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Desert Delay

WebMistressGina

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Good morning, Mupp Crew!

So before you all say anything, yes I know I have things to update, but the muse wouldn't shut up, so this is what you get. Let's do some admin stuff first and I'll unleash this story on you. This is my first - hopefully - complete story in our new Up Late with Miss Piggy universe, based on the current show (with some tweaks of course). This idea somehow came to me while in the midst of an Air Crash Investigation marathon (it was background noise while I was working last week), expect more drama and feels than comedy.

And now, without further delay...





Desert Delay



Thursday mornings were nothing out of the ordinary - people went to work, school, and whatever appointment that needed to be at during that day. For the cast and crew of Up Late with Miss Piggy, it was business as usual, with the group getting ready for that night’s show. They would be on a slight time crunch, as their host and announcer would flying to Phoenix that morning for a short appearance for a mid-morning event and would be back by late afternoon at most.

Miss Piggy and Fozzie Bear would fly out of LAX and hit Sky Harbor in Phoenix before heading out to radio station KPLJ 102.7 to do some celebrity guest announcement for a contest or event or something, they actually wouldn’t know the exact event until they arrived. It would be a short trip, only spanning a few hours, which would then give Piggy and Fozzie enough time to get back in order to do rehearsing and get ready for the show.

Up Late with Miss Piggy had been rough in the ratings for those first few episodes – the whole first season, actually – but they were the Muppets and they always prevailed. And prevail they did - by the end of the first season, their numbers had ticked up, allowing the network to grant them an additional three-year contract that had been hammered out to fit everyone’s needs. Those in attendance – Kermit the Frog, the executive producer, Scooter Grosse, the talent manager/business manager, and Piggy of course – had left that meeting in relieved spirits, happy in the notion the show hadn’t been canceled out right.

It had been smooth sailing from there – their guest list had gotten bigger, Piggy was able to make more outside appearances, and even Gonzo – their head writer – had been invited to some swank script writers award banquet.

Thursday was no different from the day before, the only difference being that Kermit was standing outside their studio set, giving last minute instructions to Piggy and Fozzie as they stood and listened patiently by their car. There was something refreshing in working with people you’d known forever – yes, they had flare ups and they probably always would, but being able to know what someone was thinking before they had even said anything took time and precision and the group had been able to do it after only a few years.

So Piggy and Fozzie, who had thrown each other annoyed but affectionate looks as Kermit started his last minute instructions to them, stood patiently next to their rented car as Kermit went over things that should and shouldn’t be done in Phoenix – “You know Gonzo’s not with us, right?” Fozzie had quipped – who they were meeting – “Yes, Scooter typed up our itinerary and made sure we knew how to pin our name tags on our shirts in case we get lost,” Piggy had snarked.

Finally, the retorts and comments made the frog throw his hands up in the air in frustration. “Why am I even bothering you with all this?”

“We don’t know!” Fozzie exclaimed.

“We were perfectly fine before you came and jumped us from behind,” Piggy added.

“If anyone knows about jumping someone from behind…” Kermit retorted.

“Should I cover my ears?” Fozzie asked, giving the former couple a knowing look.

Piggy couldn’t stop the giggle, before saying, “Some other time maybe. For now, Kermit darling, you’re going to make us late for our plane. Fozzie and I will be on our best behavior and we promise not to go completely rogue in another city.” Giving the frog a pat on the arm, she continued with, “You worry too much, you know that? What kind of trouble could the two of us possibly get up to?”

“Never say piece of cake in the labyrinth,” Kermit admonished. “You know that.”

“Goodbye, Kermit,” Piggy said, getting into the car. “Say goodbye, Fozzie.”

“Goodbye, Fozzie,” the comic chuckled, knowing it was a bad joke, but one that could not not be told.

“Get in here,” Piggy said, giving the bear a playful slap on the leg, leaving the frog shaking his head in either amusement or annoyance.

With a friendly wave, the comic announcer and the late night star headed off towards the airport; Kermit was still shaking his head as he turned to head back into the studio, already planning on how they would handle a few hours in relative peace and quiet while the duo was gone. It was his hope that he could use the few hours to get the crew motivated to have something ready before bear and pig arrived back on set to start rehearsal.

It should have been a normal Thursday.

Little did anyone know that this day would start a chain reaction no one had ever considered.


[hr]


Miss Piggy was a flying ace.

Not in the sense that she knew how to fly, per se, but that she crisscrossed across the US and to Europe several times over. It was ironic, considering she once had a horrible fear of heights, something she hadn’t quite conquered until she had reached Hollywood and had filmed their second movie.

Piggy actually enjoyed flying, though it wasn’t the actual flying that she enjoyed, more of the destination. Growing up in Bogen County had been small in comparison to where she was now; even as a child, she had wanted more than what was offered, more than what most people – even her own family – had expected from her. Piggy had been to Phoenix a few times, only doing personal appearances, which was a shame, because the city seemed like a cool place to visit, despite the horrendous heat in the summer.

Her companion – Fozzie Bear – did not feel the same way she did.

Fozzie hated flying.

He had literally been the pain on the set of Great Muppet Caper, to the point where their air scenes had to be specially done because he had gotten so upset about being up in the air; it was the reason why Piggy’s fear of heights had gone without notice for so long. While Fozzie loved to travel – he’d take a road trip anywhere – he was very much a driving bear, having no qualms on driving long distances; he and Kermit routinely made the drive from California to Mississippi to visit Kermit’s family, before driving up to visit Fozzie’s mother when she was still alive.

While he was a little better at handing flying, he still didn’t like it and the lingering thought of approaching the airport was making him anxious, to the point that he had been randomly tapping his fingers on his armrest.

“Fozzie…”

The warning caused the bear to look over to his co-star, who sat across from him, giving him a glaring look. Confusion graced his face before the tapping of his fingers reached his ears, realization replacing confusion when he recognized what he was doing and he immediately stopped, pulling his hands together in his lap. “I hope you aren’t planning to be this restless when we get on the plane.”

“No, ma’am,” the comic answered immediately, eyes wild in fear.

It wasn’t that Fozzie was afraid of Piggy, no one was ever really afraid of Piggy, but she could be a little – okay, a lot – intimidating, especially when she was irritated or annoyed, which could happen at any moment. Letting out an annoyed sigh, Piggy handed Fozzie one of the two scripts their head writer Gonzo had hurriedly placed into her hands as they went down the hallway towards their car.

“Moi is gonna do you a solid,” she said, grabbing her own script. “We’re gonna put your mind at ease by keeping it occupied, so we’re going to be productive and go over this script that Gonzo insisted we take with us.”

Grateful for any type of distraction, Fozzie happily opened the script, a skit that Gonzo had come up with for tomorrow night’s show, a parody of some show called Veep. “What’s Veep?” he asked, scratching an itch he always got on his neck when he got anxious.

“You’ve never seen Veep?” Fozzie shrugged. “I thought you had cable.”

“I have basic cable,” the comic corrected, before thinking about it. “Which I’m not actually watching, now that I think about it.”

“Waste of money, Bear,” the diva smirked, shaking her head. “I wouldn’t have thought you’d waste your money like that.”

“You’ve got cable.”

“No, I don’t,” was the retort.

“But you know about this show,” Fozzie replied. “You’ve seen it before, right?”

“Of course, love that show,” Piggy responded.

“So you’ve got cable.”

No, I’ve got the internet,” the diva corrected. “And the Internet is a wonderful place where Moi can catch up on my favorite shows when I want. Including Veep, which is a show about a vice president and her cabinet. If you’re a good boy, maybe I’ll let you watch it while we’re waiting for our flight.”

Fozzie’s face lit up like it was his birthday. “You’d do that for me?” he asked, excitedly.

“If it means you aren’t jittery while in the airport, then yes. Moi is doing both of us a favor.”

The rest of the trip was spent with both Muppets going over lines before Piggy deemed that Fozzie needed to watch the show to get some of the jokes that Gonzo, who was also obviously a fan, would get, again promising to let him watch it on the tablet she brought with her. When he asked what she would be doing if he had her the tablet, Piggy calmly replied that she planned on destroying both their talent manager Scooter Grosse and Mayhem guitarist Janice Bennington in the online games she was playing with them.

The bear just nodded, not entirely sure how she could be playing two different games with two different people, however he had been known to be completely useless when it came to his own smartphone. A few months ago, he had kept Kermit on speakerphone for over forty-five minutes because he couldn’t figure out how to get out of his map program to end the call; in fact, the only way the call had ended was because his phone had died.

As part of their contract, everyone who didn’t already have a smart phone got the most recent Apple iPhone or the most recent Android phone. Fozzie had gone with the masses, who got the latest iPhone, but there were times when he wished he had gone with Android; Scooter had worked with Google and still did top secret, hush hush things for them to the point that he usually got the latest device by just asking. Apparently, it also worked when anyone else wanted one because Piggy had just switched out her iPhone for whatever same device Scooter had (something about a note or galaxy or something) and theirs had pens attached to them!

While Fozzie wasn’t as tech savvy as Scooter or device hungry as Piggy, he knew he could look up stuff by himself on his phone and that’s what he did. Or what he had hoped he was doing. Instead, he managed to call Kermit, Piggy, Gonzo, and Kermit again in a ten-minute period; that’s when Piggy took his phone away.


[hr]


Los Angeles International Airport, also known as LAX, was one of the US’ busiest airports, handling well over 70 million passengers every year. Even on a Thursday morning, the airport still had hundreds of people within the airport, either leaving or arriving to their next destination. With a thirty-minute drive, the duo still ended up being a little under two hours early, not just to make sure they could get through security and make their plane, it was essentially so that if they got recognized, they could stop for the various autographs and pictures their fans wanted.

It wasn’t an unheard of occurrence – many actors and actresses went in and out of LAX, though they usually reserved their departures and arrivals when there would be less people, however certain appearances – like the one Piggy and Fozzie were heading to – took place in the morning and sometimes, it was just quicker to take a flight than to spend hours, even days, driving.

As expected, once kids and adults realized that both Piggy and Fozzie were in the airport, they wanted to talk to them, get pictures, sign things, etc. The comic knew she wouldn’t admit it, but Piggy had a soft spot for kids – they all did – and there were times he could strangle his best friend for not giving that pig children because as far as he was concerned, she was a natural; once, the diva had managed to meet a four-year-old little girl who just happened to share Piggy’s birthday. While the diva couldn’t attend the party as requested, she had gone out and gotten her a lovely tea set in the girl’s favorite color.

Thirty minutes later, bear and pig were able to head to Terminal 1 in order to reach their gate, still with plenty of time leftover. Now that they were in the airport and sitting at their gate, all of Fozzie’s nervousness and anxiety seemed to return and was only tempered by Piggy shoving her tablet in front of his face, already geared up with HBO GO and Veep for his viewing pleasure. Piggy, being an old hand at this, settled next to the comic, smart phone in hand, and began her quest of gaming domination – she and Scooter had been going back and forth in winning on a trivia app called Trivia Crack, while Piggy was finally closing in on Janice’s high score in Words with Friends.

“Good morning,” came the gate announcement. “I’d like to welcome passengers of Flight 3546, bound for Phoenix, with no stops in between. We have gotten word that the flight is running about 10 to 15 minutes behind schedule, but it should be making its arrival at about 11:15.”

“Terrific,” Piggy muttered, tossing a look to Fozzie.

“What do you think is making them late?” asked Fozzie, trying to calm his nervous, however Piggy didn’t miss the way his paw tightened on his armrest.

Flicking his wrist, she said, “Nothing that you need to be worried about. It probably left late at its previous destination, which makes getting here late. Don’t worry.”

“Easy for you to say,” he grumbled. “Ma always said if the good lord wanted us to fly, we’d have wings. And the day wings come spurting out of my back is the day pigs…”

The end of that sentence went unsaid, but Piggy threw him a look just the same. “Go on,” she edged. “Finish your sentence.”

“No, that’s okay.”

“You’re sure?”

“Yep,” the bear shook his head, quickly putting his headphones back in and restarting his video. “Not important anymore.”

The predicted ten to fifteen-minute delay actually ended up being twenty, which would more than likely cause them to cut it really close on their event. They had chosen this flight because it would get them to Phoenix quickly and would hopefully allow them to navigate the busy Phoenix highways without delay and reach their destination with plenty of time left. Obviously, it didn’t look like that was going to happen.

Five minutes earlier, Piggy had texted Scooter, first to gloat over the epic win she had gotten over him and then to notify him that their flight was running late; when asked if he needed to notify the station, she told him it was fine because their flight would no doubt be making up time, which meant they would pretty much there at their expected time.

That would be the last text anyone would get from her.


[hr]


Kermit was sitting in his office, on the phone with singer Adam Levine of Maroon 5 and the television show The Voice, when he noticed Scooter out of the corner of his eye, trying to get his attention. In most cases, Kermit could hold up a finger or two to signify how many minutes it would take him to get off the phone, but this time, Kermit was in the process of hopefully booking their next guest star. Levine had been a lucky break that the executive producer was nearly desperate to hold on to, especially when Levine had mentioned his Voice co-stars – Pharell, Gwen Stefani, and Blake Shelton – wanted to be on the show as well.

He was not about to let a week of shows go for whatever it was Scooter needed to see him about.

But as with anything, Kermit couldn’t have a moment’s peace, not when Scooter seemed to get more and more agitated the more Kermit tried to ignore him.

“Hey Adam,” the producer replied. “Could you give me five minutes? I’ll be right back.” Not bothering to put the musician on hold or even bothering to get Yolanda to put the call on hold for him, Kermit was at the doorway and in front of his booking manager. “Scooter,” he hissed, looking back at the phone before stepping out into the hallway and closing the door slight. “I’m in the middle…”

“I know, but…”

“Have you told him yet?”

Gonzo, former stunt weirdo and current Up Late head writer, was coming down the hall towards them and was sharing a look with Scooter that clearly screamed, “We’ve done something.”

“Well, I’m trying to…” Scooter began, but was quickly interrupted by Kermit.

“Tell me what?” he insisted. “I’m kinda busy here, so whatever it is you’ve done…”

“We haven’t done anything,” Gonzo hissed, looking down the hallway to make sure no one else heard this conversation. “But we are trying to tell you something important.”

“Which is?”

“There’s a missing plane,” Gonzo answered. “Flight 3546 left LAX and hasn’t been heard from since and it hasn’t reached its destination.”

“Okay,” Kermit said, looking at them both. Why did this require his attention? Honestly? “That’s tragic and sad, but I’m not sure why this was so important you would have to interrupt…”

“Kermit…” the red head stressed. “Flight 3546 left LAX with a destination to Phoenix; that’s Piggy and Fozzie’s flight.”
 

The Count

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Ok, first thing first, yay for new fic!

Er, did you mean to say "dessert" as in the food you have after a meal like the Trick-Oreo-Treat milkshake following a pumpkin pecan pancake breakfast. Or "desert" like the giant version of a sandbox that's filled with prickly-needled cactuses and sandworms?

*Laughs at remembering how Fozzie gets lost using his smartphone's map ap.
*Has laptop but still can't watch TV episodes online because the dang ABC website requires some login/registration or other and if that's designed to take more money from my wallet then forget it, I'll watch on the TV instead.
VP? Would have thought Piggy was more of a fan of First Lady. Then again, I don't really watch all those hit heavy dramas on the networks, unless Sesame is doing a spoof on them in their current season. At least I have this year's 13 Nights of Halloween starting tomorrow to look forward. :batty: sigh of happiness.

Funny you mentioned Gwen Stefani as one of the potential guests Kermit's trying to get, I heard she recorded a version of Rainbow Connection for the new Disney songs cover album that's coming later this month. :sing:

Thanks for providing us with a good fic fix, waiting for the next portion. :insatiable:
 

WebMistressGina

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Ok, first thing first, yay for new fic!

Er, did you mean to say "dessert" as in the food you have after a meal like the Trick-Oreo-Treat milkshake following a pumpkin pecan pancake breakfast. Or "desert" like the giant version of a sandbox that's filled with prickly-needled cactuses and sandworms?
Nope, this time I actually mean 'desert' as in where I live in Arizona.

*Laughs at remembering how Fozzie gets lost using his smartphone's map ap.
Another highlight of that episode.

*Has laptop but still can't watch TV episodes online because the dang ABC website requires some login/registration or other and if that's designed to take more money from my wallet then forget it, I'll watch on the TV instead.
You need to have and be paying for cable if you want to use FOX, ABC, CBS, NBC, Comedy Central, etc from your computer to see the latest episode of a show the same night it airs.

Yes, it's completely annoying, but that's why we have things like Hulu and Amazon (though Hulu is equally worse)

VP? Would have thought Piggy was more of a fan of First Lady. Then again, I don't really watch all those hit heavy dramas on the networks...
It's an HBO comedy with Julia Louis Dryfus, Tony Hale, Anna Krumsky; it's basically about the Vice President (Dryfus) and her cabinet (Hale, Krumsky). It's actually pretty funny and yes, again, because it's on HBO, you would either need cable or an HBO GO subscription to see it.

Like Piggy, we have the Internet here :smile:

So excited to read a new story from you, Gina. :smile:
I know, right? It took a long time cause of work, but the muse would not be denied. Stay tuned for the next section coming up in 3...2...1
 

WebMistressGina

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And here's your second section!



Six hours.

It had been a little over six hours since Miss Piggy and Fozzie Bear had left the studio lot and headed off to LAX for a radio gig in Phoenix. At most, this should have been a four-hour trip – a hop, skip, and a jump from one state to its neighbor and back again; even the guest spot was only supposed to be, at most, an hour. If everything had gone to plan, the two of them would be walking back on to the set as it neared three o’clock in the afternoon.

Instead, Flight 3546 was missing, losing contact with air traffic control and never arriving at Sky Harbor in Phoenix.

Fifteen minutes ago, Kermit the Frog – executive producer of Up Late and all around troupe leader – had just left the rest of the crew on set, having to tell them what was going on. It wouldn’t do to just let everyone assume something that wasn’t true, especially when Piggy and Fozzie wouldn’t be showing up that afternoon. Kermit had waited for nearly 20 minutes before making the decision to gather everyone together and let them know. The mood was hopeful, after all there can always be delays in travel and while the two should have been back by now, there was a good reason to believe that maybe they were just running really behind and would be back in at most two hours.

And then two hours came and went.

By six in the evening, there was still no sign of either Piggy or Fozzie and they had received no further word on whether or not the plane had reached Phoenix or another airport. When the clocks had all reached 4:30pm, Kermit told everyone to go home, after hearing that Scooter had already called the network to tell them news and for them to quickly find a rerun or some other program to put in their place. The longer the day went, the further their hope dwindled; if everything was fine, they would have heard something by now, right?

Kermit had retreated to his office after that and had been there ever since; for some reason, he just didn’t want the company right now and it seemed some of the others felt the same way. Scooter had called him to give him an update or rather, not give him an update as there wasn’t anything to update; how the red head knew who and where to call to get more information Kermit didn’t ask and he didn’t care, as long as it meant they could find out something was worth it.

As much as he wanted to believe - desperately believe – that they were going to get word very soon on the condition of the plane and its passengers, Kermit couldn’t stop thinking the worse, even when he tried to distract himself with work. How exactly was he supposed to work on a show called Up Late with Miss Piggy when Miss Piggy was missing somewhere between California and Arizona? How was he supposed to review the warm up material if their comic was missing along with her?

More importantly, how exactly was his supposed to imagine his life without Piggy and Fozzie in it?

That was the fact that seemed to be interrupting his work and thoughts; sure, he had a life before the met the two, along with the others, but that seemed like a lifetime ago, another life really. While he was definitely friends with many of the Muppets, he was closest to a select few and even closer to Fozzie and Piggy.

Fozzie was his best friend, his bear in arms, and while Rowlf the Dog would always hold a place in his heart for being the very first person and friend he had ever met in Hollywood, Fozzie was the guy he went to when he needed reassurance. In short, the comic was his defender, even when the frog didn’t need nor wanted to be defended; Fozzie always had his back, even when it seemed the others had turned their backs on him, Fozzie was always there to pick him back up when he was down.

And then there was Piggy.

Kermit had had other girlfriends before, naturally, and he had a girlfriend now, but he had never had a girlfriend like Piggy. She was headstrong, impetuous, stubborn, and completely uncontrollable; she was an unstoppable hurricane that could lift him up, spin him about, spit him out, and slam him to the ground all in one meeting. She had been unlike anything he had ever experienced in any of his other girlfriends and at the time, it had been as exciting as it was dangerous.

Decades of back and forth, ups and downs had taken its toll on him and finally, one night at the movies, he had ended it. She was insane and unbalanced and Kermit needed to be with someone who wasn’t going to turn his life upside down.

But obviously he was a glutton for punishment because nothing could explain why he would sign on as executive producer for his ex-girlfriend’s show.

Despite that and despite everything that had come before, Kermit could literally feel his heart being torn in two. He may not have wanted to admit it, but he loved her, still loved and always would; you couldn’t just erase years of dates, memories, and secrets just because they had broken up and while at the start of the show, they had been contentious with each other, they had gotten to a point they had actually never been at in their long association.

They were friends. At least he hoped they were because he wouldn’t be feeling this way if they weren’t.

Given up the pretense of work, Kermit quickly stood from his desk, flicked out his lights and headed out the door. He wasn’t sure what he planned to do, only that he just needed to be alone. So absorbed in his thoughts, he didn’t even notice Denise, their marketing manager and his current girlfriend, slide up beside him and ask if he was alright. In hindsight, he knew he would have to apologize about the way he had brushed her off and stated he just needed a minute, which actually ended up 30 minutes.

Even then, it wasn’t until he finally stopped his golf cart that he realized he had taken off in it and had just driven around the studio lot, aimlessly driving until he managed to reach the very tail end of the area.


[hr]


Hours earlier


Flight 3546 was a Boeing 737-300 class aircraft, one of 120 that were in service with Southwest Airlines, able to fit 137 passengers onboard. On Thursday morning, the actual compartment was less than half due to the day, the time, and the relative short trip. Once it arrived in Denver, it would turn into Flight 1227, which would then head off to Denver before reaching its final destination of New York.

In total, there were only 36 passengers onboard, with 5 crew members for a total of 41 people.

One of those passengers was a Miss Ruby Lee Davis, a native of Des Moines, Iowa who had been living in Los Angeles since the 1940s. She was headed to New York for a reunion of sorts, as well as to visit her grandson who lived there with his family and new baby.

Another passenger was Ian Chesterson, a Phoenix businessman who was coming back from a week vacation of rock climbing, starting at LA Boulders and ending with a scenic drive with friends before having to head to LAX in order to head home.

The Petersen family, normally consisting of six, only had three family members on the flight – father Mark, eldest son Marky, and second son Eli – who were planning to continue their flight into Denver to visit Mark’s brother and his family. This was a ‘boys only’ trip, while Mark’s wife and their two daughters were staying at home for their ‘girls only’ stay-cation.

The host and the announcer of Up Late with Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear and Miss Piggy herself, were also onboard. They were both heading to Phoenix for a morning radio event and would be returning back to LAX in only a few hours.

Piggy had wanted to sit near the front, so it would be easy to get off in Phoenix, but Fozzie had been in the leading and went straight for the middle of the plane. Ordinarily, with a large plane and no one to fill it, the diva would have had a row to herself, able to put her bag on the seat or at least stretch out to get some sleep, but in sharing this flight with Fozzie, there was no way the comic would let her get away with it.

Not with the way he had been fidgeting on the way to and in the airport.

And of course he would pick the seat with the little elderly woman in it.

The cabin crew got everyone set in their seats, all the bags were packed within their overhead bins, and all emergency instructions had been given before their pilot, Capt. Greg Parnell, made his introduction announcement. The flight would only take a little over an hour, with the captain saying they would try to make up their lateness in the trip, thankfully straight into Phoenix with no problems.

Ruby Lee Davis had been the lucky little lady that got to sit next to the Muppet stars, recognizing them immediately, but not gushing over them like she knew others most likely did. Instead, she noticed that the beat comic, who sat in between her and Miss Piggy, kept a death grip on his seat rests as soon as the plane started to move. The great-grandmother had gone through this before, both her husband and eldest daughter had hated flying, so she gave the bear a pat on his paw and told him that everything would be fine.

And everything was fine.

The plan had taken off with no issues and was in the sky with no troubles or turbulence to be seen. Everything was pretty much standard within the cabin – Miss Ruby, as Piggy and Fozzie were calling her, had been regaling the two with tales of her days as a Rockette in New York; in fact, that was the reunion she was looking forward to going there to see some of her old friends, as well as seeing her first great-grandchild. She was surprised to learn that Piggy was a fellow Iowian, with Bogen County sitting just a few hours from Ruby’s own Des Moines.

The Petersens were sitting opposite the other trio, with Eli on the aisle to Piggy’s left. They had just finished a conversation about games on the iPhone vs those on Android, a conversation that happened because the teen happened to notice that Piggy was once again playing – and losing – at Words with Friends, this time with a random player.

Fifty minutes into the flight, Piggy had switched her phone for a magazine she had brought with her while Fozzie had settled into an easy sleep. Like a baby, Fozzie could fall asleep in any type of moving vehicle, provided he wasn’t behind the wheel, which of course was strange as he could literally drive all night without stop or fail. The cabin was quiet, with some slight murmuring of the crew and passengers. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary.

Until a large bang sounded throughout the plane that not only startled the passengers, but the crew as well. “Wha’ happened?” asked a sleepy comic, the bang waking him from his nap.

“Nothing,” Piggy replied, glancing at Miss Ruby before taking a look out the window. Nothing seemed amiss. “Go back to sleep.”

“M’kay.”

Just as suddenly as the noise came, it soon went, never to repeat. Everything went back to the way it was.

And then, ten minutes later, the plane just seemed to drop from the sky, plummeting to the earth at 500 feet a minute.

Then all went black.
 
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The Count

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Okay... Back now.

Sorry about the confusion over the title, my reader said it in a way that I thought "dessert" when it's clearly meant to be "desert".

You live in Arizona? Thought you were in Denver. Heck newsmanfan left Arizona for Wisconsin about a year ago.
We has the cable and HBO so again, not sure why/how I'm unable to watch stuff online. Then again, I'm not the most savvy tech person. At least I know how to turn on my laptop and get immediately online to come here and read and review, or as the kiddies call it these days R&R.

Hey... If we're going to Iowa can we stop at Zombieburger? Saw it featured on an FN show last week, they've got burgers named after horror movies and everything.

Wait... If the Petersons are a family of six, with father and two sons on the flight going to visit a third son's family, and the mom and three daughters stayed home, wouldn't that make them a family of seven instead?
*Yeah, I has to pay attention to details like that when we have the whole family for meals here at home.

Other than that, really like how the story's shaping up, hope for more posted soonish.
 

WebMistressGina

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You live in Arizona? Thought you were in Denver. Heck newsmanfan left Arizona for Wisconsin about a year ago.
I moved back, remember? Last year...actually, geez, two years ago actually, as I moved in the later part of 2013. Remember that recent unpleasantness that made me leave Denver?

We has the cable and HBO so again, not sure why/how I'm unable to watch stuff online. Then again, I'm not the most savvy tech person.
You don't happen to Prism, do you? From CenturyLink? I remember when I did tech support, a number of people had a hard time with both HBO GO and Showtime recognizing their cable subscription, even though it was clear they were indeed paying for cable.

Honestly, I think it's the networks' fault for not recognizing their own customers, but of course it always came back on us.

Hey... If we're going to Iowa can we stop at Zombieburger? Saw it featured on an FN show last week, they've got burgers named after horror movies and everything.
Sorry bud, this flight ain't going no where, but down, down, down.

Wait... If the Petersons are a family of six, with father and two sons on the flight going to visit a third son's family, and the mom and three daughters stayed home, wouldn't that make them a family of seven instead?
Ugh...you are correct. And it just goes to prove the reason English is my strongest suite is because I suck at math. Counters, dearest Counters, could you, would change our three daughters to two? I'll give the extra daughter to someone else.

Other than that, really like how the story's shaping up, hope for more posted soonish.[/QUOTE]

Glad you're liking it! What's up next, you ask? (I know you didn't, but I know you were thinking of asking)

Well, for starters, we're gonna spend most of Friday with our Up Late cohorts.

EDIT - so, I totally started this post like two hours ago and forgot I was typing it up! LOL Sawry!
 

The Count

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Took care of that little typo for you. *Scribbles down signature quicker than :rolleyes: with his four arms before passing out dead tired. Post more when you've got it, we'll be here to read it. Unless someone drops off a "Sucker" sign.
 

WebMistressGina

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Here's your last section for the night!

* Note - I just learned, in the midst of writing this, that apparently Andy and Randy (Piggy's nephews) are in the current show (according to the Muppet Wiki). For this story, let's pretend they don't.



Thursday rolled into Friday, still with no word on Flight 3546, a plane that had gone missing between their departure from LAX and their arrival at Sky Harbor in Phoenix, AZ. The last check-in from the pilots had been about thirty minutes into the flight, around noon, when they mentioned they were experiencing some minor issues – including the radio - that seemed to have straighten themselves out.

That was the last time anyone had heard from the flight.

When Friday had rolled around with still no word from the plane, helicopters and planes had been dispatched to help find the plane, with no luck. As night began to close in, the search was stopped for the night with the objective to begin as soon as the sun came up.

For the families and friends of the passengers and crew, no word on what was going on was causing anger and panic.

At the sound stage for Up Late with Miss Piggy, their Friday morning saw many of the crew still in their building, many of them deciding to stay in case there was word about their friends and co-stars. It had been a rough night for them all, but highly stressful for their talent manager, Scooter Grosse. Scooter had taken it upon himself to dig deeper and find out what was going on with the flight and their passengers.

That meant he had been on the phone for most of the day and night with LAX, Southwest, and anyone else he could think of to find out what was going on. News sources, while helpful in even notifying them that the plane had disappeared in the first place, had about the same information they did and it was driving the young Muppet to distraction. And it kept him up most of the night.

By ten o’clock in the morning, a full 24 hours since the group had seen their friends, Scooter got the news he had hoped he never wanted to hear.

[hr]

Popping his back, arms, and legs was a process Gonzo did just about every morning, a kind curtesy given from the many years of stunts and performances; it certainly didn’t help that he and just about everyone else had stayed the night, sleeping on their couches or the very, very hard floor.

He felt horrible, which means he probably looked just as bad, and he had a craving for hot coffee like nothing else. The caterers had thankfully been by earlier, leaving the fresh smell of caffeine, donuts, muffins, and other treats; filling up two mugs, Gonzo figured he’d take one first to Scooter and see if he could pry some more information from him and then would come back, grab a cup for Kermit in order to tell him the information he had gotten from the kid.

Scooter had a small little nook where he could get most of his work, even though he had his own office. Just like Kermit, Scooter tended to do most of his work out of his office, so he’d be available whenever someone needed him, though he would retreat to the office if he needed to work uninterrupted. There’s where Gonzo found him, sitting at his desk, and at first glance, looked the way they were all feeling. “Hey Red,” he greeted, walking into the office. “I got you the best part of waking up.”

It was only when the head writer had set the mug down did he see the younger Muppet’s face and quickly realized that Scooter’s profile wasn’t because he was tired; it was because he was highly upset. “Scooter?” he asked. Kneeling next to his chair, Gonzo whispered, “Hey buddy, what’s wrong? What happened?”

So Scooter told him.

[hr]

Thursday night had been hard on Kermit, but his Friday morning seemed to be looking up somewhat. Despite blowing her off the night before, Denise had been a real brick when he had returned, making sure he ate something and bringing over a blanket for him after he decided he was staying there, just in case. She had been great and he was the worst boyfriend ever – again! – so he wanted her to know that he appreciated her to no end.

They had been dating for a little over six months now and he seemed to be getting into the swing of being in a healthy, normal, non-wild and swinging kind of relationship; it was weird, especially after all that time with his former girlfriend, but it worked and it was nice. It was very nice, even when he realized she was essentially taking care of him as he mourned over his previous lover and his best friend.

Kermit had woken up on his couch that morning, snuggled in Denise’s, with a splitting headache and a backache that he’d most likely feel for the rest of the day. Denise, bless her heart, had gotten him some aspirin, a cup of coffee, and a muffin. The girl was great. Thankfully his headache had started to recede within thirty minutes, just in time for Gonzo to poke his head through the door a little before eleven.

“Hey, you got a minute?”

“Yeah,” Kermit sighed, sitting up in his chair, which caused Denise’s magical hands to stop her shoulder massage. “What’s up, Gonzo?”

Glancing at Kermit, the writer threw a look to the pig that stood next to him. “Denise, could you give us five minutes?” he asked. “Just…just five minutes.”

“Gonzo,” the frog huffed. “I’m sure whatever you need to tell me, you can say it in front of Denise.”

Taking a breath to say something, Gonzo stopped his sentence before again addressing Denise. “Five minutes? Please? Ten, at the very most.”

He could tell that rankled her a bit, but she was a good sport about it because she gave the frog a pat on the shoulder before heading towards the door, nodding stiffly at Gonzo’s “Close the door on your way out?” before leaving completely.

“Delightful girl.”

“You know,” Kermit stressed and glaring at the writer. “You guys could be a little nicer to her; she is my girlfriend.”

“I said delightful girl,” Gonzo retorted. “Besides, I’m not sure my news would affect her as much.”

“Depends on the news.”

The way Gonzo’s face fell, Kermit knew what the news was about and he knew it wasn’t good. “Gonzo?”

The head writer couldn’t help the way he fidgeted at the side of the desk. Sighing, Gonzo began, “Scooter told me they…they found some debris outside of that ghost town, you know in the mountains? By the national tree park?”

“Yeah?”

“They’re…they’re pretty sure it’s a plane.”

Kermit would’ve felt the same way if the floor had literally dropped out from underneath him. Finding the plane had meant finding both Piggy and Fozzie, but it wasn’t supposed to be like this. “Do they…how many…?” he didn’t even want to ask how many or if there were any survivors because that meant…

“They don’t know yet,” Gonzo whispered. “That area is…it’s in the middle of nowhere. The closest city is like an hour away.”

Even if they were able to pinpoint the exact location and made their way there, it had already been near a day since the plane went missing and if they needed ground crews to drive out there…neither one of them wanted to voice their thoughts because, well, could there still be anyone to even rescue?

“I should…” Kermit choked, clearing his throat quickly. “I need to call Piggy’s family.”

We’re Piggy’s family,” Gonzo argued.

“Yeah,” Kermit agreed, reaching out to pick up the phone. “But her siblings need to know. Her mother…”

Piggy was not close to her family, having all but estranged herself from most. It was a sore point to even bring them up, especially after the disastrous turn her nephews had taken on one of their last shows.

“She’s not gonna like that.”

“Well, Piggy’s not here right now, is she!?” the frog exclaimed, shocking himself and Gonzo. He quickly hung up the phone, surprised when he realized that his shout had brought him out of his seat to a standing position.

Gonzo, who had been leaning against the desk, suddenly stood straight and looked at the producer; Kermit was sure he was about to get read the riot act for his insensitive comment. Instead, Gonzo asked, “Do you wanna get out here?”

Kermit didn’t hesitate, nodding his head and following the writer out of his office and heading down the hallway towards the exit. Kermit, in a rare display of actually having his phone, made a quick phone call as the two headed out into the California sun. “Tavern,” he said, once the other line picked up. “Five minutes.”

While Kermit was calling, Gonzo was texting, though his text was as equally short as the frog’s phone call.

Gonzolito: We’re heading over.

Brown Ears: Door’s unlocked.

Their destination only took them across the street, to that of Rowlf’s Tavern. Owned by their former pianist, Rowlf’s had become an obvious hangout for everyone across the street at Up Late, no doubt because of who the owner was. It wasn’t uncommon for Rowlf to comp them drinks from time to time, usually using some of his former cast members as test dummies for drink combinations.

As soon as the bartender had heard about two of his friends going missing, he had closed up the bar until further notice, wanting to give his friends a place to gather together in the case of good or bad news. Despite being across the street, Rowlf the Dog was still very much the counselor he had been known to be when he was still performing with them. Always seemingly having a sixth sense to the people and friends he worked with, the bar was already open by 10:30 that morning and as soon as he had gotten the text from Gonzo, he had three bottles of alcohol and four shot glasses sitting on the bar top.

So he wasn’t surprised when the door opened, revealing Gonzo and Kermit as they came through the door and made a beeline for the bar. “Gentlemen,” he greeted, gesturing to the three bottles – one bottle of Patron tequila, one bottle of Stolichnaya vodka, and one bottle of Fireball whisky. “Pick your poison.”

“Rowlf,” Kermit admonished, taking a seat at the bar. “It’s 11:30 in the morning.”

“Kermit,” the bartender replied, sternly. Pointing to his bottle, he continued with, “Pick. Your. Poison.”

The frog pointed to the Stoli, followed by Gonzo, causing Rowlf to nod. He put the other bottles back before pouring the vodka into the four shot glasses. “Where’s the kid?”

“He’s coming,” Kermit said and no sooner did he then the door opened, showing the last in their small quartet.

Scooter had literally made a run for it as soon as Kermit had called him, ignoring the four or six people that had called him as he walked by and rushed out the door. He didn’t want to talk to anyone else if he could avoid, though he knew he couldn’t completely ignore this, even if he wanted to. Ever since he had discovered that Flight 3546 had possibly been found and that there didn’t seem to be any happy ending to it, the red head was nearly inconsolable; that’s why it took Gonzo so long to get to Kermit’s office.

Like many of them, Scooter had – was – close to both Fozzie and Piggy and the thought of losing them both hadn’t set well with him.

As soon as he sat down, Gonzo passed over his shot glass. Scooter started to ask why they were drinking at 11:30 in the morning, but the look he got from Rowlf stopped him. Raising his glass in a silent, the bartender lead the group in their shots, throwing them back before slamming their glasses down. “Now that we’ve got some liquid courage to run with,” Rowlf began. “What’re we gonna do?”

“What can we do?” Kermit asked, morosely.

“So the plane crashed, okay?” Rowlf said, gently. “But we’re still not certain of how many survivors yet, right?”

“The plane is in two!” Scooter cried out.

“And people have walked out and survived less,” Rowlf countered. “Let’s not rule out anything just yet, okay?”

The quartet mulled around for another fifteen minutes before Scooter felt he needed to answer the several phone calls and texts he had been receiving since he had left earlier. Combining his most ardent of callers, the manager called Janice first, knowing she’d be able to notify everyone where the three of them were, which would make giving their new details easier.

While Scooter did that, Kermit decided to fulfill his duty and dialed a rarely used number he had stored in his phone. It rang for three times before it was answered by a gruff voice on the other end.

“Hey Nate,” he began. “It’s Kermit.”

“This is a surprise,” Nate replied. “I can only guess this has something to do with my dear little sister.”

Kermit sighed. Out of her family, Pignatius, Jr. or Nate, was the only one she tolerated. Nate was the oldest, both in terms of birth order and the oldest boy – much like Kermit himself – and Piggy was next in the line as the oldest girl of the bunch, not that it did either of them any favors. Nate was probably the only one she actually liked and got along with; she had never been close to her younger sisters, who were scattered who knew where, and then there was her younger brother Hamilton.

Kermit, who had a very close knit family, had never known there could be such strife between siblings until he had overheard a conversation between Piggy and her younger brother. Hamilton was the father of Andy and Randy, twin pigs who could give rocks a run for their money in the brain department; the diva had tried being the good sister and doting aunt by giving her nephews a job during one of their show runs. It wouldn’t be the first time they had used their positions to get family members onboard with the group.

Scooter was the perfect and most successful of that idea, as was Robin, Kermit’s own nephew.

But Andy and Randy were not Scooter or Robin; they weren’t even on the same level as Lew Zealand’s flying fish.

Kermit had once walked into her dressing room and heard the partial screaming match between them, due to Piggy having her brother on speaker, however that only lasted a minute before Piggy had picked up the phone to continue the argument, before slamming it down repeatedly in her anger.

“Problems?”

“Kermit!” she said, spinning around to see him behind her. “Moi is glad you’re here. I have to leave, right now.”

“Going somewhere?”

“Actually, yes,” she responded, trying to stay calm. “I am headed to the airport, where I am going to buy a ticket to Iowa and where I get there, I’m going to murder my idiot brother! In fact, I’m gonna take Andy and Randy off your hands too because I’m going to murder them before I leave!”

To his knowledge, though he kept her from flying back and he had been the best boyfriend ever by driving said nephews safely and alive to the airport a week later, she and Hamilton never talked to each other again.

“Yeah,” he continued, taking a deep breath. “God Nate, I wish I was calling about something else.”

“This doesn’t sound good.”

“It’s not.”
 
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The Count

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And I is here. Pardon if I'm not completely coherent, working on sleep depravation is awful. No, not "deprivation" I can get to sleep, it's the yeck dreams I got to put up with. Which why I is here, now, at 2 AM in the morning.

The fact that this is a Southwest flight greatly upsets me. Flew with Southwest last year, great service. They have an open seating arrangement, so long as you have a ticket for a flight, you can pick whichever seat you want and that's your seat. Plus they flew us faster to our destination, at least it felt like we got there faster.

You just gave me a delightful image of Denise to work with in me mind's imagination thanks to Gonzo seeking an audience with His Majesty, the Frog.

Tavern. Yes, just one word. That should be sufficient to say what I want regarding that part.
Patron tequila, hoo boy. I is familiar with the effects that has on someone. Mom brings it out for the longerish full-family late lunch/dinner-type get-togethers. And I pretty much know she's gone when she starts to reply crankily to almost anything while laughing at the stories being told. So yeah, Ima not touching that one.
Hey Rowlf, gimme a DVD (Death Valley Draft) instead, maybe that'll cure me insomnia.

Intereschting schtuff with Piggy's family. Now I see why you were asking about that in the Oneshots thread. Maybe Andy & Randy learned something from working on Muppets Tonight, cause they've been kept as silent backgrounders on The Muppets so far. Spooking of, there's somebody I has to murder in my own mind.

Might be other things I'm forgetting, but thanks for posting this. *Leaves couple of graveyard brownies for Gina.
 
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