Kermit’s recent suicide attempt affected the Muppets greatly. The tension in the waiting room between was palpable between Elmo and some of the other patrons, as Elmo was still recovering from the bullet wound he’d sustained just a week or so before and was clearly not ready to pal around with autograph seekers. However, the tension was soon laid to rest by the arrival of Oscar The Grouch wearing his trashcan, and it had never looked so damn clean.
“What’s all the commotion?” said Oscar.
The gang looked up and smiled.
“Thank fucking God you’re here”, said Elmo “I can’t believe Kermit nearly did it. I can’t believe he was that low and we didn’t help him…”
“It’s not your fault”, said Oscar.
Elmo started crying. His red shoulders heaved with all the weight of the Western world. You could make out the bullet wound he’d recieved just a few days earlier as he cried into the shoulder of Oscar.
“Watch it, buddy! This thing’ll rust!”, bellowed Oscar to the room.
“Goddamit, you’ll always make me laugh”, said Elmo. He wiped some snot away from his nose.
The doctor appeared in the doorway and scratched his nose with the pen. He’d ditched the scrubs for a black polo shirt.
“Sorry about the change in dress. This, this is my lucky black shirt. Kermit. He’s… he’s lost a lot of stuffing” said the Doctor.
The temperature in Elmo’s smile cooled down several degrees.
“But he’s OK, right?” he said, his voice quavering with an emotion somewhere between anger and pleading.
“He’s going to be alright”, said the Doctor. The room erupted into a near applause.
“You can visit, if you’d like”, he continued “But one at a time.”
One by one the Muppets entered the room and there he was, one of the most famous frogs in the world, near naked as a lima bean from the waist down and only a white hospital smock to cover him.
“Hey little buddy”, said the Doctor, kneeling down and holding Kermit’s frail green hand. Someone snapped a picture.
“Hey Doc”, said Kermit.
I stood by the door. I’d figured it out. Gonzo was behind all this. I wasn’t sure how, and I didn’t have the kind of jurisdiction to just fly to his compound in New Mexico and just knock. I’d have to lure him out… but how? My mind was racing.
Oscar leaned in next and continued his act from earlier. It was good to see him back in costume again - none of the bullshit Hollywood pomp he’d be flirting with for years, this was back to Brooklyn for him. Back to the street. Sesame Street.
“Hey! What happened? Bump your head?” said Oscar.
Kermit chuckled. “It’s good to see you too, Oscar”, said Kermit. “How’s Susan?”
“The wife? Oh, she’s good. Doing fine. You know. All My Children and all.”
“You have children?” said Elmo.
“No, that’s the show. Susan, er, Lucci. My wife”, said Oscar.
“Oh,” said Elmo “I thought that was just a rumor”.
Kermit clasped Elmo’s hand.
“Old pal,” he said “It’s good to see you”
Elmo’s eyes welled up.
“I… I’ve been such an ass…,” said Elmo. He looked at the floor, then at the wall.
“You haven’t. You’ve always been you deep down”, said Kermit.
“I do drugs, man. I’m a fuck up. I… I’m a big red fuck up. A big red disaster.”
“But you’re you,” said Kermit. “And that’s more than I can say for so many other people in my life, friend.”
“Did I miss something?” said a voice at the door.
The gang knew that voice from anywhere.
There, at the door, were the giant green and white striped socks, purple shoes, red dress and purple cardigan of The Nanny. Of course, no-one could see her face. But it was her, alright.
“It’s me, alright”, she said.
The gang hooted and hollered. For the first time in nearly 20 years, The Nanny, Oscar, and Kermit were reunited. Elmo had arrived a little later, after the Muppet Babies, but he knew her as clear as day.
“Where’s Piggy?” asked The Nanny.
“Don’t…” said Oscar.
“It’s fine,” said Kermit “She’s out of my life now. She called. Sends her regards. She’s somewhere in New Mexico.”
That piqued my interest.
“New Mexico, you say?”
“She’s with Gonzo”
The room fell quiet again, and all eyes were on me.
“Gonzo’s behind all this,” I said. “He’s the rotten apple.”
“But Gonzo?”, said The Nanny “Why him?”
“Because he has the motive. He’s been envious of Kermit since they were babies. Muppet Babies. He’s wanted Piggy since Day 1. And he knew that he’d have to nearly blow up Beaker and Professor Honeydew in the process. And he knew Elmo was buying from Beaker that night. And he set out the hit on Elmo,” I said. “And he knew that we’d rally around Kermit. All he had to do was set the plan in motion. Make the group fall apart, and leave Kermit vulnerable. It was the one thing he didn’t do but knew would fall into place. He knows we’re all here right now. And all we have to do is lure Piggy away and we’ve got him, man. We’ve got him.”
“Damn,” said Elmo. “The kid is right”
Oscar cocked his head to the side and put his hands on the edge of his can.
“You’re a good detective, Hepburn”
“I’m not a detective,” I said. “Just a good friend. I grew up watching you guys. Kermit especially. It’s not about me. It’s about you. You stand for so much in this crazy fucked up world of ours…”. I trailed off. My throat was clenching up.
Kermit looked up. His eyes looked alive for the first time in years.
“You’ve been a good friend,” he said. I felt like crying. But I couldn’t. Maybe all the years of hardboiled detective work had hardened me to the idea of crying infront of my best friend - my best damn Muppet.
“You’re crying,” he said.
“I’m not. Just something in the air,” I said.