From the author: A collision between fantasy and reality....
LITTLE PONY RIDE 2, 266 words
By David Perlmutter
If I had only known it from the start, I could have taken the right steps to prevent things from getting out of control. But, as usual, I got left out of the loop until it was too late. My friends put too much faith in me, always believing that, somehow, I, Midnight Glitter, have made some sort of pact with the equestrian gods that requires me to save their asses every time they screw up. I’ll admit I’m a good sorceress, all right, but not that good. But they never believe me.
When I got up that morning, they were all around me, at my front door. At first, I thought they just wanted to hang, since they seemed their normal selves. Floaterflip was hiding behind the nearest tree, Scarcity was checking the size of the rocks on her hooves, Moonshine had her cowboy hat on at its usual rakish tilt, Brainsblown Smash was up in the sky spreading her wings, and Cherry Tart was hopping around like her bladder was going to burst if she didn’t piss right away. All in all, typical pony behaviour for us typical pony girls here in Gymkhana.
It was only when I realised no one was actually talking that I felt the need to.
“All right,” I demanded. “What is it?”
That brought a torrent of words across my ears that overwhelmed me.
“HOLD IT!” I shouted, which brought silence again.
“Let’s deal with this thing one problem at a time, okay?” I continued. “I’m only one filly, damn it! Don’t give me more than I can handle right now!”
That particular phrase would, unfortunately, simply be wishful thinking for the next little while.
I queried the group and soon, to my horror, discovered that each of them had been roughly turned out of their lawfully owned homes by a group of strange creatures calling themselves “Am-er-icans”, or some such thing. Each of these invading groups had come, they claimed, from out of the doors of their cellars earlier that day, said that they now “f****n’ owned” my friends’ properties, and drove them away with a variety of weapons I’d never heard of before.
“I couldn’t do anything about it,” Floaterflip moaned. “They yelled at me. What defence is there for that?”
“My spring collection is in tatters,” Scarcity blustered. “They ransacked my supply of fabrics!”
“Dang busted varmints stole all my apples!” Moonshine grated. “Not to mention my seeds. How’m I gonna feed us all now?”
“Some a-hole shot some little pellets at me!” said Brainblown. “Nearly took me out for good.”
“They took my mouth organ and threw it in LAKE MUSTANG!” Cherry said rapidly, grasping my cheeks as she did. “How am I gonna entertain people now, huh? HOW?” Oddly, she seemed more emotionally distraught than the others, but she’s usually like that, anyway.
I wrenched Cherry’s hooves off from my face and whinnied for their attention again.
“Look, girls,” I said. “There has to be some logical explanation for all this. We’re threatened on all sides all the time in Gymkhana. Somehow or another, there are forces at work that don’t want this bucolic, all-female horse utopia to exist peacefully!”
They gasped in horror.
“I’m sure that this is just one of those occasions,” I said, reassuringly, “and it’s only a matter of time before….”
“So you’ll talk to them?” shouted Cherry.
“Well,” I said, “I suppose….”
“I knew we could count on you, Midnight,” said Brainblown, coming down from the sky. “You’re the only one of us who’s tough enough to fight them. Besides me, of course, but I don’t want to deal with those ugly bastards!”
“Wait a minute!” I said. “I never said…”
“Yay, Midnight!” said Cherry Tart, as she embraced me in a constricting bear hug.
“Cherry, you IDIOT!” I gasped. “I need air!”
She released me and I fell on the ground.
“Sorry,” she added, as an apologetic coda.
“All right, already!” I said, preparing to leave. “I’ll talk to them, since none of you seem to be pony enough to do it YOURSELF! But don’t expect me to….”
The last part of my speech was buried under their euphoric cheering. I brushed flecks of dirt out of my purple mane and stalked off.
I discovered the interlopers on what had formerly been Moonshine’s land. They were a strange group of creatures, walking only on two legs rather than four, who seemed only to have hair on the top of their heads and nowhere else. My first attempts to get their attention proved to be futile, so I had to get tough.
“HEY, M**********S!” I shouted at the top of my voice.
That got their attention, for sure. Particularly that of the creature who seemed to be in charge of the group, who ordered all of the people under his charge to point their strange weapons at my head.
“I mean….” I said, nervously, “welcome to Gymkhana!”
“....on that!” said the group’s leader. “You in America, now, bitch!”
“Am-er-ica?” I drawled phonetically. “Never heard of the place!”
“You little...!” the soldier said. He was about to have the unit fire on me, but an older being who appeared to be the soldier’s superior ordered him and the other soldiers to “stand down”. The soldier and the other being argued about “infringing” on each other’s territory, but when the older creature threatened him with something called a “court martial”, the soldier and his associates withdrew their weapons and left me alone with him.
“I’m Agent Strathairn, FBI,” the older man said to me. “And you are…?”
“Midnight Glitter,” I announced proudly. “2ND Degree Mage Of The Mystic Knights Of The Royal Equestrian House Of Gymkhana, And Personal Deputy Of Her Royal Highness Princess Celestina In The Conduct Of….”
“I only wanted your goddamn name,” interrupted Strathairn. “The rest of that means nothing to me!”
“Your FBI, sir,” I countered, “means less to we citizens of Gymkhana than the droppings from our collective ASSES! And it will mean even less if you do not…..”
“You are not in a position to dictate terms to us,” Strathairn replied. “The United States Of America does not negotiate with TERRORISTS!”
“HOW DARE YOU!” I blazed. “We are loyal citizens of our realm, and we do not resort to…”
“We received word that Al-Qaeda has infiltrated this territory,” Strathairn interrupted me, very firmly. “Until such time as we can neutralize this threat, this entire territory is effectively American soil, and you will subject yourselves to….”
“Are you implying that you have CONQUERED Gymkhana?” I blazed again. “Because we would not have submitted without a fight!”
“Please,” Strathairn said, arrogantly. “That is such a nineteenth century concept! We simply wish to use your land for our purposes….”
“Does that include BANISHING MY FRIENDS from their HOMES?” I shot back.
He did not answer me.
“How did you figure out how to come here?” I continued. “Because if you figured out how to come here, you can damn well….”
“America can do whatever it fucking WANTS to protect itself!” he interrupted me. “And, if that means taking some pithy land from some bitchy FOALS who make trouble for us, or breeding you and your terrorist friends to the U.S. Army’s stud horses to shut you up, then so be it!”
FOALS? Breeding us? Oh, no, he didn’t!
“YOU SON OF A BITCH!” I screamed.
Before he could do anything, I leapt, teeth bared, at his throat. I wasn’t big enough to land on it, but I bit him in one of his fingers, and hit him enough times with my hooves when he hit the ground that I might have killed him, for all I know. But his screams and my snarls and whinnies of rage got the attention of the other beings.
“Get that...UNICORN before she kills us all!” was the cry, and I was forced to flee for my life as they shot their weapons at me.
With blood stains on my hooves, I ran, and I was able to make my escape to my house before they were able to wound me. The others were still there, waiting for me, when I arrived.
“INSIDE!” I ordered. “There’s not a moment to lose!”
We entered the house, and bolted the front door with furniture so they couldn’t get in. Or so we hoped.
“Spook!” I called for my lizard assistant bookkeeper. “SPOOK! Where are you, you damned…?”
“You’re standing on my tail,” he said.
“Oh,” I said, embarrassed. “Sorry.”
“No need,” he said. “I know what happened.”
“How?” I said.
“I saw the first bunch of those foreigners come out of Scarcity’s cellar this morning,” he said. “I tried to tell you, but….”
“But what?” I responded.
“You said you were…busy.”
“I was. I was trying to…”
“You knew about it, you little fool?” Scarcity was outraged. “And you didn’t try to…”
“What could I do?” said Spook. “You know I’m not….”
“Look, it doesn’t matter!” I interrupted. “We have to stay together on this! Like always!”
They murmured agreement.
“Spook,” I said, “is there any spell in the master spell book we can use against these Am-er-icans?”
“One,” he said. “But it’s pretty dangerous. It’d involve all of you, and it might kill you if it goes wrong…”
“We’ll have to take that chance,” I said. “You willing, girls?”
“If we gotta do it to get them varmints out of Gymkhana,” said Moonshine, “I say yeah!”
Nobody disagreed with her.
“Open the door and get out of here, you...pieces of....!”
The soldiers had, by this time, caught up with us, and this cry, accompanied by the sound of weapons being loaded and other actions of that kind, was clearly designed to insult us, and draw us out to attack them. We did, but not in the way they would have expected.
After the command, we exited, all of us wearing our magically powered tiaras and the sparkling robes Scarcity had designed for all of us as a token of her esteem many moons ago. Cherry set the tone for things by coming out at the head of the line, beating steadily on her conga drum- one of the few of her performing instruments that the invaders hadn’t confiscated- chanting to the god Equus, while I- as the mage of the group- came out last, with my spell book cradled around one of my hooves. The others surrounded me, amid the laughter and gawking of the foreigners, I prepared to begin the chant the spell we needed for this occasion. The problem was, Cherry started overdoing it with the beating and the chanting, like she usually does with everything, to increased sniggering. The rest of us had to bark her name at her in order for her to quit it, and then I began.
“We, the free ponies of Gymkhana,” I said, “have endured the taunts and threats of you invaders long enough, and we intend to counter you on terms which are our own- and not yours!”
“Now wait a minute….,” said an authoritative voice.
“SILENCE!” I commanded, and advanced threateningly, along with the other ponies. The invaders backed away from us, but only for a moment.
“You will not speak to the military and intelligence forces of the United States of America with such….,” the voice answered me back, ignoring my command entirely. But I cut him off.
“FOOLS!” I snapped. “You know not what forces we have at our command, nor to what lengths we will go to remove you from our land!”
“Even we don’t know!” said Cherry Tart, unhelpfully.
“Would you SHUT UP!!!???” Brainblown Smash said to her.
“We will not stand for you speaking to you with such an impudent intent….” said the voice.
“That goes for you, too, ya f**s!” said Brainblown. And she flapped her wings briefly, creating a gust of wind that blew them back, just as my words had. Only temporarily, again, though.
“I take it that you will not leave our realm at our command,” I said.
“We will not,” said the voice.
“And you will not return our property to us, as we requested?”
“We will not.”
“And you have every intent of annexing our territory to your land, without our assent, simply because you believe that some so-called “terrorists” may be hiding in our midst?”
“We do have that intention.”
“Then you will FACE OUR WRATH!”
The other ponies surrounded me, and we linked hooves. We also linked our internal magical energies that would gradually come to create the force and light we needed. We began by slowly chanting “depart” until we reached the climax, when we screamed “DEPART! DEPART! DEPART!”, and flung our combined magical energies at the invaders….
Well, Princess, I’ll admit that it was a bit of a struggle for us to clean up all the blood, gore and melted metal that was left after we obliterated the Am-er-icans, but we got it done together like the pals we are. We also took careful steps to start filling our cellars and removing their contents, so that they can never try to bother us again. Yeesh! Autotune himself never gave us that much trouble, and he’s never actually tried to kill us, like the Am-er-icans did.
Anyhow, I have to go now, Princess. Cherry Tart says that she found a group of beer-drinking lunatics calling themselves Can-ade-eans in her attic, and she needs my help. Sigh! Here we go again….
This story originally appeared in Cellar Door (2015).
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