* 200 articles. Two years. Whelk. The best of Upsideclown. Might be reprinted.

Muppet Suite

13 May 2002
These are the people in Victor's neighbourhood.

Splayed in a drunken stupor he grasped for the remote. Realising that it must have been kicked under the sofa he resigned himself to an eventual contortion of the limbs as he threw himself head first after it. As he emerged triumphant with his prize the blood rushed to his head, the vodka kicked in once more, he hauled himself into upright in an attempt at composure. As he did so, he kicked over last night's pizza box, turning Hawaiian on the floor. Switch on the television; unrecognised figures dancing in the half-light; profound feeling of constraint and despair. There was nothing for it - Kermit was going to have to make a decision.

Kermit's job as local journalist and TV reporter had catapulted him out of Harlem and onto Broadway, where he had enjoyed a modicum of success on the stage. In the process he had acquired a glamorous, if somewhat wilful and porcine, girlfriend and associates who did not much care for his Sesame Street hood. The fear was that his ghetto upbringing would rub the critics in the gallery up the wrong way. Halfway between his roots and his future, Kermit was a frog paralysed.

* * * *

Across the pond things were nowhere near as upwardly mobile. Fistup Road was as it always had been - comfortable, suburban, slightly left of centre and socially concerned. But underneath the surface even this community had its problems. Joyriding was on the increase: on Thursday nights Roland Rat, Kevin the Gerbil and Errol the Hamster would clear the streets in their Ford Anglia. Newly unemployed Zig and Zag had taken to shoplifting to fund a crack habit nurtured and dictated by television stardom. Meanwhile Sweep and Sue's home footage porn empire was bringing legions of undesirables to the area. And then there was Emu.

Emu had recently lost his partner in a tragic sporting accident. This would have been enough for anyone to cope with, but Emu had relied on Rod. Movement in his legs had always been limited; now he couldn't make it to the shops on his own. Sooty had offered to deliver: Emu now regretted that at the time he had been too proud to accept. Or had he still been in denial? He probably hadn't even considered that he needed the help, had expected Rod to come through the front door with the bird seed and the Australian lager.

But Rod didn't come. Sue used to do the cleaning on Fridays, and had been a friend to Emu in his isolation when Rod had been at work. But she had stopped visiting shortly after Rod's death, no doubt when the money dried up. He couldn't be sure, but Emu suspected that Sweep had something to do with it. He always had his hand in any local deal. It had been no surprise to any of the other residents when Sweep was unmasked as the puppet behind the property scam of the eighties. But Sue was a nice panda - wasn't she?

It had been nearly two weeks now since Emu had seen anyone. Necessity drove him to see if he could get to the corner shop on his own. Hauling himself up on his walker he edged painfully out of the living room into the hallway, dragging his legs behind him. After a few minutes' rest he felt able to negotiate the lip of the front door, and suddenly found himself in the front garden. Emboldened by his success he quickened his pace and started to cross the road, but all too soon. His legs, unused to the exertion, could take no more: as they buckled Emu fell in a heap in the middle of the road. He lay there for some time, grateful that he lived in a traffic calming zone. But he was growing weaker all the time, and desperately needed medical attention. He was only metres from the shop, but couldn't quite make it - and Sooty should have come out by now. He was about to shout for help, when he saw the net curtains twitching in the flat above the shop. As his eyes closed he could just make out Sweep... Sue... and Sooty... peering down naked in open amusement...

* * * *

Kermit sat like that for hours, too scared either to move or to determine his future. Then it occurred to him that he was never going to be accepted fully by either side. Already Oscar and Big Bird had accused him of forgetting his roots, turning his back on his brothers, and it was true that he no longer felt one of them. How could he stay? But he also sensed that the Muppets looked down on him, and he knew that he would have a limited shelf-life with Miss Piggy - deep in his heart he admitted that he was only a novelty to her, a toy rough diamond. It was clear that there was no other option left him now but to go underground - down at Fraggle Rock.


This is the fucking archive

Current clown:

18 December 2003. George writes: This List

Most recent ten:

15 December 2003. Jamie writes: Seven Songs
11 December 2003. Dan writes: Spinning Jenny
8 December 2003. Victor writes: Rock Opera
4 December 2003. Matt writes: The Mirrored Spheres of Patagonia
1 December 2003. George writes: Charm
27 November 2003. James writes: On Boxing
24 November 2003. Jamie writes: El Matador del Amor; Or, the Man who Killed Love
20 November 2003. Dan writes: Rights Management
17 November 2003. Victor writes: Walking on Yellow
13 November 2003. Matt writes: Disintermediation
(And alas we lost Neil, who last wrote Cockfosters)

Also by this clown:

8 December 2003. Victor writes: Rock Opera
17 November 2003. Victor writes: Walking on Yellow
27 October 2003. Victor writes: Our Tune
6 October 2003. Victor writes: Sucking face (in a public place)
15 September 2003. Victor writes: You got any ID?
25 August 2003. Victor writes: Blood on the Boulevard
4 August 2003. Victor writes: In (paren)theses
10 July 2003. Victor writes: Island Fling
19 June 2003. Victor writes: Back (back) and forth (and forth)
2 June 2003. Victor writes: 300 clowns, 13 eight-year olds
12 May 2003. Victor writes: The swings and roundabouts of outrageous fortune
21 April 2003. Victor writes: ...just sitting there quietly contemplating suicide
31 March 2003. Victor writes: Victoria
6 March 2003. Victor writes: Relevant experience
17 February 2003. Victor writes: You will eat chips and go nowhere
27 January 2003. Victor writes: A bushy fish for fishy Mr Bush (after Juvenal)
6 January 2003. Victor writes: The Accidental Voyeur
16 December 2002. Victor writes: Gripper goes bang
25 November 2002. Victor writes: Bediquette
4 November 2002. Victor writes: Where have all the spastics gone?
14 October 2002. Victor writes: An Immodest Proposal
23 September 2002. Victor writes: Fastscan masterplan
2 September 2002. Victor writes: Dry Humping Social Club
12 August 2002. Victor writes: Beat the Mongol
22 July 2002. Victor writes: What life is not
1 July 2002. Victor writes: Stupor heroes
6 June 2002. Victor writes: Dry
13 May 2002. Victor writes: Muppet Suite
18 April 2002. Victor writes: gingermingeninja
25 March 2002. Victor writes: Sodomize with Pukka Pies
28 February 2002. Victor writes: Dave's problem
4 February 2002. Victor writes: King of the Aisles
10 January 2002. Victor writes: Here come the decorator gimps.
17 December 2001. Victor writes: Make war, not supper.
22 November 2001. Victor writes: Cough
29 October 2001. Victor writes:
4 October 2001. Victor writes: Green Gauges
10 September 2001. Victor writes: Blind weed
16 August 2001. Victor writes: Snout!
23 July 2001. Victor writes: You're not going to put this in a clown are you?
28 June 2001. Victor writes: What is a droll?
4 June 2001. Victor writes: Burt Pakamak
10 May 2001. Victor writes: Board to Death
12 April 2001. Victor writes: Tricolon with anaphora?
22 March 2001. Victor writes: Point of View
26 February 2001. Victor writes: Goth's Dinner
1 Feburary 2001. Victor writes: Les Miserables
4 January 2001. Victor writes: Flat-packed furniture
14 December 2000. Victor writes: Deliverance
20 November 2000. Victor writes: Bottomry: Exorcising Ghosts
26 October 2000. Victor writes: Body Art
2 October 2000. Victor writes: Disney must die
7 September 2000. Victor writes: Ice-cream in Offworld
14 August 2000. Victor writes: I like sweets that taste of medicine
26 June 2000. Victor writes: I've seen the future, and it's feathered

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