• Published 31st Oct 2013
  • 3,230 Views, 102 Comments

Music Sounds Better With You - Proswagonist

Seeking passage to Avalon, Alan Ryves finds the spell he used (written by no less than Merlin, himself!) takes him instead to Equestria. Quickly, he makes friends with a certain musically inclined pony, whom had just become homeless...

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Chapter 03 - Cultural Awareness

Chapter 3

It wasn't long after till Vinyl Scratch had finished setting aside a pile of equipment to move into her room. Satisfied, she took a moment to poke around at the other things in the room. A photograph caught her eye.

It seemed really old. Maybe even a hundred years old. Vinyl wasn't staring at it long when the sound of Alan clearing his throat caught her attention. "I'm about to start lunch. You got everything you need?"

"Yeah. Thanks again." Vinyl Scratch said, giving him a genuine smile before asking "Say, what's with this picture here? It looks really old," Pointing out the aforementioned photograph.

Stepping around the pile of musical equipment, Alan takes a look. "Oh that old thing. This was taken in Egypt in, gee, the early 1920's I want to say? Anyway, that fellow, riding the camel on the far right? That's my great-great-grandfather. He was one of those bored rich types who blew whole fortunes traveling the world. Family lore says he's doing something of a visual gag here. If you notice, he's holding a cigarette in his left hand. Supposedly, his favorite brand of cigs was camel, so he was smoking a camel while riding a camel."

Vinyl chuckled a bit "That's a pretty bad pun to be traveling the world for."

"Bad puns run pretty rampant in my mom's side of the family. Even the great depression killing their fortunes didn't get rid of that."

"What's so great about a depression?"

Alan paused then gave a hearty laugh. "Oh... Oh, that's a good one. I'll tell you since I already brought it up. A few years after this picture was taken, there was a stock market crash that pretty much killed any value paper money had. Add on top of that the fact that a large portion of America's farm areas suffered a massive drought and soil erosion so bad, the sky choked with dust for years, and it adds up to a global depression that can only be called great."

"That sucks."

"Yeah, it did. It sucked so bad, it took a war to get us out of it."

The two talked about Earth's Second World War era while getting stuff from lunch. Alan took a moment to transfer the savable items from his fridge into the freezer in the garage, before continuing outside with what was soon to be lunch.

"Remind me again why we're having a BBQ outside?" Vinyl asks, rubbing her cheeks in the chill, though thankfully calm outdoors.

"It's an excuse to be near fire." Alan replied simply.

"Good enough for me."

Starting the grill took only a minute, and by the time he had a good fire going, Alan had already cut up a good-sized zucchini, a couple tomatoes, some onions, mushrooms, and a bell pepper and stuck them on a pair of skewers. "There. Now just to add the oil, salt, and pepper mix." He began whistling a wordless tune while applying the mixture to the kebab poles with a small brush, then set them on the grill. "And now for the chef's meal," Alan said with a chuckle, slapping a sauce-covered slab of beef on the grill before closing the lid.

"Man, that sure looks good. What'd you say that first thing was? A kebab?" Vinyl Scratch asks, huddling close to the grill with Alan for warmth.

"Shish Kebab, yeah. Usually, they're made with various meats, but you can cook veggies or even some fruits the same way. Plus, the skewer makes it easy to eat. Just remember to let it cool off first."

"Mmh... oh man.. this is great!" says Vinyl Scratch, muffled slightly by the food in her mouth. "We gotta do this again sometime. '-chomp-smack-' mmhh mh You ever make this before?"

"Nah, I made a guess. I'm not really big on veggies, but I had some stuff left over from a catering gig I helped out with last week. They dumped all of the leftovers on me, since I was the only guy who showed up for the promise of free food. Really saved my ass, too, I was starting to have to chose between having a ride or having food in my mouth."

"That steak from the catering gig, too?"

"Sort of. I bought this with what they paid me. A man needs his meat, though I suppose it may be harder to get now. I don't suppose many ponies eat meat all that regularly," Alan chuckles a bit while cutting off a largeish chunk of meat.

"Not many, but some ponies who hang out with dragons or griffons a lot do it." Vinyl says, having just finished off her meal. "I'll try anything once. Well, within reason."

Alan gives Vinyl a sideways look before shaking his head. "Unicorns and pegasi live here. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised about dragons and griffons. "

"We actually have a dragon living with the town librarian. He's her assistant, and she happens to be something of a celebrity around here. One of the Elements of Harmony, actually. I don't know the -exact- details, but the Elements are like having a 'get out of jail free' card when some big world-ending event comes around." Vinyl covers her mouth for a muffled belch before continuing. "I wouldn't be surprised if Twilight Sparkle, the librarian, came by to visit you sometime soon. On top of being a hero and a celebrity, she's also Princess Celestia's protege. The princess doesn't just pick anyone to be her protege, mind you, so Twilight's got the talent to back it all up."

Alan pauses, mid-cut "Do world-ending events happen here often? Should I invest in acts of mad gods insurance?"

"Well, weird stuff has a habit of happening here in Ponyville. Last year, Nightmare Moon stopped the sun from rising during the Summer Sun festival. Turns out, she was Celestia's long absent sister, Luna, and had contracted a case of the megalomania before being locked in the moon a thousand years ago. The Elements knocked that right out of her."

"A thousand years?!" Alan says in shock. "Just how long have the princesses been around?"

"Nopony really knows, and nopony's tactless enough to ask a princess how old she is. Except maybe Celestia's nephew, Blueblood. I hear he's the crown prince of plotholes."

Alan pauses, then blinks at the comment "Erm... plotholes? Is this some sort of slang barrier I'm hitting here?"

Vinyl chuckles and lifts a hoof to her temple, attempting to sound like a stuck up teacher. "Ahem, the word 'plot' has been used since time immemorial to describe the posterior of the pony species. The princess Celestia claims to have first used the phrase herself. According to her, when asked why she had subscribed to a particular adult magazine focusing on the flank, Celestia replied 'I read it for the plot."

"So then a plothole must be-"

"Exactly what it sounds like." Vinyl finished, still using her phony teacher's act.

The two remained silent for a few moments, Vinyl Scratch simply enjoying the feeling of a full stomach and a warm fire, while Alan sat and finished off his steak. The sight of a bouncing patch of pink coloration caught Alan's eye. Standing, he waves at the happily humming Pinkie Pie, trying to get her attention. "Hey! Hey Pinkie, I got a question."

Before he could blink, Pinkie's voice came from right behind him. "Hello again!"

"-GAH! You spooked me." Alan says, his hand covering his heart. "Hey, listen, you're doing that welcoming party for me later, right?"

"Yuppers! It will be superawesometastic!"

"Well, I have a couple ideas. First, I'd like a little session beforehand to answer any questions about me or my world the townsfolk may have before the thing gets started. We could have it in the form of everyone writing down their anonymous questions and putting them into a box for me to reach into. And second..." Alan bends down to whisper something in Pinkie's ear.

"Okie-dokie-lokie! That sounds superfun! Can I borrow it for another party sometime?" Pinkie asks, a large grin plastered on her face.

"Sure, just make sure to ask me beforehand. Oh, and make sure to keep it covered with the tarp for now. I want it to be a surprise."

"Oh! I love surprises, and I just know everypony there is going to love this one too!" Pinke exclaims while bouncing in place. "Is there anything else?"

"Nope. Just do whatever it is party-obsessed pink ponies do to have fun till then."

Pinkie suddenly stands rigid on her hind legs, giving a snap salute. "Aye aye, captain!" she says before bouncing off again, humming yet another tune.

Alan watches her leave for a moment before chuckling to himself. "Well she's sure an interesting one."

Author's Note:

Today's BGM music: