Lovers And Dreamers
by Amy

In this day and age, it's sometimes hard for a rat to get a good, honest day's work.

Luckily, Rizzo didn't care about good OR honest, as long as it paid well. And Lex Luthor paid well.

So unlike the rest of the Muppets, Rizzo wasn't at all upset when Luthorcorp bought out the old theatre. He didn't know why they'd WANT it, but he was more than happy to work with the man who supposedly turned shiny bronze things into even shinier gold ones.

The Muppet theatre wasn't even copper.

What they needed wasn't an accountant. They needed an alchemist.

And Lex Luthor, with his questionable history, was just the alchemist they needed.

Because all but three people in the house worked at the same place (Robin was too young, and Statler and Waldorf together worked at the DMV), they carpooled every day. Rizzo, Pepe, and Gonzo were squeezed into the front seat, along with three of the chickens. As the only one whose legs could reach the pedals, Gonzo was driving. Unfortunately, the driver got to choose the song they sang in the car.

Rizzo just didn't think that having the Electric Mayhem put on a live show while they drove over a very narrow bridge that shook with the bass of a Celine Dion song was a very good idea with Animal on drums, but it WAS Gonzo's car, and if his favorite song was the Drum Beat Polka, so be it.

But instead of singing along like usual, Gonzo was awfully quiet. At first Rizzo used the time to calculate his tax revenue for the past few months, but after a few minutes Pepe began speaking about the girl from Dawson's Creek with whom he was madly in love ("Summer loving had me a blast, okay? And happened so fast, okay? She spanked me like a bad, bad donkey, and..."), Rizzo changed places with Camilla so that he could talk to Gonzo. "What's wrong?"

"Clark thinks that Lex Luthor's going to fire us."

Rizzo frowned. "What?"

"He bought the theatre and was told to turn a profit. Clark doesn't think we're going to turn a profit."

"Have we tried putting it on a turntable?"


"How about a Lazy Susan?"

"Rizzo!" shouted one of the rats sitting with the band.

"Sorry, Susan!" he called. Then he turned back to Gonzo. "Luthor doesn't know that yet. I mean, has he seen our acts?"

"I don't think so."

"So he hasn't seen you get shot out of a cannon. Or Crazy Harry's pyrotechnic displays. Or Lew Zealand's boomerang fish!"

"He saw the boomerang fish last time he visited. I think that hurt our case."


Camilla squawked.

"No, I'm sure he's a vegetarian," Gonzo assured her.

"I hope the talking fruit didn't hear that," Rizzo said with a shrug.

"Hear what?" called one of the bunches of grapes.

"Luthor's going to eat you, okay?" Pepe offered.

The fruit began shrieking in tune with the Electric Mayhem.

"That's great!" Gonzo said. "You should work that into your act!"


Kermit met the rainbow-painted Studebaker outside the theatre. He, Fozzie, Scooter, Rowlf, and Piggy had gotten there early to prepare for the arrival of Mr. Luthor, and he, Fozzie, Scooter and Rowlf had worked to make the theatre presentable. Piggy had sat in her dressing room with Lana, who was busily applying a red blush to the swine's already-bright-pink cheeks. Every so often, as they carried large heavy objects from one part of the stage to the other, they heard the squeals of a girl and a pig with a plan- A Very Sekrit Plan, to be exact.

Scooter and Fozzie helped the Electric Mayhem unload their equipment and bring it into the theatre, and Pepe occupied himself in ways that none of the others truly wanted to know, but Kermit stayed to discuss the concerns with Rizzo and Gonzo. "Do you really think Clark's right?" he asked after Gonzo shared his story.

"Well, he IS the smartest stagehand we have," Rizzo pointed out.

"The other two stagehands are Andy and Randy."

"They're the best lifters we have!"

"I think you've proved my point."

"Are you okay, Kermit?" Gonzo asked. "You're turning a little-"

"Don't say it," Kermit said.


Kermit looked kerfuffled.

"Hey, Kermit!" called Beauregarde, and they all turned to look.

"Oh, hi, Beau," Kermit said. He looked warily at the cabbie. "What's new?"

"I heard Mr. Luthor is coming today."

"Yes, yes he is."

"Can he give me a raise?"

"Um, Beau, you don't actually work here," Kermit pointed out.

Beau shrugged. "Thought it was worth asking!"

"We'll talk later, okay, Beau?" Kermit asked.


"You don't REALLY think Mr. Luthor would turn Muppet Theatre into a non-Muppet organization, do you?" Gonzo asked worriedly.

"I don't know. I heard Lionel Luthor's as mean as a snake," Rizzo said. "And we rats don't take snakes lightly."

"But this isn't Lionel. It's Lex," Kermit pointed out.

"Well, you know what they say. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, unless the tree has very good aim," Gonzo said cheerfully.

"Maybe the tree has VERY good aim," Rizzo said pointedly. At Gonzo and Kermit's blank stares, he elaborated. "Why would a multibillionaire come to the middle of nowhere to buy out a tiny theatre, owned by a frog?"

"He heard we make good popcorn?" Gonzo suggested.

"Maybe he wants a copy of the show we did with Elton John. Lots of people want those tapes!" Kermit offered.

"Or maybe he's looking for one of the Boomerang fish."

"He might want one of the invisibility ducks."

"Or a Door-In-A-Jar."

"Or the Studebaker!" Kermit offered enthusiastically.

"No!" Gonzo protested dramatically. "You can take my life, but you'll never take my vehicle!"

"Hey, Rizzo!" Clifford called. "You busy? The curtain got stuck. The stagehands need someone to gnaw on the rope."

Rizzo sighed dramatically. "I expect to be paid for my labors!"

Kermit rolled his eyes- a feat of spectacular proportions for the frog. "Does he want his weight in gold?" he asked Gonzo.

"Nah, probably in cheese," his bright-blue compatriot replied, before trotting off to follow the rat into the theatre.


Clark smiled at the oversized rat. "Thanks, Rizzo. We couldn't have done it without you."

He was fairly certain the rat would have blushed, if he had pigmentation that might have led to it. Being a rat, Rizzo just grinned. Clark wasn't surprised. He had that effect on lots of people. And frogs, and pigs, and various other creatures. He had to remember that referring to "people" was awfully limiting, especially with his job.

"Clark!" called Scooter. Clark turned. Scooter wasn't a pig, a frog, OR a person. Clark wasn't exactly certain what Scooter was, but he was awfully nice, and he did most of the tech work at the theatre.

Besides, Clark coveted his glasses.

"What's up, Scooter?" Clark asked, letting go of his end of the plywood he, Andy, and Randy had been carrying towards the barn set for no apparent reason. He barely noticed the two pigs staggering backwards as he listened to Scooter speak.

"Your dad's here again."

Clark groaned. "Again? Did Kermit order food from Mom again?"

Scooter looked apologetic. "Worse."

"Oh, no. Not the..."

"I'm afraid so."

Clark sighed. "The cows?"

"Four of them."


Scooter nodded. "And Bessie, Antonio, and Fred."

"Aw, man."

"No, Awman is at home. He has laryngitis."

"I was wondering why Fred would be here."

"Yeah, well, it gets worse."


"I'm sorry, Clark."

"When does it start?"

"Your father already accompanied them to Home On the Range. We're afraid it might get worse."

Clark turned very seriously to Andy and Randy. "Give me the wood, boys."

Andy and Randy grunted from underneath the large stack of wood, and once Clark picked it up, they began to breathe rapidly.

"When I say to?" Clark said. "Run."

The twin pigs stared at him idolizingly. Clark looked seriously at Scooter.

"No, Clark. Don't worry. I have a job, and it's too late for me."

"I don't feel comfortable leaving you here, Scooter."

"Come on, Clark. Save yourself. You can do so much more good that way."

Clark nodded slowly. "I'll be thinking of you." He swallowed. "Andy? Randy?"

"Yes Clark," they chorused cheerfully.


They took off. They had a five-minute head start while Clark gave Scooter instructions. "I'll be back," he said. Then, like a flash, he was off.

It was just in time. Jonathan Kent and Antonio were singing the opening strains of Walk Like an Egyptian as the doors swung shut.

Scooter sighed and searched for his earphones. It was the only way he could accomplish anything. Maybe later he could send Kermit to get them to shut up. Frogs, he was pretty certain, don't have ears.

For now, he'd have to wear the headphones.

Some days, Scooter hated his job.


To find Kermit, Scooter had to walk past Miss Piggy's dressing room. He was so focused on blocking out Mr. Kent's singing that he wasn't prepared for the door to slam open abruptly, and it knocked him out.

Had he been conscious, he would have considered it a wonderful respite from the noise.

But in her haste, Piggy didn't even notice the man passed out on the floor who she stepped over. She and Lana were too involved in discussion.

"No no no no no, but Lana, this is moi's favorite blouse."

"Yes, but Miss Piggy, it doesn't match your makeup."

"But this is moi's. Favorite. Blouse."

Lana sighed. "Do I need to redo your eye shadow?"

Miss Piggy smiled very sweetly at her. "Would you mind?"

"Do you promise to keep your eyes very still so that I don't have to keep redoing it again?"

Miss Piggy began bouncing happily. "Oh! Lana! Yes yes yes yes yes yes yes! I love youuuuu!"

Lana smiled despite herself. "Okay, Miss Piggy. Hold your head very very still, okay?"

She nodded very enthusiastically and again jumped over Scooter in her race to her makeup mirror. Lana walked slower, and found Miss Piggy sitting at the vanity, eyes squeezed tight shut and lips pursed. "New lipstick too?" Lana asked.

"It would only be right," Miss Piggy insisted. "For our... plan."

Lana grinned. "Okay. Keep your eyes closed, okay?"

"Yes!" she squealed.

Lana had almost completed the eye shadow when Miss Piggy decided she wanted to see. As her eyes opened, Lana's hand slipped, and a bright purple streak appeared on Miss Piggy's forehead.

"Noooooooo!" she shrieked.

"I told you this would happen!" Lana pouted.

"You ruined moi's perfect exterior. I knew it! You want to ruin the Top Sekrit Plan!"

"Oh, that's right, Miss Piggy. That's why I've been here for three hours, helping you go hog-wild on your make-up!"

Miss Piggy's eyes widened, and her mouth moved without making a sound.

"My parents are dead, Piggy!" Lana shouted. "Dead dead dead dead dead! I don't want to have to deal with your trauma too!"

Piggy's eyes narrowed, a sign not unlike the Spanish bulls just before they charged. It was a sign Lana had come to recognize, but in her fury, she had missed it.

Outside, Scooter was finally coming to. He wasn't quite sure what was happening, but he was pretty certain he was hallucinating. First he thought he heard Miss Piggy shrieking "Hi-YA!", and then he thought her pretty makeup artist was flying out of the room, over his head, and landing somewhere on the lower level.

Definitely hallucinating.

Scooter stopped trying to think.


Kermit was used to headaches at this point in his career. Between dating Piggy and managing a terminally broke theatre, he was lucky to make it through lunch without a few Advil- and, given his frog digestive system, that was bad enough.

Somehow, despite Mr. Luthor's impending visit and the probable end to his career, today seemed oddly good. Animal hadn't eaten a single set, and he'd only heard one person go flying across the backstage area. Even Sam the Eagle seemed to be in a good mood; he'd told Kermit that the new Electric Mayhem music was patriotic and should be celebrated.

Kermit should have known it was too good to last.

"Hey, Froggie!"

"Please don't call me that," Kermit said before turning around. "Oh, hi, Pete."

"Hi, Kermit! Hey, I have the mock-up for the CD! It features eighteen songs that appeared originally and live on this show, and it's on sale in stores soon for only seventeen ninety-five!"

Kermit frowned. "Thanks, Pete, but... well, what does that have to do with anything?"

Pete grinned, wide and toothy. "I don't know, man. My big skill is product placement."

Kermit smiled weakly back at him.

"So is that cool, Kermit? Is that hip? Is that fresh? Is that da bomb?"

"Yeah, Pete. It's... great."

Pete smiled and bounded off.

Kermit reached for his Advil.


Rowlf hung up the phone with a sigh, crossing the next-to-last name off his list. Mr. Luthor couldn't be coming at a worse time. Rowlf was supposed to be lining up guests, but no one was willing to come to Muppet studios.

"It's in the middle of nowhere," they'd said.

"The host is a talking frog," they'd pointed out.

"You're a dog, you said? Is this some kind of a joke?"

Rowlf didn't find it particularly amusing himself.

He dialed the last number on the list. It was a local group, but supposedly they were gaining popularity.

At the very least, they could tape the episode and air it when it wasn't sweeps. Right?

"Hello? Um, hello, Ethan?" Rowlf barked. "This is Rowlf. Rowlf the Dog. No, this isn't a joke..."

He sighed. It wasn't easy, being a dog in this business.

"Ethan, I heard you work on the... um... Spectacles, is it? We were wondering if we could book you for a gig. ...No, you're not high. Or, you might be, but I am really offering you a job. Yes, I'm still a dog."

Rowlf moved the pencil to strike the name off the list, but stopped. "So... you might be interested? Can we have any confirmation on that? Okay, just call me back whenever." Rowlf provided the numbers cheerfully. After he hung up the phone, he circled the Spectacles' name on the paper and sketched stars around it.

Maybe this was a good omen. Maybe the meeting with Mr. Luthor would go okay after all.

Outside of his office, he heard the familiar crashes that meant Electric Mayhem was almost finished setting up their equipment, followed by Animal screaming.

Maybe there was no such thing as omens, and Rowlf should start looking for jobs nearby.

He heard Luthor Kennels was hiring...


"Could you please kindly shut the hell up?" Chloe Sullivan rolled her eyes before retreating back into the writers' room. "I swear! We get no respect on this show, the cast is literally a zoo, and no one has gotten me any fresh coffee."

Chloe looked around the office. Eight chairs, eight typewriters. A pot of stale coffee, more banana peels than the human brain could truly process, and a lone mug labeled "Smallville High School". Seven monkeys, and herself.

Chloe had tried to explain that infinite monkeys with infinite typewriters could eventually write Hamlet, not episodes of The Muppet Show, but she was just the head writer; why should anyone listen to her?

Plus, she'd tried to explain that "seven" and "infinity" were not the same thing. They just said she hadn't been hired for her math skills.

Chloe looked over the shoulder of Biff. He was her best writer on staff. He often wrote up to four lines of dialogue. But it only took her a passing glance to realize he wasn't going to cut it this time. "Biff. Sweetie. Ophelia is not an actor on the Muppet Show. Do you understand this?"

Biff screeched. Chloe sighed and moved on to the next monkey. "Hey, Bertram. How goes the monkey business?"

Bertram let loose an ungodly yell that Chloe took to mean "fine, thank you, but I cannot get into my head that Kermit is not Polonius."

Chloe understood the feeling.

It wasn't that she was unfunny. She was plenty funny; the show had lasted this long, hadn't it?

But Mr. Luthor was coming, and it wasn't going to be easy anymore. They couldn't just be okay. They had to be better than okay. They had to be brilliant. They had to be funny. And, as she had tried to explain several times, they had to speak in modern English.

Chloe sighed. And, against her better judgment, she let that sigh turn to a scream.

When she finally closed her mouth, four eyes were on her. Biff and Bertram stared at Chloe as though she were a different species- or, possibly, newly theirs.

Spiff and Loretta were dueling with banana peels. The other three monkeys were passed out on the floor, fast asleep in piles of bananas.

Chloe went back to work.

Bertram screeched in her ear.

"Yeah," Chloe said. "I know exactly what you mean."


Muppet Labs was housed in the basement of the theatre. Bunsen and Beaker had added a few touches of home, and now, instead of a sterile, gray metal room that smelled like formaldehyde, they worked in a sterile, gray metal room that smelled like the unholy union between formaldehyde and eight different scents of car air fresheners. Which was, in fact, exactly what it was.

Miss Piggy arrived just as they were perfecting the Sonic Transducer. At the sound of the door, Bunsen spun around, and Beaker, left with both ends of wire, turned a brilliant shade of white as the electric power surged through him.

Piggy and Bunsen ignored the pyrotechnics. "Listen, Two-Eyes," Miss Piggy snapped. "I have a plan, and I need it to work, and I need you to help me."

Bunsen stammered something incoherent, trying to use mental telepathy to convince Piggy that if she wanted to snap something in half, Beaker closer resembled a toothpick than he did.

"Meep meep meep meep meep meep meep!" Beaker said angrily.

Oops. "Sorry, Beaky," Bunsen said apologetically. "Piggy, how can we help you?"

"I need to make men fall in love with me."

"Piggy, that's not always a good idea," Bunsen said nervously.

"Meep!" Beaker agreed.

"If I wanted your opinion, the subject would be alarm clocks," Miss Piggy snapped.

"Meep-meep," Beaker muttered, properly shamed.

"Miss Piggy, we're very sorry," Bunsen said, "But Kermit insisted-"

"Oh, forget him!" Piggy said impatiently. "It's not FOR him."

"It's not? Who might it be for?"

"This is a Top Sekrit Plan!" Piggy exclaimed. "How can it have that name if I'm not being secretive?"

"Miss Piggy, I'm afraid we can't give you anything until we have some assurance it won't hurt any Muppets in the building."

"I'll show you hurt," she growled, her eyes narrowing.

Bunsen hid behind Beaker, who meeped, frightened.

"Give me the potions," Piggy said slowly, menacingly, "And no one goes home in a full-body cast."

Bunsen nodded. These would be acceptable terms.


Crazy Harry ran through the studios, not giving a second thought to the screams coming from the writers' room. No one did. You could practically set a clock by Chloe's mental breakdowns.

His arms were weighted down with explosives. As he ran, a few small samples fell from his hands, leaving a path of craters and smoke in the hall behind him. He ignored them, intent on finding Kermit.

Scooter was coming to in the hallway, but a misplaced firecracker assured that this was only a temporary thing.

Lana, too, was waking from her somewhat unconscious state. Then three sticks of dynamite fell from Crazy Harry's pile, and it was somewhat karmically decided that, even without Bunsen's formulae, Lana would no longer be a competitor with Miss Piggy in the Top Sekrit Plan.

"Kermit! Kermit! Kermit!" Crazy Harry yelled. "Kermiiiiiiiiiiit!"

Fozzie was the only Muppet who could truly turn the frog's name into three syllables, but Crazy Harry certainly gave it the old college try. He found the frog moping in his office, but Kermit looked up immediately when Crazy Harry entered.

"What's wrong, Crazy Harry? Did Animal set fire to Floyd again?" Kermit asked.

"Yes, but that's not important."

"It's probably important to Floyd," muttered Kermit, but Crazy Harry barely heard him.

"Mr. Luthor is here!" he exclaimed, punctuating this information with an earth-shattering KABOOM that left the frog seeing stars.

Visions of Brooke Shields and Marilu Henner quickly faded to the immediate reality. "Okay. Crazy Harry, alert the troops. I'll get the door."

Kermit gulped audibly and ambled to the door. Professional, he reminded himself. I'm an executive amphibian.

By the time he got to the door, most of his friends were gathered behind him for moral support. Scooter wasn't there, he noticed. Neither was Bunsen, Beaker, Lana Lang, or five of the writers. None of these were truly surprising, but Miss Piggy's absence worried him. A missing porker was never good.

Kermit's flipper was shaking as he opened the door. At the other side was a tall, handsome man in a purple shirt and black pants.

"Whoa," Chloe murmured. Several others echoed her sentiments.

"ME LIKE!" shrieked Animal. Dr. Teeth tightened his grip on the leash.

The man looked around, then stepped inside, closing the door behind him. Without the door to steady him, Kermit's entire body shook as he examined the new owner of the theatre.

The man broke into a smile. "Hi!" he said, holding out a hand. "Kermit, right? I'm Lex."

"Pleased to meet you," Kermit stammered. He opened his mouth to say more, but was interrupted by a loud bang.

Everyone turned towards the crash, and stared.

"Hello, Kermie. Hello, Mr. Luthor." Miss Piggy waved. "Pleased to meet you."


She was dressed in a skintight purple number that Wonder Woman would have passed up as too spandex-y. Nearly the entire upper third of her face was covered with bright purple eye shadow. She wore heels she couldn't quite walk in, a feather boa, and a headband that screamed "eighties exercise diva".

"Hello, Mr. Luthor," she purred again. "Welcome to Muppet Theatres."

"Check out the sausage casing on that one," Dr. Teeth stage-whispered. The rest of the Electric Mayhem laughed, but they all fell silent under Piggy's death glare.

"Um... hi." Lex waved, clearly unsure of what was expected of him.

"That's Miss Piggy," Kermit explained. "She does this, sometimes."

"Mr. Luthor," she said seductively. "I know you want to turn Muppet Theatre into a normal stage house and fire us all. But perhaps I can... persuade you otherwise." She walked towards him like a wild hog stalking its prey, Muppets clearing a path for her. She didn't fall once as she unsteadily approached her target, and once arriving, she removed her feather boa and tossed it at him. "Surely an agreement could be arranged?"

Lex stared straight at her. He lasted almost fifteen seconds. Then he burst out laughing.

Piggy growled and pulled a small vial out of her bag.

"Piggy, NO!" Bunsen shouted, racing up to her. "You took the wrong potion!"

But it was too late. She'd already released it.

"It won't make you irresistible to him!" he continued, "It'll make him irresistible to YOU!"

Piggy snorted. "Right. He's bald."

Then it took effect.

"Uh-oh," whispered Bunsen.

"Meep-meep," echoed Beaker.

The look on Lex's face was suddenly crystal clear, and could only be interpreted as "abject terror". Possibly because Miss Piggy, who had been about to stalk off, suddenly turned hoof, her pupils dilated into twin hearts.

"Oh, Lexy!" she cooed. "You're so sexy!"

There was only one thing to do. "Clark!" Kermit yelled. "Get Lex and RUN!"


Lex was vaguely aware that Clark had, in some way, saved his life. He hadn't jumped off a bridge for him, but it was enough. "Thanks," Lex said after Clark lowered him to the ground.

"No problem. I'm, um, I'm Clark. Clark Kent." He awkwardly held out a hand.

Lex shook it- a good, solid handshake. "Lex Luthor. Hey."

"Welcome to Muppet Theatres."

"Thanks. I'm excited to be here." Lex grinned. "I love the Muppet Show."

"Oh?" Clark raised an eyebrow. "I didn't know billionaires watched the Muppet Show."

"My father knows someone on the show. These two guys, actually. They hate it. So, being the black sheep of the family, I felt compelled to watch." He laughed. "I was trying to play it cool, but I really just wanted Kermit's autograph."

"You mean you don't want to fire all of us and hire normal people to work here?"

"No way! I love the Muppet Show!" Lex sobered up. "How long do you think it'll take for Miss Piggy to get an antidote?"

"Depends on how long it takes Bunsen and Beaker to invent it."

"Aw, man..."

"No, he's home with laryngitis." At Lex's look, he opened his mouth to clarify, then shook his head. "Never mind. It'll probably take a few days, but it might wear off before then."

"What can I do until then?"

"Avoiding the swine seems like a good idea."

Lex laughed. "I like you, Clark. You're funny."

Clark blushed. "Thanks, Mr. Luthor."

"Please, Lex. Mr. Luthor's a bastard I don't particularly want to be associated with."

Clark nodded shyly.

"Now, Clark. Would you care to take me on a tour of the theatre?"

Clark listened for his father's singing, and hearing none, decided Jonathan had left the building. Now he grinned. "I'd love to."


Clark pushed past a few leafy green stalks. "This is my favorite set," he admitted.

"The farm set?" Lex asked, squinting.

"Yeah. It's so calm. So peaceful."

"Very small-town America," Lex agreed.

Clark grinned. "I like it."

"What do you do here, anyway, young Master Kent?" Lex picked up a large, cartoonish pumpkin from the ground.

Clark smiled wider. "Lift stuff, mostly. Rearrange s- ahh!"

"Ahh? What ahh?" Lex asked, dropping the gourd. "Clark?

"Help! Help! Get it off me!"

Now Lex saw the source of Clark's consternation: a stick-and-straw figure with a grimace of black paint, whose arms grasped Clark firmly as it warbled "If I Only Had a Brain" off-key.

For a moment, Lex marveled. He really had thought that these things only happened on-screen. Then he took action. "Down, scarecrow! Down, boy!" He frowned at the lack of reaction. "Down, girl!" Still nothing. "Down... neuter?"

At the last comment, the scarecrow hissed. "I have a NAME, you know."

Lex glanced at Clark, who shrugged helplessly. Suddenly, Lex was certain that Clark's power had been neutralized, and not only couldn't he carry Lex anymore, but he couldn't even break the scarecrow's grasp. Lex squinted at the enemy. "If I guess your name, will you let Clark go?" he asked, straining to keep his voice calm.

"I'm not stupid, Mr. Luthor. Rumplestiltskin fell for that one, and the guys have been teasing him ever since."

"Why do you want him?" Lex demanded.

"Well, he's awful pretty..." The scarecrow giggled.

Without warning, Lex aimed a punch, but the straw man jumped back nimbly, leaving Lex floundering on the ground. He grasped for leverage, and instead found a bright green rock. It was translucent and sparkly, and despite the situation, Lex found himself giggling.

"Lex!" Clark shouted. "A little help here?"

"But... shiny!" Lex protested, holding up the rock. Then he sighed and pocketed it.

"Yes!" Clark yelled, using the opportunity to push away from the scarecrow. He picked up a stick and aimed at the scarecrow. It made a hole in the stomach, but the scarecrow just laughed. "Lex!" Clark shouted desperately. "I need your help. I need more wood!"

"What?" Lex asked, an odd sparkle in his eye.

"Never mind." Clark dashed to the pile of lumber he, Andy, and Randy had brought over, picked it up, and rammed it at the scarecrow. "Bye-bye, Straw Face," he crowed.

"Clark?" Lex whispered finally.

"It's okay. He's dead now." Clark gestured towards the pile of straw.

"Are you okay?"

Clark smiled. "Yeah. Lex, you saved my life! I would have been the next victim of the Scarecrow for sure if-"

"Don't worry about it," Lex said. "You saved me from death by pig."

"Hey, all in a day's work." Clark grinned sweetly.

"We should probably leave the cornfields," Lex said. "Lots to do on my first day of work."

"Yeah, we definitely should." But neither of them moved.

"You'd better!" chirped voices all around them. "You'd better!"

Lex spun around. "Who is that?"

Clark rolled his eyes. "Ignore them. Trust me."

"Who are they?"

"Ears of corn. Let it go, Lex."

"You'd better go! You'd better go! She's looking for you!"

Lex's muscles were tensing up, like he was preparing for a fight. "Let it go, Lex," Clark said again.

"She's hog-wild over Lex!"

Lex turned to his new friend, pained. "Clark, the ears of corn are laughing at me."

"I know, Lex."

"Last night, I ate popcorn. Today, the cornfields are getting their revenge."

Clark bit his lip but said nothing.

"Are you- Dammit, Clark, are you laughing at me? Clark? ...Clark?"

But the dark-haired boy missed his comment. He was too busy lying in the field, unable to get up and stop giggling along with the friendly cornstalks.

Lex pouted.


"Hi," Lex said politely. "I was wondering if you could help me. I'm a little lost, and I need to find-"

"Excuse me."

Lex spun around. It had taken him a while to find his way out of the maze of maize, but he'd finally found a small office. He identified the source of the voice: the most adorable rabbit he'd ever seen. "Hello."

"Is there any reason you're talking to a coat rack?"

"I thought it might talk back," Lex said honestly.

"You must be new here." The rabbit grinned. "Hello. I'm Bean the Bunny."

"I'm the Mad Hatter," Lex muttered.


"Luthor. I'm Lex Luthor." Lex kneeled down and offered a hand. Bean politely shook paws.

"Hi, Mr. Luthor! You're my new boss! Pleased to meet you."

"Please, call me Lex."

"Okay, Mr. Luthor!"

Lex smiled easily. "You wouldn't happen to know where Clark Kent went, would you?"

Bean bounced. "Uh huh!"

Lex knew, intellectually, that he should be very irritated if not outright angry, but... well, Bean was adorable, and being mad at him seemed impossible. "Could you tell me where?"

"I could!" He bounced again. "Want to follow me?"


"Say goodbye to Antonia!" he chirped.

"Antonia?" Lex asked, frowning at the otherwise empty room.

"Goodbye, dear," the coat rack he had been facing sang.

"Come on, Mr. Luthor!" Bean called. "We have to go find Clark, remember?"

Lex shrugged and followed the rabbit into the hall. "Bye, Antonia!" he called as he shut the door.


"What do you mean, you lost him?"

Clark gestured, frustrated. "I didn't! The corn lost him. I was just..."

"Losing our new boss?"

"It's going to be okay, Kermit. Really. Lex won't be mad. I'm sure of it."

"We have a pig who's head-over-hoofs in love with our new boss, talking corn who insulted him, an oddly violent scarecrow, and a missing billionaire! I'd say panicking is a valid choice." Kermit was nearly hyperventilating.

"Has Bunsen found a cure yet?"

"Bunsen's on his lunch break."

"Where's Piggy?"

"She's in the Pigs in Space set. Sweetums is watching her."

"Sweetums fits there?"

"There may be some minor reconstruction necessary."

Clark frowned. "How minor?"

"Have you ever tried to fit an eight-foot-tall monster in a six-foot-tall space?"

Clark sighed. "You won't need it for a few weeks, right?"

"Three days."

Clark raised an eyebrow. "Rebuild an entire set in three days?"

"You lost our new boss!" Kermit pointed out.

Clark nodded, defeated. "I think we have some extra lumber by the barn set."

"Thank you, Clark."

"You're welcome, Kermit."

"Can I have a hug?"

Clark pet the frog on the head affectionately. "Sorry, Kermit, but I'm not looking for the Wrath of Piggy."

"Then just don't kiss Mr. Luthor, and I think you're okay."


"Elementary, my dear Beaky!" Bunsen chirped.

"Meep meep meep meep meep meep meep meep?"

"Exactly." Bunsen took another bite out of his hamburger. "We just use the opposite ratio of pickle juice and sulfuric acid!"

"Meep meep meep."

"No, I don't think so. Unless Piggy's part elephant, in which case I'm sure that would work famously."

"Meep meep meep meep meep!"

"Beaky! That's not very nice!" Bunsen chortled merrily. "Maybe we should buy little paper drink umbrellas. They always give that extra touch of class to our formulae."

"Meep meep."

Bunsen giggled. "Sure, why not!" He flagged the waitress. "Two sprites, please, Jenny. And make them extra bubbly!"


"Cheer up, Kermit!"

"Fozzie," Kermit said patiently, "I'm not really in the mood to cheer up."

"I know what would put you in a great mood!"

"Oh, no, Fozzie, not-"

"A joke!"

Kermit sighed. "Fozzie, now's not really the-"

"I got a good one! A good one. Okay, here goes. What did Superman say to the phone booth?"

"I don't know, Fozzie. What did Superman say to the phone booth?"

"He said..." Fozzie paused, frowning. "This is one of my best jokes. I know this one. I know I do."

"It's okay. Don't worry about it, Fozzie."

"Froggie. Oh, Froggie Froggie Froggie." Fozzie shook his head. "How can I make you smile again, oh Frog of Mine?"

"Find Mr. Luthor? Make sure we all still have a job tomorrow?" Kermit suggested.

"Okay!" Fozzie jumped up. "I shall go, and I shall discover our new fearless leader, second only to you, our Frog-in-Command."

Before Kermit could explain that he had been making a joke, the bear was already gone. Kermit heard the sounds of the Teddy Bear Picnic fading as Fozzie disappeared further and further away.

"Sheesh," Kermit muttered, burying his head in his arms.


Piggy glowered up at Sweetums. It seemed unfair, somehow, that her Lexy was somewhere without her. She needed him, and she knew that somewhere, he needed her.

"What?" Sweetums asked, confused.

"Nothing," Piggy sighed. "Do you have any threes?"

Sweetums laughed cheerfully. "Go fish!"

Piggy sighed, and reached for the pile.


"Kermit! Kerrrrrrmit!"

Kermit's head shot up, then sagged as he noticed the adorable bunny rabbit standing before him. "Hey, Bean. What's up?"

"I was just taking Mr. Luthor around. We're looking for Clark Kent."

"Oh, Clark's by the Pigs in Space set."

"Great. Thanks. Come on, Mr. Luthor!"

"Bean, my name is Lex."

"Okay, Mr. Luthor!"

Only after the door slammed behind them did something suddenly click in Kermit's head. "Mr. Luthor!"


Kermit found Pepe in the Muppet Theatre arcade, where he was playing Rizzo at Dance Dance Revolution in front of an audience of chickens. With his six limbs, Pepe was beating the game- and his competitor- quite spectacularly. When Kermit knocked, Rizzo immediately declared the game invalid, and Kermit was forced to separate the rat and the king prawn before one or both of them abruptly ended their Muppet Theatres career.

"Where's Gonzo?" he asked them.

"I think he's talking to the celery again," Rizzo said.

Camilla squawked.

"I'm sure he likes you more than the vegetables," Kermit promised the distraught chicken. "Celery doesn't have feathers."

Camilla squawked again, but this time she sounded mollified.

"I need you guys to find Fozzie," Kermit said. "He went to find Mr. Luthor, but then I found Mr. Luthor and lost Fozzie."

Rizzo shrugged. "He's a big bear. He can take care of himself."

"Kermit," Pepe said patiently, "we care about the bear, okay? But we are in the middle of a game, okay? I am showing the rat how to get jiggy with it, okay?"

"On second thought," Rizzo said, "this IS our job at stake. We should really do the right thing."

"I should have known you would rat out on me," Pepe said stiffly.

"Aw, I don't need to take that from a shrimp!"

"I am not rising to that bait. I would sooner say the moon is made of green cheese."

"Please just find Fozzie," Kermit begged.

"We're going, we're going!" Rizzo said.

Camilla squawked.


"Beaky!" Bunsen said. "I think we've found it! The antipathy juice is ready!"

"Mee meep meep mee meep meep meep."

"Yes. Exactly. It should be administered quickly."

"Meep-meep. Meep mee meep meep."

"Well, you can't expect me to go!"

"Mee mee meep meep!"

"It'll just take a second, Beaky."

"Meep." The taller, red-haired scientist pouted pitifully.

"Fine, I'll go with you. But you're carrying the jar."


They were almost at the Pigs in Space set when it happened. They were walking briskly, or as briskly as an adorable two-foot-tall bunny rabbit can walk, when they almost smashed into three older gentlemen.

"Mr. Luthor," Bean said, "This is Statler, Waldorf, and Lionel. They're our official hecklers."

"Pleased to meet- DAD?" Lex exclaimed, surprised. Then his shock faded to annoyance. "What are you doing here?"

"Visiting old friends," Lionel said. "Surely you remember Statler and Waldorf?"

"Yeah, but I thought you sent me here because you wouldn't be caught dead in some godforsaken hole like Muppet Theatres."

"Yeah, but then he remembered he was from Kansas!" Waldorf pointed out, and both he and his friend chortled.

Lex ignored their attempt at a joke. "I don't need your help, Dad."

"Of course you don't, Lex."

"I can handle this on my own."

"You know, the last person who said that to me died," Statler said.

"Because he couldn't handle it?" Waldorf asked.

"No, because his Pacemaker gave out!" The three of them- Statler, Lionel, and Waldorf- all burst out laughing.

"Look, I don't want a problem. I just want to get to the Pigs in Space set."

"That idea's out of this world!" Waldorf rasped out.

"Don't encourage the boy, he'll be on Cloud Nine," Lionel offered.

Bean sighed at the delay. Lex wondered how he could send the three old men into orbit.


"A one," Dr. Teeth said. "A two. A one two three." The Electric Mayhem exploded into a flurry of sound that a particularly kind and tone-deaf critic might decide to call music. Dr. Teeth was particularly proud of this song. It incorporated everything that was best about the Mayhem. Also, it was loud.

Come to think of it, the loudness was really what was best about the band, as well.

Dr. Teeth liked that.

Chloe, clearly, did not.

Her face was bright red and her eyebrows narrowed just a bit. "Hey, Chloe!" Dr. Teeth said.

"WOMAN! WOMAN!" Animal banged his head against the snare drum.

"Easy, there, buddy," Floyd said. "Don't want her to write us off of another episode.


Chloe rolled her eyes. "Look. I'm only going to say this one more time. There are plenty of places around here for you to practice that aren't my office."

"Hey, it's not our fault this place has good acoustics," Dr. Teeth said.

"I think it's the banana peels, personally," Janis offered.


"Out," Chloe repeated.

Zoot sighed and began to remove his saxophone.


"Come on, just once, just once!" Lew Zealand put on his most winning smile. "It'll be fun!"

"Borkski bork do frogski yelltsy yelltsy."

"Aw, Kermit won't mind. And you know it's important that I practice with them if we want to keep Muppet Theatres!"

"Borkty whoosh pe doo..." He shrugged and acquiesced.

The Swedish Chef and Lew Zealand stood in a clear area in the hallway.

"Unter... Twoski... Fwa!"

On fwa- er, three- Lew threw one of his boomerang fish.


Lana felt woozy. Her head was spinning, and she was fairly certain she was going to have a bump the next morning. But at least she was awake.

In the distance, she heard someone yell "Fwa!"

"What's that?" Lana asked herself.

The boomerang fish connected, and for the third time that day, Lana was down for the count.


"We can practice here," Dr. Teeth said firmly. "No one's around but the Pig, and she's not allowed out."

The Electric Mayhem laughed.


"Maybe this is where Fozzie went," said Rizzo.

"Near the Pigs in Space set?" Pepe said doubtfully.

Rizzo shrugged. "I don't know, but that's right near catering."

Pepe nodded. "Yes. I bet the bear is looking here."

The king prawn led the way, followed by the rat. The chickens followed in a line behind them.


Worried that they were going too slowly, Lex picked Bean up and ran with him. "Come on, we'll make it. Just a little bit sooner and we'll get to Clark."

He was fairly certain that Waldorf, Lionel, and Statler were on their heels.


Bunsen called out as he approached the Pigs in Space set. "Miss Piggy! I'm here with your antidote!"

"Finally!" Piggy muttered from inside the set, getting up from her eighth game of Go Fish with Sweetums and opening the door.




"What in the name of mascara is this?" demanded Miss Piggy. "And why are you all- Lexy-pie!"

"Oh, no." Lex turned on his tail and ran.

"Ow!" Bean yelped, grabbing his backside.

"Sorry. I thought it was mine."

"It's okay."

"Lex?" Clark said, peeking out from inside the set. "What's going on?"

"Don't worry!" Bunsen spoke up. "I have the antidote. Just stay still, Piggy-"

"Lexy!" she squealed adoringly, breaking out of Sweetums' grip and knocking into the scientists in the process.

All eyes were on Lex. So much so, in fact, that at first no one noticed that the bottle Beaker had been holding spilled on Camilla.

"Oh, no," Bunsen whispered.

"Mee-meep," Beaker echoed.

"What's wrong?" Lex said, alarmed. "That won't do anything if it's not Piggy, right?"

"Not exactly nothing," Bunsen said weakly.

"What do you mean, not exactly nothing?" Lex asked, eyeing the chicken nervously.

"You see, we couldn't make an exact antidote. However, we did ensure that the subject under the influence would immediately have half the amount of like previously had towards whoever the subject first looked at while under the influence of this potion."

"In English?" Clark asked.

"Well, Camilla just liked you originally. So, half of that..."

"Uh oh," Dr. Teeth whispered.

Camilla would have bared her teeth, if she had teeth. Being a chicken, she didn't. But she didn't remember that, so she bared the inside of her beak as she examined her prey-slash-employer.

"Camilla!" Piggy exclaimed. "How dare you insult the love of my life?"

Camilla's pecked at Piggy's leg. Piggy's eyes narrowed.

"I guess it's true," Pepe said.

"What is?" Rizzo asked.

"It really is a thin swine between love and hate."

Statler, Waldorf, and Lionel Luthor took that moment to show up.

And that's when all hell broke loose.


Something was happening inside Miss Piggy. She wasn't sure what it was, but she really didn't care much for Lex Luthor anymore. He was bald, and really, she found any man wearing purple to be worrisome at best.

No, she knew who she really wanted.

He had long, luxurious hair, and horribly fashionable sunglasses. His very presence took over the room.

It was love at first sight.

Hers, at least; he was blind. But that was only a minor detail, really.

Miss Piggy loved Lionel Luthor, and she would make him hers.


The alarm went off suddenly and without warning, and surprised every single creature standing there. It was more of a squeak than a beep, but it still had a vaguely sinister dangerous feel.

"Um." Lex frowned, squinted at the ceiling, and then asked what everyone else was wondering. "What is that?"

"I think it's the fire alarm," Floyd said.

"FIRE! FIRE!" Animal said enthusiastically.

"Not unlike the fire in my heart for you, my petite cher," Piggy said to Lionel, who couldn't see her and thus didn't realize she was talking to him until she kissed him. His jaw dropped, and he began flailing his arms wildly, trying to get her off of him.

"Well, he looks happier than a pig in slop," Statler commented to the room.

"And she looks happier than a billionaire in Kansas!" Waldorf agreed, chortling merrily.

"Could you guys focus?" Rizzo demanded. "There's a fire!"

"How many fires were there yesterday?" Dr. Teeth wondered aloud.

"Twelve," Bunsen said.

"Then shouldn't you know the fire exit procedures?" Lex asked.

"We're supposed to exit when there's a fire?" Pepe asked. "Usually we just take bets as to how many extras we'll lose."

"What does the fire department say when the alarms go off?"

"I never even knew we had an alarm," Dr. Teeth said.

Lex sighed, and tried to remember elementary school. "Okay, well, time to go. Exit single-file. No talking. No clucking. And no... beeping or whatever," he added to Beaker as his mouth opened.

"Meep-meep," muttered Beaker quietly.

Animal enthusiastically smashed his head against the cymbals. The sound reverberated.

"No drum set, either," Lex said hastily. Then he pulled Miss Piggy off his father. "And you two get a room."

"You're just jealous of our true love!" she exclaimed.

"That must be it. Come on, there's a fire." He pushed her along with the rest of the creatures, turning only to see his father walking in the opposite direction. "Dad, where are you going?"

"Out," Lionel said, gesturing wildly with his cane.

"Of course." Lex sighed. "Hey, Bean, want to be a Seeing Eye Rabbit?"

"I'm not Rabbit!" Bean said. "I've had my shots."

Lex nodded and ushered the rest of the menagerie out of the hallway.


Kermit was panicking.

He was not a frog with a very mellow temperament to begin with, but this was sending him over the edge.

There were at least seven minor fires, if not outright explosions, a day at Muppet Theatres, and it was Kermit's job to make sure they didn't cause too much serious damage. It was something he accepted, along with hosting the shows and making sure Animal didn't terrorize the guest stars.

This was the first time he'd ever heard the fire alarm. So of course it had to happen when Mr. Luthor was in the studio.

The main thing Kermit noticed about it was that it sounded an awful lot like Ernie's rubber duckie, held up to an especially clear loudspeaker.

The other main thing was that the fire door was blocked by a stack of upended boxes marked "this side up". Most of the arrows pointed left or right.

Kermit didn't think Advil would help him right now.

At least everyone got out. Lex Luthor made sure of that. If he was going to fire them, at least he was waiting until they were out of the presumably burning building.

"Kermit," Mr. Luthor said, "we need to talk."

Kermit was sure they could hear him gulping in other countries. "We- we do?"


And Kermit waited for his fate to be sealed.


"What was the alarm for?" Rizzo asked.

"I don't know," Gonzo said. "I fired myself out of the canon, I landed, I started to load the dynamite again, and I got distracted and helped Sam the Eagle put together a fireworks display in the room where the Swedish Chef spilled three bottles of alcohol by mistake."

"Nothing abnormal then?"

"Nah, I think it was a problem with the wiring."


"But I thought Miss Piggy was in love with you!" Kermit exclaimed. Mr. Luthor was turning out to be a much better guy than he'd expected. He had told Kermit evacuation hadn't been too hard, complimented him on the shade of his skin, and asked shyly for his autograph. After that, Lex and Kermit were like old friends. Kermit had told Lex a funny story about himself, Rowlf, and a delicatessen, and Lex told Kermit a hilarious story about himself, his tax attorney, and a trip to Tijuana that had liberal use of the word "accrual". Kermit wasn't exactly sure what it meant, but the story was so funny that he made big plans to look it up.

"I did too!" Lex said. "Bunsen thinks it has something to do with my father and I sharing genetic information."

"It's a genetics thing? But that makes no sense!"

"Kermit, I'm sitting here talking to a green frog about ye high who runs a dilapidated theatre and sings show tunes."

"Point taken."

"So, yeah. Miss Piggy should probably be kept away from my dad, but I wouldn't complain if she isn't. Camilla should be kept far away from me. Bunsen and Beaker should be working on curing Camilla, and if they still have time later, probably curing Piggy too. And I'd kind of like to hang out with Clark Kent, if that's cool with you." Lex grinned self-deprecatingly.

"Sure, Mr. Luthor. Whatever you want!" Kermit smiled. "I was so convinced you'd fire me. Or make me into frog's legs or something." At Lex's confused glance, he added "It's not as far-fetched as you think."

Taking into account the day's events, Lex wasn't inclined to disagree with him.

"Um, Kermit?"


"Do we know where everyone else is?"

"I think they're checking in on the electric equipment."

Two heads - one bald, one green - turned towards what sounded an awful lot like an explosion.

"The expensive, easily breakable equipment that shouldn't be allowed in the same state as Animal?" Lex asked.

Kermit didn't dignify it with an answer.


Lionel Luthor edged backwards slowly. As he couldn't see where he was going, he was narrowly avoiding the chickens that had followed him, and as such leaving a trail of white feathers in his wake. Lionel wasn't sure where Piggy was, but he was fairly certain it was too close. He thought the lights in the room he was in were out, but he wasn't really sure, on account of being blind as a bat wearing sunglasses.

"Lionel, darling!" he heard Miss Piggy call out, her voice trilling into octaves that should never be approached by man or beast. "Where are you?"

Lionel fell over a pile of something that, lacking the ability to see, he didn't recognize.

"There you are, dear!"

Lionel wondered if this was hell.


Bunsen squinted at the test tube he held in his hands. "I think this should be good."

"Mee-meep," Beaker said uncertainly.

"Nonsense. It should be perfect. We just need to find Camilla."

"She's with Gonzo upstairs," Clark said.

"Well, let's go," Bunsen said. "We need to go administer my very own Lex Luthor Love Liniment."

"But we don't want her to fall in love with me," Lex protested. "I just want her not to try to peck my eyes out. I'd even be okay with some minor enmity."

"Nonsense!" Bunsen said. "It won't make her fall IN love with you. It'll just make her fall back into liking you."


"I thought you said this wouldn't make her fall in love with me!" Lex cried. He was busy trying to fight off the chicken who, in a sudden change of affections, was busily trying to kiss him.

"I didn't think it would!" wailed Bunsen. "I'm terribly sorry, I must have mismeasured the aluminum chloride!"

"You're sorry?" Lex whimpered. "Now a chicken and a pig are in love with me!"

"Well, you know what they say," Rizzo said. "All's fair in love and pork."

"Rizzo!" Gonzo exclaimed. "This isn't funny! Lex has stolen the affections of my one true love!"

"I'm sorry, Gonzo," Lex said. "It wasn't intentional."

"Of course it was!" scoffed Gonzo. "It was your insidious plot to get into the feathers of my girl!"

"Gonzo, I would never do that to you."

"I can't believe this! I thought you might be a lunatic intent on world domination or destruction, but I never imagined you might go for another man's chicken!"

"Gonzo, you're not a man," Rizzo pointed out. "You're a whatever."

"Look, Gonzo, what do you want to do? Duel for Camilla's honor?" Lex was fighting the urge to strangle the whatever until his face turned blue.

Well, blue-er.

"Yes!" Gonzo exclaimed. "And I choose the weapon!"

Lex blinked. "Excuse me?"

"The duel! You've challenged me, and I accept!"

"I was being sarcastic."

Gonzo ignored this entirely. "Pepe, would you like to be my second?"

"Hey, I thought I was your best friend!" protested Rizzo.

"You are, but Pepe has four arms."

"Did you- I was being sarcastic!" Lex said.

"We will fight with rubber chickens at dawn!" Gonzo exclaimed. "I shall see you there!" He and his entourage left, pulling Camilla with them.

"Dawn isn't for at least fifteen hours," Lex said to Clark.

"Actually, it's about a five minute walk," he said with a grin. "We've got a set."

"Oh." Despite everything, Lex grinned too. "Hey. You want to be my second?"

"I'm not your first?" Clark teased.

Lex grew sober. "Please, Clark?"

"Of course."

And so they prepared to duel.


They had to count off ten paces, but it was difficult, as Lex's paces and Gonzo's were vastly different, and Lex's back was against the wall before Gonzo was halfway across his side of the room. So they compromised by both standing against opposite walls, eyeing each other with the professionalism of a rank amateur.

Clark and Pepe stood together, studying the rules Rizzo had found online for them. Clark read out loud. "The seconds load in presence of each other, unless they give their mutual honors they have charged smooth and single, which should be held sufficient." Clark squinted. "What does that mean?"

Pepe shrugged. "It is immaterial, as I have no honor. I have the women."

"This just means we hand them the rubber chickens, right?"

"That... may be a problem," Gonzo said.

Lex closed his eyes, then opened them. "Why would that be a problem?"

"It appears we only have one rubber chicken."

"You can't duel with different weapons," Clark said.

"Lex could use a whoopee cushion," Gonzo suggested.

"Gonzo, I wasn't trying to steal your-" Lex paused in mid-apology. "You have a whoopee cushion?"

"Yeah. Well, it's Fozzie's, but I took it years ago and he still thinks Candice Bergen took it."

"Cool! Can I see it?"

Gonzo's eyes lit up. "Sure! Do you want to see my exploding pterodactyl, too?"

"Do I!"

"Let me go get it. I'll be right back."

Lex and Clark watched as Gonzo raced out of the room, Rizzo and Pepe at his heels.

"Are you okay?" Clark asked softly.

"Sure," Lex said. "The rubber chicken didn't bite or anything."

"Yeah, but..." Clark shrugged. "I don't like the thought of anything happening to you."

"I'm sure you could find someone else to run the theatre."

"I wasn't talking about the theatre."

"Oh." Lex grinned. "In that case, neither was I."

Clark paused to ponder this. While he was doing so, Lex examined the set. The backdrop showed the sun peeking up, just beginning to shower the scenic area with light. It was a fairy tale setting. "Hey, Clark?" he said.


"Not to interrupt your thought process, but..."

When People Magazine wrote their article on the fifty most eligible bachelors in the country, Lex came in at thirty-six. He was rumored to have money, charm, and killer instincts, not to mention a wardrobe nearly anyone would kill for.

They'd never mentioned anything about his lips. They certainly didn't talk about his tongue, or the way his skin felt, or the way his hands had a tendency to travel.

That was good, Clark thought. This way he'd be special.


"So I guess all's well that ends well, right?" Kermit asked the billionaire. He stood by the front desk, waving goodbye to the crew with Lex Luthor and his favorite stagehand.

"I'd say so," agreed Lex calmly. "All in all, this was a most productive day of work."

"I would certainly agree, Mr. Luthor!" Kermit grinned. "It's so much easier with someone else working here! If I had to do it all myself, Miss Piggy and Camilla would still be crazy."

"Well, Piggy still is crazy. It's just that that's her normal state," Lex said.

"A very good point. I'm glad you're here, Lex." But Kermit's smile was quick to fade. "Still. I can't help but feel I'm forgetting something."

"It's probably nothing," Lex said. "Come on, let's go. You need some sleep."

"You're right."


"Mr. Luthor!" Fozzie called. "Mr. Luuuuuuthor!"

He'd been looking for a while now. He was certain his new boss was somewhere; he'd just have to keep looking.

He hadn't been with the corn, or hiding around backstage. He knew Mr. Luthor would never go by Pigs in Space. Fozzie was still pretty sure he could find his way back to Kermit, and wow, wouldn't he be surprised and overjoyed that Fozzie did this!

"Mr. Luthor! I'm here to save you!"

The empty theatre didn't answer him.





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