The Hobby.

Two months later, it was all the same lonely evening for Boober Fraggle. He was sitting on his sleeping place and enjoying the loneliness. Speaking of it, he tried to be more social, but he couldn't be someone else than himself. He turned his head and looked at Mokey's painting, meaning that painting was presenting Mokey, not made by her. Boober still wonders, what did give him such skills to paint this amazingly representative portrait? There she is, looking through the wall, through the polish layer, pondering her own things with barely caught smile on her face. She is a decent dancer. Dance with her is a little different than with Dancer. Dancer is full of her confidence, she does no mistakes. All her movements are exact; it's easy to foresee her actions. She danced forever – she has no more room to improve. Mokey, on the other hand, didn't develop completely. Her style is still vague, and it makes her interesting. She also helps Boober with his paintings, giving a little critique on each step. But Boober is very sensitive, so even lighthearted Mokey's notes make him sad.

Boober tried very hard to become stronger, but he couldn't move on, his life didn't progress and he felt empty inside. He was doing all the same things – laundry, cooking, dancing and painting. Considering the fact that he still did not reveal his dancing part of life to his other friends, it was going to be a little harder to find a new activity. "They would help a lot, but what if they suggest dance? I can't lie to my friends." Boober thought. He was simply bored and it was that kind of boredom when it's mixed with laziness, so you don't know what to do and don't want to do anything (even if you knew what!). He could continue one of his unfinished paintings. It's Dancer's image where she is painted over a black canvas. She's meant to look cold and ruthless, therefore Boober should have used more cold, less saturated colours. But using transparent and bleak colours would make Dancer blend with background. "Maybe it's a good idea? She was sort of blending with everything that surrounded her", Boober thought.

Boober opened a wooden box that was lying under his hole. This box was his birthday gift presented by his friends. It was filled with pencil-like charcoal, brushes of real baloobius hair (there is a special Fraggle who should donate a few hairs to brushmakers), oil paint tubes of different colours and lots of easy-to-get paper made out of radish leaves and other raw materials that Doozers employ in their production. He took out paints and brushes and was about to continue his work. "I think I should sharpen edges to highlight her negative attitude…" was Boober's deep mind. He took the brush and dove into his work. It was definitely a hard work – Boober grumbled and clicked his tongue if something went wrong. He worked painstakingly to make each stroke unique, put new unsaturated colours into a new layer to alter the value of the whole piece.

"It is not coming along the way I want… Hmph. It makes her look like a corpse, not a cold but living creature" Boober mumbled. "Well, maybe you should add light pink and mauve instead of red?" – "Mokey! Ah, don't scare me like this… "; Boober didn't notice how Mokey entered his room and sneaked up to him to watch the process. "Aw, sorry, Boober! I didn't want to do scare you, but you know, I also didn't want to interrupt you from the painting. This painting looks fascinating, almost haunting! You did a very good job here, Boober!" Mokey praised Boober. "Yeah? I don't think so." – "Come on, Boober! You see, there are a few things that you may change, but nitpicking so much is stressing; you shouldn't overdo it." – "How then would I progress without nitpicking?" Mokey didn't answer at first. She looked at Boober; he was too stressed. "Well… There is a difference between fair critique and nitpicking," Mokey prattled. "… To which I can't relate. I have to do everything the best. If there's something that I don't like or doesn't fit the image, then there is a way to change it and make it better. If I can make it better, it's not done yet. It's not the best out of what I can do!" Boober nervously shouted, flinging into the canvas. Mokey looked with worry at him and decided to leave him alone, for some time. Boober however didn't bothered to notice Mokey and he didn't know she left.

"Gosh! It's still so much things to work out!" he thought. Boober spread the brush with red, white and a little blue. He got light pink. "Is it that colour, Mokey?" Boober asked the walls. "Oh… She has already left. What have I done? I shouted on her," Boober punished himself. Now he feels disgusted to work on the piece. He decides to go for a walk before going to sleep. He put the brushes on a shelf to wait for turpentine bath, looked again at his work and realized one thing (that he probably realized earlier subconsciously) – Dancer does really look like Mokey, however she is thinner, bleaker and has dark hair. Why? By legend, Dancer becomes ideal for one who meets her. So, she looked like Mokey, and it means… Boober was embarrassed by this mind. "She's not ideal," he tried to convince himself. But he was not Convincing John, it didn't help – he could think about nothing but this. This mind tempted him. He needed to talk to someone about anything but this!

Boober ran to the Great Hall. On his way he stuck upon Wembley Fraggle. He was standing still on his tiptoes looking in no definite direction with slightly opened mouth. It seems he has been standing here for a long time – Doozers have built buildings over his mouth. Boober thought that it's a kind of game.

"Wembley, what are you doing? Hey? Are you playing or what?!" Boober asked Wembley. He answered, "O, hi Boober! Psh! Yum, that's a tasty building in my mouth a—", he couldn't finish his speech because he was choking with a Doozer stick that accidently fell into his throat. Boober cried, "Wembley! Gosh, I have to do something… ". He slapped Wembley's back hard – and it helped. He spat out that vicious stick. "Ew, thanks, Boober!" he said coughing. "Now… What. Kind. Of. Game. Was. It?!" Boober bawled threateningly underlining every word. "Sorry, sorry… It was a game that Red suggested – if you're standing on your tiptoes for a long time without moving, you're going to grow! Red and I were competing on who is going to grow the most. Well, Red suddenly found that she has so much things to do, so I was playing alone… " Wembley excitedly retold his story. "Wembley, you could have died! It was a dangerous game! Don't you understand?! And it's already very late! You should go to bed!" Boober was maddened by the happening. His angry voice scared Wembley and the yellowish Fraggle felt very guilty. He was staring on the floor and playing with that stick in his hands. Boober came to mind that he shouted again, now on his best friend. Maybe it's something up with him, not with his friends? Why does his bad mood upset others?

"Oh no, I shouted again… Wembley, sorry! I understand that it was my fault. I interrupted you!" – "Don't worry, Boober. By the way, who was your first 'victim'?" Wembley asked jokingly. "It was Mokey. I'm so afraid I hurt her…" – "Aw, come on, Boober! You can hurt anyone but Mokey. She understands you too well and loves too much to be offended," Wembley giggled. It made Boober confused and he asked, "But doesn't she love everyone?" – "Oh yes. But you're her favourite little Boober!" Wembley teased Boober. Boober didn't want to talk about it now, so he walked away from Wembley, looking down and saying nothing. "But Boober! I didn't want to…" cried Wembley. It was really true – Wembley always says things that only on his mind. Mokey's caring for Boober is something really evident for him, so it didn't bother Wembley to tell it like it is. He couldn't understand why Boober got annoyed and left him.

Boober was downcast. He walked far and far from The Great Hall in unknown direction. It was an endless hallway that led him to a little light cave. It was completely empty, except for a farther corner – there was lying a radish, already rotten and smelling awful. "Am I going to it? To being a lonely, rotten radish lying in a far cave? Most certainly! I upset everyone who tries to help me…" Boober thought and sat in a corner, putting the radish on his lap. He wept, carefully stroking his little radish friend. "Soon I'll get hungry and you'll, my friend, be eaten," Boober told the radish. This mind made him even sadder. Why is he so unsocial, why doesn't he get along with his friends? He wanted to visit The Trash Heap to get help, but something stopped him. It was already very late. The Trash Heap must have been already sleeping.

"Why? Why am I here? Is it my destiny to be here at this moment?" Boober asked himself. His eyelids were growing heavy, he saw everything like in a mist. He curled up in a corner, gently hugging his radish, and fell asleep.

He got up in a few hours. Some weird noise woke him up. It was a mix of clicking, clatter and barely heard roar. Boober got very scared, because he realized that there is no more a radish with him! So somebody took it! He, or she, was somewhere here, making that sound!.. Boober was trembling in the corner without an ability to stand up. Fear paralyzed him. The sound was coming closer. "Gosh!.. What's going to happen?.. There's no any weapons…" Boober thought. Clatter became louder and more persistent. "I'm going to die…"

A small, grayish brown bearded Fraggle entered the cave. He had a strange suit made of rocks and some rusted metal that were tied on cords. They were making this noise. The Fraggle looked surprised and somewhat crazy. "Aaa! Don't kill me! Don't eat me!" Boober yelled as he noticed how thin the Fraggle is. The Fraggle laughed and made clanking sound with metallic plates of his suit. "Funny thing!.." he spoke hoarsely. "I'm a hermit," said the Fraggle. Every his word came in forced, like it was very hard for him to speak. Hermit Fraggle noticed Boober's confusion and added, "I didn't speak for ages…". Boober calmed down a little as he saw no danger in him so far. He asked, "Why this suit? It makes awful sound!" – "To keep strangers away…". Boober's fear sparked again. Is he a stranger? Hermit noticed it. "You don't look dangerous," Hermit comforted Boober. "I came here to take my radish… I wandered a lot and lost it here…" – "But it's already very rotten!" Boober said. Hermit laughed again, "I wandered a lot, for weeks. I want to eat. I can't walk anymore…" . Boober examined Hermit Fraggle carefully. Then he saw how really thin he is, how dirty he is, how poor and crazy he seems to be. He felt guilty for being a little overweight in front of such old and skinny Fraggle.

"Can I ask you? Why did you become a hermit? You're so… skinny! And, to be honest, you're dirty. It's not good for your health! Eating rotten radishes is even worse! There are lots of fresh tasty radishes in the pantry," said Boober. "I was exiled from the Rock… I'm not allowed to your food," whispered Hermit. It shocked Boober. How could it happen that a Fraggle is not allowed to eat? Such a weird idea. "Why? What did you do to get exiled?" Boober asked. Hermit hesitated a little, and then answered, "My friend… I was walking there when he used a ladder... He accidentally fell down… broke a leg… accused me of that." He stopped his story to breathe out. "I got exiled for breaking his leg… I was clumsy and everybody was bothered by me… I tried to change, nothing helped… I thought it would be easy to be alone. I was wrong! It's the worst part of exile. Food and water are not as important as society… There are rare Doozer buildings after all… I also take the leftovers in night in outskirts… I could return in a few years… but I couldn't imagine my return. I don't have friends or family any more…" he ended and took a deep breath. Both Boober and Hermit were silent, both were thinking different things. Boober couldn't get out of head the idea of exile just because you're clumsy. He probably associated the Hermit's past with his own present. He never thought that his friends could let him down, and then a striking, sharp mind came – their patience is not everlasting. Boober could be next to be exiled!

"Wow… Just wow. You have such a sad life! Maybe I can help you? Do you need radishes? I can bring you some," Boober offered. "Oh no. Please, don't. I don't need them… what I get is enough," Hermit whispered hoarsely. "Go home… and don't lose your friends."

Boober ran away, back in the Great Hall (he couldn't remember how he found path back), stayed there a little, looking at the pond and then went to his room to sleep. Next day he got up early and as quickly as he could, he ran into Mokey's room and found her cleaning there. He rushed into her, smiled, wished her a good morning, hugged and kissed her in a cheek. "Sorry for yesterday tantrum! Are you angry at me, Mokey?" Boober asked her. She smiled back at him, gently grooming his bright red hair.

Then Boober found Wembley. He was doing nothing in the Great Hall. "Wembley, hi! Do you want to help me with cooking? I have an interesting task for you!" – "Ah! Of course! What are we waiting for?! Let's go!".

Boober had a plan. He decided to reveal his dance secret. He was going to organize a sort of party for his friends – with food and music, in his room. His dancing partner will be Mokey. Maybe he will learn to trust his friends and be happy just with what he got? Too much hobbies is bad for him, too.

"To dedicate time for the friends is a hobby too. Everyone should master it!"