WHO FRAMED KERMIT THE FROG

BY

BOB WRIGHT

AUTHOR'S NOTE: The Muppets are a registered trademark of Muppets Holding Company LLC and The Walt Disney Company. Sesame Street and all related characters and indicia are registered trademark of Children's Television Workshop. As for the human characters, your guess would be as good as mine. And now, sit back and enjoy the story.

The activity inside the factory was feverish. Uncouth-looking men in military fatigues walked all around carrying weapons and barrels labeled HAZAZRDOUS MATERIAL. On the top catwalk, one of them walked up to a bearded man watching it all. "Herr General, we have obtained the missile," he said in a too-thick German accent.

"Very good," the general snickered, "And now we will launch it at the U.N. and destroy the entire world! None will oppose me now!"

He burst into maniacal laughter, as did his associates. Suddenly the warehouse's bay doors swung open. "Oh no!" the general exclaimed, "It's…It's…Frogbo!"

"FROGBO!" his men all cried out at once, "OH NO! OH NO!"

"Yo," said the frog in the fatigues of his own, complimented with a red headband and two giant machine guns, "And you fascist swines are dead meat."

He started firing away, making strange grunts as he went. The soldiers started falling down dead all over the place. Once he'd run out of live targets to shoot, "Frogbo" aimed at machines in the corners—only to stop with surprise as the machines on the opposite wall blew up instead.

"CUT!" yelled a frustrated voice. Kermit the frog tossed down his guns in disgust. "All right, who goofed up this time!" he yelled.

"It's the pyrotechnics crew!" director John Who, working on his very first feature, stormed onto the set, "Apparently they have no idea what direction is which! I said the RIGHT BANK of machines explode!" he bellowed at the special effects people behind the massive warehouse set. "All right, let's reset and try it again!"

"Forget it!" Kermit shouted, storming off the set, "We've done this enough; they're never going to get it right!"

"Oh come on Kermit, seventy-seven takes is not too much!" Who protested, threading his way through crew members.

"Maybe not for you, but it is for me!" Kermit told him, "And by the way, I QUIT! This project is just so stupid!"

"Stupid?" Who was aghast, "Kermit, we created this project just for you!"

"Frogbo, Eighth Blood, Part Five, an original project?" Kermit pointed out, "For one thing, it's ethnically insensitive, for another it has no plot, and for yet another, it's too violent! Sorry John, but I have to leave. If Jim were still here, he'd never approve a project like this!"

"Ah, but Jim isn't here, and you're under contract," Who told the frog, "You're required to make another picture with Golderman Pictures."

"Then tell Golderman to get together a better production if he wants to keep me!" Kermit yelled, exasperated, "Now if you'll excuse me, I'll be in my trailer, doing some embroidery!"

"Kermit, Kermit listen to me!" the director followed his star off the set. Neither of them had noticed the man in the rumpled trench coat that had been watching the whole thing.

Sam Klubb had once been a world-famous detective. Now he was reduced to mostly handling divorce cases and the like. And he hated working on anything Muppet related. But he needed the money right now. Taking one final assessment of the set, he walked back toward the executives' offices.

"I'm here to see Mr. Golderman," he told the secretary at the desk once he'd reached them.

"Have a seat sir, I'll tell him you're here," she said in a dry voice. Sam took a seat in a plush armchair near the large wooden doors with the words FREDERICK Z. GOLDERMAN, PRESIDENT OF GOLDERMAN PICTURES, A DIVISION OF BITTERMAN INTERNAITONAL inscribed on them. No sooner had he taken a seat, however, then the secretary told him, "He'll see you now, Mr. Klubb."

"Right," Sam entered the office. It was fabulously decorated, with all sorts of awards on the walls. "Mr. Klubb, it's a pleasure to meet you," said Fred Golderman, a fat man with slicked haired and a pinstriped suit.

"Yeah, whatever," Sam shrugged it off, "Tell me what you called me here for, Mr. Golderman."

"Mr. Klubb, you no doubt saw the friction on the set of the latest Frogbo picture this afternoon," Golderman took a seat behind his desk, "Kermit has threatened to quit at least three times during production. I have well over a hundred million dollars sunk into this film, and I'd like my investment to pay off."

"Why don't you just fire the frog and get another one who won't complain about anything?" Sam suggested.

"I can't, Kermit's under exclusive contract with Golderman Pictures," Golderman shook his head, "There are times I regret putting him and his associates under contract after I acquired their services following the death of Mr. Henson. Kermit likes to do things the old way, and we all know the old way doesn't sell anymore, period."

"Tell me about it," Sam pulled out a can of soda and took a long swig, "But you still haven't explained why I'm here, Golderman."

"Kermit feels his friends are all with him," Golderman propped his feet up on the counter, "He thinks they'll all be loyal to him. But if he sees they'd sell out to the brass here and upstairs at Bitterman International, which I assure you they would right now at a moment's notice, he'd be willing to stop causing problems."

"What I just saw wasn't his problem," Sam told him, "You've hired the wrong special effects crew."

"True, but many of the other times it's been Kermit's problems we can't get anything done," Golderman said, "Now here's what I'd like you to do: I know through my sources that Miss Piggy will be meeting an important person at the Muppet Theater this evening…"

"I don't do the Muppet Theater," Sam cut him off, "And I don't do Muppetville either."

"You don't have to go to Muppetville," Golderman reassured him, "Anyway, I want you to record Piggy making the deal I know she's going to make."

"What makes you so sure, Golderman?"

"Because she's making it with my boss Rachel Bitterman, and she tells me everything," Golderman said, "Just get it on tape, and we'll have Kermit right where we want him. What do you say?"

"Sounds good enough," Sam approached the desk, "But you're going to have to open the purse strings, Golderman. I want at least ten grand."

"TEN GRAND?" Golderman roared. He immediately softened and said, "Sure, sure, ten grand it is. But I can only spare half right now."

"I'll take it," Sam extended his hand. Golderman reluctantly handed it to him. "I'll expect the rest later," the detective advised him as he turned to leave.

"Oh you'll get it," Golderman flashed a strange smile as Sam walked out of the office, "You'll get what you've earned, Mr. Klubb."