I slammed my fifth drink down on the bar. “Another beer,” I said to the barkeeper. Rare Rocks used to be the coolest club in all of Canterlot; every night it was completely packed as ponies came out to hear the best jams, and I played there pretty much every weekend. Ponies came out to hear me jam. Now, it had turned into a boring corner pub, with maybe thirty ponies total in it.
“What happened to this place?” I asked as a gray stallion filled my mug.
He shrugged as he put the tap away. “New clubs opened downtown, ponies drifted over there, and the owner decided to turn the place into a bar when business dried up. Club ponies are fickle, but bar ponies, they find a place they like and they stay there.” The barkeep gestured at the other ponies in the bar. “I can tell you the names of over half these ponies, and I can tell you when almost all of them will be in the bar next. You got to have consistency when you’re running a business, and it’s easier to get a consistent stable than keep tryin’ to catch up with what’s popular.”
“So, do you know what’s popular now?” I asked, downing my beer. “Kind of want to get back into the Canterlot nightlife and figured this would be a good place to start. Then it turns out the whole club got old and boring.” Why would anypony prefer this to a banging nightclub? I mean, nightclubs just feel so much more alive and vibrant, it’s like everything awesome in the world is packed into them and things just seem better. The beer is fresher, the mares hotter, the music louder. This bar was like the opposite of that.
“Considerin’ that you’re askin me for my advice and drinkin’ my beer, maybe you could not go ‘round insultin’ the place I work. If you do, I might feel like givin’ you an answer.”
“Fine,” I said, rolling my eyes. “For a boring bar, this place is pretty nice. It’s just not as cool as a club.”
“Impressive compliment,” he said, glaring at me. “While tryin’ to say somethin’ nice about the bar, you managed to insult it two more times. You know, maybe it wouldn’t hurt a punk kid like you to show some respect.”
“Screw you,” I said, feeling my cheeks burn with anger. “I showed you my ID, you know I’m thirty-four, so why are you calling me a ‘punk kid?’”
I tossed him half the bits I owed and stormed towards the door. “Your beer sucks anyways, don’t know why I wasted so much time here. If I wanted to spend my vacation being boring, I would’ve stayed in Ponyville.”
“Yeah, well f–” I slammed the door shut to the bar shut and marched down the Canterlot streets. It was almost three in the morning, the bars would be closing soon, and all my old stomping grounds had gotten just… unbelievably boring. What the hell? After an hour of pounding the pavement looking for something cool to do, I heard the throbbing of a bass calling to me. Anyplace that played the bass loud enough for me to feel it in my bones had to be cool.
The noise came from a club called Beats. Outside, ponies still swarmed the entrance to get in, while bouncers kept them away. The club’s name was done up in flashy neon lights, and the walls were a plain simple white. I headed towards the entrance like I owned the place. The trick to getting into places like this was to act like I deserved to be there, which was pretty easy for me since I did deserve to be there. I was still Equestria’s best damn DJ and this looked like the best club in Canterlot. Too bad one of the bouncers didn’t get the memo ‘cause he brought his hoof up to stop me from entering.
“Name?” he asked, looking at his list.
“Vinyl Scratch,” I said, meeting his stare with one of my own, “but you probably know me as DJ-P0N3.”
“Oh yeah,” he said, nodding his head, “you used to be a big-time DJ six or so years ago, but then you kind of just faded away. Figured you’d look older than you do.”
I smiled at him. “I age well. Now, are you going to let me in? I want to talk to the club owner.”
“About what?” he asked, tapping his hoof against the clipboard impatiently.
“About playing for their club. Look, I’m having a big comeback, right, and I figure this would be a good starting place. I’ll even play for you on a Monday night just to prove how good at my damn job I am. You don’t have anypony special playing tomorrow, right?”
The bouncer shook his head. “That’s what I thought,” I said, “so let me through, I talk to your boss, and then I give you a free DJ-P0N3 show. Sound good?”
After a few seconds, he sighed and gestured me through. “Don’t make me regret this.” Like I said, act like you deserve to be there. It works every bucking time.
The club owner stared at me after I finished giving him my offer. He was a big fat pony, his coat a bright purple, a disco ball on his flank., and his mane was yellow. “So, you want me to bump our regular DJ to give a washed-up has-been a second chance?” he said at last.
“Hey, do I look like a washed-up has-been to you? I’m young, I’m hip, and I’m offering you a free show. Think about it, you spread the word that DJ-P0N3 is doing a show for you, and you’re gonna get some turnout,” I said, barely keeping my temper in check at his washed-up has-been comment.
“Yeah, from old ponies still clinging to the last remnant of their glory days. We want new fresh blood in this club, not dried-up old scabs,” he said, as the club shook from the throbbing bass. Each beat ran up my spine and made me shiver in excitement. I hadn’t been in a club like this since…
Since I met Tavi, I thought suddenly, recalling our fight. Was I maybe a bit harsh? Yeah, but whatever, she should have supported me, and since she didn’t, I deserve to take some time out to ‘think’ like she did. If that thinking involved me spending a few days in Canterlot, that wasn’t my fault. It was hers for being such a stuck-up snob. Like, I still love her, but why can’t she have a bit of fun? That’s all I wanted. Instead she gave me some line about “needing time to think.”
“Hey,” I said, narrowing my eyes at him. “I’m offering you a free show, and if you don’t want to advertise, you don’t have to. Just let me come on stage tomorrow, do a few songs, keep the energy in the room up, and if I do a good job, maybe hire me some time in the future. That’s all I’m asking, and I think that deal helps you more than it helps me. Like, free entertainment, that’s every club’s dream.”
He rubbed his head for a few seconds before finally talking. “Alright, I’ll give you a shot. You got one hour tomorrow night at 10:00, can you do that?”
I nodded and smiled, my face practically cracking in two. “Hell yeah, I can. I promise you the best show you’ve ever seen.”
“That’s a pretty big promise. You deliver on that, and I promise there’ll always be a spot in the club for you.”
I spent most of the next day playing whatever, listening to any popular song I could find to try to get a hoof on the pulse of Equestria’s music scene. Tonight was my big comeback, and I was going to make it kick some major flank. Tonight, ponies would know that DJ-P0N3 was back in a big way. I briefly found myself fantasizing about all the young mares that would be in the club tonight before shaking off those thoughts.
Even if I was incredibly pissed at her, I was still married to Tavi, and I wouldn’t throw that away for some hot young mare who didn’t look like a blimp. I mean, I guess the baby bump was kind of cute, but sometimes a mare just wants a pony who is tight and nimble in all the right places. Anyways, I wasn’t going to throw away my marriage with Tavi for a night or two of insane fun.
Who’s to say she has to find out? a part of me whispered. The part of me that was only interested in having as much fun as possible and damn the consequences. I really wanted to listen to it, but that would… I shook my head and went back to listening to the records I had purchased that morning, planning out my set list for tonight, smiling to myself as I did. Tonight was going to be awesome.
The rest of the day passed with me in my hotel room, playing my music as loud as I possibly could without getting hit with a noise complaint from my neighbors. I needed it to be loud to properly enjoy the music, but some ponies just couldn’t appreciate that and instead had to complain about their eardrums, or how they couldn’t sleep. This was important, and I couldn’t stop just because other ponies were inconvenienced, even if that other pony happened to be my wife. Once I got to be a big name again though, it would all be cool. If I could just get her to drink some of the potion, maybe she would understand. I made a mental note to find some way to protect our child from its effects when I gave it to her.
The club’s bass was throbbing as I approached, banishing whatever worries and doubts I had; tonight I was going to kick flank, and nothing could stop me. The bouncer waved me through and I headed towards the owner’s office. It turns out his actual name is Strobe Light. Amazing how he can be older than me and still run the coolest club in Canterlot. Guess it’s just proof that you can still get old without being boring. I mentally cursed Tavi for doing that to me. Yes, I loved her, but I didn’t want to get boring with her, I wanted to make her cool. Or maybe I did, I mean, it seemed so nice to just spend time with her, to have a stable life, to just be happy with what I had, but now all that stuff seemed so incredibly boring. It was like I had just woken up from some weird dream where I was somepony else.
“Hey,” I said, nodding my head at Strobe Light. “You ready for me to rock you and this entire club so hard ponies can’t get my beats out of their head for the next few years?”
He laughed as I took my seat. “You’re confident, I’ll give you that. You think an old mare like you can keep up with what ponies want these days?”
“Do I look like an old mare to you?” I asked, raising an eyebrow as I put my magenta-tinted goggles on.
“Nope,” he said. “I actually was a bit curious about that. You’re only a decade younger than me, but you look like you’re my daughter’s age. You sure you’re actually thirty-four?”
I nodded. “I just age really well. I don’t feel a day above twenty. I mean, I’ve got so much damned energy I don’t think I need to sleep. It’s pretty awesome.”
“Well, bring some of that energy up on stage with you; you’re gonna need it. The crowd out there can get pretty restless if they don’t like what they hear, and if that happens you gotta take care of it or get off the stage,” he said, opening the door to his office and pointing me to the direction of the DJ booth as the MC took to the microphone.
“Mares and stallions, may I have your attention please. Beats has arranged a surprise for you all tonight, for one evening only, we have the one and only DJ-P0N3 ready to play for you tonight, so give her a big hoof.” As he spoke, I walked towards the stage, listening to the murmuring of the crowd. I heard a few “who’s” and at least one “I thought she was dead,” but that didn’t matter.
What mattered was that they remembered me after I finished. I looked across the sea of faces as I took to my booth and recognized the look on their faces. It was the look of a pony used to the best. Nothing I can say will convince them that I am the best DJ in Equestria, I thought as I flipped through the record selection and put the first two records I had selected on their separate turntables, so I guess I will just have my music do the convincing.
Have I mentioned how much I love DJing yet? It’s like a game; I stoke their flames and get them pumped up until they are on the verge of exhaustion, and then when they can’t take much more, I give them a little breather so we can go even harder next time. You got to have good taste and a keen eyes, keeping track of how the crowd looks and giving them exactly what they need before they know they need it. They don’t even know you’re there, but you pull their strings and keep the party going.
When my set ended, I was mobbed by groupies of all sexes, but most of them vanished pretty quickly to get back to dancing when I said I was married, leaving only a yellow unicorn mare with black mane who looked maybe a year or two older than I currently did. “Can I buy you a drink?” she yelled, working to be heard above the music and gesturing to the bar. “Technically, I can drink for free, so I guess it should be ‘Can I get you a drink?’” She laughed at that.
“I know,” she said, wrapping a foreleg around me to turn me back to the bar. “But see, I grew up hearing the great DJ-P0N3’s fusion records, and dreaming about meeting you. Then you play here and I figure the least I can do is buy you a drink. Nothing will happen unless you want it to, and if you do want it to, I will do whatever you want.” The mare smiled at me and I felt a prickling warmth spread across my body. She reminded me of all those mares I used to date, the ones who worshipped me and would do pretty much anything I wanted. Not like Tavi who had to be difficult about everything.
“Sure, I suppose one drink wouldn’t hurt,” I said, smiling at her. “But only if you tell me your name.”
She giggled as we approached the bar, and I noticed the image of a martini glass on her really amazingly tight-looking flank. “I’m Clubber Lane,” she purred, “and I promise this will be the best drink you’ve ever had.”