• Published 21st Jul 2016
  • 3,898 Views, 90 Comments

Knotty Logic - Estee



In the math of Ponyville's newest eatery, 7+0=8.

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It Was This Or Put It On Yelp

In retrospect, if given the chance, he would have kicked the very first customer out of Ponyville's newest restaurant at the moment he heard the happy voice.

"Oh, hi!" the bubbly mare greeted his cashier. (He, attending to the dipping sauce, wasn't looking in their direction.) "It's nice to meet you, and I'm glad you're finally open! You're new in town, right? I would have remembered your face if you weren't. I remember everypony's face. And because you're new in town, I'd really really like to..." A thoughtful, but decidedly brief pause. "Well, after your shift. So let me see..." A slightly longer pause. "You know what smells really good? Those garlic knots! Isn't it weird, how garlic knots smell so good, but after you eat them, you don't -- anyway, how much are they?"

"The prices are over there," his cashier said in her carefully practiced bored tone, probably with the well-taught disinterested nod towards the menu.

The bubbly mare presumably looked. "Oh, okay -- I see! They're half a bit each! That's a little -- well, they still smell really really good, so I'm sure they're worth it!"

"And half a bit for the optional dipping sauce," his cashier smoothly added from somewhere in the middle of her self-induced semi coma.

"So I've got some friends... well, maybe everypony won't want to try one. Or maybe they will. And Dashie will probably try to grab two, or three, or whatever everypony doesn't get to in time..." Another pause for consideration, along with what was probably some very complicated math. "Let's just go with seven. I can come back if I need extras."

"That'll be four bits," his cashier immediately told that first customer. For his part, he moved to put the garlic knots in the oven.

A much longer moment of silence.

"Three and a half bits," the customer said. "Seven knots. Not eight."

"Seven knots," his cashier said, "plus the optional dipping sauce. Four bits."

"Oh!" The bubbly mare had the sort of smile you could hear. "Well... that's marinara sauce, isn't it? I don't think anypony really likes marinara sauce. Not with any of my friends. Maybe somepony in Ponyville does, but finding out might take a while. And honestly, it sort of smells like your tomatoes might have -- anyway, I don't want that."

His cashier did exactly as she'd been taught. "Four bits."

"But..." A little more slowly. "...I don't want the sauce. It's optional. I'm leaving it behind."

"Right," his cashier said. "Four bits."

A surprisingly deep breath. "How about -- we just treat the extra half-bit as representing one more garlic knot?"

"All right," his cashier told her in an agreeably bored tone. "That'll be four and a half bits."

"...can I speak to a manager?"

At which point, he turned and, upon seeing the bright pink earth pony, trotted up to the counter.

"Is there problem?" he asked, careful to project the fake accent at maximum force. It didn't seem to work, but that might have been because the mare already appeared to be slightly concussed. "Problem with order?"

"I just wanted seven garlic knots," the mare said. "No dipping sauce, please."

Demeaning somepony's income was always a positive step in establishing the proper customer-merchant relationship. "And you not have four bits?"

"I just don't want the sauce. Nopony's going to use it."

"So leave it here," he told her.

"I'm trying to."

"After paying for it."

The mare abruptly shook her head, twice and hard. Curls bounced.

"I just want to pay for the things I'm getting..."

Which meant it was time for the next crucial step.

"You," he declared, "get nothing."

"...what?"

"You not want to pay for sauce? Then you must not want knots! No sauce, no knots! Get out! Get out and don't come back, ever! No knots for you!"

Bright blue eyes stared at him for a moment. Moved to his cashier, who appropriately responded with a yawn, beginning the first stage of her well-rehearsed performance in which she would ultimately pretend to fall asleep.

"It's baked goods..."

OUT!"

The mare took a long, mournful look at the garlic knots, then turned and slowly trotted away.


"May I speak to the manager, please?"

It was an unusual way to open a purchase, and so he immediately turned to look at the newest arrival, who turned out to be a short, exceptionally slender unicorn mare: four qualities which were just about all he would ever learn about her, and much more than he cared to remember.

He took the trot to the counter. "What you want?"

Her voice was oddly accented: a bit of Ponyville, touches of Canterlot, traces of somewhere else. Nothing he could use. "May I know your name, sir?"

"Knot Nazee," he said after a moment, which was used for ignoring the sounds of the voices outside. "Why?"

"Just so we can have a proper discussion," the mare said. "And a respectful one. Welcome to Ponyville, Mr. Nazee. I understand it's your first day in business and you've spent the entire last week locked up inside this building getting things ready, so you haven't really had a chance to make anypony's acquaintance yet. I'm the town librarian. My name is Tw --"

"Don't care. What you want?"

She blinked, then took a slow breath, one which took in far too much of the sadly-free scent of his wonderful knots.

"Mr. Nazee," she carefully said. "You are aware that Ponyville has no sales tax of any kind? Not on manufactured goods like a number of settled zones. Certainly not on food. It's part of the way we try to lure in tourist and shopper traffic from Canterlot, by letting them know they can make up the cost of any commute through the savings on their purchases."

A stupid question from an obviously stupid mare. "Manehattan have sales tax. Ponyville do not," he imperiously stated. "Manehattan branch have to try and make change in stupid non-standard bit fractions, at least until I tell everypony to round up."

"So you're from Manehattan?" the truly imbecilic mare asked.

"No." And before she could ask where he was from, he quickly surged to "Branches all over Equestria. Came to open this one personally. You order something or not?"

"Mr. Nazee," the slender mare went on without paying any attention to the important question, "your garlic knots smell wonderful. Your sauce... well, anyway, everypony wants to try your knots. But the dipping sauce... is optional."

"Good," he sarcastically stated. "Town librarian can read. Speaks well for Ponyville education standards. Or would if had not been meeting local ponies all morning."

"So you're not under the impression that we have sales tax, and you're using the sauce in order to cover what you'd have to pay Town Hall --"

"-- not stupid. Unlike everypony in this town --"

"-- so I'm sorry, Mr. Nazee, but I have to ask... what do you think 'optional' means?"

He stared at her for a few seconds, convinced such a small mare would have to collapse under the sheer weight of his gaze. Oddly, it didn't happen.

"You pay for sauce," he said. "You have option to take it."

There was an unusual degree of focus in the mare's eyes. He didn't like it.

"I have several dictionaries I could --"

"No knots for you! Get out!"


He was starting to get the impression that the white unicorn mare was flirting with him. She had a way of batting her eyelashes... well, it was truly something to see. Not that he visibly cared about it (as far as he could tell), because he usually wasn't going to be caught openly caring about anything: his Ponyville image was still under construction. But still, with no customers in the restaurant, there were far worse things to do than letting her enchant him. So he was staying at the counter, listening to the charming accent, one which he could also use absolutely no part of.

"Now," she smiled, "as a fellow retailer doing business in this settled zone -- well, it's not as if we have any crossover in our direct wholesalers, but I just happen to have a number of connections in the farming community, gathered via one of my close friends. So should you need a local source for tomatoes...?"

"Have source," he immediately replied. "Brother. Tomato farm on west coast. Special crop. Nopony else in Equestria raise that type. Get all tomatoes from him, for every branch, everywhere."

A rather cute frown. "How does he keep them fresh over so much distance?"

The confusion momentarily leaked through. "Fresh?"

"...oh. So how are you finding your first day selling in Ponyville? I noticed an unusual amount of traffic, but all of it seems to be outside your shop..."

He grinned. "Tell you secret?" Because she really was charming, and he could always deny the words later.

The eyelashes fluttered. "Please."

"They stay around restaurant after being kicked out. They talk about being kicked out, and why I do it. Makes business feel exclusive. Like they not good enough to buy here. So they send friends and family to see if anypony can manage it. Creates demand. And then I get best of settled zone. Only have to deal with ponies I want to deal with. Elite."

"We're... not a very large settled zone," the mare said. He started to wonder if it was worth remembering her name. "You named all your locations for me, and they're all in decidedly populous areas. When it comes to us, there's really only so many ponies you can offend before -- well, I have some regrettable experience there. Still, I suppose I can -- understand your tactic. There's a certain something to having one's goods considered as fit for the highest strata. However, to isolate -- well, that's neither here nor there, I suppose. So your dedication to the sauce is in part dedication to your sibling? There's a certain nobility in that."

"Keeps idiot out of trouble and gets me extra half-bits from other idiots," he said with satisfaction. And for the first time all morning, "You like to try knots now? Half-bit each, plus --"

"-- actually... I had an idea while we were talking. One which would improve your profits. May I gift it to you? As your welcome to our settled zone?" And her face was radiant with sincerity.

Improved profits? "Please," he smiled.

With obvious intelligence and more than a little pride, "Well, the thing about garlic knots is that no matter how excellent they are, there are certain -- after-effects upon one's breath. No fault of yours, of course! It's simply unavoidable. But we have a candy shop of quality in town, and the proprietor will wholesale to others, or nearly so. And I was thinking that if you truly wish to offer an 'optional' item to go along with your most excellent knots... you could buy mints from her. By the bale-ton. They're rather inexpensive in true bulk. And then when you sell your knots, you could offer the option of the dipping sauce at half a bit -- or the mints at a tenth-bit each. Which is truly a considerable markup, but the candy shop is rather far from here and ponies would have an immediate need. While it might seem like a small amount for each individual purchase, your profits would accumulate rather quickly. In fact, you might wish to suggest one mint with every two knots. Perhaps even more if somepony intends to split their order among friends, for all would have need..." The wonderfully-coiffured mane vibrated with excitement. "You see my logic, I trust? For a pony of intellect would recognize the opportunity, and you, sir, are quite visibly --"

"-- extra options..." he breathed, every letter carried on a tide of amazement. Why hadn't he ever seen it...?

"Yes!" she declared with a dainty excitement -- then had to do it again to get through the increased volume of muttering outside. "Now, I can put you in touch with our candy seller immediately. Her name is --"

"-- cashier!" he yelled. "New policy! Optional sauce now one dipping cup for every two knots!" Who immediately nodded, took up a piece of chalk between her teeth and headed for the slate. He watched her, smiling. "You are genius," he told the mare he wasn't currently looking at. "Must ask. After your own shop close for day, are you doing --"

The last part of the offer was meant to have flirtatious eye contact attached, and so he turned back to face her.

She was gone.

He shrugged. "Got own business," he remarked to nopony in particular. "Back after close." And then looked at the ponies milling outside his shop, unable to enter after he'd kicked them out.

Things were going exactly as planned. Or would have been, if they hadn't just been made so much better...


The grey-maned older earth pony probably had the wrong prescription on her glasses, which was why she was staring so hard at him through them. And was likely equally as hard of hearing, which was why she hadn't left yet.

"I told you!" he shouted again. "Get out! No knots for you!"

And instead of fleeing through the crowd outside (which would have recently required a lot of pushing, including through the air -- but there seemed to be considerably less ponies there now), she simply sighed. Her left foreleg came up, adjusted the ascot.

"So you truly have no idea who I am," she sighed again.

"Not care!"

"Nor did you know who Mr. Rich was. Or our police chief, followed by all the uniform-free officers she sent in her stead. The head of our tax collection division. Much less our Bea --"

"-- something wrong with pony brain? Got to kick you out personally? Can sell to anypony I wish, can not sell to anypony I wish! So --"

"-- as best I can track, you have not sold to anypony. All day."

"Includes you!"

Another sigh and this time, the hoof adjusted her glasses.

"I swore I would never do this." The voice was soft. It was also steel. "Well, I suppose some would argue that it is in the nature of my office to violate such promises. And yet, I would normally regret it -- but I suppose, just this once, I can simply -- let the town's collective suggestion happen, and whether I added my own voice to the herd, nopony need ever know. We will simply -- do it."

He blinked, then immediately prepared to deny it had ever happened. "Do -- what? Can't do anything! Not legal to --"

"-- our police department has left the area," she quietly said. "All witnesses are being cleared from the vicinity. It will be your word against that of a settled zone. And now I will leave your restaurant. Because shortly, there will be a certain -- inversion of that. Goodbye, Mr. Nazee. It's a pity, really. They smell like such wonderful knots."

He felt nervous. He didn't know why. All he knew was that the crowd outside was almost gone, and the older mare was shrugging to herself as she trotted out, he screamed at her and nothing made her move faster, she simply left at her own unhurried pace, said a few unheard words to the last of the departing exterior ponies, and then...

...it was just him and his cashier.

After a moment, he shrugged at her.

"Stupid empty threat," he said. "Like other stupid empty threats in every settled zone."

She nodded.

Six mares trotted into his restaurant. Two of them weren't allowed to be there.

"GET OUT!" he instinctively screamed. "Already told! No knots for -- "

And then he saw the genius, and nearly all the volume went away as his face flashed into a smile.

"Oh, you!" he laughed. "Back so soon to see Knot?"

Her eyes narrowed. The lashes did not flutter. He wondered if he should try a compliment.

"Like your --"

He frowned.

"Necklace supposed to be glowing?"

Comments ( 90 )

I haven't read it yet, but I'll say this right now:
I'm actually kind of relieved that you didn't choose to put RD through this.

"Anybody who bites a writer is asking for trouble -- food poisoning at the very least."

-- David Gerrold.

What did I just read.

What happened to Owner afterward.

What.

I really want to know what the Elements are going to do to him now.

Damnit now I have unresolved questions!!!

Hmm. Sanity or statue? I suppose it comes down to whether there's anything in there to save. If nothing else, someone who can bake goods that good can't be all bad...

Well, that was amusing, in the sense that this delusional jerk is going to get everything that's coming to him and more. Granted, I didn't think they'd bring the Elements of Harmony against him-i just thought he'd be driven out of business by alienating every last pony in town.

Still, for what it is and that horrible pun of a name, I was amused.

Sometimes, it's so satisfying just to see an amply deserving person get their comeuppance. Nice little piece of vicarious schadenfreude.

I don't get it. The only joke here is that the owner doesn't know what 'optional' means but that wasn't what made the Soup Nazi funny.

He expected perfection from this customers not because he was greedy but because he was a perfectionist. Only Kramer understood him.

The Elements of Harmony might be just a tad over the top. Still, it did give me a laugh :pinkiesmile:

I assume most of this is based on personal experience?

7411816

I assume most of this is based on personal experience?

Yep.

I think mentioning the Elements of Harmony at all wasn't even necessary. I mean, the Mane Six are more than capable of taking apart a rude jerk and his soon-to-be-condemned restaurant with their bare hooves.

But yeah, this guy reminds me more of Amy's Baking Company than Soup Nazi.

7411844

I will not write Those Two because I'm dearly hoping that if we all ignore them, the lack of attention will actually prove fatal.

(Hey, I just became a hater!)

7411862 Lucky for you, you don't have to. I already did. And Aria blew up their restaurant. :moustache:

Wonder what the blast result was...

... Can Pinkie or someone else reverse engineer or something, the knots??

In retrospect, if given the chance, he would have kicked the very first customer out of Ponyville's newest restaurant at the moment he heard the happy voice.

So, statue, then, as he's conscious, but still have kicked them out... Instead of being thankful?

The Ponyville Garlic Knot Shop, where optional is mandatory.

7411883 Derp. Forgot to include the link. Doing five things at once right now. Edited my comment; the link's there now. (It's the second chapter of that fic.)

Beautiful! Pity you didn't show the other EoH when they showed up.

Fluttershy: "Eep!" Runs away. Minutes later, a small white bunny rabbit shows up with three and a half bits, and an evil glint in his eye.

Dash: "You sure there's seven knots here? Lemme count 'em. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. Okay!" Stuffs them back into the bag. Drops three and a half bits on the counter, leaves sauce behind.
"Is four bits! Forgot sauce!"
"What sauce?"
"Knot sauce!"
"Exactly! Not sauce! Bye!" Chortles loudly and flies off.

Applejack:
"Four bits!" She leans forward onto the counter. Beckons with a hoof. "C'mere, a sec."
The stallion leans forward.
"Y'all trying to force me to buy the knot sauce?"
"Buying not optional, taking is."
She takes the sauce from bag. Opens the container. Puts a bit inside. Closes the container. Pinches the stallion's nose shut. When he opens his mouth to complain and/or breathe, she shoves the container inside, bit and all, and holds his nose until he swallows it. She smiles.
"Around here, that's how we get dumb critters to take their medicine. Y'all feelin' smarter yet?"

I'm reading through the comment, because I've just realized what Knot Nazee could mean xD

Knot bad. Knot bad at all.

Actually, I expected Twilight to do something like:

"So the optional sauce is required with every two knots, hm..." She placed a half-bit on the counter. "One knot please."

Taking the knot in her magic, there was a bright flash of magic, and Twilight placed another half-bit piece on the counter the instant the previous coin was gone. "One knot please."

"With two knots, there-- Wait, where is other knot?"

"What other knot?" Twilight looked around, but the room was remarkably knot-free. She turned back to the proprietor with an innocent expression. "One knot please."

.... Five hours later

"Was knot here! I saw with own eyes! And where is coin?"

"I don't know what you are talking about." Twilight put a half-bit down on the counter. "One knot please."

7411787 My "Hand" slipped. I think you just gave me an idea for PP's contest.

F***ing hell! That's just an overreaction! Yes, he was being stupid, refusing to allow his customers to not buy something they didn't want, with a blatant ignorance of the proper definition of 'optional' (i.e. you have the option to buy it, you are not obliged to buy it then have the option of taking it.), and generally being a idiot with whom it was impossible to negotiate, but the Elements of Harmony?!?! He's an annoying pain in the rump whom nopony is obliged to give their buisness to, not a world-threatening evil! What the Mane 6 do here is frightening, and borderline tyrannical! They are the evil here, assaulting a buisnessman for being an idiot! They are no longer worthy of the Elements of Harmony!

Reading my comment, I just had a brilliant idea for an AU where the Mane 6 become evil, so the elements seek new bearers! Somepony, make that happen!

Seriously, what they did was evil and wrong. And, despite how well-written this was, and how my reason is going to look ridiculous to anyone reading it, I can't condone such wrong behaviour. Downvote.

Estee #26 · Jul 21st, 2016 · · 3 ·

7412416

I see you're fairly new here, which means we haven't met before. So let's make this quick.

I strand ponies in trees and hang them upside-down from fountains. I replace innocent animal caretakers with Sherman tanks. I killed a fictional cat. I throw humans out of Equestria. I doused Rainbow with fur dye, made Cadance step down as leader of the Empire, got Twilight to cry several times, rigged a lottery, caused the extinction of Crystal Geese, and murdered a piano. I've been told that I write the most cynical and depressing works in the fandom, which includes all the stories in which the entire cast systematically murders each other. And I take it as a compliment.

Or, in the short form:

Hi. I'm Estee.

...You actually wrote it. You decided to actually write this. I am very excited to see how this is executed.

Well. That escalated quickly.

7412416 What was that you say? Downvote? Okay, you ask for option. I give option. :derpytongue2:

in all seriousness... Do you honestly think the Elements of Harmony would stone him, or banish him, or whatever few things we've seen the Elements do on the show... The Elements would most likely do something fitting of the crime, and if it's a minor crime, I suspect they would deliver a minor punishment. The comedy comes in imagining what that punishment would actually be... Maybe the Elements make him smell profusely like garlic breath x100... No pony will go near his shop then! Who knows, that's the fun of story telling! :trollestia:

But seeing as there is no creativity in your comments and you assume the Elements would either blast him and his sham of a store away at 120% power, or the Elements would somehow reject the Mane 6 for abusing their powers, or whatever... Meh. No creativity... No upvote for you! :rainbowlaugh:

Estee, you offer story, one click. Comment optional, one click. Option to make comment or leave. Upvote for you! :twilightsmile:

7412416

And if you read the rest (399) of Estee's blogs you will understand from where she gets these ideas! Mind you, reality never ceases to exceed fiction when it comes to wierdness (all due respects, 7412467 dear) but didn't you see/hear/read about Ted Cruze's speech at the RNC? Or that Trump allowed him within a mile of the convention, never mind give him a golden platform from which to vent his spleen!

7412467 But what they did was evil, illogical, and, most importantly, out of character.

7412618 Give me one example when the Elements of Harmony DON'T blast them to the moon and back. And don't say Nightmare Moon because they only blasted her 'to' the moon.
And if it was only a minor crime ( and it technically wasn't a crime at all, as far as I know), why the hell do they need the elements?!

Estee #33 · Jul 21st, 2016 · · 1 ·

7412641

Hi. I'm Estee.

7412666 I get it now.

There is only one reply.

:rainbowlaugh:

This was good.
However the ending didnt go where I thought it was going.
I really expected, after the mayor left and her comments, that Discord was going to show up.
That would have been terrifyingly hilarious.

7412132 omg, As far as I'm concerned, that is the official Omake. :rainbowlaugh:

Guys. Rule of Funny. It works in mysterious ways.

7412650 Give me one example where we get an "Elements of Harmony - For Dummies: A Foals Guide to Using the Elements of Harmony". You have NO MORE PROOF the Elements can only be cranked to either "Max Power" or "MaxER Power", than anyone else has proof they can be set to "Mild tickle" or "Stink face". The POINT is humor.

What I see is a person with no sense of humor, who has difficulty grasping the concept, and who wants to bring others down because you can't grasp the concept. Come back when you grow a funny bone. Your argument... No one's buying. it's a freakin' comedy, and I enjoyed it muchly*! :derpytongue2:

* A rather silly word that is "moar bigger-er" than "greatly", and serves as an utter butchering of the English language, when used in this intentional context. :twilightsheepish:

7412650 You know, now I'm tempted to write a story "When All You Have Is A Hammer" about the new Elements of Harmony right after they've freed Luna. About a week later, Celestia returns to Ponyville to find the most amazing peace and tranquility...because the Elements are being used to blast everything from poor service at the restaurant to stale cupcakes over at Sugarcube Corner.

"We call it The Big Rainbow Beam of Fix Everything!" said Twilight with a bright sparkle in her eye, indicating a certain expectation of being praised for her brilliant idea. "We start with a good zap of something in the morning, because one of the side benefits of using the Elements is a clean coat and well-brushed tail, so we save probably an hour a day just there. It works on weeds, peeling paint, leaky roofs, cranky waiters at Chez Phancy who dump drinks in your lap, and Applejack's apples have never looked bigger or tasted better!"

7412956

Go for it.

Optionally: please?

7412911 While I do, I assure you, have a sense of humour, to me the Elements of Harmony being used in such an over-the-top, unnecessary way, (i.e. for a shopkeeper who is just being a pain) is not funny, but rather scary and unnerving. Furthermore, I only wish that there was a facepalm emoticon to express my reaction to your insinuation that the extremely powerful elements could be used to just give a little 'smack-on-the-wrist'. Because frankly that's just ridiculous. Also the thing about them being rejected by the elements was simply said in jest, and in the spirit of humour and imagination.

My only criticism is naming the manager Knot Nazee.
It's a little bit too obvious a reference.
:trixieshiftright:
Otherwise, quite a nice little one-shot.

Now Knot Fare, that's a name.
Not an obvious Seinfeld reference, (though I did, and technically still do* love Seinfeld) but also with the wordplay between 'fare' and 'fair'.
:twistnerd:

*I hope that's the link I was thinking of

7413055 One of the many things I love about Estee's work is that sometimes she takes a real-life experience and turns it into Pony fiction.

Ever try to update a magazine subscription?

Ever suffer from insomnia?

Ever bought a cell phone?

Ever get spam emails?

Doing all sorts of horrible things to fictional shop owners makes for a very entertaining form of stress relief. Burning down a store because the owner is stupid tends to be frowned upon in real life. Blasting a store with friendship beams in fiction can be quite entertaining. It's a cheap form of therapy.

I hope you give some of Estee's other stories a try. Some of us love our piano-murdering pony Hitler...

"You think you can get knots? Please, you're wasting everyone's time!"

Seriously, we already know Twilight does the 'little kicks' dance like Elaine; is this really much of a stretch?

7412618 I assume he gets brainwashed"purified" like Luna got. New stallion who is a generous and fair businesspony arises from the ashes, sweeps Rarity off her hooves.

7412467
Don't forget about not being responsible for FimFic Authors are in your Bed.

Also one of these days I'll tell you about the time that we almost murdered an upright piano.

7412956

I need to read this.

7413589 Be that as it may, what did the ice-cream churn do to deserve it's fate? #allinanimateobjectlivesmatter

Not forgetting the tapestry. #won'tsomebodythinkoftheartwork?

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