Thirty Dollars

by Ezn

Step Right Up

Thirty Dollars
by Ezn

"Step right up, step right up, ladies and gentlemen, for the journey of a lifetime! See the wonders, the grandeur, the magic of Equestria, all for the low, low price of a mere, paltry, pathetic thirty dollars!"

Bjorn’s legs were pumping like pistons as he raced up to the entrance of the Ponytorium. The announcer, a ginger-mustached fellow dressed in an outfit not dissimilar from Flim and Flam’s in season two, episode fifteen, smiled broadly as he skidded, panting into the front of the line. Bronies behind him groaned loudly and muttered curses. Breathing heavily, Bjorn pumped a fist in the air.

"Looks like you’re out first customer today, sir," the Flim – or was it Flam? – looking person said. "Do you have your thirty dollars?"

Bjorn did – the notes were crumpled in his sweaty palm. He thrust them into the man’s face, and the man took them gingerly, doing little to hide the revulsion in his features. Quickly forcing a smile, he pulled open the small, pink-painted door that was the only public entrance of the Ponytorium. "Alrighty then!" he said. "You can go in now. Enjoy Equestria!"

Bjorn leapt through the door with a hop, skip and a jump. He was so excited. He’d never been this excited. Soon, very, very soon, he’d get to meet all his favourite ponies in the magical land of Equestria. He'd get to meet them personally, in the flesh. There was one pony in particular he was really looking forward to meeting.

After walking through a pink-lit corridor and opening five doors, each of a different colour – yellow, orange, purple, cyan and then white – Bjorn emerged on a small room with a big chair in the middle. The walls, ceiling and floor where all painted pink, naturally.

Some official, smart-looking people in labcoats and We Love Fine t-shirts greeted Bjorn and strapped him into the chair. He extended a bro-hoof to the lady with the "fus roh yay" shirt that matched his own. Before he could call to mind a pony-themed pickup line or a suave suggestion to talk about their mutual favourite character over coffee, he suddenly remembered something far more important.

"Hey, cool shirt, but, um, you guys got the order of the doors wrong," he said to her. "It's supposed to be orange first, then yellow, then pink, and so on, like the order in which the mane six bested Nightmare Moon's challenges and revealed their elements in the pilot episodes."

"We'll look into that, thank you," she replied politely, giving one of her associates a sidelong glance. "Now hold still."

Bjorn complied, and as the thought that he was on his way to Equestria finally sank in, a wide grin broke across his face and he forgot all about the canon-defiling door order. The people in labcoats buzzed around him, setting up various pieces of equipment and tying things to his arms and legs. He thought he heard one or two of them ask him something, but he was far, far too excited to speak.

"Okay, I'm going to put this on you, just take deep breaths," someone said, swiftly strapping an oxygen mask over Bjorn's mouth.

Bjorn did as he was instructed, drawing slow breaths in and out, in and out. Before long, he smelled a sweet, overpowering scent, tasted something sugary, and everything went dark.


Bjorn opened his eyes again. Big lavender irises greeted his eager gaze. Although he could not force himself to tear his gaze from them, in his peripheral vision he could clearly see wooden shelves full of books and circular windows gazing out into a sky bluer than blue. With his ears he heard the fabled singing of birds and cheerful laughter of fillies and colts playing in the park. His nostrils picked up a faint lavender scent, and what was surely the smell of Spike making waffles in the downstairs kitchen. He nearly fainted.

"Hello there!" Twilight said enthusiastically. "I’ve been waiting for you to wake up!"

When he heard Twilight’s voice, Bjorn gasped in a breath of air, and then did faint. His head flopped to the side and his tongue lolled out of the corner of his mouth. Her voice was exactly like it was in the show.

"Hey?" Twilight asked, concerned. "Are you okay?" She poked him in the arm, and then started shaking him, but got no response. She opened one of his eyes with a forehoof. The lid slid back down with no reaction from Bjorn.

"Oh, not again!" she sighed. "Spi-i-ike!"


"It’s happened again," Nurse Redheart droned. "I don’t know why, but these creatures keep appearing here, and they keep doing this. It’s like there’s something about being in Equestria that just makes them go completely catatonic."

Twilight frowned and lowered her gaze to the floor. "It’s really upsetting. If only one of them would just stay awake long enough for us to find out what they are and why they keep coming here... None of it makes any sense! Are they trying to make contact with us? Have they had some weird spell cast on them? Why do they keep coming here when none of them ever stays conscious for more than half a second?"

Redheart and Twilight stood in silence for a moment, before the former suddenly brightened up and stepped to the side. "Look on the bright side," she said, grunting with effort as she hefted Bjorn off the bed. "As I always say, the way they stiffen up makes them excellent coatracks."

Guided by Redheart, Bjorn's feet glided to the floor and planted there. With a little effort, she had him standing straight up, rigidly. Two slaps of her forehooves lifted his arms, and they stuck out just as rigidly from his sides. "This one must have room for at least two on each arm!"

Twilight’s eyes remained hard. "But Redheart," she replied gravely, "Rarity’s running out of coats to hang up."