic pounding of feet. The wheel spun so fast Gonzo could feel heat radiating from it. A few feet away, a large white furry caterpillar purred and snuggled into a pet bed with an umbrella drink and an iBlob playing Jimmy Buffett tunes, basking in the warmth.

    “Nabba probba,” Rosie said. He put an arm around Gonzo’s shoulders. “Wagga seeba wiyah-an-kabba-roog?”

    Gonzo’s eyes widened. “The large wire and cable room? Cool! Lead on, buddy!” He traipsed behind the monster, hugging Camilla as they went. “Camilla! They have a whole room just for storing wire! Can you believe it? The possibilities are mind-boggling!”

    The chicken hugged him back, and obediently went along with the tour. Some things, she knew, one simply couldn’t change...and her Gonzo finding new and daring act inspiration in the most ordinary objects was one of them. At least he was sharing them with her. She’d let him natter on about this silliness an hour more, but then, by frog, she was dragging him home. There was a nest which needed rebuilding.

    On the platform, Van Neuter heaved for air, and croaked from the whirling wheel, “Hey! Can I stop yet? I’m getting really dizzy...I think I may be about to...blarrrgghh...”

    The large yellow eyes of the Heap blazed in anticipation. “Oh, goody! It makes its own gravy!”
  7. newsmanfan

    newsmanfan Well-Known Member

    Part Fifty-Four (II)

    A very flabbergasted group of Muppets and humans emerged from the church office an hour after going in. Goodbyes were said, promises to see one another over the upcoming holidays exchanged, and at last people dispersed, still mulling over what Ethel’s will had revealed. Newsie, Gina, Snookie and Constanza stood uncertainly in the small hallway after the others had gone, silent a few minutes. Constanza asked to borrow Gina’s cell phone, and once given it, began tapping through a web search. Finally Gina ventured, “So...feel like taking a weekend off at the lake?”

    Newsie laughed incredulously. “I...I can’t believe it! I thought the property had been sold years ago...when Milquetoast brought it up, I was sure it would go to Fred or Mary...”

    Snookie shook his head. “Hey, at least you have something worth something instead of a china cabinet full of disgustingly cute figurines.” He sighed, and smiled. “Ah, no big deal. I still love the old dear.” Snookie had been obviously less than thrilled with his bequest of Ethel’s collection of Disastrous Moments china.

    “Why don’t you two come with us? We could make a vacation of it; I’m sure you both could use some time to ease back into the world,” Gina said.

    Newsie opened the sealed envelope Milquetoast had given him containing the deed and other paperwork pertinent to the lakeside cabin in the Adirondacks, the same cabin where he’d spent so many wondrous summers, so very long ago. His face began to wrinkle and scrunch as he slowly flipped through the papers. Gina didn’t notice at first, intent on trying to offer Snookie and his girl some solace for having been given the worst end of the deal; Fred and Mary’s families had left the church with account information for scholarship trusts for their children and the few thousand dollars remaining in Ethel’s bank account, and were no doubt already happily thinking up ways to spend it. Newsie was surprised by his gift of the cabin, but Snookie seemed to have taken the shafting with the resignation born of long suffering. “Maybe you two could live there awhile, even, until you decide where you want to be?” Gina suggested, knowing her generous Muppet wouldn’t object in the least.

    “I don’t think that will be possible,” Newsie muttered, still turning page after page of a dossier.

    Constanza poked a glum Snookie. “Hey, Sunshine Man...you are not gonna frogging believe this...”

    Gina turned to Newsie, startled. “You – you don’t want them to stay at the cabin? But Newsie...our apartment is a little small for four people!”

    Gloomily Newsie displayed the large glossy photograph he’d been looking at. “It, uh...looks less cheerful than I remember it.” They stared at the photo, taken for insurance purposes just two days ago. A decrepit, dirty, shabby hunk of ancient logs which looked to be barely standing around its crumbling stone chimney huddled atop a hill; the saplings Newsie recalled Uncle Joe planting decades ago were now untrimmed trees with thick, weedy underbrush crowding up to the walls of the cabin. The whole scene appeared about as cheerful as a beheading.

    “Oh,” Gina sighed. “Oh, Newsie...I’m sorry.”

    He continued to gaze at it, trying to overlay the image in his memory on this bleak reality. “It...it used to be my favorite place,” he said quietly. “Aunt Ethel was always baking cookies, or slicing watermelon for us; and Uncle Joe would take us to the lake for fishing lessons...even though I was terrible at it, he was always kind. And at night, I’d fall asleep listening to the crickets, tucked under a camp blanket in my own little bunk beneath a window, and smell the pine trees...”

    “It was all that,” Snookie agreed. “Looks all used up now, though...worn down and useless...” His expression, for a moment, turned so sorrowful that Gina suspected he wasn’t just referring to the cabin, but then Constanza impatiently elbowed him.

    “Never mind that! We can buy our own frogging cabin!”

    The Muppaphone hat, gliding by atop its minister, scowled. “Hey! Language!”

    “With what?” Snookie demanded. “Are you actually the tin-can-heiress of Central Park who’s run away from her little-rich-girl lifestyle to be a beatnik hipster? I should be so lucky!”

    “What the heck’s a beatnik? No, look, you numbfoam! Look what I found!” Constanza shoved Gina’s phone almost against Snookie’s wide, round nose.

    He frowned. “Disastrous Moments Figurines, yeah, that’s them. Ethel had the entire collection, apparently. I remember some of ‘em she had on a shelf in her house when my mom would drag me for a visit. I got busted trying to break the ugliest one and had to pretend to like them; I’m sure that’s why the old ba—I mean, sweet old Auntie – left them to me.” He shuddered at the sight of a tiny digital picture of the whole series of figurines depicting small furry animals in terrible circumstances. The Muffy Flees the Triangle Factory Fire tableau had been his especial least-favorite.

    Constanza smacked the top of Snookie’s head; miffed, he smoothed down his hair again and glared at her. “Hey! Why do people keep assuming I like it rough?”

    “You’re an idiot,” Constanza snapped, shoving the phone at him again as Newsie and Gina watched, bemused. “Did you even look at the caption?”

    Irritated, Snookie leaned closer to the screen. His eyes widened. “’Extremely Rare Figurine Collection Sells at Sotheby’s for $2.4 Million’?”

    Constanza grabbed her Muppet and smooched him for all she was worth...or for all he was now worth. “Just think what we could do with that!” she crowed ecstatically. “Muppet Legal Defense Fund! Anti-Muppaphobia Foundation! A Muppet Political Action Committee!”

    Snookie shook his head, dazed. “To heck with that...how about starting with a Muppet cruise?”

    “Cruises destroy coral reefs!”

    Snookie growled. “Then you will just have to find one that doesn’t – or we’ll buy our own boat, hire a crew, and sail the Caribbean all winter! I want some sun for once, and by frog, you can come with me or go back to your Occupy camp in the rain!” he proclaimed, and when Constanza gasped and stared at him, he grabbed her and pulled her into a fierce kiss. All her resistance melted, and very soon wet happy murmurs came from the wrapped bundle of felt and plaid.

    “Ahem,” Newsie gulped, politely looking away. “Well. So.”

    “So...I think they’ll work this out without us,” Gina suggested, smiling.

    “Um. Erm. Uh...we’re going to go back to the theatre for a while, but you’re welcome to join us for dinner later at the apartment,” Newsie said loudly, still not looking at the fearsome smooch going on against the wall of the church hallway.

    The interlocked couple gave no sign that they heard. When arms and legs began sticking out of the embrace at odd angles, Gina took her phone back with some difficulty, took Newsie by the shoulder and steered him toward the exit. “Come on.”

    “But I’m not sure they heard—“

    “They’ll be fine.”

    They caught the next train back to the city, no longer worried about Pesties in the tunnels. Gina squeezed Newsie’s hand. “I’m really sorry your inheritance is...is in such sad shape, sweetie. Maybe we could save up a little, and get some of our carpenter friends to help, and start fixing it up?”

    “Carpenters? I don’t know any, except your friend Scott.”

    “What about that guy who cleans up at your theatre? What’s his name – Beau?”

    Newsie shivered once all over. “Uh, no. I’d like whatever’s actually left standing to remain that way.”

    Gina took the dossier from him, and slowly leafed through the photos. “You know, it’s a shame Halloween is over. As spooky as this place looks now, it would’ve been a fantastic place for a party!”

    An idea dawning, Newsie took one of the pictures, gazing at it hopefully. “Maybe...maybe it could still be. Sort of.”

    As they walked up the loading dock stairs to the Muppet Theatre, Kermit was yelling and waving his froggy hands so vehemently that the pair of identically-dressed Whatnots backing uneasily out of the door couldn’t get a word in edgewise. “But –“ one began.

    “No! N-O NO! What part of that do you not understand!” Kermit shrieked. Newsie paused, grabbing Gina’s arm so she’d hang back a safe distance as well; he’d learned long ago that it wasn’t wise to confront his boss when in frantic fuming mode. “If it hadn’t been for your idiotic and completely unnecessary charity walk, we’d never have wound up in such trouble to begin with!”

    “If you’d just –“ the other Whatnot tried.

    Kermit advanced, his voice cracking as he croaked at the top of his airsac: “And now you idiots have the absolute nerve to ask us for a contribution?! No! Out! OUT! OUT!” One very steamed frog let out a strangled cry of rage, and slammed the backstage door in the Whatnots’ faces.

    A pause hung in the air as the dust around the back door sifted down the alley in a soft cool breeze. Bland lifted a hesitant finger. “Would you at least consider signing the petition, then?” he called.

    Somewhere in the depths of the theatre, another door slammed, and something crashed.

    The lawyers turned, resigned, and saw the Newsman. Both immediately lifted their heads, though their neutral expressions remained unchanged. “Ah! Newsman! So sorry to hear of your aunt’s passing,” Blander offered.

    “Thank you.”

    “We have excellent news for you,” Bland said. “Your suit has been settled.”

    “That fast?” Gina asked.

    The lawyers looked smug. “Well, given the scandal facing all of the subsidiaries of the now-defunct MMN...”

    “Not to mention the charges the city is bringing against them...”

    “Coupled with our dogged reputation,” Blander added proudly.

    “Your station has agreed to rescind all disciplinary action against you, and expunge any such allegations of wrongdoing from your employment record...”

    “While increasing your salary by ten per cent...”

    “And immediately reinstating you and your, ah, rodentia colleague.”

    “Wow,” Gina muttered, rolling her eyes. “A whole ten per cent.”

    “We bargained them up from eight,” Bland said.

    Newsie stammered, “Er...ah...well...well this is good! Wonderful!” He fumbled for his phone, forgetting he’d left it at home again this morning. “I should call Rhonda!”

    Gina smiled and bent to give him a kiss on the cheek. “Okay. I’ll go find the Dynamic Lab Duo and see if their little toy is ready for me.”

    Newsie shook the lawyers’ hands. “Thank you, Mr Bland, Mr Blander. This means a lot to me, to have a place in front of a microphone again!”

    “I’m Bland,” the one Newsie had addressed as Blander protested. Newsie drew back, embarrassed.

    “Oh. I’m sorry, I –“

    “No you’re not,” the other Whatnot said gruffly, “I am!”

    Blander considered it a moment, startled, then conceded. “You’re right; sorry...”

    Newsie stared at them as they sauntered off, arguing over which of them was wearing brown and which had the green felt. “Even they can’t tell?” he wondered aloud.

    Gina giggled. “Come on. Here, use my phone, tell your producer you two are back in business. I’m going to dare a visit to the dark underbelly of the theatre, where chemicals are mixed and Muppets are set on fire.”

    Newsie shook his head. “Thank you, but I have something I need to do first; I need to go find Kermit and...hmm. Er. Maybe it would be better to talk to Scooter.”

    Gina opened the door cautiously, and saw a flock of chickens fussily gathering up their feathers after being jostled from the fly rail by one angry frog storming past and making Beau jump back and set loose the brakes for several fly-lines. “Maybe that’s a better idea. Meet back here in a few?”

    Newsie agreed, and went seeking the gofer while Gina trotted down the steps to the basement, where even now a small explosion and a puff of purple smoke, followed by the annoyed griping of several Muppets, indicated Beaker and Bunsen were hard at work. Just as the backstage door swung shut again, Bland and Blander turned around.

    “What about doing a commercial for our new nonprofit venture, then, speaking out on behalf of wronged Muppaphones worldwide?” Blander yelled. The lawyers stared hopefully at the silent door, not noticing an orange-flamenco-shirt-clad Muppet with a large mallet tiptoeing up behind them.

    Newsie followed the sounds of carnage, knowing that where Kermit had raged, Scooter would be somewhere nearby to set things right. Probably five or six steps behind the frog, for safety’s sake. Although Miss Piggy had the widest personal-space zone where other cast members were concerned, a frog in full dudgeon was an awesome sight, and not one to be regarded lightly by anyone valuing their eardrums. Spotting the flash of a green satin jacket, Newsie increased his pace, and soon caught up with Scooter as the gofer checked an inventory of banana peels against the shipping order. “Scooter, I, uh, I heard you and Kermit had some trouble finding a shooting location for the new film,” Newsie began hesitantly.

    Scooter didn’t look up from his clipboard. “Twenty-two, twenty-three...uh, yeah, Newsie. Don’t worry; we won’t ask you to go on location for your bit. I’m pretty sure that scene is all studio work. Twenty-four...dang it, why is there a mango peel in here?”

    The Newsman cleared his throat, feeling silly now that it actually came to explaining his idea; after all, he was only a journalist! Scooter and Kermit were the real production masters here; heck, even Fozzie probably had more movie-making experience than Newsie. “Well, er, I recently, that is...”

    Scooter glanced at him, irritated with the interruption, the mango peel, and the visit by those idiot lawyers which had just ruffled the feathers (or collar) of everyone in the theatre. “Look, Newsie, you don’t have to be in it if you’d rather not. I know you have that whole lawsuit going on and you’re pretty tied up. It’s fine. I’ll tell Kermit, okay?”

    Abashed, Newsie fell back a step, then hurried after Scooter as he strode over to the desk to make some notes. “Um. Actually, that, er...that’s been solved. I’m back at KRAK, probably starting tonight.”

    “Hey, good for you.” Scooter gave him a slap on the shoulder, but then muttered as he scribbled, “Note to Happy Fruitie Shipping Co: a banana does not have a red peel...”

    The Newsman, nonplused, waited a moment, but when Scooter continued on his errands, trotted after him again. “Scooter, ahem, it’s just that I...”

    Scooter whirled, grasping the plaid sleeves with all the exasperated reassurance he could manage. “Look, Newsie, honestly, it’s fine! Kermit’s feelings won’t be hurt if you want to drop out of the—“

    “I found you a location,” Newsie barked out, reverting to his news-delivery persona to get the information across.

    Scooter stopped. “You wha?”

    “I mean, that is, if it’s...if you think it’s suitable,” Newsie gulped. He quickly fished out one of the photos of the desolate, almost-falling-down cabin, surrounded by a small forest of trees in full autumn blaze. “I...I just inherited it. You can film there for free if you want.” He waited, blinking, wondering what the heck he’d been thinking. Just because it looks scary to me doesn’t mean anyone else will be impressed! Oh, well, now he thinks you’re an idiot, but what else is new...practically everyone...

    His disappointed thoughts were cut short by Scooter clapping his shoulders excitedly. “You – you inherited this place? Where is it? It’s perfect! Newsie, this is perfect! Hey! Hey guys! Look what we just got!” Curious Muppets began to gather as Newsie felt a happy blush starting in his face. Scooter held the photo high and flapped it. “We have a location! We can start filming this week!”

    Castmates and crew crowded around, exclaiming and chirping, bawking, or bleating. Scooter yelled upstairs, “Hey Chief! Chief!”

    Miss Piggy’s dressing room door flew open, and one still-grumpy frog leaned out despite one pig’s attempt to drag him back in for more calming-down...so to speak. “What now?” he grumbled, looking down...and saw the photo Scooter was holding up for him, and his expression turned to one of wonder. “That...that’s perfect! Where’d you find it? How much?”

    The Newsman stood bewildered but in growing pleasure at the friends grouping around him, beginning to smile as Muppet after Muppet pressed his hand or slapped his broad shoulders and thanked him, and looked up happily at the dawning grin on his boss’ face.

    Maybe this month would be better. Not calmer...but definitely better.

    WebMistressGina likes this.
  8. The Count

    The Count Moderator Staff Member

    Yay! Just finished, a minor power outtage took me off-line for a coupla minutes.

    Can I say that once it was revealed Newsie inherited the lakehouse... And his displeased expression at its current state... I knew it would be destined as the shooting location for Ham in a Cabin?

    The overall thing made me laugh in the right places.
    Muffy Flees from Triangle Factory Fire, classic.
    Kermit tie-rade, awesome as always.
    We bargained them up from 8%. *Is reminded of the song 8% Of My Heart for some reason.
    And the funerary memorial with the Muppaphone mitter...
    And visiting the somewhat restored MMN studios with the McGerk Brothers. *Wonders what Composta will think of her husband now partially possumized.

    Thank you for this epilogue. Now I can add the story to the FLI... Which makes me happy, but makes me sad at the same time because this has been one of the awesomest fics ever. Tis been an honor to read it as it was posted.

    *Leaves some squares of 7-layer bars and drinks from the Bugs Bunny mug to newsman's fangtastic writing.
  9. Ruahnna

    Ruahnna Well-Known Member

    Ru: Wow. Great story. I tip my hat.
    Fozzie: Um, Ru--you're not wearing a hat.
    Ru: (looks at Fozzie, sighs) Can I borrow your hat?
    Fozzie: Um, sure. Don't mash it, okay? (hands it over)
    Ru: (puts the hat on and doffs it, then hands it back to Fozzie) There. Happy?
    Fozzie: Yes. I'm happy we got away from that bad man.
    Snookie: I'm happy I got away from Carl.
    Constanza: Then why did you invite him out for drinks with us tomorrow night?
    Snookie: (blushing) Oh, er, well, um. He's...he seemed lonely since I left.
    Constanza: You mean--since you got away?
    Snookie: Er, yes.
    Constanza: You big...softie, you. C'mere.... (drags Snookie over to a corner and smooches him)
    Fozzie: (watching, fascinated) Wow....
    Ru: (turning the bear back around) Um, well. I was especially glad that Snookie and Constanza found something, er, constructive to do with their sharp tongues instead of snipe at each other.
    Fozzie: (peeking over his shoulder) They don't look like their sniping.
    Ru: (turning Fozzie firmly around) No. That’s not sniping. But let’s leave them to it and talk about Kris’s story. There were soooo many good things that happened in this last bit. I loved the muppet bishop’s miter. It was bossy and funny, and reminded me a little of the king from Labyrinth—very funny stuff.
    Rhonda: Is this a review or a sideshow? Get cranking, already!
    Newsie: Rhonda!
    Gina: Rhonda, she’s trying.
    Rhonda: I know she’s trying. I don’t know how you guys put up with her.
    Miss Piggy: Tell me about it. She didn’t even make waffles this morning.
    Rizzo: What about coffee cake?
    Miss Piggy: Nope.
    Kermit: Hey, guys. Give her a break—she made pumpkin-banana bread.
    Ru: She would like to make a fitting review, but I can’t get a word in edgewise.
    Kermit: Hey guys—pipe down, will you? (There is lots of grumbling but eventually it is mostly silent.) Proceed.
    Ru: I loved the way that, at the end, Newsie really gets receives a treasure—actually several treasures.
    Pepe: Ju mean like monies?
    Ru: No…not monies. He gets a family—kith and kin to remind him that he’s loved. He reaffirmed the love he had for Gina, and her love for him. That’s big.
    Miss Piggy: Plus, he gets to be her hero. (Shooting a look at Kermit and blushing.) There is nothing quite as attractive as a man who knows how to come to your rescue at the right moment.
    Kermit: (straightening) Aww, um. Yes. That is nice. (He steps over and puts his arm around Piggy and kisses her on the cheek.)
    Miss Piggy: Very nice.
    Gina: Very, very nice.
    Ru: Plus, he earned the respect and esteem of his colleagues. All of his colleagues.
    Rhonda: Here, here.
    Newsie: (humbled) Er, thank you Rhonda. That means a lot.
    Rhonda: Whataya talking about? I’m tell you to get over here and get me some eggnog.
    Gina: What happened to your hunky boyfriend, Rhonda?
    Rizzo: Yeah? What?
    Rhonda: (sticking out her little chin pugnaciously) What’s it to you, cheese-breath! We’ve got a date for New Year’s, if you must know!
    Rizzo: Aw, rats.
    Rats: You called? What—is there food?
    Rizzo: No. She didn’t even make coffee cake.
    Pepe: Si, si. She is slipping, h’okay.
    Ru: (raising her voice) She is reviewing, if you don’t mind! And there’s, um, chex-mix in the kitchen now.
    Lew Zealand: Is it gluten free? Cause Gertrude has been on a gluten-free diet. Hoo boy, you wouldn’t believe how hard it is to get gluten-free fish food.
    Kermit: Tell me about it. You ought to try buying hot and spicy—
    Ru: No! Nonono! You will not take over my review with dietary rules.
    Kermit: Er, sorry, Ru.
    Lew: Sorry. Um—Gertrude says “sorry” too.
    Ru: (whispering) The chex mix is not gluten free, but there’s some fresh fruit—
    Gina: (taking Lew by the shoulders) I got this Ru—please proceed with your review.
    Sara: (draping her arms around Scooter’s shoulders) What are you so happy about?
    Scooter: (grinning) It’s nice to know I’m not the only person this happens to.
    Sara: (laughing) Enjoy yourself. I’m going to check out the pie.
    Ru: Now, where was I?
    Newsie: (blushing) You were talking about me.
    Ru: Oh! I was, wasn’t I? Well, let’s see—you got the respect of your peers, a reconnection to you family and the woman you love—
    Newsie: And who loves me.
    Ru: Yes, who loves you, too. And you got something pretty cool in the will—a really great location for the next movie you guys are doing. And it was really neat of you to offer it for free. That will make it much easier to stay on-budget.
    Scooter: Much easier.
    Kermit: Much, much easier.
    Miss Piggy: More for Moi.
    Kermit: What? Oh. Um, I guess so.
    Miss Piggy: So does that mean my wardrobe budget will get approved.
    Kermit: Um….
    Scooter: No.
    Miss Piggy: (rounding on Scooter) What did you say?
    Sara: (neatly interposing herself between her sweetie and Miss Piggy) He said you know that Kermit always takes care of you. Pie?
    Miss Piggy: Ooh! Whipped cream! Don’t mind if I do!
    Scooter: (whispering) Boy I’m smart for picking you.
    Sara: Don’t I know it.
    Ru: Speaking of, I just loved the way Kris thought of to cure Kermit’s grumpy meltdown when those annoying lawyers showed up at the theater.
    Rizzo: Annoying lawyers. Isn’t that redundant? Heheheheheh
    Ari: Hey! I resent that! Not all of us are “bland”—in looks or deeds.
    Pepe: Si—ju are telling me. Ju were very spicy in your facebook photo.
    Ari: (frowning) How did you see my facebook photo? I do not remember “friending” you, Pepe.
    Pepe: Ooh! Look at the time!
    Kermit: I, um, I liked that, too. We don’t really have to pay those lawyers, do we?
    Ru: No—they were kind enough to cancel the bill, since they didn’t end up doing the job.
    Kermit: And the charity still got the money we raised?
    Ru: Er…sure. Let’s go with that.
    Miss Piggy: (blotting her mouth daintily with Kermit’s hanky) What else did you like, Ru? That was a wonderful ending to the story.
    Ru: Well, you know I’m a sucker for happy ever after—
    Ru: (blushing) Oh, hush. I guess what I liked the best was that Gonzo got the accolades from other daredevils and daredevil fans that he always wanted, but he also got the girl. Um, the, uh, chicken. And just like Kermit usually figures out near the END of the movies—
    Kermit: Hey!
    Ru: Gonzo—and Newsie—both realized what really mattered the most. So—good job, Kris. It was wonderful, start to finish.
    Fozzie: And gross in some places.
    Ru: Er, yes.
    Fozzie: But aren’t you forgetting about Van Neuter? He didn’t have a happy-ever-after.
    Ru: (a tad defensively) Um, we don’t know that. Who knows—Composta might like him better as a possum. (muttering sotto voce) I know I do.
    Gina: Me, too. Creepy little nerd.
    (A lot of heads turn, including some in the reading audience.)
    Ru: Um, false alarm. Not you guys. Everybody say: Huzzah!
    Everybody: HUZZAH!
    Kevin: Anybody want a pair of booties…?
  10. The Count

    The Count Moderator Staff Member

    Just a fiendly little bump so others can enjoy this defrightful monsterpiece.

    Also, Kris, if you're still out there, could you send me a copy of the entire fic to my email? Please and thank-you. And if not, that's okay too, I'll just read it here instead.

    Happy haunts to all.

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