Muppet Show Fanfiction: The Muppets' Unwanted - 3. Chapter 3
A/N: I don’t own “The Muppets”
The entire group from the Muppet boarding house were squashed into the hallway of St. Jareth’s Hospital. This meant every main Muppet character dating back to the original “Muppet Show,” and a good chunk of the recurring and guest characters. They all waited in silence, as Kermit exited the hospital room, looking down somberly.
“Well what’s the news Kermit?” Fozzie asked, holding his hat to his chest. “Will Spamela live?”
Kermit grimaced. “Before I go on, I want you all to promise me that you won’t panic, and we won’t jump to any conclusions.”
“Did someone try to kill her?” Robin exclaimed.
Kermit gave his nephew a look. “Rooobin,”
“Sorry Uncle Kerm, I couldn’t resist.”
“To answer your question Robin, there is a distinct possibility that someone tried to poison Spamela. That jelly doughnut she ate contained a dose of cyanide.”
The Muppets gasped in sync.
Fozzie stammered, “But Piggy ate one of those doughnuts too!”
Piggy began screaming. “OOOH! OH! OH! OH! No, no this can’t be! I can’t die! Moi’s too young to die! Oh there’s so much I haven’t done with my life, I’m not married, I never got to see Venice, I wanted to get married in Venice! It was my dream!”
“Piggy the doctor looked at you already, remember?” Kermit reminded her. “You’re fine.”
“I know,” Piggy grunted. “But moi’s flare for the dramatic is a skill, and like any skill it must be practiced daily.”
Kermit groaned and shook his head. “Anyway, the poison was only in the doughnut that Spamela ate. It’s possible someone was trying to kill her. But it’s also possible that the Chef just bought the wrong ingredient at the grocery store.”
The Swedish Chef began to retort angrily in (fake) Swedish.
“Hey that’s right!” agreed Zoot, who apparently spoke (fake) Swedish. “Chef didn’t make those doughnuts, they were left by an ‘anonymous fan.'”
Whispers erupted around the Muppet troop.
“Oh yeah,” Janice said sarcastically. “Like that’s sure not suspicious in any way!”
“Hey, wait a minute,” Sal Minella, the beady-eyed monkey, began ticking off on his fingers. “First Clifford gets squashed by someone who weighs a lot, and then Spamela gets poisoned by a doughnut that Piggy bribed her to eat!”
Kermit was taken aback. “Sal what are you implying?”
“Nooothing. I’m just saying, whoever did this obviously wanted Spam to eat that doughnut, and whoever killed Clifford is obviously big boned,” he glared accusingly at Piggy.
“What?” Piggy roared. “You’re accusing me of trying to poison my old friend? You think I murdered Clifford? What do you take me for?”
Fozzie chimed in, “Piggy wouldn’t hurt a fly! Well she might karate chop it, but she wouldn’t hurt it!”
Gonzo added, “She’s got bristles, but she wouldn’t kill anyone…I don’t think…”
“Um, guys,” Janice said over everyone else, “Like I’m pretty sure Piggy was busy doing the nasty with Kermit at the time of Clifford’s death, so that kind of rules her out, ya think?”
No one was listening. Piggy and Sal were arguing viciously.
“Maybe you’re the killer, and you’re just trying to pin it on me!”
“Why would I wanna kill anyone? I’m a monkey!”
“Well why would I wanna?”
“Maybe cuz Spamela hogged your spotlight in ‘Bay of Pigs Watch?’ Maybe cuz Clifford didn’t give you all the screen time you wanted on ‘Muppets Tonight’?”
“Oh right. That’s exactly what I’m gonna do if I’m not getting enough screen time. I’ll get in on the six-o’clock news via murder!”
“Guys! Everyone please!” Kermit’s attempts to calm the crowd were futile. “This isn’t helping Spamela!”
Suddenly, a new voice yelled “QUIIIET!”
All head turned to the back of the hallway. It was Nigel, the pale-green anteater who’d served as the control-room manager on “Muppets Tonight.”
Calmly, in his classic New York accent, Nigel said, “Kermit is right. This isn’t helping Spamela. And we don’t have any proof that someone actually tried to kill her. Or even Clifford for that matter. For all we know, someone accidently sat on him, and was just too ashamed to come forward. All we know is that one Muppet is dead,” his voice began to increase in speed and volume. “and another one’s already joining him, the day of his funeral, and this is only the beginning,” his voice became more panicked, and his eyelids lifted off his eyeballs. “they’ll probably start picking us off by the twos and threes, each way more gruesome and horrible than the last! OH MY GOD IT’S THE END OF THE MUPPETS! WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE HORRIBLE PAINFUL DEATHS! AAAAAAAAH…”
Kermit sighed, as the Muppets resumed their panic.
Amidst the chaos, Gonzo said to Robin, “I guess we’re gonna wanna put that Archives break-in on hold for a while. I think I’d be in poor taste to go on a heist while Spamela’s in such poor health.”
“I was thinking just the opposite!” Robin argued. “Nigel’s right, someone’s probably trying to kill us all off. And if they are, what chance does a little frog like me have? I wanna find out where I come from before it’s too late. Life is short and I could die any day. Please Gonzo, please help me get those files. I wanna know who my father is. That’s my soul, dying wish!”
Gonzo seemed relieved to have an excuse to continue with his madcap plan. “Okay kid, you talked me into it! You wanna go now, while everyone else is too busy throttling each other to notice?”
Behind them, the Muppets were screaming, throwing punches, and tacking leach other.
Robin ducked, allowing a fish thrown by Lew Zeeland to soar harmlessly over his head. “Sure!”
Walter, who’d been screaming while making his trademark contorted face, paused his panic attack and turned to face Gonzo. “Oh, you guys are doing that heist?”
“Yeah,” Gonzo nodded. “Wanna come Walter?”
“Naw, I’ve already got plans for this afternoon. I’m gonna go investigate this murder mystery on my own, alone and unarmed, in a dangerous part of the city, knowing that I’m physically weak and an insignificant character to the story! After I finish this panic attack of course.” He re-scrunched his face, and resumed screaming.
“Well alright.” Gonzo said. “If you change your mind we’ll be at the Archives. Just follow the sirens. Okay,” he turned to Robin. “We’d better go find Rizzo and Pepe, so we can start planning this. Oh! Speaking of planning,” he whipped out his cell phone. “I’ve learned it’s always best to call my doctor ahead of time. That way he can have a hospital room ready for me after I’m done.” Ignoring the look on Robin’s face, Gonzo dialed the number of Dr. Phil Van Neuter.
The doctor’s voice answered tearfully, “Y-you’ve reached the mad science lab of Dr. Phil Van Neuter. S-s-speaking please?” The sound of a blowing nose followed.
“Phil? It’s me, Gonzo. Is everything alright?”
“N-no Gonzo, everything’s not alright,” the doctor sobbed. “D-do you remember my assistant, Mulch?”
“Mulch? Sure, I remember him. What happened?”
The doctor sniffled. “I found him dead this morning, in the lab. He was stabbed in the hump!”
Gonzo and Robin both gasped. (The doctor’s voice was echoing loud enough from the phone for Robin to hear.)
Gonzo asked, “Stabbed, you mean, with a knife?”
“They don’t know what the murder weapon was, just that it was a pointy object.” The poor mad scientist’s sobs were never-ending. “Oh what am I gonna do without Mulch? I never appreciated him, when he was alive! He was always there for me…”
Gonzo floundered for something sympathetic to say. “Oh Phil I, I— “
“Hey, quite!” Floyd Pepper, the purple guitarist of the Electric Mayhem, suddenly shouted.
Gonzo and Robin both looked up. All the other Muppets paused their arguments, wrestling matches, and panic attacks.
“Listen to this!” Floyd held up his I-phone, which was playing a news broadcast.
On the phone’s tiny screen, one could see the Muppet Newsman, reporting from a beach. Behind him, several human and Muppet police officers were covering a pink felt body with a sheet, while a crowd of human and Muppet beachgoers looked on.
“…reporting from the Bay of Pigs, where a body has just washed up on shore. Police confirm that it is the body of ‘Bay of Pigs Watch’ star David Hoggselhoff. Witnesses say that they saw the lifeguard rush into the water in response to a cry for help, but no one saw who it was yelling for help. Hoggselhoff then vanished under the water. When he failed to resurface, other lifeguards rushed to his aid. He eventually floated back to the top, face-down, witnesses say. Evidently, Hoggselhoff was somehow pulled to the bottom of the ocean and held down with some heavy force, until he drowned. Police are still searching for the culprit…”
“That’s another pig competitor dead,” Sal Minella spat, glaring at Miss Piggy. “Killed by something heavy!”
“Sal,” Johnny Fiama, the green-skinned lounge singer, addressed his monkey assistant. “Come on now. Don’t you think you’re getting a little carried away? It’s not like the author’s gonna reveal the killer in Chapter 3 anyway. The pig’s probably what they call uh…what’s that literary term uh….red salmon?”
“You guys,” Gonzo said urgently. “I’m talking to Dr. Phil Van Neuter right now—you know, the mad scientist from ‘Muppets Tonight?’ He’s my doctor. Anyway, he says his henchmen Mulch was stabbed to death this morning, with an unknown weapon!”
More gasps erupted throughout the crowd.
“So,” Sal sneered, “It looks like the murderers this time were committed by someone really heavy, and who might own a kitchen knife!”
“I don’t own any knives!” Piggy fired back. “Moi never cooks my own food! When I did that ‘Christmas Carol’ movie I had to have a stunt double do all the baking and mincing scenes…!”
“Come on you guys,” Kermit begged, but chaos resumed, worse than before.
“Wait a minute,” Walter was talking to himself, ticking off on his gold hand. “Clifford…Spamela Hamderson…David Hoggselhoff…Mulch….I think I might be onto something!…I think…whoever’s doing this….is targeting….MUPPETS!” His eyes widened with the realization, and Walter went back to screaming.
Gonzo made a face at Walter and shook his head.
“Now’s the perfect time for us to go Gonzo,” Robin advised, tugging the weirdo’s sleeve. “Before anybody notices.”
Gonzo looked once more at the crowd. “Are you sure you wanna do this now Robin? For all we know that killer’s waiting for us at the Archives!”
“Yes, yes! I want to know who my father is! Before I get stabbed, or drowned or squashed or poisoned!”
“Eh you’re right. If I’m gonna die today, I’ll darn well make sure the Great Gonzo squeezes in one last stunt before the end!”
“Bowk bowk bock baawk,” Camilla clucked, emerging from the fighting crowed to hug Gonzo.
“Awe, of course you’ll be by my side Camilla! Now come on, let’s go find Ethel and Stephanie and the other chickens. It’s now or never!”
Camilla clucked in agreement, and rushed to find her backup chickens.
Pepe, Rizzo, and Crazy Harry quickly joined them.
The prawn was uncharacteristically excited about partaking in a heist. “This will make a fabulous nighttime special for Pepe okay! There will be interviews, books, maybe a theatrical movie!”
Crazy Harry came up next to Gonzo, and rasped, “Should I practice a little, just to make sure I can perform?”
“Uh not now Harry,” the weirdo replied.
“Gonzo,” Rizzo pointed sternly at his friend. “I just want you to know that the only reason I’m going along with this now is ’cause I’m more afraid of that killer than I am of your stunts.”
“I knew I could count on your Rizzo.” Gonzo muttered.
“I think I should practice,” Crazy Harry insisted. “Just one.”
Gonzo, Robin, and their partners in crime hurried through the new hole in the wall, before Kermit could notice or ask where they were going.
The Muppet Archives is located in the deepest parts of MGM Studios, in Disney World. In front of the Muppet’s 3D theater stands a fountain, sporting effigies of Fozzie Bear, the Great Gonzo, the Rats, and more, circled around a Miss Piggy Statue of Liberty. Were a human to try splashing into that fountain, he or she would get nothing but wet socks, possibly a cool picture for Facebook, and definitely a disgruntled security guard telling them to please exit the fountain. However, if a Muppet enters, the sensors under the fountain floor will instantly react to his light, puppet weight, triggering the secret entrance.
Gonzo, Robin, Rizzo, Pepe, Crazy Harry, the chickens, and the rats casually made their way to the fountain, receiving minimal glances from passing human tourists and their curious children. Barely anyone seemed to notice or care when the Muppets waded into the fountain, nor when the entire fountain itself began to lower into the ground like a massive elevator. (Although one man who’d been reading a newspaper did seem a bit startled when the stone fountain wall under his rump suddenly began descending away.)
Robin looked around in awe as the fountain took them to a massive, underground lobby. “Have you been here before, Gonzo?”
“Oh yeah. I was doing some family history research a few years back, when I began wondering about my origins. I was able to track down my first chicken foster family through this place!”
They stepped off the fountain, and made their way through a crowd of hustling and bustling Muppets, before stopping in a line at the front desk. Ahead of them were several strange Muppets Robin didn’t recognize: a cranky-looking gobbling carrying a massive pile of trash on her back; a young sorceress with curled horns, trying to pacify a dragon who seemed to be arguing with his own tail; and two very loud, human-esque Muppets, making a vulgar crank call with a cell phone covered in kitten stickers. Robin began watching some of the Muppets walking around the lobby.
“Hey!” Robin pointed at a group of passing Fraggles. “I know you guys! You gave my Uncle Kermit and me a pebble one Christmas!”
“Oh yeah!” a yellow Fraggle said. “I remember you too! Good times.”
The Fraggles were in a hurry, and couldn’t stay to chat. After they left, Gonzo remarked, “Wow Rizzo, that one Fraggle sounds a lot like you!”
“You think everyone with a New York accent sounds like me…”
“Next!” a female voice hollered.
The group suddenly realized they’d made it to the front of the line. Staring down at them was a human secretary, who looked shockingly like actress Anne Hathaway. In fact, it was Anne Hathaway.
“Anne Hathaway?” Gonzo exclaimed. “You work at the Muppet Archives?”
“Works’ been kinda’ slow since ‘Batman,'” she sighed. “At least in this job I get to wear clothes I can breathe in. What can I help you guys with?”
Rizzo and Pepe exchanged a glance. Pepe asked, “Why is a human working at Muppet Archives, hokay?”
“It’s a living.” Anne said simply. “Look, I don’t mean to rush you guys, but we have a lot of people waiting.”
Robin nervously glanced behind him, to see Alf, the Count, the Cookie Monster, and a Gentle Mystic watching him impatiently. (Actually, Alf and the Count were looking impatient; the Mystic seemed to have all the tranquil patience in the world, and Cookie Monster was busy stuffing himself with a box of Girl Scout cookies.)
Timidly, the young frog said to Anne, “I want to look at my birth records to find out who my father is. But I’m an underage frog, and none of my relatives will help me out. Can Gonzo be my adult guardian, just this once?”
“Depends,” Anne replied. “Is Gonzo a relative or legal guardian?”
“Do I have any options?” Robin asked.
Anne Hathaway sighed, then pulled out a manual. “You have a few,” she paged through the thick book. “Okay. If you wanna access your files, but you don’t have a guardian, you have three options. A: Perform a dramatic heist; B: access the records via off-screen ‘sources’—I think you have to be a mob character for that to apply though—aaand C…” she turned the book around, as if trying to make sure she was reading it correctly.
“That’s okay,” Gonzo offered. “We’ve had the heist planned since yesterday afternoon. We’ll take A.”
Anne Hathaway nodded half-mindedly. “Okay. Good luck!” As the troop of scheming Muppets left, she squinted at her manual, reading option C over and over. Finally understanding, she raised her eyebrows. “Huh. I didn’t know you could get a free pass by performing a heartwarming musical number.” She looked back up, hoping to tell the good news to the little frog and his friends, but alas, they were gone. She grimaced, and faced her next few customers. Cookie Monster had finished his cookies, and was downing the cardboard box for desert.
“Hi,” Alf leaned over the counter. “I think I left a cell phone here a few days ago? It’s black, and covered in cat stickers…”
The Muppet Archives actually employed several humans, especially as security guards. In front of a locked set of double doors stood two uniformed guards, one Muppet and one human. The Muppet, naturally, was Bobo the Bear. The human was Jack Black. The guards both stared at the bizarre scene in front of them. Neither Jack nor Bobo could fathom why a dozen chickens were standing before them in a pyramid, clucking the French national anthem as they spun slowly in place like a Christmas tree in a mall display. At the top of the pyramid, Pepe twirled in his pink tutu.
“Hang on,” Bobo grunted. “I took an interpretive dance class in high school. I think they’re asking us if we want to buy a magazine subscription.”
Jack Black just stood with his arms folded, shaking his head. “To heck with political correctness. I’m puttin’ up a sign: either speak English, or go back to…whatever country chickens come from!”
The two frustrated guards continued to stare, trying to work out the chicken visitors’ request, oblivious to the line of rats tiptoeing past them, towards the door. At the front of the line, Rizzo, Bubba and Shakes hoisted a small pipe bomb; the rest of the rats carried the extension chord. They set the pipe bomb in front of the door, then quickly scurried away.
In a broom closet across the hall, Crazy Harry peeked through the door. Seeing that his bomb was in place, he gleefully pressed down on the handle. The blast went off behind Bobo and Jack Black, who both remained distracted by the chickens. Bobo almost glanced behind him, in reaction to the sound, and Jack Black half-mindedly brushed some debris off his shoulder. But the guards otherwise remained fixated on the chicken’s performance.
In the broom closet, Gonzo whispered to Robin, “Now’s your chance!”
The young frog hurried across the hall, giving a passing glance to the guards and the display they were watching.
“It’s kind of beautiful,” Bobo muttered, to an eye-rolling Jack. “You know sometimes, I don’t there’s supposed to be a meaning. Sometimes you just gotta let art flow over you.”
“Finally,” Gonzo whispered, “Someone who gets it!”
The closet door suddenly flew opened. Behind Gonzo and Crazy Harry were two new Muppets, who they didn’t realize they’d been sharing the closet with. Both were human-esque, one an orange-skinned male with dark hair, the other a cute brunette girl with tan fuzzy fur. Both had disheveled hair and clothes, and both stared at Gonzo and Harry with irritation.
“Do you mind?” the monster-girl snapped in a high-pitched voice. “We had this closet first!”
Gonzo quickly apologized, and he and Harry hurried out of the closet.
“Hey!” Jack Black suddenly broke out of his trance, and pointed across the hall.
Gonzo and Crazy Harry screeched to a halt, as the guard ran towards them. (Bobo remained watching the chicken display.)
Jack stopped sternly in front of the closet, glaring down at the two lovebirds. “Fraternization’s against company policy! You two are getting a write-up this time…!”
The male Muppet groaned, “Aw I knew we shouldn’t have listened to those Bad Idea Bears, Kate!”
His lover shook her head sadly, as Jack picked up his walkie-talkie to report them.
Relieved, Gonzo and Harry hurried across the hall to join Robin and the rats.
Beyond the blasted door lay a seemingly endless hallway, lined with metal filing cabinets that reached the ceiling.
The tiny frog stared up at the filing cabinets, crestfallen. “I guess they’re in alphabetical order…”
Yolanda, a blond rat with too much eye-makeup, stuck one paw in the air. “Alright everybody, split up! The last name we’re looking for is ‘the Frog.’ Probably under ‘F.'” Lowering her voice she asked Gonzo, “Right? They don’t include the ‘the’ in last names, do they?”
Gonzo nodded. “Yep. Mine’s labeled under ‘G’ for ‘Great.'”
Robin, Gonzo, Crazy Harry and the rats scattered like roaches, and began promptly tearing apart the archives. Robin knew it would be incredibly rude to snoop into the personal family history of complete strangers; but he was young and curious, so he figured he had an excuse. As for the rats, well, they were rats. It was no surprise they would get distracted by all the dirt they could dig up about various co-workers and neighbors. Having them “help” him would probably make the job go slower.
“He he, look at this,” Rizzo laughed, peeking into a folder labeled “Monster.” “Looks like Cookie Monster’s got a cousin who’s been arrested on fifteen accounts for illegally downloading ‘adult films’ on his computer…!”
The other rants laughed sadistically.
“Oh wow,” Robin said, upon making a discovery of his own. “Peanut the Monkey, assistant of comedian Jeff Dunham, has links with al-Qaeda?!”
“Eh, everyone knows that,” Bubba the gray rat grunted. “But listen to this!” He held up a folder labeled “Operation Snuffleupagus,” containing several decades worth of files, with a photograph of a brown wholly mammoth paper-clipped to the top. Bubba read: “‘November 18, 1985: We regret ta report that our practical joke of acting like we can’t see Big Boid’s imaginary friend, Snuffle—Snuff-a-lotta—’ eh I can’t pronounce that—’must come to an end. It’s been a hy-sterical fourteen years, pretendin’ we didn’t see Big Boid’s friend and watchin’ him get . But child psychologists have brought to our attention that our kid audience might misintoipret this running gag, as a message that their parents won’t believe them if they try ta tell them about—’ woa,” Bubba’s usually half-closed eyes widened slightly. “Yeah I can see why that’d be a bad message ta the kids.” Closing the folder awkwardly, he asked, “Uh, anybody find Robin’s folder yet?”
“I-I-think I found it!” Shakes, the jittery young rat who’d never quiet recovered from having a caffeine substitute tested on him, held up a folder labeled “the Frog.”
“That’s it!” Robin immediately tossed aside the current folder he’d been reading, about someone named Eureka being fined for practicing magic underage.
Shakes tossed the folder down to Robin, who opened it on the floor. Gonzo and several of the rats gathered around, while the rest watched from the opened drawers they sat on. The Frog family’s folder was enormous. That’s just what I get, Robin thought wearily, for having over seven thousand aunts and uncles. Finally, he found the file on himself.
“Here it is!” Robin exclaimed. “Here’s my birth certificate!”
He pulled out the large birth certificate, stamped with two tiny flipper prints. (Apparently a frog’s birth certificate was filled out when the tadpole stage ended, rather than right after hatching.) His wide eyes raced to the bottom, where it would list his parents’ names. It read: Born to: Deborah the Frog, and Robin gasped. His father’s name was blacked out with permanent marker!
“No!” Robin looked up and down the paper in disbelief.
Gonzo offered, “Maybe we can have Bunsen and Beaker do something with it. Dissolve the Sharpie ink or something.”
“Try holdin’ it up to the light,” Yolanda offered.
“Wait!” a female rat not important enough to have been given an onscreen name pointed at a scrap paper sticking out of the bottom of the folder. “Wait a minute, what’s that?”
Robin quickly pulled the scrap paper out. It was an old post-it note, with something sloppily written in pen. Record of father in Restricted Section.
“Restricted?” Robin looked around frantically. “Where’s the Restricted Section?”
A young male rat who, hadn’t ever been named either, squeaked, “Over there, by that giant blinking sign that says ‘Restricted Section.'”
Indeed, at the back of the room was an arched doorway, with RESTRICTED SECTION glowing in red neon lights. The doors themselves were metal and futuristic looking. As soon as Robin came within a foot of the door, a robotic voice demanded, “Retinal Scan identification, please.” It was clear that only a guard would be able to pass the retinal scanner test. Everyone looked around the door in despair.
“I don’t think Harry’s gonna be able to blast through this one,” Rizzo shook his head regretfully.
Gonzo grimaced. “I don’t suppose you guys could chew another hole in the wall?”
A former Pete’s Diner rat named Rat Tattooey (no relation to the CGI Disney character) piped up, “My teeth are still soar from blazin’ that tunnel to the broom closet!”
The other rats chimed in with agreement.
“Well uh,” Gonzo looked once more at Robin. He couldn’t let him down now, not when they’d come so far. The thought of turning the little frog back to a life of uncertainty, back to the same horrible childhood Gonzo himself had lived through, was unbearable. “I guess we could try blowing it up…”
Crazy Harry croaked, “Did somebody say ‘blow it up?'”
No one had time to take cover before Crazy Harry detonated another bomb. Filing drawers, folders, bricks, Neon letters, rats, Robin, Gonzo, Harry, and Harry’s bomb handle flew in all directions, in a cloud of smoke and debris. When the dust cleared, the metal door remained perfectly untouched, but the brick wall around it had been almost completely demolished. Behind the now bare door sat a long empty hall, with a series of red laser beams cutting a thick web through it. At the other end of the hall was a plain wooden door, presumably leading to the restricted files.
Rizzo cursed, “Oh I hate these movies…”
One of the rats offered nervously, “Maybe you just get a little shock, like those red circles in the lab maze?”
Yolanda untied the fashionable, pink scarf from her neck, and gracefully tossed it into the room. The cloth was instantly diced into a thousand pieces.
The group stared in silence.
Finally, Robin said, “I don’t have any experience in secret agent traps.” His young eyes moved off into the distance, and everyone realized he was beginning a dramatic, inspirational speech. “I don’t have a lot of knowledge of the world yet. I don’t have wisdom, I don’t have strength, and I don’t have courage. But one thing I do have…is a straight-A record in gymnastics class!”
Before anyone could stop him, Robin hopped into the air, soaring into the deadly hallway. Everyone gasped, and Gonzo pulled Rizzo close. (Probably just as a substitute for Camilla, who was still busy distracting the two guards outside.) Robin somersaulted flawlessly through the laser beams, cleanly missing each and every one. He made it to the door on the other side, and ran through.
His voice echoed from the other side, “I’m in!…oh hey, what’s this switch?”
The lasers vanished.
Hesitantly, the rest of the group followed down the hall, to join Robin in the other room. Going through the little door, they found themselves in a wide warehouse-like room, filled with crates, chests, ancient artifacts, and expensive works of art. They could hardly make sense of the clutter of items; it was like some strange, Muppet antique shop. On a shelf against one wall sat a half-eaten peach, a magic wand with a crescent moon at the tip, and what looked like the shard of some huge purple crystal. Against the opposite wall were several mailing packages, some squashed and others charred, all labeled “Yankerville Parcel Service.” In the back of the room was what looked like a futuristic cryo-stasis chamber, opened and empty, with a neon sign reading: BAD IDEA BEARS: DO NOT OPEN.
The group slowly walked into the room, passing a row of strange items in glass cases, that none of them paid much attention to: a banana sandwich, on a plate surrounded by lettuce; several treasure chests stuffed with rare gems and Spanish doubloons; a book labeled “A Christmas Carol: Footnotes;” a framed portrait of a frog resembling Kermit, but with a thin mustache, in a fine suit and wide brimmed hat; a rounded diamond the size of a baseball; and a jar of white pills labeled “Instagrow!”
Finally, amidst the piles of junk, Robin found a wooden crate with FROG stamped on the side, and the rats kindly chewed around the lock. Robin hastily threw opened the crate’s lid, and pulled out what looked like a treasure chest, locked shut. After Gonzo picked the lock with his nose, they threw that lid opened, only to find another box—this one metal, with a key-code lock. Crazy Harry was the one to get that one opened: after the dust cleared and everyone unplugged their ears, Robin threw that metal lid opened, and finally pulled out a mysterious-looking, black filing folder.
“This is it!” Robin gasped. “I’m gonna find out who my father is!”
“Oh my goodness!” Gonzo leaned over Robin’s shoulder, anticipating the discovery. “Rizzo are you seeing this?”
Rizzo was some feet behind them, climbing up an elegant pedestal, sniffing at a cheese-carved bust of a Muppet-styled William Shakespeare. “I think this is real cheese!”
Gonzo rolled his eyes back down to Robin. “Well, are you gonna open it now, or save it for Christmas?”
“I…think I’ll open it now.”
Slowly Robin opened the folder…
And his felt heart stopped.
Both Robin and Gonzo stared down the file with cringing, half-opened mouths. They were looking at a photo of grimacing frog, identical to Kermit, but for a mole on the right side of his face. The photo was clipped to a file titled, in block letters, CONSTANTINE.
Below the name, read the basic info on the subject:
Siblings: Kermit the Frog….
The “siblings” section took up the rest of the page. In fact, most of the rest of the document. Robin flipped through the pages frantically, while Gonzo looked on helplessly. Finally, halfway down the last page, the list of siblings ended (with Zachery the Frog). And beneath that…
Son: Robin the Frog
Marital Status: Divorced: formerly married to Deborah the Frog.
“No,” Robin shook his tiny head slowly.
Stunned, Gonzo slowly put a blue furry hand on Robin’s shoulder, as if anything could offer the poor frog conform now.
In a daze, Robin said quietly, “It feels like the whole world is collapsing around me.”
After a long pause, Gonzo, in an equally stunned voice, mumbled, “It’s not the whole world. Just this room…I think Rizzo probably set of a booby trap with that cheese statue.”
Robin made a soft, acknowledging nose.
Both stood in silence, oblivious to the chunks of ceiling that were falling around them. Finally, Rizzo came up in front of them and screamed, “GONZO THE ROOM’S COLLAPSING!”
Gonzo and Robin shook out of their daze, and looked around them.
“Oh great,” Gonzo groaned, “It’s another Indiana Jones parody.”
“I know!” Rizzo shrieked. “Let’s get outta here before the arrows start shootin’ outta the walls!”
Gonzo and Robin led the stampede of rats out of the warehouse, with Crazy Harry bringing up the rear, dragging his beloved bomb. Robin held the large folder over his head, as if it might somehow protect him from the falling chunks of wood, rock and plaster. As Rizzo predicted, the “arrows from the walls” spoof followed the collapsing ceiling, when the Muppets were running back through that long hallway. Of course, this being a Muppet-designed building, all of the booby traps worked with Muppet-styled weapons. Slits in the wall opened up, and outshot hundreds of rubber chickens, with needle-sharp beaks. Rizzo ducked just time, and watched bug-eyed as his baseball cap was cut in half.
As they ran back into the original archives room, Robin commented, “I guess the big rolling boulder is next!”
Rizzo screamed, “I hate the big rolling boulder!”
The rubber chickens continued to fire all through the file room. The group came back out into the main hall, where Pepe and the Chickens were still distracting the guards. Pepe was now leading the hens in a dance number from “Swan Lake,” while Bobo and the two lovers from the closet applauded, and Jack Black snored loudly. As soon as Robin and his friends exited the file room, a loud rumbling was heard.
“Oh, there’s the boulder!” Gonzo pointed joyfully, now enjoying the danger (as usual).
The “bolder” was in fact a giant tomato. But even a tomato was a genuine threat, when it was the size of a boxcar and rolling at 65 miles per hour.
“Hey I remember that thing!” Robin suddenly recalled. “That was Statler and Waldorf’s Christmas present to Fozzie a few years back!”
Bobo turned to look where Gonzo was pointing, and Jack Black snorted awake from his nap. The chickens began flapping their wings and swanking madly.
“Camilla, my love!” Gonzo hollered. “I’ll save you!”
Without slowing down, Gonzo scooped his feathered lover up in his arms, carrying her romantically down the hall. Pepe, still his tutu, stared bug-eyed at the giant tomato, frozen in shock. Rizzo, screaming his fool head off, scooped Pepe up just as Gonzo had Camilla, without really thinking about it.
The monster Muppet from the broom closet took notice of Gonzo carrying Camilla and Rizzo carrying Pepe, and yelled to her boyfriend, “Princeton, aren’t we gonna do something romantic?”
“Uh, sure!” the male Muppet hopped into her arms and wrapped his arms around her neck, screaming bloody murder. His lover sighed.
Panting, Robin asked no one in particular, “What’s gonna happen now?”
Bubba the rat answered: “There’s only ever one way for a tomato joke to end.”
Cackling, Crazy Harry stopped running, turned around, and readied his bomb.
One explosion later, everyone was drenched in tomato sauce.
“Hey, not bad!” Rizzo tossed Pepe behind him with a loud clatter. “Someone get a pot of spaghetti going. I’m just gonna make sure this sauce is good to eat…”
Gonzo sighed, as the rats all began lapping away.
Robin made a grossed-out face, and turned to Jack Black. “Sorry we broke into the top secret Archives, and caused so much property damage. Do I, uh, go straight to juvie hall now? Or do we get a trial?”
Jack Black sighed. “Normally, in situations like this, the most common thing to do,” he wiped some tomato sauce off his uniform, and tasted it. “is to just cut to the next scene, and hope the audience doesn’t question anything.”
Walter strolled down the street whistling “Life’s a Happy Song.” He hadn’t found any clues yet, but his intuition was telling him that answers weren’t far off. That, and the street sign a ways back had clearly read, TURNING PIONT FOR STORY’S PLOT, ½ MILES.
Walter suddenly stopped, and looked down. The sidewalk here was cracked…as if something enormous had fallen over. Maybe someone big enough to squash Clifford, and drown David Hoggselhauff!
“A clue!” the naïve young Muppet whispered to himself.
Looking around, he saw a massive shadow slipping into a nearby alley. Ah-ha! Wow, three chapters in, and Walter had already found the killer! This was going to be a short story after all! Walter hurried into the alley, vaguely aware of the fact that he had absolutely no weapons, and had failed to let anyone know exactly where he was.
The alley stopped at a dead end, with a brick wall and a large opened dumpster. A massive figure was eyeing the wall with disappointment. The figure was clad entirely in black, including a ski mask, hiding their identity. But all the black clothing in the world couldn’t hide his size. Walter could confirm that much at least; the killer was a big individual.
Unless he was really several smaller people, stacked on top of each other, like Muppet Man!
“Muppet Man?” Walter asked stupidly. “Is that you?”
The figure spun around. His face was completely hidden by the ski mask. There weren’t even eye-holes.
“I know you killed Clifford,” Walter said defiantly. “didn’t you. And I know you got David Hoggslehauff, and Spamela Hamderson, and Gonzo’s doctor’s henchman. But it’s over!” Walter’s voice softened. “Listen, I don’t wanna resort to violence. Just come with me to the police station, and you won’t be—”
Walter gasped, as the figure produced a pistol.
There was a soft crack, as the figure cocked the gun, preparing to shoot. But just as the gun went off, Walter leapt into the air—in slow motion of course—perfectly dodging the bullet. He then ran up one brick wall, “Matrix” style, as the figure fired off his five remaining bullets. Walter finished his vertical jog with a kick that sent the gun clattering into the dumpster.
“Ha-ha!” Walter laughed, posing karate style. “Bet you didn’t see that coming!”
The figure slowly cocked his head at Walter.
“Okay,” Walter admitted. “The ‘Matrix’ thing was kind of dated. But so what, it’s nostalgic now! Come on!” He delivered a perfect punch to the figure. “Is that all you got?” he laughed triumphantly, before delivering a roundhouse kick. “Look, I realize the one to ultimately catch and expose you should probably be Kermit,” he readied himself for another attack. “But he’s busy at the mo—”
The figure stepped aside, allowing Walter to charge right past him, tumbling into the opened dumpster. The young Muppet shook his head, and began to push himself up. Suddenly, something wrapped tightly around his throat, crushing his felt windpipe. Walter grasped futilely at the thing strangling him. He couldn’t tell if it was being done with a rope, a chain, or some other material. Walter continued clawing at the crushing force around his neck, gasping for breath. It seemed almost to have a life of its own, like a snake, or some monster’s tentacle. No, no, this couldn’t be happening! Surely, after proving his worth as a Muppet regular for two movies, the writers weren’t killing him off for good? Walter tried biting at whatever was strangling him—just on the off-chance that it was something like a snake—but his fabric mouth did little damage.
Then, suddenly, there was a searing pain in his chest, alongside the sound of tearing cloth.
It was nearly dusk when Gary and Mary, Walter’s human brother and sister-in-law, reached the alley. They’d spent hours searching for him. He hadn’t come over to join them for dinner that night as planned, and no one at the Muppet boarding house had seen him since they’d all rushed Spamela Hamderson to the hospital. After asking around, they’d learned Walter had come to this part of town.
“I’m really worried for him Mary,” Gary said. “Walter can be pretty reckless at times.”
Mary smiled weakly. “I’m sure he’s fine.”
But her intuition was telling her otherwise.
“Walter?” Gary called. “Walter?”
“Walter?” Mary shouted across the empty road.
The two of them spend looked around the street in exasperation. There was simply no sign anyone had been here, much less a little Muppet. Well, something had cracked the pavement in the sidewalk; but for all they knew, that had been there since the road’s construction.
“Here,” Gary pointed to an opened manhole in the street. “Maybe he fell.” He jogged over to the manhole and kneeled over it. “Walter?” his voice echoed into the sewers. “Walter?”
Mary’s eyes wandered around the area, before landing on a dumpster in a short alley. Hesitantly, she began to approach it. Her “bad feeling” grew into a dreadful certainly, as she stepped into the alley.
In the distance, Gary was still calling his brother’s name. “Waaalter? Walter you down there?”
Mary gripped the edge of the dumpster with a shaking hand, and peered inside.
Against the sounds of Gary calling Walter’s name, Mary let out a long, blood curdling scream.
A/N: I’m worried that I might have given too much away in this chapter. If the killer’s identity is obvious to you, I beg you not to give it away in reviews. The more people I surprise the happier I’ll be.