Count vonCount considered the stack of papers concerning the things that Scooter Dee had accomplished. His paperwork organizing the permits and building for a theater were in order, and a building had been purchased and prepared, the title in the name of the New Muppet Theater. Stacks of papers evaluating local performing talent, comedians, singers, dancers, as well as the numerous stage and lighting personnel. Current contact information for many of the former employees of Kermit's theater. A listing of all the local inspectors, police, and politicians who could hold influence over the theater, as well as a few notes on the politicians and their weaknesses. All seeming quite brilliant, though he was not an expert on running a theater.
On the other hand, he had attempted to frame him for the murder of Kent Lanomer, appallingly uncouth acting agent, and he had mortally offended the numbers. Not quite mortal yet, they still screamed and whispered for Scooter's blood, crying out to be avenged for the insult done to them. To give each piece the same number... to suggest that such an insult could have been the work of himself, Count vonCount!
Scooter Dee would have to die. He would make a point of complimenting his thorough arrangements first. Perhaps Kermit and the others would wish to return to theatrical work, perhaps as a memorial to Scooter? He would have to ask Kermit about that before he killed Scooter.
Kermit was the only name missing from the list of people in the theater papers. The absence was a change from Scooter's normal thorough and effective work. No matter, the Count had memorized Kermit's number two years and five months ago.
With particular attention to each number, he called the frog. There were some things that Kermit was better suited to attend to than he himself was, and the running of a theater was one such thing.
The conversation reminded Count vonCount once again that he didn’t always understand Kermit. After what felt like several confusing digressions into matters of careers and entertainment trends, and more comprehensible questions of what the others of the theater had been doing, Kermit had concluded that if some of the others were agreeable, he would restart the theater. The question would be some of the regular entertainers – they would have no shortage of guests, and the Count knew that most of the old hands would jump at the chance to follow Kermit again. Dwight and Thudge and Sweetums had pledged themselves to the frog long ago, and they and their kin took such matters very seriously. He knew that Piggy would jump at the chance, seeing it as a way to once again court the frog, though it had not worked in the past.
Shaking his head, the Count decide to permit Kermit to speak to the others, knowing that the frog could achieve much better results with people than he could achieve, unless the goal was terrified obedience or dismemberment. He bundled the papers into a folder, and carefully tied and sealed it, before summoning a group of bats to deliver the folder to Kermit, at the mill pond near Gastonbury Lane.
He would attend to the loose end of Scooter Dee and his soon to be mortal offense against the numbers. The Judge had declared that two psychiatrists would need to evaluate Scooter and he would then be placed either in prison or secured in an asylum. In these modern days, so many doctors, both those who treated the body and those who treated the mind, were reluctant to speak of their patients. He could persuade them, given time, but that would be… crude. There were easier ways to find Scooter Dee.
It took him only thirteen minutes to gather a silver platter that measured twenty three inches across, a jar of sea salt, and a pitcher of water. Many obsessive mystics would be dismayed that the water had come from the tap, was no more than Los Angeles city tap water, complete with one hundred assorted trace minerals and chemicals, instead of purified and filtered water, or water drawn from a natural spring by the light of the moon. He’d tested carefully, and so long as the water was clear instead of muddy or filled with algae, it made no difference for scrying. His fingers carefully dropped the salt into runes, and traced a thin line around the edge of the platter. Focusing his mind on Scooter Dee, he poured a little water onto the silver, “Show me vhere he is hiding…”
The water rippled, and formed an image, Scooter Dee in soft clothing gathered at the waist with elastic, his feet swimming in open toed slippers as he scrawled on a sheet of paper, a listing of names, a scattering of dates. It appeared that Scooter Dee was not enjoying his confinement, was eager to be at work on a theater. He lounged on a narrow bed with a brown blanket, set against blandly beige walls, with a tiny window that had a mesh of wires within the glass. Smiling, the Count pulled his scrying, needing to see the outside of the building. Ideally with a name.
The bland little room proved to be in a bland little hallway with beige carpet. The bland hallway passed a beige counter, with a tired looking woman in dark green medical scrubs, with short dark hair touched with grey. The hallway continued to a pair of double doors, secured with one of those little electronic pass codes, of the sort that held ten numbers into a combination, though he couldn’t calculate how many possibilities until he knew how many digits were in the pass code. Five digits in the code would permit 1,486,719,515 different possible codes, and he knew that some of them took six, or even more digits in their codes before they would open. Delightful… Past the double doors secured by the delightful electronic security, he observed another bland hallway, though this one had tan carpet with brown stripes. A large cart held folded towels and sheets, and he could see other people in the soft clothing meandering along the hallway, sometimes beckoned by other women in scrubs, though not all of them clad in green. Pulling further, he found large glass doors, also secured by an electronic code, and a parking area. The outer walls were white washed plaster, reminiscent of the old Spanish missions, though the architecture was different enough that he knew it was not an original building. A wooden sign revealed the name – Brentwood Hollows, home for the mentally disturbed.
It appeared that the two psychologists had decided that young Scooter Dee was quite mad. Very sensible of them, otherwise he might have had to go have words with them on the matters of sanity and safety. The scrying didn’t last very long, and he lost the image shortly after looking at the sign and the parking area, which were surrounded by a dry yard, a few geometrically pruned shrubberies, and a pair of palm trees that leaned away from the building. That was not a problem, as he had the name of the facility, and could easily determine the location with that and the assistance of a local telephone directory.
Sometimes the modern world was a wonderful thing. It was so easy to find places and people now. Kermit would handle the new theater. Scooter wouldn’t be going anywhere. The psychologists didn’t need his attention. That only left one small matter.
* * * * * * * * *
Lindsey MacDonald considered himself to be a smart man. He felt that his excellent grades in college showed this, as did the assortment of cases that he’d taken and won, and the way his successful string had continued at Wolfram & Hart. Granted, there were days when he wondered if working here was particularly wise, but that was a different question. Glancing at the newspaper, he congratulated himself on not taking Scooter Dee as a client. It would only have led to pain, perhaps pain and death.
Pausing, Lindsey considered that line of thought. What had happened to whoever had been foolish or desperate or ignorant enough to take Scooter as a client? For that matter, what would happen to the legal obligations and possessions of Scooter Dee now?
He went to the lower hall, and gestured for one of the paralegals to approach. The minions of the legal world, these people did so many of the tedious tasks that made his job much easier. The approaching person could pass for human, though she had a shock of bright pink hair that fell unevenly to her shoulders. He didn’t know or care if it was a fashion statement or a sign of non-human heritage.
“Did you need some assistance, sir?” There was a resonance to the paralegal’s voice that gave a bit more weight to mixed heritage, as well as traces of an accent.
“There was a recent trial for Scooter Dee, who was convicted of killing Kent Lanomer, an acting agent. I want to know what happened to Scooter Dee’s attorney, and what the current state of Dee’s legal obligations are now that he was sentenced,” Lindsey gave the woman the information and what he wanted, confident that anyone working here could get the rest from those pieces.
“Was the case one of ours, sir?” her voice was low, and she tilted her head to the side, looking at him with pale grey eyes.
“I hope not. Certainly not one taken by any of our more experienced lawyers.”
“I’ll have a preliminary for you by three, sir.”
* * * * * * * * * *
Kermit the frog studied the list of names on his desk. Piggy and Gonzo were delighted at the idea. Animal and Dr Teeth had been thrilled, and said they’d get the rest of the band together. Bunsen and Beaker preferred to remain with Muppet Labs, though they had offered to let him borrow one of the Beaker copies. Guy Smiley had begged to be an announcer, apparently the independent channel that he’d been serving as a News Anchor for had gone under with the recent change in broadcast legislation, and a small matter of the owner’s taxes not being paid for the last seven years. Thudge and Sweetums and the stage crew were in, almost before he’d finished the question. The Count would probably be offended if he didn’t ask if he wanted to do the books for this theater, just like he’d done the ones before.
Of course, running a theater took a great deal of work. He wasn’t certain how he would have managed before without someone to assist him, and whatever his faults, Scooter had been a capable assistant. Perhaps he could see if his nephew Robin wanted in on the new theater?
Considering all that Scooter had done to get a new theater going, it would be a shame to let all that work go to waste. Kermit had never appreciated waste, be it time, resources, or money. “The Muppet Theater will come back. After all, if someone’s willing to kill for it, who am I to argue?”
Too bad Scooter wouldn’t be able to see it happen.
End Muppet Contracts 14: Loose Ends.