• Published 26th Jul 2015
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The Things Tavi Says - shortskirtsandexplosions

Let me tell you a few things about my roommate, Octavia. After all, she saved my life.

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Humming Things

Author's Note:

For the first time since waking up, I can honestly say that I'm now feeling somewhat... comfortable.

Through a series of awkward mechanics, I've managed to position my wheelchair directly beneath the turntable on my side of the foyer. I prop the seat up as high as I can, and it almost feels like I can reach every piece of my instrument panel. I can't properly describe how deliciously stress-relieving it is to have music at my hooftips for the first time in days... so I'm not going to bother.

What I would like to do is unravel this tangled knot of creative dissonance that's swimming angry circles in my skull.

"How's it going over there, Miss Scratch?" Sweetie Belle asks, wrestling with an enormous feather duster.

I nod vaguely in her direction. Meanwhile, my hooves are fiddling with the turntables before me, trying to find a way to segue between two outdated funk tracks. I came here thinking I wanted to dabble with something retro, but now that I'm actually attempting it... I'm all sixes and sevens. A frustrated sigh escapes my nostrils, and I lean down to scratch my itchy coat just above my cast.

The housecleaning filly continues dusting circles around the room, blissfully ignorant. A few more seconds into my concentrated dabblings, I hear her mutter: "You still hungry? You want I should make you another sandwich?"

I lower one half of a set of headphones from my skull. I blink at her, then turn to look at a cup... full of bubbling black something-or-other that's resting on a table beside me.

"I'll put less mustard in it this time! I swear!"

Grimacing, I turn towards her and shake my head with a plastic smile.

"Well, alright! Just holler if you need anything! Erm..." Sweetie Belle blushes. "You know what I mean."

I nod, returning to my records with a cold shudder. I swivel the discs, seeking back and forth through the tracks for a semblance of structure. But I can't concentrate. I'm distracted for some reason.

Blue waves of mirth ripple my way. Sweetie Belle likes to hum when she's doing housework, and I find it damnably distracting. I have no means of snapping angrily at the filly—even if I wanted to. All in all, I just feel... lost.

There's nothing more that I hate than coming out of a hiatus with an absolute mental block to creativity.

So, sighing with magenta strings, I close my eyes beneath my shades. I try to relax... think of myself in a different place... with a different pony. I try to envision Octavia's voice... those eloquent bands of purple turning into curves that swish and swirl around me in fantastical fuzzy clouds... making everything meaningful and—

"Ooooh! Sapphire Shores!" Sweetie Belle's voice cracks.

The world around me shatters completely under a blue tidal wave. Wincing, I turn to look at her.

She's standing in front of my shelf full of vinyl records... hundreds upon hundreds of super rare... super fragile records. Right now, she's casually yanking one off its resting place and looking at the colorful-yet-faded label. "I know her! My big sister's designed dresses for her! More than once! Hehe!" She turns towards me, floating the record by her side. "One of these days, I'm gonna be brushing fetlocks with celebrities too! Wouldn't that be super cool?"

As she says this, the handle of her featherduster pivots, bumping into the rest of the records. I can see every sensitive disc rattling precariously on the shelf.

I hiss through clenched teeth, waving dramatically at her.

"What? Not a fan of Sapphire Shores?" Sweetie Belle's brow furrows. "So, how come you have her album?"

I sweat and shiver. I plant two of my hooves together in a "praying" gesture and then beg her to place the item back.

Sweetie Belle glances at me, at the vinyl, at me, then at the vinyl again. Somewhere far away, a butterfly flaps its wings. Seconds later, it clicks inside her fluffy skull, and her eyes widen. "Oh! Right! My bad!" She slides the vinyl back into place, putting the rest of the shelf back into balance.

I exhale with relief, slumping in my wheelchair.

"I'm so sorry, Miss Scratch. I'll just stick to dusting." She shuffles along the adjacent wall, murmuring in bright blue bursts. "Rarity's always telling me that I shouldn't go touching stuff that I don't understand. Everytime I share that with Dad, he just laughs and says 'Well, that's jumping the gun if I ever heard it! You're not even close to thirteen yet!' Whatever that means. Tchh. Dads are weird."

I nod, looking ahead. My body freezes, for suddenly I'm hearing the most delightful melody I've experienced in ages. The beatific harmonies of it nearly steal my breath away. Curious, I glance at my spinning records, then slam a hoof over the volume control. I raise the headphone's clamshell up to my ear, desperate to hear more of this hitherto forgotten part of the track.

Instead, an invasive set of brass instruments murder their way into my ear canal. That's how I realize that the harmony isn't coming from the old funk tracks that I am playing.

Curious, I swing a hoof over and stop the discs from spinning altogether. I lower the headphones from my ears, and I find the melody coming into clarity... crystal blue oceanic clarity.

"Hmmm-mmm-mmmmm..." Sweetie Belle carries an angel's chorus on her shoulders, shuffling about from shelf to shelf as she innocently redistributes the dust from one spot to another. Nevertheless, she smiles at her supposedly immaculate hoofwork, unaware that another set of ears is bearing witness to her unconscious serenade. "We are the cutie mark crusadersssss... on a quest to find out who we arrrrrre..."

I stare at her, ears twitching. I tap my chin with my hoof several times. Then, with a pounding heart, I quietly... stealthily reach for a microphone beneath my desk. With icy, graceful precision, I prop the microphone up on the turntable, pivot it around until it's facing the filly... and I slap the little orange button at its top. My shaded eyes dart towards an LED screen on my instrument panel, and I see blue waves bouncing back and forth in sequence with her voice.

"...and we will never stop the journeeeey... not until we find our cutie marrrrks..."

I fumble about slightly, grasping for a paper and pen. With quiet magic, I make note of the time, slashing tick marks at moments when her voice is most colorful—like liquid sapphires cascading across the room, forming a crystalline pool of soft melody and tranquil—

"Whatcha doin' there, Miss Scratch?"

"...!" I hide the pen and paper, smiling plastically in her direction.

She trots forward, her muzzle looming hilariously close to the mic. Ignorant, she speaks again, her voice reaching maximum volume on my instrument panel. "So many cool glowy buttons. Did you always know how to use a tummytable?"

I gawk at her for a few seconds, my mind processing that last term. Snapping out of it, I gulp and shake my head with a pleasant smile.

"Awwwwwwwww..." Her ears droop for some reason. "So, I'm guessing you didn't get your cutie mark in DJing?"

I shake my head.

"Well, it's a really cool cutie mark." She points. "It's two eighth notes, joined by a bridge, right?"

I blink. Hard. Yes, actually... well done, my little pony.

"I'm curious. Why are they all... like... backwards?"

"...?" I turn and glance down at my rump in the wheelchair.

"I mean... they are backwards, right?" Sweetie Belle cranes her neck. "Aren't the little circle parts supposed to swing the other way?"

I scratch my head, suddenly aloft in existential contemplation.

"Guess it means you like to do stuff unconventionally, right?" Sweetie Belle smiles. "Hehe... must be easy getting a cutie mark when you're that creative."

I stare at her, brow furrowed.

I... never thought of it that way, actually...

"I wouldn't mind getting a backwards cutie mark at this point. So long as it isn't a hippopotamus. Cuz nopony likes having a hippo back into you. I mean, have you even read the tabloids?"

I stare blankly at her.

"My sister reads the tabloids a lot. Sometimes she likes to share." She blinks. "I'm scared of hippos." She blinks again, then suddenly smiles. "Anyways! Time to feed Scribbler! Heehee! Fuzzy fuzzy fuzzball!" The filly skips off.

I watch after her. With a shrug, I nevertheless tilt the microphone in her direction, catching her just in time for when the blue hum resumes.

I hope Tavi forgives me if she comes home to the cat having blown up...

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