And here ya go! A new chapter on a Monday! Shenanigans indeed!
There are no better schemers than those in the entertainment world. Oh, they may deny or huff or puff at the very idea that they are, but make no mistake – actors and musicians are all schemers. They need to be in order to make their contracts work, negotiate their working conditions and pay, as well as being able to make nice with people they didn’t want to work with.
If you worked in Hollywood, you schemed.
Miss Piggy, star of stage and screen, the leading lady for the Muppets, was a schemer and proud of it. It wasn’t to say that she enjoyed it – ok, maybe a little – and she certainly didn’t go out of her way to do it, but the diva wouldn’t be where she was if she didn’t use the gifts she had been blessed with. Piggy wasn’t naïve – she knew very well that she was a beautiful woman and had assets, front and back, that made her a mark to those that thought she had fluff in the head.
She knew exactly how to scheme her way into what she wanted and at this point in her career, she had gotten it down to a science. With help of course, practicing her whiles and ways on a certain frog director had honed the perfection to work the magic she held on others who didn’t know her as well as he did. On this day, a mere few hours before Muppet comic Fozzie Bear was to be released from the hospital, Piggy was putting into motion a plan that had come to them a few days ago.
After having her brunch ruined by a holy inaccurate and incriminating article from a disreputable reporter and those mongrels known as the Moopets, the diva and her cohorts had sat around trying to figure out how they get out of the mess that was certainly brewing. Kermit the Frog had been in meetings that whole day, trying his best to assure their backers and producers that this was a ridiculous article, something to get attention to a magazine that wasn’t yet established and the best way was to go with the story that hadn’t been mentioned yet.
The quintet had sat around, thinking up ways in which they could legally make the magazine stop with the articles and while there were ways, they would take a long time and it meant that the magazine could still put out articles until actually served with cease and desist letters.
Camilla Clücks, herself a schemer, had come up her own ideas that were just criminal; enjoyable, yes, entertaining beyond believe, most definitely, but ones that could land them in jail again and the others were sure that was something Kermit wanted to avoid at all costs.
It wasn’t until yesterday that the very idea they needed came from a somewhat unlikely source.
“So I have an idea,” he replied. “It’s dirty, underhanded, and sneaky.”
“I like it already.”
Scooter Grosse was also a schemer and an unassuming one at that. Scooter had used his name, or rather that of his uncle’s, to get what he wanted and once he had made a name for himself, he wasn’t opposed to using it to get what he needed or wanted. That skill, one that he had learned from his uncle, was just honed once he found a like-minded mentor to tutor him, rather he liked it or not.
The idea was somewhat simple – if the Rag Muffin was going to hold something over them, they would just need to get something to over the magazine. Yes, it was very much akin to blackmail – in fact, as Rowlf had pointed out, it was blackmail – but as the group had proven before, nothing was ever out of hand when it came to protecting one of their own.
It seemed fitting then, that Gonzo had popped in the theme to Mission: Impossible as the group drove out in a black company van and headed towards the offices of the Rag Muffin. Finding the offices for the Rag Muffin had been a hard task, as if the corporation was trying to hide itself, but as Scooter had so eloquently mentioned during brunch, it took a lot to be able to hide from the technical genius that was Scooter Grosse.
Their team consisted of five people – their getaway driver, Rowlf the Dog, who had been known to drive as any skilled hot rodder this side of the speedway when he was in a jam.
The demolition expert of the Great Gonzo, who knew more about explosives than they all probably wanted to admit or be party to. Gonzo was also a skilled stuntman, knowing how and when to take a fall, which would be great in case things got harrier than they wanted.
Along for the ride was the youngest member of this group, Robin the Frog, nephew to Kermit. He was designated as the sidekick, though the originating term had been ‘red shirt’ –
“Could we please go back to our Star Wars theme?” he complained. “I liked that much better.”
“That’s because I promoted you,” Scooter stated.
“Hey,” Robin protested. “I happen to like being a stage knight. Way more than being a red shirt; unless of course we’re talking about the original series and by red shirt you meant Engineering, because I am more than happy with that. Unless you were talking Next Generation, which then I’d be command…”
“The two of you are spending way too much time together,” Piggy had groused.
And speaking of the femme fatale, Miss Piggy was dolled up in the men in black look she, Scooter, and Robin had decided on once they had entered the building in order to speak with management. All three wore black business suits and shades, though Piggy had thrown in a black fedora because she could.
Of course, the ringleader of this whole escapade was Scooter Grosse himself, original planner of this idea that seemed too shaky to even worked and really hinged upon the fact that no one would recognize them or would be too stupid to do so. “Is this the place?” Robin asked, lowing his shades to view the abandoned building that they had pulled up to.
“Address is correct,” Scooter murmured, consulting his tablet and taking a look at the building as well. “Figures they’d be holed up in a hole in the wall.”
“Are you sure this is going to work?” asked Gonzo.
“No,” the page replied, honestly. “If anything, this should shake them up a bit and really, the important thing is that we get whatever kind of intel we can on them before they start starting more fires than we can put out.”
“You mean what Kermit can put out,” Piggy stated. “We aren’t leaving here until we get this straightened out, so either we come away with something or everyone inside goes away in an ambulance. So let’s get this party started.”
Carmine Rossi was your average security guard, trained to stay and protect the premises that he was hired to watch and like any security guard, Carmine did his job about 25% of the time. If it had been any other place, Carmine might have had to do rounds around the complex or make sure that the security cameras were working or even stop people from getting into the building that weren’t supposed to be there.
This was not any other place; this was the office of the Rag Muffin.
Why a third rate rag mag needed a security guard was anyone’s guess, but Carmine never looked a paycheck in the mouth. That was why he was sitting at a desk at the entrance, eating a bag of Skittles, watching the latest episode of the hit show Cover Me, Boss! when three persons unknown walked up and invaded his light.
“The manager around here?” asked the redhead.
“Who wants to know?” Carmine asked, obviously bored, not only in being there but having to actually speak for the first time that day.
“We do, that’s who,” said the frog.
“No one gets in here without authorization,” the guard said. “So take a hike.”
“We could tell you the same thing,” the pig said, crossing her arms. “In fact, a hike might do you good, should look into it.”
“What’re you, the pot?”
Scooter put his arm out, physically stopping Piggy from going after the guard. “Look,” he said, diplomatically. “We just need the head guy or management around here.”
“Authorization, I told you.”
“Well, we’re telling you you’re authorized,” replied Robin.
“Says who!?” Scooter repeated. “Says who?” Pulling out the makeshift badge he had worked on the night before, he waved it quickly in front of the guard’s face, stating, “Says me, Eugene Hopkins. Shenanigan police. You’re in a lot of trouble, mister; we weren’t sure if there was anything going on, but clearly…”
“What, wait?” Carmine asked, taking the actual time to sit up straight. “I ain’t never heard of any shen…shen police.”
“Shenanigans,” Piggy corrected. “And we can clearly see that, from your complete and total disregard for the protection of this facility and the people within it.”
“Hey,” Carmine said. “I’m doing my job! This is nothing…”
“Nothing, he says,” Robin replied, looking at his other two cohorts. “Yeah, that’s what Carl Hospenffer said too, till he got that eye patch. ‘All fun and games’, he said.”
“That eye of his didn’t think so,” Piggy said.
“And it was a nice eye,” Scooter added.
“Well…well…how do I know you’re who you all say you are?” asked Carmine. He was beginning to sweat, truly wondering if his job was at stake and what exactly happened to this Carl guy’s eye.
The three Shenanigan officers looked at each other and then looked at the guard. “Do you really want us to make the call?” Scooter asked.
“Dude,” Robin whispered. “He seriously wants us to make the call.”
“He will not be happy about this,” Piggy sighed.
Scooter took out his phone and began to dial a number. To the outside world, especially for Carmine, it looked as though he was calling some hidden organization, whose top man didn’t have a name and was going to be horribly upset by the interruption that the security guard was doing when it came to their investigation.
To those involved, the phone call was actually going to a set up that was in a black van that was parked a ways down from the building where three of their number stood. Gonzo sat at this set up, cell phone in hand, and ready to play a recorded message from the president of the United States; a message that had been carefully put together – by Scooter – for this exact type of setup.
“Get me the president,” Scooter said, staring straight at the guard, whose eyes were now larger than his body. “Sir, I hate to disturb you but it’s Hopkins and we have a situation.” Scooter waited a moment, listening in to whatever Gonzo was going on about at that moment. “Yes sir, I tried to explain, but…yes sir, we did present our credentials, however the guard…Carmine…seems insistent on blocking our entry.”
Another moment passed before Scooter removed his shades and took a deep breath. “Yes sir.” Holding out the phone to Carmine, he continued with, “He’d like to talk to you.”
Carmine swallowed deeply, before outstretching his shaking hand to grab the phone in front of him. “Hello?” The guard listened for a few moments before he immediately saluted and said, “Yes sir! Thank you, thank you, Mr. President!” He quickly handed the phone back over to the redhead and began to wave them through. “Sorry about that! Security, you know. You’ll find the head guy at the top and I’ll let the others know you’re here!”
“Don’t worry about that,” Piggy interrupted. “We’ll find what we need.”
The trio walked past the guard and into the building proper, hearing the guard scrambling to get his desk in order should they come back. “I can’t believe that worked,” Robin whispered, once they were out of earshot.
“I can’t believe we actually had to make a recording of the president,” Piggy murmured.
“Told you it would come in handy,” Scooter retorted. “No one ever believes the genius.”
“Okay, Scootie-Wan,” Robin said. “Where to next? This building’s pretty big and what exactly are we looking for?”
“We’ll know it when we find it,” Scooter replied.
The trio managed to make their way to the middle of the building, where various people were typing away at whatever story they were currently making up. Almost immediately, Scooter’s technological senses were tingling with the very affront that these computers were running substandard and outdated operating systems and programs and he nearly recoiled when he saw the ancient printer that was being used in the center of the room.
“Don’t look now,” Piggy whispered, directing the others to the small group of people heading their way. “But the welcoming committee is heading our way, ten o’clock.”
“Welcome to the Rag Muffin,” said the man in the middle, a light green Muppet with a dark comb over. “I’m Horace Vanders, I understand you people are here from the government.”
“That’s right,” Piggy replied, stepping center stage like she had done a thousand times before. Lowering her shades slightly, she fixed the one called Horace with her baby blues and a slight smile. “Horace, was it? Think you could show a new girl around?”
As was to be expected, Horace puffed himself up, elated at the attention this beautiful agent was delivering on him and not his colleagues. Holding out an arm, he said, “It would be a pleasure, my lady. What is your heart’s desire?”
“Hold the brakes on that, Romeo,” Robin huffed. While he was aware that his aunt needed to put on a show, it didn’t mean he had to enjoy the attention she was getting; it was his duty as official nephew-to-be to make sure others kept their hands to themselves.
“Server room, Mr. Vanders,” Scooter replied. “Assuming the facility has one. I’m a little concerned at the substandard operation going on here.”
“Be nice to the man, Eugene,” Piggy cooed, removing her shades before putting her arm through that of Vanders’. “He’s only doing his job, aren’t you, Horace?”
“Yes, ma’am,” the Muppet sighed. “Just follow me to the egress.”
“Such a gentleman you are.”
The group tour went even more smoothly than the ‘government’ agents even thought it would; so enraptured with Piggy, the management trio hardly noticed that Scooter was conveniently copying files onto a thumb drive while Robin was checking and reading different files that were laying out around the cabinets.
The plan was going according to plan that it didn’t seem as though anything could go wrong.
As various Muppets and their cohorts are fond of saying, never say piece of cake in the labyrinth. The thought that this plan was a piece of cake and that they’d be out in no time was a thought shared by the trip of government officials, to the point that, when Greenly and Mufflin – who had been upstairs in the office – were made aware that a group of officials were in the building and nosing around.
From the top of the landing in which their offices sat, Greenly could easily see the ground floor and everyone there; his ears immediately heard the bubbly laugh of a female as it drifted from their makeshift server room, while his eyes show the group that was leaving it. He didn’t care who the three managers were, but he knew immediately who the lone diva pig was, even with the hat. He had heard enough of Miss Poogy’s moaning and griping in regards to her Muppet counterpart that he probably could’ve recognized her from anywhere.
“You looking for me?” he called out, causing everyone to stop what they were doing and to look up to see what was going on. The three Muppets didn’t know who the new person was, but they could tell it was someone they didn’t want to know. “Lance Greenly, at your service. I figure you have a bone to pick with me.”