• Published 7th Dec 2012
  • 3,798 Views, 273 Comments

Different Strokes - Guy_Incognito

Gentle Strokes is a cynical drunk from Dodge Junction. Stormy is the proud black sheep of a wealthy Manehattan family. College is a place for 'experimenting'.

  • ...

Less Than Zeroes

Less Than Zeroes.

Jagged Horn.

Sitting in Sweet Deals’ apartment one lazy Tuesday afternoon. There were the four of them: Sweet Deals--who was the supplier otherwise none of the other three would even attempt to put up with him--Rumblejack, his roommate Shadowflask? (Or was it Shadowdash? Shadowflash?...Something like that.) and, of course, Jagged Horn.

Beside him on the leopard print couch was Sweet Deals. In the faux-leather recliner across from that, Rumblejack and, in the velvet armchair beside that Shadow....flash? (Yeah. That’s it. Shadowflash. Had to be.)

On the glass coffee table was the only reason the three art students would ever have for putting up with the intolerable ramblings Sweet Deals was prone to; a translucent zip-loc bag with nearly half an ounce of sniffing salt. Beside the bag, three thick lines cut using Sweet Deal’s comically oversized--and in the context of the three’s company non threatening--bowie knife. He claimed that the knife was for cutting tangerines, but there were rust coloured stains along the blade that brought a certain doubt to these claims.

Thanks to an emotional outburst from Sweet Deals over a punchline he didn’t understand, the knife was now one with the table, standing like some kind of twisted obelisc in the glass, creating a series of lightning shaped cracks that ran along the table’s surface.

They’d been here for a few hours now, killing time in between classes or whatever, and the mood had gotten quiet and an air of tension had resonated after Sweet Deals’ little outburst, and now, everypony sat nervously waiting for somepony else to clear the air so they could start back up again.

Sweet Deals stepped up to the plate.

He got up from his seat and bent down to the table’s level. Pressing his muzzle firmly against the glass, and moved his face towards one of the thicker lines. He inhaled a sharp breath, plugged a nostril with his hoof and with one quick and loud ‘sniff’ dragged his nose over fattest line on the table. In a heartbeat it hit him; His head shot backwards, his eyes rolled back and, for a quiet, almost sobering minute, everypony just stared in silence as he remained stuck in that pose. That was until his head shot back down, his eyes rolling back to normal with it and spoke.

“Tight! Tight! TIGHT!”

He leapt to his hooves, startling everypony in the room, and reared his body upwards and onto his hind hooves. A second later and he began throwing viciously uncoordinated kicks in Shadowflash’s direction; A wild display of improvised martial arts that lasted longer than it was funny, and became stale and old, and then he calmed for a moment and brought himself to a pause.

“I told you faggots this shit was the bomb!”

Shadowflash looked revolted and stared desperately at Rumblejack, who just smirked and shrugged his shoulders. Shadowflash, evidently, hadn’t been doing any lines and from the few times he and Jag had ever hung out, it was pretty clear that he was the ‘abstaining’ kind of pony. He was more of a morbidly curious onlooker than a clear and present user in these types of situations. Just another art student who ‘slummed it up’ with ‘ruffians’ like Rumblejack and Jagged Horn to draw inspiration for his pieces. If he’d ever considered lowering himself to the level that Jagged Horn lived on, this display of salt induced lunacy probably wasn’t going to make him rethink his position.

“It’s too quiet in here!” Sweet Deals shouted as he finally settled back down in his chair. “We need some music! We need tunes!”

He turned to Rumblejack and threw a hoof in the direction of his expensive sound system.

The whole setup was pretty elaborate: there were two turntables as Sweet Deals dabbled in DJ’ing. (Which was a nice way of saying he’d scratched more than his fair share of classic albums to death.) Four towering speakers twice the size of any pony in the room. Two different record players and an ‘energy converter’ that, allegedly did something more than cost a small fortune.

“Throw on... shit,” He took pause, then continued on. “Throw on that new Poison Jam song. It should be in the second player? It sounds bucking amazing out of these new speakers!”

Rumblejack searched aimlessly for the remote, and Sweet Deals quickly grew impatient. He raced towards the sound system, flipped on the first record player, then the speakers, the ‘energy converter’, and waited for it to warm up. He tapped his right hoof impatiently against the floor and his grin turned into a scowl, which continued to grow until the moment he slammed a hoof against the machine.

In their chairs, all three bodies bounced backwards in shock and semi-panic, once again. Sweet Deals turned to face them with a frown and spoke.

“Why is it that you pay a couple thousand bits for a decent sound system, right? And when you wanna listen to some classics, you know? When you wanna hear that song! That bucking song that’s stuck in your head and it’s driving you crazy ‘cause it’s stuck in your head. And you wanna hear it now! Like ‘right now’, right now! Suddenly all this expensive shit, never. Bucking. Works!”

He punctuated the last three words of the sentance with by slamming his hoof against the record player in a form of absolutely moronic and defiant ignorance.

Three hooves which would have easily knocked any of the three other ponies in the room out later, and the machine had taken enough of a beating. Fearing for it’s life, the speakers gave in and spat out a monstrous amalgamation of loud and terrible noises that none but Sweet Deals had ever heard before.


Sweet Deals turned the volume up to eleven so that the bass shook the house, paintings hung on walls slapped hazardly and Sweet Deals seemed quite content. He bolted back onto the couch, nestled himself comfortably in the chair, and then smiled at them like nothing abnormal and emotionally scarring to present and sober parties had happened.

“That’s surround sound!” He shouted over the noise “5.0. Double certified! That’s the best money can buy!”

The others just nodded politely, pretending that any of the technological bullshit he’d just babbled made sense to them. They waited a few seconds for him to wind down, but he didn’t. He continued to discuss the specs of his new sound system for a minute, then with a different type of passion and intensity he changed the subject.

“So, yo, it’s a big club night here in town! We could hit Whiskey Dix? It’s ‘Mare’s Drink Free’ night! You guys wanna hit the skins? Go out? Get some tail or somethin’?”

It was Rumblejack’s turn to do a line now and he nose dived towards the table. Pressing a nostril against the glass, like Sweet Deal’s had done, he smiled up at his roommate and, a millisecond and one loud ‘sniff’ later, another thick white line disappeared from the table.

His reaction was more or less the same as Sweet Deal’s; his head shot back, slight pause, then back down.

“Yeah! Oh, buck yeah!” He shouted and began some kind of impromptu jig in his seat; upper torso moving backwards and forwards while his top hooves did a poor impression of ‘The Wave’. A short time later, when he was done, he turned his attention to Sweet Deals.

“I dunno about Whiskey Dix tonight, dude. Once we, like, wrap up here......No offense, by the way. Me and this,” He took pause to point an accusing hoof towards Jag, who smiled sheepishly. Politely waiting for a lull in the conversation to do his line. “, lazy flank gotta hit the gym! The plan is. Now hear me out cause it’s genius. The plan is to get ripped by Winter Break so we can all go up to Canterlot and try and score some ‘High Society’ Unicorn tail. Like, I’m buff now, right? Tell me that I’m not buff? I lift! I mean, like, I pump iron! But I wanna get like ‘Super Jacked’, you know?”

“Yeah, yeah... I feel you.” Sweet Deals turned towards Shadowflash. “What about you, chief? You wanna come out? Get some tail? Wait... you know it’s not a gay bar, right?”

“But, I’m not gay...” Shadowflash -- calm and reserved -- responded.

“Oh, wait. I’m losing the plot here!" Sweet Deals groaned, jumping into the fray "Aren’t you this dude’s-” he paused to turn to Rumblejack who sat on the edge of his seat, paying extremely close attention to the conversation. “-faggy roommate?”

“Who, Flashy?" Rumblejack asked, bolting to his roommate's defense "No, dude. No! You're thinking of Jag. Jag has the fag roommate: Stormy. He’s in cultural studies.”

“Wait, we have a ‘Cultural Studies’ course?”

“Yeah," Rumblejack sighed. "That guy Stormy’s in it.”

“Shit... my bad.” Sweet Deals apologized to Shadowflash, who frowned and shook his head.

For all anyone knew he could be lying. Well. Maybe not lying. Jag had seen him with talk with a couple dozen mares at a few parties. And often ones he’d gone home with too. But, Colt Cuddler’s did that sometimes; took mares home not to screw them, just to like split a bottle of white wine spritzers and do each others makeup, or whatever they did. Platonic sexless sleepovers with pretty mares. What a stupid way to spend a night. Gay or straight.

The quiet pause in the conversation was time enough for Jag to take his turn. He knelt down to the table’s length, and, unlike Sweet Deals and Rumblejack, used a rolled up bill from his latest trip to Monk’s Coffee Shop (like usual, to see The Barista who was madly in love with him.) to rail his line.

His head shot back and his brain felt like it was on fire. Good Salt, it stings your nostrils at first. After a while you sort of get used to the sting. But, not all the time. And, never with really strong uncut salt like this stuff. Wherever and whomever Sweet Deals had gotten it from, they hadn’t cut it with baby laxative or baking soda; This stuff was pure (or as pure as he’d probably ever see at Camden) and it kicked like a Mule with it’s balls in a vice (The literal kind, not the fun metaphorical kind.)

The drip came next. That gross build up of mucus. Phlegm. Saliva. Whatever. This came after any good (or bad) line and was thoroughly unpleasant. Of course, after that, it was the sweet and gentle embrace of euphoric bliss.

Pleasure washed over him and that invincible feeling came with it; He felt like the smartest guy in the room. And he was. And it was great knowing it. But, he wanted to let everypony else know it too. But first he just wanted to enjoy this great song!

Ok, it was over. Good. Great. BUCKING AMAZING! Now he could talk. Now he could share his wisdom. ‘Cause he was a genius! And they all needed to know!

“O’Scar Wild was a faggot!”

Great interjection! Relevant. Informative. Witty.

Totally sweet.


Three pairs of eyes stared quizzically back at him and panic crept up his spine. Oh, shit; That wasn’t funny. Oh shit; That’s why they were just staring at him. Oh shit; Was he thinking this....or saying it out loud? Was he talking? Could they hear him?

“Yeah, dude.” Shadowflash grinned. “We can all hear you......”

Oh shit. That was bad. That stupid, probably gay jack off! All artists were gay and he had to be too. He was probably a bucking bonafide Pillow Biter. Wait, hadn’t he seen Shadowflash hitting on Stormy at a party? Yeah. Totally. Come to think of it. He’d seen Shadowflash leave with Stormy at a party. That settled it: He was a total Colt Cuddler. And, a bucking jack off to boot.

“Dude. We can still hear you...” Shadowflash gave out weakly. “And, I’m still not gay.”

“Oh, crap! I shouldn’t have said he was a Colt Cuddler! Oh, Crap! I definitely shouldn’t have called him a jackoff! Oh, Crap. I definitely am still talking out loud... aren’t I?”

All three pairs of eyes staring at him nodded.

“It's too hot today...”


It was little past an hour since he’d left Sweet Deal’s place and now Jagged Horn was faced with every salt user’s nightmare: The comedown. The horrible overwhelming depression that came when the drugs wore off and the smiles turned back into frowns. His were always the worst. Each time, his mind would take him to places he’d rather not go to. Deep seated psychological dilemmas that he used drugs in the first place to bury, would suddenly resurface because of them.

He thought about his parents. And then, how he didn’t actually have parents because they died in that horrible anvil/semi-retarded Mailmare related accident when he was eight. He thought about his short time in the orphanage because none of his self centered aunts or uncles wanted to take him and his sister in. He thought about all the times he had to fight other orphans for food. He thought about his sister and, her son. And how her son was going to grow up without a dad, like he did, because the bucking jerk off who knocked her up ran away when he found out and started a new life Celestia Knew Where, probably getting more impressionable mares like his sister pregnant and then running away. He thought about how there was probably going to be a generation of foals and fillies who would grow up never knowing that each of their absent fathers was actually the same single jack off.

Then. A different mental heartbreak began to follow these thoughts. He thought about his time here at Camden. How he hadn’t been to a class in a month. How he constantly missed tests and papers and essays. How he was failing three of his four classes, and how the only reason he was passing the fourth was because he occasionally sold a few grams of salt to his professor in exchange for a passing grade.

What was he even doing here at Camden?

He needed to take his mind off of this. He needed a ‘pick me up’. Anything, really. Well, not just anything. He needed something chemically designed to that effect. And he knew where to get just that thing.

An instant plan of action came to mind. Rumblejack’s roommate, Shadowflash (Who wasn’t a colt cuddler evidently.) had these pills. Antidepressants. The really powerful kind and these little wonders were just what he needed to get over this hump and, probably carry him through the rest of the day.

So, he set off for Rumblejack’s.


He was sitting now in Rumblejack and Shadowflash’s room, sipping a glass of strong moonshine which Rumblejack had said was (A) Safe to drink, and (B) Something like 180 proof and had an alcohol content of 60%. Apparently he had an uncle that sent him shipments of this bathtub brewed gut rut from a town called Apple-Dooza.

Rumblejack was passed out on the couch beside him with his hoof gently draped over his eyes and snoring loudly. If he hadn’t been he would have left Jag in total silence with his roommate who he’d hours earlier accused of being gay, and was now planning on stealing prescription medication from.

Did that make this situation ironic?

“So.. did you hear that ‘Choke ‘N’ Stroke’ tried to kill himself?”

Shadowflash turned his attention towards Jag and offered a sad smile.

“Hey, uh, can I ask you something?” Shadowflash started, changing the subject.

Whatever came next didn’t really matter. For all he knew, Shadowflash was going to tell him he was the living embodiment of a creature from a different universe transported to Equestria and into the body of a fully grown Colt or something? Either way, he had a full glass of moonshine--and two bottles of the stuff on reserve--to deal with it.

Go; fire away Shadowflash!

“How long have Stormy and Gentle Strokes been going out?”

That was anticlimactic.

“Like, a month or so?” He paused and took a sip of his drink. “Why?”

“Oh, no reason.” Shadowflash mused “It’s just.., I’ve got a few pieces in the same wing of the gallery as Gentle Strokes and I always see him and your roommate together. It’s like they’re inseparable. It’s actually kind of... I dunno... nice I guess.”

Way to be a buzzkill!

That was a bit unfair. He was happy for Stormy. Really, he was. It was just that ever since he’d slept with Gentle Strokes and decided to become a couple about it, the two of them had spent every second of every day together.

Now, it wasn’t like he hated coming home from a mid afternoon salt binge to find his gay roommate on the couch--that they both shared--making out with his gay colt friend. He wasn’t a homophobe. And, it wasn’t like he found it cringe worthy when Gentle Strokes would come over with a bag of groceries and cook some kind of romantic cowpony meal on a hotplate. It was just....well, the Honeymoon phase of every relationship was always the worst; It was a place where Proud Colts turned into Weak Mice. He hadn’t been to a party with Stormy in as long as he could remember and he’d had to replace him as a best friend (for the time being) with Rumblejack who....well, actually fit in as a replacement pretty well.

Suddenly he thought of The Barista. How she was madly in love with him, and how he’d never acted on that before. The word ‘lonely’ never came to mind, because he wasn’t. He had friends at Camden. Dozens. Maybe even hundreds. And, by his count, he’d probably banged half the school’s female population. He wasn’t lonely. Still, he felt, for whatever reason, that it was a good idea to approach The Barista for some kind of buck buddies situation.

So, after he went about procuring some of Shadowflash’s Pick me up pills, washed a hooffull of them down with a glass of moonshine and let them kick in, that’s exactly what he was going to do.


These pills. They were amazing! Absolutely awe inspiring miracles of modern science. He’d never felt so good in his life. The sun was shining, and the grass was green (Well, under the half a foot of snow that was), and everything about today was just lovely.

He’d been riding this amazing high for almost an hour now. Frolicing up and down Camden’s cobblestone streets and occasionally complementing some random mare on her winter coat and getting a blushing smile in return, or, spinning his body around a lamp post and belting out the lyrics to Berry Coltilow’s ‘Can’t Smile Without You’ as loud and obnoxiously as he could at groups of grumpy looking eggheads studying at tables in the courtyard.

He was on his way to Monk’s coffee shop now, his body swaying along with the rhythm of a song in his head and, offering every stranger he met on the way a friendly ‘Good day to you, sir/madame”.

Why hog all the joy in the world to himself?

Oh, Celestia bless this day, all of Equestria and all the ponies, Gryphons, Zebras, Camels, Bunnies, Turtles, Owls, Puppies and Kittens in it.

Life was great!

He entered Monk’s with a loud and cheery “Glad tidings to all!” and a beaming smile. A few eyes met his, then quietly turned away. Too shy to offer a reply. But, who cared? He was doing fine and he wasn’t going to let a few grumpy nihilists ruin his high.

With a smile and a tune whistled through his clenched lips, he approached the counter and locked eyes with The Barista. She rolled hers at him, frowned, grumbled something about how she thought her day couldn’t get any worse (She had such a great and colourfully sarcastic sense of humor!) then approached him.

“What can I get for you, sir?”

She was so cute, the way she pretended not to know his name. The way she pretended to be annoyed by him. Could it be any more obvious that she was in love with him?

"I'll take a grande of your finest Orange Mocha Frappuccino!” He belted out, giving her a hearwarming smile from the bottom of his heart.

She grunted and moved towards the fancy machines behind her.

A short minute later she handed him his drink and he slid her a bit wrapped in a napkin that had his room number and the time of day that they could meet up for some drama free sex.

The Barista unwrapped the napkin, gave a heavy sigh as she read it and threw it in the garbage (Probably in one of those ‘Destroy this evidence because it’s top secret information’ kind of ways.)

“Hey?” He grinned. She looked at him curiously and waited for him to finish his thought. “How come we never hooked up? You and me?”

“Really?” She offered back with an adorably mocking sense of ignorance “Are you seriously asking me that?”

“Yeah. I wanna know.” Jag grinned back. “I mean we’re both good looking. I like you. You obviously like me. We should just do it?”

“You had sex with my roommate.” She droned in response. “Twice. And, you cheated on her with her best friend.”

Oh, now that was an ego boost. He’d totally forgot about his almost threesome with Crimson and Clover. Well ‘almost’ in the sense that once he couldn’t convince Clover that him screwing her and her best friend was kinky, he just decided to move on to her best friend.

“So what?”

“Ohmygoddessthisdaycannotgetanyworse.” She grumbled. She looked at him, staring at him with those cute little eyes of hers, and spoke again. “Can you please take your little Orange Mocha Fag-achino, find a rope somewhere on campus and hang yourself, now?”

She had such an adorably twisted sense of humor.

He gave a hearty chuckle, smiled at her with his same winning smile and spoke again.

“Offer still stands. Just uncrumple that napkin and you’ll know where to find me, babe.”

With that he set off for home, riding his high the whole way there.

Au Revoir.

“Merci beaucoup.” Au Revoir offered, choosing the more exotic translation of ‘Thank you very much’ to the dull, and very much unsexy sounding original.

The Barista blushed profusely as she gave him his espresso. Just for fun, he gently brushed his hoof along the backside of hers, reaching with his other hoof towards the tip jar. Her blush grew as she felt his hoof on hers and she got so swept up in being in love with him that she didn’t notice him grabbing a hooffull of bits from out of the jar and placing them in his saddlebag.

“You.....you have a very nice accent.” She quietly mumbled. He gingerly took a sip of his espresso and inwardly swallowed his distaste for her own accent. It was so regal. So plain. She was so plain. She was pretty, sure. But, she made it so obvious that she was into him that it wasn’t even challenging.

All it took to get mares to sleep with him was to ask them out in a language they didn’t understand (He would start off in dialect they would understand and throw in phrases like ‘Because I’d like to use your flank like a drum kit all night’ or ‘Because I think you would also go for seconds in the morning’ near the end. Under the veil of his accent they probably sounded like ‘Because you have the most beautiful face I’ve ever gazed upon’ to their untrained ears). Then, on their first (and only) date he would get them drunk on the cheapest wine (with the most exotic and foreign sounding name) that the restaurant they dined in served. When that was said and done, he would politely ask them if they wanted to come back to his place to hear his poetry.

They never said no.

Before he’d learned that, during his second week at Camden, he would have had, had sex with The Barista a hundred and one times by now. But, like with most mares at Camden, the thrill of Le Jeu just wasn’t there. The Game cannot be boastfully won by one player, when the other doesn’t understand the rules.

He needed a challenge.

She was still staring at him with her head neatly perched on her hooves as he took a seat in the booth across the way from her. He continued to take gentle, quiet and contemplative looking sips of his espresso. ‘Accidentally’ making eye contact with her every now and again just to watch her blush and turn away.

There was the slightest bit of an ego boost that flirting with her offered, though, other than that momentary smile it brought to his face he didn’t even consider it a compliment that she was madly in love with him.

Mares at this school practically begged him to sleep with them. For every Domestic Beer swilling, hoofball playing, colt on campus who could bed a mare after comparing the works of Shakes Spear to modern day poets like Blake, or Whitmane, he could romance ten. He was too good. Too good for Camden. Too good for the feminine student body. Too good for Le Jeu.

He reached into his H’Armani saddlebag and withdrew the mandatory textbook from his Cultural Relevance of Shakes Spear class, a pad of parchment, a Gryphon feather quill and a small bottle of ink. He opened the book randomly to page two hundred and two (To appear as if he’d been deeply engrossed in the class and, not just taking it for an easy credit and for the added sense of ‘cultural sensitivity’ it gave him.) and, dipping the quill in the ink began idly doodling a cartoon of himself bucking The Barista.

He had two hours to kill before his next class: Introduction to Nursing. A class he’d only taken for the obvious reason of being the only straight colt with the best chance of appearing as such, while still retaining a soft approachable sensibility to mares in the class. It, like every other class he’d taken this semester was an easy credit and a chance to hook up with some extremely self conscious mares.

Normally, on a Tuesday like today, after Cultural Relevance of Shakes Speak he would have just spent the time off in his room fixing his mane, or deciding which beret went with which scarf best. Appearance was everything. He couldn’t retain his exotic foreign status if he looked like every other hipster on Campus. And since every not Foreign pony on Campus had decided that during winter they would also wear scarves and berets (which he had actually been doing all year), it would only stand that he had to distance himself from them as far as he could. Everyday was a struggle in fashion for him.

He would be back in his room if, it wasn’t for the chance he had of stumbling upon a vulgar display of romance between his yokel roommate and the roommate of the annoying junkie.

It seemed ever since Le Fin Du Monde Party a few weeks ago. When he stumbled upon his roommate nestling on the couch with (What was his name? Stumpy? Rocky? Stormy?), lip locked and tentatively stroking his mane with his hoof, the two had forged some kind of romantic relationship. Which seemed odd. Gentle Strokes was a loser. He was an ignorant hick, firstoff. A sad, pathetic drunk secondly. And thirdly, every mare he’d ever brought home had dumped him a week later. But he never once thought he was a Colt Cuddler. Colt Cuddler’s, well, back home at least were never so....stupid.

His colt friend was alright. He wasn’t nearly as bad as his idiot roommate, at least. And, if it hadn’t been for hearing stories of his sexual exploits from colts in his Introduction to Nursing class, he could have just as easily been mistaken for straight. But why, of all the infinitely more attractive, emotionally stable, skinnier and more feminine Colt Cuddler’s at Camden, he had to chose the one pony on Campus who shared a room with him was a towering flaw in his personality.

He wasn’t exactly revolted by their sexuality, more so, their rambunctious sex life. Every other night, when he came home with some random mare from some class, or party, Gentle Strokes had already beaten him there and hung a sock on the door like some kind of ‘Go Buck Yourself’ to him and his date.

So, now. Instead of walking in on his roommate and Stormy flirting while they studied for their Cultural Studies exam. He was going to sit alone in a booth at Monk’s, draw crude pictures of himself screwing The Barista (and maybe even leave a few behind for The Barisa to have fantasies about) and survey the crowd that came and went.

Couples came to Monk’s all the time because it offered a more romantic atmosphere than Star-Bucks could. If he were lucky, he’d find some Egghead couple where the mare was extremely out of the colt’s league and ‘Eye Bang’ her. He would gauge how she reacted then, if he felt it right ‘accidently’ drop a napkin with his room number and contact info for her as he got up to use the bathroom.

It didn’t always work. But every now and again he would get a letter from somepony who’d found one of his ‘accidental’ napkins and have decent sex. The risk was well worth the reward.

Taking another sip from his espresso he went back to shading in patches of his scarf on the picture he’d drawn of himself pulling The Barista’s mane with his teeth and slapping her flank with his free hooves. All the while smiling gently at her.

White Mane and Piper.

*Bang* *Bang* *Bang*


White Mane just giggled as he continued to comb his mane. He liked how it looked now, mild parting to the left so that his bangs almost covered his left eye. But, it still wasn’t perfect enough for him. If only he could remember how he’d made his hair look that night.

*Bang* *Bang* *Bang* *Bang*

“I’m seriously going to pee myself if you don’t open that door, dude!

He just continued to giggle. His roommate was such a dork, but, he made it work in a way that was also kind of cute, so he didn’t mind living with him.

“Just give me a minute, Piper.” White Mane sing-songed as he continued to brush his hair to the left.

“You’ve been in the bathroom for almost an hour.....wait, are you just combing your mane?”

“No. I’m priming myself, you silly colt.” He responded as he stared at himself in the mirror. He looked good. Great even. Still, a few more tries wouldn’t hurt.


Well, that type of slander was uncalled for.

Just because Stormy had, had a few dates with that grassroots cow pony, and they cuddled all the time on the couches in the art lounge, and they shared coffee at Monk’s a lot, and they went home together after every party he’d seen them at, didn’t mean they were dating. It just meant that he was trying to make him jealous.

And, it was working.

“I don’t understand you dude; You sleep with a colt one time. He totally gives you the cold shoulder every time you see him after that and finds himself a colt friend, and you’re still totally obsessed with him?”

“First off.” White Mane began, “He does love me. He’s just playing hard to get. Secondly; we didn’t sleep together, Piper, we made love. And, thirdly: What would you know about love? You’re still a virgin!”

He felt mean saying it, but, he wasn’t going to listen to Piper totally slander and poison the name of the colt who loved him.

“Dude... ouch.”

“Oh, that was really mean. I’m sorry Piper, I still think you’re the best roommate ever, don’t worry.”

Behind the door he heard Piper shuffle his hooves.

“Can I just come in? I won’t mess with your flow......I just really need to pee, dude.”


Sometimes Piper was absolutely unbearable and demanding.

“Alright, fine" White Mane sighed. "Just do what you have to do, then let me finish up, okay?”

“OhthankCelestia!" he heard Piper chime as he turned the doorknob and rushed into the bathroom. He stood over the toilet, lifted himself onto his rear legs, then paused.

“Dude, turn around. I can’t go when you’re staring at me.”

“Sorry..." White Mane laughed, "I just never noticed you had that spot on your left flank before, Piper.”

Piper’s face turned beet red and he bit his lower lip. Piper was like that; goofy and adorable. He was always blushing and acting weird whenever White Mane would comment on how good he looked in a shirt, or if he said he liked the way his mane looked, or if he asked Piper to help him pick out an outfit.

“Piper, your face right now is so adorable.” He squealed. “I could just eat you up you silly little colt!”

Piper’s blush deepened and he bit his lower lip.

“Dude..." He groaned. "Shut up."

White Mane giggled and went back to combing his mane thinking about Piper the goofy egghead.

It took a few hours, but, eventually White Mane had managed to get his mane looking exactly like it did that night. Thankfully, somehow Piper and that big egghead brain of his had remembered what he looked like , which made sense; Piper did help him prep-and-groom himself that night and many others like it.

Big Sigh.

The way Piper always helped him out was so sweet. He was the best roommate in all of Equestria. How no mare could see that, and why he never showed any of them that side of him was beyond him. Silly Egghead Piper. How was he ever going to find a pony to love him, like he had, if he didn’t throw himself out there?

“Hey, Piper?” He called to his roommate.

Piper sat at his desk, working on homework, or an assignment, or something. The second he heard his name called, his attention was focused on White Mane.


“How come you’ve never had a girl over before?”

Piper’s face dropped for some reason and again he made that cute ‘I’m so adorkable’ face; gnawing on his lower lip as hard as he could while his cheeks flushed.


“I’m sorry, it’s just; you’re a really handsome colt. You have such a great personality. You’re so loyal, and charming, and very smart, too.” White Mane said, then gave a giggle. “You deserve a very special somepony. I just hope you find her.”

Piper’s face continued to contort itself, his blush deepened and he looked like he was going to cry. He slammed his head into his book and gave a loud and deep groan, then mumbled something that sounded similar to “I hate my life!”

White Mane giggled, quietly to himself, then stared at the clock.

It was 11:45 now.

Oh, Dukes it was Eleven Forty-Five!

He was going to be late!

“Oh, Dukes!” He leapt to his feet. “Piper, I’ve got to run and see if I can catch Stormy before his Creative Writing class! I just know today will be the day! Let’s finish up this talk when I get back, ok?”

From where his face was buried in the book, White Mane heard Piper grumble and groan.

“Oh and, Piper?” White Mane prosed. “Before I go I have something very important to ask you.”

He raised his head and turned towards him his eyes widened, he smiled up at him and just stared waiting for White Mane to speak again.

“Are you sure my mane looks exactly like it did that day?”

That was when Piper broke down into tears.

White Mane would have asked him what was wrong, but, he really did have to run if he was going to make it in time.


White Mane just wasn’t having a good day. He wasn’t fast enough to make it to Stormy’s class to catch him before he got in, so, naturally, he’d had to slip in and sit in the back and wait for an opportunity to catch him on his way out.

He scanned the backs of the heads of every colt in class, there were thankfully only about forty, forty-five students at the most in his class, and most of them seemed to be Mares, so it wasn’t like it would have been too hard to spot Stormy. Un-thankfully, Stormy didn’t seem to be in that class that day, so he’d had to sit there, and listen to a lecture on Creative Writing for an hour and a half.

He noticed, about half way through the class, that the Creative Writing professor seemed to be taking glances in his direction. At first, he wasn’t sure if it was him he was staring at, or the exit door behind him. But, after about the seventh time their eyes met, he was convinced it was him he was staring at.

That couldn’t be good.

What if he realized White Mane wasn’t actually in that class? What if he was mad that White Mane was stealing free information from him? What if he reported him to The Dean? What if The Dean nullified his scholarship? What if The Dean nullified his scholarship and he had to go back home, with his tail tucked between his legs, and admit to his parents he’d kind of messed up?

Oh, Dukes. He really screwed up this time!

When the class ended, he tried his hardest to sneak out with the crowd. That was, until a gentle hoof tapped him on the shoulder, and he spun around to be face to face with the Creative Writing professor.

Oh, Double Dukes!

“Excuse me?” The professor began. His voice was soft and gentle, and White Mane felt relief wash over him. “I’m sorry to bother you, but, I’ve never seen you in my class before. Are you sure you’re in the right one?”

Make up a lie. Make up a lie. Make up a lie!.

“Oh.. well... um,” He shuffled his hooves and bowed his head.

Goodbye Camden. Hello working at McDolans.

“It’s alright, son.” The professor continued, patting a hoof gently on his shoulder and rubbing it. His touch was warm and relieving and the stress seemed to vanish as he felt the gentle hoof rub his shoulders. “I think I understand; you’re probably here to sit in and experience the majestic wonder of Creative Writing, right?”

Sure, that worked.

The professor chuckled and, graciously invited White Mane to follow him, which he did. He stopped at his desk and pulled a chair out for White Mane to sit on, which he did. The professor followed soon after in his own chair, then planting his head on his hooves, spoke again.

“Creative writing is, I believe, the most liberating and satisfying experience a young colt can have at your age. Writing, in any form, is so wonderful; it lets you tap into your imagination. You can scale mountains, explore seas, ride the wind, and you never even have to leave your room.” He paused, bringing with him an air of comfortable silence throughout the room. He smiled up at the younger colt, and White Mane happily returned it. Then, just as he’d stopped, he started again. “I want you to do me a favor, son; I want you to close your eyes and imagine something that makes you happy.”

White Mane, complied. Something about the older colt’s tone was so inviting and proud, it made him want to listen to him. He shut his eyes tight and visions of a grey coated colt filled his mind’s eye; Stormy and him. Him and Stormy. Them. Them, sharing a picnic lunch under a tall oak tree. Them sharing another night of passion. Them; Stormy and him. Him and Stormy. Again, and, again, and again.

Heaven on Equestria.

“Now, clear your mind.”

White Mane did. No more Stormy. No more passion. Just a sea of white empty nothingness.

“Imagine you’re a Royal Guard in Celestia’s army. You’re a new recruit, and Celestia has just asked you to be her personal body guard. How does that make you feel?”

Proud. Strong. Confident.

He must have been smiling quite happily, because the next thing the older colt did was comment on how happy he looked.

“That, son; that feeling you’re feeling right now, that’s the power of Creative Writing and imagination! It’s an amazing feeling, isn’t it?”

White Mane nodded.

“I’ve never felt so...”

He didn’t have the words to finish his thought.

Creative Writing was amazing. This professor, his professor, was an absolute genius.

He opened his eyes, and stared at the older Colt. He was smiling, wide, and for the first time he noticed that his hooves were touching the tips of his own. He liked the the touch. It was warm, soft and gentle. So was his professor’s smile.

“Would you care to discuss the course over dinner, tonight?” He asked.

What was he doing tonight?

Well, he had his first shift at Monk’s, which he got because he knew Stormy frequented there, but, well, Stormy seemed like a distant memory to him, now. Just yesterdays news. As far as he was concerned, he was doing absolutely nothing that night. Nothing but having dinner with this handsome older colt and sharing in his sage wisdom, that was.

White Mane nodded enthusiastically.

Mocha Roast.

She was born ‘Mocha Roast’ to parents who ran a coffee shop back home in Baltimare. The destiny defining mark on her flank was of a perfectly brewed cup of coffee. And, quite honestly, it was just a matter of time, and probably more than that, dumb luck that she’d end up working at a coffee shop.

Dumb Luck was a stupid bucking asshole!

When she needed to find a job on Campus to help pay for her education, it had to have been ‘dumb luck’ that the only two options she had were either a low paying job pouring cups of coffee at Monk’s Coffee Shop, or shredding bits of silk and lace from her body in front of crowds. Looking at it now; compared Monk’s, the idea of getting naked for gangs of drunk, horny frat colts who went to Camden, drunker and hornier professors who taught at Camden, or colts old enough to be her grandfather, stripping was still probably the lesser of two evils. At least she’d still keep her dignity.

Her shifts were long, the pay was horrible and, the customers; oh Celestia the customers. Because Monk’s was the only of ten coffee shops on Campus that wasn’t a Star-Bucks, and because every single hipster, indie student had to dismantle the corporate infrastructure one locally owned and supported espresso at a time, she got the assend of the worst kind of students Camden had to offer.

Today was no different.

Her shift today started at Nine, A.M. and, thankfully she didn’t have class on Tuesdays, or she might have actually done something fun and productive with her day otherwise. By noon she’d she’d been asked to play three local band’s demo tapes over the sound system so, from the looks of it, it was going to be that kind of shift.

It only took seeing him come in; Jagged Horn, the stupid, idiot, moron, asshole, junkie, loser roommate of that kind of cute coltcuddler who came in from time to time for her to realize that she was right about her predictions.

Today was going to be a real slow drag.

Jagged Horn came in every now and again and when he did, he always ordered something fruity and exotic, maybe because he thought it would impress her? Today had been no different; An Orange Mocha Frappuccino. The kind of item hidden at the bottom of the menu because it took three of five machines to make and had enough sugar to put a pony in a diabetic coma. So, naturally he had to order it.

Normally--and today was no different--after getting his Frappe Latte, or his Orange Mocha Frapachino, or his Pumpkin Spice Creamed Coffee, or whatever, he’d just stand there, drinking it and flirt a bit.

At first, it was kind of flattering; he would call her pretty and sometimes she’d even flirt back with him. It wasn’t like she ever thought about following through, she’d heard enough about him to know he wasn’t much for monogamy. She knew about his substance abuse problems, and how he was really just an idiot behind the good looks and borderline charm. Still, it was usually a good way to make her day go by a little faster.

Then she found out he’d slept with her roommate (who was absolutely the worst as far as she was concerned) and her opinion on him as a kind of cute and quirky little nuisance was forever swayed; now he was nothing more than a dangerously annoying little cockroach that she didn’t even want to waste the time trying to squash.

So, that had been the first four hours of her shift and, as she was counting down the minutes left in the hour of her fifth; the hour after the halfway mark, another regular happened to walk in and, her day brightened.

Au Revoir.

She was embarrassed to admit that she’d learned his name from a classmate of hers, because, she didn’t exactly have the nerve to approach him. He was so....charming, and handsome, and his accent. Oh, Goddess; that accent. She could listen to him read the menu at Monk’s all day if she had too. The way the word ‘Espresso’ rolled off his tongue as he ordered sent jolts of electricity coursing through her veins. She could hardly maintain her composure as she fixed him his espresso. She felt a little silly, doing it, but she even made a small little heart shape with the foam.

When he spotted it, he flashed that ruggedly handsome smile; and, in that silky sweet voice offered up the most wonderful sounding ‘Thank you’ she’d ever heard: Merci Beaucoup. The word floated into her ears on wings of grace and elegance.

She felt his hoof gently stroke against hers when he went to pay. It was probably an accident, but he smiled at her afterwards and she almost felt herself grow faint. It didn’t matter that he was three bits short of the price of the expresso (she could just take it out of her tip jar later) because, he made a point of sitting directly across from her while he studied.

That warm feeling in the pit of her stomach grew whenever she’d look up and catch a glimpse of him stealing a glance at her. When their eyes met she felt weak in her knees. He really was pure sex appeal personified.

Suddenly, the desire for her shift to end melted away. She could do this all day; stand there, with her head perched on her hooves and just stare at him. Unfortunately though, it seemed he couldn’t be her eye candy as long as she’d like; a little under an hour after he settled in, he folded up his textbooks and left. As he did, however, he dropped a paper. She rushed over to it, greatly considering chasing him, but, realizing if she didn’t, and this paper was of any importance it would be a great excuse to seek him out and find him.

Without looking at it, she folded the paper and placed it in her pocket.

Now to deal with the next several hours of her shift.

One P.M.



Bigger yawn.

One Thirty.

Why couldn’t she be asleep right now?

One Forty-Five.

How much caffeine was in a large double double?

Two P.M.

There was too much caffeine in a large double double.


The eye-jittery high of the double double had was starting to wear off.


Why was she still here?

Two-Forty Five.

How many bits were in the tip jar?

Three-Fifty-Five now, and relief washed over her. In a few minutes the trainee--White Mane, the freshman, colt cuddler she’d met in that acting class she’d dropped this semester who begged her for the job like she was doing him a favor, and not a personal injustice--was going to come in and start his first shift. A half an hour of showing him how to use the machines, and he’d be a certified barista himself and she could finally get away from there and start her day.

She planned out her day accordingly; leave work, head home and hopefully Clover would be out, whoring herself to visiting townies in exchange for a ticket to the Vinyl Dash/Octavia concert at the end of the week--She had two tickets herself, but she found a certain bent appeal in keeping that a secret from Clover. And, who knew: maybe she could get lucky and find a cute colt to share the other ticket with? Maybe it would even be Au Revoir?--If good fortune were shining on her, and that was the case, she could spend a few quiet hours reading, maybe write a letter home, or call her mom and get lectured on how Camden was turning her into a ‘Filly Fooler’ because she hadn’t brought a colt home all semester. Then, she could listen to the latest gossip from her roommate, and find out what was happening on campus that night.

Four-O-One on the clock now and White Mane was late.

This did not bode well with her.

Finally, at Four-O-Five. a frantic and panicked looking blur of golden/white rushed through the front doors and stopped in front of her, presenting itself as her trainee; White Mane. He gave an exasperated sigh, plopped his upper torso, woefully, onto the counter and, with his right eye closed and left eye cracked open and staring at her, he spoke.

“I’m so, so, so sorry I’m late,” He managed in between sharp breaths. “But...I kinda need the day off.”

A twitch overtook her left eye, and she could feel a vein spring to life in her forehead.

“Excuse me?”

“Well...um...you see.” White Mane recomposed himself to resemble the form of the innocent and doe-eyed coltcuddler he normally was; ear to ear goofy and love struck smile on his lips, his left hoof nervously prodding against the ground below him, while he stared up at her. “I met this absolute stallion.....and he asked me to dinner, and I think he might be ‘the one’, and....”

“But....this is your first shift?”

“I know, and I’m so, so, so, so, soooooo sorry that I can’t make it.”

He gave her those big, saucer eyes, and his lower lip started to quiver. The twitch came back, stronger than before and to the point where her left eye blinked open/shut.

“You’re helpless....” She groaned, defeated.

“Um.....so, does that mean I can have the day off?”

“Seventy bits.”


“You can have the day off if you give me seventy bits, and, you owe me for the rest of the semester.”

White Mane beamed and leapt to his hooves, he rushed behind the counter and wrapped his forelegs around her in a tight hug, all the while repeating a cheery mantra of “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” and “Oh, you’re the best!”.

She should have felt proud, knowing that she was giving a love struck colt a chance at happiness and, better than that, getting paid to do it; but, the defeated feeling of being trapped in the minimum wage hell for another couple of hours was overwhelming. She didn’t know why she said ‘Yes’ instead of ‘No’, maybe it was a subtle desire to spare the younger colt from a fate worse than death, a job that would eventually crush and tarnish his little innocent soul until he was as bitter and cynical as she was. Or, maybe she just wanted the extra money? Either way, she was stuck now, for the next....six hours, and somewhat regretting her only good deed of the day.

The hours passed slowly, minutes seemed like days, hours felt like decades, and when the last couple left Monk’s and she was ready to call it a day, she was so drained that the only thing left to do was relax. Crawl into bed, ignore whatever horror story her roommate had to share with her about hooking up with some colt who was into getting candle wax getting poured on his nether bits, or who liked to be called a ‘Filly’ in bed, or was going to make her walk funny for the rest of the week, and just mellow. There was a bit of Trottingham Hay leftover from the sack the art student with the weird smile had left at her place, and she had a half bottle of cough syrup, so it was an internal struggle to decide which she was going to use to fall asleep tonight, but that was a mental struggle for later.

Then, she remembered the note from Au Revoir, and, with a smile and a newfound skip in her trot, she locked up the safe, counted the bits in her tip jar (She actually made more in tips than she had working her shift, and White Mane’s. Somehow.) and unfolded the crumpled bit of paper.

Total and complete disgust followed; there was the striking visage of her, laying flat on her stomach and her face contorted in a pained grimace, while above her, Au Revoir, more muscular in the image than in real life, rode her like a cheap whore.

A jolt of pain overtook her, and she crumpled the paper.

For a brief second she considered unwrapping the note from Jagged Horn, taking him up on the offer and somehow getting back at Au Revoir and his sick twisted mind by doing it. But, it didn’t matter. Au Revoir was an asshole. Jagged Horn was an asshole. White Mane was an asshole. Clover was an asshole. Her job was shitty. Camden was a terrible place, and, ponies who worked hard and kept their noses clean never got ahead in life.

Dark thoughts followed her all the way back to her room and when she got to the door, she found a sock tied firmly around the knob. The sound of a Huey Lewis and The Hooves album came between the barnyard noises of her roommate and some nameless colt going at it, and she wondered just where she was going to sleep tonight.


“Hmmmm, you’re so good at this.”

“Well, you make it so enjoyable to do.”

“But....like....Oh Goddess, right there!”

“You’ve got a lovely moan, babe.”

“Hmmm, thanks." Slight pause. "Seriously though, how are you so good at this?”

“I had lots of practice.”


“Yup. I used to do it with my ma all the time back home.”

“Your mom? Isn’t this a little intimate?”

“Nah, it’s Dodge Junction, Stormy. Nothin’s ‘too intimate’ down there....”

Stormy lay, belly down and face ground in a pillow, on his bed with Gentle Strokes straddling his back. The smell of lavender and jasmine from the scented candles filled the room, the soft light they gave flickered and cast shadows against the wall and there was a John Coltrane album humming in the background.

Just another evening for two lovestruck colts, really.


A hoof beat against the door startled both ponies to their senses, and Gentle Strokes stared down at Stormy with a bemused curiosity.

“I thought you hung a sock up, babe?”

Stormy scoffed, frowned, then nodded.

“I did.”

“Well, if it’s Jag, I’m not going to ‘not’ beat him senseless.”

“Wouldn’t bother me....”

And then the door slammed open, and instead of the idiot junkie with a head full of drugs and searching for a half a gram of salt he’d left behind that they’d expected, in marched the most curious sight either of them had seen all semester: A mare. A pretty mare, in fact. A pretty mare with a broken frown on her face and daggers in her eyes. She didn’t take pause, not to stare at the two curious colts watching her or to explain herself or what she was doing. She just trotted past them, angrily huffing under her breath, then plopped on the couch. With her she carried a saddle bag and from it she pulled out a half empty bottle of cough medicine, ear plugs and a blanket.

“Uh...can I help you?”

Stormy was the first to speak, though not breaking his position of laying flat on the bed. She turned to them, rolled her eyes at the sight she saw, then spoke.

“Listen; your idiot roommate,” She started, pointing a hoof accusingly at Gentle Strokes. “, is a disgusting pervert!”


“And, your idiot roommate,” Hoof thrown this time at Stormy, “ is a stupid asshole junkie! My stupid roommate is getting bucked loud enough that I could hear it from down the hall, and I know for a fact that it’s one of your stupid roommates who’s doing it. Or some stupid townie. Or maybe that stupid Colt From Las Pegasus....”

“Yeah, but.....”

“I just need a place to stay, for tonight.” It was still an angry tone of voice, but it had hints of pleading carried with it. She turned back to them, and gave them a sympathetic look, before speaking again. “I know, I know. I shouldn’t have just barged in, and I didn’t mean to interrupt, but, I’ve had a really long day, and I already drank half this bottle of ‘Nite-Quil 4 Foals’.....”


“Thanks.” She offered and stuck an earplug in one ear. “I brought ear-plugs and a blinder so you two can get back to, well....you know.....I just need a place to rest for a few hours”

“....we weren’t bucking....” Stormy grumbled under his breath, but, by then The Barista had already put the second ea plug in and laid down on the bed. A few quiet and tense minutes later, she was asleep and Stormy stared up at Gentle Strokes.

“That was....kinda weird....”

“Mhmmm.” Gentle Strokes agreed with a quiet hum.

“You know, now that she mentioned it,” Stormy started with a hungry gleam in his eyes and a grin on his face, he rolled onto his back, grabbing Gentle Strokes around the waist and pulling the surprised colt ontop of him. “Wanna screw around?”

Gentle Strokes lifted himself slightly from atop Stormy’s body, turned his head to The Barista, then back at Stormy, he grinned goofy, and bent his head to Stormy’s neck, taking a gentle nibble past the fur and into the flesh with the intent of leaving a mark.

“You silver tongued devil.” Gentle Strokes moaned against Stormy’s throat. Stormy gave a quiet groan as one of Strokes’ soft hooves pressed against his flank and his little love bites got progressively more aggressive.