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Connected By the Magic (Fraggle Rock US/UK) Crossover

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Auburn Red, Aug 5, 2014.

  1. Auburn Red

    Auburn Red New Member

    Okay ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, muppets of all ages. Here is my fanfic that combines Fraggle Rock US and UK. I hope you like it. It's my return to fanfiction writing in a forced year-long sabbatical. :D

    Connected By the Magic
    Fraggle Rock/Fraggle Rock UK crossover
    By Auburn Red
    Summary: While vacationing in England, Doc meets a couple of young men with whom he shares a great deal in common including some friends.
    Disclaimer: I do not own these characters. They belong to Jim Henson Productions. The lyrics to “In the Sea” belong to Jimmy Webb and America. The lyrics to “Follow Me” belong to Dennis Lee and Phillip Balsam. I created Pettijohn, Geordie, Deke, Willum, and Meggie and gave P.K. and the Captain their last name and the Captain his first name.

    Jerome “Doc” Crystal unpacked as Sprocket jumped up and down excitedly.
    Doc chuckled warmly. “Like a puppy at Christmas,” he said as Sprocket paced their room in the castle/hotel. Doc couldn’t blame him. This was going to be a very fun vacation and he would have plenty to tell Gobo and the other Fraggles when he got home. Of course he promised that he would send postcards. He knew how much the Fraggles loved to get them.
    “I suppose I don’t blame you, Sprockey! We are certainly going to have a good time aren’t we my boy? First to the International Tinkers & Inventors Convention right here, where we are sure to win first prize with our fluglephoneahorn!” He held up the portable instrument with several noise makers at the ends. Sprocket covered his ears in case Doc started another serenade, but he continued! “Then to the Crystal Palace in London to see the Inventions Exhibit and then back on the plane home!” Sprocket stopped in mid-jump confused at his owners recitation. Doc scratched his head in mock tease. “Well I can’t imagine what else you could be interested?”

    Sprocket’s eyes got wider as he whimpered and hugged his owner. “Well that’s all in the itenerary.” Doc leafed through the papers. Sprocket looked downward in a juvenile pout. Had he forgotten? Doc chuckled. “Of course we’ll do some sightseeing and go to the parks. I made this a trip for both of us my boy and we are going to have a good time!”
    Sprocket smiled as Doc hugged him. “It will be fun, but if you don’t mind. I intend to take a shower and a nap. I’m afraid jet lag has the better of me.” He gathered his bathrobe, towel, and headed towards the lavatory. He reached over and turned on the shower faucets. He was disappointed to discover no water emerged. He shrugged and turned it off and back on, but still no water emerged. “Well of all the-“ He turned to the sink but was not surprised to see it bone dry as well. He returned to the sitting room. “Well this is certainly not what I paid for,” he reached for the phone and dialed the front desk. “Hello this is Jerome Crystal room 127, the water won’t come out of the pipes.”
    “I’m very sorry, Dr. Crystal,” the attendant apologized. “I will send the caretaker right away.”
    “If you like I can fix them,” Doc suggested. “I’m an amateur plumber myself.”
    “That won’t be necessary sir,” the attendant said. “He will be there in 15 minutes.”
    Doc thanked him and hung up the phone. He waited. As promised, he heard a bark outside the hotel door. Sprocket jumped excited as the dog on the other side of the door also barked. Sprocket barked back. “You think you found a friend,” Doc asked. “Well watch what they say about strangers.”

    From behind the door, the Doc could hear a voice say. “Behave yourself boy.” Doc then heard a knock. “Caretaker to fix your plumbing sir.”
    Doc opened the door to see a young brown haired man in a dark colored jumpsuit and a toolkit in his hand.
    Beside him, a dog who could have been Sprocket’s double approached Sprocket. The two dogs sniffed at each other for a moment. When one moved right, the other moved right. When one moved left, the other moved left. They both arched down at the same and wagged their tails. Finally, Sprocket thoroughly confused by the mirror image reached up and pounced his double. At first the other dog stood in silence, but then he pounced on his double in return.
    “Sprocket that wasn’t nice,” Doc and the young man corrected at the same time. They stared at each other in surprise.
    “Your dog is named Sprocket too,” Doc asked.
    The young man nodded. “I suppose it’s a common enough tag for a dog like them.”
    Doc agreed. Now that he could look closer, he could see some subtle differences between the two Sprockets. His Sprocket was a slightly lighter color than the other Sprocket. He also appeared older and moved a bit slower than his British counterpart who appeared younger and a bit feistier. But the two dogs after they got over their initial confusion appeared to be barking and chasing each other as though they were old friends.
    Doc and the young man exchanged amused grins. “Don’t you hate when you can’t speak the language,” Doc smiled.
    “Yeah I know what you mean,” the young man said and then broke from the reverie. “Let’s have a look at these pipes.”

    Doc pointed them out. The young man nodded. “Will it take long?” Doc asked.
    The caretaker shook his head. “Nah, I used to keep a lighthouse. Those pipes took all day. This will take less than a few minutes.” He knelt down and began to work. “Sprocket,” both dogs looked up at the Englishman’s command. “I meant my Sprocket,” he said. The younger Sprocket approached his master. “Can you hand me a spanner?” Sprocket saluted and made a sound like “aye aye” and handed him a monkey wrench.
    As the young man worked, Doc noticed that the boy was kind but his voice was somewhat strained as though he were rushed off his feet constantly and was exhausted. Well he supposed he had to work hard to make the castle run.
    The young man worked on the pipes whistling a tune. To Doc the tune sounded awfully familiar, Dance your cares away/Worries for another day. “Excuse me young man, where did you hear that song?” Doc asked confused. Could he from another country know about the Fraggles?
    The young man stopped his whistling his hands frozen in mid-air as he paused working. “Oh I’ve just heard it around somewhere,” he replied embarrassed and fishing for a lie. Instead he changed the subject and made small talk with the inventor. “This your first trip to England, sir?”
    “Well I was here during the war, but otherwise it is,” Doc answsered.
    “It must be quite a change,” the young man offered.
    “Well a bit different without bombs falling around,” Doc said.
    “I’m sorry I didn’t mean it like that,” the caretaker apologized. “Hammer,” he ordered Sprocket who handed him the tool.
    “No its alright,” Doc said. “It was a long time ago and it is nice to return.” He turned to the two Sprocket. “You are like me, wherever you go your dog goes.”
    “I suppose,” the young man answered. “I sort of inherited him when I worked at the lighthouse. The two previous keepers had to leave him when they moved on, but I couldn’t bear to leave him alone so I took him with me. I usually don’t bring him on my rounds, but he followed me and I didn’t have time to put him back. But, some of
    the kid guests love him and so do the olde-I mean the other guests who are sometimes lonely.” He stopped embarrassed.
    Doc understood. “You mean the older guests,”
    “Yes, I’m sorry, sir,” he apologized.
    Doc waved his hand disdainfully. “Its alright, I don’t mind. Its very thoughtful and any place that wouldn’t have a dog is no place for me.” The two Sprockets nodded in support.
    “I quite agree sir,” the young man said to himself he murmured. “I wish other people did.” There was an awkward silence as the caretaker emerged from the sink. “They should be working now sir.” He turned on the sink water as the water emerged first slow and brown but then became clear. He nodded and turned to the bathtub repeating the process. “There you are, sir, I apologize for the inconvenience and hope that we gave satisfaction.”
    “Thank you very much,” Doc said. He reached into his wallet and was about to tip him.
    The young man sighed. “Thank you sir, but I couldn’t possibly take anything.”
    “Please its for you and your Sprocket,” the inventor said. “And to thank you for a job well done.”
    The young man looked at his dog. “I insist sir, but if you need anything just ring for B.J. Birtwhistle.”
    “Doc Crystal,” Doc replied as the two shook hands.
    The pager on B.J.’s side rang. The young man sighed heavily, but then returned to normal. “I have to run. Come on my Sprocket,” he called his dog. The British Sprocket appeared disappointed that he would have to leave his North American counterpart behind. They barked at each other perhaps promising to write or bark or whatever dogs did to keep in touch. They gave each other another friendly pounce before the British Sprocket followed his master behind.

    Two days later,Doc was pleased. He sat outside one of the wicker seats as he reflected. He had won first prize in the Tinkers convention category for musical instruments! Doc chuckled, £500 will prove handy well once he transferred it to American money. He looked at the souvenirs that he already purchased for the Fraggles. His Fraggle friends had an instant curiosity about the Silly Creatures so Doc sometimes brought little trinkets, food, and other items and shared them with his friends. The most interesting thing about it was how they would take even the most commonplace item and found a new interesting use to it. It always made Doc smile and laugh as though he were seeing the world through new eyes. He fingered the items that he bought: A pair of Big Ben socks for Boober, a music box that played “London Bridge” for Mokey, a swim cap with the U.K. flag for Red, a plaster statue of Wembley Stadium for Wembley, and a small dagger with the U.K. insignia as well as of course a postcard for Gobo. Doc borrowed a pen and began to write:
    “Dear Gobo and Friends,
    As you can see from the picture I am in a castle. Some of us Silly Creatures are rather like your Gorgs in that we live in large homes. Sometimes these homes are too large for one person to live in so they let other people live inside them. Its very fancy-“


    He was interrupted by Sprocket’s joyful bark. The inventor looked up to see the British Sprocket run up to his new friend. Doc laughed and approached the two dogs.
    “Well it looks like you two found each other once again,” Doc replied petting the two dogs. He glanced at the younger Sprocket. He seemed lonely. The inventor wondered where his owner was.“Does B.J. know that you’re here?” he inquired. “We’d better go find him.” The two dogs barked following the older man as he looked for the caretaker.
    He saw B.J. heading for the rear of the castle. He had a bucket, a mop, a rake, a pair of hedge trimmers, and a hose wrapped around his legs. Underneath the tools, Doc could clearly see a brown shopping bag. Doc was about to approach the younger man.
    “Birtwhistle,” a pompous voice called. B.J. dropped the items in his arms. He quickly stood as a tall portly dark haired man stood in front of the caretaker. Everything about this man seemed to say authority from his staid posture to his fancy clean suit. Doc recognized him from when the Inventors checked in. He was Arthur Pettijohn, the estate manager.
    “Yes, Mr. Pettijohn,” B.J. apologized. “I’m very sorry, but I was just about to wash the windows and pull the weeds in the garden before lunch” He was clearly anxious and harried.
    Doc stood next to a nearby wall to stay out of the sight of either man. The Sprockets were about to bark, the British Sprocket in particularly growled at the newcomer. Doc put his finger to his lips to silent his Sprocket. The American Sprocket nodded then put a pawed finger to his lips to silent the British Sprocket. The British Sprocket nodded and put a pawed finger to his lips. When he saw no one behind him to give the signal to, he just nodded.
    “Birtwhistle, one of our important customers complained about your dog barking. She said that it was like two animals going at once. I no longer wish to see him about the premises. I want him gone within the next 24 hours. If I see him again, then I will call Animal Control.”
    Doc looked down at the British Sprocket. The dog gave a silent whimper, but the inventor gave him a gentle pat. The American Sprocket also gave his new friend a reassuring pat on the paw.
    “Oh please sir, no I’m sorry,” B.J. begged. “He got out by accident. I won’t let it happen again. Besides, some of our regular guests and the staff are rather fond of him!”
    “Not our important guests,” Pettijohn pompously said putting his thumbs in his livery.
    “Sir, if you like I will keep him locked in my room or the shed during my rounds, but please don’t ask me to get rid of him,” B.J. compromised.
    “24 hours and I see either your dog or you gone,” Pettijohn said stony. “What is this?” the estate manager held up the brown shopping bag. He held up some radishes and a few smaller items. “Where did these radishes come from? Are they from the kitchen? I demand an answer!”
    Doc mouthed, radishes at his Sprocket. The dog nodded as B.J. apologized. “Yes sir, these were rotten and Cook asked me to throw them out.”

    Pettijohn examined the radishes closely. “These are fresh. Were you stealing them from the kitchen?”
    “No sir,” B.J. replied. “I didn’t steal them from either the guests’ food or the staff. This is surplus food!”
    “Food that is meant to be discarded,” Pettijohn replied.
    “Sir, I felt and Cook agreed with me on this that we could use the surplus
    to give to others. I was sending them to-“
    “-Birtwhistle we are not a charity,” the estate manager answered. “Now who were you giving them to?”
    B.J. looked at his boots.”I can’t tell you, sir, just some villagers.”
    “Then all I see in front of me is a thief,” Pettijohn answered. “I do not want to wait 24 hours, Birtwhistle, your services are no longer required here.”
    B.J. gasped as Doc motioned the dogs forward. “Excuse me sir, I’m glad I caught up with you Mr. Birtwhistle.”
    “Yes sir,” Pettijohn absently answered, but he returned to the young man. “You think that because you kept a lighthouse, that you are not part of this structure. Don’t think that I don’t know where you came from. Your father once a rich landowner, now fallen into poverty and here you are grubbing for scraps, destitute. You are a caretaker, an outdoor servant, among the lowest.”
    “I’m sorry to interrupt Mr. Pettijohn,” Doc said. “ I was wondering if I can have my radishes now.”
    “Of course sir,” Pettijohn absently replied, but continued to degrade the caretaker, his Northern English accent more prominent. “When the mighy fall, it shows that there is some fairness in the world. It is a rather sweet delight in doing this-“ He then turned to Doc as if his words finally hit him. “I beg your pardon, your radishes sir?”
    Doc nodded. “Yes of course. You see my dog, Sprocket has a delight for radishes.”
    “He does,” Pettijohn asked as he practically deflated in front of the inventor.
    Sprocket looked confused at his owner. “He does?” he asked in dog speak.
    “Of course he does,” Doc replied as he took one of the radishes and held it over his dog’s head. “Open up my boy,” Doc tossed a radish in the dog’s mouth. The canine chewed on the vegetable slowly like a small child forcing greens down his throat because his mother told him to. Sprocket held up his paw as if to flash an OK sign.
    Doc turned to the estate manager. “You see sir, I told Mr. Birtwhistle about my dog’s fondness and he took it upon himself to deliver them to me. I am truly sorry that it is against hotel policy. If you prefer myself and the other Convention guests can take our business elsewhere if we violated any boundaries.”
    Pettijohn laughed his face becoming ruddier. “Why no, Dr. Crystal, absolutely not. I wouldn’t hear of it. No policies were broken. Its no trouble at all.” He handed the bag to Doc who took it with delight.
    “Thank you sir,” Doc answered. He handed another radish to the British Sprocket. He too took the radish with an exaggerated air of diffidence barely gagging it down. “Charming dog,” Doc said petting the dog’s tummy. “He makes this place a lot friendlier wouldn’t you say?”
    Pettijohn turned between the inventor and the caretaker flummoxed. “Oh of course, Dr. absolutely.”
    “In fact I think many hotels should have a dog on the premises. Not to disrupt guests who don’t like them of course, but around to give the place some character.”
    “Of course, Dr. Crystal, my sentiments exactly,” the estate manager laughed.
    “Why I don’t think that I could stay in a hotel that didn’t permit the staff to keep dogs, especially those who clearly work as hard as this young man.”
    “Just what I was saying,” Pettijohn replied. “About what I said earlier Birtwhistle you are of course kept on and as for your dog-“
    “-Sprocket can stay,” B.J. asked eagerly.
    “As long as you keep him enclosed in either the outdoors or your bedroom and you are responsible if he gets loose,” the estate manager ordered.
    The British Sprocket sighed with relief as B.J. nodded. “Absolutely sir!”
    “Very good then,” Pettijohn replied. “I have a hotel to run and you have work to do.”
    “Of course sir,” B.J. answered.

    The two humans and two dogs waited until Pettijohn was out of earshot. “Thank you,” B.J. said to Doc. “I can finally breathe right.” He knelt down to pick up his items. “I don’t know what my father would have done if I had been sacked. He lives on his pension, but its not always enough so I post him some of my wages to supplement his income.”
    “It’s alright,” Doc replied. He knelt down to help the young man gather the items. “It seems working for a man like that, you would deserve combat pay.” Doc also saw some other items that B.J. put inside the bag, a kewpie doll, a picture book, a water pistol, a paddleball, and a pair of socks. “Do these come with the radishes too?” Doc asked. “For your friends?”
    B.J. nodded. “I give them on my lunch break or after my rounds. They like anything. Sometimes its just fun to listen to what they think of them. Some
    I buy and sometimes guests leave things lying around or discard them in rubbish. Some Silly Creatures can be so wasteful at times.”
    “Indeed,” Doc agreed but then he started. “Did you say Silly Creatures?”
    B.J. paled and stammered. “Oh, it’s just a name that is given-“
    “-By Fraggles to us humans,” Doc answered.
    B.J.’s eyes widened in surprise. The two Sprockets barked in agreement. “You’ve seen them too,” he guessed.
    “They are friends of mine,” Doc replied.
    “Mine too in fact you could say they followed me,” the Englishman replied. “Back when I worked in the lighthouse and it was automated. They didn’t have need for a lighthouse keeper. I ended up working here and well they ended up here as well.”
    “It’s a similar story with me,” Doc answered. “I used to own a workshop and their Fraggle Hole was there. Afterward, I moved to the desert to be with a friend of mine and just like you I found them there as well. What was it they said to me-“
    “-You cannot leave the magic,” B.J. finished. The two smiled, two friends who shared a secret even though they were worlds away. “I suppose since you’re an old hand at this. I should let you meet my mates.”
    “That would be a splendid idea,” Doc agreed.
    “Meet me here in about two hours during my lunch period,” the caretaker offered. The inventor agreed.

    At the appointed time, Doc met the young caretaker. B.J. waved the older American forward and the two headed outside B.J.’s bedroom behind the castle. “They open doors, but I told them that they shouldn’t go anywhere else around the castle without me watching.” He paused and added ruefully like a frazzled parent. “Of course they rarely ever listen.”
    “I know what that’s like,” Doc added. The two of them waited as the door opened. An orange Fraggle with purple hair emerged.
    Gobo reacted nonplussed at first. “Oh hi B.J., Hi Doc.” He then started for a minute and his large eyes got even wider. He called out the door, “Wembley, Mokey, Red, Boober,” he hissed. His friends followed hearing Gobo’s cry of alarm. “Look,” the leader Fraggle said in surprise. “Both of them,”
    Wembly moaned putting his hand to his head. “Oh no, now I don’t know which Fraggle Hole I crawled out of.”
    “The one in the castle, Wembley,” B.J. answered used to his yellow friend’s wembling.
    Doc was confused. “You know Gobo and the others?” He asked. “When you told me that you knew the Fraggles I suppose it never occurred to me that you meant these Fraggles!”
    B.J. pointed at his Fraggle friends at a loss for words. “It never occurred to me that anyone else knew about these Fraggles either. How is it possible? Surely, you five haven’t traveled across the Ocean have you?”
    “Is that that big Fraggle Pond that you’re always talking about,B.J.” Red asked enthused. “I would have known because I would have swam across it!”
    “Red I said before its-“ B.J. was about to use his hands to demonstrate, but Gobo tapped him on the shoulder.
    “Don’t worry about it,” he whispered. “She just likes to show off.”
    “Do not,” Red hollored.
    “Do too,” Gobo countered back
    The two Fraggles were about to continue their melee when Doc and B.J. pulled them to the side with B.J. holding onto Red and Doc holding onto Gobo. “We’re confused,” Doc said. “Because our world is quite big and it would take many days, months sometimes for you to travel one region to another the same way Traveling Matt would.” Of all the Fraggles Doc had the closest bond with Traveling Matt.
    When he visited Doc’s home in the desert, Doc would often give the older Fraggle a cup of cocoa and the two shared traveling stories. “And besides the way-well I thought that I was the only one that you ever spoke to,” he stammered feeling envious that the Fraggles talked to someone else and perhaps a bit childish for feeling that way.
    “I thought I was the only one,” B.J. answered far off.
    The five Fraggles exchanged glances, but Gobo answered for them. “I don’t know,” he said. “I just know that I’ve seen and met you both. It wasn’t very long, in fact it probably took the same amount of time.”
    Mokey gasped. “Remember what Cantus and the Trash Heap told us. They said that Fraggle Rock was as a near or as far as you wanted it to be and those who are connected by the magic are always connected!”
    “So that’s what they meant,” Gobo reasoned. He then told his human friends a breathless encounter about the Fraggles’ latest adventure with some bird-like creatures with funny accents who had temporarily invaded the Rock. They at first seemed odd, but the Fraggles made friends with them eventually.

    Doc and B.J. smiled. “Well I suppose then the Rock saved me a stamp,” Doc laughed. “I was going to mail this to you, but now that you’re here, I have some gifts!” He handed his gifts to each of them.
    “I have some things too as well as the radishes as promised!” B.J. replied.
    “Thank you,” the Fraggles said at once. They gave their human friends great big hugs (except Mokey who kissed both on the cheek) as they ate and saved the radishes and looked at their gifts.
    “Presents from Silly Creatures, I feel like a hatchling at the Festival of the Bells!” Red yelled in delight as she put on the swimming cap cutting holes to fit her pigtails and played with the water pistol. Gobo read the picture book and postcard and aimed the dagger with thanks. Mokey turned the music box to play “London Bridge” to her new kewpie doll. Wembley hit the paddle ball and marveled at the stadium (“They have a stadium named after me?” he asked impressed).Boober was moved by his new pairs of socks. “I will wash these very carefully,” he solemnly promised his human friends with tears in his eyes.
    “I surely hope so,” Doc said. B.J. nodded.
    Doc and B.J. watched their friends play with their new toys in silence sharing a unanimous agreement to keep their friends a secret from unscrupulous Silly Creatures.
    “You know,” B.J. said. “I wondered how I would feel if someone else found out about the Fraggles. I thought at first that if I wasn’t the only human that they confided in, then I wouldn’t be as unique or special but now I don’t mind.”
    “I don’t mind either,” Doc agreed. “In fact I feel better for someone else having known about them.”
    “Me too,” the caretaker agreed. The older man and the younger watched their Fraggle friends and their dogs continue to play as human, dog, and Fraggle shared a greater circle of friendship.
    “Birtwhistle,” a voice called. B.J. rolled his eyes and waveds his hands for the Fraggles to hide. “I have to go, I have work to do.”
    B.J. motioned his dog forward into the bedroom keeping it locked. The caretaker and inventor noticed five pairs of feet scamper behind him. B.J. then approached Mr. Pettijohn as the estate manager gave him a list of tasks to do like repair the roof, clean the chandeliers, and clean the gutters. B.J. followed his employer leaving the inventor and his dog behind.

    A few days later, The inventor had decided to get a drink and some food at a traditional English pub. He motioned Sprocket inside a nice pub called “The Harbor Light” as a young lanky copper haired man sat on a footstool strumming a guitar and singing into a microphone:
    In the trees the birds have learned to speak
    Gaily colored they keep their secrets in a parade of clouds
    Playing hide and seek do they know
    Where do unicorns go
    Where winged horses fly
    Narwhales lost at sea and never seen again
    Does myth and mystery lie?
    Where do unicorns go?


    Three young toughs watched the old man enter not paying much attention to the singer except to make loud boisterous comments. They left the dartboard and the pinball machine that up until then had grabbed their attention and approached Doc. “’Oi Old ‘un,” one said. “Hadn’t seen you around these parts.” He was a very built muscular dark-haired man. His two companions were a study in contrasts, one was small with sandy hair and the other large with dark hair but they all were dressed in dockyard uniforms and had the same hostile look on his eyes.
    Doc looked from one man to another. They were clearly drunk, he could smell it on them and could see the anger in their eyes. They were certainly itching for a fight. “I’m sorry,” he apologized. “I came for a drink.”
    The three laughed. “Did you now? He came for a drink,” the leader said mimicking the inventor’s accent. “That’s funny, wouldn’t you say that’s funny Deke?”
    “Real funny, Geordie,” the smaller one agreed.
    “Wouldn’t you say that was funny, Willum?”Geordie sked
    “I’m rolling on the bloody floor mate,” Willum the larger one agreed.
    “See its funny because this ‘ere is our pub and no one enters without paying,” Geordie
    said.
    Doc understood. “I see well if you don’t mind I don’t want any trouble, so I will just leave.” He was about to back out the door when Willum blocked the old man’s path.
    Deke and Geordie surrounded Doc. Angry, Sprocket barked a warning at the humans. Deke smiled at the dog as though he thought he were adorable. He petted the dog’s head in imitation of a benevolent owner, but grabbed the dog’s throat. He guffawed hyena-like laugh and mimicked the dog barking.
    “Now see here,” Doc said in anger. He was about to strike the two young men, but Willum grabbed the man from behind as Geordie held out a knife. “Money old ‘un,” he insisted. “Pay it to Willum.”
    “Cash only, we don’t take checks or cards,” Willum sneered.
    Geordie laughed. “Pay it or Dekie will take off a pound of flesh from Ol’ Shep here!” The men laughed as Deke aimed his knife at a whimpering Sprocket and held up a single strand of fur. He leaned the knife closer and cut the strand as Sprocket whimpered with fear.

    “Is there a problem here,” a voice interrupted. The three toughs turned to see the singer approach them.
    “Mind your own Barnacle,” Geordie ordered. “We’re just tryin’ to set Father Christmas right here! It ain’t your soddin’ business!” The three returned to the old man and dog.
    The singer laughed and stepped closer to Geordie.. “Yes you see when you interrupt my set, exthort money from a harmless old man, threaten his dog neither of which I can tell have done anything to you, and start fights in Meggie’s place-“ He nodded at the woman behind the bar, a fortyish plump woman with ash-blond hair-“when you know she doesn’t like it, then I make it my business.”
    “What are you goin’ to do about it,” Geordie warned. “Sing about it?”
    The three laughed. Barnacle good naturedly joined them and slapped Geordie on the back. He then held onto the docker’s other arm and grabbed it. “Now I was thinking something more physical-“ He then held the tough’s wrist tighter. Geordie winced and nearly collapsed. Clearly the singer put enough pressure on Geordie that he was threatening to break his arm. He spoke quiet but threatening“-Now you ken that I’m a better street fighter than you. ‘En you don’t leave this man and his dog alone and leave this pub in the same state it was before, I may just have to do worse.”
    Geordie looked from Doc to his companions. He then pulled himself from the other man’s grasp. “Come on lads, lets go this place is dead anyway,” he pulled his collar up. Deke let go of Sprocket and Willum came from behind the inventor and followed his two companions out the door.

    “They won’t be back,” the singer said. “Are you alright?”
    Doc caught his breath to slow his speeding heart. “I’m fine,” he answered. “I haven’t been in fights like that in some time. In my younger years, I could have got the better of them.” He aimed his fists practicing a few swings.
    “Yeah well you may want to hang up your boxing gloves,” the singer joked good naturedly. The two men knelt down to look at the dog. “What about him?” the younger man asked.
    Sprocket coughed and rubbed his throat but then gave a few barks, arched his back, and wagged his tail. The dog nodded. “He’s alright,” Doc said.
    “I’m glad to hear it,” the other man said as Sprocket pounced on the singer. He reared back a bit, but laughed good naturedly. “Come now, two warriors such as yourselves deserve a reward.”
    He motioned to the inventor and dog to approach the bar. “Meggie, a drink for this good man, on me what’ll it be?” he asked.
    “Oh a lager will be fine,” Doc answered.
    Barnacle nodded. “A lager and could you gather some scraps for his mate here?” He petted Sprocket on the head who yipped in response.
    “I’ll see what I can do, luv,” Meggie said. He paid for the drink and food as Meggie prepared the items. “Thank you,” Doc said. “I’m Doc.”
    The ginger haired man shook his hand. “I’m P.K. Barnacle” he answered. Meggie handed the frosted mug to Doc and placed a bowl of meat scraps at Sprocket’s feet.

    P.K. smiled then returned to the footstool guitar in hand. “Sorry about that extended break, folks. Some people just aren’t music lovers.” Some of the crowd laughed especially Doc and the ones who sat in the back in full view of the fight.
    Doc and Sprocket stayed through the entire show listening as P.K. sang folk songs like “Past the Point of Rescue,” “Green Grows the Laurels,” “Rocky Road to Dublin,” “Road, Road,” “Ocean Gypsy,” “Standing Stones,” “She Moved Through the Fair,” and “Scots What Hae’” and “O Flower of Scotland” both in Scottish Gaelic and some original songs like “Ocean Traveler,” “Rocked by the Sea Waves,” “Light at the End of the Harbor,” and “The Old Man of the Sea” (which he said “has nothing whatsoever to do with Ernest Hemingway”). He thanked the applause. “For my last number, I would like to dedicate this song to my Uncle Fulton, a man who always listened to the voice in his head to follow wherever it would lead.” He played a simple melody and sang somewhat sad and mournful:
    Every day the world begins again
    Sunny skies or rain
    Come and follow me
    Every sunrise shows me more and more
    So much to explore
    Come and follow me
    Every morning
    Every day
    Every evening
    Calling me away
    While the sun goes round
    I’ll still be found
    Following the sound
    Something’s calling me
    When the world goes drifting back to bed
    Memories in my head
    Wonders follow me ”

    (at this point the audience including Doc sang along with the chorus)
    “Every morning
    Every day
    Every evening
    Calling me away
    Every morning
    Every day
    Every evening
    Calling me away.”

    The audience broke into applause. “Thank you,”P.K. answered politely and bowed as Meggie came to the microphone, “Another round for our P.K. Barnacle!” The applause continued and P.K. once again bowed.

    After P.K. finished accepting bar patrons’ compliments. He talked to many of the customers asking one how his wife was doing, or another one about her children. Many of the people he knew by name and listened to their concerns.
    He approached the bar where
    Doc was seated. “That was wonderful,” Doc complimented. “You’re quite talented.”
    The young man shrugged. “Nah, I just entertain once a week, most of the time I work behind the bar. Can’t take my eyes off the lovely, Meggie, can I love?” He winked good naturedly at the woman behind the bar.
    “Away with ya, you Sea Rat,” Meggie blew him off handing him a dram.
    “How are you and your dog doing?” P.K. asked politely. He petted Sprocket on the head and then on the belly. The dog accepted the touches from the human as though he were a friend. P.K. chuckled “Fine dog, he reminds me of my Sprocket, well he was my Sprocket.”
    Doc started. “That’s a common enough tag for a dog like this,” he said repeating B.J.’s earlier words. “This one’s called Sprocket too and I met another dog with the same name.” He pointed outside the pub. “At the castle over on-“
    P.K. nodded. “Aye, I know the place. Sprocket belongs now to a mate of mine. Well he used to be a mate anyway.” He said the word “mate” with such hidden fury. Doc didn’t want to press the issue. Perhaps there were some issues between P.K. and B.J. The young man cleared his throat as if he didn’t want to elaborate on the issue. “Well I worked at a lighthouse but times got rather lean and I had to leave that position. Unfortunately for reasons that I won’t go into, I had to leave Sprocket behind. At least he’s being cared for, that I can say.”
    “Yes I’ve seen him,” Doc replied. “He’s well looked after as well as our other friends.”
    P.K.’s blank stare confused him at first. Did perhaps he not know about the Fraggles? Doc tried a different tactic. He waited until Meggie was serving other customers.
    “Did you also see some creatures at the lighthouse?”

    P.K. rolled his eyes and swallowed his dram. “Oh Jesus Christ not another one!” Doc stammered. It was obvious he hadn’t seen them. “I’m sorry, I spoke out of turn.”
    P.K. waved his hand disdainfully. “No, no its alright. It’s nothing,” he said. “You just sounded like my uncle there. He’s always talking about creatures in the rocks and in the seas: ghosts, sea nymphs, selkies, Fraggles. In fact that’s where we used to live, a place called Fraggle Rock where supposedly these creatures lived under the rocks.” He gave a very hard cynical scoff. “He believes in those things.”
    “I take it you don’t,” Doc asked humoring the young man.The dram was obviously making the young man’s mouth loose enough to talk about personal things. He also had a feeling that he had many things buried in his chest and was burning to talk about them with someone even a total stranger.
    “He is free to live in that world and if it helps him every day then so be it,” P.K. said holding up the dram as if to present a toast. “I have to live in the real world where rent, gas, and electric have to get paid, where people become sick and never recover even when they do live, where I have to scramble for any type of work or wages. I cannot afford to believe in magic right now.” He sighed wearily.“Though I remember once-“
    ”-Once?” Doc asked.

    P.K. sighed and leaned closer to the inventor. “ Nah, its just something that happened to me when I was a kid.” He stopped, “But still….Well you see after my folks died when I was a lad, I went to live with my uncle. He brought me up singlehanded. I probably didn’t make things easy for him. I was something of a rabble rouser.-“ he noticed the mock sarcasm on Doc’s face “-I hear the surprise in your voice,” he said dryly. “My uncle was still a sailor then and when he was gone, I would often have trouble sleeping, probably thinking of my mum and dad or problems at school or whatever. But on some of those nights, I would see things out of the corner of my eye or barely hear things whispers.”
    “What sort of things,” Doc prompted.
    P.K. whispered furtively. “Like over the ocean waves or the gull cries, I would hear fragments of songs in my head like that last one I sang. I didn’t write it, I just heard it and it came to me like in a dream. Out of the corner of my eye, I would see furry creatures with tails coming out of the rocks and then I would look and they would be gone.” He took another large gulp. “Well like every other kid, I grew up. I suppose it weren’t nothing more than my imagination but if I could have seen them well I would have really liked to-I mean I wanted to-I really did, still do I suppose. I guess I’m still looking for that magic,“ He laughed bitterly. “No use now. Here am I telling my life story to a complete stranger. Its supposed to be me on the other side of the bar listening to your problems and here you are listening to mine.” He laughed and stood. “Well Meggie could you wrap up the usual in a take-away? Nice chatting with you Doc, Sprocket.” He accepted the take-away box and paid for his meal. “I’m off, I have a sick child to care for.” He left the pub and into the clear night.
    “A sick child?” Doc inquired the pub owner.
    Meggie nodded. “His uncle,” she replied. “He suffered a stroke about a year or so ago. He survived but much of his faculties are gone. His mind is somewhat confused, you know. The poor lad hires a nurse to look after the old man while he works, but it takes up much of his wages so he does what he can by hisself. Its sad really, the Captain used to be a rather strong hardy man but now P.K. has to care for him as though he were a child. But he does what he can for him.”
    “He’s in good hands,” Doc guessed. Meggie nodded. “The best hands,” she agreed.
    The inventor was touched. He recalled both P.K. caring for his uncle and B.J. acting as main financial support for his father. It moved him, partly because Doc didn’t know anyone who would do that for him. He had no wife or children to care for him. He had some close friends at the retirement community including Ned Schimmelfinny, but they of course had their own problems. He was impressed by the devotion that these two young men held for their older relatives as well as for those around them.

    Later that night, Doc covered himself up with the blanket. Sprocket lay on the hotel room bed across from his master. They would be heading to London the next day. “You know, Sprockey, I have an idea about what I want to do with that prize money, what do you say?” Sprocket nodded and barked with delight.

    When B.J. finished his rounds, he absently placed a tired hand on Sprocket’s head. It was another busy day with Arthur Pettijohn thinking of every sort of impossible task to deliver to the caretaker. B.J. suspected that the estate manager was driving the young man just to see how much that he would break. Somedays the caretaker admitted, it was close to working. He was ready to collapse on his bed when Gobo called him over. “Oh B.J.,” he called. “Doc wanted me to give this to you.” He held up a letter.
    B.J. glanced at the letter. “It’s opened,” he said.
    “Well how else were we going to read it?” the Fraggle asked confused.
    B.J. looked quizzically at the Fraggle knowing that their interest was more motivated by curiosity than greed. He looked inside and saw £250. He gasped with delight. “You kept this in here?” he asked.
    “What would we do with Silly Creature money?” Gobo asked. “Though Boober thought that it needed washing. He said that he read that money was sometimes laundered-“
    B.J. held up a hand to stop the young Fraggle. “-I get the idea, thank you Gobo.” A business card floated to the floor and B.J. picked it up and read a note:
    “Thank you again for your help with the plumbing.
    You don’t owe me anything, but if you wish to contact me, you can reach me at this address or through our friends. I think we should keep the Magic connected don’t you?
    Jerome “Doc” Crystal”

    B.J. looked at Sprocket and Gobo and grinned.

    “Evening P.K.,” Meggie said to the lanky bartender/singer as he opened the bar for his first shift. “How is the Captain today?”
    P.K. sighed as he opened the staff door and walked through. “Blessed good day. He only threw one fit when I had to trim his beard but really he was becoming a regular Father Time with it down to his knees.”
    Meggie laughed knowing that P.K’s defenses were making smart comments to hide his real feelings. She then remembered. “Remember that American with the dog that you helped or was he Canadian?”
    P.K. shrugged. “They all sound the same to me,” he said.
    “Well he left this for you,” she handed him an envelope. Confused, P.K. opened it and gasped at £250! He then saw business card and a letter:
    Thank you again for helping Sprocket and me. You don’t owe me anything, but I wish you and your uncle the best. If you wish to contact me, you can reach me at this address. Remember, you cannot leave the Magic. I have a feeling someday you will know what that means.
    Jerome “Doc” Crystal.”

    “Cannot leave the Magic, what does he mean by that?” P.K. asked out loud. As if in answer to his question, he heard a slow song from a pipe over the tinkering of glass, the door opening and closing, and raucous laughter from customers. The song soared above his ears and into his head and heart.
    The End
     

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