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Uncredited Performances

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Fan Art' started by newsmanfan, Mar 30, 2012.

  1. newsmanfan Well-Known Member

    (Author's Note: No, I'm not done with "So We'll Go No More A-Roving...", a bit more to come on that...but this issue has been bugging me since I rewatched the dvd, and I felt I just HAD to address it! A short one-shot, in less than a handful of parts...)
  2. newsmanfan Well-Known Member

    Part One

    The Newsman sighed contentedly, leaning back, enjoying the comfort of his beloved’s arms around him as he nestled in her lap. Just earlier this month they’d celebrated their one-year anniversary of being a couple, and now another celebration, of sorts: their first home viewing of “The Muppets.” As happy as Newsie had been participating in that film, and as excited and nervous as he’d been when they attended the New York premiere of the movie with numerous others of the Muppet extended clan, this put it all to shame. Nothing, he decided, nothing at all beat the experience of cuddling in one’s pajamas with one’s dearest and watching such an artistic triumph! True, he’d been in a few more scenes than what made it into the final edit, but now, having just viewed the film, they were about to watch the deleted scenes. He hoped the Strip-Mall Awards Show bit used the camera angle which showed his nose to best advantage.

    Gina kissed him again, pressed the “Bonus Features” option, and resettled, dragging the bowl of spicy popcorn closer on the sofa. “This is perfect, Newsie. Your closeups in the telethon were sooo cute!”

    He blushed, pleased. She’d said as much already tonight, but he could stand to hear it again. “Uh...really?”

    “Really.” He luxuriated in another very long kiss. “Oh, look!” Gina broke away, leaving him dazed. She giggled. “Walter’s whistle is that loud?”

    “It really is,” Newsie informed her. “He was always whistling down cabs for us when we left the studio. Very handy. Nice kid.”

    They watched the scenes with a few chuckles, Newsie gently stroking Gina’s arm tucked over his waist. They reached the fake-awards scene. “Hey, there I...am,” Newsie said, faltering as he noticed none of the shots really showed him behind that silly table full of bowling trophies. “Oh...”

    “Eh. Maybe the second-unit footage will show up on Youtube or something,” Gina reassured him, and stroked her fingers lightly through his hair.

    He sighed, relaxing again. “You’re right. It’s egotistical of me to expect to be in focus in every shot.”

    “Yeah, we don’t want you to start sounding like a certain pig...”

    “Link’s hair isn’t all real,” Newsie murmured, grinning, and Gina laughed.

    “Do I want to know how you know that?”

    “Oh, it was perfectly innocent. We shared a trailer during the shoot...along with Strangepork, Sam, Lew...”

    “Sounds crowded.”

    “That’s an understatement,” he agreed. “It didn’t help when it became infested with Muppaphones trying to hide from Suggs.” He noticed the jail scene underway. “Oh! Oh, I was in this one...too...”

    “I can tell it’s you back there,” Gina said, and smiled when he looked up at her unhappily.

    “How? I’m practically hidden by jail bars in every shot.”

    “Umm,” Gina licked her lips, uncertain how to tell him this. “Well, sweetie, your, um, profile, is very...distinctive.”

    “Oh. It is?”

    “I’d know you a mile off and surrounded by Muppets. Yep. And hey! There you are coming out of jail...love the tux.”

    Newsie snuggled tight against her. He sighed. Well...at least some of the footage was preserved, even if it didn’t make it into the final production... “The arches! Oh, I had a lot of fun doing this one...”

    They watched raptly as the full sequence of the arches opening played out, and Gina giggled at the chatter of the Muppets making their way cautiously down from the framing platform runs behind the pretty scenery. “Looks kind of scary,” Gina commented, knowing how much her Newsie hated heights.

    “That’s actually sturdier than the real thing at the theatre.” He watched himself onscreen delivering a line of self-praise, feeling both elated and embarrassed. “They gave me such ridiculous lines...”

    “I think it’s adorable.” Gina turned him toward her, giving him another long kiss. “I am so proud of you. Starring in a movie! It’s been, what, how many years?”

    “Since Muppets Take Manhattan,” he mumbled, feeling somewhat bashful. “Uh...twenty-seven years.” And that one had only been a cameo. He gazed up at her, suddenly wondering again what she saw in him; didn’t she think him too old?

    Reading that thought easily in his earnest brown eyes, Gina smiled, and kissed the tip of his nose. “You’re gorgeous. Stop it.”

    “Gina,” he grumbled, embarrassed, but she wouldn’t let him pause for a pity party, instead attack-kissing, her hands roaming his face, his shoulders, lower... He broke away with a breathy laugh. “Okay! Okay! Uncle!”

    Flushed and happy, they watched the rest of the special features, snickering at the blooper reel (Gina especially loved the chicken joke, giggling louder with every repetition of it by the hoboes), the screen test, and then exchanging more serious comments during the behind-the-scenes featurette. Finally, Newsie sat up and stretched, relaxed and feeling very much appreciated, only to see Gina’s frown. “What is it?”

    She shook her head softly, and cued up the film’s end credits again. “Just wanted to check something.” Curious, he looked from her to the television and back while she read the scrolling names. “Huh...Newsie...” She rewound to the names of the principal Muppet actors. “Who’re these guys?” She indicated the names above some of the Muppets.

    “Oh...those guys. Uh, I think their official title on-set was Nonfelted Handler-Liaisons,” Newsie said, squinting at the names. “I noticed them hanging around a lot, but they didn’t get in the way. They ran lines with the principal cast, noted script changes, and acted as go-betweens for us with the producers, and sometimes with the director.” He gave her a sheepish look. “Uh, not to sound disparaging, but Mr Bobin’s accent was kind of hard to comprehend sometimes, and having an interpreter around really helped.”

    “It looks like they worked with several of your friends,” Gina noted. “Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie, Gonzo...heck, even Rizzo and Pepe, and they had hardly any parts! Did you work with any of these handlers?”

    “Er...yes. Steve. He’s worked with me before...he was my singing coach for that music video we all did.”

    Gina suppressed a smile at the idea of Newsie trying to please a singing coach; although she loved his voice no matter what he was doing, he frankly possessed more enthusiasm than range... “Um, okay. So...why isn’t your name listed?”

    “What?” He’d been so happy just viewing the film, all curled up with her, that he’d barely noticed the credits, paying more attention to the silliness on the left side of the screen and his own News Flash bits there. “What do you mean? They credit everyone! I think I saw a fern wrangler listed toward the end.”

    Concerned, Gina played through the entire ending one more time; he watched in growing anxiety. “No...they didn’t list you. That’s really strange. I see Rizzo’s name and he didn’t even have a line!” She frowned at him. “Newsie, you deliver the last plot points in the movie! I think you deserve some credit here!”

    “Whuh...I...” he stammered, stunned. “Play those again. Please.” Reluctantly, Gina did so; Newsie slid from her lap and planted himself right next to the large flatscreen, carefully reading. Nowhere did his name appear. Not his real name, not even his professional name. Nothing. “But...but...”

    Gina bit back a sigh, seeing the hurt in his eyes when he turned again to her. “Newsie...look. Your friends wouldn’t snub you. I’m sure it’s just an oversight, okay?”

    “They listed Marvin Suggs,” he muttered, upset. “Marvin Suggs!”

    “Well...ask Kermit about it. I’m sure it was just an error. Maybe they can correct it on the next print run of the dvds.” She held her arms open to him, and gathered him in with a soft kiss. “They’ll fix it or I’ll know why!”

    “Was...was my performance not good enough for a credit?” he wondered. “I...I did my best...you know I’m not really much of an actor; journalism has always been my primary focus...”

    “Sweetie, your acting chops are beside the point. Tommy Wiseau has to be the worst actor, director, writer and producer working today and he still gets a certain amount of fame! The least the producers of this movie can give you is your spot in the list!”

    Newsie was about to reply that it would indeed be worth more than his cut of the payroll, but thought it might sound ungenerous...and really, he’d enjoyed every second of the experience. Just being asked to join in for a big-screen project had been such an amazing surprise to him, he didn’t mind sharing a trailer, or having to find his own way back to New York after the film wrapped (guarding the fruit in the back of an open-air truck along I-40 in exchange for the ride wasn’t even the lowest point of that, but at least he arrived home in one piece). Actually getting a shot at a national audience again was thrilling, even if the writers had given him some preposterously silly things to say. But this...he hadn’t foreseen this at all. He stared up at the young woman tenderly stroking his hair. “Do you really think they just...they just forgot me?”

    “Not you, my memorable journalist,” Gina told him, hugging tight. “However, I’m betting someone down the line forgot to give your name to whomever was compiling the credit roll. Did you notice you weren’t the only one?”

    Newsie instantly felt ashamed; how could he be so selfish? “Uh...I wasn’t?”

    “I saw Wayne and Wanda in a couple of scenes, and they weren’t listed either. Same for Link.”

    “How could anyone have forgotten us?” Newsie asked, shaking his head.

    “Look...talk to Kermit tomorrow, okay? Maybe he knows what happened. But if he doesn’t...” Gina gave him a dark look, and he gulped. “Make sure he knows now there was a mistake!”

    Newsie nodded, but before he could spend any longer worrying about the implications of the oversight, Gina grabbed his arms. “Come to bed with me, or I’ll carry you,” she threatened.

    He blushed. “Um. Ahem. Uh...I think I’ll just stay up a while longer and –“

    She swooped him into the air with strong arms, plunking him against one shoulder as she strode down the hall. Newsie grinned, holding tight to her, enjoying the game. She made being short...well, fun. Once in the relative peace of the bedroom, Gina proceeded to tease and play with him, and he was able to disregard the unhappy discovery they’d just made for a while...but later, when his sleepy girl had at last drifted off, her arms around him, he lay still and wondered how he was going to bring this up with Kermit. He didn’t want to sound petulant about it...but, frog it, didn’t he deserve some sort of mention? He’d worked very hard...he’d even learned to tie a bowtie for that tuxedo! Newsie frowned.

    Some essence of his unease must have transmitted to Gina, who was always sensitive to him. She murmured and shifted a bit in her sleep, and Newsie shut up all thought of tomorrow, doing his best to focus on right now and the lovely young woman who thought he was worth more than a few silly lines and a long ride home. He nuzzled his nose against her, and she sighed softly, pleasantly. Closing his eyes, Newsie did as she’d taught him months ago, imagining the two of them laying on a beach, the sound of the waves, a gull crying, the warmth of the sand, trying to relax enough to sleep...

    A pelican landed next to him, staring. “Hey buddy...ain’t you that guy what got left off the credits in that movie with Kermit and Piggy?”

    Startled, Newsie jerked awake. Gina mumbled and turned over, dislodging him; irritated with himself, he scrunched over to give her room to stretch out as she often preferred. Stop that! I’m sure nobody’s even noticed you were left...out... Great. That’s not helping. He sighed in annoyance, his mood sinking. Haven’t there been any other complaints? How many Muppets didn’t get a mention, anyway? It seemed like everyone was there when we were shooting... He recalled seeing Muppets he didn’t even know the names of, like that noisy chimp, or that long-haired dog who’d worked the phones for a few minutes of the telethon, quickly abandoning her seat for a pizza once Neil Patrick Harris had shown up. But she had a line...I thought the Hollywood rule was if you have a line, you get a credit?

    “Aloysius,” Gina muttered low.

    “What?”

    “You’re thinking too loud. Hush. Get some sleep.”

    “You can hear --?”

    “Body language, cutie.”

    He started to apologize, but she pulled him closer, snuggling him against her and kissing him silent. “Mmf...”

    She saw he was still too awake, and over his guilty protests, did something else which left him incoherent and very, very sleepy finally. Gina smiled at him, seeing her Muppet’s weary eyes close at last. When he began lightly snoring, she sighed, turned his head away from her, and settled down beside him once more. That’s the only problem with sleeping with a Muppet, she thought; They’re so d—d high-energy.

    Sleep crept into the room as a welcome guest, and quiet reigned until morning...mostly. Snoring through that long a nose could never be called completely quiet.


    ----------------
    Backstage, there never seemed to be an opportune time to get the frog’s attention. The crisis du jour involved Robin somehow getting stuck in a goldfish bowl; Kermit firmly rejected Crazy Harry’s offer to get him out, corralled Lew Zealand to wrangle some slippery fish oil out of him, and meanwhile tried to keep the acts coming and going with a minimum amount of carnage to the stage itself. The Newsman waited, hovering around Kermit’s desk, but every time he began to approach, something else happened. Newsie ducked as Gonzo hurtled past overhead, whooping joyously, a contrail of green flames and charred confetti spiraling ever higher backstage until the daredevil crashed into the ceiling.

    Kermit shook his head. “Yeesh. Beau, can you mop that up, please? Chickens! Chickens onstage now!”

    A concerned Camilla hesitated by Gonzo until he raised his head, eyes rolling. “Bawwk?”

    “Whoooo! Amelia Earheart, watch your back! The Great Gonzo is set to break the ocean-crossing record!” Gonzo cackled, trembled, and passed out.

    “Dude’s gonna break somethin’, anyway,” Floyd Pepper chortled.

    Camilla ran past to join her fowl friends onstage for a tail-shaking rendition of “Shake Your Groove Thing.” Kermit turned back to Robin. “How’s the fish oil working?”

    “It tastes awful, Uncle Kermit! Do I really have to drink all of it?”

    “Robin! You’re supposed to smear it on you, not drink it!”

    Newsie hesitantly tapped his boss on the shoulder. “Uh...excuse me...Kermit?”

    “Is there a News Flash?”

    “Er, no. Um. I wanted to...to discuss something with you...”

    “Okay, now just...wiggle out,” Kermit instructed his nephew. “Like that! There you go!”

    “Uh...about the new movie...”

    “Oh, it’s still in the planning stages,” Kermit told him, his attention more directed to Robin as the little frog wriggled bit by bit out of the narrow neck of the small bowl. “Good, Robin! Just go slow and don’t hurt yourself.”

    “Planning sta...uh. No. Not the new new one...I mean the one we just did.”

    “Oh, yeah. That report you gave on the dvd sales was great, just great! We really appreciate all the publicity we can get,” Kermit said, finally looking right at him. “It’s been pretty hectic with all the interviews, but things seem to really be going well! The writers are starting to gather ideas for the next film; I have a meeting next week with Nick, actually, to toss around some plotline possibilities.”

    “That’s...that’s wonderful,” Newsie said, still unsure how to address this. “Uh...Kermit...were you aware that some of the Muppets weren’t credited in the film?”

    “Weren’t credited? Newsman, I approved the list myself! Scooter double-checked it to make sure everyone who worked on the film was on it.” Kermit looked back at Robin, nodding when the froglet popped out of the bowl to applause by several nearby cast members. “Good, good...now go hit the showers. And don’t mention this to your Aunt Piggy, okay? She’ll kill me if she finds out we tried using her cold cream.”

    “Ahem. Um, Kermit, I’m glad to hear that, but...er...nevertheless, a number of us didn’t get listed in the end credits...” Newsie fidgeted when Kermit stopped and stared perplexedly at him.

    “That’s strange. Who was left off?”

    “Er...Link Hogthrob, Wayne and Wanda, Dr Strangepork, Robin...” Newsie began, ticking the names off on his fingertips.

    “Huh...well, look, Newsman, I don’t have time to deal with this right now, but I’ll see what I can find out, okay?” Kermit flashed a smile at him, then immediately turned to the chickens flapping offstage with a large Muppet fox in pursuit. “Hey! Reynard, I thought I threw you out last week for this same thing! Security!”

    Newsie quickly moved out of the way as Bobo the bear came past like a furry freight train. “Hey! You can’t be back here! Move it or lose it, bub!” The flustered fox stumbled backward into the desk, knocking over Kermit’s coffee cup; hot liquid spattered Fozzie, who’d been heading onstage; he yelped and flailed his rubber chicken, accidentally swatting one of the real ones fluttering out of Bobo’s way...the chain reaction of chaos continued, but Newsie managed to get clear of it all, retreating to the stairs to observe from a safe distance.

    He’s too busy to deal with this, Newsie realized, feeling sympathy for his boss. Well, isn’t top-notch investigative reporting MY job? He nodded to himself. He’d probe into this disturbing story himself, and report his findings to Kermit. That way, he’d not only find out where the blame for the mistake lay, but possibly find out how to correct it, which would give Kermit one less hassle...and he seemed to have his flippers full all the time with one thing or another.

    “Move it, Newsgeek,” Piggy growled at him, swirling downstairs in a fluff of feather boas. “Allll right! Where’s Rowlf? We’re due on stage in thirty seconds and he’d better have that B-sharp key fixed!”

    “Fear not, fair maiden; you will be most melodiously accompanied tonight by yours truly!” Dr Teeth grinned at her, trundling his electric organ out of the wings. Piggy stared at him.

    “You’re what? Where’s Rowlf?”

    “He had a little problem fixing the string to that indelibly unmelodious B-sharp,” Dr Teeth explained. “Last I saw him, he was caught in the piano wires callin’ for some bolt-cutters! Not to worry, my sweet swine; together we will serenade this crowd into sonorous slumber!”

    “I can’t sing ‘Easy to Love’ to an organ!” Piggy protested, turning to her frog. “Kermie! Tell him that song won’t work with the kind of...music...he plays!”

    Kermit turned briefly to her. “Look, Piggy, we go onstage with the instruments we have, not the instruments we want, okay? Sweetums! Sweetums, can you get these two out of here? Sheesh!”

    The pig complained, the musician laughed, the chickens flapped and flopped everywhere, and a lumbering troll grabbed Bobo and the fox by the scruffs of their necks and carried them, still locked in a wrestling hold, out to the loading dock; Kermit tried to yell at them all at once, and something needed to go onstage fast before the audience left for the second time that night. Newsie shook his head, his jaw set firmly. No...Kermit had far too much to handle already. Newsie would track down this problem’s source himself!

    Every reporter knows inside sources are the best resources...and the theatre’s second-in-command was the most resourceful resource for something like this. Newsie sought out Scooter, locating him running up from the green room lounge, clipboard glued to one hand and headset to one ear as usual. “Scooter, I need some information,” Newsie said, jogging to keep up with the fast-paced younger Muppet .

    “Uh, gimme a sec, Newsie.” Popping his head into a dressing-room, the gofer shouted, “Two minutes, guys! Two minutes!” Shutting the door again, Scooter checked off an item on his clipboard, and nodded in satisfaction as a group of grimy hoboes filed out of the room and down the stairs; one of them stubbed out a chocolate cigar on the balustrade, leaving a stain which was quickly cleaned by the tongue of a hungry sheep. “Good, that’s that for a few minutes! What do you need?”

    “Uh...well...I discovered that a number of us seem to have been left off the credits for the last film,” Newsie began. “Have...have you watched the dvd yet?”

    “Sure, Sara and I watched it just last night! But I, uh, I wasn’t really paying attention to the credits,” Scooter admitted, blushing. Newsie realized with a start that he knew exactly why Scooter hadn’t noticed the error in the final credits...knowledge he himself wouldn’t have understood before this time last year.

    “Er. Um. Right. Uh...was there...some decision made to leave people out?” he asked tentatively.

    “No, absolutely not! We didn’t leave anyone out! Are you sure?”

    “Very sure. I watched the end of the film another ten times this morning to check.”

    “Well, if names didn’t show up after ten times, I guess they really were left out,” Beauregard chimed in, overhearing from his perch polishing one of the stair railings. “You’d think even if they missed the first two or three, they’d show up by ten!”

    Scooter blinked at him, then turned back to Newsie. “Uh...right. Well, I’m sure it was just a mistake! Unfortunately, though, since the dvd is already out, I don’t know what could be done to correct it.” Noting the reporter’s crestfallen expression, he asked, “Who exactly wasn’t given credit?”

    “Well, um, Link, and Strangepork, and Wayne and Wanda, and...er...me...”

    “Geez, I’m really sorry about that, Newsman. Did you talk to Kermit?”

    From below, both heard the crash of scenery, the protests of innocence from the hobo band, and one frog clearly working into a meltdown. “Hey stop that – you can’t go out – the curtain’s still up and – will all of you be quiet a minute so I can get them to shut up?”

    “Uh...he seemed a little busy.”

    “Yeah,” Scooter agreed. “Look, I have to go deal with the set strike...but hey, why don’t you call the producers? They might be able to help.”

    “Thanks,” Newsie said as Scooter hastily scribbled a phone number for him. “That’s exactly what I needed!”

    “Great! Good luck!” At the amphibian bellow of frustration from below, Scooter yelled, “Coming, Chief!” and ran down to the wing floor.

    Newsie nodded, pleased. Of course! If there’s an issue with the movie, always start with the guys at the top! Aren’t they ultimately responsible for everything? He checked his watch; it would only be five-thirty in California. He managed to get out of the building without being hit by a crazed chicken or inadvertently clobbered by a massive bear and a lithe fox still thrashing on the loading dock. Gina was still at work, so he had a little time on his hands. Newsie walked a block to a coffeeshop he liked (they carried all the major daily papers out front), ordered an Irish coffee with no whiskey, and once settled, dialed the number Scooter had given him.

    “Jason Segal’s phone. He’s occupied; can I take a message?” a brash male voice answered.

    “Er...yes. This is the Muppet Newsman –“

    “Oh, hey, Newsie. Nice ta hear from ya. Loved that fluff piece you did on my girl for Le Porque last month!”

    Newsie placed the voice, surprised. “Uh...Marty? Aren’t you Miss Piggy’s agent?”

    “I do have other clients, ya know, kid. But she’s one of the ones I handle personally. Just don’t repeat those exact words to Kermit, capiche?” The agent laughed, and before Newsie could decide if he was expected to laugh too, Marty continued, “So, you’re interested in doing a piece on the Seagull?”

    “Uh...no. I mean yes, that would be terrific, but that’s not why I’m calling...umm...”

    “Okay, now I’m curious; why are you calling?”

    Newsie, in halting words and a tone he felt was too gruff, but was unable to clear his throat properly, explained the omission he and Gina had discovered. He didn’t mention his own name had been unlisted, thinking it would sound too whiny. “Er...so...how did this happen, and what can be done to correct it?” he asked.

    Marty mulled it over with a low, thoughtful hmmmmmmm. “Well...I gotta tell you, I have no idea. I don’t know anything about the production side of the last film, Newsie; I was all about Piggy for that, but once she had her choice for costumers locked up, I was kinda out of that part of it; I just worked on the publicity from there. But Jason might be able to look into it. He really is occupied, though; went into the men’s room a few minutes ago. Come ta think of it, I better go make sure he’s okay. Wouldn’t want one of the camera-hacks to catch him in a bad situation, and he has had a coupla’a Harvey Wallbangers. We’re doing a cocktail meeting. He wants to work with Piggy again, but so far his schedule is pretty full...”

    Interesting as that tidbit was, Newsie returned to his mission. “Uh, all right; could you please ask him to call me back as soon as he can? I’m very concerned about some of our cast here feeling snubbed...” Another angle occurred to him, and he added, “Or for the bad publicity which could arise from anyone thinking they were deliberately left off the credits and going to one of the Hollywood papers to complain about it!”

    “Hmm. Good point. I’ll make sure he gets back to ya, okay kid?”

    “Thanks, Marty.”

    “Ciao, kid. Stay plaid. Looks good on you.”

    Marty hung up, and Newsie held the phone a moment longer, startled and then pleased. Ha! Wait’ll I tell Rhonda! A Hollywood agent thinks my sports coats look good!

    He hadn’t sat much longer at his streetside table, sipping his coffee and considering ordering another, when his phone rang. “Hello?”

    “Newsie! Hey, buddy, what’s this I hear about names being left out of the credits?”

    “Mr Segal! Uh – thank you for returning my call...”

    “Dude, it’s Jason, please. So what’s going on?”

    Briefly, nervous, Newsie outlined the problem. “Huh,” Jason said. “That’s just...weird. I mean, the whole point of the movie was to re-introduce the world to you guys; pretty hard to do if they don’t learn your names!”

    “Right,” Newsie agreed, relieved. “So...uh...this wasn’t a decision you producers made, to list some Muppets but not others?”

    “Dude, no! Everyone was supposed to get a credit! Look...I have no idea how this happened, but I’m very sorry. Please tell everyone who was left out that it was not intentional.”

    “But...how can we fix it?”

    He heard a deep sigh from the tall man. “Well, uh...I don’t think it can be, at this point. Uh...maybe you could talk to the big guys, the studio execs. Since I’m too busy with other projects right now they probably wouldn’t have much time for me, but – hey! You could call Nick and James. I bet they’d know something. Hang on, I’m actually gonna see them both tonight, so I’ll let them know you need some info, okay?”

    “Okay,” Newsie agreed. “Er...thank you very much for this. I really appreciate it. I mean, I know everyone left out will really –“

    “They left your name out,” Jason guessed. Newsie blushed, glad the other man couldn’t see it over the phone.

    “Er...yes.” Feeling insecure again, Newsie asked, “Is...is it something I did wrong? I mean, even the Rowlf Moopet had a credit, and he hardly had anything to do! I...I know I’m not much of an actor...I mean, it’s not really my talent, but...”

    “What? No! C’mon, buddy, you were great! You delivered all your lines with such, uh...such...”

    Remembering advice Sam the Eagle had given him one night while running lines in their trailer, Newsie ventured, “Uh...gravity and solemn dignity?”

    “Exactly what I was gonna say. Look, don’t worry about it, all right? I’ll ask the guys to help you out. Maybe...maybe they can fiddle with the digital copies of the movie, at least, so anyone watching it on an iFad will see all the names...or something. Okay?”

    “Thank you. It...it was really an honor working with you,” Newsie said. Although he hadn’t had any scenes with the star, he’d been on-set for almost everything, eager to see and hear all he could, and Jason had always treated him as though he actually belonged there.

    “Likewise, buddy. Take care.”

    Newsie thanked him again, and hung up. He tasted his cold coffee, and sighed. Well, if they’re going to meet tonight, hopefully they’ll call tomorrow. I have no idea whom else I could ask about this. He shook his head. How could this have happened? He left a tip under his cup and walked the rest of the way home, trying to work up enough enthusiasm for dinner; he was supposed to be cooking tonight, but he had a feeling that if he attempted anything involved while in this frame of mind, the stove might catch fire. Glumly, he stopped at the nearest deli for cold cuts and bread. Even while he prepared sandwiches at home, a nagging worry wouldn’t leave him be: Jason’s such a nice guy...what if he’s just trying not to hurt my feelings? What if I really was left out on purpose? What if there’s someone who thought I didn’t deserve a credit, and he’s just trying to soften the blow for me?

    Somehow, he wound up burning the sandwiches.


    -------------
    Kermit let out all his frustration in a long groan. He slowed, panting, and lay still, Piggy’s soft hands clutching him. “Oh...geez. I really needed that tonight. Thank you,” he murmured, kissing his wife.

    “Always a pleasure, mon ami,” Piggy whispered, her own breath slowing gradually. “And I’m sorry I made such a fuss over the organ...it actually sounded quite nice in the end.”

    “One of the few things that went right,” Kermit agreed. They lay entwined a while longer, gently kissing as their pulses slowed. Piggy glanced at the bedside clock, and Kermit realized if they lingered, they’d be caught in bed by the driver bringing the private champagne supper Piggy had ordered. After a week of flying cross-country to do promos and talk shows and film commercials and talk up potential sponsors for the next film already, both of them were exhausted and simply wanted some time together. Wryly, Kermit thought of the film’s ending joke about “Piggy staying out of the limelight;” they really did need some down time.

    “Was the rest of it so awful?” Piggy murmured, stretching languorously while Kermit sat on the side of the bed to put on his robe and slippers.

    “It was a pretty bad night, as shows go, yeah,” he sighed. “Those hoboes wrecked half the scenery, that fox got back in the theatre somehow, when I left Bobo was still fighting with him and it looked like they were stuck...” He shook his head. “You know, I just can’t figure out how exactly fire-twirling fits in with ‘The City of New Orleans’? A train crashing through the wall, now that wouldn’t have surprised me – but flame-twirling?” Remembering more, he added, “Oh – and the Newsman says that a few Muppets were left out of the credits for the movie. As if we didn’t have enough to worry about with the studio guys.”

    Piggy sat up, donning her nicest pink satin negligee and matching robe, and absently brushed her hair into perfect place. “Who was left out? I bet it was Suggs.”

    “No, I think Suggs was actually left in,” Kermit mused. “I can’t understand how that could have happened!”

    “Neither can I,” Piggy muttered. “That guy’s a whacko.”

    “Not Suggs, Piggy – I mean anyone not being credited for all the hard work they did! We all put in some long days, as you’ll recall.”

    “Well, it’s done now, isn’t it?”

    “I guess so...but it shouldn’t ever happen again!” Kermit’s jaw lifted, his resolve awakened. “You know what? I think I’ll just find out how it did happen so we can make sure the next film includes everyone!”

    He located his cell phone and tapped one of the numbers in memory. “Kermie...the food will be here any minute,” Piggy chided softly.

    “This’ll only take a sec.” The phone rang and rang, and finally went to voicemail. “Huh. James isn’t answering...well, maybe he’s out. Uh, hi, Nick! This is Kermit. Give me a call back when you can; I have something I need to ask you. Thanks.” Hanging up, he tried another number. That one rang three times, then clicked; muffled sounds came through the line, and then it went dead again. “Huh...must’ve dropped the call.” He tried again, but this time the voicemail picked up immediately. “Uh, hi, James, it’s Kermit. I...I have something I need to discuss with you when you have a minute. But, uh,” he added, glancing at Piggy, “Maybe tomorrow. Talk to you then.”

    “All done?” Piggy asked sweetly.

    “With you? Hardly,” Kermit teased, reaching for her.

    When the doorbell rang, Kermit was just able to hit the intercom from where he lay. “Uh – just leave it on the stoop! I’ll be down in a minute!”

    “Oh you will, will you?” Piggy growled, and with a chuckle he resumed what he’d been doing, much to her appreciation.


    --------------
    James glared at his guest. “The pool? Really?”

    The bespectacled man with a mop of dark hair shrugged, closing the sliding glass door to the patio. “We agreed no phones. That means none. Zero. Nadissimo.”

    “Yeah, but that was a bit harsh,” Bret said, watching Bobin’s phone drift lazily down to the bottom of the pool.

    Jason shrugged. “Left mine at home. Make him buy you another one, James. He’s just ticked that he didn’t get asked to work with the Muppets.”

    Bret snickered, taking a seat at the poker table. “That’s ‘cause he didn’t win an Oscar.”

    “I taught you everything you know,” Jermaine huffed. “Come on, mates. Whose deal is it? Just so you know,” he added, producing a strange little furry bird keychain from a pocket, “You all stand to lose a fortune tonight; I brought my lucky kiwi!”

    Jason stared at that, then burst out laughing. He snatched the token up. “Really? This thing is your lucky charm?”

    “Bret’s the lucky kiwi here,” James said, smiling. “He can afford to pay us all lots and lots from his songwriting war-chest.”

    “Luck’s got nothing to do with it,” Bret scoffed, shuffling the deck as the others settled. “It’s all about talent. Five-card stud, threes wild.”

    “Stud poker,” Jermaine said, with a wide smile. “Now that’s my kind of game.”

    “Shut up and take back your stupid furry thing,” Jason giggled. “Oh, man, who dealt this mess?”

    The jokes and the beer flowed concurrently. It was such a good time that Jason only remembered that he’d forgotten something hours later...and then fell into bed before he could recall what he’d forgot.
    ---------------
    WhiteRabbit, miss kermie and Ruahnna like this.
  3. The Count Moderator

    A fun opening salvo, I'm laughing at all the little bits included left and right and center.
    Someone respectable said Newsie's sportscoats look good on him? Goes to show the old proverb my mom quotes, opinions are like noses or bellybuttons, everybody has one.

    Thanks for posting this, hope to read more when you can get it online.
  4. Ruahnna Well-Known Member

    Sleep-read this last night and finally read it again today. A very thoughtful treatment of a disappointing problem. I liked that no one really just blew Newsie off as though his concerns were not important, and that everyone was concerned about this happening. A sweet story--hoping to see more.
  5. Nasubionna Active Member

    Hey, thanks for writing this. I assume that all your observations about who was and wasn't credited are accurate? (such as Rizzo and Pepe and Moopet Roowlf?? getting mentioned when they hardly did anything? I haven't watched the credits that closely) If so, that's even more infuriating and confusing. Anyone who had a speaking part should have had their name up there. It's exactly like you write: if the whole point was to reintroduce these classic characters to a new audience, isn't it wise to assume that some viewers might not know these characters names? Surely someone out there thought, "My, who is that handsome blonde singing pig that I do not know? Or that dapper plaid-wearing gentleman with the distinctive profile?" but could not look to the end credits for answers.
    I was also QUITE disappointed and angry that Link wasn't listed in the credits... he sang a song, for crying out loud, what's it take to get your name up there? I hope nobody's told him, I don't think his small brain/giant ego could handle the shock of realizing that someone had neglected to credit him for the first time he's physically appeared since 1999 (though his MFS cameo was so tiny it's barely worth mentioning), and in his biggest film role ever..... though him discovering this snub could make for a hilarious/tragic second chapter for this fic....
    Anyway, sorry for the long rant. I share your pain. Sweet fic, I enjoyed reading it. The backstage Muppet mayhem and dialogue is cute (I love Floyd's joke), as is the idea of of a bunch of them sharing a trailer.
    P.S. I haven't seen any of the bonus features yet, as I don't have blu-ray capability. Any extra Link in any of those deleted scenes/features? :D
  6. Slackbot Well-Known Member

    I didn't give the credits a second glance any of the five times I saw the film, so I'm surprised by the omissions. And I'm pleased with the story that you've started around that slip-up. Great beginning; I'm looking forward to reading more.

    "Stay plaid." Heh heh.
  7. newsmanfan Well-Known Member

    Part Two

    Kermit was enjoying, for once, a leisurely brunch with his wife at about eleven in the morning when the sound of crickets chirring came from upstairs. Piggy shot him a wry glance across the sunroom table. “Don’t answer that.”

    Shrugging, nodding, Kermit resettled himself in the chaise and slupped his gnat-chicory coffee, musing that the world never seemed to stop turning...and although it seemed a great deal of it was now turning around the Muppets, which was a change both enjoyable and, finally, profitable, sometimes he longed for the days when the busiest times involved the stage collapsing. Wait, no, strike that, he thought with a mild frown. He looked up when satiny fingers stroked his cheek.

    “We don’t have any meetings today, do we?” Piggy asked. “I don’t recall seeing anything on my planner.”

    “It’s, what, Wednesday?” Kermit shook his head. “No, nothing today. Rehearsals this afternoon, but that’s about it...I think you have a TV spot tomorrow, though, don’t you?”

    “Oh, yes!” Piggy cooed. “Moi’s special guest appearance on Celebrity Hairstyles! I hope Tim Gunn won’t be there this time, though. He’s become kind of smarmy of late and it bugs me. I think the cameras just went to his head.” She sighed. “It’s always sad when fame ruins a perfectly good diva.”

    The cricket-chirp ringtone sounded again. Kermit groaned, and heaved himself off the chaise. “It might be Scooter, Piggy. I should go check.”

    “If the place is burned down again, do not expect me to help clean the soot off the costumes,” Piggy growled, turning back to the style section of the paper.

    Kermit answered his cell on his fifth hop and its fourth ring. Still got it, he thought, panting only a little. “Hello, Kermit the Frog here!”

    “I wish you wouldn’t do that; I can never tell if it’s you or your voicemail,” a somewhat-Brit-accented voice complained.

    “James! Thanks for getting back to me. Listen, an issue has come up with the dvd release...”

    The director and producer snorted. “Well, that’s just bloody wonderful, isn’t it? Kermit, I told them a hundred times not to use that shot of your backside in the blooper reel –“

    “Uh, no,” Kermit said, feeling a flush across his usually-cool cheeks. “No, they...they didn’t. That’s not the problem. Uh, I was informed last night that a few Muppets seem to have been left out of the end credits! Is there any way we can fix that?”

    James paused, taken aback. “No...no, I don’t believe so. Really? Are you sure?”

    “Let’s just say it came from a very reliable source. Not very thrilling, but always reliable.” Kermit frowned, thinking. “Can’t...can’t we change the digital copies, at least, so people downloading it will get the correct credits?”

    “That’s out of my hands, mate. Have you spoken to the studio?”

    “Not yet. They’ll be my next call.” Kermit sighed. “How could this have happened? I don’t want anyone’s feelings hurt! Everyone who participated gave one hundred per cent! Heck, some of them even gave fur, feathers, or blood!”

    “Oh yeah,” James laughed. “That day Gonzo had to redo his stunt fall, what was it, twelve times? You know, I told him we had the take after six.”

    “I know, I know. He does that. Look...who was responsible for the credit roll?”

    “Well, we sent all that to the studio for post,” James said. “I dunno, I suppose Alan, or Jim Thomas. Couldn’t have been any of our people. Check with the studio and see who was typesetting for all that. Maybe part of the list was lost, or something. I’m really sorry. Wish there was more I could do.”

    “Okay. Thanks, James.”

    “Hey, you and Nick are meeting Friday, right?”

    “Yep, yep, that’s the plan. Just a brainstorming kind of thing.”

    “Wonderful! Mind if I sit in?”

    “Of course! I was expecting you to!” Kermit smiled. “See you then, James.”

    “Righto, frog.” The director hung up. Kermit stood a moment longer, thinking; just as he’d made up his mind to look up the number for his contact at the major studio, his phone rang again. This time it was Nick, who sounded very hung over, but who mustered enough energy to tell Kermit the same thing James had: couldn’t have been anyone working for us – must’ve been an error in post at the studio. Kermit sighed as he hung up again, and smelled the lilac perfume behind him even before a soft hand caressed his bare shoulder.

    “Kermie...tell me you’re not doing business today.”

    He grimaced, turning to Piggy. “I may have to, at least a little. I just want to see if this can be fixed...and find out who slipped up so it won’t happen again.”

    “What if you do track the mistake to someone? Are vous planning on firing them?”

    “Well, I’m sure it wasn’t one of us, so that’s not an option...but not using that person on future projects would still be a good idea,” Kermit replied. He sighed. “Give me one hour to try and sort this. Okay? One hour?”

    The pig planted both hands on her curvy hips and gave him her best no-nonsense stare; groupies had wilted under such an onslaught, but Kermit held his ground. If she’s glaring, she’s not really THAT mad, he knew; were his wife genuinely hurt or angry, she’d have left the building. And run up another six charge cards. “All right, frog. One. I am counting.” She pointedly looked at the mantel clock on the Empire fireplace in a corner of the bedroom, but then kissed him before striding out of the room.

    I’ll take her out to the Japanese garden to make it up to her, Kermit decided. She loves the cherry blossoms...and maybe she’ll wear that cute little kimono... Smiling at the thought, he turned back to his phone, and tried to access the address book.

    Fifteen minutes later, a very frustrated amphibian admitted defeat, and resignedly called Scooter. “Scooter? How do I get into the contact number thingy again?”


    ---------------
    Rhonda Rat growled and threw her clipboard aside. “GrrrrrAAAHH! Really? Really? One simple sentence! One! ‘So until the Mayor okays the halibut inspection, we may never know what is in that Native New Yorker Reclaimed Water Fish Filet’! How hard is that for crying out loud!”

    The Newsman looked away, shamefaced. “I’m sorry, Rhonda...I just...I’m a little distracted today, I know...”

    “A little? Twenty-seven takes is a little?”

    “I said I’m sorry!” The rat took a step back, startled, as Newsie threw his arms out, mouth open wide as he leaned toward her and yelled, “How can I focus on tainted fish sandwiches when Muppets are being cheated out of their rights?”

    “Sheesh, knock it off with the wind tunnel, will ya?” Rhonda quickly brushed back her hair, grimacing when she noticed her curls were unraveling. “Great. Do you know how long it took me to get these in this morning? Whaddaya mean Muppets are being cheated? What rights? What are you talking about?”

    Frustrated, Newsie paced back and forth, gesturing as he sputtered the best explanation he could manage in such a state. “The credits – Muppets left out – Jason’s too nice a guy to give it to me straight –“

    His reports producer stared at him. She planted herself at his feet, grabbed his tie, and yanked his nose down to hers. “Will you stop that? Newsie! What the heck is wrong with you!” Suspicious, she sniffed at him. “You haven’t been mixing up your nose spray with Gina’s cayenne pepper plant de-bugger again, have you?”

    “No,” he grumped, jerking his tie out of her paws and smoothing it down under his sports coat again. He forced himself to take a deep breath and calm himself before speaking once more. “I...I found out last night that a number of Muppets were somehow left out of the credits in the new movie!”

    “What, really?” Her whiskers twitched in confusion. “Well, whose brilliant idea was that?”

    “I don’t know yet,” Newsie replied. “I spoke with Mr Segal last night; he said he’d ask the director and the other producer to call me about it...but I haven’t heard anything back.”

    “Well, I kinda doubt those guys can do anything about it anyway, Goldie. I mean, the dvd...”

    “Has already been released, obviously, yes.” Newsie shook his head. “I just don’t...why would anyone have...”

    “Well, who was left out?”

    Again, he listed the names of the Muppets whom he’d noticed hadn’t been credited, including himself. “Ouch. Hey, I didn’t think you were that bad!” Rhonda squeaked. Ignoring the instant scowl, she went on, “So...you’ve already talked to the production manager?”

    “Oh,” Newsie said, surprised and then disappointed with himself. “No, I...I went to the top guys first.”

    “Well, that’s great; but I very much doubt that, one, they even know how it happened, and two, that they’d have time to talk to you! Those guys are busy, ya know, and –“

    “And I’m just the Muppet News reporter,” he muttered. “Nobody important in Hollywood.”

    “Newsie, no...that’s not where I was going at all. It’s just that they’re already all into other projects. Those guys keep busier than Rizzo in a cheese factory! So look, um...” She thought about it. “I’d say start with the PM. He’d have been the guy assigned to get all the names together and give them to the editor, right?”

    “I...I don’t know,” Newsie admitted. “My experience with film crews other than you and Tony has been somewhat limited.”

    “Tommy.”

    “Er...right. Isn’t that what I said? So would the PM be in the phone book?”

    “Look him up online, Sunshine. Later, though, okay? Can we try this endcap one more time?”

    Sighing, nodding, the Newsman straightened his back, looked directly into the camera, gathered his thoughts, and tried once again when Rhonda cued him: “However, until the Mayor’s office mandates better testing of the sandwiches, we may never know what’s in the water. For the halibut, I’m –“

    “No! No! No!” Disgusted, the rat tossed her headset away. The aardvark filling in for the sloth today grumbled to himself, and asked something about coffee. “Yeah, yeah, fine. Bring me back a skinny moccalatta supreme with a double shot of patience, wouldya?”

    “I’m sorry...” Newsie mumbled.

    “Write it on your froggin’ hand if you have to, but read the danged thing right!”

    An hour later, relieved to be away from his angry producer, Newsie sat in his dressing-room at the news station, laptop perched on his legs in a large chair, hunting online for some sort of contact number. At last he found the name he sought, wrote down the phone number, and tried calling it. “Hello? Uh...this is the Muppet Newsman calling from New York. Is this the John Scotti who worked as the production manager for...oh. I’m sorry. Thank you.” With a sigh, he hung up and stared at the screen, where the full results of his search through the LA white pages had turned up sixteen possibilities. Great. Good thing Gina switched our phone plan... He began with the second “J. Scotti” and dialed the number.

    Finally, he reached the correct man at his work number, but was told by an assistant that Mr Scotti was on-set at a shoot for The Best Little Doghouse in West Kansas, and couldn’t possibly be reached. He wrangled the private number out of the assistant only by promising the young lady tickets to any Broadway show she liked the next time she visited New York. The cell phone he then called rang seven times before an irritated voice picked up: “What? What couldn’t wait until lunch?”

    “Er...I’m very sorry to bother you at work, Mr Scotti...this is the Muppet Newsman. I need to find out if you were responsible for compiling the names of all the Muppets who worked on –“

    “Muffins? Why would I pile muffins? Am I the caterer now too?”

    It took a few minutes, but eventually Newsie was able to get his question across the fuzzy connection properly. “Oh...the credits. Well, the editor was really in charge of those, but yeah, I sent him the list of names, sure. Why?”

    “Because several Muppets were left out of the credits!”

    “Oh,” Mr Scotti muttered, “That’s not cool. Uh...is Kermit mad? Oh no – don’t tell me the pig was left out!”

    “Uh, no. Miss Piggy was listed correctly. There was another pig left out, though; two, in fact. Link Hogthrob and Julius Strangepork. As well as –“

    “Oh, well, I’m sure it was an error in post, then.”

    “Maybe,” Newsie said, continuing doggedly. “However, to be sure, could you fax over to me the list you made?”

    “Uh...well...ask my assistant about that. I’m on a shoot, but she can track down the paperwork for you. She actually was the one who compiled the list; she worked on your film too.”

    “Oh...all right. Thank you, sir.”

    The young lady back at Mr Scotti’s office was annoyed at the request, but when Newsie pointed out her boss had said she would handle it, she grudgingly faxed the three-page list of Muppets to Newsie’s work number. He thanked her again, hung up, and raced for the copy room in hopes of grabbing the printout before Angry Howie could get to it. He slid around the corner on the slick floor, leaving black scuffmarks where he tried to brake with the heels of his saddle shoes, wincing and hoping no one saw him – only to tumble into the copy room and find the pudgy, frowning Supply Manager for the station yanking sheets out of the fax machine. “What the hey is this? Who’s wasting valuable paper on this crap?”

    “It’s mine,” Newsie panted. “It’s important! It’s for...a story! Hey!” He leaped up, trying to grab the papers, as Howard held them far out of the Muppet’s reach. “Howard, I need those!”

    “Oh yeah? I don’t recall you filling out a Fax Incoming Authorization Supply Request,” Howie sneered. He squinted at the papers. “Miss...Poogy? Walter? Dave Goelz? Who the heck are these idiots?”

    “Muppets,” Newsie snapped, glaring up, unwilling to compromise his dignity further by jumping again. He crossed his arms over his chest, standing stiffly to his full three-foot-six. “Well, mostly. It’s for an important report I just started, Howard. I haven’t had a chance to fill out the form yet, but I will, okay?”

    “You’ll fill it out nowand get one of the managers to approve it – before I release this stupid thing to you,” Howie barked, and folded his own arms, appearing smug.

    Ridiculous petty middle management tyrant! Newsie thought, gritting his teeth. But he really, really needed that list. “Fine,” he growled, snatching one of the forms-in-triplicate from a stack of them next to the fax machine and quickly filling it out. “If anything happens to those before I get back...” he threatened.

    Howie giggled. “What? You’ll bite my ankles?”

    “He won’t – but I got a cousin who likes that kind of thing,” Rhonda said, glaring from the doorway. Newsie gave her a look of pure gratitude. The rat sniffed haughtily, dismissing Howie as she examined her perfectly manicured French nails. “He especially likes sneaking into people’s bedrooms and nipping at them when they’re sound asleep. That’s like extreme sports to a young rat.”

    “It’ll be right here,” Howie grumbled sourly, taking a step away from Rhonda.

    Newsie grasped her paw on his way out the door. “Thanks!”

    “You owe me lunch. Move it.”

    After fifteen frantic minutes of running from office to office and discovering most of the staff were out at lunch already, Newsie finally caught one of the sales managers on his way out and begged the bemused executive to sign the form. Jubilant, Newsie pounded back through the neon-lit corridors to the copy room, where Rhonda and Howie stood like gunfighters at a saloon, each pointedly ignoring yet vividly aware of the other. Howie read through the forms, grunted, and unwillingly released the fax to eager yellow hands. “Thanks so much,” Newsie breathed to Rhonda, trotting back towards his dressing-room.

    “Next time, why don’t ya just have whoever it is send you a pdf, and you can print it out yourself without going through the Paper-and-Ink Nazi?” Rhonda shook her head at Newsie’s startled blink. “Come on, pony up. I want a falafel today.”

    “Go ahead,” Newsie agreed, gladly slapping a couple of fives into the rat’s paw. “I have work to do.”

    “Eat something, or I’ll tell Gina, and tomorrow she’ll pack you something in your Scooby-Doo lunchbox,” Rhonda said.

    Newsie stopped in his tracks. “You wouldn’t!”

    “I would too. Remember last summer when you forgot to eat for two days and passed out on location at the cattle auction?”

    “Uh...yes.” That hadn’t been a good day at all. He’d ended up completely discarding that particular pair of pants; the hoofprints and ground-in... fertilizer...refused to come out of the gabardine. “I’ll get something soon. I promise.”

    “Hmf.” The dainty rat traded her heels for cute wedge pumps from her locker, and tied her hair in a matching floral scarf before heading out. “I’ll bring you a fruit-whey smoothie, then. You burn too many calories just being awake to skip lunch.”

    “Thank you, Rhonda,” he muttered, pacing as he began skimming the list of names. He ignored her eye-roll at him as she left. Sgt Floyd Pepper, Camilla, Sweetums, 80s Robot – sheesh, the troll and the weird little mechanical thing made it onto the official list! Lew Zealand, Crazy Harry...Scooter, Janice...Dr Honeydew, Zoot, Beauregard, Waldorf...geez. So that’s almost everyone...except me, and the pigs, and...the rats! He didn’t think Rhonda had been present for the filming, and Rizzo was indeed listed, but what about the other rats, who’d helped clean the theatre and joined in the finale? What about Camilla’s friends, or the penguins, or...much as he grimaced at the thought...the other monsters? He read through the whole list twice. The band’s here, but what about Nigel, or Lips, or the rest of the orchestra? I don’t even know all their names...but they were there, they worked! They deserve at least a mention! He tried not to allow himself to think about his own snubbing, though he’d had a larger part than most of the people he could think of who’d been left off, MahnaMahna being the possible exception to that. “This is outrageous!” he protested aloud. “This is...this is sloppy, and inexcusable!” He wondered suddenly if he ought to mention to any of the monsters that they’d been left out...he very much doubted that Carl, for instance, or Beautiful Day or Behemoth or the Luncheon Counter Monster would take such an omission kindly. Thog and Droop might shrug it off, but those guys? Yikes... No...better not to be the bearer of such news. Perhaps he could get Scooter to inform them? Or...or maybe it would be better just not to mention it...

    Still, this was unfair. He would get to the bottom of this! He would expose and shame the perpetrator of such discriminatory favoritism! Jaw firmly set, he redialed the number of Mr Scotti’s assistant. She was less than thrilled to hear his voice again, but he didn’t give her the opportunity to complain before he launched into a righteous tirade which would’ve made Sam proud. “What kind of half-bottomed production are you running, Miss? I have counted at least twenty individuals whose hard work on our film was completely disregarded! What I want to know is, was this slight intentional or the result of haphazard clerical work on your part? Because if –“

    “Wait, wait, what are you talking about?” the young lady asked. “What do you mean, people were disregarded? You weird little things are impossible to ignore, much less try to work around! I have never been on a set before where I had to watch out for cast members trying to explode me, walk on me – literally – or seduce me into a hot tub, which frankly was very distasteful since I keep Kosher and I would never get into a tub with a shrimp!”

    “Er...sorry about that one,” Newsie gulped, taken aback at her irate tone. “But – but that list you sent the editors was incomplete, to say the least! Numerous performers aren’t even on it!”

    “Oh...well...that’s not my fault; I only compiled the list.”

    “How does that make it not –“

    “I didn’t actually go around taking down people’s names,” she snapped. “Do you think the assistant to the PM has time for silly trivialities like that? Heck no! Every day on that shoot, it was ‘Jennifer, get me another coffee,’ ‘Jennifer, what day’s my anniversary again?’ ‘Hey Jennifer, run halfway across town and get me a sandwich from that weird deli which only I out of everyone else on this set have to get my lunch from, because the food truck’s just not good enough for the likes of John G Scotti –‘”

    “Hold on, wait, please,” Newsie interrupted, trying to steer her back on track. “So...so you didn’t actually make sure everyone’s name was on the list before you gave it to your boss, and he gave it to the editors?”

    “Well of course not! I had the junior assistants do that.”

    “The junior assistants?”

    “Right. Shirley and Maeve. Normally we had one of them running scripts from the writers to the actors with any changes, and the other running notes from the director to the writers, and they both ran errands, but I forget which was which...”

    Newsie pinched the bridge of his nose hard, hoping to derail a growing headache, then resettled his glasses one-handed. “Okay...may I have their numbers, please?”

    “You’re kidding, right?”

    “No. I’m not kidding. I need to find out how this happened.”

    “They were temps! I have no idea how to –“

    “Then put me in touch with the agency you used to hire them!” Newsie snapped.

    With much fussing and kvetching, the assistant complied. “Listen, buster, you had really better make this worth my time when I –“

    “I can tell you’re a valuable member of the team,” Newsie said curtly. “Thank you for being so accurate and double-checking things.” He hung up, and flung himself into a chair. He hated being impolite, but drat it, this was important! Why didn’t everyone check their facts before passing them along as accurate and complete?

    “Chill, Brokaw. Not everyone’s interested in the facts,” Rhonda commented mildly, trotting in and shoving a large strawberry-mango smoothie into his hand. “Drink all of it, or you’ll be saddled with a soft vinyl Mystery Machine full of pita chips and tuna salad.” He scowled at her, but sipped the thick shake. “Not much progress, I take it. So who were you yelling at?”

    With a sigh, Newsie repeated what he’d learned thus far. “I feel like I’m getting a runaround already,” he complained.

    “Hark!” Rhonda stood on tiptoe, ears perked. “I hear a buck being passed.”

    “Hmf,” Newsie agreed. She snickered.

    “Well, keep at it, since it’s giving you so much enjoyment. Meanwhile, I’m gonna run the clip from today to the edit booth so we’ll be good to go tonight.” She gave him a thoughtful look. “You, uh, you wanna go public with this whole missing-credits thing?”

    He considered it briefly, then shook his head. “No. I still don’t know if this was a big mistake, or if someone took exception to some of us...and until I know why it happened, I think splashing it over the news would be irresponsible.”

    “Good boy.” She patted his arm. “I’ll go ahead and start brainstorming a headline for ya. Hmmm...’Muppagate’? ‘Three Mile Credits’? Wait, wait – ‘Vainly Unlisted’!”

    “Do you...do you think I’m...I’m being vain? For just wanting...”

    “I think everyone in Hollywood is vain in one way or another,” Rhonda snorted, but at his unhappy expression amended, “But ya know, Goldie, you did have several lines, so you oughta get a mention. That’s the rules, as I hear. So fight for it if you want.”

    “It isn’t just me,” he reminded her stiffly. “Several Muppets were ignored! I’m not going after this for my own sake, Rhonda!”

    “Has anyone else complained?”

    “Uh...not yet. That I know of.”

    “Well, then, are you muckraking or fertilizer-stirring? You know if Fleet gets hold of this –“

    Angrily, Newsie broke in, “He’d better not!” Scribbler, always predictable in any situation smacking of scandal, would have a field day...especially if he found out the Newsman hadn’t been credited. Newsie winced, imagining the headlines.

    “’Loser Newsman Cut from Credits; Producers Cite Nasal Spray Abuse,’” Rhonda quipped. “Yeah, I can see it already.” She shook her head. “So then keep it under wraps until you know the full story, okay? Believe me, I don’t want a stink either.”

    “You weren’t even there,” Newsie grumbled.

    “So? Think I wanna be known as the producer of the Muppet Charlie Sheen? Just get to the goods fast, Sunshine. Then tell Kermit, and we’ll let him decide what to do about it.”

    “That’s the plan,” Newsie shot back. As if he couldn’t have come up with that solution on his own!

    “Keep scowling, and your face is gonna freeze like that. Drink your smoothie. See ya later.”

    Newsie yelled after her, “Who appointed you my evil stepmother?”

    “Eesh, me in your family? Perish the thought!”

    Irritated, he paced a while longer, sipping the drink. Finally he composed himself, sat down, and called the temp agency number the angry assistant had given him. He introduced himself and explained what he needed: “I’m sorry I don’t know their last names, but they would have been working last year on-set for the filming of The Muppets...”

    The elderly woman on the other end of the line sounded confused. “Filming muffins? Oh, do you mean the hand model for the Lars’ Bakery shoot?”

    “Not muffins,” Newsie explained, “Muppets. The new Muppet film. It was just released on dvd. Didn’t you see it?”

    “Oh, a muffin dvd,” the woman said, perking brightly. “You must mean the cooking series that Millie just did! Oh, of course, let me get you her résumé, dear.”

    The Newsman carefully set aside the fax papers so he wouldn’t damage them, and began banging his forehead against the wooden arm of the chair.


    -----------------
    Kermit hung up, feeling more annoyed by the minute. Piggy said in a low, dangerously sweet voice from behind him, “Mon capitan, it has now been exactly seventy-one minutes, and correct me if I am mistaken, but I was under the impression that even a movie-business hour was still only sixty minutes.”

    “I know, Piggy, I know,” Kermit sighed. “I’m sorry.” She came closer, and he grasped her silky arm just above her glove, stroking her skin. “I never imagined this would turn into something so complicated.”

    His sour demeanor changed her mood from impatience to concern, and she sat down beside him on the master suite’s generous loveseat. “Well, how hard can it be? Why don’t you let moi talk to those nasty old studio executives? I always manage to get what I need out of them...one way or another,” she said, her gentle tone turning growly.

    Kermit chuckled, and kissed her cheek. “I wish you could, but I think this is going to take simple persistence more than bribes or threats...”

    “Who said anything about bribes?” Piggy smiled wickedly. “With those guys, I only ask nicely once.”

    “Well...I’ve already spoken to the studio. They had somebody email me the list the title editor used to make the end credits.”

    Piggy bit back a smile. “And how long did it take you to download it?”

    Kermit waved a frustrated arm at his computer. “I, uh, had Scooter’s help. Look, the point is, it was an incomplete list! So it doesn’t seem to have been a post-production mistake after all. Someone left people out. So far I’ve spoken to the executive editor, the daily production editor, the assistant editor, the assistant editor’s assistant...”

    “Hmm.” Piggy scrunched her nose; Kermit found his mood lifted a little just seeing that. Much as she pulled the diva act, he knew she had a formidable brain working behind the blonde façade, and if she was actually going to help him figure this out... She jumped and squeaked a little, startled, when the frog hugged her. “Kermie...”

    “What am I doing wrong, Piggy?” he wondered aloud, and nuzzled into her curls, making her shiver. “What kind of example am I setting if I didn’t even notice we’d left people out?”

    “Kermie...you were so busy,” she murmured, kissing softly, one hand stroking under his frilled collar. “One cannot expect mon capitan to notice such things when he is also acting, and meeting with the director and the writers and the producers every week, and trying to keep certain Muppets from blowing up the set or maiming themselves during filming, which would have killed our insurance...”

    “I know, but...”

    “Kermie,” Piggy said firmly, holding him at arm’s length so he would see her serious face, “This is not your problem!”

    “But it is, Piggy,” he protested. “Ultimately, yes, it is! I should have made sure everyone got their fair share, not just of the salaries or the royalties or the lunch cart –“

    “Some of them had more than their fair share of that,” Piggy muttered.

    “Yeah, well, I did talk to Rizzo about that. That’s my point, though: I spoke to him about it. You know why? Because in the end, I’m the only one who knows all the Muppets! Jason’s a great guy, and I’m happy with everything he did, but you know, at the end of the shoot, this movie was about us. You, and me, and Scooter, and Fozzie, and Gonzo, and –“

    “I get the point,” Piggy sighed. “You don’t have to name ‘em all.”

    “Yes we do.” Kermit gave her an earnest stare, and she felt some of her growing annoyance melting again. “Yes, we do. Maybe we can...issue a public statement or something – a full-page ad in Variety might do. But I also have to find out who left Muppets out, and make sure it never happens again...because we are a family, and –“

    She shut him up with a kiss. She adored him in full-on speech-stumping, defender-of-the-downtrodden mode...but this was supposed to be their day off. She kept kissing, her hands roving, removing his collar, slipping down his slick body. Kermit managed to break apart briefly, gasping. “Piggy, honey! I love you, but – I need to –“

    “Later,” she insisted, her voice throaty, her own breath quickening. “Your hour’s up. My turn!”

    Kermit found he couldn’t think of an argument for that...and he didn’t really want to argue.
    ------------------
    miss kermie likes this.
  8. The Count Moderator

    Yay! *<333 the update with all its little details here and there.
    Muffins, Muppets, it's all the same thing.
    Keep plugging away at it boys, you'll get to the bottom of the Case of the Unlisted Castmates.
  9. miss kermie Well-Known Member

    Oh, I love it! I love it so much that I think that I don't know where I'm going with this. LOL. It was awesome, let's go with that! And I love Kermit's thoughts on the kimino! It was adorable! More Pleaseth
  10. newsmanfan Well-Known Member

    Part Three

    A very disgruntled Newsman slogged up the loading-dock stairs at a quarter to seven, grimacing at the cherry syrup covering his clothes and still sliding in glops down his nose from his drenched hair. A group of penguins paused in their conversation about changing social mores as depicted in Sad Men and Gee!, staring at him. Head down, humiliated, he muttered, “Report about a cherry bomb in a high school cheerleading event.”

    The penguins began snickering. Within a minute they were all squawking their piercing, nasal laughs. “Oh yeah? Is it funny that you guys were left out of the credits too? Laugh at that, you jaded pop culture mavens!” he snapped hoarsely. Silenced, they stared at one another, confused. He didn’t feel like explaining himself. His day had been nothing but frustrations; his head ached, he could barely move his legs against the stickiness of the drying syrup, and the smell of the stuff made his nose burn. On top of that, he’d finally tracked down one of the junior production assistants only to learn that she knew absolutely nothing about any list of cast members...and he’d so far not heard back from the other girl.

    Just inside the backstage door, he encountered Robin. “Wow, you smell like cough drops!” the little frog exclaimed. “Were you doing a stunt like Gonzo?”

    “No,” Newsie replied, reining in his disgust in the face of such eager innocence. “No, Robin. His mishaps are actually intentional.”

    “Oh, right. Um...I think the shower’s working today,” Robin peeped helpfully.

    Newsie nodded thanks, trudging down the stairs to the green room without falling, though at the bottom he had to pry his fingers from the railing. One of Beau’s cleaning rags served to de-syrup the hand enough to safely grasp his spare robe and a possibly-clean towel on his way into the men’s room shower. Thank frog for small miracles, he thought glumly when the hot water actually came on...for about two minutes. It was enough to loosen the sticky stuff from his hair, at least; he finished washing as fast as he could after that, and emerged with chattering teeth from the icy water. A good shake rid his nose of the tiny icicles trying to form, and his robe, thankfully, was warm. Hurrying back through the green room to his own tiny space beside the broom closet, a loud wailing made him pause. Good grief, I thought Annie Sue left the company years ago! he thought, amazed at the pitch and volume of the mournful cry, but then turned to see Link sobbing into a large monogrammed hankie.

    “H-how could this happen?” the well-groomed hog sniffled, and blew his nose loudly. A glum Dr Strangepork gently patted his shoulder.

    “There, there, Link. I guess the producers simply didn’t think you were handsome enough,” the shorter pig with frizzes of white hair over his ears sighed. Link cried more. Strangepork shook his head. “Cheer up, they didn’t vant me either! Only Miss Piggy had her name in lights! None of the rest of us pigs vere even mentioned!”

    Oh, no. So news of the names omission had reached backstage. Cautiously, Newsie approached the two hogs. “But – but – I had a song! I was dashingly handsome in that red stripey vest and straw hat! And I sang beautifully!” Link moaned. “How could they even think of putting First Mate Piggy before me!”

    “Link, how many times do I have to tell you?” Strangepork huffed. “Miss Piggy only plays that part in the Pigs in Space sketch! She is no more a space cadet than you are a Rhodes Scholar!”

    “I know perfectly well what a road is!” Link retorted, drawing up straight and waggling his head proudly. “It’s like a street, but with none of that...hard shiny stuff. Ohhhh...what am I going to do? My career is ruined!”

    “Cheer up, Link...you never had a career!” Strangepork sighed, patting his comrade-in-shame on the back again.

    “Er...how did you hear about the mistake in the end credits?” Newsie asked tentatively. The hogs looked at him oddly, but then again, being interviewed by a reporter in a robe and fuzzy flip-flop slippers wasn’t exactly standard practice...

    “Vat are you talking about?” Strangepork wondered. “Vat mistake? Vat credits?”

    “Er...uh...what were you talking about?”

    “Piggy’s been offered a spot on the next Dancing vith the Second-rung Former Celebrities show,” Strangepork explained.

    “I’m way more second-rung than she is!” Link wailed, and buried his nose in his hankie again.

    “Oh,” Newsie said, backing away. “Er. Sorry to interrupt.”

    “Vat vere you talking about?” the German boar asked, ears perked.

    “Oh, uh, nothing. Sorry you weren’t asked on the show, Link. Uh, I’m sure you’ll get a break soon,” Newsie offered, trying to slip into his dressing-closet.

    “He’s talking about Link and you being left out of the end credits in the big movie we all did which just got released nationally on dvd,” Scooter supplied.

    Newsie glared at him, startled. “Scooter!”

    “Oh, uh, I mean...nothing. Ha ha. Just a, um, a private joke between me and Newsie...right, Newsie?” the gofer tried, elbowing the Newsman with a frozen smile.

    Newsie blew out a breath, silently fuming. Link and Strangepork stared at them, then at one another. “They...they didn’t put us in the movie credits? But...I vas there!” Strangepork said, incredulous.

    “What do you mean, I’m not in the credits?” Link asked. “That’s a silly phrase, ‘not in the credits’! I mean, you almost make it sound like I’m not listed in the movie credits, and we all know that would never happen! What does that – wait. Are you saying I wasn’t listed in the credits? Ohhh! Oh noooo!”

    “Ve’re going to need a bigger handkerchief,” Strangepork muttered. “Come on, Link, take it like a boar!”

    “Thanks, Scooter,” Newsie growled, and slammed his door, still angry as he put on a fresh change of clothing.

    “You’re welcome,” Scooter sighed. He shook his head as he checked the sign-in sheet on his clipboard, hurrying upstairs to the stage floor. “I just don’t understand it...I put that list together myself!” He was very sure he’d been thorough, taking the time to get absolutely everyone’s name. He’d even run it by... “Kermit! Hey, boss, did you make any decisions about the guest star lineup for next month? That kid from the telethon scene’s called four times today, asking if next time he can work with Donatello!”

    “Sheesh, Scooter, not now,” Kermit groaned, sagging onto his chair stage right. “I can barely think about the show tonight, much less plan ahead!” Head in his webbed fingers, he downed the last of his second cup of coffee, wishing the headache would go away. As soon as he’d left the townhouse to come here, the stress had returned full force; he was still waiting on the assistant editor’s assistant’s intern’s second associate to call him back.

    Scooter nodded. “Okay, well, in that case, I heard from five other musicians today who all want a part in the next film, and two offered to score Ham in a Cabin for us. I told them we already had a composer, but maybe they could be in the running for the Halloween special, if we can get the studio’s approval this early –“

    “Scooter! How does I can’t think past tonight translate into I’m ready to plan the next movie and all the specials we talked about maybe possibly doing in the near future?”

    “Uh. Right, Chief. Sorry.” Scooter hesitated, seeing the dark cloud clearly hovering over his boss’ frumpled green head. “Um...feel like going over the acts for tonight?”

    Kermit shook his head. “I just don’t get it! Nobody at the studio or at our own production company seems to be able to just stand up and say they were responsible for this terrible mistake!”

    Shamefaced, Beauregard trudged over to the frog and took off his cap, head bowed. “Uh...I cannot tell a lie, Kermit. This is all my fault.”

    Kermit and Scooter stared at him. “W-what? Beauregard, how could you possibly have had anything to do with the credits?” Kermit sputtered, his mind agog at the possibilities.

    The janitor sadly shuffled from foot to foot. “Uh, I don’t know anything about any credit, Kermit...I only use money orders myself...”

    “Beau, what are you talking about?”

    “Oh. Well, remember last week when you told me I should really put my back into my scenery construction?”

    “...Yes?”

    “Well, uh, I didn’t realize you didn’t mean to really put my back into it,” Beau murmured, glancing up: Kermit looked up as well, shuddering at the weird furry lump attached to a garden arbor hanging just out of audience sightlines in the fly loft. A couple of rats were crouched on either side of it with sticks.

    “You poke it,” one rat dared the other.

    “I’m not poking it! You poke it!”

    “Yeesh...Beau, how the heck did you even –“

    “Oh, Dr Honeydew helped me,” Beau explained, eyes bright. “He figured out how to detach a part of my spine with the back fur without hurting me! It has been kinda hard walking around like an accordion, though...”

    “Look, however you got it up there, just...get it down and put it back where it belongs!” Kermit yelled, and the sheepish janitor nodded and wobbled off toward the flyrail stage left.

    “Aaaaah,” Fozzie said, pointing at the frog. “Back where it belongs! Good one!”

    “Not now, Fozzie,” Kermit groaned. “Fozzie...can you hear the phone from back here?”

    “Sure, Kermit. Oh! Are we doing that running gag again? I loved that one! ‘Hello, Muppet Theatre, backstage!’”

    “No, Fozzie. I’m just expecting an important call. Make sure to give me the phone if anyone from Hollywood calls, okay?”

    “Right frog!” The bear grinned, nudging his moody friend. “Aaaah? Remember that one? Bear left?”

    “Fozzie...” Kermit sighed. The bear clapped him on the shoulder.

    “Never mind. You’re busy. Not to worry, Kermit! The bear has it all under control!”

    Kermit wasn’t even surprised when Fozzie stumbled on an old roller-skate someone had left laying in the wing as he backed up. As the wailing bear shot out onstage, crashing into Beau on a ladder trying to unhook his spine section from the scenery, Kermit and Scooter turned away. “So, uh...you’re trying to find out what happened with the credits?” Scooter asked.

    “No luck so far. No one seems to have any answers!” Kermit shook his head, rubbing weary eyes. “Scooter, are you positive that list you showed me had absolutely everyone on it?”

    “Positive, boss! Even the guys who only appeared in the last scene in the theatre, where you give that whole ‘let’s walk out as a family’ speech, like the Trumpet Fazoob, and Lunch Counter Monster, and Mock Holliday –“

    “Holiday?” Kermit asked, his head jerking up.

    “Uh, no relation. This was one of the cactuses...is it cactuses or cacti?” Scooter mused. He shrugged. “Anyway, he’s from Tombstone, I think. I wrote down the Mutations and Bobby Benson’s Babies and Esmerelda, Imelda, Matilda, Louise, and Sue!” At Kermit’s puzzled look, Scooter explained, “The chickens who danced with Camilla. Boss, I didn’t leave anyone out. No way!”

    The frog sighed. “I didn’t think you did, Scooter...but then what happened? You did give the list to the production manager, right?”

    “Uh, well, actually –“

    A loud crash sounded from the stage; Kermit looked out to see Beau dangling, legs kicking, from the scenery. “I told you it was a stem cell!” one of the rats shrieked. “I told you! And now it’s cloned itself!”

    “Beau, get down from there! The house opens in five minutes!” Kermit yelled.

    “Whoops! Almost forgot! Back in a sec, Chief!” Scooter ran upstairs to the star dressing rooms, banging on doors. “House opening in five minutes! House open!” He dashed back through the wing on his way downstairs, upsetting a small parade of chickens dressed as rabbits and Bean Bunny in a chicken suit; feathers poufed and jellybeans scattered over the stairs.

    “Hey, c’mon, watch where you’re going!” Bean called out.

    “Sorry, Bean! Hey everyone, five min— whoooaaaa!” Scooter’s shoes slipped on the jellybeans, and he traversed the stairs to the green room on his behind.

    The small rabbit shook his head sadly. “They never listen.”

    Below, Newsie emerged from his closet space to hear a very rumpled gofer gasping “Three minutes ‘til house opens, everyone...” Newsie paused to check his reflection in a mirror, adjusted his brown-striped tie, and rebuttoned his brown-and-tan-check coat. He thought about Rhonda’s opinion of Hollywood stars.

    Am I vain? he wondered, glancing around quickly to see if anyone had noticed him making himself professionally presentable. Am I being too egotistical, feeling hurt because my name was left out? Kermit said I was part of the troupe...they’ve been inviting me to parties more, and even Piggy usually notices me when I’m in her way...but...if that’s true...why didn’t anyone notice I was left out? Depressed, he sank into a battered chair. He saw Link still sobbing quietly in a corner; having drenched his handkerchief, the hog was blowing his nose into what looked like a large bedsheet edged with Battenburg lace and the repeated monogram ‘L.H.’ all over it. Dr Strangepork slumped nearby at a table, nursing a tall double cream soda on the rocks. He slucked his straw morosely, and wouldn’t meet anyone’s eyes. This is awful! Can’t anything be done for us? Newsie checked his phone; no new calls. I have to get that other temp assistant to talk to me, somehow! This has to be solved before things get any worse! What will happen when the really big monsters discover they were left off the list? Don’t they call that ‘being dissed’ or something? Newsie had tried, he really had, to regard the whole “monstah rap” phenomenon as a cultural art form born of a hard existence under the streets...but he still distrusted the creatures around here who wore lots of body jewelry and flashed “troll signs” at one another with knowing leers. Those guys will absolutely go bananas when they find out! What if they blame Kermit? This is NOT good. He realized that he still didn’t know the names of everyone who’d been in the film; for instance, he couldn’t tell one penguin from another, and had no idea how many of them had worked on the movie. It seemed like at least one of them was always flying into the air, especially whenever they used the overhead crane shots. But did the penguins help with those, or were they just amusing themselves jumping off the crane?

    Sighing, he realized he ought, at least, to compile a complete list. Spotting a group of rats queuing up for whatever the Chef was cooking (Newsie smelled gorgonzola, spinach, and marshmallow crème...he didn’t want to know what the menu featured tonight), he approached them with notepad and pencil at the ready. “Uh, excuse me, guys? Which of you acted in the last film?”

    A few hands went up. One of the rats snorted. “Not like we got any recognition for it! Dat Rizzo got all the credit!”

    “Yeah, and he didn’t do a day’s work,” another complained.

    “What a rat!”

    “Yeahhh,” they chorused, wistfully.

    “Er...well...I’m trying to correct that error.” Newsie took down the names of the ones who claimed to have been present, although two of them promptly engaged in a tail-pulling fight over whether or not one had actually been there or had spent the entire shoot laying in a donut-induced coma under the food truck.

    “What’s going on?” demanded a tall, round-headed, tan furry monster. His eyes seemed to pop out of his skull, and his stubby teeth looked remarkably white. Newsie backed away a step unconsciously.

    “Ah, dis guy’s takin’ down the names of everybody what was workin’ on da movie,” a rat explained.

    “Ooh! Is this like an in-depth tell-all book?” the monster asked eagerly. “’Cause if so, I got some great stories about Jack Black’s dental hygiene!”

    “Uh...not exactly,” Newsie muttered. Before the monster could launch into one of the paeans to teeth he so obviously wanted to share, Newsie’s phone rang. “Sorry! Excuse me.” The number had an LA area code! Excited, Newsie paced away from the racket at the canteen, nearly dropping the phone as he answered it. “Hello! Muppet Newsman!”

    “Oh, uh, no,” a female voice on the other end said uncertainly. “Um, no, this is Maeve Squinchy...maybe I have the wrong –“

    “No! I mean yes! I mean...” Newsie forced himself to breathe. “You have the right number! I’m the one who asked the temp agency for you. Did you work as a junior production assistant for The Muppets?”

    “Uhhh...look, I’m sorry, but I’m booked through the end of next year. Next decade, actually. Can’t possibly work for Muppets anytime in the foreseeable future. Sorry.”

    “Wait wait wait don’t hang up! Please!” Hearing the line still open, Newsie rushed to explain: “No, see, I didn’t track you down to hire you! This is about –“

    “What?” The girl sounded irritated now. “Well then what the heck are you wasting my time and long-distance minutes for?”

    “Please, listen,” Newsie begged. “I need to know one thing: did you compile the list of all the Muppets who worked on the film?”

    “A list?”

    “Yes. When you were working as the junior production assistant to the production manager’s assistant for that film, were you the one given the assignment to take down everyone’s name so they could be listed properly in the film credits?”

    Silence. The Newsman waited tensely. At last the girl said, “Ummm...no.”

    “No?” Startled, he argued, “But – but – it was either you or the other junior assistant! I’ve tracked it all the way down to you, and she never even heard of the list, so it must be –“

    “I know what you’re talking about, but it wasn’t me, okay?” She sounded defensive. “Look, it’s not my fault I had a nail appointment that day! I handed the stupid assignment over to that weird green thing instead. Everybody gave him stupid chores all the time; it’s what he was there for, right? Anyway, this was like, over a year ago! What’s the big deal?”

    “You what to who?” Newsie choked, completely thrown. How far down the chain does this go, anyway?

    Upstairs, Kermit remembered what he’d been about to ask Scooter when the young Muppet returned to the backstage desk. “Okay, Chief, I think we’re set. The gargling gargoyle is on standby in case anyone gets cold feet.”

    “Forget it, Angus! Not in a million years!” Kermit yelled; a disgruntled gray thing in a kilt stalked away muttering under his breath. Kermit sighed, wishing for patience. “Scooter, about that list of names –“

    “Right, Chief! Oh, I had a complete list! Every Muppet in the film was listed!”

    “And...you gave it to the production manager?”

    “Uh, well, sort of...”

    “Sort of? Scooter, either you gave it to him or –“

    “Well, y’see, that guy seemed to be everywhere and nowhere all at once! When I tracked him down to the editing tent, he’d be at the second unit shoot; when I’d go to the second unit, he’d be coordinating with the fern wranglers; when I’d –“

    “I get it, I get it,” Kermit sighed, frustrated. “So, what, you left it in his inbox?”

    “Oh, heck no! It might’ve been lost like that!”

    “Scooter – what did you do with the list?”

    To Newsie, the displeased young woman explained as though she was talking to a remedial six-year-old: “Well, obviously, I told that weird green toothy thing to do it, because that’s what everyone did! I mean, he was the unit production something or whatever! It’s not like I left it with just anyone to do! I’m not irresponsible or anything!”

    Newsie’s mind raced: weird green toothy thing? That alligator friend of Kermit’s who showed up on autograph day at the set? “Do you remember this green thing’s name?” he asked.

    Scooter shrugged, puzzled. “Well, gee, Kermit, I gave it to the next best thing to the unit production manager – the unit production monster.”

    The irritated former junior assistant to the production manager’s assistant sighed. “Um...something like...J C? Or maybe...”

    Kermit’s eyes widened. “J G!”

    Within five seconds, a pair of green flippers and a pair of spit-shined saddle shoes were pounding through the theatre.

    “J G!” Kermit shouted, looking high and low for the Frackle.

    “J G?” Newsie called gruffly, peering at a group of puzzled chickens.

    At the water cooler in the green room, a gathering of monsters was standing around bored as a thick, droning voice continued the story begun twenty minutes ago: “So, uh, he was all, you know, ‘We can’t clear the ropes off this part of the flyrail until the supervisor okays it,’ which is understandable, you know, ‘cause sometimes that...zzzzzz...” Nobody seemed perturbed at the toothy green-furred Frackle’s sudden attack of narcolepsy; the other monsters simply turned away, chatting quietly among themselves. After a few seconds, J G woke up and continued where he’d left off: “...happens, ‘cause you know nothing gets done without the supervisor’s say-so, heh heh, isn’t that always the case! So I told him...”

    “J G!” Kermit yelled, spotting the very monster he wanted. He hopped down three stairs at a time, fueled by frustration.

    Newsie, startled, whirled at the shout. “J G?” he muttered, eyeing the nondescript Frackle blinking sleepy eyes at the frog. Newsie pushed through the crowd of interested Muppets gathering in the green room. Amphibian and journalist reached the baffled monster at the same time. “What have you got against rats, chickens, monsters, and reporters, anyway?” Newsie demanded, looking the strange creature up and down from close range with a deep scowl.

    “What happened to the cast list you were supposed to give to the production manager?” Kermit yelled at the same time. The Frackle flinched under the glares.

    “Uh...hi, Kermit; hi, Newsman...uh...what’s going on?”

    Newsie exchanged an angry glance with his boss which immediately informed them both they were basically on the same page, and both just as strained and irritable about the whole business. Kermit gave Newsie a short nod, then turned his wrath on J G: “Scooter gave you a list of everyone who worked on the movie, didn’t he?”

    “Uh...yeah?” Nervously, J G nodded. “W-why?”

    “Why?” Kermit repeated, incredulous.

    “Because half the Muppets who worked didn’t even get credited!” Newsie shouted, what was left of his patience boiling over.

    “You were supposed to give that list to the PM so no one would be left out!” Kermit continued.

    “Did you sabotage it on purpose? Was this some kind of political statement?” Newsie demanded.

    “Because of you, several people who worked very hard didn’t get so much as a mention in the credits!” Kermit shouted.

    “And if you’re trying to call attention to monsters’ rights, leaving most of them out of the credits is a stupid way to go about it!” Newsie barked.

    “Whoa, wait, uh, I...” J G said, his eyes frantically spinning from one of his accusers to the other.

    “Huh? Leaving us out?” the tan monster with pretty teeth asked.

    “Whaddaya mean, leaving us out?” growled a tall green-gray furred thing with long horns and eyes as big as saucers.

    “You didn’t have to bring that part up just yet,” Kermit muttered at Newsie.

    He blushed. “Sorry...I got carried away...”

    “Hey, what’s the big idea?”

    A length, breadth, and tallth of imposing monsters crowded into the water-cooler corner; although the smaller ones gave them room, they too began baring fangs and claws. The hapless J G looked at all of them, then at the frog. “But...but...I didn’t do anything to the list! I know I had it in my hand...I was walking across the set to give it to Mr Scotti...and I zzzzzzzkkk...”

    Everyone stared at the suddenly-fast-asleep creature. The angry monsters paused, unsure whether to stand down or eat him. Just as abruptly, he popped back up, blinking. “And I...and I...uh...I remember this girl coming up to me and telling me the PM needed the list, and I was on my way to give it to him anyway, and you know it was weird ‘cause the papers were kinda raggy, y’know, sorta chewed up...” He looked at a frowning Scooter. “You should, uh, try chewing on a pencil if you’re bored. Chewing paper makes it really hard to read anything on it! So anyway –“

    “I don’t chew paper!” Scooter protested. “I gave you a three-page list of absolutely everybody! Everyone who had a line, everyone who sang a song, everyone who just appeared in the background of a scene! It was whole and complete and I definitely didn’t eat any of it before I gave it to you!”

    “Well don’t look at me! I don’t chew...snoorrrrkkkkktt...”

    The monsters drew back, surprised, when a wooly white head shoved its way next to J G. The sheep reached out practiced lips, grabbed the paper cup J G held, and proceeded to happily chew all of it. A second later, the Frackle woke up again. “...Either,” he said, apparently unaware he’d nodded off again. Content, the sheep wandered off; the crowd parted for it, baffled. “And I gotta tell you, Kermit, I really don’t appreciate being accused of something I didn’t do!” He looked at an astounded Newsie. “And I’ll have you know, buddy, I’m as pro-monster as they come!” He tried to gesture with his cup, stopped, noticed it was gone, and stared at his empty hand. “Huh...”

    Kermit’s face scrunched into a scowl. “I think I see what happened here.” Newsie nodded slowly, still incredulous. Kermit blew out a breath. “Look, everyone, we’ll...we’ll make it up to all of you, somehow. You will all be given credit for all the hard work and the commitment you made to us! And J G,” he sighed; the Frackle blinked dull, heavy-lidded eyes at him. “Go check into a sleep clinic or something. Sheesh.”

    Grumbling, the crowd dispersed. Scooter ran upstairs to see if the stage had been set for the opening number properly. Kermit turned to Newsie, the two of them moving away from the rest of the performers milling around the green room. “Well, at least it wasn’t intentional. You see, Newsman? I told you we’d never leave you out on purpose,” he said quietly.

    Newsie nodded, and cast another dark look at the confused monster still standing by the cooler. “Who put him in charge of anything on set, anyway?”

    “Who knows?” Kermit shook his head. “Look...uh...why don’t you give a report on behalf of everyone who was left out? After all, you’re the one who noticed the mistake in the first place.”

    “Er...uh...of course! Actually, it was Gina who pointed it out to me. But, um, Kermit...that won’t be enough...” He realized immediately how inadequate a Muppet News Flash would be for something this important.

    “Newsman... I don’t know if the studio will fix the next run of dvds,” Kermit said, his gaze sympathetic but resigned.

    “I...I know. Um. No. Kermit, it’s just...I’d be glad to report on this...but...”

    “I know you’re on the uncredited list. I watched the ending again today,” Kermit said softly. Newsie nodded again, eyes downcast. “Look, if it makes you uncomfortable, we could always ask someone else to present the story,” Kermit said, unhappy with that idea, but accepting that perhaps his journalistic employee was still smarting from the omission too much to deal with any more of it.

    “No! I...I want to! But, Kermit, uh...” Newsie, flushed and fidgeting with his cuffs, muttered low, “I’m only a local reporter. You...you should do this nationally. Globally! I...I don’t have that kind of exposure.” He stood, head down, humiliated at having to admit this.

    “Oh,” Kermit said, startled. He’d become so used to the yellow-and-plaid Muppet doing his News Flashes for anything Muppet-related, that the question of just how far those reports reached had never even occurred to him. Newsie wouldn’t meet his eyes, and had gone completely quiet. “Oh...uh...all right. I’ll, uh...I guess I’ll talk to Scooter about it. Thanks for, um, bringing it to my attention, Newsman.”

    Newsie nodded, and slowly walked away. Kermit shook his head, watching him go; all around, Muppets began perking up, scrambling into costumes, warming up scratchy vocal chords, as curtain time approached. Kermit’s expression hardened along with his resolve. No. This isn’t right. He should be the one to do this...he just needs a bigger audience. Well, then...let’s give him one. “Scooter!” he yelled, hopping back upstairs, “Where’s my Rolodex?”

    “Uh – the prop one from the movie, or the real one?”

    “The real one!”

    “Boss, um, remember, I programmed all that into your phone months ago...”

    “Yeesh,” Kermit grumbled, digging the impossibly smug, sleek instrument out of a pocket. He shook his head. “Does everything have to be digital these days?”

    “Well, not everything. Did you watch that video yet of my speech at the TED conference about vectors and –“

    “Scooter, I don’t have time for this! Just – just show me how to find a number!”

    In a cobwebbed corner of the green room so dusty even the spiders had forgotten about it, the Newsman sat on a small bench and waited in case the Muppet Newswire went off. Other than that possibility, he had nothing to do tonight...nothing important at all. He sighed, head in hands, and waited, disregarded by those around him all filled with the bustle of ten-seconds-to-curtain.
    ---------------------
    Nasubionna likes this.
  11. newsmanfan Well-Known Member

    Part Four (the Last)

    Gina tickled Newsie’s foot. “Better watch out. There are ticklebugs on the rise this spring, I hear.”

    He yanked it away from her, grimacing. “Gina...”

    She tried again, one hand creeping like a spider across the sofa toward his midsection. “Uh-oh. I think we need an exterminator.”

    He leaned away, then scrunched himself into the far corner of the sofa, shooting her an unhappy glance before returning his tired stare to the TV. Gina frowned. Her Muppet, she’d discovered months ago, was actually a wicked sharp tickle-fighter, adept at wriggling out of holds and counterattacking anyplace she hadn’t protected...and fuzzy felted fingers were vicious implements of tickle torture, much to both of their delight. Man. He is REALLY down. She sighed, unsure how to get him out of this funk. She slid closer to him, and he allowed her arm over his shoulders; she felt his whole body rise and fall slowly in a sigh of his own. “Sweetie...you did great work. Sounds like tracking down the culprit was a ridiculous goose chase, but you did it.”

    “So did Kermit.”

    “Well, okay, but he used to do reporting too, right?” she asked; Newsie shrugged. “You’re not jealous of Kermit. You’re upset that he’s using someone else to deliver the news.”

    “I told him to!”

    “But it still bothers you,” she pointed out. Newsie gave a grudging nod. Gina hugged him; he remained unyielding at first, then sighed and hugged her back. “You did good work. Mystery solved.”

    “But no one will even know that I...” he stopped, blushing. Gina caught his chin, lifting it gently, forcing him to look into tender grey eyes.

    “I do. And Kermit does. And I’m sure word travels fast around the theatre, right?” He nodded, ashamed. Gina continued, “Aloysius...there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be recognized for something good you did. That’s not egotistical.”

    “There’s...there are so many new fans,” he murmured, sinking down more within his new bathrobe; Gina had given him one of his Easter gifts early in hopes that it would cheer him a little. All it did was provide jellybean-printed cover for him to frump inside. “Young people, parents, people rediscovering us after years without a single thought...how are they going to know who...” He swallowed, and gruffly continued, “Who Link Hogthrob is? Why that couple kissing in the dark was humorous? The name of the monster who thought Jack Black had good dental habits?”

    “Who you are,” Gina said quietly.

    Newsie closed his eyes, hands clutching his robe tightly a moment. He forced himself to calm. “The reporter is not as important as the story,” he insisted.

    “This one is,” Gina said, and caught him up in a kiss. When he broke, she held him, and stroked his hair, and kept kissing his cheeks, his prominent nose, giving him sanctuary to let it all out. Finally, he settled back again, wiping his eyes, embarrassed. She helped him polish his glasses and placed them back on his nose, and smiled at him.

    “Thank you,” he muttered. He couldn’t meet her gaze.

    She ran her fingers lightly over his soft auburn hair once more, and rose. “You should eat something. Wind down. Kermit will make sure the full story gets out to the public. Maybe he’ll place ads in the major papers or something.”

    “Yes...yes, of course,” Newsie agreed, feeling ridiculous. Here he was, acting like a prima donna anchorman, when all he’d done was perform a few silly lines in a film, and then insist on the right of everyone who worked in that film to be credited for what they’d done. It isn’t as though you broke open a major cover-up, or went on location in a war zone, or even braved falling cows! Stop being such a wimp about it! So what if they don’t know your name! What of it? The news is about the news, not the reporter – if you start thinking otherwise, you’re no better than – than – that canned hairpiece Bart Fargo, that’s who! Angry at himself, he scowled.

    “I was thinking soup and sandwich,” Gina offered, heading for the kitchen. “Something simple.”

    “Sure. Thank you,” Newsie replied. He glared at the TV; a game show wherein contestants answering a pop culture question correctly were permitted to take a swing with a boxing glove at the other’s padded head, and all the questions seemed to involve celebrity scandals or reality shows. Geez. I bet this is where they got the idea for ‘Punch Teacher!’ Isn’t there anything worthwhile on? He began flipping channels, irritated and needing something to involve his brain with in order to smother the still-simmering thoughts of self-disgust.

    The phone rang. Gina answered. “Hello? Uh...yes...yes he does. Wow. Um. Yes I am. Thank you! You’re, uh, you’re my second favorite anchor. After him, right. Hang on one sec.” She giggled; Newsie turned, puzzled. Who on earth could she be talking to? With a huge smile, Gina walked to the couch, muted the remote, and handed Newsie the phone. “It’s for you.”

    Uncertainly, he cleared his throat and accepted the call. “Ahem...er...hello?”

    “Is this the Muppet Newsman?”

    “Uh...yes?”

    “You’re sure about that. Because I need to talk to him.”

    “Yes,” Newsie replied more firmly, curiosity aroused. The voice sounded vaguely familiar but he couldn’t place it.

    “Good. Newsman, this is Brian Williams, from –“

    “I know,” Newsie gulped, sitting up straight. Gina was beaming at him, standing just to the side of the sofa, soup spoon forgotten in her hand. “I...er...to what do I owe the honor, sir?”

    “I understand you broke an important story recently concerning the incomplete accrediting of Muppets in the last film?”

    “Er...yes?”

    “Well, would you be willing to come on Block Center and deliver your report nationally? With the surge of Muppet mania sweeping the nation, it seemed like a great topic to cover on our next show. Could you be available –“

    “I’ll be there! 30 Block Center! Yes, I know the building!” Excited, Newsie nearly fell off the sofa, beginning to pace the length of the living room. Gina gave him a happy, quiet round of applause.

    The network anchor laughed. “You haven’t even heard when we’re taping yet.”

    “I’ll be there,” Newsie promised, panicking a moment when he couldn’t locate his notepad around the couch or the coffee table. Gina smacked the grocery list in front of him along with a pen, and he quickly began writing. “When? What floor? I...I’m surprised you even knew about –“

    “Hey, come on! I’ve been a Muppet fan for years!” Williams protested good-naturedly. “They even let me on Sesame Street a while back! Am I the first one to reach you?”

    “Are you...what?”

    “Conan hasn’t called yet? Or Hoda? Or Anderson?”

    “I...er...no.” Baffled, Newsie blinked up at Gina; she just kept smiling at him. “Uh...why would they?”

    “Are you kidding? A scoop about the Muppets, presented by the Muppet Newsman? Thank you for letting me be the first! Now...do you want us to work up some graphics for you, or did you already have something prepared for your report?”

    They ironed out details quickly. When the famous anchor said goodbye and hung up, Newsie stood there, still holding the phone, stunned. Gina knelt and hugged him tight. “Congrats, cutie! This is fantastic!”

    “I...I can’t believe it,” Newsie mumbled. “He wants me on his show! His show! Not even the nightly news...his special-reports show next Wednesday!” Amazement turned to panic. “Oh my frog – I need to call Rhonda! I need to pick out a good coat! I need to finish that list!”

    “You need to set the phone down before you destroy it.”

    “Oh...sorry.” Sheepishly he set it on the table, then recommenced wild arm-waving. “Gina! This is big! This is huge! This is –“

    She shut him up with a deep kiss. “I love you,” she whispered.

    He hugged her with all his strength, and she laughed. “I love you! Oh frog, oh frog, I have to get that report finished! I have to – I should get back to the theatre! I don’t know the penguins’ names! How do you tell them apart, anyway? Should we film everyone? Yes, that would be good – need a camera – need an intro –“

    Gina let him go, shaking her head, simply standing back as her frantic Muppet spun around the apartment like a spring toy wound too tight. That’s the only problem with him, she thought; There’s no Off button for this. She sighed, happy and resigned, and went to finish warming the soup and build some unburnt pepper jack turkey sandwiches.


    --------------------
    The solemn anchorman with graying hair and wide green eyes faced the camera and spoke up as the theme music faded and the floor director cued him. “Next up tonight, someone whose face may be familiar to anyone who’s ever watched Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, or Fozzie Bear go through their comedic paces on The Muppet Show or in their new, successful comeback film. You may know his face, that is...but if he hadn’t caught a serious error in the film, you might not know his name: the Muppet Newsman.”

    Newsie blinked at the second camera, doing his best to appear serious and not nervous. Not at all. Not him, the seasoned pro journalist, nope, not nervous in the least...

    The third camera, a wide shot of them both sitting at either angle of the conversation corner seat on the news show’s set, caught Mr Williams gently taking the coffee cup from Newsie’s hand before his shaking could spill black liquid all over the designer upholstery. “So glad you could join us tonight, Newsman,” Williams said.

    “Um. Pleasure to be here,” Newsie responded, and tried to correct the over-roughness in his voice. He coughed. “Excuse me...sorry...”

    “Frog in your throat?” Williams asked, smiling.

    A small brown creature went hopping off the set; Newsie glared after it. “Toad. Sorry. I have no idea how these things happen.”

    “So I understand you caught a serious mistake in the last film, which had even slipped by the producers, the studio, and Kermit himself,” Williams said, and Newsie sat up straighter, feeling deeply self-conscious. Past those camera lenses, millions of people all over the country, maybe even the world, were watching him – him! – and he really, really wanted to be as professional and dignified as he could.

    “Yes, Mr Williams. A number of Muppets who worked very hard on that film were somehow left out of the final credits! Not just extras, either, but people who had lines, and songs, and memorable scenes...”

    “Just Brian, please. Reporter to reporter,” the famous anchor said, smiling. “So how did this happen? I thought your froggy boss had a reputation for fairness unparalleled in the movie industry.”

    Newsie nodded, relaxing a little as the story took over for him. “Oh, no, it wasn’t Kermit’s fault! He’d approved a list which was to be submitted to the editor, but...” Brian nodded and listened attentively, asking small, prodding questions now and again, through the report, and then the director cued the footage Newsie had brought.

    Just offset, Rhonda crossed her fingers. “Please don’t let them cut any of it...” She’d spent three days editing the numerous clips Newsie had done, personally interviewing a whole crowd of rats, chickens, penguins, and even monsters, and he’d even managed to appear relatively calm on-camera for that one. The entire clip ran, and Newsie sat, trying not to fidget, while Brian watched it again in silence, jotting down a few notes.

    “Wasn’t it a little intimidating having to tell those big furry guys they’d been left out of the official credits?” Brian asked when the clip was over, and Newsie’s shoulders sagged in relief. He understood!

    “Well...er...they deserve a mention the same as everyone else,” Newsie said. “Everyone worked very hard to make that film what it is.”

    “Which would be, an incredible and very welcome comeback for the whole Muppet troupe. You know, I notice you left someone out of your report.”

    “What?” Startled, Newsie looked at Rhonda; she gestured No, no! at him. Worried, he looked back at Brian. “I...I did?”

    The anchor grinned. “You!” Newsie blinked, startled. “I’ve watched the dvd. I know you were one of the ones left out, which is really a shame, given that you deliver the last big news of the film.”

    “Well I...I...it wasn’t important.”

    “There you have it, folks. Fame does not actually ruin every newsman who steps in front of a camera. We’ll be back in just a minute, with a report from Harry Smith on college hoops. Stay with us.” Brian looked back at Newsie, and offered his hand. “Thanks so much for agreeing to come on! I really enjoyed having you here. Always nice to talk to someone who understands how hard just getting information out can be sometimes.”

    Elated, Newsie shook his hand gladly. “Thank you! I...I really appreciate you giving us this opportunity to fix the mistake. Every single Muppet will feel vindicated seeing that. It...it airs tonight?”

    “In just a few hours, yes. And I’ll plug it on the nightly news.” Gratefully, Newsie nodded, thanked him again, and hopped off the comfy corner seat to make room for the veteran journalist coming in for the next segment. A hand on Newsie’s arm stopped him. “Listen, uh...have you ever considered doing your Muppet News for a wider audience? I mean, I catch your bit on KRAK every night, but –“

    “You...you watch my station?” Newsie was astonished that the man even had time for such trivialities.

    “Best local news in the Big Apple, since you got rid of that Fargo guy, anyway. So how about it? Would you be willing to deliver a Muppet News recap here every week?”

    “Here? Y-you mean, uh, send you a clip?”

    “I mean you, on this show, every week. We’d only be able to cover a couple of items on the broadcast, unfortunately; but we could make the full report available online. We have a lot of online viewers,” Brian said, looking hopeful.

    “He’d be delighted,” Rhonda said, grabbing the yellow felt hand which, like the rest of him, seemed in danger of total collapse any second. “Come on, clear the set, Jimmy Olsen. Thank you, Mr Williams. We’ll be in touch. Tomorrow. Move it, Sunshine, and close your jaw before that toad climbs back in.”

    “He wants me back on,” Newsie muttered, dazed, as Rhonda led him back toward the ready room, where Gina waited for him, having seen the filming on a monitor there. “A regular contributor! Me!”

    His phone hummed, startling him; he’d forgot it was even in his pocket. He fumbled it out, but Rhonda grabbed it, checked the number, and answered. “The Newsman’s private line; may I ask who’s calling?”

    “Give me that,” he growled, but she darted out of his reach easily.

    “Uh huh. Sure. Yes, it’ll air tonight. Nah, ya been scooped, sorry. Well, yeah...I don’t see why not...how does he...? Uh, I’ll ask, hold on.” She grinned up at Newsie, one paw over the receiver.

    “Stop grabbing my phone! Who is it?” he asked.

    “It’s Colbert. He’d like to have you on tomorrow, he says, but...uh...he wants your take on kind of a weird issue...”

    “Colbert? Let me have that,” Newsie grumbled, certain the rat was pranking him. He took the phone back. “Hello, very funny –“

    “Thanks, I try,” said the mellow, deep voice on the other end.

    “Uh – Mr Colbert! Oh. Um. Hi?”

    “Listen, Newsie, I hear that liberal commie rat-******* Williams beat me to your story,” the comedian-anchor said, “But I’d like you to come on my show and, you know, let’s look at the whole Muppet phenomenon from my point of view.”

    “Uh...sure!” Newsie wasn’t certain that particular show was really legitimate journalism, but he felt too overwhelmed at the moment to object to anything. “Uh, when should I...”

    “Great, fabulous, but I gotta ask you something first.”

    “Er. Okay?” Rhonda clambered uninvited onto his shoulder, pressing her ear to the other side of the phone to eavesdrop. He tried shrugging hard to shake her off, but she clung fast.

    “Well, I’m a little concerned about where you actually stand on one of the worst threats facing our great country today, so I want to clear that up first, all right?”

    “Uh...sure?”

    The man’s voice was firm, challenging, and practiced: “I know there’s at least one of these menaces in the Muppet troupe, so I feel I really must ask you: how do you feel about bears?”

    Newsie stared at Rhonda. She stared back.
    --------------------
  12. miss kermie Well-Known Member

  13. Ruahnna Well-Known Member

    Oh! How very charming! (And won't Fozzie be THRILLED to find that he terrifies someone!) You know I've been head-down in papers and couldn't keep up as this went along but what a great start to my holiday! Yay! (Waves arms wildly above head)

    You know, when I saw the sheep eating things backstage in The Muppets I did wonder.... What a great conclusion to a fun story. If only we could actually get Brian Williams to run the story....
  14. Slackbot Well-Known Member

    *chuckles* I love the resolution. There was no anti-Muppet conspiracy after all; it was just one of those really weird things that happens when you get a lot of Muppets together. Betcha next time Scooter will just E-mail the list.

    Thanks for the fun story!
  15. The Count Moderator

    *Is currently as gruntled as :news: and :) being given the runaround concerning the checking of who botched up the list of credited Muppets. How the heck is it I didn't get a notification to this story last night when it was posted?! :grr:

    That said... Baab! He's the one what ate the list! And this is in line with what happened during the movie as Ru mentioned? Hmm... *Never moticed that sheep glutting its appetite for completist compiled Muppet listings, must've taken after Maurice from Little Monsters.

    *Loved the home setting at Gina's apartment.
    *Laughed at the insertion of Colbert at the ending, yes, that was perfectly in character.

    Thank you so much for this journalistic gem. :D
  16. newsmanfan Well-Known Member

    ----------------
    To anyone who hasn't yet been able to see the Bluray (or catch some of the tidbits from it posted online)...both J G and the sheep have a somewhat larger part there than in the theatre-run film. During one of the deleted scenes (the arches, which I really really wish they'd kept intact as it is brimful of Muppety wonderfulness), Baab is seen munching papers right off of Kermit's desk and he tells the sheep, "Don't eat the running order, we'll need that later!" And J G seems to have narcoleptic attacks fairly regularly during his behind-the-scenes tour, so...it made sense to me. :news:

    Happy you guys liked!

    And here is MY totally unofficial list of Muppets who gave uncredited performances:

    Link Hogthrob
    Dr Strangepork
    Behemoth
    Carl
    Lunch Counter Monster
    the Mutations
    Droop
    Thog
    Wayne & Wanda
    Bobby Benson & his Baby Band
    the Afghan Hound
    Mahna Mahna & the Snowths
    Beautiful Day
    Nigel (the conductor)
    Lips
    various orchestra members I don't know the names of
    various Whatnots I don't know the names of
    the James Bobin Muppet
    the rats (Yolanda?)
    the chickens (Louise?)
    the penguins
    the Trumpet Fazoob
    Robin
    the Muppaphones
    a cactus
    Baab
    J G
    other monsters & Frackles

    Anyone who can amend or add to this list (or who knows specific names I wasn't able to find out) please feel free to add to this! Let's get ALL the Muppets listed! :news:
    ----------------
  17. The Count Moderator

    *:) at the arches segment from the movie.
    BTW: Did we find out all the Muppets that appeared during that sequence? Or did some arches remain vacant?

    For the chickens, you included them in the story.
    The penguins, we'd have to go with the names of Nicky Napoleon & His Emperor Penguins from LMM/MV*3D.
    The rats, Yolanda was mentioned in the Muppet Wiki cast list.
    Er, I think its "Luncheon" Counter Monster.
    The Whatnots... Those have to be distinguished by their features if they have no given names, much like Muppet Wiki and I both did with the dancers from At the Dance.

    Great story, already added to the index.

    Now hopefully we can get back to your defrightful epic of most heavy duty proportions. When possible, of corpse. :scary:
  18. Nasubionna Active Member

    I was inspired and so took the liberty of doing a quick little illustration of the moment when Scooter pops in and spills the beans about the pigs not being credited... it was fun, though I couldn't quite capture how I really picture poor Link sobbing. It's tough to make a pouty lower lip on someone with a snout, heh... anyway, thanks for the fun fic, and I hope folks enjoy this doodle. :)
    [IMG]
    newsmanfan and miss kermie like this.
  19. miss kermie Well-Known Member

    Scooter looks like ythe only happy one! LOL
  20. newsmanfan Well-Known Member

    -------------
    You KNOW this made me laugh. :news: Although I always pictured Newsie's robe collection to be longer...he'd be mortified to indecently show off his knees!

    VERY cute drawing... and the pouty snout looks about right to me! (I can just hear Fozzie in the background in the theatre-on-fire ep of TMS: "Stop crying!!")
    ------------

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