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Good Ol' Appleoosan Hospitality [June 1st, 5151]; [MyLittlePonyTales] [Ask]
Topic Started: Nov 21 2012, 04:02 AM (753 Views)
That_Little_Twerp
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It was a rather warm day in Appleoosa today, and that was saying something. Not that Socket Wrench, or "Ratchet" as he was known around town,was concerned. He had his Winter Atmosphere Emulator™ set to "Slightly Chilly", and he couldn't be any more content as he tinkered away at his latest invention within his workshop, a flying device meant to bridge the gap between groundbound parents and their winged children. All too often, he'd heard tales of earth ponies or unicorns who started a family with their sweetheart, who was a pegasus, and their kid ended up taking after their winged ma or pa, and every time, those stories would tug at his ol' heartstrings.

He had been busy revising the overall the design of his latest prototype, (he had been figuring out a way to reduce the weight of the wings without compromising structural integrity, though the main issue was that the wings were too complicated to operate without some sort of magical enchantment; something he was incapable of making.) when he had heard a sort of rattling sound. Pausing for a moment as he held a screwdriver between his teeth, he looked around for a moment, unable to determine the source of the noise. Shrugging, he continued to tighten the screws that held the frame together, when the rattling grew louder. taking the tool out of his mouth as his goggled head looked in the direction of the workshop's northern wall, where his W.A.E was perched; the rear of the machine blowing hot air outside through a precisely cut and measured hole that the contraption was situated in, where the cool air would cover most, if not all of the shop.

"Now, what in tarnation is that racket?"

His question was soon answered by another bout of violent rattling - from the Atmosphere Emulator no less! His eyes widened in horror behind his darkened goggles, the machine was coughing and sputtering and rattling so hard you would think Pinkie Pie was hosting a party inside of the thing!

With a loud BOOM, the Winter Atmosphere Emulator™ exploded, sending smoke everywhere!

"Daggit nabbit, naggit dabbit!"

Coughing and sputtering as the smoke filled the shop, Ratchet made sure to open all of the windows he could, letting the smoke billow out and allowing his vision to clear.

Still hacking up a storm, the beleaguered repairpony staggered outside to find that some fool bird had the bright idea to build a nest in his Atmosphere Emulator, clogging the exhaust! He found the culprit, a lone buzzard staggering away from the workshop as though it were drunk off its rocker; clearly, the explosion affected more than the shop's interior.

"Well, don't that beat all?"
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Barley had had a long journey. It had been several months since she'd slept in an actual bed. She'd been making due with forest clearings, piles of hay, stacks of leaves—wherever she could find, really, that was relatively soft. She'd been paid well enough for her last job, sure. But it had just been a temporary one, as usual, and she never knew when the next one would come along. Besides, why spend money on a hotel when a grassy field would do just as well? Well, not quite as well, she thought, rubbing a hoof along her back. Resting on the ground with her saddlebags for a pillow and the stars for her blanket was never the most comfortable sleeping position. But there was no telling when she'd find work next, and her funds were currently running low when she reached the city of Appleloosa.

She was passing by a particularly normal building, and would have continued past it, had she not heard an explosion come from within. A few seconds after, smoke began billowing from a window outside of her view, and in another moment, it seemed to be coming from two different spots. Combined with the sound she had heard and the smoke present, there was only one thing on her mind: fire!

Barley slipped off her saddlebags—sure, an emergency wasn't the time to be worried about worldly possessions, but she had very few and couldn't very well afford to lose them. Besides, they would only slow her down, she reasoned, as she bolted for the house. She fiddled with the doorknob—locked of course! Well, somepony was in trouble, so... with a heave, she lifted her hind legs, bucking the doorknob and area around it twice before the door gave way.

“Hello?” she called, before nearly choking on the air inside. Outside, the air had been clear and dry, if a little dusty at times, but inside it was polluted with smoke. Having the door open, along with the various windows Ratchet had already reached, was helping to dissipate the air. Barley ducked down, trying to crawl below the smoke as she called out again. “Anypony there?”

She had no idea of the layout of the building, nor if there was one or multiple ponies. She didn't even know in which room the fire had started, or if anypony had been injured in the explosion. Barley would have kept searching too, if she hadn't felt a set of hooves make contact with her ribs and said her toppling over. She cried out, both in surprise and pain, as she looked in the direction the other pony had landed. He was a yellow Earth pony, and Barley could only hope he was okay. Her side was throbbing too much at the moment for her to get up.
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Ratchet stood up, shaking away the wooziness that had come from the unexpected impact with whoever it was that had tried to play hero. Ever the southern gentlecolt, he remembered that concern for another pony's wellbeing always came first. "Aw shoot, you okay? Sorry, I didn't see you there, smoke's still a bit too..." he paused to turn his head, coughing a bit. "Er, 'scuse me. Smoke's still a bit too thick... Didja come through the front entrance? Smoke's spread further than I thought. That, or I plumb forgot to close the door into the store."

He paused in the middle of his ramblings, and ducked down below the smoke's cover to come face to face with the mare he had accidentally run into.

"Ah'm sorry. Am I talkin' too much? Ah tend to do that, ev'ry now and then. Let's get'chya outta here; it's not the best--" another pause to cough a few more times. "Not th' best place to be holdin' a discussion."

Gingerly, he wrapped his forelegs around the mare, and helped her up.

"Easy now, ya'll must still be feelin' tender after that tumble..."

Step by step, Ratchet led her outside, and let go of her, hoping that she was at least able to stand.
Edited by That_Little_Twerp, Nov 21 2012, 05:51 AM.
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“Oooohhh.” she breathed through clenched teeth, trying to ignore the pain. She managed to roll over into a crouched position, holding onto her left side with her right front hoof. “Fine, fine.” she grimaced, despite trying not to show her discomfort. “Are you okay? What happened? Is there anypony else inside?” Her injury wasn't all that bad, it was just the immediate pain that was giving her trouble.

“Yeah, front entrance.” she began to cough again as the two made their way outside, the action irritating her sore ribs. “I think—“ She gulped in the fresh air, despite the twinge in her side. “—you might not have much of a front door anymore.” Barley glanced around for her saddlebags. “I—I said I was fine.” She pulled away from him, slipping on her saddlebags, though she wasn't going anywhere. She was simply cautious of leaving what little she owned unattended.

She turned back to the other Earth pony, noticing his lack of panic. “I suppose from your calmness that you were alone. But aren't you worried about the fire?” Come to think of it, the smoke that had been pouring from the house had significantly lessened, which was odd if there were things still burning. Well, it wasn't her house, so Barley wasn't overly concerned if the other pony wanted to stand by while their residence burned down.
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Ratchet simply offered the mare a lopsided grin. "Don't got many flammable objects in th' workshop. Anything that can catch on fire's all tucked away, and I got sheetmetal all over th' walls anyhow."

"Might be suicidal durin' the summer to be workin' in thar, but that's what my Winter Atmosphere Emulator™ is for." He let out a bitter chuckle. "Or was for, anyhow, since some dumb buzzard tried makin' a nest in th' exhaust, causing it to overheat and kersplode while I was in th' middle of my latest project."

He sighed, his ears drooping a bit.

"Months of work on that little box, all gone. All that time an' bits... down th' drain." he muttered, hoping she wouldn't hear him.

Seconds passed before he straightened back up, and turned to the mare, tipping a hat that wasn't on his head, and offered her a smile.

"Pardon me fer not introducing myself earlier, by th' by. Name's Socket Wrench, local repair pony and inventor 'round these here parts. But everyone jus' calls me 'Ratchet'."
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“Pleasure to meet you.” The brown coated mare extending a hoof toward this “Ratchet” fellow. She cleared her throat, glancing behind him at the mess she'd made of the door. “So, there's no fire, and neither you nor your house is in any danger?” she shuffled her hooves, knowing what she had to say next, but dreading it. “I'll—I'll pay for that.” Barley said sheepishly, pointing at the door. She'd made a hasty mistake, and it was only right that she face the consequences.

She'd been too long without a shower that wasn't take in cold stream, and without a bed made out of a mattress and a real blanket. But paying for damages was going to deplete the last of her funds, and she'd be lucky to find dinner this evening. “I might be a little short...” Barley scuffed her hooves. “Would you happen to need any work done? I'm pretty handy with farming. Appleloosa is a farming community, right? Although you don't exactly seem to own a farm, do you?” she looked past the pony and the building, to where a field would probably be if Ratchet actually owned one. Nothing.
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"Well... Naw, I cain't say Ah rightly do." He put a hoof to his chin, the gears in his brain beginning to turn.

"While I might not have a farm y'all can work on, I do need an extra hoof around th' shop. Ya any good with tools?" he asked, his voice hopeful. He'd been in need of help for a while, in all honesty; he wasn't getting any younger, and he had a lot of things on his plate, in a manner of speaking. There was the matter of the busted Winter Atmosphere Emulator™, the broken door, and then there was the unfinished flight harness prototype he was working on.

In fact, there was a whole bunch of half-finished projects lying around the shop already! Ratchet mused that perhaps he really should try to remember to focus on one thing at a time.
Edited by That_Little_Twerp, Nov 21 2012, 07:16 AM.
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Barley slid her hoof from her side to rest on the ground. The pain had subsided, and it didn't feel like anything was broken. Breathing was becoming easier, both because of the lack of pain and lack of smoke. But the sun was beginning to beat down on her, and Barley was without any sort of cover. She forced herself to stand upright, rather than hang her head low to rest, but her chest clearly heaved in a slow and somewhat labored way.

“I'm a good learner.” she said tentatively. Her expertise was certainly farming, and what she would be more comfortable with, but she had to eat somehow. “Here.” she reached into one of her saddlebags, pulling out the last of the bits she owned. The door thing wasn't even her fault. She'd just been trying to help a pony in need... but it seemed it would have been better for her to keep looking out for number one.

Barley's stomach growled as she handed over the money. Right, she hadn't had breakfast, she recalled. Well, it look liked it would be some kind of wild grasses for dinner... again. She ignored the rumble for the moment. “Do you want me to start now, or tomorrow, or...?” She wasn't really in the mood to do work now, but the responsible thing to do was to pay for her mistake.
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"Tell you what," said Ratchet, still wearing that same lopsided grin. "You can start work tomorrow, but on one condition."

He jabbed a hoof at the mare's midsection. He certainly wasn't deaf, even he heard that growling gut of hers!

"Y'all better try a bite of my world-famous buttermilk pancakes, y'hear? I cain't very well let somepony on mah payroll go hungry, can I?"

Without waiting for an answer, Ratchet trotted back towards the shop, which was finally smoke-free, and turned back in the mare's direction, tilting his head in a rather quizzical manner.

"Well? C'mon now, don't tell me you'd turn down free flapjacks, wouldja?"
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Barley had half a mind to sock Ratchet when he put his hoof against her. The gesture wasn't threatening, but it was surprising for somepony she didn't know to be so friendly and inside her personal space. “What's that?” she replied, trying not to sound fed up with the conversation. She was exhausted from her journey, and wanted to lay down somewhere to rest—whether it was an overly comfortable place or not.

She blushed and grimaced as Ratchet mentioned her rumbling tummy. She wasn't much for accepting charity, but she was going to be working for him come tomorrow, so she would be able to pay him back. Barley follow him reluctantly, too tired to try to argue. Besides, if she accepted a meal now, she wouldn't have to waste energy searching for something. This was a desert, after all. Her normal forest fare probably was not readily available.

Once inside, Barley glanced around the workshop. Half finished gadgets, tools, and dishes lay all around, it was a wonder she missed tripping over something. Well, she could certainly tell that he was a bachelor. No wonder something had caught fire. At least nopony had been hurt. Oh, what had she gotten herself into?
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"Pardon th' mess. Not used to havin' guests, as you can prob'ly tell. Ah live on th' upper floor of th' shop. S'not Canterlot Castle, but it's got its own charm to it."Said Ratchet, pulling up his goggles, revealing a set of eyes that were the color of maple syrup.

He walked over to what looked to be a string dangling from the ceiling, and took it in his mouth, giving it a sharp tug. A panel on the ceiling of the shop dropped down, and a set of stairs unfolded from the panel, making a dull 'THUD' upon making contact with the floor. Ratchet put one hoof on the steps, then another, and proceeded to climb the wooden stairs. Once he had made it to the top, he glanced behind himself, and called out to the mare.

"Well? C'mon up now, these stairs are as solid as a redwood!"

When the mare would climb up the stairs, she would be greeted by the sight of a rather homey living room. The walls were painted the color of parchment, and the floor was covered in dark brown carpeting, the color of chocolate. There was a worn looking couch with a wagon wheel hung on the wall behind it. There was a simple, rectangular coffee table in front of the couch, with various magazines littered across it. There were several issues of "Inventors Monthly", a few "Carpenting Aficionados" , and a book titled "Patents and You: How to make sure Nopony steals your Ideas", all on the surface of the table. On the wall opposite of the couch, there were two decent sized bookshelves; One was devoted entirely to instruction and repair manuals of several kinds of appliances and equipment, and more than a few books on trains and automobiles. The other bookshelf held nothing but works of adventure and fiction; Daring Do, The Adventures of Buck Aldrin... You name it, chances are he had it. In between the two bookshelves was a jukebox, painstakingly restored to like-new condition, filled with a variety of country, rock and roll, jazz, classical music, and even music that wouldn't be out of place in a club in Manehattan.

There was an archway that led into the kitchen, which had walls that were the same shade as the living room, and the linoleum tiles were a simple black and white checker pattern. There was an electric stovetop oven, and a few feet from that was a counter that had the kitchen sink built into it. On the other end of the counter was a large refrigerator, slightly rotund in appearance. It was clear that though it was vintage, it was in excellent condition. Above the counters were cupboards, four in all; One cupboard held several boxed foods, a jar of peanut butter, and various perishables, and multiple boxes of different mixes. Another cupboard held pots and pans, another held the dishes, and the last one, was, of course, full of cups, mugs, and glasses. In the middle of the kitchen was a round, wooden table with four chairs, a red and white checkered tablecloth draped on top of it. On the far end of the kitchen, there were two doors. One had a sign that read "Bathroom" dangling off of it, while the other was unmarked, though there was a keyhole just under the handle of the second door. That was Ratchet's bedroom, though he wasn't one to come right out and say it.

Ratchet turned to the mare, and smiled.

"Go ahead and take a seat while I whip us up some flapjacks, alright? There's some apple juice in the refrigerator if you want some. Cups're in the cupboard closest to th' sink."
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Barley followed him slowly. As his goggles left his eyes, Barley could see that they were close to the color of her own. She watched him curiously as he tugged on a line that seemed to lead to the ceiling, looking up in time for the stairs to head straight toward her face. She leapt away with a yelp, the last of the steps landing just inches from her front hooves. She was an Earth pony, she needed her hooves to work. She couldn't afford for them to get damaged or hurt. Barley realized that with all the equipment, and knowing that there was now at least one dangerous thing that could fall on her, she'd have to be extra careful. Honestly, how could somepony live in such a mess? This place looked more like a rag-tag storage unit than a living facility.

So lost in thought was she, trying to observe the place now that it wasn't clouded, she failed to notice Ratchet ascending the stairs until he was at the top, calling down for her. “Coming!” she yelled back, taking a deep breath before placing a hoof on the bottom stair. They were called Earth ponies for a reason. They liked to stay on the ground. This was especially true for Barley, who was used to tending fields and actually digging her hooves into the earth. But in that same vein, she wasn't one to show fear, or back down from a challenge.

Upon reaching the top, Barley nearly jumped onto the carpet, and something that was more solid. Glancing around, she could see numerous books and magazines scattered about. Well, the bookshelf appeared to be full, so it was no wonder. It was also no wonder most of the inventions appeared to be half finished. Barley could only speculate, seeing as she wasn't an inventor herself. But if he spent as much time reading as he did building, he could probably have quite a few of his gadgets highly prized by Equestria. Barley was a doer, not a thinker, and her enjoyment frequently came from a good night's rest after a long day's work.

Well, the place was simple enough, probably because he didn't have time to fix it up. At least at some point in his life, he'd saved up enough to actually purchase a residence. It was more than she could say for herself. She supposed the important thing, above all, was that he had offered her a job, and he seemed to know a thing or two about being a gentlecolt.

“Just water is fine, thank you.” Barley looked simple, and she was simple. Being on the road, she had acquired simple needs, those that most ponies took for granted. Food, water, shelter, a bed... they weren't foreign to her, but they weren't exactly normal, everyday necessities either. Slinging her saddlebags over the back of an empty chair, she sat in one next to it, glad to finally be of her hooves. She didn't realize just how rough the sandy ground had been on them, but once she sat down, they started throbbing. She imagined soaking them in a hot bath would feel wonderful. Hopefully the town had a public rest stop, where she could at least have a shower before getting to work tomorrow. Ratchet would probably know... But he seemed to be busy cooking. She'd ask once she had some of her strength back.

“So, do you live by yourself?” Barley was normally a worker, not a talker, but making small-talk was part of being polite, and Barely certainly didn't want to appear rude.
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"Yeah, but y'know th' couch in th' livin' room?" he said as he gathered the ingredients for a decent sized batch of buttermilk pancakes. " Looks real normal and whatnot, right? well, unnerneath the cushions is a bit different. 'sgot a handle that you pull on, and POW!" He puncuated his sentence by cracking an egg into a mixing bowl. "A bed unfolds from inside th' couch, sheets an' all. Ah call it th' Hide-A-Bed Sofa."

As he filled a glass of water for his guest and set it down, he returned to the mixing bowl, and cracked a second egg, mixing all of the ingredients together, then pouring the mixture onto an iron griddle that had been heating up while the two of them were having their little chat, the amount of mixture on there amounting to eight decent-sized pancakes; four for the both of them.

There was a bit of an awkward silence, the only sound being the sizzle of pancakes cooking on a hot griddle, before Ratchet decided to speak up again.

"Now... Ah'm probably not th' most focused sort of pony..." he began, rubbing his chin with a hoof. "But Ah've got enough of an attention span to notice when somepony new arrives in Appleloosa. Ah know Ah haven't seen ya'll 'round these parts before, so Ah gotta ask... You a traveler?"
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Barley grasped the glass in her teeth, slinging it back and chugging it without taking a breath. Water may have been a free commodity for most ponies, but Barley had to drink it whenever she could get or find it. Setting the now empty glass back on the table, she took in a sharp breath, replenishing her lungs with oxygen.

She watched Ratchet with mild fascination. At least his cooking was faster than what she would get at a restaurant, and probably tastier. “So do you sleep on the hide-a-bed?” she had assumed the closed door was a bedroom, but you never knew with bachelors. And, being an inventor, he might find a large empty room to be a better storage space than a living space.

“Don't I look it?” she smirked in reply to his question. She didn't own a mirror, so the only time she looked in one was when she found a pool of water that reflected her person, or when stopping at a rest area, or on the rare occasion she stayed in a hotel, rooms tended to have a bathroom with a large mirror. She always assumed she looked a bit raggedy, but she was normally paying for a place to eat or sleep, so who gave a damn what anypony else thought of her?
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"Only when Ah work through a night or so. I have mah own bedroom, but Ah tend to find mahself out on th' hide-a-bed more than my own bed." said Ratchet, flipping the pancakes over, the sides that had been cooking now a rich, golden brown color.

"S'funny, since Ah originally made that fer houseguests, but, well..." He chuckled a bit, his tone wistful. "Not many ponies would give th; time a day to such an 'Ol Lugnut' like mahself."

"Well... that you do," he said in response to the mare's response. "But Ah wanted to jus' make sure; mah mama always taught me t'never judge a book by its cover, y'know."
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