When we last left our intrepid travelers, Pooh was still MIA and the rest of our group was huddled outside a darkened warehouse watching a shadowed character ring a tiny bell. Their quest? Locate the three Ghosts from “The Muppet Christmas Carol” and also the “slab, stick and stone.”
Suddenly, a frightened looking rat zooms around the corner yelling, “Felicia! Felicia!” The group turns to watch and the shadowed character slips inside the building. Further attempts to open the door fails, and the team is despondent. How will they ever find Pooh now?
<Creak> Suddenly the door opens and who should appear? Jack!
His appearance is unexpected, but not wholly unpleasant. As the team crowds around him to ask after Pooh, a well-dressed pig with two daughters in tow appears. Unable to not offer gentlemanly assistance, Jack approaches and is quickly felled by a one-two to the jaw. This pig is not easily impressed.
As Spud helps Jack up, the door opens once again to reveal Pooh! With singular focus, our favorite silly old bear follows the pig around the corner and out of sight. After a moment of recovery, everyone follows.
Welcome to market street in London! Every available space is crammed with carts of goods, merchants, and singing vegetables. The pig and her daughters (now believed to be Mrs. Cratchit!) disappear into a row home on the west side of the street. After some discussion, the group approaches the door and knocks.
“Come in, — come in! And know me better, man” The door swings open to reveal a large, bearded man — the Ghost of Christmas Present! They enter the Cratchit home, into a large room with a fireplace and a table set for 5. A small chair sits next to the fireplace. Where is the family? How to set the scene to keep the story moving?
After a bit of searching, and not a lot of help from the ghost, Chris locates a small broom closet — but the door is locked tight! With a bit of snack-based encouragement, Pooh open it. A lot. Inside, a small crutch — perhaps a companion to the small chair by the fireplace? With Jack’s help, Julie places the crutch gently in its rightful place. The Cratchit family appears, enjoying a Christmas dinner … all is right in the Muppet Christmas Carol World.
Exiting with cheers and high-fives all around, the group is stopped cold by the sight of: The Ghost of Christmas Past.
Suddenly it’s Christmas Eve again, and the team is back at the schoolhouse — back to the start of their entrance into the world of Muppet London.
Once again, young Scrooge works his figures at his small desk as his teacher, Sam the Eagle, watches. Attempts to communicate with the characters are unsuccessful. All the team can do is wait to see what happens. The shelves on the wall of the schoolhouse fall, sending Rizzo and Gonzo tumbling … then suddenly the atmosphere goes “wavy” and everything re-sets.
Team huddle! During this go-round Chris manages to take the slate away from young Scrooge, and Brooke his chalk. Julie completes the math figures on the slate and Chris falls to the floor, blinded. (Oh yeah, that’s a super-charged magical slate now!) Sam turns to Julie and begins to speak — he believes her to be Scrooge, and is telling her about her new opportunities in business. The team has failed. After the shelves fall, the scene resets again.
Attempt number two finds Julie ALMOST completing the figures, but then giving the slate and chalk back to Scrooge to complete. Chris falls unconscious, Pooh falls … and Scrooge helps him up? [Insert much discussion and buzzing about Scrooge being able to see and interact with Pooh now.] Scrooge looks around, confused, and walks. Out. Of. The. Schoolhouse.
The shelf falls.
The room does not reset!
The team is literally frozen to the spot. (Thanks to a Full Stop played by Julie.)
As each slowly unfreezes, the group takes stock: the slate is no longer enchanted. Scrooge is not at his desk. How to get everything back to “normal” to get everything moving again?
With work, and bribes, Pooh is convinced to bring Scrooge back inside to his desk. (There was a bit of desk-throwing and wanton destruction mixed in, but who needs to read all of that?) The slate is reinstated, Scrooge is at his desk, and the schoolhouse is put back into its former order. (Thank goodness Spud has some furniture repair skills.) Jack quietly asks Scrooge to turn in his slate to Sam, which he does. The slate glows, and the group MOVES ON!
Knowing the next destination must surely be the cemetery, Julie casts a spell to bring the group there directly. In the distance, among the headstones, is Scrooge in his nightshirt and a hooded figure: the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. As the group approaches, Scrooge fades away. After a few attempts to communicate with the Ghost, Chris decides to throw snowballs at it. This first misses. The second — does not.
The team suddenly finds themselves dumped unceremoniously at the Ghost’s feet. This doesn’t look good.
SUDDENLY Pooh casts a 60-second reset spell, rewinding the action. Jack makes sure Chris doesn’t throw any snowballs this time around.
[Insert lengthy group argument here about how Chris did it for a reason and how they ruined his plan and he could have gotten all the answers from Death if they just would have trusted him.]
Scrooge disappears again, and the letters on his headstone jumble. As the team peppers the Ghost with questions (which are abjectly ignored) the grave next to them starts to rumble. As the earth cracks, a skinny statue pushes through the earth … it’s a … rubber chicken? [Yes, of course it’s Fozzywig’s grave!]
Suddenly, our brave army is engaged by 21 rubber chickens. [The sound, you can imagine, is deafening.]
Chris attacks first, wielding his wand to communicate with the plants and weeds of the cemetery — he takes down 5 chickens. Brooke, being a kind and gentle soul: runs for her life, ducking behind the headstone for cover. Julie digs into her pack and uncovers a bear horn, using it to stun 3 chickens. Shannon swings her staff, hitting three more and killing one. Spud brandishes a set of wire cutters from his pack, but unfortunately misses everything but Shannon. Pooh reveals the Honey Staff and attacks the remaining chickens with an army of 55 bees. There are only two left! Chris smacks one with a flashlight — SQUAWK. Brooke takes down the last with a dramatic tail drop!
VICTORY!!!! And the headstone at Scrooge’s grave is glowing — the letters are back in order! The group troops out of the cemetery to see a parade celebrating Scrooge and his new outlook on life. A portal appears, and all confidently step through … and fall about half a story to the floor of the Wilderness Lodge lobby. Ouch.
Better luck next time, huh?
MVP - Pooh
Oh, Bother! - Chris
Lights up on our intrepid crew: Spud, Pooh, Chris, Julie, Shannon and Brooke.
Sound up to … yelling. So much yelling.
Our heroes pile in to the boss’ office, hopeful that will make him stop.
What’s happened? There is a report of vandalism at the Wilderness Lodge Resort! The team is to report to the site, meet with security and the client contact immediately! (Faster, if possible.)
After a fairly drawn-out process of gearing up, “All I got was a bag full of ‘no’” grumbles Brooke, it’s a quick trip to the Wilderness Lodge. Gasps of awe escape lips — the lobby does look lovely when it’s decorated for the holiday season.
At the foot of the absolutely gigantic Christmas tree stands a security guard. A scared & feeling quite unsecure security guard. With a bit of prodding, he agrees to demonstrate the problem. Approaching the fireplace, he flips a switch to turn the lights on the tree.
Suddenly, a beautiful pine lounge chair goes flying into the tree … and disappears.
Looking around, our heroes do notice a few holes in the otherwise organized lobby furniture layout. General speculation and confusion follows.
Suddenly … Spud becomes very interested in something at the base of the tree — Rizzo the Rat! To prevent any unnecessary death (and the inability to question Rizzo about his appearance) Spud is knocked unconscious. (For his own good, of course.)
In the meantime, the rest of the team makes their way into the Whispering Canyon restaurant, and have a meeting with Kermit — their client contact. He informs them that the Ghosts have gone missing from the Muppet Christmas Carol, and their help is needed. They must go through the door and obtain the slab, stick and stone to put things right again. (And hopefully return the Wilderness Lodge lobby to its intended arrangement.)
Wait … what’s that noise? Brad! Rizzo! This could be bad.
As Spud and Rizzo circle the lobby tree in a frenzy, the rest of the group is unsure how to intervene. Julie attempts an action, but it is turned against her and she instead joins Spud in his merry chase of Rizzo. Knowing that there is no good end to this romp, Shannon whisks Rizzo to safety at the top of the tree.
Suddenly, Rizzo jumps! … and [poof] disappears into the tree. Could this be the “door” Kermit spoke of?
Cautiously, Shannon engages her grappling hook and shimmies down the rope … [poof]
Julie tosses her hook … [poof] and the rope keep going! Quickly the remaining team grabs Spud and the rope and are yanked into the tree to … London, England??
Yes, it’s a thoroughfare of Industrial Revolution London — the very same place A Muppet Christmas Carol takes place. Momentarily stunned, the group takes stock … and Pooh walks off down the street. The remaining crew discusses next steps, reviewing Kermit’s words: the Ghosts are missing, and they must obtain the slab, stick and stone to put things back to rights.
Unsure of their place in the timeline, there is discussion about where to start. Looking around, they discover they are in front of young Scrooge’s school and decide to explore it — hoping for clues.
Inside, they find a young Scrooge and teacher (Sam the Eagle.) Chris engages his special skill: identifying magic. Young Scrooge’s slate is glowing … could this be the “slab” that Kermit spoke of?
Unfortunately, our heroes discover they are not able to grasp or interact with young Scrooge — as if they are ghosts themselves! Perhaps they are not in the correct timeline for recovery? They decide to locate Pooh and see what shenanigans have befallen merry old England.
Thanks to a finding spell from Julie, they quickly arrive at the waterfront tracking Pooh-sized golden footprints. As they follow, they approach a warehouse with dark, hulking silhouette. A bat with a peg leg approaches, warning them to steer clear, but when have they ever taken advice (and from a bat with a peg leg? Never!) The dark shape responds without words … but with the ringing of a small bell from a white-gloved hand.
A shadow looms large over our heroes … what approaches in the darkness?
Find out … next time.