• Published 22nd Sep 2013
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The Man in Black - Eagle



Johnny Cash introduces Equestria to Country.

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Ain't No Grave

“Johnny?” Pinkie said. “That’s a funny name.”

“I don’t see how,” Johnny replied. “Well, my full name is John R. Cash, if that makes it better.”

“Hm…nope! Still funny!”

“Well, what’s your name, then?”

“I’m Pinkie Pie!”

Johnny chuckled a bit.

“Now see? That’s a funny name.”

“Hey, my name isn’t funny!”

“Relax, Pinkie,” Twilight calmed her. “He’s obviously not from around here, so maybe names are different where he’s from.”

“Seems that way,” Johnny said. “You mind if we go inside someplace? It’s pretty hot out here.”

“Sure,” Applejack replied. “Our farmhouse is just a ways away.”

“Thanks.”

He put the guitar back in its case and stood up, stretching his muscles.

“Wow, you’re pretty tall,” Rainbow observed.

“I guess it’s just cause I walk upright, but let’s continue this inside.”

The group made their way back to the house. Cash spent the time looking around and finishing his apple. For the most part, it was just apple trees for miles.

He also saw that some of them had horns on their heads, indicating they were unicorns. One of the pegasi was also flying instead of walking. He wondered what else inhabited this strange land.

“Granny and Mac are sleepin’ right now, so it’s ok for him to come in,” Applejack said. “I’ll explain it to them later on, you want somethin’ to drink?”

“Water, please,” Cash asked, sitting down on the couch in the living room. “Thanks for the help.”

“No problem,” Twilight replied. “It’s not every day we discover an entirely new alien species.”

“Huh, so I’m the first human you’ve seen?”

“Is that what you’re called?”

“Yea. Well, we have lots a names, but let’s just keep it simple.”

“Then, yes. You are,” she said. “How did you get here, anyways?”

“I died.”

This answer seemed to take Twilight and the others aback.

“Really? Cause, you’re kind of…alive right now,” Rainbow said.

“Well, I did die back on my world at the age of 71. Now, I’m here,” Cash explained. “Though I’ll admit I expected something else, this seems nice, too.”

“What were you expecting?”

“I’m not exactly sure, but I had an idea. Clouds, seeing all my dead loved ones, a warm presence,” Cash said. “I’m not too sure, but I wasn’t expectin’ this.”

“Are you sure, mister?” Pinkie asked.

“Yea, I’m pretty sure,” he replied. “Maybe I’m a ghost right now.”

“Well, we’ll save that for later,” Twilight said. “Let me introduce everypony else; I’m Twilight Sparkle.”

John couldn’t help but chuckle again, gaining an annoyed look from Twilight.

“I’m Rainbow Dash; bestest, fastest, coolest flyer in Equestria!” she exclaimed, doing a loop in the air.

“You certainly are a firey one, ain’t ya?” Cash asked rhetorically. “Be careful; that pride can get you killed.”

“Killed? Geez, you think pretty dark, huh?”

Cash didn’t bother to respond.

“I’m Applejack,” the Earth Pony said, tilting her hat at him.

“Y’know, you remind me a lot of the folks back home,” Cash observed. “Culturally, I mean.”

Before Applejack could ask how, Pinkie got up in his face.

“I’m Pinkie! But you already knew that, huh?”

“Couldn’t forget.”

“It’s going to be super fun having a welcoming party for you!” she said, jumping up and down. “You’ll have to make sure to tell me what you like. Oh, I get to be the first pony to throw a party for a human!”

“A party, huh? Well, I don’t see why not. Sure sounds like fun.”

“Great! This will be the best party you ever had, just watch!”

The next one to approach was a pure white unicorn.

“Rarity,” she said simply. “And I must say your clothing is quite…interesting; though it looks quite dashing on you, darling.”

“Well, thank you miss,” he said with a smile. “It’s always nice to meet someone so kind and ladylike.”

“Oh, well thank you, sir. Would you mind stopping by at my place of business sometime? Your clothing is very…intriguing.”

“All right, I’m sure I could.”

The last one shied away when Johnny turned to her.

“I’m…um…Fluttershy,” she whispered.

“You ain’t scared a me, are you?” the singer asked. “C’mon, take a seat next to me. I promise I don’t bite.”

Fluttershy whimpered, but slowly, timidly, took a seat on the couch next to the human.

“See, I’m not so bad, huh?” he said.

Still, she was shaking quite a bit. He tried rubbing and scratching her head and neck, somewhat like a dog’s, to calm her down some. She stopped shaking, but still didn’t look at him any.

Johnny sat and listened and drank at the glass of water while Twilight continued to talk. Each one seemed to have an interesting personality trait that stuck out. Still, for some reason, he couldn’t get Twilight’s use of ‘everypony’ out of his head.

“Well, it’s nice to meet ya’ll,” he said when they finished. “I trust that ya’ll can show me the local customs.”

“Of course,” Twilight said. “First, we need to know some more about your species.”

“Well, we need to eat certain things for their protein; things like meat, fruits, vegetables, fish, etc. We need air and water, though I think that goes without sayin’. A few other things, but nothin’ immediately important that comes to mind.”

“Well, we don’t usually eat meat here, but I do know the Griffons have good recipes,” Twilight said.

“You have Griffons here, too?”

“We have lots of different species here.”

“And are they all intelligent like you?”

“Most of them are, yes.”

“But, no humans?”

“No, nothing like you.”

“Well who takes care of you?” he said. “I mean, who feeds you and rides you and everything?”

“We can take care of ourselves,” Rainbow answered. “And we don’t let others ride on us!”

“What good is a horse that you can’t ride on?” Cash said to himself.

“Well for one thing, we’re ponies,” she replied.

“Well, alright then,” Cash answered. “Ponies.”

“Correct; well, it can be broken down into unicorns, pegasi, and earth ponies,” Twilight said. “But, our species is generally referred to as ponies.”

“If unicorns exist here, I’m assumin’ magic is real here?”

“That’s right,”

“Hm, well I guess I ought to keep my mind open here.”

He finished his glass and set it on a stand to the side, clearing his throat.

“There is one thing that’s been bugging me; what was that instrument you were playing when we found you?” Twilight asked.

“You mean my guitar?” he asked. “Well, I suppose it makes sense that ya’ll have never seen one.”

“Well, we have stringed instruments, but I’ve never heard of that one.”

“That’s ‘casue you need fingers to play it,” he explained, taking it out and showing it to them.

“That’s what you call your appendages?”

“Yes, and they’re attached to my hands, which are attached to my arms.”

Cash brought his guitar to rest on his leg. He demonstrated how he positioned his fingers from one chord to another; his left hand gliding and switching between the different combinations. His right hand held the pick, moving up and down and sometimes picking individual strings.

“It sounds beautiful,” Rarity remarked. “How does it do that?”

“Well, each string is tuned to make a different sound,” Cash explained, running down each slowly to show them. “Pushing down on them at different points make different sounds, and there’s a ton of combinations to play with.”

“Could you play us a song?” Applejack asked eagerly.

“Oh, yea! I love music and dancing!” Pinkie shouted. “Could you play us something? Pleeease, please please please!”

“I don’t see why not,” Cash replied. “Hm, this one seems appropriate for my little situation here.”

“Ain’t no grave can hold my body down,

There ain’t no grave can hold my body down.”

“Well, that was…something,” Rarity replied. “It was a bit depressing.”

“I lived a rather depressin’ life, ma'am.”

“Who’s Gabriel?” Twilight asked.

“He’s an angel in my religion,” Cash explained.

“So, you have religion in your world, too?”

“Yea, several,” he stated. “I’m part of a group called Christians.”

“So your species has several different religions?” Twilight asked. “Could you explain them to me?”

“I’ll save that for another time. How’d ya’ll like the song?”

Each had a different opinion; though all liked to one degree or another, they also agreed it was a bit depressing.

“Well, I don’t just do sad songs, I know some happy tunes.”

“Oooh, could you play a fun one next?” Pinkie asked.

“Sure, I know one to pick you up. This was one of my first songs, back from when I was just startin’. It feels like so long ago, I can hardly even remember now. Hm…alright, yea. Ok now.”

“It only costs a dime,

Just a nickel a shoe,

It does a million dollars’ worth a good for you!

Get rhythm!

When you get the blues!”

“Yea, that was great! I could dance to that!” Pinkie exclaimed.

“I gotta say, I’m really enjoyin’ this music,” Applejack admitted. “What do ya’ call it?”

“Country, though it can be broken down a bit more,” Cash replied.

“Well, I’m lovin’ every bit of it!”

“That’s nice,” he replied. “I always like seein’ folks enjoy my work.”

Indeed, they all seemed to enjoy it more; even Fluttershy was happily bobbing her head next to him with a warm smile.

“Ok, it’s getting late, and I really need to write to the Princess about this,” Twilight said.

“So your government is a monarchy?” the singer asked.

“Yes, what’s yours like?”

“The citizens usually elect the leaders. And those leaders are restricted by rules; in our country, at least.”

“Well, Princess Celestia is restricted by a few rules, but she’s very generous and kind,” she explained. “We do need to find a place for you to stay for now.”

“He can stay here,” Applejack said. “The couch is long enough for him, and he’s already here anyways.”

Johnny made a note that Southern hospitality must exist here, even if there was no South.

“Well, thanks for volunteering, Applejack,” Twilight said. “I’ll come back tomorrow, Mr. Cash. Sleep well.”

“You too, night.”

The other five left the house and exited into the night. Cash hadn’t even noticed how late it was, or how tired he was. He let out a long yawn, and Applejack took the hint.

“I think it’s time we both hit the hay,” she suggested.

“Yea, I don’t think I can stay awake for much longer.”

“I’ll bring down a pillow and some blankets for ya’,” she said. “And I’ll probably have to explain this to the rest of the family. But, I’ll save it for tomorrow.”

“I think it’d be best to do it now,” Cash suggested. “I don’t want someone comin’ downstairs, seein’ me, and freakin’ out over it.”

“Yea, you’re probably right. I hope you don’t mind waitin’ a bit.”

“Not at all.”

As Applejack trotted up the stairs, Cash lay on his back on the sofa and kept thinking. He knew he was dead, but why was he here of all places? Was this somehow part of God’s plan? If so, what was it? And what about June and all the others he knew that had passed on; would he ever see any of them again?

Cash thought on for a long time. Eventually, blanket or not, sleep overtook him and his eyes shut. It wasn’t long before he was awoken again by the sound of creaking stairs.

“Sorry it took so long,” she said. “The others just wouldn’t believe me at first until I brought ‘em to the stairs and they saw you sleepin’ there.”

She giggled a little.

“You should’ve seen the looks on their faces. But, anyways, you’re welcome to stay here as long as you like.”
“Thank you.”

“It’s no problem at all,” she assured him, handing over the pillow and blankets. “You need anything else?”

“No I’m fine. You go on and go to bed.”

“Alright then, you sleep good.”

“You too.”

Cash again lay back and pulled the covers over him. He did a quick check to make sure his guitar was on the floor next to him where he left it. He really didn’t want to lose that.

As he turned back, his thoughts were different. He began thinking about this world specifically. What else was out there that he didn’t know about? What would he do? What happens if you die here? Do you go to some other crazy world?

At long last, the singer swatted away the troublesome thoughts and shut his eyes. He focused on nothing but sleeping. It worked and again, he fell into a deep sleep.