• Published 8th Oct 2013
  • 3,234 Views, 170 Comments

Repair and Deliver - SleeplessScribe

If there are two things Torque loves more than anything, they're helping people and mechanical work. When a worker shortage forces him to move to Ponyville, he meets a young filly with a struggling mother that allows him to do both.

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Chapter 3: Friend Date

Repair and Deliver
Story 6
Chapter 3: Friend Date
By: SleeplessScribe

She tilted her head, furrowing her brow. “What do you mean by that?”

All I did was shrug, grinning at her confusion. “I’ve already made a few friends in my time outside. Cheerilee, Rarity, Ditzy Doo-“

Sparkplug clapped her hooves together. “Oh snap! I totally forgot about her! She’s been having a problem with her oven and asked us to check it out earlier today.”

Admittedly, I was kind of eager to see that pegasus again to see how she was doing, so I immediately threw up my hoof. “I’ll go. Where’s the destination?”

I found that she had pinned my map of Ponyville up to the wall right next to the door connecting the garage and office. She touched the spot marking the shop and traced her hoof past the town hall, stopping on one of the buildings on the left of the “circle” formed by the empty land between the town hall and all the houses.

“She lives right in here. I’d be careful if I were you, Torque. I don’t have anything against Ditzy, she’s a big old sweetheart, but she’s not the most… coordinated of pegasi. Just watch your head when you’re around her.”

I rolled my eyes at my cousin. “We’ve already met. I’m not too worried about it. You’re right, Spark, she’s a real sweetie. I actually look forward to seeing her again.”

In fact, I was so eager, I was already out of the door before my cousin could give me in details, and she had to grab me and pull me back in. Sparkplug gave me some possible essentials for the oven job such as replacement parts and downsized tools that could actually fit the small spaces I may or may not have to work with. Once I was properly equipped, I was off.

Ditzy’s house was actually rather nice, though it did look a little small. Not that that was a bad thing; small was cozier in my opinion.The entire place had that rustic look to it, which I personally was a big fan of. Light red bricks made up the walls, though the concrete foundation was slightly visible beneath it. All the windowsills were white, and looked very good against the brick. Ditzy apparently had a knack for gardening, as well, given the somewhat uneven flowerbeds on either side of her door.

I waited a little bit after knocking on the door, and after said little bit, the adorable pegasus opened it. Her googly eyes widened as a bright grin crossed her face. She wrapped her forelegs around me, practically smothering me in her hug.

“Oh Torque, that was such a sweet thing you did for my little Dinky! Oh thank you so, so much!”

Now my eyes widened as connected the dots. “Wait a second, you’re Dinky’s mother?”

She gave me a quick nod, still keeping me wrapped in her embrace. “I am, and I can’t thank you enough for what you did for my sweet little daughter! Torque, how can I ever repay you?”

A few things came to mind, but I just had to go for the option so cheesy I needed some wine to go with it. “All you have to do for me is stay cute! Well, that and don’t let anyone’s words bring you down. So, where is the little munchkin?”

Ditzy giggled a little before leading me inside. My curiosity was piqued now; she seemed to be walking just fine despite the lack of coordination both my cousin and Ditzy herself had spoken of. The little unicorn was in what looked to be the living room, considering the coffee table, reclining chair, and sofa. She had a hold of a small stuffed puppy, bouncing it up and down on the sofa like it was running.

The pegasus rapped her hoof on the doorframe lightly to get her daughter’s attention. “Dinky, we have a visitor.”

She turned around and jumped up, running to me and hugging my leg. “Mister Torque! Thanks you Mister Torque! Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon didn’t mess with me all day! Thanks you, thanks you lots, Mister Torque!”

This was probably the most adorable child ever, I’m just putting that out there. “Aw, you don’t have to thank me, Dinky. It was only right that I give you some food, it’s no fun going hungry or being bullied.”

The filly shook her head slowly before returning to her toy. “Nu uh, it’s not fun.” She picked up the puppy and showed it to me. The poor thing was missing an eye, and its tricolor body had various rips in it. It was a little dirty too, so it made me wonder how long she’d actually had it for.

She flashed me a bright smile and held it in the air. “It’s okay, though! I have Mr. Wags to keep me company, and momma always has time for a hug!” After a little giggle, she wrapped herself around my leg again. “And now I have you too, Mister Torque!”

“Yes you do, sweetie.” I gave her a light pat on the head as she let go of me again.

Ditzy gave her an affectionate nudge with her muzzle. “Okay now, Dinky. Mister Torque is going to fix up our oven, and when he’s done, I’ll make a nice batch of banana nut muffins.”

Her eyes lit up when she heard this and her front hooves met each other in an excited clap. “Really? Oh yay, yay, yay! Momma, your muffins are the best!”

She nudged her daughter again, giving her a kiss on the forehead. “Go play, sweetie, we’ll be done in a jiffy.”

Dinky nodded her head once, taking Mr. Wags back to the couch as the pegasus nudged me. “Shall I take you to the kitchen?”

My focus was still on the unicorn, but eventually I managed to turn back to me friend. “Sure thing, Ditzy, but do you mind if I ask you something?”

“Oh, no. Please go right ahead.”

It was kind of surprising that she didn’t ask if it was about her eyes, but a yes was a yes. “How long has Dinky had Mr. Wags? The toy looks like it’s seen a few rough years.”

Apparently today was also national nod your head day. “Dinky’s always wanted a pet dog, but my job at the post office only pays so much. She’s eight now, and she’s had it since she was four or five, so at least four years.”

Ah, that brought back some memories. “Dogs can be a handful sometimes. We used to have one back home. It was a big old yellow lab named Tucker, but he was about as mean as a lunchbox. That dog couldn’t growl at someone to save his life.”

My friend let out a low “Aaaw” before taking me through another door and into the kitchen. It wasn’t much, but it was enough: a square dining table with a seat on each side, a sink on one side of the room, and a refrigerator across from it, and an oven with a cooktop stove and a microwave next to it.

Ditzy gave me a moment to look around but apparently gained an interest in my story. “Do you still have him?”

I had to shake my head at that one. “No, he got out a couple months ago and started chasing a squirrel. We searched for days, but we never could find him….”

“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that….” Her eyes shifted from side to side. To be honest, it was a little hard to keep from chuckling. Not because it looked like she was having a hard time, but just because it looked a little silly. “Anyway, the problem I’m having is that the oven won’t heat up. Do you think you might know what’s causing it?”

Her telling me that really didn’t help. There were quite a few things that could cause this, and I’d have to test every single possibility until I found the source. I opened up the oven and looked around, but nothing caught my eye right off the bat. Ohm meters, at least back in Vanhoover, were standard tools to be carried at all times, and as I shuffled through my belt, I hoped it was the same here in Ponyville. Luckily it was, and I pulled the device out and set it on the counter in front of the microwave.

“Ditzy, I’m afraid you’re going to have to have something replaced, regardless of what the problem is. It’s most likely the oven igniter or the bake or broil elements. Those are the most common parts that end up failing in ovens. The good news is that none of them are extremely expensive, and if it’s the igniter, I actually have a new one with me. Not only that, but if it is just the igniter, you’ll only be billed the basic rate. That being said, I’ll try and make this quick so you don’t have to pay as much.”

The pegasus chuckled a little, sitting down at the table. “Thank you, Torque. That means a lot to me.”

“Of course, Ditzy.” The circumstances she was in weren’t all that good, but as I learned that things could have been much, much worse. Upon more thorough inspection, I saw that neither element was damaged, but I took both of them and the igniter out just to be sure. A test on the Ohms meter confirmed both that the elements were not the problem and that the igniter indeed was the issue. Normally one would test it by actually turning on the oven and watching the piece, but I wanted to stay true to my promise.

The really good part about this was that an Ohms test was actually more reliable than just the 90 second test. Reinstalling the elements and replacing the igniter took no time at all, and the oven performed perfectly during the test run.

“There you go, Ditzy, you’re good to go. Didn’t even take a full hour.”

I felt the pegasus wrap her forelegs around me again as she let out a small squeal. “Torque, I really can’t thank you enough for everything you’ve been doing.” Suddenly her eyes lit up and she began to clap. “I know! I’ll fix up a second batch of muffins! Would you like to come by when you get off and have one, Torque?”

With a smile, I returned her hug and gave her a pat on the back. “That sounds very nice, Ditzy. I’d like that.”

She nudged me forward with a wide smile of her own. “It’s the least I can do. Please don’t be a stranger, Torque, my door is always open for you.”

So that made two ponies with open doors for me. This town was shaping up to be a very great place. “I appreciate that. I’ll swing by once I get off, have a good afternoon!”

She was still smiling even as I went through the door. “You too! Bye, Torque!”

Once I was finally back at the shop, I saw that, once again, everyone but Sparkplug was gone, but my cousin was actually working, too. She had a decent sized engine in the garage and, from the looks of it, was messing around with the carburetor.

“Having some trouble, Spark?”

The mare shook her head without turning her attention away. “Nah. Construction guys had a problem with one of their front end loaders. You’d think they’d have at least one mechanic on site, but hey, we’re talking about the guys who brought this engine in a forklift. I mean, seriously.”

I couldn’t help but chuckle a little. Apparently my cousin had never actually had a big part delivered to the garage. “Sparkplug, that’s normally how big machine parts are transported. Seeing an engine on a palette is not that uncommon.

She jumped a little at my words, clearing her throat and immediately changing the subject. “Anyway, how do the oven job go?”

“Flawlessly. It was a simple weak igniter. Good thing you gave me that replacement, huh?”

Now it was her turn to laugh. “I always like to send my buds out prepared. Any accidents? She knock anything over? Did the knock you over?”

I tapped my hoof against the cement. “Hey now, be nice! Ditzy’s a sweetie, and that little daughter of hers is absolutely precious. In fact, once we get off, I’m going to pay her a visit. She invited me for a taste of her muffins.”

My cousin turned to me with the most accusing expression I’ve ever seen. “That, taken out of context, could sound incredibly sexual.”

I felt my face heating up as Sparkplug started laughing at me, falling onto her back and holding her stomach. “That is not even funny, Spark! Didn’t I just ask you to be nice?”

She took a moment to calm down and wipe her eyes, standing up again when she was done. “Oh, sorry about that, I just couldn’t resist. Don’t pass that up, though. Ditzy may be a little clumsy, but she’s an excellent baker, especially her muffins. Mm, mm, mm! I like her chocolate chip ones the most, but almost everypony I know seems to adore the banana nut muffins she sells on the side. On Sundays when the post office doesn’t run, she has a little bake sale from ten to twelve thirty, and ponies from all over down flock over to her little stand to buy her treats. She only charges two bits per purchase, too.”

I tilted my head, remembering her comment about how her post office job didn’t pay much. “Wait… she told me that she couldn’t afford to get Dinky a pet. If she makes so much, then why is that a problem?”

All my cousin could do was shrug. “Mail ponies only make but so much, and they only get anything decent when they have to go out of town. She helps out with the weather sometimes, but that’s only when they need her, so she probably divides her money between bills and necessities like food and stuff.”

That really got me thinking. I mean, my dad owned a pretty successful business, and even when I got to the age where my sister and I got our own place and I was actually working with him, I never really worried about money. My savings were nothing to sneeze at either, and a desire welled up in me to go back home and pick up a nice amount of bits to settle down with. At the very least, I wouldn’t be strapped for food money.

Before I could dwell on that any more, the mare before me snapped me back to reality. “Speaking of getting off, it’s getting pretty close to closing time. The shop closes at around four, but we take outgoing jobs until five-thirty. Here, take this,” she tossed me what looked like a police walkie-talkie, “keep that with you at all times during work hours. If an outgoing job comes up, I’ll signal everyone on that, and whoever wants it can volunteer. I’m not sure how Uncle Ratchet runs things, but you get paid by the hour, and extra for any additional work you do. We’re nice enough that we don’t take that extra out of the client’s bill, though. In addition, any tips you get are 100 percent yours.”

Actually, that was the exact same system my dad used. “That’s the way dad did things too. Anyway, I think I’ll stick around for a little bit. I’ll help you out if you want, and then I’ll check out that apartment.”

“I’ve looked at it myself, and it’s a pretty nice place to start with.” She beckoned me over and handed me a pair of pliers. “It doesn’t look like the engine is getting gas, so could you check the fuel filter for me?”

I loosened the ring on the filter’s tube and slid it down. Once I checked it, I fastened the piece back together just to avoid further complications. “It’s not getting any gas. I can’t tell what the problem is right off the bat, but the fact that nothing’s coming out is a pretty obvious indicator.”

My cousin rolled her eyes and let out a sigh. “Ah shit. That means we’re gonna have to replace it.”

As soon as she finished, I pointed my hoof at her in an overly dramatic fashion. “Hey, hey, hey! Where’d you get that mouth, young lady? No kin of mine talks like that, you got me?”

She blinked at me a few times. “Uh… yeah. Sorry about that, sometimes things like that just slip out. Anyway, it kind of sucks that we’re going to need to buy a replacement filter, but you do what you gotta do.”

I clapped my hooves together with a grin. Everything was working out amazingly today. “You know, Sparks, I planned to take a quick trip back to Vanhoover to pick up some more spending money. If you want, I can grab a new filter while I’m up there.”

She reached up and nudged my shoulder, giving me a wink. “That’d be awesome, Torque! Thanks.”

“Hey, no problem. I’m gonna take off now, alright? I’ll go see Ditzy again, see how the muffins are coming along, and then I’ll head back home to get that stuff. Hopefully I won’t be gone too long.”

Sparkplug waved her hoof at me and rolled her eyes, wiping the grease off of her hooves. “Take your time. I’m not the one in a rush, the construction workers are. Heck, I’m not even sure what they’re working on in the first place. Probably a waste of the taxpayer’s money.”

Now I was the one rolling his eyes. “Isn’t that how it always is? Alright, I’ll see you later.”

The trip back to Ditzy’s took just a little less time now that I knew where I was going. I knocked on the door again, but instead of the pegasus, I heard a cute little “coming!” from Dinky.

Her hoof steps were quite audible even behind the door, and I heard a few grunts after they stopped. “Um, one second please!” After about half a minute the door opened, revealing the small unicorn standing on a stool so she could reach the doorknob.

“Hi Mister Torque!” She turned back toward the kitchen with a smile. “Momma, Mister Torque is back!”

“Oh!” Ditzy herself trotted up around the corner, sporting a rather pretty pink apron. “I didn’t expect you back so soon! The muffins only just went into the oven, I’m sorry.”

I raised my hoof up and let out a chuckle. “Oh no, don’t worry! I was just coming by to see how you were. I’ll be back later, but I want to run back home to Vanhoover to pick up a few things.”

My friend let out a loud gasp, grabbing hold of my face with a bright grin on her own. “You’re going to Vanhoover? Dinky and I have always wanted to see what the city is like! Torque, do you think, I mean, if it’s not too much trouble, do you think we could go too?”

How could I possibly refuse those adorably crooked eyes? “That wouldn’t bother me at all. Except, don’t you need to stay here and watch the oven?”

She closed her eyes and lips, but her smile was still wide as ever. “My neighbor Carrot Top can watch it. She’s always happy to help me when it comes to baking. In fact, I’ll go ask her now!”

Before I could say anything, she skipped away to the house next to her and knocked on the door. She was greeted by a ginger-haired pony with a carrot stamped on her flank. I couldn’t tell what they were saying, but who I assumed to be Carrot Top gave a nod and trotted over to us with Ditzy.

She held her hoof out to me with a smile. “It’s wonderful to meet you, Torque. My name’s Carrot Top, and thank you so much for fixing Ditzy’s oven!”

Ditzy herself began to clap excitedly. “She said yes! We can both go with you, Torque!”

I couldn’t help but chuckle again, tipping my hat to the earth pony. “Well thank you, Carrot Top. I can’t wait to try those muffins when we get back.”

She gave a nod and trotted inside, leaving me to get hugged by both Ditzy and her daughter. “Thank you so much for this, Torque, we’ve always wanted to see what it’s like in the cities.”

“It’s not too different from Ponyville, just busier. But come on, we don’t want to miss the train!”

Ditzy lowered herself and allowed Dinky to hop on her back. Once they were situated, all three of us made our way to the train station. The pegasus tried to pay for the tickets, but I pressed her hoof down with my own.

“No. I’ll pay for anything we need, Ditzy.”

My friend didn’t say anything, but her appreciative smile was all I needed. There was a massive sense of irony during the trip as I watched the girls stare out the window, taking in all the sights just as I had when coming to Ponyville.

Finally my curiosity got the better of me as I tapped one of Ditzy’s wings. “Hey Ditzy, I really need to ask you something now. If it’s not too sensitive of a subject… what happened to your eyes?”

She looked towards her daughter for a moment before joining me on the bunk across from her. “It’s not a sensitive subject. I fell down a set of stairs when I was young and hit my head. It gave me a concussion and messed up my eyes pretty bad. I’m pretty sure it’s obvious, but that’s where my problems with coordination come from.”

I was really glad she said that, because that led into my next question. “That’s something else I wanted to ask. You really don’t seem like you have much of an issue when you’re walking.”

My face turned a little red when she lifted my hoof, pressing her own against it. “After such a long time of dealing with it, I learned to rely less on my eyes and more on my legs, at least on the ground. Instead of letting my eyes determine my balance, I let the position of my legs do it instead. That’s not to say carrying things and stuff like that is super easy, but walking isn’t that difficult anymore. Flying, however, is a completely different story. I don’t really need to tell you that though, huh?”

We both started to laugh, and we kept on until the little unicorn shouted out. “Wow! Momma, look at the mountains!” Both she and I made out way over to the window, opening it and poking our heads out to look at the massive Smokey Mountains we were about to pass through. “They’re so big! Mister Torque, can you see them from your house?”

Honestly, I didn’t know the answer, but now that she asked I wanted to find out. “I’m not sure, Dinky, but we’re going to see when we get there.”

She began to clap, giggling like crazy. “Yay, yay, yay!”

Ditzy and I began to laugh again at how cute she was, and she hopped onto my back as we neared the city.

Suddenly it dawned on her and she tapped my shoulder, a curious look on her face. “Torque, this is Tall Tale, not Vanhoover….”

To be quite honest, I forgot about that, too, and I was just going to the train station I had come to Ponyville on. I let out a nervous chuckle before opening the door for her. “I know. The tracks directly from Ponyville to Vanhoover are out right now because this big quake opened up a fissure right on them. It’s no big issue, though, all it will take to get to Vanhoover is a bit of walking.”

They both smiled at me as Dinky made a game of hopping between my back and her mother’s, but stayed on mine once we started to move. “I can’t wait to see the city, Momma! It’s gonna be so fun!”

She giggled a little, patting the unicorn’s head. “I can’t wait either, sweetie.”

An idea came into my mind, and without thinking I smacked my front hoof against the other. “Hey! I know it’s a little early for dinner, but why don’t I take you and Dinky out to eat? Vanhoover has some really nice restaurants, and I can show you around the city.”

Both pairs of eyes lit up when they heard me. Ditzy gave me another big hug, absolutely giddy with excitement. “Oh, that would be so great! Thank you, Torque, thank you for being so sweet!”

After a short moment of silence, she backed away from me with a blush. “Uh… sorry. It’s just, nopony’s ever been as nice to me as you’ve been. I mean, yeah, Carrot Top helps me with things, but you’re the only pony I’ve ever known to do so much for me with so little personal gain. Really, Torque, I just can’t thank you enough.”

I couldn’t help but smile as she followed me to the edge of Tall Tale. “You can thank me by staying sweet, yourself.”

My shoulder really was getting messed with a lot today. “Oh stop! You’re making me blush!”

She had me chuckling all the way into Vanhoover, but once we were there, I lost my ability to see due to an unforeseen Dinky on my head pushing my hat over my eyes.

“Whoa! Momma look at all the buildings! They’re so tall! Which one do you live in, Mister Torque?”

Alright, I lied. I was laughing even through being blinded. “No, no, Dinky. These are all places where ponies go to work. My house is just down the block. The cool thing is you’ll get to see where I used to work, too!”

The little unicorn started clapping again. “Yay! Yay! I’m so excited!”

Now both of us were letting out light laughs. I was eager to show the girls around, but first things first. The way to my place wasn’t that long, and they both seemed very interested when I pointed out my dad’s shop. Unfortunately it didn’t look like anyone was there at the moment, so I didn’t actually bother to go in.

Once we got to my house, Ditzy gave many a fascinated “oooh”. “Wow, Torque, you’re doing really well for yourself!”

“Me? Nah, it’s nothing special. Now where is it…?” I was starting to get worried. There was a certain thing I was looking for, but it was not where I normally kept it.

Ditzy poked her head into the room I was searching through. “May I ask what you’re looking for?”

“I kept a safety deposit box around here. It had most of my cash in it. I mean, I have plenty of money in the bank, but it would be nice to actually have some on me.”

Her googly eyes widened as she took a deep breath. “Wait a second, I know where it is! That, and a bunch of other stuff, is on its way to your apartment! I didn’t draw the connection until now, but I delivered a letter and an inventory list earlier today that detailed the items movers were bringing in! At first I thought you’d been here a while and I just didn’t notice, but that letter must have been for you!”

My eyes got a little big themselves. “Well I’ll be. I guess checks will have to do, then. So, how about I show you around and then we grab a bit to eat, how does that sound?”

They didn’t even need to say anything to me as I both heard and felt the rumbling. “I’ll take that as a yes.”

* * *

The entire tour was filled with laughs. Dinky kept jumping around every time I pointed out a specific building, and eventually her stomach start growling so much I bought her a quick snack from one of Vanhoover’s many street vendors. They didn’t mind me taking a quick break in the middle to grab that fuel filter, and it didn’t take but five minutes. Three hours and I don’t even know how many blocks later, we scoped out all of Vanhoover.

The sun was just starting to go down, and it was much closer to dinner time. I let Ditzy decide where we would go, though I did need to explain what each restaurant served. She didn’t want to go anywhere where they served alcohol, but luckily there a decent few of them fit that description. We went ahead and chose a place that had meals specifically designed for children, and the normal food was pretty good too.

By the time we were done, all three of us were bloated and just a little sleepy. Dinky had actually fallen asleep on her mother’s back, and when we got on the train to go home, Ditzy wrapped her daughter up in one of the beds the train cars had in them. She herself sat beside me, making me blush again as she yawned and leaned against my shoulder.

“That was the most fun I’ve had in years….”

She probably couldn’t see it, but I smiled anyway. “I’m glad to hear that, Ditzy. There’s no doubt in my mind little Dinky had a lot of fun too.”

I felt her head rub against me, which meant she was either trying to cuddle me or she was nodding. “Um… Torque, are we friends?”

Well that was a question I wasn’t expecting. However, my smile didn’t fade as I turned to her. “Of course we are. You’re sweet, and really nice, too.”

Her next question didn’t just catch me off guard, it smacked me right between the eyes. “Was this a date?”

If I had a bit for every single mare that had asked me out in my life… I’d have two bits. I was at a complete loss for responses, so I just went with me gut. “Well… yeah. I guess you could call this a friend date.”

She seemed completely unfazed by my response. In fact, Ditzy looked like me saying yes actually made her more relaxed. “It was nice. I’m sorry you didn’t get to have a muffin. Hey! If you’d like, you can come by in the morning, and we can have coffee with them.”

I began to wonder if, should I ever lose my job, I could put “professional friend maker” on my resume. Apparently making friends was just natural to me. “You know what, that sounds really nice. I’d like that, Ditzy.”

Author's Note:

If I had a bit for every story I've written with a dinner date in it... I'd have three bits.