|Grover lies in state prior to disposal.|
The headlines screamed injected drug overdose, nutmeg! apparently according to the autopsy. Not a drug for humans, but remember Grover is, or rather was, a monster. Exactly where Grover was getting his nutmeg and who was the supplier is part on an ongoing Justice Department Investigation. Grover's emaciated body was found, partly shaven in Oscar the Grouch's garbage can. Oscar has a rock-solid alibi for the time after Grover was last seen alive and when he was discovered in the can.
The supermarket tabloids for several weeks after his death were screaming stories about sordid soirees, wild weekends with hookers and drunken rampages on the set of Sesame Street and off. Was this the
|Paparazzi photo of smashed Grover.|
All this still does not explain what happened and, more importantly why. Answers and opinions varied depending on the source.
Roving Reporter Kermit Frog has followed the story since not long after Grover's cooling corpse was discovered.
"A lot of people have a lot of questions. Answers are few and far between," he said. "It's still under investigation which means no one will say anything on the record. I've gotten some off the record information, which I of course can't use or tell you about, but even when I try to weave that information into a cohesive thread, I keep coming up with plenty of inconsistencies."
Mr. Frog said he intended to pursue the story until he got answers he felt accurately fit the situation.
Among those questions is the nutmeg issue. Grover professed to be spice free and even passed random screens. By most accounts, he'd shaken the monkey off his back and was moving forward with life. In an interview, he fingered Cookie Monster as his supplier and even said Cookie Monster attempted to get him re-hooked on it.
"I have no idea why he would say something like that. First of all everyone knows you don't use nutmeg in cookies. Ginger, yes, nutmeg no. Besides which, I already knew that stuff was trouble. I experimented a few times and saw the dangers in it, but I put it down before I got hooked," Cookie said over a plate of oatmeal-raisin cookies at the deli. "Grover and I, we weren't what you'd call tight, but we were friends."
He had some ideas of where Grover could have gotten the spice. "It's a spice. Used in cooking everywhere. Until the CTW decided to outlaw the stuff, you could get it anywhere. Most of the monsters just walked right past it in the store. I'm sure some of them knew what the stuff was like and probably a few of them took a hit every now and then," he said.
If Grover had indeed kicked the habit, why did he go back to it, as the autopsy seems to indicate?
"I'm not convinced he was back on the stuff," Gordon said. "I think it was a setup to throw the investigators off the track. Grover was clean, spice-free and straight. He was glad to be done with it because he knew it was ruining his life."
"I sat up with him night after night and watched him have the shakes as his body purged. It was a mean time. In between bouts of shakes, he'd get mad and I'm talking fighting mad. Don't forget Grover was also a superhero and so when he got into a mood, he could be incredibly dangerous," he said. "I don't know why, but he always stopped short of violence toward me. He trashed his penthouse twice. A two-foot space around me was the only clear and clean area in the apartment."
Investigators at the scene have found no evidence, beyond what would normally be expected, at the scene. Their work at checking the scene was hampered because the body was found in a fairly public area. A sweeper turned up monster hair from virtually every monster on the set. Faced with a situation like that, forensic analysis of the hairs is compounded. Investigators had to examine the trace evidence and look for direct links to Grover.
The shaved off fur has yet to be found.
Throw into this mix the fact that, aside from a few minor bruises and a shaving nick, Grover did not have any impact injuries that could have killed him. Some are pointing to all of this as a suicide, the easy way out. Those who support the intentional overdose theory point to the deep depression Grover was suffering through some time back when his career slid. His blackest moments, they say, was when the Tickle Me Elmo doll hit the market. The latest interactive Elmo dolls, a complete surprise to most everyone on the Sesame Street cast, hit the loveable blue one like a Mack truck slamming into a Moon Pie, said The Count.
"One, it was Tickle Me Elmo. Two, it was Tickle Me Ernie. Three, it was ABC Elmo. Four, it was Rock and Roll Elmo. Five, it was the interactive Elmo," the fanged numerologist said. "It just all added up to be more than he could take and so, Six, he 86'ed himself."
Half of the Two Headed Monster is another who supports the suicide theory. "Sure, I think about it all the time," said Head 1. "The pressures here are incredible on us to perform. Day in, day out. No rest for the weary. Sometimes it seems like there's no end in sight and the only way out is the pine box road or to throw yourself in the path of Miss Piggy's wonton chase to tackle her beloved Kermit.
"Grover was not that kind of monster and neither am I," said Head 2. "Sure, it's hard around here at times, but what job isn't? You've got to roll with it surf out the bad times because the big wave is on the way sooner or later and you don't want to miss that. It's a little known fact that Grover was a surfer and not the kind to intentionally wipe out."
For several days after his body was discovered, the scene was roped off, including Oscar's garbage can. This caused some frenetic shifts in the shooting schedule. Agents investigating the scene were either carefully integrated into the action or blue-screened out and the footage carefully edited before airing. Despite that, close observation of the episodes shot immediately after his death shows the yellow police tape several times cordoning off the area.
Oscar discovered the body according to reports from the investigators. His statement to them at the time:
"I was coming up from Grouchland, a little early for once because I wanted to get there in time to yell at the Puerto Rican janitors before they left. I popped the lid on my can. I was surprised to see none of them were around, so I started looking. When I looked behind the can, there he was, a crumpled heap. I jumped out of my can and landed beside him. I checked for a pulse. When I didn't find one, I started yelling for help. Someone stuck their head out of an apartment window, I forget who I was so rattled, and I yelled for them to dial 911 because something had happened to Grover. I flipped him over and tried CPR, but he was already cold and beginning to stiffen. Nothing to do but wait for the law to arrive."
The 911 records show a frantic call by Maria to the 911 center. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
As he did not leave a will or instructions of what to be done with his remains, he was tossed into the gutter and swept away with the other trash following a short memorial service between takes.
RECONSTRUCTING HIS LAST HOURS
Grover was last definitely seen alive by no less than a dozen crew members at 5:45 p.m. the day before his body was found. He was walking home at the end of a day's shoot. Three anonymous and untraceable calls to the HQ have added some questionable details. There are inconsistencies.
Police estimated the time of death between 2 and 3 a.m. Each of the callers reported sighting him before 2 a.m., but not after.
Caller 1 has Grover visiting a dive on the South side around 11 p.m. The investigators failed to turn up a single lead at the bar in a follow up check there. The caller said Grover walked into the bar, stopped in the doorway and looked around. He went to the back of the bar and slid into a corner booth, already occupied by several other beings. The same caller says Grover left about 2 a.m., very unsteady on his feet carrying a large package. No package was found with the body.
Caller 2 puts Grover on the roof of his penthouse just after midnight. The caller reported a small group on the roof with him. When police later checked the roof, they found traces of alcohol and cocaine, but no nutmeg. A broken cassette tape of Jim Henson's Greatest hits was found next to an air vent. Fingerprints on the cassette have not been identified. The caller reports Grover was having a small party for some friends including a rather spry elderly woman with a bad perm and a lamb, who were not associated with Sesame Street. Police have contacted The Electric Company and PBS in hopes of possibly confirming part of this story. They would not release any information regarding those interviews.
Caller 3 probably has the most tantalizing information and at the same time the hardest to verify. This caller reports in 25 words seeing Grover crouched with one or two other figures in the alley next to the apartment building shortly after 1 a.m. Police have extensively reviewed the tape of this call and subjected it to a variety of electronic screenings in attempts to perhaps learn more of the identity of the caller. So far the efforts have yielded zero results.
Police have refused to announcement the names of any suspects. However in a development that may be related, Elmo Monster has obtained a lawyer. Requests for interviews were passed to the lawyer who read from a prepared statement. "Mr. Elmo regrets this tragedy. Grover was a friend to all and to me especially. I will never forget the kindness he showed me."
A department spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity said Bird Bird was also questioned after investigators discovered what they thought was an unusual amount of blue fur weaved in to the avian's nest. Mr. Bird declined to comment.
|Test shots of the Grover puppet replacement.|
The cast and crew are still shaken by the untimely demise of Grover. The shock waves, although muted, are still causing ripples throughout Sesame Street.
"Yeah, it's got us all on edge. I mean, no one really knows. Was it a hit, was it some kind of spite, was it heat of the moment, or what? We just don't know. It's really hard to work around here right now because tensions are so high," said Mr. Snufflupagus.
CTW meanwhile has announced plans to replace Grover with a hand puppet until his character can be phased out of the show.
"Ain't that just like the corporate BS tripe that they keep throwing to the masses around here? I mean, jeez, he's dead and all they can think about is a way to keep trying to make a freakin' buck off him," said a Puerto Rican janitor who no habla English.