MiSTed: The Rangers of NIMH II, Part 2

Welcome to this reproduction of the 1998-ish Mystery Science Theather 3000 fan fiction The Rangers of NIMH II. With part two here, we finally get past the host sketch and into the story proper. The whole of this MiSTing should appear at this link. As mentioned last week, I was only one of four riffers for this piece. Håkan Svensson edited together my, Kevin A Pezzano, and Christopher Street’s riffs to make this reasonably coherent whole.

While there was a whole Rescue Rangers/Secret of NIMH fan fiction before this, I think the story holds up on its own. The opening seems interesting enough before you even know what’s going on. So let’s jump into the theater and the start of David Gonterman’s story.

[Our heroes enter the theater]

TOM: Mike, if Dr. Forrester ever shows us that Batman movie, promise you will kill me first.

MIKE: You know you can count on me, pal.

> The remains of the lab is combed over by a vanload of scientists.

MIKE: They’re covering up the lab’s bald spot.

> They
> picked that place clean,

CROW: They left not the tiniest piece of flesh on the bone.

> searching for anything they might be interested
> in.

TOM: Mmm… Month-old Chinese food… some Lego blocks… big box of toothpicks…

> But, all they can do is look at each other and shake their heads.

MIKE: Wow, they didn’t waste any time getting to the meat of the story, did they?

CROW: More like the disgusting intestinal flora of the story.

> They’ll won’t find anything of interest there as much as they won’t know
> that they’re being watched.

MIKE: Hey, I think the narrator’s gonna spoil the story for us! Where’s the netiquette and spoiler space, bucko?

TOM: I take it this is Gonterman’s idea of subtle foreshadowing.

> Especially by a rat with a holographic gyroscope.

TOM: [chuckling] Isn’t it cute when they try to use science?

CROW: He’s looking through the gyroscope and… yes! There’s the pole star, right where he left it.

> Another rat, much younger than this rat in question approaches him.

MIKE: "Thank you, Ratbert, but we’re *not* hiring right now."

> "All of the captured rodents are recovered and accounted for, Justin."
> "Good going, Rasco.

MIKE: Rasco P. Coltrane?

TOM: Hyuk hyuk hyuk.

> Er, anything left for these scientists?"
> "No way. What we didn’t pick up, that Zannie dude in that freaky armor
> picked up. Even though he didn’t get the formula, he sure runs a tight
> ship."

TOM: [singing] If they could see me now, out on a fun ship cruise! I’m wearing stupid armor and killing who I choose!

> "Hmmm, all that’s needed now is for Jonathan to contact us.

CROW: Or we could go drinking instead.

> Where’s
> that mousie at?"

TOM: [robotic monotone] He’s got two turntables and a microphone.

> "He’s still hooked up with those Rangers I told you about, I suspected
> he’d stay, with what I’ve heard from the grapevine."

MIKE: Also, the azaleas are planning a rebellion. November 17th. Spread the word.

> "So have I. Ras, that tree the Rescue Rangers lives in isn’t far from
> where Mrs. Brisby is visiting.

CROW: And launching her ten-city concert tour!

> Send word to her and tell him that we
> need to talk."

CROW: "Send word to *her* and tell *him*"? Could we have antecedents for these pronouns, please?

TOM: Ah, that David Gonterman. Changing characters’ sex in the middle of sentences again.

MIKE: Up to the usual business, I see.

> "Will do."

MIKE: And no slapping him this time.

> _________________________________

> FoxFire Studios Presents:

TOM: [singing] The fox, the fox, the fox is on fire…

> The Rangers of NIMH II:

CROW: Where Rangers Dare.

> Gadget Hackwrench and the Rats of NIMH

MIKE: [Art Fern] Starring Fay Wray, Doris Day, Charles Kay, Ernest Jaye, and Splats the wonder pigeon.

> Based on ‘Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Rescue Rangers’ by The Walt Disney Company
> and ‘The Secret of NIMH’ by Sullivan-Bluth Studios

MIKE: Thankfully, Gilbert managed to extricate himself before the terror began!

TOM: What, Gonterman’s so ashamed he didn’t even want to put his name on it?

> __________________________________________

> Part 1:
> "Yoo-hooooo, over here, you silly humans!


> Yer ain’t gonna find anything
> over there! Ha-ha, made you look!"

CROW: And Pee Wee Herman teams up with the Rescue Rangers.

> Jonathan Brisby was having some yucks

TOM: That’s pretty much my response to this whole sordid business.

> at the expense of the scientists
> and what he calls their ‘Stupid Human Tricks.’

MIKE: And you thought Letterman was going downhill *before*!

> Gadget Hackwrench was mere

TOM: I imagine she *was* mere. She *is* a mouse, after all.

> standing by and giggling at her new
> boyfriend’s comical teasing.

TOM: Then she noticed Jonathan.

> Monterey Jack was inside fixing up his prized Cheese Chowder when he
> heard a knock on the door.

CROW: Touch of parmesean and a little sprinkling of arsenic… heh heh… They’ll never see it coming.

> He opened it to find a shy field mouse in a
> flowing blue cape.

CROW: [mouse] Trick or treat for UNICEF!

TOM: [mouse] Want to buy some Mouse Scout cookies, mister?

MIKE: [mouse] Have you given your heart over to Jesus? Here, have a pamphlet!


> Montey: "Hello, ma’am. Something we can do for you?"
> Mouse:

MIKE: Mystery Mouse, enter and sign in, please!

TOM: Oh, joy. "Mouse"! Yet another fascinating character brought to you by the FoxFire Studios!

> "H-hello. Is this the Rescue Rangers–"

TOM: Only tangentially.


> Montey: "Right you are miss. Come on inside. I’m Monterey Jack."

MIKE: [Mouse] But I just… I’m only looking for the library… uh…


> Mouse: "Thank you. I’m Jennifer, and I’m looking for my great-
> grandson, and I’ve heard he’s here. Jonathan Brisby by name."

CROW: He’s a subplot, by trade.


> Montey: "You’re heard right, love. I’ll whistle him down for y-y-y-y-
> y-y-y-y-y-y-y-y"

TOM: Someone hit Monty, he’s skipping again!

MIKE: Why not go straight to the source and hit the author?


> Jennifer: "Pardon?"
> Montey: "Your great-grandson?"

CROW: No, my great-grandson.

> She nods.

> Montey: "Then that makes you–"

MIKE: Gonterman’s dumbest plot device yet!


> Jonathan: "Grandma Jenny!"

MIKE: So, JB Junior is the great-grandson of the original Jonathan, but Ms. Brisby is his grandma. Great attention to detail here.

TOM: I just noticed, guys: this fanfic has gone from narrative to script form all of a sudden.

CROW: Ah. This *really is* a sequel to "The Rangers of NIMH".

> Jennifer turned around to see

MIKE: A new car!

> the mouse she was looking for, the two
> greeted each other in a hug.

CROW: Hi, I’m Jenny, and I’ll be your family for this evening.


> Gadget: "You know her, JB?"

TOM: [Jonathan] Yeah, I know her! She’s my great-grandmother!

MIKE: Sheesh, hasn’t she been paying attention?

CROW: Have you been, Mike?

MIKE: Touché.


> Jonathan: "Yeah, I do. Gadget, Monterey, this here’s Jennifer Brisby.
> She’s the widow of the original JB."

MIKE: [Jonathan] And several other rich mice with large insurance policies that died mysteriously. Go figure, eh?

> She curtseyed.

> Montey: "Too-la-loo, you look exactly like the one in the Movie, Mrs.
> Briz."

TOM: Except you, we hate!


> Gadget: "Golly, if you’re his great-grandmother, you don’t look the
> age."

MIKE: Well, except that the gestation period for mice is twelve days.


> Jennifer: "Why, thank you. But really, you should thank this stone
> Little Johnny wears."

CROW: [Jonathan] Grandma! You promised you’d never tell anyone about my little Johnny!

> She lifted it up with one finger, and it flashed,

MIKE: [amulet] Hey! I’m the *real* star of this fanfic!

> making her jerk her
> hand back, as if she touched something unbearably hot.

TOM: No, no. Only daddy touch.


> Jonathan: "The amulet’s kinda developed a ‘tude while I’ve been weaning
> it, Grandma.

TOM: I hear the amulet even has a tongue piercing.

CROW: Sheesh, magical stones these days!

> That’s why I always wear these gloves, you see?"

MIKE: It’s not cause the animators can’t draw hands! I swear!

> Jennifer was cooling her finger with her mouth. "And be dressed like a
> Toon? No thank you."

CROW: [Jennifer] I *like* wearing pants!

[ To Continue … ]

Perhaps it’s my fading memory of glory days but I think a lot of the riffs this section were mine. I always did tend toward the saturation-bombing approach for riffing and one good thing about collaborative MiSTings is an editor would trim out the weaker stuff. The one about “isn’t it cute when they try to use science” is definitely one of my riffs and I think it was nominated for a best-riff award when Web Site Number Nine, back then the depository for MST3K fan fiction, started giving out awards. As fun a riff as it was, I always felt a little guilty that it seems like there might be something one could reasonably call a “holographic gyroscope”, probably measuring orientation by differential changes in coherent light. As far as I can tell, though, there isn’t any such a thing yet, so the riff stands.

The Art Fern riff was one of mine, and one of my favorites because I feel like I nailed the voice of both the Brains and of Johnny Carson’s character. It was weirdly hard to write because I felt some need to stick to actual actors with names that rhyme with “Wray”, and scoured the Internet Movie Database. Thus how Charles Kay and Ernest Jay got summoned from obscurity. Not answered: how I failed to think of “Danny Kaye” and “Alice Faye”. I apologize for my mistake, but I imagine Charles Kay and Ernest Jay appreciate being thought of.

The riff about wearing gloves because the animators can’t draw hands has never made sense but I stand by it anyway.

MiSTed: The Rangers of NIMH II, Part 1

With the conclusion of my all-new original Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction, The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, what better to do this week than start sharing a vintage one? And so I bring you the circa-1998 MiSTing of The Rangers of NIMH II, an original fan fiction by David Gonterman.

This MiSTing is different from ones I’ve done before in that I didn’t write the whole thing. A popular thing to do, especially for high-profile fan fictions, was collaborations. The process was about like you’d imagine. Everyone participating would take the original fan fiction, add their own riffs, and then an editor would merge them all into a collective whole. I only edited a couple — maybe only one? — joint MiSTing myself. The work of picking riffs was not bad, just not something I found fun.

Ah, but offering riffs? That was a great joy and I never tired of that. I was fortunate to get on several big projects, including a bunch of the famous Stephen Ratliff “Marissa Picard” stories — and, yes, The Rangers of NIMH II.

The Rangers of NIMH, part I, was one of the gold-standard MiSTings. David Gonterman and Paul Lapensee’s premise was elegant in its simplicity: team up Chip and Dale’s Rescue Rangers with the mice and rats from The Secret of NIMH. In the first part of the story, uh … I think Chip and Dale get accepted into the Rescue Aid Society (from The Rescuers/The Rescuers Down Under) and past that all I remember is that Gonterman didn’t have tight separation between his opinions and his character’s opinions. Don’t worry; there is nothing you need to know from the original (on which I did nothing) to follow the second.

Håkan Svensson was the editor for this MiSTing, and I believe wrote all the host sketches, but I could be wrong about that. Kevin A Pezzano and Christopher Street were the other riffers. I remember working with Pezzano on something but forget what. I don’t think I did any other MiSTings with Street.

I don’t know just how many installments this will be, because the fanfic doesn’t lend itself to nice discrete units the way Arthur Scott Bailey’s novels do, and it’s too hot and I’m too lazy to decide how to split up the whole thing right now. The whole of The Rangers of NIMH II MiSTing should be at this link. Thank you. And now, our story …

MiSTed by Joseph Nebus, Kevin A. Pezzano and Christopher Street

Edited by Håkan Svensson

[Season 7 opening theme. Open on the SOL, which is covered in art materials. Pencils and half-open bottles of ink everywhere, bristol board pages with half-completed comic pages adorn the walls, and scattered comic books lay about. Tom and Crow are in deep discussion.]

TOM: Okay, okay…so in the first panel, Marrissa stands like Superman…

CROW: Yeah! In a strawberry-colored wedding dress!

TOM: Oooh, good one!

[Mike enters.]

MIKE: Hey, guys. What’s with the mess?

TOM: Oh, well, Crow and I came across this old stash of small-press comic books…

CROW: Graphic novels!

TOM: Comic books!

CROW: [shouting] Graphic novels!!!

MIKE: Woah, woah! Calm down! Actually, they *would* be comic books. Graphic novels are those large, single story squarebound collections that… [trails off after noticing that Tom and Crow are staring at him] Okay, the whole question is academic. But what does that have to do with what you guys are doing?

CROW: Well, I remember all the great small-press comics that I used to read, and I figured, hey… *I* can do that!

TOM: Yeah, all you need is an idea and cash for the printer.

CROW: It’s like fanfic writing… but with *money*! Just look at this comic!

MIKE: "Crossed Swords" [flips it open] "with real dungeon adventure inside". This looks like it was done by two 12 year old D&D; geeks! The "dungeon" makes no sense, and the art resembles my little brother’s doodling during math tests!

CROW: Yeah, isn’t it great? It’s fan fiction with bucks! If *they* can have a comic, so can we!

TOM: And to save us the trouble of coming up with ideas on our own, we decided to actually make comic adaptations of fanfics!

MIKE: Oh boy…

[commercial sign]

MIKE: Uh-oh… We’ll be right back.



TOM: All right, where were we?

CROW: Marrissa was just about to order her crew to sterilize the surface of a nearby world, in a gigantic splash page!

MIKE: Guys, this will never work! Who wants to read a comic about a group of teenagers with uncanny abilities that routinely save the entire world from stupid villains with even stupider plots, amidst much death and destruction?

TOM: You mean like in any X-Men book, Mike?

CROW: Or Troublemakers?

TOM: Or Gen 13?

CROW: Or Teen Titans?

TOM: Or Akira?

MIKE: Never mind.

[Red light flashes]

MIKE: Besides, the Evil Ones are calling.

[Deep 13]

DR. F: Ah, yes, Mike and the mechanicals. You should consider yourselves very lucky, since you will have front row seats today, when I launch the scheme that will give me control of the world!


MIKE: Let me guess… Mind-control rays through the ethereal waves?

TOM: Fluoridation of water?

CROW: Worldwide transmission of dumb puppet shows?

[Deep 13]

PEARL: Clayton, they’re *mocking* you!

DR. F: Don’t worry, mother, they will give in once they experience the wrath of… the *Sequelizer*!

[The first bars of Bach’s "Toccata and Fugue in D minor" play as Dr.
Forrester uncovers a machine behind him.]

DR. F: As you all know, the sequel to any work is more often than not worse than the original. Now, imagine what would happen if someone would invent a machine that would automatically produce a sequel to anything fed into it?


CROW: They would make it head of a major movie company?

[Deep 13]

DR. F: No, it would allow me to weaken the minds of everyone by flooding the world with the most putrid works ever filmed or written! Allow me to demonstrate. [Dr. F holds up a videotape.] This is a tape of "Batman Returns," a movie with at least some good qualities to it.

[He feeds the tape to the Sequelizer. Wisps of steam shoot out from it as
its cogs grind loudly. Finally, the sequelizer stops with a hiss as it
spits out a new tape, which Dr. Forrester holds up to the camera.]

DR. F: It’s "Batman Forever," a movie with not so many good qualities about it! To save time, I prepared the machine with "Batman Forever" earlier, and it spit out "Batman & Robin"! Now, just imagine what would happen if I fed the machine with *that*!


MIKE: Uhhh…

[Deep 13]

DR. F: Well, guess what, you don’t have to guess, because I already did it! It’s "Batman: The Final Frontier" starring and directed by William Shatner!


TOM: Mike, I’m scared.

MIKE: Me too. Please, Dr. Forrester, we’ll do whatever you want, just don’t show us *that*!

[Deep 13]

DR. F: Of course I wouldn’t! I’ve got evil on a *much* grander scale lined up especially for you!

PEARL: I’m proud of you, Clayton. I just didn’t think that you were capable of *that* much evil.

[She pinches Dr. Forrester’s cheek.]

DR. F: [embarrassed] Whatever. Anyway, I’m going to give you a special treat since you piled up Deep 13 with waffles in the last MiSTing. [He puts on a rubber glove and carefully picks up a zip-locked plastic bag marked with skull symbols. The bag contains some sheets of paper.] This is a hardcopy of "The Rangers of NIMH," that… *remarkable* fanfic by David Gonterman and Paul Lapensee, and there are no points awarded for guessing what I intend to do with it.



TOM: Don’t!

CROW: You are meddling with powers you cannot *possibly* comprehend!

[Deep 13]

DR. F: [grinning even more evilly than usual] Just watch me.

[As Dr. Forrester feeds the fanfic to the Sequelizer, its cogs start to gain speed, accelerating beyond control. The chugging of the Sequelizer rises in volume in a crescendo, until it blows up spectacularly in a cloud of smoke.]

DR. F: Oh, poopie.

PEARL: Clayton, you tampered in God’s domain again, didn’t you?

DR. F: Do I ever do anything else, dear mother? [He picks up some pieces of paper which miraculously survived the explosion and faces the camera holding them.] Why don’t you take a look at this? It’s not much, but I’m sure there’s enough hurting in there for a whole Marrissa story.

[Sol, lights and buzzers go off]


[ 6 … 5 … 4 … 3 … 2 … 1 ]

[ To continue … ]

Post-segment thoughts … I assume “Crossed Swords” was an actual comic that Svensson (or one of the other MiSTers) was annoyed with. I never saw it myself, but what’s fan fiction for if not taking out your petty quarrels with stuff? And that “Sequelizer” device sure hasn’t lost any of its comic punch, has it? And I, sincerely, have a lot of good things to say about Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. I probably would have held back on saying “incredibly lame fanfic sign”. Besides being ableist, we chose to spend our recreational time reading this. Should have shown some respect. But I probably did a copy-editing pass on this back in the day (I usually did) and I didn’t fight it then, or didn’t fight it enough to change it, so I own it too.

Oh, the Marissa thing that Tom Servo and Crow start off on? She was the nigh-invulnerable protagonist of a long line of the gold standard of MiSTed fan fictions. A human being, her favorite drink was strawberry juice. In the stories we were riffing around this time the still quite young Marissa was finally getting married to another star of the series. That’s why she has a strawberry-colored wedding dress.

MiSTed: The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, Conclusion

I hope you’ve enjoyed my Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment of Arthur Scott Bailey’s The Tale of Grumpy Weasel. I have a little closing sketch for my MiSTing. You can read the whole of this little fan fiction, plus this closing sketch, at this link. And next week? Who knows. Something that I hope you’ll like too.

[ SATELLITE OF LOVE BRIDGE. GPC is wearing pink bunny ears, TOM SERVO fox ears and nose, and CROW has a little orange beak on the end of his beak and an Indiana Beach Amusement Park t-shirt on. Around the walls of the bridge are cutout bushes, trees, a distant barn, and a smiley sun. ]

MAGIC VOICE: The residents of Pleasant Valley all met up with Grumpy Weasel sometime. And don’t think they didn’t have similar times of it!

TOM: Last week I tried to trick Grumpy Weasel into leaping off the edge of Pleasant Cliff. And he said —

JOEL: [ Leaning into frame to deliver the line and leaning back out again, and wearing weasel ears and hat, as if from the Spirit Express version of the Who Framed Roger Rabbit weasels ] Why you consarned jackanape! If you try such again I shall bite your tail or know the reason why!

[ ALL chuckle after JOEL leaves frame ]

GPC: The other day Grumpy Weasel asked if I had seen Fatty Raccoon. I told him truthfully Fatty had gone into the wheat pens and Grumpy went off to give him a good what-for … but I didn’t tell him that was the day before, and only Spot the Dog was there now! And oh, what he said …

JOEL: [ Leaning into frame again for the line, shaking his fist ] You bigmouthed hobbadehoy! You’ve earned your share of trouble once I’ve fixed Fatty Raccoon’s flapdoodle!

[ Again, ALL chuckle once JOEL leaves frame ]

CROW: The other day I saw Grumpy confront Mr Meadow Mouse!

TOM: Oh dear, the poor mouse! What happened?

CROW: Mr Meadow Mouse taught Grumpy all about how to chew his foods long enough, so as to maximize digestion of their valuable proteins [ pronounced three syllables, PRO-tee-ins ] and vitamins [ with soft ‘i’ sounds, as in victuals, vih-tih-mins ] and food energy! Whilst Grumpy was chewing a bite of crabapple five hundred times Mr Mouse made good his escape, I should say!

GPC: What did Grumpy say to that?

JOEL: [ Leaning in for the line ] A pox on you, contumely blatherskite! I won’t have any cares about causing lesions upon my stomach-lining when I catch you!

[ ALL have a hearty laugh once JOEL leaves ]

CROW: Ah … we have fun.

GPC: Yeah, but —

TOM: What, Jimmy?

GPC: I was talking with my brother —

CROW, TOM: [ Somber ] Oh.

GPC: And he asked are we being the jerks here?

TOM: How can we be the jerks? We’re adorable!

CROW: I see what Jimmy’s … ‘brother’ … [ He and TOM shake their heads ] means though. We’re always playing pranks on Grumpy and he’s unhappy with us all the time. Maybe if we tried being nice he’d be a happy weasel instead?

GPC: Can we do that? What would we even call him?

TOM: His name could become ironic You know, like Mortimer Sparrow’s. Yes, let’s try making Grumpy feel like an invited, welcome part of the Pleasant Valley community!

GPC, CROW: Hear, hear!

[ CAMBOT focuses in on the tree decorations while the BOTS rustle around getting the scene change ready ]

MAGIC VOICE: Resolved to try a new and happy start with their companion weasel the forest denizens invited him to a …

[ CAMBOT pulls back out, revealing there’s a ‘cake’ made of a plate full of leaves, twigs, and a Mason jar in the center where a candle should be. As JOEL leans in the BOTS yell … ]


JOEL: What fatidic encomium is this here chicanery?

TOM: It’s a party! Have some cake!

JOEL: [ Tapping the plate ] It’s … leaves and twigs?

TOM: We’re adorable woodland animals, this is as ‘cake’ as we can do.

CROW: What’s important is that we welcome you into Pleasant Valley society!

GPC: Our hope is making you happy living with us!

JOEL: Make me happy? *MAKE ME HAPPY*? Did it never occur to you jentacular ossiflossibossoms that I *AM* happy already?

CROW: What?

GPC: No.

TOM: Never.

CROW: You’re always yelling at someone how you’ll get them.

GPC: My brother [ ALL, including JOEL, shuffle, uncomfortable ] said you were hollering at a boulder that you’d smash it if it told anyone you smiled.

JOEL: [ Shaking his fist ] That accursed overgrown pebble! I’ll give it what for!

CROW: So since you’re this quivering ball of white-hot rage all the time how can you be happy?

JOEL: Did it at no point occur to you factitious bildsungromans that being angry *makes* me happy? And being cheerful would make me *miserable*?

TOM: What?

GPC: But that …

CROW: I — I — I —

TOM: [ Starting to spin around ] Being happy is being angry is being happy is being angry is …

GPC: [ Woozy, spinning also, malfunctioning ] … angry is not happy but happy is happy but angry is not happy but happy is happy but …

CROW: [ SHRIEKING ] Illogical! Illogical! Norman co-ordinate!

[ CROW, TOM, and GPC continue like this briefly, spinning around finally until falling to the ground with a terrible clattering ]

JOEL: Hah! That’s it, I’ve foiled you robots and your intrusion on the Pleasant Valley once and for all! Now all the *actual* woodland creatures can live in safety — and *never* say one word of thanks to me! Off to show that boulder what for!


JOEL: [ Breaking character, as GPC, TOM, and CROW stand up again ] Fun, huh?

CROW: I think I make an adorable crow.

JOEL: [ Pinching CROW’s beak ] Oh, you sure do.

TOM: [ Addressing the audience ] Bet you didn’t suspect Arthur Scott Bailey was one of the first science fiction authors, did you?

GPC: [ Not registering this as a joke ] It’s all there on the page.

JOEL: What do you think, sirs?

[ JOEL slaps the MOVIE SIGN, ending the show ]

                                 \  |  /
                                  \ | /
                                  / | \
                                 /  |  \

Mystery Science Theater 3000, its characters and setup and settings and all, are the property of Satellite of Love LLC, and I suppose that’s working out well for them. Arthur Scott Bailey’s _The Tale of Grumpy Weasel_ is, as a public-domain work, the property of me, and you, and everyone who wishes to build on its world and create something that makes the world richer. This whole MiSTing, meanwhile, is my work over the course of late 2022 and the first half of 2023, so I hope you’re enjoying. I am.

> "That’s because you ran too fast," Fatty explained
> glibly. "Now, if you’ll be careful to run slowly, and do just
> as I tell you, I can promise that there’ll be a capture,
> without fail."

[ The End. ]

Keep Circulating the Tapes

MiSTed: The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, Chapter 26

Congratulations on joining me for the final chapter of Arthur Scott Bailey’s The Tale of Grumpy Weasel. The whole of my Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction based on it is at this link. No, I don’t know what I’ll be riffing next. I’m leaning towards more of Bailey’s novels but I should do something besides picking on 110-year-old pleasant forgotten novels, right? Right? Somebody tell me if I shouldn’t.

Our previous visit saw Grumpy Weasel’s distant relative Peter Mink caught in a trap of the farmhand’s own devising! Grumpy offered to free Peter, for a price — ridding Pleasant Valley of the white-and-black-tipped Snowy Owl. Will Grumpy complete his promise? Will Peter Mink make good on his debt? Only several hundred words here will let you know!


JOEL: You mean ‘XXV *me*‘.


TOM: Did it involve grumping? I bet grumping paid a part.

JOEL: It was the Shake-n-Bake.

> Grumpy Weasel wondered how Peter Mink was going to
> get Mr. Snowy Owl out of Pleasant Valley.

CROW: How many minks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?

> He had never
> dreamed that Peter could do it.

TOM: What do you suppose Grumpy’s dreams are like?

JOEL: I bet he has the one where he’s in school but he’s wearing clothes.

> But as he thought the matter
> over he remembered that Peter was a good deal bigger than
> himself.

CROW: He had to think to remember that?

> "If I were Peter Mink’s size

TOM: Wait, then whose size would Peter Mink have?

> I would give Mr. Snowy
> Owl the worst punishing he ever had!"

JOEL: If you’re that much smaller now you can give him a pretty poor punishing.

CROW: [ As Peter ] ‘Yeah, uh meanwhile, my leg caught in the trap? Can we work on that a little?’

> Grumpy exclaimed under
> his breath.

CROW: [ As Peter ] ‘Cause, you know, the blood loss … ‘

> "So maybe Peter can do as he claims, after all."

CROW: [ As Peter ] ‘Cause I’m kind of seeing dead relatives a little? Oh, there’s Jimmy Rabbit’s brother?’

> "Very well!" Grumpy Weasel told Peter Mink. "This is
> a bargain.

TOM: Now would you like to trade it for what’s inside the box?

> I’ll help you out of the trap. And you’ll rid
> Pleasant Valley of Mr. Snowy Owl by April Fool’s Day."

CROW: Thinking how rough Peter’s going to have explaining ‘March’ to an owl.

> "Agreed!" Peter Mink cried. "And now, how are you
> going to set me free?"

TOM: [ As Grumpy ] ‘I’ll use my third and final wish!’

> "I’m going to bite your leg off," Grumpy Weasel said
> cheerfully.

CROW: Grumpy Weasel *is* Doctor Forrester talking to TV’s Frank.

> "Oh, no! You’re not going to do that!" Peter Mink
> howled.

TOM: Now let’s be reasonable, what if he bites it right back on?

> "I don’t want you to do that!"

JOEL: Well, what if he just bites it half-off? Compromise?

> "I made a bargain with you," Grumpy Weasel reminded
> him, "and I intend to carry out my part of it."

CROW: The quality of mercy is not weasels …

> "Stop a moment," Peter Mink cried.

TOM: [ As Peter ] ‘Is my leg really going to fit in you? I’m completely lost on the relative sizes of minks and weasels, sorry.’

> For Grumpy Weasel,
> with his back arched like a cat’s,

JOEL: Oh, now he’s going to pick a fight with a cat for copying his back-arching.

> and his white whiskers
> twitching, had already taken a step towards him.

TOM: [ As Darth Vader ] ‘Peter … *I* am your weasel.’

> "If you bite
> off my leg I’d never be able to get rid of Mr. Snowy Owl."

CROW: What if you bit off the trap? Maybe that would help?

> That brought Grumpy Weasel up short.

JOEL: [ As Grumpy ] ‘Are you making fun of my size?’

TOM: [ As Peter ] ‘What? That was Arthur Scott Bailey, go bite *his* leg off!’

CROW: Anyway he was making fun of your lack of size.

> He thought

> deeply for a moment; and then he exclaimed: "I have it!

CROW: [ As Grumpy ] ‘We’ll set you in a bath and see if you weigh as much as your weight in gold!’

> You
> must bite off your own leg!"

JOEL: Well then what does he need *you* for, Grumpy?

> But Peter Mink proved a hard one to please.

TOM: He’s awfully hung up on this ‘body integrity’ thing.

> "You don’t understand!" he said.

CROW: [ As Peter ] ‘Let me explain! Snorgelty blother nad flopnagle!’

JOEL: And stoop!

> "If I lose a leg I
> know I never could get Mr. Snowy Owl out of the valley."

TOM: He’ll be stuck doing all these circles.

> At that Grumpy Weasel lost his temper completely.

JOEL: Now what’ll he do without his temper?

> With a cry of rage he sprang at his cousin, Peter Mink,

CROW: Found it!

> prisoner though he was. And Grumpy would have buried his
> white teeth in him except for just one thing.

TOM: Plaque.

> As he leaped
> forward Peter Mink leaped backward.

JOEL: Bonk!

CROW: [ As Peter ]*My* backward!’

> And in that moment Peter
> freed himself.

TOM: Turns out legs just pop off!

CROW: Pop goes the mink-le?

> He had been caught only by the merest tip of a
> toe, anyhow.

CROW: Whaaat?

JOEL: Oh sure, *now* it turns out he was barely caught.

> And now he crouched with his back against the
> bank of the brook, facing Grumpy Weasel with mouth wide open.

TOM: Close your mouth, were you raised in a barn?

CROW: *Yes*.

> His meekness had dropped off him like an old coat.

JOEL: And top hat.

> And Grumpy
> Weasel knew better than to get within his reach. In fact he
> turned polite himself, all at once.

CROW: You know what this needs? Someone bringing up politics.

> "There!" he said. "I got you out of the trap, as I
> had planned to all the time.

TOM: He figured to keep talking until Arthur Scott Bailey was done with the whole ‘mink trap’ thing.

> I knew that if I could make you
> jump you’d pull your foot loose."

JOEL: Now kick off your Sunday shoes.

> Well, Peter Mink hardly believed that. But he thought
> there was no use of saying so.

TOM: No sense crying over spilt mink.

> He was glad enough to escape Farmer Green’s hired
> man’s trap without having a dispute over the way it happened.

CROW: Does suggest Peter Mink wasn’t trying before.

JOEL: He saw a chance to engage with Grumpy and it didn’t work out great, but you respect him for reaching out.

> "I hope you’ll keep your promise," Grumpy told Peter
> Mink.

TOM: I don’t know, does it take any special food or something?

> "If Mr. Snowy Owl doesn’t leave these parts by April
> Fool’s Day I won’t like it very well.

CROW: What day is it now?

JOEL: April 3rd.

CROW: D’oh!

> You know you agreed to
> get him away from here by that time."

TOM: [ As Peter ] ‘I know that! You don’t have to bite my leg off!’

CROW: [ As Grumpy ] ‘Are we sure of that?’

> "Oh! He’ll be gone by then," said Peter Mink lightly.

JOEL: Hey, what’s the bright idea?

> "He always leaves at the end of the winter, because he spends
> his summers in the Far North."

CROW: Canada?

TOM: North Carolina.

CROW: Poor guy.

> When he heard that, Grumpy Weasel was angry as
> anything.

TOM: I bet he wasn’t angry as Mister Rogers, ever think of that?

> "Then Mr. Owl is likely to be back here next fall,"
> he said quickly.

JOEL: [ As Peter ] ‘Not when I tell him about this valley where everyone isn’t being weird at him!’

> "I dare say," Peter Mink admitted carelessly.

TOM: Yeah? Well do you double-mink *dare* say?

> Grumpy Weasel backed cautiously away before he said
> another word.

CROW: Later he appreciated the lesson about the transience of suffering.

> But when he had whisked into a great willow
> that leaned over Broad Brook

JOEL: Brook’s there desperately trying to get attention, get Grumpy to pull the gag off its mouth.

> he told his cousin what he
> thought about him.

TOM: But it’s the same thing he thinks about everyone, so it wasn’t any big surprise.

> As for Peter Mink—he was nursing his injured paw
> (in his mouth!)

CROW: Aw, I wanted to see Peter Mink in scrubs! He’d be great!

> and he said never a word.

TOM: Here it comes, gang, the book’s thesis statement.

JOEL: The one thing we’re supposed to take away from it.

CROW: And what does the book want us to learn?


CROW: Eh, well, that’s something.

TOM: Let’s blow this popsicle stand.

[ ALL exit the theater. ]

[ The End! ]

Thanks for reading along! The only riff I think that obscure, this week, is that the “flopnagle and stoop” line is an extremely attenuated reference to Colonel Stoopnagle and Budd, a pair of comedians in the early days of radio. I’ve heard them in guest spots on other shows but not any of their actual programs. Seem fun. Stoopnagle was related to both H P Lovecraft and Salmon P Chase, because life is weird, you know?

MiSTed: The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, Chapter 25

I soon will have to look somewhere besides Arthur Scott Bailey for my Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction! Next week should wrap up my treatment of The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, collected in its whole at this link. That unless I decide I’m going to riff the Tale of Dickie Deer Mouse or Pony Twinkleheels or whoever after all. We’ll see. I do like Bailey’s vibe but I know there must be people wondering just how much time I can spend wandering around Pleasant Valley with animals who are only kind of competent at their species.

Last time you’ll recall Grumpy Weasel, egged on by Tommy Fox, tried to fight Snowy Owl over how they have similar color schemes. Though Grumpy Weasel narrowly escaped death from the skies, has this adventure tempered his desire to be the only creature in Pleasant Valley who’s white with a bit of black? All this and more on this episode of Soap!


CROW: XX versus *what*?


TOM: Ah, the boundless potential of a young mink. Or an adult mink. I don’t know Peter Mink’s deal yet.

> It happened, on a bleak winter’s day,

JOEL: ‘It’?

CROW: [ As Arthur Scott Bailey ] ‘Yes, it! Give me a little time to think what it was!’

> that Grumpy
> Weasel was strolling along the bank of Broad Brook

TOM: Member, FDIC.

> when all

JOEL: Yeah, I remember FDIC.

TOM: What?

> at once he heard a squall. Instantly he whirled around.

CROW: Snowy Owl is robbing the bank! Quick, call Duck Tracy!

> There
> was something about the cry that sounded familiar.

TOM: The cry came in without knocking and put their feet up on the coffee table and everything.

> And while
> he searched the stream up and down with his sharp eyes he
> grew angrier every moment.

JOEL: But that’s a story for _The Tale of Angry Weasel_.

> "Unless I’m mistaken that’s my good-for-nothing
> cousin, Peter Mink," Grumpy muttered.

TOM: So we have Fatty Raccoon, Grumpy Weasel … what would make a Mink more pete?

CROW: Pete, Peter, Petest.

> "I’ll teach him not to
> squall at me—the rascal!"

JOEL: Heck, *I* know how not to squall at you and I never even met you.

> He did not have to look long before he caught sight
> of his cousin.

TOM: The glimpses have migrated for the season.

> Peter Mink was crouched under the overhanging
> bank,

CROW: Part of Snowy Owl’s gang? This is bad.

> not far from the edge of the frozen surface of the
> brook.

CROW: Not as the me flies, anyway.

> And he squalled again when he saw that Grumpy had
> discovered him.

JOEL: [ As Grumpy ] ‘Enough with the heavy rains and wind gusts!’

> "Stop that!" Grumpy Weasel bellowed.

TOM: No, I’m sorry, the line is ‘Cut it out’. You’ll never be Sargent Cosgrove at this rate.

> He was not
> greatly afraid of Peter Mink,

CROW: It was a pretty mediocre fear.

> though his cousin was much
> bigger than he.

TOM: Wait, minks are bigger than weasels?

JOEL: I guess?

CROW: Would Arthur Scott Bailey lie to us?

> "I’ll have you know that I don’t allow people
> to bawl at me, even if we are distantly related."

JOEL: Does he have to bring that up every time they talk?

CROW: [ As Grumpy ]*Yes*.’

> "I wasn’t bawling at you," Peter Mink answered.

TOM: [ As Grumpy ] ‘Did you say bawling or bowling?’

CROW: [ As Peter ] ‘Bawling, why.’

TOM: [ As Grumpy ] ‘Wasn’t sure, but I know whatever you’re doing isn’t bowling.’

> And
> he was strangely polite, for him.

JOEL: How? Did he tip his hat?

> "I was calling for help.
> Can’t you see that my foot is caught in a trap?"

TOM: [ As Peter, with exaggerated kindness ] ‘My good gentleweasel?’

> At that Grumpy jumped down upon the ice and took a
> good look at Peter Mink.

CROW: Take a good look, leave a good look.

> He saw, then, that Peter spoke the
> truth.

JOEL: Aw, it’s just caught in a financial trap.

CROW: It’s not the amount so much as it is the *interest*.

> "This trap hurts my foot, I can tell you," Peter Mink
> whined.

TOM: He’s taking this with the same calm I would, only I don’t have a foot.

> "Maybe it will teach you not to screech at people,"
> Grumpy told him.

JOEL: [ As Peter ] ‘Hey, I helped when you were trapped in that bottle!’

TOM: [ As Grumpy ] ‘No you did not!’

JOEL: [ As Peter ] ‘Well, I didn’t mock you through it all.’

> "You’re going to help me, aren’t you?" Peter Mink
> asked his cousin anxiously.

TOM: [ As Grumpy ] ‘I don’t know, should I help a relative even if he cries for help when he’s in deadly peril?’

> "That trap belongs to Farmer Green’s hired man,"

CROW: Why does Farmer Green need a Chevrolet sales manager who puts handkerchiefs on his head?

> Grumpy informed Peter Mink. "I saw him when he set it there.

TOM: I don’t know how this sells cars but hey, he gets results.

> Perhaps you would like to have me send word to him that
> you’re using it."

JOEL: _The Tale of Jerky Weasel_.

> "Oh! Don’t do that!" Peter begged piteously.

TOM: [ As Peter ] ‘I didn’t pay the deposit! He’ll get me in fees!’

> "Well, then—suppose I get old dog Spot to come and
> see what he can do!

CROW: He could smell bottles for you?

> He’d have you out of that trap in no
> time!"

JOEL: [ As Peter ] ‘Oh, I’m sorry, I wanted to be out in good time.’

> But that suggestion didn’t suit Peter Mink any
> better.

TOM: How is a dog supposed to open a trap, anyway?

> "For goodness’ sake, can’t you think of something
> else?" he wailed.

CROW: [ As Grumpy ] ‘I was thinking of popcorn. I could go back to that.’

> His voice rose higher and higher as he spoke.

JOEL: He better not be getting ready to kill Eddie Valiant’s brother.

> And
> Grumpy Weasel showed his sharp teeth as he warned Peter Mink
> again not to squall at him, for he wouldn’t stand it.

TOM: Boy, Peter just getting all tense about his imminent death and stuff.

> At last Peter saw that Grumpy did not intend to help
> him at all.

CROW: He’s stumbling over that line that separates ‘grumpy’ from ‘kinda evil’.

> So it occurred to him that perhaps he could hire
> his cousin to free him from the trap.

JOEL: Oh, if only animals had money! Now Peter has to hope they can barter something instead.

> "I’d do anything for
> you if you could help me out of this fix," he said finally.

TOM: o/` But I won’t do that. o/`

> "Will you drive Mr. Snowy Owl away from Pleasant
> Valley?" Grumpy cried.

CROW: [ As Peter ] ‘Before I get my learners permit?’

> "Certainly!" said Peter Mink with great promptness,
> as if that were the easiest matter in the world.

CROW: [ As Peter ] ‘What the heck, I’ll learn to drive stick!’

> That answer surprised Grumpy Weasel.

JOEL: He assumed Peter already knew how to drive stick.

> He had no idea
> that Peter Mink could do any such thing. And he said as much,
> too.

TOM: [ As Peter ] ‘Well, why’d you ask me if you didn’t think I could do it? Is this some *game* to you?’

> "You understand," Peter explained, "it may take me
> some time to get rid of him.

CROW: [ As Peter ] ‘I have a well-considered 78-part plan to get rid of him.’

> It’s mid-winter now.

JOEL: An ancient prophecy says that by the third day after the mid-winter eclipse …

> But I can
> promise you that I’ll have him out of the valley by April
> Fool’s Day!"

TOM: [ As Peter ] ‘And if I don’t, think what a great joke that’ll be!’

[ To conclude … ]

I think there aren’t any riffs here so weird or obscure as to need explanation. So I’ll just leave you with the question of how you, the viewer at home, think Arthur Scott Bailey is going to wind up this novel, with its many threads of Grumpy Weasel being a jerk and getting mild comeuppance without ever anything too bad happening. And will anyone learn anything, knowing as we do that the lesson Fatty Raccoon drew from his book was “I should have eaten faster”?

MiSTed: The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, Chapter 24

It is time for the antepenultimate chapter of Arthur Scott Bailey’s The Tale of Grumpy Weasel! And for your anteweasel pleasure may I point out the whole of my Mystery Science Theater 3000 fanfiction based on this book is at this link? Thank you.

In weasel news of the recent past: Ol’ Tommy Fox is stirring up a heaping helping of trouble again. Why, this time the ol’ trickster has told Grumpy Weasel how some newcomer to Pleasant Valley’s winter is wearing Grumpy’s same color scheme of white and black. Grumpy’s not going to let that stand. But he might not have a choice as the cunning reynard has gone to the newcomer — Mister Snowy Owl of a more arctic clime — and told him how Grumpy is looking for a scrap. And now let’s just set back a while and see how this fracas brews.


CROW: Ex- ex- ivy, so just ivy again?


JOEL: Not the worst Wheel of Fortune bonus puzzle.

> To find Grumpy Weasel, Tommy Fox went straight back
> to the place where he had left him.

TOM: Isn’t your weasel always in the last place you look?

> It was easy, then, to
> follow his queer tracks.

JOEL: Grumpy likes all kinds of LGBTQ+ musicians.

> Grumpy’s legs were so short that
> they did not lift his lean body clear of the deep snow,

CROW: Hence his adorable little snow ladder.

> except when he jumped very high; so his trail looked somewhat
> like that of a snake with legs.

TOM: [ As the trail ] ‘I am!’

> As soon as Tommy overtook him he asked Grumpy if he
> had seen the stranger yet, who was dressed all in white and
> black, like him.

CROW: [ As Grumpy ] ‘Yes, yes, I remember the last two chapters, do you?’

TOM: *I* appreciate the reminder at least.

> "No, I haven’t. But I’m on the lookout for him all
> the time," said Grumpy.

CROW: Look out!

JOEL: [ Ducks down ]

> "Where are you looking?" Tommy inquired.

TOM: [ As Grumpy ] ‘Where do I *look* like I’m looking? You doorknob.’

> "Oh! Everywhere!" Grumpy replied.

CROW: By the tree, by the old wall, by the barn, in front of the New York Public Library, next to the Singing Fountain of Grand Haven, Michigan, the Stickney Crater on Phobos …

> "Behind the trees
> and in the bushes and back of the stone wall!"

JOEL: You’re getting nowhere near Grandmother’s House to go!

> "Have you seen any new tracks?" Tommy persisted.

TOM: [ As Grumpy ] ‘Have I *heard* any new tracks. Yes, this great Mellotron-based prog/ska thing.’

> "Not one!" Grumpy admitted.

CROW: Well, which one did you not see?

> And then he thought he
> caught the flicker of a smile on Tommy Fox’s narrow face.

JOEL: Tommy just figured out that ‘briar patch’ trick!

> "If
> there is no such person—if you’ve been deceiving me——"

TOM: Oh, wow, the rare double em dash, this is *serious*!

CROW: More of an em marathon.

> he began angrily.
> "I promise you that there is such a stranger in the
> neighborhood!" Tommy cried.

JOEL: [ As Tommy ] Why, he’s such a stranger he’s practically a strangest!

> "And if you don’t meet him to-day
> I’ll be as disappointed as you."

TOM: He actually said ‘today’, that was just left over from all the em dashing.

> "It seems to me," Grumpy Weasel snapped, "you’re
> altogether too anxious over this business.

CROW: Yeah, this is how our Tom acts when he thinks he’s fooling someone too.

TOM: I do not!

> Everybody knows
> you’re tricky.

JOEL: You and your rocking a rhyme that’s right on time.

> And I begin to think you’re trying to get me
> into trouble."

TOM: [ As Grumpy ] ‘But how could I get into trouble committing to fighting someone I know nothing about? On with my hunt!’

> It was wonderful, the way Tommy Fox could keep his
> temper.

CROW: Well, his mother told him he couldn’t have a temper unless he showed he could keep it.

> No matter what people said to him he could still
> smile if it would help him to have his way.

JOEL: What kind of monster smiles when he gets what he wants?

> And now he kept
> up a never-ending chatter,

TOM: [ As Tommy ] ‘Huh? I do?’

> without saying anything in
> particular.

TOM: [ As Tommy ] ‘Uh … sorry, I didn’t think I had to vamp here … uh … so, uh, how about that … Fatty Raccoon …. uh … eating?’

> The snow was deep enough to have covered such hiding
> places as Grumpy Weasel liked.

CROW: The snow asking questions like ‘is the color grey a dog sees the same color grey that another dog sees?’.

> The stone wall, indeed,
> offered about the only crannies;

JOEL: Oh, I love crannies, spread with a little butter on an English muffin …

> and that was some distance
> away. Tommy Fox had noticed that.

TOM: [ As Tommy ] ‘Yes, I often observe how things exist at separate points in space. Now ask me what I’ve noticed about time!’

> And that was why he was
> trying to keep Grumpy Weasel where he was. For Tommy expected
> Mr. Snowy Owl at any moment.

CROW: Boy, the one day the 9:23 owl is late, huh?

JOEL: Does he think of him as ‘Mister Snowy Owl’ in his head?

> "You are talking foolishness," Grumpy told Tommy Fox
> at last.

TOM: [ As Tommy ] ‘Oh yeah? Well I have an army of invisible green proleptic datings that says otherwise!’

> "I don’t care to waste my time listening to you."
> And he turned away.

CROW: [ As Grumpy ] ‘Stern letter to follow.’

> "One moment, please!" Tommy begged,

JOEL: [ As Tommy ] ‘I can mime! Can I waste your time with that?’

> for the sly
> rascal had just caught a glimpse of Mr. Snowy Owl hovering
> above the trees.

TOM: Boy, glimpses better breed like tribbles the way everybody’s catching them.

> "What do you want now?" Grumpy Weasel scolded,

CROW: [ As Tommy ] ‘Uh … could I get fries with that?’

> as he
> paused close by the old hemlock where Solomon Owl sometimes
> sat and abused him.

JOEL: Pleasant Valley’s changed, I remember when nobody locked their hems.

> "I want to see the fur fly," Tommy Fox answered
> wickedly.

CROW: [ As Grumpy ] So just look at the animal mascots on Frontier Airlines, ya weirdo.

> For a moment Grumpy Weasel couldn’t think what he
> meant.

JOEL: What is — ‘fur’?

> But suddenly he saw a large whitish shape dropping
> upon him out of the sky.


> He knew then, in a flash, that Tommy
> Fox had deceived him.

CROW: The iocane power!

> A moment more and it was all over.

TOM: Turns out Grumpy and Snowy Owl were old friends from the Unpleasant Club back at college.

> At least, it
> seemed so to Tommy Fox.

JOEL: And if it seems so to Tommy Fox you know it must be so.

> Whatever had happened had taken place
> so quickly that he couldn’t see it clearly.

CROW: Well, call a video replay, that’s what it’s *for*! Some umpire.

> But there was Mr.
> Snowy Owl, sitting on a limb of the hemlock,

TOM: [ As the hemlock ] ‘Hey! Get off my limb!’

> where he had
> perched after staying half a second’s time on the ground.

CROW: How much time belongs to a half a second?

JOEL: Oh, a minute or two.

> And Grumpy Weasel was no longer to be seen, anywhere.

TOM: Did … did he explode? Finally?

> "Did—did you swallow him?" Tommy Fox stammered.

CROW: Other Tommy has the better joke, we should keep him.

TOM: He does not!

> Mr. Snowy Owl looked puzzled.

JOEL: [ As Snowy ] ‘Maybe I could keep both Tommys?’

> "I don’t know," he replied.

CROW: How can you not know?

> "Perhaps I did!

CROW: Under what circumstances could someone not definitely answer, ‘Did I just eat a weasel’?

> If I
> didn’t I don’t know where he is."

JOEL: Well, let’s think. Are you suddenly twice your own weight?

CROW: How incompetent a bird of prey *are* you?

TOM: [ As Snowy ] ‘Look, a great many things *might* fit in my mouth, I can’t keep track of everything that actually *does*.’

> Tommy Fox couldn’t help looking disappointed.

TOM: [ As Tommy ] ‘Why even *cause* the death of others if I don’t get to see their shattered bodies crying their final wails of despair?’

> "I’m
> sorry about one thing," he said. "It was all done so quickly
> I didn’t see the fur fly!"

CROW: [ As Snowy Owl, sympathetic ] ‘I could eat you, if you’d like.’

JOEL: [ As Tommy, sad ] ‘No, no, you’re too kind, but it wouldn’t be the same, you know?’

CROW: [ As Snowy Owl ] ‘Yeah.’

> Then there was a faint sound above them.

CROW: The glimpses have returned from Capistrano!

> And looking
> up, Tommy and Mr. Owl saw Grumpy Weasel’s head sticking out
> of a small hole high up in the tree-trunk.

TOM: Hey! He found a hole all the way to his stone wall!

> As they watched him Grumpy Weasel seemed to be saying
> something to them. They couldn’t hear what it was.

JOEL: ‘What? You have to talk louder, we don’t speak ‘Lunch’!’

> But no
> doubt it was nothing pleasant.

TOM: [ As Snowy ] ‘Hey, settle a bet? Did I eat you just now?’

[ To continue … ]

There are not many riffs needing explaining this time around. The Singing Fountain of Grand Haven, Michigan, is a real thing, a nice lights-and-music show on the river. Good ice cream. I think “em marathon” is a funnier idea than I can make come across in print. And the more I thought about it the more I realized how funny Snowy Owl’s uncertainty about whether he ate Grumpy Weasel was, and I kept building up jokes about that.

MiSTed: The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, Chapter 23

Thanks for again reading another chapter of Arthur Scott Bailey’s The Tale of Grumpy Weasel. My whole Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction is at this link. I hope you’re enjoying; doing this has got me scouting out other tales of Bailey’s animals for a future project. Let me know if there’s a particular animal you’d love to know more about!

Previously on Grumpy Weasel: Grumpy’s winter pelage is the talk of the Pleasant Valley! And Tommy Fox has talked up how some new resident of the valley has Grumpy’s same white-with-black styling. Grumpy is not happy about this, and he’s got plans …


CROW: The Pope John story.


TOM: Starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall!

> Tommy Fox had carefully kept from Grumpy Weasel the
> name of the stranger who was dressed like Grumpy,

JOEL: Grumpy’s long-lost father, Poopdeck Weasel.

> in white
> and black. It happened that he wore feathers—this newcomer.

CROW: I hope he numbers them for just this sort of occasion.

> And that was one reason why Tommy Fox had had to grin when
> Grumpy threatened to "make the fur fly" when he met the
> unknown.

JOEL: [ As Tommy ] ‘It’s good wordplay because there’s two ways you can read it as literally absurd!’

> Another reason why Tommy had laughed at Grumpy’s
> blustering was that the stranger was quite able to take care
> of himself in a fight.

TOM: *Also* his loved ones, don’t you worry.

> He belonged to the Snowy Owl family,

JOEL: I thought it was the Superb Owl everyone talks about online in February?

> being bigger, even, than Solomon Owl.

CROW: *Bigger* than Solomon Owl? That’s getting, like, Beatles levels of big.

> And what with his
> hooked beak and his strong talons he was a dangerous fellow
> to meet.

TOM: Worse, he’s got *opinions* and he’s going to *share* them.

> Although Grumpy Weasel could easily handle a rabbit
> or a wild duck a dozen times his own size,

JOEL: What about a hundred wild ducks the size of a rabbit?

> because they were
> unarmed, he would have had no chance at all with Mr. Snowy
> Owl.

CROW: Well *he’s* unarmed too! Those are *wings*.

> All this made Tommy Fox chuckle and grin,

TOM: [ As Tommy ] ‘I’m getting someone killed today! Win!’

> as he left
> Grumpy and loped off towards Cedar Swamp,

CROW: Just think, someday they’re gonna build a Point here.

> where Mr. Snowy Owl
> was spending the winter. Unlike Solomon Owl, and his cousin
> Simon Screecher,

JOEL: Simon’s Creature?

TOM: No, no, Simon Screecher.

JOEL: That’s what I said, Simon’s Creature.

TOM: Oh, you ….

> Mr. Snowy Owl did not turn night into day.

CROW: So what good is he, then?

> So Tommy Fox found him wide awake and ready for a fight or a
> frolic, whichever might come his way.

CROW: Ooh, take the frolic! Take the frolic!

TOM: The fight! Take the fight!

JOEL: Door number two!

> He was a handsome bird—this newcomer—

JOEL: [ As Snowy ] ‘I know. The camera loves me.’

> in his showy
> white suit, spotted with black.

TOM: Oh, what with the paparazzi think?

> And he gave Tommy Fox a bold,
> hard look, acting for all the world as if he had spent his
> whole life in Pleasant Valley, instead of merely two short
> weeks.

CROW: What makes a short week?

JOEL: It’s when they have a holiday in the middle.

> Now, Mr. Snowy Owl knew a good deal about such
> rascals as Tommy Fox.

JOEL: For example, Peter Mink or Jimmy Rabbit’s ‘brother’.

> So he said at once, "What’s on your
> mind, young man? You’ve come here on mischief

JOEL: I think he means ‘you’ve come here on *a* mischief’.

> and you needn’t
> deny it."

CROW: [ Leaning over ] Yeah, _Tom_!

TOM: Hey!

> Well, Tommy Fox saw that he couldn’t deceive Mr. Owl
> very much.

CROW: Or Mister Crow, thank you.

> So he grinned at him and told him about the talk
> he had just had with Grumpy Weasel.

JOEL: Shouldn’t someone instead have a talk with the Beaver?

> "He’s so eager to meet you it would be too bad to
> disappoint him," Tommy observed.

CROW: [ As Snowy ] ‘Ah, but if we are destined to meet, we will, and we can’t hurry it; if we’re destined not to meet, we will not, and there’s no sense trying.’

> "He wants the fur to fly,
> you know."
> Although he had no ears

TOM: o/` To hold him down … o/`

> (at least, so far as could be
> seen)

CROW: OOOOh, I bet his secret ears are going to be a huge plot point, watch for it!

JOEL: Spoilers, Crow.

CROW: The story is not a spoiler for itself!

> Mr. Snowy Owl had listened closely to Tommy Fox’s
> story.

TOM: [ As Snowy ] ‘Kind of spoiling the story by telling it, aren’t you?’


> And he must have heard plainly enough, for he said
> quickly that he would call on Grumpy Weasel that very day.

JOEL: You can’t call on a weasel! You need a *phone*!

> "I’ll start right now," he said,

CROW: [ Schoolmarm-ish ] It’s not how you *start*, it’s how you *finish*.

> "and I’ll reach Grumpy
> Weasel’s hunting ground before you’re out of the swamp."

TOM: Oh, and Grumpy’s going to be in swamp right when Snowy’s in the hunting grounds, this is going to be so *good*!

> "I wish you’d wait a bit, till I can get there
> myself," Tommy Fox told him.

CROW: [ As Tommy ] ‘I’d get there faster but my arms don’t work!’

TOM: [ Whining to a parent ] Joel!

> Mr. Snowy Owl agreed to that.

JOEL: [ As Snowy ] ‘But someday I will call on you for a favor.’

> And after lingering
> until he thought Tommy must have had time to run

TOM: Time to hide. Break on through. To the other side.

> and find
> Grumpy Weasel he rose above the tops of the cedars

CROW: [ As Snowy ] ‘Wh- whoa! Wait! Didn’t mean to do that!’

> and sailed
> off to join them himself.

JOEL: [ As Snowy ] ‘Wait! How does this thing woooorrrrrk?’

> "I’m glad I came here to spend the winter," he
> muttered.

TOM: [ As Snowy ] ‘It’s so affordable! I bet I get one or two weeks of March back in change!’

> "Everybody’s been very pleasant so far.

JOEL: Well, you know why they call it Pleasant Valley, right?

CROW: [ As Snowy ] ‘Why’s that?’

JOEL: ‘Cause it’s a valley!

> And after
> people hear how I’ve settled with this Weasel person

CROW: It’s 1915, so will it be fisticuffsmanship?

> the
> folks in Pleasant Valley will be pretty polite to me, or I’ll
> know the reason why."

TOM: Oh, Snowy is a metaphysical philosopher, interesting specialization.

[ To continue … ]

My cryptic riffs of the week. Bold Venture was an old-time-radio series starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall going on about who really cares, it’s Bogart and Bacall talking to each other. What more do you need? The Cedar Swamp/Point thing references world-class amusement park Cedar Point. Joel’s riff about such rascals as Tommy Fox, for example Peter Mink, lifts from a great line Dave Barry had. It went something like “a city the size of Cleveland, such as Baltimore”, an exquisite joke structure. Oh, and I started identifying Tommy Fox with Tom Servo only this chapter, and so late in it, because I did not notice they shared a name until I was writing a riff as ‘TOM: [ As Tommy ]’. I apologize for my error.

MiSTed: The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, Chapter 21

We’re drawing nearer the end of Arthur Scott Bailey’s The Tale of Grumpy Weasel! The whole of my Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment of the story is gathered here. No, I don’t know what I’m going to do when I finish this.

Previously on Grumpy Weasel, Grumpy escaped the predations of Henry Hawk and the watchful nose of Spot the Dog. But now it’s a new day, so who’s going to regret interacting with Grumpy Weasel now? Read on!




JOEL: And two pairs of pants!

TOM: For the weasel-taur.

> Throughout Pleasant Valley the very name of Grumpy
> Weasel was a bugaboo.

JOEL: o/` A bugaboo, a bugaboo, they’re in the air and everywhere! o/`

> Those of his size, and many a good deal
> bigger than he, learned early to avoid him.

CROW: Those much smaller than him, we don’t talk about.

> One of the first things Sandy Chipmunk’s mother did
> was to teach him to beware of Grumpy.

TOM: Remember to look both ways before crossing the weasel.

> And twice during his
> first summer Sandy caught a glimpse of Grumpy as he flashed
> past like a brown streak,

CROW: [ Gasping ] Rikki-Tikki-Tavi!

> with a gleam of white showing
> underneath.

TOM: Weasel now with a white stripe for fresher breath.

> It was lucky for Sandy that on both occasions Grumpy
> was intent on chasing somebody or other.

CROW: [ As Sandy ] ‘Wait a minute! I know somebody! … Or other!’

> And each time that
> Sandy told his mother what he had seen, Mrs. Chipmunk said
> that she hoped it would never happen again.

TOM: Just hurry on home to his singing career instead.

> "I’m glad that you know what he looks like, anyhow,"
> she added.

JOEL: Remember this fur.

CROW: It’s brown. Every fur in this *forest* is brown.

> "Oh, I’ll know him if I see him!" Sandy cried.

CROW: Meanwhile Sandy remains a background character in Grumpy’s life story.

TOM: No, Sandy’s front and center here. It’s *Grumpy* who’s background.

> "Don’t stop for a second look!" his mother warned
> him.

TOM: What about three glimpses and a sidelong glare?

> "I won’t!" he promised. "I won’t even stop to say,
> ‘How do you do!’"

CROW: Hey now, at this point you sound like *you’re* being the rude one.

> "I should hope not!" Mrs. Chipmunk said severely.

JOEL: Sandy trying to find any way out of this conversation.

> So Sandy Chipmunk went through his first summer on
> the watch for a long, slender, brownish shape.

TOM: ‘I see him!’

CROW: That’s a rabbit.

TOM: ‘Oh. Well, I see him there!’

CROW: That’s a muskrat.

TOM: ‘Oh. Wait, there he is now!’

CROW: That’s a squirrel … look, you know what isn’t a long, slender, brownish shape in the forest? Skunks, raccoons, bears, and opossums. Everything else?

TOM: ‘How about — ‘

CROW: *Deer*.

TOM: ‘Love!’

> But he never
> saw Grumpy Weasel again.

JOEL: So, uh, end of the chapter then, g’night everyone!

> And winter found the Chipmunk family
> all unharmed,

TOM: ‘Course there was the time the tree exploded but that’s not technically the *family* per se.

> and very comfortable in their cozy house below
> frost line.

CROW: Hey! No hitting below the frost line.

> On mild days Sandy liked to visit the world above and

TOM: … the mouse below.

> find a rock bare of snow, where he could enjoy the sunshine.

JOEL: And ask who’s been stealing all the snow.

> It was on one of those outings that he caught sight
> of a stranger headed for the stone wall near-by.

TOM: Suddenly a Western breaks out.

CROW: [ Gasping ] Gary Cooper!

> At first
> Sandy missed seeing him, against the snow.

TOM: [ Being nerdy ] Uh, did we not just hear the rock was *bare* of snow? Continuity goofs, people.

> But when he
> reached the wind-swept wall Sandy couldn’t help noticing him.

JOEL: Well hel-*lo* there.

> He was a slim gentleman and—except for his black-tipped
> tail—was dressed all in white.

CROW: Mark Trail?!


TOM: … Wait, what?

CROW: In the white suit.

TOM: You mean Mark *Twain*.

CROW: Yeah, that’s what I said — wait —

[ CROW groans, embarrassed, and falls over sideways ]

> After spending the winter underground

JOEL: Taking direct action against the imperialist war machine.

> Sandy Chipmunk
> was glad to talk with the first person he saw.

TOM: The whole forest trying to hide outside Sandy’s line of sight.

> So he called
> to the stranger that it was a fine day, wasn’t it?

CROW: [ As the stranger ] ‘The countersign! Oh what’s the countersign, uh, ‘It’s a good day for fishing if they’re not afraid of the sun’?’

> The other wheeled about so quickly that Sandy
> couldn’t help laughing.

TOM: [ Deadpan, without melody ] Like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel.

> "Don’t be nervous!" Sandy cried. "I won’t hurt you!"

JOEL: Despite my chipmunk powers of recording a song about you!

> But the stranger didn’t answer.

TOM: Never give a songwriter something to sing about you.

> Once he opened his
> mouth. And Sandy Chipmunk had a queer feeling then that he
> had met the fellow before.

CROW: Sandy can’t remember names but he *never* forgets a face-sucker.

> That mouth had plenty of white,
> needle-like teeth. It had a cruel look, too.

JOEL: He’s meeting the month of April!

> Then the stranger jumped straight toward Sandy
> Chipmunk.

TOM: Oh no! He’s a hugger!

> And in that instant Sandy knew who he was.

CROW: Great, but can you have your epiphanies when your life’s not in danger?

JOEL: [ As Sandy ] ‘No! I realize I have to move to Hoboken and start a ska band!’

> No one
> could leap like that except Grumpy Weasel!

CROW: [ As Joe Friday ] M.O. checks out. This is a Grumpy Weasel operation.

> Sandy turned and ran madly for shelter.

JOEL: [ As Sandy ] ‘I should have gadded about the house all day!’

> Luckily he
> had the advantage of Grumpy in one way.

TOM: Is it the power of friendship? I bet it’s the power of friendship.

> He had a bare ledge
> to run on,

CROW: A bear’s ledge? How is *that* any better?

> while Grumpy Weasel had to flounder for some
> distance through a snow-choked hollow.

JOEL: [ Humming ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ ]

> So Sandy escaped.

TOM: What a clean old weasel.

> And it was lucky that Grumpy didn’t
> find the door to the Chipmunk family’s burrow.

CROW: Oh, you know Grumpy, he doesn’t catch anyone, he just gives them a little surprise workout is all.

> If he had he
> would have gone right in himself.

JOEL: And interrupt their recording session!

> Mrs. Chipmunk blamed herself for Sandy’s adventure.

TOM: Oh c’mon, you can’t blame yourself for stuff you weren’t even involved in, that’s kind of narcissistic.

JOEL: [ As Mrs Chipmunk ] ‘Oh yes, I feel so bad about that too.’

TOM: Cut that out!

> She had never remembered to tell her son that every fall

CROW: Follows a pride.

> Grumpy Weasel changed his summer dress for the one in which
> Sandy had just seen him.

JOEL: Changing his wardrobe out must hurt.

TOM: No wonder he’s so grumpy.

[ To continue … ]

To explain myself or my riffs. Hm. The Buggaloos, in the air and everywhere, were one of the Sid and Marty Krofft world of bonkers shows. One of the better ones, worth a watch. The Rikki-Tikki-Tavi reference alludes to Chuck Jones’s 70s cartoon adaptation, where the mongoose’s run is shown as a brown streak that catches up to where he stops. (If you’ve seen it you know what I mean.) ‘The world above and the mouse below’ references one of the Chuck Jones Tom and Jerry cartoons because I couldn’t think of what its title, The Cat Above And The Mouse Below, was references. (If anything.) The line about direct action references the Weather Underground, the anti-fascist ones rather than the weather web site. Sandy saying he should have gadded about the house all day is, of course, the necessary reference to The Sandy Frank Song.

MiSTed: The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, Chapter 20

I hope you’re still enjoying my Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction here. The whole of my treatment of Arthur Scott Bailey’s The Tale of Grumpy Weasel should be at this link. I apologize for running late this week but I had a good reason: none at all.

Last time you’ll recall Grumpy Weasel escaped the dread Henry Hawk by jumping into a brown jug. Ah, but how is he going to get out of the jug? And if you don’t see how that can be a story you need to read chapter twenty of the Grumpy Weasel story!

> XX

JOEL: Someone punched out the story, it’s got X’s in its eyes.


TOM: When you’ve already paid.

> Inside the jug,

CROW: [ As Grumpy ] ‘Get my mouthpiece on the horn!’

> where he had hidden to escape Henry
> Hawk, Grumpy Weasel yawned widely and licked his chops.

TOM: Oh, at least he has something to snack on while he waits, that’s nice.

> He
> was having a dull time,

JOEL: He should just skip to the next scene then.

> waiting until he was sure that Henry
> Hawk had given up the chase and gone away.

CROW: [ As Grumpy ] Are you still out there?

JOEL: [ As Henry ] No! I mean! … Oh, you *are* a wily one.

> In a little while Grumpy believed he could venture
> out in safety.

TOM: A little Squirrel Scout came out to ask if she could walk him across the road.

> But suddenly, to his great disgust, a wagon
> came clattering in from the road

CROW: Aw, great. Tourists.

> and pulled up right beside
> the pile of empty barrels near him.

JOEL: Oh, he would get stuck the day the cooper-monger came to review the wares.

> It was Farmer Brown, driving his old horse Ebenezer.

TOM: Who’d just been visited by the Ghosts of Preaknesses Past, Present, and Yet To Come.

> And of course Grumpy Weasel didn’t care to show himself just
> then,

JOEL: Weasels are known to be weak to horse types.

> especially with old dog Spot nosing around.

CROW: Hey, we can ask Spot about that capture Fatty Raccoon was talking about!

> He had
> already heard Spot give several sharp yelps.

TOM: Spot is reviewing things left and right! He can’t be stopped!

> "That old dog knows I’m here somewhere

CROW: I mean, you’re always *somewhere*.

TOM: Not if you don’t have object permanence!

> but he can’t
> tell exactly where," Grumpy said to himself.

JOEL: Aw, go ahead and tell him, he won’t gossip.

> "He can yelp his
> head off, for all I care."

TOM: Not in the Snuffy Smith way! That way’s odd.

> And then Spot began to whine, and run in and out
> among the barrels,

JOEL: Hey, those aren’t barrels of wine.

> until he all but tripped Farmer Green, who
> was loading the barrels into the wagon.

TOM: Sneaking more Marx Brothers into the story!

> "Let him whine!" said Grumpy Weasel softly.

JOEL: Oh please don’t, it makes the neighbors tense.

> "His
> yelping and whining don’t scare me. He can’t get inside this
> jug of mine.

TOM: This little jug of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.

> And I certainly shan’t leave it so long as he
> stays here."

CROW: Once he leaves, though, maybe I shan.

> Meanwhile he could hear Farmer Green talking to old
> Spot, telling him not to be silly.

JOEL: [ As Spot ] ‘But … I got my clown makeup out and *everything*’!

> "From the way you’re acting anybody might think there
> was a bear around here," he told Spot.

TOM: [ As a Bear ] ‘I am! … … uh … rawr?’

> Old dog Spot explained to Farmer Green in no
> uncertain fashion that it was no bear—but a weasel

CROW: Or as the Germans call them, ‘a sneaky pounce bear’.

> —that
> he was looking for. His nose told him that.

JOEL: Tattletale!

TOM: Tattle*nose*.

> And there was no
> mistake about it. But somehow Farmer Green couldn’t
> understand a word he said.

CROW: Try telling him in Law French!

JOEL: Why?

CROW: I just like there’s such a thing as ‘Law French’.

> So after putting the last barrel
> on the load Farmer Green climbed up himself and started to
> drive off.

TOM: Donkey Kong: The Prequel Menace.

> But old dog Spot wouldn’t budge an inch.

CROW: Inches are the most stubborn creatures on the farmyard.

> He hovered
> about the jug where Grumpy Weasel was hiding and made such a
> fuss that Farmer Green looked back at him.

TOM: Little nip for the dog that bit you?

> "Well! well!" he exclaimed.

JOEL: [ As Farmer Green ] ‘A dog that can hover! You’re sure to win the County Floating Contest!’

> And he stopped the horse
> Ebenezer and jumped down and walked back again.

CROW: [ As Ebeneezer ] A visitation from the Ghost of Small Errands Yet To Run!

> "I declare I’d have forgotten to take this jug if you
> hadn’t reminded me of it," he told Spot.

JOEL: Farmer Green believes his pets worry about unfinished chores.

> And thereupon he
> picked up the jug and set it in the back of the wagon.

TOM: Old Weasel, 100 proof.

> This time Spot followed.

CROW: Follow the Spots.

JOEL: Leaves a little dotted line like Billy in The Family Circus.

> This time he was in the
> wagon before Farmer Green was.

TOM: He wants the front seat.

> And all the way down the road,
> until they reached the farmyard, he acted (or so Farmer Green
> told him!) like a simpleton.

JOEL: [ As Farmer Green ] ‘Yep, ol’ Spot, it’s really easy. They’re going to look at my jug full of weasel and they’re going to say, ‘Now, Daniel Green, we know you can’t build a full-grown weasel in a bottle like that, and we know you can’t fit a baby weasel in there and grow him up inside, so how did you get a full-grown weasel in side there?’ And I’ll slap my knee and tell them, ‘It’s all easy once you remember that my first name is Richard’.’

> The whole affair made Grumpy Weasel terribly angry.

TOM: Luckily, ‘Angry’ is his middle name.

CROW: You suppose his parents named him?

> He thought it was an outrage for Farmer Green to kidnap him
> like that.

CROW: Well sorry, I don’t see *you* suggesting better ways to kidnap yourself.

> And he was so enraged that he would have taken a
> bite out of anything handy.

JOEL: Even crime.

> But there wasn’t a thing in the
> jug except himself.

TOM: And he can’t do that, that’s Meany Weasel’s thing.

> At last the strange party drew up in front of the
> barn and stopped.

CROW: ‘Strange’ party?

JOEL: Yeah, like you have to come dressed as your third-favorite commedia dell’arte character and the music is entirely that twenty-minute cover of ‘Sex Dwarf’ that sounds like it was done tranquilized.

> Farmer Green led Ebenezer into his stall.

TOM: But could not make him drink.

> And then he took the jug, with Grumpy Weasel still inside in,
> and in spite of Spot’s protests set it high up on a shelf in
> the barn.

CROW: [ As Farmer Green ] ‘A little treat for later.’

> It was easy for Grumpy, after that, to crawl out of
> the jug.

JOEL: [ As Grumpy ] ‘Says you!’ (Thump!)

> He scurried along the shelf, climbed up the wall,
> and glided through a crack in the ceiling,

CROW: Um, excuse me, where was it established there were cracks in the ceilings before? Deus ex machina anyone?

> to hide himself in
> the haymow above.

TOM: o/` Haymow, haymow, my boyfriend’s back. o/`

> "Old Spot didn’t get me this time!" he said
> gleefully.

JOEL: [ As Spot ] ‘Let’s try it again, I bet I get farther!’

> "Not by a jugful, he didn’t!"

CROW: Not by a jugful?

TOM: It’s an old-timey expression because it’s literally true!

[ To continue … ]

Ebeneeer Horse gets a Ghost of Thing Yet To Come twice here because I don’t know when I’m going to get more chances to use the joke setup. Also I wrote this in two bursts of work and forgot what I used in the first segment. Yeah, the Snuffy Smith line references the recent wild discovery about his body integrity. Besides that, though, there’s not a lot needing explanation here. Thanks for being with me through it.

MiSTed: The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, Chapter 19

It’s another exciting chapter of Arthur Scott Bailey’s The Tale of Grumpy Weasel that I have for you. The whole of my Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction based on this novel should be here. Hope you enjoy.

Previously: Grumpy Weasel has had his spats with other animals in Pleasant Valley, sure. But he’s never successfully preyed upon any of the animals he might eat however hard he tries. But what would happen if someone turned the table, and tried to prey upon him? Huh? Didn’t think of that, did you? And now settle in and enjoy …




TOM: [ As Henry Gibson ] ‘A hiding, by Henry Hawk.’

> In the spring Grumpy Weasel was always glad

JOEL: No he was *not*!

CROW: [ Startled ] Little harsh there.

JOEL: I have to put my foot down somewhere.

> to see
> the birds coming back from the South.

TOM: The birds had such a wonderful time visiting South Dakota. Wall Drug, the corn palace, the filming locations of North by Northwest …

> But it must not be
> supposed that it was because he liked to hear them sing (for
> he didn’t!).

CROW: He signed up for this stupid bird-watching app and if he doesn’t log something every week it gets all whiny at him.

> Nor should any one make the mistake of thinking that
> Grumpy Weasel loved the birds.

JOEL: Not after all the times someone asked if Grumpy wanted them to give him the bird and …

CROW: [ Raspberries ]

> The only reason why he
> welcomed them was because he liked to hunt them, and rob
> their nests.


> But there were two birds that Grumpy didn’t care to
> have in Pleasant Valley.

CROW: The Roc and Baby Huey.

> He often wished that Solomon Owl and
> Henry Hawk

TOM: Solomon Owl. ‘en’ery Hawk. _They’re beaked!_

> would leave the neighborhood and never return.
> That was because they liked to hunt him.

CROW: They’d like it more except hunting him means getting close to him.

> Especially did Grumpy Weasel dislike Henry Hawk,

JOEL: His cartoons weren’t *that* bad.

TOM: Eh …

> who
> had an unpleasant habit of sitting motionless on a limb

CROW: [ As Grumpy ] ‘Get off my tail.’

TOM: [ As Henry ] ‘Are you sure a tail is a limb?’

CROW: [ As Grumpy ] ‘MOOOOOOM!’

> in
> the top of some great tree.

TOM: I’ve seen better.

> From that high perch he swept the
> whole valley with his keen, cruel eyes,

JOEL: o/` These eyes have seen a lot of land … o/`

> because (as he said)
> he "liked to see what was going on."

TOM: [ As Henry ] ‘Landslide! … Oh no, wait, Fatty Raccoon just tripped.’

> If Henry Hawk saw anything anywhere that interested
> him he lost no time in reaching that place.

TOM: Oh now me I’m always putting time in a special place I won’t forget and then I can never find it again.

> It might be a
> bird, or a meadow mouse, or maybe a plump chicken.

CROW: That’s what’s so great about him, he’s not fussy.

> And he was
> always hoping to catch a glimpse of Grumpy Weasel.

JOEL: Oh anyone can catch a glimpse, that’s easy. It’s weasels that are hard.

> One day early in the fall Mr. Hawk saw what he had
> been looking for so long.

TOM: The first robin of spring! You’re *incredibly* late!

CROW: [ As a robin ] ‘I’m very early!’

> Near the old cider mill, up the
> road from Farmer Green’s house,

JOEL: No, no, back down, you’ve gone too far — oh, that’s the Moon, nobody’s going *there*.

TOM: It’s too full.

> he spied a long, slender,
> brownish shape moving swiftly among a pile of barrels outside
> the building.

CROW: *Four* Maurice Chevaliers?!

> He knew at once that it was Grumpy Weasel;

TOM: Now, now, it might be Sulky Marten.

JOEL: I loved any game show hosted by Sulky Marten.

> and
> though he was a long way off Mr. Hawk could see that Grumpy
> was very busy looking for something

CROW: Grumpy! Are you looking for love in all the wrong places?

> —so busy, Mr. Hawk
> hoped, that Grumpy wouldn’t notice anything else.

JOEL: You know how it is when you’re looking for something, you can’t see anything.

TOM: Now where did I put my thing?

> Henry Hawk had wonderful eyesight.

CROW: [ As Emily Litella ] ‘Now how can eye sighing be wonderful?’

> As he came
> hurtling down out of the sky he could see that Grumpy was
> playing hide-and-seek with a mouse.

TOM: Oh, how sweet! Everyone thinks he’s mean and yet he goes out of his way to play with the deprived mice —

JOEL: [ Rests a hand on TOM’s shoulder ]

> "It’s a shame to break up the game," Mr. Hawk
> chuckled to himself.

CROW: All tied in the fourteenth inning, too, too bad.

> And just then something made Grumpy Weasel look up.

TOM: [ Yes’s _It Can Happen_ ] o/` Look down! There’s a crazy world outside! o/`

> It must have been Henry Hawk’s shadow flickering over a
> barrel.

JOEL: Wait a minute, hawks don’t come in barrels.

> There was no other sign that could have warned
> Grumpy.

CROW: [ As Henry ] ‘Except you, blabbermouth narrator.’

> He put the meadow mouse out of his mind

TOM: Never try eating a mouse with your mind.

JOEL: You get cheesey thoughts.

> without a bit
> of trouble and made a sidewise spring

CROW: Thank you, Coily!

> for the first hole on
> which his eyes lighted.

JOEL: Oh no, it’s the hole that only goes halfway!

> Grumpy was through it in a twinkling.

TOM: Not halfway anymore.

JOEL: Try and escape hard enough and everything’s a hole that goes all the way through.

> Henry Hawk made
> a frantic grab with his talons at the black tip of Grumpy’s
> tail,

CROW: No no, it’s marked ‘lift other end’.

> just as it whisked out of sight. But he was too late.

JOEL: Grumpy had called ‘olly olly oxen-free’.

> It did not soothe Henry Hawk’s feelings to find that
> the meadow mouse had vanished at the same time.

CROW: Wait! That mouse must be Atomic Mouse!

> Henry would
> have liked to play hide-and-seek with him himself.

TOM: Oh, what a happy valley this is! Everyone is so playful!

> Mr. Hawk knew well enough where Grumpy was hiding.

JOEL: [ As Henry ] ‘I can pick up tips from the gabby narrator *too*.’

> That slim fellow had sought safety in an empty jug,

CROW: o/` Little brown jug, little brown jug, little brown jug I don’t know the other words! o/`

> which was
> lying on its side near the pile of barrels.

TOM: It’s also lying on the ground, don’t make it look like it does all the lying by itself.

> It made a fine
> fort for Grumpy Weasel.

CROW: Fort Grumpy Weasel, a surprisingly critical post during King William’s War.

> The enemy couldn’t break through it.
> And there was only one loophole,

JOEL: It’s if a person of sufficient virtue reunites the Seven Lost Shards of Wisdom at the peak of the triple eclipse that happens Sunday night for the last time in a thousand years!

> which was far too small to
> do Henry Hawk the least good.

TOM: The least good, the fundamental particle of utilitarianism.

> Henry saw at once that he might as well go away.

CROW: I don’t know, could be pretty funny if you made the jug roll some.

JOEL: That’s mean, Crow.

CROW: Yeah but still.

> So
> he went off grumbling.

TOM: Grumpy pops his head out to yell that’s *his* line and then whoops.

> "This," he said, "is what comes of disorderly habits.

JOEL: Always keep your habits in a row, folks.

> Farmer Green ought not to have left that jug lying there.

CROW: Had he not ought?

> If
> he hadn’t, I might have been able to do him a good turn."

TOM: Oh, you could do him a good turn *now* by picking up his clutter, you just want to do something for yourself and *say* it’s a favor.

And to explain riffs. 1506 Nix Nix was a common catchphrase in the Dadaist comic strip Smokey Stover, I am told. I’ve read like three Sunday pages of it myself. Seems fun. Baby Huey was an inexplicably longrunning character in the Harvey Comics universe; he was an enormous, powerfully strong toddler of a bird. He aspired to Baby Schnooks status. The “Four Maurice Chevaliers” references the earlier parts of the Marx Brothers’ Monkey Business, where they sneak off the boat they’re stowaways on by pretending to be Maurice Chevalier. So funny a movie that Zeppo is funny in it. Yes’s It Can Happen is from their 1983 album 90125, the one that gave us Owner of a Lonely Heart.

Atomic Mouse is one of the approximately infinitely great number of old-time funny-animal comic book superheroes who gets their power from a proton energy pill. In his case, it’s Uranium-235 pills. Pretty fun overall but be ready for 40s-style casual racism and sexism spoiling a nice time. King William’s War was one of several wars between the England and France which in colonial times manifested as wars between American colonizers and Native Americans. It was pretty brutal, which is what makes it funny to reference.

[ To continue … ? Yeah, to continue, I’d be silly if I gave this up at this point. ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, Chapter 18

Yes, it’s one more chapter in Arthur Scott Bailey’s The Tale of Grumpy Weasel. The whole of my Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction of it should be at this link. And I’ll try and put explanations of riffs a the end of all this.

The story so far: Grumpy Weasel has had unpleasant run-ins with several birds, a muskrat, a rabbit, and Fatty Raccoon. I mean unpleasant for them. Grumpy enjoyed it all by not enjoying any of it. Who’s going to be next on Grumpy’s agenda of disliking things? Read on …


CROW: Prequel to the prequel to XXX: Ecks versus Sever.


TOM: Out east they say ‘Soda! goes the weasel.’

> There were many things that did not please Grumpy
> Weasel

JOEL: So be gone with them!

> —things that almost any one else would have liked.

CROW: How do we count Fatty Raccoon’s likability?

> For instance, there was music.

TOM: [ Singing ‘Til There Was You ] o/` And wonderful roses o/`

> The Pleasant Valley Singing
> Society,

CROW: Aren’t they the people Cherry Trail keeps doing garden stuff for?

> to which most of the bird people belonged,

TOM: What, Twitter?

> did not
> number Grumpy Weasel among its admirers.

CROW: They’re hoping he supports them on Patreon, though.

> He never cared to
> hear a bird sing—not even Jolly Robin’s cousin the Hermit,

JOEL: They’ve got a lovely daughter …

> who was one of the most beautiful singers in the woods. And
> as for Buddy Brown Thrasher,

TOM: Death metal comes to the Pleasant Valley!

> whom most people thought a
> brilliant performer, Grumpy Weasel always groaned whenever he
> heard him singing in the topmost branches of a tree.

CROW: When he sung in a bush, that was different.

> A bird-song—according to Grumpy Weasel—

TOM: [ As Grumpy, giving a report ] ‘Webster’s Dictionary defines birdsong as the song of one or more birds.’

JOEL: Webster wasn’t working hard the day he filled out the ‘birdsong’ card.

> was of use

> in only one way: it told you where the bird was.

CROW: [ As Grumpy ] ‘Oh! Well, that’s two ways, then.’

> And that was
> a help, of course, if you were trying to catch him.

JOEL: To catch a bird, it helps to think like a bird … hey, seed!

> Nor did the musical Frog family’s nightly concerts

TOM: To a sold-out arena!

> have much charm for Grumpy, though he did admit that some of
> their songs were not so bad as others.

JOEL: The closer they get to that Lesley Gore sound the better for him.

> "I can stand it now and then," he said, "to hear a
> good, glum croaking, provided there are plenty of discords."

CROW: Grumpy’s a huge fan of the 7-chord.

> Naturally, knowing how he felt, Grumpy Weasel’s
> neighbors never invited him to listen to their concerts.

TOM: Sounds like a problem solved, then.

> On
> the contrary they usually asked him please to go away, if he
> happened to come along.

JOEL: It only hurt when they started inviting him over so they can leave.

> Certainly nobody could sing his best,
> with such a listener.

CROW: [ As Grumpy ] ‘Well how good do you expect me to listen with such singing?’

> As a rule Grumpy Weasel was glad to go on about his
> business,

TOM: Mankind was your business!

> though to be sure he hated to oblige anybody.

CROW: Has Grumpy considered passive-aggression?

JOEL: Oh, he’s thought about it but he probably wouldn’t do it nearly well enough to annoy.

> But
> one day he stopped and scolded at the top of his voice when
> he came upon the Woodchuck brothers whistling in the pasture.

TOM: How were the Whistling Woodchuck Brothers not a regular blackout gag on _The Muppet Show_?

> Their whistles quavered a bit when they noticed who
> was present.

JOEL: [ Whistling ‘Sidewalks of New York’, but after a few bars breaking it off to a questioning tone. ]

> And they moved a little nearer their front door,
> in order to dodge out of sight if need be.

TOM: They hope to fool Grumpy into thinking the door was whistling.

> Although Grumpy
> Weasel might follow them, there was a back door they could
> rush out of.

CROW: Won’t they be surprised when Grumpy runs in the back door?

> And since they knew their way about their
> underground halls better than he did they did not worry
> greatly.

JOEL: They know every speakeasy, pool joint, and crooked pinball parlor in the Bowery.

> "We’re sorry—"

CROW: But your mauling has been disconnected.

> said the biggest brother, who was
> called Billy Woodchuck—"we’re sorry you don’t like our
> music.

TOM: Would you like a coupon good for two musics?

> And we’d like to know what’s the matter with it; for
> we always strive to please."

JOEL: They’re very professional, I bet they make it big someday.

> "It’s not so much the way you whistle," Grumpy
> snarled, "though your whistling is bad enough, it’s so
> cheerful.

CROW: [ As Billy ] What if we’re doing it while shivering in our shoes?

TOM: [ As Grumpy ] You don’t wear shoes!

> What I find fault with especially is the tune. It’s
> insulting to me. And you can’t deny it."

JOEL: [ As Billy ] What’s so insulting about I Don’t Like Weasels? Oh, now I say it out loud I hear it.

> Well, the Woodchuck brothers looked at one another in
> a puzzled fashion.

TOM: They’re stumped by today’s Woodchuck Wordle.

CROW: It’s ‘WHEEP’! It’s always ‘WHEEP’!

> "Never again let me hear you whistling, ‘Pop! Goes
> the Weasel,’" Grumpy warned them.

TOM: Got it, only sing it a capella from now on.

> That was the name of the
> Woodchuck brothers’ favorite air,

JOEL: Huh. Well, my favorite air is four parts nitrogen to one oxygen but hey, you like what you like.

> and the one they could
> whistle best. And any one could see that they were quite
> upset.

CROW: [ As Billy ] Would you like to race to the finish of the song?

> "Why don’t you like that tune?" Billy Woodchuck asked
> Grumpy Weasel politely.

TOM: [ As Grumpy ] I was cheated out of the royalties.

> "It’s that word ‘pop,’" Grumpy said.

CROW: Oh, he’s not into pop music.

> "It reminds me
> of a pop-gun. And a pop-gun reminds me of a real gun. And
> that’s something I don’t want to think about."

TOM: He’s making a good case, have to give him that.

> Well, the Woodchuck brothers looked at one another
> again. But this time they smiled.

JOEL: [ Billy, as Leo Gorcey ] Give ’em the ol’ Routine 29!

TOM: [ As Huntz Hall ] Ooh! Ooh! Right, chief!

> "You’ve misunderstood," Billy Woodchuck told Grumpy
> Weasel. "This is a different kind of pop.

CROW: Technically it’s a sort of ginger beer.

> It means that when
> you enter a hole you pop into it in a jiffy, without taking
> all day to do it."

JOEL: Oh come on, that … makes … sense?

TOM: [ Muttering, going over the lyrics ] Go around the mulberry bush, monkey chase the weasel, all in good fun …

> For a wonder Grumpy Weasel was almost pleased.

CROW: For two wonders Grumpy might almost experience Gemuetlichkeit.

> "That’s true!" he cried. "I couldn’t be slow if I
> wanted to be!"

JOEL: [ As Grumpy ] ‘But if I wanted to I could be the fastest to being the slowest thing imaginable! You’d be so slow getting to being slow compared to me you’d never get to me! Nobody could beat my pace to not being fast if I tried at it!’

TOM: [ As Billy ] ‘Are you high?’

> And he actually asked the Woodchuck brothers
> to whistle "Pop! Goes the Weasel" once more.

CROW: Wait, Grumpy’s first moment of happiness was caused by a *fan theory*?

> But Grumpy Weasel never thought of thanking them.

JOEL: [ As Billy ] ‘That’s all right, our real thanks is in messing with people’s heads!’

[ To continue … ? ]

The 7-chord is what came up when I looked up ‘most dissonant chord’ and this site says C# diminished sounds dissonant at least. The reference to the Bowery wasn’t meant to set up the Bowery Boys riff but it works nicely. There is, of course, no agreement about what the song Pop Goes The Weasel means, but a lot of theories. Considering the lyrics now I’m not sure the Whistling Woodchuck Brothers are wrong in saying it means weasels are fast.

MiSTed: The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, Chapter 17

My making a full Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction out of Arthur Scott Bailey’s The Tale of Grumpy Weasel looks even more inevitable every week. The entirety of the MiSTing should be at this link. As is the new norm I’ll try to explain obscure or baffling riffs after this week’s installment.

Now the Weasel News Recap: Fatty Raccoon is here! Everyone’s favorite, fabulous, one-seventh-of-a-ton raccoon tricked Grumpy Weasel into jumping into the corncrib. It’s scared off Frisky Squirrel and some supernumerary mice. Grumpy took Fatty’s advice on how to catch them! Will Grumpy live to regret listening to Fatty? Will Fatty live to regret angering a bundle of rage in weasel shape? Read on and learn!


TOM: Editing rival to emacs-XTREME.


CROW: He just assumed Dewey was going to defeat Truman and now …

> As soon as Grumpy Weasel left to chase the squirrels

JOEL: If you know what I mean.

> and mice that he had frightened away from the corncrib

TOM: Everybody run! The corn is teething!

> Fatty
> Raccoon hurried into the building through a hole in the floor

CROW: I’m fixing a hole where the racc climbs in …

> which nobody knew but himself.

JOEL: The loneliness of the long-distance raccoon.

> Though he was a great eater

TOM: I don’t know about ‘great’, I mean, he eats a lot but does he do anything to advance the eating *arts*?

> Fatty was also a fast
> one. And now he bolted a huge meal of corn

CROW: A cornmeal?

JOEL: No, a meal of corn.

CROW: Right, so, a cornmeal.

JOEL: No, you’re not hearing me.

CROW: I need better ears.

JOEL: Ears of corn.

CROW: Cornears.

TOM: Corneas? I thought his eyes were fine?

> in only a few
> minutes. Then, smiling broadly, he left the corncrib by his
> private doorway

JOEL: Polite way of saying he fell through the floor.

> and squatted down to await Grumpy’s return.

TOM: Now there’s a sentence nobody’s ever written before.

> In a little while Grumpy appeared.

CROW: As the prophecy foretold.

> "I hoped I’d see you again," Fatty Raccoon told him.

JOEL: Well now Grumpy just knows you’re lying.

> "Did you have any luck?"

TOM: He hasn’t had any luck this whole book!

> "No!" Grumpy Weasel snapped. "I was mistaken about
> your idea.

CROW: It fails to account for how the cosmological constant would have to vary in the first ten-billionths of a second after the Big Bang!

> It was a very poor one. For I’ve been running in a
> circle (as you suggested) till I’m dizzy;

JOEL: Well, just run in circles the opposite way until you’re un-dizzy.

> and I haven’t seen
> the least sign of a mouse nor a squirrel."

TOM: [ As Boris Badenov ] ‘Have to get mouse and squirrel!’

> Fatty Raccoon told him to cheer up.

CROW: You can just *feel* Grumpy’s withering stare through the pages like this.

> "I’ve another idea for you," he said.

JOEL: No time to ask questions, just put on this clown suit and this tiny doghouse over your head!

TOM: ‘I’ve’?

> "Keep it! Keep it!" Grumpy Weasel hissed.

TOM: No, take the box!

CROW: Door number three! You always want door number three!

> "Your last
> idea only made me tired; and I haven’t a capture to my credit
> to-night."

JOEL: ‘I haven’t a capture to my credit to-night’? Why is he talking like he’s in a lesser PG Wodehouse?

TOM: Grump Among The Chickens.

> "That’s because you ran too fast," Fatty explained
> glibly.

CROW: He … ran right past the squirrels?

> "Now, if you’ll be careful to run slowly, and do just
> as I tell you, I can promise that there’ll be a capture,
> without fail."

TOM: Now, if you invade Persia, a great empire will be destroyed.

> Grumpy had had such bad luck in his hunting about the
> farmyard that he decided to listen, anyhow.

CROW: Yeah, has Grumpy eaten, like, ever?

JOEL: If his whole issue is ‘hangry’ I’m swear …

> He told himself
> that he wouldn’t take Fatty’s advice unless it was much
> better than he expected.

TOM: A better plan than ‘run in circles’?

> "Well—go on!" he grunted.

CROW: Go on with your merry little schemes and plans.

> "Do you see that little house near the woodshed?"

TOM: Is it little or is it far away?

> Fatty Raccoon asked him. "It has a low doorway that’s always
> open, and no windows at all."

JOEL: Wait …

CROW: Is … is that the outhouse?

> "Yes!" said Grumpy Weasel harshly. "Of course I see
> it. I’m not blind."

TOM: You sure? Because ‘blind as a weasel’ sure sounds like it could be a saying.

> "Do you know who lives there?"

CROW: This *can’t* be the outhouse, right?

> "I always supposed that it belonged to Johnnie
> Green," said Grumpy.

TOM: He has to house his ineffectively caught pets somewhere.

> "His father is big and lives in the big
> house, and Johnnie is little and lives in the little house."

JOEL: [ As Fatty ] ‘Well, then who lives in the wide house?’

CROW: [ As Grumpy ] ‘The president.’

JOEL: [ As Fatty ] ‘D’oh!’

> Fatty Raccoon laughed merrily.

JOEL: [ As Fatty ] ‘Sorry, just thought of a hilarious corn I ate this morning.’

> "You don’t know as much as I thought you did!" he
> cried.

TOM: [ As Grumpy ] ‘Yeah, well, I know things you never thought I didn’t know!’

CROW: [ As Fatty ] ‘Yeah, I — what?’

> It may be that Fatty had set out to make Grumpy angry.
> Anyhow, Grumpy’s eyes burned in the darkness like two coals
> of fire.

JOEL: Uh-oh, weasel’s coming up to power.

> "I’m right about that little house," he wrangled.

TOM: They throw away *way* too much trash *every* single *week*! Something is up there!

> "Nonsense!" Fatty Raccoon exclaimed. And that made
> Grumpy angrier than ever.

JOEL: [ As Fatty, walking it back ] ‘Uh … partial sense? In the right contexts?’

> "You learned that word of old Mr. Crow!" he grumbled.

CROW: Aw, I gifted ‘Nonsense’ to the world, anyone can have it.

> "It’s his favorite expression; and I can’t endure it."

TOM: Grumpy doesn’t play favorites, he’s an equal-opportunity non-endurer.

> "You don’t need to stay here and listen to it," Fatty
> Raccoon said.

CROW: You can listen to it anywhere on my new podcast! Let me tell you the Raccoon Supper Syndication feed!

> "If you dared to you could run over to Johnnie
> Green’s house (as you call it);

TOM: Stipulating for the benefit of counsel without making an admission with regard to the house-ness of Johnnie Green.

> and if you found that you
> were right about it I promise you I’d never say ‘Nonsense’
> again."

JOEL: [ As Grumpy ] ‘Hmm … how close do I have to get so you promise you’ll never say ‘Snackage’ again?’

> If Grumpy Weasel hadn’t been so angry

CROW: He’d be any other character in this book.

> perhaps he
> wouldn’t have been so eager to prove himself right.

TOM: Grumpy strikes me as someone happy to let other people think wrong things about him.

> While
> Fatty watched him he bounded across the farmyard

JOEL: [ As Fatty, calling ] ‘It’s the other way!’

CROW: [ As Grumpy, responding ] ‘I knew that!’

> and stopped
> at the doorway of the tiny house.

TOM: Pardon, is the tiny of the house at home?

> And then he bounded back
> again, a great deal faster, with old dog Spot yelping behind
> him.

JOEL: The Tale of Territorial Spot.

CROW: He just doesn’t want Grumpy in and seeing his stuff, you know?

> Fatty Raccoon did not wait for anything more.

TOM: [ As Fatty ] Got my rhythm, got my music, got my corn … who could ask for anything more?

CROW: Toyota!

> He made
> for the woods at top speed, grinning as he went.

JOEL: Anytime he can run downhill …

> The next day he pretended to be surprised to meet
> Grumpy.

TOM: [ As Fatty ] ‘Ernie? Ernie Dinkelfwat?!’

> "You must have forgotten my advice," he said.

JOEL: Always — I mean, NEVER — I mean, make sure you don’t fail to forget — and keeping with you — never on your person — even in these troubled times. Thank you.

> "I
> promised you that there would be a capture if you ran slowly.

CROW: I couldn’t do the capture, it wanted me to prove I was a human.

> But it’s plain that you ran too fast, or you wouldn’t be
> here."

TOM: Fatty’s summer abroad working as the Sphinx really paying off here.

> "Nonsense!" Grumpy Weasel shouted, flying into a
> passion at once.

JOEL: Lucky he’s not flying into a passion play, it would mess up the Easter services.

> And he often wondered, afterward, what Fatty
> Raccoon found to laugh at.

TOM: [ As Fatty ] ‘Ha ha! You’ve fallen for my fairy logic! Now I return to the Raccoon Dimension for ninety days!’

JOEL: [ Announcer ] Ladies and gentlemen you have just had *the* Fatty Raccoon Experience!

CROW: Not without cheese dip I haven’t.

[ To continue … ? ]

Tom’s “Grump Among The Chickens” references PG Wodehouse’s Love Among The Chickens. It’s a good book, and only lesser compared to, like, Wooster-and-Jeeves or Blanding Castle stories. You can get it from Project Gutenberg. Johnnie Green and his “ineffectively caught pets” thing refers to an incident in The Tale of Fatty Raccoon where he’s not good at catching Fatty. Also how earlier in this Tale Johnnie couldn’t keep hold of Jimmy Rabbit. There’s no good reason for me to expand ‘RSS feed’ as ‘Raccoon Supper Syndication feed’ except I couldn’t find the ‘feed’ pun I really needed there. The “Toyota” line riffs on an early 80s series they had which used “I Got Rhythm” as theme. Ernie Dinkelfwat is lifted from Bloom County; please let his loved ones know he’s all right.

Considering how much of Grumpy’s motivation, besides being unpleasant to the neighbors, is hunting it’s striking how much he doesn’t get to eat. I know we couldn’t have him devour someone on-screen but you’d think there’d be a reference to how he’d just finished a meal or something.

MiSTed: The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, Chapter 16

Arthur Scott Bailey’s The Tale of Grumpy Weasel enters its sixteenth chapter and a fresh new adventure this week. You can see the whole of my Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment at this link. You can enjoy it at your leisure.

The story so far: Grumpy Weasel’s plan to sweet-talk his way into the henhouse failed. While Old Mrs Hen remains a fan, Young Master Robin, Paddy Muskrat, and Jimmy Rabbit are wise to his unpleasant ways. Who will our long, squirmy antihero cross paths with next? And is it a name from our past? Read and find out.


CROW: X versus I, the final confrontation!


TOM: The …

JOEL: This adventure’s going to be a struggle.

> Grumpy Weasel never seemed to have anything but bad
> luck whenever he went near the farmyard.

CROW: Hey, you know what’s good luck? A rabbit’s foot — oh.

> Perhaps that was the
> reason why he kept going back there, for he was nothing if
> not determined.

TOM: I’m starting to think he looks for things to be grumpy about.

> Anyhow, he had found the hunting poor along
> his stone wall in the woods.

JOEL: Nobody hunts there anymore, it’s too popular.

> And there was so much "game," as
> he called it,

CROW: Game, but not in so many words.

JOEL: It’s some big game, like Huge Monopoly and Giant Uno and Nine Tall Men’s Morris.

> about the farm buildings that he thought it was
> silly to leave it for such scamps as Peter Mink and Tommy Fox

TOM: Scampy Squirrel …

CROW: Swindler Skunk …

JOEL: Slick Stork …

> and Fatty Raccoon.

[ ALL gasp! ]

TOM: Are we — is this a legit crossover?

> So he took to loitering near Farmer Green’s corncrib.

CROW: Don’t go too near, you’ll have to change the corn-nappies.

> And he was not at all pleased to find Fatty Raccoon there one
> evening.

JOEL: Ladies! And Gentlemen! The hardest-eating raccoon in the business! Two tons of ringtail in a four-ton bag, the one, the only, Fatty Raccoon!

TOM: [ As Fatty ] ‘Who, little ol’ me?’

> He wouldn’t have spoken to Fatty at all had not that

> plump young chap hurled a cutting remark directly at him:

TOM: Scissors slice incisor vorpal blade weasel.

> "There are no chickens in this building. This is a corncrib."

CROW: Thank you, Torgo.

> "Don’t you suppose I know that?" Grumpy retorted.

JOEL: I make no assumptions about what weasels know about what chickens know about what corncribs can be used for.

> "I’ve come here to guard the corn from mice and squirrels."

TOM: And, uh, the space aliens who are stealing our cribs.

> "There’s no need of your doing that," Fatty Raccoon
> told him.

CROW: [ As Grumpy ] ‘Oh, is there no need of my doing that? What if I say no, there isn’t there no need of my doing that? What then, varlet?’

> "Have you never noticed those tin pans, upside
> down, on top of the posts on which the corncrib rests?

TOM: Tin Pan Alley was smaller than I thought!

> How
> could a mouse or a squirrel ever climb past one of those?"

CROW: Maybe something peppy in 3/4 time that’ll sell in Brooklyn *and* Peoria?

> "There are ways," Grumpy Weasel said wisely.

TOM: He’s bluffing! Get him!

> "I doubt it," Fatty replied. "I don’t believe the
> trick can be done."

JOEL: We’ve had to watch six thousand short films about how to have good posture while dating a Chevy salesman on the phone and not one word about what the heck a corncrib is or why you’d have tin pans on them.

> Then, not to oblige Fatty, but to show him he was
> mistaken,

TOM: Anyone can do any amount of work as long as it’s part of showing someone else is wrong.

> Grumpy climbed a tree near-by, dropped from one of
> its branches to the roof of the corncrib,

CROW: What squirrel could have mastered climbing a tree *and* jumping from it to get food?

> and quickly found a
> crack in the side of the building through which he slipped
> with no trouble at all.

JOEL: Um … bye?

> Suddenly there was a great scurrying and scrambling
> inside.

CROW: Eh, I’ve seen greater.

> And soon Fatty Raccoon saw Frisky Squirrel

TOM: Snrrk!

JOEL: Wait, really?

> and
> several of his friends

TOM: Randy Chipmunk, Lusty Woodchuck, and Arthur the Anhedonic Pocket Gopher.

> —not to mention three frightened
> mice—

JOEL: Good job not mentioning them!

CROW: Arthur Scott Bailey slapping his forehead, saying he swore he wasn’t going to do that again.

> come tumbling out and tear off in every direction.

TOM: Including thorbwards.

> Presently Grumpy Weasel stuck his head through a
> crack between two boards.

CROW: [ As the Wizard of Oz doorkeeper ] ‘Who rang that bell?’

> "Did you catch the robbers?" he called to Fatty
> Raccoon.

TOM: [ As Fatty ] ‘What are you, a cop?’

> "They were too spry for me," Fatty told him.

CROW: Also I don’t eat named cast, I’m not a *monster*.

> He
> wouldn’t have stopped one anyhow, for Grumpy Weasel.

JOEL: The screen energy of this pair, it’s like Paul Newman and Robert Redford together.

> "Which way did they go, old Slow Poke?"

TOM: Old Slow Poke? Nah, they went by the South Buttons Shunpike.

> Grumpy cried
> as he jumped down in great haste.

CROW: Even gravity wants Grumpy Weasel to go.

> "Everywhere!" Fatty told him.

JOEL: All at once?!

> "Can’t you be a little more exact?

TOM: [ As Fatty ] ‘Everywhere but *here*.’

CROW: [ As Grumpy ] ‘OK, that does help, though.’

> You don’t
> think—do you?—that I can run more than one way at a
> time?"

CROW: What if you saunter? Maybe you can saunter in up to three directions at once?

> "Why don’t you run round and round in a circle?"

JOEL: Like a record baby, right round, round, round.

> Fatty suggested. "In that way you might catch at least half
> those youngsters—and perhaps all of them."

TOM: Merry-go-weasel.

CROW: Grumpy-go-weasel.

JOEL: It’s just nice to see a weasel getting out of the whole pop-goes-ing box.

> "That’s the first real idea you ever had in your
> life!"

JOEL: Hey, he had that great ‘cheese pie au gratin’ plan.

> Grumpy exclaimed—which was as near to thanking a
> person as he was ever known to come.

CROW: What if he has to thank a person a second time?

[ To continue … ? ]

“Pocket gopher” is just a longer and therefore funnier way of saying “gopher”. There’s no particular reference in the “Old Slow Poke” and “South Buttons Shunpike” thing, the words just sounded like old-timey ways of getting places. If you think something else here might benefit from an explanation, let me know. I can talk about my writing at any length as long as I’m being dull.

MiSTed: The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, Chapter 15

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.

> XV

TOM: That V is actually the top half of a much bigger X.


CROW: Push the button, Watson.

> The story soon spread all around the farmyard,

JOEL: Sky falling. Huh. Well, it’ll do that.

> how
> 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
> do

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
> her

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.

CROW: Templeton!

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
> hole.

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
> said

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.

> It
> would be much easier for him, anyhow.

TOM: Growing as a person is so hard.

> That very night Grumpy Weasel stole back to the
> henhouse.

CROW: Hens running around wondering where all their back is.

> And he was just about to creep up to the old rat
> hole,

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
> somebody.

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
> shadow.

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
> about.

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
> made,

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
> met.

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.

MiSTed: The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, Chapter 14

Arthur Scott Bailey’s The Tale Of Grumpy Weasel continues to amuse me. If it, in Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction form, amuses you, you might check out the whole of the project at this link, not counting whatever chapters I haven’t gotten to.

The story so far: After twelve chapters of antagonizing everyone Grumpy Weasel has started saying kind things to Old Mrs Hen. What’s his deal, and does it make Arthur Scott Bailey look like he can’t write a protagonist he likes? We’ll see.

While writing this I felt like I was short on the goofy whimsical riffs, and yet there they were when I was done. The reference to Ratigan’s hall is both a Beatles and a Great Mouse Detective thing. “Walk Right In, Walk Right Out” was one of the songs the Max Weinberg 7 used for commercial intros all the time on Late Night with Conan O’Brien. There’s a nice version of it by Lavay Smith and Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers on YouTube although the lyrics may make a Honeymooners fan angry that “the hucklebuck” wasn’t a nonsense word invented for that one episode where Ralph was feeling old. Worse, that goofy “Do The Hucklebuck” song was an actual song, younger — at the time that episode was made — than Walk The Moon’s “Shut Up And Dance” is today. You’ve been warned.


JOEL: So that’s eleven less than five, this is chapter minus four?

CROW: Sounds right.


TOM: Is … is the book over?

> Grumpy Weasel

TOM: Guess not.

> was quick to see

CROW: Yeah, we know he’s quick, that was the whole Jimmy Rabbit race.

> that fat Mrs. Hen
> swallowed every word he said as greedily as if it had been an
> angleworm.

JOEL: [ As Mrs Hen ] ‘Hey, I only eat diet angleworm.’

> "Yes! You have a fine house here," he said.

TOM: [ As Groucho ] ‘I’ve had a fine house here but this isn’t it.’

> "But
> of course you’re crowded," he added gloomily,

JOEL: Ever since that four-star review in Better Nests and Gardens.

> to show Mrs.
> Hen that he knew she had no place for him.

CROW: Is … is he looking for … _snugglebunnies_?

JOEL: Not since Jimmy Rabbit escaped.

> "Oh! Not at all!" Mrs. Hen assured him.

TOM: It’s called a sub-efficiency apartment and there’s really lots of space once you move everything out into the hall.

> "And the door’s always shut tight at night," he
> added, "on account of that prowling Tommy Fox."

CROW: Have you ever considered that Tommy Fox only prowls around because he’s wondering why you’re shutting the door so tight?

> "Yes! We have to be careful," said Mrs. Hen.

TOM: Hence our choice to wear helmets all the time.

CROW: *Hens* our choice.

> "And there’s Peter Mink, too," Grumpy went on.

JOEL: Hey, he was your biggest fan in the Jimmy Rabbit race!

> "Don’t
> leave an opening big enough for him!

TOM: Give him the slightest conversational opening and he’ll talk to you for hours!

CROW: He has *opinions* about the 1960s Popeye cartoons.

> He can get through a
> small hole, too—any that’s big enough for his head."

JOEL: Smaller than that, if he leaves his head at home.

> At that Mrs. Hen looked startled, as if she had just
> remembered something that made her feel uneasy.

TOM: [ As Mrs Hen ] ‘My rat closet!’

> "He couldn’t get through a rat hole, could he?" she
> inquired nervously.

CROW: I started on a rat hole but I couldn’t get past the first thirty pages.

> "Why—there isn’t one here, is there?" Grumpy asked.

JOEL: I want to know how many holes it takes to fill Ratigan’s hall?

> "There is an old one," she admitted. "It hasn’t been
> used in my time."

TOM: But an ancient prophecy speaks of a great uniter of the rats who will someday emerge from it.

> "If I could see it I’d know at once whether Pete
> could crawl through it," Grumpy Weasel said,

CROW: Or you could just ask Pete?

TOM: Maybe it would be more convenient to take the hole to Pete and see if it fits around him?

> talking to
> himself—or so it seemed to Mrs. Hen.

JOEL: [ As though just now realizing ] OH!

> "I’ll show it to you gladly!" she cried.

CROW: I’m sorry, Grumpy Weasel can’t do anything gladly.

> "Do come
> right in and look at our rat hole, Mr. Weasel!"

TOM: Please don’t mind the clutter, it’s a bit of a rat’s nest around the hole — oh say!

> As she spoke, Mrs. Hen started for the henhouse.

CROW: Oh, you keep the hole *inside* the henhouse, how elegant.

> And
> after her crept Grumpy Weasel,

TOM: Being creepy.

> hoping that nobody else would
> see him.

JOEL: You don’t want to cause a scene with Mr Hen.

> So far as he could tell, the hens were all out of
> doors, scratching in the dirt.

CROW: Boy, the ground is *itchy* today!

> But suddenly Mrs. Hen’s
> jealous neighbor began to set up a great squawking,

TOM: It’s the Great Squawking, Charlie Brown.

> calling
> upon Mrs. Hen to be careful, for she was in great danger.

CROW: [ As Mrs Hen ] ‘How does my being careful help you with your great danger?’

JOEL: [ As Neighbor ] ‘No, no, I mean … you know what, go ahead.’

> Fat Mrs. Hen turned about with a vexed look upon her
> handsome but somewhat stupid face.

TOM: Stupid face! Read a book sometime, face, it’ll do you good!

> "Walk right in!" she said to Grumpy.

CROW: [ Singing ‘Walk Right In, Walk Right Out’ ] o/` Walk right out, walk right in, walk right out o/`

> "I must stop and
> settle with her. She has gone too far."

TOM: [ As Mrs Hen ] ‘Imagine a neighbor preferring I were not dead!’

CROW: [ As Grumpy ] ‘I can’t, it’s like imagining a square circle or something.’

> And leaving Grumpy to
> find the rat hole without her help,

JOEL: [ As Mrs Hen ] ‘Just go up the ladder and take a right at the grizzly-bear hole, you can’t miss it!’

TOM: [ As Grumpy ] ‘Wait, there’s a grizzly bear hole?’

JOEL: [ As Mrs Hen ] ‘Yes, but you’ll never see a rat use it!’

> Mrs. Hen fluttered across
> the henyard with her head thrust forward,

JOEL: o/` She clucks right in … o/`

> to give her
> meddlesome neighbor a number of hard pecks and so teach her
> to mind her own affairs.

TOM: [ As Mrs Hen ]*Now* am I a woman of scandalous virtue or what?’

> With a low chuckle

JOEL: A low dishonest chuckle.

> Grumpy Weasel slipped inside the
> henhouse,

TOM: Whoops!


> where he found himself quite alone.

JOEL: Apart from that Henry Bemis guy.

> It took him but
> a few moments to discover in one corner of the building the
> old rat hole of which Mrs. Hen had spoken.

TOM: He’s going to dare the Ninja Turtles to a race and grab Splinter.

> And then he went to the door and looked out,

CROW: Look out!
[ ALL duck ]

> for Mrs.
> Hen and her neighbor were making a terrific racket.

TOM: Oh, they must really like playing tennis together!

> He saw
> the end of the squabble. And soon Mrs. Hen came running back,
> with her feathers sadly rumpled, and her comb awry.

JOEL: [ As Mrs Hen ] ‘Yeah so we’ve got yetis and they’re not nice.’

> "I settled with her," she gasped. "And now tell me
> about the rat hole.

CROW: What, with your comb awry like that?

> Could Peter Mink get through it?"
> "No, he couldn’t!" Grumpy Weasel said.

TOM: He didn’t bring his fake ID and the bouncer is strict.

> Then he dodged
> strangely back into the henhouse.

JOEL: Uh … incoming?

> And though Mrs. Hen hopped
> in after him she couldn’t find him anywhere.

TOM: Invisiweasel!

> She couldn’t understand it.

CROW: She was all but sure objects had permanence and yet here we are.

[ To continue … ? ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, Chapter 13

I for one am still enjoying Arthur Scott Bailey’s The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, and I hope you are too. The whole of my Mystery Science Theater 3000 fanfiction of it should be here, in case you just ran across this and want to catch up on all the antics and/or shenanigans.

The story so far: Young Master Wren, Mr Meadow Mouse, Paddy Muskrat, and Jimmy Rabbit have each avoided being eaten by Grumpy Weasel. But those are all behind us; is Grumpy about to turn a new leaf? Let’s watch.

I imagine many MST3K watchers won’t find ‘Centron’ an obscure reference. For normal people, though, they were a maker of educational films, with titles like School Bus Safety and Courtesy, Your Table Manners, You Asked About Topeka, or the MST3K all-star shorts Speech: Using Your Voice and What About Juvenile Delinquency. Look them up, you’ll be glad you did.


CROW: You feeling the X-I-tement yet?


TOM: It’s not ‘nine, ten, silly Mrs Hen’?

> Strange to say,

JOEL: I don’t know, is it *that* strange?

> Grumpy Weasel was trying to be
> pleasant.

JOEL: OK, you got me.

> Of course he didn’t really know how,

CROW: Sounds like Grumpy needs to watch a Centron short.

> for he always
> practiced being surly and rude.

TOM: And he’s almost got it right!

> It must be confessed, too,
> that he had succeeded in making himself heartily disliked by
> everybody that knew him.

CROW: Really? How so?

> There were a few, however, who had yet to learn of
> Grumpy Weasel’s bad traits.

TOM: Because they never happened to be near a wall or a pond or a bush or anything.

> Among these was a foolish, fat
> hen who lived in Farmer Green’s henhouse.

CROW: [ As Foghorn Leghorn ]*HEN*house, I say!’

> And now Grumpy
> Weasel was doing his best to make a good impression on her.

TOM: By throwing rocks at her.

> It is no wonder, perhaps, that this lady was unaware
> of her caller’s real nature.

JOEL: The call is coming from inside the weasel!

> For Grumpy was careful,

CROW: He always kept three points of contact with the ladder.

> as a
> rule, to visit the farmyard only after dark.

TOM: [ Sultry sax music ] Bwaa-bwaaa-bwa-bwa-BWAAAAAA-BWAAAAAAAH

> And being a
> person of quiet habits Mrs. Hen was always abed and asleep at
> that time.

JOEL: [ As Mrs Hen ] ‘I have my half-cup of lukewarm herbal tea (half a sugar cube) and think about an unsalted Saltine and set my hand on a book of good nutritional advice and that’s enough fun for me.’

> Grumpy found it a bit difficult to chat with Mrs. Hen

CROW: But they have so much in common!

> because old dog Spot was sprawled on the farmhouse steps;

JOEL: We don’t truck with that New Dog Spot.

> and
> naturally Grumpy felt like keeping one eye on him.

TOM: One eye on the dog, one eye on his wall, you’re spreading yourself kind of thin, Grumpy.

> But the
> other he turned, as well as he could, on Mrs. Hen, who was in
> the henyard looking for worms.

CROW: And not centipedes, or as she call them, ‘spicy worms’.

> Just outside the wire fence

TOM: Some look at the yard and ask, ‘wire fence?’ I look at the yard and ask, ‘why aren’t fence?’

> Grumpy Weasel crouched and told Mrs. Hen how well she was
> looking.

JOEL: Oh, she is, she’s an expert at looking by now.

> His pretty speeches pleased Mrs. Hen so much that she
> actually let a fat angleworm get away from her

TOM: [ Gasping ] Grumpy’s on the payroll of Big Angleworm!

> because she
> hadn’t her mind on what she was doing.

CROW: Oh no, they’re going to bring this up at the next henhouse scrum.

> She noticed meanwhile
> that one of her neighbors was making frantic motions,

TOM: [ As Mrs Hen ] ‘Gracious, might you be one of those hot-cha-cha dancers I hear so much about?’

> as if
> she had something important to say.

JOEL: o/` But Mrs Hen will never speak, unless she has something to say … o/`

> So Mrs. Hen sauntered
> across the henyard to find out what it was.
> "Don’t you know whom you’re talking to?" the neighbor
> demanded in a loud whisper. "That’s Grumpy Weasel

CROW: [ As Mrs Hen ] ‘Oh … well, what’s his middle name?’

JOEL: [ As Neighbor ] ‘Cruel Bastard’

CROW: [ As Mrs Hen ] ‘I can change him.’

> —the worst
> rascal in all these parts."

TOM: Sure but isn’t the *worst* rascal actually the *most* upstanding person?

> Somehow that sent a pleasant flutter of excitement
> through Mrs. Hen.

JOEL: [ As Mrs Hen ] ‘Am I what they call a woman of scandal now? Oh jeepers!’

> At the same time she couldn’t quite believe
> the news, because her caller had said such very pleasant
> things.

TOM: He’s just copying the stuff from Tom and Jerry cartoons where they’re trying to romance that little pink cat.

> "Don’t worry!" she told her neighbor. "I’m old enough
> to look out for myself."

CROW: I thought you were looking out for angleworms?

JOEL: Mrs Hen knows the angles.

> "I should say so!" her neighbor cried.

TOM: Please do, then.

JOEL: [ As Mrs Hen ] ‘So.’

TOM: Thank you.

> "You’re three
> years old if you’re a day!"
> "I’m not!" Mrs. Hen retorted.

CROW: [ As Mrs Hen ] ‘I’m not a day! I’m a hen! Didn’t you know?’

> "I’m only two and a
> half."

TOM: Red Skelton’s Mean Widdle Kid suddenly feels old.

> Her feathers were all ruffled up

CROW: Oh, she’s going for a biker chick look.

> and she went straight
> back and told Grumpy Weasel what her neighbor had said about
> him.

JOEL: Does her neighbor have a name, a species, an anything?

CROW: Jimmy’s Brother!

> "You don’t believe that, I hope," Grumpy ventured.

TOM: Grumpy asks, ‘Me, a rascal’, while fwipping a lock of hair over his eyes.

> Mrs. Hen clucked and tried to look wise.

CROW: You shouldn’t say ‘lookwise’, you should say ‘regarding looks’.

> And at last
> she confided to Grumpy that her neighbor was a jealous
> creature

JOEL: Driven to bitterness by an encounter with Grumpy’s father, Cranky Weasel.

> and sure to speak ill of a stranger who came to call
> on anybody but herself.

TOM: What kind of freak wants people to call them?

JOEL: It was the 1910s, calls were different.

> Well, Grumpy Weasel told Mrs. Hen that he knew, when
> he first set eyes on her, that she was a sensible little
> body.

CROW: Compact, fuel-efficient, reasonable monthly payments, I’ll take it.

> "You’ve a snug home here," he went on.

TOM: [ As Mrs Hen ] Why yes! No nails at all, all the boards are cut to fit together!

JOEL: [ As Grumpy ] Let me start over.

> "I can tell
> you that I’d like such a place to crawl into on a chilly, wet
> night."

CROW: Uh …

JOEL: Arthur Scott Bailey *after dark*!

TOM: He told us!

> And though it was a warm, fine summer’s day he
> shivered and shook, so Mrs. Hen could see.

CROW: [ As Mrs Hen ] ‘Is that that Fox Trot dance I hear Vernon and Irene Castle do?’

JOEL: [ As Grumpy ] ‘I’m a weasel, it’s a Weasel Trot dance.’

> And silly Mrs. Hen couldn’t help feeling sorry for
> him.


[ To continue … ? ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, Chapter 12

It’s another week and another chapter in Arthur Scott Bailey’s The Tale of Grumpy Weasel. All of my Mystery Science Theater 3000 fanfiction of it should be at tis link. So if you want to see how this race against Jimmy Rabbit came to be, or just how long it’s been going on, there’s your chance.

The story so far: Old Mr Crow talked Grumpy Weasel into racing Jimmy Rabbit. What Jimmy and Old Mr Crow realized only too late is that Grumpy figures the finish line is Jimmy’s neck. Jimmy is fast, but Grumpy is relentless. How will the hero of a completely different book than this make it out alive? And why is Old Mr Crow so sure Jimmy’s going to escape today?

Epi is one of the titular Fifteen Rabbits, by Felix Salten, author of Bambi. Epi is one of the wild rabbits who’s taken as a pet by some well-meaning children. Hot! (Sssss) Weasels! is maybe inspired by the opening of the short-lived Bill Cullen game show Hot Potato but what makes that a joke I don’t know. The mocking lines about Jimmy’s ‘Brother’ are because there were several references to Jimmy Rabbit’s brother in The Tale of Fatty Raccoon and he never says anything, does anything, gets spoken to, or gets a name, so I made up the joke that he’s imaginary.


TOM: Chapter Two, Part Ten. The Prequel.


CROW: And the weasel in my hand is the four of diamonds, is it not?

> Grumpy Weasel wouldn’t stop long with his cousin,
> Peter Mink,

JOEL: No? I thought they were both pretty long?

> and old Mr. Crow and all the rest.

TOM: o/` Here on Gilligan’s Rabbit! o/`

> He was in a hurry to overtake Jimmy Rabbit.

CROW: In hour 182 of the race.

> And after
> quarreling fiercely with the whole company—

TOM: The acting company, over who’s getting the lead in _You’re A Good Mink, Charlie Brown_.

> except his
> cousin—he sprang up with a wicked glitter in his black eyes

JOEL: Oh, he’s never going to get that glitter out of his eyes now.

> and left without another word.

CROW: What are we going to do with this pile of words he left us?

TOM: Say them?

> "That fixed him," said Mr. Crow knowingly.


CROW: Ah, he’s broke again!

> "What did?" Peter Mink demanded.
> "That rest!" Mr. Crow replied.

TOM: Six quarter notes of silence going into the bridge? Brilliant suspension! It’ll be the hit of Tin Pan Alley once they invent Tin Pan Alley!

> "It gave Jimmy Rabbit
> just time enough to go where he’s going."

CROW: Well, when he gets there tell him to come back and explain it to us.

> And that was all he
> would say.

JOEL: What, *now* Mr Crow figures silence is a virtue?

> Not until Grumpy Weasel returned some time later did
> any one know what Mr. Crow meant.

TOM: Oh, Jimmy found the Save Spot.

> Grumpy Weasel was in a terrible temper when he came
> slowly back.

CROW: So … did he win? Lose? Tie?

> Everybody could tell, without asking, that the
> race was ended.

JOEL: Well, Jimmy didn’t eat Grumpy, we can rule *that* out.

> "Where did you catch him?" Peter Mink asked his
> cousin.

TOM: Ah, he grabbed a bus, the coward.

> Grumpy Weasel said in a few ill-chosen words

JOEL: [ As Grumpy ] ‘Florid apostasy walks through clutch Melpomene! That’s a *terrible* collection of words!’

> that he
> hadn’t caught Jimmy Rabbit at all,

CROW: Maybe you could return the unused portion for a full refund?

> and that somebody had
> played a trick on him.

TOM: A trick? From a rabbit? There’s nothing in folklore to justify *that*!

> He looked directly at Mr. Crow as he
> spoke.

CROW: [ Leaning forward, as though kissing Grumpy. ] Mmmmmwah!

> "It wasn’t Johnny Green, was it?"

JOEL: It was his cousin from Rome, Giuseppi Verdi.

> Mr. Crow inquired
> solemnly as he moved carefully to a higher limb.

TOM: It’s Johnny Green’s shoulder! Get out of there!

> Grumpy Weasel could tell, then, without a doubt,

JOEL: Oh, take a doubt, we have so *many* this time of year.

> that
> it was Mr. Crow that had made him lose the race.

TOM: But he won the moral victory!

> Grumpy had
> followed hot on Jimmy Rabbit’s tracks.

CROW: Hot! (Sssssssss) Weasel!

> And to his surprise
> they led straight toward the farm buildings.

JOEL: They keep on building the farm but it’s never *built*.

> But Grumpy kept
> on and never stopped until he reached the farmyard fence

TOM: [ As a Fence ] ‘Wanna buy a hot weasel?’

> where he crouched and watched Jimmy disappear—of all
> places!

JOEL: Right into a top hat!

TOM: [ As a scolding sort of cry ] Liddsville!

> —right in the woodshed, where Johnny Green was
> picking up an armful of wood.

CROW: Fatty Raccoon, now Jimmy Rabbit, you figure Johnny Green’s tired of being roped into all these animal dramas any?

> Of course Grumpy Weasel wouldn’t think of entering
> such a dangerous place.

TOM: Oh, c’mon, wood is just as afraid of you as you are of it!

> And when he heard a shout and saw
> Johnny Green come out with Jimmy Rabbit in his arms

TOM: Smooching.

> he knew
> that Jimmy Rabbit had won the race, even if he had lost his
> freedom.


JOEL: [ Pats CROW’s shoulder. ]

> "It was that old black rascal, Mr. Crow,

CROW: That’s just how I look in silhouette.

> that put
> that notion into Jimmy Rabbit’s head," Grumpy said savagely

JOEL: Now wait, how do you know it’s not Jimmy’s ‘Brother’?

TOM: Yes, his … ‘Brother’.

> to himself as he turned and made for the woods. "They were
> talking together a little while ago."

CROW: Well, did I give *you* any good ideas?

> And all the way back to the stone wall he kept
> thinking what he would do to Mr. Crow if he could ever get
> hold of him.

TOM: Challenging him to a race is out … what if you made Mr Crow race Jimmy Rabbit?

> So you can see that he must have looked very
> dangerous when he reached his hunting ground;

JOEL: You go and look, I’m a-scared to.

> and you can
> understand why Mr. Crow took pains to change his seat.

CROW: [ Getting up, bumping into JOEL but not going farther ] ‘Scuse me, pardon me, coming through, one way, scuse me, pardon me … ‘

> "I may have lost the race—through a trick," Grumpy
> hissed as he glared at Mr. Crow.

TOM: [ As Dan Backslide ] A runabout? I’ll steal it! No one will ever know!

> "But one thing is certain:

JOEL: You don’t tug on Superman’s cape.

> That young Jimmy Rabbit will trouble us no more. He’s Johnny
> Green’s prisoner."

CROW: And Johnny Green wants … information!

> "Nonsense!" cried Mr. Crow. "He’ll escape some fine
> day."

TOM: [ As Grumpy ] ‘It’s supposed to rain all next week!’

> "Nonsense! He won’t!" Grumpy Weasel disputed.

CROW: ‘Disputed’.

> And he
> never begged Mr. Crow’s pardon.

TOM: That makes two of us.

CROW: Hey!

> And neither did Peter Mink
> apologize to the old gentleman, as Mr. Crow had said he
> would.

JOEL: Mr Crow’s a gentleman?

CROW: We are all fine creatures!

> So in one way Mr. Crow was wrong. But in another way
> he was right.

TOM: And in being right, isn’t that the real wrong?

> For it wasn’t a week before Jimmy Rabbit
> appeared in the woods again, as spry as ever.

CROW: It may have been three days, it may have been ten times ten thousand years, all we know is it was not a week.

[ To continue … ? ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, Chapter 11

I hope you’re having more fun with Arthur Scott Bailey’s The Tale of Grumpy Weasel than poor little Jimmy Rabbit is! You can catch up on my whole Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction of it here.

For those joining us now:: Jimmy Weasel accepted Old Mr Crow’s nagging to take up Grumpy Weasel’s race challenge. What Jimmy and Old Mr Crow failed do is negotiate for the race to have a finish line. Jimmy’s starting to realize Grumpy figures the only finish line is “finish Jimmy”.

I don’t think anything needs explaining here. Well, ‘Coronet Blue’, but that was explained as far as it could be on the original show.

> XI

CROW: Xi Xperling, president of the hair club for zmen.


TOM: The 19th-Century struggle between Britain and Russia for mastery in Afghanistan and how it changed the world!

> The famous race between Grumpy Weasel and Jimmy
> Rabbit went on and on.

JOEL: They stumbled into an existentialist drama without realizing it.

> Jimmy turned and twisted this way and
> that,

CROW: No, not *that* way!

> up and down and back and forth

TOM: *And* Fortran.

> through Pleasant Valley.

JOEL: [ As Ted Stryker ] I don’t know if we’ll ever be through Pleasant Vally.

> He could still run faster than Grumpy Weasel, it is true.

CROW: Well, that would seem to settle the race then, wouldn’t it?

> But
> he was growing tired. Now and then Jimmy stopped to rest.

JOEL: Have you considered calling ‘Olly Olly Oxen Free’?

> And
> he kept hoping that Grumpy Weasel had become so weary that he
> had given up the chase.

TOM: That’s it, wait for the creature driven by anger to get over it.

> But Grumpy Weasel never stopped once.

CROW: He started right in on stopping twice.

> And whenever
> Jimmy Rabbit spied him coming along his trail Jimmy would
> spring up with a sigh and rush off again.

JOEL: [ As Coily ] o/` No sighs! o/`s`

> He began to understand that such a race was no joke.

TOM: Jimmy took a frivolous view of the sport of ‘Dare Ya to a Foot Race’?

> He certainly didn’t want to lose the race.

CROW: The only way to race is not to race.

> And he certainly
> didn’t want Grumpy Weasel to come up with him.

JOEL: Maybe Grumpy Weasel will just give you a big hug?

> He had always
> kept at a good safe distance from that ill-natured fellow.

TOM: Except on Accept-A-Dare Thursdays.

> And Jimmy felt most uneasy now at the thought of Grumpy’s
> catching him.

CROW: [ As Jimmy ] ‘What if he tickles me?’

> "He must be very hungry, after running so far," Jimmy
> Rabbit said to himself anxiously.

TOM: [ As Jimmy ] ‘Maybe I can get him talking about what kind of protein shakes he likes.’

> "If he’s as hungry as I am
> he wouldn’t be a pleasant person to meet."

JOEL: What if you meet him at the Chinese buffet?

> And that thought
> made Jimmy run all the faster, for a time.

CROW: But he’s not running for a time.

> But he soon found
> that he had to stop more often to rest.

TOM: Jimmy hauls off and smacks a tortoise who wasn’t even involved.

> And to his great
> alarm Grumpy Weasel kept drawing nearer all the time.

JOEL: When in the race do you figure Jimmy realized he forgot to pick a finish line?

> At last Jimmy Rabbit became so worried that he swept

TOM: Compulsive cleaning is at least a useful way of handling nerves.

> around by the stone wall again and stopped to whisper to old
> Mr. Crow.

JOEL: [ As Mr Crow ] ‘What? You act like this is my fault somehow!’

> "He’s still chasing me. And I can’t run forever.

TOM: isn’t that the lyrics from ‘The Raccoons’?

JOEL: o/` Come run forever … o/“

> What
> shall I do?" Jimmy asked the old gentleman.

CROW: [ As Mr Crow ] ‘Have you considered flying?’

> "I’ll think the matter over and let you know
> to-morrow,"

TOM: [ As Mr Crow ] ‘For a hamburger today.’

> Mr. Crow muttered hoarsely. To tell the truth,

JOEL: Will the real Grumpy Weasel *please* stand up?

> he
> was alarmed himself.

TOM: [ As Jimmy ] ‘Oh, *he’s* alarmed now?!’

> And he had no idea what Jimmy Rabbit
> could do to save himself from Grumpy Weasel.

CROW: Maybe have Paddy Muskrat swim at him?

> While they talked, Grumpy’s cousin, Peter Mink,
> watched them slyly.

JOEL: Well not *that* slyly, just sort of slyly-ish-ly.

> "Who do you think is going to win the race?" he
> jeered.

TOM: [ As Mr Crow ] ‘Look, why do you want to make everything a horserace?’

JOEL: [ As Peter ] ‘It’s literally a race and neither of them are horses!’

CROW: [ As Jimmy ] ‘My voice is pretty hoarse!

> Mr. Crow did not even turn his head. He felt very
> uncomfortable.

TOM: Really? Whatever for?

> But he tried to look unconcerned.

CROW: Don’t frown! .. Oh, perfect!

> "Run along!" he said to Jimmy. "To-morrow I’ll tell
> you what to do."

JOEL: Wait! I just had an idea, Jimmy, put on this Girl Weasel costume and I’ll play the sultry music!

> "To-morrow—" Jimmy Rabbit panted—"to-morrow will
> be too late."

TOM: o/` To-morrow will be tooooo laaaaate! o/`

> Then all at once Mr. Crow had an idea.

CROW: If I could stop Valentine’s Day from coming — but how?

> And he
> whispered something in one of Jimmy Rabbit’s long ears

JOEL: ‘Coronet Blue’?!

> that
> made the poor fellow take heart.

TOM: Also ears.

> "All right!" Jimmy cried. "I’ll see you
> again—sometime!"

CROW: [ As Mr Crow ] ‘See you soon!’ [ To himself ] ‘He’s dead.’

> And away he ran, just as Grumpy Weasel
> came racing along the stone wall,

JOEL: He’s stonewalling.

> looking as fresh as a
> daisy.

TOM: Please don’t eat the weasels.

> "You’d better stop and rest a while!" Mr. Crow
> croaked. "If you get too tired you’ll never win."

CROW: [ As Mr Crow ] ‘If this works Jimmy is set!’

> "Rest!" Grumpy exploded. "I don’t need to rest! I
> never felt better in my life, except that I’m pretty hungry.

TOM: Aw, you’re awfully cute even when you’re stuffed, dear.

> But I’m bound to win this race."

JOEL: He shows off his giant horseshoe magnet and empty bag of iron baby carrots.

> As he spoke of feeling
> hungry he cast a longing glance at Jimmy Rabbit,

TOM: [ Makes a zzzzzz noise, like a fishing reel being cast. ]

> who was just
> dodging out of sight behind a distant tree.

TOM: Grumpy just went into a bar, made the biker strip naked, didn’t even take the clothes.

CROW: Did Arthur Scott Bailey ever consider liking his protagonist?

> "Wait here a bit, anyhow!" Mr. Crow urged him.

JOEL: Underneath this anvil!

> "Since
> you’re sure to win—as you say—there can be no hurry."

TOM: [ As Grumpy ] ‘If … is this some Sophist nonsense? You gonna give me that thing about how since I never lost my unicorn horn I *have* a unicorn horn?’

> And
> Peter Mink too begged his cousin Grumpy to stop just a
> minute.

CROW: Think how Peter Mink feels begging Grumpy to spend more time with him.

> And he laughed, "Ha, ha!" whenever he looked at Mr.
> Crow.

TOM: They’re coming to take me away?

> And strange to say, Mr. Crow said, "Ha, ha!" too.

JOEL: He’s going to dare Grumpy Weasel to race *him*.

[ To continue … ? ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, Chapter 10

I have another chapter of Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction for you, another piece of Arthur Scott Bailey’s The Tale of Grumpy Weasel. As ever, the whole of the MiSTing should be at this link. and please let me know if something goes missing.

Previously in Grumpy Weasel: Grumpy Weasel challenged Jimmy Rabbit to a race and Old Mister Crow was all over it. Old Mister Crow’s arranged for Jimmy to get a twenty-leap lead and he’s very excited for Jimmy’s inevitable win. But what happens come the day of the race?

The Betty Boop cartoon referenced is “Ha! Ha! Ha”, where yes, the dentist’s laughing gas gets out of control. Lee de Forest was a prolific inventor of the early 20th century, mostly of electrical and radio gear and also scams that maybe didn’t quite break the law but not for want of larcenous intent. The Dick Tracy reference is to something that happened in the strip recently and I plan to talk about it Tuesday. Now, let’s read.

> X

JOEL: Oh no, this chapter’s all about the Quadratic Equation.


TOM: Hey, it’s the Betty Boop cartoon with the laughing gas.

> A great outcry rang through the woods

JOEL: Somebody catch it!

> the moment
> Jimmy Rabbit set out to race Grumpy Weasel and beat him.

TOM: Gotta think about your life when everyone you know wants to see you be worse at running.

> Shouts of "Good luck!" and "Run hard!" and "Hurrah for James
> Rabbit!" followed Jimmy.

JOEL: ‘Hurrah’, because Lee de Forest hadn’t invented ‘Hooray’ yet.

> But old Mr. Crow squawked, "You
> don’t need to hurry!"

CROW: You just need to be faster than the other guy! … Wait.

> He thought that the race was already as
> good as won,

JOEL: Or as good as as good as won would be.

> for Grumpy Weasel had insisted on giving Jimmy
> Rabbit a start of twenty jumps.

TOM: And now Grumpy Weasel reveals he meant elephant jumps.

> Meanwhile Grumpy Weasel glowered.

CROW: A now-obscure word meaning to glow red.

JOEL: Gladiola flowered (glowered).

> But he could not
> glower at Jimmy’s friends,

TOM: He has a strict schedule for when to glower at rabbit friends.

> because he had to watch Jimmy
> himself in order to count the first twenty jumps he took.

CROW: One jump into hyperspace and Grumpy won’t be able to follow, kid.

> When Grumpy had counted nineteen and a half away he started.

TOM: Hey, that’s cheating by half a jump.

> And old Mr. Crow, as he sat staring at the race, declared
> that Grumpy Weasel hadn’t a chance to win.

JOEL: Really wondering what Mister Crow’s angle on this is.

> The company seemed ready to take Mr. Crow’s word for
> it—

TOM: You know the old folklore about crows knowing their rabbit/weasel racing lore.

> that is, all except Grumpy Weasel’s cousin, Peter Mink.

CROW: The polecat.

> He spoke up and said that as for him, he would wait and see
> what happened.

JOEL: The huge vote of confidence that is saying ‘I guess he hasn’t lost yet.’

> He didn’t believe old Mr. Crow knew what he
> was talking about.

CROW: It’s a crow thing, you wouldn’t understand.

> Mr. Crow grew almost a purplish black with rage.

TOM: Is this something to do with eggs? I feel like this is really about eggs.

> "We’ll all wait," he said stiffly. "We’ll all wait.

CROW: Well, Jimmy and Grumpy can’t wait or the race won’t work.

> And when the race is over you will apologize to me."

TOM: [ As Peter Mink ] ‘Jeez, fine, if it’s that important to you then Jimmy Rabbit is gonna win, take a chill pill.’

> Peter Mink merely grinned. He had no respect for his
> elders.

JOEL: [ Gasping at this gossip ] Peter Mink is a cad! And bounder!

CROW: Jimmy Rabbit’s the bounder.

> And now he didn’t appear to mind in the least when
> the entire company let him severely alone.

TOM: It shows real strength of character to disagree with the crowd about who you think will win a footrace.

> Mr. Crow shot a triumphant look

JOEL: Aaah! My antique ceramic Look!

> at him about an hour
> later,

CROW: Mister Crow is on Central Time.

> when Jimmy Rabbit came bounding into sight, with no
> one following him.

TOM: Having got badly lost on the way to the race course.

> "You may as well stop now," Mr. Crow told
> Jimmy. "You’ve as good as won the race already."

JOEL: I know they’re animals but they don’t seem very good at this.

> Jimmy Rabbit said that he thought so, too,

CROW: [ As Jimmy, as The Wizard of Oz ] ‘But I can’t stop my legs, I don’t know how they work!’

> but he
> supposed he’d better keep running a while longer, till Grumpy
> Weasel gave up.

TOM: This was a pretty good scheme for Grumpy to get Jimmy to run an hour away from him.

> So off he hopped again.

JOEL: Next, Jimmy runs up to meet Dick Tracy.

> Everybody except Peter Mink laughed heartily

CROW: Daniel Hart the deer asks what’s so funny.

> when
> Grumpy Weasel came springing up the slope a little while
> later.

TOM: [ As Grumpy ] ‘I want my two dollars!’

> "You may as well stop now. You’ve as good as lost
> already," Mr. Crow greeted him.

JOEL: [ As Grumpy ] ‘I am not lost, I just don’t know where I am!’

> "Whose race is this—yours or mine?" Grumpy Weasel
> hissed.

TOM: It’s the rat race.

JOEL: No, Billy Rat’s not racing until sunset.

> And off he hurried, without pausing to hear Mr.
> Crow’s answer.

CROW: How long does it take to hear ‘Yours’?

> "We’ll wait a while longer," Mr. Crow told the
> company,

JOEL: How else would waiting work?

> "for the end is so near we may as well see it."

TOM: Is … Is Mr Crow forecasting the apocalypse?

> "Whose end?" Peter Mink asked him.

CROW: *Anyone’s* end, as long as it’s Henry Kissinger’s.

> "I mean the end of the race, of course!" Mr. Crow
> squalled.

JOEL: Oh no, they accidentally looped back, the race is a Moebius strip!

> "Oh! I thought you meant the end of Jimmy Rabbit,"
> Peter Mink replied.

CROW: [ As Elmer Fudd ] o/` End of Jimmy Wabbit o/`

> "Impossible! Impossible!"

TOM: Burgers! Burgers!

> was all Mr. Crow said to
> that. But he began to fidget—which was a sign that he was
> worried.

JOEL: Or he’s stimming, did you think of that, Mr Narrator ?

> And when Jimmy Rabbit appeared again Mr. Crow was
> not quite so cocksure when he asked if the race wasn’t over.

CROW: [ As Mr Crow ] Cocksure? No, no, I’m crow-sure, if I know anything it’s that.

> "It would be," Jimmy Rabbit answered, "but the
> trouble is, Grumpy Weasel won’t stop running!"

TOM: [ As Grumpy, distant ] ‘I’m stuck in second gear! HEEEELP!’

> "Ha!" said Mr. Crow hoarsely.

JOEL: Let me hear what Mr Horse crows now.

> But Peter Mink said,
> "Ha, ha!"

CROW: Almost ended the chapter on the title, neat.

> And there is a great difference between those two
> remarks, as we shall see.

TOM: Hey! The Narrator peeked ahead! That’s cheating!

[ To continue … ? ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, Chapter 9

Please enjoy another chapter of Arthur Scott Bailey’s The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, only with Mystery Science Theater 3000 riffs in it. The whole of this MST3K fan fiction should appear at this link. If it doesn’t, and it’s not just because I haven’t written it yet, let me know and we’ll figure something out.

Last time you’ll recall Grumpy Weasel uncharacteristically reached out to any other animal by challenging Jimmy Rabbit to a race. Mr Crow eggs Grumpy on, stirring up what should be an exciting race between the animals. And now is it race time? … Not yet. But see what it is.

Queen Zixi of Ix is a fairy-tale book L Frank Baum wrote while he thought he could sell something besides Wizard of Oz books. It’s pretty fun, starting with a pack of fairies deciding to make a new magical wish-granting item and see what kind of trouble it stirs up. Queen Ozma is also from L Frank Baum’s books, a big player in most of the Wizard of Oz books besides the one made into the movie. It’s Motocross, Charlie Brown is properly known as You’re A Good Sport, Charlie Brown. It’s not in fact much like the described plot.

> IX

TOM: That’s one of those obscure moons of Saturn, right?

JOEL: Looking forward to meeting Queen Zixi.


CROW: For marriage.

> Old Mr. Crow and Jimmy Rabbit had a good laugh over
> Grumpy Weasel’s plan for a race with Jimmy. They thought it a
> great joke.

JOEL: Maybe you had to be there. Wait, we were!

> "He needn’t give me a start," Jimmy said.

TOM: ‘Needn’t’.

> "I can beat
> Grumpy easily."
> "Never mind that!" Mr. Crow advised.

CROW: [ As Jimmy ] ‘Well, I can *not* beat him even more easily!’

> "You might as
> well let him have his way.

TOM: You needn’t make him all grumpy.

> He’ll look all the more foolish,
> trying to catch up with you."

JOEL: Now into your clown suit and remember to let your pants fall down!

> So Jimmy Rabbit agreed to run the race as Grumpy
> Weasel wished,

TOM: Only two more wishes and Jimmy goes back into the magic lamp!

> saying that he was ready to start at once.

CROW: Zoom!

JOEL: [ As Maxwell Smart ] ‘Would you believe starting at *twice*?’

> But Mr. Crow told him he had better wait till the
> next day.

TOM: Never put off till tomorrow what you can do the day after …

> "That will give me time to tell everybody," he
> explained,

CROW: Including Santa Claus and Princess Ozma of the Land of Oz!

> "and then there’ll be a big turnout to see you
> win—and to jeer at Grumpy Weasel for losing."

TOM: Wasn’t this the plot of ‘It’s Motocross, Charlie Brown’?

> And one could
> tell from Mr. Crow’s remark

JOEL: That he’s one sassy bot.

CROW: He’s different.

> that he liked Jimmy Rabbit and
> that he despised Grumpy Weasel.

CROW: Or that he’s playing both sides against the middle.

> The next day proved to be a fine one for the race.

TOM: [ Grumbling ] Man, 25 bucks fine for racing …

> It
> wasn’t too hot nor too cold;

JOEL: It was threatening to be a little too medium.

> and early in the morning the
> field- and forest-people began gathering at Grumpy Weasel’s
> hunting ground,

CROW: Mmm, buffet.

> where the stone wall touched the clearing.

TOM: Watch out for holes!

> About the only persons that objected to the time set
> for the race were Benjamin Bat and Solomon Owl.

TOM: Minor characters get alliterative names, real characters get normal names.

> Benjamin said
> that he could never keep awake to watch it;

CROW: We *get* it, Benjamin, you’re not a racing fan. Stop dissing us who *are*.

> and Solomon
> complained that he couldn’t see well in the daytime.

JOEL: But they’re not *racing* a well.

> But all
> the rest of the company were in the best of spirits, giggling
> slyly whenever they looked at Grumpy Weasel,

TOM: He-he-he-he-hah

JOEL: Mwuh-uh-ha-hah-haa!

CROW: [ High-pitched cackling ]

> who seemed to
> pay scant heed to his neighbors,

TOM: I love whenever Scant Heed To His Neighbors comes up on the indie station.

> though you may be sure his
> roving black eyes took in everything that was going on.

JOEL: Tale of *Greedy* Weasel.

> He
> seemed more restless than ever as he waited for Jimmy Rabbit
> to arrive,

CROW: Well, how restless *is* Ever?

JOEL: Ever Egret.

> walking to and fro on his front legs in a most
> peculiar fashion,

TOM: It’s called warming up, Narrator!

> while he kept his hind feet firmly planted
> on the ground in one spot.

JOEL: Restless *Some* Legs Syndrome.

> Of course he could never have
> moved about in this manner had his body not been so long and
> slender.

CROW: Fatty Raccoon in the background, not moving at all.

> Noticing Grumpy’s strange actions, old Mr. Crow
> looked worried

CROW: No, I figure Grumpy knows what he’s doing!

> and asked him what was the matter.

TOM: Bubble wrap rehearsals.

> "I hope
> your hind feet aren’t troubling you, just as the race is
> about to begin," he said.

JOEL: Maybe his ankles are too tight, ever think about that?

> Grumpy Weasel hissed at the old gentleman before he
> replied:

TOM: [ As Grumpy ] ‘Sorry, my tire cap was loose.’

> "Don’t worry! You’ll soon see that my hind feet can
> travel as fast as my front ones—

JOEL: That feels like a threat, somehow.

CROW: [ As Grumpy ] ‘And then I’ll show those fools at the Academy!’

> when I want to use them."

TOM: [ As Grumpy ] ‘But when I remove them from their box they lose a lot of value so I want to be sure this is worth it.’

> "Ah!" Mr. Crow exclaimed knowingly.

JOEL: [ As Mr Crow ] ‘I have no idea what you just told me!’

> "He’s saving his
> hind feet for the race."

TOM: Yeah, close enough.

> When Jimmy Rabbit reached the gathering place, coming
> up in a long lope,

CROW: I love those old-fashioned vehicles like jitneys and phaetons and lopes and everything.

> Mr. Crow hurried to meet him.

JOEL: Mr Crow, do you just want to race Jimmy? Is that your game?

> "I advise you to save your hind feet," he whispered.

TOM: Don’t spend them all in one place.

> "Grumpy Weasel is saving his."

CROW: Just in case the boss battle really needs feet.

> Jimmy Rabbit told Mr. Crow, with a smile, that he had
> saved his hind feet all his life—and his front ones, too.

JOEL: El-Ahrairah looking at Jimmy after this going, ‘Eh, I guess. Fine.’

> "I’ve brought them along to-day,"

JOEL: Even though I needn’t.

> he said, "to help
> me win this race."

CROW: My feet, and the weasel-proof tape at the finish line.


[ To continue … ? ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, Chapter 8

Now that I’ve reached Chapter 8 of Arthur Scott Bailey’s The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, the protagonist is really growing on me. I’m still not committing to turning the whole of the book into Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction. But whatever I do make from it will be up a this link. Might even finish the book.

The story so far: Master Robin, Mister Meadow Mouse, and Paddy Muskrat have all gotten away from Grumpy Weasel so far. Now to see if anyone else escapes having to interact with Pleasant Valley’s most grumpy of weasels. Or — has Grumpy Weasel done something to surprise us all?

The cryptic riff “`Makes sense,” said Glinn Gusat’ is swiped from the greatest MiSTing project of all, the Marissa Picard stories. They’re a joyfully preposterous set of Adventures where Captain Picard’s adopted daughter becomes Lord High Admiral of the Universe by age fifteen or so. Glinn Gusat’s declaration about how the lead character’s leap of logic “makes sense” became a beloved callback and I’m bringing it back here.


JOEL: It’s King Henry Days at the Satellite of Love!


TOM: [ To the Pink Panther theme ] The dare, the DARE, the dare the dare the DARE the dare the DAAAAAAARE!

> If Grumpy Weasel had been a faster runner

JOEL: [ As the ‘If Woody had gone right to the police’ guy ] … this would never have happened.

> the forest
> people wouldn’t have been so surprised when he dared Jimmy
> Rabbit to race him.

CROW: Also if he had ever chosen to interact with a person.

> Everybody knew that Jimmy was
> swift-footed

JOEL: He had feet like a bird.

> —especially since he once beat old Mr. Turtle
> (but that is another story).

TOM: Oh did he, now? Because I saw a cartoon where it came out different.

> When Mr. Crow, who was a great bearer of news,

CROW: And Mr Bear, who was a great crower of news.

JOEL: Wait, that makes sense.

> told
> Jimmy Rabbit one day that Grumpy Weasel wanted a race with
> him,

TOM: [ As Jimmy ] ‘What do I care if Grumpy wants a race with you?’

> Jimmy Rabbit seemed more than willing to oblige. "Where,
> when, and how far does Grumpy want to run against me?" he
> asked.

JOEL: Seems like you could talk Jimmy into it.

> Mr. Crow said that he didn’t know,

CROW: He just got back from Buffalo.

> but that he would
> make it his business to find out.

TOM: Some bots don’t know how to mind their own business!

CROW: Hey!

> So off he hurried to find
> Grumpy Weasel,

JOEL: Just look for the big cloud of disagreeing.

> for if there was anything Mr. Crow liked it
> was busying himself with other people’s affairs.

CROW: *Also* shiny trinkets!

> He did not have what you could call a pleasant talk
> with Grumpy Weasel.

JOEL: I always thought any talk that doesn’t end with a weasel biting your face off is a pleasant one.

> Once when Mr. Crow alighted too near the
> ground Grumpy jumped at him.

TOM: That *is* a good story!

> And several times he called Mr.
> Crow a nest-robber and an egg-thief, though goodness knows

CROW: He styled himself more a nest-thief and an egg-robber.

> Grumpy Weasel himself was as bad as the worst when it came to
> robbing birds’ nests.

JOEL: But the worst is going to be Fatty Raccoon?

> Although he felt as if he were about to burst with
> rage old Mr. Crow pretended to laugh.

CROW: [ Clearing his throat, and speaking the words, awkwardly, as though giving a bad presentation ] ‘H- hah ha hhaah?’

> He had been having a
> rather dull time, waiting for Farmer Green to plant his corn,

TOM: o/` And I don’t care! o/“

> and he thought that a lively race might put him in better
> spirits.

JOEL: If Grumpy Weasel is in good spirits does that mean he’s *more* grumpy or does that mean he’s …

CROW: Yeah, this is confusing.

> "Where do you want to race against Jimmy Rabbit?" Mr.
> Crow asked.

TOM: [ As Grumpy ] ‘Around the world twice! Zip! Zip! Hah, I’m done!’

> "We’ll start from this wall," said Grumpy sulkily,

CROW: You … sound like you’re not into this anymore, Grumps.

> "because it’s always better to start from where you are than
> where you aren’t."

JOEL: [ As Mr Meadow Mouse] ‘No running through holes, right?’

> Mr. Crow said that that seemed reasonable.

TOM: ‘Makes sense’, said Glinn Gusat.

> "When do you want to race?" he added.

JOEL: [ As a Knight who says Ni ] ‘When you bring me a shrubbery!’

> "The sooner we start the quicker we’ll finish,"
> Grumpy Weasel snapped.

CROW: And vice-versa.

> "Quite true, quite true!" Mr. Crow agreed.

TOM: [ As Mr Crow, doing Columbo ] ‘I figured it was something like that, sure … now just one more question.’

> "And now
> may I inquire how long a race you want to run?"

JOEL: [ As Grumpy ] No, you must ask how wide a race I want.

> "No longer than I have to!" Grumpy growled.

TOM: Is Grumpy posing a riddle?

CROW: Uh, is the answer ‘a hole’? I feel like it’s got to be ‘a hole’?

> "Not more
> than a day or two, I hope!"

JOEL: You know how hard it would be to get a hotel this close to the event!

> Mr. Crow snickered slightly.

CROW: [ Snickering, slightly. ]

> "I see you don’t
> understand my question," he observed.

TOM: [ As Mr Crow ] ‘Let me put it in other words. Gazortnol flebnostrilate chunk bloppily snork nobble?’

> "Are you going to run a
> mile, or only a few rods?"

CROW: A few rods? Look, I know this is 1915 but you’re being old-fashioned for *that*!

> "How do I know?" Grumpy cried,

TOM: Fine, twelve hogsheads, three virgates, and a ha’penny!

> as if he had no
> patience with his questioner.

JOEL: You know if you don’t want to do this you don’t have to do this. *you* started everyone on doing this!

> "How could anybody tell? I’ll
> let Jimmy Rabbit start twenty jumps ahead of me and we’ll run
> till I catch him."

CROW: Wait a minute, is this a race or is he just going to eat Jimmy Rabbit?

> Well, Mr. Crow laughed right out loud when he heard
> that.

JOEL: [ As Mr Crow ] ‘I enjoy watching Jimmy Rabbit die!’

> And he was about to tell Grumpy that he would have to
> run till the end of his days if he raced Jimmy Rabbit in any
> such fashion as that.

CROW: But why start trouble like that?

> But he saw all at once that such a race
> would be a great joke.

TOM: Well, it’s one of those conceptual jokes, where the comedian’s amused but we’re confused.

> And he said to himself with a chuckle
> that the laugh would be on Grumpy Weasel.

CROW: Sounds like you’re the one doing all the laughing here.

> For Jimmy Rabbit
> was so swift a runner that nobody who knew anything at all
> would ever consent to give him a start—

JOEL: What if we gave him a sudden surprise instead?

> much less propose
> such a thing.
> "Very well!" said Mr. Crow with a smirk, "I’ll report
> to Jimmy Rabbit.

TOM: We’ll agenda it on the next Pleasant Valley scrum!

> I’ll tell him where, when and how you want
> to race, and there’s no doubt that your plan will please
> him."

JOEL: His plan is to stand still while Jimmy runs away from him and is never seen again.

> "I hope it won’t!" Grumpy Weasel snarled. "I’ve never
> pleased anybody yet; and I don’t mean to."

CROW: Grumpy Weasel suddenly becomes the voice of our generation.

> And that goes to show what an ill-natured scamp he
> was.

TOM: He reaches out *one* time to do *one* fun thing with *one* person and suddenly it’s a whole megillah. I feel for the guy.

[ To continue … ? ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, Chapter 7

I continue not to promise that I will make Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction out of all of Arthur Scott Bailey’s The Tale Of Grumpy Weasel. Grumpy isn’t as automatically delightful as Fatty Raccoon was. But I’m feeling more inclined to try, now. And all of the MiSTing, however much I finish, should be posted to this link.

The story so far: First, young Master Robin escaped Grumpy Weasel. Then Mister Meadow Mouse did too. Who’ll get away from Grumpy Weasel next? Or will we finish a chapter with someone not avoiding our protagonist? Read on!

This week also hasn’t really called for obscure riffs. Maybe the only thing to footnote is that Barbara Lewis hat a hit song by the name Hello Stranger back in 1963, although you might recognize it from its hook, “Shoo-bop shoo-bop, my baby, ooooh”.


TOM: Chapter Five, Part II.


CROW: [ As Emily Litella ] ‘What’s all this about Paddy Muskrat’s bladder?’

> Sometimes Grumpy Weasel found the hunting poor along
> the stretch of stone wall that he called his own

JOEL: Maybe Grumpy should take up gathering?

> —though of
> course it really belonged to Farmer Green.

TOM: [ As Grumpy ] ‘I own it by virtue of working the hunting grounds! Read your Locke!’

CROW: [ Pointlessly hostile ] *You* read *your* Locke.

> And though he
> disliked to wander much in strange neighborhoods,

JOEL: … he likes the way his existing drives the Nextdoor biddies crazy.

> once in a
> while he visited other parts of Pleasant Valley.

CROW: Sometimes he wanders all the way to Simply Passable Hill or Mediocre Brook. Once even to Disappointing Meadow.

JOEL: Mister Meadow Mouse likes it.

> It was on such an excursion to the bank of the mill
> pond

TOM: o/` Down by the old mill pond … o/`

> that he caught sight, one day, of Paddy Muskrat

CROW: I want to call him Paddy O’Muskrat for some reason.

> —or to
> be more exact, that Paddy Muskrat caught sight of him.

JOEL: You know a caught sight is the most dangerous of all.

> Now it was seldom that anybody spoke to Grumpy
> Weasel.

CROW: And when they did it was about who has the deed to the garden wall.

> On the contrary, most of the forest-folk dodged out
> of sight whenever they saw him, and said nothing.

TOM: Wait, nobody likes Grumpy Weasel, nobody likes Fatty Raccoon, does Arthur Scott Bailey have any protagonists he *wants* to spend time with?

> So he
> wheeled like a flash and started to run when somebody called,
> "Hullo, stranger!"

CROW: He’s being visited by the Barbara Lewis?

> One quick backward glance at a small wet head in the
> water told Grumpy that he had nothing to fear.

JOEL: In hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be here …

> "Hullo, yourself!" he retorted "And you’d better not
> call me ‘stranger,’ because I’m no stranger than you are."

TOM: Well, how strange are you?

CROW: Anyone who boasts about how strange they are is about as strange as white broccoli pizza.

> Well, Paddy Muskrat—for it was he who had spied
> Grumpy Weasel on the bank of the pond—

JOEL: No, not *that* Paddy Muskrat, the other one.

> saw at once that
> whoever the slender and elegant person might be,

TOM: Nick Charles?!

> he had the
> worst of manners. Though Paddy had lived in the mill pond a
> long time, he had never met any one that looked exactly like
> the newcomer.

CROW: Isn’t that how newcomers work?

JOEL: Not if you’re clones.


> To be sure, there was Peter Mink, who was
> long-bodied and short-tempered,

TOM: [ As Peter Mink, from far off ] ‘Hey! Why pick on me?’

> as the stranger appeared to
> be. But when Paddy inquired whether the visitor wasn’t a
> distant connection of the Mink family (as indeed he was!),

CROW: [ As Emily Litella ] ‘The *Pink* Family?’

> Grumpy Weasel said, "What! Do you mean to insult me by asking
> whether I’m related to such a ragged, ruffianly crowd?"

TOM: ‘Ruffianly’?

> Somehow Paddy Muskrat rather liked that answer,

JOEL: ‘Ruffianly’, yeah, we got us a stranger who says things like ‘ruffianly’.

> for
> Peter Mink and all his family were fine swimmers and most
> unwelcome in the mill pond.

TOM: Just … just because he doesn’t like Peter Mink doesn’t mean he can’t swim.

> And perhaps—who knew?—

JOEL: It is a crazy, mixed-up world.

> perhaps the spic-and-span
> chap on the bank,

CROW: Felix Otter!

> with the sleek coat and black-tipped tail,

TOM: Puttin’ on the ritz!

> was one of the kind that didn’t like to get his feet wet.

JOEL: That he was wearing his swimming trunks suggests otherwise, though.

> Then Paddy Muskrat asked the stranger a silly
> question.

TOM: ‘If you could trade tongues with someone, who would it be?’

> He was not the wisest person, anyhow, in Pleasant
> Valley, as his wife often reminded him.

CROW: Oh you know women, always reminding you of the existence of wiser muskrats in the valley.

> "You’re not a distant
> relation of Tommy Fox, are you?" he inquired.

TOM: Tommy Fox, the lowland tenrec?

> Grumpy Weasel actually almost smiled.

JOEL: [ As Grumpy, hollering in pain ] ‘AAAAUGH!’

> "Now, how did you happen to guess that?" he asked.

CROW: [ As Grumpy ] ‘Because, man, if that idea ust popped into your head you’re a sack of doorknobs!’

> "Because you’ve got such a sharp nose," Paddy Muskrat
> replied.

JOEL: You know what they say, sharp nose, warm heart.

> And he was quite pleased with himself, for he
> thought that he wasn’t so stupid as some people thought.

TOM: Oh … oh, honey, please, sit down before you hurt yourself.

> "Any other reason?" Grumpy Weasel inquired, stepping
> to the edge of the overhanging bank.

CROW: Look out, Paddy, it’s a trap!

> "You don’t like to get your feet wet," Paddy Muskrat
> said.

TOM: Objection, assumes personality traits not in evidence.

> And feeling safe as anything, he swam nearer the spot
> where the stranger was crouching.

JOEL: Just think of being the phone company guy walking Paddy through moving his SIM card.

> Paddy saw, almost too late, that he had made a bad
> blunder.

CROW: Can’t you even tell a cabbage from a lettuce?!

> For without the slightest warning Grumpy Weasel
> leaped at him.

JOEL: Aaah! Snuggle party!

> And had not Paddy been a wonderful swimmer and
> able to dive like a flash,

TOM: What, *nekkid*?!

> he would never have dashed,
> panting, into his house a few moments later.
> "What on earth is the matter?" his wife asked him.

CROW: [ As Paddy ] ‘NOTHING! Nothing, uh, nothing … listen, we don’t have any holes on us, do we?’

> "I’ve been having a swimming race with a stranger,"

JOEL: Seems more like a diving race to me?

> Paddy explained. "I don’t know his name. But I do know that
> he’d just as soon get his feet wet as I would."

TOM: [ As Mrs Muskrat ] ‘Why would you want to get his feet wet?’

> "Well, why not?" Mrs. Muskrat inquired. "That only
> shows he’s sensible."

CROW: He can see, hear, smell, touch, *and* taste!

TOM: Can’t trust a stranger you don’t ever lick.

> "Does it show I’m sensible, too?" Paddy asked her.

JOEL: I don’t know, can you be licked?

> "Certainly not!" said Mrs. Muskrat.

TOM: D’oh!

[ To continue … ? ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, Chapter 6

And I continue again! My Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction based on Arthur Scott Bailey’s The Tale of Grumpy Weasel gets another chapter. The whole MiSTing, whether or not I finish the book, should be gathered at this link.

The story so far: Grumpy Weasel has caught Mr Meadow Mouse poking around the stone wall along his hunting grounds. In trying to escape Meadow Mouse suggests seeing which of them can fit through the smaller hole in the wall. Before Grumpy can sneer the idea down Solomon Owl lands and declares he’ll judge the hole-crawling contest. And now, for Chapter …

> VI

CROW: Chapter Seven, the prequel.


JOEL: Wonder what’s going to happen this chapter.

> Grumpy Weasel did not like Solomon Owl’s offer

TOM: Two wheat and one ore in exchange for Literacy and Mapmaking? What kind of offer is that?!

> to be
> umpire of the hole-crawling contest between Mr. Meadow Mouse
> and himself.

JOEL: … Busier than a one-beaked umpire at a hole-crawling contest.

> He hissed a few times and glared at Solomon Owl,

CROW: Like they say, the people with the free weasels always hiss first.

> up in the hemlock tree.

TOM: Grumpy should run into the hemlock tree’s opposite, the inseam-key tree.

> Solomon Owl did not appear to mind that, but calmly
> outstared Grumpy Weasel without once blinking.

JOEL: [ As Solomon ] ‘I been hissed at by bigger weasels than you, buck-o.’

> "Are you both
> ready?" he asked presently.

CROW: You know this is like the biggest mouse anxiety dream after having to give a presentation in class.

> "Yes, thank you!" Mr. Meadow Mouse answered.

TOM: [ As Meadow ] ‘I’ll just get ready over … there … ‘ [ Makes a ‘whoosh’ noise ]

> And
> Grumpy Weasel gave a sort of shrug, as if to say that he
> supposed he was.

JOEL: Grumpy’s too cool for school.

> "First you may try that hole between those mossy
> stones," Mr. Owl announced, with a tilt of his head toward
> the wall.

TOM: Mossy stones … hm … what’s your game, old Owl?

> "Certainly!" cried Mr. Meadow Mouse.

CROW: Remember to wear your microchip shirt so we can time you down to the millisecond.

> "You go first and I’ll follow," Grumpy Weasel told
> him.

JOEL: Not going to flip to see who goes first?

> And Mr. Meadow Mouse didn’t dare disobey. He whisked
> through the hole spryly and was back again in no time.

TOM: Why, the hole only goes halfway!

> Then Grumpy took his turn.

JOEL: And *only* his turn. He’s not greedy.

TOM: Greedy Muskrat is a whole different book.

> He was certainly quicker
> than Mr. Meadow Mouse.

CROW: [ As Meadow ] ‘It’s very important I do my *entire* get-ready-to-do-something routine!’

TOM: [ As Meadow, doing Ed Norton ] ‘Hello, hole!’

> Even the umpire, Solomon Owl, had to
> admit that.

JOEL: Solomon Owl is not one to gainsay the obvious.

> "But of course that’s not the point," Solomon
> observed.

TOM: It might be the tiebreaker, though.

> "It’s the one that gets stuck in a hole that loses
> the contest."

CROW: Much as in life, yes.

> Well, after Grumpy and Mr. Meadow Mouse had slipped
> through several holes, each one smaller than the one before,

TOM: They must both be shrinking!

> Mr. Meadow Mouse said that he thought it was only polite to
> let Grumpy go first.

JOEL: That’s the sort of thing that’ll shake him out of his funk.

> Secretly Mr. Meadow Mouse was afraid of
> what might happen if he should have the misfortune to get
> wedged in a hole, with Grumpy Weasel ready to follow him.

TOM: He could just tell Grumpy it’s all right to go around him. Easy.

> He
> had had some trouble getting through the last one and he knew
> that he could never squeeze through one that was much
> smaller.

CROW: Fatty Raccoon wondering what’s all this ‘squeeze through’ talk.

> Grumpy Weasel lost his temper at once.

TOM: Remember, the loser is the one who throws the first punch. Except if you’re boxing.

> "I’ll do as I please on my stone wall!" he snapped.

JOEL: If you wanna find out what’s behind these cold eyes you’ll just have to claw your way through this disguise.

> And he was angrier than ever when Solomon Own said to him,
> "It’s your turn!"

CROW: [ As Meadow ] ‘Wait, it was that easy all along? I shoulda tried this *holes* ago!’

> Probably no other of the woods
> people—unless it was one of the Hawk family

TOM: Eagle, Goshawk, Tony, and Parabuteo.

> —could have
> made Grumpy Weasel obey.

JOEL: Oh and Jimmy Rabbit now he read that book about hypnosis.

> And now he insisted that if he "went
> first" he ought to be allowed to choose whatever hole he
> pleased.

TOM: [ As Solomon ] ‘Hmm … I’ll allow it. But you’re on a short leash, counsellor.’

> Both Solomon Owl and Mr. Meadow Mouse agreed.

JOEL: What sort of name do you think ‘Meadow’ is?

TOM: What sort of name is ‘Grumpy’?

> So
> Grumpy Weasel popped through a hole of his own choosing, and
> he did not reappear,

CROW: Wait, I was about to *make* that joke!

> though he called to Mr. Meadow Mouse to
> "come on."

JOEL: [ As Grumpy ] ‘You’ll love it here in the Shadow Zone!’

> Mr. Meadow Mouse hung back.

TOM: [ As Grumpy ] ‘Come on, join me in the Never-Was!’

> "You’ll have to excuse me," he stammered.

CROW: [ As Meadow ] ‘I, uh, have a all-hands standup on Zoom in five. Be right back.’

> "What’s the matter?" boomed Solomon Owl. "Do you want
> to lose the contest?"

JOEL: [ As Solomon ] ‘Can you settle for being merely Pleasant Valley’s *second-best* squeezer-into-things?’

> "No!" said Mr. Meadow Mouse. "But Grumpy Weasel is
> still inside that hole. There’s no other way out."

TOM: [ As Torgo ] ‘It’ll be dark soon, there is no other way out.’

> "How do you know?" Solomon Owl asked him.

CROW: You know, one cork could solve the whole Grumpy Weasel problem right now.

> "Oh, I’ve been here before, often," Mr. Meadow Mouse
> replied.

TOM: Often enough to memorize all the one-way holes?

> "Are you sure?" Mr. Owl inquired.

CROW: Look, there’s one hole in the wall that leads to somewhere in the Delta Quadrant where the Caretaker’s sampling species, and that’s the hole. What can I tell you?

> "I’ll go on the other side of the wall and look," Mr.
> Meadow Mouse offered. And thereupon he skipped over the wall.

JOEL: You know, this really seems more like Meadow Mouse’s story here.

> Solomon Owl waited patiently.

TOM: Wonder what Solomon’s whole gambit here is, really.

> And so did Grumpy
> Weasel.

CROW: So did Peter Mink, but you don’t see him making a big fuss over it.

> But Mr. Meadow Mouse never came back. Once out of
> sight he scampered away.

JOEL: [ As Meadow, increasingly faintly ] ‘I’m not scampering away, I’m, I’m, I’m just looking for where the hole should be!’

TOM: [ As Meadow ] ‘Still shakin’ the bushes, boss!’

> And he never trespassed on Grumpy
> Weasel’s hunting ground again.

CROW: Because Grumpy was so impressed with the cleverness they became good friends and Meadow was welcome anytime he wanted to drop in, right?

JOEL: Um …

[ To continue … ? ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, Chapter 5

I’m still not done making Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fictionout of the whole of Arthur Scott Bailey’s The Tale of Grumpy Weasel. The whole MiSTing should be gathered at this link.

Mister Meadow Mouse assumed that Grumpy Weasel wasn’t going to be near the old stone wall today. He was wrong. A confident Grumpy offers to let the mouse squeeze into some of the smaller holes in the wall — and claims “I want to see if you can squeeze through as small a hole as I can”. Is Meadow Mouse doomed? Is Grumpy Weasel about to eat? Read on and find out!

> V

CROW: The Final, Belated Battle


TOM: He’s wise, not polite.

> Plump little Mr. Meadow Mouse

JOEL: … Came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed …

> wished he had stayed
> away from Grumpy Weasel’s hunting ground.

CROW: Totally bogus to have the ground hunting you. The sky never does that cop stuff.

> He would have
> scampered off, had he not known that Grumpy could overtake
> him before he had made three leaps.

TOM: Hear me out now, what if you take two leaps?

CROW: One leap and a jaunty pirouette?

> So he saw no way out of
> his trouble,

TOM: Maybe declare bankruptcy?

> though he could think of nothing less agreeable
> than trying to slip through a small hole with Grumpy Weasel
> close at hand, watching him narrowly.

JOEL: I don’t know, Grumpy seems to be pretty positive about this.

> Then all at once Mr. Meadow Mouse had an idea.

TOM: Wait, it won’t help if you try and stop Christmas from coming.

> "You
> go first!" he said politely. "Go through any hole you choose
> and then I’ll try my luck."

JOEL: Let’s go inside and take this outdoors!

> But Grumpy Weasel was too crafty to do that.

CROW: He had a huge pile of origami blocking the hole.

> "You’d try your luck at running away," he snarled.

TOM: [ As Meadow Mouse ] ‘I’d try my skill, too!’

> "You are the one to go first; and we’ll have no words about
> it."

JOEL: [ As Meadow Mouse ] ‘Can I at least gulp a little?’

> Well, Mr. Meadow Mouse began to shake more than ever.

CROW: He’s getting his groove on!

> "Don’t you think," he quavered, "that we’d better
> wait a few days until I’m a bit smaller?

TOM: [ As Meadow Mouse ] ‘I’m growing down, you know. It’s like growing up but the other way around?’

> I’m afraid I’ve been
> overeating lately and I might get stuck in a hole.

CROW: Well, what if the hole eats something and grows a bit?

> And of
> course that would be awkward."

JOEL: Oh, we’d pretend not to look, don’t worry.

> "Ha, ha!" Grumpy Weasel actually laughed. But it was
> not what any one could call a hearty, wholesome, cheerful
> sort of laugh. On the contrary, it sounded very cruel and
> gloating.

CROW: Oh, great, he’s an Internet snarker.

JOEL: [ Coughing, embarrassed ]

> "Hoo, hoo!" Another laugh—this one weird and
> hollow—boomed out from the hemlock tree just above Mr.
> Meadow Mouse’s head.

CROW: Huh, huh?

TOM: o/` They’re coming to take me away! o/“

> He jumped, in spite of himself—did Mr. Meadow
> Mouse.

JOEL: A wink of his eye and a twist of his head …

> And so, too, did Grumpy Weasel. Both of them leaped
> for the old stone wall.

TOM: [ As JOEL swings his arms like a baseball umpire ] ‘SAFE!’

> And each flashed into a crevice
> between the stones,

JOEL: [ As Meadow Mouse ] ‘Oh uh … hi. Funny meeting you here?’

> though Grumpy Weasel was ever so much the
> quicker of the two. They knew Solomon Owl’s voice too well to
> mistake his odd laughter.

CROW: Whose?

JOEL: Naturally.

> "What’s your hurry, gentlemen?" Solomon called to
> them.

TOM: Solomon Grund-Owl, born on a Mond-Owl.

> Mild Mr. Meadow Mouse made no reply.

JOEL: Couldn’t quite nail the alliteration.

> But from Grumpy
> Weasel’s hiding place an angry hiss told Solomon Owl that one
> of them, at least, had heard his question.

CROW: Oh no! Daniel Snake is leaking!

> "Come out!" said Solomon Owl. "Don’t be shy! I’ve
> dined already."

TOM: I just want to snuggle!

> Well, that made the two in the wall feel somewhat
> bolder.

CROW: Going to ruin things if animals ever discover lying.

> And soon they ventured to peep out and gaze at
> Solomon, to see whether he looked like a person who had just
> enjoyed a good meal.

JOEL: [ As Solomon ] ‘I didn’t say I *enjoyed* it, just that I *ate* it.’

> "You’re not as hollow as you sound, I hope," Grumpy
> Weasel remarked with some suspicion in his tone.

TOM: … the heck?

CROW: No, no, the logic checks out.

> As for Mr. Meadow Mouse, he wouldn’t dream of making
> so rude a remark.

JOEL: But he’s already composing his review on Bird Yelp.

CROW: [ As Meadow Mouse ] ‘Is that a bird? Y-elp!’

> "It’s a fine evening and I hope you’re feeling
> happy," he piped.

TOM: Is he signalling for a spy? The smoked cabbage never swings the light anchor.

> "Oh, very! Very!" said Solomon Owl solemnly.

JOEL: How does a beak make those ‘V’ sounds?

> Mr. Meadow Mouse was a trusting sort of chap.

CROW: Hardly a week went by a friend didn’t trick him into looking up ‘gullible’ in the dictionary.

TOM: [ Way too defensive ] Not believing it until you saw the word missing is the *opposite* of gullible!

CROW: [ Snickering ]

> He was
> all ready to leave his cranny. But Grumpy Weasel was not yet
> satisfied.

JOEL: Not letting you go until you regret talking to him: the Grumpy Weasel Guarantee!

> "Which one of us are you answering?" he demanded of
> Solomon.

CROW: Was … was there a question?

TOM: No, but you can take an idle curiosity out of petty thoughts.

> "Him!" said Solomon.

TOM: That devil guy from the Powerpuff Girls? The heck?

> "Did you say, ‘Ahem?’" Grumpy Weasel wanted to know.
> "No, no!" Solomon assured him.

CROW: [ As Grumpy ] ‘Well, could you? I’ve go a great joke I need you to set up.’

> "I said, ‘him.’ I was
> answering your friend."

TOM: But Grumpy Weasel is a friend to everybody!

> Grumpy Weasel made a wry face, as if he did not care
> to have anybody speak of Mr. Meadow Mouse as a friend of his.

TOM: Well, almost everybody!

> And he did not quit the stone wall

JOEL: Oh, you can’t just quit a stone wall, you have to give them time to train your replacement wall.

TOM: Replacement well …

> until he had seen Mr.
> Meadow Mouse venture forth in safety.
> "Just by accident I overheard your remarks a few
> minutes ago," Mr. Owl explained.

CROW: Well, Solomon Owl sure wasn’t using any hunting ground.

> "I’d like to watch this
> hole-crawling contest.

JOEL: Pleasant Valley does not have smart phones yet.

CROW: It’s 1915, ‘phones’ are just hollering.

> And I’ll stay here and be the
> umpire—and see that there’s fair play."

TOM: [ As Solomon Owl ] It’s a little weird, but I like weird!

[ To continue … ? ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, Chapter 4

I hope that you like nice fresh Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction. I continue with Arthur Scott Bailey’s Sleepy-Time Tale, The Tale of Grumpy Weasel. The whole of the MiSTing should be at this link, although I don’t promise to do the whole story. We’ll see whether I do.

The story so far: all the animals in Pleasant Valley agree that Grumpy Weasel is grumpy and a weasel. Young Master Robin escaped his plans, but will every animal be so fortunate?

Crow’s riff about ‘flord digorznip’ owes a lot to a Robert Benchley essay warning about speaking improper English. I recommend a fair bit of reading Benchley.

> IV

TOM: Chapter One, Part Two, Part Two, Part Two.


JOEL: Where the rain gets in …

CROW: You said that.

> Usually Grumpy Weasel did not stray far from a
> certain corner of Farmer Green’s wood lot.

TOM: How much wood does Farmer Green have?

JOEL: A lot?

> He preferred to
> hunt where he knew the lay of the land.

CROW: Pretty sure it just hangs out on top of the bedrock underneath?

> And since he liked
> especially to hunt along old stone walls,

JOEL: Those *new* stone walls aren’t good for anything.

> he picked out a
> long stretch of old tumble-down wall that reached through the
> woods towards Blue Mountain.

TOM: Now why would you build a wall to keep the mountains out?

CROW: West Virginia didn’t and look what happened to them.

> He picked it out as his very own hunting ground and
> never asked permission of Farmer Green, either.

JOEL: Grumpy Weasel fighting back against the Man.

> Now, near the lower end of this wall—the end toward
> the pasture—

TOM: Don’t mistake which end is toward the pasture, it *will* be on the final exam!

> a fat person known as Mr. Meadow Mouse
> sometimes wandered.

CROW: Mr Meadow Mouse sleeps in the park, shaves in the dark —

JOEL: We did that too.

CROW: Why is every name doing this to us?

> But he never visited that spot without
> first inquiring whether Grumpy Weasel had been there the day
> before.

TOM: Why wait a day between asking and going to the place?

> Mr. Meadow Mouse had learned somehow that Grumpy
> usually moved on each day to a different part of his hunting
> ground.

CROW: I’m going to guess he walked, maybe ran to other places?

TOM: Maybe he has a Weaselmobile? Or a tiny helicopter?

JOEL: A series of weasel-bearing trampolines scattered across the yard.

> He was surprised, therefore, to meet Grumpy Weasel
> face to face one time, when he felt sure that that surly
> rogue must be a good safe distance away.

CROW: At the tavern, trying to get the bard to stop picking fights with farmers.

> Mr. Meadow Mouse cast a quick glance around. But he
> could see no place to hide.

TOM: The hiding place was hidden?

JOEL: It does one thing and it does it well.

> So there was nothing for him to
> do but to put on a bold front. He bowed pleasantly enough,

CROW: Everything else has failed, so let’s try courtesy!

> though he was trembling a little, and remarked that it was a
> fine day

JOEL: 35 dollars and two points on his license.

> and that he hoped Grumpy was feeling happy—all of
> which was quite true.

CROW: Yes, it is truly quite.

> Grumpy Weasel glowered at Mr. Meadow Mouse, for that
> was his way of replying to a kindly greeting.

TOM: Ugh, don’t talk to me before I’ve had my morning mouse.

CROW: Arthur Morning Mouse, last seen in The Tale Of Solomon Owl.

> "You’ve not come here to hunt, I hope," he growled.

JOEL: ‘Cause you’re not wearing orange, I’ll have to ticket you.

> "I’ll have you know that this is my private hunting ground
> and I allow no poaching."

TOM: How do you feel about scrambling or omelette-making?

> Mr. Meadow Mouse hastened to explain that he was
> merely out for a stroll.

CROW: [ As Meadow Mouse ] Look, there’s one now! [ CROW leans out of frame, going ‘Whoosh!’. ]

> "I never hunt," he declared. "Of course,

JOEL: ‘Course, I am hunting for an easier way of life, but aren’t we all? Hah ? Ha ha? Ha? … Uh … ‘

> if I happen
> to see a tiny seed I may stop to eat it. But that’s all."

TOM: Got him on a technicality, that’s grazing, not hunting.

> "You’d better be careful what you say!" Grumpy Weasel
> snapped.

CROW: You don’t want to accidentally say something like ‘Flord digorznip flompty hoopnay’, since that’s nonsense.

> "Unless I’m mistaken, you were hunting something the
> moment you saw me. You were hunting a hole."

JOEL: Oh, you can’t get a hole this time of year, they’re all hibernating.

> Mr. Meadow Mouse gasped slightly. He hardly knew what
> to say.

CROW: ‘I wasn’t hunting *a* hole, I’d take *any* hole.’

> "Be very careful where you go around here!" Grumpy
> Weasel warned him. "The holes in this stone wall are all
> mine.

TOM: The stone wall itself is the Monolith aliens’, so, attempt no landings there.

> I shouldn’t want you to use a single one of them
> without my permission."

CROW: [ As Meadow Mouse ] ‘Oh, I’m okay in all the others, though?’

> Mr. Meadow Mouse assured him that he wouldn’t dream
> of trespassing.

TOM: No trepanning, now, that just makes more holes for Grumpy Weasel.

> "And these holes among the roots of the trees—they
> are mine too," Grumpy Weasel snarled.

JOEL: Well now Grumpy sounds like he’s aggrandizing.

CROW: Yeah, some of those holes are historically part of the Badger-Mink Commonwealth’s.

> "Oh, certainly! Certainly!" Mr. Meadow Mouse cried.

JOEL: Maybe!

TOM: I guess?

> He was so quick to agree that for once Grumpy Weasel couldn’t
> think of anything more to find fault about.

CROW: [ As Grumpy ] ‘Give me a minute, I just woke up.’

> "I’ll let you crawl into a few of the smaller holes
> in the stone wall, if you’ll be careful not to hurt them," he
> offered grudgingly.

TOM: How do you hurt a hole?

JOEL: Same way you hurt anyone, run roughshod over its fillings.

> Mr. Meadow Mouse made haste to thank him.

CROW: [ As Grumpy ] ‘Oh, oh, I can’t have haste anymore. Too much sugar too close to bed.’

> He said, however, that he thought he would wait till
> some other time.

TOM: That’s the sort of thing it’s easy to say when you’re in 1915.

> "There’s no time like the present," Grumpy Weasel
> grumbled.

CROW: That thought is the only thing that’s kept me going lately.

> "To tell the truth, I want to see if you can
> squeeze through as small a hole as I can."

JOEL: [ As Meadow Mouse ] ‘Mr Weasel are you hitting on me?’

[ To continue … ? ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, Chapter 3

I hope you’ll enjoy another chapter Arthur Scott Bailey’s The Tale of Grumpy Weasel. The whole of my Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction based on his book should be gathered at this link.

The story so far: everyone in Pleasant Valley is talking about Grumpy Weasel. Young Master Robin has paid no heed to all the other birds getting so worked up about this. And then a strange, grumpy voice is right behind the young bird.


TOM: Chapter One, Part Two, Part Two


CROW: [ As Robin ] ‘Always — I mean never — I mean don’t avoid — I mean make sure not to miss — ‘

> When young Master Robin heard the strange voice that
> sounded so grumpy and so near him he was terribly frightened.

JOEL: Grumpy Bear?

TOM: Oh no, we got Care Bears staring at us.

> He forgot that he thought himself grown up, and very wise,

CROW: Wise people are never cornered by the grumpy!

> and quite able to go about alone. He didn’t even look to see
> who was speaking,

JOEL: Robin sounds ill-mannered.

> but fell backwards off the limb of the
> apple tree.

TOM: Hit every iPod on the way down.

CROW: [ As Robin ] ‘Ow! Ow! Owie! Ow! Ouch!’ Thud!

> It was lucky for him, too, that he fell just when he
> did.

JOEL: [ As Robin, weakly ] ‘It *was*?’

> For a long brownish person, white underneath, took
> Master Robin’s place on the limb so promptly

TOM: Is he wearing an apron? Did a sous-chef just hop in?

> that you could
> hardly have said he jumped into it from somewhere else.

CROW: So put thoughts of claiming he had jumped into it from somewhere else out of your head, you wicked fool, you.

> He
> seemed to have popped out of the tree somewhat as a freshly
> popped kernel of corn bursts forth.

JOEL: Inside a microwave bag?

> A moment ago it was not
> there! You were watching, but did not see it grow big.

TOM: What kind of a knob are you? Why do I have you on staff? Begone!

> Well, all at once there was silence in the orchard.

JOEL: ‘Silence in the Orchard’ was my favorite Jethro Tull song.

> Everybody was holding his breath, waiting to see what
> happened to young Master Robin.

[ Whistles the opening bars from ‘The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly’. ]

> Though he had lost his
> balance and tumbled backward he righted himself quite like an
> old-timer and flew off across the orchard.

CROW: Real Buster Keaton move there, you admire the stone beak.

> "I didn’t know snakes could climb trees," he
> stammered to Mr. Chippy, who had followed him.

JOEL: [ As Mr Chippy ] ‘What do you know about fish that do parkour?’

CROW: ‘Have you ever considered a whale who BASE jumps?’

> "Snakes!" Mr. Chippy piped. "That wasn’t a snake!

TOM: [ As Robin ] ‘Was it two snakes?’

> That was Grumpy Weasel…. And it’s a wonder you ever
> escaped," he added. "I must learn that backward somersault.
> It’s a good thing to know."

CROW: ‘You make it look as easy as falling out of a tree — say!’

> You can see that Mr. Chippy was a very humble person.

JOEL: Well everyone knows to expect humility from a whatever a Chippy is.

> But Mr. Jolly Robin’s eldest son was quite proud. Already he
> began to feel that he had been very skilful in escaping.

TOM: The escape room can’t hold you if you just fly out!

> But
> of course it was only an accident that he got away.

CROW: Yes but given the contingent nature of history aren’t all events ‘accidents’ really?

> For once in his life Grumpy Weasel had been careless.

JOEL: If Grumpy Weasel had gone right to the police this would never have happened.

> It had looked so easy—catching that clumsy young robin! He
> had spoken to Master Robin, not dreaming that he could save
> himself.

TOM: Well if you’re not going to save yourself who do you expect to?

> To make matters worse, Grumpy had found Mr. Chippy’s
> nest empty.

JOEL: Mr Chippy lost everything in the Panic of 1907.

> And Grumpy Weasel was the sort of person that
> liked to find a bird at home when he called.

TOM: When he cawwed.

CROW: [ Turns and looks at TOM. ]

> It always made
> him more ill-natured than usual to make a call for nothing.

JOEL: I mean, who does like making calls these days?

> And now he had let a stupid young Robin escape him.

CROW: Like they say, it’s not the number of breaths you take, it’s the number of stupid young Robins you stop from breathing.

> So it is
> not surprising that his big black eyes snapped nor that he
> said something in a fierce voice that sounded like "Chip,
> chip, chip," but meant something a good deal worse.

JOEL: Soggy chip, soggy chip, soggy chip.

> And to add to Grumpy Weasel’s rage, somebody had
> laughed hoarsely—somebody that sat in a tall elm across the
> road.

TOM: The trees are mocking Grumpy too? That seems excessive.

> If he could have caught Mr. Crow there is no doubt
> that Grumpy would have made that black scamp sorry that he
> laughed.

TOM: Lure him in with comic books and opinions about butter!

CROW: I told you those in confidence!

> But old Mr. Crow was too wary to let anybody
> surprise him.

CROW: I did not expect that!

> "Haw, haw!" he laughed again. And Grumpy Weasel
> actually couldn’t bear to hear him.

JOEL: Wallace Bear, meanwhile, couldn’t weasel to crow him.

> Some of the onlookers
> claimed afterward that they saw Grumpy Weasel start down the
> tree. And that was as much as they could say.

TOM: Somehow he lapped himself and ended up right back up top of the tree.

> No one knew how
> he managed to slip out of sight.

JOEL: Grumpy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

> And the field people say
> that he was never seen again in that exact spot.

CROW: Ah yes, they say weasels never strike twice in the same place.

[ To continue … ? ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, Chapter 2

Though I said I didn’t promise to make Mystery Science Theater 3000 out of the whole of Arthur Scott Bailey’s The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, I did say I might. And here, I did a little bit more. I hope you enjoy. The whole MiSTing, however much there ends up being, should be gathered at this link.

The story so far: The birds of Pleasant Valley agree that Grumpy Weasel is a skinny old critter. And that’s about it; we have yet to meet him ourselves.

I don’t think any riffs here need me to explain them, but if you disagree, let me know. I can probably guess what was in my mind back on Monday or so.

> II

TOM: Chapter One, Part Two.


CROW: o/` Down by the old stone wall! o/`

> Little Mr. Chippy suddenly set up a great twitter.

JOEL: It’s the Rankin/Bass Screenshots Without Context account.

> Anybody could see that he was frightened. And one of Jolly
> Robin’s sons,

CROW: Joel Robinson?

JOEL: Hey! That’s …

CROW: Can’t take it, huh?

> perched in an apple tree near the stone wall
> where Mr. Chippy lived in a wild grapevine, wondered what
> could be the matter.

TOM: Is that reindeer?

CROW: It’s some fox sulking about grapes again.

> Presently, as he looked beneath him, he saw a long,
> slim shape dart from a chink of the old wall, and as quickly
> disappear.

JOEL: Romulans!

> "Huh!" said young Master Robin.

TOM: [ As Alfred the Butler ] As Mister Wayne said you might, sir.

> "Foolish people who
> build their homes on walls must expect snakes for visitors."

CROW: Checks out, yeah.

> And feeling quite wise and grown up, he turned his back on
> Mr. Chippy,

JOEL: You know in the British edition of this book he was Mr Crispy.

TOM: In the British edition Mr Chippy is a nightmarish blob that’s been a children’s show host since 1978.

> as if it really made no difference to him if Mr.
> Chippy did have a dangerous caller.

CROW: Just let it go to voice-mail and then never check it.

> Meanwhile others of the bird neighbors began to echo
> Mr. Chippy’s warning notes.

TOM: Oh, it’s retweeting.

> And young Master Robin thought
> everybody was silly to make such a fuss over the misfortunes
> of a humble person like Mr. Chippy.

CROW: Not caring if a little person gets hurt will never have a bad consequence for a bigwig like me!

> "If they don’t look out they’ll scare all the
> angleworms back into their holes," he grumbled—a remark
> which shows that he knew little about the ways of the world.

JOEL: Youth has such naive ideas about angleworm homes, yeah.

> And when Rusty Wren swerved near him and called to him to
> look out for Mr. Chippy’s visitor

TOM: Look out! Look out! The old man of the Chippy!

> —that he was "a bad
> one"—young Master Robin actually puffed himself up with
> rage.

CROW: You know to the angleworms all the birds freaking out is a good thing.

> "He seems to think I’m in danger of falling out of
> this tree," he sneered aloud. "He doesn’t know that I can
> handle myself in a tree as well as he can."

JOEL: Is … is he drunk?

TOM: [ As a drunk Robin ] ‘You’re all just jealous! You can’t handle me! You all are lucky my *chick* is here!’

> As he spoke,
> Master Robin all but tumbled off his perch.

CROW: Whoops!

> But he caught
> himself just in time, then looked around hastily to see if
> anybody had noticed his awkwardness.

TOM: Shouldn’t have gone bragging how even the Ancient Greek Gods couldn’t make him fall.

> All this time poor Mr. Chippy’s cries continued.

JOEL: [ As Bob Newhart ] ‘So if you see our copilot running up and down the aisles screaming things like, oh, you know, we’re gonna die, maybe put your life jackets on just in case.’

> There was really no reason for his alarm. For his wife was
> away from home, with all their children.

CROW: Ooooh. Yeah, we get it.

> But Mr. Chippy kept
> flying back and forth in a great flutter. He too called to
> young Master Robin that he’d better go home.

TOM: If there isn’t actual danger then this is just cyberbullying.

CROW: Cy-bird-bullying.

TOM: Joel, make him stop.

> Still that knowing youngster paid no heed to his
> elder’s advice.

JOEL: If the tweets are too loud you’re too old, man.

> "If snakes climb trees I’ve never seen them do it,"
> he scoffed.

CROW: You’ve never seen snakes climb trees? It’s, like, the coolest thing! They double up kinda like a paperclip?

> "Hi, there! Haven’t you seen——" Mr. Chippy
> started to say.

TOM: Howdy!

JOEL: Friendly ol’ sucker, isn’t he?

> But before he could finish his question
> Master Robin interrupted him rudely.

CROW: If Master Robin’s like this what do you suppose the Apprentice Robins are like?

> "Certainly I saw him," he cried. "I saw him come out
> of the wall and go in again."

TOM: You sawed him in two?

> "He’ll get you if you don’t go away!" Mr. Chippy
> shrieked.

JOEL: Unless he’s away waiting for you to get there, I mean.

> "Let him try!" Master Robin scoffed. He was sorry
> that Mr. Chippy did not hear him.

TOM: *That’s* the line you come up with?

JOEL: Birds don’t get staircase wit.


> But that distracted little
> person had already hurried off to warn somebody else.

CROW: Mr Chippy’s going to be up for a Pleasant Valley Medal of Honor.

TOM: Sounds like _Tale Of Mr Chippy_ is the book we should be reading.

> It was no time at all before Rusty Wren’s wife gave a
> piercing scream.

JOEL: Rusty Wren’s wrife.

CROW: Rusty Wren wife, Rusty Wren life.

> "That fat Robin boy—he’ll be caught!" she wailed.

CROW: [ ‘Batman’ announcer ] What’s *this*?

> Now, it made Master Robin very angry to be spoken of
> in such a way as that.

JOEL: Fine, ‘That fat Robin boy — he’ll be *captured*.’ Happy?

> "Fat!" he burst out in a loud tone as he stared in
> Mrs. Wren’s direction. "Who’s fat?"

TOM: Fatty Raccoon plummets from a broken branch behind them.

> "You are!" said a strange, grumpy voice right behind
> him—or so it seemed to young Master Robin.

CROW: Is this it? Has Grumpy Weasel finally entered his book?

JOEL: He’s like Columbo, he shows up the latest he possibly can.

[ To continue … ? ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, Chapter 1

Happy Turkey Day! I was thinking of things to share here and bring you an all-new, just-written Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction! For this I turn back a century or so and into the public domain for another book by Arthur Scott Bailey. Please settle down with me and enjoy a bit of The Tale of Grumpy Weasel.

I don’t promise, at this point, that I’m going to do the whole of the book. Arthur Scott Bailey doesn’t hate Grumpy Weasel in the way he loathed Fatty Raccoon, so the story hasn’t got that same immediate draw. On the other hand, I felt really good working on this first chapter. Tom’s riff about who wants to be of use in life bodes well to be one of my all-time favorites.

In any event everything that I do with The Tale of Grumpy Weasel should be at this link and if it’s not, don’t make a weasel even more grumpy. You won’t like how that turns out.

The riff with Lum Edwards and Abner Peabody refers to long-running old-time-radio show Lum and Abner. A recurring gag was Abner not understanding one of Lum’s idioms and explaining why the metaphor would not actually work. I promise, the way they performed it the bit was funny. The bit about an animal checking its manual was lifted from one of Richard Thompson’s Cul-de-Sac comic strip. Mr Danders, the class guinea pig, had to look up whether he was nocturnal or diurnal. The “weird Picard laugh” is that throaty huh-huh-huh-huh-huh thing he did in the episode where everyone gets Space Drunk by accident. Picard wasn’t even space-drunk when he laughed like that.


JOEL: Good-night.

> (Trademark Registered)

TOM: Copyright trademark do not steal I already mailed it to myself.


CROW: Terrors!


CROW: Or mild crankiness!


TOM: We’s al what?

> BY

JOEL: Weasels are by Arthur Scott Bailey?

TOM: That’s not as good as the time Beatrix Potter created kangaroos.

> Author of

CROW: The official tales of Forrest Tucker!

> (Trademark Registered)

TOM: Copyright trademark do not steal.


JOEL: Pictures! Your leading image source!




JOEL: Illustrated by Harry L Smith *and* New York?


TOM: Wallace and Grosset?

> Made in the United States of America

CROW: o/` Made! In the USA! o/`

> Copyright, 1920, BY

JOEL: The tire people?


TOM: Malcontents!

> I A Slim Rascal 1
> II At the Old Stone Wall 5
> III Master Robin’s Lesson 9

CROW: A haiku!

> IV Hunting a Hole 13

JOEL: Where the rain gets in …

> V Solomon Owl Interrupts 18
> VI Mr. Meadow Mouse Escapes 23

CROW: A crossover with the _Tale of Mister Meadow Mouse_? Dare we hope?

> VII Paddy Muskrat’s Blunder 28
> VIII The Dare 33

TOM: The Double Dare!

CROW: We do dare!

> IX Saving His Feet 38

JOEL: For marriage!

> X Ha! and Ha, Ha! 42

CROW: They say it’s hard to understand old-time humor but I don’t know, this makes sense to me.

> XI A Long Race 46
> XII Winning by a Trick 51
> XIII Silly Mrs. Hen 56

TOM: Silly Mrs Hen sleeps in the park, shaves in the dark, trying to save paper.

> XIV Grumpy Vanishes 60
> XV The Great Mystery 64
> XVI Guarding the Corncrib 69

CROW: Corncrib?

> XVII Grumpy’s Mistake 73
> XVIII Pop! Goes the Weasel 78

TOM: I bet Arthur Scott Bailey wrote this whole book just for that chapter title.

> XIX Hiding from Henry Hawk 83

JOEL: ‘Enery the ‘Awk, ‘e is.

> XX A Free Ride 88
> XXI A New Suit 93
> XXII Grumpy’s Threat 98

CROW: Wait, we only spend five pages on the new suit?

> XXIII A Bold Stranger 103
> XXIV Fur and Feathers 107

TOM: Sounds like a New Wave band’s big song.

> XXV Peter Mink’s Promise 112

JOEL: I knew a Peter Mink back in high school.

> XXVI How Grumpy Helped 116

TOM: Did he slug someone? I bet he slugged someone.


JOEL: Oh, that’ll make them easier to see.

> Grumpy Weasel and Jimmy Rabbit Run a Race. Frontispiece

CROW: ‘Tis piece, ’tis.

> Master Robin Escapes From Grumpy Weasel. 10
> Grumpy Nearly Catches Paddy Muskrat. 34
> Grumpy Calls on Mrs. Hen. 50

TOM: [ Yelling ] Yo! Mrs Hen!

> Grumpy Weasel Visits the Corncrib. 74

JOEL: Corncrib.

> Sandy Chipmunk Runs from Grumpy Weasel. 98

TOM: Sounds like this book is all people avoiding Grumpy Weasel.


CROW: What kind of animal do you suppose Grumpy is?

JOEL: Oh, he’s a pronghorn antelope.

TOM: Named ‘Weasel’?

JOEL: That’s why he’s grumpy.

> I

TOM: I, Weasel.

JOEL: I M Weasel.



CROW: But a cute little dickens!

> Old Mr. Crow

JOEL: [ Nudges CROW ]


> often remarked that if Grumpy Weasel
> really wanted to be of some use in the world he would spend
> his time at the sawmill filling knot holes in boards.

JOEL: It’s a weird hill to die on, but Old Mr Crow’s chosen it.

TOM: Who wants to be of use in the world? I want to play Animal Crossing and eat cheese.

> "He’s so slender," Mr. Crow would say,

ALL: How slender is he?

> "that he can
> push himself into a knot hole no bigger round than Farmer
> Green’s thumb."

JOEL: Huh.

CROW: Welp, guess that *is* slender.

TOM: Not going to match *any* celebrities on that one. Even Richard Dawson is like, really? You’re leaving me with *that*?

> Naturally it did not please old Mr. Crow

CROW: I don’t know, I feel pretty indifferent about hearing this myself.

> when Solomon
> Owl went out of his way one day to tell him that he was sadly
> mistaken.

TOM: Classic Solomon Owl, though.

> For after hearing some gossip repeat Mr. Crow’s
> opinion Solomon Owl—the wise old bird—

CROW: [ As Solomon ] Bird? Oh, no, no, I’m a dikdik, my family married into the Owls is all.

> had given several
> long hoots and hurried off,

JOEL: Well, you want me to hoot I’ll hoot but that’s your business.

> though it was broad daylight, to
> set Mr. Crow right.

CROW: I tell you, I have no emotional investment in whether Grumpy Weasel should be filling knotholes down at the sawmill.

> "The trouble—" Solomon explained when he had found
> Mr. Crow on the edge of the woods—

TOM: Trouble? In River City?

> "the trouble with your
> plan to have Grumpy Weasel work in the sawmill is that he
> wouldn’t keep a knot hole filled longer than a jiffy.

JOEL: [ As Lum Edwards ] OK, Abner, I was sayin’ Grumpy Weasel *could*, not …

TOM: [ As Abner Peabody ] And another thing, Lum …

> It’s
> true that he can fit a very small hole.

CROW: Or one medium-size divot.

JOEL: A decent-sized pock mark.

TOM: Heck near any rilles.

> But if you’d ever
> watched him closely you’d know that he’s in a hole and out
> the other side so fast you can scarcely see what happens.

CROW: So the whole watching thing is pointless, right?

TOM: The *hole* watching thing.

> He’s entirely too active to fill the bill."

JOEL: No bill-filling. Try a Kyle or a Tom first.

> Old Mr. Crow made a queer noise in his throat, which
> showed that Solomon Owl had made him angry.

CROW: All I can imagine is doing that weird Picard laugh?

> "I never said anything about Grumpy Weasel’s filling
> any bills," Mr. Crow spluttered.

TOM: Good, cause if you fill a bird’s bill how can they talk?

> "Knot holes were what I had
> in mind.

JOEL: If they’re not holes how can you fill them?

> I’ve no doubt, though, that you’d like Grumpy Weasel
> to fill your own bill."

TOM: [ As Solomon ] Wait, are you telling me to eat Grumpy Weasel? Dikdiks don’t eat weasels! I’m pretty sure? Let me check my manual.

> Now, if Solomon Owl had not tried more than once to
> catch Grumpy Weasel perhaps Mr. Crow’s retort wouldn’t have
> made him feel so uncomfortable.

JOEL: Oh, they got *history*.

CROW: Yeah, this is like Will Smith’s slap only about weasels filling holes.

> And muttering that he wished
> when people spoke of his beak they wouldn’t call it a bill,

JOEL: Maybe call it a william, show some respect?

> and that Mr. Crow was too stupid to talk to,

TOM: OooooOOOh! Hey, Crow?

CROW: Shut up.

> Solomon
> blundered away into the woods.

JOEL: Bonk!

CROW: Ow ow owie ow ow who put a tree —

JOEL: Crash!

CROW: My bills!

> It was true, of course, that Grumpy Weasel was about
> the quickest of all the furred folk in Pleasant Valley.

CROW: Also we’re in Pleasant Valley.

TOM: Also the birds count as ‘furred folk’.

> Why,
> you might be looking at him as he stopped for a moment on a
> stone wall;

JOEL: It’s your business, not mine.

> and while you looked he would vanish before your
> eyes.

TOM: *Your* eyes, maybe.

> It was just as if he had melted away in an instant, so
> quickly could he dart into a crevice between the stones.

JOEL: Weasels melt in your mouth, not in your stones.

TOM: What?

> It was surprising, too, that he could whisk himself
> out of sight so fast,

CROW: Is this some introvert-pride brag?

> for his body was absurdly long. But if
> he was long in one way he was short in another.

JOEL: Y’know if you have too much of one spatial dimension the others will shrink to balance out.

> Yes! Grumpy
> Weasel had the shortest temper of all the field- and
> forest-folk throughout Pleasant Valley.

TOM: Short but deep. Dimensions again.

> Even peppery Peter
> Mink was not so short-tempered as he.

TOM: Boy, everybody’s talking about Peter Mink these days.

> So terrible tempered was Grumpy Weasel that whenever
> the news flashed through the woods that he was out hunting,
> all the small people kept quite still,

CROW: Well wait, if they were so small, then they’d compensate by being the widest beasts in town!

> because they were
> afraid. And even some of the bigger ones—a good deal bigger
> than Grumpy Weasel himself—felt uneasy.

TOM: Not from his temper but from his tiresome political lectures.

> So you can see whether or not Grumpy Weasel was
> welcome.

JOEL: Uh … yes?

TOM: I’m going to say ‘no’?

CROW: I’m writing in ‘The Beatles’.

[ To continue … ? ]

MiSTed: Skippy’s Mom (part 12 of 12)

And now to the end of “Skippy’s Mom”, a Mystery Science Theater 3000 fanfiction from around 1999 or so. The whole of the series should be at this link.

This is just the closing sketch, because I insisted on doing host sketches back in the day and I’m a little looser on that nowadays. I have the nagging feeling that “Project Skippy” refers to some actual conspiracy theory but I don’t remember what. The reference to Robotman and the Milde family is about Jim Meddick’s brilliant comic strip Monty. The strip started titled Robotman, about a cute alien robot living with the Milde family in the suburbs. Eventually Robotman left the Milde family to live with Monty, and eventually after that Robotman left the strip altogether. It’s a fascinating, weird thing. TV’s Frank holding off his dying because he’s got one left is a Bugs Bunny lick. The closing line about if you or someone you love is a squirrel, run up a tree really fast, is ripped from an article titled something like “Ways To Tell If You’re A Squirrel” that ran in the humor section of The Rutgers Review back when I was an undergraduate, fourteen years before they invented dirt. It wasn’t my joke and I’ve been sad about that ever since.

[ ALL exit ]

[ 1.. 2.. 3.. 4.. 5.. 6.. ]

[ SOL. TOM, JOEL and CROW are standing behind the desk. ]

TOM: Well, that story raised issues.

CROW: Oh, yeah. Uh… like…

JOEL: Like, who Skippy’s mother is.

CROW: Right, right. Fortunately it gave us that neat answer.

TOM: Ah, you poor, trusting soul. Do you think we met the *real* mother of Skippy in that piece?

CROW: Are you suggesting a coverup?

TOM: I most certainly am! For you see, recently I have come into posession of certain documents — the source of which must remain anonymous — that tell me a top-secret research program lead to the creation of Project Skippy.

JOEL: I think we all know where this is going, Tom.

TOM: JOEL! You’re going to ruin the dramatic tension!

JOEL: Unless you tie it into where the Milde family in "Robotman" went, it’s just not going to snag us.

TOM: But you’ve gotta! If you don’t… aw…

[ TOM ducks off camera, stage right. ]

JOEL: [ Walking in from stage right. ] I hate to ruin his fun, but…

CROW: I know. You have to be firm.

JOEL: [ Patting CROW ] Let’s go have an ice cream soda.

CROW: Yay!

[ They walk off to stage left. ]

TOM: [ Coming in from stage right, wearing Rocky the Flying Squirrel aviator goggles and a squirrel tail stuck around his back. ] And lo! I am Skippy’s real mom, and I have come to… guys? Hello?

[ TOM looks under the desk, and back up again. ]

TOM: Now I just feel self-conscious.

[ MADS SIGN flashes ]

TOM: Ooh… uh, Major *Tom* to ground control. [ TOM snickers ] For the record, the shirt I wear is — [ abrupt cutoff ]

[ DEEP 13. FRANK is on the ground, writhing. DR. FORRESTER is waiting impatiently for him. ]

[ FRANK wriggles, kicking his feet up and down again, rolling side to side, making hissing sounds, twitching, et cetera. It continues for several beats, maybe too long. ]

DR.F: Would you just get *on* with it already? We *do* have other things to do today.

FRANK: Hold your horses, I got one left!

DR.F: All right, but make it snappy.

[ FRANK pushes himself up as far as he can while lying on his back, takes a loud, deep breath, groans at the top of this arc for several beats. Finally DR. FORRESTER puts his foot on FRANK’s chest. ]


DR.F: Just push the button on the way down.

[ DR. FORRESTER slams FRANK to the ground, as FRANK exhales. ]

                          \   |   /                          
                           \  |  /                           
                            \ | /                            
                            / | \                             
                           /  |  \                           
                          /   |   \

Mystery Science Theater 3000 and its related characters and situations are trademarks of and Copyright Best Brains, inc. Skippy, Slappy, Rita, Runt, Hello Nurse, and the Animaniacs characters are trademarks of and
Copyright Time-Warner. Use of copyrighted and trademarked material is for entertainment and satiric purposes only; no infringement on the original copyrights and trademarks is intended or should be inferred. "Skippy’s Mom" is copyright Charles Brown and is used with permission. This work is copyright Joseph Nebus. The B-O-T sketch was developed from an idea by Matthew Miller, who pointed the fanfic out to me and also contributed several jokes. If you determine that you or a loved one is a squirrel, run up a tree really fast.

> "A hospital could do a INK test on you Skippy." Hello Nurse offered,

[ The end .. or is it? ]

MiSTed: Skippy’s Mom (part 11 of 12)

I bring you now the conclusion of “Skippy’s Mom”, a Mystery Science Theater 3000 fanfiction fresh to you from something like 1999. There’s still a host segment to go, so don’t worry, there’s something to look for next week. The whole of the series should be at this link.

Please do not cut yourself on the razor-sharp commentary about the scripting of the movie Armageddon! There’s a riff about “Who will I kill?” which, yes, references Doctor Forrester’s song after TV’s Frank departed. I thought harder about the anachronism than the riff deserves. The Nieman-Marcus Cookie Recipe is an ancient urban legend. According to it, someone asked for the department store’s cookie recipe and assumed the “two-fifty” cost for it was two dollars fifty cents. On discovering the two hundred fifty dollar charge they made it their mission to reproduce and disseminate this important recipe, especially to computer bulletin boards. I’ve never made it myself.

The story proper is concluded, and author Charles “Runt-Abu” Brown is in the midst of a point-by-point discussion of how the story changed from first draft to published edition. I always find this sort of thing interesting and am sincerely happy he included it.

Some of the odd symbols here are from ASCII art that’s too hard for me to reproduce faithfully here. My recollection is that the ‘quaint little puzzle’ appeared inside a text-image outline of California, but if I’m mistaken, I’ll never know.

> 10.Unfortunatly Susan is slightly mad, no she’s very mad

TOM: Slappy woke her up out of a really cool flashback!

> (Imagine One
> flew over the cuckoo clock with Susan in it…)

JOEL: Okay, now imagine "House of Wax" with Hippety Hopper in it.

TOM: Right. Now imagine "Metropolis" with Betty Boop in it.

CROW: When you’re done with that, imagine "Tron" with Popeye and Olive Oyl in it.

> However Slappy drags
> her back to her treehouse where….
> 11.Skippy the cat is now quite happily living with Rita

CROW: And her cousin Oedipus.

> (and Runt who is
> now also back…)
> Skippy’s mom recognises Skippy (How he know looks like a cat for
> crying out loud!) and even more bizzarly Skippy recognises her. When
> he does hesuddenly flashes with light and becomes

CROW: Rodimus Prime!

> Skippy Squirrel…
> 12.Slappy blows up the hosiptal with Susan Rita’s

JOEL: Meter maid’s!

> and Skippy’s help
> _AFTER_ finding they got the wrong DNA results.
> Now if only they had
> tripled checked….

TOM: They would have discovered the hospital was actually a trout farm.

> (For very observent viewers they may just notice that the bottle says
> <Sample 001 | Feline | Male | Runt > on it….)

CROW: But this ending was omitted for clarity.

> ========================================================================
> ======
> Dedication

JOEL: Perseverance, faith, hope, and love.

> ==========
> As well as the dedication at the start I would also like to dedicate this

CROW: To landing a cartoon–

JOEL: [ Holding CROW’s shoulder ] You’re too late.

> to the following people for trying to keep me sane over the past week:
> MasemJMouse | Keeper | Colin | Plucky | LeloniBunny | DEViaNT |
> Wakkymouse | Wakko | Skippy | ALL (else) at #watertower and ALL at a.t.a.

JOEL: And all the ships at sea! Flash!

> ————————————————————————
> ——

> Unexplainable Plot Descrepencies:
> Okay Chicken Boo morphed into Hello Nurse,

TOM: Now, *there’s* a disguise.

> it does work better with her
> rather then chicken boo.
> Abu (Yes the monkey from Aladdin and map designer from D.N.R.) snuck
> in too this script.

CROW: And if he’s ever caught, he’ll be in a world of trouble.

> Animals can become alert in an instant,

JOEL: But only if you use the can opener.

> so why are Runt and Skippy
> tired at some points in the story?

TOM: Because they have to walk 700 miles without a break?

> Journey to Nevada desert – ‘kay I don’t know where Burbank is and it’s
> geographical closeness to Nevada is a total mystery to me!

CROW: And consulting an atlas would demand minutes of research.

> Susan -> Romana
> DNA is now called INK to reflect the fact they are toons.

JOEL: Ooooh.

CROW: Ah. You get it now?

TOM: Yes! Now I see the INK joke.

> The computer, don’t say anything,

CROW: You’ll just embarass your mother.

> it’s not that far away from what
> computers can do.

JOEL: ‘Cause making up wacky stuff would hurt the realism.

> The plot ends <CLOSED> e.g you know why the INK was such a close
> match for Rita and this story has no chance to be continued

TOM: Unless, say, Skippy’s mom ever has something to *do* with her son sometime in the future.

> (Unlike the
> big horrible daily perodi-stories.) Also I think it’s a lot better
> to finish it with a proper explanation.
> And that’s it more or less this story took a mere 15 hours to write

JOEL: That’s still more than thirty times as long as "Armageddon" took to write.

> and
> a massive 2 days of planning (but that was mostly ’cause I got lost on
> the way

TOM: Turns out *he* was wandering through the Nevada desert, looking for Skippy’s mom.

> and did not know what to write.)
> ==============================================================================

> | Skippy’s Mom 1.1 | 507 Lines | P-S 6 | Ranking 8.6/10 | 9/6/97 21:52
> GMT-1 |
> ==============================================================================

JOEL: It’s good that we were told the exact minute when this story was finished. Otherwise we might miss our orbital window.

> /——————\
> | |Next Week| |
> | \———/ |
> | What will it be? |

TOM: Who will I kill?

> Whilst you are waiting for next weeks fanfic you
> |——————| can try and slove this quaint little puzzle

CROW: What walks on four legs in the morning, two legs in the afternoon, and… wait.

> |saediynafoledatic | that actually tells you what next weeks fanfic
> |ehtdnarenrawokkay | maybe… Good luck as it’s probably full of
> |ebdluoctirodraugeht\ speeling mistaks!

JOEL: Spelling mistakes? Go on, tell us another one.

> |hplarhtiwydorap \
> |lanmonehpalacimonortas\
> |ebyamtiwollofotessohci \

CROW: I never got into ‘Scattergories.’

> |yrotshcihwnognidnepedtnur \
> |dnaatireruteafottontsrifeht \
> |ebyamcifnafskeewtxenroF<— |

TOM: Why is he sending us the Nieman-Marcus cookie recipe?

> \—————————–/
> ————–29934A6D602B–

JOEL: And that’s a story.

[ ALL exit ]

[ To continue … ]

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