• Published 13th Jun 2012
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The Roommate - totallynotabrony

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11: Canadians Don't Understand NASCAR

Chapter 11: Canadians Don't Understand NASCAR

I knocked on Nathan’s door. I had stalled as long as I could, but Rainbow eventually prodded me to visit him. She stood beside me patiently as we waited.

There wasn’t much of my stuff at Nathan’s place, just a few unimportant clothes. I still had to agree with Rainbow when she said it would make me feel better to go get them. That made sense. I could use some closure.

The door opened. I hadn’t told Nathan I was coming, and he looked surprised.

“Hello,” I said. There was no need to make this unpleasant. We may have parted company, but I still had my manners.

“Um, hi,” said Nathan. He reached down and retrieved a plastic bag from beside the door. My clothes were packed inside. I stood for a moment holding the bag and trying to decide what to do. I should have just said goodbye, but that seemed kind of impersonal.

Nathan stared at me. “Well?”

“I’m just going to go,” I said.

“Did this relationship really mean so little to you?” he asked.

You instigated the breakup!” I reminded him.

“Come on, Denise.” Rainbow began to push me away. It seemed strange that she was the cooler head for once, but I decided that maybe she was right.

Nathan seemed surprised that I was going along with the pony’s idea. “You’re going to listen to her? I thought you said she was a bitch.”

I shrugged. “At least she’s loyal.”

Nathan’s eyes narrowed and he took a step forward. “What do you mean by that?”

“Hey, stop this,” said Rainbow.

Nathan glared at her. “Shut up, featherbrain.”

Forget manners. I sucker-punched him. Had Nathan been looking at me instead of Rainbow, I probably would have hit him anyway.

He stumbled back in shock. I hadn’t thrown very many punches in my life, and probably didn’t hurt him too badly. Rainbow finally succeeded in dragging me away. Nathan didn’t try to stop us.

I expected the ache in my hand to go away quickly but it didn’t. As we left the apartment building, I discovered why.

“I’m no expert on fingers,” said Rainbow. “But that looks bad.”

I went back to the health center for the second time in not very long. I got the same nurse.

“You again?” she said. “Are you being careful like I told you?”

I showed her my hand. “It won’t be a problem anymore.”

Nothing was broken, but I would have to wear a brace for a few weeks. Rainbow walked me back to the dorm.

“I can’t believe I threw a punch and hurt me,” I grumbled.

“You didn’t have to do that,” said Rainbow.

I nodded. “In retrospect, I kind of wish I hadn’t.”

Rainbow shook her head. “No, I mean it felt like you were defending my honor or something. And that was a really lame insult to retaliate over, too. I mean, ‘featherbrain’? I got called worse things by the Cloudsdale school flight instructor.”

“Well, at least I’ll probably never see Nathan again.” I actually felt good about that.

Rainbow looked at me. “Now what’s this about you calling me a bitch?”

“Uh, well, you kind of are,” I said nervously.

She snickered. “Takes one to know one.”

Well, it looked like our relationship had progressed to the point where we could trade casual insults and laugh about it. Only a couple of months ago, we probably would have been at each other’s throats over something like that.

As we returned to the dorm room, my thoughts turned to what I would wear on Halloween. It took surprisingly little thinking. A hand that was out of commission? Pirate.

I had explained to Rainbow the local traditions of Halloween, and it seemed pretty similar to something she called Nightmare Night. She didn’t have a costume planned yet.

“I’ve got a lot of ideas,” she said. “Most of them are things people won’t understand, and I’d have to be explaining what the costume is all night.”

I nodded thoughtfully. “I have an idea.”

I took a piece of paper from my desk and wrote the number 24 on it. Rainbow gave me a doubtful look, but let me tape it to her side.

“You’re Jeff Gordon,” I said. “The rednecks will love it.”

“NASCAR isn’t really my sport. Besides, I don’t know if anyone will get the joke.” She sounded skeptical.

“You understood it,” I pointed out. “Wait, did you just say anyone?”

“Well, I wasn’t talking about ponies,” she said.

I nodded. “I guess that makes sense. So what does…everypony do for Nightmare Night?”

“Parties, treat giving, pranks, friendly scares.” She shrugged. “Except maybe for alcohol, it’s about like Halloween.”

“Well, you have two days to get ready.” I turned away, intending to get back to my homework. Like a moron, I’d hit Nathan with my writing hand. Rainbow’s writing with her mouth was not exactly tidy, but it was better than what I was scrawling with my weak hand.

My cell phone rang. I picked it up, recognizing the number. “Hello?”

“I’m making plans for Thanksgiving,” said my mother.

“Mom, that’s a month away.”

“Well, it never hurts to plan in advance,” she said. “What’s your roommate doing? Can she come?”

I turned my head. “Rainbow, what are you doing on Thanksgiving Break?”

She shrugged. “I don’t know, it’s a month away.”

“My mom’s inviting you to Thanksgiving dinner,” I told her.

She looked hesitant, but said, “I guess I can do that.”

“She’s coming,” I said to the phone.

“Great!” said mom. “This gives me time to try out the recipes I got online. They’re supposed to be pony-friendly.”

Poor dad, I thought.

We talked a little more. I’d called her shortly after hurting my hand, and she followed up, asking if I was doing okay. We discussed school a little. She didn’t ask if I’d found a new boyfriend yet, bless her.

After she hung up, I picked up my pencil again. If writing was going to be this difficult, lighting cigarette would be a real pain.

Carol had to work Halloween night. The dorm had decided not to hold a Halloween get-together this year. None of my other friends were available for various reasons.

“All dressed up and no place party,” I muttered.

“Do you want to go to the Chocolate Shop?” asked Rainbow.

I sighed. “Okay.”

We encountered the marching band parading down the street in costume. They were playing “Louie Louie” and looked like they were having a good time. Meanwhile, I was on my way to get drunk with a pony.

It was still early when we got to the bar and it wasn’t very crowded. Nearly all of the customers were dressed up, however. Rainbow and I both got drinks, something we could sit over for a while.

A guy wearing plastic Spartan armor wandered over to our table. He looked at Rainbow. “So what are you supposed to be?”

“Jeff Gordon.” She hadn’t managed to come up with anything more creative.

“Who?” he asked.

I snorted and threw a little bit of accent into my voice. “Ya don’t know who Jeff Gordon is? Ya must not be a real ‘Merican.”

“That’s right,” he said dryly. “I’m ‘Nadian.”

“Let’s hear it for us foreign students,” Rainbow laughed. She held up a hoof. After a moment of slight confusion, the guy gave her a high five.

I was looking at the bottom of my glass, so I got up. As it happened, I ended up back at the bar with the Spartan.

“Sorry about that joke,” I said. “I wish I could claim it was the drinks, but I’ve only had one.”

“It’s all right.” He smiled. “Can I buy you another?”

“Sorry again,” I explained. “I just went through a breakup. I’m not ready.”

He laughed. “Well, don’t get drunk and play mean tricks on him.”

I slapped my glass down. “You’re absolutely right. I’m going to do it sober.”

“I didn’t say that!” he stammered. I walked back to the table where Rainbow was sitting.

“Come on,” I told her. “Let’s go play pranks on Nathan.”

She put her glass down, smiling. “You came to the right mare.”