Letters From Ponyville
Hey Sis. Tomorrow’s the big day. I finally start my new adventure in… ugh… Ponyville.
Sorry. The truth is I got bored on the train ride. Writing this is the only thing keeping me awake right now. I’d hate to fall asleep and miss my stop. Wouldn’t THAT be a disaster?
I can’t begin to understand why you thought Ponyville of all places is where I’m going to find a decent job. Wouldn’t Canterlot have made more sense? Maybe it’s a bit pricier to live there, but doesn’t that also mean the higher class of clientele would be more likely to part with their precious bits?
I know, I know. We barely scraped enough for a single train ticket. It’s just… why Ponyville? Didn’t you only visit it just once with Mom? Did this place really make that big of an impression? It’s mind boggling! I chatted a bit with the conductor and he says it’s just a sleepy little go-between on the way to Canterlot.
Sleepy town with boring ponies and lame jobs that will only be available if nopony wants to actually do them… Kick me, I must be dreaming.
Are you sure you’ll be alright until I get a job? I know you’ll get by working at the bakery, but… I don’t like the idea of you living in those disgusting apartments. You deserve better than these stupid Manehatten slums!
I miss our orchard. I miss our nanny. And I really miss Mom and Dad.
Sorry, I didn’t mean for that to be so depressing. The train’s almost to the station; I can see Ponyville from here. As soon as I disembark from the train, I’ll send this letter.
Don’t you worry, Sis. I’ll have a job before you know it. I’ll wire you the ticket fare, and we’ll tackle this town together. Even if it’s as boring as I imagine it will be, well, I’ll MAKE it exciting!
I swear I’ll make life better for you. For both of us. And I’ll be sure to send money with my next
Say “Hi” to Mom for me, and tell her I love her. Sing her one of your songs for me.
From Your Brother With Love,
You have GOT to lighten up! Ponyville isn’t that bad; you just have to give it a chance. It’s actually really pretty, and the ponies are SO nice! Trust me, you won’t be bored!
Canterlot is full of stuck-up aristocrat ponies. You wouldn’t want to live there.
And I know what you mean… I miss our old home, too. Someday we’ll go back there and see Dad.
Oh! I almost forgot! Cinnamon Swirl told me that Ponyville’s Summer Sun Celebration is gonna be super awesome this year! And do you know why…?
Princess Celestia herself is going to be there!!!
I’m soooooo jealous! Manehatten is still doing the parade thing, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be working through most of it. So since I can’t go, you have to do three things for me:
1. Go to Ponyville’s Summer Sun Celebration and get me a souvenir.
2. Make at least one friend while you’re in Ponyville.
3. Have fun!
You’ll be fine, Reason. You’ll have a job before you know it, and we’ll both have so many stories to tell one another when we meet up again.
Family has to stick together, right?
Write Back Soon,
Rhyme spat out her white feather quill. Reading and writing were her two very favorite pastimes, (as indicated by the very similar red feather quill cutie mark displayed on her flank) and Rhyme simply adored composing written verse to read to her brother. It seemed altogether too late to think of something unique to add to her letter this time, though, which was a shame.
Rhyme looked out the window; judging by the moon, it had to be close to midnight. She always got so excited whenever her brother wrote to her! Once again, she had forgotten to go to sleep.
The cream-colored earth pony got up from her desk, and crossed the tiny bedroom to her dresser. Situated on it was a small, undecorated urn.
“I’ll mail my letter in the morning,” she said to nopony in particular. Gingerly, she brushed a hoof lovingly along the side of the urn.
“Mom, please watch over Reason. He won’t come out and say it, but I think he’s really nervous. I guess I am too; we’ve never been apart for so long since you passed away.”
Rhyme’s eyelids were beginning to droop. Time for bed. Well, one last thing. The filly gave the urn a goodnight kiss, a tradition left from when her mother was still alive.
“Goodnight, Mom. Say hi to Dad for me.”
She crawled into her small bed in her cramped, barely furnished apartment. And as she started to drift off to sleep, she sang the lullaby her mother sang to them for so many years:
“Hush now, quiet now, it’s time to lay your sleepy head. Hush now, quiet now, it’s time… to… *yawn*…”
She was out before she even got to the refrain.
Special thanks goes out to UnparalleledGenius and Leah Thompson for making my scribbles comprehensible.
The town was buzzing.
Then again, Ponyville was always buzzing about something. Reason had only been here two days and already figured that out.
Today’s hot topic was the Summer Sun Celebration. Every year, Princess Celestia graced a different town with her presence. Then, she used her immense power to raise the sun, signifying the longest day of the year.
Even though it wasn’t for another week, everypony was already talking about it:
“Can you imagine? The Princess herself, coming to quaint little Ponyville!”
“I hear she’s absolutely radiant to look at!”
“This is going to be the best Summer Sun Celebration ever!”
“Do you think she’ll do that thing she did at last year’s celebration in Fillydelphia?”
“Gosh, I sure hope so!”
“Oh, did you hear about…”
‘Blah blah blah. Why was it such a big deal, anyway?’ Reason thought to himself.
In her last letter, Rhyme had expressed that perhaps her brother was just “missing something”. After all, neither Rhyme nor Reason was a true Ponyville native. If there was some inherent charm to this quaint burg, Reason sure wasn’t seeing it.
The spirit of celebration somehow made the whole thing worse. Everywhere he looked, Reason could see ponies scampering to decorate this, or trim up that, or tidy up such and such.
Therein lay the downside to the double-edged sword of his favorite place in town, where he was currently residing. The view of Ponyville from above was something to behold, but the constant noise from other ponies sort of dampened the entire experience.
Reason had managed to procure a choice apartment at the edge of town for a reasonable price. The place consisted of four separate apartments in one complex (that’s what the landlord called it; for a practical pony like Reason, it was still just a giant house. In fact, it was almost like one of those bed and breakfast places his family used to frequent while on vacation) with only one other tenant, an old spinster situated on the bottom floor and across the hall from his own apartment. Reason generally kept his own council (save from his sister), so solitude was a huge plus in his recent accommodation.
But that wasn’t the best part; in cleaning some junk from the attic above his own dwelling, he unwittingly discovered a patio door leading right onto the roof (whether this was an oversight in construction, an incomplete addition to the apartment, or just one of the landlord’s many quirks, Reason didn’t know). Reason had slept out there on his first night, and couldn’t wait to show his sister the view from the roof: the hustle and bustle of ponies in the daylight, the unwavering rush of midday, the visage of sleepy ponies walking home after dark.
And the stars! Sweet Celestia, the stars!
If there was one good thing about Ponyville, and Reason suspected that there might only be one single thing, it was the view. His sister had at LEAST been right about that.
The steel-hued earth pony was stretched out on his back. It was early morning, by the sound of the chatter below. It seemed like every dawn a different group of ponies was situated at the café across the street, yet all any of them ever wanted to do was gossip. Just like a couple days ago, when he moved in.
How did that go, exactly…?
Two Days Ago…
“…And that concludes the grand tour. Like I said, it’s thirty three bits a month with an extra ten per roommate.” As the elder earth pony finished, he sized up the new potential renter.
Reason was absolutely floored. The apartment was astonishing! It was spacious, well furnished, and he could effortlessly situate another bed in the room across from his own. Easily a step up from those disgusting Manehatten slums.
The wrinkled, chocolate-colored landlord waved a hoof and cut Reason off. “Call me Rusty. Never much went for formalities, and I don’t plan on startin’ now.”
Reason cleared his throat, and then tried again. “Right then. Rusty, is there any way I could come back later today with my decision? I mean, I’d hate to bother you again, but there are a few other places I wanted to check out.”
Reason’s request might have come off sounding rude to most ponies. As a point of fact, his sister had often reprimanded him for being too blunt when it came to sensitive issues.
If there was any sign that Rusty Nails was offended by the request, he wasn’t showing it. “Nah, that’s fine. See that café across the street? My house is the blue-trimmed one right next to it. Just gimme a holler when you’re ready to move in. Oh! But don’t make it too late; the missus gets somewhat snarky when visitors show up real late.”
In truth, Reason had already decided on this particular apartment. It was only as a point of courtesy to his sister that he was looking at the other two places. After all, ‘vigilance today saves misery tomorrow’ or whatever axiom she actually said back then. His sister sure loved her catchphrases.
With a parting word, Reason turned away and started down the street. He’d gotten off the train relatively early heading straight for this venue, so it had to be pretty close to noon. Reason was in fairly high spirits, and why shouldn’t he be? This town had housing, nice ponies, and apparently some job openings.
Overall, Ponyville was shaping up to be pretty sweet. Naturally, this made him nervous.
Reason shook off those thoughts. If he was to make the best of the situation, who’s to say it wouldn’t turn out for the best? All he wanted was to make things better for his dear sister.
Poor Rhyme. She took their father’s death the hardest when they were young, and even though their mother’s more recent illness and subsequent death had been nothing short of predictable, Rhyme was a wreck for weeks after she passed on, too. Reason missed them both dearly as well, but his parents’ deaths were less of a surprise to him. Growing up, he’d noticed that his parents had been quite a bit older than most foals’. This was never more apparent than at his very first Family Appreciation Day; Reason’s dad seemed to know more of the grandparents at the school than anypony else.
When Reason and his father returned home that night, Reason had asked his parents about it. His mother told him the truth, that he and Rhyme had been adopted. There weren’t any tearful recriminations or anything, though.
‘Those are for those cliché dramas that Rhyme is always reading,’ Reason thought. If anything, knowing the truth only bonded Reason closer to his parents, though it would be a few years before Rhyme would learn the truth as well. Reason loved his parents, his sister, and the family orchard.
That’s why he came to Ponyville, after all!
Reason redoubled his resolve… which was promptly cut short by his stomach’s obnoxious reminder that he hadn’t had anything substantial to eat in almost a day. Lunch first, then resolve.
The Ponyville marketplace certainly had a variety of stalls to choose from. A few were closed so that the owners could also have their lunch, but most had ponies displaying their various foods and other wares for all to see. And as if the displays weren’t enough, ponies were clamoring for the attention of customers left and right! In Manehatten, ponies only really talked to one another on the street if they were screaming at each other.
It was certainly a new experience!
Reason glanced around. An apple stall, a celery stall, one selling cherries, another selling carrots…
The steel-grey pony came to a halt. It was hard to make out anything over the din, but he was certain that somepony had called out to him.
“Yes, you! The guy with the patchy saddlebags! C’mere a second!” the female voice inquired.
Situated on his left was a green stall, this one also selling apples. The owner was an orange earth pony mare wearing a cowboy hat and an apron. Reason cantered over to the stall to see what she wanted.
Before he could get a word in though, the mare spoke up. “Well howdy! Come to try one of our Sweet Apple Acres’ home grown, DE-LICIOUS apples? Ya’ll won’t be disappointed!”
Reason very nearly took her up on the offer. Had he done so, it may have prompted a friendly conversation with the proprietor. Perhaps they might have spoken about Ponyville, or being new in town. Then again, perhaps not. Maybe they would have discussed their respective families, and really get off on the right hoof, as it were. Or maybe Reason would simply have bought his lunch, eaten it in peace, and continued his housing search unabated. In any case, Reason’s potential interaction with the representative from Sweet Apple Acres would surely have changed the events that followed.
Instead, the voice of a persistent mare that was NOT situated directly in front of him once again stole Reason’s attention.
“Mister! Yoo-hoo! Um, guy with the branchy, leafy cutie mark! Not the apple stall! Over here!”
Beside the apple kiosk was a similar stall, this one selling various kinds of berries and jellies. Reason abruptly turned his attention from the apple salesmare to the sandy-coated earth pony manning this nearby stall, and walked over. Somewhere behind him in a southern drawl, he was certain he heard something about “customer thievin’, no good so-and-so’s”.
“It’s an olive branch by the way, Miss…?”
Reason’s comment was lost, however, and the young mare continued without hesitation. “You look kinda lost. Is this your first time at the market?”
Reason was taken aback. Sheepishly he asked, “Bu-but how could you tell? Am I really that out of place?”
The salesmare cocked her head to the left. “Well, not exactly. It’s just that, Ponyville isn’t very big. News travels fast, you know? Not to mention that there was no word about a pa—“
The filly suddenly caught herself, glancing this way and that. Then, she continued, “Um, there was no word about any welcoming festivities for… ah… new individuals here in town.”
Although his stomach was relentlessly trying to get his attention back to the matter at hoof, Reason couldn’t help but indulge his curiosity. “Festivities? Oh, you mean like a welcoming par—“
“SHHH!!!!” The filly had her hoof raised to her lips, with a grave look on her face. “If you say that word, she’ll come! I heard that this one time, she held a Welcome to Ponyville bash RIGHT HERE IN THE MARKET. Can you imagine? What a mess!”
“Er, yeah. Right. A mess.” Reason gave the mare a quizzical look as he spoke, but she scarcely noticed.
Naturally, Reason had no inclination as to whom the young berry seller might be referring. In spite of a certain pink earth pony’s penchant for world renowned celebrations, Reason simply did not get out very much. Thus he let the matter drop, making note that use of the word “party” would very likely draw unwanted attention to himself.
By this point, Reason’s stomach could wait no longer. With a very audible gurgle, it made its demands well known. He turned to the salesmare, and opened his mouth to order a bag of some of the succulent berries on display.
The mare was too quick. “Oh hey, look. It’s lunchtime. I’d better close up. Man, I’m starved!”
And with that, the chatty earth pony hung up an “Out To Lunch” sign over her stall, and started packing away her wares.
Defeated, Reason slumped over and started to turn back toward the apple stall. The orange mare smiled broadly at his distant approach… but then a familiar salesmare’s voice perked up from beside him.
“So where do you wanna eat? Ooh! Let’s go to that one café! The hay fries there are simply TO DIE FOR! C’mon, I’ll show you where it’s at!” she said with an innocent grin.
A lamenting apple salesmare could be heard very faintly letting fly some rather colorful language unbefitting of a young filly, but neither Reason nor the berry seller managed to catch what was said.
“My father, mother, sister, and I all lived just outside of Manehatten in a little cottage. Dad got into a harvesting accident when I was little, and my mother passed away about five years ago, too.”
Reason paused to bite heartily into his daisy sandwich, and then continued, “So for a long time, it was just me and Rhyme. It’s tough to run a citrus orchard with just two ponies, though. We couldn’t make the payments for the house, so we had to sell most of the land. Orange farming was kinda dull, anyway.”
With an audible gulp, the berry seller finished off her third glass of water. She had talked most of the way to the café (which was the very one across from the apartment he wanted, as luck would have it), and told him that her name was Blackberry Jam, or B.B. for short.
Now though, she was listening patiently. “I can see that. Berry farming wasn’t really my bag either, so believe me when I say I know what you mean. Anyway, then what happened?”
Reason took another chomp of his sandwich. “Well, Rhyme didn’t mind selling part of the orchard, but she drew the line at selling the house. She took a job in Manehatten at a local bakery, and I delivered newspapers. Things were looking up for a while, but we just couldn’t keep up with the house payments. A few days later, a pony from the bank came. We tried to explain to him that it was our home, that we didn’t have anywhere else to go, that our dad was buried in a clearing in the woods… But it didn’t matter. Rhyme and I packed up our stuff and moved to a cramped one bedroom apartment in Manehatten, which was all we could afford. We lived there for nearly a year in disgusting squalor.
“One night, I was staying up late, partly because Manehatten is noisy at all hours, and partly because the city lights often kept me awake. Anyway, I overheard a couple of pegasi talking about a few job openings in a quaint little town a few miles away. The next morning, I discussed the prospect of moving away from Manehatten with Rhyme. She was more or less for it, so long as we eventually came back to buy our family home someday. I never bothered telling her that re-buying our house was pretty much just wishful thinking; I was just happy that we had a plan for once.”
Reason started to fidget. “Everything was set up perfectly. Between us, we had just enough money for a single ticket and still have some bits left over to look for a cheap place in Ponyville. I told Rhyme to take the ticket, but…”
Blackberry Jam piped up. “She was stubborn, huh?”
“Yeah, stubborn is one word for it. Rhyme said her job at the bakery paid better than my newspaper route, that she took up less room in our cramped apartment, that she was better suited to put up with our dingy dwelling for another couple of months… And even though all of that was technically true, she still should have been the one to come here, not me. She’s been through so much already…”
The salesmare nodded, saying nothing. Reason then finished, “But Rhyme wouldn’t have it. I could never say no to my little sis, so I packed up and left the very next day.”
The filly seated across from Reason seemed pensive for a reason unbeknownst to the steel-hued earth pony. Just before the silence had started to become awkward, she spoke up.
“So you’re looking for a job then, right? That way you can wire money to your sis so you can both live together here in Ponyville, yeah?”
Reason nodded. “Yup. That’s the long and short of it.”
B.B. started playing with her mane. After a moment, she inquired, “So you’ll be in Ponyville for a while then… right? Like, you’re not just visiting and then turning around back to Manehatten?”
“Humph. I wouldn’t go back to that garbage laden city for a million bits,” Reason snorted.
The sand-hued mare fussed with her wheat colored mane for another minute or so. Just as the silence was beginning to become uncomfortable, she started speaking again. “So did you hear? Princess Celestia is gonna make an appearance at this year’s Summer Sun Celebration.”
“Oh yeah, I think Rhyme mentioned something about that.”
B.B.’s focus was trained intensely on her empty water glass. “I think it sounds like a lot of fun, don’t you?”
“Um… I guess so.”
Blackberry Jam once again started playing with her mane, ending their brief exchange with a hush. Reason was beginning to sense her incredible unease, but had no idea what to say. Their waiter’s arrival was all too welcome.
After paying, the two returned to their table for their bags. Instead of grabbing her own and saying her goodbyes, however, Blackberry Jam sat down once again. Reason very nearly left, but then the salespony spoke at last.
“So, are you going with anyone?”
Reason sat back down across from her. “Going where?”
“To the Summer Sun Celebration. Are you, like, bringing your sister, or… you know, anypony?”
“No. Rhyme has to work. Even if she didn’t, I don’t think I’ll be able to make enough money before then to bring her down to Ponyville. It’s kind of a shame; she seemed excited.”
“Right. But there’s not, like, anypony in particular you have in mind to go with?”
Reason’s attention was starting to re-assign itself to his dream apartment across the street. He shook his head. “Well, I don’t know anyone in Ponyville.”
Blackberry appeared to be struggling with a certain question, perhaps one that a casual observer might be able to anticipate. A more perceptive eye would note that sweat had accumulated on the mare’s forehead, that her front hooves were shaking, and that she could not form words. An x-ray of the young filly’s stomach might confirm that butterflies were present, likely the culprits of her incredibly light headed, queasy disposition.
In short, the scene laid out on the café patio might as well have been a scripted romantic comedy cliché written word for word by some hack playwright; the signs were present, palpable, and obvious to all… except to the gray stallion seated across from her.
Unfortunately, fate can be a cruel, cruel mistress: Blackberry Jam never got to ask Reason to go to the Summer Sun Celebration.
You see, he asked first.
“Hey, do you have to work that day, Miss Jam? We could go to the celebration together, if you want.”
The reaction Reason received was a joyous, enthusiastic, indisputable “yes”.
Perhaps, Reason thought to himself, a bit TOO enthusiastic.
The day ended uneventfully. Reason acquired his new apartment, where he would clean out the attic and inevitably discover his peaceful rooftop, the place where he would sleep his very first night in Ponyville.
But not before writing back to his beloved sister.
Ponyville isn’t as bad as I thought. I’ve already made a new friend; her name is Blackberry Jam. She works on a berry farm (surprise, surprise) with her Mom and Dad, and sells their crop in the market. But she’s not a berry farmer herself; her cutie mark is a musical note with a blackberry as the note head. Her special talent is music. Isn’t that cool? I thought you might like that.
Anyway, I asked her to go to the Summer Sun Celebration with me, since I don’t know anypony else. She was excited. Like, REALLY excited.
I guess I’m excited too, and maybe I’m missing something… but what’s the big deal?
I mean, we’re just going as friends. It’s not like I asked her out on a date or anything. Anyway, tell Mom and Dad I said hello.
Special thanks goes out to UnparalleledGenius and Leah Thompson for making sure that I crossed my t's and dotted my i's.
Most ponies would be able to tell you that the weather team in Ponyville is top notch: cloudless days means not a speck in the sky, the wind speed is always kept in check, and when it rains, it certainly pours. Summer weather schedules typically revolve around mild days, beginning with a not-too-chilly morning which leads into a delightful warm noontime and ending with the soft, cool air of night.
The disclaimer for “not-too-chilly” mornings, however, is that one usually is prepared for them. Typical fashion of this is generally that one is in bed during the cooler portions of early day.
Reason did not possess the foresight for this weather pattern, especially since nopony in their right mind would sleep outdoors in Manehatten. Even the ponies that did not have anywhere else to stay for the night managed to seek refuge in an abandoned factory or hospital; the unpredictable downpours coupled with the temperature rising and falling like a two year old playing with a thermostat meant that nopony was safe when the Manehatten weather team was on duty. If he hadn’t spent all night gazing at the stars and thinking about the wonders Ponyville might have in store, he might have thought back to some of his more unpleasant weather episodes and at the very least would have brought a blanket with him.
With a shiver and a sneeze, Reason awoke to his second day in Ponyville. And as he would later write to his dear sister, “it all went downhill from there”.
After a quick bath to warm himself (as well as remove any unsightly roof grime), Reason set off from his apartment. Yesterday’s big mission was to find a place to stay while he was in Ponyville; today, Reason was bound and determined to find a job.
To Reason, a job was a temporary, ethereal thing. He had never been able to stick with a single one, unlike his sister. In spite of his good intentions, Reason would receive the short stick: it was always “we just don’t need anymore ponypower at this time; we’ll have to let you go” or “you’re doing a great job, but there’s a pony better suited for your position”. Reason considered himself a realist, so to him special talents seemed to equate marketable job skill, and cutie marks were the billboards for enterprising ponies to gawk at while on the prowl for their next big hit.
Then there was Rhyme: her views on cutie marks and special talents always bordered on the romantic, which Reason found infuriating. She was an accomplished artist of the written verse, and had successful hobbies both in singing as well as painting. Rhyme believed that a pony could accomplish anything, and was not bound to their special talent if they choose not to be.
‘That’s why she’s so good at writing, but still works at that ridiculous bakery,’ Reason thought bitterly. ‘Anypony with HALF Rhyme’s talent could be famous, and at the very LEAST moderately wealthy!’
Before he could reprimand himself for thinking ill of his sister, however, some idle words from the café across from his apartment caught his ear:
“The Summer Sun Celebration… Ooh! I can’t wait!”
“What do you think Rose has planned for the floral arrangements? She has SUCH an eye for color!”
“Hey Junebug, have you been having issues with your mail lately? I think some of mine got mixed-in with yours.”
“Where did you get your mane done? It looks fantastic!”
“I’m telling you Bon Bon, I think I bought the wrong mattress. You got yours at Davenport’s, right? My back is all kinds of messed up…”
“Did you hear? Fancypants is recently single and looking for love! He’s so dreamy!”
‘Gossip again?’ Reason thought, ‘Don’t these ponies ever want to just sit and eat breakfast in peace? Maybe this is like a morning ritual of theirs, or it’s possible that—’
“Did you see that Blackberry Jam girl here yesterday?”
Reason stopped in his tracks. Two mares had inadvertently captured his undivided attention.
“You mean did I see her totally choke in a most EMBARRASSING way? Yeah, I caught the show.”
Eavesdropping is a very poor use of one’s time. In fact, it is particularly ignoble for one to hone in on privately discussed matters regardless of the amount of time one possesses: whether one plans to go job hunting, to peddle their wares in the market, or simply clean up a misplaced saddlebag, there can very seldom be good cause behind invading another’s confidential business.
“Ugh, that girl is SO stupid.”
Slander is not very pretty either.
Reason took a seat in the table adjacent to the seated mares. He ordered a glass of water to appear inconspicuous, then continued to listen:
“Well, ‘stupid’ might be a tad harsh. She seems nice to me,” replied the blue mare with an hourglass cutie mark.
“Oh puh-leeze! That girl is, like, the top of the heap when it comes to stupid!” remarked a cyan earth pony. Her cutie mark was what appeared to be a pink palm tree, which somehow managed to compliment her bizarre 80’s-wear ensemble. “I mean, how dense IS she? That stallion CLEARLY wasn’t interested in her!”
“Really? I don’t know about tha—”
“Trust me: Not. Interested. You should have heard what she was saying, too! I mean, I wasn’t there for the beginning of it, but I heard from Surf that she was being all flaunty and obnoxious! SO disgusting!”
“I don’t remember—“
“And then when I caught the end of it, OH MY GOSH. SO embarrassing! He was all ‘look, I’m just really not that into you’ and she was all like, ‘oh, but we should totally go out’! Can you HAVE any less shame?”
“Did Blackberry really say that?”
“Huh… I guess I must have missed it…“
Reason was ready to depart. While the words being exchanged certainly weren’t true, they also were not hurting anypony. What Reason couldn’t figure out was how B.B. managed to stand that café food twice in one day! He was certainly glad that she was interested seeing somepony, though. The fact that she may soon have a coltfriend made him happy for his new acquaintance. ‘And hey,’ Reason thought, ‘maybe I could meet this guy; Rhyme will flip when she hears I made not just one, but two frie—’
“How could you possibly doubt me? I mean, come on, Blackberry Jam is SUCH a tramp.”
Reason darted to his hooves, the action drawing the attention of not only the two mares discussing his friend, but several tables around him.
With anger in his eyes and a tremble in his voice, Reason shouted at the cyan mare, “Now that is just uncalled for! How would you like it if somepony called YOU a tramp?!”
All eyes were on him.
Including those of a concealed berry salesmare.
Blackberry Jam had gotten a late start. She had spent the better part of last night regaling her sisters with the story of how she had met the “nicest, handsomest stallion ever,” and had not managed to get to sleep until roughly three in the morning.
Each morning, Blackberry Jam typically stepped off the beaten path to the marketplace to say hello to her friend Sugarsnap, but today she was barreling at top speed smack through the middle of Ponyville’s main street. After all, the stall positions in the market are first-come, first-serve; if she didn’t hurry, she would end up having to settle for a spot behind another stall.
A ruckus from her favorite café brought Blackberry Jam to an utter standstill. A small crowd was beginning to gather, and at the center stood Reason, who was glaring down at two seated café patrons. And he did NOT look happy.
Very carefully, Blackberry Jam snuck behind the corner of the yellow house beside the restaurant, and listened.
Sugarsnap was in utter disarray. Thanks to a ludicrously late finish with this year’s Winter Wrap-Up, Ponyville’s pea production positively went to pot. To make matters worse, an infestation of caterpillars had been spotted on its way to Ponyville, and the first troops of what promised to be a large brigade of them had made their presence known. Ousting the little fellows could take close to year’s time, so Sugarsnap tried desperately to salvage the remainder of her crop.
It was a losing battle.
Today was of PARTICULAR rottenness, though. Her best friend, Blackberry Jam, had a habit of waking Sugarsnap up whenever she accidentally slept in, but B.B. had not stopped by today. To any other pony, such a break in routine would cause annoyance and nothing more.
But Sugarsnap had a deep, dark secret: she had never “accidentally” slept-in in her entire life.
The lettuce-green earth pony sighed. How she loved to wake up to the smiling face of Blackberry Jam! There lay true beauty: her soft, wheat-colored mane, her beautiful sapphire eyes, her laugh like the voice of a thousand songbirds… If only she knew!
With another sigh, Sugarsnap trotted briskly toward the market. It was not often that she managed to snag a stall right next to B.B.’s, but if her friend was running as late as SHE was…
“How would you like it if somepony called YOU a tramp?!”
‘Harsh words,’ Sugarsnap thought to herself absentmindedly, ‘but that’s what that café is known for: gossipy ponies, broken hearts, harsh words, and Blackberry J—’
Her train of thought derailed. Across the street was the object of Sugarsnap’s affection, watching with clear interest at the scene taking place at that telltale café.
With lightning speed, Sugarsnap dove into the bushes. Her focus was not on the pony in the center of the rabble, but the pony secretly watching that centerstage pony. And it was absolutely crystal clear to Sugarsnap that B.B. was paying special attention to him, not just because of the rabble gathering at his outburst.
‘I don’t know why she’s hiding,’ Sugarsnap thought in a huff, ‘but if that grey pony is causing her trouble, I will END him! B.B. is MINE!’
A trio of pegasi in the skies above Reason’s apartment was shipping cumulus clouds in from Cloudsdale. The delivery team from the weather factory had left enough clouds in Ponyville’s possession for the next week’s weather, and this particular crew was in charge of cloud distribution as well as counting cloud stock.
One pegasus was gawking at the scene taking place below. Another barked at him to pay attention. Soon, all three started watching the scene, causing a surplus of corralled cumulus clouds to go spilling every which way in the skies over Ponyville.
‘Oh well,’ the burly pegasus in charge thought to himself ‘Nopony will notice a few extra clouds. Somepony else will take care of them by tomorrow.’
And with that, the weather team took an early lunch in order to watch the show below them.
Later, Reason would write to Rhyme stating that the crowd was not actually THAT large, and in fact only consisted of perhaps a dozen café-goers, employees, and an onlooker or two from the street. At the time, though, Reason was absolutely positive that the whole of Ponyville was staring at him, breathing down his neck, and silently judging him.
The crowd was holding its breath. Reason was holding his, and locked eyes with the cyan earth pony. Everypony was waiting for some kind of change in the atmosphere, whether it be a retort, a slap to the face, or somepony coming in to diffuse the volatile nature of the situation. As it stood, it was a moment locked in time, in which adrenaline was at an all time high and the energy of everypony present was practically visible sparking through the air.
Slowly, the pony brandishing a pink palm tree cutie mark spoke. “And, like, who exactly are you? What are you, like, honing in on everypony’s private conversations? Get a life, reject!”
There was no more to say. In only a brief matter of seconds, the crowd’s energy shifted.
Suddenly, there was only one single, collective thought they all possessed. It was a parade of emotions being led by the banner of disappointment:
‘Nothing to see here.’
Reason broke his gaze, beginning to gather up his things silently. But the cyan pony just could not leave well enough alone.
“What are you, like, crushing on Blackberry Jam or something? That doesn’t make her NOT a tramp, guy. That just makes her a tramp, and you a loser!”
The blue mare seated next to her shifted uncomfortably. “That’s not very nice, Turf… Besides, isn’t this the stallion that…”
“Oh puh-LEEZE!” the mare named Turf snorted, “You don’t have to be nice to dorks. This is just proof that what I was telling you is true: she’s totally going after every stallion in town.”
“Um, I don’t think so… I think he’s the only one she was—“
“And as for you,” she glared back at Reason, “You are in SO much trouble. Being rude is, like, excusable, but you totally called me out in front of everypony. My coltfriend is going to kick your flank.”
“Turf! Come on, quit it!” the blue mare begged.
Reason did not hear the rest. He barreled off down Ponyville’s main road, not looking back. Many saw him flee the scene at the café…
…but only Blackberry Jam managed to notice the tears falling from his eyes.
A flurry of emotions bombarded Blackberry Jam. She was energized by the scene that had just unfolded. She was absolutely furious with Turf. She was downtrodden by her newly tarnished reputation. And of course, B.B. felt horrible for Reason.
‘The embarrassment of all of those eyes on him... Oh, poor Reason!’ she thought, holding back a tear or two of her own.
There was, however, one emotion buried beneath the others that shined like a beacon, and sang with the voice of angels in a hush just below the cacophony of the rest.
As she watched Reason gallop away, these feelings started to rise to the surface of her mind and engulfed all others. ‘He... defended me... Reason defended my reputation!’ she thought to herself, a grin slowly forming on her face. ‘It’s almost like... we’re already dating!’
Without a moment to lose, Blackberry Jam called after the grey stallion, “Hey Reason! Wait up!”
It took Sugarsnap a moment to fully piece together what had just occurred. Turf had inadvertently incurred the ire of not one, not two, but three ponies all at the same time. More importantly than that was the fact that B.B. appeared to be noticing the colt at the receiving end of that embarrassing verbal beat down.
A silent fury boiled inside Sugarsnap. ‘How dare that gossipy witch call Blackberry a tramp?! B.B. has never even dated anypony! Turf can just go—’
Just then, B.B. took off after the strange grey colt with his weird leaf cutie mark.
Sugarsnap swiftly joined the pursuit.
Reason wanted more than anything to really give Turf a piece of his mind. Unfortunately, he had a prior engagement with an earth pony couple that owned a sweets shop called Sugarcube Corner. While his sister Rhyme had had the courtesy to write ahead to the Cakes inquiring about potential job openings, she had neglected to mention to Reason that she had done so until her previous letter. He had only found out this morning that he needed to be at their establishment at noon.
Reason slowed his pace as he approached the gingerbread building. Some dust had gotten into his eyes, causing them to water uncontrollably.
‘Boy, I hope these two don’t think I’m sick or something. The last thing I need is to lose a job to imaginary allergies’ Reason thought to himself.
Unfortunately, the Cakes were not in at the moment. A note had been posted on the door:
Gone to Canterlot for baking supplies. Back in two days.
Mr. and Mrs. Cake
Reason was disappointed. ‘They must have forgotten about my interview. Oh well, I’ll try some other venues. Maybe there is a bulletin board somewhere with job postings.’
In a cloud of dust, Blackberry Jam suddenly appeared beside the grey colt and very nearly knocked him flat on his flank.
“Watch where you’re... Oh, hey B.B. What’s up?”
The sandy-hued earth pony managed to catch her breath just enough to reply before lapsing back into wheezes and gasps for air. “Saw... Turf yelling at... café... wanted to see if you... were... alright...”
Reason kept distractedly glancing between the Cakes’ closed sign, as well as a peculiar green pony at the brink of his vision headed at an alarming speed in their direction. “Hmm? Yeah, no, I’m okay. Missed a job opportunity, but I think there might be some kind of community bulletin board or something around h—”
In a split second, Blackberry Jam appeared instantaneously revitalized. “Oh, totally! There’s one at the mayor’s office, and there’s usually some fliers hanging up in the market! You can come with me, if you want. I still have to set up for today, even though today’s pretty much half over already.”
“That sounds great, actually. But I do have two questions, Miss Jam.”
Blackberry Jam batted her eyelashes. “Please, call me Blackberry. Or B.B., since we’re such good friends.”
“Alright. B.B., Turf was saying some pretty nasty things. There is one thing that I managed to pick up on, though.”
“Yesssss?” Blackberry said. Her mind was racing. ‘This is it! Everything is happening quicker than I’d ever dreamed! It’s like a fairy tale!’ she thought, trying not to squeal aloud.
“Blackberry... is there somepony that you’re interested in? Are you seeing somepony right now?”
“Why, you could say that, yes.”
“Alright, that brings me to my next question. Blackberry Jam...”
Now B.B.’s mind was absolutely on fire. ‘Oh my gosh! Wow! He’s going to ask me out, we’re going to go on a date, and it’s going to be absolutely perfect! Reason is such a gentlecolt!’
She looked deep into his emerald gaze. He stared dreamily out at the horizon, then looked into her own aqua-colored eyes. Blackberry thought she might faint.
“Blackberry Jam... why does that green mare keep glaring at me?”
“Of course I w — Hwa?! Uh, I mean...”
A quick glance behind her revealed Sugarsnap, whose demeanor shifted on a dime from absolute stone-cold loathing to perky and enthusiastic.
“Oh! This is my best friend, Sugarsnap! She’s here because... um... because...” Blackberry looked puzzled. “Wait, why are you here? Why aren’t you at the market?”
Sugarsnap wore a comical look of incredulousness. “Why, B.B.! When you didn’t stop by this morning, I got worried that something had happened to you, darling.” With an equally overblown look of surprise, Sugarsnap then offered a hoof in a Reason’s direction. “But enough about that. Who’s your friend? I’ve never seen him in Ponyville before.”
Before he could introduce himself, B.B. cut him off. “This is Reason! We only just met yesterday, but we’re already really good friends! He’s taking to Ponyville really well!”
Reason interjected, “I just moved here from Manehatten, but I’m not really a resident of Ponyville. I hope to be one day, once I can afford to move my little sister here.”
“Well, any friend of B.B.’s is a friend of mine,” said Sugarsnap, sweetly.
The three earth ponies parted ways. Reason spent the rest of the day looking for job openings, but Sundays in Ponyville were not exactly the day to do so.
That night, Reason recounted the day’s events in a letter to Rhyme:
My Dear Sister,
Today was pretty awful. I woke up late, and with the makings of a cold, no less. Everything went downhill from there.
Somepony at a local café called the only friend I’ve made here a tramp, so I really let her have it. Now, there wasn’t a huge crowd present, in retrospect. Still, it felt like all of Ponyville was watching the two of us. I’d hate to give the town the wrong impression! I just got here! That mare was nasty, and said such awful things about Blackberry Jam... I had to do something!
As if that wasn’t bad enough, I missed my job interview. Well, technically the Cakes just weren’t home, but even so. I will have a job by tomorrow, I guarantee it. Even if it’s just me cleaning gutters or something.
The fun just kept coming, though. Remember that mare that called out Blackberry? Well, she had made a threat about her coltfriend coming to kick my flank. I had thought it was just an idle threat, but on the way home today, I sort of ran into the gentlecolt. It wasn’t some big ruckus or anything; he just blindsided out of a back alley, suckerkicked me in the face, and says “Nopony calls MY girl a tramp!”. Then the fellow ran off before I could get a good look at him.
For the record, I never called her a tramp. My exact words were, “How would you like it if somepony called YOU a tramp?”. Long story short, I am now the proud owner of a black eye.
My second day in Ponyville was pretty darn rotten, I have to say...
Reason rubbed his bruised cheek with a hoof. The day had gone pretty poorly indeed... except...
As he was lying on the street after being jumped, Sugarsnap and Blackberry just happened to be on their way back from selling their wares for the day. They had gotten him an ice pack and an eye patch. Heck, ponies they passed by were even impressed with Reason; apparently not everypony would go hoof-to-hoof with Turf in a shouting match. Kind words and affirming winks followed the trio, and Reason was in such high spirits that he invited his new friends to his rooftop to watch the stars.
They had only left about an hour ago; Reason wanted to finish the letter to his sister before he too turned in for the night.
My second day in Ponyville was pretty darn rotten, I have to say.
Thankfully, I already have such great friends to make even the worst days that much brighter. I can’t wait for you to meet them!
Special thanks goes out to UnparalleledGenius and Leah Thompson for making Letters From Ponyville shiny and readable.
Reason awoke in his own bed for the first time since he’d moved to Ponyville. He was astounded by how good he felt, despite the day he had just been through. Spending some time on the roof of his apartment had been nothing short of therapeutic, and chatting idly with his new friends really bolstered his attitude.
‘There is still something that bothers me, though. This town seems so... divided,’ Reason thought.
And it was true: after yesterday’s incident at the café, Reason was met with cheers and affirmation. By contrast, this morning he was greeted with five rather unpleasant notes written in glaring red ink slid under his door. Most of them centered around the notion of “going back where he had come from” or “leaving Ponyville business to Ponyville”. Without so much as a precursory glance, he tossed them into his garbage pail.
While the sentiment from these anonymous ponies stung, Reason did not let them sway his resolve. Today was a new day, and there were jobs in need of a colt like him!
‘Besides, with two wonderful new friends by my side, there’s nothing anypony can say that will stop me!’ Reason thought triumphantly as he strode through the door.
Blackberry Jam loved to talk, so his new friend Sugarsnap was a nice change of pace. That mare seemed really eager to be friends, what with her constant smiles and explosive laughter.
Reason felt like he could take anything Ponyville could throw at him.
For the first time since she had taken over the family tradition of selling produce in the market, Sugarsnap slept in.
Once again, Blackberry Jam had not stopped by to wake her. This instantly brought her mood down. Groggily, she slid off of her mattress and planted her hooves on the hardwood floors of her cottage. Sugarsnap trotted to her nightstand, where there stood a photo of herself and Blackberry Jam at last year’s Summer Sun Celebration. She brushed a hoof over B.B.’s visage, then grunted in frustration.
“I just don’t know what she sees in that stallion!” Sugarsnap shouted to nopony at all. “B.B. barely paid any attention to me on that idiot’s stupid roof. And he just kept talking right back to her, like the rest of the world just didn’t exist at all!”
‘And... I know stallions. They’re all exactly the same, after just one thing. That’s how I know that Blackberry Jam can do better. She needs somepony that cares, somepony that understands her...’
Sugarsnap finished her thought aloud. “Blackberry needs somepony like me. That... ugh... stallion... had better keep his dirty hooves off my Blackberry!”
The leafy-colored mare glanced at the antique grandfather clock in the hall. It read a quarter to noon.
‘Too late to get a spot at the market. Maybe I should take a day off to clear my head? I haven’t had a vacation in ages! Oh! I’ve always wanted to try that one spa...’
With that, Sugarsnap forgot all about Reason, her mind aflame with the possibilities of a brand new day. Her mother had always instilled in Sugarsnap the notion of an honest day’s work, but then again, her parents were vacationing in Baltimare indefinitely.
‘And besides, dedicating just one day to myself won’t hurt anypony, right?’ Sugarsnap thought, a grin forming on her face.
“So how much for the ‘Full Physical and Mental Recovery’ treatment?” Sugarsnap inquired. She had seen Aloe once or twice at parties, but her sister Lotus was a different matter entirely. Sugarsnap had walked into the spa thinking Aloe had dyed her mane and coat for some bizarre reason. Thank goodness for secretarial name plates.
Lotus grinned. “Twenty four bits. However, Aloe and I are running a special for new customers today only: a fifty-percent discount on all services for anypony that signs up for our Preferred Customer Discount Card and weekly newsletter! You get the full course for a mere twelve bits, and you receive fifty percent off all services for the first month as a trial. With it, you’ll get access to special promotions, and--”
Sugarsnap was not listening at this point.
‘Twelve bits?! I can’t believe my luck! I should take a day off more often!’ she thought.
“I’ll take it!” Sugarsnap shouted. She pulled her money pouch from her saddlebag, and carefully counted out twelve bits.
“Perfect! Aloe will take you to our Tranquility Sauna, and I will be with you in fifteen minutes for a relaxing massage that is guaranteed to make your worries drift away!”
Sugarsnap was lost in thoughts about her own good fortune, so much so that she nearly ran headlong into a white unicorn exiting the room where the spa siblings did their hooficure work.
“Watch where you’re going! You almost made me chip a hoof!” the white unicorn said with a glare. After examining her snow-white hoof and concluding that there were indeed no flaws to be found, the unicorn turned to add something more.
Sugarsnap’s head was in the clouds, as they say, so she just kept on walking right past the unicorn.
“Stuff it, princess. Nopony is going to ruin my day! Celestia herself doesn’t have the power to shake my good mood!” Sugarsnap called over her shoulder.
The white unicorn fumed for a brief moment, perhaps contemplating pursuing Sugarsnap. With a shake of her head and an audible “hmph!”, the unicorn continued her way out of the spa.
From her desk, Lotus caught the short exchange. Once Aloe had led Sugarsnap into the sauna, Lotus spoke to the unicorn mare. “I apologize for that, miss. She really should have been watching where she was going.”
“Oh piffle, I don’t blame you, dear. But really! Sometimes I wonder about this town! It’s just a good thing Fluttershy wasn’t with me today; you know how upset the poor dear gets.”
“Did you still want to schedule a mane-dying with next week’s appointment?” Lotus asked.
The white mare let out a huff, running a hoof through her stylish violet mane. “No, I don’t think so. Suddenly green hair doesn’t seem so appealing. Let’s just stick with the usual course for Fluttershy and me, alright?”
“Can do, miss.”
After visiting two clothing stores, two construction sites, a sweets shop, and a local café, Reason finally managed to strike paydirt: a help wanted sign hung listlessly outside of a run-down diner.
At first, Reason thought the place was closed: there were wooden planks crossed over two of the diner’s windows, paint was chipping from every wall, and there did not appear to be a customer in sight. As he pressed his ear to the door, Reason could definitely hear the sounds of a restaurant inside, so with a deep breath he trotted in.
There were a grand total of six ponies visible in the restaurant upon his entry, five patrons and a single waitress. They ceased their various conversations when the tiny bell over the entryway sounded. For the second time in two days, Reason had every single eye on him in the middle of an eating establishment.
The waitress was an older, bubblegum pink unicorn wearing a filthy white apron. She cantered up to Reason flashing a toothy grin.
“Hey there, hon! Just go ahead and take a seat wherever ya like. I’ll be with ya in a few to take your order.”
Reason obliged, taking a seat nearest the back. He could still feel the presence of eyes on his back, but at the very least these were the eyes of idle curiosity instead of hostility. He found this to be a nice change of pace.
After a brief moment, the pink unicorn returned to his table. She levitated out a quill and notepad. “My name’s Sunny. I’ll be ya waitress this afternoon; what’ll it be, hon?”
Reason cleared his throat. “Well, I wanted to ask about the sign outside--”
“Oh! You want a job?! Fantastic! I’ll go get Pops, you just sit right there!! Don’t go anywhere!!”
The pink unicorn nearly tripped over a metal stool at the counter as she scrambled to what Reason gathered was the kitchen. She smashed through the swinging doors, shouting, “HEY POPS!! YOU GOT A GUY HERE WHO WANTS A JOB!!!”.
Reason ducked his head down, and peaked between the cross planks on his window. Judging by the perplexed looks of ponies on the street, he was absolutely sure they had her yell.
Eventually, Reason began to look around the diner. Three customers had already left, and the last two were waiting impatiently at the register for Sunny to return. He noticed the checkered black and white floor tiles were filthy, the inside needed a coat of paint as badly as the outside did, and that the most interesting thing in the dining area was somewhat of an eyesore in itself: there in the front of the restaurant stood a small stage with ripped red curtains, a sleek, black grand piano off to one side. Even if it was the cleanest, most effective implement in the diner, it looked very lonely amongst its shoddy surroundings.
“So you’re looking for a job, eh?”
The voice startled Reason, causing him to kick his table with a forehoof. In front of him sat perhaps the oldest pony Reason had met since coming to Ponyville: the fellow was an olive-green pegasus with bushy grey eyebrows that matched his even bushier grey mustache. He wore a little brown bowler cap tilted to the side of his head, and had on a brown and blue knit sweater on.
“Yes, uh, if you’re still hiring. My name’s Reason.”
The grizzled pegasus scratched his chin with a hoof. “Reason... Reason... Hmm. Are you new in town, lad?”
“Yes sir. I just arrived a few days ago.”
“Right, right. So... what do you think of Ponyville so far?”
“Um, it’s... alright, I guess. Most of the ponies here seem pretty nice.”
“Most are, most are...” The pony known as Pops twirled his mustache with a hoof, then un-twirled it. He repeated this act several times. “Do you think you’ll be staying very long, m’boy?”
Reason shifted uncomfortably. “I’d like to. I mean, once I get some money saved up, I’d like to move my sister here--”
Pops raised a hoof to silence him. “Now, now, we’ll get to payment in a minute. Just hold on. Have you worked in a restaurant before? Any experience dealing with customers?”
“Not exactly. My parents ran a citrus orchard, and I used to sometimes go with my mother to sell in Manehatten.”
“Hmm. Manehatten. Not at all like Ponyville’s market, huh?”
“So that’s where your sister is now, I take it? Back home with mom and dad?”
“Well, no. She’s living in an apartment by herself right now. Our parents have both passed away.”
The olive pegasus patted Reason’s shoulder with a hoof. “I’m sorry to hear that, lad.”
“It was quite a while ago. I’m all that my sister has left. That’s why I want to bring her here to Ponyville.”
“Hmm. Your sister, huh... She ever been to Ponyville?”
“Oh yes. She was just a foal, but she visited once with our mother. Maybe you’ve met mom? Lemon Drop? Yellow mare, candy bowl full of little lemons for a cutie mark?”
After a bit more chin scratching, Pops shook his head. “Nope. Can’t say I have. But let’s get back to business for a minute, huh? Can you cook?”
“I... I used to make most of the meals for Rhyme and I back in Manehatten, yes.”
‘And wasn’t that a disaster,’ Reason thought with a shudder.
“So... what does your cutie mark mean, if you don’t mind my askin’? Leafy branches? You good at garden work or something? The front could use a bit of landscaping--”
Sunny could contain herself no longer. With a leap, she jumped onto the counter and pointed a hoof at the ancient green pegasus. “Oh for Celestia’s sake! Will ya just hire the kid already, ya old coot?! We need the help in the worst kinda way!!”
As if waking from a trance, Pops shook himself. “Hm? Wha- huh? Right! Welcome aboard, Reason! Consider Pop’s Place your home away from home!” With an enthusiasm unprecedented for a stallion his age, Pops grabbed Reason’s right forehoof and shook it vigorously with both of his own.
Once Reason had concluded that his leg was both still in its socket and worked more or less as it had before it experienced Pop’s welcome, he spoke. “Thank you so much. Hardly any place is hiring in Ponyville, it seems. This means a lot.”
Pops waved a hoof dismissively. “Probably ‘cause of the Summer Sun Celebration. Anyways, let me introduce you to the crew. That there’s Sunny Side,” he pointed at the waitress, then continued, “and right here’s the cook, accountant, owner, operator, janitor, and spokespony for Pop’s Place.”
Pops did not point out any other ponies.
“Right. Pops, you mean to tell me you two run this entire place by yourselves?”
“Well, I can’t afford to keep nopony else. This old place just don’t rake in the customers like it used to. Sunny’s my niece, so she helps out when she can.”
“Beats the heck out of workin’ construction,” Sunny added.
While Reason would have been fine bantering with the two older ponies for the better part of the day, he did still have a mission.
“So when can I start?” Reason asked.
Pops trotted behind the counter, then flipped a mop with a wing at Reason’s hooves. “Right now. It’s four bits an hour, and closin’ time is nine p.m. everyday. We open at six.”
‘Four bits an hour?! That’s outrageous!’ Reason fumed.
The pegasus continued, “You’ll be waitin’ tables, cleaning up after customers, and we might even get you started cooking by the end of the week. I’m just gettin’ a bit too old to run the whole show by m’self.”
Between clenched teeth, Reason managed to ask, “So if I’m waiting tables, that means tips are included in my pay, right?”
Pops let out a hearty laugh. “You kiddin’? Every bit that comes in goes to keepin’ this place afloat. Now, if business kicked up, that’d be a different story. Why, we could clean this place up, get some new seating, fix the holes in the roof, hire some prettier waitresses... Hey. Why haven’t you started moppin’ yet? Come on, boy! You’re on the clock now!”
Sugarsnap was in a state of bliss. The sauna had been a small slice of paradise, the massage was likewise a divine blessing.
However, it was unable to follow through on Lotus’ promise of “melted worries”.
“Something the matter? You’re looking a little pale; did you not like the sauna?” Lotus asked. She was midway through easing the tension from Sugarsnap’s shoulders using precise hoof motions.
Sugarsnap let out a long sigh. “Oh, I don’t know. Is your sister around? I feel a bit uncomfortable talking about this sort of thing.”
Lotus began carefully massaging Sugarsnap’s back. “Aloe’s working the desk right now. C’mon, sometimes all you need is a good listener. What’s on your mind, Sugarsnap?”
The earth pony farmer released another sigh. “There’s just so much happening right now, Lotus. My folks, my brother, my friends...”
“Well, let’s start at the homefront: what’s the deal with your family? Everything okay?”
Sugarsnap let out a snort. “Yeah, if by ‘okay’ you mean ‘absent’, sure. Mom and dad are in Baltimare for the third time this year. They’ve been going up north every year since they got married, but they haven’t been by the farm in almost four months now! I can’t keep taking care of it by myself! And my brother... If I never see that stallion again, it will be all too soon!”
“Oh, you don’t mean that. I know living with siblings can be tough, but--”
“That’s the problem! I don’t live with him! Snowy LEFT! He’s gone!”
Lotus gasped. “Snow Pea?! But everypony loved him around here! Why would he leave?”
“Beats me! About a week after mom and dad left for vacation this last time, I wake up and find a note on the door that says, ‘Off to join Canterlot Royal Guard. Love, Snow Pea’. That’s it; no explanation, no way of contacting him, no NOTHING! Stallions are all alike: heartless cowards, and that’s BEFORE they leave you all alone in a big, empty farmhouse...”
Sugarsnap stopped yelling, and wiped a tear from her cheek with a hoof. She sniffled a little, and Lotus offered her a tissue, patting Sugarsnap’s hoof empathetically all the while.
After Sugarsnap had regained her composure, she continued, “And... and if it weren’t for Blackberry Jam, I’d still be in that big, empty farmhouse... She used to come by and talk to me, or bring me a jar of their homemade jam. We’d eat sandwiches on the porch and gossip about Ponyville, or how pointless colts are... she just... she was there for me.”
Lotus piped up. “Blackberry Jam? You mean, that mare with the quarter note cutie mark?”
Sugarsnap sniffled again. “Yeah... She’s my very best friend...”
‘I just wish she knew that...’ Sugarsnap thought sadly.
Reason laid back on his roof. Even though the day had virtually come to an end, ponies were still milling about getting the first preparations for the upcoming festival touched up before they called it a night.
His first day at work at been a nightmare: agonizingly slow at the beginning, followed by an absurd dinner rush that had him cleaning the entire restaurant until fifteen minutes after closing. The stars were just beginning to twinkle on the horizon.
The café across the street apparently catered to late-night coffee enthusiasts; even now, Reason could hear the ponies chatter:
“This Summer Sun Celebration is going to be the best one in Ponyville history!”
“You aren’t going to dye your hair green anymore? But Rarity, you were so excited about it. What changed your mind? Um, that is, if you don’t mind my asking...”
“Look Honeybun, I’m not saying I don’t want to have kids...”
“Has anypony seen Junebug? I think I’ve got some of her mail.”
“Where’s our waiter? We’ve been here for over an hour!”
“Don’t worry, Scootaloo. Miss Cheerilee says sometimes it takes a while to get your cutie mark. There’s other kids that don’t have ‘em yet. That unicorn over there has a little sister, I hear. Maybe she doesn’t have her’s yet either? You should talk to her!”
“Delivering mail is so much fun! Everypony is super nice, and I just love when their face lights up when I give them a letter!”
Reason was beginning to get a headache. As much as he wanted to watch the stars tonight, he decided to sleep in his own bed. After all, tomorrow marked his first full day of work.
‘If it means helping Rhyme, I’ll do this silly job,’ Reason thought. ‘She seemed pretty excited about meeting everypony... and I think I’m pretty excited about her meeting them, too! The sooner, the better!’
With a soft sigh, Reason trotted back into his apartment, and crawled onto his bed. As he drifted off to slumber, a soft smile covered his face.
Special thanks goes out to UnparalleledGenius and Leah Thompson for keeping me sane and fixing my grammatical mishaps.