The Ride

Convincing John

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Just something I came up with this past week...

The Ride

It was the end of another show at the theater. Saturday nights were often the busiest, but tomorrow was Sunday and that meant no show.

Kermit kept this thought in mind as the audience shuffled out of their seats. Bo began to sweep the stage like he always did. Kermit looked up. Statler and Waldorf had left already, leaving their theater box dark.

When the last of the audience had left, Rizzo and some of his buddies went to work eating the errant crumbs of popcorn, chips and anything else remotely edible they could find. Uncle Deadly peered down at them from the rafters as he thumbed through a ratty copy of Othello.

Backstage, the chaos was dwindling down as the Muppets put away their costumes, musical instruments and descended the stairs to the exit. On the way, they chatted about the next show and commented on the songs and numbers they had just performed. Scooter and Clifford switched off lights as they went, leaving the house lights on for Bo. As always, he would lock up the theater.

At the stage door, the Muppets signed autographs, shook hands with fans and Fozzie told a few jokes he didn't get to tell during his monologue. Link, as always, mugged in front of any camera he could see, even if the fans weren't trying to take his picture.

Fans asked for Kermit's autograph. In the sea of diverse faces, they couldn't find the green one they were hoping to catch a glimpse of.

Some of the Muppets looked around, trying to find their flippered leader.

"Where's--" began Gonzo.

"Kermie had something very important to do tonight, everyone," explained Piggy quickly. "he sends his regrets. If you want an autograph, just mail it out. Moi will make sure he gets your requests."

Eventually, the fans left, as did most of the Muppets. Some went back to the Boarding House. Floyd took Animal for a walk. Johnny Fiama and Sal took a cab back to Johnny's Ma's house. Sweetums carefully scooped up Robin and off they went to his Frog Scout meeting.

Only when the last fan left did a familiar silhouette appear in the hallway. Normally, Kermit loved to meet his fans and sign autographs. Tonight, though...he just wasn't in the mood for meet-and-greets. Next week, things would be back to normal.

"Chief?" asked Scooter.

"Huh?" Kermit snapped out of his thoughts, which had been seemingly running on a continuous loop for hours.

"Oh...hi, Scooter."

"Chief, we gotta order a few floodlights for next week, okay? Clifford and I put the order in already."

"Yeah...yeah, sure." replied Kermit distractedly. Scooter followed Clifford out the door.

Kermit felt a familiar, furry hand on his shoulder. He looked up to see Fozzie's earnest, sympathetic, concerned expression.

"Kermit...I know." he said simply.

For the first time that day, Kermit's smile was genuine. Sure, he had smiled during the songs and dance numbers he was in that night, but that was for the show. That was different.

Fozzie understood. The others did, too, but no one had said anything to him. They knew what was on his mind and no one wanted him to feel worse by bringing it up. A lot could have been said, but Fozzie's simple little statement was all Kermit needed.

Piggy usually nagged Kermit to take her to dinner after the show, but tonight, she had not bothered him about it. She understood too.

Kermit and Fozzie walked home together as they usually did. Tonight, Fozzie made sure to be with him so that Kermit wouldn't be alone. They didn't talk, but it helped for someone just to be there.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Kermit awoke around 4AM without the help of his alarm clock. His note was placed on the refrigerator. "Hi ho everyone, I'll be out today but I'll be back just after dinner time tonight.--Kermit"

In the darkness, Kermit made his way to the living room with a plain-looking, non-commercial DVD in his hand. The DVD player's constantly flashing "12:00" reflected off of the simple case.

As hard as it was to do, Kermit watched this DVD once a year. He also had to do it alone.

Over the years, a lot of fans had found copies, posted bits of it online and typed up the synopsis for encyclopedic purposes. It was OK with Kermit. Fans needed to know about it, too.

The DVD was filmed with someone's video camera. Somewhat grainy footage of a vast cathedral's interior could be seen. It never failed to amaze Kermit how many people were stuffed inside. All those people...all those people who cared...

Slowly, the organ played one of his favorite songs, one rather untraditional for church, but very appropriate for that time, that day, for that person.

He recognized a lot of faces, some who had passed away since the video was shot. Kermit sighed, his thoughts with them, too.

Friends, very good friends of his, stood up to say some nice happy words, sing some songs and tell stories. One person told of an intricate, humorous sculpture given as a Christmas gift. One sang a song that Robin and John Denver had performed for an album. A former guest star on the show did another number as the congregation waved foam butterflies on sticks. It was beautiful.

There was another part of the service where another good friend of Kermit's walked up to the front. Kermit's heart slowly broke as it did every time he watched this part. It was so brave of him to do what he did. Slowly, the six year old sang Kermit's favorite song, nearly breaking down in places. Kermit's thoughts briefly went to a single image...a simple caricature his young friend had drawn. It was a constant reminder of another great loss to the six year old. The loss happened because...just because.

There were more words spoken, then more songs...finally accompanied by many of his friends. Normally there would be one person there amongst everyone in that group, the one Kermit almost expected to see, but didn't. Kermit himself wasn't there, either. He just couldn't bring himself to attend. That's why, like many of the fans, he was glad he had the DVD to watch.

There was applause, hugging, a rousing number by a Dixieland Band. Then...it was over.

As if emerging from a dream conjured during a deep and heavy sleep, Kermit sat up in the armchair and ejected the DVD. After carefully putting it away until next year, Kermit quietly left the Boarding House.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dawn peered slowly over the horizon as Kermit rode his bicycle around the outskirts of Hensonville. He liked to take the rural bike paths bordering the farms, country clubs and the areas of private land with large houses in the distance. The countryside looked beautiful. A tractor puttered across a field, hauling a small wagon towards a barn. Cows lazily plodded along. Some were being milked. Kermit saw the cows and yawned. He looked away, trying not to think about that old film about milk. He didn't want to fall asleep at the handlebars.

Throughout the day, Kermit just rode around, alone with his thoughts--some happy and full of zaniness, others sad and depressing.

He thought about the past 20 years, wondering how on earth it had been only 20. It had seemed like at least 50. He thought about what he had done, what his friends had done. There were some good times, the internet videos in particular. Why people who cruised the internet loved Beaker so much, Kermit had no idea. There were some real clunkers, too. Kermit tried not to think about some of the specials and DVDs that were released. That one incident on that major network a while back...hoo boy.

Everyone always asked "would he have approved of that if he were alive?" Arguments online went round and round in circles without an answer every time a new project came up. That question always came up, no matter what it was. Kermit had no idea either. He just kept working and hoped for the best.

Other than stopping for some flies, Kermit didn't have anything to eat for lunch. He preferred just to ride...just to ride and have some alone time.

It was well into the afternoon that Kermit finally decided to take a rest. It was a shady spot in a local park. It wasn't the swamp, but it would do. Except for two people far away trying to get a kite airborne, no one was around.

The bicycle leaned up against the tree, the basket's contents now in Kermit's lap: a Discman (borrowed from Scooter) with some earbuds, a little book Kermit had bought a few years ago and his banjo.

Kermit listed to the new CD he had ordered online. A friend of his had written the songs, a good friend.

One song really made Kermit reflect on why he had taken his bike ride, why he had come out here...why he felt the way he did.

"Livin' in the eye of that storm..."

Kermit nodded as that line was sung. Some artists really knew how to hit the nail on the head.

When the CD was over, Kermit read the book. It was a collection of quotes, song lyrics, musings and other things. Some things in the book were very familiar. (Some were, after all, his quotes). Other things were insightful, philosophical statements. Kermit smiled, imagining them spoken by the man who had written them, his friend.

Kermit finished the book, then leaned back against the tree and just looked up. He wondered bout the world above...up there. Someone he loved very much didn't need to wonder. He had found out 20 years ago today.

The sun was now descending into the treetops. Kermit looked forward to his long, quiet ride home. Still, there was one thing he had to do before he left. He picked up his banjo, gave a few experimental strums and played a tune written for him by one of his fans. All the while, he thought of his friend...the one whom he loved and missed...

"Life is unfair, so they tell me,
Because they think I wouldn't know.
They only can see a cheap gimmick
On their children's favorite show.
They say, 'Oh, that's just foam and a wire,
Attached to a green velvet sleeve,
Anyone can do that' -- well, that's true, I suppose,
But who else could make them believe?

What can I say without you there to guide me?
How else am I supposed to give?
How can I sing without you there beside me?
How else am I supposed to live?
You could never just do the expected,
I was just an idea in a bog,
But you sewed up your dream and we made quite a team,
Jim and Kermit, a boy and his frog.

It was me, Rowlf, and you, but I think that he knew
There was something that you and I had.
The magic we made just kept growing,
And none of it ever was bad.
Then came Ernie and Scooter and Gonzo,
Doctor Teeth, Cookie Monster, and more.
But now all of those voices are silent,
And I want to go on... but what for?"

Kermit paused to swallow...fighting the tears welling up beneath his eyes.

"No one can make me what you did,
No one could walk in your shoes,
Nothing can make me forget you,
But that's not a thing that I'd choose.
I can't just let it be over,
And you wouldn't want it that way,
So I'll stand up and I'll face it,
And, though not quite in your voice, I'll say:

'I will go on without you there to guide me,
There's so much more I can give.
Whenever I sing, you will be there beside me,
As long as I keep you, you'll live.'

Kermit's voice cracked a little, knowing the lines ahead. Still, he continued.

"We just wanted to make people happy,
I was always much more than your toy.
I will never regret and I'll never forget
What we had..."

Kermit's fingers shook to much now to play the right notes. He let the banjo down softly into his lap and looked up. The sunlight through the treetops were now just blurs through his tears. Kermit blinked, letting the tears drop freely into the grass. He looked up and gulped, squinting at a patch of open sky between the clouds.

"I'll miss you, Dad..." he whispered, his mouth now quivering. He picked up the banjo again and lightly strummed the final chord to the song.

"This frog...and his boy."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The ride home wasn't as long as Kermit expected it to be. Either that or the time just flew. Events for the next day's schedule
popped up in Kermit's mind. Some were related to the show. Fozzie wanted to try out some new jokes. He needed to see how Dr. Teeth was coming along with next week's music. Piggy needed a new dress for her dance number. He had to negotiate a union contract with the penguins. Those coupons in the paper for Long John Silver's should help with that...

There were other things Kermit needed to do: Robin needed help with a school diorama about "Stuart Little", the shutters on the upstairs window needed work, plus a few bills needed paid.

There were long-term projects to do: the movies, new ideas for viral videos (the fans really enjoyed them) and who knew what else. There was so much more Muppet stuff to do. Not everyone would like everything, but they had to keep working and doing good stuff. As Kermit said it himself nearly 20 years ago: "That's the way the boss would want it."

Kermit nodded, coasting down the familiar street to the Boarding House. He was ready to get back to work, back to making people happy. He smiled, thinking about the new movie.

He was gonna continue that dream. He was gonna keep on making them happy.

"Hi, Uncle Kermit!" yelled Robin from the front door. "I got the perfect box for my diorama! It's upstairs! Can we work on it tonight?"

"Sure we can, Robin," Kermit parked his bicycle out front and gathered up the basket's contents. "I'll be right in."

"Yay! I'll get the paints and glue and stuff!" cheered Robin as he disappeared back in the house.

"Looks like I'm already making them happy." Kermit chuckled as he walked inside. He paused for a moment in the doorway.

"Yeah...that's the way the boss would want it." The door closed as the first hints of twilight peeked into view. A single star in the heavens seemed to twinkle just a little brighter than the rest.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We miss you, we love you, and we thank you for all the happiness.

Thanks, Jim.

(Josh Hankemeier)
Convincing John



:smile:
 

The Count

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Mmm... It's good to have a new tale to commemorate Jim for everything he's done. This CJ, has a spot of honor on my fanfic shelf, fright next to Magic Garden by that Prawn dude.
You succeeded in making me cry at the line of "I miss you Dad", but I still have a smile as this is after all written for love of the master puppeteer.

Thank you for sharing this very touching story.
:batty:
 

beakerboy12

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I loved it Convincing John! It was a great tribute to Jim and his work!

The song sung by Kermit was also amazing! The story overall was AMAZING! Convincing John, this is some good fan fiction! :smile::excited::big_grin:
 

Muppetfan44

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Very nicely done.

A very touching story...you can always tell the really good stories when you can close your eyes and picture it happening...I could definitely picture that (pun totally intented)

definitely sad today...but I'll fly with it, hopefully able to smile eventually

great story! :smile:
 
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