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Brothers and Sisters

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Slackbot, Apr 11, 2012.

  1. muppetfan24/7

    muppetfan24/7 Well-Known Member

    I loved how Mokey says: "Everyone started somewhere." Good job, Slackbot! Gobo was born to be an explorer, Red is full of spunk and loves swimming, Mokey is quiet, but loves to paint (being creative)., Wembley was always a wembler, since he tries so hard to make decisions, and Boober (well) he cooks and does laundry. One thing in common: they all love to sing. So, Mokey, I would like to know what happens to the Fraggles later in this fan-fic story.
  2. Slackbot

    Slackbot Well-Known Member

    Look! Me writed more!

    *****

    Brothers and Sisters
    Part 9: Ping!
    by Kim McFarland

    *****

    That evening, the Fraggle Five plus their children and their children's guests gathered in Wembley and Gobo's room, which was just big enough to accommodate them all. Boober and Sage brought in a hot covered dish which leaked little wisps of delicious-smelling steam. They left it covered and went out again, to return a minute later, Boober carrying a wok full of ratatouille, and Sage with a basket of hot bread. They set the dishes down. Then Boober, seeing that he had everyone's undivided attention, whisked the cover off the first dish with a flourish. In it was hot, buttery baked radish, sliced into steak-sized discs speckled with a mixture of spices.

    "Wow, that looks good enough to eat!" Wembley enthused.

    "I certainly hope so," Boober replied. He put a ladle in the wok and a serving fork on the radish platter. That was the signal for everyone else to dig in, and they did. They were always hungry by dinnertime anyway, and Boober's presentation had whetted their appetites further.

    Skeeter and Scooter took some ratatouille and bread. Scooter took a small portion of radish too. It did smell good. For a radish.

    Sage and Boober served themselves last. Boober noticed how little radish the twins had taken, and chalked it up to their not having much taste for the vegetable. Poor Silly Creatures. Sage wasn't paying attention to their guests. She filled her plate quickly and sat next to Janken.

    For a little while there was no conversation, just the sound of people devouring food. Scooter found the ratatouille good, in an exotic kind of way, and the bread moist and pleasant. The radish was tender and well herbed, but, when you got down to it, it was still radish. He was glad he had taken a small serving.

    "Where'd you go today, Jan?" Sage asked when the edge was off her hunger.

    "Scooter and I saw some of the neater caverns. He's never been in a cave before he came here, believe it or not."

    And I couldn't come with you? Sage thought, but didn't say it.

    Red said, "Gobo, you have something of mine. I'd like it back."

    "Oh? What?" Gobo asked, looking up from his second helping of radish.

    "That rock-climbing trophy!" She pointed at the shelf on the wall where it had been displayed for all to see for the last two years. Since it was opposite the entrance, every day for two years it had been the first thing Red saw when she entered the cave.

    "Oh, that? Sure."

    Gobo put down his plate, took down the trophy, and brought it over to Red. She held it over her head and crowed, "The champion!"

    "I helped!" Poncle exclaimed, clapping.

    "You sure did, kid," Red said. She say back down and rumpled Poncle's hair. Poncle giggled and swatted Red's hand away, then straightened the feathered headband that framed her face.

    "Speaking of which, I've got to scout out a course," Skeeter mentioned.

    "For what?" Janken asked.

    "An obstacle race."

    "Obstacle? Parkour?" Scooter said, turning to Skeeter.

    "Yep."

    "Oh boy."

    "Want some help? I know all the tricky spots in the Rock," Red offered.

    Skeeter said, "No, thanks. I can manage it myself."

    "Ah, you want it to be a surprise? Fair enough. After all, Schist Cliff was new to you."

    "Thanks. You're a sport." She said to Scooter, "Can I borrow your cell?"

    "Huh? Okay," he said.

    "Thanks. I'd better start now. Thanks, that was a great dinner," Skeeter said, getting up.

    Boober said, "Don't leave. You'll miss dessert."

    Skeeter thought, Radish cake, radish ice cream, or radish with radish frosting. I'll pass. But she kept a straight face as she said, "Thanks, but I'm full from dinner." Then she darted out.

    Boober looked around at the others, then shrugged.

    *

    Skeeter went to the 'hidey-hole' behind Boober's cave where she, Scooter, and Janken had slept last night. Fraggle Rock was a regular rabbit warren, she thought. Fortunately years of hiking and other wilderness activities had sharpened her memory for landmarks. She'd been alert since she came down here, so she found her way back with no problem.

    She opened Scooter's backpack and found his cell phone in a zippered inside pocket. She turned it on. It had plenty of charge. She found the photos and looked at the most recent one. Then she shut the phone down, put it in one of her jacket pockets, and went out again.

    *

    After the dessert, which was a creamy, utterly radish-free fruit salad, Red narrated the drama of The Climbing of Schist Cliff. The recitation quickly developed into a song. Scooter was amazed. Janken had told him that Fraggles could and frequently did compose songs on the fly, but he had thought he was exaggerating. He found it hard to believe that she was just making this up as she went along. Gobo backed her up on a guitar that looked like it was made from a large gourd, not minding how Red twitted him for being too intimidated, lazy, or downright cowardly to enter the race himself. She compared him to Skeeter, who at least had the guts to compete fair and square despite not having a chance. Scooter was glad that Skeeter had cut out already; he wasn't sure she'd have taken that in the spirit intended.

    The song ended, and everyone was grinning about it. It was as if Red and Gobo had gotten all the residual tension out of their systems, Scooter thought. And at breakfast Mokey had made a song of Boober's grocery list as if it were as simple as writing it down. But then, he hadn't seen much writing while he was here. Maybe that's what they did instead of writing things down?

    Poncle said, "I want a Silly Creature song."

    Janken said to Scooter, "That's a good idea. Why don't you sing something?"

    Scooter said, "Um, singing a capella really isn't my thing."

    Wembley asked, "Who's Al Cappella?"

    Scooter answered, "I mean, I'm not used to singing without music. I'm pretty sure you guys don't know any of the songs I do."

    Janken nudged Scooter, and when he looked over, hummed a tune. Scooter recognized it. "That wouldn't make any sense without a guitar."

    "All you need is a guitar? Wait right here." Janken jumped up and hurried out of the room. Less than a minute later he came back with a guitar, which he handed to Scooter.

    Scooter looked at the instrument in surprise. It was made of wood, with decorative carving and dyes on the neck and body. And it only had three strings. Janken explained, "There are always instruments in the Great Hall so if someone gets inspired they can go to it. When a Fraggle really gets into something, like Gobo with his guitar and Wembley with his bongos, then they make a special instrument of their own."

    So, this was common property, everybody's and nobody's? It looked too well-cared-for. He said to Janken, "It's been years since I even touched a guitar. Are you sure you want me to play that?"

    "Yeah! It's great!" Janken swung his arm with comic enthusiasm.

    Scooter rolled his eyes. "Oh, sheesh. Fine then." He hung the guitar around his shoulders on the strap and began testing the strings, trying to find the notes and chords he would need. After he did he practiced strumming them, getting his hand to remember them so he wouldn't have to think about them while singing. He told the other Fraggles, who were watching with great interest, "When I was a kid I took guitar lessons. Our guitars are different. For one thing, they have more strings, and the frets are in different places. So, bear with me. This won't be pretty."

    "We understand. Everyone started somewhere," Mokey said encouragingly.

    "Thanks. I remember the guitar I had. I even named it," Scooter said. He felt comfortable enough with the guitar, or as comfortable as he was going to get, so he started on the intro. He picked at the strings, playing a slightly awkward tune, and sang,
    "The very day I purchased it I christened my guitar
    As my monophonic symphony, six string orchestrar.
    In my room I'd practice late. They'd leave me alone.
    My mother said, 'You're nothing yet to make the folks write home.'"

    Sage thought, no kidding. His playing was pretty bad. Well, he couldn't help it, she guessed. It took a little while to get used to a new instrument, and Janken had told her that Silly Creatures were not musically gifted. At least he could sing well.

    Scooter continued,
    "I'd play at all the talent nights. I'd finish, they'd applaud.
    Some called it muffled laughter; I just figured they were awed.
    So I went up for an encore but they screamed they'd had enough.
    Well, maybe I just need a group to help me do my stuff."

    His strumming became smoother, and he sang with more energy,
    "And so I'd dream a bass will join me and fill the bottom in.
    And maybe now some lead guitar so it would not sound so thin.
    I need some drums to set the beat and help me keep in time.
    And way back in the distance, some strings would sound so fine.

    And we'd all play together like fine musicians should,
    And it would sound like music, and the music would sound good.
    But in real life I'm stuck with that same old formula,
    Me and my monophonic symphony-"

    He played what was supposed to be a dramatic downward arpeggio, but dissolved into a clumsy tumble of off-key notes.
    "-Six String Orchestra."

    He winced at the sound of his own playing, then went back to strumming chords. When he found his footing he glanced at Janken, then began the next verse.
    "Oh, I write love songs for my favorite guy and sing 'em soft and slow.
    But before I get to finish he says he has to go.
    He's nice and says "Excuse me, I've got to find a bar,
    I think I need refreshment 'fore I hear you play guitar."

    Janken laughed, surprised. Scooter grinned back and sang,
    "Oh, I sent a demo tape I made to the record companies.
    Two came back address unknown, one came back C.O.D.
    Of course I got warm letters all saying pleasant things.
    Like suggesting I should find a trade where I would not have to sing.

    "But still I'd dream a bass will join me and fill the bottom in."

    Gobo began playing his guitar, surprising Scooter. He wasn't playing the bass part from the original song, but something else that fit just as well. He went on,
    "And maybe now some lead guitar so it would not sound so thin.
    I need some drums to set the beat and help me keep in time."

    Wembley jumped in with a lively rhythm on his bongos. When Scooter glanced up at him, he smiled down encouragingly.
    "And way back in the distance, some strings would sound so fine."

    Mokey and Red didn't have string instruments, so they sang the background. Wow, Scooter thought, this was actually coming together!
    "And we'd all play together like fine musicians should,
    And it would sound like music, and the music would sound good.
    But in real life I'm stuck with that same old formula,
    Me and my monophonic symphony, Six String Orchestra."

    He ended with another clumsy arpeggio, flinched in exaggerated embarrassment, and went back to strumming chords again.
    "I've been taking guitar lessons, but my teacher just took leave.
    It was something about a breakdown, or needing a reprieve.
    But I know I found my future, so I will persevere
    And hold onto my dream of making music to their ears!"

    For the final chorus, the other Fraggles sang along, clapping the rhythm with their hands. Again Gobo, Wembley, Mokey, and Red came in on their cues.
    "And so I'll dream a bass will join me and fill the bottom in.
    And maybe now some lead guitar so it would not sound so thin.
    I need some drums to set the beat and help me keep in time.
    And way back in the distance, some strings would sound so fine.

    He cried in mock desperation, "I need all the help I can get!" The Fraggles laughed and sang along with the final verse,
    "And we'd all play together like fine musicians should,
    And it would sound like music, and the music would sound good!
    But in real life I'm stuck with that same old formula,
    Me and my monophonic symphony, Six String Orchestra!"

    The final arpeggio clanked painfully down, and then Scooter played the outro, the same chords he had been playing, but clumsier, as if he barely remembered them. When he reached the end he said sheepishly, "Eric Clapton, eat your heart out."

    *

    They spent the rest of the evening singing, and chatting, and generally hanging out as a family. Mokey recited a poem, and, as she had composed it that evening, it was not too long. When it got dark they returned to their various homes. Mokey and Wembley came to Boober's cave and helped wash the dinner dishes. It was an unspoken rule that someone else always did the dishes when Boober cooked. They chatted as they worked, and when the last dry dish was put away they left for home after various expressions of family affection in which Janken and Scooter were included.

    Janken and Scooter were going back into the hidey-hole when Sage said, "Um, Scooter?"

    That was the first time she had spoken to him. "Yeah?"

    "I liked your song."

    He smiled. "Thanks."

    Janken nudged him. "See?"

    "Jan?" Sage said hesitantly.

    "Uh-huh?"

    She looked at him for a long moment. Then she dropped her gaze to the floor and said softly, "Nothing."

    Boober was watching. She was trying, but Janken had no clue what was wrong. When Scooter and Janken went back to the hidey-hole Boober and Sage changed into their nightclothes. Sage got into bed. Boober took a jar down from the pantry and came over to her bed. "Sage. Want a cookie?"

    She opened her eyes. He was standing there, offering an open cookie jar. She reached in and took out a potato cookie. Then she scooted over. "They taste better with you, Papa."

    He got into the bed next to her and, sitting up, put an arm around her. She leaned against him, and they ate cookies together without talking.

    *

    As he changed into pajamas Janken said, "I knew you'd be fine with that song. They really liked it."

    Scooter said wryly, "A song about not being able to play guitar. It's honest, at least."

    "Oh, c'mon. You can play decently."

    "What makes you think that?"

    "Well, there's the Robin Hood show. You played the lute pretty well."

    Scooter stared at him. Then he laughed. "Jan, I wasn't playing the lute! Someone else was playing the music and I was faking. If you watched my hand you'd see that sometimes I forgot to strum."

    Shocked, Janken said, "You're kidding!"

    Scooter shook his head. "I never got the hang of playing any instrument. I can keep a rhythm with a pair of maracas, but that's about it. I'm surprised I was able to limp through Six String Orchestra."

    And Janken had boxed him into it, he realized. He said, "I'm sorry! I didn't realize-"

    "It's okay."

    "I guess we're even for the jug band thing."

    Poor Janken, he really was upset. Scooter said, "Jan, listen. It's okay. If I really didn't want to play it, I would have said no. So relax, all right? It was fun."

    Janken nodded. He was quiet for a moment, then said, "It was the best thing you could have done to fit in with my family."

    "They were friendly from the start, but they seemed a little warmer after I sang that. I didn't know if I was imagining it or not."

    "Not. See—music changes things," Janken explained. "When people sing together, it's not 'you and me' or 'us and them'. It's just 'we.' Nobody can be strange or alien if they're singing with you. Music joins people. Do you know what I mean?"

    "Yeah. I think so," Scooter replied.

    *

    It was dark and everyone was asleep when Skeeter returned to the hidey-hole. She could have used the light from the screen of Scooter's phone to find her way, but she honored Janken's request not to show off technology to the Fraggles. She took the phone out of her pocket and put it back in its compartment in Scooter's backpace. Scooter awoke and said, "Skeet. Where were you?"

    "Just doing some scouting. It took a little longer than I expected. I'll need to borrow your phone again tomorrow, okay?"

    "Okay."

    "Thanks. Night."

    "Good night."

    She changed into the pajamas by touch, and got into bed. When she fell asleep she was smirking.

    *****

    Scooter and Skeeter are copyright © The Muppets Studio, LLC. All Fraggles except Janken, Sage, and Poncle, are copyright © The Jim Henson Company, LLC. Six String Orchestra is copyright © Harry Chapin. All copyrighted characters and properties are used without permission but with much respect and affection. Janken, Sage, and Poncle Fraggle and the overall story are copyright © Kim McFarland (negaduck9@aol.com). Permission is given by the author to copy it for personal use only.
  3. charlietheowl

    charlietheowl Well-Known Member

    Seems like Skeeter's up to something! I also loved when Wembley said "Al Cappella". Another fun chapter and I am looking forward to the next one.
  4. The Count

    The Count Moderator Staff Member

    Now that's the chapter I was waiting for. Of course, it's easily going to be known as a good chapter when you title it with a Cantus quote. Hee, sheepish retort from Scooter at the end is right. At least this time he didn't have to put up with the echoes of "Wool wool! Baa baa! Humbug humbug!" Richard outdid himself on that particular episode, what with Six String Orchestra and Rama-Lama-Ding-Dong. Skeeter smirking, hey wait, :smirk: is Gobo's Muppet smilie. *<3 the end scene with Boober and Sage.

    Thanks for posting. More when you can writed it.
  5. mostlikemokey

    mostlikemokey Active Member

    You really showed off Boober's tender side in this chapter. I wanna know what happens with Sage. Can't waaaiiiiiiiiiiiiit.....................
  6. Slackbot

    Slackbot Well-Known Member

    Thanks, guys. Heh, I might have guessed that The Count would recognize the title reference. The song, which is sung by Cantus, is titled Music Makes us Real (Ping!) from Mokey and The Minstrels. It's a great song; for once Cantus and the Minstrels really get down with their bad selves. And for anyone interested in Six String Orchestra, here's Scooter's original performance from the Star Wars episode, with some bonus Gershwin gargling:



    The version used in the show is abbreviated. I used the full version, with some pronoun changes in one verse and a few ad-libs from one of Chapin's performances.
  7. muppetfan24/7

    muppetfan24/7 Well-Known Member

    Slackbot, I really enjoy your story and the show did show Boober's tender side sometimes when he is not worried or paranoid. (Laughs)! So, keep it up! Loved it!!!!!
  8. AlittleMayhem

    AlittleMayhem Well-Known Member

    Totally did not beat myself up for not noticing the past few chapters and missing out on all that's happened.

    Love it! Love Fraggles! Love Fraggle kids! Love Skeeter! Love Janken and Scooter.

    Love love love!
    muppetfan24/7 likes this.
  9. Slackbot

    Slackbot Well-Known Member

    Thanks, guys. I'm working on the next chapter, but I have been on the run lately, so spare time hasn't been as abundant as I'd like. Look for it sometime next week.
    Best typo EVER.
    AlittleMayhem and muppetfan24/7 like this.
  10. newsmanfan

    newsmanfan Well-Known Member

    ---------------
    LOVE both the choice of song and the idea of Muppets and Fraggles all singing together -- well, okay, ONE Muppet, but he does have a pretty good voice! And looking forward to a parkour competition!

    YAAY for the breakdown of species differentiators!
    -----------
  11. muppetfan24/7

    muppetfan24/7 Well-Known Member

    Turning on patience switch until there is another post
  12. Slackbot

    Slackbot Well-Known Member

    Finally, the chapter you've all been waiting for, the Battle of the Redheads!

    *****

    Brothers and Sisters
    Part 10: The Great Traceurs
    by Kim McFarland

    *****

    It was a cool and pleasant morning. Fraggles were messing around in the Great Hall, working up to the day’s scheduled frolic.

    Skeeter found Red swimming in the pond in the center of the Great Hall with Wembley and Poncle. She called, "Red!"

    Red glanced over, then told Wembley and Poncle, "Gotta go. See you later!"

    "See ya!" Wembley replied. Poncle didn't notice; she was too busy splashing around to worry about minor casting changes.

    Red swam for the edge of the pond and climbed out. Skeeter said, "You ready?"

    "Yep!"

    "Don't you want to dry off?"

    "What for?"

    "Never mind. Silly question."

    **

    As Skeeter led the way through the caves, Red tried to guess where they were going. Where could they hold an obstacle race? She knew these caves like the back of her hand, and she couldn't figure out what Skeeter had planned.

    When Skeeter started down a stairway cut into the rock Red balked. "Wait a minute!"

    "What?" Skeeter turned back.

    "Do you know what this is? This leads to Outer Space!"

    Skeeter grinned. "Of course. How do you think I got into Fraggle Rock in the first place?"

    "But every tunnel leads to a different place. We could get lost!"

    "Nope. I know where to go. But if you'd rather forfeit..."

    "Hey! I'm no quitter," Red exclaimed indignantly, and followed her down.

    "Okay, okay. Just wanted you to know I wouldn't think any less of you if you had to bail." Skeeter started to take the phone out of her pocket, then paused. They weren't supposed to show technology to Fraggles. Well... she could slip this by. She took it out and, hiding all but the screen with her hand, checked the second to last image. Then she looked around for the corresponding passage.

    Red saw the screen. Oh, a camera, she thought. It looked like the one Doc had. She glanced around, then said, "It's that one over there, isn't it?"

    Skeeter looked where Red was pointing. "Yeah." She put the camera away again and started for it.

    Red gulped. Now it was official; she had been suckered into a race in Outer Space. She'd left herself wide open when she let Skeeter choose the course. Well, if Skeeter thought that Red Fraggle was too scared to follow her to Outer Space, she was wrong!

    Skeeter led Red down the passage. When it became a mere dirt-walled tunnel Red had to force herself not to say anything. Dirt tunnels were unstable, prone to cave-ins and floods. Fraggles avoided them; why bother with them when they have more friendly, stable limestone caverns than they know what to do with?

    They emerged in a forest. When Red's head popped out of the hole she looked all around. Trees everywhere! She was used to trees; they grew in and around the Gorgs' garden. But here they were all over! There must be dozens!

    Skeeter watched as Red nerved herself to come out of the hole in the ground. She deliberately did not notice how scared Red was now. "First, a few lessons. Parkour is about going forward no matter what obstacles are in your way. Go over, under, through, but going around or backtracking is wimping out. It's usually done in a city, but this is more convenient right now. Unless you're up to a drive back into town."

    "I don't care. Anywhere is fine with me," Red replied, trying hard to sound casual.

    Skeeter had to give her points for bravado. "Uh-huh. Well, might as well race here; it'd take too long to drive to town and back. So, let's do a practice run. From here to the big tree past the hill." Skeeter pointed.

    Red saw the hill, but beyond that it became a confusion of trunks and branches and leaves. "Gotcha."

    Skeeter took a moment to stretch her legs, then dropped into starting position. "On your mark. Get set. Go!"

    Both took off running. The hill was easy; one would have to be careless to be tripped up by the gravelly slope. On the other side, however, were some fallen trees. Skeeter ducked under one and vaulted the next, while Red jumped up on the first, leapt to the second, and hopped back down again. After that was a rocky patch requiring some minor climbing, and then a straight run to the obvious target, the biggest tree in sight. Red and Skeeter reached it at the same time. Leaning against the tree, barely breathing hard, Red scoffed, "Is that all there is to it? I've had tougher walks across the Gorgs' garden!"

    "That was just a practice run," Skeeter replied. "Now that we're warmed up, let's get this on for real."

    "Yeah!" Red thought, this wasn't scary. And it would be worth it to wipe that smirk off Skeeter's face. This Silly Creature thought Red couldn't handle a few trees and rocks? Hah!

    Skeeter started walking. "The real run is a lot longer, and a lot more challenging," she said.

    "I hope so!"

    Skeeter led them through the forest. Suddenly Red realized that if she tried to find her way back to the hole she wouldn't be able too; there was nothing but trees and more trees in every direction. She tried not to think about that.

    Skeeter led them to a huge slab of tilted stone. She said, "This is the start. We go over this rock, and straight forward. There's a little more forest, then a gully with a stream—"

    "What's a gully?"

    Skeeter paused, then realized that of course there were no gullies in stone caves. She explained, "It's a place where water has cut down into the earth."

    "Oh, like when a stream wears a groove in the rock?"

    Getting out the camera again, Skeeter said, "Yeah, but a lot deeper. Anyway, across that and up the other side. Then it's a straight run to this tree." She showed Red a picture on the phone's screen. It was a round tree silhouetted against the sky, much taller than the trees surrounding it.

    "Got it," Red told her.

    "Any questions?"

    "Just when you're going to quit stalling."

    "All right." Skeeter grinned. She posed, ready to run, then said, "You call it."

    The Fraggle readied herself, then said, "On your mark! Get set! Go!"

    Both started up the rock. It was steep enough that they bent forward to let their hands do some of the work, but it wasn't quite climbing. When they reached the top they were faced with a sharp drop. Skeeter leapt for the tree in front of herself. She caught the limb, swung, dropped to a lower limb, then landed on the ground with a rustle of leaf litter. Red was startled at the Silly Creature's athletic display. But only for a moment; she jumped too, then dropped to the ground, rolled, and popped up to her feet. Fraggles know how to fall.

    The next part was a run through the forest. Easy enough. She had to detour around a few trees, deciding that it was just silly to climb over a tree. She did hurdle over and push through some bushes. Then the ground came to a stop, and she saw what must be the gully: a gouge in the earth as wide as the Great Hall, with water flowing in the bottom. Skeeter was halfway down the dirt slope. Red went down in a controlled fall rather than taking the time to climb down. The earth was soft—and, because she was still damp from her morning swim, it stuck to her. She hadn't counted on that. But there was the river, so the dirt wouldn't stick for long! She splashed in and began swimming. Though Skeeter started out with the lead, Red was the stronger swimmer, and soon passed her.

    Skeeter was swept downstream, but not far; she knew the currents in this stream, and also the bank on the other side. She came out of the water in front of a stony rise, perfect for climbing while wet. She pulled herself up. Meanwhile, Red, who had gone straight across, was digging her formerly-clean fingers and toes into crumbly soil as she climbed up.

    When she reached the top of the gully she pushed past the bushes. Beyond that was a grassy field dotted with erratic stones and scrubby bushy things, and, on the other side, more trees, with one big tree in front of them. They weren't as big as they looked in the picture, Red thought as she ran forward through the waist-high grass.

    As she ran she looked around. The field surrounded her. Wherever she looked, there was empty distance. She suddenly realized that she could not tell how far away anything was; her eyes couldn't focus. It was as if she was in the middle of nowhere, with nothing to tell her where she was.

    Skeeter shot ahead of her.

    **

    Skeeter ran, vaulting smaller obstacles and climbing over others. She had bet that Red was good with obstacles, but Skeeter would be able to beat her in a straight run. Now she was not so sure, so she ran as hard as she could, but not so hard that she couldn't put on a show for anyone who happened to be watching from behind.

    She reached the shade of the tree and, barely having slowed down in case Red was about to overtake her at the last moment, cushioned her stop with outstretched hands. Then she turned around, ready to speak.

    Red was nowhere to be seen.

    The Fraggle must be up to something. Skeeter sat on one of the roots and leaned back against the trunk to wait.

    **

    Fifteen minutes later she was not so sure. At first she thought Red might have dropped to all fours to crawl through the grass unseen for whatever reason, but even if Skeeter didn't spot those big orange pompom pigtails she would have seen the grass move. There were no animals around that could do someone her size harm. And this tree was the biggest, most visible thing here. Even a Fraggle couldn't possibly get lost.

    Could she?

    Nuts. Red must be pulling some sort of prank, but Skeeter still had to check, just in case. She took off her gloves and laid them on the root as proof that she had been there, then started walking back toward the gully. "Hey, Red!"

    She listened for a reply. There was none. She glanced back at the tree, half expecting to see the Fraggle there. She wasn't. Skeeter called louder, "Come on, joke's over! All-e all-e all's-in-free!"

    No answer.

    The last place she had seen Red was the gully. She jogged briskly across the field. When she got to the gully she shouted, "Red! Where are you?"

    "I'm over here," said an unhappy voice from upstream.

    Red stepped out from a hollow that the stream had cut in the bank. She looked painfully embarrassed. Skeeter hustled over. "Are you okay?"

    "I'm fine. You won," Red said, looking away.

    Skeeter had expected Red to be daunted by the open field. If Janken could barely grasp such distances even after living for years on the surface, it would knock Red for a loop! But she had only meant to take some of the wind out of her sails, not deflate her entirely. She said, "Sorry, I didn't think it'd be this bad."

    "Yeah, well." Red wanted to deny she was scared, but she knew how ludicrous that would sound. She was terrified of this strange world, and ashamed of being afraid. She couldn't even go back to Fraggle Rock; she'd never find the hole hidden among all those trees!

    Skeeter said, "Look, I left my gloves back at the tree. Let me go get 'em, and then we'll go back home. I'll be right back—" Skeeter said.

    Skeeter turned to go. Red said, "Wait!"

    Well, she didn't really need those gloves. "Okay, never mind-"

    "I'm going with you!"

    "What? Red, you don't have to. It doesn't matter."

    Red exclaimed, her hands balled into fists, "Yes it does! I'm not a quitter! I can finish the race!"

    Skeeter paused, then said, "All right. Let's go together."

    They climbed back over the bank. When Red was standing in the grass she shrank into herself, trembling. Skeeter felt crummy when she realized Red was having a full-blown agoraphobia attack. But suggesting she turn back now would only hurt her pride more and make her angry, though. Well, what now? Fraggles are touchy-feely... She put an arm around Red's shoulders and, when she did not stiffen or pull away, started walking. Red came with her.

    Fraggles like singing, Skeeter thought. At first her mind was blank. Then she remembered a song from her childhood, and sang,
    "Put one foot in front of the other,
    And soon you’ll be walking 'cross the floor.
    Put one foot in front of the other,
    And soon you’ll be walking out the door.

    Red made a sound that wanted to be a laugh. Skeeter continued,
    "You never will get where you’re going
    If you never get up on your feet.
    Come on, there’s a good tail wind blowing,
    A fast walking gal is hard to beat."

    Red joined in on the chorus,
    "Put one foot in front of the other,
    And soon you’ll be walking 'cross the floor..."

    **

    When they reached the tree Red touched the tree with one hand, technically completing her part of the race. Then she turned and, her back against the trunk, looked around. The land stretched away in every direction. She had no idea how far away anything was. When she had seen this tree in the distance she had thought it was small for a tree, barely a Gorg's height. But the closer she got the huger it became! It was frightening, but now that she was under it, shaded by its leaves, she felt a little safer.

    Skeeter retrieved her gloves and put them on. Then she said, "This was an unfair race. Let's just call it a draw, okay?"

    Red insisted, "No way! I lost fair and square. But I didn't give up! That's what I'm gonna tell Gobo."

    "Then that's what I'll say too," Skeeter agreed.

    Red slid down until she was sitting. After a bit she said, "How can you stand it, being out in the middle of nowhere with nothing but space around you?"

    Skeeter shrugged. "It's not like that with us. Most of us would get lost in your caves, with nothing but rock all around you."

    Red shook her head. She couldn't imagine not knowing where you were in caves. The rock itself told you where you were. "Uncle Matt must be out of his mind, coming out here. He can have it."

    **

    They sat under the tree for a while, not saying much of anything. When Red got her nerve up again they walked back, arms around each other's shoulders, singing the same song to keep up Red's spirits.

    *****

    Skeeter is copyright © The Muppets Studio, LLC. All Fraggles except Poncle are copyright © The Jim Henson Company, LLC. Put One Foot in Front of The Other is copyright © Rankin/Bass. All copyrighted characters and properties are used without permission but with much respect and affection. Poncle Fraggle and the overall story are copyright © Kim McFarland (negaduck9@aol.com). Permission is given by the author to copy it for personal use only.
    muppetfan24/7 and AlittleMayhem like this.
  13. charlietheowl

    charlietheowl Well-Known Member

    Awww! I like how Skeeter was able to help cheer Red up with the song after Red got overwhelmed. Another nice chapter.
  14. The Count

    The Count Moderator Staff Member

    So... Anyone else besides me, and the authoress of course, know where the song Skeeter sang came from? :smirk:
    *Claps for the Parker sisters. Now imagine what they could do with a better version of Battleship back in the Fraggle pond.

    Thank you for posting.
  15. Slackbot

    Slackbot Well-Known Member

    Yer kidding, right? I have a hard time imagining anyone in the continental US not recognizing that song. Please tell me it's not obscure!
    ?
  16. The Count

    The Count Moderator Staff Member

    Nah, I doubt it's obscurity. Just you know, the little :fanatic: moment of catching a reference to something out of the Muppasphere right away.

    Erg, you had Skeeter and Red compete in a bout of Parker, which makes them somewhat sisters (if not eventual in-lawish types in however that family Tree of Life forks out with its knobblies). Was trying to go from there joking about Parker Brothers boardgames adapted for Fragglish fun.
  17. Slackbot

    Slackbot Well-Known Member

    Oh, OK. I didn't get it because it's spelled p a r k o u r, pronounced pahr-kooer (well, not really, but you can't phoneticize French very accurately for English speakers) so the connection wasn't obvious to me. And, heh, yes, Skeeter and Red would be common-law in-laws. I think they'll get along fine after all this blows over. Let's see if the other brothers and sisters can say the same.

    I just happened to watch "The Tree of Life" this morning. Wanna buy a hat?
  18. The Count

    The Count Moderator Staff Member

    I'll buy two if you know what time they shifted to since Hub's got an AM version of their HubBoom superhero lineup taking over the Fraggles 7 o'clock spot.
  19. Slackbot

    Slackbot Well-Known Member

    Alas, as far as I know the Fraggles won't be on The Hub any longer. Not that it matters to me personally, as I don't get that or any other non-broadcast channel. I watch FR on DVD. But, still, I want the Fraggles to have TV exposure.

    At least I own real, legal DVDs of FR. Those are infinitely preferable to the DVDs I burned from downloaded files of another Hub show because The Powers That Be apparently don't want my money.

    Parkour Sisters. Dang, that would have made a better title for this chapter. Hardly anyone will know what a traceur is in this context. Well, technically traceuse, but then it wouldn't have made any sense at all.
  20. The Count

    The Count Moderator Staff Member

    Yeah... I got Seasons 1 and 2, haven't bought Seasons 3 or 4, so add those to my Muppet purchase list.

    Yep, Parkour Sisters, has a certain ring to it. Oh well, looking forward to the next installment.
    *Buys the two hats mentioned before, gives them as presents to the 2H Monster.


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