It was morning, another day beginning in Fraggle Rock.
In the cave Red and Mokie shared, Mokie was almost finished with her Ceremony to Greet the Day, a beautiful, melodic ritual that never failed to wake Red right up out of a perfectly good sleep.
While Mokie wrapped it up with the gong-chiming and the day-greeting, Red rolled out of her hammock with a huff and changed into her favourite red sweater. Then Mokie watered Lanford, the Yellow-Leaved Night-Blooming Death Wort, who was such a sweet and charming co-occupant of their cave. Or so Mokie kept telling her, anyway.
"Red," Mokie said, as Lanford cooed lovingly at her, the big suck-up, "would you be able to come and help me get the radishes today?"
Red, who was busy tying up her pigtails, paused. Lanford snapped idly in her direction, and she narrowed her eyes at him before saying, "Uh, get the radishes? From the Gorg's garden?" Mokie nodded. "Oh, gee, uh. Um. Well... sure," she finished with a groan, and resumed fixing her hair. "Why not? Sounds like fun."
"Oh good!" said Mokie, missing the sarcasm entirely. "Because I could really use an extra pair of arms to carry with and, well, I don't have one." She considered her numerically insufficient appendages and giggled.
Bridge Construction Team 3 Supervisor Jinkwell Doozer nodded in satisfaction, watching two fraggles demolish a vital support structure for the new bridge that had, till now, been coming along nicely.
Yes, it was always good to see a project receiving the appreciation it deserved, she thought.
The fraggles moved on, as they always did, and she called down to her team, who were monitoring the transport of component materials to the site, to hurry it along already. It was time to get back to work.
After a breakfast of doozer sticks on the go, Red and Mokie made their way up to the hole that lead out of Fraggle Rock and into the Gorg's garden. Which today, unfortunately, was not unattended. The two fraggles made a dash from the hole over to the low wall bordering the courtyard, where they could hide and observe in relative safety.
Junior Gorg was over in the far corner of the vegetable patch, a pick axe in hand, and sporting a hat that looked like something Gobo's Uncle Travelling Matt would wear.
If Gobo's Uncle Matt had a head the size of a planetary body, of course.
"What's that big dummy doing now?" Red hissed at Mokie, who shrugged back. They turned again to watch.
"Junior!" Pa Gorg, King of the Universe, called as he emerged from his castle and surveyed his domain. "What's that big dummy doing now?" he said to himself.
"What's that Daddy?" Junior said. "What am I doing? I'm looking for buried treasure!" He swung the pick axe again. It fell heavily and clanged against stone, kicking up a clod of dirt in the process.
"Buried what?" Pa said. "Aw Junior, boy, the only thing buried in that vegetable garden is compost. Now, come inside and help your mother with -- whatever it is she wants help with."
"You don't know, Daddy?"
"I know I don't want to do it," Pa muttered, and ushered his son inside.
"Oh, now's our chance," Mokie said, and hurried out from behind the wall.
"You think there's really buried treasure somewhere around here?" Red said as she trailed Mokie over to the unguarded vegetable patch.
"I don't know," Mokie said. She paused. "What's compost?"
"I haven't got a clue, but for some reason, I bet Boober would."
"Hm, and the Trash Heap, of course."
"Oh, well sure, the Trash Heap."
Mokie nodded. "Because she knows everything."
"Oh, this is a good one." Mokie tugged another radish out of the soft soil. "Here, you take it, Red. Oh, and this one." She turned to pass the vegetables to Red, and found her companion notably absent.
"It's all rocky over here," Red whispered, still mindful of the need for discretion, apparently, if not for time management. "There's no treasure," she finished glumly, and kicked at the nearest patch of stone. "Uh, Mokie?" she said after a few seconds had passed. Mokie had just turned away to pull up another radish. "My foot's kinda stuck."
"Stuck on what?" Mokie said.
"This solid rock over here."
Mokie turned at that, and hurried over to Red's side."Why, there's a hole over here."
"Yeah, no kidding." Red gave her foot a tug.
"I never noticed that before. The gorg must have uncovered it when he was digging."
"Oh! Oh! You think this is where the treasure is?"
Mokie wrapped her arms around her friend's waist and pulled until Red's foot came free, dislodging a small shower of dust and soil, and widening the hole in the process. Both fraggles tumbled backwards and landed in a heap.
"Oof," said Mokie. Red had landed on top of her. The fraggle might be small, but she wasn't light.
A second later, however, Red was scrambling off the fraggle pile-up and back over to the hole. Mokie dusted herself off and joined her friend, peering into the depths of the unknown, the darkness of the void.
She was just deciding to write a poem about it, when she realised the void was neither dark, nor unknown.
Red said, "Hey, wait a minute, that's Gobo and Wembley's cave down there."
"Why, how strange, that is their cave. And I can see Gobo." Mokie took a breath to call down to him, but then she saw that his eyes were closed. "Oh, he's sleeping. We shouldn't wake him."
"I guess we can tell him later. He and Wembley might want to know there's a big old hole in their roof."
"Should we try to cover it up? What if a gorg comes by and falls through?"
"Mokie, a gorg couldn't even fit a toe down that hole!"
"Oh, I suppose you're right. Let's get these radishes back home then. It is Gobo and Wembley's hole, after all," she reflected. "They might appreciate the natural light."
"I'll just bet they will," Red muttered, stooping to pick up her share from the small pile of radishes Mokie had previously amassed. "Wait," she said. "Mokie, you know what would fit down that hole? Besides my foot? Think about it, we don't have to carry these radishes all the way back to the tunnel. Why would we do that when we could deliver them straight to Fraggle Rock?"
"Oh, I see! Red, that's a great idea. We can only carry a few each, but this way we could pull them up and throw them straight down the hole. That is so much more efficient."
"Uh, yeah, sure," Red said distractedly. She was busy tugging up more radishes from the untidy rows. Once she'd added a couple more to the pile, she turned to Mokie, who was doing the same thing. "Say, Mokie, you mind if I toss the radishes down there?"
"Oh, sure Red, you're probably better at that sort of thing than I am, anyway," Mokie said absently, thinking of the contribution they were making today, the potential for improving quality of life for fraggles everywhere.
Everyone liked radishes, after all.
"You're right, I probably am!" Red replied. She hefted a big one a few times, testing for optimum throwability, then carefully took aim.
"Hey," Mokie said slowly, "wait a minute. Red --"
"Woohoohoo, I got him! Right between the eyes!" Red fell back from the hole in a fit of laughter. "You shoulda seen it, he fell right out of his bed! Quick, let's look and see what he's doing now."
"Red, I can't say that I approve of this," Mokie began, before Red grabbed her and hauled her back over to look.
"Hey, what's the big idea?" Gobo was saying, rubbing at his sore head. He picked himself up and went to stand over the offending radish. "Where'd you come from, eh?" He looked around the empty room, puzzled, then turned to the cave entrance. "Red Fraggle, is that you hiding out there? Real funny, Red. But hey, thanks for the free radish!"
Up in the Gorg's garden, Red had to clap her hand over her mouth to stifle her hoots of laughter. Mokie giggled and drew her back from the mouth of the hole. "Well, Gobo certainly knows his friends."
Red snickered and grabbed another radish. "He sure does. And as a reward, I'm going to give him another radish!"
"Oh, Red, don't you think --"
Red drew her arm back and lobbed it through the hole.
The projectile struck Gobo in the back of the head, causing the fraggle to spin around, searching for the source of the attack. "What in the -- oh, I don't know what's going on, but I'm going to find out," he said with conviction, and bent over to scoop up the radishes.
"Gobo, Gobo!" Boober cried as he hurried into the room all of a sudden. "Just look at this, it came out perfectly, better, in fact, than I'd hoped."
"Oh, hi Boober," Gobo said. "Say, you didn't see Red hanging around as you came in, did you? Maybe in a suspicious fashion?"
"No, I haven't seen Red all morning. But I have seen this!" He proudly held up a freshly laundered garment. "It's your nightshirt. Remember, the one Wembley spilled hot blueberry tea all over? I never thought I'd get the stain out."
"Well gee, thanks Boober, that looks great."
"It does, doesn't it? The trick to getting hot blueberry tea out is a very precise mixture of two parts bleach nuts to three parts -- Gobo," he broke off suddenly. "Might I say, that is a very fine pair of radishes you have there." He leaned forward to sniff, and nodded appreciatively. "Fresh. Have you been up to the Gorg's garden today?"
"No, it's the strangest thing. I was having a nice sleep-in just now -- just got back from exploring out beyond the Firefly Caverns last night, don't you know -- and then out of nowhere..."
"Red, let go!"
"No Mokie, you let go!"
It was the tug-of-war match to end all tug-of-war matches.
Mokie gave another heave on the radish clutched tightly in both her and Red's hands. "I believe, as your friend, I am very tolerant of your occasional acts of violence but --"
"Come on Mokie, just one more, it's so funny, please?" Red begged, even as she tugged harder, straining backwards so hard her pigtails almost touched the ground.
Mokie dug her heels in. Red could be stubborn all right, but so could she. "No, you could hurt someone."
"Well what about the poor radishes? If we drop them from all the way up here onto the hard rock floor down there, they could suffer serious bruising! I'm sure Gobo's noggin makes a much softer landing," she laughed, giving a sharp twist to see if she could dislodge Mokie's grip that way.
"Oh Red, now you're just being silly."
"And you're just being booooring."
"I am not."
"You are, too. Have you got any sense of humour at all?"
"Oooh," Mokie seethed, and gave an extra firm tug on the radish. It was difficult to tell which fraggle was more surprised when it suddenly came free of Red's hold. Mokie reeled back, her arms flung wide to keep her balance, which was unfortunate, as the radish about which they'd been so fiercely disagreeing flew from her grasp, and dropped out of sight down the hole.
"Oh no!" Mokie cried, throwing herself over to the edge to see what happened.
"Oh yes!" Red hooted as she leaped to join her.
They got there just in time to see the falling radish bounce off the top of Boober's head.
"Aaaagh!" Boober shrieked as his hands flew to his head and he shook with sudden fear. "What was that?"
"Another radish," Gobo told him, pointing to the projectile in question, which had rolled to a stop a few feet away. "Yep, that one. I told you. Really weird." He shook his head.
"Radish?" Boober said, lowering his arms. "Radishes have never hurt me before." Boober's crisis of faith was quickly overturned when another radish fell, this time passing within an inch of the end of his nose.
"Agh! What's happening? Is the ceiling caving in oh no we'll all be killed why did I get out of bed today no laundry is worth this aaaaaaaagh!"
"Boober, hey Boober," Gobo called after the fraggle as he made a beeline for the exit. "There is no cave in. Come on, there has to be a logical explanation for this."
Boober stopped fleeing in terror just long enough to berate Gobo. "Gobo, it is raining radishes. There is no logic! There is no reason!" After a moment, though, he took a hesitant step back towards Gobo. "Gobo, it doesn't rain radishes," he said slowly.
"Well yeah, thanks, Boober, I know. I was only --"
"Not least of all because cave ceilings don't rain."
The two fraggles stared at each other for a moment. Then, as one, they lifted their chins and looked up.
Red and Mokie waved down at them.
"Hi," Mokie called down sheepishly.
"Boy, took you long enough," said Red. She reached behind her for another radish. "Bombs away!"
Red fraggle liked living the good life. Today, this involved rocking gently in her hammock while she munched on one of the freshly baked radish bars Boober had produced in between his famous Terrine of Radish, an enormous pot of Radish and Mushroom Stew, and a 'particularly piquant radish vinaigrette'. Whatever that was. Even Lanford, crooning softly to himself over in his corner, wasn't bothering her.
True, she and Mokie didn't have a brand new skylight in their cave, but it was pretty nice all the same.
"Hey, Red?" Mokie said.
"Is it strange that I think I'm actually going to miss not having to go up to get the radishes so often?"
Yes, it certainly was, Red thought.
"Well, it's your job," she said. "It's something you're good at."
"Yes, of course, that's it. Hmm. If I experience any sort of identity crisis, Red, I don't want you to blame yourself."
"I'm sorry, what was that?"
Peace settled over the cave. Through the window that looked down over the main hall, singing drifted up to them. Some fraggles were harmonising over Boober's stew.
"You really think I was good at it?"
"Uh-huh. You still are."
"Oh, thanks Red."
Red swung gently as she thought of their adventure in the Gorg's garden that morning.
Then she sat up quickly, almost overbalancing and tipping herself out of the hammock. A small shower of radish bar crumbs drifted down to litter the floor.
"Hey, you know what else you'll be good at, Mokie?" She didn't even wait for an answer before announcing, "Being one half of the best tug-of-war team any fraggle has ever seen!"