• Published 1st Oct 2012
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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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Rarity

Rarity

I remember her setting hoof in my bar like it was yesterday...

The fog of a typical Ponyville night rolled in as her silhouette appeared in the moonlight. With a triumphant hoof, she pushed the door open and strode in, her head held high, as though she'd just been crowned princess herself. Something told me this wouldn't be another sob story.

Although, my tavern didn't seem like the place a mare like her would be planning to celebrate something. Anyway, I don't look gift dragons in the mouth, so I was glad to see her saunter over and sit at my end.

"Barkeep, a cosmarepolitan, please."

"Right away," I said, preparing my tumbler and a martini glass. Her proud demeanor was a welcome change to the first two mares I'd had in here.

"I never forget a face, especially one as beautiful as yours," I said, pouring her drink in front of her. She took the compliment without missing a beat. I could tell this mare had heard those words before. "You don't come here often, do ya?"

"Not usually, but, one looks the way one feels." She smiled, taking a sip of her cocktail. "Besides, it isn't every day Princess Celestia herself asks you to design her gala dress for next year, and pays you triple the estimate!"

"Triple? I bet Mr. Fashion designer is pretty happy about that too, eh?"

She blushed. I may be a gruff old goat, but it felt good to know I could still make a mare blush a bit.

"Oh, there's no mister," she corrected. "The name is Rarity."

Sweet Celestia, if only I were ten years younger! "So you mean to tell me not a single pony in town has their eyes on you?"

She sighed. Mares are like minefields: one false step and boom! Mood ruined.

"Well... there aren't any ponies that I know of, but a certain dragon has pined for me for years, I'm afraid."

Interspecies stuff, huh? Well, we take all kinds here, not that I'm one to judge. I once had a pretty awesome set up with a griffon girl I knew back in college, but this isn't about me.

"Really? Unrequited love is never fun," I said sympathetically.

Rarity slammed the rest of her drink and tapped a hoof on the bar. "It's not exactly unrequited," she replied hesitantly, "I certainly care for Spike, and I do love him, just... perhaps not in the way he would like."

She took another forlorn glance at her empty glass before I poured her another cosmo.

"Love is a battlefield, as they say..." she sighed.

"So a dragon kid has the hots for ya, does he?" I simplified. Sometimes the best thing to say is the thing already said. It makes you feel intelligent without having contributed anything to the conversation.

"It certainly appears that way. I'd hoped he'd realize our age difference made us incompatible. I feel terrible for saying this, but I thought—hoped, even—he'd at least make a play for my little sister. At least she's of similar age."

I shrugged. Everypony's had an unrequited love at least once. When I was but a spry young colt, my foalsitter was the object of my affection. Candy Stripe was a queen, where I was but a mere peasant. The ground trembled in jealousy of her grace as she walked, and her very presence left me feeling a foot tall. Anyway, this story is about Rarity's problems, not mine.

"Didn't work out so well, did it?" It's not hard to read ponies. She wouldn't have told me in such a somber mood if it didn't end tragically.

"No," she sighed, resting a hoof on her cheek while circling the rim of the glass with her other hoof. "I've stopped just short of telling him he has no chance."

"Well, if it's true, then why haven't you?"

"I wish I could tell you. A part of me just can't stand to see him brokenhearted, and Spike deserves to be happy with somepony... or some dragon. I can't continue leading him on like this, but I simply couldn't see my life without him."

Looks like somepony's got something a bit more than friendship. "So let me see if I have this right," I began. "You've got a young dragon with a crush on you, yet you don't know how to break it to him that a relationship is out of the question because of the age difference?" There was only one dragon in our town, so it wasn't hard to figure out which one she was referring to.

"Indeed," she replied, finishing her drink and signaling for another. "Why does life have to be so complex?"

I smiled. Many a patron have sat and pondered that very same thought. "What fun would it be if it weren't?"

"It may not be exciting, but at least it would be predictable," she lamented.

"If you don't mind my asking, why don't any other ponies have their eyes on you?" It seemed like a reasonable enough question, though she didn't think so.

"I'll have you know I-I..." She sighed, holding her perfectly curled mane away from her face as a combination of alcohol and reflection gave her a somewhat emotional epiphany.

"I'm a shut-in!" she whined. And boy could she whine. "All I do all day is slave away behind a sewing machine, and for what? Over half the population doesn't even wear clothes!"

"Well, being a tailor in Equestria is kind of like being a bottle of fine champagne. You aren't used for every occasion, only the really special ones," I consoled, trying to lighten her mood from the somber thoughts of her poor career choice.

It didn't seem to work: she might be an aggressive drinker. "I'm a seamstress, thank you very much. I'll have you know ponies line up to wear one of my designs to any formal event!"

"See? You're not as useless as you think!"

Whoops.

"Useless?!" she snapped. I'd have to think quickly if I didn't want to wear the rest of her cosmo.

"I didn't mean useless as in 'you have no use.' I meant it as in 'You..." C'mon Frosty, think! "...don't have a purpose at this time because nothing extra special is happening!'"

Her glare held for a moment, then softened. Her shoulders slumped back and her ears returned from their pinned position.

"Yes, well, I wouldn't expect a bartender to know the ins-and-outs of the fashion world..."

I was lucky to get away with just a patronizing insult. I diffused that situation so quickly, I should be a bomb squad pony!

"Sounds to me like you just need something to occupy your downtime."

She slammed her drink and stared at her empty glass, contemplating another round.

"It's the truth. I try to spend time with Sweetie Belle, but she's simply too young to do anything but hold fabric and pin pieces together," she explained, signaling me for one more drink. Not that I cared; cosmos were nine bits a glass! "Looking back on it now, the only other adult ponies I interact with are my friends, and they really don't... get me."

Now we're getting somewhere.

"Friends? You mean those other ponies I always see you with in the newspapers?" Rarity smiled. Everypony loves to be recognized.

"Yes, that's them. I love them all dearly, but I always find myself grinning and bearing through whatever uncouth activity one of them gets involved in, while the moment I ask for help modeling a new design, all I get are excuses," she huffed. "Sometimes I think the only reason I see Fluttershy on a regular basis is because she uses my spa membership. None of my other friends ever want... t-to,"

Sound the alarm, waterworks inbound. I could see the dim lighting of the bar reflecting in her eyes as they welled up. Tears wouldn't be far behind. Honestly, I've seen enough high-maintenance types come to the old town watering hole enough to know they usually wouldn't set hoof in a place like this if not for the assurance that nopony of importance would see them here.

I keep a box of tissues behind the bar for just such an occasion.

"I'm destined to be a lonely, barren old spinster!" she admitted rather loudly, throwing her hooves into the air. "None of my friends ever spend time with me unless they need something from me, but when I need something from them, they're nowhere to be found!"

"C'mon now, just because your friends aren't into fashion doesn't mean they don't like you."

"That's exactly what it means!" she complained, though not without reason. "I mean, if we weren't the Elements of Harmony, would we even know each other?"

That was a good question, and one I didn't have an answer to. I wasn't really that good at dealing with existential crises, believe it or not. Girl trouble? No problem. Guy trouble? I could at least lend a male perspective. Want to know how to remove grass stains from the back of a gala dress after a romp in the garden outside the palace with a beautiful stranger? Uh... I'm thinking club soda, maybe? I dunno, but you get the idea.

Anyway, I knew I had to do my best as a bartender to console the borderline hysterical mare. "I can't say you'd know each other, but you do now, right?"

"Yes..."

"Well then, seems to me like you should just make the best of what you have. May I ask if you've ever tried to get your other friends interested in your line of work?"

She calmed down considerably, controlling her sobs and steadying her hooves. "Not really..."

"Maybe you should. Who's that pony you said you go to the spa with?"

"Fluttershy," she replied softly.

"Why not ask her if she'd be willing to help you out sometime?" I suggested.

"She does have a good understanding of stitching..."

"There ya go! And I'm sure your younger sister and this 'Spike' you told me about would probably love spending more time with you."

She paused, considering my words before sliding her glass toward me. "I'm ready for my tab," she said confidently. Hopefully I'd gotten through to her, but I'll never know for sure.

As I tallied up her bill, I couldn't help but notice another customer sit beside her. He was a tall green and purple dragon wearing a long trench coat with a big top hat and handlebar mustache. Rarity and I looked at each other before she winked at me. I smiled, turning my attention to the nervous young patron. "What can I get for you... sir?"

He cleared his throat in an attempt to deepen his voice. "Yes, I would like one alcohol, please," he said confidently. I took another knowing glance at Rarity before turning back to him.

"Of course. If ya don't mind, just how old are you?" I asked, immediately putting a damper on his confidence.

"Why, the appropriate age for an adult like myself to consume alcohol, of course!"

Okay, right now I had two options: throw him out of my bar for trying to drink underage without even so much as a convincing disguise in front of his crush, or, serve him a sparkling non-alcoholic cider and see where this takes us. Rarity appeared to be trying hard to hold back her giggles as my mustachioed patron turned towards her. I had recognized Spike's face from around town, but I knew there was no way he was tall enough to wear a floor-length trench coat without an impressive set of stilts.

In fact, if I hadn't heard fillies' voices coming from inside his clothes, I'd have thought he was some kind of stilt-walker. Looks like these kids went for the old 'sit on each other's shoulders to pretend to be an adult' gag. How original.

"Do you come here often, Mister..." Rarity began, intent on playing along for the time being.

"Uh... Bar... Stool?" he answered nervously. C'mon, kid, you didn't even think up a fake name? What's wrong with kids today?

Rarity held back a giggle before continuing. "Well... Bar, it's nice to meet you, my name is Rarity."

"The pleasure is mine, Rarity."

I had to give the little guy credit. He had clearly put some thought into this, though I'm not sure how he convinced whoever is in that musty old trench coat to play along.

They'd sparked quite the conversation before I heard the inside or Mr. Bar's trench coat begin to speak.

"Spike! Hurry up! Sweetie Belle keeps farting in the coat, and I don't know how much more I can take!"

"I did not! It was probably you, Scootaloo! Or should I say, Tootaloo?"

"Both of y'all hush so Spike can talk ta Rarity! B'sides, it was me."

The word 'gross!' sounded from the coat as an orange filly with a purple mane and a white filly with a two tone purple-ish mane stuck their heads out of the jacket, much to Spike's horror.

"Uh... hi," the orange one smiled sheepishly.

Equestrian law says nopony under eighteen can legally be in a bar after eight, so I had to show them the door. Rarity told them to wait outside, while she settled up. I assumed a scolding was in order, but Ms. Rarity actually surprised me.

"I guess somepony is in for a lecture?"

She smiled, sliding me her bits and shaking her head.

"No... I'm almost certain Sweetie Belle and her friends more than likely roped Spike into this, not the other way around," she said in a much better mood than earlier. Foals'll do that to ya. "But, Spike has been by my side since he moved here, and I must admit he has a certain charm. Perhaps I'll have eyes for him once he's a bit older..."

"He can only hope," I replied, wiping a glass with my cleaning cloth.

"Thanks for being so understanding with Spike and the others, I'm sure you could have had them thrown out the moment they walked in."

I chuckled a bit. There's no law against having fun at work, right? "It was no trouble at all. Sometimes all it takes is a free non-alcoholic cider to make a baby dragon feel like a grown one."

"It certainly seems that way." She smiled at me. She was far more beautiful when she smiled than when she pouted, that much was certain. "Thanks for the drinks Frosty. I've got some fillies and a dragon that need a stern talking to."

"Of course," I said.

"Perhaps you and I can get a drink when you aren't working." And just like that, she was out the door. Only then did I notice she left her phone number on the bill. I slid that into my tip jar for later.


The next Element to come in had actually been a regular here for a year or two, but not for the reason you might think. She never drank a drop of alcohol in all the time I've known her, and I'd have never guessed she was the Element of Kindness if she hadn't mentioned it. She went by Flutters when she was performing, and always made sure to conceal her identity.

A sweet timid mare by day, Fluttershy's alter ego wowed the crowds one night a week at the Horn & Wings tavern.

Author's Note:

ALL HAIL THE DRINKING PONY!

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