• Published 23rd Mar 2020
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Do Ponies on Earth have Magic Dreams? - Tiki Bat

The story of an optimistic young night pony, the special pony that enters his life, and how the two of them follow their dreams to make the world a better place!

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Chapter 23: Night Security at the Salvage Yard

The two night ponies slowly flew along the sunlit street, the orange light slowly giving way to a cool twilight. To say that some of the buildings around here looked decrepit would be an understatement. Scarlet had said that this part of town was a little more run down, but she neglected to mention that it looked practically abandoned. If Silver had to guess this place hadn’t been touched since at least the eighties, if the incredibly out of date architecture and sun-bleached paint of the buildings were any indication. Their faded signs with cracked and peeling paint only gave him even more of a sense that this place was abandoned, despite the prominently lit OPEN signs clearly visible in some of the grimy windows.

“Alright, promise me you’re going to be safe, okay? You don’t have any kind of hoof protection, and tetanus is the last thing you need,” Scarlet cautioned for what felt like the dozenth time as the two neared the salvage yard that would serve as Silver’s new job site.

Silver looked around at the ancient-looking buildings and nodded, “Gotcha. Trust me; I’m doing this for you; I don’t need to add any more medical bills onto our list.”

“Glad we’re on the same page then,” she paused and looked up at the simple gated compound with a bright neon Valley Scrap and Salvage sign flickering above the gate, “Feels weird that we won’t be together all night for once.”

“Feels weird that I’m going back to work like I’m human again or something,” Silver agreed. He looked back over toward her and smiled, “Maybe it’s not a bad thing though, gives us some time apart to just do our own thing, not like we don’t hang out all day in our dreams anyways.”

“True,” she agreed, “Still though, I honestly have no idea what I’m gonna do during the nights.”

An idea clicked in Silver’s mind, eliciting a gleeful smile, “I know I broke your telescope, but you could fly across town to that observatory if you wanted to. Get some real advanced stargazing in.”

“I dunno,” she trailed off, “It was closed that one time; maybe they’re just not able to keep it running right now.”

“Well, maybe they just need somepony to come in and run it at night. Seems like the perfect job for you if you really want to pick something up like that.”

She looked up the stallion with longing eyes, “You think so?”

“You’re the best astronomer I know; of course, you’re the best pony for the job!” He excitedly cheered, his voice echoing through the empty street.

“I’m also the only astronomer you know,” she teased, “Plus, I’m a hobbyist more than anything. They’re probably looking for someone who’s actually done that kind of thing professionally, if they’re even hiring at all.”

Silver considered this for a moment, trying to think of something creative to say. As if a lightbulb blinked on above his head, an idea hit him, “Still though, job market’s probably pretty strapped for a pony like that, you just gotta sell yourself!” He tried to convince her in his most confident, almost salesman-like voice.

Scarlet smiled and brushed a lock of her mane out of her eyes, “I’ll let you know how that goes after work, okay?”

“Sure thing, future astronomer.”

“Alright, Scrapper, you better get over there unless you wanna be late on your first day,” she pulled him into a hug and left him with a kiss, “See you after work, give me all the juicy details if anything crazy happens.”

Silver tapped the small bag that was hanging around his neck, “You got it! Have a fun night, Scar.”

“I’ll try my best,” she smiled.

The two sat wordlessly for a few moments, almost as if they were seeing who would decide to fly off first. With a graceful leap, Scarlet took off into the darkening night sky, leaving Silver with the crumbling buildings and stray alley cats for company.

The stallion laughed to himself and glanced down at one of the strays, “There a lot of crazy action around here? Or is it just going to be a boring night alone?”

The cat looked up at him with an indifferent expression and simply meowed, giving Silver no hint at an answer to his rhetorical question.

“I figured that’s what you’d say,” he bluntly replied. Shaking his head, he looked back over toward the scrapyard’s flickering neon sign and confidently nodded his head, breaking into a cheerful trot toward the small (but still large for a pony) office building with a broken window that sat next to the bent and patched up chain-link gate. As he approached the door, he held up a hoof and gave a short, but firm knock, almost afraid that he’d break the worn down door. Much to his relief, however, it was solid enough, and was probably reinforced… or at least a lot sturdier than the rest of the place looked.

In a quick move that almost frightened Silver, the door swung open as if the person behind had been waiting in anticipation.

“You Silver?” The tall, slender human asked in a gruff voice.

The stallion peeked into the cramped, yet surprisingly pristine (at least compared to the rest of the building) office and nodded, “Uh-huh, that’s me.”

The human smiled and held out a hand, then left it hanging when he realized that the greeting didn’t exactly translate over to ponies as well, “Duncan. Nice to meet you,” he waved Silver in and gestured to an older looking chair that seemed practically ancient, but also seemed surprisingly comfortable, “Take a seat if you’d like, I just have a couple of things to go over and then I can give you the grand tour.”

Silver nodded and stole a few glances around the packed room. While there were boxes stacked as high as the ceiling and papers strewn about on any surface that was available, the place wasn’t a total wreck, which surprised him. Well, that bodes well, he thought to himself. Maybe the old saying don’t judge a book by its cover had some merit to it, after all, because from the look of this place, Silver imagined it to be run down and stuck in the past. Despite that perception, though, a pretty new looking computer sat on his desk, and even though the office looked horribly disorganized, his inner collector could tell that the human knew precisely where everything was in his accumulation. Needless to say, Silver’s first impression was a lot better than he had thought it would be, even with the strange mish-mash of old and new in the room.

The stallion hopped up onto the chair as carefully as he could manage, not wanting to break the poor chair.

“So, you’ve been having some trouble here at night?” Silver asked, breaking the ice.

Duncan nodded, “Yeah. It hasn’t been anything super crazy, just some hooligans stopping by and throwing rocks, and sometimes the odd scrap thief or two. Like I said, nothing major, but something that’s become enough of a problem that I need someone to keep an eye on.”

“Right,” Silver nodded, that explains the broken window and patched up fence, “So my job is basically scaring off the hooligans and thieves then.”

“More or less,” the human gestures around the office, “I handle most of the day to day stuff in here with a couple others that come in in the morning, but you’ll be pretty much alone on your own for this. I’ll stick around with you tonight, though, just to show you the ropes.”

“Sounds like a lot of peace and quiet then.”

“Is that an issue?”

“Hah! No,” Silver laughed, “I think you just gave me the best job ever. I’m getting paid to watch over a salvage yard on my own, and I don’t have to deal with salespeople or customers? That sounds like heaven!”

Duncan laughed and shook his head, “I already like you, Silver. So do you have any questions before I show you around?”

“I mean, I’ve got the obvious what are the hours and what is my hourly rate questions, but aside from that, not really.”

“Well, to start, I’m looking to have you around during normal business days. Monday through Friday from like… seven-thirty at night to say… four-thirty? You get a lunch break at eleven and a break every couple of hours. Truth be told, though, you’re going to have a ton of downtime, so I’m not going to throw a big fit if you stretch the breaks a little.”

“Just make sure I keep an eye on things and don’t goof off or sleep on the job?”

He nodded, “Yep! You can put on some music, play a movie in the background… whatever you want as long as it doesn’t get in the way of your work. It’s a pretty straightforward shift,” he pointed over to a set of monitors at one of the desks, “Check the cameras there, and every hour I’d like you to take a walk around the yard. Check the fences, note down any disturbances, etcetera. Aside from that, relax, take it easy, and keep an eye on things.”

“Check the cameras, trot around the yard, make sure nothing weird’s happening. Got it. Anything else I need to know?”

Duncan shook his head, “No, not really. I’m going to have to pay you under the table right now, if that’s okay.”

Silver raised an eyebrow and sat up in his seat, laying his hooves on the desk in front of him, “Wait, why’s that?”

“I don’t know how long I’m going to need you. It could be a week, a couple of months… it’s just going to depend on how things are looking. Right now, I’m treating it like a temporary summer job, so expect to be working until at least August or September. Pay’s a bit less than minimum, which is really honestly stretching what I can afford, but I’m desperate to get someone in for the night. I know it’s not ideal, but is it going to be an issue?”

The stallion softened and shook his head, “Sounds fair. It’s gonna complicate some things but at the same time I’m not really paying for much as it is so I can live with it. So I’m going to guess I basically have nothing in the way of benefits then?”

“I’m sorry about that,” he nodded, “Money’s tight enough as it is right now, but I’ll tell you what. I don’t know how interested you’d be in this kind of thing, but if you see anything you like that isn’t like some giant piece of machinery or part, then set it aside somewhere, and I’ll let you know if you can have it.”

A lightbulb went off in Silver’s head, and excitement began to build up within the young night pony.

“So hang on, say like I found an old telescope or something, I could have it?”

Duncan stroked his beard for a second and nodded, “Yeah, I probably wouldn’t be able to salvage much from it anyways, so sure. Small things like that are just fine. Run it by me first, though, okay?”

“Sounds good to me,” he beamed, practically hovering out of the chair at this point.

“So if you don’t have any other questions… how about a tour? The compound isn’t really much, but I can walk you through your patrol and let you get a feel for everything. Then we can go sit down, and I’ll show you how the monitors are all set up, show you where the emergency numbers are, first aid kits— the usual boring stuff.”

“Well, let’s get right to it then,” he cheered, standing up and trotting in place like an excited foal before quickly composing himself, “Sorry, I uhh— I’m just excited for the job.”

Duncan laughed and pushed his chair back from the desk, “I admire the enthusiasm; I can’t say I’ve ever had a new hire get this excited about starting. I think you’ll be a great fit here.”

He gestured toward the simple door labeled Salvage Yard and held it open for the stallion, “Might as well start with the area you’ll be hanging around in.

Silver trotted forward and peeked out the door, taking in the mountains of scrapped vehicles and all matters of discarded appliances that seemed to tower over him, a child-like sense of curiosity and wonder carrying in his face.

Duncan let out a laugh and laid a hand on the night pony’s back, shaking him out of whatever stupor he was in, “Hey, I’m sure it looks like a total mountain of junk from where you’re standing, but trust me, there’s lot more to gawk over once you go further into the yard.”

Silver gave a few quick nods and continued to look around the section of the yard that he could see. It wasn’t that the piles were tall, however he was small, at least in comparison to them, which only made the modest collection of scrap seem like an entire kingdom of discarded trinkets and treasures, one that Silver was more than excited to explore. He didn’t know what to really expect from this job, but so far, it seemed like it’d be a breeze, and in no time he’d have enough saved up for Scarlet, himself, and whatever other future endeavors the two had planned… at least that’s what he optimistically hoped for…

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