• Published 1st Oct 2012
  • 17,933 Views, 981 Comments

A Pony Walks Into A Bar... - chief maximus



A Ponyville bartender tends to the booze-related needs of Ponyville seven nights a week.

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Applejack

Applejack

... You'd think he would have seen it coming! Sorry, old bartender joke. Now that the corny old gag is out of the way, I'll bet you're here for a few stories from a salty old booze slinger, eh? Of course you are! Why else would you be here?

Anyway, Monday was an evening like any other. My regulars had all settled into their usual seats, ordering their usual drinks while the wait staff busily attended to their booze and food needs. But before we get into all that, I should probably introduce myself.

The name's Frosty Mug. I've been a bartender at the Horn and Wings tavern for as long as I've been in Ponyville (which is a pretty long time, mind you). I've got stories for years, and I could talk your ear off until you told me to shut it. But I know that look in your eye. You want to hear about the week those 'special' Elemental ponies or whatever fancy title they have came in, don't ya?

Well have a seat here at the bar and I'll spin you a tale.

On an evening not unlike this one, a mare in a stetson nearly pulled the door off its hinges coming in. To say she looked upset would be an understatement. With customers like that, it's best to just serve them and leave 'em be. If they want to open up, they will. A bartender has to have an air of approachability, or he won't get tips... or repeat customers.

Anyway, she strode right up to the bar and hopped up. Being the astute unicorn I am, I figured she wasn't in the mood for any flavor-infused vodka or fruity cocktails. If the callouses on her hooves and dirt on her face where any indication, she'd be swilling the high proof stuff. Whiskey, if I had to guess.

"What's the highest proof bourbon ya got?" she asked flatly. I guess I wasn't as sharp as I used to be. She took off her hat and set it beside her. Not many ponies knew it was good manners to remove a hat while indoors anymore. I suspected she was a country pony, but her accent and mannerisms confirmed my suspicions.

"Wild Turkey 101, miss..."

"Applejack."

I floated the bottle down from the top shelf.

"Two shots and a glass on the rocks," she sighed, rubbing her eyes with her hooves. I retrieved a shot glass and filled 'er up.

Down it went, like a foal drinking milk. No grimace, no cough, she took it better than most stallions I've ever seen, myself included. She seemed pretty distraught over something, and my duty as a bartender to lend a sympathetic ear was calling.

"Rough day?" I asked, pouring her the second shot. She downed it smoothly before setting the shot glass back down.

"Yeah. Better now though."

She was a pony of few words; I could appreciate that. I left her to the drink she ordered and went to tend to a few other patrons down the bar. By the time I got back, she was almost empty. A vacant, thousand-yard stare went past my liquor shelves and out into the distance. I could tell this pony had something on her mind, but it was not my place to pry. If she wanted to open up, she would.

As it turns out, all it took was a bit of social lubricant to loosen up that tongue. When I swung back by, she was a bit more talkative.

"Another round?" I asked.

"Yep. Just leave the bottle."

"Tell you what. Normally I wouldn't do this, but since you're the only pony with the manners to remove their hat indoors, I'll leave it with you," I replied, setting the bottle and a clean glass next to her.

"You're alright, mister," she said, finally giving me a smile. I hate seeing customers try to drown their sorrows. You'd think I'd love it because it means more sales, but the truth is, not talking about a problem is a lot worse than ignoring it. Especially ignoring it with alcohol.

"Thanks. Must be one heck of a celebration for you to need the whole thing."

She scoffed, throwing back another shot. "Ah ain't exactly celebratin'."

I frowned, picking up my usual habit of cleaning a glass with a cloth. "Sorry to hear that."

"Yeah, well... ain't no use cryin' over it," she sighed, pouring herself another shot.

I'm one of those ponies who believes in the power of speech. When I say that, I mean that almost every problem can be solved if you just talk about it. It could be to your best friend, your mother, or a strange bartender. In my experience, opening up about a problem can make it seem less troublesome than it really is.

"'Scuse me for prying, but it seems to me a pretty young mare like yourself is somewhat out of place in a seedy old watering hole like this at..." I checked my watch. "...three in the afternoon."

She cracked a smile at my compliment, but not much else.

"Thanks, but you're barkin' up the wrong tree."

Ah. Not many mares would be bold enough to admit something like that out here in the sticks. Maybe in Canterlot or Manehattan, but most folk were pretty discreet about alternative lifestyles around rural places like Ponyville. Though I must admit, she looked like she could handle any bigots this town could drag up.

"Girl trouble, huh?" I asked. As a male lesbian myself, I could relate.

"You don't know the half of it, partner," said Applejack, throwing back another shot and pouring herself one more. She could also handle her liquor better than most stallions I'd ever seen. Five shots of the second strongest liquor in the house and she looked like she'd just walked in.

"I know I'm just an old geezer, but I'd be willing to lend an ear if you feel like telling your story."

Her eyes scanned me before looking back down at the bottle and slamming her next shot. This time she hissed as she exhaled, slamming a hoof down on the bar.

"Think about it," I told her, heading back to the other end to refill some of my other customers drinks. They were certainly in better moods than Ms. Applejack, but I couldn't help but find myself curious as to what kind of pony—lesbian or otherwise—would turn down such a gal.

By the time I'd gotten back to her end of the bar, she was actually making eye contact with me. Quite the improvement over her apparent anger at my liquor shelves. I passed by, pretending to get another glass when she spoke.

"There's this mare..." she began, taking one last shot to gather her nerves before continuing. "We've known each other for a while now, and we were gettin' pretty close to each other."

"Yeah?" I said idly, just trying to keep the conversation going.

"Yeah. Anyway, we'd known each other for about a year and some change, and Ah noticed she'd start hangin' around the farm more and more often," she recalled, resting her cheek on her hoof as she lowered her eyes in contemplation. "We were inseparable, whenever one would show up without the other, they'd ask 'Where's Applejack, Rainbow?' or 'Where's Rainbow, Applejack?"

I nodded. I'd heard similar stories before, but I could tell this mare really had her eyes set on this 'Rainbow' character. "She sounds nice," I added, continuing to wipe the same bar glass that was already clean.

"She is. Ah've never met another mare like her. Don't think Ah ever will, neither," she sighed, casting her emerald eyes up at me, only for a moment. The last part of the story was no doubt the hardest, but I waited for her to start again.

"Anyway, she and Ah... Ah could swear the two of us had somethin' between us. Somethin' real, somethin' that meant more than just enjoyin' each other's company. But Ah guess the feelin' wasn't mutual." She frowned, pouring and downing another shot like it was water.

"So ya fessed up and got shot down, huh?" I asked. "That's the way it is sometimes. Happens to the best of us," I assured her. Celestia knows how many times I've been shut out, and not in the politest ways, either.

"That ain't even what's so upsettin'. It'd be one thing if she just wasn't into mares—and she ain't, by the way." She paused to rub her eyes with her hooves before staring back at the shelves behind me. "If it were just a matter of her barn door not swingin' that way, Ah'd be okay with that, and hope she found a stallion to treat her right."

I was a bit confused by that last part. "So, if she isn't into mares, then what's the problem?" I asked.

She looked at me with a dead stare and said, "The reason she'd been comin' by the farm so much was because she was sneakin' off with my brother and lettin' him rut her silly," she groaned. "Ah should be the one whose name she's screamin', not his!"

Maybe she wasn't as good at hiding the effects of hard liquor as I thought. Still, she'd done well to still be sitting on the barstool after what she'd drank, let alone speaking coherently.

"I take it you had the misfortune of figuring this information out firsthoof?" I asked.

Then she did something I wasn't expecting. She laughed. "You bet. Ah heard somethin' movin' around up in the hay loft 'round midnight. Ah went up, thinkin' it was some wayward critter or some such, when—wouldn't ya know it—there was the girl Ah thought had feelin's for me bein' rutted like a damn deer in heat." She paused to take one last shot before sliding the half-full bottle back toward me.

"You shoulda seen the look on their faces when they realized they weren't alone. Celestia have mercy, Ah didn't think Mac's face could get that red! And Rainbow, Ah tell ya Ah've never seen somepony so embarrassed before in their life!" she chuckled, changing from her somber mood to a bit more jovial one thanks to good ol' bourbon.

I smiled and suppressed a few laughs myself. After her giggles died down, she looked back toward me, a slight smile still tugging at her lips. "What do you have to sip on in this place?"

I produced a beer and cider menu from behind the bar. I had noticed her cutie mark and recalled it was a similar design to the logo on the kegs of cider we get from one of the farms outside of town. A husband and wife ran the best apple orchards in all of Ponyville. They even delivered the cider kegs personally, 'til one day they stopped showing up. Word was there'd been an accident on their farm. Grain dust explosion if I recall correctly. Took 'em both, but they were gone instantly. Left behind three foals from what I understand, but I didn't want to risk bringing that up in case it was still a tender subject (or if I was completely off base).

"Ah'll have the Magic Hat number nine," she said, handing me back the menu, her mood having improved tenfold since she wandered in with a near scowl on her face. Booze can't cure everything, but it sure can turn around a sour mood.

"Good choice, that's my favorite tap," I said, filling up a pint and sliding it over. She sipped the beer, exhaling softly as she stared down into the foaming head.

I know when a pony's wheels are turning, and hers were no doubt spinning. The small smile had left, leaving her a neutral expression that soon faded into a frown.

"Ah can't believe Ah didn't see it sooner," she mumbled, taking another sip.

"Nopony's psychic. There's no way you could have known what she was trying for," I reminded her.

"That's the thing! If Ah knew her as well as Ah thought Ah did, Ah should have seen this comin' from a mile away!" she complained, slouching over in her seat. "On top of that, now Ah have ta know my own brother is gettin' the one thing Ah've wanted for so long. They're probably waist deep in each other right now!"

That was a little more than I needed to know. Regardless, as far as drink-induced admittances go, that one was mild.

"Well, perhaps she wasn't the mare you thought she was if she knew how you felt and still went around trying to be with your brother behind your back."

Her mood shifted yet again, this time a flush came over her cheeks. "Well... ya see, Ah didn't exactly... tell her what Ah was thinkin'," she admitted sheepishly.

"So, you're mad at her for something she didn't know?" I asked incredulously.

"When you put it that way..." she muttered, her mouth obscured by her glass as she drank.

"Look, I'm not a therapist or anything, but like I said before, talking helps, does it not?"

She shrugged, but I think she knew where I was going with this.

"Ah guess."

"Then why don't you just sit her down and get your feelings off your chest. She may stay with your brother, she may decide what she's doing isn't right with you two living in the same house, who knows!" I explained, my cleaning cloth still wiping the same glass as before.

"You know what mister, you're right!" she declared, finishing up her beer and pounding her hoof on the bar. "Ah'm gonna have a talk with Rainbow and finally let her know how Ah feel!"

"That's the spirit!" I said, cheering her on as she grabbed her hat, tipped it to me and strode confidently out the door, not even looking vaguely intoxicated.

It was only then I realized that she drank almost 125 bits worth of liquor and left without paying.

Shit.

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