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TMS fic: Growing Together

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Slackbot, Dec 5, 2011.

  1. KarinTeeth

    KarinTeeth New Member

    Wonderful chapter :)
  2. The Count

    The Count Moderator Staff Member

    Originally posted by Bot of Slack:
    "He said, "Well, if we do this, and if we get a boy, I'd like to name him James."

    She looked up at him and clucked Why?

    "'Cause whether he was hatched or not you'd be his mother, and that'd make him the son of a hen."

    She groaned, then pecked him."

    This is one of the best groaners I've heard in a long time.
    :cluck:'s reaction was nice too.

    Funny and energetic Al songs?
    Why do I automatically forward to one of his polka medleys.

    This whole chapter made you feel all right in all the right places. Thanks.
  3. Slackbot

    Slackbot Well-Known Member

    Thanks, guys! Ed, glad I made you groan. I hoped someone would get where I was heading with that. I can't be the first one who's thought of that gag, can I?

    As for the song, well, I'm sure Al would love to play accordion with The Electric Mayhem, but the song I have in mind doesn't call for that. He might be able to sneak it in somehow, but it'd be kind off-message in a tribute song.

    If anyone's curious, the name I inflicted on Dr. Teeth is a reference to Professor H.M. Wogglebug, T.E. from Baum's original Oz books. With that round body and head and those pipelike arms, Dr. Teeth always looked like a big beetle to me.
  4. Puckrox

    Puckrox Well-Known Member

    Finally played catch up and read the last couple chapters. Great stuff! Keep up the good work! :D
  5. Slackbot

    Slackbot Well-Known Member

    Get comfy, this is gonna be a longish one...

    *****

    Growing Together
    Part 9: Three on a Dare
    by Kim McFarland

    *****

    It was a late Saturday afternoon. Fozzie Bear had taken the bus to the Muppet Theater. Kermit has entrusted him with the task of coming up with a new final act for the show, and he thought he had a good idea, but he wasn't sure it would work. He wasn't sure anyone would like it. But he'd promised Kermit he'd come up with something, and he was a bear of his word. He had come to the theater because sitting in the audience or standing on the stage helped him picture what an act would look like.

    When he went into the theater house some of the lights were already on. Someone had come in before him. That made him feel a little better; he didn't like being alone very much. The stage lights were on, and Scooter and Janken were on the stage. They had taken out a few hay bales from the jug band number and were sitting on them and talking. It didn't look like they were having a personal moment, so Fozzie walked onto the stage and said, "Hiya."

    Janken looked over, and Scooter turned around and said, "Hi, Fozzie. What're you doing here so early?"

    "I've got an act to work on for tonight's show. How about you?"

    "I got studied out for the afternoon, so I'm helping Janken get used to the stage."

    "Oh, stage fright, huh?" Fozzie said sympathetically. Janken nodded. "I get that too. It goes away when the act starts. Usually."

    "I'm really new at this," Janken said sheepishly.

    Fozzie sat down with them. "If it helps, I thought you did good last night. You didn't look scared to me."

    Janken smiled. "Thanks. It does help."

    Scooter asked Fozzie, "What kind of act are you working on?"

    "Well, the song at the end last night seemed, kinda slow. I mentioned it to Kermit, and he asked me to pick out a better one and come up with an act."

    Scooter and Janken exchanged glances. "You saw that too. Have you picked out a song?" Scooter asked.

    "Yeah. Well, I think so. But I'm not sure how to write an act around it," Fozzie said hesitantly.

    Fozzie had a CD case in his hand, Scooter noticed. He stood up and, beckoning them to follow him into the left wings, said, "C'mon, let's hear it."

    The three went to Janken's console. It controlled the cameras, and could also send out audio and video. Fozzie handed the CD to Janken, who slid it into the tray. "It's the second song."

    Janken clicked on the third track. The music began. It was fast-paced and goofy, and so were the lyrics. Scooter grinned after he heard the first few lines. He remembered the video for this one.

    When the song finished Fozzie asked anxiously, "What do you think? Is it too silly?"

    "Nah. I like it," Scooter said. "It's peppy, we can use just about everybody in the song, and I bet by the end we'll have the audience singing too. Let's do it."

    "Oh, good! I'll talk to Kermit."

    "Wait, first let's flesh it out some, give him something that's ready to put onstage," Scooter said.

    "Okay."

    "It'd help is we went through Wardrobe to find as much Devo-like stuff as we can, but let's save that for later. First let's write it up. Who gets which lines?"

    *

    Several hours later the rest of The Muppets arrived at the theater. Fozzie, Scooter, and Janken were sitting on the stage and laughing. Kermit the Frog walked out to them. "I was wondering where you were, Fozzie. What've you got for me?"

    "Try this out for size, boss," Scooter said, and handed Kermit his pad.

    Kermit read the title. It was not a song he remembered. Below it was the lyrics, with names added after the lines and other notes in between. Scooter said, "The costumes won't be hard. It's a Devo-style song, so we can just find Devo-like stuff in Wardrobe and go from there. No need to make anything new."

    "No time, either," Kermit replied.

    Scooter said to Fozzie, "Why don't you play the song for Kermit while I print this out?"

    "Sure!"

    Kermit, Fozzie, and Janken went to the camera console. Janken started the playback again. This time it came through the theater's sound system, so it sounded like ghosts were playing a concert. The other Muppets looked startled by the noise, which seemed to be coming from two lone bales of hay.

    When the song finished Fozzie said, "Well? What do you think?" as confidently as he could manage.

    Before Kermit could answer Scooter bustled up with a handful of copies of the act's script. He handed one to each of them. "Here we go. The biggest parts are for Al, The Electric Mayhem, and Fozzie. Al already knows the song, of course. The Electric Mayhem can play it; they're great at picking up new tunes fast. And the lead-in with Fozzie and Al is short, so it won't need much rehearsal, and if they go off script it won't matter as long as they get to the song cue. As for the rest of us, the parts are small, so we can learn it in no time flat."

    Some of the other Muppets had come over, wondering what the fuss was about. Scooter saw them and handed around more copies, explaining that they were working on a new final act.

    Miss Piggy looked at the pages that Scooter had offered her. Then she said, looking from Scooter to Kermit, "A new finale?"

    For once Scooter didn't pipe up. Kermit said, "Er, yes. We were thinking of moving One More Minute to earlier in the show and ending with a different song. So we can finish with more of an, ah, bang."

    "But if you add something, you will also have to cut something, won't vous?"

    "Well, yeah, unless something falls through," Kermit conceded.

    "I see." Miss Piggy looked at the pages again, then handed them back to Scooter. "Kermie, you may cut moi's song with Al. This once, moi will step aside for the good of the show."

    Startled, Kermit said, "Are you sure, Piggy?"

    "Of course, Kermie. I already have another part in the second act, and if you move One More Minute up I won't be able to change costumes and do my hair." She threw a smile at them. "Go on and have your fun. Ta ta!"

    Kermit and Scooter exchanged surprised glances. They didn't have to say what they were both thinking: That went easier than expected. Scooter said, "So, Boss, what do you think?"

    "I think you've presented me with a fait accompli," the frog answered.

    Undeterred, Scooter asked, "So, do you like it?"

    "Sure. Make copies for everyone in the act and tell them that rehearsal starts right after Weird Al gets here."

    "Sure thing, chief!"

    Wryly Kermit said, "Sometimes I wonder what keeps you from taking over the whole show."

    Cheerfully Scooter replied, "I could never do that, boss! Your signature's too hard to imitate," and headed off for the copier.

    *

    Kermit, Fozzie, and Scooter were conferring at Kermit's desk when Weird Al Yankovic entered via the back door. Apparently nobody had given him new directions, Kermit thought. He said, "Hi, Al. I'm glad to see you. We've got something a little different in mind for tonight's show."

    "Oh? What's the plan?" Al asked.

    Kermit glanced at Scooter. Recognizing his cue, Scooter said, "We're going to swap the final act. One More Minute was good, but Fozzie's come up with something that's even better! Remember how you said you'd like to play with the Electric Mayhem?"

    Kermit left them to it. He looked across the stage to backstage left. Janken was playing the song for the band. Thankfully, they could play a tune from memory, without benefit of sheet music. Possibly the only Muppet who used sheet music was Rowlf.

    Gonzo was reading the new script pages. He looked preoccupied. Kermit went over to him and asked, "What's up?"

    "Oh, nothing," Gonzo answered.

    "You look like you've got something on your mind."

    "Well, yeah, I do. But it's nothing to worry about. I'm good." Gonzo gave a small smile. "Oh—look what I have!" He held a plastic container out to Kermit.

    Kermit took it, popped the top, and looked inside. "It's butter."

    "Yes! Just what my act needed yesterday."

    Kermit handed it back. "Good thinking," was all he could say.

    He turned back to Al, Scooter, and Fozzie. From the look of it, Scooter had sold the act to Weird Al. Al was saying, "Then I guess I won't need to go back and get my accordion after all. Do you have goggles?"

    Scooter replied, "You'd be amazed at what we have in Wardrobe."

    "I guess so. Give me a minute and I'll be ready to rehearse."

    "Sure thing," Scooter said as Al went up the stairs to his dressing room.

    *

    During the next ten minutes Scooter rushed around copies of the new act's script around to anyone who hadn't gotten one yet, various Muppets hunted around in Wardrobe for suitable costumes, and the Electric Mayhem played snatches of music. Then Kermit intercommed everybody to the stage for rehearsal. At first they just listened to the song. Then they ran through the act several times, working out the logistical problems that having so many people onstage would cause. Some lines were swapped between Muppets. Scooter made notes of all the changes on his script. After they had done one smooth run-through and everyone was satisfied, Scooter went off to enter the changes, print out new copies of the pages, and hand them out. By the time he tapped on Weird Al's dressing room door the first members of the audience had taken their seats.

    Al said "Come in." Scooter did, and Al said, "Is that the last number?"

    "Yep. I bet it's gonna be great!" Scooter said, handing it over.

    "I sure hope so. Thanks."

    "No problem. See ya in twenty-seven minutes!" Scooter darted back out.

    *

    When Weird Al came out of his dressing room twenty-six minutes later, the Muppets backstage were comparing costumes. Only a few came close to those worn in the video—hazmat suits, which they had on hand for Muppet Labs—but that was fine. They were going for an overall image, and having a wonderful time of it. As he watched Sweetums high-fived Bean Bunny, sending the rabbit flying across the area.

    Scooter announced via the intercom, "The show's starting! Places, everyone!" The Muppets quickly put their costumes aside. In the orchestra pit, the theme began to play. Kermit caught Weird Al's eye and waved just before hopping up to the back of the logo.

    Weird Al watched the opening theme from the wings. When Sweetums came backstage after posing in the arches, Al said, "Hey, I have an idea. Would you do me a favor?"

    Surprised, Sweetums said, "Sure."

    *

    In front of the curtains, warmed by the spotlight, Kermit said, "Welcome once again to that which we call The Muppet Show! We have a fantastic show for you tonight. Tonight's guest is one we've wanted have as a guest for years, and tonight I can finally say, let’s give a big round of applause for Weird Al Yankovic! Yaaay!" He waved his arms, and the audience cheered.

    Nobody joined Kermit onstage. When the applause died down Kermit said to the right wings, "Uh, Al?" No answer. "Has anybody seen Al?"

    Sweetums lumbered onstage, carrying Weird Al over his shoulder. The monster said, "I caught him tryin' to sneak out the back way," and plopped him down on his feet next to Kermit. He dusted his hands off and walked back offstage.

    Al, looking frightened, said, "Uh...hi."

    "We're so glad that you've finally come to visit with us, Al. And we're even more glad that you've even written us a song."

    "I have?"

    Sweetums leaned out into the stage and glared at him. "Yeah, you have!"

    "Oh. Uh... okay, I guess I have." A microphone stand rose from the orchestra pit. Weird Al caught it. The orchestra began to play the music to I Will Survive.

    Kermit watched from the side. He hadn't expected that entrance with Sweetums. He had been concerned about the last-minute switch in acts; some guest stars didn't like such surprises. Weird Al, on the other hand, rolled with the punches and came up with some of his own.

    When the song was finished Al bowed over and over. Just as the applause was thinning Sweetums walked back onstage, slung Al over his shoulder again, and carried him offstage, still blowing kisses to the audience. Once backstage Sweetums set him down again and went to help change the set for Gonzo's electroplating stunt. Kermit said, "That was great. When did you two plan that?"

    "Right before we did it," he answered.

    Scooter said, "'Scuse me, guys. Kermit, have you seen Bubba?"

    "No. The rest of the jug band's in the canteen, but he didn't show up."

    "I thought so. Thanks." He tapped the intercom on Kermit's desk. "Jan, Bubba's still a no-show. I need you to fill in again."

    "Okay. I've got the vest and hat," Janken answered.

    *

    The show progressed normally, as much as that term applied. Gonzo again successfully bronzed his nose, and thanks to the butter he had brought he de-bronzed himself as soon as Gladys melted it for him. Most of the Muppets spent their time gearing up for the final number. Many of the costumes weren't exactlly Devo, but they certainly fit in with the stated theme of the song. Some came up with bits of business to add to the number. They weren't edited into the script; Scooter had too much to do to type them in, and it was more fun to just let it happen.

    Janken played in the jug band while Scooter covered the cameras for him, then took his place back at the console. This time he grinned shakily at Scooter, and got a pat on the back before Scooter scurried off to backstage right. It was still scary onstage, but Janken could handle it. He only had to do it once more—unless he lucked out and Bubba finally turned up, which by now was very unlikely—and he was pleased with himself for facing up to it this time.

    Intermission came and went, as did the second half of the show. When the curtain rose for the final number Fozzie and Weird Al were alone onstage behind a waist-high wall. They were both leaning over it as if to gossip. Fozzie said, "I'm glad we finally got a chance to talk. How do you like the show?"

    Al replied, "It's great. This is the most fun I've had since yesterday."

    "I wanted to ask, how do you write all those funny songs?"

    Al replied, "Well, I choose songs people will recognize and write about things people know. You know, food, TV, junk E-mail, that kind of thing. Some of the ideas just pop into my head based on the titles. I don't usually take suggestions, but when Madonna came up with Like a Surgeon, well, how could I say no?"

    "Yeah," Fozzie says, chin in one hand, eagerly listening.

    Weird Al continued, "After I have the hook, what the song's about, I start writing lyrics. Take the joke and run with it, and get as silly as I can with it."

    "Yeah, silly is good," Fozzie agreed.

    "In fact, I say, don't stop with silly. Take it even further."

    Surprised, Fozzie asked, "Further? How far?"

    Al said reluctantly, "I... uh, Fozzie, I can't just say it."

    "Why? Why not?" Fozzie asked.

    "Because I can only tell you... in a song!"

    On cue, the wall collapsed, and the Elerctric Mayhem's stand rose behind it. The band appeared in their places, and they began to play a manic tune. Al sang into a now-visible boom mike,
    "Put down that chainsaw and listen to me,
    It's time for us to join in the fight.
    It's time to let your babies grow up to be cowboys.
    It's time to let the bedbugs bite."

    Gonzo and a flock of hens joined them onstage. Gonzo sang,
    "You better put all your eggs in one basket!"

    Camilla clucked,
    You better count your chickens before they hatch!

    Kermit came in from the other side and said,
    "You better sell some wine before its time,"

    Rowlf sang,
    "You better find yourself an itch to scratch."

    Fozzie, happily snapping his fingers in time with the music, sang,
    "You better squeeze all the Charmin you can
    When Mr. Whipple's not around!"

    Beauregard wandered onstage with a mop over one shoulder.
    "Stick your head in the microwave and get yourself a tan."

    Rizzo the Rat said,
    "Talk with your mouth full."

    Johnny Fiama and Sal made their entrance. Sal said,
    "Bite the hand that feeds you."

    Fiama shot him a glare and said,
    "Bite off more than you can chew."

    Weird Al said,
    "What can you do?
    Dare to be stupid!"

    Dr. Strangepork sang,
    "Take some wooden nickels."

    Link followed with,
    "Look for Mr. Goodbar."

    Pepe countered,
    "Get your mojo working now, okay."

    Weird Al sang,
    "I'll show you how
    You can dare to be stupid!"

    Janice sang,
    "You can turn the other cheek."

    Floyd sang,
    "You can just give up the ship."

    Miss Piggy appeared next to Kermit.
    "You can eat a bunch of sushi, then forget to leave a tip."

    Everyone sang together,
    "Dare to be stupid!
    Come on and dare to be stupid!
    It's so easy to do, dare to be stupid!
    We're all waiting for you—

    Al said,
    "Let's go!"

    The Electric Mayhem were joined for the instrumental by Marvin Suggs and his Muppaphones. Lew Zealand tossed fish around. In their box, Statler and Waldorf watched, stunned. After a few moments Waldorf said, "I don't know what to say."

    "They've taken away all of our ammo."

    "Still, you have to admire their principles."

    "What principle?" Statler asked.

    "Truth in advertising."

    They both laughed. Onstage, Sweetums sang,
    "It's time to make a mountain out of a molehill.
    So can I have a volunteer?"

    Scooter sang,
    "There's no more time for crying over spilled milk."

    Clifford replied,
    "Now it's time for crying in your beer."

    They nodded to each other and made to leave the stage, but were blocked by Sam the Eagle, who admonsished them,
    "Settle down, raise a family, join the P.T.A.,
    Buy some sensible shoes and a Chevrolet."

    Crazy Harry cackled,
    "Then party till you're broke and they drag you away!"

    Al sang,
    "It's okay! You can dare to be stupid!"

    Lew Zealand sang,
    "It's like spitting on a fish."

    Rowlf sang,
    "It's like barking up a tree."

    Uncle Deadly appeared, startling those around him.
    "It's like I said, you gotta buy one if you wanna get one free."

    Everyone sang,
    "Dare to be stupid!
    Yes, Why don't you dare to be stupid!
    It's so easy, so easy to do, why don’t you do it!
    We're all waiting for you, dare to be stupid!"

    Wayne sang, causing others to wince,
    "Burn your candle at both ends,"

    Wanda upped the ante with,
    "Look a gift horse in the mouth."

    The Swedish Chef added,
    "Måshed pøtatœs kan bë yøeur frîënds."

    Pops sang,
    "You can be a coffee achiever."

    Bobo the Bear sang,
    "You can sit around the house
    And watch Leave It To Beaver."

    Al sang,
    "The future's up to you,
    So what you gonna do?
    Dare to be stupid!
    Dare to be stupid!"

    Al started calling lines out, with all of the Muppets onstage responding.
    "What did I say?
    Dare to be stupid!
    Tell me, what did I say?
    Dare to be stupid!
    It's all right,
    Dare to be stupid!
    We can be stupid all night!
    Dare to be stupid!
    Come on, join the crowd!
    Dare to be stupid!
    Shout it out loud!
    Dare to be stupid!
    I can't hear you.
    Dare to be stupid!
    Okay, I can hear you now.
    Dare to be stupid!

    Everyone repeated the last line. Janken, at his station, was singing along for the sheer silly joy of it. Up in the monitors, he saw that the audience had joined the call-and-response, and by now even Statler and Waldorf had given in and were singing along.

    They were still singing when Kermit stepped up to the front of the stage and said, "And on that note, I'd like to thank our wonderfully wacky guest star, Weird Al Yankovic!"

    Weird Al came forward and said, "Thanks, Kermit. I've had a blast being on your show."

    "Oh, good, that's..." Kermit glanced back. Everyone was still repeating "Dare to be Stupid" with gusto. Kermit said, "I think the song's over now. You can stop."

    "We don't know how," Beauregard replied desperately.

    "Yeah, we're stuck!" Bean Bunny squeaked.

    Kermit said, "Sheesh. We'll get this sorted out by next week's episode of The Muppet Show!"

    *

    In the canteen, Gladys heard the familiar theme song replace Dare to be Stupid. Moments later, the canteen was thronged with Muppets needing water to soothe sorely-taxed throats.

    *****

    All characters except Janken and Weird Al Yankovic are copyright © The Muppets Studio, LLC. Dare to be Stupid is copyright © Weird Al Yankovic. and Weird Al Yankovic is, of course, copyright © himself. All copyrighted characters and people are used without permission but with much respect and affection. Janken is copyright © Kim McFarland negaduck9@aol.com), as is the overall story. Permission is given by the author to copy it for personal use only.
    newsmanfan and The Count like this.
  6. The Count

    The Count Moderator Staff Member

    Oh, that was great. A wonderful song to have performed by Muppets, such a grand ensemble piece.
    And the song just took over the ending, reminiscent of what happened with Turn The World Around from the Harry Belafonte episode.

    Only problem now is, what to do with another hour-twenty until my Monday night appointment kicks in. :zany:
  7. Slackbot

    Slackbot Well-Known Member

    Glad you liked the grand finale. I didn't realize how long the song was when I chose it, and how much longer it would get on the page when I added in attributions and stage directions!

    For anyone who's curious, here's the original song and video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMhwddNQSWQ
  8. Slackbot

    Slackbot Well-Known Member

    Growing Together
    Part 10: What Do You Do In A Lunch Date At Ma Maison?
    by Kim McFarland

    *****

    It was late morning, and the weather was pleasant and otherwise unremarkable. Most of the Muppets were eating their breakfast, as they slept in late after doing their shows.

    Scooter was waiting for Kermit. He was usually among the throng, but he hadn't come down yet. That was unusual, but not worrisome. Sometimes people just felt like sleeping a little longer. Scooter could wait. Tonight's show would be the third and last of the set, and the third show usually went smoothly, relatively speaking, as they had ironed out the worst of the bugs during the previous two.

    When Kermit did come downstairs he was accompanied by Miss Piggy. She was wearing an informal, flattering burgundy blouse and a knee-length skirt that was slit up to mid-thigh on one side. And, of course, high heels and her signature arm-length gloves. Her hair fell in waves around her shoulders and swooshed impressively when she turned her head. Scooter guessed that she and Kermit had plans. They couldn't be too fancy, because Kermit was wearing his usual outfit: nothing.

    Scooter considered intercepting them before they made it to the front door, but decided against it. He didn't really have anything to tell Kermit except that he was going to be out for the afternoon again, and it was standard operating procedure to call his cell if he wasn't in shouting distance. And if Piggy had her way, Kermit would not be calling anyone about the show while he was with her.

    *

    The cab that Piggy had called was waiting in front of the house. She let Kermit open the door for her, and said as she got in, "Take us to Ma Maison, s'il vous plâit."

    "You mean Ma Maison on Cheshire Bridge?" the driver drawled.

    "Yeah. That."

    *

    In their room, Gonzo and Camilla were enjoying the start of what promised to be a lazy day while Billie decorated a coloring book. Everyone was startled when one of the children's books on the floor spoke. "Hi, Gonzo?"

    "Brian? I didn't know you can speak through books too." Billie scooted over to the book and watched, wide-eyed.

    "I use whatever's on hand," Brian replied. I just wanted to let you know I'll be there tomorrow. Mind if I drop by?"

    "Sure, that's okay. We'll be at the theater most of the day."

    "I'll see you there, then. Uh... have you given any thought to what we talked about?"

    Gonzo and Camilla glanced at each other. Gonzo said, "Yeah. We haven't decided yet, though."

    "That's all right. But I'll need to know while I'm here so we can get the samples. See you then."

    "See ya."

    The book stopped talking. Billie looked at her parents. "Book not talk?" she asked, disappointed.

    It's done talking, Camilla answered.

    Billie looked at the book for a moment. Then she picked it up and began opening and closing it like a puppet's mouth while saying, "Bla bla bla bla!"

    *

    The cab let Kermit and Piggy out at Ma Maison. It was a nice restaurant, not as posh as some that Miss Piggy favored, but Kermit was willing to bet that if there were any flies on the premises, they wore jackets and ties. Miss Piggy stepped up to the Maitre d' and sang, "Hello, Jean-Luc! We'll have my usual table."

    He consulted the reservation list, found Miss Piggy, party of two, and guided them to a table. Kermit reached for a menu. Piggy said, "Kermie, let me order for us."

    "I'd like to see what they serve," Kermit said.

    "Oh, it's the usual stuff," she told him. She looked around, flashing a bright smile for anyone who happened to be looking.

    *

    They chatted for a while about the show, about movies and theatrical shows they wanted to see, about anything that occurred to them. Miss Piggy ordered "deux plaque bleue spéciales, with extra avec." The conversation was pleasant and relaxed, more like two good friends talking rather than a pig pursuing a frog. Sometimes she put him on the defensive, but at times like this he enjoyed being with her.

    After a while, however, she became antsy. Kermit asked, "Something wrong, Piggy?"

    She turned back to him—she had been glancing around the restaurant—and said, "No, nothing at all. Please excuse moi, Kermie. I must go powder my nose."

    She grabbed her purse and hurried off. No wonder she looked uncomfortable, Kermit thought.

    She stepped into the ladies' lounge, took out her cell phone, and pressed several buttons with her thumb. She tapped her foot impatiently as it rang. When the line picked up she said, "Bernie, what gives?"

    *

    Kermit waited. He knew that Miss Piggy might be awhile. When Piggy was freshening her makeup, she didn't rush. He got up and went to wash his hands before the food arrived.

    When he walked past the ladies' lounge he heard Miss Piggy's voice. "How hard is it to just get someone here to take a few cell phone pictures and leak 'em on Facebook and Tweeter?" Pause. "Mama-san's? I told you Ma Maison!"

    Kermit scowled. He considered several courses of action. When he made his decision, he went to wash his hands.

    *

    Miss Piggy lowered her voice. "No, I don't want you to send someone here now. The idea was to leak a few pictures of me and Kermit on a nice little date, not stuffing our faces. Just have 'em at the movie theater. You do remember which one, right?" Pause. "Right. Talk to you later." She ended the call and dropped the phone in her purse.

    When Piggy returned to the table Kermit gave her a strange look. She sat down and said, "Is something the matter, Kermie?"

    "I overheard the phone call," he said quietly.

    "Oh..."

    In a calm, reasonable tone he said, "I thought you wanted to be with me. But it's just for publicity."

    "No, Kermie! I do want to be with you!" she insisted.

    "Just you, me, and your photographers," he continued in a low voice. "Well, you win. I don't want to make a scene and ruin everyone else's lunch, and I really don't want to see photos of it everywhere afterward."

    Normally when he was angry with her he blew his stack. She would have preferred him to have a yelling fit. She knew how to deal with those: just wait until he ran out of steam, then continue as if nothing had happened. His quiet accusation, and, even worse, his disappointment hurt more than anything he had ever said in a fit of temper. Softly she said, "We could just leave."

    "No. The food's coming," he told her. "We're going to have lunch like a happy couple."

    Talking to the tablecloth, she said, "How are we supposed to do that?"

    "Do what I'm going to do. Act."

    *

    During the meal Miss Piggy tried to tell Kermit that no photographer was coming, and the publicity had been an afterthought, but he acted as if he didn't hear her. He was bright and cheerful and smiled to those who were looking at the famous frog and pig in their midst. He seemed to be having a good time, but his smile never touched his eyes.

    Miss Piggy hardly spoke except to answer some scripted-sounding remark with an overly cheerful reply. She could fake happiness. However, to Kermit her voice sounded brittle. She wasn't angry. She genuinely felt bad. By the end of the meal Kermit had calmed down, and asked Piggy what she wanted for dessert. She declined, claiming not to be hungry. Kermit thought, she must really feel terrible. He paid the bill, because there were some constants in the world, and Miss Piggy called for the cab to pick them up early.

    They sat on a bench outside the restaurant. It would be a few minutes until the cab arrived. Piggy said softly, "I'm sorry."

    Kermit looked at her for a moment. She meant it. He said, "I guess we can still go see the movie."

    She admitted, "I told Bernie about that too."

    "We can go someplace else, then."

    "All right."

    *

    They went back home. Miss Piggy went upstairs to change while Kermit looked through the newspaper theater listings. Gonzo, who happened to be hanging around, asked, "Gonna go see a movie? Which one?"

    "I don't know. I'm looking to see what's playing."

    "You're going with Miss Piggy, right?"

    "Yeah."

    Something seemed amiss, but Gonzo wasn't about to pry. It would open up a can of worms, and not the kind that frogs liked. He said, "What kind of movie?"

    "I don't know. Something different. Something that'll take our minds off everything," Kermit answered.

    Gonzo grinned suddenly. "How about a show? I know one that's perfect for that."

    "When's it playing?"

    Gonzo glanced at the clock. "In an hour. Camilla and I saw it when it opened last week. It's a musical comedy that's been touring. We loved it, but we wouldn't bring Billie, heh heh. Want me to snag you some tickets?"

    "Sure, thanks," Kermit said. "Right now I could use some comedy."

    Gonzo got on the phone. Piggy came down the stairs, now wearing a simple sweater and designer jeans. Her makeup had been dialed down several degrees. When she wasn't busy being gorgeous, Kermit thought, she really did look nice. She asked, "Have you picked a movie?"

    "Actually, we're going to see a show-"

    "Oh! Just let me change-"

    She turned to rush back up the stairs. Kermit said, "No, no, what you have on is fine. Um, really good, in fact."

    Surprised by the unsolicited compliment, she said, "Why, thank you, Kermie."

    "The show starts in an hour. Call for the cab."

    "Okay!"

    She got out her cell phone again. Gonzo set down the phone and told Kermit, "It's all set. There'll be two at Will Call at the Nualto in your name."

    "Thanks, Gonzo. How much are they?"

    "Freebies." He grinned. "The sponsor's an old friend, so I can get comp tickets to the afternoon shows. Have fun!"

    *

    When Kermit and Piggy got to the theater they saw that the production was Street Z. Miss Piggy said, "Oh, I heard about this in the trades!"

    "What's it about?" Kermit asked.

    "I don't know, but it won Best Musical."

    Kermit got the tickets, and they went to their seats. Reading his program, Kermit saw that the sponsor was the TMI. Ah, now it made sense; that organization had rescued Gonzo from homelessness years ago, and recently he had been helping them with publicity. The program contained a prominent blurb about the mission of the TMI. Hopefully, Kermit thought, people would read and remember it.

    The musical started. At first it was amusing, but quickly took a strange turn. Initially Kermit was startled, and wasn't sure how to react. But after the initial shock he began to enjoy its affectionately subversive humor. Soon he was laughing along with the rest of the audience, and so was Miss Piggy.

    *

    After the show was over Kermit said, "I had no idea the show was anything like that. But I liked it."

    "I suppose that after today we needed a laugh, didn't we?" Miss Piggy replied.

    Kermit nodded agreement. "We've got some time before we have to go to the theater. How about dessert?"

    "I just happen to know a nice little place near here."

    "Let's go, then."

    Miss Piggy's hand clasped his as they walked along the sidewalk among others who had seen the same show. She said, "I'm sorry about the photographer. I only wanted to give others a little peep into our happiness. That's all."

    He replied, "Piggy, you can have all the publicity you want. But I don't want to be posing for cameras all the time. Some things should be private."

    "You want me to yourself?" she asked.

    "When we're going out, just the two of us, yeah."

    She put an arm around his shoulders and drew him close, sighing, "Oh, Kermie."

    *****

    All characters are copyright © The Muppets Studio, LLC. All copyrighted characters and people are used without permission but with much respect and affection. The overall story is copyright © Kim McFarland (negaduck9@aol.com). Permission is given by the author to copy it for personal use only.
  9. The Count

    The Count Moderator Staff Member

    Again, that's a right nice chapter. It's got the touch of frog and pig that I kind of personally lean more towards. Romance between those two? Sure. I support that. But I like when they show it more genuinely like in this chapter, in Aunt Ru's KG, and Lisa's Cup.

    Thanks for posting. :dreamy:
  10. charlietheowl

    charlietheowl Well-Known Member

    Little kids are so cute, especially when they are imitating space aliens communicating through children's books.
    The Count likes this.
  11. Puckrox

    Puckrox Well-Known Member

    Any chance Street Z is a reference to Avenue Q? :D
  12. Slackbot

    Slackbot Well-Known Member

    The Count: Thanks, I'm glad you approve of my take on Kermit & Piggy. Around here I feel like I'm walking on eggs when I write about them.

    Charlietheowl: I have a feeling we'll be seeing an image of Billie puppeteering a book sooner or later. Now which book will it be, I wonder?

    Puckrox: Why not ask my girlfriend, who lives in Canada? That's what the internet is for. [​IMG]
    Puckrox likes this.
  13. newsmanfan

    newsmanfan Well-Known Member

    --------------------
    I finally caught up with this one...BRAVO!

    You have too many delicious little displays of original verbiage for me to quote successfully...but I've enjoyed every one. The Henson pun tickled me immensely, and yes, quite a groaner. I KNEW you had to do "Dare to Be Stupid" at some point, and your version with Muppets didn't disappoint! Sam's line especially cracked me up.

    Your take on Kermit/Piggy is interesting...I see them as hitched some time back (or, as in the movie, hitched and then quarreling only to rejoin) so the whole still-dating-living-in-the-boardinghouse thing takes me a minute to get my head around, but yes, you write it well. I wish Janken and Scooter would be a little more demonstrative, though -- I'm assuming they ARE a couple? They seem very diffident and standoffish sometimes, which just seems odd for such a generous soul as Scooter, and hey, aren't all Fraggles loving at heart? Not a complaint, really, just expected a little more cuddling there.

    Gonzo and Camilla seem to have a very close, loving relationship, and their daughter is adorable. "Hearing" chickentalk in your fics is kind of a neat twist. :cluck:

    More please! :news:
    --------------------
  14. Slackbot

    Slackbot Well-Known Member

    Thank you, glad you're liking this so far. Glad I could make you groan. Did you notice that Sam's line was addressed to Scooter and a purple guy with funky, swept-back hair?

    In my little world, Kermit and Piggy aren't hitched and TMTM was just a movie. All the movies are "just movies," but some of them incorporate bits of their actual lives. Nifty rationalization for me picking and choosing the bits I like and discarding the elements I don't, innit?

    As for Scooter and Janken, why yes, there does seem to be something odd there, huh? They are a couple, but that means different things in Fraggle and Silly Creature terms. The next segment will address some of those issues. Who knows, it may even include cuddling. [​IMG]

    It's easier just to write Camilla's lines when you need to know exactly what she said. The alternative is to take the "Lassie" approach:
    Lassie: Bark bark bark!​
    Whoever: What's that? Timmy fell into Devil's Gorge and has a compound fracture of the lower mandible?​
    That works once in a while, but do it too often and it just sounds hokey.

    PS: 1000 views as of today!
  15. miss kermie

    miss kermie Well-Known Member

    Yes, I agree, and why on earth does she own a tattoo gun? Hee Hee!
  16. miss kermie

    miss kermie Well-Known Member

    Kermit getting closer to Piggy I see? Yayz!
  17. Ruahnna

    Ruahnna Well-Known Member

    If you are walking on eggshells you're stepping very lightly. Nice job overall with the characterizations.

    I was worried about the date--it sounded to me like Piggy had some revelation about her past or something she wanted to share with Kermit that might bring them closer. They had such different home lives growing up and it colors the way they are as adults. Piggy's never had much real "play time" and she doesn't always know what to do with it. I'm sorry they had to spend so much of their time together "acting"-- whether Kermit realizes it or not, he makes Piggy work for every little bit of demonstrativeness, and then very often accuses her of being overly-dramatic. It's a nice little protective shtick he's got going there, so he can always be "right" and she can always be the one who is over-reacting. Although he says he likes to spend time with her, she had to ask him, make the reservations, etc. (Sometimes, I don't like Kermit all that much.)

    I'm glad they did something different than get mobbed by photographers. Seeing a show is better than a movie IMO, and it was good they liked the show (not one I care for) but can't imagine Kermit enjoying songs about porn and racism--maybe with all of Brian's Puppet Up stuff he's inured to it. I think Piggy would be a little off-put by the male crudeness, but I suppose they've been in show business long enough not to be shocked. (I always wonder what it's like to be a children's entertainer and try to go to a bar or see a show: "Hey--aren't you Steve, from Blue's Clues? What are you doing here at the Happy Hour Pub?")

    I really like the simple domesticity between Gonzo and Camilla and Billie--and you've obviously done your homework about eggs. And I agree with Kris--Scooter and Janken seem like good friends right now. Glad to hear they might get their own date, and I hope it is less stressful than Kermit and Piggy's--hmmm. Now, THEY might like Street Z....wonder if Gonzo could comp them some tickets!

    Oh--and bless you for doing something so important with Fozzie--he is really a sweet bear and a good entertainer. I find his dance scenes to be usually hysterical. (Check out the Youtube videos "Never had one lesson--two of my ALL-TIME faves.)

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/S-NV55z2JJk" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/GNYCAzUIsRs" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    I'm enjoying this, Kim. (For some reason, it isn't showing up in my alerts regularly--sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't, so I got behind. I'll make a point to check back in and keep up! I want to see what you do next!

    Auntie Ru
  18. Slackbot

    Slackbot Well-Known Member

    Ru, you and I see Piggy and Kermit differently. I've been "claimed" by others, and even stalked (thank heavens for neighbors who call the police instead of turning a blind eye!), so I don't find myself as firmly on Piggy's side as you are. While watching TMS I sometimes wish he'd tell the grabby sow to back off once and for all.

    That said, later things show that there are possibilities, and that is what I like enough to write about. For them to really be a stable couple, they both have to grow. They have to learn to see eye to eye rather than playing games, talking past each other, getting defensive and angry, and all the other dysfunctional crap that gets the laugh track going. I've taken a lot of cues from Frank Oz's biography, and, you're right, Piggy does still have things to say to Kermit. But she's been keeping them to herself, telling herself that they don't matter, for so long that it's hard for her to admit they do even to herself. She's still wearing a mask. But there's hope; I wouldn't bother with their plot thread if there wasn't.

    Yes, I did a fair bit of research into chicken physiology. I don't know whether the bits I included here make any sense to the readers, but I wouldn't respect myself in the morning if I didn't at least work it out for myself. Heh heh.

    To be fair, Scooter and Janken have been "playing it straight" for so long, they're not going to be snogging backstage between acts, fun as it would be to write that. They're private about their private lives, even among their Muppet family. Plus, we're not seeing Scooter at his best, as it's "that time of the semester" for him. I agree, they ought to see Street Z, and it just so happens that Jan has connections with the TMI too and could snag some tickets. [​IMG]

    I was glad to give Fozzie a decent role this time around. Most of that was only hinted in the outline; when it came time to write it out, between my fingers and the keyboard he came to the front, with a little help from his friends. I love it when that happens.

    A little preview...

  19. Slackbot

    Slackbot Well-Known Member

    Hoo-hah, this is a long chapter. But it has ush-gush!

    *****

    Growing Together
    Part 11: Fantasies Come True
    by Kim McFarland

    *****

    It was the Sunday evening before the third show of the set. Everyone was fairly relaxed, because by now they had a pretty good idea of what they were doing.

    Gonzo and Camilla had a guest. Gonzo had decided to bring their daughter Billie to the theater. She had been here before, as arranging babysitting during a show could be tricky if all of the hens were performing, but not often. The chick was enjoying the change of scenery, both figuratively and literally.

    When Weird Al arrived Billie stared. She knew everyone else at the theater; she regarded them as part of her family. This person was new! She pointed at him and asked Gonzo, "Who das, Daddy?"

    "That's Weird Al," Gonzo told her.

    Billie waved to Al. "Hi! I'm Billie!"

    Surprised, Al said, "I didn't know you had kids."

    "Just the one, so far," Gonzo said, smiling at the chick. "Camilla keep our private life private. We don't want people bugging us. We had enough of that when we got married."

    "I heard about that," Al said. "It blew over pretty quickly, though."

    "Yep. Thank goodness."

    Billie held her arms out to Al and said, "Up!"

    "Do you mind?" Al asked Gonzo.

    "Go ahead."

    Weird Al picked Billie up. The chick was happily amazed by this pink being with the colorful shirt. She grinned at him and began stroking his hair, intrigued by its texture. Gonzo smiled as he watched them. Weird Al had a daughter too, and in fact he'd cut back on his musical life to put his family first. Gonzo could see the sense in that. Since Billie's hatching, there had been a lot more in Gonzo's life than the next stunt. It was a change he had never regretted.

    Billie was as happy and curious as any two-year-old chick. Yet Gonzo had never taken her out of the house because he thought he had to protect her from the world. The same people who had harassed Gonzo for wanting to marry a chicken might harass their child merely for existing. He couldn't bear the thought of them mistreating her like that... but he couldn't keep her a secret forever. He couldn't raise her in a box.

    *

    Kermit tapped on Miss Piggy's dressing room door. "Piggy?"

    "Come in."

    Kermit went in and shut the door behind himself. She was seated at her makeup table brushing out her hair. "Scooter said you wanted to talk with me about an act."

    "Yes. I'd like to do One More Minute in tonight's show."

    That was the last thing Kermit would have guessed. "I got the impression you didn't like that number much."

    "It did catch me by surprise the first time," she said with a casual wave. "But after that show we saw today I started thinking. It doesn't do to take oneself too seriously, does it?"

    "What do you have in mind?" he asked cautiously.

    She laughed a stage laugh. "Really, Kermie, don't you trust me? I want it to be a surprise."

    "On who?"

    "I promise I won't maim Al, if that's what you're worried about."

    Kermit wanted to know more, but, he thought, Miss Piggy had something planned, and she wouldn't intentionally make herself look bad onstage. If there was one thing she was protective of, it was her image. He said, "Plan it out with Al. If you can sell it to him, I'll slip it in. But I'm not going to take out Dare to be Stupid."

    "Of course not. I'll need it to be in the first act so I'll have time to change costumes and do my hair."

    "All right. As long as you plan it with Weird Al."

    She smiled. "Kermie, I promise you'll like it. And... I really liked our date. The second part, anyway."

    "Yeah. I did too. Piggy... I wish it could be like that more often," he said softly.

    She tilted her head. "What do you mean?"

    "At the show, and at the ice cream place afterwards, you weren't posing for the cameras, you weren't acting like a star for your fans... you were just you. I wish I could see that side of you more often."

    She paused, gazing into his eyes, then held out a hand to him and said quietly, "I'll try."

    Kermit took it. The satin was warm against his cool fingers. "That's all I can ask," he said.

    Miss Piggy didn't say anything. She didn't want to speak. She just wanted to look in Kermit's eyes and hold his hand.

    There was something that Kermit wanted to ask Miss Piggy, but he wasn't sure how she would react. He didn't want to risk upsetting her right before a show. He would find a time, he told himself. Just not now.

    The spell was broken by a rapid pattering at the door. "Hey, is Kermit in there?" Rizzo the Rat called through the door.

    "Get lost, cat bait," Miss Piggy snarled.

    "We got a problem out here!"

    Annoyed, Kermit said, "I'd better deal with this."

    "Of course, Kermie."

    He squeezed her hand, then let go and opened the door. "What is it?"

    Rizzo, at the front of a cluster of rats, said, "We can't do the Judgment of Solomon act tonight!"

    "Why? What's the problem?"

    "We're missing a prop."

    "Which prop?" Kermit asked, although he already knew the answer.

    "The cheese."

    "Uh-huh."

    "C'mon, we got hungry!"

    And Scooter had more than enough to do without having to go-fer a wedge of cheddar, Kermit thought. Behind him, Miss Piggy sang out, "Oh, dear, it looks like we'll need a replacement for that act, won't we?"

    "And it just so happens we have one," Kermit said. "How convenient."

    *

    After Kermit had conferred with Scooter, and they had both conferred with Weird Al, they had decided to insert One More Minute at the end of the first act. They could see that Al and Piggy had indeed planned their act out, which set Kermit's mind at ease.

    Once again, Bubba did not show up at the theater, so Janken had to take his place in the jug band act. He did so without complaint, and when it was done he sank back in his console chair, weak with relief because he would not have to face the stage again.

    Before the final number of the first act, Miss Piggy, once again dressed as a Greek muse, waited backstage, talking with Weird Al. Their heads were together, as if sharing secrets. Kermit left them to it; clearly they were enjoying themselves.

    One More Minute began with the same tableau as before: Weird Al upstage center with a microphone, Miss Piggy posing on a column, and Rowlf, Clifford, and Pepe downstage as the doo-wop singers. After the short musical intro, Weird Al sang longingly to Piggy,
    "Well, I heard that you're leaving,
    Gonna leave far behind.
    'Cause you found a brand new lover,
    You decided that I'm not your type."

    Miss Piggy glanced at him briefly, then turned away haughtily. Al continued,
    "So I pulled your name out of my Rolodex,
    And I tore all your pictures in two,
    And I burned down the malt shop where we used to go
    Just because it reminds me of you."

    The stage lighting turned yellow and flickery for a moment before returning to normal.
    "That's right, you ain't gonna see me crying,
    I'm glad that you found somebody new."

    Piggy countered,
    "Well, I'd rather spend eternity eating shards of broken glass
    Than spend one more minute with you."

    Al looked startled. Then he continued,
    "I know I may seem kinda bitter,
    You got me feeling down in the dumps
    'Cause I'm stranded all alone in the gas station of love
    And I have to use the self-service pumps!"

    Miss Piggy belted out,
    "Well, then, honey,
    Let me help you with that suitcase.
    You're not gonna break my heart in two.
    'Cause I'd rather have a hundred thousand paper cuts on my face
    Than spend one more minute with vous!"

    *

    Backstage left, Janken was staring at the monitors in surprise. He said to Scooter, who was watching over his shoulder, "Did you know she was gonna jump in like that?"

    Scooter, not even trying to stifle his laughter, said "Nope."

    *

    Onstage, Weird Al upped the ante.
    "I'd rather rip out my intestines with a fork
    Than watch you going out with other men.
    I'd rather slam my fingers in a door
    Again and again and again and again and again."

    Piggy faced him and, poking him in the chest with one finger, said,
    "Well, lemme tell you something, darlin'!
    I'd rather have my blood sucked out by leeches,
    Or shove an icepick under a toenail or two.
    I'd rather clean all the bathrooms in Grand Central Station with my tongue
    Than spend one more minute with vous!"

    He leaned close and said,
    "I'd rather jump naked on huge pile of thumbtacks
    Or stick my nostrils together with Krazy Glue!"

    She touched her snout to his nose and replied point-blank,
    "I'd rather dive in a swimming pool filled with double-edged razor blades
    Than spend one more minute with you!"

    He drew in a breath and emoted,
    "I'd rather rip my heart right out of my rib cage with my bare hands
    And throw it on the floor and stomp on it till I die!"

    Miss Piggy paused, then said, "All right, all right, you win. Sheesh."

    They leaned close again and gazed into each other's eyes, then sang the last line together:
    "Than spend one more minute with you."

    Over the last notes Al stage whispered, "Are you as turned on as I am?"

    Piggy answered, "More!"

    As the curtains closed she leapt into his arms, knocking him over backwards.

    *

    Backstage, the Muppets who had been watching applauded appreciatively. Both Miss Piggy and Weird Al bowed theatrically, grinning. Kermit said, "That was great! Great number!"

    "Thank you, Kermie," Miss Piggy said. Now moi must change into my Pigs in Space uniform. Ta ta!" She sailed up the stairs.

    *

    The second act went off more or less as expected. There was some extra comedy during Dare to be Stupid, as the Muppets had had more time to think of gags. It was a challenge to get everything on camera. A gag was no use if it was on the side of the frame. Because of this, Janken did not notice the unexpected addition to the cast.

    After the curtain closed for the last time and they had taken their bows, Al said, "Whew. Thanks, everybody. This has been great. I can't wait to see in on TV."

    "We can't either. You've been one of our favorite guests," Kermit replied.

    "I'll bet you say that to all your guests," Al replied with exaggerated modesty.

    "On camera, sure," Scooter remarked. "We're off camera now, so he's probably telling the truth."

    Gonzo, still wearing a hazmat suit, walked by on the way to his dressing room. Billie, in his arms, was excitedly chanting "Da ta ba ba ba!" She couldn't remember the words from the song, but that didn't keep her from enjoying herself immensely.

    Kermit said, "Gonzo, did you carry her onstage?"

    "Yep," Gonzo replied. Camilla nodded and clucked emphatically.

    "I...didn't expect that."

    Gonzo said, "I know. I've been keeping her secret... but, I got to thinking, does it matter anymore? All that noise about me and Camilla happened two years ago. We're as safe as we're ever gonna be by now. Besides," he said, looking at his chick, "I wanna take her on a picnic."

    "Well, go for it," Kermit said, patting Gonzo on the back.

    *

    Janken was about to close down the console. He asked Scooter, "Need to see anything?"

    "Nah. Since finals are early tomorrow, I won't be here to pick out the best acts of the set. You all can choose without me."

    "Suits me. I'm ready to go home."

    "Yeah," Scooter said. He had his backpack, which contained his book and notes. He had spent much of the afternoon at Janken's home, and most of that time had been spent studying. He had come here after that, so he still had his books with him. He had another evening of studying to look forward to. One more evening. By this time tomorrow it'd finally be over.

    Janken said, "Scooter, it'll be crazy around the house tonight. Always is on Sundays after the last show. And you're already tense enough. Why don't you come home with me tonight? It's quiet there."

    Scooter paused, surprised. Janken continued, "And I have something for you that'll make it worth your while."

    "Oh, what?" Scooter asked, intrigued.

    Janken leaned close and whispered in his ear. Scooter's eyes widened. "You mean it?"

    Janken nodded emphatically. "As long as you like, whenever you like," he promised with a sultry smile.

    "Okay, I'm sold! Let's get our bikes."

    They both grinned. Scooter had lived for years in a crowded boarding house. The unrestricted use of a full bath without having to compete with dozens of others was a rare luxury.

    *

    Scooter and Janken rode to Janken's home, which was only a few miles away. They brought their bikes inside and leaned them against the wall by the door. Janken said, "I'm hungry. How about you?"

    "I could do with something."

    "Okay." Janken and Scooter's tastes were very different. Scooter liked typical Silly Creature food. Janken was an herbivore who preferred raw fruits and vegetables. Since Scooter had been coming over more often he had been finding things they could both enjoy. He start cutting up some fruits and vegetables and arranging them on a plate. As he did he said, "Um—when I invited you over, I didn't mean there were any strings attached. I just want you to have some peace and quiet tonight, that's all."

    "Thanks," Scooter said, hiding a frown.

    Janken assumed that talking about that made Scooter uncomfortable. But if he said nothing, it'd likely be worse. He looked at the plate. He had carrots, celery, and mushrooms. No peppers, he decided with a twinge of regret. He loved them, but Scooter said they gave him dragon breath. He cut up an apple and added some strawberries—an expensive vice, but sometimes you just have to treat yourself—and grapes. He set a shallow cup of dip in the center, then cut up some cheese chunks and scattered them about the plate. That ought to do them, he thought, and if it didn't there was more. He put it on the kitchen table. "Want something to drink?"

    "Water'd be good," Scooter said. He was nose-down in a spiral-bound notebook.

    Janken dropped some ice cubes into a glass, filled it the rest of the way with water, and put it on the table. "Here."

    "Thanks."

    Janken sat on the couch beside Scooter and opened a book he had borrowed from the library a few days earlier. Since Scooter had been preparing for finals, Janken had been getting a lot of reading done too. They both sat, and read, and munched fruit and vegetables.

    *

    Eventually Scooter realized he was paying no attention to what he was reading. He knew what was on the page, not because he remembered reading it, but because he had practically worn the words off the page. He wasn't preparing himself any longer, he decided, he was just tiring himself out. He closed the notebook and said, "Oh, forget it. I've had enough of this."

    "Done studying for the night?" Janken asked.

    "Yeah. I know this stuff as well as I'll ever know it."

    "Want to turn in, then?" Janken asked. It was late, and Scooter's finals were in the morning.

    "Yeah." Scooter got off the couch and put his books and things in his backpack.

    Janken started converting the couch into a bed, an operation accomplished by covering the side and back with a sheet, throwing another sheet over that, and topping it off with a blanket. He put a pillow at either end and told Scooter, "I'll sleep on one side of the couch and you can sleep on the other. No funny business."

    Scooter said, "Jan, please, enough with the ten-foot-pole treatment!"

    Surprised, Janken said, "I didn't mean it that way."

    Scooter immediately regretted snapping at Janken. "Sorry, but—look, I'm not made of glass. Please stop telling me that you're not going to touch me, okay?"

    Softly Janken said, "I just want you to be comfortable with me, that's all."

    Scooter replied, "I am. Why do you think I'm not?"

    "Scooter, I just want you to get a good night's sleep. I don't want to open up a can of worms."

    "Too late. It's open." In a softer voice Scooter said, "I don't mean to sound harsh. I'm not mad at you. But it's gonna be on my mind if we drop it now. Come on, Jan."

    Reluctantly Janken said, "All right." He sat down on the couch. Janken sat beside him and put an arm around the Fraggle. Janken leaned against Scooter and clasped his hand. "This is hard to talk about, so just let me try to get through it, okay?"

    "Okay."

    "It's hard to explain, not because it's complicated, but because it's so simple. To a Fraggle, at least. Scooter, you know that the culture I grew up with is very different from the culture up here. I can get along fine up here, but in my heart I'm a Fraggle."

    "Yeah."

    "We live in small tribes. Or colonies, or whatever you want to call them. You know everyone in the colony because you grew up with them. We don't go looking for someone to love. That just happens. You like someone as a good friend, and you get closer, and you do things together, and you have fun, and you squabble, and you just live life together, and if you really fit each other you grow together and come to love each other. That's how I feel about you, Scooter. You were a friend first, and you're still my friend, because how can you love someone otherwise?"

    Scooter said, "'Just friends'?"

    Janken shook his head emphatically. "No! Fraggles don't think that way. Um...." He thought, searching for a way to explain. To illustrate his point he released Scooter's hand and held his up, palm out, as a barrier and said, "Not just friends-" then clasped Scooter's hand again and drew it close to himself, "but my friend, someone I love and want in my life."

    Softly Scooter said, "I feel the same way. So why the ten-foot-pole treatment?"

    Janken sighed. "Because I don't understand some things about Silly Creatures. There are things Fraggles consider normal, but for Silly Creatures they're taboo, and things that no Fraggle would do but a Silly Creature wouldn't hesitate to do. And nobody agrees on what the taboos are! Scooter, I don't know what I can do and what I can't!"

    Scooter squeezed Janken's hand, but said nothing; the dam had broken. Janken said a little sheepishly, "I told you the other day that I'm a follower, not a leader. I want you to lead. I flirted with you a long time before you took my hand. If you never had and we'd just stayed good friends, that would have been okay. I wouldn't have gotten tired of you just because you weren't attracted to me that way. As it is, I've been learning what's okay by letting you show me."

    Scooter said, "But, Jan, this is new to me. I don't know what to do. You do."

    Wryly Janken said, "I'm not all that experienced either. I tried pairing with a girl, and that went nowhere fast. I had a silly adolescent crush on someone I knew I had no chance with. Two complete flops, with nothing that mattered in between. Then I found you. I've been careful, letting you lead, because I couldn't bear the thought of going too far, breaking some rule I didn't know about, and driving you off."

    Scooter shook his head. "I wish we'd talked about this a long time ago. We've been wasting a lot of time."

    Janken chuckled, mostly from relief. "I guess so."

    "Remember what you told me in the theater that first time, after we watched The Wizard of Oz? I asked, 'What do we do now?'"

    "I said that it's up to us, didn't I?"

    "Yeah. So...let's just figure it out between the two of us, okay? Whatever we do next, let's just talk about it, not play waiting games."

    "Yeah. But...can we put that aside for now? I mean, we've said enough for tonight, and I did invite you over so you could sleep in peace."

    "All right."

    Janken said, "I'm going to make some tea. I have some that's really good for relaxing, and I need that right now."

    "I'd like some too," Scooter said. He wasn't really a tea person, but he wanted to share that with Janken.

    "Sure. Oh, I have a spare pair of pajamas you can use. We're pretty much the same size, so they ought to fit."

    "Thanks." Janken looked in the box that served as Janken's wardrobe and found a neatly folded, pale green set. He went into the bathroom and closed the door to change. Janken smiled to himself, and heated the water. While that was going he put on his other pajamas.

    A few minutes later Scooter came back out, carrying his clothes in his hands. He said, "They fit fine. I had a 'what the heck' moment before I realized that was a tail hole, though."

    "I hadn't thought about that. I can sew it closed. It won't take a minute."

    "Nah, it's high up enough that it doesn't bug me. It was just a surprise, that's all."

    "Ah." Janken poured the tea and gave Scooter a cup. It tasted of something Scooter couldn't identify. 'Herbal' was the only word he could think of to describe it. It was good, though, and as he drank it he could feel his tension fading.

    Janken said, "Um... in the interest of full disclosure, Scooter... if you were a Fraggle I wouldn't have suggested you sleep on the other side of the couch."

    "Oh? What would you have suggested, then?" Scooter asked.

    "Well, see, when Fraggles go to bed, it's to sleep. It doesn't have the same, um, physical connotation among us as it does up here. It's warm and cozy and, well, friendly to be asleep with someone else. Making a 'guest bed' for someone you liked enough to ask them to sleep over would be like turning around and saying 'yuck, stay away from me'."

    Scooter could see the pattern, now that Janken had explained it: he let Scooter know what he wanted, and waited for Scooter to accept or ignore the offer. Scooter said, "You don't want me to sleep on the other side of the couch, do you?"

    "I want you to sleep well. But...if you could sleep well with me, that'd be really nice," Janken said wistfully.

    "Let's try it, then. If I can't sleep that way, I'll go over to the other side, no big deal. Okay?"

    "Okay," Janken said with a wide smile.

    They finished their tea and got ready for bed. While Janken put on his pajamas Scooter set the alarm on his cell phone. As they got under the covers Scooter joked, "You wear more clothes in bed then you do during the day."

    Janken shrugged. "I get cold when I sleep if I'm not wearing pajamas."

    "Oh, okay."

    They lay down together. Before turning off the light Janken said, "One more thing I wanted to tell you, Scooter. I really mean what I said about how I love you. Nobody can tell what's gonna happen in the future. I hope I'm your Mister Right, but if I'm not, I still always want to share my life with you. It would break my heart to lose your friendship." He clasped Scooter's hand between his own.

    "I won't break your heart, Jan," Scooter promised.

    Janken smiled, then flicked out the light. They kissed goodnight for several minutes, then settled in to go to sleep.

    *

    Scooter looked up blearily when he heard a familiar chime coming from a strange direction. It took a moment to remember that he wasn't in his bed at home. For one thing, there was a warm Fraggle cozied up to his side, his arm across Scooter's back. Janken looked up, confused by the strange alarm sound, and mumbled, "Mah?"

    "Morning," Scooter told him.

    "Oh. Yeah," Janken murmured with a bleary smile. His hair was flat on one side.

    "Need to get in before I take a shower?"

    "Nah, go on."

    Scooter got out of 'bed'. Surprisingly, he hadn't had any trouble sleeping, even though he wasn't used to being accompanied while he did. He picked up his clothes and went to the small bathroom. Janken heard the water start after a few minutes. He sat up and yawned and stretched.

    He felt happy and a little goofy. Sleeping all alone and waking up by himself was one of the dreariest things about Outer Space. He was used to it, but he didn't like it. Just waking up to see another's face gave him a lift. That it was Scooter's face made him feel almost giddy.

    *

    A little while later Scooter, once again in his jeans and jacket, came out of the bathroom. Janken smiled at him, then nodded toward the hot plate and said, "Watch that for a minute, would you?"

    "Sure."

    Janken went into the bathroom and brushed his teeth and his hair. Then he came back out. "Thanks. How about an omelet?"

    "Sounds good."

    Janken busied himself with eggs, mushrooms, cheese, and thinly-sliced vegetables. As he did he hummed softly, a tune that he had been hearing in his mind since he awakened. After a minute or so he began to sing softly.
    "There's a perfect time when reality seems a dream,
    And that perfect time can pass unnoticed and unseen.
    And you never know it's coming; there may seem no sense or rhyme
    To the timing of that perfect time."

    Janken looked up from the hot plate, and his eyes met Scooter's. He continued,
    "There's a perfect time and it comes to one and all
    Just as bright sunrise follows the sunfall.
    And you get what you give and you give what you get, and this much is true,
    Now's that perfect time because I'm looking at you."

    "Did you write that?" Scooter asked quietly.

    Janken shook his head, smiling. "No. I made it up just now."

    "You told me you couldn't 'sing from the heart' like other Fraggles could..."

    "I guess I got inspired." Janken was pleased with himself. It wasn't that great a song, he knew; the rhythm was irregular and some of the wording was clumsy. But it got the point across, and that's what mattered.

    He cut the omelet in half in the pan and slid it onto two plates, then added some strawberries. He handed one plate to Scooter along with a fork and said, "Apple juice okay?"

    As Scooter accepted the plate he said, "Sure."

    Janken poured two glasses of apple juice, and they began eating. As they did their eyes kept meeting, causing them to grin goofily but not self-consciously. Janken said, "Not going to cram?"

    "Nah. I'm not going to learn anything in the next few minutes that didn't stick before."

    "'Kay."

    When they finished Janken washed the dishes and Scooter dried them. Then Scooter said, "I'd better get going."

    "Go on. You'll do great."

    "I bet you're right," Scooter said with a grin. He really did feel ready for it. He'd certainly spent enough time preparing. He started to hoist his already-packed backpack onto his shoulder, then put it down again. "Jan...I don't say it a lot, but I love you."

    Janken smiled widely. "You don't say it a lot, but you show it to me all the time."

    There was only one way to answer that. The two kissed. When Scooter reluctantly pulled away he lifted his backpack and said, "See you at the theater."

    "Good luck."

    The door closed behind Scooter. Janken puttered around for a few minutes, humming dreamily to himself. Then he picked up the pajamas that Scooter had worn, rolled them into a ball, and slipped back into bed in the place where Scooter had slept. His scent was still on the pillow. Janken closed his eyes, holding the pajamas like a teddy bear.

    *****

    All characters except Janken, Billie, and Weird Al Yankovic are copyright © The Muppets Studio, LLC. One More Minute is copyright © Weird Al Yankovic. and Weird Al Yankovic is, of course, copyright © himself. All copyrighted characters and people are used without permission but with much respect and affection. Janken and Billie are copyright © Kim McFarland (negaduck9@aol.com), as is the overall story. Permission is given by the author to copy it for personal use only.
  20. charlietheowl

    charlietheowl Well-Known Member

    A very nice chapter. I'm glad that Scooter and Janken were able to begin talking about their relationship and be honest with each other. Looking forward to the rest of the story.


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