• Published 1st Oct 2012
  • 17,931 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.

  • ...



Thursday night was my least favorite night of the week. Mainly because we changed our layout a bit. Sure, I suppose fancy coffee drinks and... ugh, beatniks attract the younger crowd, but I just couldn't see what was so appealing about berets and black turtleneck sweaters.

But, bits are bits, right? I can tolerate the crowd, but usually I hire another bartender to attend to them. I'm a patient pony, but I've had to keep myself from giving these snobby bastards the old 'heave ho' out into the street a time or two. This whole 'poetry slam night' thing was my daughter's idea, but she wasn't the one who had to deal with them. I guess technically they drank more coffee than liquor, which was fine by me; I'd charge the same for either.

We even lowered our age requirement to sixteen, though we had to mark the underage with a marker. Still, the extra cost of a few more employees was more than worth what the bar made. Ironically, the underage kids are where we make the most money. They think drinking coffee makes them look cool or something. All that allowance and nowhere to spend it. Might as well be here, right?

Anyway, this isn't about hipsters, this is about Shy. Did I call her Flutters earlier? Ah, my mind must be going. Not that you probably couldn't figure out who I was talking about anyway. In hindsight, I realize how obvious it was that Shy was actually Fluttershy, Element of Kindness. So shut your trap about it. However, the night I discovered her true identity, was also the night we almost got robbed.

That's right, robbed. Ponyville's a nice place, but everywhere has its share of scumbags. How about we take this one from the top.

I had just opened up the place, and it was already filled with the youth crowd. Like I said before, money is money, and most of the kids were well-behaved. However, I knew they weren't here just to drink fancy coffee and smoke. They were here for Shy, my sub bartender and part time performer. What was it she performed? We'll get to that.

The first mare to arrive was Octavia. She played her giant... thing in an orchestra or something, but here she strummed it while Shy did her thing. Though she was always quiet, when she got on that stage she was a wordsmith the likes of which I've never heard. She wore a black veil and a sinfully tight red dress. Her mane was always hidden beneath her veil, and nopony (myself included) had ever seen her face.

As Octavia set up her instrument on the makeshift stage, the crowd began to get a bit restless. Just then, Shy appeared in the doorway. The crowd stamped their hooves in approval as she smiled. I could tell she loved the attention. Elegant as ever, she strode through the crowd towards the stage, mares and stallions alike parting to let her through. She took the stage, taking a seat on the stool as her bongo drummer set up beside Octavia.

"Thank you all for coming to see me," she said, her pearls shining in the spotlight as she cleared her throat. "I wrote this after a friend of mine found herself laid up in the hospital after a wing injury."

Now, before she began, she had a weird habit I never quite understood. She'd produce a cigarette and rest it between her lips. Octavia would light it for her, and she'd take the tiniest drag. Heck, I'm not even sure she inhaled at all. She would pass it to her bassist and the bongo drummer before setting it on the ashtray next to her where it would remain for the duration of her performance. Before you get the wrong idea, it was just tobacco. I know the difference between the smell of a cigarette and a jazz cigarette. I went to college too, ya know.

Maybe it was just for atmosphere. The way the smoke curled around her as she spoke in front of the spotlight just set the mood, I suppose.

Shy looked to her backup and they began a steady beat. After a few cheers and whistles of approval, the crowd died down and she began. This was arguably her best yet, and I hate beat poetry.

"Ticking away, the moments that make up the dull day,"

"Fritter and waste, the hours in an offhoof way,"

"Kicking around, on a piece of ground, in your home town,"

"Waiting for someone or something to show you the way,"

Like I said, wordsmith. Her set went on for a few more minutes, but I generally lost interest after the first few lines. Most of it was poetic metaphors and such. All of it lost on a simple bartender like myself.

After she'd perform, the stage was open to anypony who wanted to give it a try. It usually lasted for an hour or two before it devolved into Octavia just practicing on stage. Thankfully, she was a virtuoso. Anyway, Shy took her praise well, just her toothy smile showing beneath her veil. To this day I have no idea how she could see out of that thing. Anyway, after she had her time in the spotlight she'd come behind the bar and start serving.

She's never once asked for money, even after I insisted she take it! Some mares just want to watch the world drink, I guess. Shy knew her stuff, too. Coffee or liquor—or both–she could mix anything. And she did it with style. Flipping the bottles all over the place, it was a good thing I trusted her! Luckily, she never dropped a bottle. So, back to the story.

"Good job as usual, Shy," I said. The smile never left her face.

"Yeah, I thought that one would go over pretty well when I wrote it," she replied confidently. The colts and stallions all lined up at the bar just to buy a drink from her. I'd just stand at the end of the bar and listen. They all tried to pick her up. Sometimes she'd flirt back, sometimes she'd shut them down completely. She was a heartbreaker if I ever saw one. She was busy making drinks when I noticed another non-regular shuffle in.

Normally, I welcome a newcomer like I would a regular, but something was different about this guy. He seemed... nervous. And not the jittery 'too-much-coffee' nervous, either. I just didn't have a good feeling about him. But, I see weirdos and odd looking ponies come in here all the time, so I wasn't really planning on paying him much attention. He got in line for the bar and I forgot about him for a while.

I walked behind the bar to check Shy's inventory. She was running low on espresso mix and peach schnapps. I walked back to the liquor room about the time Mr. Creepy made it to the front of the line. While I was back there, I heard a commotion. I poked my head out of the storeroom to see my patrons backing away from that guy. He had a rather large knife, and was swinging it wildly at anypony too close. I couldn't hear what he was saying, but it didn't take a genius to figure out what he was after once he produced his burlap sack with a bit sign printed on it. I wish I was kidding about that. Sometimes, it's like I live in a cartoon or something. The only phone in the place was behind the bar, and Shy was doing a great job of trying to keep him calm.

I kept a shotgun beneath the bar, but there was no way she could have known that—not that I'd expect her to blast somepony anyway. He was getting more agitated as she tried and failed to open the register. Now, every cop in Equestria will tell you that when dealing with a crazy pony, just give them whatever it is they want and let them track him down. Most cops in Equestria didn't count on liquor sales to keep a roof over their head, however, so I wasn't about to let this twat walk out of my bar with my money.

I picked up a loose section of pipe and began to make my way towards the bar as the other patrons just watched quietly. She was loading the money into his bag too slowly for his liking, so he grabbed the bag pretty violently from her. I could tell she was terrified, and the jostle knocked her veil loose, letting her long pink mane fall over her face.

I couldn't believe what I was seeing. That was one of those mares I'd seen in the paper! The Element of Kindness, as I recalled. The odd thing was, as soon as she made eye contact with him, he seemed to just... freeze up. I mean, she was a beautiful mare, but not pretty enough to stop all brain function. She just glared at him as I rushed up behind him and brained him with my pipe.

All of those hipsters and beatniks cheered, which was odd considering all the hippy ideas about peace and love they spout off while they're in here.

"You okay, sweetheart?" I asked. She still looked a bit shaken up.

"Y-yeah, I'm okay."

"Hey! That's Fluttershy!" a voice from behind me called out. They cheered for her, but she was obviously mortified. I got Rocko to tie up our burglar friend while a waitress called the cops. I took her back into the storeroom to get her out of the crowd while we waited on the police. She was still pretty rattled, not that I could blame her. Getting nearly robbed and threatened with a knife can be pretty scary, no matter who you are. I got her a hot chocolate and sat with her.

"He didn't hurt you, did he?" I asked.

"No..." she whimpered. This was not like Shy at all. It was like she was a different pony once that veil fell off.

"Good. Can't say the same for him, huh?" I joked. She didn't see the humor. I thought Shy would have loved that one! But I had to remember this wasn't Shy. Anymore, anyway. "You handled yourself well."

"T-thanks..." she whispered, taking a sip of her drink. She seemed content to sip her drink and stare right through me. Luckily, the cops came quickly and needed a statement from the two of us. Needless to say, we shut down early that night.

After they'd taken our statements and took away the semi conscious crook, most of the patrons and the rest of my staff headed home, leaving just me and Fluttershy sitting outside. She still seemed shaken. Although she didn't talk in the storeroom, I figured I'd give it one more shot before locking up and heading home.

"You sure you're okay?"

A flick of her ear in my direction was the only response I received for a time.

"I... I guess. Do you think he'll be okay?" she asked, referring to the would-be burglar. That's the Element of Kindness all right.

"A few days in the hospital and a few more in the clink, I'm sure he'll learn his lesson." I replied. "How about you?"

"I'll be fine... except I'll never be able to perform here again," she sighed. I was a bit surprised, seeing as how the crowd loved her every night she performed. That, and the fact that without her there'd be considerably fewer patrons. However, she had done this for free, so I really had no choice but to accept her decision. Though I couldn't help but ask why.

"So, now that a few kids know who you are, you're going to quit?"

"It's... a bit more complicated than that."

Even outside the bar I had a duty to lend an ear. If she would have it, that is. Even though I had known Shy for a while, I had no experience with 'Fluttershy.'

"Why's that?"

It took a few seconds of careful reflection, but she eventually opened up. "I'm not very good in front of crowds..."

"You could've fooled me!" I said trying to lighten the mood. A small smile was all I got. "I suppose that was what the veil was for, huh?"

"Yeah," she said, taking a sip of her drink, still looking stunning in her dress and pearls. I produced my traditional post-work cigar and struck a match on my hoof.

"You don't mind, do you?" Always better to be courteous, especially to somepony who'd been driving my sales on an otherwise lackluster day of the week.

She shook her head. Luckily, the wind kept the smoke from offending too much. "So, if you're nervous on stage, why perform in the first place?"

She thought for a moment, before turning to face me. She had eyes anypony could get lost in. Now that I'd gotten a good look at her face, I'd recognized her from a few magazines. I believe she was a supermodel for a time. Honestly, it was quite a shock! Up until then, she'd been the most famous pony to ever set hoof in my bar.

"It was a way too..." She exhaled sharply before continuing, "to just say what I wanted to, without fear of offending anypony or having somepony disagree with me or not like what I said, because Shy was saying it, not Fluttershy."

I nodded, drawing on my cigar in thought. "I can see that, but it seemed like everypony who ever heard you loved your work. So why not be Fluttershy?"

Her answer was not quite what I was expecting. "Because everypony already likes Fluttershy. I wanted ponies to be honest with me about something I would normally be too scared to do."

"Well I'd say they were pretty honest. That kind of crowd is usually pretty vocal about things they don't like."

Finally, she managed a genuine smile. "I guess you're right."

"You need me to call you a cab?" I asked. It was cold enough to see our breath, and would probably only get colder.

"No, I live on the edge of town," she said, standing from the curb we'd been sitting on.

"I guess Shy won't be making any more appearances on Thursday nights?"

She turned to me, "No, I think she's run her course."

I nodded. Yeah, the extra money was nice, but setting up that stage and getting all those fancy coffee machines out every week was getting pretty old.

"I did enjoy the hot chocolate, though," she said over her shoulder as she began down the street.

"Good to know."

In a moment, she had been swallowed by the night. Shy never returned, and 'beat night' as it was known slowly declined until I just stopped doing it all together. I got rid of all those damned espresso machines, but I kept the one that made hot chocolate. I don't even like it that much. Maybe an old goat like me was just holding out hope that Fluttershy would return. I still have it, and a few folks still order it on a harsh winter's night before making the journey back to their home.

Anyway, the next night would be one of my more profitable evenings. That night, however, a protege of the Princess found herself alone at my bar on a Friday night.

Author's Note:

Did you really think I would subject you all to my no doubt dreadful attempt at writing poetry? Credit to Pink Floyd for those lyrics. Merry whatever fellow drunks!

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