• Published 29th Sep 2012
  • 4,021 Views, 94 Comments

Desert Storm - Some Person

Soarin' and Braeburn look for something different in their lives

  • ...

Blending In

Braeburn and Soarin' trekked through the landscape towards Appleloosa. By the time they reached the outskirts of the settlement, Soarin' appeared to have traveled through a monsoon in comparison to his guide.

Braeburn cast a concerned glance. "Ya sure ya don't wanna take that coat off?" he inquired. "There's sweatin' buckets, and then there's what ya look like right now. ‘Sides, ah don’ git why you’ve been walkin’ all this way. Ya could just fly."

"I'm... I'm fine," Soarin' insisted, resisting the urge to yet again rub the sweat out of his vision. "I figure, why waste the energy flying in this heat? You said it's not that far, right?"

"Yessir," Braeburn replied with a nod. "S'right next t' the Salt Block, as a matter o' fact."

"What's that?" Soarin' wondered.

"It's the bar ya came to yesterday."

Soarin' opted out of sighing in relief. The bartender there has free water, doesn't he? I'll see if I can slip over there while Braeburn does his thing.

Braeburn continued to lead his guest deeper into town until the two ponies reached their destination. It was a seemingly peaceful, light-green jailhouse with several barred windows in the wall. He ushered Soarin’ past the wooden support beams. "Now, Sheriff Silverstar usually don't got much to deal with at this time o' day, so ah'm sure we'll... wait. What's all the fuss?" As Braeburn and Soarin' pushed their way past the two white doors out front, they encountered a room full of chattering ponies.

Soarin' noticed some ponies were part of the mass of newsponies camped outside of the hotel, and quickly ducked out of sight. "Hey, Braeburn. How about you find out what you need to find out, and I go get some water at the Salt Block?"

Braeburn looked at Soarin'. "Sure, ah'll come git ya when ah find out what's goin’ on ‘round here."

As his guide merged into the sea of bodies, Soarin' took the opportunity to remain inconspicuous as he trotted towards the bar next door. When he entered, however, he discovered that there were a few stray newsponies inside, interviewing several bar patrons. Soarin' considered leaving the bar as well, but his scratchy throat and dry mouth insisted otherwise. He creeped quietly towards the row of stools at the back of the bar and sat down.

"And what can I get for you, stranger?" Morton asked, silently appearing before Soarin'.

The incognito Wonderbolt nearly froze in shock, but tried to play the situation naturally. "Ah'll haive ah sweg uh watuh, pahdnah," Soarin' replied in his best Appleloosan accent.

Morton stared at Soarin' for a few excruciating seconds, his lower lip quivering as he evidently was trying to force down a smile. "You got it... pahdnah." He left to fetch the customer his drink, snickering all the way.

Soarin' tried to forget his folly when he felt a tap on his shoulder. He turned to see a dark-blue unicorn mare with a light-azure mane holding a pencil and notepad in the air with her magic. "Hello, sir. I'm Strawberry Dreams, and I'm a reporter with the Canterlot Gazette. Do you have a moment to answer a few questions?"

His mind immediately blanked as he tried to remain calm. Running won't do me any good, they'll be searching all over for me. You're a Wonderbolt, Soarin. Sure, you never really talk to the press, but interviews are practically in the contract. You can beat this, just throw them on the wrong trail. "Uh... s-shore ya kin, missy."

"Thanks," the journalist replied as she flipped her notepad to the first available page. "First, may I please get your name?"

Any name will do here, Soarin'. Think of a villain from those old games. "Mah name's Mulberry Twister."

She took a moment to write this information down. "Okay, Mr. Twister, is it safe to assume you’re a native of Appleloosa?"

Mulberry nodded. "Yess'm. Been heer mah whole life, ah have!"

Strawberry raised an eyebrow at the interviewee. "Well, that's certainly remarkable, considering the town's only been around for two years. Very intriguing, indeed."

This can't be good. "W-well, what ah mean iss, ah been heer since Appleloosa firs' popped up!" Mulberry shot his most convincing smile, which didn't seem to phase Strawberry.

"Of course... Now, are you aware of the buzz in this town? Have you seen any suspicious characters? Perhaps somepony that just stands out in a crowd?"

Mulberry put a hoof to his chin and audibly hummed. "Ahm afraid yer gunna hav'ta be mur spicific than that. Thar be a lotta ponies runnin' round these parts." He spotted a toothpick and quickly threw it in his mouth, hoping that chewing on the object would make his southern persona more believable.

She stared deadpan in response to seeing the colt awkwardly shift the toothpick in his mouth before continuing. "He's a pegasus that goes by the name Soarin'. A coat the same color as yours, dark blue lazy-hawk mane, cutie mark in the shape of a lightning bolt with wings. Ring any bells?"

He gave up on the toothpick and took it out of his mouth before answering, "Sorry, jus' ain't ringin' any o' them there bells in mah head. Y'all ought'a ask somepony else, doll."

Strawberry gave Mulberry another questionable glance before sighing. "Another bust," she murmured. "Well, if you happen to see anypony matching that description," she added as she pulled out a small business card, "come find me. My news crew will be waiting outside the Haystack Inn. If we’re gone, write a letter to us, and we'll get back to you as soon as possible." She turned around and walked towards the front door.

"Ah'll be shore as sugar ta tell ya if ah see any o’ them Wonderbolts 'round here!"

The reporter immediately stopped in her tracks and whipped her head around, her eyes shooting wide. She slowly approached Mulberry. "That's the funny thing... I never said that Soarin' was a Wonderbolt. How do you know that, I wonder?"

Mulberry felt his heartbeat quicken. "W-w-well, uh. Funny story 'bout that," he added as he began to chuckle. Horsefeathers! I was almost in the clear!

"I'm sure it is, and I'm all ears." Strawberry held her pencil and notepad in front of her, eager to write down any juicy details.

He started to tap his hoof on the tabletop as he attempted to come up with a believable story. "It, uh... it all started when ah... uh, ah was at-"

"Excuse me, miss." Morton said from behind the counter. "I'm going to have to ask you to stop pestering my guest. He's obviously very uncomfortable with your prying."

"Prying?" Strawberry parroted in an offended tone. "It was just a simple few questions, I'd hardly consider that to be prying."

Morton huffed. "As far as I'm concerned, your questions are enough to make this stallion uneasy. The Salt Block is a place for the townsfolk to unwind, not to be barraged with a multitude of questions."

"I'm just trying to get to the bottom of this story!"

"Well, you're not going to find it here. All of our pages are ripped out."

Strawberry glanced around her to see that she and Morton were the focus of the bar. "I apologize for inconveniencing you both. Since it seems I'm not quite welcome here, I'll take my leave." She turned around and headed for the doors. As she left, several other newsponies got the hint that any further interrogations in the bar would be fruitless, and took their leave as well.

As the mood of the bar became more social, Morton brought up the mug of water. "Sorry it took so long, the bar's barrel was empty and I had to go to the back to get another canister. Drink up, I'm sure you're thirsty."

Mulberry wasted no time in rehydrating himself. He set the now-empty mug on the counter. "Mighty thanks fer that, pahdnah! And thanks fer tellin' that lil' missy ta take a hike! Shoot, ah remember out on the bayou when mah pappy had-"

"Stop," Morton commanded. "Just stop. You're actually getting a little offensive now, Soarin'."

He froze. "W-whaddya mean? Who's Soarin'? Ah ain't that Soarin' fella, ah'm jus' plain ol' Mulberry, passin' through town like an ol' tumbleweed!" Mulberry rested his-

"That's another thing, Mulberry?" Morton interrupted, "Really? You could've come up with a million better names and you pick Mulberry? You really don't know a thing about this town, do you, Soarin'? And don't deny that it’s you, because I'll charge you double if you keep this up."

Soarin' sat, dumbfounded as he heard the murmurs directed toward him within the bar. Okay, I guess the jig is up. "But I thought water was free here."

"It is, but my bar, my rules."

Soarin' sighed in defeat. "How did you know?"

Morton tapped his head. "I remember everypony who has ever stepped into this bar. Got a mind like a catalogue, I do. Honestly took me a bit to recognize you, with you wearing that ridiculous getup, but it became clear once you spoke."

"But I was a nopony, is it really that easy?"

"Sometimes it's hard to forget an unfamiliar face."

Soarin' stared at his mug for a moment. "Thanks, by the way. If you hadn’t stepped in, I would’ve been shark bait."

The bartender took Soarin’s glass for a refill. "It's no trouble. I figure you've got your reasons for keeping who you are hidden. Your secret is safe with me." Soarin' appeared hopeful for a brief moment before pushing that emotion aside. "And that goes for the rest of ya!" Morton announced to everypony else in the bar. "If one word gets out about our guest, then nopony here will have their business welcome again! And I'll remember exactly who's who, so don't try anything, understand?" All patrons in the bar gave a quick shout of confirmation.

Soarin' sat in the bar, looking at all the ponies who now paid attention to their own concerns. "These ponies really respect you, don't they?"

Morton chuckled. "Being the best salt provider in town gets you that sort of reputation." He grabbed a stool from around the counter and sat in it, sitting before Soarin'. "Now, what in Equestria possessed you to wear that coat at a time like this? There's nothing but blistering heat outside, I'm surprised you haven't collapsed from heat stroke!"

You're not the first to say that. "I needed something to cover up my... you know." Soarin' remained cautious of any lingering ears and leaned in close to Morton as he whispered, "My wings."

Morton looked at the burgundy coat covering Soarin's body. "Wait here a moment. I have something you might like." He disappeared momentarily before coming back with a green vest and a tan Stetson. "I think these will prove more comfortable than your current garb. The hat blends in more with what other ponies wear, and the vest is a bit large, easy enough to make you look like an earth pony around here."

"Wow... thanks." Soarin' looked over the clothes. "Have anywhere I can change?" Morton pointed to the restroom in the front-left corner of the room. Soarin’ got out of his seat and entered the bathroom, taking the moment to remove his clothing and unfurl his wings. He couldn't stop the sigh of relief that followed. My Celestia, this feels so much better! Soarin' then looked at his new vest and hat, placing them on before taking a look in the mirror. "Not bad, I look like a damn good earth pony now," he murmured as he got a good look at himself. When his moment of narcissism was over, he left the room.

“Now doesn’t that suit you much better?” Morton commented as Soarin’ took his seat.

“It really does. Thanks.”

Morton rested his chin on his hoof before he murmured, “Aw shucks.” He reached under the table top and pulled a block of salt out and placed it before Soarin’. “Here, on the house.”

Soarin’ stared at the salt before looking back at the bartender. “You don’t have to do that, really.”

“Truth be told, I do. Considering I feel partially responsible for your current predicament,” Morton replied. Soarin’ stared for a moment, tilting his head to the side. “I sent you to The Haystack Inn, didn’t I? Therein lies your problem.” The Wonderbolt raised an eyebrow, but Morton continued before Soarin’ could interrupt. “You probably met a pony by the name of Miracle Fix, right? She recently became a fan of the Wonderbolts, and I sent you right to her. Knowing her circle of friends, she probably wrote to one friend, who wrote another, and I’m sure that information eventually followed its way to somepony who thought telling the news would get them a nice sack of bits.”

Before Soarin’ could respond, he heard, "Hey, Soarin’," from behind him. He turned to see Braeburn standing patiently. "Ah almost didn’t recognize ya with them new duds. They look perty good on ya, if ya don' mind my sayin'."

"Oh, uh... thanks," Soarin' replied. "Did you find out anything?"

Braeburn sighed. "Unfortunately, it seems the ruckus 'round town has got Sheriff as stuck as a patch o' quicksand. He won't be able to listen to ya fer a couple o' days."

Soarin' frowned. "Days?! How many days are we talking here? I'm on a bit of a time crunch, you know."

"Ah can't say fer sure, but I reckon he should get this mess sorted out in no time."

Soarin's seemed to ease up. "I hope you're right."

Shortly afterwards, Braeburn and Soarin' said goodbye to the patrons in the bar and stepped back onto the streets. Soarin' took a cautious glance before fully stepping into the open, peaking Braeburn's interest. "Hey, Soarin', whaddya say we head on home fer now?" he offered, which Soarin' readily accepted. After giving their thanks to Morton, the two ventured home, making sure to avoid the mob of the media.

As the two stallions headed to the outskirts of town, Soarin' noticed that travelling was evidently easier with his new clothes. "I've really gotta thank that Morton guy later for these." He turned to Braeburn. "I mean, I'm still thankful that you lent me what you had, but this just works out so much better, ya know?"

Braeburn nodded. "So long as yer feelin' fine, 'sall that matters."

Soarin' waited for Braeburn to continue, but he never did. He snuck a glance towards his host, and noticed that Braeburn seemed to be walking on autopilot, staring silently before him as they walked. Soarin' opted to not bring up any further conversation, relishing in the silence.

When both ponies reached home, Braeburn said, "C'mon to the table, ah got somethin' ah wanna talk t'ya 'bout."

Soarin' seemed to hesitate, but said, "Alright," and did what he was told.

When both ponies were seated at the dinner table, Braeburn took off his hat. "As ah was busy tryin' to talk to Sheriff, ah heard some things from quite a few ponies, and ah wanted to know if it's true."

"... Go for it," Soarin' replied, swallowing the thickening lump in his throat.

"A lotta ponies in the office said that they were lookin' fer somepony they called a Wonderbolt. Know what those are?"

Soarin' chewed on the inside of his mouth. If he knows already, then lying would probably make things worse. "Yeah, I've heard of them."

Braeburn nodded. "So ya know they're teams o' pegasi, right?"

"Uh huh."

"So ya see," Braeburn added as he started to smile, "ah remembered that ya were so busy tryin' to hide yer wings from everypony in town. Then it made me wonder why ya'd wanna do somethin' like that. So ah wanna know somethin' else, and ah hope you can be honest with me." He slightly leaned towards Soarin'. "Are ya the Wonderbolt they're lookin' for?"

The tips of Soarin's ears drooped slightly. He turned away, looking through a window. Wish this could've stayed a secret. He sighed as he answered,"Yeah, it's me." He began to plan the quickest way to escape, when Braeburn said the unexpected.

"Huh... okay."

Soarin' had to do a double take. "That's... that's it? Just 'huh... okay'? You're not going to ask what a Wonderbolt is doing in your house, or why I never told you or anything?"

Braeburn shrugged. "Nah."

"Why not?"

"'Cause it's none o' my business."

Soarin' stared, both in shock and amazement for a brief moment. "Really?"

It was Braeburn's turn to be amazed. "Ah'm not gonna try diggin' into yer backstory or anythin' like that, Soarin'. Yer a pony who has his secrets fer his own reasons, and ah respect that."

Soarin' continued to stare blankly before he recomposed himself. "That’s... that’s nice of you. Thanks."

"No problem."

Afterwards, both ponies proceeded with their own activities throughout the house. Soarin' spent time organizing all of his belongings so he could retrieve them later, placing the package of Wonderbolt information on his drawer. Braeburn started preparing dinner for the two of them. When the meal was ready, Braeburn called his guest downstairs to eat. Aside from a bowl, glass of water, and silverware on the table for both ponies apiece, there was a large red salad bowl, filled to the brim with a medley of vegetables. "This looks good," Soarin' stated as he took his seat.

"Thanks," Braeburn replied, "ah felt tonight would be a good day fer somethin' simple, so ah just whipped up this salad fer us." He grasped a spoon and scooped out a portion of the salad for the two of them. Both ponies started eating in comfortable silence. After a while, Braeburn spoke up. "So what's it like bein' one o' them Wonderbolts?"

Soarin' stopped eating for a moment and looked up at Braeburn. Then he looked away in thought. He really doesn't seem too bad, but I don't wanna just go spill my life story for some random stallion. Wait... that's it. "How about this," he finally replied. "In exchange for this question, I'd like to know something about you in return. Deal?"

Braeubrn nodded without hesitation. "Sure."

The Wonderbolt sat back in his chair. "Most ponies seem to think that all we do is show up in places, do a bunch of flips, and spend the rest of our time relaxing. But really it’s challenging work, not gonna lie. Practices usually go on for half of the day or longer, and it's us working on new techniques and routines to give us the edge in our upcoming events. Sometimes you'll even be sore in ways you never thought possible, but everypony has to keep going. Then there are the actual competitions. Going up against the other top species in the Equestria, being offered the occasional bribe to be off target by a couple of inches, making sure that everypony's around when it's time to be prepared, it's pretty rocky stuff."

His mood slightly soured. "Then there's the press. You do one little thing that somepony might disapprove of, and they eat it up like it's the only food they've had in weeks. Once they get a bite, they just keep coming, hounding you with the same questions again and again!" He began to grimace as he stared at the table. "Is it too much to just take 'no' for an answer? That the rumors aren't true, and that you just want to be left alone?" He stopped and realized his ranting, looking up to see a concerned Braeburn. "S-sorry, kinda got off topic there. Anything else about the 'Bolts that you wanna know?"

"No, no, that's okay," Braeburn said immediately. "Ah didn't intend to bring up any bad memories." He took another bite and swallowed. "Yer turn now. Whaddya wanna know?"

Soarin' rested his chin on his hoof. How do I approach this properly? "How are you... uh..." His lips curled as he searched for the words. "How can you be so happy?"

"Uh... happy?" Braeburn tilted his head to the side. "Ah'm afraid ah don't get what yer tryin' to say."

"Well..." Soarin' rubbed his hooves together. "How can you be so happy, and yet you're... gay?"

Braeburn stared at Soarin' blinking a few times. "So 'cause ah'm gay ah can't be happy?"

"No, I didn't mean that, I just... ugh. I figured that... you know, being in a town like this..."

Braeburn nodded slowly once. "Ah see. Ya think this town wouldn't care fer somepony like me?" Soarin' seemed to sink in his seat. "Well, ah don't blame ya. A lotta ponies come through here and have this idea that everypony in the south just loves to hate on them gays." He paused to take another bite of salad. "But that ain't true. Sure, some ponies 'round here don't care fer the sight of me, but others are quite acceptin'. Ah've been perty thankful fer the ponies ah know in my life now."

His ears slightly drooped. "But ya know... it wasn't easy. 'Specially growin' up." Braeburn drank some of his water. "Ah started realizin' how ah felt about colts in grade school one day. We talked about fairy tales fer some time, and were given this assignment. All the fillies were s’posed to write about the perfect prince they'd wanna have sweep ‘em offa their feet, and the colts were supposed to talk about their perfect princess. Ah sat there, tryin' to think about what to write, but it jus' didn't feel right, writin’ ‘bout some princess. But writin' about the perfect prince, that felt much more natural to me. So ah wrote it out and we all turned in our papers.

"Next day, the teacher passed the stories back. When ah got mine, it had a big, red zero on it, along with a note sayin' she wanted to see my folks in a conference that night. Ah didn't wanna show my ma and pa that ah got a bad grade, so ah just showed them the note. They looked concerned fer a bit, but decided to come along. Ah sat with my parents as my teacher went on about how ah wrote that ah wanted a prince instead of a princess. Ma and Pa were fumin' but fer different reasons. Ma was fumin' 'cause ah wrote somethin’ as terrible as not wantin’ a princess, but Pa was furious 'cause my Ma and the teacher were makin' such a fuss about what he said was nothin’. They all started yellin' and ah just covered my head in my hooves, hopin' it would all be over soon."

Soarin' stared as Braeburn continued. "They wouldn't talk to each other the whole walk home, but they were at it again that night." The storyteller shook his head. "Ah jus' remember cryin' in bed, coverin' my head, hopin' they'd just stop. Fer the next month, they were either yellin', or they just wouldn't talk to each other. Ah jus' kept hopin' that someday all that would change. Unfortunately, ah got my wish.

"Ah woke up one mornin' to see my Pa sittin' at the table. Ah said 'g'mornin' to him, but he didn't budge. He jus' stared at the cup o' coffee in fronna him. Ah nudged him a little, and that's when he said it: 'She's gone.’ Ah didn't geddit at first, but then ah looked 'round the house. Any pictures with my Ma on the wall were gone. Ah didn't wanna believe it, so ah ran to my folks' room. Everythin' of hers was gone too. That’s when it hit me: my own Ma walked out on me n' Pa."

Braeburn's hooves began to tremble. "Ah jus' sat there, cryin' fer who knows how long. Then ah felt a hoof on my shoulder. Pa was standin' there, eyes red from cryin' too, ah bet. Ah hugged him tight as ah could and we just sat there, tryin' to comfort each other. Eventually ah ask him if somethins wrong with me, and if Ma would'a stayed if ah wrote about a princess instead of a prince. He lowers himself to my level and looks me in the eye. 'Son,' he tells me, 'what ah'm 'bout to say is the most important thing yer ever gonna hear. There ain't nothin' wrong with ya. If ya like colts, then that's jus' who ya are. Ain't nothin' ah, nor anypony else, can do 'bout that. Yer my son, and ah'll always love ya.' Right then n’ there, he started cryin' too, n' we both sat there fer Celestia knows how long.

"Pa let me stay home that day, n' he told me 'bout what it meant to be gay, n' what some ponies thoughta ponies like me, n’ any other questions ah might’a had. He insisted that ah might find a mare ah like along the way, but ah jus' had to follow what my heart told me. We talked fer a while, and ah learned so much from him. The next day ah went to school and ah wanted to jus' git through the day. 'Course, the teacher went n' made a comment 'bout how sometime in our lives, the fillies will git some handsome stallion, and us colts will find a beautiful mare to fall in love with. She then shot me this sorta glare fer a moment. Part a me wanted to duck my head, but ah remembered what my Pa told me. Ah stood outta my seat and told the teacher, 'Ah don' wanna find no mare, ah wanna git me a stallion, and mah pa told me there ain't nothin' ya can do 'bout it!'” Braeburn took a moment to chuckle. “Pa weren't too happy 'bout needin' to come in the middle a work to take me home, but he was shore proud a me fer standin' up fer mahself."

Braeburn weakly smiled as he reminisced some more. Then he snapped his head up to look at Soarin'. "Oh, ah'm sorry, ah jus' kept ramblin' on and on 'bout my life story. That was mighty rude a me, ah apologize."

Soarin' also snapped himself back to reality. "I-it's no trouble. That's just... it's a lot to take in."

"Ah’m sorry," Braeburn replied with a chuckle. "It mus' sound so odd to ya."

Soarin' almost took another bite of his neglected meal, but stopped. "No... I kind of understand how you feel." Braeburn looked back with a quizzical expression. "My mom died when I was young.”

"Ah'm sorry to hear that. It couldn't a been easy."

“When I was six or so, she got really sick, and...” he paused as he closed his eyes and grimaced. “I'm sorry, I... I really don't wanna get into it." Soarin' took a drink of his water. "What about you though?" he asked. "Have you tried getting in touch with your mom?"

Braeburn looked down before shaking his head. "Nah, ah figure it just ain't worth it. Say ah do find her, whaddo ah do then? Do ah tell her ah missed her? Ask her why she walked out on me? Yell at her for not bein' able to accept her own kin? And even then, ah don't think she's in any rush to meet me. She didn't even try writin' to me, or visitin’ me. Ah don't think she'd even wanna see me if ah showed up. 'Sides, what if somethin' happened to her, and she turned up dead somewhere? Sometimes it's true what they say, ignorance is bliss."

Soarin' sat in his seat, reflecting on such insight. “What about your dad?”

“He’s doin’ fine,” Braeburn replied with a wistful smile. “Few years back he met a mare n’ the two of ‘em hit it off. They moved out to Dodge City not long after tyin’ the knot. They come on out n’ visit town every once in a while. He’s ‘bout as chipper as ever.” He looked out the window and saw the orange shade of the sky. “Well now, ah didn’t mean to talk the day away. Sorry ‘bout that.” Braeburn got out of his seat, grasping the now empty bowl in his mouth as he carried it to his sink. He walked to Soarin’. “Want me to get that fer ya?”

“That’s okay,” Soarin’ replied as he shook his head. “I’ll get this.” After clearing the dishes off the table, both ponies went about their business for the rest of the day, sharing occasional and brief conversations to cut up the stifling silence in the house. Eventually, Braeburn went to sleep on the couch, leaving Soarin’ with no real choice but to head for bed as well. “A couple more days, eh?” he said quietly, “It’ll be a bit of a crunch, but I think I can manage.” When he reached his bed, he almost moved under the covers when he remembered the picture on the dresser. He grabbed the frame and studied the three ponies within the photo. One was evidently Braeburn as a foal, but standing next to him were two ponies: an orange-red stallion with a blue mane and tail, and a white mare with a pink mane and tail. His parents? Soarin’ studied the picture more, noting the wrinkled edges and distilled color. I guess this is the only picture he has of her. He looked over his shoulder to where Braeburn slept. His dad supported him, huh? He’s lucky... He put the picture back on the dresser, pulled himself under the covers, and eventually fell into his awaited slumber.

Author's Note:

Fun fact: Putting the name "Albert Wesker" into this pony name generator turns up the name Mulberry Twister. Just felt like sharing that fact.