• Published 4th Sep 2012
  • 1,946 Views, 65 Comments

Flim and Flam Save an Orphanage - KFDirector

They're not gonna catch us. We're on a mission from Goddess!

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Flim, Flam, Trixie, a New-Found Passion, Iron Will, Lyra, Bon-Bon, and Octavia

“So – this Dodge Street we’re on – named after Dodge Junction, or Dodge Junction named after it?” Iron Will asked, leaning over the (authentically) white goat at the wheel, peering through the windshield into the dark, cloud-covered, Whoa-maha night. Octavia stood in the cab as well, seeing that the omnibus navigated properly to her destination.

“I had wondered about that myself one rainy Saturday, and inquired at the city library. It appears that the proprietress of the largest orchard in Dodge Junction and one of the town mothers of Whoa-maha share a grandfather, by the name of Salad Dodge. Larger-than-life fellow, in several different meanings of the cliché, but he rather could afford it; apparently, the very fact that orchards can be grown in the desert is thanks to some of his discoveries.”

Iron Will and the goat held their breaths as a Night Guard carriage passed them, but the pegasus ponies operating it paid the M-squared-C-squared™ no special mind. Octavia continued: “The short of it being that they are both named after the same pony, rather than one after the other, and yet the history of the two places continues to be tied together. Note the name of the club.” At this, Octavia gestured with a hoof at a large, brightly lit barn-like building coming up on their right, with a large neon sign, which Octavia read for them: “Cherry’s Jubilee.”

“That’s the club where we’re getting a drummer?” Flam asked, trotting up to the cab, which now, in the opinion of the goat in the driver’s seat, was uncomfortably crowded. Nopony, however, sought the goat’s input.

“We shall address our percussion issues here,” Octavia responded.

Flam narrowed his eyes, regarding Octavia. For certain, she was no less beautiful than the advertising promised – but his mind was in a different mode now: it was a time to work, not a time to be played. “From the way you word your reply, I take it you have a plan.”

Octavia chuckled demurely, as the omnibus pulled into the parking lot. “A plan? No, I do not. I have what you may consider ‘intelligence’ regarding this place. I have a grudge. I have faith that you will be able to apply this intelligence as expertly as you did against me just a few hours ago. And I have confidence that the outcome will be favorable to your charitable enterprise.”

“Go back a step,” Flam said. “What was that second one again?”


“No, before that.”

“Intelligence on Cherry’s Jubilee?”

“No – oh, forget it. I’m sure it’ll come out later at the worst possible time. So you’re not going to be taking the lead?”

“Good sir, I’ve had a good quarter hour to consult with your fellow bandmates. Having heard a merely abridged version of their recruitment, I can be quite confident that I cannot match your uncanny abilities of interpersonal magnetism. I shall offer advice to you and your brother’s capable leadership, and no more.” Octavia smiled. There was some mirth in it, Flam thought, but not necessarily the good kind.

“You’re still a bit upset about the fondue thing earlier, I take it?”

“While I must confess to being a bit cheesed about the whole affair, I shan’t let it cloud my judgment.”

“You’re quite certain it hasn’t curdled your stomach for our charitable enterprise?”

“I told you my decision; you should not further milk this line of questioning, lest I end up reconsidering after all.”

Flim cleared his throat behind them, not quite able to squeeze into the crowded cab himself. “If you two are quite finished, we’re ready to unload.”

Thunder rumbled as the grey pegasus pony beat her wings through the night sky, wind tousling her blonde mane, though the lightning, at least, was safely below her hooves. She hadn’t been counting on working a double shift, nor that her extra shift would be covering a delivery from Canterlot to Chihocko, but she really thought that she shouldn’t be feeling this exhausted and sore – she found a suitable cloud and stopped on it, carefully hefting the mailbags that were her charge.

The mailbags were definitely overstuffed by local delivery standards, but she didn’t do enough regional deliveries to be certain if this kind of volume was excessive. However – and this took careful consideration, as she had certain issues with regards to depth perception – she decided that the two bags were quite imbalanced. She trotted around the top of the storm cloud, viewing the mailbags from every possible angle, wanting to be certain that the problem was really with them and not with her vision – and satisfied herself that the left bag was at least five times bigger than the right.

That simply wouldn’t do.

She opened up the left bag with her mouth, planning to redistribute some weight.

From inside the bag, a brown earth pony looked up sheepishly at her.

Wild Fire’s gleaming white convertible carriage careened through the night. Thunder and lightning rolled overhead, and a few droplets fell onto her, but to feel the cool night air running through her mane was just too sensual an experience to pass up. Singing along with a Sapphire Shores cover of ‘Love is in Bloom’ playing on the record player, she was quite unable to hear one particular pony scream in terror until he was directly overhead.

“Uwaaaaaaaaaaaa - ” His cry was suddenly curtailed by his impact, and Wild Fire’s shocks bounced. She glanced in the rear view mirror, not slowing down.

A brown earth pony was extracting his face from a large featherbed mattress that had been lying in the back seat.

“Are you alright?” was the obvious question, and indeed, it was the one she asked.

“Better than I expected to be thirty seconds ago.” Nickel Guise looked around. “Air mail is a lot less forgiving than rail. Can I get a lift?”

The pegasus pony kept a remarkably straight face. “This one not good enough for you?”

“Ah, well, yes, thank you kindly, ma’am.” The attorney climbed forward in the carriage, seating himself next to Wild Fire, and buckling a seatbelt. “I was on my way to Chihocko, in search of somepony, when it came to the attention of a certain admittedly beleaguered civil servant that I was not postage-paid. Might I ask where you’re going?”

“Whoa-maha. The stallion I’m looking for is there.” Wild Fire closed the roof of the convertible, having no room for further passengers.

“Ah.” Nickel Guise thought for a bit, looking in the rear view mirror. “Ma’am, while I’m very grateful – alive, even – for the presence of that feather bed – I must ask: why was there a feather bed in the back seat?”

Wild Fire grinned wide. “Because when I find that stud, I don’t want to have to waste any time.” The earth pony shifted uncomfortably. “Flam Flimflam is going to be mine, and I’m going to be ready anywhere, anytime.”

Guise would have spit-took if he had been drinking. Parched as he was, he was therefore able to maintain his composure. “You’re looking for Flam Flimflam, are you? And you think he’s in Whoa-maha?”

“Not think. Know.

“Really? How, may I ask?”

“The power of love.” The pegasus at the wheel appeared to be dead serious.

The earth pony considered this, muttering only barely aloud: “Well, it single-hoofedly thwarted a large-scale military strike a few months back, so I suppose it might also have the ability to track down a few deadbeats.

“Beg your pardon?” Wild Fire asked.

“I said, ‘I’m very grateful for the ride to Whoa-maha,’” Nickel Guise lied.

“What?” Flim demanded, angrily. “Am I not on the list?”

The bouncer, a purple earth pony with an image of a door on his flank, rolled his eyes. “There is no ‘list’, sir. If you want to come in, drink, dance, and have a good time, you’re more than welcome, as long as you don’t make trouble. My problem is that you seem to be bringing in musical instruments.” He waved a hoof at the minotaur with a trombone, the unicorn with a saxophone, the unicorn with the double-necked guitar, the earth pony with the trumpet, the white goat with a stack of amplifiers on his back, and the gray goat carrying an electronic keyboard and a cello case.

“Of course we are!” Flim bristled. “We’re the band!”

“The band,” the bouncer deadpanned. “It’s nearly one in the morning, and you show up, saying you’re the band.”

“We’re the second feature.”

Before the bouncer could eviscerate this bluff, he noticed one more pony approaching behind the rest of them, derailing his train of thought. “Miss Octavia. Cherry’s Jubilee always welcomes you.”

“And a good evening to you as well, Zed Sway. Is there a problem with my bandmates?”

“No – no problem. Go on in.”

While the outside of the building was meant to resemble a giant barn, the interior was clearly built by consulting other ponies entirely, ones who studied subjects like ‘acoustics’ and ‘sound engineering’. The dance floor was fronted by a large bar, and flanked by stages at each end – one stage empty, the other having only a small DJ’s booth, piped into the club’s sound system. Rhythmic bass beats blasted, and hundreds of ponies danced, while easily another hundred sat or stood but drank either way.

Pretending they knew exactly what they were doing, the charitable enterprise began to set up its equipment on the empty stage. Flam found an undistracted bartender and asked: “So, what kind of music do you usually get here?”

The bartender pushed her thick-rimmed glasses back on her snout. “We play a pretty big variety here, but the house specialty is a pretty obscure genre; you’ve probably never heard of it.”

Flam frowned. “Try me.”

“‘See and Dub’,” she pronounced it.

“C&W? Really?” Flam laughed briefly but haughtily. “You think your little club has a monopoly on C&W? We know C&W.”

The bartender gave him an annoyed look, and went back to wiping the counter, as Flam joined his group on stage.

“Alright, everypony, we need something country and western for this audience.”

Trixie looked at Flam, at her saxophone, and then back at Flam. In point of fact, only Lyra looked did not have a look of disappointment at this announcement – not counting Octavia, who seemed to have been distracted from the moment they entered the club.

“On three – one, two, three – ”

The Flimflam brothers held their hats in their hooves as they crooned into the microphone. The bass beats came to a prompt end as their song now replaced the house’s choice over the speaker system.

“All day I face the barren waste without the taste of water,” Flam sang.

“(Cool water),” Flim harmonized.

All other activity came to a halt as five hundred club-goers stared at the stage. While Lyra plucked out accompaniment on her instrument, the rest of the band awkwardly struggled to harmonize vocally with the Flimflam brothers, unable to find a part for their instruments in the song.

“My brony and I with throats burned dry and souls that cry for water (cool water).”

Some in the crowd began to boo. Others, by nature or blood-alcohol level of a more violent persuasion, prepared empty bottles – the few unicorns in the crowd with magic, the many earth ponies with carefully poised back legs.

By the time the song reached its chorus of “Keep a movin’ brony, don’t you listen to him brony, that’s Discord not a pony – ” the stage was under bombardment by projectiles and broncs’ cheers.

The hip bartender, who had seen a lot of bad bands in her time, did admire this about the one on stage right now: only one of their number – the earth pony trumpeter – seemed at all fazed. The two lead vocalists didn’t even blink, the minotaur was batting the bottles out of the air, the guitarist was too in the zone to notice, the saxophonist seemed more at ease after the crowd turned sour than before, and Octavia was wearing her trademark expression.

The crowd’s booing came to a halt as leitmotif of electronica heralded the arrival of a white unicorn with an electric blue mane to the DJ’s booth at the opposite stage. The new arrival spread her forelegs wide, and the crowd, turning towards her, cheered and stomped their hooves, as she called for silence over her microphone.

“Attention – attention, everypony. Need everypony to calm down and take a seat; I got this.”

Her purple-lensed glasses may have covered her eyes, but they couldn’t hide the gleeful smile on her face, as she continued to introduce herself.

“For your one, your only, your master of ceremonies, your jockey of discs, DJ Pon-3, has arrived for tonight’s encore, to deliver you all from these weak-ass beats!”

The cheering was reinvigorated, as Vinyl Scratch’s preferred array of sound equipment appeared around her, descending on hooks and cables. The pony she had pushed aside a minute ago merely kept the tracks playing; what was to follow would be a DJ’s work.

One strong but feminine voice was heard over the microphones again, clearing her throat at first. “We are terribly sorry that our warm-up exercise disturbed you, Vinyl.”

The cheering stopped as the crowd listened to the interplay.

The DJ peered through her glasses. “Tavy? The buck you doing here?”

“We’re here to play some C&W, Vinyl. That won’t be a problem, will it?”

Vinyl snorted. “You tell me. That crew of yours doesn’t exactly look up to playing Country and Dubstep.”

Flim clamped his hooves over the brothers’ microphone. “I believe I have identified the problem,” he whispered.

Flam shrugged. “And here I just thought they could tell that we had never rehearsed.”

“Oh, we’re up to it, Vinyl,” Octavia continued, ignoring the byplay and keeping the crowd going, “if, you know, you’re not afraid of being upstaged now.”

The unicorn DJ’s smile returned, though it was now a wicked one. “You itchin’ for some humiliation? Go on, then.”

Octavia nodded, and returned her borrowed microphone and she trotted back to her place on stage, where her cello case awaited beside the keyboard. Passing by the Flimflams on her way, she offered this: “I’ve done all I can. From here on out, it’s all you two.”

The Flimflams turned their backs to the crowd to check with their band.

“Anypony have a clue on how to make a wub without a synthesizer?” A lot of shrugs gave Flim his answer. “Fine. Let’s just pick something a little snazzier, and try to suck less.”

“Ghost Herd in the Sky,” Lyra suggested, “old classic, and then we just jazz it up a bit.”

“As fond of jazz as she is, Trixie must point out that it isn’t exactly wub.”

“We can’t do wub. Let’s focus on not sucking. On three.”

Lyra blasted an epic guitar riff through the speakers, seizing the crowd’s attention for the charitable enterprise’s second attempt. Flam took the low notes, Flim took the high, Octavia aimed for the most violin-like notes her cello could manage, and the others…improvised.

“An old cowpoke went riding out one dark and windy day
Upon a ridge he rested as he went along his way
When all at once a mighty herd of red-eyes cows he saw
A-plowing through the ragged sky and up the cloudy draw.”

Vinyl folded her forelegs, knowing full well an absence of wubs when she heard it – not that she was surprised; Octavia’s band simply didn’t have the equipment for it.

Yippie yi yaaaay
Yippie yi ohhhh
A ghost herd in the sky!

The audience was, however, somewhat distracted from the genre failure by an impressive performance on the fiddle – cello – and Lyra continuing to rock on.

Their faces gaunt, their eyes were blurred, their saddles slipped on sweat,
She’s gallopin’ to catch that herd but she ain’t caught ‘em yet!

There was not a particularly good reason for Trixie to be flamboyantly jamming a saxophone solo between these verses; one could only mark it up to her being tired of not being in the spotlight and nopony knowing how to stop her, except by joining her – which would only serve the purpose of making it not a solo.

As the leader loped on by him he heard her call his name
If you want to save your soul from the Nightmare of this range
Then cowpoke change your ways today or with us you will run
Trying to catch this wretched herd ‘til the dying of the sun!

At this point, astute listeners, which included most of the audience but not much of the band, noted that the cellist and the guitarist appeared to be in a duel for the phattest finish – fortunately, the winners were the audience themselves.

Yippie yi yaaaay
Yippie yi ohhhh
A ghost herd in the sky!

With the trailing vibrato of Flim and Flam, and the two ponies in the string succession finally coming to simultaneous, flamboyant finishes, the audience broke out in an applause of hoof stomps and cheers.

Not quite certain of how that had happened, the Flimflam brothers took a bow.

“Alright, alright,” came Vinyl Scratch’s voice over the microphone, “that was considerably less weak, but it still ain’t exactly up to local standards. Now, if you don’t mind, let me show you how it’s done – ”

“Actually, young filly,” Flim said, taking the microphone firmly in magical grip, “That just wouldn’t be fair, would it? As you can see, we’re painfully short of equipment.”

The DJ snorted again. “Don’t think I’ll let you lay a hoof on my gear.”

“Wouldn’t dream of it. Would barely know to operate it.” A few ponies in the audience chuckled. “No, no, you misapprehend entirely. A different kind of competition entirely is what I’m calling for. You introduced yourself as an MC as well as a DJ, didn’t you?”

“Yeah, what of it?” Vinyl asked, having an idea where this was going, and looking forward to it.

“There’s a way for musicians to prove their superiority that requires nothing but a pair of microphones and one beat for the both. I trust you’re familiar?”

“Oh yeah.” Vinyl’s magic pulled the microphone off its stand at her booth, holding it in front of her. “This…” She began, trotting down off the stage, towards the center of the dance floor, “…is going to be good.”

Flam set a hoof on Flim’s shoulder. “You know what you’re doing, brother?”

Flim nodded. “I know what I’m doing, Flam – do you know what you’re doing?”

Flam grinned. Flim nodded again, and trotted down to the center, where the audience was forming a circle.

Flim and Vinyl circled each other, eyes locked, listening to the beat. Flim tapped his hoof a few times to catch it; for Vinyl, it was instinct.

Grab yourself a quill and ink, it’s time to get schooled,
Don’t know what Tavy sees in ya but I sure ain’t fooled,
You’re sittin’ on my stage playin’ songs with no drums,
Now I’m here to toss you all out on your bums.
You’re a downright fool to challenge the likes of me,
You’re a nopony, foal, I’m the DJ PON-Three!

Pumped up by their champion, the crowded cheered; Flim grinned as he continued to circle, and began.

DJ PON-Three? What happened to One and Two?
You always re-inventing for a brand new you?
I’m Flim Flimflam, I’ve never been ashamed of that,
So back off little filly before I wear you like my hat!
You not heard of me? You’re in for a surprise.
Now take off those glasses and look me in the eyes!

Vinyl frowned for a moment, before coming back to a grin as she magically removed her glasses, revealing magenta eyes. Her fans hushed – she was rarely seen like this.

Take off my glasses? Don’t mind if I do –
For a better look at your stupid face when I beat you!
Now it’s you, sir, your hat – that thing, you need to doff!
So we can see the bacon that the griffin dropped off.
But the vest, I respect, you do look good in stripes,
And it really distracts from your total lack of pipes.

Flim huffed and pushed Vinyl’s hooves off his silk vest. Even the bouncers and the bartenders were gathered now; they were joining in the cackling at Flim’s expense.

Now listen up, mare, ‘cuz your eyes will go wider,
I’ll stick you in my press and squeeze you into cider,
I’ll take you down like I took down Sweet Apple Acres,
And everypony here’ll see you go cryin’ to your makers.
Your final downfall is tonight, right here in this club:
It’s all over faster than you can say wub-a-dub-dub.

The DJ snorted, and waved a hoof at the crowd.

My downfall? Guess you haven’t been keeping score:
My rhymes are getting cheers; you’re just a bucking bore.
This club is my world, and it’s the end of your line.
So go back to your cowtown and be with your own kine.
At this contest I am indisputably the master,
Bow down and beg now so the end’ll be faster.

Flim smiled solemnly, and gave a gesture of mock courtesy.

Alright, perhaps you’ve made me admit,
You’ve got a sharp tongue and a tiny bit of wit,
And on your own turf you seem to have the crowd’s love,
And that’s all that really matters when push comes to shove.
So maybe I’ve lost this battle of rhymes, but one thing I must know –
If I’ve the one who’s lost, where’d your sound system go?

“What?” Vinyl blinked, and turned, looking away from the center of the room to its edges for the first time in a few minutes.

The DJ’s stage was completely empty. The microphones and beatbox were working because they were part of the club’s integral systems, and not Vinyl’s specialty equipment.

“Aw buck no!” She whipped her head back around, to look at Flim, who was already galloping towards the door, using his magic to cast earth ponies out from in front of him and into his wake.

“Hurry up, Flim…” Trixie muttered to herself, standing at the open back hatch of the omnibus. The turbines were warm and spinning, and Iron Will was finishing the work of strapping down the new cargo.

Out the front door of Cherry’s Jubilee, Flim burst. The doors managed four swings before the angry mob followed.

Unicorns were, for well-established reasons, rarely renowned for their athleticism when compared to earth ponies, but Flim, like Flam, and Trixie, had this over other unicorns: a lot of practice running. For Trixie, predominantly from monsters, angry mobs, and public humiliation. For the Flimflams, mostly from angry mobs and the Night Guard.

This was helping Flim, but, Trixie realized, it was not going to be enough. Even if the unicorn DJ was trailing at the back of the mob, a lot of rodeo ponies were at the front.

In fact, one of them even had a rope, which he was swinging in his teeth to make a lasso.

Trixie grinned, thanking the universe for continuing to give her these opportunities.

The rodeo pony let his lariat fly, and had only physics been in play, it was indeed possible that Flim would have fallen there and then. However, a glow of Trixie’s horn said that physics could warm the bench, as the rope flew to the side and snagged on a light post.

Flim knew that the first rule of running from an angry mob was to never look back at them, so he was not treated to the show of a few dozen ponies getting suddenly clotheslined by the lasso, nor another few hundred getting into a pile-up atop of them, nor Vinyl Scratch failing to screech to a halt on her hooves right before joining them. That show was only Trixie’s to enjoy.

With a final leap, he landed in the omnibus, the clank of his hooves on the metal floor being the signal to the driving goat to throttle forward.

“We’ll get you back in a few days!” Flim cried into the night, as the omnibus rolled away. “Sorry! We had no choice – we’re on a mission from Goddess!”

Trixie’s horn glowed again, closing the back hatch of the omnibus. “Really?” She asked, skeptically, raising a brow. “You’re sorry?”

“Well, no. But I’ll make an effort to return the gear in good shape, maybe with a rental fee, too.” The two unicorns trotted forward in the omnibus, to rejoin the rest of the band. “Now, all we need to do is find ourselves a venue.”

“Wrong.” Iron Will said loudly and firmly, his arms crossed. “We need to rehearse.”

“Ah – well, yes, but…” Flim started.

“Yes but nothing,” Lyra said. “We were blowing chunks out there tonight. I know it didn’t really matter, but I signed on for great music, and if we’re going to make your charity money, we need to be able to deliver.”

“Um.” Bon-bon coughed. “We were kidnapped, Lyra, remember?”

“I agreed not to complain about being kidnapped for great music. And I think we’ve got potential, but we’ve never played together before – we’ve got to work harder!”

Flim gulped. “Is this, ah, what we’re going to be doing for the rest of the day?”

Iron Will nodded, with intensity. “That, and driving back towards Canterlot. And the goats handle the latter.”

“I – you know, I just had an epic rap battle, can I get a reprieve?”

“Gargle with some cider and wash your face. Iron Will begins vocal warm-ups in five.”

“It’s time,” the blue-maned unicorn said, “roll it on out.”

“No, Vinyl!” her road engineer protested. “We haven’t finished testing – it’s much too dangerous!”

“Too dangerous for those thieves, you mean. Do as you’re told. Those fools are going to pay, and all will learn the source of true power in Equestria.”

The engineer gulped. “I can’t persuade you otherwise, Vinyl?”

“No. You cannot.” Vinyl’s magic adjusted her glasses so they were again firm on her eyes.

“The time has come for the world to see the power of the Bass Cannon Express.”

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