• Published 2nd Jul 2020
  • 7,919 Views, 802 Comments

Short Hand - Andrew Joshua Talon

The myriad misadventures of a plucky human in Equestria.

  • ...

Flim Flam 1

I did not trust the Flim and Flam brothers. I did not trust them as far as I could throw them, and despite my recent gains in weight lifting, I wasn't that strong.

Unfortunately, it wasn't easy to find their origins. Equestria didn't have an internet, or even phones. That said, being a knight and a national hero did open certain doors. There were references to a pair of red maned twins who were fast talking salesponies who had appeared in a town named Bitspur, which was about an hour north of Canterlot. Chewie thankfully was up for the trip. I got him some deer though, that made him happy.

The town was small but nice. It was laid out in a circular pattern, with numerous little houses and farms radiating out from a central marketplace. I brought Chewie in for a landing on the outskirts. No need to frighten the general populace. He was actually happy to not go into the town: He hated being in enclosed places.

I walked in on foot, my boots pounding the dirt road. I walked into the central area of the town, where several ponies were walking around and going about their business. Several of them looked at me, curious. One foal even had an action figure of me, and was grinning happily. His mother, however, pulled him away from me.

I made it to the local watering hole, and slowly entered. I got lots of looks from the residents. I walked over to the bartender, and sat down at the bar. The bartender, a large stallion with an eyepatch over one eye, regarded me warily.

"What'll you have?" He asked. I shrugged.

"Hard cherry cider. Neat," I said. The stallion slid me a glass, and I caught it. I sipped it, savoring the taste. It wasn't bad, but I preferred Applejack's.

"What brings you around here, stranger?" The bartender asked. I could feel every eye and ear focused on me. I shrugged.

"Flim and Flam Brothers," I said. "What do you know about them?"

The bartender sighed as numerous ponies grumbled, growled and spat behind me.

"If you want to take it out of their hide, it's not worth it," he said, "they're long gone."

"Out of their hide?" I asked, confused. Well slightly confused.

"Let me guess, they stole yer money and now you want to get it back?" The bartender asked in a deadpan.

"They stole my trust fund!" One unicorn shouted angrily.

"They stole my silver earrings!" An Earth mare bellowed.

"They stole my cider recipe!" A pegasus wailed.

Well, good to know my suspicious and paranoid nature had paid off. I held my hands up.

"I'm not out for revenge or for a pay day," I said, "just information about them."

The bartender snorted, and gestured out the door.

"The shack at the end of town by the rail line. You want to know anything, go there," the bartender stated.

I held back a groan. I'd just walked from that way.

"Thank you," I said. I dropped several gold bits on the bar. The bartender raised his eyebrows.

"They ripping off minotaurs now?" He asked.

I smiled wryly.

"Something like that," I said.

The shack was actually harder to find than I thought it would be. It turned out it was in the middle of a junkyard off the train station. There were piles of scrap metal, spare parts, even some railroad cars and a locomotive rusting away. The shack was in the middle of the junkyard, with several recently cobbled together additions. I walked up to the front door, and knocked on it.

There was an ominous click behind me.

"All right! Hooves up!" Barked an old stallion's voice. I complied slowly. "Now turn around!"

I slowly turned around and looked at my captor. He was a pale furred stallion, tall and slim, with long legs. He had a fading red mane and mustache, and dressed in a threadbare turtleneck sweater-Almost the spitting image of Flim and Flam. His cutie mark was of a pair of gears and a wrench. He had a box strapped to his chest, out of which was a ventilated barrel. One of his hooves was on a crank connected to the box. He glared at me through half-moon spectacles.

"Who are you?" The old stallion demanded. "What are you doing on my property?!"

I took a deep breath.

"I am Ser Andrew Shepherd, Knight of Equestria," I said, "and I'm here to ask you some questions, Mister...?"

The stallion glared, unmoved.

"Doohickey. Now get out!" He yelled.

Chewie peeked up over the top of a nearby locomotive. I slowly nodded to my bro.

"I'm here to ask about Flim and Flam, Mister Doohickey," I said calmly. "I'm investigating them. I'm not here to do anything else."

Doohickey seethed.

"And why should I help you?" He demanded.

Chewie roared, and the old stallion jumped and stumbled. I leaped the distance between us, and grabbed the gun box! I wrestled it off him, and tossed it aside. Doohickey started, and nearly cowered. Chewie growled, sniffing loudly. I frowned.

"What do you mean someone else is here?" I asked.

"No! Nopony else is here!" Doohickey cried.


I turned, and a small filly trotted out of the shack's front door. She had pale fur like Doohickey, and long limbs. Her mane though was blue, as was her tail. That wasn't what made me gasp though.

Her right front leg was artificial, made of silvery metal. Her left eye was a lens, with a metallic plate covering the side of her face down to her muzzle. Her spine had metallic bracing all along it, down to her tail, which was short and made of clearly fake hair. She had no cutie mark.

"Don't take her-Please," Doohickey cried, "she's done nothing-!"

Okay, trying to be diplomatic and coy wasn't working. I groaned and glared at Doohickey.

"Look! I'm not here to hurt anyone!" I shouted. "Or take your granddaughter! But Flim and Flam are trying to exploit my friends, and I want to stop them! For good!"

Doohickey stared at me, silent. He then let out a low sigh.

"I see," he said. I backed away from him, and he nodded to me. He trotted over to the little filly, and wrapped a foreleg around her.

"It's a long story," he admitted, as the filly hid behind him slightly. "This is Music Box. She is my granddaughter... And Flim's daughter." He sighed. "I am their father... You'd better come in."

He eyed Chewie. Chewie snorted, and growled. I waved my hand.

"Don't worry," I said, "he's not very keen on the indoors."

"I can't imagine why," Doohickey said dryly.

Author's Note:

Hey, I realized I entitled this "Short Hand". As in, short stories. Yet I keep writing things into epics. So I'm gonna keep things a bit short for this arc. And a different take on the Flim Flam Brothers.