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Voiceless (Dedicated to Richard Hunt)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Ozymandias, Nov 30, 2011.

  1. bouncingbabyfig

    bouncingbabyfig Well-Known Member

    *sharpens nagging stick* ye have been warned, let that be lesson enough! *Leaves muppet cookie*;)
  2. Ozymandias

    Ozymandias Well-Known Member

    [quote="bouncingbabyfig, post: 861781]*Leaves muppet cookie*;)[/quote]

    *noms muppet cookie* :insatiable:

    0_________O Oh my WORD, this chapter took forever to write (four hours of almost nonstop writing. *eyetwitch*), but it was so totally worth it. Another two or three chapters to resolve some stuff and this tribute will be done. :D I must warn you though, it is very long.

    Quick question, but do you guys think this chapter might be over the top? Please let me know, as I will probably be making some revisions to this fic in the future before I crosspost it to FF.net.

    In anycase, onto chapter 10!

    *******​
    Chapter 10​

    The blanket of clouds had shifted a bit by the time Miss Piggy had pulled up, and the naked patches of sky had disappeared. She wiggled her shoulders back against the seat as she slowly curved around the church parking lot, finding a spot close to the fence that separated the church from a nearby field. It was a nice-looking building, whitewashed with a steeple engraved with a cross. A bell hung from the rafters.

    She looked over at the young man beside her. Scooter, of course, had said nothing on the drive over, just nodded his thanks as he got in. Piggy had attempted to make small talk, but seeing as that was kind of ridiculous considering the circumstances, she stopped and simply concentrated on driving. He was bedecked in a black suit, which seemed to emphasise the yellow pallor of his skin and the shocking redness of his hair. On him, it looked foreign; good, but like he wasn’t the one that should’ve been wearing it. I wish he wore his track jacket, Miss Piggy thought before she had realized she was even thinking it.

    She pulled the parking brake and yanked the key out of the ignition. She slumped back into her seat and sighed for a moment, then turned to Scooter, who hadn’t moved. “Are vous ready?” She asked.

    Scooter looked at her, and in that moment Miss Piggy barely recognized him. His eyes were…well, they weren’t hard and steely, like his Uncle, but she saw the same determination there. Come to think of it, Skeeter had eyes like that too. Maybe it ran in the Grosse family. His mouth was set in a line, but it softened as he looked at her, and he nodded. A hint of a smile tugged at his lips, and she saw that he was still Scooter, the Scooter she knew, the one that always scrambled to get her coffee in the morning when she asked him, the one that would help her set up dates with Kermie. He was still Scooter, but he was a little something else too, something Miss Piggy couldn’t quite put her finger on.

    They walked over to the entrance of the church, where there was a crowd of people gathered. For some reason, the doors to the church had not been unlocked yet. Scooter immediately went over to where the members of the Hunt family were, and Jane welcomed him with open arms. Miss Piggy smiled. She knew she wouldn’t have to worry about him, and she was glad that the Hunt family was accepting him as one of their own, even under these circumstances.

    She walked over to where Kermit was standing, talking to what looked like the pastor, or one of the church deacons at least, and tapped him politely on the shoulder. Kermit turned and saw her standing there. “Oh, hey Miss Piggy, would you mind giving me a moment to finish talking to this fine gentleman?” She could forgive him for that as he looked good in that suit.

    “Certainly.” She replied, cool as a cucumber, turning to look around to see who else had arrived. There must’ve been several hundred people there, milling about and making small talk with others, most of them dressed in black, but some of them wearing other colours as well. She was surprised at how many of the other Muppeteers had come; she waved to Frank Oz, who was standing and chatting with Dave and Steve, and grinned when she saw Bonnie Erickson. She’d have to catch up with her later-oh good, the Electric Mayhem just pulled up. She could see that eyesore of a bus from a mile away. It was so weird, seeing them in suits…actually no, that wasn’t the weirdest part. Janice in a dress was the weirdest. She must have pulled that dress straight from the 1970’s, I swear. Oh well, at least it’s black. Janice had her guitar strapped to her back, and she was very quickly let into the church, which she emerged from several minutes later. Bunsen pulled up and Beaker jumped out with, to Miss Piggy’s surprised, a guitar case strapped to his back as well. She had heard that he would be playing a part in the musical tribute, but she’d left rehearsal before she had a chance to hear him play. Several of the other Muppets were there as well; Statler, Waldorf, Rowlf, Fozzie, Hilda, Gonzo, Camilla, Sam and the Swedish Chef. It was too bad the Newsman couldn’t come; he’d been called away at the last minute for an emergency business trip, and had sent his regards…

    “Attention everybody!” A man’s voice rang out over the crowd. Miss Piggy started when she looked around and realized that Kermit was no longer standing and talking beside her, and the man he was talking to was nowhere to be seen. Kermit was now in front of the doors, facing the crowd. The man he was talking to earlier was standing beside him.

    “I would like to thank you all today for coming out to Richard Hunt’s memorial service.” The man continued. “However, before the memorial service can begin, I would like you all to look up. A dear friend of Richard’s has indicated that he would like to give a tribute of his own, and the family has given him their blessing. Once the bell has stopped ringing, you may all come inside.”

    The crowd took a few collective steps back, and everyone looked to the steeple. Miss Piggy gasped. For there, standing in frame of the steeple in front of the bell, was the hulking form of Sweetums. He was still wearing his peasant garb, and in his hands were two large hammers.

    He nodded to those below him, and then turned to the bell, making sure that his back was not facing the audience.

    Bong!

    He swung methodically, lifting first one arm, then the other.

    Bong!

    “Let the bell be his voice.” Kermit murmured, craning his neck.

    Bong!

    “Three,” Fozzie murmured quietly. “Four…”

    “I almost wished Count von Count was here.” Gonzo said. “He would love to count this!”

    Bong! Bong! Bong!

    The great bell continued to ring, echoing around the surrounding area. Heads peeped out curiously from houses. Dogs in yards across the neighborhood were going nuts. Pedestrians in the nearby street stopped to listen for a minute.

    Bong! Bong! Bong! Bong!

    Tears started to flow down his face as he hit the bell for the eighteenth time. The wind picked up for a moment, taking the dry powdered snow and throwing it against the spectators below. The bell swung back and forth with each blow, though never enough to knock Sweetums out of the steeple.

    Bong! Bong! Bong!

    “Thirty-one, thirty-two, thirty-three…” Bunsen said quietly. Most of the crowd had caught onto what Sweetums was doing, and were now quietly counting along with the ringing of the bell.

    “Thirty-nine…forty.”

    The great bell fell silent. The hammers clattered against two of the steeple posts; Sweetums was too exhausted to hold them anymore. He looked out, let his eyes drift across the surrounding land, talking it all in.

    Forty strokes for the forty years you lived. I love you, and I will see you again.

    The spectators below applauded, the church doors open, and everyone poured on inside. Sweetums sank down and sat on the edge of the steeple, letting his long legs hang down to where they were just above the cross.
    He stayed there for a few minutes, letting his grief pour out, then wiped his eyes and looked towards the sky. The sun had finally come out, and the light felt good against his skin. Though his heart ached, he summoned up the courage to smile before he descended down the ladder into the church to get changed into a suit.

    ********

    The memorial went off without a hitch. Scooter was sitting with the rest of the Hunt family near the front of the church, so he had the best view of what was happening. There was a table at the front of the church, where the altar normally was. It was covered in flower arrangements donated by different people, including a big one donated by the Muppeteers. Between the flowers were several framed pictures of Richard, with one big one in the middle of the table. Fozzie fiddled with the tea light he had been given at the beginning of the memorial and thought that this was in itself a miracle (as Richard had been notoriously camera-shy), but didn’t comment on it.

    Scooter only had his eyes on two pictures, one to the left of the framed center portrait, and one near the end of the table. The one to the left was a picture of Richard and him, slightly yellowed, but otherwise in good condition. Both of them were smiling. Richard’s hair was a bit messy, but other than that the picture was quite good.

    The one near the end of the table was special. It was when the two of them had been working with the rest of the gang on MuppetVision 3D, and it was near the end of a long day. Scooter remembered that day well; they’d both been exhausted, so Richard had leaned up against a ladder to support himself, and Scooter, who was dressed in a lab coat for some reason that he couldn’t quite remember, had rested his chin on the top of Richard’s head. Scooter still remembered that day; remembered just how warm Richard was, remembered him talking to the photographer, remembered how he, Scooter, had sighed with contentment at the exact moment the picture was taken. Even though tears were silently sliding down his cheeks, Scooter smiled. The picture had summoned up the two of them perfectly.

    The memorial continued on for quite a bit of time before Kermit was finally called up. Several of the Muppets had shuffled out beforehand, but Miss Piggy stayed where she was. Her role would come later.

    “Hello everyone,” Kermit said. The mike he had been handed gave off a bit of feedback, and he winced. “Sorry about that. Anyways, many of you may know me, but for those who don’t, my name is Kermit the Frog. Richard was a good friend and companion for us at the Muppet Theatre, and we would like to honour that today with a song. The Hunt family told us that one of his favorite songs was one that was written for the movie we have upcoming, A Christmas Carol, and even though it’s past Christmas it’s a song that can be sung all year, so we’d like to perform it in honour of his memory tonight. When you listen to the lyrics,” Here his voice caught, but he cleared his throat, “It summons up Richard’s life perfectly. Ladies and gentlemen, Thankful Heart.” He quickly handed the microphone over to the pastor and leapt to the side of the stage. The lights dimmed, and for the first time the mourners noticed the candelabra on top of the church piano, which Rowlf was currently sitting at.

    He stroked the keys, and a slower, softer rendition of the song began to float through the building. The muppets who would be singing were gathered around the piano, just like old times. Beaker and Janice were sitting on stools nearby, separated from the singers, ready to play.

    Rowlf began to sing. The words were slower, softer.

    “With a thankful heart

    With an endless joy

    With a growing family

    Every girl and boy

    Will be nephew and niece to me…”

    Nephew and niece to me”, the other muppets sang.

    “Will bring love, hope, and peace to me…”

    “Love, hope, and peace to me…”

    “Yes, and every night will end

    And every day will start…” Rowlf sang.

    With a grateful prayer and a thankful heart.” Everyone joined in. Rowlf continued to play, and as he did so Scooter stood up and walked to the front of the stage, just as planned. Kermit handed him a pocketbook of matches, and Scooter struck one, softly breathing in the fresh smell of burning carbon. He lit his candle, a long tapir, and then touched it to Statler’s candle. The two of them started to move, from Muppet to Muppet, lighting the tea lights that had been given to them.

    The last note fell off the piano keys, and a single string was struck. Everyone’s attention was turned to Beaker and Janice, who, facing the memorial table, both began to play where Rowlf left off. The notes from both guitars intertwined and flowed into each other, not tripping over and crashing into one another, but dancing smoothly. Neither of them cried; they were concentrating too hard on doing their best for their Muppeteer, their friend. Statler and Scooter turned to the other mourners and started to light their tea lights as well, lighting just the ones at the ends, and letting the flame pass along from person to person.

    Rowlf began to sing again.

    With an open smile and with open doors

    I will bid you welcome,

    What is mine is yours.

    I will sail a friendly course,

    I will file a friendly chart…”

    On a sea of love and a thankful heart.” The other muppets joined in.

    Bunsen and Floyd stepped out from where they had been singing with the others and made their way over to the two guitarists. Standing with them, Bunsen sang first. “Life is like a journey,

    Who knows when it ends.” Floyd crooned, a hand on Janice’s shoulder.

    Yes, and if you need to know”

    “The measure of a man”

    You simply count his friends.” They both sang in tandem, motioning to the other mourners with their tea lights. Kermit looked up and saw, to his delight, that the Hunt family was smiling. The beauty of the moment was taking his breath away. The whole church had been lit up with the light of hundreds of candles.

    You would love this, Richard. You really would.

    Stop and look around you,” Bunsen continued.

    The glory that you see” Floyd sang out, his eyes on the memorial table.

    Is born again each day.

    Don’t let it slip away,” Floyd squeezed Janice’s shoulder for a moment. A ghost of a smile was on her lips.

    How precious life can be!” The muppets sang in unison. Miss Piggy quietly moved to the front, careful not to reveal to anyone that she was crying. The piano joined in with the guitars, and Fozzie sang the next line.

    With a thankful heart that is wide awake…

    I do make this promise with every breath I take…” Kermit joined in.

    Will be used now to sing your praise!” They both sang.

    Used now to sing your praise!” Everyone, even the audience (for that is what they had become) joined in.

    And beg you to share my days,” Fozzie sang. Kermit blinked as he realized that though Statler had come back to join the other Muppets, Scooter had walked to the table and stood to the left of it instead, staring down at something. He could see that the boy was crying, yet at the same time he was calm, taking no notice of the candle wax that was running down the side of the tapir and getting steadily closer to his fingers.

    Beg you to share my days!” Everyone sang.

    With a loving guarantee,” Kermit almost missed his line there.

    That even if we part…” Miss Piggy sang, her voice ringing out as she carried the last word. The music ceased for a moment. You could hear a pin drop in the place.

    I will hold you close in a thankful heart.” Kermit sang, remembering for a moment just who he held close. Scooter quietly picked up the picture at the end of the table. He could barely see the picture at this point, but it was better that way. The room looked like it was washed in a golden glow.

    I will hold you close…” Miss Piggy softly sang. Scooter gently clasped the picture to his chest.

    In a thankful heart.” Kermit’s voice caught as he sang those last words, looking at Scooter standing there, a candle in one hand, his eyes closed.

    Everyone joined in for the last line, holding their candles forward, letting the light and warmth of the moment surround them.

    Goodbye Richard.

    In a thankful heart.
  3. bouncingbabyfig

    bouncingbabyfig Well-Known Member

    Oh...Oh my.
    Ozy, I hug you, I yell at you, and I cry with you. I have not been touched like this since Lisa. I truly feel your thankful heart in this. It was so beautifuly heartfelt. Richard would be proud of you.
    *leaves basket of scooter cookies and flowers*:jim:
    miss kermie likes this.
  4. newsmanfan

    newsmanfan Well-Known Member

    --------------
    Do you have any froggin' idea how hard it is to make me cry? I HATE crying and resist it with all my will. That's TWICE now.

    I wasn't sure about the song choice at first, then realized as you went with it how absolutely appropriate it actually is. Well done. And the description of the photos is perfect; even though I don't believe I've ever seen either of them, they do sum up the artist and the man very lovingly.

    And Sweetums with the bell...what a lovely revival of a very, very old custom. You know your history well, it seems. Perfect.
    --------------------
  5. Ozymandias

    Ozymandias Well-Known Member

    Aww, thank you! :) I'm touched that you compared me to Lisa, though my writing isn't half as good as hers. Also, thanks for the cookies. :insatiable: And the flowers, though I can't eat those.

    D: Oh no, don't cry! *hands over tissues like a madwoman* I'm glad the story touched you, but I'm not going to lie, I couldn't help but laugh at the way you wrote that sentence. XD

    Thank you! Both of the photographs exist IRL; the first photograph is the main photograph on Richard Hunt's page on Muppetwiki, and the second photograph (and my all time favorite Muppet photograph EVER) can be found here.

    That wasn't actually on purpose. :o I just thought of the idea after listening to "Tubular Bells" by Mike Oldfield, and the image of Bunsen hitting the bells ALA Mike Oldfield in the video turned into Sweetums hitting the bell at the top of the steeple. That tradition actually exists? SWEET, you learn something new everyday! :D
    bouncingbabyfig likes this.
  6. Ruahnna

    Ruahnna Well-Known Member

    An affectionate tribute to Richard and his creations, sweet but not maudlin.

    (I would change the line that said Miss Piggy was surprised to see so many of the muppeteers here. Why would she be surprised? Why wouldn't all the muppeteers come--no matter what?)
  7. Ozymandias

    Ozymandias Well-Known Member

    Duly noted. I'll have that line changed for the cross-post once the fic is done. Thanks! :D
    bouncingbabyfig likes this.
  8. Ozymandias

    Ozymandias Well-Known Member

    QUICK UPDATE ON CHAPTER 11:

    I'm about halfway done writing it, and got pretty far along today, so hopefully it'll be done before Saturday (I have midterms coming up, so don't place your bets just yet). :)
    bouncingbabyfig likes this.
  9. bouncingbabyfig

    bouncingbabyfig Well-Known Member

  10. AlittleMayhem

    AlittleMayhem Well-Known Member

    Love this fic so far! :)
  11. Ozymandias

    Ozymandias Well-Known Member

    Thank you! :D I've just got another 2-3 chapters to go and the fic will be finished, so I think in the next couple of eeks I'll concentrate on finishing this. :)
    AlittleMayhem likes this.
  12. bouncingbabyfig

    bouncingbabyfig Well-Known Member

    Oh good! I missed reading it!:D
  13. muppetfan24/7

    muppetfan24/7 Well-Known Member

    I knew it! I was born before Richard Hunt passed away. But the truth was I listened to Jim Henson's performance of his Sesame Street and Muppet creations. It's sad that my mom only thought about Jim Henson, not Richard Hunt.
  14. muppetfan24/7

    muppetfan24/7 Well-Known Member

    Oh Ozymandias, post more when you can. I understand your writing is taking forever, but I like the way you are dedicating this story to Richard Hunt. I am now dedicating and paying a tribute to Jim Henson to my fan-fic. The link is - http://www.muppetcentral.com/forum/threads/remembering-jim-henson.51408/ After you read a chapter or the whole thing, please comment. Thanks!
  15. Powerstars

    Powerstars Active Member

    *sniff*...I love this, but....
    *sharpens nagging stick*
    You didn't think I'd come empty handed, did you?
  16. bouncingbabyfig

    bouncingbabyfig Well-Known Member

    *Looks at when this was last updated*
    *Looks at current date*
    *Dusts off nagging stick*
    Hehe...:ouch:
    muppetfan24/7 likes this.
  17. LeahXZoot4Evur

    LeahXZoot4Evur Well-Known Member

  18. bouncingbabyfig

    bouncingbabyfig Well-Known Member

    Oh, a nagging stick is where you get on the author's back for not updating their current story, it's a little inside joke on the forum.. hehe
    Powerstars likes this.
  19. Fraggline

    Fraggline Active Member


    Hi!
    I just stumbled across this story, so I haven't read it all yet; but I have to tell you that this piece of writing--especially the quoted portion--is, well, I can't describe it as less than work of a gifted person. It has that quality that Gone with the Wind has. And the characterization is spot-on; it's absolutely gold.
    Sorry for being so gushy, but I feel like I'm reading something that Jerry Juhl could have written.

    DrDientes and LeahXZoot4Evur like this.
  20. Ozymandias

    Ozymandias Well-Known Member

    WOOOOOOW, this story has received a lot of unexpected attention lately. 0_O I was not expecting this at all! Thanks, you guys! :D

    Anyways, first off I would like to apologize for saying I would finish Chapter 11, but not getting it done when I said I would. I could say that life has been really busy lately, but that's just an excuse. I'm sorry.

    Secondly, to pay penance, here's Chapter 11, in all it's glory. :D Second to last chapter, folks!

    Finally, I would like to apologise if the writing isn't at it's best quality at the moment. I had the WORST case of writer's block ever while writing this, and I hope it doesn't show too much. DX

    Anyways, enough rambling, on with the story!

    ******


    They’d talked for a long time. Or rather, Dr. Teeth had talked, Janice had listened and had occasionally written down a question or gestured in response to something. Floyd had offered to talk to her about it, but Dr. Teeth had shaken his head at the suggestion.



    “Floyd,” he had said, patting the bassist on the shoulder, “You’re a good man, and you’ve done a lot, not just for Janice, but for the band. But right now, you need a break. This is something I need to discuss with her alone.” He was grateful that Floyd hadn’t argued any further.



    A few days after the funeral Janice had indicated that she was ready to work with the band again, playing guitar. Dr. Teeth had been relieved; they had all their instruments at least. However, there was still one thorny problem they had to deal with first.



    “So here’s where we stand.” Dr. Teeth said flatly, leaning forward and cupping his chin in his hand. “You can still play. We still have a show, but…” He exhaled, wondering how she would take the news. “I talked to Kermit, made a few phone calls at the Jim Henson Co.”



    Janice, who was sitting on a chair across from him in the dining room of the boarding house the Mayhem had rented, raised an eyebrow. An unspoken question hung in the air between them. And?



    “They’re asking around the other Muppeteers now, but if no one’s able to step up and speak for you well enough, well…it could be a minimum of six months before they consider hiring anyone new.”



    Janice’s shoulders slumped at that news. She leaned forward slightly and rubbed her temples, exhaling softly, trying not to lose control. On one hand, she didn’t have to face a very sudden transition from one voice to another, and with a few months’ time she would be able to ease into the idea of a new voice, a new Muppeteer. On the other hand, she loved to play her guitar, but she loved to sing too, and not having a voice was becoming very frustrating. And those six months were a minimum



    Dr. Teeth thought of reaching out to her and comforting her, but thought better of it. Janice sat up after a minute, still struggling to keep control, but steadily calming down. She took the piece of paper near her and wrote down a question.



    So what are we going to do about next weeks show?



    “I’ve been thinking about that. I know you’ll be playing with us next week, but a good chunk of our songs have backing female vocals, and Floyd and I can’t handle it all on our own. What would you say to us temporarily hiring a substitute singer?”



    Janice blinked, and then looked somewhat angry.



    “We wouldn’t be replacing you,” Dr. Teeth added quickly. “Just your vocals until you can get your voice back. Once you do, and you’re in fine singing shape again, we’ll let the other singer go.” The anger left Janice’s face, and she turned her head to the side, staring out the window and crossing her long, near-bare legs. She looked thoughtful. Dr. Teeth sat back in his chair and waited. After a few minutes, she picked up the pencil.



    Im not in love with the idea she wrote, but there doesnt seem to be anything else we can do right now. Can I help pick her out? When are we going to run auditions?



    “Yeah, of course you can.” Dr. Teeth said, relieved that she wasn’t fighting the idea. “We’ll start posting notices later today and tomorrow, and have auditions three days from now. You know, give time for word to spread. Hopefully that’ll give whoever we pick time enough to learn next week’s set of songs and get some practice in with us before opening night. It’s short notice, but that’s all we can do right now.”



    Alright. Wholl we get to design the notices? A piece of paper with rip-off phone number tabs on the bottom isnt going to cut it.



    As the conversation continued back and forth, Dr. Teeth was relieved more than anything else. Considering the circumstances, Janice was taking this surprisingly well.



    The conversation inside of Janice’s head, however, was a different story.



    They’re trying to replace you.



    Like, no, they’re not. And we need this.



    They’re trying to replace you.



    That is a lie. Now, like, let’s get back to the subject at hand, please. And since when did I start having conversations inside of my head?



    The doubts promptly shut up. Janice sighed and rubbed her forehead. This was going to be a long six months.






    Beaker tilted his head to the side as a crumpled up piece of paper flew past him. Bunsen slid his palms over his gleaming head in frustration, ending with his forehead planted firmly on the desk’s surface. He muttered some dark gibberish under his breath and sighed loudly. Beaker looked away so that the distressed scientist wouldn’t see him smile. Designing something that would get the very last bit of toothpaste out of the tube was turning out to be harder than either of them had anticipated. It was getting close to ten-thirty, the closing time, and the moon was shining through the basement window. If Beaker stood directly below it, he could see a sliver of its silver face.

    “Coffee.” Bunsen muttered, and then straightened up. His back popped, and he winced. “I’m going to get some coffee. You want any, Beaker?” He said, looking over to where his assistant was seated.

    Beaker shook his head and smiled again. Clearly, Bunsen didn’t remember what happened the last time Beaker ingested coffee. Bunsen headed out, only to bump into Kermit in the hallway. He was so surprised that he didn’t even notice that Kermit’s muppeteer was standing behind him.

    “Oh! Goodness!” He exclaimed, putting his hand up to his mouth. “Kermit!”

    “Hello Dr., how are you this evening?” Kermit said pleasantly.

    “Oh, very good, I was just heading to get some coffee. What brings you down here at this time of night?”

    “Oh, Steve and I were just heading in to go talk to Beaker. Is he in tonight?”

    “He is. If I may be so bold as to ask, what for?”

    Kermit gave an apologetic shrug. “Sorry Bunsen, that’s between us and Beaker, at least for the moment. May we come in?”

    Bunsen nodded. “I’ll be with you in a few minutes, I’m just going to go and…”

    “Get your coffee.” Steve said. Bunsen looked over at the shaggy-haired young man, who had his hands in his pockets and was smiling sheepishly.

    “Yeah.” Bunsen said, feeling kind of dazed. He nodded to the pair of them and headed on down the hallway, rubbing his forehead.

    Beaker was still sitting by one of the lab tables, with several books on quantum physics spread out before him, along with a lined notebook. This little notebook had been his lifeline for the past several weeks, as he wrote in it not just the phrases needed to communicate with Dr. Honeydew, The Swedish Chef and others, but in secret, when his pain over Richard’s passing came on strong, he wrote out his pain in the scribbling’s from a no.2 pencil. He kept a special section of the book for that, one which no one else was allowed to see, at least not yet.

    He had to admit it though; living without a voice was proving to be a bother. Bunsen had been very understanding about the matter, and ever since he had asked for Beaker’s forgiveness, the friendship between the two of them had improved drastically. He had supplied Beaker with a computer in the lab, so that Beaker could communicate via the writing program on it. Mind you, they were planning to purchase a computer to input their data anyways, but it was still a kind thing for Bunsen to do. It still didn’t alleviate the fact that, without his customary meeping, Beaker was having a horrible time just trying to function from day to day. He missed Richard so much, and he missed what they used to have, but Beaker needed his voice back.

    The door swung open behind him. Beaker turned around, wondering how Bunsen had managed to grab his coffee so quickly. He blinked, surprise showing on his face when he saw Kermit there in his face. Wrong green muppet. His surprise grew even greater when he saw Steve Whitmere, Kermit’s Muppeteer, standing behind the frog with a sheepish grin on his face.

    An awkward silence filled the room. Beaker stared, uncomprehending. What were Kermit and Steve doing in the lab so late at night.

    “Er, hi ho Beaker.” Kermit said, clearing his throat. “I bet you’re wondering why we’re down here.”

    The carrot-haired muppet nodded.

    “Steve and I have a bit of a proposition for you.” Beaker’s eyebrows, so rarely seen due to being hidden behind his bulging eyes, rose at that. Kermit wondered how on earth he was going to word what he had to say next.

    “As you well know, I have been in contact with Jim Henson Co., asking various Muppeteers if they would be willing to step up and give Richard’s former muppets voices for the time being, at least. Sweetums and Statler already have their voices back.”

    Beaker sat up straighter at that. He had heard about Sweetums but he hadn’t heard about Statler. He looked past Kermit at Steve, and his jaw dropped. No way. No way, no way, no way…

    “Well, we…that is, Steve and I…” Kermit rubbed the back of his head, feeling decidedly uncomfortable.

    “May I speak for myself, Kermit?” Steve asked. Nervous, yet relieved, Kermit nodded and stepped back.

    Steve stepped forward and got down on one knee in front of Beaker to see the muppet at eye level. Beaker was trying his hardest in his shock not to laugh. What, is he going to propose to me now? However, what Steve had to say next confirmed Beaker’s earlier suspicions.

    “Beaker, what would you say to me being your new Muppeteer? I’ve proven to the folks at Jim Henson Co. that I can do a good impression of the voice that Richard gave to you, so now I’m asking you personally. Before you make your decision, know that Kermit already explained to me what processes go on when a muppet gets a new Muppeteer, especially if the old Muppeteer has passed away,” Beaker’s mind was reeling. They want me to share a Muppeteer with KERMIT? They want me to share a Muppeteer with the world’s most successful frog? Me, Beaker? Are you serious?

    But if I do this, would I betray Richard’s memory?

    “And I want you to know that I’m not replacing Richard. No one can ever replace Richard.” Steve blinked a few times and took a deep breath. “However, I will do my best to upload the legacy he’s left behind in you, if you choose to have me. So what do you say?”

    Beaker seemed lost in thought for a few moments, then, realizing that the young man did have a point, slowly nodded. From behind Steve’s shoulder, Kermit smiled. He’d be proud to share a puppeteer with the young assistant.

    “Thank you.” Steve stood back up to his full height, and Beaker walked into the middle of the room, not wanting to crash into any delicate equipment. Steve put his hand on Beaker’s shoulder, and in moments, Beaker went limp. Steve caught him before he could crash to the floor in a pile of felt and orange fuzz, then quietly set everything up. It took about five minutes, total.

    Beaker sat up, looked around. The first thing that he noticed was that Steve’s hands were warm. The second thing that he noticed was the horrible scratchy pressure that had been on his throat since Richard had passed away was gone. Timidly, carefully, he attempted to speak.

    “Meep?”

    It wasn’t Richard. It would never be Richard.

    But it was close enough, and for Beaker, that was just fine.

    When Bunsen came in with his coffee, the first thing he noticed was that Beaker was meeping away happily, so overjoyed at finally being able to speak. He wasn’t voiceless anymore. Secondly, he noticed Kermit and Steve standing nearby, listening to him with looks of peace and joy on their faces. Steve’s work was done.

    In his haste to give Beaker a hug, Bunsen completely forgot about his coffee. He ended up flopping the steaming, rich smelling mug on Beaker’s lab coat, causing the hapless assistant to omit several high pitched shrieks as Bunsen apologised profusely.

    Kermit looked at Steve and smiled. Things were finally starting to return to some sense of normality in The Muppet Show.


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