• Published 4th Sep 2012
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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, Octavia, and Vinyl Scratch's Sound System

A million cicadas chirped in the mid-morning heat, as another sweltering sun beat down on the prairie, offering no particular mercy for this small cluster of buildings at the intersection of highway and railroad. Ponies travelling by drawn coach rested their legs, those travelling by self-propelled coach or omnibus stretched them, those needing fuel for their vehicles acquired it, and Nickel Guise plunged his head deep into a pool of cool water and briefly contemplated drowning himself.

“So I said to him ‘I’m a pegasus, I crave spontaneity!’ and that morning he quit his job! So I was like, ‘dummy, we can’t exactly go out and have fun with no money’ and he was all ‘mare, I’m the stallion here’….”

No good. Even down here that crazy pegasus wouldn’t shut up, and he wasn’t ready to take his chances that a shade bearing her voice wouldn’t await him in the next life. He lifted his head back out, shaking the water from his mane and face, while his forelegs continued to hang over the rim of the fountain.

“Pardon, good fellow, but the fountain is for drinking, and most emphatically not for bathing,” said a voice behind him.

“Sorry. Just got a little carried away.” Guise pushed himself off the fountain, and turned to the voice – his tone getting considerably darker after he did so. “Flim. You look good for dead.”

Flim grinned, showing a touch of sheepishness and a touch of nervousness. “Dead, dear Nickel? Wherever did you get that impression?”

“When the feathers hauled me in for it – you and Flam and your old friend Trixie. I want my money, Flim. I want my money, and I want the Night Guard off my back so I start my practice up again.” Guise took a step towards Flim, in what he imagined looked like a threatening way. If water hadn’t still been dripping off of his soaked mane and moustache, it might have been so. “Don’t even think of running away from me.”

Of all reactions Guise was expecting to this, Flim suddenly throwing a foreleg around him was not one of them. “Run away? I wouldn’t dream of it, Nickel! You’re just the stallion I wanted to see! Trot with me.”

“Huh?” Guise said, ever quick to adapt to changing circumstances, as Flim half-dragged him forward.

“And as for the rest – well, Nickel, you know I’d never mean to leave you in the lurch! I honestly thought Flam would pay you for our defenses – must’ve been all those parking tickets he racked up – the interest too, just murder, I hear – ”

“Now don’t you try to polish a horse apple,” the attorney said, managing a protest, trying to halt himself on the sidewalk while Flim continued to drag him. “You’re the one who stole my opera tickets!”

“An investment, good fellow, an investment!” Flim said reassuringly, while his magic came active to push Guise along as well. “One that is indeed about to pay off. If you come with me I’ll tell you all about it!”

“What? No! You need to come with me, I need to bring you to the Night Guard, you need to turn yourself in, and clear up this mess, and – ”

The unicorn frowned. “That’s just not going to happen, my friend.”

Guise looked up at where Flim had brought him – to a large iron omnibus, painted with the logo of the Iron Will Company. If the recognizable registered trademark hadn’t been clue enough for Guise, the presence of the blue minotaur, leaning up against the bus, would also have been adequate. He looked at the minotaur’s immense muscles and gulped. The minotaur looked at his puny earth pony body and shrugged.

“Now,” Flim said, “You can come with me, or you can stay here – but that other thing you were speaking of? Not really an option.”

For a long moment, Flim, Guise, and Iron Will were silent against a background of chirping cicadas.

Then they heard shouting: “I said anthracite, you son of a Diamond Dog! How in the hoof is my beautiful white carriage going to run on lignite? I have a date to keep, and you will clean out the bunker this instant and replace the coal with the grade I paid for, or I will buck your stupid little head into…”

Guise suddenly made up his mind, and trotted up the stairs into the omnibus.

The unicorn and minotaur followed him in, closing up behind them.

“Hey brother,” Flim called. “It really was Nickel.”

Flam trotted in from the rehearsal car of the omnibus. “See? Our holy mission continues to be blessed.” An engine turned over, and the turbines of the omnibus started up as the goat got the M-squared-C-squared™ moving towards the highway.

“So what’s going on?” Guise asked. “Did you join the motivational speaking circuit or something? And this isn’t the way to Whoa-maha – where are we going?”

“It’s quite simple, our long-suffering esquire: we have formed a musical group composed of some of the greatest talents in Equestria who would work at our prices, and we intend to hold a concert.”

Guise stared at the Flimflam brothers for a while. “This is it? This is your plan to raise – what was it, fifty thousand bits?”

Flam grinned. “Our one and only!”

“And we need the money by, ah, the morning of the day after tomorrow,” Flim added.

“Which is where we could use your help!” Flam clarified.

Guise laughed. “Keep looking. I have no musical talent. In six years of school band, they had me play a tambourine. With the jingles welded together.”

Flam’s moustache twitched in mirth. “Indeed, Nickel, I’ve heard you attempt to sing. No, we weren’t asking for your help with that end. No, no, no, no, we most certainly were not. The very idea…oh, no, no, no!”

While Guise looked hurt, Flim threw a foreleg over him again, in renewed invasion of his personal space. “We don’t need any more band mates, Nickel; we need a manager. Or, to be really to the point, we need a venue. One that can raise us fifty thousand bits. By the morning of the day after tomorrow.”

Guise removed himself from Flim’s leg and stepped away. “You have any idea the kind of venue you’d need to work? And you don’t get those kinds of places with a day’s notice. I’m sorry, guys, but what you’re asking is utterly impossible.” The attorney trotted away from the brothers, coming into the next car of the omnibus. He stopped, giving plenty of time for the brothers to catch up with him, as he stared at the ponies re-tuning their instruments for a fresh round of rehearsal.

“Your band,” Guise asked, “includes Octavia, the Great and Powerful Trixie, and Lyra Heartstrings?”

“Hi,” Lyra said in a friendly tone, though she did not look up from her double-necked guitar, as she carefully adjusted the tuners. “You know me?”

“Your band played the Bright Donkey pretty much every Thursday night my last year at the Canterlot Legal Academy. Gimme Some Lovin’ might just have gotten me through the fall semester. That, and lots of coffee-based highballs for breakfast.” Guise turned back to his clients. “I’m sorry, guys, but what you’re asking is rather difficult.”

The brothers grinned.

“I’ve got maybe one favor I could call on this kind of notice. You ever heard of the Roan Palace Hotel? Nice place, right at the edge of earth pony country, overlooks a mountain lake. They’ve got a great big auditorium that they basically never use. The general manager’s son is an old classmate of mine, and I got him a nice quiet annulment from this drunken marriage he got himself into with his own – uh, anyway, big theater. If you fill that up, we’ll take fifty thousand bits, easy. Get me to a messenger post, I can get that arranged for tomorrow night.”

The attorney sighed and rubbed his face with his hoof. “That’s just the seating, though. No idea how we’re going to cover the advertising, the exploitation.”

Iron Will, having come up behind him, clasped him firmly on the back of the neck, simultaneously making Guise jump and keeping him from moving. “That won’t be a problem,” the minotaur declared proudly. “No one knows exploitation the way Iron Will knows exploitation!”

“Baah,” the gray goat agreed.


In the streets of Canterlot, outside a small brick building, unicorn colts and fillies gathered in awe, beholding their headmistress and Princess of the Night.

“Thou hast heard us speak about the two rapscallions, Flim and Flam. Yet they too struggle to trot the road of redemption! Tomorrow night, they shalt be performing to raise money for the aid of thee and thou! Thy slothful backsides art entwined in this matter as well! Now, take for thyself a stack of these flyers, and be off with thou: Canterlot, nay, Equestria, shall hear thy story, and learn how they might be of aid merely by attending a concert! Be off with thou!


In the town square of Ponyville, Spike scratched his head. “Lyra? Bon-Bon? I heard you were kidnapped by Iron Will….”

“What?” Lyra laughed nervously. “Don’t be silly! Bon-Bon and I just decided to take a sudden vacation…you know how it is…” She trailed off, while leading Spike in any direction other than that facing Ponyville’s Civil Defense Loudspeaker, which Bon-Bon continued to attack with a hacksaw.


At an outdoor café in Canterlot, Twilight Sparkle looked up from the map she had spread across the table to see a unicorn colt holding up a poster.

“Excuse me Miss Twilight – ”

“Roo!” Twilight smiled. “How have you been?”

“Good Miss Twilight, can you please take this back to your friends in Ponyville and tell them because it’s real important.”

Twilight took the poster from the colt before he ran off, and read it carefully. Her eyes widened, and she shouted out to her friends, who were standing in line at the counter: “Applejack! Rainbow! We’ve got a lead!”


“Tomorrow night – one night only – ” Vinyl Scratch read the words as they appeared, pegasus ponies hastily painting them on a billboard. “The Flimflam Brothers Band and Music Revue. Featuring: the World-Famous Flimflam Brothers, the Great and Powerful Trixie, the Iron Will Company, Lyra Heartstrings, Bon-Bon, and Octavia. Roan Palace Hotel. One night only.”

Vinyl smiled in satisfaction. “The foals have led me right to them. I’ll have my revenge and my stuff back in no time.” She looked towards the back of her omnibus, the Bass Cannon Express, and the ten-pony team working to shovel enough coal to fill its hoppers. “How much longer, guys?”

The forepony wiped his brow. “Still another forty-five minutes, minimum, ma’am. We’re losing workers left and right to heat stroke and exhaustion.”

The DJ scowled, and stomped her hoof. “Damn, but I wish that thing got better fuel economy. You know I’m going to have to coal up like three more times to get to the Roan Palace Hotel?”

“I hear you, sister,” Wild Fire said, as she refueled her own carriage, no longer trusting others to pick the right coal. “And I was so certain he was in Whoa-maha,” she muttered.


The Canterlot Night Guard had a strict no-smoking policy, so El Jefe had to content himself with chewing on his cigar at his desk, which is what he was doing when unicorn magic carefully set a bowl of soup and a wrapped sandwich on it.

The pegasus chief looked up. “Oh, thanks, Pearl.”

“Oh, you’re quite welcome, Jefe, not a problem at all, I hate to see you hungry on these late nights. So, I was in the market – ”

“Uh-huh,” El Jefe said, preparing to tune out what was likely to be a well-intentioned but ultimately fruitless tale.

“ – and then the little dear gave me this and so then I was thinking maybe you and me and a bunch of the boys ought to take a little trip up there tomorrow night, you know?”

“Huh?” El Jefe replied, before Pearl illustrated her story by unrolling a poster.

“Oh,” he then said, having been enlightened.


The Flimflam’s carriage had been selected by Flam for several reasons. Chief among them was its price, secondly was its performance. Tertiary and yet still important was the potential the mechanically-inclined salespony had seen in it as a base and frame for further modification – for instance, for turning it into the Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 7000.

The modification it actually received wouldn’t make any cider at all, but it could nonetheless prove useful. It certainly was eye-catching; ponies everywhere stared at the carriage, and the enormous loudspeaker mounted atop it.

Inevitably, the sights and sounds of this advertising campaign would stick in their minds.

Inevitable, in this town at least, because of the peculiar time of day at which the Flimflam brothers had chosen to begin their campaign.

“Tomorrow night! One night only!” Flam said into the microphone, blasting his message across the Fillydelphia town square.

“It’s after midnight, brother,” Flim said, checking his vest pocket watch. “So now you can start saying ‘tonight.’”

“Correction! Tonight, in fact! One night only!” Flam said, his clarification reverberating off the town’s windows.


The brothers’ fuel-efficient carriage – designed as it originally was for long pursuits in Mareland – had no immediate need to stop; they munched a few apples as daybreak arrived and their quest continued.

“You! The pegasus up on that cloud!” Flam had taken to shouting at each passing ball of white in the sky, just in case.

“Free parking!” he would add sometimes, which, while technically true in an objective sense, he probably should not have said, since he didn’t actually know that.

“Free cider!” would also be added by him sometimes as well, which was both false and irresponsible.

“…that’s a lot of entertainment! For twenty bits!” he finished, an hour after lunch. Flam looked over at his brother, who was looking at the map. “Progress?” He asked, not into the microphone.

“We’ve covered Canterlot, Cloudsdale, Fillydelphia, Ponyville, Foaledo, Whinneapolis, Detrot, Mareland, Stalliongrad, Dodge Junction, Las Pegasus, and now Appleloosa – ”

“Wait, Cloudsdale? Brother, I’d think I’d remember covering Cloudsdale.”

“I had you drive under it. I turned the speaker straight up for that one.”

“Alright. Then let’s get to the Roan ourselves.” Flam notched the throttle up; the turbines, notably, didn’t respond. In fact, they grew quieter. “Ah hay.”

“What?”

“We’re empty.”

They looked around at the empty road, twenty miles out of Appleloosa, surrounded by desert.

“Buck.”


The rest of the band had already arrived at the Roan Palace Hotel, by now, and while Iron Will and Company began setting up equipment, the ponies took in the theater with wide eyes. Mostly.

“Here?” Lyra asked, a touch nervously. “We’re playing here?”

“Is there a problem?” Octavia asked, the one stoic among the ponies.

“I – I play city park concerts, at best; bars, mostly. This is…a palace! A ballroom!”

“Guh,” Bon-Bon helpfully added, her brain almost broken.

“Not in Trixie’s wildest dreams did she imagine – ” The magician paused. “Okay, well, in Trixie’s wildest dreams, but that’s hardly fair, not when cactus juice was involved.”

“C – cactus juice?” Octavia asked.

“It’ll quench you,” Trixie replied, evenly.

“It’s the quenchiest!” Lyra added, helpfully.

Like Octavia, Nickel Guise was also unflabbergasted by the theater, but it was for different reasons. He trotted up from backstage, muttering figures to himself. “Ten bits cover charge – eight thousand seats general admission – two hundred bits VIP – fifty VIP seats – factor in the special rate – ”

“What do you think, Mister Guise?” Lyra asked. “Are we going to pull it off? Are we going to fill this hall?”

“Hmm?” Guise looked up. “Oh, we don’t need to fill it to meet our target – we’ll hit fifty thousand bits at 85% capacity of general admission alone.”

Bon-Bon frowned. “But that’s just for the orphanage. We were promised money for ourselves, too, to make up for certain…kidnappings.”

“You were?”

“Yes.”

“Oh.” Guise thought about this. “They give you a solid number on that, though?”

“No. But I would like to repeat the word ‘kidnapping’ a few times.”


“Out of fuel,” the earth pony at the highway coal station called out, as Flim and Flam magically propelled their carriage up to it, straining with the effort. Behind them, the sun was nearing setting.

“Indeed, good fellow. That is why we’ve come to your station.”

“Nope – we’re out of fuel. Train had a breakdown.”

“Hmm. That’s suboptimal,” Flim said.

“At best,” Flam added.

“Yep.”

The brothers looked around.

“So…any idea when the coal train will be arriving?”

“Oh, probably no more than another hour. Of course, it’ll take a bit to unload after that.”

“Right.” The brothers looked around again.

“Ah, sir?”

“Yep?”

“Would you object to us removing some of that switchgrass behind your station?”

“Nope.”


The doors of the theater had not yet opened, but the growing sounds of activity in the rest of the hotel could be heard as more and more ponies started to arrive. Finally unable to obtain any more value by retuning her saxophone for a tenth time, Trixie set it down and stomped over to where the goats were working, teeth clattering with nervous energy.

“The lasers – the fog machines – the fireworks – let Trixie assist. Trixie must do something!”


Flim leaned against his carriage, taking a break and keeping watch. It was Flam’s turn again to attack the overgrown fields behind the coal station with a magically-wielded machete, and Flim was enjoying his break with a bottle of cider.

A horn honked, as a varnished rosewood carriage rolled into the station.

“Excuse me, sir!” the driver called to Flim. “Need a refill of anthracite, and could you kindly check the flywheels, please?”

Flim considered this. On the one hoof, he had often spoken disparagingly of this pony, in comparison to others he preferred. On the other, Fleur-de-lis was right there.

“Sure.”


“Isn’t this exciting, girls? I’m so happy for Lyra! I know she’s wanted to put on a concert like this for – well, forever!” Twilight Sparkle bubbled as she, Applejack, and Rainbow Dash found their seats, near the front of the theater. “And to get to do it with a big name like Octavia!”

“What I can’t wrap my noggin around is Trixie doing a concert. You sure that there poster didn’t say ‘Music Revue and Magic Show’ or somethin’?” Applejack asked.

“No, it’s just a concert. I guess Trixie has other talents! I’m looking forward to it. Hopefully we can meet up afterwards and talk! I’ve wanted to hear how she’s been doing. Such a busy pony like her, though, probably doesn’t even remember me.”

“Yeah, well, Trixie’s not the priority,” the pegasus reminded her. “There’s probably going to be a mob of fans rushing the stage after the show, with the likes of Octavia and Iron Will and Trixie here, we’re going to have to get to the Flimflams fast if we’re going to get their ear.”

“That’s right,” Applejack nodded. “We’re going to have to move right quick at ‘em if they’re going to have time to listen to my proposition.”


“So, dear filly,” Flim continued, his forelegs draped inside the carriage and almost atop of Fleur-de-lis, who curiously didn’t seem to mind, “perhaps you might also find the time to come see the show? I’ve heard rave reviews regarding some of my co-stars; you might have as well.”

“While that is tempting,” the pink-maned, white-coated unicorn said, “I do have a prior engagement.”

“Worse the luck.” Flim tilted his hat. “Well, if your…engagement…should turn out not to your liking, perhaps we could…meet? I do believe that there are also rooms at the Roan Palace Hotel. We could meet at one of those rooms, say around midnight, and…meet?”

Fleur-de-lis smiled coyly. “I’ll think about it, Flim.”

Flim glanced over his shoulder to see Flam throwing a bale of switchgrass into the carriage’s hopper, and slamming it shut.

“Spendiferous,” Flim said. “By-the-by, now’s probably as good as any time to mention – I don’t actually work for this coal station, as should have become obvious by now, and you should probably ask somepony who does actually work here for your refuel.”


Lyra poked her head through the curtains and shivered. The sight confirmed what the sound suggested – the house was full, and the audience was ready for the show.


The switchgrass-loaded hopper wasn’t as efficient as it was when burning coal, but with plenty of unicorn magic pumped into the turbines the carriage was still making good time up the mountain roads.

“Brother….”

“Yes, Flam?”

“Did you have a purpose in hitting on Fleur-de-lis?”

“Does one need one?”


“We want the show! We want the show!” was the rhythmic chant of thousands of ponies, in beat to the stomp of their hooves on the floor.

“I am always enthralled by the prospect of performing before an angry mob,” Octavia muttered, tapping anxiously on her piano.

“You too?” Trixie asked. Octavia gave her an odd look. Trixie caught its meaning. “Oh – sorry – angry mobs are almost Trixie’s bread and butter anymore.”

“Guise,” Bon-Bon asked the attorney, who was sweating increasingly, “is there any chance we can just take the gate money and run? If they don’t make it, I mean?”

“Already considered that,” the stallion said, shaking his head as he looked over the latest figures. “Short answer: no. Long answer: yes, if you don’t mind a short life on the lam followed by inevitable capture, hefty civil fines, and five-to-ten years employed in the manufacture of plates for carriages.”

Iron Will grumbled to himself, pacing irritably. “What can they be doing?”


Observing that the parking lot was almost full, and more importantly that an unpleasant number of the carriages in the parking lot had the Night Guard logo painted on their sides, Flam chose to park their carriage in what was, arguably, not a parking space at all, but rather more of a houseboat, on the lake.

It had the advantage that nopony would think to look for it there.


The stomping of the audience was rising in intensity; Octavia, who had taken a few science courses in her musical training, idly wondered whether the resonant frequency of the building itself was being approached. Trixie’s speculation was somewhat more useful:

“This is the sound of an angry mob almost ready to move. If they don’t get something now, lives or property are in danger. Ours. Also, the things we stole.”

“Then I’d guess we’d better run for it,” Lyra sighed.

“What? No! Iron Will is not quitting now! Think of something!”

Bon-Bon raised a hoof. “Do you all know ‘Respect’?”

“Know respect? Iron Will is respect! He receives it from all!”

“No – the song, ‘Respect’?”

Lyra shrugged. “Sure, why?”

Bon-Bon motioned for the goats to pull the curtains. “Then hit it!”

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