"Hey, Kermit, isn't this exciting?"

Kermit couldn't tell where the echoing voice was coming from, though he suspected the large metal pot in the corner, hung over an open flame. Then Gonzo's nose poked over the side, followed eventually by his large, bulbous eyes.

"Gonzo!" Kermit cried. "What on earth are you doing?" Then he sniffed. "And what have you got up there? It smells like dirty socks."

"It's my next act! I'm going to immerse myself in fondue and sing." Kermit quickly put his flippers over his ears, but Gonzo's warble was loud enough to be heard anyway.

"And you can tell eeeeeeeeverybody this is your cheese. It may be quiiiiiite simple but I'm down on my knees. I hope you don't mind, I hope you don't mind that I put down in woooooords how wonderful life is while cheese is in the world."

"No!" Kermit shouted over the din. "You'll burn the place down and anyway we don't have a food handler's license!"



Kermit could hear the sounds of sawing and hammering from behind the door of Gonzo's dressing room. Sighing, he steeled himself and opened the door only to stagger back at the sight of a disembodied head sitting on the edge of the table.

"Aaaaah!" he shrieked, flailing backwards. Gonzo peeked out from behind the door.

"Jeez, Kermit, quit making so much noise. I'm working in here." He reached over and picked up the head by its hair.

"What have you done?!?" Kermit wailed.

"Oh, this?" Gonzo said, settling the head into a wooden box. "It's a prop for my next virtuoso performance." Looking closer, Kermit could see that the head was actually carved out of wood. He sighed. Then a suspicious thought niggled at the back of his mind.

"What kind of performance?"

"Oh," said Gonzo, "you'll like this; I'm a very talented ventriloquist! Watch!" He reached for a glass of water and poured some of it into his mouth.

"Gonzo," said Kermit wearily, but he was roundly ignored. Gonzo picked up the box and the dummy head's mouth started moving as a low gurgling sound came from Gonzo's throat.

Kermit tried again but Gonzo continued to ignore him and the dummy's eyebrows flapped wildly. After a moment, the gurgling sound became more of a choking sound and Gonzo's unoccupied arm began to wave wildly.

"Gonzo!" Kermit shouted, running out of patience. At the shout, Gonzo spit the last of the water across the room and fell into a coughing fit. Kermit clapped him on the back heavily until the coughing died down. After a long moment, the dummy head turned to look at him.

"S'alright?" it asked.

"S'alright," said Gonzo.

"It's been done," said Kermit.



"And then the punchline is 'The Aristocrats!'"

"Absolutely not."



"So," said Kermit at the weekly meeting of cast regulars, "budget for this week. What do we need? Fozzie?"

"Nothing new. I just need to refill my squirting flower and I'm ready, mon capitan!"

"Good." Kermit checked Fozzie off his list. There were tricks he'd found in setting the order: Fozzie first, since he usually didn't need much, and Piggy came last, given her tendency to want to spend the budget on low-cut dresses and expensive makeup. "Rowlf?"

"Someone to tune the piano," said Rowlf promptly. "For real, Kermit. We keep putting it off."

Kermit sighed. "I know, but we just don't have enough saved up yet. I promise I'm working on it." Rowlf tilted his head in acknowledgement.

"All right. Gonzo?"

"Just five dollars for yarn."

There was a pause. "What's the yarn for?" asked Kermit, wincing but unable to stop himself.

"Oh," said Gonzo, "I have this great act planned. First, I roll myself in yarn. Then I stand on my head and knit a sweater with my feet. The whole act takes less than a minute!"

Kermit had a sudden vision of Gonzo, upside down, gasping for breath as the yarn tightened around his throat.

"You know, I don't think that's such a good idea," he said.



"You know what?" said Gonzo. "You're right."

This sentence came as such a surprise that Kermit stopped dead in his tracks, ignoring the pile-up of rats it created behind him.


"I think maybe my act is just too avant-garde, too cutting-edge. I need to go back to the basics."

Kermit nodded warily. "That's… good," he said. Gonzo nodded enthusiastically.

"Yeah! Here, watch!" He thrust his arms out in front of him, first one and then the other, bending his wrists upwards and planting his palms flat facing out. Then he spread each arm to the side, elbows bent but palms still flat. The movement stopped abruptly, as if he were being physically prevented from extending the arms further, as if he were in some sort of invisible box.

All this took place in silence. Kermit, finally understanding, shook his head.

"No, Gonzo."

"But all I need is some white face paint and a beret!" said Gonzo plaintively. "I'm sure Piggy's got a spare one from when she was in her beatnik phase."

Kermit put a flipper over his face and sighed.