Kermie's Girl (ushy-gushy fanfic)

Muppetfan44

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Oooooh, great update! Curious to see whose head Gonzo and Fozzie want on a platter but I think I know who...

loving all the new updates and now that the bar exam is over, I can actually enjoy them! Wonderful work as always Ru and I can't wait to read more!
 

newsmanfan

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:news: Yeah! not all journalists are bad! High five to Sara!

*sits back looking very smug*

I can't wait to see the kissy-kissy-lovey-dovey interview! What a genius PR move. Seriously, is Marty taking on any new clients?... And Kermit and Piggy presenting live together via satellite at the Oscars! (Makes me think of footage I've seen from the 2001 live show...)

You build suspense masterfully, Lady Ru! *looking very, er, rueful*
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Ruahnna

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Chapter 88: Fanning the Flames

“How’d that last look to you, Scooter? I’m still not sure about the parachuting scene. We don’t want the support wires to show.”[/FONT][/COLOR]
Scooter shrugged. “It looked okay to me. They don’t show in all the scenes,” he said, sighing and rubbing his eyes. “We can try to stick mostly with the scenes where they don’t show and then CG the rest of the rods.” He yawned hugely, causing Kermit to yawn, and then growl in frustration.
“No yawning!” Kermit griped. “Please, Scooter—if you start, I’m toast. I’ve barely functioning as it is.”
“Sorry, Boss,” Scooter mumbled, face red.
Kermit winced and put his hand over his gritty eyes. “Sheesh—I’m sorry, Scooter. Smack me, won’t you, when I get to be a pain?”
Scooter gave a wan imitation of his usually cheeky smile, but Kermit noticed ruefully that he didn’t denounce the suggestion. The exhausted amphibian stood, stretched mightily, and walked over and turned on the lights. Both of them squinted in the comparatively bright light, then Kermit grabbed Scooter’s elbow and tugged him after him out of the room.
The sunlight streaming through the hall windows was blinding, but both of them turned toward it anyway, like sunflowers facing the sun.
“We’ve got to do something about the schedule,” Kermit said. “If we spend hours at a time like this in that film editing room we’re going to grow mushrooms.” He examined his bright green arm. “Do I look a little sallow to you?”
“Ha ha,” grumped Scooter, glad to have his turn at being grouchy.
“Let’s get a cup of coffee,” Kermit suggested. “C’mon—a caffeine infusion will do us good.”
Scooter nodded, hiding a yawn, and turned toward the commissary where—presumably—a coffee pot still had coffee from this morning.
“Huh uh,” said Kermit. “Let’s get some fresh stuff. There’s a Starbucks on the next block over.”
Kermit’s assistant perked up. “Isn’t there always?” he said with a grin. Starbucks had fruit and yogurt and—he thought guiltily of his walk that morning—pastry. “I am sooo in.”
The walk helped as much as the caffeine. Kermit got a hot mocha drink, a pear and a wedge of shortbread and Scooter got a Frappe, a winesap apple and a couple of steaming scones. They sat and inhaled the aroma of cocoa beans, slurping and chewing in companionable silence until there weren’t even any crumbs left.
“Boss,” Scooter said at last, his face apologetic. “There’s no way we can cut the amount of editing that we’re doing. We’ve got to tear through this film at an impossible rate to meet these new deadlines.”
Kermit frowned, resting his head on his hand, his elbow on the table. “I know,” he said. “It’s just…my mind shuts down after a while. It’s like being at the eye doctor, you know? This one or that one. The first one or the second one.”
Scooter made a rueful face, drawing designs on the table with the condensation ring left behind by his frappe. “Yeah,” he said. “It is like that.” He sighed. “And then we have to work on the soundtrack and coordinate the special effects.”
“Hmm,” agreed Kermit. “Hey—thanks for dealing with that problem the other night.”
Scooter looked up, surprised. He hadn’t mentioned it to Kermit, feeling that his boss had enough on his plate at the moment.
“Gonzo told me,” Kermit admitted, grinning.
“No secrets around here,” Scooter muttered, but he was grinning back. “So…how’s Jimmy doing?”
“Officially? He’s doing great—he can hover with the best of them.”
Scooter said nothing but seemed to be having trouble keeping his mouth from quirking.
“Hey!” said Kermit, tweaked a little in spite of himself. “It’s not our fault! We are our mother’s sons!” he defended himself, but he was smiling sheepishly.
“And unofficially?” Not much got by Scooter.
“Unofficially—he’s having a blast,” Kermit said, to his assistant’s obvious relief. “Marty planned for everything we could reasonably expect. The paparazzi are turning up a day late and a dollar short at almost every turn.”
Almost, Scooter thought. Great—just great. “How’s he doing with the photo dogs?”
Kermit grimaced. “The photographers don’t know quite what to make of Jimmy, but they’re on their P & Qs when he’s there.”
“Not as much as when you’re there….” Scooter teased.
But Kermit was unflustered. “Nope,” he said. “Not as much as when I’m there. But Jimmy’s taking this whole thing very seriously.”
Scooter looked unexpectedly grim. “Good,” he said shortly.
Kermit was not usually given to personal revelations, but something about Scooter’s fierceness must have touched him. He cleared his throat nervously. “Er, apparently, it’s been worrying my Mom a lot. I…I think he wants to be able to go home and give a good report.” Kermit was suddenly uncomfortably, and dragged the topic back to more professional matters. “When, um, are you going to do your taping for ET?”
“S’posed to be tonight,” Scooter said. “I’m going to stop off on the way home from work—assuming we get to go home.”
Kermit knew a friendly threat when he heard on. “Okay, okay—sheesh. I’m going already.” He stood up and went up to the counter to make change for a tip.
Scooter waited at the table, watching Kermit as he waited in line and exchanged pleasantries with the other patrons noncommittally. Celebrities were in and out of this Starbucks all the time—Mandy Patinkin had just come in for a cuppa a moment ago. Nobody bothered you most of the time, so they’d felt reasonably inconspicuous coming here. The line moved slowly, and Kermit reached toward the newspaper lying abandoned on the tabletop nearest him.
Like many people his age, Scooter had been brought up with comics. He knew what a Spidey-sense was and he knew what it felt like when it tingled up your spine. He was feeling it now, watching Kermit reach for that paper, but—as so often happens with disaster on the horizon—he was too far away, powerless to stop it. Kermit picked up the paper and opened it.
The day went downhill fast.

“Der noos is dumbski!” fumed the Swedish Chef irritably. He dumped his vegetable peelings onto the scurrilous rag with satisfaction.
“How come all the tabloids wanna write mean stuff about Mr. Kermit and Miss Piggy?” Beauregard asked, his expression child-like and trusting. Chef couldn’t think how to answer him, and busied his hands with the salt and pepper.
“Sensation sells, Beauregard,” said Doctor Honeydew. He pursed his lips in a disapproving grimace. “The more outlandish the story, the more likely people are to believe it.”
“Meme me meep meep mo meep!” snorted Beaker.
Bunsen Honeydew looked pensive. “Yes, of course, Beaker. Unless, you know, it’s science. Then you can’t get anyone to print it.”
“What’s sensation?” Beauregard asked. “Mean stuff?”
Chef said something that needed no translation, but Clifford waded into the discussion thoughtfully. “Sometimes,” he rumbled. “But sometimes it isn’t really meant to be mean—just interesting.” Chef turned at once and slapped a cleaver down on the table uncomfortably near Clifford’s fingers. The dreadlocked bass player sat up slowly and carefully removed his hands from range, counting digits to be sure none were missing. He swallowed and chose his next words carefully. “Um, some of the newspapers that are writing stuff about Kerm and the Mrs. are trying to be mean, but some of them are just chasing what looks like an interesting story.” Nobody threw anything at him, and after a quick check over his shoulder, Clifford continued. “So, Beau, you remember the other day when we all watched Kermit and Piggy on that morning show?”
“Yes,” Beauregard said slowly. “You mean when they talked to Regis and Kelly, only they weren’t there with them?”
“Right—good,” said Clifford. “And everybody in the audience clapped and cheered. That was good, right?”
“That was good,” said Beauregard. “Everybody was happy.”
Chef had stopped pacing but he leaned against the kitchen counter with his arms crossed. Dr. Honeydew and Beaker were listening attentively.
“Everybody was happy about the news,” said Clifford, “and Regis and Kelly were happy to announce it because it was news. People who are fans of Kermit and Piggy were excited to see them.”
Beau was processing this information slowly. “You mean news like newspapers?” he asked.
Clifford nodded and shot the Chef a look. Chef looked away, but he uncrossed his arms. “Yes—news is what newspapers are supposed to print. Some papers try to only print things that are true. Some papers…” Clifford made a face at the tabloid that held the Chef’s peelings. “…some papers don’t worry so much about whether what they print is true. They just print anything that will make someone want to buy their paper to read what’s on it.”
“And when Kermit reads us the reviews of the show,” said Dr. Beaker, picking of the thread. “When we all get together the next day to see what our fans liked about the show. That’s a kind of news, too.”
“Wordy gerdnus,” snapped the Chef, but it was generally directed instead of aimed at Clifford.
“That’s true,” said Dr. Honeydew, and Clifford nodded.
“Yeah, sometimes it’s just nonsense, but sometimes, you know, people are just interested.”
“Mee mee moo meep meep?”
Tone of voice helped carry Beaker’s point.
“Yes, actually—I do have a point,” said Clifford, with a mixture of defensiveness and relief. “I been talking to Scooter and Gonzo and some of the others. And my point is that we might be able to fight fire with fire.”
“I don’t think we should set any fires,” Beauregard said at once, his eyes opening wide in alarm. “Mr. Kermit said no more fires!”
Everyone looked at Beauregard for a moment, afraid to ask.
“Um, good idea, Beauregard,” said Clifford diplomatically. “Maybe, we should just try to fight news with news.”
Doctor Honeydew leaned forward eagerly. “I’m in,” he said at once. “And so is Beakie.”
But Beaker had already spoken a resounding affirmative on his own.
“Newsky der newsky!” echoed the Chef.
“I want to help,” said Beauregard. He put his hand out on the table.
One by one, the others put their hands on top of his.
“Great,” said Clifford. “So here’s what we were thinking.”

“No, but d’ju get a load of the piece that guy Scribbler wrote?” Johnny was saying into the phone. There was some loud invective on the other end of the phone line. “I know,” Johnny said. “I thought it stunk, too.” There was more loud talking on the other end of the phone line. Try as he might, Sal could not pick out what was being said. He leaned against Johnny’s shoulder, straining to hear. “No,” Johnny Fiama said. “I didn’t see that one. Just the one by Scribbler. Huh? No way—how could it be--”
The next word Sal heard perfectly, and he jerked a little when he did. That was not a nice word! But Sal knew better than to comment on it, or make any unnecessary noise while Johnny was on the phone. He put his ear back against Johnny’s shoulder and continued to try to listen, but the conversation seemed to be winding down.
“Yeah, okay—sure. I’m in.” Johnny looked down at Sal’s hairy ear pressed against his suit jacket. The look he gave it was both annoyed and affectionate. “We’re in,” he said, and hung up. “Hey—get off me,” he said to Sal, giving him a push. Sal scurried away, but knew from Johnny’s tone he wasn’t really mad. He turned and looked at Johnny expectantly.
“Tell me what I’m in,” Sal said, his little black eyes bright with anticipation.
“A whole lotta doggie doo if you shed on my suit,” Johnny said, but Sal just grinned. If Johnny had been really put out he’d have smacked him one up side of the head.
“Sorry, Johnny,” Sal said sheepishly. “You want I should get the lint brush?”
“Naw, naw—havva seat already. Let me tell you what’s up.”
“Sure Johnny.” Sal sat where he was, squatting down on his haunches. Johnny sighed and started to tell him to get in a chair but decided not to bother. He let Sal crouch where he was.
“Okay—so you know about this Scribbler guy—the one who was in Vegas?”
“Dirtbag,” Sal said, eyes narrowed. “Spyin’ on people.”
“Yeah—and writing ugly stuff. He wrote a snotty article today about how it was time for Piggy to ‘escape the clutches of tyranny.’ Load of crap—the Pig never had it so good.”
Sal almost smiled. Despite his bravado—and connections—Johnny would never have referred to Miss Piggy that way in her presence—or Kermit’s! “Crap,” Sal repeated. “Got it, Johnny.”
“Well, you know, I haven’t seen it yet but apparently there’s some other guy today writing the same sort of garbage—some little snot-nose who writes a gossip blog on some sort of rant site.”
“No way!” Sal’s little black eyes were wide with disbelief. If there was a better audience or sounding board on the planet, Johnny would never find it.
“Yeah. Way. So today he’s got this first-class creep article about how Piggy needs to be free to ‘enjoy the fruits of the fame she’s entitled to’—without the confines of marriage.”
“Ooh.” Sal furrowed his furry brow. “Um, he really said that? What is he—the poster boy for private school?”
“Yeah, I know. Apparently he really talks like that. And apparently, this blog was picked up and run as an opinion article in one of the local industry papers. He was pretty harsh--said it’s Kermit’s fault she’s leaving him, that he drove her away by trying to keep her from her fans.”
“Kermit doesn’t do that!” Sal said, indignant.
Johnny sighed. “I know, I know. It’s rude, but it’s not quite crude. It’s really pretty delicately done, so I’m guessing it’s some lovesick kid. He wants to come across as some sort of champion for artistic freedom, but at the heart of it, he’s just got a hackerin’ for bacon bits.”
Sal bit his lip. “She catches you sayin’ that, she’s gonna clock you,” he warned, but his mouth had quirked into a smile.
Johnny’s laugh was mirthless. “Kermit catches me sayin’ that I’m gonna be six feet under. But I don’t wanna argue about semantics.”
“Whose he?” Sal asked, confused, and Johnny sighed and smacked him lightly behind the ear.
“Will you shut up and listen already?” Johnny said.
“Sure thing,” Sal mumbled, shutting up.
“So, we been talking already about this—me and some of the guys—Scooter, Gonzo, Clifford. We been trying to think of some ways to fight this whole stupid rumor mill.”
“Uh huh?” Sal asked, then remembered he was supposed to be shut up.
“And Fozzie says, ‘We should ask the fans for help.’”
“Fozzie said that?”
“He did.”
“Huh,” said Sal. “That’s a pretty smart bear. So what are we gonna do? What are we gonna ask the fans?”
Johnny’s smile was as sincere as it was ever going to get. “Sal,” he said. “I’m glad you asked.”

They were tired, and they were miserable, but they were not—not—sleepy. Scooter had moved his ET interview bit till the next morning, and they had just managed to finish the final draft of the parachute entrance into the fortressed island. Piggy had looked amazing in every shot, but Camilla had had some trouble with the parachute hardness—not to mention the helicopter. Camilla was a notoriously bad flyer, although they had done their best to put her at ease. Janice’s only issue was the heel of her shoe, which had wedged at once into the rocky out-cropping. Although the had hoped to film the entire scene without interruption, they’d had a slight hiccup when Janice’s shoe refused to budge. They had continued to roll film, but had been forced to cover the intrusion of the props manager who’d unstuck her shoe with a quick close-up, redubbing the original sound over the lapse. Picky as Kermit was, and as exacting as Scooter could be, they had declared themselves pleased at last and put that part of the film to bed.
Sadly, they had miles to go before they could do the same with their bedraggled selves.
Finishing the editing had merely allowed the cumulative irritation from the day to re-intrude. Scooter had managed to drag Kermit out of the Starbucks before he’d had a completely un-cold-blooded reaction to the newspaper article in front of the other patrons and the staff, but Kermit had fumed and ranted the entire way back to the studio.
“I give up,” he snapped. “First I’m the bad guy for keeping her here. Then I’m the bad guy for letting her go. Now—now—it’s apparently my fault she’s leaving! And I’m supposed to be mad at her for going. Where do these…” Here, Kermit struggled to find a Sesame Street-appropriate word to use. “—these…vultures get this stuff?”
“I know, Boss,” Scooter said, more to let Kermit know he was listening that because it would truly comfort him. “I don’t know where they get any of it.”
Piggy had called. Someone had tipped her—Scooter didn’t know yet if it had been friend or foe—but she had texted and then followed up with some suitably gushy reassurances which had, at least, brought Kermit’s blood pressure back into the “about to implode” range.
Scooter had gotten several phone calls himself, and sent a number of texts, but in the end it was his unenviable job to have to drag Kermit back on task.
“Boss,” Scooter had said, trying to sound professional and aloof. “Kermit—we can’t—we can’t do this now. We can’t. I’ve gotten some balls rolling and Piggy’s on it and Marty’s on it and we can’t do anything to help it right this minute. But if we don’t get in there and edit that film and put it to bed, we’re gonna miss our deadline. If we missed our deadline, there are budget penalties, and then we’re going to have to spend even more time explaining (Kermit knew this was code for defending) our lateness to the studio. And then—“
Kermit held up a hand for silence, but it wasn’t a rude gesture. He was merely putting up a figurative wall between what he was currently feeling and what needed to be done. He managed it in a surprisingly short time, and Scooter admired him his forced calm even while he knew what it cost Kermit to bottle it up.
“I—you’re right, Scooter. We can’t do anything this minute.”
“I’m sorry,” Scooter said. “I wish—“
“No, no—don’t apologize. I—thank you for getting me out of there. The last thing I need is to come apart at the seams in front of other industry folks. They probably already think I’m a dictatorial hot-head.” He patted his assistant’s arm. “I’m glad it’s your day to be the clear-headed one.”
In spite of himself, Scooter smiled. “Yeah,” he said, “but if it had been my off day—!”
That made Kermit smile, but dimly. “We need to get that segment to bed today.”
“Before we leave.”
Kermit put his left hand on his forehead and pulled it slowly down his face, using an old acting technique for instilling calm. It did not instill calm, but it helped with the appearance of it. Kermit took a deep breath.
“Fine,” he said, his voice flat. “Let’s get going.”

When the going gets tough, the tough get going, and Kermit and Scooter earned the title—in spades. Their reward was to re-emerge to the same problem they had fled from earlier in the day, but not without additional resources.
Apparently one of the texts had been for food. And food arrived in the arms of a worried and tender-hearted bear.
“I hope your like mushrooms on your pizza. I thought you might like a little fungi with your fun guy!” Fozzie said, wiggling his ears. The attempt made them smile even if the joke had not.
“Fun guy and fungi both welcome,” said Kermit. “Come on in to the party.”
Fozzie traded unhappy glances with Scooter. Kermit looked so tired and depressed. Fozzie might have commented, but one look at Scooter’s equally exhausted face made him realize that voicing it wouldn’t help. He carried the pizza and jug of fresh-squeezed limeade into the little commissary and put it on the table. They did not even bother with plates, but laid their pizza—albeit briefly—on paper towels before devouring it, but even Kermit balked at drinking straight from the jug. They poured the limeade into rinsed-out coffee mugs and toasted each other grimly.
“So, did you tell him, Scooter?” Fozzie asked around a mouthful of pizza. “What did he say?”
Kermit, too, was talking with his mouth full. “What did I say about what?” he asked, his bulbous eyes wary.
But Scooter was chewing furiously. He swallowed and held up a hand while he swigged some limeade.
“About the fans,” Scooter said. “I haven’t had a chance to explain.”
“What about the fans?” said Kermit. He did not think he could stand another hatchet strike at his foundation tonight. “What’s wrong with the fans?”
“Nothing,” said Scooter, almost absurdly grateful to be able to give good news. “Our fans are terrific.” He looked at Kermit and paused, not quite sure how to edge into what he wanted to say. “Um, you know I helped you get your Facebook site up and running a…a while back,” Scooter said. “And you’ve done a couple of posts to it.”
“Riiiight,” Kermit said cautiously.
“Well, some of the, um, fan groups—our fan groups—have their own websites, too, just like you have a Facebook page now.”
“It’s great,” Fozzie said. “Fans can LIKE you if they want.”
“I hope they like us,” Kermit said, puzzled and a little defensive. “Isn’t that what fans do?”
“No—I mean, yes—that is what fans do—like things, but Fozzie meant that fans were hitting the LIKE button.”
“If they like it, why are they hitting it?” Kermit asked.
Fozzie looked at Scooter. “I’m gonna start writing these down. I could get a whole routine out of this.”
“What routine?” Kermit asked. He could hear himself sounding irritable and grumpy and skeptical and he hated that image of himself. He tried not to remember the months that he had lived it, shutting everyone else outside while he stewed in his own frenetic creative funk. He had—he had survived that—moved beyond it with the love of his spouse and friends, but it still haunted him occasionally.
Scooter was tired too. He smacked a piece of pizza onto Kermit’s paper towel. “Have another piece of pizza, Boss,” he said, and there was an edge to his voice. “I can explain while you’re chewing.”
Kermit got the hint. He shoved the last of the first piece into his mouth and chewed, making his face as neutral and receptive as he could.
“Look, we’re drowning here in bad publicity,” Scooter said. Kermit’s eyes thanked him for the “we” and Scooter saw the look and almost smiled. “Me and some of the guys were thinking that some of the fans could help—could give us some good publicity to combat the junk that’s coming from the print media.”
“What kind of good publicity?” Kermit asked. He was already on board with Marty’s carefully planned attack, but this didn’t sound like the same type of thing.
“Well, fans are pretty good sports. A lot of them are just interested in what we’re up to.” Scooter darted a look at Kermit’s face, gauging what to say next and how to say it. “They write about stuff like what we like to read, what projects we’re thinking about doing, what we like to do in our off times.”
“What kind of underwear we prefer?” asked Kermit dryly. He’d still not gotten over sparking a huge boxers-vs.-briefs debate online, which he’d only ever heard about and never actually seen.
“But Kermit—you started that. You did that Kermit Klein ad and then everybody started speculating about, um—“
“Don’t go there,” Scooter said flatly. “Both of you.” He sighed. “Look, I know that sometimes the fan attention can be a little, um, intense, but there are some great muppet sites out there who just publish real news and positive things.”
“For instance,” said Kermit, his voice wry.
“Well, there’s this muppet blog called The Muppet Mindset,” Scooter said. “It’s run by a guy called Prawnie.”
“He’s a…prawn. Like Pepe?” Kermit asked.
Scooter looked surprised. “No. Oh—no. He’s a kid.”
“A goat?” Kermit asked. “So this goat has a—what was it? A bog?” He shook his head. “I’ve yet to see a bog on a computer screen that looked anything like—“
“So gotta write this stuff down,” muttered Fozzie.
“Not a bog, Boss. A blog. It’s…it’s like a diary on the computer, but it's for the public to see. People write blogs for all kinds of things—cooking, reading, computer games.”
“And this…goat has a…a blog about our cast and crew?”
“Yes. I mean, he’s not a goat, but yes, he has a blog about the cast and crew.”
“You said he was a kid.”
“Well, he is. Like Robin.”
“He’s a frog? Do I know him?”
“Eat your pizza!” Scooter almost shouted. “He’s not a prawn, a goat or a frog. He’s a…a guy. Like me.”
“I think he’s taller—“ Fozzie began but Scooter turned and glared at him and he fell silent.
“Look, the point it—and I did have a point!—that we might be able to combat some of this newspaper nastiness with positive messages about the things we’re doing. You know, like that line of exploding underwear Doctor Honeydew was working on with Crazy Harry?”
“Again with the underwear,” Kermit muttered, but not loud enough for Scooter to call him on it.
“Okay, maybe that’s not such a good example,” Scooter said. “But…but, look—will you trust me to deal with this? I know you’re not a technology guy—trust me, I get that. But I am and I think our fans are there for us, and wish us well and want to support us—especially now. I’d like to talk to them and see what we can do—okay?”
“Ok,” said Kermit quietly. “I trust you. If you trust them, I’m in.”
Fozzie was tugging on Scooter’s arm. “Clifford says there are some other good sites. There’s one that plays music from our shows all the time. And one called Muppet Central that has message boards and articles about our show.”
“What’s a message board?” Kermit asked. Scooter sighed, trying to think how to explain, but Fozzie jumped in and saved him the necessity.
“Do you remember when we were filming the first few movies?” Fozzie said. “No cell phones, no email?”
“I remember,” Kermit said. ‘The good old days.”
Scooter might have said something snarky, but Fozzie put a gentle hand on the young man’s arm. “Do you remember how we left notes for each other on the bulletin board—‘Fozzie, come see me in room #11—I’ve got a good joke for you.’ And, ‘If anybody finds the top to my bikini….’” Fozzie stopped, and the three men were lost in thought for a moment. Everybody remembered that note, and the person who wrote it.
“Yeah—I remember,” Kermit said.
“Well, this is just like that,” Fozzie said. “People post messages and information for each other about all sorts of things, only it’s on the computer.”
“Sounds expensive,” said Kermit, but Fozzie was shaking his head.
“It doesn’t cost anything to the people who use it.”
Kermit looked astonished. “But that—that’s amazing,” he said. “And these, um, fan sites are just for fans, right?”
“Just for fans. Just for people who like the muppets.”
Kermit was quiet for a moment. “The fans…they do all this…for us?”
“Uh huh,” Scooter said. “Neat, huh?”
“Neat,” said Kermit. And—in spite of everything the day had held—he smiled.
 

The Count

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Yay! New chapter!

:laugh: at the miscommunications during the explanation over pizza at the end.

:smile: at the gathering at the commissary. Nice to finally have Chef put in an appearance.
:shifty: Oh great, the man with the hat.

:smirk: at the unintentional funniness of some typos. No worries, it happens to the best of us. (That's why I either write what I post in a separate Wordpad window or read it before posting, because I know that if I write it directly in the Reply Edit it'll get some typos for sure).

Thank you for continuing to keep the story alive, and for the nods to our community as well. :big_grin:
 

Ruahnna

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Chapter 89: Any Lingerie Doubts….

If Kermit had expected to come home to petting and pampering, he was mistaken, but not sadly mistaken. Piggy proceeded to chew him up one side and down the other—figuratively and not literally (unfortunately)—reminding him that the press could be fickle and would be stupid and he was not—under any circumstance at all to pay any attention to anything—anything at all that assumed, implied or stated that she was not one-hundred percent committed in every possible way to her frog, regardless of whichever paper printed what! Tired as he was, Kermit bore up under this tongue-lashing with every appearance of meekness, then turned his lopsided smile and pollywog eyes on her and received a tongue-lashing of a very different sort while she proved her point.[/FONT][/COLOR]
Afterward, Kermit slept like he’d been pole-axed, falling into slumber like a dead man. Despite the fact that the make-up wizards would probably have a fit about the circles under her eyes tomorrow morning, she stayed up and watched her beloved frog’s chest rise and fall in slumber, worried about him. Something was up at the studio—she knew it in her core—but Kermit was shielding it from her, or her from it. Piggy thought grimly that she could probably force it out of Scooter, but Scooter had been on the front lines, too, and Piggy couldn’t bring herself to bully him—yet. She made a note to herself to see if Gonzo was more forthcoming. As a last resort, she would lean on Fozzie, who would undoubtedly crumble, but then Fozzie would run immediately to Kermit and the gig would be up.
As Kermit had once done for her, Piggy summarily banned all periodicals from their abode—both now and while she was gone. “Moi will hire you a clipping service or a PR handler or something but you cannot, I repeat cannot continue to read this nonsense. Get someone to screen it—or burn it. If you don’t—Moi is not going!” And she had stomped one artfully shod foot angrily. Kermit’s charmed expression told her she had not inspired fear, but she settled for obedience, and Kermit promised—Frog Scouts honor—to stop subjecting himself to the newspaper tripe first-hand. Kermit promised again—perhaps more sincerely—when he got up at an indecent hour and found that Piggy was already up and had coffee and a bagel waiting for him. Piggy had never been domestic, nor particularly domesticated, Kermit thought to himself, and she must really be worried about him to have attempted food preparation. He claimed his coffee, his bagel and a smooch and walked out the door determined to have a better day than the previous one.

One good thing about the bikini calendar—the only good thing that Kermit had been able to think of so far—was that it gave the media hounds a certain focus. In some ways, their life together was predictable and boring—at least to the outside world. He got up and went to work. Piggy got up and went to shoot. Thanks to Marty’s connections and expert and fearful handling of the media, no one was ever positively certain where Piggy would be taking pictures each day. There were enough superfluous permits and fake leaked leads to confound all but the most determined, er, journalists, and they only got on her trail by the expedient of trying to follow her. Every morning, a complete parade of satellite-dished vans and other network news cars followed Piggy as she made her way in the long, polished stretch limousine to Marty’s office. Sometimes Jimmy rode with her—sometimes he followed in one of their cars. From there it got tricky. Marty had many vehicles and people at his disposal—many of them at a moment’s notice—and to catch Piggy leaving the safety of his office building for the shoot site was a luckless and often fruitless job. It was simply too hard to watch everything at the same time, and more often than not, Piggy was at the job site, in make-up (there was a lot of it, this being a swimsuit shoot) and ensconced behind a veritable sea of security before the paparazzi had so much as a clue as to where she was that day. All this Marty managed, and it wasn’t even really his job. Despite the fact that they could find themselves at odds from time to time, Kermit was grateful to Marty because he could see the way the grizzled agent cared about Piggy.
The tabloid press had not cottoned onto Jimmy’s real role in the shoots yet, and Piggy and Kermit were hopeful that they would not. All she needed now was to be linked to another frog in the media spotlight, so they had perfected the process to the point that Jimmy was hardly even noticed. Oh—they’d notice him later in the pictures, but by then everyone would assume that the green hand or arm or flipper was simply Kermit, not his younger brother standing in.
From Piggy’s point of view, this was just work as chaotic usual, only more so. Though she would never admit it—never, never, ever, ever, ever admit it—it was easier to do the shots without Kermit here. Jimmy had been a dear, stepping in firmly on more than one occasion to tell one photographer or another (usually Claude) to back off or keep his language or suggestions appropriate for a lady of Piggy’s refinement. Piggy had watched these interventions with fondness and no small amount of amusement. While outwardly more fun-loving and laid-back than Kermit appeared to the casual by-stander, she could see Kermit’s swift flare of temper in Jimmy from time to time. The day at the grocery had really been pretty miserable—they kept those places uncomfortably cold, and by the end of the shoot Jimmy had been standing guard with gritted palate and a beady, bulbous eye on the camera jockeys. The second they had declared success with the shot (or, as Jimmy knew now, shots) they wanted, Jimmy had trotted over to Piggy with a warm robe and a steaming cup of caramel mocha coffee. Once she was firmly ensconced in the lush comfort of the terrycloth robe and had her cold hands clasped around the supersized mug, Jimmy had taken her out the back way—above protests and whines from photographers and onlookers alike—and tucked her inside the luxurious passenger seat of Kermit’s car. Kermit had never been entirely comfortable with flashy cars—he actually preferred to be driven—but a few year back Piggy had picked out a little sports car that she thought suited Kermit’s more refined tastes and presented it to him with aplomb. He had been mortified, and hardly ever drove it, but Jimmy had had no objections to using it while he was here. He left Piggy there to warm up, parked a couple of other Marty-cleared security people there to stand watch and walked back in to gather Piggy’s things.
“—don’t see why we have to sign the confidentiality agreement,” groused one of the younger photographers, a short, stocky muppet with a shock of green hair. To Jimmy, this fellow had seemed more bold and less experienced than the other camera guys and Jimmy had had to speak to him more than once about crowding Piggy during the shoot today. The interest appeared to be professionally—rather than personally—driven, which is why Jimmy hadn’t knocked his block off—yet.
“Are you kidding me?” snorted Daniel. “Do you know what The Examiner would pay for even one of these babies?”
“Not to mention The Ton—oh! Hello, er, Jimmy.” Jacques took a nervous step backward, although Jimmy was not looking at him. Jimmy was looking at the muppet photographer with a look that would have made an older, more experience muppet blanch.
“Derwin, if you have a problem with the confidentiality agreement—at all—you don’t need to be on this shoot. That was the deal.”
“Um, sure,” muttered Derwin. “No problem.” He did not look repentant—he looked sulky at having been caught, and Jimmy took two steps closer to the little clump of photographers. The others faded back before his advance, leaving Derwin exposed. “Um, sir,” he finally stammered.
Jimmy smiled then, but it was not a reassuring sight. “Well, I’ll certainly know where to start looking if there’s any sort of problem,” he said lightly. Rather than walk around them, Jimmy walked through their midst, leaving a chilly wake.
“Whew,” said Jacques. “I do not want to get on that guy’s bad side.”
“I haven’t seen a good side,” somebody mumbled.
She doesn’t have a bad side—not that I’ve seen, anyway,” drawled one of the cameramen’s assistants, and there was a momentarily lull while everyone sighed.
“Who is he, anyway?” muttered Derwin, dragging them back on the previous topic.
Daniel shrugged, but it was Claude who spoke. Up until that moment, he had remained as quietly unobtrusive as possible in Jimmy’s presence. “Somebody from Kermit’s old hood—a cousin, maybe, I heard. Came here to keep an eye on the Mrs. while he’s working.” He made a small sound of frustration. “I guess Mr. The Frog doesn’t even think he can trust her on a modeling assignment.”
Daniel snorted—again. “Yeah, Claude. Kermit’s worried about her.”
“As if!” Jacques said dreamily. “Just once in my life I’d like a dame to look at me the way she looks at her old man.”
“Probably not going to happen if you keep calling ‘em dames.”
It degenerated from there into good-natured ribbing, but nobody quite relaxed until it was time to go home.

Scooter was surprisingly chipper the next day, and Gonzo had come to help them. While privately dubious about Gonzo’s technical help, Kermit appreciated the camaraderie, and it became obvious before long that Gonzo was there more to be Scooter’s third arm when it came to dealing with the website contacts than with the film. Kermit knew that he would—eventually—be dragged kicking and screaming—into the technological age but he did not intend to go quietly. Still, he watched and listened with interest every time they took a break in the editing and talked about the fan sites.
Scooter had also come up with a couple of ideas about combating editing fatigue. He showed Kermit the schedule he’d mapped out.
“This might actually be worse,” Scooter said frankly. “But I think it’s worth a try. I don’t know about you, but the worst part for me is doing the same thing for hours at a time, and while it’s true we have hours of work ahead of us, it’s not all the same type of work.”
“Yeah,” Kermit said. “We have to work on the soundtrack too.”
“Exactly. And the special effects, although some of them are being outsourced.”
“Yeah, but—even it they’re outsourced, we still have to view them, approve them and edit them back into the whole film.”
“Right,” said Scooter. “Soooo…instead of four straight hours of editing, I thought we might do a couple of hours of editing here, work on the soundtrack a couple of hours there—mix it up a little.”
“It sounds like it ought to help. Change of pace, at least.”
“It could make things worse,” Scooter admitted, “if we lose time and focus switching from thing to thing. But I’m hoping that doesn’t happen.”
“We can try it,” said Kermit. “We’ve still got the old schedule to fall back on.”
Scooter took Kermit’s new phone and uploaded the new schedule onto it. Kermit didn’t know whether to feel secure with the new schedule or intimidated, but he tried to look optimistic. Despite all the issues yesterday they had both arrived that morning full of pleasure with the way the segment they’d edited had gone. It was a relief to look back and realize they’d actually accomplished something worthwhile despite the problems.
While Scooter and Gonzo worked on their message content, Kermit stood in front of the commissary microwave and heated a cup of soup. Sara had packed Scooter’s lunch again today, and his assistant had insisted he take a cup of vegetable minestrone. He had not argued too much and his stomach grumbled a little at the lateness of lunch when the rich, tomato-y smell steamed up from the bowl. He had gotten a package of crackers from the vending machine without much enthusiasm, but crackers and soup wasn’t sounding like a bad idea about now. He ate the soup with something like an appetite.
Today, after filming at the Stanly Mosk courthouse—her only shoot of the day—Piggy was going to get something…loungey for them to wear for their interview tonight. Scooter had been rescheduled—again—for tonight also, so after work they would simply climb in a company car and be driven to Marty’s office where the interview was going to take place. When Marty had offered the interview on very strict terms, Entertainment Tonight had jumped at the chance to do it. That had buoyed Kermit’s spirit a little, and from the comments Gonzo had been dropping all day the fans had seemed more than excited to be approached with any genuine tidbit of information. Marty had talked to Scooter for a good while last night before they’d left the studio, and—although he’d been cautious—he’d giving his blessing to what Scooter had planned. He’d even fed Scooter a plug about when the ET segment would air, which was even now being “posted” (Kermit imagined licking thousands of postage stamps) all across the internet so the fans could make plans to record it. Considering that he was not-so-fond of journalists at the moment, Kermit was a little gun-shy about people intruding into his personal life, but they had discussed the pros and cons and he had agreed. Also, as a former journalist himself, Kermit was feeling a little defensive. He thought of Piggy, who could play 800 different emotions at once, and thought he might know what it was like to have that much emotion going on inside. Outside, however, well—he was determined to keep his outside under better control.
Even though there was no one around to see, Kermit felt the heat surge into his cheeks. If Scooter hadn’t been there yesterday, he might have had a nuclear meltdown in the coffee shop. That couldn’t happen—not any more. All he needed was for pictures of him in arm-waving fury to grace the tabloids. If that happened, things would get worse than they were. The thought of worse was frankly appalling, but Kermit knew that it was possible. Lately, it always seemed to be possible. And he knew that worse would come when Piggy left—but he kept pushing that thought determinedly away. He couldn’t think about it now and didn’t want to deal with it in front of her. She was already worried on several fronts about going, and he would not have her suffer along with him when he could spare her that.
Kermit assumed that, once she was gone, he would settle in. The work that right now seemed to plague him would be more than welcome, helping him fill up his days with work and worry and conflict galore. Being overworked would help diminish the misery of going home to an empty house and an empty bed, and Kermit was ready to embrace it—just not now, not yet. Besides, they had been apart before—not like this, of course—but Piggy had done lots of things on her own besides all the publicity appearances she did regularly for their shows and projects. Although Kermit was always happy to promote Rainbow Productions and it’s many projects, and always grateful for chances to do it, he did not really like traveling for business. Piggy had encouraged him to take Fozzie—“Take my frog—please!” the ursine comedian had quipped—when she could not go, but even then Kermit was not always content on the road. He always came home feeling as though he’d been smushed about and over-handled.
Kermit went and looked down the hallway. No sign of either Scooter or Gonzo, and they knew where he was, so he seemed to have a least a few more minutes to himself. He looked at the time, satisfied that Piggy would be done with the photo shoot, and punched her speed dial into the phone.
Since they were filming the love letter segment tonight, along with Scooter’s on-camera comment about their schedules, Piggy was probably deep in the throes of lingerie stalking. He wasn’t sure he’d get her and he didn’t, but her voice mail kicked in after a few rings.
“Helloooo! Moi is unavailable, but leave a message.” Kermit smiled, noticing that she did not promise to call back. Nervously, Kermit wondered what she was buying, or thinking of buying now. He started to hit “End” and saw an incoming call—from Piggy. He stared at his phone, trying to remember how to end the call he was on so he could take the incoming message. The first week after Christmas, Piggy swore he’d hung up on her 37 times.
He hit a button and crossed his froggy fingers.

“That was really good, Gonzo,” said Scooter, sounding astonished. It was not often that you could use that phrase and Gonzo in the same sentence.
“Why, thank you,” said Gonzo, sounding smug. “I knew they’d be interested in my exotic toenail collection.”
“Apparently,” said Scooter. “Somebody was already talking about doing a customization.” The hallway to the commissary was dark but they could see light spilling out of the doorway and they heard the murmur of voices—or voice as it turns out.
“No hearts!” Kermit was saying into the phone just as they entered the kitchen. “No kissy lips and no hearts! I—I refuse to—what? Piggy—let me talk to Jimmy or the sales clerk.” Kermit tapped his flippered foot impatiently on the floor, the phone clutched to his head, and heard the phone transfer to someone after a whispered conversation.
“Hellooo?”
Kermit took the phone away from his head and stared at it. “Thoreau?” he asked.
“Yes, dear—what is it?”
Kermit opened his mouth, trying to think what to say. “Is—are you helping Piggy with the, um, the—“
“Sleepwear?” Thoreau drawled. Kermit felt his face flush and got the distinct impression Thoreau was amused at his reaction. It did not improve his mood.
“Um, yeah,” Kermit muttered. “Look—I told Piggy—no hearts! And no…none of those lips or embarrassing words.”
Such as?”
Now Kermit knew he was being teased. “Thoreau--!”
“Oh, don’t burst a blood vessel,” Thoreau snapped. “Trust me, won’t you? Have you ever—ever—known me to sanction anything tacky?”
That caught Kermit up short. “Um, er, no,” he said at last. “Never.”
“Took you long enough to get that out,” Thoreau muttered sourly. “But you get the point. I promise I won’t let Piggy look anything less than exquisite and you won’t look shabby in comparison—okay?”
“I—er, okay,” mumbled Kermit. “Aren’t you—I thought you were in New York.”
“Not yet,” said Thoreau. “I’ll actually be there when Lovey here is there—Piggy, put down those hideous magenta things—do you have any idea what they’ll do to his skin tone?”
“Um, Boss?” Scooter’s voice was polite, deferential, but Kermit was not fooled. He knew he was being summoned. The morning had been productive, but the afternoon loomed ominously before them, and they could only work so late tonight. They had lost time and energy earlier in the week due to damage control, and they needed to pick up the slack, and how.
“Um, gotta go, Thoreau. Look—just take-take care of her, okay? I trust your judgment.”
“As well you should,” said Thoreau, and hung up the phone.
Kermit turned, put his phone pointedly away and held up his hands in surrender. He had tried hard to be completely undistracted and undistractible after the earlier upheaval in their schedule, and to show that commitment to his assistant. “I’m all yours,” he said to Scooter. “Point me at the next thing.”
“Sure thing, Boss,” Scooter said, and pointed.

It wasn’t as dreadful as Kermit had imagined—not at all. The pajamas—indigo purple with candy-apple pink piping—were sleek and elegant and sexy but not tawdry or embarrassing. Piggy looked adorable in hers. Thoreau had shortened her pajama pants into shorts and the hair-stylists had spent an inordinate amount of time fussing with Piggy’s hair to make it look like she had not done anything to it. Something about the deep-blue-purple brought out the color of her eyes, and they had tinted her cheeks with something that pulled out the piping trim. Topping the whole look off to perfection, Thoreau had hand-stitched matching pink soutache braid onto the pockets of both pajama tops. Kermit’s pocket said, “His.” Piggy’s pocket said, “His, too.”
“Isn’t that sort of…um, in-your-face about it?” asked Kermit a little nervously. “I mean, if people already think I’m some sort of control freak….”
Marty had weighed in before Thoreau could answer. “Personally, I like that it’s in-your-face bold, you know? I mean, you’re the one has to wear it, but isn’t that basically what we’re trying to say—that Piggy is your girl?”
“Yes!” said Kermit and Thoreau at the same moment, and the two men turned and smiled at each other. “Okay,” said Kermit. “If you think so.”
“I think so,” said Marty, and Piggy had stepped in close.
“Moi thinks so,” putting her hands on the back of his neck.
And, as Scooter would tell them later, the fans thought so, too.
 

The Count

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Heh... *Wonders if that last chapter's title is meant to be pronounced like one of the chorines did back in Vegas when Janice was still running a-foul of her pick of guitar pickers.
*Likes the line about Kermit getting smushed and over-handled, subtle reference to the dreaded P-word.
*Tries to remember to catch the interview when it airs on ET.
 

newsmanfan

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re: Ch 86.

"If they like it, why would they hit it?" "A goat has a bog?" THIRD BASE! LOL

Clifford trying to explain the plan of attack to Beau was sweet. The Chef on defense! Eek, remind me not to ever do a cooking-based News Flash...he might take offense...

And you KNOW I love getting the fan media involved! Brava!

Moving on to Ch 87...
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newsmanfan

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Pink piping??? *shudders* But yes...matching is good, as is the "His, too!"

Cheers for Jimmy! As you know, of course, frogs are excellent bouncers, and guard frog isn't too different! (Hey, don't groan at me like that. Fozzie said it was a GREAT pun! Fozzie...hey, bear! You said it was a good joke!...)

Hmm...I thought it was nail polish...Gonzo-themed toenail polish?? Er...uh...well, I've seen stranger things on ebay...

As usual, BRAVA! More!
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Muppetfan44

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Love it as usual, would love a set of those PJ's! :smile:

More please :smile:
 

Ruahnna

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Chapter 90: Great Expectation and Small Returns

The day started out normally….[/FONT][/COLOR]

“Not that one,” Kermit said. “Look—see how Janice’s backpack shifts between scenes? It’s not supposed to do that.”
“Yeah,” said Scooter. “I saw. That’s where the strap broke, I think. How about this one?”
They watched, sipping coffee and eating cake-type donuts.
“Yeah—oh yeah. That’s the one we want.”
“Got it,” said Scooter. “We’ve only got a few more clips to go through before we can piece this whole segment.”
Kermit grinned broadly. “Terrific! We’re really getting things done now.”
“We are,” answered Scooter, sounding surprised and pleased. “And I think we’re about a quarter of the way through the soundtrack.”
“Good news,” said Kermit, nodding and taking another sip of coffee. He looked at Scooter as casually as he could. “Speaking of good news…how did, um, the—the fans like the segment last night?”
Scooter looked up and grinned wickedly. “Right out of the park,” he said. “The fan sites were still buzzing about it this morning. And they’ve downloaded the picture of you and Piggy in your pajamas about a zillion times.”
Kermit gulped. “What—what do they do with it once they’ve downloaded it?” he asked in a small voice. He sounded worried, but Scooter just smiled.
“Good things—at least mostly. Fans use it for a screen saver, or wallpaper on their computer.”
“Why would you put wallpaper—“
“Or they use it for a customization.”
“That’s the, um, models—right? They take a model and customize it for a specific scene or event.”
“Right,” said Scooter, proud of Kermit for trying to use the terminology. “And there’s one fan who has apparently used some sort of digital technology to try to read the return addresses on the envelopes. There’s a whole list on one of the sites where people can see if you and Piggy were sitting on one of their letters.”
Kermit made a face. “Really? Why would they—“
“And there were a few, you know, snarky comments,” Scooter admitted, shooting Kermit a gauging look to see if this was going to bother him. “People who didn’t like the pajamas, or the lack of specifics about Piggy’s schedule, or the fact that it ran on ET instead of some other show on some other network—the usual.”
“Well,” Kermit said, making a frowny face, “we talked to The Newsman afterward about the, um, schedule. He’s going to air it sometime today.”
“Yeah,” said Scooter. “I agree with Marty—better to give the press some sort of timeline than have them work themselves into a frenzy trying to find it out.” Kermit’s assistant looked carefully behind him and then dropped his voice. “The studio office has been, um, swamped with calls—people trying to get a bead on when Piggy is leaving, how she’s getting there—that sort of thing.”
“Yeah,” said Kermit. He was not happy about the thought that people might be trying to figure out what flight Piggy was on so that they could mob her at the airport either coming or going. He’d been chewing on the problem for several days now without much to show for it but indigestion. Kermit pushed the thought away determinedly. “So—after this clip, what’s the next section we’re working on?”
Scooter took a deep breath. “The scene in the bar.”
Kermit looked at Scooter. Frogs don’t have eyebrows, but he managed to convey his wide-eyed interest. “The, um, dance scene or the fight scene?” he asked.
“Both,” said Scooter. “Or we can do one before lunch and one after lunch.”
Kermit sighed, but it was a happy sigh. “Let’s do one before and one after. I don’t think I can stand both of them without a break.”
And Scooter just laughed, and agreed.


“C’mon—do I really have to?” He knew he was whining like an eight-year-old, and he knew that he would inevitably give in and do it, but it was nice—novel and nice—to have someone to complain to who actually listened.

“Newsie, I’m not going to make you go out there and give the news. That’s not my job. But I will tell you this—“
The Newsman turned expectantly, hoping to hear some tender words of praise or encouragement, but those hopes were cruelly dashed.
“Scribbler already did his report.” This was thrown down with something like a challenge, and the twinkling eyes and inviting lips pulled into a smile knew just how competitive he could be.
The Newsman snatched the paper from her outstretched hand and jutted his already jutting jaw. “Gimme that thing,” he muttered.
Gina laughed and allowed him to snatch the report from her hands. “Pitterpat,” she said, tapping a heartbeat on the low neckline of her blouse. “Go get ‘em, Newsie—and then come back to me.”
The Newsman stalked toward the camera crew, then turned and looked at her sourly. “I know you hate it, but, I like this jacket,” he said, sighing.
“I don’t…hate it,” she said, but would not meet his eyes.
“Don’t play word games with me,” he snapped. “I’m a trained journalist!”
That made her laugh. “Ok. Well, we’ll get it dry-cleaned,” came the merry reply.
The Newsman took another two steps, turned around and glared at her, hands on hips. After a moment in which hilarity—not sympathy—was evident, he stripped off his brown plaid jacket and tossed it to her. He turned back toward the camera and the sloth waiting patiently for him to go on the air.
“At least loosen your tie!” Gina shouted, just before his conservative tie blasted through the air like a missile. She caught it—and her breath—at the same time, and watched as the golden-skinned reporter walked over and took his place in front of the camera. Gina folded the jacket and tie and tucked them into her backpack, watching the Newsman. He rolled up his cuffs carefully, twice on each arm, smoothed his hair back absently and took his microphone.
“I’m know I’m getting more fabulous by the minute,” said Rhonda, the saucy rat who was his reports producer. “But I’m not getting any younger. Fix your collar and start already,” she complained. The Newsman couldn’t think of anything smart to retort, so he tugged on his collar and faced the camera.
“This is a Muppet News Flash, coming to you direct from in front of Rainbow Productions Studio, where even now post-production is being done on Fozzie’s Angels, the latest hit expected from that prolific film-maker, Kermit the Frog.
“Mr. The Frog, CEO and President of Rainbow Productions, recently announced, along with his wife, star of stage and screen, Miss Piggy, that she would begin an upcoming stint as Betty Rizzo in the Broadway revival of Grease!”
There was a wet, mushy plop and the Newsman waited until the majority of the viscous liquid had pooled at his feet before continuing. He gave a small sigh.
“Last night, Mr. and Mrs. the Frog appeared on another news show and spoke about their upcoming schedules. After their on-screen interview, Mr. and Mrs. The Frog gave this reporter a timetable for her trip. Miss Piggy, who is currently shooting a much-anticipated swimsuit calendar here in the city, will arrive in New York a week from Sunday to get ready for her starring role. She’ll spend a week in rehearsal with the Broadway cast. A week to the day from her arrival in the Big Apple, it’s show-time.” Little pieces of paper that closer examination would reveal to be day-planner pages fluttered down onto his head. Those that fell on him only stuck for a moment before sliding slickly down his frame. He managed to dodge most of the large apples that spattered the ground around him, but a particularly juicy one bonked him right on the nose.
The Newsman sighed, wiping grease from his forehead and checking to make sure his nose wasn’t out of joint, but his smile was almost smug. “You heard it here first. This has been a Muppet Newsflash Exclusive.”
Once the camera light extinguished, the Newsman indulged in an all-over shuddering shake, dislodging papers and little rivulets of oil from his person. Avoiding the splashes of fruit on the ground, he walked squishily back over to his grinning paramour, his expression wry.
“I’ve never seen you do a Newsflash without your jacket, Newsie,” she said.
“Hmm,” he grunted, trying to wipe his hands on his shirt and finding it pointless. “How did it look?”
Gina grinned. “The Newsflash looked great,” she said. “An exclusive, no less. You, however, look….”
She paused, looking at him with a thoughtful expression. The Newsman looked at her anxiously, but her teeth flashed suddenly in a wicked grin. “You look like Sha Na Na!” She was still grinning when he feinted suddenly and pulled her into a crushing hug. When Gina’s mouth opened in astonishment, he kissed her, one slick hand in her hair. Gina pulled back and looked down at her oil-smeared clothes incredulously. She put her hands to her hair and felt the greasy place where his hand had curled in her auburn tresses. “Newsie!!! You did not just do that,” she gasped.
The Newsman turned and headed toward the studio.
“You must be mistaken,” he called over his shoulder. “I’m pretty sure I just did.” He heard her sputtering with indignation and looked over his shoulder without slowing down. “I’m going to go borrow the studio shower. You coming?”
Like most rhetorical questions, this one didn’t really need an answer.

“You might give a girl a little notice before she’s got to flash her form for the camera,” Foo Foo grumbled. She put her front paws behind her to check the positioning of the little bikini bottom and tugged it down about an inch. She checked the results with her hands, made a rueful face and pulled it back up about half an inch. “There’s not enough fabric in this outfit to make a hat.”
“So ditch the suit,” Piggy said. “If you don’t like it, don’t wear it.” She gave her long-time friend a cool, appraising look. “You look great either way, Foo Foo. The suit is just window dressing.”
Just then, Derwin walked by, slowing down perceptibly as he passed them. He gave Foo Foo a long, lingering look and grinned at her impudently.
Nice dog,” he said, smirking at her. Foo Foo felt like running over and biting him on the kneecap, but Piggy put a cool, satin-gloved hand on her friend’s arm and turned her pointedly away.
“What a jerk,” Foo Foo muttered, and Piggy shrugged.
“A photographer who’s a jerk. What a surprise,” Piggy said flatly. The little white dog had to grin.
“Yeah, well—paparazzi I can deal with,” Foo Foo said. “But I’m not used to having to stand still while they take pictures.” She shrugged and rolled her shoulders, determined to shed her annoyance. She looked over her shoulder to make sure the suit wasn’t puckering around the eyelet where her cute little tail peeked out.. “Everything okay back there, honey?” she asked Piggy.
“Do I get to vote?” Jimmy asked, grinning at her.
Foo Foo put her hands on her hips and stuck out her tongue at him. “Don’t you have to be an adult to vote?” she asked archly, but Jimmy only laughed.
“Sadly, yes.” He walked up to Piggy and handed her a steaming mug of something that smelled like chocolate and coffee.
“Looks good to Moi, Foo Foo, dear,” said Piggy, gratefully inhaling the steam. She adjusted the straps of her own suit, centering the bow in the middle of her cleavage. She walked over and stood next to her friend, a study in delectable contrast. Piggy was blonde hair and generous curves and lots of smooth pink skin. Foo Foo was fluffy white and petite, with snapping black eyes, delicate ankles and an impish, inquisitive muzzle. Piggy’s suit was wavy black stripes on white; Foo Foo’s suit was white with black polka-dots. Piggy looked at Jimmy.
So?”
Jimmy blinked. “What?” Both women struck a pose and looked at him, and he stepped back and blinked again. “Oh,” he said. “Oh! Um, er, yes,” he stammered, sounding for all the world like Sam the American Eagle and trying to look at them without looking at them. “Very nice. Both of you.” His cheeks flushed scarlet and he shifted from foot to foot nervously. “Um, I, um, have to do something…over there….somewhere….” he managed, and fled.
Foo Foo burst out laughing. “Okay,” she said. “Now I believe he’s Kermit’s brother!”
Piggy gazed after him fondly. “Yes,” she murmured. “Such a dear.”
If Piggy and Foo Foo hadn’t been watching Jimmy, they might have been watching someone else—someone whose intentions were not what they should have been. And if they’d been watching this someone else, the afternoon might have unfolded in an entirely different direction than the one it took. And if that had happened, a lot less tabloids would have been sold the following day.
But they were watching Jimmy, and giggling to themselves, until Daniel came to tell them the photographers were ready.
 
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