Here's a short one-shot that follows Brothers and Sisters. It's not necessary to read that to get what's going on here, though. Basically, Scooter and Skeeter are visiting Fraggle Rock, and cultural cross-pollination is inevitable. Rated PG because, underneath her clothing, Skeeter is absolutely naked! ***** Cooking with Booberby Kim McFarland ***** Skeeter ambled through the Fraggle caves. She had been here for several days, long enough that the Fraggles no longer stared curiously at her. They were satisfied that she was a person like them despite not having fur, a tail, or bug-eyes, and actually seemed to accept her as one of their own. If only 'silly creatures,' as they called those who dwelled on the surface of the world, could be as trusting. Despite this, Skeeter still felt self-conscious, the reason being the clothes she was wearing. Her regular clothes had gotten good and dirty during her competition with Red, and Boober had insisted on washing them. He had loaned her some spare Fraggle clothes to wear in the meantime. They were comfortable, if a little odd—she guessed that hemming was not considered fashionable, as they rolled the edges of the fabric instead—but, not to put too fine a point on it, Fraggles were a clothing-optional species, and had never invented undergarments. What they say is true, she thought; you don't realize how important some things are until you have to do without. She pushed aside a curtain and looked into a room crisscrossed with clotheslines. "Boober?" From the depths of dripping laundry came the answer. "Skeeter?" "Yeah." "Just a second." She heard some shifting around back there, and then Boober emerged from the forest of hanging cloth carrying her clothes. "Here you go." "Thanks, Boober. That was really fast." "No, thank you. I've never seen fabric like this! What is it?" She looked at the label. "Er, part cotton, part polyester." "I've never heard of a polyester. Is that a kind of plant?" "Um, I'm not sure what it is. Mind if I go change?" "Go ahead. Nobody's in the back." "Thanks." She went into the 'hidey-hole' where she, Scooter, and Janken had been staying. Quickly she took off the Fraggle sweater and skirt she was wearing and put on her clothes. She guessed she had gotten off easy; Boober might have been curious about items of clothing that were unknown in Fraggle society. When she pulled her shirt over her head she noticed its smell. She sniffed at the sleeve. It smelled earthy, in a pleasant way. Like some sort of plant. Had Boober scented it? It seemed likely. And both her shirt and jeans were softer than before. She came back out and gave the Fraggle clothes back to Boober. He accepted them and dropped them into another laundry basket. They weren’t dirty, but the peculiar scent of a Silly Creature was on them. He asked, "Why are your socks so thin?" "My socks?" She glanced down. "They just are. So they can fit inside my boots." "Are those shoes really comfortable?" he asked skeptically. "Sure! They're made for hiking. You have to get good footwear for that or you'll wreck your feet." He looked as if he didn't believe it. No wonder, she thought. Fraggle feet are so wide, they wouldn't need snowshoes in the North Pole. She sat down and pulled off a boot and sock, then showed him her foot. "That's what Silly Creature feet are shaped like." He stared at her small, narrow foot for a moment. It looked as tender and fragile as a newborn baby's foot. How could anyone walk with feet like that? Or, more importantly, swim? But somehow she did. He said, "I see. Oh, while you're here, I'd like to ask a favor." "Sure, I owe you one," Skeeter said as she pulled on her boot. "I'd like some more of those crabapples." "Crabapples? What for?" "They're too tart to eat, but they ought to make a delicious jelly. I would have used the ones that Janken brought, but he gave them to the Trash Heap." "Jelly? Sure, I'll get you some. I don't have anything else to do today. Got something I can carry them in?" "Sure." He went into the pantry, then came back with a basket over one arm. She accepted it and said, "Let's go." "Me? Go out there?" Boober said, startled. "No thank you! One trip to Outer Space is more than enough for me!" "Okay, see you later," Skeeter told him. She stifled her grin until she had left the room. ** Later that day Skeeter returned to Boober's lair. The clotheslines were down and the laundry basket was full of folded clothes. She looked around. "Boober?" "In here." Of course. She walked across the room to the next chamber, which was his kitchen. He was there, but it didn't look like he'd started anything yet. He grabbed some of the apples as she set the basket, which was getting heavy, down. He sniffed them, then said, "Perfect! I was just contemplating what to cook." Then, with some dismay, he said, "But jelly takes a long time to make, and lunch is coming up. I could whip something up while it's thickening…no, it'll singe if I don't stir it continuously." Regretfully he put the apples back in the basket. "Why not just make some radish sandwiches?" "Anyone can make a radish sandwich. I prefer to set the bar higher than that." Radish sandwiches were real? She had just made that up. She said, "It'll buy you the time to make jelly." "That's true. Oh, maybe I will. I do want to try those apples." He brightened. "You really get into cooking," she remarked. "I certainly do," he replied as he tied on his apron. "It's every bit as enthralling as laundry!" "Uh… right." Boober went to the pantry and brought out a large, stiff bag. He opened it and a little puff of white drifted out. He scooped out a cup of flour. She said, "You're going to bake the bread?" "Of course. Do you think we have bread just lying around?" Actually, she realized, she had thought that. Bread was just something you had. She knew it was baked, but that happened in a factory or something. Boober mixed some water with sugar and yeast and set that aside, then got out a piece of slate that would serve as a kneading board. While the yeast was proofing he said, "Janken brings me spices from Outer Space, and he gives Junior Gorg seeds to plant in the garden. Some of them actually grow." "Really? Like what?" "Daikons. He's practically a hero for bringing those." "Daikons? What are those?" "Huge radishes. The small ones are longer than a Fraggle is tall! I had to build a bigger oven!" Skeeter grinned to Boober's delight. "Of course. Has he brought any recipes to you?" Boober shook his head. "No, he prefers simple cuisine." Which was a polite way of saying that Janken did not follow in Boober's footsteps, at least not into the kitchen. "In that case, I know a recipe you might want to try." Squeamishly he said, "It doesn't involve meat, does it?" "No, 'course not. Well, you can top it with meat, but you can top it with anything you like." Part of him wanted to stick with safe Fraggle food. People in Outer Space eat all sorts of awful things! Seeing his unsure expression, Skeeter said, "Janken likes it. If he does, it has to be safe." "Well, I suppose, but…" "But it's probably too complicated. Never mind. I'm sure radish sandwiches will be just fine." He scowled and set flour-dusted fists on his hips. "I sense a challenge." Oop. He wasn't as easily manipulated as Red was. Well, what the heck. She said, "Maybe. Why not take a chance?" "I've already started the dough for sandwiches." He refused to waste dough. It took a lot of work to grind seeds into flour. "That's fine. Dough is part of it," she told him. "In fact, that's the first thing you make." Boober considered for a moment, then said, "Well… oh, fine, it's been a while since I had a real challenge in the kitchen. What else do we need?" ** Skeeter located Mokey in the room she shared with Red. She poked her head in—she felt weird even doing that, though there was no door to knock on—and said, "Anyone here?" "Hello, Skeeter. What's happening?" Skeeter entered. She said, "Boober's deputized me to ask you to get a few things from the garden for lunch." Mokey put down the book she had been writing in. "Of course. What do you need?" "A ripe tomato, a very young radish, some mushrooms, a small onion, any other young vegetables that are ripe—just a little of each—and a fair amount of firewood. I'd come along to carry stuff, but I have to help Boober in the kitchen." "Oh, that's all right." Mokey looked out the window and shouted "Incoming!" Then she sat in Red's hammock and asked, "Would you?" "Sure." Skeeter pulled the hammock back, then released it, slinging Mokey out the window and into the pool in the Great Hall. Thankfully that left Skeeter without someone to sling her, so she walked to the Great Hall. When she arrived Mokey, Gobo, and Wembley, all dripping wet, were by the side of the pool, and Mokey was explaining what they needed. Gobo said, "We'll have the stuff in a jiffy! What's Boober making?" Skeeter said, "It's a surprise. Something that hasn't been served here before." "Oh, neat!" Wembley said. "Yeah. I'd better get back. Thanks for helping." "Hey, no problem," Gobo said. The trio set off for the Gorgs' garden. Skeeter thought as she hustled back to the kitchen, they sure move when Boober tells them to, even secondhand. But then, it's always smart to keep the cook happy. ** Before long there was a delivery of fresh produce, plus firewood in the form of sticks gathered from around the Gorgs' garden. Skeeter heard them coming, and intercepted them at the door. "Thanks, guys, that all looks great. We'll call you when it's ready. Shouldn't be long!" "I can help," Wembley offered. "Thanks, but we've got it under control. See ya!" Skeeter brought the two baskets—one of produce, the other of firewood—into the kitchen area. Boober stroked the skin of the gallon-sized tomato, then tossed some cloth to Skeeter. She unfolded it. It was an apron. She said, "Huh?" Boober said. "We've got a tomato to mash." She began, "But…" He looked at her evenly. She realized that there was no dignified way to squirm out of this. Resignedly she said, "Can I change back into those other clothes first?" ** Fraggles didn't use clocks. They judged time by the much more meaningful cycle of light and dark and the cycles of their bodies. When they were full of energy, they played. When they were sleepy, they slept. And when they were hungry…well, today they hung around Boober's kitchen, wondering what the surprise was. Mokey, Gobo, Red, and Wembley were joined by Janken, Scooter, Sage, and Poncle, who had been exploring the nearby caverns. Janken asked, "Is Boober cooking up something special?" "Yeah," Gobo answered. "He and Skeeter are." Scooter said, "Skeeter's cooking?" "Yep," said Wembley, who had heard Boober giving her directions. It didn't sound as if she was too at home in a kitchen. Thankfully, Boober gave her some slack; she was a Silly Creature, after all, and Janken had told them that that many of them didn't cook if they could help it. Red had been curious, and had tried to bull her way into the kitchen. All she had seen was that Skeeter and Boober were indeed working together. Both had slung flour at her with deadly accuracy. Janken sniffed, then grinned. He caught Scooter's eye. Then Scooter, whose sense of smell was not as acute as a Fraggle's, recognized the familiar odor. And if Skeeter was collaborating with Boober on a dish—"It looks like my little sister's being a bad influence." "What's she doing?" Sage asked. "Let's wait and see," Janken told her. He sat down. Sage promptly sat beside him and put an arm around him. Poncle, not wanting to be left out, claimed his lap. Janken looked at Scooter and shrugged wryly. Scooter smiled and shrugged back. His sisters were still a tad possessive. A few minutes later Skeeter, wearing a messy apron, came out and held the curtain aside for Boober, who was carrying a large tray. On it was what looked like a shallow pie, with slivered radishes and peppers and broccoli and mushrooms and beans and olives and peas and more radishes and who knew what else, all sitting in a shallow bed of tomato sauce and liberally drizzled with cheese. It smelled wonderful. Janken laughed. Wembley asked, "Wow! What is it?" Skeeter said, "That's a Silly Creature dish called 'pizza'." "With a few variations of my own," Boober added. He went back for a knife as the others looked on in admiration. A moment later he came back and began slicing pieces of hot pie, which were claimed by the Fraggles in order of hunger. Conversation ceased as they focused on the food, proving to Boober that the meal was a success. Scooter was about to take one when Skeeter said, "Scoot, hold off a minute, okay?" "Okay," he replied. She went back into the kitchen, then returned with a smaller pie. This one had mushrooms, onions, peppers, and nothing else from the salad bar, and especially no radishes. The crust was irregular and the toppings were less neatly placed. She said, "Boober decreed that I'd cook with him, so I made us one we could eat." "You cooked?" Scooter said with exaggerated surprise. Boober handed her the knife. "Yeah. Get over it," she said mildly as she sliced the pizza. She gave her brother a piece. He bit in. After swallowing, he said, "It's good. Nice work, Skeet." She grinned. "Good." She took another piece and dug in. Dang, she thought, it is good. She hadn't known the recipe, and was no expert in the kitchen, but Boober was. She had told him all she knew about pizza, and heck if he hadn't backward-engineered it. Okay, the toppings he put on were weird, but he insisted that he knew what flavors went together, and judging from the way the Fraggles were tearing into it he was right on the mark. The two of them had pooled their knowledge and abilities and, together, had accomplished more than either could have done alone. As she ate she thought that there was a metaphor in there somewhere. ***** Scooter and Skeeter are copyright © The Muppets Studio, LLC. All Fraggles except Janken, Sage, and Poncle are copyright © The Jim Henson Company, LLC. 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org). Permission is given by the author to copy it for personal use only.