• Published 13th May 2014
  • 15,600 Views, 1,176 Comments

Because Ponies Are the Size of Cats and They Love to Cuddle - shortskirtsandexplosions



In the future, we'll colonize the solar system, cure cancer, clone the human genome, and build trans-dimensional hoodies that can summon tiny talking horses from an alternate universe. It's pretty snazzy.

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Balls

I sit on the sofa, chewing on my bottom lip as I flick my gloved hand, creating a virtual lens that then proceeds to scan another black sheet of photogenic paper from top to bottom.

"Come on... come on..."

I glance to my left where I've positioned a translucent screen to hover at eye-level. Slowly—line by line—the vague image of equines gather together in a group shot. Regardless, despite an entire hour of work, the photo remains dark and obscured.

"I nearly had you clear on the last try. How am I screwing things up this time?"

I hear tiny hooves scampering across the carpet.

I glance over.

Applejack trots up, sweat pouring down her orange coat. She carries a red ball in her mouth. With labored steps, she drops the sphere at my feet, wipes her golden brow, and stammers, "Finally! It took me forever, but I caught 'em!"

"Hmmm?" I glance between her and the work I'm doing to scan her photographs. "Caught who?"

"This here lil' guy!" She frowns at me, pointing at the red ball. "I don't know what got in 'em! But he just plum took off to the far end of your apartment, like he was guilty of somethin' and had to go run and hide!"

"It'd be a shame to hide something from honest Applejack."

"Are y'all tryin' to patronize me?!" Applejack stomps her hooves. "I'm tryin' to tell ya that he's up to somethin'! And it's thanks to me that he's been caught!"

"Applejack, don't you know that he is just a little cat toy that I bought from the supermarket on the way home from hovertransit?"

"Ha!" Applejack smirks slyly at me. "Oh please, darlin'. I know I may not be used to yer world n'all, but as if I'd actually be delirious enough to think that—"

I pick up the ball, pull my arm back, and toss the red thing—bouncing—clear across the apartment.

"Oh no you don't!" Applejack shouts. On thundering hooves, she scampers across the apartment, storming after the bouncing ball. "C'mere, you!"

I smile, returning to my work. "Almost had it. What was the screw up? Come on." A sigh. "I really shouldn't have updated the firmware to version 1585.4. Friggin' software companies trying to monopolize my intestines inside-out—"

Just then, the colors invert, and I start to make out faces, muzzles, fuzzy ears and sparkling eyes. I feel my body freezing in place. Swallowing hard, I slowly rotate my gloved finger, turning a virtual dial with tiny adjustments of the picture's contrast and color.

The image on the screen goes through the whole spectrum. At last, the ponies in the frame become clear—along with three fillies and a tiny bipedal reptile with petite spines.

The first thing my eyes are attracted to is a winged pony with an ocean-blue coat and a mane that runs the whole gambit of the color wheel. I can already guess what her name is. Just to her side is Applejack, and her hoof's draped around a foal with a red bow in her matching crimson mane.

"Apple Bloom..."

I smile. I can't help it. I was born to smile... to grin upon looking at this... this scene unfolding before me. I spot a pale white unicorn with painted eyelids, a delicate pegasus with a flowing mane, a book-smart unicorn with a bashful expression, and at last a fluffy pink thing with dazzling blue eyes.

"I can only guess which one she is." I hear myself giggle. I hear my heart beating through my spine. This is another world. It's always been another world, something I've been made privy to, one hug at a time, and carried along the rhythmic twang of Applejack's pleasant voice. But this is somehow different... like a beautiful accident that frolicked my way. It's a portal to a place where the measure of joy is different, along with the scale for suffering. It bedazzles and frightens me all at once, but all I can do is smirk. There is no envy. No regret. Just a warm toasty feeling deep inside that spreads and spreads and...

"Whew-wee!" Tired hooves shuffle across the carpet. "Ptooie!" She spits the ball down between my feet and glances up, breathless. "I was onto him! Took me only half as long this time! But still, the darn feller's rambunctious, I tell ya! Reckon you should put 'em on a leash or—shoot—at least buy 'em a cage or somethin' else to keep 'em from—"

I pick the ball up and toss it across the apartment again.

"Oh no you don't!" Applejack growls, immediately galloping after the thing. "Come back here, ya little varmint!" Her hooves skid over the tile as she scampers around the hallway corner.

There be giggles.