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So Anyway

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Sooner or later, the royalty money is bound to stop coming in.

They don't talk about it, but Gonzo starts picking up odd jobs around the city. Performance art just doesn't fill bank accounts the way it used to.

Camilla starts looking into going back to school.

//

(When she was just a chick, she wanted to be a singer. More than anything else, she wanted to get up on a stage and sing for a packed house.

Don't be stupid, Camilla, they told her. Nobody's going to hire a chicken from the sticks to be a singer.

She sang anyway.)

//

It probably shouldn't be a surprise when Gonzo picks up a steady job as a plumber to help pay rent and groceries and Camilla's tuition. He was a plumber before he was a star, and the money has to come from somewhere.

She takes as many classes at a time as she can.

The sooner she gets her degree, the sooner she can help bring in an income.

Maybe then he'll start smiling more again.

//

(She went to LA hoping to be discovered.

She worked as a waitress, and she did retail, and she hung out with others hoping to make it big. She got her own place.

When one of her girlfriends brought her the listing, that The Muppet Show was looking for chickens for a tap-dancing act, she saw her future.

She didn't know how to tap dance.

She went anyway.)

//

Things escalate. Gonzo does better and better, earns a reputation as one of the best plumbers in the state.

Camilla gets her degree, and starts doing administrative work. It pays and she's always had a good eye for numbers.

One day they go out to lunch together, and someone stops by their table. "Hey," he says, "Didn't you used to be a Muppet?"

She never wants to see that look on Gonzo's face again.

//

(He brought her flowers and asked her out, and she didn't know what to say.

Things got complicated with him. He chased after her girlfriends, and the guest stars, and Miss Piggy, the show's beautiful star. He was a star himself. Sometimes she wasn't sure he even knew what she looked like.

She loved him anyway.)

//

Gonzo starts his own plumbing business.

Camilla quits her job to run the administration for him.

It's just a little homegrown business, Gonzo's Royal Flush, a truck and an office and the best plumbing equipment they can reasonably afford, but they're not working for anyone but themselves, and that's a good feeling.

He starts smiling again, and so does she.

Some days, she doesn't even miss singing.

//

(She hadn't expected to be included in the movie. It was going to be about how the gang had first met, how they'd become THE MUPPETS and gotten their starts in the business. She hadn't been part of that.

But one day she found herself signing for a copy of the script sent overnight mail, and when she sat down to read it, there was her name.

She went to talk to Kermit about it. She wasn't Gonzo's girlfriend when he met the rest of the gang. She hadn't even met him until he was already an established star.

Kermit told her not to worry about it. They were taking some liberties with the story. He couldn't imagine doing this without the two of them there as one unit, Gonzo-and-Camilla.

She hadn't expected to be part of the Muppets' big-screen break.

She took the role anyway.)

//

First Gonzo hires an assistant to help him out with smaller jobs.

Then Camilla hires a second plumber and buys another truck; they're getting too many calls for just Gonzo to handle, and she doesn't want to turn jobs down.

Then another employee, and another, and a bigger office, and another truck, and --

Before she knows what's going on, she's running a business that sprawls over half the state, and Gonzo hardly ever goes out on jobs himself any more.

If she stops to think about it, she'll get overwhelmed, so she hires a secretary and just focuses on her job.

//

(She sang, she danced, she helped him with his performances. Sometimes, late at night, they discussed ideas for his next stunt, coming up with widler and wilder concepts.

She wrote home to the coop frequently. Doing well, keeping busy, enjoying the work. Hope everything's good there. She didn't visit.

She wasn't Miss-Piggy-level famous, but she got fan mail, and she got stopped on the street by people -- girls, mostly, young dancers -- who wanted to know how she broke into the business. She didn't know what to tell them. I got lucky didn't seem a satisfactoy answer.

She smiled anyway.)

//

They've got the biggest plumbing business around and they're probably never going to have to worry about money again. Camilla spends all her time worrying about making the numbers add up correctly, instead, and lets Gonzo worry about making sure they stay the best.

When she walks around a corner, intending to talk to Gonzo about his newest order of putty, and sees Kermit standing there, her first thought is that she's going to have to talk Gonzo out of accepting a plea to sentiment to get the old gang back together for whatever cause Kermit has this time.

Then she sees the dejected look on Kermit's face, and the frozen expression on Gonzo's, and she knows what actually happened.

And she knows what she has to do.

//

(The final day of recording the show after being handed the cancellation notice, they all gathered in the green room for a final strike party.

She couldn't really believe that it was over. That it wasn't just some cruel joke. Surely at any moment a studio executive would burst in to announce that the show was continuing. Right?

She wound up outside with Gonzo, as the party slowly dissolved, everyone reluctant to leave but knowing they had to.

He looked at her, and looked down the street, and asked if she was coming.

She didn't know what was going to happen next.

She followed him anyway.)

//

They wind up on the roof, Gonzo in the stunt suit he'd thought she didn't know he wore under his work clothes, his arm around her.

It's like the old days.

Explosions and jumping and the risk of death and there's no need to do it this way, but doing it this way gets them attention.

She hasn't felt so happy in years.

//

(She got her first attack of stage fright ever, standing in the wings waiting for her cue to go on with the girls.

When Kermit had been arranging the list of acts for the telethon, she'd asked him to let her sing, and he'd said yes. She'd picked the song, and organized the girls to do backup, and planned the whole act.

It had been so long since she'd performed for an audience.

What if she'd lost her touch?

But Scooter cued her, and she took her place behind the curtain, and listened to Kermit introduce her, and saw Gonzo giving her a thumbs-up from the wings.

And she sang anyway.)