1. Welcome to the Muppet Central Forum!
    You are viewing our forum as a guest. Join our free community to post topics and start private conversations. Please contact us if you need help with registration or your account login.

  2. "Muppets Most Wanted" Fan Reactions
    After you see "Muppets Most Wanted", read fan reactions and let us know your thoughts on the Muppets eighth theatrical film.

  3. "Muppets Most Wanted" Original Soundtrack
    With a new Muppet movie one of the most anticipated merchandise releases is the official soundtrack. Listen to the Muppets Most Wanted original soundtrack now playing on Muppet Central Radio.

The Best Neighbor

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Convincing John, Jul 17, 2009.

  1. The Count

    The Count Moderator Staff Member

    Yeah, that could work, connecting the archives to the arbor doors. The carriagehouse playset I remember Fisher Price made had the arbor doors, a blueish roof capping piece with trap door that hinged outwards, and a rear face revolving door. So it could certainly work.

    BTW: They said on the InFANity special that the carriagehouse staircase leads to a window that's the back window of Elmo's apartment home or something like that. Maybe it's part of 4-5-6 Sesame Street?
    Who knows... The world certainly never will.
  2. The Count

    The Count Moderator Staff Member

    *Needs weekly update of thish fic... Post it... Sooooooooooon!
  3. Convincing John

    Convincing John Well-Known Member

    Chapter 21

    Ding ding!

    The familiar bell at Hooper's Store chimed as it did every day. Alan started up the day like he always did: turning on the lights, bringing in the newspapers, unlocking the cash register. All in all, it was a normal morning.

    At least for the first few minutes.

    "Hey! All right! Now we can get sometin' ta eat!" cheered a voice near the counter.

    Alan turned around to see a rat sitting on the stool in front of him. The rat was hungrily eyeing the pictures on the menu.

    "Rizzo! Rizzo!" called a voice. A much more familiar resident of the street poked his long, yellow beak through the door. "There you are! Boy, can you run fast!"

    "Hi, Big Bird..." Alan said, a bit distracted. "wait a minute...are you talking to this rat?"

    "Sure!" answered Big Bird. "He's a friend of Kermit's."

    "Kermit?" asked Alan. "Who's...oh! The frog! Kermit the Frog. I remember you told me he lived here a long time ago."

    "Yeah, and now he's here with a bunch of his friends and we're helping them all with something very important." Big Bird explained.

    "What's that?" asked Alan.

    "Oh," Big Bird continued. "'important' means that something matters a whole lot to someone. Like Radar is very important to me and water is important if you're a fish and.."

    "I know what 'important' means, Big Bird," Alan gently interrupted. "what I mean is what is so important that Kermit needs help with?"

    "I'll tell ya," Rizzo piped up. "But foist I'd like a stack of pancakes wit' maple syrup, a dozen scrambled eggs and another stack of blueberry waffles, heavy on the butter wit' a large glass of orange juice and a bowl of sugared strawberries."

    Alan's eyes widened. "You have quite an appetite."

    "I haven't hardly had anyting ta eat all night!" complained Rizzo. "da only ting ta eat over at his place," he nodded sideways "is boidseed! An' dat grouch has got some great accomodations, but just one dozen tins of sardines just don't cut it for a midnight snack! Dat guy told me to scram after I ate some of his moldy ol' cheese collection! Da noive!"

    Alan just thought it was best to fix the breakfast and not say anything.

    It wasn't long before Alan had more customers. There was the frog, Kermit was his name, followed by some very diverse individuals: various people in multicolored skin tones, a bear in a hat and tie, a pig with long, blonde hair, a chicken, several penguins, a shrimp and something bluish he couldn't identify with a hooked nose. A long, hairy arm gently slid through the open window. It's huge hand gently lowered a small frog to the counter beside Rizzo.

    "Morning everybody!"

    "Hey everyone!"

    "Hi!"

    "Is this Hooper's? Wow, it sure has changed."

    "Let's get some breakfast!"

    "Waak waak!"

    "Yeah, I'm hungry."

    "Mee moh mee mah!"

    "Can someone read the menu? I can't see."

    "QUIIII-EETTTT!" yelled Kermit.

    "So anyway, I said to the furry, blue creature 'if they're all about Healthy Habits nowadays, then why don't you like eat granola cookies? Then they'll like stop calling you the Veggie Monster and'--" Janice glanced around. "--oh."

    "Listen gang, we don't have much time, so let's get right down to business. Did anyone you talked to know who might've done the picture?"

    Heads shook around the room, accompanied by negative murmurs.

    "No one?" Kermit's hopes sank. Surely it had to be someone on this street!

    "Just remember chief, there's still a lot of kids to ask." reminded Scooter.

    "Exactly," Kermit nodded. "that's why our Sesame Street friends will keep on asking kids while we're gone."

    "How much time do we have?" asked Big Bird.

    "Just a few days more. Not much time."

    "But what happens if you find out that the person you need is here?" asked Alan.

    "It's really very simple," said Kermit. "you can bring the kid to Hensonville, we'll make announcement for KMUP, the kid and the parent will sign a form at the Hensonville City Hall and that's that."

    "There's only one problem." said Alan.

    "What's that?"

    "We don't know how to get there," said Big Bird as his eyelids lowered slightly. "Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Hensonville?"

    Kermit laughed. "It's pretty easy. You can go one of two ways," he pointed in midair. "you can take the first curved road like this. Zzzzzssssshhhhkk!"

    The rest of the Muppets watched, amazed, as Kermit drew in midair. As he did, a bright, white line trailed after his finger. When Kermit lowered his hand, there was a backwards "C" hovering over the counter.

    "How did..." began Fozzie. Big Bird and Alan, however, looked at Kermit's demonstration as though it were perfectly normal.

    "Then, you can take the next curved road like this. Zzzzzssssshhhkk!" Kermit drew another curved line beneath the first. When he was done, the lines looked like a number '3'.

    Some of the Muppets tried drawing in the air to see if white lines would appear for them, too. It didn't work for them.

    "Or you could just take the main road straight down. You'll only cross the curved lines at the first, second and third intersections, like this. Zzzzzzzsssshhhhkk!" Kermit drew a vertical line next to the curved ones. "And there you are."

    "Hey!" Big Bird smiled. "You drew the letter B!"

    "Huh?" Kermit looked at it from the other side and saw that he had unintentionally drawn a capital 'B'. "Hey, I did! Well, then that's easy to remember. The two ways to Hensonville from Sesame Street make a 'B'!"

    "Must be the letter of the day." said Alan.

    "An' speakin' of 'B' woids," said Rizzo "how 'bout some breakfast?"

    "Hold it, wait a minute," Kermit interrupted. "there's something else everyone needs to know."

    "What now?" whined Rizzo. "I'm hungry!"

    Kermit went to the back door. "Okay, come on in." he said to someone out of view. Gingerly, Max walked in, his hands in his pockets.

    Everyone except for Kermit, Big Bird and Alan, became alarmed. Max suddenly felt as he did when he posed as a motorcycle cop to warn the others about Doc Hopper.

    "Look out!" yelled Gonzo.

    "It's him!" yelped Fozzie.

    "Get outta here!" snarled Clifford.

    Some Muppets braced themselves as though to fight. Piggy cracked her knuckles. Sweetums grimaced menacingly from the window. Fozzie hid behind Piggy. Gonzo stepped in front of Camilla to protect her. Link dove under the nearest table, sucked his thumb and shivered. Other Muppets grabbed something to throw at Max. Some had glasses, Scooter held the napkin holder like a baseball before a pitch and there were several hoisted penguins in hand.

    "Wait! Stop!" yelled Kermit. "He won't hurt us! I've already talked to him! That's what I was going to tell you about!"

    "How do we know we can trust him?" asked Dr. Teeth, his long arm holding something aloft, ready to throw it like a football.

    "Just listen!" Kermit stood in front of Max and held his arms wide, trying to protect him. "Max is going to help us! He's decided to stop working for Frass and help us save Mr. Rogers' stuff in the warehouse!"

    A few hands lowered, but the skepticism didn't.

    "Just trust him, hokay? Kermin knows what he's doing!" pleaded Pepe, who was gripped in Dr. Teeth's hand.

    "Remember everyone, Max warned us about Doc Hopper and Snake Walker." reminded Kermit. "He's here to warn us again of what's going on."

    "Frass is on his way here," Max explained. "he took the car, I took the bus. Look," he kept his hands up in a gesture of surrender. "I want to help you all. I promise. I promised Kermit I would. I...I like Mister Rogers, too. I want kids to be able to watch him and let the Smithsonian exhibit his stuff. Kermit said he'd help me get a new job if I helped," he paused to frown. "and I'm sick and tired of that job."

    "You should go to to the doctor and rest in bed, then." said Big Bird sympathetically.

    Several Muppets turned to him.

    "Well...yeah," Big Bird continued. "he said he was sick and tired. So when you're sick, you go to the doctor and when you're tired, you go to bed."

    "Hey, that's a good one! Wocka wocka!"

    Max sighed. "Anyway, I promise to help Kermit...and all of you. I promise I'll do what I can to make sure we find who you're looking for."

    "Cross your heart?" asked Big Bird.

    "Cross my heart."

    "Frog Scouts honor?" asked Robin.

    "That too."

    "You swear?" asked Janice.

    "He better not!" gasped Big Bird. "That's naughty! He'll get a time out!"

    "Look, I promise, all right? Besides, I'm not going to try anything if she's around. Not after how she took care of Doc's goons."

    "Smart move, bub." Piggy muttered under her breath.

    Skepticism turned to half-hearted shrugs. Some of the Muppets were still a little wary of Max, but decided, at least, that he wouldn't try anything.

    "All right, everyone," Kermit announced. "We know that Max is on our side now."

    "Yeah," agreed Big Bird. "he's on the same side of the counter you are. Alan is on the other side."

    "Uh..right," Kermit nodded to Big Bird. "in order to have our chance in stopping Frass, Max has to pretend he's still going to help him. That means he's gotta meet up with Frass right until the morning of the 24th."

    "So what's the plan?" asked Dr. Teeth.

    "I got some ideas," said Max. "we probably don't have much time now because Mr. Frass is getting nearer, I'm sure."

    "Nearer than you think." said a voice from the back doorway.

    For one horrific second, Kermit thought Frass had found them at Hooper's. Instead, there stood Rowlf. He was a little shaken from his ordeal, but otherwise fine.

    "We'll have to cut the breakfast short--" Rowlf started. Rizzo's groan was the biggest of all. "--because even though it won't be for a few hours, Frass'll find us here. He's...he's just a couple blocks away."

    The crowd nearly erupted in panic. Rowlf put his paws up and shouted. "BUT--BUT I've taken care of him for now."

    "Taken care of him? How?" asked Kermit.

    Rowlf explained, as quickly as he could, what had happened at the old vault and his run-in with Frass. Some of the Muppets scratched their heads when Rowlf explained how he got away.

    "A film about milk?" Rizzo asked skeptically. "Dat's nuts! how can a film about milk knock a guy out?"

    "Believe me, it can," Kermit assured him. "I don't know how it made it on the Old School DVDs. It should be some kind of behind the counter sedative."

    "Anyway," Rowlf continued. "Frass is out cold and won't know what hit him at first. But that doesn't give us much time to get out of here."

    "Do we still have time for breakfast?" Rizzo complained.

    "Maybe a short one," Kermit agreed. Under other circumstances, he wouldn't have said yes, but with Frass out cold like that, they had some time.

    "So, what'll it be?" asked Alan.

    "Oh that's easy. I'll have a bee-" Rowlf stopped himself in the nick of time. He remembered where he was and glanced a little sheepishly at Big Bird. "I mean, I'll have a root beer."

    Whew! That was close. he thought.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    A little while later, Kermit and the others used the back door of Hooper's. They quickly packed up their overnight things, said goodbye and met at the bus. Kermit returned to see only Max and Alan inside.

    "Listen, here's a tip for putting up with us," Kermit put some money on the counter for Alan. "-and Max..."

    Max looked up.

    "Good luck. Remember. You can stand up to your boss. It won't be long until we'll meet again. You have the address of the Boarding House in case you need us, right?"

    Max nodded and patted his pocket.

    "Good. Now I wish we had some kind of diversion until we're..."

    The bell rang again as someone else entered Hooper's Store for breakfast. When Kermit saw who it was, he quickly came up with a plan. Immediately, he put more money on the counter.

    "Whatever he gets, it's on me. Whatever's left, keep it as a tip." Kermit carefully re-traced the "B" he had made in mid-air to make it thicker and hurried out the door. Max and Alan glanced at each other and wondered why Kermit took the time to retrace a 'B' in midair and pay for a virtual stranger's breakfast.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Cows...

    Cows...

    HONK!

    "Huh?"

    The first thing Frass was fully aware of was his left elbow. It was hanging off the curb. In his dream, a horn honked on the dairy farm Frass was visiting. Max milked a cow. Milk streamed into a rusty bucket. Suddenly, the curb appeared again.

    HONK HONK!

    A horn?

    Frass blinked. Visions of the dairy farm still ran through his head as his watery eyes tried to focus on the gritty street. A part of him wanted to go back to that farm...those cows, he saw them now...

    He didn't see them now.

    Where am I? he thought.

    As if in answer, a taxi cab drove by and drove purposely through a puddle. Filthy, muddy water sloshed all over him. Frass sprang (as well as he could) to his feet and stood unevenly.

    Now he was wet, cold, numb, but still only half awake. He shook his head as he stood on the curb. Even though he was furious about his suit getting soaked, he had an overwhelming urge to drink a glass of milk.

    Why did he want a glass of milk? Frass tried to remember what happened. It was like a hangover without the headache. Something about a dog...or a frog...a dog? His head was swimming as he struggled to focus his eyes. Where was Max with that milk?

    "Paper!" yelled a kid on a bicycle. As he zoomed by, the kid threw the paper towards a mailbox. Instead, it hit Frass in the head.

    "OW!" roared Frass. "You rotten little kid! I oughta..." then he saw the newspaper's headline. Frass snapped completely awake. Almost immediately, he broke into a full waddle. Milk was the last thing on his mind.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    "So uh...what'll it be?" asked Alan.

    The monster at the counter saw Rowlf's large glass, half-full of lukewarm root beer.

    "Have this?" he asked.

    "That's...someone left it behind. Are you sure?" asked Alan.

    "Oh yeah, yeah!" said the monster. "Have this please?"

    "Well...okay...if you want it." Alan watched as the monster glugged down the root beer in three huge gulps.

    "Ahhh! More please?" it asked.

    Alan looked under the counter and brought up a 2 liter bottle of root beer. "Well OK, but this hasn't been refrigerated yet. I'll get some ice."

    "No ice! No no no! No ice! Like it warm!" the monster answered. "Have it, please?"

    "Warm? Well, all right..." Alan unscrewed the cap and got a fresh glass from the shelf.

    "No glass! Want whole bottle!"

    Alan's eyebrows wrinkled. "You want the whole thing?"

    "Yeah! Yeah!" the monster agreed, slapping his furry paws on the counter.

    Alan saw that Kermit had paid more than enough to cover that, so he handed the monster the bottle.

    "Thank you!" the monster said gratefully. Immediately, he put the bottle to his lips. Max and Alan watched, fascinated, as the monster drained the bottle in less than 10 seconds.

    "Mmm! Good! Good! Have more, please?"

    "Another bottle?"

    "Yeah! yeah! More please?"

    Alan brought up a second bottle and the monster drained it just as quickly. As the monster ordered a third round, a vehicle pulled up. It was once a shiny, new, flawless luxury car, but was now a luxury car that had been through some fender-benders. There were dings and scratches in the grill and bumpers, the paint was chipped on the sides where the car had scraped against numerous things and one of the headlight covers was cracked. Its main distinguishing feature, a neon pink tire, rolled up next to the fire hydrant and stopped.

    The driver's door opened and Frass squirmed and squeezed his way out. He looked like a cow trying to relieve an itch between two fence posts.

    Max saw his boss and stood up. Any second now, he would he trying to waddle through that door.

    "Max!" yelled Frass. "Where are ya?"

    "Right here, sir!" Max exited Hooper's Store and faced his boss.

    "Well? Did you see him?"

    Max hesitated. "He..."

    "He's HERE! I knew it!" Frass shoved Max aside and clumsily barged his way into Hooper's Store. There he saw an unfamiliar man behind the counter cleaning a glass and a dark blue, shaggy thing with bulging eyes, a flat head, a mouth like a drawbridge and a monobrow. A letter 'B' hung suspended next to him in midair.

    Frass ignored the 'B' and slammed a meaty fist down on the counter.

    "Did you see a frog and a bunch of goofy lookin' characters run through here?"

    Alan leaned back to avoid smelling the horrible breath.

    "We get a lot of customers through here. All kinds, all shapes, all sizes. If he did, he must've been in some huge crowd or something. Besides, I don't see a frog, do you?"

    Frass's ugly head turned as he scanned the place. There was no one but himself, the owner, Max and the monster in front of him.

    Monster...

    "You!" Frass yelled. "You must've seen where they went! You're probably one of THEM, aren't you? Huh?" Frass grabbed the monster by the shoulders so his flat beak-like face was an inch away from Frass.

    Alan waved at Max then pointed out the door. Max got the message and hurried out to the safety of the Maybach. Alan stepped back as far as he could and waited.

    "ANSWER ME!" roared Frass as he shook the monster's shoulders. "You're one of them! You're...you're...what are you doing?"

    A change had come over the monster's face. Frass watched as the monster's pitch black fur around its eyes bristled as though from static electricity. The fur framed two, huge, furious eyes. Its lumpy, light blue mouth was closed, but its cheeks and body were now puffing up like a furry balloon. Its long, hairy arms spread out as the monster stood and inflated even more.

    Frass let go and backed up two steps. The monster was level with the hovering 'B'. The look on its face indicated this beast was holding something in that was about to burst. Alan ducked behind the counter at the last second.

    The monster let out a powerful, roaring belch that shook everything in Hooper's Store. Magazines ruffled on the racks. Salt and pepper shakers slid across the counter. Merchandise on the shelves jiggled and wobbled. The windows vibrated and fogged up like a rapid winter frost.

    The noise and force of the belch was enough to send Frass staggering backwards. Rather than argue with the owner or ask any more questions, he simply winced as he backed out of Hooper's Store and into the Maybach.

    "MAX!" Frass stumbled backwards, the belch ringing in his ears. "Max, I wanna go back to Hensonville. The frog ain't here! We'll catch him on the road. Go go GO!"

    Within a minute, the scruffy-looking Maybach roared to life and headed west.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    It was a long ride home. Everyone had asked everyone they saw, just as Kermit asked them to do. Surely, someone on Sesame Street did the drawing. It was in a child's style. Robin was the only youth in the Muppet Boarding House and the picture was not his.

    Just as he had on the way to Hollywood, Kermit sat at the back of the Happiness Hotel bus and looked out of the window. His heart gave a little jolt when he saw someone on a motorcycle approaching. Luckily, it was an anonymous biker that simply passed the bus and zipped away. He wasn't looking for a motorcycle. Instead, he watched the traffic for anything that looked like a dinged-up black coffin on wheels. Cars, semis, a bakery truck, another truck...

    There was a hand on his shoulder: one in a glove.

    "Kermie?"

    She didn't advance to kiss him, she didn't ask him to whisper sweet nothings in her ear. She didn't even try to flirt. She knew that this trip, or more specifically a quest, meant a great deal to him and he was worried.

    What could she do? Aside from just being there for him, there was nothing to do for now.

    Kermit felt the gloved hand gently rub his left shoulder. He managed a small smile to his slightly fogged-up reflection in the bus window. He liked it when Piggy was like this: understanding and sensitive.

    The bus headed back to Hensonville, mingling with the late morning traffic.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    More soon.

    Convincing John
  4. Convincing John

    Convincing John Well-Known Member

    Chapter 22

    Lew Zealand and Pops weren't having much luck. Calls came in, but other than a few names and numbers for possible candidates, no one claimed the drawing as theirs.

    Animal was getting sick of being cooped up in the basement. Floyd had tried keeping him quiet by feeding him beef jerky, but Animal craved more than food. He wanted to go for a walk and (if he could find some) chase some women.

    Eventually, Floyd ran out of beef jerky, along with the bags themselves. He looked around for something else to feed him, but there was nothing except the washtub (now overturned) and a few ragged remains of some bottles of Mr. Bubble. (during his bath, Animal had upset one of the bottles on the floor and had drank the other three before ripping the bottles to shreds).

    Floyd had no idea what was going on upstairs, but he knew it involved a lot of kids visiting the house. There had to be a way to let Lew know that Animal was getting restless. Floyd noticed an air vent that led to the parlor and got an idea.

    Up in the parlor, another group of kids gawked at the house's interior as they toddled along. One of them petted Gaffer, who gave a sleepy "meow" from the chair where Kermit usually sat.

    "Hey, hey man?" called a voice from the baseboards. A few feet away, Pops snoozed next to the phone.

    "HEY, MAN!"

    Pops woke up and immediately put the phone to his ear. "Muppet Boarding House: In the search for 'The Best Neighbor'."

    "Hey! It's me, Floyd!"

    "Wha?"

    "Floyd!"

    "Oh yeah," nodded Pops. "one of them Electrical Chaos fellers, right? How's the trip to New York?"

    "Man, I ain't in New York..." Floyd's sigh echoed from the vent. "I'm in the basement and I gotta let Animal out for a walk--"

    "You're in the basement?" Pops asked into the phone. "if you're in the basement, what're you doin' callin' the upstairs, then? We gotta keep the line free."

    "Can you just put up the 'Out to Lunch' sign or somethin' so the kids'll leave an' Animal won't trample 'em when he runs outside?"

    "Lunch?" asked Pops. "Now you're talkin'!" He turned to Lew. "Hey, Mr. Fish Man, they just called from downstairs to tell us it's lunchtime. You finish with this group of kids while I turn on the answering machine and I put up the 'Out to Lunch' sign on the door."

    "Lunch? Okay! Sure thing! Hee hee hee!" While the last group of kids told Lew about the drawings they sent in to Mr. Rogers, Pops stood up, switched on the answering machine and slowly shuffled to the front door.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    It was easier to find Hensonville than Sesame Street. When people asked how to get to Hensonville, they usually got some kind of directions rather than someone singing about how the air was sweet.

    "I swear, Max, I swear, I have a good mind to build another dog food factory right on the frog's property for good measure. I'd burn down his house...no wait, does that frog live in a house? No, frogs live in swamps..." Frass grinned.

    "I know what I'll do, Max," Max could only see his boss's beady eyes in the rear view mirror. "When we build our new factory here, I know just the place to dump our waste."

    A clump of houses went by as the Maybach neared the outskirts of Hensonville. Soon, it approached one house which stuck out from the others. It was a house, but something was just...odd about it.

    "Pull over here," Frass ordered. "I wanna check this place out."

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    "Whew!" Beauregard stood at the front door of the Boarding House and wiped his face with his handkerchief. "It sure was tough, but I finally said what Mr. Kermit said to do." he looked at the front steps of the Boarding House and smiled proudly at his accomplishment.

    "Won't he be surprised to see that allllll the floors are nice and shiny-shiny! I even did the front stairs as an extra surprise! Too bad I ran outta floor wax at the top one. Oh well, this stuff worked OK." Bo shouldered his mop and carried a bucket labeled "Axle Grease" back inside.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    The afternoon went by without anyone else visiting the Boarding House. Lew answered a few calls, but no one had stopped since lunch. His hopes rose as each slow car approached, only to pass by. A few paused, but just to use the driveway to turn around.

    About 3PM, a long, black, dinged-up luxury car with a pink tire pulled up. Its intimidating engine growled to a stop. Lew watched as the back door opened. The car wobbled up and down as something massive and gray tried to squeeze its way out.

    "Hey, wake up! We got a visitor!" called Lew.

    Pops, sound asleep in the recliner, gave a snort and slowly awoke.

    "Eh? What?"

    Lew watched out the window. A pair of short, thick legs had sprouted from the car and tried to get leverage. A row of bloated fingers curled around the door frame. Finally, there was the head.

    "Oh carp!...I mean crap!" Lew said to himself. "It's him!"

    "Wake up! It's the roach man!" Lew shouted.

    "Tell him we don't want any." Pops mumbled before putting the newspaper over his face.

    "I knew this was the place," Frass said to Max. "I saw a buncha kids leavin' here before. I also thought I saw one of them weird lookin' things outside. Hey, there's one now!"

    Max wanted to jump out of the Maybach and shield whoever it was from Frass. He swore he would help Kermit, but he also promised Kermit he wouldn't make Frass suspicious of anything. Something else told him not to worry about the particular individual on the front lawn. Max had seen many people taking care of their lawns, but never the way he was seeing it done now.

    Since Beauregard had finished cleaning the inside and outside of the house, it was time to make sure the front yard matched. With the help of several extension cords, Bo was now diligently using the vacuum cleaner to vacuum the front lawn. He carefully sprinkled some Carpet Fresh ahead of him as he worked.

    "HEY!" yelled Frass as he waddled up to him.

    "HEY!"

    Bo looked up.

    "HEY!"

    "WHAT?" yelled Bo.

    "Turn that off!" yelled Frass.

    "WHAT?"

    "TURN THAT VACUUM CLEANER OFF!"

    "WHAT?"

    "I SAID TURN THE VACUUM CLEANER OFF!"

    "I CAN'T HEAR YOU! THE VACUUM CLEANER'S ON!" Bo bellowed.

    Bo tapped at the power switch with his foot and the vacuum died with a noisy groan.

    "There, now what were you trying to say?" asked Bo innocently.

    Frass fumed. "What..." finding Kermit was put out of Frass's mind temporarily. "Why are you vacuuming the lawn?"

    "Because I'm done vacuuming the carpet inside." explained Bo. "it's real easy! You just set the vacuum to 'shag' when you go out."

    Frass stormed past Beauregard and tried to walk up the stairs. Stairs were hard enough for Frass, as he hated to walk anywhere on his own. The consistent diet of fatty foods didn't help either.

    As Frass walked slowly but determinitely up the stairs, Lew, who had been watching him, locked the door and crouched down.

    "Wait!" called Bo. "Watch out for that..."

    As Frass stepped on the top step, he raised a huge fist to hammer on the door. But something was horribly wrong. Suddenly, the house sunk out of sight, a row of blurry trees zipped upside-down into view and the sky was now filled with cement.

    Bo winced and squinted as Frass bounced down the stairs, looking something like a thrashing whale.

    "...waxed step." Bo finished.

    As Frass hit the pavement, he heard a loud rip. His pants were now considerably looser in the seat. Embarrassment overtook his fury as Frass stood up and stumbled his way back to the Maybach. Lawn clippings stuck to his body, making him look something like a green porcupine.

    "Take me home, Max!" he commanded. His suit was absolutely filthy now. As much as he felt like strangling Kermit, he wanted to do it while wearing a fresh set of clothes. Max waited until Frass had fit his grass-stained frame inside and took off.

    Bo watched the scuffed car trundle away and scratched his head.

    "What was that all about?" Deciding it best not to think about it (Bo was a lousy thinker anyway), he merely turned on the vaccuum again and resumed cleaning.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    As the Muppets came in, they all (naturally) slipped on the top stair and piled on top of each other. Road trips were fun, but it was good to be home again.

    Immediately, Kermit asked Lew and Pops about the kids whose addresses they had taken down. He called them up and asked them to visit the boarding house the next day. Excitement leapt in Kermit's heart. He had leads!

    The next day came. Six finalists had been chosen out of all the kids they had interviewed. Calls came less frequently now. Lew still answered the phone, but mostly it was telemarketers.

    One by one, Kermit excitedly showed the kids and parents the original drawing. Unfortunately, one by one, each child shook his or her head along with the parents. No one claimed the drawing was theirs. One child even said "I don't like that candy bar! Yuck!"

    As the last child and parent left, Kermit sighed. All that build-up for nothing. Sure, there was Sesame Street, and yeah, they had one more day, but time was running out.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    November 23rd came and the time crawled almost to a stop. Each time the phone rang, it was chaos. Everyone nearby raced to answer it, only to be disappointed by a telemarketer or a wrong number.

    At last, the long afternoon came to an end. Sadly, Kermit glanced at the clock. 4:10. Soon, KMUP would have their last airing of the announcement filmed nearly a week ago.

    After two hours of silence, the phone rang again. Kermit just happened to be near it and grabbed the receiver.

    "Kermit?"

    "Yeah?"

    "This is Bob."

    "Bob!" Kermit answered happily. He knew it! He knew it! Someone on Sesame Street made the drawing and they would be 'The Best Neighbor!'

    "Kermit...we're still looking...but I have some bad news. No one has said the drawing is theirs. We asked everybody."

    Kermit's face fell.

    "I'm...I'm sorry, Kermit. I just thought we'd let you know that we're still trying, OK?"

    "Yeah...thanks Bob."

    "Bye."

    "G'bye..." Kermit heard the dial tone and slowly put the phone back on the hook.

    No one nearby needed to know what Bob said. They all saw it in Kermit's face. No one said a word as Kermit, his head down, slowly ascended the stairs. The drawing was still in his hand. His flippers felt like lead weights, bu they were nowhere near as heavy as his heart.

    Their one last hope was nearly gone...and their time as well.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    More to come.

    Convincing John
  5. redBoobergurl

    redBoobergurl Well-Known Member

    Ooh two chapters! It's getting so intense! I still have a hunch about the best neighbor, but I could be wrong. At any rate, I look forward to more whenever you get a chance! I still love this story!
  6. The Count

    The Count Moderator Staff Member

    *Wonders if Beth branded the blue-furred body who bellied up to the bar at Hooper's, a perfect cameo when you consider the letter B as the new sponsor for that chapter there on Sesame. *Bounces a bone of brass to the bassman so he and the burly bongo-player can burrow out of the basement.
  7. Convincing John

    Convincing John Well-Known Member


    Would you (or anyone else) care to chance a guess at who it might be? The Best Neighbor will probably be revealed tomorrow...even though there is quite a bit of story left. (About 8 chapters).

    I hope to have the whole thing posted by...oh, I dunno, Monday. I have to play around with the last few chapters a bit first to make sure everything fits together.

    Convincing John
  8. redBoobergurl

    redBoobergurl Well-Known Member

    I don't want to spoil it for anyone in case I am right, but I promise I will tell you if I get it right and I will be honest! So, let's see some more story! :)
  9. The Count

    The Count Moderator Staff Member

    :insatiable: Yah, what she said. More story! Please?
  10. Convincing John

    Convincing John Well-Known Member

    Chapter 23

    It was hopeless.

    Kermit stared out the window, mumbling to someone he couldn't see beyond a gloomy, overcast sky. The clouds hung over a warehouse in the distance surrounded by an orange mesh fence.

    "I'm sorry...I just..." Kermit leaned against the window and sighed. Somewhere out there was a kid with a broken heart. He had failed. Frass had won. Max...poor Max. He tried, but what could he do? There was nothing he could do now. Kermit watched the wrecking crew pull up to the building and switch off their equipment for the night. They walked away from their bulldozers and cranes. They weren't at fault. They were only doing their job.

    Still, one of the most gentle, yet profound influences on a young child's mind would be destroyed for good. Everything he stood for would be crushed.

    Kermit hung his head and held the drawing, the original drawing, rolled up in one hand.

    "I'm sorry..." he whispered to the child, whoever it was.

    Kermit sniffed as a single tear ran down his cool cheek and hit the windowpane. He sniffed again.

    He smelled something.

    It wasn't quite like smoke, but had a smoky quality. It had a hint of fruit in it...

    Incense.

    There was the crackling sound of a record starting up on an old turnatable. Just down the hall, something shuffled from one of the rooms and a chain jangled.

    Only half listening, Kermit turned around and decided right then and there to frame the drawing and put it on display. That, at least, would show that Mister Rogers would live on in their hearts. Frass could never take that away from them. Yes, the drawing would go on display. It would be put in a special frame...maybe displayed at the public library.

    Without thinking, Kermit paused at the room where the music was coming from. Of course, it was none other than Floyd's room. A mere glance inside, and one wondered if they had found a time portal to the 1960's.

    Homemade tie-dyed banners hung on the walls, draped over tables and one armchair. On either side of the armchair were two end tables. One of them held the incense burner: a simple piece of clay with a smoldering incense stick poking out of it. Next to the burner was a lava lamp. Red blobs floated lazily in the slightly yellowish liquid. Kermit half-listened to the Beatles song that was playing:

    "Help me if you can, I'm feeling down,
    And I do appreciate you being 'round..."

    The second end table had the old turntable, one purchased sometime in the early 1970's. That's how Floyd liked his music. 'Analog, man' as he put it. Floyd had original LPs stowed away in a huge collection behind him. There were no CD's, no laptops with downloaded MP3s, no iPod here. Just vinyl...and a few 8-tracks here and there.

    Posters hung where the tie-dyed banners didn't. Kermit glanced at the walls: Jimi Hendrix kneeled over a flaming guitar, Janis Joplin sang powerfully as she grabbed the microphone with ring-clad fingers, Keith Moon pounded the drums, his arm blurred in mid-swing, a bare-chested Jim Morrison stared down from the ceiling, a fluffy-haired Ian Anderson stood on one leg while playing the flute...

    And that...album. Kermit glanced at the album cover Floyd had selected. Something about it...

    "Hey, green stuff, how was the trip?" asked Floyd. He was fiddling with a string on his bass. In the corner, Animal sat cross-legged on the floor panting contentedly. He was chained to the wall, but really didn't need to be. A ragged, chewed up blanket sat on the floor next to him. On the wall behind Animal was a small, framed picture. It was in shadow, as if to protect it from sunlight. Animal appeared to be looking at it, but he might have been just spacing off. It was hard to tell with Animal sometimes.

    "Oh, it was..." Kermit's stomach sank a little.

    "Sorry we couldn't make it, but you know how Animal gets. So what was it all about anyway? I've totally been off the groove. Everyone goin' here, goin' there. No one tellin' me anything."

    "Wh-huh?" surely someone told Floyd and Animal what was going on. Floyd read the expression on Kermit's face and shrugged it off.

    "Hey, don't worry 'bout it, green stuff. After Animal had his you-know-what, I had a chance to just mellow out and listen to the tunes!" Floyd laughed his raspy laugh as the Beatles played on.

    "When I was so much younger, so much younger than today,
    I never needed anybody's help in any way..."

    "Wait a minute..." Kermit slightly shook his head. "you mean you didn't know about Frass..."

    "Oh that dude you said was bad news? Well he came here, then thanks to ol' Bo waxin' the stairs, he fell right down 'em and then he split...his pants split, too! Ah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah!"

    Kermit took this in, then looked at the album cover again.

    "I've seen this before...I've..." Kermit stepped forward and looked closely at the old picture.

    "Yeah man, it's the Beatles 'Help'," nodded Floyd. "good grooves. That's the UK release. Mono version, man."

    "Won't you please, please help me? Help me? Help me-ee-ee? Oooh..."

    "Help..." Kermit repeated. "Help..."

    As the song "The Night Before" started up, Kermit stared at each Beatle on the cover: George with his arms straight out, John holding his arms up, Paul with his arms like an "L" and finally Ringo with one arm up and one arm down.

    Kermit's heart thumped with anticipation. Something inside told him he had seen this before...

    "Ahhh....the night before..." sang John and George.

    He had seen this before.

    "Ahhh...the night before..." the pair sang again, as though responding to Kermit's thoughts.

    He had seen this image...the night before and also a week before!

    With slightly shaky hands, Kermit lifted the rolled up drawing...the original drawing. Slowly, carefully, he unrolled it and looked at the unknown artist's rendition of the Neighborhood of Make Believe.

    There they were in the picture: Chef Brockett, Lady Aberlin, Mr. McFeely and Mister Rogers in stick figure form. Chef Brockett's arms were out to the sides, Lady Aberlin's arms were raised, Mr. McFeely's were in an "L" and Mister Rogers' arms were...

    Kermit's mouth widened. He read the sentence below the stick figures, the only clear, coherent sentence: 'I WANT TO HELP FRED'. The word HELP was directly below the stick figures. Kermit saw a variation of the album cover on the wall. It was a poster not far away from Animal's bed. In that version, the word HELP appeared in bold orange and yellow, with one letter beneath each Beatle. True, someone had switched the Beatles around in that picture versus the original album...but...

    Kermit looked from the drawing to the poster to the album cover. His heart beat faster as his eyes darted back and forth.

    "You OK, man? What's up, green stuff?" Floyd blinked as Kermit looked from the drawing to the album cover and back to the poster again. It was too much for it to be a coincidence. It couldn't be...Kermit's hands shook with more intensity.

    "Floyd..." Kermit's voice quavered in a suddenly dry throat. "do...do you know...do you...do you know any kids that are Beatles fans in Hensonville?"

    Floyd blinked in confusion and shrugged. "Nah, I don't know no kids, man, 'cept for Robin...how come?"

    Kermit's heart slowed down a little. "We were just...trying to find out who did this is all." Kermit held up the drawing for Floyd to see. Floyd glanced at it, blinked and nonchalantly shrugged as he plucked on his bass.

    "That's easy, man," Floyd played lightly along with George Harrison's guitar riff. "that's Animal's."

    "It's...wha...?"

    "It's Animal's. Don't know how you got it, though. We sent it in the mail years ago. must've come back, huh?" Floyd closed his eyes, clearly more interested in playing along with the album than Kermit's look of shock, then disbelief.

    "This song always gets to me." Floyd remarked as he strummed.

    Kermit fainted. After he hit the floor, Floyd blinked again.

    "You too, huh?"

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Things were still gloomy in the parlor. Scooter, determined not to give up, still scrolled through the comments for their posted video. He rubbed his temples as he read "BEAKER! LOL!" for it seemed the thousandth time. The phone rang sporadically, but the time for people calling about the drawing had passed. When Fozzie answered the phone, excitement leapt in his stomach only to be crushed by a wrong number or a telemarketer. The television mumbled an infommercial to no one. The only ones in the house acting like they normally did were Statler and Waldorf, who were napping on the couch.

    Rowlf sat at the piano, one finger idly tracing Middle "C". What more could be done? he thought. We did everything we could. He glanced at the sheet music in front of him. Normally, he could read sheet music in a wink and be playing the tune flawlessly. Now, the sheet music was dots...just dots. Right now, it meant nothing.

    A muffled thump came from above. Rowlf glanced up. In this house, that noise could have meant a lot of things. Either Beauregard had knocked something over while cleaning, Bunsen and Beaker were up to some new experiment or maybe someone just moved a piece of furniture.

    At any rate, investigating the noise was something to do. The words of the old song Mister Rogers had sung years ago went through Rowlf's head: "Let's think of something to do while we're waiting...while we're waiting for something new to do."

    Rowlf stood up and walked up the stairs. In the second hallway, he smelled incense wafting from a psychedelic room. Mixed with the incense, Rowlf heard The Beatles playing "The Night Before". There, in the middle of the hallway, Kermit was half-sitting, propped up on his elbows. The rolled up drawing, the original one, sat next to him on the wooden floor. Rowlf rushed over to his old friend and helped him to his feet.

    Kermit was weak, but with Rowlf's help, he could stand on his own two flippers again.

    "What happened, Kermit?"

    Kermit tried to speak. He tried to tell Rowlf why he had fainted. In that split second of realization after his faint, his mouth spread in a wide smile.

    Rowlf glanced up at Floyd, who was playing along with George Harrison. His feathery-rimmed eyes closed in concentration as he strummed and changed chords.

    "What happened?" asked Rowlf.

    "The Night Before" came to an end and Floyd opened his eyes.

    "Fainted, man," Floyd explained. "just told him that picture there's Animal's, I started jammin' and he flipped out. Froggy dude needs to chill."

    Rowlf almost felt like fainting himself. "What about the picture?" his sunny side-up eyes widened at what he just heard.

    Floyd nodded sideways at the sitting, panting drummer. "It's Animal's. I know it's a shock he didn't eat it after he drew it!" Floyd closed his eyes and laughed raspily.

    Rowlf couldn't believe his ears. Neither could Kermit. "Animal's? Animal drew that?" Rowlf asked.

    Floyd nodded. "Yeah man. I remember him doin' it. Dude saw somethin' on TV a few years back about Mister Rogers needin' help with somethin'. He watches him, y'know."

    If Rowlf was amazed then, he was completely baffled now.

    "Animal? Watch Mister Rogers?" How could Animal, the most feral...individual...of the Boarding House, of all of Hensonville watch the most meek and mild person on television?

    "I know man, it's weird," explained Floyd. "but it keeps him quiet. The dude'll always stop to watch if it's on. If he flips his lid, Rogers is the only one besides me he'll listen to. He saw some thing on TV where that Rogers dude needed help, so he made that picture and I sent it in for him."

    Rowlf couldn't believe his ears. "How could Animal draw or write? He can barely sign an autograph without chewing up the photo."

    "Practice man, just like the music. Practice," Floyd was now playing along with the record again. "dude went through a lot of paper and crayons...magnet letters, too." Floyd nodded his head sideways, where a single magnetic "R" held a newspaper clipping about Mick Jagger to the mini-fridge. "besides that picture, that's the only thing left he didn't eat."

    Animal panted and leaned against the wall to rest. As he did, Rowlf saw the small, framed picture on the wall next to Animal's ragged bed. The picture, no longer in shadow, now showed a clear image of a man in a sweater with a small trolley in front of him. Next to the man's right elbow was an autograph: "χαρις: Mister Rogers".

    Kermit, now sitting up, took in the news which was so ridiculous, yet it was true.

    "'The Best Neighbor'...is...Animal."

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    More soon. Very soon.

    Convincing John
  11. redBoobergurl

    redBoobergurl Well-Known Member

    I was right! I had a hunch from awhile back when Floyd and Animal really didn't go with them and were kind of just in the background, but you did a great job of keeping it a mystery! So now that they know, I'm curious to see what happens next!
  12. The Count

    The Count Moderator Staff Member

    *Hands Beth the $5 we bet... Well, I'm out. Thought it was Max. Oh well... More please?
  13. Convincing John

    Convincing John Well-Known Member

    Chapter 24

    The news spread through the Boarding House like wildfire. Downstairs, shouts of joy, cheering and bouncing penguins filled the air. Animal! Animal was 'The Best Neighbor'! It was chaos downstairs, but a good chaos. Animal was now downstairs in the middle of everyone. With Floyd's suggestion, rather than hug Animal or shake hands to congratulate him, they all said "Good drummer!" to him and gave him as much food as they could find. Animal loved being at the center of attention, even though he had no idea what was going on. Floyd read his slightly confused expression.

    "We're gonna help Fred, man!"

    Animal looked around, expecting to see the gray-haired man in a sweater.

    "Okay!" nodded Animal enthusiastically. "Help Fred! Help Fred!"

    "All right everyone...everybody..." Kermit started. "everybody..." the chatter didn't stop.

    "QUI-ET!" bellowed Animal. Everyone fell silent. "Thank you." he panted.

    "Thank you Animal," said Kermit. "now, even though we've found 'The Best Neighbor', we still have to stop Edd Frass from tearing down that building. We'll have to get a city official to make things legal. Scooter, contact City Hall and tell them we need someone here right away."

    "Right, chief!" Scooter pumped his fist and within a minute he had his laptop open and was on the Hensonville City Hall Instant Message board.

    "Next, we're going to make sure that even though the warehouse now belongs under the protection of Floyd and Animal, we need to make sure Frass won't pull anything. We know he won't give up without a fight. I'm going to call Max and tell him the good news."

    "What about the local news station?" asked Rowlf.

    "Good idea, we'll let them know and also KMUP. We won't need to run the ad anymore. Someone call Max, all right?" Kermit saw Lew Zealand rush to the phone.

    "Uh, chief?" asked Scooter. "I've got some good news and some bad news."

    "Can we have the good news first?" asked Fozzie a little nervously.

    "The good news is there is one city official who can--" Scooter read off the message board. "'transfer the ownership of Warehouse 57-G from Edd Frass to the individual Fred Rogers selected.'"

    "So what's the bad news?" asked Gonzo.

    Scooter read off the screen again. "'My office closes in fifteen minutes and I will be out of my office tomorrow morning for a dental appoinment. I will return at 9:00AM.'"

    Kermit's eyes bulged in worry. "Tomorrow morning at 9 will be too late! According to Max, after 8:00AM tomorrow, Frass will own the building no matter what unless we stop him. Our only chance is to get to City Hall before it closes!"

    Scooter hurriedly typed "We R on our way!" into the chat box.

    "Let's get the bus!" Dr. Teeth shouted.

    "I have an idea," said Fozzie. "we'll split up! That way we'll be sure to get there in time!"

    "An excellent suggestion!" said Bunsen. "I'll fire up the Nintendo Meep and Beaker will be there in a jiffy!" Beaker moaned as Bunsen led him away.

    "And I'll get there with Sweetums!" cried Robin. "Sweetums knows all the shortcuts!"

    "Let's not waste any more time then," said Kermit. "Floyd, you make sure to hold onto that drawing and Animal's chain tightly. It's our only hope."

    Within thirty seconds, the Muppets had crammed out of the house, leaving behind only a small cloud of dust, some loose chicken feathers and a still snoring Statler and Waldorf.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Residents of Hensonville were used to seeing the Happiness Hotel bus traveling around town from time to time, but never this quickly. With the speed and urgency of an ambulance, the bus roared down the street, barely stopping for stop signs and traffic lights. As best as he could on this bumpy ride, Scooter kept in correspondence with City Hall on the IM board.

    "We R coming. Please do not close." typed Scooter.

    A distant explosion caused Scooter to glance out of the bus window. Something in the direction of the Boarding House boomed. It was a cannon blast. A flailing figure whooped with delight as its hook-nosed silhouette appeared momentarily against the autumn sunset.

    Beaker, against his will, was leaping, crouching and running with the help of his ankle, wrist and other Nintendo Meep components. Back at the Boarding house, Bunsen experimentally poked at the controller buttons while glancing at the image of Mario. As Mario went down a pipe, he entered a water level. As he did, the Nintendo Meep straps forced Beaker to jump into an open manhole and swim through the sewer.

    Not far away, Robin cheered Sweetums on from his perch in his hair. Robin held on tight as Sweetums ran though backyards, yelled apologies as he crashed through fences and raced downtown. Sweetums saw someone opening the front door to their home. Before she could enter, Sweetums raced inside.

    "'Scuse me!" he thundered through the house, jumped over furniture, through the kitchen, bellowed "smells good!" and barged out the back door. "Dinner's ready!" he yelled to the people in the backyard as he crashed through their picket fence.

    A group of people stood all in a row in the town square. It was a wedding party, lining up for a photo. The baker carefully wheeled in an elaborate wedding cake behind them on a little table. The wedding party posed as the professional photographer made sure everyone was in frame.

    "Okay, hold it..."

    In front of the wedding party, the manhole cover suddenly popped open and Beaker skyrocketed through the air. Everyone stepped back in shock as Beaker bounced and ran away, screaming and wailing. In desperation, the baker wheeled the cake backwards. He sighed with relief as he examined at the unharmed cake.

    Everyone lined up again.

    "Okay, hold it..." repeated the photographer.

    A few people in the wedding party looked up. The ring bearer dropped his pillow as he gawked into the sky. Something was speeding directly toward them with the force of a meteor. The crowd scattered again as Gonzo screamed and plummeted to the earth. The baker quickly pulled the cake out of the way as Gonzo's parachute unfurled. He landed squarely on the ring bearer's pillow without a scratch.

    "Aw, rats!" complained Gonzo as he looked behind him at the deflated parachute. "I packed the parachute instead of the silverware!" He sighed. "So much for my entrance being a tribute to Wile E. Coyote."

    "Will you..." sputtered the photographer. "would someone get this...this...thing...out of here?"

    As a gun powder-scented Gonzo moved out of camera shot, the wedding party lined up again.

    Just then, the crowd heard the roar of a huge vehicle approaching. Everyone ran away as the Happiness Hotel bus rumbled through the town square doing 50mph. It skidded and screeched to a halt in front of the Hensonville City Hall Building. The penguin cart swerved behind it.

    "SORR-EE!" bellowed Animal as the bus came to a stop.

    Luckily no one was injured. The baker had wheeled the cake out of the way yet again just in the nick of time.

    "I'm getting off the street!" he yelled. "I'm going to carry this cake to the reception hall in the City Hall myself before anything happens to it!" The baker hoisted the cake off the cart and carefully ascended the stairs.

    "We only got two mintes left before the city official leaves, chief!" Scooter yelled for the bus. In the meantime, the photographer had the wedding party gather on the steps to avoid any more mishaps.

    "Can't--can't you guys just hold it for just a minute?" asked Kermit. "We kinda need to get through. It's urgent."

    The photographer glared at Kermit. "NO!" he yelled in a snotty voice. "You hooligans aren't messing up any more of my pictures! I don't care what you have to do. No one's going anywhere until--"

    "Until I let go of this cake!" the baker proclaimed from the safety of the stairs.

    "Right!" the photographer snarled at Kermit. "Now, everyone on the stairs, okay, that's good.." the wedding party gathered on the steps. The baker was behind everyone on the top stair, proudly holding up the wedding cake.

    Kermit watched as light after light in City Hall flickered off, his hope flickering out along with them. They would be too late.

    No. After everything they had been through...

    "I'm gonna count now," announced the photographer from behind the camera. "everyone ready in five...four......three......two......." the wedding party smiled as the Muppets from the bus looked on helplessly.

    Suddenly, the double doors at the top of the stairs burst open with the force of a battering ram. One door slammed solidly into the baker's back. The baker fell forward and slammed into one of the groomsmen. The cake lurched forward. With an inevitable, gloppy smash, it landed directly onto the bride's head. Frosting splattered everywhere. Bits of cake and the remains of the third tower (with the cake topper) hit the groom, who fell onto a bridesmaid, who fell onto another bridesmaid, whose foot tripped the ring bearer, who grabbed another groomsmen's leg. Within three seconds, everyone was toppling forward, crashing into each other like dominoes until the wedding party was a jumble of pastry-coated arms and legs. The baker wound up at the bottom of the stairs, curled up in the fetal position and sobbing as the bride repeatedly smacked him over the head with her bouquet.

    At the top of the stairs, in the open doorway, stood Sweetums. Robin clung to the top of his shaggy friend's head and laughed.

    "And that's...a...song...of...one!" he sang at the top of his lungs.

    "Sweetums!" cheered Kermit. "You got in!"

    "Yup!" said Sweetums proudly.

    "But all the lights are off inside. What about the city official?"

    Sweetums lifted up a pointy-nosed, beady eyed man by the back of his suit collar.

    "Ya mean him? I told him we'd wait till ya got here," Sweetums held up the man to eye level. "Right?"

    "Y-y-yeah..." stammered the man, who Kermit recognized as Inspector LaBrea. "I-I...I said...yeah...we...w-wuh...we'd w-wait."

    "Then let's get goin'!" cheered Kermit. "C'mon Floyd! Bring Animal! Scooter, get that laptop in here! Get the drawing! We don't have much time!"

    The Muppets trampled past the wedding party. Floyd had a tough time as he pulled on Animal's chain. Women and food were two of Animal's pastimes. Seeing women covered with food drove him completely bonkers.

    "WOMAN! WOMAN! CAKE! WOMAN CAKE! WOMAN CAKE!" the bridesmaids screamed and ran as Animal strained on his collar. With Sweetums's help, they pulled Animal inside City Hall.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    A few blocks away, Frass watched from the distance as the demolition crew unloaded explosives from their truck. The crew worked, oblivious to the artifacts inside the warehouse or the beady eyed man who watched them approvingly.

    Frass' mouth stretched in a horrid, cavity-laden smile.

    Everything was going as planned.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    "Uh huh..uh hmmm..." Inspector LaBrea was at his desk, carefully examining the drawing with a magnifying glass. He then studied the carboard mailing tube from end to end as though it were a rare artifact from an archeological site.

    "Hmmm..."

    He looked up at the crowd in front of him.

    "So you claim that this Fred Rogers left the job of guardian to his artifacts, or as you call it 'The Best Neighbor', to whoever made this...drawing?"

    "That's right--" Kermit began, but he was cut off from the sound of the office door opening. Two more people entered. They looked winded from their bicycle rides, but otherwise looked grateful to be there.

    "Are we...(huff huff) late?" asked Max, clutching his side.

    "We got here..." Mr. McFeely paused to cough, "...as soon as we could."

    Inspector LaBrea frowned slightly at the two newcomers.

    "Listen, my office should be closed by now, you'll have to come back tomorrow afternoon or make an appointment."

    "They're with us," explained Kermit. "Anyway--"

    "Do you have any proof that this Fred Rogers chose this drawing? I can't just verify any old claim unless you have some kind of proof."

    "That's where I come in," explained Mr McFeely, retrieving something from his bag. "here is the original videotape with 'The Best Neighbor' on it, which has the same announcement being played on KMUP, the Speedy Delivery tracking number leading the package to Mr. Frog's name and the letter Fred signed personally, entrusting me to help him with finding 'The Best Neighbor'." For good measure, Scooter put his laptop on the desk and played the announcement from the YouTube link.

    Inspector LaBrea looked everything over, then glanced at the drawing again.

    "This is the one Fred Rogers chose."

    "That's correct." replied Mr. McFeely.

    "And the one who drew it is..."

    Animal panted. Inspector LaBrea felt the hot breath and pointed a little cautiously to the drummer.

    "That's right, man." nodded Floyd.

    "I have decided that this child, with the help of their grown-up friend, will be in charge of keeping 'Mister Rogers Neighborhood' on the air and keeping the tapes, props, puppets and sets safe. This child is the one whom I have chosen to be 'The Best Neighbor'." said Fred Rogers from the laptop screen.

    Inspector LaBrea looked at Floyd.

    "Everything fits. All I need is your verbal agreement that this Mister...Animal...did the drawing and that you will help guard the facility as Fred Rogers requested."

    Floyd nodded solemnly.

    "I swear, man. On my Mono, peel job Beatles Butcher Album, I swear, man. Animal did it and I'll help the dude out."

    "All right, then," Inspector LaBrea selected a file from his computer, altered it, then printed it out. "this is the document which will declare the warehouse yours and guardians of its contents infinitely once you pay the fee."

    "Fee?" asked Kermit. "What fee?"

    "Well, it's standard procedure for these types of warehouses. Upkeep, taxes, things like that. We need the fee paid at the time of ownership transaction. Under the circumstances, I can get you a rather sizeable discount," the inspector paused to peck some numbers into his calculator. "to own the building indefinitely and maintain upkeep on it...would be..." (peck peck). "yeah. $4,400.52."

    "Forty-four hundred dollars?" repeated Kermit in shock.

    "And 52 cents." finished the inspector.

    "B-but we don't have..." began Kermit.

    "Well, I am sorry Mr. Frog," shrugged Inspector LaBrea, but until the fee is paid, the warehouse will still technically belong to Mr. Frass. I can't legally sign it over to Mister Animal or anyone else until then. Yes, you do have the proper...shall we say, documents, but the fee is part of the legal transaction. There is nothing more I can do for you."

    For the second time, Kermit's heart sank. They had once again come so close, only to be stopped yet again.

    "Here."

    The Muppets turned around. A voice at the back of the room spoke again.

    "Here."

    Behind Sweetums and next to Mr. McFeely someone spoke. Kermit couldn't believe his eyes. There was Max, his hand outstretched towards Inspector LaBrea. In his hand was the five thousand dollars he had won at Big Mean Carl's Casino.

    "I want to help, too. I won this at a casino and..." Max paused, trying not to look at the incredulous faces all around him. "I'm sick of Frass and...like I said, I promised Kermit I'd help. So here. I'll pay the fee." The money made a light 'plop' as the bills hit the table. Any remaining skepticism towards Max from the crowd vanished right then and there.

    "Well well, then. This takes matters into a whole other perspective." said the inspector.

    "It certainly does..." said Kermit, still not believing what he saw.

    The inspector put the money away in a cash box, gave Max his change and wrote up a receipt. He then pushed the printout across the table for Floyd and Animal to sign.

    "Just sign this and Mister Animal will be 'The Best Neighbor' along with your assistance, Mr. Pepper."

    Animal looked at the document, confused.

    "He wants your autograph man," explained Floyd. "autograph, right there...for Fred." Floyd pointed to an 'X' at the bottom of the page.

    "Au-to-graph..." Animal concentrated as he gripped the pen in his fist. He scrawled a lopsided but legible 'Animal' along the line. Floyd gently took the pen from him, signed below on a second line and dated it.

    "Very good," Inspector LaBrea took the document back. "and now, to notarize it." He took an old fashioned embosser out of a desk drawer and placed the corner of the document under it.

    "In the name of the city of Hensonville, Mr. Animal is hereby presented with the title of 'The Best Neighbor' with Mr. Floyd Pepper as assistant. They now have permanent ownership of Warehouse 57-G and are the official guardians of stored artifacts as specified by the late Mister Fred Rogers with all entitled honors, rights, privileges and benefits accruing thereto."

    The embosser pressed down with a loud "klikrunk" and Inspector LaBrea gave the document to Floyd and folded his hands on the table in satisfaction.

    "Congratulations." he smiled. "Now to call this Frass fellow. Wait a minute...is he that dog food guy?"

    "You don't know the half of it." said Max. "If you're willing, and have a strong stomach, you can borrow the other tape." Mr. McFeely pulled out a second videotape from his bag. Inspector LaBrea took the tape with slight interest.

    "What's this?"

    "Just don't watch it until we're outta here," said Kermit. "when you see what's on it, you'll want to get the health inspector."

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    More soon.

    Convincing John
  14. redBoobergurl

    redBoobergurl Well-Known Member

    Yay! Animal is the Best Neighbor and he's got the keys and yet I have this sneaking suspicion that this isn't all quite over yet. Bring it on though, I am ready!
  15. The Count

    The Count Moderator Staff Member

    Of course it's not over. CJ said there'd be six more chapters.

    Brilliant use of Inspector LaBrea.
    The notarizing was expertly handled.

    Also... Saw the bit with the wedding cake coming a mile away.
    Great chappy... Post more please!
  16. Convincing John

    Convincing John Well-Known Member

    Chapter 25

    "It's this way, then turn left," instructed Max. The Happiness Hotel bus rumbled through Hensonville. Max and Mr. McFeely had hopped aboard for the ride. Only Beaker had been left behind. He was still hopping and swimming around in the sewer as Bunsen fumbled with the Nintendo Meep controller back at the Boarding House.

    "It's just a few blocks ahead, then turn right at the third light."

    In a few minutes, the bus pulled up to the desolate warehouse. The orange mesh fence was still there. It surrounded the building in a sad, floppy sort of way. A lone bulldozer sat forlornly in the distant parking lot. The warehouse itself seemed nondescript, but they all knew what was inside...and who it truly belonged to.

    "Now there's another building you need to know about," Max pointed to another building not quite a block away. "that's where Mr. Frass is going to remotely detonate the explosives from. He told me he's going to watch from the upper floor in that studio."

    The building was also bland-looking and nondescript, but Kermit knew what it was immediately.

    "Not there..." Kermit saw where Max was pointing. No one could be that heartless.

    Max nodded sadly. The building Max indicated was the one across the street: KERM, the local Hensonville PBS affiliate. Some shows were merely broadcast there, others taped.

    It was a lovely place to visit. Robin had a field trip there and he and his class got to see how the shows were broadcast. He remembered how excited Norman got when he saw the dozens of televison studio screens, all of which showed Robin's famous uncle interviewing the Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe.

    "In that studio attached to it, to be specific," Max explained. "He said since no one really uses it, no one would notice."

    The studio was off-limits...for good reason. That studio was the single place in Hensonville that everyone gave a wide berth. Like the 13th stair or room in a hotel, people avoided it at all costs. The doors stayed locked. The place was enough to give even Uncle Deadly the creeps. Max pointed to the one access door leading to the catwalk area via a fire escape. The door was open a crack, wedged open with a small doorstop.

    "It isn't pretty in there." said Max solemnly.

    "How do you know?" asked Fozzie.

    "I was the one who unlocked it," Max explained. "there's just the catwalk space up there, some ropes, sandbags, not much else."

    "Oh, there is something else in there," Kermit replied solemnly. "you're lucky you got out and didn't fall down below."

    "Yeah," added Link. "Max could've gotten a boo-boo if he fell in the dark."

    Kermit ignored Link. "What's in there is worse...worse than..."

    "What?" asked Fozzie nervously.

    There was a moment of silence, then Kermit looked up to face them all.

    "Listen, gang," he explained. "no matter what City Hall says, Frass is going to try to do whatever he wants...and we have to stop him. Max, what time is Frass going to be there?"

    "He's going to be at the warehouse at eight sharp to give the demolition crew their instructions, then I have to meet him over there."

    "All right. I'm not going to lie to anyone. This is going to be dangerous. We're going to need to come up with a plan and fast."

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    It was fortunate that Max had been there before. He knew where to go and where not to go in that studio...especially in the dark.

    All of them were now crowded around the little doorway at the top of the fire escape. Max opened the door and carefully put the doorstop in place. He reached in and switched on the light. A row of suspended lamps lit up from the ceiling.

    It was not unlike the Muppet Theater catwalks. There was no floor, just a series of catwalks, stagelights and the support beams near the ceiling.

    The only thing odd about this area was immediately apparent to Clifford. He spent many an hour in the catwalks fixing lights. Even with the stagelights off, Clifford knew how high up he was even if he couldn't see the stage. Even in the dark, he could hear his friends rehearsing, quarreling, something exploding or one of Statler or Waldorf's remarks.

    He knew the studio wasn't quite as tall as the Muppet Theater, but looking down, it felt like the darkness was infinite. There was no noise, which was somehow unsettling. Without seeing anything, Clifford felt like there was someone...or something down below.

    "No one go in until you're absolutely sure where to step!" warned Kermit. "Whatever you do, don't fall."

    Fozzie fiddled with his tie. "I don't know if I should go in."

    "We have to, if we're going to stop Frass. Max, is this the only door unlocked?"

    "That door's unlocked, but it's way over there." Max pointed across a series of dangling ropes, dangerous bridges across the catwalks made from plywood and old cables. There was another door that led outside. The door was shut, but a single ray of light streamed through a hole where a screw had fallen out.

    "If there's a fire escape out there, we'll need to make sure Frass won't use that door."

    Kermit's years of experience in the theater gave him some quick ideas. His eyes scanned between the catwalks.

    "All right, the first thing we're going to need is some strong rope. Some of these lights need filters and some of them need to be turned off," he turned to Max. "We're going to need you to go back to the factory."

    "Back to the factory?" asked Max. "Why?"

    "I guarantee it'll be the last time you'll ever have to go there." Kermit replied. "I need you to..." he montioned Max to lean towards him so he could whisper in his ear.

    Max's eyes grew wide.

    "Are you sure?"

    "Only if things get ugly, Max." Kermit reassured him. "Rowlf and I, especially Rowlf think it would be best. So...so just go get 'em, and we'll get something hooked up to...y'know."

    "If...if you say so..."

    "We know so." said Rowlf.

    "What shall I do, Mr. Frog?" asked Mr. McFeely.

    "I've thought of that. You go to the newspaper office and give them the scoop. They don't close till about seven, so that'll give 'em enough time to put the story in the paper. In the morning, we need you to help them deliver the papers. Between that and KMUP, everyone should know about Animal being 'The Best Neighbor'."

    Mr. McFeely tipped his cap and gently pumped one fist. "I'm on my way, Mr. Frog! Speedy Delivery!"

    Max and Mr. McFeely went their separate ways as the rest of the Muppets carefully filed into the eerie catwalk space of the studio.

    "I got a bad feeling about this place." Fozzie gripped his tie and held Kermit's shoulders for support.

    "Feels like we're bein' watched or somethin'." Clifford remarked. His gut feeling about the place hadn't gone away.

    "Well..." Kermit gulped. "We sort of...are. That's why no one wants to come in here."

    Robin held his uncle's hand even tighter. "Is...there something watching us, Uncle Kermit?"

    "S..sort of..." said Kermit. "but we're safe up here. I don't think it can see us. Just don't fall."

    "What's down there, Kermie?" asked Piggy as she squeezed Kermit's hand.

    "It won't come until it's called. Anyway, we need to Frass-proof this place for tomorrow. Just concentrate on watching your step and helping out. Max should be back in an hour. Scooter, I need you to get some filters for these lights."

    "Right, chief!" Scooter pumped his fist and disappeared out the door.

    "I'll hold that other door from the outside so Frass can't get out." volunteered Sweetums.

    "No no, I have something much more important for you to do," instructed Kermit. "I need you to keep Robin safe during all this. You need to go back to the Boarding House and take care of him until I get back."

    "But...but I want to stay here with you!" Robin's eyes nearly watered with worry. He glanced down in the dark, trying to see what made everyone feel so uneasy.

    Kermit kneeled down and put his hand on Robin's shoulder. "Listen, it's important that you stay with Sweetums. It's just too dangerous for you here, and--" he continued quickly before Robin could say anything. "we will be okay. All right? We'll be okay."

    "Well...all right." Robin agreed reluctantly. "but be careful!"

    "We will."

    Sweetums ducked under stagelights and dangling cables with the young frog in hand as they left. The door closed partially, leaving Max and the rest of the Muppets inside.

    Although no one would say it, something Kermit mentioned triggered their worst fears.

    It won't come until it's called...

    An icy chill ascended from the void below as if in response to their thoughts.

    It won't come until its called...

    It won't come until it's called...

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Max went home, like he always did every night. Betraying the boss who treated him (and every other worker) like scum was exciting, but what if things didn't work? What if Frass decided to destroy the warehouse before eight? What then?

    He'd be out of a job, that's for sure, but would Kermit still keep his promise to find him work elsewhere? Max knew he was going to quit anyway. He felt anxious about what would happen in the morning, knowing that it would be his last day with Mr. Frass, knowing that his boss's plans would (hopefully) be ruined.

    Once the phone calls were made to the media, news quickly spread that 'The Best Neighbor' had been found. Frass, luckily, hadn't heard about it yet. Max knew he didn't watch the news until late at night. That bought some time, at least.

    Back at his apartment, Max fiddled with the homemade antenna and lopped-off copper wires from the antenna box. It was a whole ordeal just to get one channel in. Max Scotch-taped one copper wire to the wall, and the other to the adjacent, metal window pane. Even then, the reception was poor until Max moved his metal folding chair out of the way to avoid interference. Sure, all television transmission had gone digital months ago, but somehow Max still got a signal. Max reached around to the back of the TV and adjusted the other wires: twist ties stripped of their wax coating and wound around the UHF and VHF connectors.

    The snowy picture twisted this way, then that, then a crisp, clear image played on the screen. Max stood still, holding one duct-taped curtain rod, barely breathing. It was the first (and only) time this TV had a clear picture.

    A fast food commercial ended, then a news desk appeared with clocks, a monitor and a few maps on the wall. An old-fashioned teletype machine sound effect clattered in the background.

    "Here is a Muppet News Flash!"

    A pointy-nosed newsman with ruffled hair, horn-rimmed glasses and a brown, plaid suit rushed in. Instead of stopping at his chair, the Newsman skidded past it, yelped and wiped out with a heavy thump. As he disappeared under his desk, his notes flew everywhere.

    The teletype sound effect faded as the Newsman pulled himself up, sat in his chair and yelled to someone off-camera.

    "Why don't they wait to wax the floors until AFTER the news broadcast?"

    The Newsman gave the person off-camera a dirty look, then hastily shuffled his notes together.

    "Dateline Hensonville: an extensive search concerning the guardian to Fred Rogers's possessions in Hensonville has been resolved. Just hours ago, the individual chosen to guard the props, sets and recorded programs from 'Mister Rogers Neighborhood' has been found," the Newsman threw the paper he was reading over his shoulder and read the next one. "Two members of the Electric Mayhem, house band for the Muppet Theater, have been made legal guardians of these possessions as well as the building they are kept in. The entry chosen by Rogers was written, or more specifically drawn by the drummer known as Animal."

    The Newsman paused a beat as he waited for the inset graphic to show Animal's picture. Instead of the graphic, a fishing line dangled a doodled sketch in view. It looked like a rabid Muppaphone with arms and legs sprouting from it. The Newsman glanced at it, then grimaced.

    "What th--...that's the best you got for a picture?"

    A stagehand holding the fishing pole leaned forward. "Our other camera broke!" he whispered.

    "Broke? That camera's brand new!"

    "Yeah, but it broke when Animal ate it! Here's what's left." the stagehand tossed a lens cap on the desk and leaned out of camera shot.

    The Newsman sighed, despondent. "In...in addition to the drummer Animal, additional guardian duties have been assigned to Sgt. Floyd Pepper, bass player for the Electric Mayhem and..."

    The doodle of Animal zipped away. In its place, the stagehand placed a can of Dr. Pepper on the desk. 'Dr.' was scribbled out and replaced with 'Sgt. Floyd' in Sharpie ink.

    "I swear..." the Newsman mumbled.

    "No! Don't do that on the air! Wait until the commercial!" whispered the stagehand from off camera.

    The Newsman glowered at him and then back at the camera. "In other news, due to several health code violations, the Bugaboo Dog Chow Company will be forced to shut down all its factories permanently by tomorrow night and recall all of its products. So, if you own any Bugaboo Dog Chow, either bring it back to the store for a refund or just pitch it."

    The Newsman ducked just in time. A small dog food bag zipped past him. The stagehand, now wearing a baseball glove and a cap, shrugged innocently.

    "You said to pitch it!"

    "Get out of here!" the Newsman gave him a shove. The stagehand scurried out of sight again.

    "The President and CEO of Bugbaboo Dog Chow Edd Frass could not be reached for comment. Inspector LaBrea informs us that he left a voice message, but apparently, Frass has not received it yet. Although the factories will be shut down, layoffs will not be a problem. Competitors of the Bugaboo Dog Chow Company will purchase the factories, repair them, clean them and use them for their own products. All staff will be rehired except for CEO Edd Frass. Says Inspector LaBrea, 'Due to several violations and maintaining an uhealthy work environment, Frass will be terminated tomorrow and his pension and severance pay will immediately be dropped."

    Just then, bundles of cash fell on the Newsman's head and scattered all over his desk.

    "Oof! Aggh! Hey!" The Newsman picked up a wad of bills, just realizing what he had in his hand. "Hold on...now this is more like it! Wow! I'm rich! I'm RICH! I'm...wait a minute..." the Newsman squinted critically at the bills. "this is Monopoly money!" Just then, a safe crashed down on his head.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    A much better working television in the ritzy part of town played the same broadcast. A huge man in a thunderhead-gray suit sat in his recliner. Each breath was heavily laced with old mayonnaise, summer sausage and halitosis.

    The Newsman's fingers feebly curled over the desk's edge as the stagehand came onscreen, shrugged and walked off camera.

    No one in this house saw him, though. Earlier that afternoon, a short power outage happened. As a result, the VCR's memory was wiped out and the tape inside didn't record the broadcast. The VCR clock blinked 12:00, flashing a light blue glow on Edd Frass.

    Frass didn't notice the light or the broadcast. He was was sound asleep in his recliner.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    More soon.

    Convincing John
  17. redBoobergurl

    redBoobergurl Well-Known Member

    Man oh man you're building suspense here again and it's getting super exciting and I am on the edge of my seat! And so curious about "it won't come until it's called". Hmmm....

    More! More! More!
  18. The Count

    The Count Moderator Staff Member

    Yaey! *Has a vague idea of what's filling the void beneath the catwalks. *Laughs at the doodle of Animal. *Cheers at new chapter. *Waits for next update.
  19. Convincing John

    Convincing John Well-Known Member

    Chapter 26

    Max barely slept that night. He never slept that well to begin with, but this night was especially uncomfortable. As best as he could, Max tried to rest on the only "pillow" he had: an old sweater wadded inside a t-shirt for a pillowcase.

    Kermit and the others were hard at work in the studio's catwalk. Max wanted to be there to help him, but Kermit insisted that Max should be with Frass until the plan was carried out. After some thought, Max decided it would be best that way.

    His stomach churned for a different reason tonight. He wondered, after this, if Kermit had found him a job. Certainly, he would be fired soon. Would he have to move? When he moved to his current apartment, he had to sell his old car. He'd have to rent a U-Haul. Maybe Kermit would let him borrow their bus to move his stuff. It would only take one trip with the few things Max owned.

    At the same time, Max was excited at the prospect of a new life and a new job, whatever it was. Anything was better than spending day after day pouring roaches into mixing machines.

    The only movement (and light) in the room was the changing of a number. Max's tiny, digital alarm clock switched from 3:04 to 3:05. In just a couple of hours, he would be contributing to preserve a piece of history...and to start a brand new life.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Frass began the day as he always did: selecting a suit, gulping down some heart pills with no water and neglecting his toothbrush.

    He frowned slightly at the flashing 12:00 on his VCR. He hadn't been able to check the news last night, but no matter. Missing the news one day wouldn't hurt. After all, he had more important matters on his mind.

    Without bothering to reset the clock, Frass locked the door to his expensive house he couldn't really afford. Glad that Max couldn't see him, he waddled past the garage where the battered Maybach sat. Fat fingers grabbed change from his pocket as the bus pulled up. Frass always took the bus to work, simply because he couldn't afford the insurance on the Maybach which was, of course, purchased just for show. It was just like every other day, except Frass wasn't going to the factory. He wanted to check on the demolition crew...

    And to take a memento from the warehouse.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Max rode across town on his bicycle. Most of the city was still asleep. Pale shades of orange, pink and yellow stretched behind houses, trees and other buildings as Max coasted unseen down a side street. Frass told him to wait at the abandoned studio, but he had to check here first.

    As Max reached the bottom of the hill, he took a deep breath. It was still there. The warehouse was surrounded by the orange mesh and warning signs. The crane stood next to it, imposing and still, like a guillotine ready to chop. Its looming wrecking ball eclipsed the morning sun.

    Next to the warehouse was a newspaper dispenser. Max read the displayed headline and came to a stop. Normally, Max couldn't afford to get a newspaper, but today was different. He bought one, read the joyous headline and carefully rolled it up. He decided to buy a second one. He would save up to have it framed.

    There were a few demolition workers checking wires and pointing to different corners of the warehouse. Max merely glanced at them before tying the papers to his bicycle handlebars and riding away. He had to make it to the studio on time.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    About ten minutes later, the bus pulled up to the corner and Frass waddled out. As soon as he turned around, there it was: the future site of his new dog food factory. A demolition worker glanced up as Frass found an opening in the orange mesh fence.

    "Uh this area's restric--oh, hello, Mr. Frass."

    "Hello!" Frass greeted him cheerfully. "Everything on schedule, I presume?"

    None of the demolition workers had seen last night's news broadcast, so everything was going as planned. "Yes, sir. It's all on schedule."

    "Mind if I take a look around before you tear it all down? I want to get something from inside."

    The demolition worker turned to his coworkers and made a slashing motion across his throat before turning back to Frass.

    "Of course, sir."

    Without another word, Frass went inside Warehouse 57-G and almost immediately saw what he was looking for. A meaty hand snatched at them. Next to the (now) empty spot was a manila folder. Frass opened it and saw another artifact he would be especially pleased to destroy.

    Once outside, he merely nodded stiffy to the demolition crew. The last thing he did before leaving the site was motion to a final object inside one of the trucks.

    "Mind if I borrow that for a while? You'll get it back soon."

    The workers nodded vaguely, wondering why Frass would want something like that.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    A third person visited the demolition crew. The man eagerly showed them the newspaper article and convinced them to leave the site, at least for the time being. The crew agreed and decided to take the morning off to go have breakfast.

    When the crew was gone, the man went inside Warehouse 57-G to make some very vital adjustments.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Max waited nervously at the top of the fire escape. The sun was up, but it was still a bit cold. He waited for that car to come...but it didn't.

    7:30.

    It wasn't long before Max saw a large shape waddling into view. At first, it looked like an oversized penguin. Then, Max noticed, that waddle wasn't made by a bird, but by his boss.

    Frass wore the blackest, most intimidating suit he had. What the Maybach did in chrome, Frass's suit did in cloth. Unevenly, he wheezed as he waddled slowly to the end of the block. He carried something concealed under his suit jacket. What it was, Max didn't want to know.

    "M.." he stopped to cough. "Max...are you up there?"

    "Yes, Mr. Frass," Max nodded obediently. "come on up. It's almost eight."

    With great effort, Frass began to climb the stairs. He held his suit coat closed while gripping the handrail for support. At last, he made it to the top. Oily sweat glistened across his face. After a few wheezes, Frass finally caught his breath. One hand held his bulging jacket. The other one eased something out of his pocket.

    It was a simple-looking remote no larger than a brownie. There was just an LED light on one side and a rectangular button on the top.

    "Just look at it, Max," Frass smiled. "the new site of my next Bugaboo Dog Chow factory! Once this junk is destroyed, I'll have a factory even bigger and better than ever! And once I have all our factories use our "extra protein", I'll be rich!"

    "No, you won't."

    That wasn't Max's voice! Frass whirled around and saw a short, spindly, green figure just inside the doorway.

    "So," a grin creeped like poison ivy across Frass's face. "we meet at last, frog."

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    More soon.

    Convincing John
  20. redBoobergurl

    redBoobergurl Well-Known Member

    You are just setting the stage here and it's the right amount of creepy and yet, at the end here it's hopeful with Kermit there - oh I hope this showdown goes all right....


Share This Page