No this is not a story about the queen of fan fiction herself, Lisa. This is a story that I'm really excited about writing. I don't know where the inspiration came from but it did. Some background: This story is set post TMTM in 2001. It's a story that came out of "what if Kermit never met Ronnie Crawford therefore not getting the show on Broadway or any of his friends back together?" There is no Pepe in this story or any of the other newer characters. If I say much more, I'll give away everything. So here you go, the first installment. They'll be more like installments versus chapters. September 10, 2001 The traffic light turned green and pedestrians quickly began making their way across the street as quickly as possible. If you didn’t move fast enough you wouldn’t make it across and were then considered a fair target for the many taxi cabs, buses and cars clogging the streets each workday. After 15 years in New York City, he still wasn’t used to the hustle and bustle. And it had only gotten worse since he’d arrived. He still wasn’t sure why he’d stayed all this time. He could’ve gone back to live on Sesame Street, but being in the city left him close enough to visit. He could’ve gone back out to Hollywood to start over, but after failing to get on Broadway somehow Hollywood seemed less appealing. Besides, his friends were still gone. Kermit paused for a second after crossing the street to catch his breath. Not only had he scurried across the street at the traffic light, but he had already been almost running from his apartment to the restaurant he managed. The restaurant he couldn’t bear the thought of not working at because it was the last place he had been when they had all been together and still full of hopes and dreams. He turned and looked at the clock on Times Square and hurried around the corner, putting thoughts of his old friends out of his head. He did not like to think of them. “I really should find a closer place to live, these early morning marathons are taking their toll on my flippers,” thought Kermit to himself as he unlocked the door of Pete’s Delicatessen. “Bout time you showed up. You get stuck in the crosstown again or something?” asked Rizzo the Rat as Kermit hurried behind the counter to get ready for the breakfast crowd. “Of course I did, I always do no matter how early I leave. I swear this city starts coming to life earlier every morning,” said Kermit while putting on his apron. “Dis city never sleeps. When are you gonna learn that?” asked the rat going over to the door and flipping the sign to say “open”. “Oh one of these days I suppose,” sighed Kermit opening the cash register. “I keep telling ya, you shoulda moved into the old guy’s place upstairs, you could roll out of bed and be down here before me!” exclaimed Rizzo. “Jenny wanted to feel close to her dad, it was her right to take the place,” said Kermit. “Jenny could afford any place on the Upper East Side, she could buy a penthouse for gosh sakes,” said Rizzo. Kermit just shook his head at his rodent friend. Rizzo drove him nuts most of the time, but he and the other rats were loyal employees and had become his only good friends in the city. Kermit couldn’t believe he’d been in the city for 15 years. He also couldn’t believe that it had been five years since Pete had passed away and Kermit had taken over the restaurant. He knew it sometimes bothered Rizzo that Pete hadn’t left it to him even though Rizzo had been there longer, but even Rizzo couldn’t deny that Kermit had better business sense and organizational skills. Jenny was a successful assistant buyer for Macy’s after graduating from fashion design school many years ago. She enjoyed designing clothes, but just couldn’t break into the tough industry. She put her knowledge to good use and worked her way up in the corporate end of fashion. Even with her successful career she still put in a couple of weekend shifts as waitress in the restaurant that meant so much to her father and had helped put her through school in the first place. Rizzo was right, Jenny could easily afford any nice place in the city, but she was devastated when her dad passed away of cancer and just could not leave his apartment. And even though she and Kermit were sort of on again, off again, neither had ever made the suggestion that they live together in Pete’s old space. Kermit liked Jenny a lot….but she was no Piggy. He remained in his small apartment in the Village where he could afford the rent a little easier. The morning passed by as it usually did, the breakfast crowd arriving by 6:00 am and settling down by around 10:00 am when they had their brief lull before the lunch crowd started showing up. Rizzo turned on the Rosie O’Donnell Show as he did everyday about this time. “Oh look, she’s got that hottie Britney Spears on today. How I would love to…” said Rizzo. “Rizzo, you’re married, that’s inappropriate,” said Kermit shaking his head. “Hey, I can look, I just can’t touch,” shrugged Rizzo as he walked away. Rizzo and Yolanda had married only a year ago after breaking up, getting together, breaking up and getting together about 20 times over the years Kermit had known them. He still had to let Rizzo sleep on his couch on occasion because of the fights the couple had, but his friend was making more of an effort now that he and Yolanda had a son. “Mail call!” called the mailman entering the restaurant. Kermit offered him a cup of coffee as usual and started sorting the mail. “Bill, bill, bill,” he said. “Who is Bill?” asked Rizzo? “That’s an old joke,” said Kermit. Rizzo continued watching the show. Now the talk show host was introducing a performance from a new Broadway show. “Ya know something? I still think you could sell that show of yours if you went on her show,” said Rizzo. It was no secret that O’Donnell was a huge supporter of the performing arts. “It’s not so simple to just walk on and demand to be on her show,” said Kermit. He opened a letter from Robin. Kermit smiled as his nephew talked of his college days and how he was planning a fall break trip to the city. Kermit missed his nephew greatly, but knew leaving him back in the swamp with his parents was the right thing to do when the show had failed to get on Broadway. As for returning to the swamp himself, he only went to visit about once a year to make his mother happy. He couldn’t stand feeling like a failure everytime he went home. “Any good mail?” asked Rizzo. “Letter from my nephew, bunch of bills,” said Kermit. “What’s dat?” asked Rizzo pointing to a postcard Kermit had set aside. “It’s a card from one of the gang,” said Kermit. Rizzo didn’t ask any further questions. He knew Kermit didn’t like to talk about his friends. They all wrote a few times a year to check in and Kermit always waited until he was home alone in the apartment before reading them. He didn’t even share them with Jenny. He enjoyed hearing how their lives were going and did his best to write letters back to them. Even with today’s technologies that made keeping in touch easier with email and cell phones his friends still always wrote plain old cards and letters. All of them that is, except Piggy. Things had ended differently with Piggy. Kermit shook his head snapping himself out of his thoughts. Like the rest of his friends, he tried hard not to think of her, but it was even harder with her. Unlike his other friends, he didn’t even know where she was these days. He sighed. They had all come to the city so young and full of hopes and dreams. Those dreams were dashed so quickly. It made him angry sometimes, he felt like they had given up so quickly. He wondered what it would take to get them all back together someday. It was his secret wish. “Kerm? Code red man, the lunch rush is starting!” yelled Rizzo snapping Kermit back to reality. For now, this was the life he was stuck with and he was finding it harder and harder to dream.