• Published 15th Dec 2013
  • 1,199 Views, 47 Comments

Prompt-A-Day Collection - Admiral Biscuit

A collection of random stories from the Prompt-A-Day group's challenges

  • ...

6: "I don't even know what that means."

"I don't even know what that means,” she said. The words were easy to understand, but that tone...

“That’s the problem with Germane,” I replied. “It’s all compound words . . . but they all sound angry. Remember when we were practicing the language? Wo bist du?”

She giggled: just the reaction I’d been hoping for. “Yeah. I mean . . . ja.”

“Excellent, mein frauline. Du hast ein geschenk.”

“No. I mean, nein. Sie haben ein geschenk.” She laughed again; music to my ears.

• • •

The trip had started out badly. A missed connection in Prance had forced us to decide between spending the night in a shoddy motel, or at the train station hoping against hope that the snow storms blowing across the continent wouldn’t delay the express train. I’d wanted to wait . . . but the look on her face told me that a night in a second-rate hotel was better than a night on a station platform.

While she was in the shower, I resisted the urge to call the station and get an update on the train. I almost—almost—asked the next morning if it had gone through reasonably on time. But the memory of the night before stopped me—who was I to question what had turned into a very good night indeed? Certainly we wouldn’t have had the same freedom on the train.

Afterwards, as we lay back on the saggy double bed, she whispered in my ear how much she’d loved it. I wiped a stray bit of cream off her lips before I kissed her. “Me, too, babe. Nopony makes eclairs like the Prench. Who knew a cafe would be open this late?”

The good mood had come crashing down the next afternoon. The train had left the station late, but—no doubt due to an obsession with the Germanes being in ordnung, it had arrived at the platform precisely on time. Our luggage was efficiently off-loaded, and we were left to our own devices on the streets of Riesen-Pferd. Since it was a bit chilly, my wife and I were both wearing our cloaks.

The ponies there were nice enough—although, like most Germanes, they sounded angry whenever they spoke. They lacked the hospitality of the Prench or the generosity of the Shetlanders . . . still, everything was tidy, and the populace was frustratingly law-abiding. The signs had been neat . . . but I’d screwed up, mis-translating a street sign. I blamed it on the way they’d run words together into long, almost incomprehensible compound words.

As the day wore on, we’d wound up in a small park, rather than our hotel. The centerpiece seemed to be a fountain featuring a small herd of ponies standing with their right forehoof extended. A strange, cabalistic symbol had been carved in place of their cutie mark. My wife took off her cloak and draped it across a bench, enjoying the afternoon sun.

Other ponies that came into the park mimicked the extended-forehoof motion, eying us with suspicion. My wife finally tucked her wings in tight, which seemed to help the mood a little bit.

The first two ponies I’d asked for directions had just glared at me and not spoken. One of them had the decency to shake his head; the second spit at my hooves. I finally became a bit uncomfortable at the crowd that was gathering, and we took flight away from the mob of unicorns.

We retraced our route and arrived back in the central part of town. There sure weren’t many pegasi around. There was a newsstand featuring with prominently-displayed copies of Der Spiegel; a large gathering of unicorns in the cover photo were all making the forehoof-salute at a unicorn dressed in a military-style blouse.

“Do you know the way to the Im Falschen Ort Zur Falschen Zeit Hotel?” I asked hopefully.

“In der Hölle brennen,” he said, pointing up the street. “In der Hölle brennen.”

My wife flipped through her phrase book before giving a cute shrug of her wings. “I don’t even know what that means.”

Author's Note:

Prompt: "I don't even know what that means,” she said.  The words were easy to understand, but that tone...


Wo bist du?

"What are you doing," as I remember it.

Du hast ein geschenk.

"You have a gift," as I remember it.

Sie haben ein geschenk.

"You have a gift" according to Google Translate

the Im Falschen Ort Zur Falschen Zeit Hotel?

"The wrong place at the wrong time," according to Google

In der Hölle brennen,

"Burn in Hell," according to Google.

Der Spiegel is a real German magazine, although I'm not sure I spelled it right.

"Riesen-Pferd" according to Google, means 'giant horse.' I ran though the names of German cities I could remember and none of them led to simple ponification, so I cheated.