Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas
Kermit Griffin, once mercenary, now detective, rose from his chair to straighten out his "hacker's back" he'd been bent over the computer far to long, but wasn't even close to being done. Not until he found it. Found her.
Kermit ran a hand through his dark, shoulder-length hair, and sauntered to the kitchen to make some coffee. Black. Maybe that would keep him awake a bit longer. Hopefully he'd be finished soon. Kermit closed his eyes as he leaned on the counter, waiting for the timer to beep telling him the coffee was done.
Kermit awoke when he felt himself falling to the floor. He caught himself just in time.
The timer beeped and Kermit rolled up the sleeves of his flannel pajamas. His sister had made them for him as a lark, but they were warm and comfortable, so he wore them. They were blue with little green frogs hopping all over them.
He smiled as he remembered the day she gave it to him. It had been two Christmases ago, if he remembered right.
Kermit had been on the last present of the morning. Not Christmas morning, but when he returned from his annual trip. He opened up shiny green paper to find the pajamas. "Thanks," he said, and immediately put them on.
"i didn't know if you'd like frogs or not," Marilyn said, "but I thought you'd look smart driving the Kermitmobile in them."
"I like frogs," Kermit replied evenly. "Especially talking frogs." He turned to the kids. “Stop me if you've heard this one," he grinned.
" 'The Talking Frog'
A man was crossing a road one day when a frog called out to him and said, 'If you kiss me, I'll turn into a beautiful princess.'
He bent over, picked up the frog, and put it in his pocket.
The frog spoke up again and said, 'If you kiss me and turn me back into a beautiful princess, I will tell everyone how smart and brave you are and how you are my hero" The man took the frog out of his pocket, smiled at it, and returned it to his pocket. The frog spoke up again and said, "If you kiss me and turn me back into a beautiful princess, I will be your loving companion for an entire week.' The man took the frog out of his pocket, smiled at it, and returned it to his pocket.
The frog then cried out, 'If you kiss me and turn me back into a princess, I'll stay with you for a year and do ANYTHING you want.' Again the man took the frog out, smiled at it, and put it back into his pocket.
Finally, the frog asked, 'What is the matter? I've told you I'm a beautiful princess, that I'll stay with you for a year and do anything you want. Why won't you kiss me?'
The man said, 'Look, I'm a computer programmer. I don't have time for a girlfriend, but a talking frog is cool.' "
The kids laughed, and Marilyn kissed her brother on the cheek.
"But," he added, looking up at her, "I wouldn't be caught dead wearing this out of the house!"
Now Kermit grinned again, as he poured his coffee.
He'd have to call Mar again, soon, but not too soon. He didn't want whoever was stalking him to know he had anyone that mattered to him. which was why he'd pushed Karen away today. It hurt him to do that,
but not nearly as much as it would have hurt if something had happened to her.
Capt. Karen Simms had called him into her office at the precinct. She'd flirted with him, and he would've usually flirted back with her. This time he was cold, aloof...downright rude, even. He frowned as he thought of it.
She had hinted around about going out again sometime…mentioned a new dress, needing somewhere to wear it to…It’d killed him to hear that.
“Do you think it’s wise for us to fraternize,” he’d asked, trying to find some way out of it. She’d shrugged. Time to try a different approach. “I’m a hard person to get close too,” he told her the truth, “and right now is a really bad time to try.”
”So, you’re not interested?”
“No,” he lied.
Kermit swore to himself he'd make it up to her. The fact was, she was important to him...like no one had been in a long time. Ah well, back to the business at hand. Kermit grasped the ceramic mug- green- in both hands to warm them as he made his way back to the computer. He kept it purposely cold to keep him alert. He settled back into his metal folding chair- uncomfortable again, on purpose, and looked at the information he had. A series of 6 e-mails arriving one a day, containing information *no one* should know about. They were watching him, that much was certain, but he wasn't sure how. He’d checked his apartment for bugs, and it turned up clean. Perhaps more disturbing than the details of his current life were the details of his past. That scared him. It was someone he knew, that was certain by the details, and by the familiar way the writer wrote him, but WHO was it? As a mercenary he'd filed people into his mental Rolodex, but as a man... he had repressed some memories. He couldn't be certain he'd recognize the sender even if he saw her. her... why was he thinking of the messenger as a female? the word choice did seem feminine, but that didn't decide it. no, he had read something in one of those e-mails that sparked an old memory. he read over the most recent- and most personal again.
i am lounging on a deck in cairo. i can see some of the ruins we left behind us even now, though that was well over 10 years ago. i'm sure you will figure out who i am soon enough. maybe you should ask that peter caine for help. it seems he looks on you as a brother? how interesting. perhaps i can use that in the future. isn't that always what you were saying, kermit? store everything in your mind in case it can be used in the future? like you used me?
time is running out.
Now, how to find her. Finding the IP address was easy enough, but this lady wasn't dumb. That info would never lead to her, or by the time it did, she wouldn't be there, or it’d be to late. No, he knew the only option right now. He'd go see peter- though he didn't want to involve him in this, perhaps he'd actually spoken with the woman- then head to Cairo.
Kermit went to cheaptickets.com and ordered a ticket to Cairo. He’d go in to the office tomorrow and tell Karen he’d be gone for a while.
Kermit strode into Captain Karen Simms’ office. “I’ve got some days accrued, and I’m going to need to take them now.”
She looked at him without saying a word for a minute. “How many,” she stated evenly.
“All of them.” Karen raised her eyebrows. “Forty.”
“That’ll be into the Christmas season, and I’ve already granted a number of leaves then. I can give you thirty.”
“I still need Christmas day.” He turned to leave.
“Are you going to tell me what’s going on?” she stopped him in his tracks.
Kermit turned back around. “I don’t want to lie to you, Karen,” so he said nothing at all and turned back around.
“I thought you were done with the mercenary business,” she said to no one in particular.
“No such thing as an ex-merc,” he said under his breath as he walked towards his office. “Caine!”
Peter Caine looked up from the file he was going over with a rookie. He started to say something, but must have seen the intense look in Kermit’s eyes. “Just a sec.” Peter gave the rookie some final instructions, then joined Griffin in his office.
Kermit grabbed his jacket from the back of the chair and flipped the light off. “Walk with me to the Kermitmobile.”
Kermit pulled his suitcase, small enough for a carry-on, from the back seat of the lime green Corvair. He gave Peter a condensed version of what was going on. Peter told him he didn’t know anything about the sender, but he’d keep his eyes open. “Do you need any backup?” Peter added.
“I need you to watch over Karen. I don’t know if this psycho knows our…relationship…but if she does, she’ll use it.” He paused to look at the younger man. He was like a brother- more like a brother than his own brother had been, if he was honest. “And,” he added, “I need you to watch the ‘vair.” Kermit swore Peter began to drool when he held the keys over Peter’s extended hand. He didn’t release the keys just yet. “Do not, I repeat, do not drive it except to move it to a more secure place.” He dropped the keys into Peters hand, and put wrapped his hand around Peter’s. “And if anything happens to it, you’re dead,” he smiled. “Take care of Karen,” he pleaded, removing his hand from Peters.
“I will,” Peter closed his fist around the keys. “Do you want a ride to the airport?”
“No, I’m taking a cab. And don’t follow me to see what plane I take.” He began to walk through the alley to the main road. He stopped. “And Peter…take care of yourself.”
TO BE CONTINUED