Kermie's Girl (ushy-gushy fanfic)

The Count

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Er, I'ma not sure what type/font problems you may be having Ru. You may want to check the thread we had about sizing in the Feedback section or ask Phil about it since it may all be reverting to standard FB type/font.

Meh... I usually just rely on my screenreader, along with copying/pasting it to the copy I've got of the entire story and adjusting the settings there. Mayhaps that could help? :confused:
 

The Count

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Just finished reading the update...

So that's what Piggy was attempting to draw, locations to inspire the various shoots for her calendar.
Scribbler's boss always imparts a particular imprint when included in the story... You get the feeling that he's had his own dreams dashed by the frog, and is in it to extract as much of the green one's blood as possible.
Heh, the bit with Scooter and Sara was cute, as was the extra addition of Rowlf's future travels.
Nice to have a tie-in to Getting Swamped with the mention of Sherwood, and Jimmy's gonna be a body double for Kermit.

Thanks, hope to read more when you've got it. :smile: :wink: :flirt: :insatiable:
 

newsmanfan

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Geez...I need another day to catch up! Wow! You are really shooting out these chapters, and the quality is still marvelous! Brava, Lady Ru!

From the last installment, I just have to put this in: I LOVED this bit:

“Yeah,” said Kermit. “I thought she’d at least throw something at us.”
“Who says I’m not going to!” Piggy shouted from down the hall.
Reminds me SO much of classic "Moonlighting:"
"Fine!" "Fine!" SLAM! SLAM!

Then again, maybe Maddy and Addison were inspired by Piggy and Kermit? Who knows? Someone go ask Bruce Willis!
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Ruahnna

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Chapter 86: Coming into Focus

Jimmy’s timely but unexpected early arrival had been a very nice surprise. It meant that Kermit did not have to worry about leaving work to pick Jimmy up at the airport, nor worry about Piggy trying to fight her way past the paparazzi to do the same. Jimmy had called Marty—how he’d gotten his number, Kermit did not know, but then—everybody knew Marty. The following morning, Kermit woke up at his usual unhallowed hour and rolled over and smooched Piggy awake just because he could.[/FONT][/COLOR]
Piggy kissed him willingly enough and happily enough, but when, after a few moments, he made to pop out of bed like a piece of toast, Piggy objected. Strenuously.
A semi-decent interval later, Kermit skimmed out of the house on the run, worried that Scooter would be waiting for him but not entirely unhappy about the way the morning had turned out.
By the time Piggy got out of bed, it was full morning, and she came downstairs tousle-headed and sleepy in sweats, an old Disneyworld t-shirt and a robe.
“Wow,” said an almost familiar voice. “Sleeping Beauty you ain’t.”
Piggy yawned, completely nonplussed. “Moi is saving it for people who really matter,” she said sweetly, and Jimmy laughed.
“Ouch,” he said. “And after I came all this way.”
At that, Piggy sobered and tried to look appropriately grateful. “Jimmy,” she began. “I can’t thank you enough—“
“Please don’t,” said Jimmy. “Please—just let me feel good about finally being able to do something for Kermit, okay?” His voice was light, but there was enough emotion behind it that Piggy acquiesced at once.
“Okay,” she said, wandering over for coffee. She had a mug shaped like a crab on it and she poured coffee into it and added cream and sugar. She sipped and sighed—the coffee-drinkers morning ritual.
Jimmy looked at her for a moment. “Kerm’s mug?” he asked, and Piggy almost sprayed him with coffee, laughing. “Want some flapjacks?” he asked, before she could scold.
“Flapjacks sound great,” said Piggy, “although I probably shouldn’t….”
“That’s why I offered….” Jimmy teased, and Piggy did swat him that time.
“Two—just two,” she said.
“With butter,” Jimmy said, serving them up with a flourish, then joined her at the table.
“What do you want me to do today?” he asked. “I heard Kermit leave this morning at some ungodly hour. Good grief—did he get any sleep at all?”
Piggy was suddenly busy with her pancakes.
“So if he goes in that early—“ Jimmy began.
‘He makes up for it by staying late,” Piggy finished the joke. “Yeah—that’s what post-production is like.”
“I’m really sortof clueless about what he does after the movie is filmed,” Jimmy admitted. “I take it it’s complicated.
“Well, Moi certainly doesn’t want to do it, but what happens after the movie is filmed is just as important as what happens before the camera. Good editing can turn a good movie into a great movie, and a mediocre one into a good one.”
“What about the stinkers—can post-production help those?” Jimmy asked, just to be a pain.
Piggy made her blue, blue eyes very wide. “Why Jimmy,” she said, looking innocent. “Why are you asking Moi? I wouldn’t know anything about bad movies.”
“Amazon Women from—“
Piggy put a hand over his mouth automatically, then pulled it away. It was exactly the sort of thing she’d have done to Kermit when he was being cheeky, but it felt…weird to do it so naturally to someone else.
“I was doing a favor for a friend,” she said primly.
“Your landlord?” Jimmy asked. “Cause that movie looked like overdue rent if I ever—“
“Moi is going to get dressed!” Piggy said abruptly, standing up and heading for the stairs. “I’ll come down when you’re decent,” she said, launching her parting shot.
Jimmy just laughed and cleaned up the kitchen.

“No muffins today?” Kermit teased. Scooter turned bright red—exactly the response Kermit had been going for, but Scooter rebounded quicker than expected.
“Nope,” he said defiantly. “But she packed me lunch? How ‘bout you? What did the Mrs. pack for you?”
“A wallop,” Kermit murmured, then, “Touché.”
Scooter grinned, then sobered. “Boss—can I ask—“ He fell silent, face still flaming, and looked down at the floor. Kermit said nothing, waiting until his assistant looked up.
Kermit looked at Scooter and Scooter looked at his boss, then Scooter blurted, “I don’t know how you do it, Boss—when I’m here I can hardly keep my mind on my work. And when I’m there, wow, I…I can hardly keep my mind at all.” Kermit had clapped him on the back and smiled at him. “Years of practice,” he said solemnly.
Scooter looked at him, his eyebrows climbing into his red hair. “Years…of practice?” he said softly.
“Yep,” Kermit said, his eyes dancing with mischief.
“Oh…oh wow,” said Scooter. “I…sure like the sound of that.”

“Does my fur look okay?” Fozzie asked anxiously. “I had a hot oil treatment.”
Gonzo choose his next words carefully. “Um, we’re doing voiceovers today, Fozzie. Nobody’s really going to see your, um, fur.”
Fozzie’s shoulders slumped. “Oh. I—I knew that,” he said, flustered, but before Gonzo could say anything to him, Rizzo walked by with a wedge of brie in one hand and an apricot in the other.
“Hey Gonzo,” he said, licking cheese crumbs from his fingers. “Hiya, Fozzie.”
“Um, hello Rizzo,” Fozzie said morosely.
“Got any more of that brie,” Gonzo asked.
“Sure—in the kitchen. But you better go fast.”
“No problemo,” Gonzo said, tugging Fozzie after him.
“Hey Fozzie,” Rizzo said. “What’d you do to your fur? It looks great!”
Fozzie beamed the rest of the morning.

Seymour wasn’t beaming. He was mooning. He was so enraptured with the videoplay on his PDA that he almost didn’t hear his partners knock. Quickly, he jabbed at the little pause button and stowed the little PDA in his desk drawer.
“Gentlemen,” he said, trying not to look sweaty and guilty. “How’s it going?”
Forrest “Frosty” Canderling rubbed his hands together briskly. “Good,” he said. “Great, actually. We finished the year out very strong—very strong.”
“The show brought in lots of folks,” Seymour said. He did not say what show—he did not think he had to, and Jack Littleton nodded with satisfaction.
“Yes—it certainly did. And from the looks of things, lots of them stayed to gamble.” His lips twitched up a little at the corner with amusement. “You know that’s where we make most of our money, right Seymour?” he teased. “In the casinos—not the shows. The shows actually lose us money, sometimes.”
“Sometimes,” Seymour said defensively. “But not this one. This one…oh.” He scowled, realizing from his partners bemused expressions that he had been deliberately baited. “Well, this one didn’t,” he said. “Lose us money, I mean. It brought…it brought all sorts of people into the casino.” His cheeks were flushed, making him look even more boyish than before, and his eyes looked hot and sortof feverish.
“Hey—hey now,” Frosty said. “No need to get defensive. We’re just teasing you, son.” He pulled out a chair and sat down. He looked like the sort of guy who would pull out a chair and straddle it instead, but no—he sat down gracefully and crossed one ankle over his knee. He was wearing leather wingtips, which looked out of place where cowboy books should have been. “So, how’d you like having them here. They seem like real nice folks.”
“Very professional,” approved Jack, also taking a seat. When they all sat down like this, it was more than obvious that Seymour’s office was much smaller than the others, but Seymour didn’t mind. His office was closest to the stage venues, and that’s what he had wanted. “I thought Kermit ran a pretty tight ship, especially with all the unexpected problems.”
“Yes,” said Seymour, struggling a little to keep the bitterness out of his voice. “Kermit runs a tight ship. It’s a wonder she—I mean, it’s a wonder that, um, the cast and crew have as much professional maneuvering room—“ He flushed at the term. “—as they do.”
“Yes,” said Jack mildly. “But apparently he’s a pretty generous guy. What’d you think about that announcement the other day? Mrs. the Frog—well, Miss Piggy, going to Broadway? Isn’t that something?”
“It’s…it’s wonderful,” said Seymour, and saw both of his partners smile. He bristled, although their amusement was affectionate. “She’s—she’s very talented,” he insisted stiffly. “She didn’t get to show off half of what she’s capable of here.”
“She’s a pretty thing,” said Frosty benevolently. “What my granddaddy would have called a ‘great thumping blonde.’”
Seymour shot to his feet. “Don’t call her that,” he cried, offended.
“Easy now, Seymour,” said Jack. “It’s just an expression.”
“Well, I don’t like it,” Seymour snapped. “It’s—it’s disrespectful.”
“Okay, Seymour,” Frosty said mildly. “My apologies. Meant no disrespect to the little lady.”
Seymour sat back down, but his expression was stiff.
Jack tried diplomatically to point the meeting in a slightly less contentious direction. “So, Seymour, what sort of talent do you think you can line up for us coming up?”
Seymour seemed to pull himself back together. He turned and looked at his keyboard, punching the screen up and letting his fingers fly over the keys. “Well, there are a couple of comedians that I’ve been watching for the lounge,” he said absently. “And there’s a dance review that’s sortof nice—they’ve never worked in Vegas before, so we’d probably get pretty decent terms, but the operative words here are ‘never working in Vegas before’ so it’s sortof up I the air. It’s a youngish group—the youngest member is 14, so we might have issues.”
“You’re the expert,” Jack said. “Any word on that magician you mentioned last time?”
Seymour winced. “He’s…he’s not available anymore,” he mumbled. “Tramkskdnfls.”
“He’s traveling?” Frost asked. “Well, when’s he coming back?”
Seymour sighed. “I said ‘traction,’ not traveling. He’s in traction. He’s off the radar for a while.”
They talked a little more, Seymour avid and decisive, the other two deferring to him because this as, after all, his area of expertise at the casino. The men were just getting up to go when there were unmistakable strains of music audible in the office. Jack and Frosty looked up, toward the intercom.
“What is that?” Frosty asked. “Sound like something from the lounge. Is that coming in on the intercom?”
“Oh, heh heh, must be a glitch in the system,” Seymour babbled, talking very loud and very fast. “It does that sometimes.”
“What does what sometimes,” Jack grumbled, being hustled toward the door.
“Thanks for coming by, gentlemen,” said Seymour breathlessly. “I’ll—uh, keep you posted on the, uh—“ He looked anxiously back toward his desk. “—the, uh, talent round-up before the end of the week, okay? And, er, I might decide to go to, well, New York—that is, Broadway, in the, uh, near future because there’s an act there that I’d really like to see.” He practically pushed them out the door, shut it after them, and ran for his desk.
“What on earth has gotten into Seymour,” asked Frosty, giving Jack a look. “I mean, Seymour’s a good kid and all, but you’ve got to admit he’s wound a little tight. Now, his old man—that was a different story.”
“Yeah—Seymour, Sr. was much more well-grounded. But Seymour’s a good kid, and you have to admit, he’s got the connections to make things happen.”
“That’s so,” said Frosty, pursing his lips. “Although I’m not altogether certain I like all of his connections.”
Jack put a hand on Frosty’s back. “Aw, c’mon, Frosty. Those are just rumors. I’ve never seen hide nor hair of, uh, well…. Seymour’s a good, kid, ok? He’s a little high strung. Artistic. Aren’t they supposed to be high-strung?”
Frosty grunted. “Yeah—yeah, that’s so. And his dad sure was a brick.”
“Yeah.”
“What on earth was that music, do you reckon? And where was it coming from?”
At this, Jack laughed out loud. “You want to know what I think? I think Seymour was watching something on youtube.”
Frosty finally laughed too. “Eh, well,” he said. “Doesn’t everybody?”

Alone again at last, Seymour jerked his phone out of his desk and confirmed what he’d suspected—the pause on the music video he’d been watching had timed out—he’d been meaning to reset that. It was almost over, so he waited it out, then started the whole thing again, watching and listening this time.
There was a breathy pause, then music swelled out of the phone. “Never before….”

The remains of another take-out supper were already in the fridge by the time Kermit trudged through the door. Piggy met him, taking his scarf and jacket and kissing him warmly to welcome him home. Once again, Jimmy was torn between amusement and being genuinely touched. He had never really seen them interact in their home environment before and it was…he wasn’t sure what word he wanted to use. A frog and a pig in their natural environment, his brain teased, running an announcer-type voice-over in his head. A two-story Spanish stucco in scenic— He waved the thought away. Robin came to his house, shared this home with them often. Jimmy was glad—very glad for this little glimpse into their lives.
“Hey Kermit,” Jimmy waved from the doorway. “You want firefly and tomato or potato and June bug? Tell me and I’ll fire up the microwave?”
“Firefly and tomato,” Kermit and Piggy said together, then smiled at each other.
“Okay, look,” said Jimmy, grinning at his brother. “If you start feeding each other, I’m going to leave.”
Kermit made an observation that probably wouldn’t be found in his “Frog-on-the-street” interviews, and Jimmy laughed.
“Fine, fine,” he chuckled. “Just for that, I’m gonna let you heat your own soup.”
“No problem,” said Kermit. “I’ll just let you make my sandwich.”
They started toward the kitchen, but the doorbell rang, startling them all.
“What the hey?” Kermit said, and walked back to the door. Someone at the door this late might mean bad news. He pulled out his phone as he walked and checked to make sure he had no missed calls. He didn’t. He walked to the door and opened it, his chest tight with anxiety.
“Oh,” he said. “It’s just you. Come on in—we’re eating.”
 

The Count

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Finished the latest chapter.

Chapter 86: Coming into Focus.
Did you mean to say the coffee mug Piggy grabbed was itself in the shape of a crab?
Frosty wearing "cowboy books"... Well, I suppose, if you hollowed out the covers you could lace 'em up like open-toed footwear. :zany:
:confused:, Seymour got caught with his hand in the cookie jar. :insatiable: Someone say "cookie"? No, but here's an Oreo. *Tosses it to the furry blue creature.
Now who could that be ringing the The Frogs' doorbell that late? At least the person in question got there in time. We have a saying, that roughly translated means, "better to have arrived in time than to have been personally invited." And yes, it's supposed to be "in time", as in while still possible/plausible to arrive for an unscheduled friendly "come on in and have dinner with us."

Thanks, more please? :hungry:
 

Ruahnna

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Arghh! You know that best-selling book (nevermind the scandal about it) A Million Little Pieces? I'm thinking of re-dubbing this one, "A Million Little Typos"! (In all fairness to myself, was going on 4 hours of sleep and I did try to edit it the next morning, but it was too late....) Just try to enjoy the story....
 

The Count

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Never heard of that one... But I do enjoy the story as the posts here should attest. And as for those little typos, you know I've got a clean copy should you want it.

*Checks clock. Gasp! 4 PM already? Sheesh, time really does fly.
*:smile: eyes the time-fly, gaging if he can smack it quick enough.
 

newsmanfan

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*goes to see whether the library has "Amazon Women on the Moon"*

...or was that not the reference? :news:
I really enjoy the interactions the last two chapters between Piggy and Jimmy and Kermit. Good family dynamic. Jimmy reminds me a bit of my own little bro...

So WHO is Scribbler's boss? A publishing magnate...scandal...GASP! RUPERT MURDOCH! NOOOO!

And what the hey is Seymour up to? I keep picturing him as having disagreeably sweaty palms....ick...

Scooter getting a little kindly rapport from Kermit over womens is adorable.

More! More!

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Java

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Oh, Now I'm anxiously awaiting to see who's at the door!
 

Ruahnna

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It CANNOT have been almost two weeks since I posted on this story--it just CAN'T. Sheesh--but here it comes, at last!

Chapter 87: Props

“Piggy!” Marty complained in a contrived, whiny voice. “Kermit’s being mean to me again!”[/FONT]
Piggy leaned in the doorway and smiled at him, a dazzling smile with no hint of pity. “Well, Marty—if you want to run with the big frogs….”
Marty nodded at Jimmy and then waved her teasing aside with his unlit cigar. “Yeah, yeah. Can I come in already?”
“You’re already in,” Kermit muttered. He knew Piggy had been somewhat isolated, stuck here in the house, but he liked to come home from work and be done with work. Piggy’s work had dogged them like Pepe on payday, and it was a little tiresome. Although he genuinely liked Piggy’s agent, today Marty rated as a necessary evil instead of a welcome house guest. “You might as well come on in and make a sandwich.”
Marty looked at Piggy, who shrugged slightly, and followed. He was carrying what looked like a large duffle bag full of laundry and he brought it into the kitchen with him.
“Ho ho ho,” he growled around his unlit cigar. “Merry Christmas.”
“What’d you get me—a dreidel?” Piggy said dryly.
“A lump of coal for your stockings,” said Marty. “I heard you got on the naughty list.”
“Neveryoumind what I’ve got in my stockings,” Piggy teased.
I know what you’ve got in your stockings,” Kermit murmured. “It’s why you got on the naughty list!” Piggy turned and looked at him in surprise, her cheeks suffused with color.
“Sweetie,” she cooed. “You noticed!” She leaned into his arms and kissed him. While Kermit was reserved and sometimes bashful in public, he was not above kissing his own wife in his own home and he did so now despite the two bachelors looking on.
Marty and Jimmy exchanged looks. “How you holding up under all this turtle-lovely-dovey stuff?” Marty asked. Jimmy grinned.
“I’m bearing up,” he said. “Thanks for picking me up the other day.”
“Not a problem,” Marty said. “In a minute, you and me got to talk about tomorrow, okay? I don’t want you to get blindsided.”
Jimmy nodded, not exactly sure what he was agreeing to. It didn’t really matter anyway. If it would help Kermit—and Piggy—he would do it.
While Kermit heated soup and Piggy found him a sandwich, Marty walked over to the empty floor in front of the dishwasher and dumped the contents of the sack. Letters spilled out of it—several hundreds of them, many of them in bright red or pink envelopes.
The two frogs and the astonished sow gaped.
“Valentines?” Kermit asked. “Isn’t it—isn’t it too early for Valentines?”
“Well, I guess it’s not too early for Valentines if you’re desperate,” said Marty mildly.
Leaning against the kitchen counter, Kermit crossed his arms across his chest and narrowed his eyes at Marty.
“Desperate—how?” Kermit asked.
Marty had learned that sometimes an unpleasant truth is swallowed better whole than piecemeal. “Unrequited love,” he said bluntly. “This is one bag—I got about 17 in the past week. Full of chocolates, proposals and…suggestions.”
Kermit’s expression was stony, but his voice was as carefully neutral as he could make it. “I’ll bet. Don’t you have a shredder at your office?”
“I do,” said Marty. “And an incinerator, but I want to talk to you two about this, and about the publicity that’s coming and about the calendar and a few other things.” He took the cigar out of his mouth and gestured at a chair. Kermit felt—irrationally—like demanding to stay on his feet, but he was tired and he actually wanted to sit down. He picked up his soup and his sandwich and walked back over to the kitchen table. Jimmy hooked a chair out for him and pushed it toward Kermit with his flipper. Kermit sat, then reached out and grabbed a chair for Piggy right beside him. Piggy sat, too, and they looked at Marty attentively.
“This whole tabloid thing—it’s been pretty intense already, but it’s going to get worse.”
Kermit’s jaw clenched. He could not imagine what they could say that hadn’t already been implied and openly speculated on. Beside him, he felt Piggy stir restlessly, then still with a deliberate effort.
“Before, they were making jabs at you, Kermit, saying you weren’t good to Piggy, didn’t respect her talent or take care of her professionally.”
Jimmy noted that Marty did not mention the many barbs slung at Kermit implying he was not a loving and attentive husband and he was glad.
“And they were making jabs at you, Honey, saying that you were playing the field and staying with Kermit for professional reasons.”
Kermit took a big, determined bite of his sandwich and chewed. It might as well have been cardboard but he ate it anyway.
“Now that you’re going to New York, the speculation’s already heating up again. You are going to be challenged about the status of your relationship almost any time anyone interviews you or writes about you. It’s not fair and it stinks but I don’t want you to be surprised.”
Kermit found he was not as surprised and he would like to be. Since the beginning, the normal rules of politeness and professional distance had never been extended to Piggy or him. Hollywood manners (and here Kermit snorted internally) dictated that if two people in the business were married, that you didn’t invite Spouse A onto a talk show and then ask them about Spouse B unless Spouse A opened the topic first. Kermit could not remember ever doing an interview where the interviewer didn’t, at some point, ask about his relationship with Piggy. For her part, Piggy had probably not been asked about him as often, but then she was more likely to refer to Kermit affectionately in any interview—or conversation. When this thought skittled across his brain, Kermit felt his mouth twitch at the corners and he leaned over and put his arm around his girl. Marty saw the almost-smile and the look of satisfaction on Kermit’s face but did not know what to make of it.
“I’m beyond surprise,” said Piggy through gritted teeth. Kermit noted that her hands were balled into firsts. “How do we fight this?”
Marty smiled. “Well, I actually have a couple of ideas about that,” he said. “For one thing, I’d like to see if we could get you a quick guest segment on one of the entertainment shows. Shouldn’t be a problem,” he said with a chuckle. “They’re all drooling outside on your boulevard, but I want this to be a quick in, quick out and I want to control what we give them and what they do with it. Capiche?”
Piggy looked interested. Marty had always said she was his star pupil, and he usually did not have to over-explain things to her. Smart cookie.
“So—sorry, can I ask a question?” said Jimmy, feeling more and more like an outsider.
“Ask away,” said Marty magnanimously. “Any brother of Kermit’s….”
Kermit did smile this time. “Marty—do you have any idea how many brothers I actually have?”
Marty didn’t bother to answer him. “Jimmy?” he prompted.
“I’m just trying to see if I can follow you. You want Piggy on an entertainment segment promoting, um—“
“The movie, Grease!, the calendar and the marriage,” Marty supplied. “And actually, I want both of them, Piggy and Kermit, to do the segment.”
“Right, but you only want the studio to have a limited time to talk to her, um, them. Is that so they can only use your answers the way you gave them and not edit them for sound bites?”
Marty grinned at Kermit and Piggy. “Hey—he’s quick,” he said approvingly. “Your brother’s a smart guy.”
“It’s hereditary,” Kermit said, sotto voce, and Piggy bit her lip. Again, Marty looked at them, smirking and smiling at each other, and wondered what they were thinking.
“So, here’s what I’m thinking. I liked it when we did the piece for Regis and Kelly from my office. I control who comes in an out—and we’re gonna talk about that in a minute, too—and we could, um, set the stage.”
“What’d you have in mind?” Kermit asked.
Marty grinned. “I was thinking we take these 17 bags of mail and dump ‘em out on the floor. And I’m thinking that you and the Mrs. could sit down all cozy-like in the middle of all of ‘em and do the interview from there.” He looked at Kermit and Piggy speculatively. “You guys got any matching pajamas?”
“Sheesh!” said Jimmy, his face flaming. “What they won’t ask you in showbiz!” He got up and went to get something—anything—out of the fridge.
Kermit’s face, too, was pink, but not as much. He gaze Marty a level stare but there was mischief in his eyes.
“I’m afraid our taste in pajamas is rather different,” he said, and Marty laughed, not needing elaboration.
“We can take care of that,” said Marty.
“So, you want Moi and Mon Capitan to sit on a big pile of love letters and—what, giggle and laugh and talk about the movie and Broadway…like that?”
“You got it, Babe. You just do the stuff you do--” (Now Marty was smiling.) “And let the interviewer try to get a word in edgewise.” Marty pulled a piece of paper from his jacket pocket and handed it to them, and they drew together to read his small, cramped writing. “Those are some talking points I want you to try to get in,” Marty said.
Kermit laughed at something on the list and, looking up and seeing Jimmy, motioned him over. “C’mere, Jimmy—you got to see some of these lines.” Gratefully, Jimmy joined them, finally feeling welcome again. In a moment, they were all laughing, snorting and giggling, adding ad libs and suggestions with glee. Marty looked on benevolently for a few minutes, but eventually began to try to move them on to the next topic.
“Okay, you got that. Charming couple 101. Let’s talk about the movie some.”
Kermit shot Marty a quick warning glance. He did not want Marty to let on about the problems with the movie that they had discussed the other day. Marty acknowledged the look Kermit gave him in passing.
“Well the movie’s officially wrapped,” said Kermit. “All that remains now is post-production, and how long that takes depends on…sheesh, everything. I mean, we have deadlines and stuff, but it’s basically condensing everything we shot into about a hundred minutes of film.” Kermit was explaining, as they all were, for Jimmy’s benefits but also to think through it. “So—how do you want us to play this? Like we did the other day? I’m proud of her, she’s proud of me, yada, yada.” Saying like that made Kermit uncomfortable. He was proud of Piggy. He hoped she was proud of him even if the results were a little less obvious than a starring role on Broadway.
“That was good, but I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit. We want it to appear like you’re glad Piggy’s going now so she can be back for all the excitement when the movie comes out.”
“So, it’s like, ‘I’m glad Piggy has something to keep her busy while I’m busy’—like that?” Kermit grimaced. “That sortof sounds condescending, don’t you think? Like I think I’m important and what she’s doing is, um, not.”
Marty considered this. “You could flip it,” he said, running it through his mind.
“You mean, Piggy’s doing something important but Kermit isn’t?” Jimmy asked. “I don’t think the studio is going to like that.”
But Marty had already drawn the same conclusion. “Maybe…maybe it doesn’t need to come from either of them. Maybe it needs to come from…someone else. Hey, Kermit—you think Scooter could give a quote—something we could use?”
“Sure,” said Kermit. “Scooter’s great in front of the camera. You just tell him what you need, and he’s on it.”
“I don’t want to feed him a quote, exactly,” said Marty. “I just want someone besides you two to talk about the schedule thing—even things out a little for the public.”
“Scooter’s a quick study—just ask him.”
“Got your phone handy?” Marty asked.
Kermit blinked in surprise. “Um, yeah.”
“Call him now. I want to get this ball rolling.”
Kermit made a face and dialed. Like him, Scooter was probably just sailing into safe harbor at home, and he probably was going to end up on Sara’s list if he didn’t watch it, but he could see it couldn’t be helped. While Kermit stood and walked toward the sink, Marty continued to talk to Piggy.
“Doll, I want you to play up the lovey-dovey for the camera, too. Flash those big blue eyes at him every chance—okay? Shouldn’t be too hard, right?” He grinned at her. “I want you guys as fireproof as we can get you before you leave.” He looked over his shoulder. Kermit was still on the phone, and Marty moved subtly closer to Jimmy and Piggy, lowering his voice.
“Okay, look—the photo shoot is falling into place very nicely, but I need both of you to understand something—what happens on the set stays on the set. Got it?”
Piggy nodded, but Jimmy looked uncertain, then protectively toward Kermit. “What do you mean?” he asked.
“I mean,” said Marty carefully, “that this little bundle of sex appeal is going to be hanging out in pretty interested company, in a bikini, in public places. I know she can handle her own—can’t you, Sweetheart?—and I know the guys who are doing the shooting—I hand-picked them based on experience, but I don’t want either of you—“ Here, he shot Jimmy a hard look. ‘—coming home every day and saying, ‘Oh, Claude said the wildest thing today on the shoot.’ Or, ‘Boy, you should have heard what they said about the polka-dot bikini.’ That’s not going to help make a happy home.”
Jimmy took a deep breath and nodded. “Got it. How can I help?”
But before Marty could answer, Piggy jumped in. “Claude is coming?” she asked quietly, with another careful look at Kermit. “You know Kermit doesn’t like him very much.”
“He’s a good camera-jockey,” Marty insisted. “He knows his stuff and he sure likes your stuff, kid. So he’s a little smitten—it’s not going to bother you and it doesn’t need to bother him.” He jerked his head slightly toward Kermit, who was still on the phone.
Piggy sighed, then agreed. “True,” she said.
“Now,” said Marty, turning to Jimmy. “You want to know what to do?” He jerked his thumb at Piggy. “That’s your job assignment—this little lady right here. Whatever she wants, you make sure somebody knows about it, okay? I’m going to be in and out—I can’t stay all day—but this is our deal and Piggy calls the shots, okay? I’ve already briefed them on your part in the pictures, but they think it’s secondary.”
“Secondary?” said Jimmy, eyes widening. Piggy saw it then, the stamp of family likeness that marked him as Robin’s dad, and she smiled at him fondly. “What do they think my, um, real job is?”
Marty grinned. “Security,” he said. He fished in the pocket of his sport coat and pulled out a neck-strap with an ID and a bright yellow tag that said “SECURITY” in bold black letters. There was a picture of Jimmy, looking suitably grim, on the ID. “You are supposed to be some tough guy from back home, come to look out for the little lady, make sure nobody gets in her space.”
Jimmy took the neck-strap numbly and looked from Piggy to Marty in astonishment for a minute, then started to chuckle. Kermit had just hung up and came over to share in the joke.
“What’s so funny?” he asked, and Jimmy held up the band for Kermit to read.
“Apparently, I’m the hired gun,” said Jimmy. He grinned at his older brother. “I always did want to be a tough guy.”
“And sadly, you’ve always been a wise guy,” Kermit shot back. Without warning, he grabbed Jimmy in a quick head-lock and gave him a noogie, just to prove he could.
Marty let them have their hi-jinks, then herded everyone on to business again. They still had quite a few things to do before bedtime.
“Okay,” said Marty, suddenly brisk again. “Look, kids—we got to talk about the Academy Awards. I know you’ve been asked to present, and I been trying to work out the details, but the truth is that with one of you here and one of you there, I don’t really see it happening. We’re going to have to figure out what we can do, but Piggy, honey, I’m pretty sure you’ve got a show that night, anyway.”
Normally, Piggy might have pitched a hissy-fit at missing a chance to be seen on national television wearing one of Thoreau’s confections and making nice on the red carpet, but she took this news without batting an eyelash.
“I know,” she said. “Kermit will have to go without me.”
For his part, Kermit had spent so much time worrying about how Piggy would react to this realization that he hadn’t really thought much beyond dealing with that, so her non-reaction warranted some mental acrobatics on his part.
“But…I didn’t think,” he began, then subsided, not sure what else to say.
“I don’t much like that, either,” said Marty. “I’m wondering about doing it sortof live and remote at the same time.”
Piggy cocked her head, looking interested. “Talk to me,” she said. “I’m listening.”
“Well, here’s what I’m thinking,” said Marty. “I’m thinking that—if we time it right—we might just get Kermit at the awards and you backstage on camera, all pinked out for your starring role in Grease! So we could get somebody—Ryan maybe, or Mark and Nancy—to talk to you, Kermit, on the carpet and to you, Piggy, backstage getting ready to go on.”
“And we could spend most of our time talking to each other?” Kermit asked dryly.
“Give the frog a gold star,” said Marty. “But make sure it at least appears to be newsy—you know, make over her in her costume, cause you haven’t been up to see her yet.” He looked at Piggy drolly. “And you, make over how tired he looks, how hard he’s working without you there to take care of him.”
Jimmy was grinning at Marty, at Kermit and Piggy. “You know what I think?” he said, looking at all of them.
Kermit looked at him, his mouth pursed wryly. “What—what do you think, Jimmy?”
“I think,” Jimmy said solemnly, “that I’m glad Marty’s on our side.”
Everybody laughed, and Marty chomped his unlit cigar gleefully.
“Moi is glad Marty on our side,” said Piggy, leaning over to buss him on his five-o’clock shadow. “Moi is always glad Marty is on our side.”
Kermit smiled, too—liking the way that Jimmy said “our side.” “Marty, if you were in my end of the business you’d be competition,” Kermit said admiringly. “Now, what else do we need to talk about?”

“I know,” Howard gasped into the phone. “You could have knocked me over with a feather when I heard the news.” He bit his lip, listening and nodding. “Right, right—no, I agree. It was inspired. What do you think about the calendar thing?”
There was a loud snort on the other end of the phone, and Howard listened, making sympathetic noises at appropriate times.
“I know,” he said at last. “I know, but do you really want to design 14 different bikinis? You’ve got much, um, bigger things to think about now!” It was possible there was some undignified giggling on both ends of the phone line. “So, tell me—what did they say? Have you got all of the kinks ironed out of the production end yet? What happened about the union contract? Uh huh. Uh huh—oh! Did you get the tickets to Les Miserables? Piggy swears she’ll come through with tickets for her show, but a change of pace—“
Long distance, once very expensive, makes it possible for distant friends and lovers to keep in touch at the press of a button. Howard and Thoreau were not the first to make use of the magic of modern-day technology—nor would they be the last.

“What was that all about?” said Sara, and Scooter was relieved to see that she was smiling and looking interested. He had never realized before, how much overlap there was between his personal life and his professional life. In fact, he was beginning to realize that there had been not much of the former. Now that he had both a reason to come home and a genuine home to come to, this fact was making itself felt. He smiled at Sarah, who had sat up in bed and turned on a light. She patted the covers beside her and he climbed back into bed.
“That was Kermit,” he said, although he knew she’d already guessed that. “Well, I guess that was actually Marty,” he said, making a face. “But he asked Kermit to call me. They want me to help with a newsy sort of piece.”
“Tell me about it,” said Sara. She leaned forward, her alert face framed by tousled red hair. “What sort of news piece?”
Not for the first time, Scooter marveled that she seemed, well, interested in his life—his work, his hobbies, his eating habits. Scooter was pretty sure he’d picked up a couple of pounds now that there was someone looking out for him, but he was sanguine about it. Sara was also pretty determined to keep him active, and she had hauled him out of bed for a power walk the other morning over his protests. He had actually enjoyed it—the crisp morning air, the blood circulating as they rounded the block together, the sight of Sara in running shorts—yep, it was all good.
“Well, they’re going to do something to try to get all these stupid journalists off their backs.” His mouth twisted angrily on the word “journalists.”
Sara was surprised at the sneer in his voice. Scooter was usually so mild that it always surprised her when he erupted into anger, like he had the other night on the phone. “Not all journalists are bad, Scooter,” she had said, rubbing his arms in a soothing manner. “Brenda was nice.”
“Oh, well, yeah,” Scooter mumbled, a little embarrassed. “Brenda was great, but it’s just, I just don’t—why can’t people leave them alone?” he blurted. “I mean, Kermit’s like the greatest boss in the whole world, and they’ve got to take potshots at him and Piggy. He—he doesn’t deserve it—he doesn’t.” He blushed, a little embarrassed by his outburst.
Sara leaned forward and put her arms around him, then put her chin on his shoulder and kissed him on the ear. “Do you know what I think?” she asked.
“No,” Scooter mumbled, expected to be teased a little, but—like many men trying to figure out the woman in their life—he was very wrong.
“I think,” Sara said, her voice soft in his ear, “that Kermit is very lucky that you have his back.”
Scooter turned and looked at her. Without his glasses, he looked sweet and surprisingly vulnerable. “I…I try my best,” he said.
“I know it,” said Sara. “And while you’ve got his back—how ‘bout this? How about if I get yours?” She turned him in her arms, beginning to knead the tension out of his neck and shoulders with strong, feminine hands. “How’s that?”
“Amazing,” Scooter sighed, closing his eyes and leaning back. “Just amazing.”

Two furry entities hunched over the diner table and looked at the newspaper grimly. Fozzie peered anxiously over Gonzo’s shoulder as the furry blue whatever reread the article he had hastily skimmed
“See what I mean?” asked Fozzie. “Kermit is not going to like this.”
“Boy, when you’re right, you’re right,” muttered Gonzo. He smiled at Fozzie and patted his arm. “Thanks for calling me,” he said. “I might have missed this one.”
“Lucky you,” muttered Fozzie. He looked up, his eyes hopeful. “You think—you think Kermit might miss it?”
Gonzo looked up, wishing he could lie. “I doubt it, Fozzie—if he doesn’t see the paper, someone’s liable to shove it at him—on camera.”
“I hate it when that happens!” Fozzie wailed. Several early morning patrons of the diner turned and looked at the two fuzzy chums. Fozzie blushed and put his hat over his mouth. “Sorry,” he muttered. “Sorry.”
But Gonzo just patted him absently again. “We’ve got to do something to help. Now that Piggy’s going away—“
“She’s not going away!” Fozzie insisted. “She’s going to Broadway! It’s not the same thing!”
Seeing Fozzie fierceness, Gonzo smiled. “You’re right,” said Gonzo. “It’s not the same thing. Broadway is a good thing.”
“Hey fellas—what’d I miss?” asked Rizzo. Rizzo had been gone when Gonzo had gotten the call, but Gonzo had texted him. Rizzo sat at the table, eyeing their untouched coffee. “Aren’t we eating?”
As if on cue, the waitress, a pretty young woman with purple hair and a pierced eyebrow, came to the table.
“Hello,” she said. “My name is Cachet, and I’ll be your waitress. The cook is in and he’s hot today! What can I get everybody?”
They ordered, but only Rizzo seemed enthusiastic about the food. When it arrived, however, flapjacks steaming and covered in melted butter, they all seemed to revive a little.
“There you go,” said Cachet. “Anything else?”
“Honey?” said Fozzie.
“Yes, Darling?” returned Cachet, and giggled when Fozzie blushed. She got the honey and set it down in front of him. “Anything else? Anything at all?”
Nobody answered, shaking their heads politely, but when she was out of hearing range, Gonzo muttered. “A tabloid reporter’s head on a tray,” he muttered, to cries of "hear, hear."
They tucked in, talking and trying to plan.
 
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