Yo! Me again. With 'nother story. This time it's not Fraggle Rock fic, believe it or not. I've had this story simmering on the back burner for a while, and recent events have motivated me to actually get movin'. This takes place after Masks, which is a followup to Muppets from Earth. So here we go... ***** Growing TogetherPart 1: The Pitchby Kim McFarland ***** The Great Gonzo, wearing a plastic jumpsuit and a pair of protective goggles, looked over a tank of bubbling liquid and declared, "Right now, before your very eyes, I, The Great Gonzo, will electroplate my own nose while reciting the Gettysburg Address! Behold, the bronze rod!" With a flourish, he produced a metal rod, an alligator clip attached at one end, with a wire trailing over to a machine festooned with dials and LED bulbs. A pair of chickens was standing by its side, where a lever-like flip switch stuck out horizontally. "The lead!" He took another wire from the machine and alligator-clipped the end to his own hand. Then he grasped the sides of the tank. "And, the tub of metal salts! Ladies, please!" The chickens fluttered up and landed on the lever. It resisted for a moment, then flipped down, sending the chicken tumbling. The lights flashed and the dials danced. Gonzo jerked slightly as the current began to flow. Then he laughed, tossed the metal bar into the tank, and plunged his nose into the fluid. "Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation-" Fozzie, staring at the monitor, said, "I don't believe it." "So, whaddaya think? I'm gonna sharpen up the patter, but check it out, it worked! And on only the thirty-seventh take!" Gonzo's voice was slightly muffled because of the thin metallic sheath coating his nose. Kermit replied, "What do I think? It's dangerous and insane. Nobody in their right mind would do an act like that!" "Thanks! Is that a yes?" Scooter remarked, "It doesn't violate anything in the theater's insurance policy." Kermit paused, thinking, then mentally shrugged and said, "Well... sure, Gonzo, we'll put this in the first show. But why the Gettysburg Address?" "I lost a bet with Sam." Fozzie asked, "How're you going to get that metal off your nose?" Gonzo paused thoughtfully for a second, then said "I'll work on that too." He ran over to the right wings, where Camilla, his wife, and Billie, their almost-two-year-old daughter, were being entertained by a handful of people who were fiddling around with various instruments, including a fiddle, a washboard, and something that twanged comically and made Billie laugh. He exclaimed, "Kermit okayed it!" Camilla clucked approvingly. Gonzo picked Billie up. Attracted by the strange shininess, she grabbed Gonzo's metal-coated nose. "What this?" she asked. "My nose," he answered with a grin. Unsatisfied, she patted it with her hand and said "Hard." Gonzo replied, "Just for now." To Camilla he said, "Maybe Beau has some tin snips." * Over at the monitors backstage left, Kermit, Fozzie, Rowlf, and Scooter, were looking over other acts as Janken, the console operator, put them on the screen. With the show going into its second season, all sorts of strange acts were making their way into the audition list. Scooter winnowed out the dull ones, and then he and Kermit and whoever else was interested looked over the rest. Fozzie was too excited to pay much attention. Wringing his tie, he said, "I can't believe it!" "What's that?" Rowlf asked. They were watching a video of fuzzy creatures doing a juggling act. They juggled themselves. That was unusual, but he didn't find it difficult to believe. "I can't believe we're going to have Weird Al Yankovic on the show! He's the funniest guy in the music biz, and he's going to be right here!" "Yeah, this'll start the season off with a bang. Can't wait to meet him, huh?" Scooter said. "I-I don't know if I can! I mean, he's so funny! Compared to him, I'm not funny at all," Fozzie said anxiously. Kermit did not say that, compared to a cinderblock, Fozzie was still not funny. Not very, anyway. "You'll be fine, Fozzie. I hear he's a really nice guy." "Funny and nice," Fozzie whimpered, hiding his eyes. Miss Piggy swept into the group and said to Kermit, "Moi has been thinking of doing something new and exciting in the show." "Such as?" Kermit said. Piggy leaned closer. "Moi is planning a dance act. Something with some real heat in it. And, of course, a certain frog." Kermit asked, "Uh, er, what would be so different about that? We've danced before." "Not the way I'm thinking." She leaned further forward and favored him with a smoky gaze. "You dance divinely, Kermie, when properly motivated. And we do, after all, need to remind our fans that we're still an item." "Uh, Piggy—" Scooter piped up, "Actually, Miss Piggy, Mr. Yankovic has asked to do a song with you in this week's show." "Mister who?" she said without looking away. "He's our guest this week. He wants to do a love song with you." She looked up. "Oh, really?" Seeing that he had her attention, Scooter continued, "Yes. He specifically asked for you, Miss Piggy. I can tell him you have other plans, though." He shrugged and started to turn away. She said, "Just a minute." He turned back. "What kind of artiste is this Mr. Yanka-something?" "He's a good one! His music's played all over the world. He's got four Grammys, a bunch of gold and platinum and double platinum albums, and he's worked with some of the biggest names in the music business." Hooked, Piggy breathed, "And now he wants to sing with Moi." "Shall I tell him you'll do it?" "Yes, you may." "Thanks!" Scooter made a note on his clipboard. Piggy asked in a sweet voice, "Kermie, you don't mind, do you?" "Mind? Oh, no, Piggy, it's fine. You'll be great. I'm looking forward to it." "Oh," she said, a little curtly, then planted a light kiss on the top of his head before leaving. When she was out of earshot Kermit asked Scooter, "Did he really ask to sing a song with Piggy?" "Yeah. When we talked on the phone he was full of ideas. Singing with her was one of the first ones he threw out. The song's called One More Minute. It's a doo-wop number." Kermit nodded approvingly, then asked, "What other acts have we got?" "Remember Lubbock Lou and his Jughuggers? I booked them for the first show." "Wow, they're still around?" Kermit said, surprised. "Sure are! Matter of fact, they're already here, all except their jug player. He'll be in before the first show for sure, they say." Kermit said, "That's going to throw a kink into rehearsals." Scooter said, "Maybe not," and tapped Janken on the shoulder. The Fraggle looked back. "Jan, think you could play the jug well enough to get them through a rehearsal or two if Bubba doesn't make it in time?" Surprised, Janken replied, "Me? I guess so. Do you have a copy of the piece so I can learn it?" "Yeah. I'll get that for you when we're done here. The Jughuggers are on the other side. Go talk to 'em and I'll take over here." "Sure." Janken got out of the camera operator's seat. Scooter patted the Fraggle's shoulder as he passed, then sat down. Kermit remarked, "I didn't know he played the jug." Scooter replied, "He doesn't. But he picks up on musical stuff faster than you'd believe. He says it's a Fraggle thing. What's next, chief?" * Janken crossed the stage. It was pretty easy to tell who the jug band members were. They were the ones behind big bushy beards, except for the woman. He said, "Hi, I'm Janken. I'll play the jug 'til Bubba shows up, if that's all right." A lanky man with blond hair pulled back into a ponytail said, "Sure, that's fine with us. Y'ever played the jug before, young feller?" "No, but I play the sweet potato and a few other things, and I learn fast. Could I give it a try?" "Why not? Pass him the jug, Gramps. The empty one." They laughed, and a white-bearded old man swung a jug over to Janken. Janken sat down and, holding the jug in his lap, blew across the top a few times until it made the right sound. Gramps remarked approvingly, "It does my heart a world o' good to see the youth o' today takin' up fine music." ***** All characters except Janken and Billie are copyright © The Muppets Studio, LLC and are used without permission but with much respect and affection. Janken and Billie are copyright © Kim McFarland firstname.lastname@example.org), as is the overall story. Permission is given by the author to copy it for personal use only.