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A Cup of Kindness

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by TogetherAgain, Dec 18, 2011.

  1. The Count

    The Count Moderator Staff Member

    Yay! ! !

    A snowball fight? Now why does that remind me of something similar that happened in my own MFG? You know, at the very end when everyone came back to town, Chapter 30-ish?
    *Self-plug over.

    Fake snow...
    Not toxic...
    Snow forts...
    Jaw dropping...
    Cab ride...
    Hot chocolate...
    Wall crash...
    Mistletoe...

    Thank you.
    *Is 1, 1 happy Count.
  2. Muppetfan44

    Muppetfan44 Active Member

    Aww! so adorable!

    Again, totally adorable! Interesting angle with Piggy trying to hide her being nice, I like it...makes you think that Piggy may be more than what she seems to be...

    LOVED that part! And you remembered the miseltoe!!!! You know how to make a fellow ush-gusher smile! Great job as always- the snowball fight was very fun and as We Got Us said, you can definitely picture everything the way you write- probably one of my favorite things about all of your writing on here.

    Happy and excited to read more!
    We Got Us likes this.
  3. redBoobergurl

    redBoobergurl Well-Known Member

    I'd be just like Casey, totally star struck at every Muppet!! I love the fake snow and the playing in it and the Muppety Christmasy goodness of this story!!!
  4. theprawncracker

    theprawncracker Well-Known Member

    That there update was just fine. Just fine indeed. And by fine I mean exceptional, as is commonplace with this half of mine. Brilliant stuff... love the thought of an army of Muppets led by Gonzo charging anything... that's just hilarious. Poor Casey is reminding me of me about a month ago. But that's another story for another time. Or something. Anyway... MORE PLEASE!
  5. TogetherAgain

    TogetherAgain Well-Known Member

    Part Three

    While most of the Muppets hurried into the kitchen for hot chocolate, Casey stood in the living room and tried to collect herself. It wasn’t easy. Looking around, she couldn’t help feeling a little dizzy.

    Rather than just the fireplace, an entire wall was hung with stockings—some smaller than her thumb, some big enough to fit a twenty-pound potato sack, and some every size in between, each labeled with a name.

    And the tree—oh, goodness, the tree! It was so tall that the star on top touched the ceiling, and the base was so wide that it couldn’t possibly have fit through the door. It was strung with a mix of white and colored lights, both silver and gold garland, and more ornaments than Casey had ever seen in one place: carved wooden ornaments, glass and plastic balls, ornaments made from popsicle sticks and construction paper, ornaments made of fabric and yarn, metal ornaments, ceramic ornaments, edible ornaments, half-eaten ornaments, and ornaments that were broken, burned, or chipped. A model train ran around the base of the tree—or at least it would have, except that it seemed to be stuck at the base of a roller-coaster-style loop-de-loop that no amount of “I think I can” could overcome.

    And on both sides of the train tracks, crammed under the branches and all around the tree, were piles and piles of presents. Presents in gift bags, presents neatly wrapped with bright bows and ribbons, presents haphazardly wrapped with the paper falling off, presents with more tape than wrapping paper, presents wrapped in newspaper, presents still in the boxes they’d been shipped in with a stick-on bow slapped on the side. It looked like Santa had already made multiple trips to this house.

    And as if all of that weren’t enough, the piano was strung with Christmas lights, too, with a wreath hanging on the back to face the rest of the room and evergreen garland across the top—right next to a Hanukkah menorah, for some reason. The coffee table hadn’t been spared, either: it had been covered with cotton batting for snow and turned into a miniature Christmas village, although this particular Christmas village happened to include several giant remote controls, mugs, and cups, as well as a pair of reading glasses. Every single surface in the room was decorated with small snowmen, Santas, elves, reindeer, nutcrackers, poinsettias, and berries and holly.

    Casey stared at it all, took a deep breath, and let out a heavy sigh.

    “Hey Casey, don’t you want some hot cocoa?” Floyd called from the kitchen door. “It’s edible, and for the time being, we have enough mugs intact!”

    “Oh, um—sure,” Casey said, slipping her hand into her pocket and gripping her phone. “Sure, I… I’ll be right there.”

    “Better hurry,” Floyd warned. “Stuff goes quick when it actually tastes good.” He chuckled softly as the kitchen door swung shut.

    Casey bit her lip and pulled her phone out. I found a place to stay, she typed into a text for her husband. You’ll never believe where. She tucked her phone back into her pocket and cautiously went into the kitchen.

    The kitchen was cramped and crowded and so warm from all the body heat that hot chocolate was hardly necessary, but no one seemed to mind. Everyone was talking and laughing. There were decorations here, too; garland traced the top of the cabinets, and paper snowflakes hung from the ceiling.

    “Ooh, like, pass a mug back for Casey, please!” Janice called when she saw Casey. “Like, you’re totally rully lucky, Casey. The hot cocoa is like, even better than it was last year!”

    “Oh, um—how was it last year?” Casey asked, not sure if she wanted to know.

    “Delicious,” Floyd said. “Once a year, Chef manages to make some food that’s actually good!”

    “It’s our annual Christmas miracle,” Rowlf said as he handed Casey a mug. “By the way, I’m Rowlf, Rowlf the Dog.”

    “Nice to meet you. And, um—thank you,” Casey said, lifting the mug a little. The hot chocolate did smell good…

    “Oh, don’t thank me. Thank Chef,” Rowlf said. “Or Christmas, for the miracle…”

    “Or Santa Claus,” Floyd suggested.

    “SAN-TA! SAN-TA!”

    “Heel, Animal!” Floyd shouted. “He’s comin’ soon!”

    “SAN-TA!”

    “I’d better check on that. ‘Scuse me, babe.” Floyd kissed Janice on the cheek and slipped away into the crowd. “Animal! Down, Animal!”

    “Yeah, keep him away from the eggnog,” Rowlf chuckled. “So, where ya from, Casey?”

    “New York.” Casey sipped at her hot chocolate.

    “Oh, we know New York!” Rowlf said.

    “Love that city,” Clifford said. “You from the city?”

    Casey nodded and smiled, half-hiding behind her mug as the Muppets started sharing all sorts of stories and memories from New York City.

    “Jou remember de salsa lady?” Pepe said. “She was hot, hokay!”

    “Yeah, but da salsa was awful,” Rizzo said.

    “Who cares about de salsa? I’m talking about de salsa lady, hokay.”

    “Yeah, yeah…”

    “You guys remember the time we got thrown out of the hot dog place?” Fozzie said.

    “Which one?” Gonzo laughed.

    Kermit groaned. “Please don’t remind me.”

    “Hey Chief, you’ve got some good New York stories, don’t you?” Scooter asked.

    “What, you mean from Sesame Street?”

    “Yeah, tell us some Sesame stories!”

    Kermit laughed. “Well, I could, but I’m pretty sure you all know how to count to three already…”

    “I’m not always convinced of that, Boss,” Scooter said, which got a few more laughs.

    Casey’s cell phone rang, and she pressed her back against the wall as she pulled the phone out of her pocket. She grinned at the screen and answered the video call. “Hi honey.”

    “Alright, I give up. Where are you staying?”

    The Muppets quickly quieted each other and eagerly stared at Casey as they tried their best to eavesdrop, but Casey was too busy giggling to notice. “I’m not telling. You wouldn’t believe me.”

    “Come on, Casey. Please, tell me?”

    “Nuh-uh.”

    “Where ARE you?”

    “You wouldn’t believe it.”

    “Alright, I wouldn’t. So prove it. Where are you staying?”

    Casey giggled and peered over her phone, noticing for the first time that all of the Muppets were watching and listening. “You guys wanna say hi?”

    “Yeah, let us say hi!”

    “Who is it?”

    “It’s my husband, Nick.”

    “Let us say hi!”

    “Okay. Nick… you should maybe sit down.” Casey giggled as she held the phone up so that everyone in the room could see the screen.

    “HI NICK!”

    “HI NICK!”

    “MERRY CHRISTMAS!”

    “MERRY CHRISTMAS, NICK!”

    “JOUR WIFE’S HOT!”


    “Pepe!”

    Casey laughed so hard she nearly spilled her hot chocolate. She brought the phone back down to her own eye level and looked at the screen. “Nick?” She stared at the screen for a moment, and then she giggled again. “Nick? You okay, honey?”

    There didn’t seem to be any response, and the Muppets snickered. “Blame Pepe!” someone called out.

    But Nick recovered. “Casey… how…”

    She started to explain. “Well, I ran into Miss Piggy at the baggage claim, and—” Casey could feel the diva watching her, and she coughed. “And… the next thing I knew, I was here!”

    Kermit started laughing again.

    “…Well… Next time you get stranded in L.A. on Christmas Eve, can I come with?” Nick asked.

    Casey laughed. “I hope so.”

    “I was actually calling because Tasha wants to talk to you.”

    “Oh, put her on!”

    Little Tasha appeared on the screen. “Hi Mommy!”

    “Hi Tasha, honey!”

    “Mommy, is Santa gonna know to bring your presents THERE if you can’t come home?”

    Casey’s breath caught for a moment. “Oh… Well, Tasha, he—Santa—probably knows I’m here, but—he knows I’m coming home soon, so he’ll probably still bring my presents there with yours.”

    “But then you won’t have any presents to open tomorrow!” Casey sounded heartbroken at the idea.

    The Muppets glanced at each other. Scooter whispered something to Miss Piggy, and more whispers continued to spread.

    “That’s okay, honey,” Casey said. “I’ll open my presents with you and Daddy, when I get home… in a couple days.”

    “But Santa’s supposed to bring presents on Christmas!” Tasha said. “You’re supposed to get PRESENTS tomorrow!”

    “I know, honey, but there’s more to Christmas than presents,” Casey said. She squeezed her eyes shut for a moment. “It’ll be okay. I can wait for presents.”

    “But won’t Santa bring them THERE for you?” Tasha asked. “You should put milk and cookies out for him. Maybe then he’ll bring your presents to you.”

    “Maybe. We’ll see,” Casey said quietly.

    Scooter cleared his throat. “Anyone else have a little more shopping to do?” he said loudly as he made his way towards the door.

    “Oh I do, actually!” Kermit said quickly. “Fozzie, you wanna come with?”

    “Moi could always use another trip to the mall,” Miss Piggy said easily.

    “How do you know none of the gifts I have to get are for you?” Kermit asked.

    A few more whispers filtered through the room, but Casey didn’t notice any of them as she slipped back into the living room to talk to her daughter.
    muppetfan24/7 likes this.
  6. theprawncracker

    theprawncracker Well-Known Member

    Love it, love it, LOVE it. Salsa lady, hot chocolate, thank Christmas for the miracle, Floyd, Janice, Rowlf, PEPE!! Brilliance all around. But the highlight is obviously the adorable Tasha. What a brilliant emotional tug as we're all laughing at everything else... you are way too good at that. But everyone knows that. YOU know that. But anyway. Excellent work, the description of the decorations is amazing. Perfect, even. I need more to copy--erm... base my work off of.
  7. We Got Us

    We Got Us Active Member

    Ah,Ah,Ah,Ah,Ah!!! And the love increases exponentially! Oh this story is so uplifting and...as you yourself put it...adorable! And, (As has been said before) Rowlf, Janice and Floyd, Scooter, Pepe, Piggy!!! You rock, hokey? Post more soon, and happy Hanukkah! :D

    P.S. Mr. The Prawn, it makes me feel good a master is copying my mentor. At least I'm not the only one. ;)
    theprawncracker likes this.
  8. TogetherAgain

    TogetherAgain Well-Known Member

    Ah yes, Prawnie's quite the copy-master. (Or something like that.) Apparently, it's all my fault he started his latest hilarious story...
  9. redBoobergurl

    redBoobergurl Well-Known Member

    Aww, such a sweet phone call with her husband and daughter and then Scooter piping up with the "anyone have more shopping to do" was so sweet too! And New York stories! And Sesame Street reference! And I love this! And how many more sentences can I start with the word and?? MORE PLEASE!
  10. mostlikemokey

    mostlikemokey Active Member

    I love Animal in this one...great job! (as usual!)
  11. Beauregard

    Beauregard Well-Known Member

    SAN-TA SAN-TA (Reference?)

    Love the Salsa, and the Salsa lady. But for some reason, I got well choked up when Tasha showed up on screen. Honestly, I would HATE to be away from my family at Christmas, even if I did have the Muppets with me...*snuggles under duvet and dreams of heading home in two days*
  12. TogetherAgain

    TogetherAgain Well-Known Member

    Part Four

    When Casey returned to the kitchen, it was no longer quite the homey scene she had left. The hot chocolate had all been finished, and now the Swedish Chef, Robin, Sweetums, and Gonzo were all attempting to make Christmas cookies.

    Attempting. Not succeeding. Of course, it didn’t help that the Chef wasn’t so keen on having so many other Muppets “helping” him cook and kept trying to shoo everyone away and stop them from using his bowls, utensils, and ingredients.

    “Please? It’s Christmas! We just want to make some cookies,” Robin pleaded.

    “Yeah, it’s tradition!” Sweetums said.

    But the Chef was shaking his head. “Ruun shmur de cøøkies!” he insisted, pointing to himself.

    Casey stared at the kitchen, which was covered in flour, frosting, and sprinkles, and decided that this is what her own preschool classroom would look like… without adult supervision. She took a deep breath and stepped forward. “How about Chef makes half of the cookies, and the rest of you can make the other half,” she suggested in her best let’s-be-patient-now voice.

    “Yeah, that would work! Please, Chef? Can we?” Robin pleaded.

    The Chef seemed hesitant, and Casey suddenly wondered if she should be afraid of the rolling pin he was holding.

    “Come on, Chef. It’s the season of giving!” Gonzo said. “You have your kitchen all to yourself for 364 days of the year. Can’t we just share a little on Christmas? Please?”

    “Yeah, please?” Robin chimed in.

    “Please?” Sweetums asked.

    Chef sighed. “Smur de fuur de høøllie.”

    “YAY!” Robin said, but Sweetums lightly put his hand on Robin’s back and turned to Gonzo.

    “Was that a yes?” the hulking monster hesitantly asked.

    Gonzo’s eyelids had risen with excitement. “It was close enough!” He laughed.

    The Chef shook his head as he turned to assemble some ingredients.

    “Hey Casey, do you wanna help make cookies?” Gonzo asked.

    Casey was enough of a Muppet fan to know that cooking in the same room as the Swedish Chef—and doing anything with Gonzo—was fairly dangerous, which is why she hesitated.

    “Yeah, you can help, too!” Robin said enthusiastically. “Please, Casey?”

    It wasn’t so much that Casey couldn’t say no to Robin. She was a pre-school teacher, and a mother, besides. She was perfectly capable of saying no to an adorable child. But if Robin was here, maybe the other Muppets wouldn’t quite as dangerous… And maybe making cookies with them would help her to stop thinking about the cookies that Nick and Tasha had made without her at home. And besides—it looked like they needed some direction. “Sure, I can help.”

    The Chef immediately marched up to her and pointed his rolling pin straight at her chest. “Müürin nu de cøøkin fürshen?” he demanded.

    Casey stared at him, her mouth hanging open. She was fairly certain he had asked her a question, but she had no idea how to answer. “Uh…”

    “He’s asking if you know how to cook,” Rowlf said, leaning against the doorway.

    “Oh! Uh…” She cleared her throat and looked at the Swedish Chef. “Yes, I know how to cook.”

    The Chef considered her for a moment, then shrugged. “Økie düfen,” he said, and he walked away.

    *%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*

    Kermit, Fozzie, Miss Piggy, Scooter, Floyd, Zoot, and Rizzo all agreed to try to be subtle as they returned to the boarding house with their hands full of shopping bags. They didn’t want to arouse any suspicion. These were gifts they had bought, and they had no way of knowing who would be waiting in the living room. If no one noticed them coming in, then they had a chance of getting to their bedrooms and wrapping their gifts in private before anyone tried to spy—or saw something by accident.

    Unfortunately, the Muppets were not known for their subtlety.

    “Kermie, stop trying to peek.”

    “Who, me?”

    “Yes, vous.”

    “Trying to peek?”

    “Yes. Stop it.”

    “Why would I peek?”

    “Kermie…”

    “Just apologize, Green Stuff. It’s safer.” Floyd chuckled.

    “Did you see anything, Boss?” Scooter whispered.

    “Scooter!”

    “Well, did you?”

    “No, because I wasn’t peeking.”

    “Of course not! Kermit wouldn’t peek.”

    “Thank you, Fozzie.”

    “Vous were definitely peeking.”

    “Piggy!”

    As Zoot opened the front door, he paused to look back at the other Muppets behind him. Were they going to remember to be subtle now? They still stood a chance of sneaking in if Kermit and Miss Piggy stopped arguing and remembered the mistletoe they were walking under.

    No such luck. Zoot’s reward for stopping was to find himself at the bottom of a seven-Muppet pile-up.

    “Whoa!”

    “Ack!”

    “Ahh!”

    “OW!”

    Their shopping bags dropped from their hands, which prompted more shouts as they scrambled to untangle themselves and shove any spilled contents back into the bags before anyone saw.

    “FLOYD! FLOYD!” Animal ran towards the chaos to greet his favorite bass player.

    “Animal! Whoa, heel! Uh—” Floyd grabbed the drummer by the shoulders and desperately tried to hide the spilled presents behind his back. “Listen, Animal! Why don’t you go round up the band for a jam session? Zoot and I will catch up.”

    Animal’s eyes went wide. “JAM SE-SHUN! JAM SE-SHUN!” he shouted, running off to find the rest of the Electric Mayhem. “JAM SE-SHUN!”

    “Too close,” Floyd muttered. “Alright, now which of these bags are which?”

    “Just check inside, and see which bag has the stuff that you bought,” Kermit said.

    “NO, Kermit, don’t look in the bags!” Fozzie said frantically. “I bought YOU something! What if you see your present by ACCIDENT?”

    “Oh…” Kermit looked at the bags. “Uh-oh.”

    “Well, Chief, I could look through them and—”

    “No you couldn’t, Scooter,” Kermit said quickly.

    “I couldn’t?”

    “No. You couldn’t.”

    “Oh.”

    Fozzie said, “Maybe I should look—”

    “No!” Scooter and Miss Piggy both interrupted.

    “Oh.”

    “Um…” Kermit rubbed the back of his neck. “Gee. This… isn’t good.”

    Rowlf was standing nearby, chuckling. “You guys need some help?”

    “NO!” several of them yelped, which made the dog laugh even more.

    “Well, the bags don’t all look the same. We can start with who bought something at which stores,” Scooter suggested.

    “Yeah, let’s start there,” Kermit said, and they started sorting the bags by which store was labeled on the front.

    “D’is is ridiculous,” Rizzo said. “Look, I know d’at the bags I bought were smaller d’an da rest of yours. So I know d’at these two bags are da stuff I bought for Gonzo.”

    “What’d you buy for me?” Gonzo asked, appearing from the kitchen covered in flour.

    Rizzo shrieked and tried to hide his bags behind his back—which didn’t work very well, since he was only so big. “Nothing!”

    Kermit looked around the room, suddenly frantic. “Gonzo, where’s Robin?”

    “Oh, he’s in the kitchen,” Gonzo said. “We’re making cookies with Casey and Sweetums and—”

    “GOOD! Keep them there!” Kermit said desperately. “Guys, we’ve gotta figure this out quickly.”

    “Figure what out?” Gonzo asked. “Hey, where’d Rizzo go?”

    But they were ignoring Gonzo now, too busy trying to sort their bags.

    “Oh! This one’s mine,” Miss Piggy said, snatching a bag.

    Kermit nearly choked—on absolutely nothing. “Piggy, you were with us the whole time! How did you get something from Victoria’s—”

    “Never MIND it, Frog,” she muttered.

    “Wha…” The frog’s jaw continued to hang.

    “Hi, Uncle Kermit!”

    “Um…” Kermit’s collar felt slightly tighter than usual, which did nothing to calm his rising panic.

    “How come the shopping bags are all piled together?” Robin asked as he hopped to his uncle’s side. “How do you know whose are whose?”

    “We, ah—we don’t know, Robin. We’re trying to figure that out,” Kermit said.

    “Can I help?” Robin asked.

    “NO! I mean, uh—” Kermit cleared his throat. “I, uh—I thought Gonzo said you were helping Casey with cookies?”

    “I was. But we can’t do anything right now,” Robin explained. “They have to cool down before we can decorate them.”

    “Oh.” Kermit gulped. “Uh…”

    “Why don’t you and Casey plan how you’re going to decorate the cookies,” Scooter said, ushering the little frog back towards the kitchen. “I bet she’d love to have your suggestions.”

    “Okay!” Robin eagerly hopped away.

    “Thanks, Scooter,” Kermit said.

    “You’re not the only one who bought him something,” Scooter mumbled.

    It was with quite a bit of difficulty that they managed to sort everything out without seeing any presents that weren’t intended for them. When they finally determined that all of them had the shopping bags they had actually purchased, the surrounding crowd of Muppets applauded.
    muppetfan24/7 likes this.
  13. The Count

    The Count Moderator Staff Member

    O thank thee, fair Lisa.
    Your story is so awesome.
    I always pause to read it.
    And :) all the way through.

    *Scurries off to find other hidden fanfic presents from both birthday and Christmas.
  14. Ozymandias

    Ozymandias Well-Known Member

    I LOVE THIS STORY. Just sayin'. :D I'd put something more constructive critical here, but I'm too busy laughing at Piggy's Victoria's Secret bag. XD
  15. redBoobergurl

    redBoobergurl Well-Known Member

    The pile up and mix up of the bags was so amazingly MUPPETY! I love it! I laughed so hard, too funny!!! More please!
  16. We Got Us

    We Got Us Active Member

    I love it Lisa!! You know I love it!! You know what I'd love even more? If you didn't finish your fic in time for Christmas. :p That would make me feel SO much better about the current state of mine....
  17. Beauregard

    Beauregard Well-Known Member

    Whooop! I loved the pile-up! I also loved that when humans are with Muppets they loved them but they feel ever so slightly afraid (like Clair's mama in LTS). I'm really tired, so my reviewing skills are not at their most ept, but I will say that I laughed out loud on more than one occasion which prompted my dad (I'm home for CHRISTMAS!) to question what I was looking at that was so amusing. Love and merry wishes for Christmas to yooooou!
  18. TogetherAgain

    TogetherAgain Well-Known Member

    Well, here it is Christmas, and the story's not done... So do you feel better about yours? ;)

    But our plans for today have been canceled because our host is sick, so I'll have more time than I thought to work on this. (Christmas Eve was always the bigger deal in our family, anyway.)

    So... Merry Christmas, folks! Time for me to write.
  19. We Got Us

    We Got Us Active Member

    Lisa, Merry Christmas...and happy Hannuka, your gift to me being that no one can nag me about not finishing in time. I'm running to keep my gifts away from little hands, getting dressed to romp around the rest of the family tree, so--enjoy writing more on your awesome story, and may your host get well soon...:D
  20. TogetherAgain

    TogetherAgain Well-Known Member

    Part Five

    As darkness settled, Zoot made his way to the piano and put a total of six candles in the Hanukkah menorah. He mumbled something under his breath as he lit one of the candles and used that candle to light the other five.

    Rowlf watched the ritual as his paws trickled over the piano keys. “Hey, Zoot,” he said. “What’s Hanukkah about, anyway?”

    Zoot didn’t look away from the flickering candles as he answered. “Miracles.”

    “Oh,” Rowlf said. He thought about it. “Tis the season for those.”

    Zoot nodded. “Mm-hm.”

    “Hey, what’s that top thing you spin?” Rowlf asked.

    Zoot reached into his pocket and pulled out a little wooden top with a Hebrew letter on each of its four sides. “Dreidle.”

    “And that’s a game, right?” Rowlf asked.

    Zoot nodded.

    “What kind of game is it?”

    Zoot hesitantly glanced around before he answered. “Gambling.”

    The entire room was immediately at attention. “Gambling?”

    “What are we gambling?”

    “Yeah, what’s the bet?”

    “How do we play?”

    Zoot sighed. He set the dreidle on the piano where everyone who was crowding around could see it and pointed at the side facing up. “Miss your turn.” He turned the dreidle onto its next side. “Win the whole pot.” He turned the dreidle again. “Win half the pot.” Then he showed the final side. “Add to the pot.” He picked the dreidle up. “That’s it.”

    “So lemme get d’is straight,” Rizzo said. “You got a one-in-four chance of winning everything?”

    Zoot nodded.

    “Alright, I’m in!”

    “Si, si, me too, hokay! I like d’ese odds.”

    Zoot shook his head and grabbed some poker chips to use for the game while Rowlf reflected on the little information he had gleaned about Hanukkah.

    “Miracles and gambling,” the dog mused. “…Interesting holiday.”

    “Hey guys! It’s dark enough to turn the Christmas lights on!” Gonzo announced as he ran outside, and the dreidle game was pretty much forgotten as the Muppets stampeded outside—herding Casey along with them.

    “Do you think we’ll blow a fuse again tonight?” Fozzie wondered.

    Kermit groaned at the mere mention of the possibility. Their extensive light display had blown a fuse ten nights out of the past two weeks. “It’ll be a miracle if we don’t,” the frog said.

    “We have to go outside to see the lights turn on?” Casey asked, clearly hesitant.

    “Trust us. It’s something to see,” Scooter said. “Did you bring any sunglasses?”

    “It’s not that bright,” Fozzie said.

    “OKAY! IS EVERYONE READY?” Gonzo shouted, waiting right next to the house.

    “READY!” the Muppets all shouted back.

    With an excited laugh, Gonzo started plugging in lights, and Casey caught her breath. She noticed that the Muppets, who had all seen this before, did the same.

    First came the lights that outlined the front door, illuminating the wreath that hung there. Then lights lit up along the roof and railing and every single post on the front porch. Then every window was traced with lights, and then the house itself and every edge of the roof and chimney lit up. The walkway from the sidewalk to the porch was lined with glowing candy canes, and then the trees lit up, too—from the bottom of every trunk to the tip of every branch. Light reflected on the fake snow and the snow forts and snowmen, glowing on the face of every Muppet in the yard. Even if it had been cold enough outside for real snow, somehow, the scene before them would have felt warm.

    “Beautiful,” Casey breathed.

    Kermit nodded his approval. “Nice and simple,” he murmured. “You did a good job this year, Gonzo.”

    Gonzo, who had run back to take in the view with everyone else, was too busy grinning to reply.

    It was a rare moment for the Muppets; one that was pleasantly quiet and peaceful, with no one clamoring for attention or trying to hide anything or trick anyone; a moment that, for all it lacked in noise and chaos and action, felt full and rich and wonderful.

    That was why no one noticed that a car had pulled to a stop behind them on the street until a man got out with a tall stack of large pizza boxes. “I’ve got a delivery here for the Muppets?” the man said.

    “Dinner time!” Scooter announced.

    With a burst of shouts and excitement, the Muppets grabbed the pizza and ran back inside while Kermit paid the delivery boy and gave him a generous tip.

    Casey got so swept up in the wave of movement that she wasn’t entirely sure how she got inside—but then, she hadn’t been quite sure of how she had gotten outside, either. “You eat pizza for dinner on Christmas Eve?” she said as someone handed her a slice.

    Gonzo shrugged. “We’ll have a big dinner tomorrow. This is just easy,” he said. “Besides—you’ve seen our kitchen.”

    They ate with gusto, and before the pizza had even been completely consumed, Rowlf was back at the piano and the caroling had begun. They sang “Deck the Halls” around mouthfuls of pizza, and then “Let It Snow” and “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” They sang about Rudolph, and Mommy kissing Santa Claus, and sleigh rides, and silent nights, and three kings, and seemingly every other topic any Christmas carol had ever been written about. Animal even led them in what had to be the world’s fastest—and loudest—rendition of “Little Drummer Boy.”

    Casey sat curled up on the couch, trying to take up as little space as possible, as she took it all in. She couldn’t help thinking about her family at home. What were they doing right now? It was three hours later there, so Tasha was probably—hopefully—in bed by now, and Nick would be playing Santa… Or maybe Nick was still trying to convince Tasha to go to sleep. The sooner you go to sleep, the sooner Santa will get here, he would be saying. Alright, ONE more story…

    Then Robin hopped up on the armrest beside her. “How come you’re not singing?” the little frog asked.

    Casey blinked her thoughts away, and then she blushed. In a room so full of so many voices, how could anyone notice that she wasn’t singing? “I can’t sing,” she quietly confessed.

    Robin stared at her as if this were the most absurd thing he’d ever heard of—and considering the house he lived in, that had to mean something. “Everyone can sing,” he insisted.

    “No, but—I mean I’m not any good,” she said.

    “So?”

    “So, I… I don’t sing.”

    Robin was still staring at her like this was absolutely bizarre. “Why not?” he said. “It’s fun to sing! Come on, sing with us!”

    “I—I don’t even know the words to some of these songs…”

    “But you know some of them, right?” Robin said. “Sing with us!”

    “Yeah, sing with us, Casey!” Fozzie said.

    “Yeah, come on, sing!”

    “SING! SING!”

    “Yeah, sing, Casey!”

    “Yeah, c’mon and sing with us, Casey,” Rowlf said. “Everybody, Casey picks the next song!”

    “Yeah, you pick, Casey. What’ll we sing?”

    Casey looked about ready to try and crawl inside the couch. It took a while for the Muppets to realize how embarrassed she was, but when they did, they started to laugh.

    “We’ll sing with you,” Kermit assured her.

    “We’re not used to non-show-business-types,” Scooter explained apologetically.

    “Yeah, ‘stage fright’ is kind of a four-letter word here,” Gonzo said. “But everyone sings on Christmas. Can’t you just pick a song for us? Please?”

    Please?” Robin begged, tugging on her sleeve for emphasis.

    “Okay, okay,” Casey said, her hands clamped over her bright red cheeks. “Um, I… I don’t know. Maybe ‘Silver Bells’?”

    They immediately and enthusiastically praised her for her choice. “But we’d better hear you sing!” Gonzo teased—or at least, she thought he was teasing. She sang quietly just in case, and received many nudges for it.

    “We can’t hear you!”

    So she sang louder, and found herself laughing as she did so. Thankfully, no one criticized her voice. Later in the evening, Kermit assured her that it wasn’t the worst he’d ever heard. In the end, she sang so much that she felt like she maybe was a part of this experience, and not just an observer, which meant that she didn’t miss home quite as much as she would have otherwise.

    And she sang more that night than she had sung in a long, long time.
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