I’m somehow past halfway in my Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment of Arthur Scott Bailey’s . The whole of the MiSTing, whether I finish the book or not, should appear at this link.
The story so far: After a life spent making everyone around him unhappy Grumpy Weasel has started sweet-talking Old Mrs Hen. He even went into the henhouse to make sure the rat hole is not something his mischievous cousin Peter Mink can get through. And having said that, he went into the henhouse and vanished. What’s his game? Let’s find out.
I’m thinking to put the explanations of more obscure riffs at the bottom, so you can have the fun of trying to guess what I’m on about before I spoil the joke.
TOM: That V is actually the top half of a much bigger X.
> THE GREAT MYSTERY
CROW: Push the button, Watson.
> The story soon spread all around the farmyard,
JOEL: Sky falling. Huh. Well, it’ll do that.
> fat Mrs. Hen
TOM: How fat is she?
> had been seen talking with no less a rascal than
> Grumpy Weasel.
CROW: But not more a rascal than two Tommy Foxes less one Peter Mink!
> Everybody told her that it was a dangerous thing to
TOM: Well if everyone told you it was dangerous to jump off a cliff … ?
> and that it was a wonder she had escaped,
JOEL: I wonder how she escaped!
TOM: Everyone’s asking!
> until Mrs. Hen
> began to feel that she was quite the most important person in
> the neighborhood.
CROW: o/` Who are the people in your neighborhood? o/`
> Even old dog Spot asked her some questions
> one day—some of which she could answer, and some of which
> she could not.
TOM: Why does it rain?
CROW: What’s the capital of Nebraska?
JOEL: How do you know if it’s a leap year?
CROW: Why does it Nebraska?
TOM: How are trains?
JOEL: Will I be licked by purple?
CROW: How many are ‘a book’?
> For one thing, she couldn’t (or wouldn’t) tell what
> way Grumpy left the farmyard.
TOM: As a hen it’s important she protect her sources.
> "He just jumped back and was
> gone before I knew it," she said.
CROW: [ As Spot ] ‘So you don’t know he’s gone.’
JOEL: [ As Mrs Hen ] ‘Know who’s gone?’
> "That’s what they all say," said Spot. "He’s so quick
> you never can see him go."
TOM: [ As Spot ] ‘But I want you to try.’
> Now, Mrs. Hen ought to have explained that Grumpy
> Weasel disappeared from inside the henhouse.
CROW: I think she could explain from wherever she happened to be.
> But she was not
> a person of much sense.
JOEL: She’s more of a raconteur.
> By that time she began to think that
> perhaps Grumpy Weasel was as bad as the neighbors had said.
TOM: ‘Really? *He’s* he guy who keeps putting NewsNation on the TV at the car dealership?’
> And she was afraid that her relations might find fault with
JOEL: Your tail feathers are out of order, clean it up or we’ll report you to the Hen Owners Association.
> if they learned that she had invited Grumpy to enter
> their house.
TOM: If he doesn’t come to her house how will Grumpy be one of the comfortable people?
> Silly Mrs. Hen decided that she wouldn’t tell
> what she had done.
CROW: They’re going to suspect something when they find a weasel in the pantry, though.
> But she never tired of talking about what
> she called "the great mystery"
TOM: How to unite gravity and electromagnetism!
> —meaning "Where did Grumpy
> Weasel go?"
JOEL: I love these ‘Where’s Weasel?’ puzzles.
> It was simple enough.
TOM: The henhouse was twins the whole time!
> To escape meeting old dog Spot,
> Grumpy Weasel had crawled into the old rat hole.
JOEL: [ Shakes his fist ]
> It suited
> him quite well to do that, for more than one reason.
TOM: Why do we even *have* a hole that makes rats old?
> Not only
> did he avoid trouble, but he found the other end of the rat
JOEL: It’s this great little dive, they do karaoke Mondays, it’s awesome.
> Silly Mrs. Hen had done exactly as he had hoped. She
> had shown him a way to get into the henhouse at night in
> spite of locks and bolts and doors.
CROW: The secret was asking nicely.
> And Grumpy Weasel went
> off to the woods well pleased with himself.
TOM: [ As Grumpy ] ‘I’m so happy I have this deep hole in the ground to keep my water!’
JOEL: [ Puts his hand on TOM’s shoulder. ]
> "Perhaps, after all, it pays to be pleasant," he
CROW: It’s nice to be nice … to the nice.
> —just as if that was a reason! But he stopped short all
> at once.
JOEL: Grumpy’s heart grew three sizes that day … to four below average.
> "There’s that stupid Mrs. Hen," he cried aloud. "She
> was pleasant; but it won’t pay her, in the end!"
CROW: Great little sociopath we’ve got for our protagonist here.
TOM: He’s *not* a sociopath. He’s a weasel, he doesn’t have a theory of mind in other people so he can’t disregard his theory of mind in other people.
CROW: … What?
> So he
> decided on the spot that he would keep on being surly.
JOEL: Chicks and ducks and geese better scurry before they’re taken out by the surly.
> would be much easier for him, anyhow.
TOM: Growing as a person is so hard.
> That very night Grumpy Weasel stole back to the
CROW: Hens running around wondering where all their back is.
> And he was just about to creep up to the old rat
TOM: It’s $5 Mystery Beer Pitcher night!
> pausing first to take a searching look all around, when
> he saw a motionless figure sitting on a low-hanging limb of a
> tree near-by.
CROW: [ Gasping ] Gargoyles!
> It was Solomon Owl.
JOEL: Wisdom of Shazam!
> And Grumpy could see that
> he was staring at the rat hole as if he were waiting for
TOM: [ Stage-whispering ] ‘He’s asleep!’
CROW: [ Snores ]
> Grumpy Weasel knew at once that that rat hole was no
> safe place for him.
JOEL: There are spies everywhere!
> Very gingerly he drew back into a deep
TOM: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa [ Fading out, as though falling; finally, a distant ] Splash!
> And as he pondered silently he saw a huge rat step
> out of the hole.
JOEL: [ As Rat ] ‘What a night to be young and have my whole life spread out in front of me!’
> Solomon Owl swooped down and grabbed the
> fellow before he knew what was happening.
CROW: [ As the Rat, fading ] ‘Someone update my status on the office Slack!’
JOEL: Boy, never go unnamed in an Arthur Scott Bailey novel.
> Well, Grumpy Weasel saw that all his trouble had gone
> for nothing.
TOM: All that trouble? Eh, it’s nothing.
> Silly Mrs. Hen hadn’t known what she was talking
JOEL: In what way, exactly?
> If Solomon Owl was in the habit of watching that hole
> Grumpy certainly didn’t mean to go near it.
CROW: Oh, you’re mean enough to go near it, don’t worry.
> Of course he was angry. But Mrs. Hen never learned
> what he said about her.
JOEL: His rant about birds all conspiring together, though, would get him suspended from Twitter for almost ten minutes.
> No matter what remarks her neighbors
CROW: Whether they be ‘there’s an angleworm there’ or ‘hey, did you see that other angleworm’ or ‘I’d rather not be eaten’.
> she always insisted afterward
TOM: It would be odd to insist beforeward.
> that Grumpy Weasel was
> one of the most pleasant and polite gentlemen she had ever
JOEL: I think the rest of the farmyard needs to start doing better.
[ To continue … ? ]
“Push the button, Watson” is a cross between Professor Fate’s repeated instruction to Max in The Great Race, this time with Holmes’s sidekick Watson. Grumpy being “one of the comfortable people” riffs on the “Welcome” song in The Who’s Tommy. Templeton was the rat in Charlotee’s Web and also there was a rat in Charlotte’s Web. Leave a note if something else seems inexplicable and I’ll try to explain.
5 thoughts on “MiSTed: The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, Chapter 15”
CROW: [ As the Rat, fading ] ‘Someone update my status on the office Slack!’
TOM: [As Narrator] And knowing of Rat’s feelings towards puns, Pig wrote a simple “Owl or Nothing” as Rat’s Slack epitaph.
Oh, that’s really good, thank you!
TOM Grumpy Weasel never returned home. It’s the last episode of “Quantum Weasel”
Really, Grumpy not returning home is fine with everyone who was back home, though.