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June 12, 2011 / milesandhisfavorites

The Hensonian Magic Part Two: On Her Mildred’s Secret Service

Sesame Street.  One of the most famous Muppet locations, and the setting for my second case as the carrier of Jim Henson’s OTHER legacy, being a Muppet war hero while combating the evil Darkhands.  Me and Mildred Huxtetter were investigating reports that, at the Furry Arms Hotel, Mr. Johnson’s luggage was being pilfered.  He had found traces of red fur, so we anticipated a Fiery (strange creatures from the Labyrinth) working for the Darkhands.  Don’t know what was in that luggage, so I could never have guessed just how much trouble we had gotten ourselves into at the time.

Sesame Street was exactly like your average Upper East Side neighborhood, with a little Leave It To Beaver thrown in for good measure.  Y’know, except for the felt-skinned, yarn-haired citizens.  Me and Mildred decided to stake out the alleys, to see if any suspicious characters entered or exited the Furry Arms.  That was a problem, because most characters who entered or exited the Furry Arms were suspicious-looking, one way or the other.  Finally, we decided to enlist some assistance.

Our contact was scheduled to meet us at Hooper’s Store, at noon sharp.  But it was 12:15, and he still wasn’t there.  Finally, I asked Mildred.

“Where in Ultragorgon’s name-”

A gasp went up from most of the restaurant.  Recently, I had accidentally unleashed the gigantic mechanical dragon, and only barely managed to recapture him.  I continued.

“Where in STRANGEPORK’S name is that guy?”

Mildred checked her C Phone for a moment, then replied.

“Looks like he won’t be here until twelve-thirty.  Had a 12:02 shearing.”


That’s when the door opened, casting a blinding glare around the establishment.  A small shadow in a trench coat and fedora walked in, jumped up onto one of the barstools, and looked at us directly.  He cocked his head to the side, shaking off the coat and hat, revealing himself to be-a sheep.  He cleared his throat, and then spoke in a German accent.

“I am Detective Wolle, SSPD German Precinct.  I hear you need some help.  How can I be of assistance?”

Okay, so I had faced down giant cyborg dragons and falls from three hundred-story buildings, but still, I had not met any German sheep detectives, even ones I regularly watched on Sesamstrasse, the German co-production of Sesame Street.  I fell off of my barstool.  After recovering from a massive sheep-induced headache, Mildred explained.  “You see,” she explained.  “Wolle is one of the top Darkhand experts in the world-any world, actually.  If anyone knows who to arrest on Sesame Street, it’s him.”  So, we took our positions in the alley next to 123 Apartments, and began the second stakeout.  A couple hours in, something whizzed past my head.  All of us turned around.  Mildred pulled out her transparent plastic laser gun, and automatically fired.  It hit a brick wall, narrowly missing a guy in a trench coat and Zorro-esque hat.  He had green skin and a stare that could cut diamonds in half.  He grabbed the brim of his hat, and instantly, the rim of the headgear sprouted moving chainsaw blades.  He threw it at us.

We ducked behind a dumpster and Mildred instantly started aiming her gun at the mysterious killer.  Between frightened gasps, she managed to get out.  “It’s Lefty!  Top Darkhand assassin!”  Okay, from what I could gather, we were being attacked by Lefty the Salesman, a sleazy pitchman who could somehow work up a clever marketing scheme for air.  And he was trying to kill us.  Yeah.  I worked up the nerve to look out from behind the dumpster, and saw that Lefty had caught his hat of death, and was currently aiming at us again.  He threw it, but he had really bad aim, and the hat hit the fire escape above us.  No, wait.  He didn’t miss.  Wolle realized it milliseconds after I did, and spoke up.

“Move, move!”

We ran out into the street just moments before the fire escape broke free of the apartment side and crushed the dumpster-and us, had we not figured out Lefty’s idea.  Unfortunately, we ran smack into somebody, knocking us both to the cobblestones.  He was about a head shorter than me, and had blue fur, not to mention a near spherical head.  That’s when I realized who he was.  We had just knocked over one of the most famous Sesame Street characters of all time.  “Hello,” said Grover.  “Would you mind helping a furry, lovable old monster up?”

After helping Grover up and dusting him off, we realized that we had at least one assassin on our trail, an unsolved case, and a 98.2% chance of death.  98.3% if we didn’t get cracking soon.  So we decided that we were finished with stakeouts.  Wolle issued a warrant for any Fieries in the area.  Despite there only being seven Fieries anywhere on Sesame Street, dozens more started rioting and protesting in The Arbor, the section of street between Hooper’s Store and 123 Apartments, apparently screaming racism.  They were waving signs that read things like MIGHT AS WELL DUNK US IN THE BOG and LABYRINTHIANS ARE PEOPLE TOO.  It took us an hour to release the warrants and stave off the protesters, but by that time, Mr. Johnson had reported another luggage theft, which left me wondering something: what would a Darkhand possibly want with a businessman?

The answer came in a quick Muppenet search in the library: Mr. Johnson, a blue-skinned mustachioed investor who published restaurant reviews in his spare time, had been investing in one particular company: LUDO & SON SECURITY SYSTEMS, the most popular security firm in this dimension.  They developed such revolutionary designs as Memory Erase Oubliettes and Stench-Proof Holding Cells.  They ALSO happened to be the firm behind much of the Goblin City Penitentiary’s security, a place that held many top Darkhands, including one of their most important leaders-Ultragorgon.  The Darkhands seemed to be planning a jailbreak.  Or at least, that seemed to be it.

Me, Mildred, and Wolle had our motive, but we didn’t have our suspects.  So we gathered the only real evidence we had-a small plastic bag of red fur-and talked to Mr. Azturpelean, this dimension’s most prominent color expert.  He worked in the local laundromat’s complaint department, which is where we found him, hunched over his cubicle’s wooden desk, reading what appeared to be a thick school textbook.  He looked up and saw us.  Azturpelean slammed his book shut, and I could see the title clearly: A LAYMAN’S HISTORY OF COBALT.  It was written by himself.  The guy’s eyes went wide.  He spoke in a thick Southern accent.

“Gah!  Don’t know about you folks, but when I wrote this five years ago, I didn’t know what I was talking about!  Gengaheimer discovered the pigeon’s attraction to Cobalt Subtype C41, not Cobalt Main Type, Class 9-G!”

He took out a red crayon and opened the book again, scribbling Xs and circles furiously.  I didn’t know what he was talking about, so I just told him.

“We need your help analyzing what we suspect to be Fiery fur.”

I held out the baggie, and Azturpelean plucked it from my fingers.  He grabbed what looked like a clear plastic hot glue gun, a rectangular  slide as long as my thumb, and a small microscope.  He hot glued a sample of the fur to the slide, and put it under the microscope.  He stared down the microscope for what seemed to be forever, checking dog-eared pages from other textbooks written by him, such as THE PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS OF ORANGE AND GOLDENROD and SPORTSFRAGGLE DERMATOLOGY.  Finally, he looked up.

“Aha!  It is apparent that you DO indeed have Fiery fur, but no Fiery of this species has ever been seen on Sesame Street!  The air quality is too dense for them to survive!  You have discovered the fur of a rare Hedge, or Dwarf, Fiery, the smallest of the ten different Fiery species!  They only survive in extremely thin air, such as the product of the also rare Suffocation Hedge, native only to the Labyrinth!  I don’t know how he would do it, except for-huh, that’s pretty clever.”

Wolle spoke up.

“What?  What was pretty clever?”

“Recently, Dr. Nucleus Von Fission has discovered a way to project solid imaging onto even the coldest, most airless moon of Koozebane!  He calls this the Air Quality Holoscope!  But this is impossible!  He told me he doesn’t plan to put the Holoscope onto the market until he can fix all of the… er, bugs in the system.  He would have to have been attacked, and since Fission is very brave, the attackers would have to have been extremely menacing!”

That was when the wall of the laundromat exploded into plaster and dust.  Lefty walked in, very calmly, followed by a monster the size of a draft horse.  It was walking on all fours, and had light blue fur, with a head mostly covered in indigo and yellow hair.  The monster, who I recognized as a very large, very menacing Mel from Monster Clubhouse.  He was followed by what looked like the top half of an egg, only it had a neon Christmas wreath stuck on its chest, and there were two yellow eyes stuck on a metal rod that protruded from its head.  Sam, The Super Automated Ghost Of Christmas Future, from one of the Muppets’ many, many Christmas specials.  Lefty flicked his wrist, and the hat’s familiar chainsaw blades started whirring.  He shouted.


Mel roared something in gibberish, and stampeded towards the cubicle.  I reached backwards, my hand randomly slapping against a bookshelf.  I hurled THE BOOK OF TURQUOISE FACTS, VOLUME 8 at Mel.  The book slapped the side of Mel’s face and sent the monster reeling.  Sam’s eyes glowed hot red, and twin laser beams shot out of them-directly at me.  I blocked the blast with a copy of HAVE LEMON, WILL TRAVEL, and snatched a glass of water off of Azturpelean’s desk, tossing it at Sam.  The glass hit dead-on, splashing Sam with water and causing him to explode into chunks of scorched metal.  One down, two to go.

Mel, recovering from a nasty paper cut, bounded towards me, roaring with triumph.  Looking for something else to defend myself with, I grabbed a black pen and clicked it.  To my utter surprise, the pen expanded until it was a two-foot-long riding crop, with a fiberglass shaft covered in what appeared to be green fur.  I looked in the direction of Azturpelean, who was currently stabbing at Lefty with a No. 2 pencil.

“Why does your pen turn into a riding crop?”

Just then, I felt hot, muggy breath on the back of my neck.  I turned around to see Mel, who hissed blue saliva in my face.  I slapped him upside the head with the crop, and the monster went down hard.  I heard a gagging sound, and then the sound of someone falling to the floor, having been incapacitated by a pencil-which is, actually, what had happened.  When I looked to see, I saw Mr. Azturpelean slumped unconscious, right next to Mildred Huxtetter and Wolle. Lefty was standing over all three, cleaning his teeth with the graphite end of a pencil.  He spoke again.

“Hm.  Seems you’ve either destroyed or knocked out my entourage.  You’re better than I thought you were.  But no matter.  The holographic version of the Hedge Fiery we recruited has already retrieved enough information to unlock the cells of our leaders.  In a few short hours, we all shall be free!  And, on the plus side, LUDO & SON’s good name will be tarnished forever.  Never liked that fellow, way too fuzzy.”

Just then, I got an idea.  It would involve all of my Muppet knowledge, a few bad puns, and a lot of stupidity, but I knew a way to defeat Lefty once and for all.  I grabbed a copy of FORTY-SEVEN WAYS TO SUGAR LIMES, and stuck it on the end of the riding crop.  Lefty just chuckled.

“A book on the end of a horse control tool?  Pathetic.”

I then waved the crop in the air and whistled as loud as I could.  There was an awkward silence for a moment, and just as Lefty was reaching for his hat brim, there was a loud rustling noise outside.  Through the hole in the wall made by the three Darkhands stampeded a multicolored cloud the size of a minivan.  When looking closely, I saw that the cloud was made of writhing caterpillars, no wait-worms.  BOOKworms.  Lefty shrieked like a little girl and attempted to chop a hole in the laundromat wall just before the bookworm swarm completely engulfed him, and carried him off to the police station.  Later investigation showed that his luggage, stashed in a 123 Apartment Suite, contained important security codes that, if released, could help free Ultragorgon and several other top Darkhands.  All in a day’s work.


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