• Published 9th Jul 2013
  • 1,974 Views, 242 Comments

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Stories and poems too short for individual publication (including some award-winning minifics).

  • ...

Why I Left

Author's Note:

This was my second entry in the June 2014 "Long Way Home" writeoff — where I figured I would try to push the boundaries of the competition. (My first entry will be expanded and later published as a standalone fanfic.)

The way that the writeoffs are structured, the stories are published anonymously until after voting is over; the lead-in to this story played off of that fact, hinting that perhaps the author actually had stumbled across the competition by chance. Overall, it was an interesting experiment.

A pony site talking about a "long way home"? Jesus. Now I remember why I haven't clicked on "I'm Feeling Lucky" in sixteen months.

Well, I'm already here … might as well register a throwaway account. I know this is a bad idea, but maybe … maybe … this means it's time to explain why I vanished from the fandom after Las Pegasus Unicon.

Anonymously. You won't believe it anyway.

(Names changed, etc.)

It wasn't the beating I took on the "Unicon Bits" they made dealers accept. Sure, that's what my last post said, but it would have been easy to get reimbursed later from LasPegAssist. No — when the con fell apart, my big problem was getting home. 1,733 road miles to New Orleans.

Getting to Las Vegas was no problem — I caught a ride with my friend "Bill," who was moving to San Jose. I didn't think getting back would be an issue — I'd arranged with some NOLA bronies to jump in their van when they left Monday morning. When the con cratered, though, everyone's communications went haywire. "Ted" asked "Jim" if I still needed their ride, Jim thought Ted said I'd caught another ride, "David" heard from Jim I was okay, Ted assumed David had talked to me, and so they bailed midday Sunday while I was arguing with the hotel about the double-billing on my room.

Come Sunday night, my cell phone's dead, I can't find my fellow yats anywhere, and I'm wandering the empty halls of the Riviera convention center with no room, no cash, and no plan.

I'd turned to glance at something when I literally bumped into him. Sharp grey suit, mismatching horns, one leather glove and one latex claw-thing. The first thing I saw was the eyes — one ice-blue pupil, one wide red one. I remember thinking that was an awfully cool contact lens.

"I'm sorry," I said.

He looked me up and down, then lifted his hands and tugged at his lapel with an enigmatic smile. "Are you? I'm Discord."

I chuckled; it was just strange enough to be in character. "Nice cosplay," I said. "Too bad nobody else is around to see it."

He leaned in conspiratorially. "Nobody else needed to be. Listen, Sorry: Red 23." Then he straightened up, clapped his glove on my shoulder (which made me jump), and shook my hand vigorously with that weird claw. It was disgustingly clammy, and for a moment I thought I had gotten a latex sweat bath, until I looked down and realized that there was a wad of damp green paper in my palm.

He was already strolling away as I unfolded the wad into a grimy $20 bill. "Hey, wait," I said, looking back up, and he was gone.

What would you have done? $20 would have bought me dinner; $700 meant enough cash for a hotel room and a plane ticket home, and I wasn't technically out anything if I lost. So I checked my luggage at the concierge desk and walked into the casino.

Took me a bit to find the roulette tables (way in the back, past the slots and the video poker). I bought a $20 chip and watched. One of the tables hit 00, which seemed like as good a time as any to test my luck, so I leaned in and slid the chip straight into the middle of 23.

It lost. Black 11.

But there he was, standing right behind me as I turned to leave. "You listened to me!" he crowed. "Nobody ever does that. You're special, Sorry, I can tell. So let's do each other a little favor — what do you say?" He sipped the muddy drink he was holding and winked at me.

At that moment, I had the most incredible urge to pee I've ever had in my life. I stammered something I don't remember and literally sprinted for the bathroom. It felt like I was emptying my bladder for minutes.

Then I walked out … into a different casino.

Harrah's New Orleans.

My luggage was on my front porch when I walked home. It was Wednesday the 27th.

So, either some maniac drugged me for three days and drove me home, or else I owe a favor to the last being in the universe you want to owe a favor to. Either way, I'm too scared of pony to return.

Just, listen … if you meet him at a con, for God's sake don't apologize.

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