• Published 3rd May 2016
  • 758 Views, 72 Comments

Woebegone - Lost_Marbles



The embodiment of bad luck comes to Ponyville, and anypony foolish enough to cross his path meets disaster. And he's very sorry.

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Chapter 4 -Washed Up

Wobbly knees, pulsing eyebrows, and dock shivers. Something is burning. Neck tingles, lip flap, and a hoof tap. Something’s going to explode. Itchy frog, stiff shoulders, and floppy ears. There’s a leak somewhere. Twitching tail. Twitch-twitch twitchy tail. Something was going to fall. But Pinkie was ready for whatever would come and, by Joe Donuts, she wouldn’t be waving the white napkin anytime soon. Mr. and Mrs. Cake were counting on her.

The two had been away at an important catering event the next town over since yesterday, and she was more than happy to volunteer herself to watching both the twins and the shop while they were away. While the first evening and night were peaceful, the next morning steamrolled her at precisely 6:43 AM with a series of uncontrollably violent convulsions that kept her paralyzed for a good 39½ seconds. Never before had her Pinkie Sense given such a warning, and they hadn’t stopped since! There would be fires, falls, farts, and disasters of all kinds she never could have predicted nor thought were possible, and even if she could translate her body’s continuous tremors, twitches, and tells into laypony speak, she could only sum it up as “Doozie-geddon.” Or maybe “Doozie-pocalypse.”

Ooh! “The Doozie-ing.” That’s a good one.

Hoof tap and shoulder jerk--there was an order mistake.

“Excuse me,” said the customer at the register looking into the paper-brown bag in front of him. “But I ordered bearclaws, not banana-nut muffins.”

“Oh, goodness me. I’m sorry about that,” said Pinkie as she took the brown paper bag back with a smile, scribbled banana-nut muffins on it with a permanent marker and put it alongside a bunch of identical bags full of sweets before whipping open a new one and filling it up with bearclaws. “Here ya go! Sorry for the inconvenience.”

“It’s all right. I see you’re super busy. Have a swell day, Pinkie.” The customer dropped a few extra bits into the tip jar and took his goody bag with him and was shortly replaced by the customer behind him. One of many.

The mare pointed at a row of crepes, but before she could speak, Pinkie excused herself to the kitchen. She had donuts to save and told the mare she couldn’t give a crepe.

At least, not yet.

She jumped back into the kitchen and gingerly cartwheeled around the many identical paper bags and occasional cup or cooking pan that littered the floor and countertops, snatched the baking tray out of oven, and gently slapped it down on the only open space on the nearby table. Several paper bags tipped over and flumped on the floor.

And she did this all without getting wet or losing her balance. She smiled at the achievement, but then a drop of water bopped her on her booper. “Oh, jelly crescents, another leak?” She backflipped towards the cupboards, whipped out a mug and lined it up under the new trickle of drips coming from the ceiling. “And that plumber better get here soon! Or else he won’t get a free donut and a smile.” She giggled and snorted at her bluff.

Smiles were always free.

They were also plentiful, unlike trash bags. That would have explained the new sensation she had felt earlier that day: Tummy gurgles and goosebumps. She was out of trash bags. Now she was knee high in bags filled with empty egg shells, empty butter tubs, and full diapers. She’d run to get some more trash bags, but the customers were waiting.

With a flip, she cleared the many pots, pans, and paper bags, stuck the landing behind the counter, and threw her hooves up in bravado to the customers’ delight before giving the next one in line her crepes.

Business was like this for a short eternity between 7:12 and 9:34 and would only continue to get worse as time went on. Well, except for the leaks. Those had started sometime after 9:02. There had been a minor hiccup in customer traffic because of a small explosion across town that boomed at 8:27. She took a mini-break to run a bath for the twins and put Gummi on lifeguard duty. Besides, it would be a shallow bath, and Gummi was a great lifeguard. Before she could pull the babies out of their crib and plop them in the bathtub, there came the “ding-ding” of the counter bell.

She could tell just from the confidence and authority in the way the little dinger dinged that Filthy Rich was at the counter and waiting for his usual Tuesday-morning bruttiponi and iced barley tea. With a skip in her step and an uncontrollable swaying in her posture, she dropped downstairs and gave Filthy his morning delights with a most delightful smile every delightful patron deserved.

And then she did the same with the customer behind him.

And then the next one.

Then the next.

There were so many! Why were so many ponies coming here for breakfast today? She overheard from the customers that a septic tank blew at the farmers’ market. So that may have been the reason why so many ponies had decided on sweet bread instead of sweet corn for breakfast. Well, she was more than happy to oblige with a smile. More business for her, more business for the Cakes! But for some reason, the hotch just wouldn’t go away. She wobbled left and right like she was a bowl of upset gelatin during an earthquake; it didn’t matter if she was walking or standing still, she just couldn’t stop.

Ever determined, Pinkie gave each and every one of her customers a smile and a paper bag full of goodies until the bakery was devoid of customers and replaced with mistaken orders. Exhausted, she flopped down on the floor and gazed at the army of paper bags messily marked with markers surrounding her. Perhaps if she had slowed down a bit when she felt pressured, much like how Mr. Cake always told her to, she wouldn’t have made so many mistakes. Now she was left with an army of bags full of goods and trash to divide, dispense, and dismiss. But first, she’d have to read the hasty scribbles to find out what went where. The entrance opened with a chime.

Pinkie jumped up from the floor to greet what she hoped would be her final customer before the lunch crowd. “Welcome to Sugarcube-- Oh, hey Fluttershy! Nice hat.”

“Uhm, thanks.” Fluttershy stepped aside and Pinkie saw a short green guest with a large purple top hat. And he wasn’t a pony! And he had a little pet thundercloud!

She wanted one.

The hat. She meant the hat. Although a pet thundercloud would be pretty neat.

“Oh! A new friend!” She jumped over the counter with renewed energy and proudly welcomed the guest. He seemed timid, just like Fluttershy. Thank goodness Pinkie was an expert on not coming on too strong.

“Hi there, my name is Pinkie Pie! What’s your name? I like your hat. Where’d you get it? What brings you to Ponyville? Will you be staying long? What’s your pet’s name? Oh, you must let me throw you a party. Unfortunately, I’m a bit busy at the moment, so it’ll have to wait. You’re not a pony, are you? What kind of--”

“Pinkie Pie,” interrupted Fluttershy. “This is Woebegone. He’s here to meet with Applejack.”

Woebegone tipped his wet hat. “How do you do, Miss Pie.”

Pinkie giggled at the title. “Oh silly-billy. You don’t have to call me ‘miss.’ Pinkie is perfectly fine.”

The thundercloud boomed above and started pouring on Woebegone’s exposed hair. He put his hat back on and mumbled.

What a rude, little thundercloud. “Oh, no you don’t.” Pinkie jabbed a hoof at the thundercloud. It recoiled and shivered. “If you’re going to be like that, you can wait outside.”

The cloud, shocked and embarrassed as much as a cloud could be, flew outside the open door behind it.

“Wow. That cloud has never listened to me before,” said Woebegone. “I didn’t even know clouds could listen.”

“You just gotta let them know you mean business. Nopony, not even a cloud rains on my friends’ parades. Neither cloud nor rock nor queen of bugs stays these smiles from the swift enlightenment of their appointed faces,” said Pinkie confidently. She knew how to talk to a brick wall and was proud of it. “And when my friends are wet--” she pulled out a roll of paper towels and handed them to Woebegone “--I’m always there to dry them off!”

“Oh, thank you, Pink--.” A loud boom cut him off, and he dropped the roll of paper towels. His eyes darted left and right as he wringed his hands. “Oh dear, what have I done now?”

“You only dropped the towels, silly. Nothing to get worked up about.” Pinkie picked up the towels and pushed them into Woebegone’s hands, not at all deterred by the shivering pegasus’ vicegrip around her barrel. “But wowie-zowie. That was a loud one. Two in one day, too. Quite unusual. So, what brings you to Sugarcube Corner? Looking for some munchies?”

“I’m here to meet a pony with a cowboy hat,” said Woebegone as he dried himself off. “She said she knew someone who could help me with my situation.”

Pinkie nodded as she slowly pried Fluttershy off. “Oh, I know exactly who you’re looking for. Well, hopefully you won’t be waiting long. Please take a seat and make yourself comfortable, and here--” She slipped out of Fluttershy’s hooves and backflipped over to a pile of paper bags, plucked one out and handed it to Woebegone. “--Have a bearclaw, on the house!”

Woebegone thanked Pinkie as Fluttershy nervously said her goodbyes and said she “Had some things to take care of.”

As she walked out the door, Pinkie waved and called out, “Take care, Fluttershy, watch out for explosions and good luck with that fishbone lodged in your brain!”

Fluttershy froze for a microsecond before galloping off at full speed.

Pinkie turned back and observed the battleground and the one trooper before her. As much as she wanted to talk with the soldier, she had so much cleaning up and preparations to do before the oncoming battle that was known only as “lunch.” Much to her delight, however, she could ready her fortress and wag her chin at the same time.

So as she charged ahead taking out the trash and filing foodstuffs back to their shelves, she chatted with the green guy. He wasn’t much of a talker, and he talked so quietly too! She had to keep an ear facing him at all times. At least he was nice enough to offer to help, even if it was just carrying out the trash, but he wouldn’t touch the sweets because he claimed his hands were still wet. But they were dry! Why wouldn’t he give her a hand with her hot cross buns? Or her sweet raisins? Or even her plump melon bread? Oh well, he probably had his reasons. Likely it had to do with the little thundercloud that stared at him from the window. Its eyeless gaze weighed heavily on his spirits. "Stop it!" she yelled, and the cloud ran away.

It took some time, but all of the bags around and behind the front counter were taken care off. Then they moved into the kitchen, and wouldn’t you know it? More leaks! All of that drip-drip-drip was making her want to rip-rip-rip out her mane. The leaks only made things worse, as some of them fell on bags and smeared whatever label she had written on them earlier during the rush. Where was that plumber? She had asked Cheerilee to send for one more than an hour ago when she was in the middle of that breakfast stampede. She hadn’t forgotten. She wouldn’t. Oh, Ms. Cheerilee. As dependable as her, nopony can be.

Ooh! A haiku! And it rhymed! She’d have to share that with Cheerilee later. Of course, Cheerilee wouldn’t be able to enjoy it until after she sent that plumber like Pinkie asked her to do ages ago.

The two continued to make progress catching drips and sorting snacks. But as they did, Pinkie kept on hotching.

“Pinkie,” said Woebegone. “I can’t help but notice that you keep swaying side-to-side as you walk and stand. Are you alright?”

“I think so,” said Pinkie. “This is a new one to me, but I’m sure whatever it is, I can handle it.” She went back to work as Woebegone scratched his head and stared until he noticed the little thundercloud had returned and was peeking at him from the kitchen window. He went back to cleaning and organizing but kept the scheming cloud in the corner of his eye. Then came the ding-a-ling of the front door opening.

“Coming!” Pinkie flipped over Woebegone and into the doorway of the kitchen, but slipped and fell face first onto the wet hardwood floor. “I’m okay!” she announced.

Derpy stood at the front counter with the remains of a paper bag in her mouth. Her face was contorted and twisted, like it had just got caught in the taffy puller. “Oh, Pinkie. My muffins are ruined.”

“You poor thing, don’t worry!” She turned back to the kitchen door and yelled into the kitchen. “Hey, Woebegone!”

The little guy jumped out of his raincoat. “What happened!? I’m sorry! I--”

Pinkie giggled off his awkward response and pointed to Derpy. “Oh, nothing to get so worked up about, silly. Just grab her a bag that says--” A chunk of the ceiling next to Woebegone collapsed and a waterfall gushed forth. Pinkie couldn’t giggle that off. “Derpy, I’m so terribly sorry, but I don’t think I have muffins available at the moment. Please help yourself to any of the sweets on or behind the counter. Now, if you’ll excuse me.” She ran screaming into the kitchen.

A large, steady jet of water flushed out from a hoof-sized hole in the ceiling and drenched everything underneath. Pinkie violently swept everything off the counter underneath and slammed a mug underneath to catch the waterfall; however, it didn’t do a good job, not for a lack of trying or because it was too small, but because it broke. She jumped up on the soaked counter, leaned up against the wall, and blindly pushed up against the waterfall as it blasted her in the face until her hoof found and plugged the hole. It took a moment for the adrenaline to wear off, but she just couldn’t stop shivering or hotching in place.

Woebegone himself seemed utterly lost in panic as he grabbed a bag and ran out the door, only to come back a moment later without it. He looked up at her and timidly shouted, “She’s going to send help!” before proceeding to throw bags, ingredients, and spices away from the water all while flailing about in panic. Pinkie wished she could do the same, but she had to settle with flailing in place in panic. Also, her hoof was tapping and her shoulder was jerking.

Another waterfall erupted a few feet from her head, and she plugged it with her other forehoof. One more opened up just behind her, and she leaned back and shoved her head against the hole; as she fought to keep her ground and buckled under the growing pressure, the whole ceiling swelled up like a bloated mosquito. A burst of water and ceiling tile knocked her back tuckus-first onto the hard floor below. Dazed and disoriented, a pair of green hands gripped her by the barrel and flipped her over onto her belly and shoved her up on all fours. Several loud cracks roared above as the ceiling sunk to the floor like a bloated water balloon ready to burst. More torrents opened up around her and spread about like wildfire, the splashing and rushing of water drowned out the calls from Woebegone as he stood next to an open door, motioning for Pinkie to run towards the sunlight and the end of the kitchen. She got up to move, but the hotch threw her off balance and the flooded floor slowed her down, until there was a thunderous splash and the ceiling gave way above her. She closed her eyes.

The cacophony of tile, water, pan, and pipes all crashing down on her lasted a second. When she opened her eyes, she found herself in the bathtub in the middle of the kitchen. All around her, the floor of the bathroom had collapsed and layered itself on top of the kitchen like a layered cake-tastrophe. Like a fruit cake. Nopony likes fruitcake, and Pinkie felt like she was sitting in the middle of one.

But she wasn’t; she was in the middle of a full tub with a running faucet.

On noodly legs, she hotched her way out of the tub and turned off the faucet. Her hotch went away, and she was finally able to stand without shifting left and right.

Ooooh. Hotching is my Pinkie-Sense telling me I left the water running. That’s a useful one. She fell back on the soggy floor and took a deep breath. At least the twins weren’t in the tub and instead were safe in their room.

“Um… Pinkie, you feeling alright?”

“I think so, why do you…?” Pinkie looked over at Woebegone holding up the bathroom mirror. She saw her reflected self had a long, large bump sticking out of her head, just like a unicorn. And so did she. And boy-howdy, did it sting.

“Oh my, that’s not good. Excuse me.” She walked upstairs, gently picked up the twins, put Gummy on the counter and told him to watch the store, then turned to Woebegone.

“I’m sorry, but I need to find a babysitter and then head to the hospital. You’ll have to wait for Applejack on your own.”

“I’m so sorry, Pinkie! I’m so sorry!” bemoaned Woebegone. “I’ll just wait outside and…”

“What? Don’t be sorry, silly. It’s not your fault that I left the water on.” She adjusted the twins on her back, who remained transfixed at Pinkie’s new horn. “I have a friend right down the street who can look after the foals for me, then it’s just a straight walk to the hospital. Besides, I bet I’ll meet Fluttershy there. We could start a new non-unicorn-unicorn club!” She giggled and poked her bump. She immediately regretted poking her bump.

Pinkie headed out the door, dropped the twins off with Rarity, who took it all pretty well without asking a lot of questions, then headed off to meet Fluttershy at the hospital and start her new club.

---

The kitchen door to Sugarcube Corner blasted forth from its hinges and embedded itself into the opposite wall as Rainbow Dash zipped in the newly renovated kitchen-bathroom combo, but she couldn’t find Pinkie anywhere. Instead, she found a defeated green goblin moping in the corner just like the one Derpy had mentioned.

“I told her I was sorry, but she didn’t listen. She said it was her fault,” he mumbled to himself.

Rainbow got up into the goblin’s face. “What happened? Where is Pinkie?” she demanded.

“I’m so sorry!” he said. “I showed up, and the water was left on and the bath over-flooded and then there were leaks, and then Pinkie told me to get a bag that said ‘Derpy’ and the ceiling collapsed and--”

“Woah, woah, woah, hang on,” said Rainbow. “Run that by me one more time.”

The guy retold the events of the past several minutes: how he had come to wait for Applejack, the leaks, Pinkie realizing she left the water running in the tub and the disaster that followed, and it was somehow all his fault.

“Is that it?” Rainbow backed off the goblin and let out a sigh of relief. “Jeez, for a moment there, I thought it was you that did this.”

“But I did,” said the goblin, but she didn’t listen.

She extended a hoof. “Sorry for getting all up in your face. I’m Rainbow Dash.”

“Woebegone,” said Woebegone as he reached out to shake Rainbow’s hoof instead of returning the hoof-bump, which led to an uncool fumbling of hands and hooves. “Oops, sorry.”

“You don’t have to apologize so much. What are you, Fluttershy?”

Woebegone cringed. “Oh, sorry.”

Rainbow rolled her eyes. “Look, I know where Applejack is. Let’s go meet her there instead of waiting.”

“But-- but--”

“No ‘buts,’ come on.” Rainbow pointed back at the disaster surrounding them. “I don’t want to wait for her here. Besides, if Applejack sees this, she’ll go into ‘Missus Fix-it’ mode and we’ll get nothing done. So let’s go.” She got behind the weakly protesting Woebegone and pushed him out the door.

---

As Derpy watched Rainbow take off from her cloud, she couldn’t help but imagine how she had been able to sleep with all the commotion that had been happening this morning. At least she was still able to help, unlike every other pony she had come across that looked like they were in need of help themselves. Or was today a holiday for being dirty, drunk, and naked? Nopony ever told her these things.

Well, she did what she was asked and finally sat down to enjoy her muffins. She got comfortable on a cloud and held the bag ‘Mr. Top Hat’ had given her. When he had asked her to go find help, he had also given her a bag with her name written on it. Well, it didn’t really look like her name. She could make out the ‘D,’ but everything else was smudged beyond legible. Oh well, it’s breakfast time!

She opened the bag, took a big whiff and wretched. Mr. Top Hat must have grabbed the wrong bag.

These were diapers.

Goodness, Derpy just wasn’t having a good day.

Author's Note:

And things will continue to spiral downhill from here.

Next time, Rainbow Dash, not you, too! Also, find out how Twilight is dealing with the situation and how the Ponyville Hospital is doing.