• Published 23rd Sep 2021
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The Only Mark That Matters - CocktailOlive



The story of Radish Root, a pony with obscene cutie marks.

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60. The Community

Radish Root sipped a pour-over at the counter of Bold Roast’s Blooming Grounds. Bold Roast was noisily clearing dishes from the tables behind him, but Radish could feel his eyes on him.

“Bold Roast,” sighed Radish, “you’re staring.”

“I’m not staring,” said Bold Roast, staring at Radish’s cutie mark. “I’m analyzing. If you had come to me with your mark years ago, I could’ve helped you figure it out.”

“Yeah? What’s your brilliant insight?”

“Has it occurred to you that the penetration is ambiguous?”

Radish looked back at his cutie mark. “She sure seems penetrated to me.”

“I mean, you can’t tell what you’re penetrating.”

Radish sighed. “You think they’re doing...”

“Anal! Yes!”

“So that would make my special talent…?”

“Anal. You’re destined for a lifetime of fantastic anal.”

A pony from a nearby table looked up from his magazine.

“Giving it, not getting it,” Bold Roast told him.

The pony returned to his magazine.

“Yeah?” said Radish. “And I realized that in my sleep as a boy?”

“Must have. Maybe you saw dad’s dirty magazines and thought, ‘yeah, that’s my destiny’.”

Bold Roast returned to behind the counter and rummaged through the shelves. Radish looked at the expression on the small Celestia’s face.

“What, you think Celestia would make that face if someone did… that?” he asked.

“I bet she would. I bet she really needs it, too. Surrounded by big strong guards all day, not getting any from them.”

“Hey, come on. That’s my boss. And your princess. Besides, I thought mares didn’t like that.”

“Try asking Light sometime,” said Bold Roast with a half-smirk. “You may be surprised what she likes.”

“Bold Roast, don’t be crass.”

“This is Midtown, Radish. Everypony knows what everypony else is doing in bed. That’s what being part of a close-knit community is all about.”

“Maybe I should start getting lunch downtown.”

“Downtown is all tourists, Radish. I’m sure you get enough of them in the palace. Besides, you can’t get something like this downtown. Here, try it. I’m thinking of adding it to the menu.”

He placed a mug of something dark and steaming in front of Radish. Radish sniffed it. It had a sour smell.

“Don’t sniff at it. What are you, a dog?”

“What is it?” asked Radish.

“You tell me. Give it a taste.”

“No, you tell me. I’m not drinking your mystery fluid.”

The pony with the magazine looked up again.

“What, they don’t have you taste-test Celestia’s food and drink for poison?” Bold Roast asked.

“I’m pretty sure Celestia is immune to poison.”

“What? No way.”

“She eats nightshade for breakfast.”

“Damn. She’s harder than she lets on. And the palace is more interesting than I thought. Nice to get someone with a cool job in here for a change.”

“What? You get playwrights in here.”

“Yeah, everyone’s a playwright in Midtown.”

Radish sipped the mug. “It’s like… both beer and coffee at the same time?”

“And…?”

“Something fruity. Wine?”

“Yep! Dark beer, light beer, wine, and coffee! I call it a ‘Black and Tan with Tannins, Black’.”

“Bold Roast, is this a real drink, or were you just using up some leftovers?”

“That’s how culinary innovation works, Radish. You think bread was invented on purpose? Nah, someone just threw stuff together and set it at three-fifty.”

“Well, I can’t take any more of this. You could add it to the menu as a dare, though.”

He pushed the mug back and hopped off the stool.

“Take care, Radish.”

“See you.”

Radish walked up to the coat rack as Hazy Shade walked in, accompanied by a stout gray earth stallion.

“Oh, hi, Radish!” she said.

“Hi, Hazy.”

“Oh, you’re Fanny’s new boyfriend, huh?” asked the earth stallion. “Boy, you could do a lot better than her!”

Radish scowled at him. “What’s that mean?”

“Well, for example, just yesterday she insisted that Max Mustang had to be Ironcolt’s father, even though they’re clearly from different timelines.”

“What?”

“It’s superhero stuff,” explained Hazy Shade. “Splash Page here owns the comic book store across the street from Light’s shop. They’re always arguing about timelines and secret identities and what-have-you.”

“You a comic book fan?” Splash Page asked Radish.

“I’ve never lived near a comic book store.”

“Well, stop by sometime! I can set you up with a subscription. We can deliver right to the castle. I’ll even give you the friends’ discount, because Fanny would yell at me if I didn’t.”

“You call her ‘Fanny’? You know that word means-”

“Yeah. She loves it.”

“Okay.” Radish put his jacket back on.

“Hey, Radish?” said Hazy Shade. “If I had known you and Light would be a good match, I’d have set you up with her the first time we met. Sorry.”

“Don’t be. I needed that time to get to the right place in my head.”

“All right. Good. Take care.”

Radish left the cafe and trotted down the streets of Midtown Canterlot. Some of the denizens on the street smiled and waved to him as he passed. He smiled and waved back.

Part of a community, huh? I never thought I’d see the day.


Light Fantastic watched her friend Underglaze as he worked on his newest ceramic creation in his studio workshop. The two had known each other for six years, dated each other for one of those years, hated each other for the next of those years, and had respected each other’s talent throughout all six.

His latest obsession was cubes. He was currently forming a clay cube with furrows on one side, large loops on another side, and overlapping eyes on another.

“So, Light…” started Underglaze, shaping the clay.

“Yeah?”

“About your new beau.”

“Yeah?”

“Is it… really like that?” he asked, looking up with a smile.

“Is what like what?”

“Is he as much fun as his fur advertises?”

“Underglaze, are you asking me if Radish fucks me like he fucks Celestia on his cutie marks?”

“Yes.”

“I’m not telling.”

“Sounds like he doesn’t.”

“Oh, shut up. He actually likes the gentle stuff. And so do I.”

“Hmm, a division of labor. I see,” Underglaze said, working on the finer details of a side.

“What are you blathering about?”

“You know that old saying. You make love to your girlfriend… you fuck your princess.”

“Radish doesn’t get anything from Celestia but a paycheck.”

“Oh, imagine how frustrating that is for him. Being so near her and yet so far. And yet he doesn’t work that frustration out through you? He never has you put on a Celestia wig to go at it? That energy is going somewhere, Fanny.”

“Radish has been through a lot because of those marks. He doesn’t need your pop psychology. And for once, a relationship is going well for me. So stuff it.”

“I’m happy for you! Radish is the most interesting thing to come to Midtown since Pigcasso. It’s no wonder you wanted to snatch him up- you two are the talk of the town!”

Light Fantastic bristled. She hovered menacingly over Underglaze. He shielded his clay from her downwash.

“Watch it!” he said. “You’re drying it out!”

“He is not some freak show I’m dating as a conversation piece!”

“Well, if it’s not for the sex, and it’s not for the fame, why else would you be dating a guard?”

“Maybe because I…”

“Yes? You…?”

“I like him!”

“Well, that’s sweet.”

“You know what?” she said, landing. “You’re just being an ass because for once, I’m dating and you’re not. You can’t stand that I’ll be with someone for Hearts and Hooves this year.”

“Oh please, Hearts and Hooves is for, well… guards and their girlfriends, for one. Is he going to take you to the malt shop after a sock hop and introduce you as his ‘steady gal’?”

“You know, Underglaze, maybe I will get a Celestia wig. I’m gonna have him plowing me like his marks on Hearts and Hooves, while you’re sitting at home playing solitaire drinking cheap chianti.”

“Like I’d buy an expensive chianti.”

A tall green unicorn shoved open the door and stomped into the workshop.

“Look at this,” he said, holding up a newspaper. “The palace just issued these new changeling-checking guidelines! The crowns are going to whip this city into a paranoid frenzy just to look like they’re doing something.”

“Well, you should talk to Fanny about that,” said Underglaze. “Her boyfriend’s a palace insider, after all.”

“What’s this now?” the unicorn asked.

“Haven’t you heard? She’s dating a Celestibot.”

The unicorn scoffed. Light scowled.

“Don’t call him that,” she warned. “He’s not some goose-stepping meathead.”

“Actually,” said Underglaze, “she’s dating the ultimate Celestibot. Radish Root.”

“The naughty mark guy? Oh, Light,” sighed the unicorn. “The things you’ll do for attention.”

“You guys are assholes,” said Light. She stood up and walked to the door. She looked back. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I'm going to the wig shop.”

She left. Underglaze paused, then went back to working on his cube.

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