A tribute to Carpdime’s Avocado
Chapter Eight – Avocado’s First Test
“Are you sure you want to go ahead with it?”
As she said this, Amber brought the warm latte to her mouth. As the warm beverage covered her lips, teeth, gums and tongue, she heard the rather certain response from her friend.
“I’m quite sure. I know Buttercup is athletic and all that, but I’m prefer him as a house pet, not as a race horse or something.”
“That’s a pity,” laments the Auburn, “Buttercup has proven to be unusually athletic, considering his breed. He’s been winning most of the races with the other foals of his age. I could easily see him winning the next Derby if he’s an adult. And if he does win, I could easily see people want him to produce progeny.”
“I’m aware. But it sounds like a lot of unnecessary competition and training to prove that he’s a racer in the first place. And when you describe breeding like that, it really puts me off the idea. I mean, isn’t that exactly why we have the sexual education classes in the first place?”
“I know,” said the Auburn, her voiced tinged with slight disappointment, “I just think it might be wasted potential if he was neutered. I’m already a bit sad that Avocado is also getting neutered.”
“I heard about that. A bit surprised to hear that Avocado wasn’t neutered in the first place, with him being a foalcan and all that.”
“Indeed, its why Doc is a bit suspicious about it. He’s been checking his records on the previous foalcan fluffies he has treated.”
“Still, why are you so interested in Avocado?”
“He’s kind of special. I mean, have you noticed how intelligent Avocado is, at least for a fluffy?”
“I just know him to be a good boy.”
“Well, I’ve seen Avocado remember his lessons better than the other foals and, when it comes to teaching games, Avocado is the one who remembers the rules best. Call it a hunch, Scarlet, but something tells me that Avocado is really unique.”
“Well, if what you say is right, he’d ace that test you’re going to give him in about two weeks’ time. Then what?”
“Well, if he does ace it, he’d be eligible for various professional courses. “
“Well, that’s’ “if” he’s submitted for a professional course. Avocado belongs to my cousin, and not my aunt.”
“I’m aware,” the Auburn notes passively. With curiosity in mind, she simply asks, “What is Mark like?”
“Mark? My cousin? Definitely messy, definitely unorganized. Occasionally lazy. But he’s a good guy, and he’s got a soft side. He’s currently studying at a university in New York, forgot the name of it though.”
“Oh, that’s quite far.”
“Indeed, but according to him, the daycare at that university was undergoing a renovation or something. That, and he was getting too busy that he didn’t have time for Avocado. Its why he sent him down here.”
“Hewwo ewewy fwuffy!”
It has been three weeks since that awful incident with Bullsquid, and Avocado had gotten a bit more popular amongst the foals of East Side Day Care. After all, they all feared Bullsquid, but Avocado was the one foal who managed to oppose him. In addition to this, Avo’s natural charisma and endearing nature made him even more approachable than before. This worked for Avocado, as he now had the chance to try out different games he wanted to play with his classmates.
“Wets pway hoofbaww!”
“Bu’ Avo,” says Chilli, crossing her two forelimbs together, “dewe am onwy wun baww.”
The other foals had been used to playing hoofball as a simple game between two foals, where each foal would pass the ball to the other. However, Avo and Candy had managed to get two large Widdwe Mikes toy nets to place at each end of a large play mat.
“Awwight babbehs,” says mummah Candy, wearing a topless cap on her head. “Dis am a speshul kine’ of hoofbaww. Tuu hewds wiww pway to kick da baww into da net.”
Mummah Candy was a bit excited. Usually, she would have to teach the team version of hoofball to fluffies that reached adulthood. However, with Avo around, she was able to teach this game at a younger age, as the foals were attentive to both Avo and her.
While all this was going on, Avocado noticed that Buttercup was in the corner, playing with the building blocks all by himself.
“Buttew! Buttewcu’!” cried Avo, as he rushed up to the yellow foal. Avocado noticed that there was only nine foals, which made the teams uneven but, and with Buttercup, they’d have an even number at ten.
“Oh, Avo! H-hi,” says Buttercup, with a look of uncertainty on his face.
“Buttew! Fwen wan pway wif’ Hoofbaww?”
“Babbeh dunno, Avo-“
“It’ww be funsies! Come!” says Avo, as he uses his head to coax Buttercup into joining the team. Buttercup slowly crossed into the mat with the other nine foals. Avocado could see the worried looks on some of the faces, as Buttercup joined their game. Some, like Chilli, showed anger and even disgust at the presence of Buttercup around.
Looking at their faces, Buttercup was starting to feel uncomfortable.
“A-A- Avo, babbeh feewing tiwed. Nu wan pway this gaem.”
“Oh otay Buttew. Gu hab gud sweepies.”
As Buttercup walked away, he could feel the eyes of the other foals judging him heavily. Making his way to the room where the other foals were having their light nap, he tried his best to lie down and close his eyes. However, no matter how hard he tried, he could not rest.
That whisper came from a foal who just got up, and noticed Buttercup was lying next to her. She promptly rolled away to avoid our yellow foal. In dismay, Buttercup went to the corner to lie down.
“Avo am wite, dis am funsies!”
Chilli said this, as she kicked the ball into the others side net, landing a win for her team.
“Yeah,” said Avo passively. For a brief moment, he looked towards the nap area.
“A test? Why would fluffies need a test?”
Amber was on the fifth owner she had called that night. Starting off with a pleasant call with Harold, she had two unanswered calls, followed by a fairly productive call with Bonnie’s owner, though he sounded a little dismissive.
“It’s an aptitude test to determine their eligibility for various courses. As you know, people have started employing fluffies to do simpler tasks within the workforce. These work fluffies help generate additional income for their owners. We also conduct these aptitude tests on adults, as some fluffies may pick up additional skills as they grow older.”
“Well, the only thing I see Chilli do is play with her building blocks and ball and ask for spaghetti. I really don’t see the point of this test.”
“Like I said, this is merely to gauge aptitude. Its like a SATS test, but for fluffies.”
“A SATS test?!! What, are they going to some kind of college?”
“Not exactly. Its not a compulsory test and, at the end of the school year, Chilli will still undergo the ‘graduation’ ceremony and be considered an adult.”
“I sometimes wonder why you’re calling me so often,” says Mr Blake, his voiced tinged with a slight dissatisfaction, “I can understand the whole sexual education bit, but this is really pointless. Fluffies aren’t worth that much effort. I may like Chilli, especially since she’s my daughter’s pet, but she’s really not that special.”
“I know, Mr Blake. I’m just informing you about this test because it’s required of me to do so.”
“… an hummehs hab ten fingas!”
A book was laid before our little green foal on the table, illustrating various lessons for elementary school children in the first grade. Harold had used a book designed for use with foals previously, but he had slowly moved up to these books when he noticed their similarity, as well as their emphasis on pictures as opposed to language.
“Very good, Avo!” Granpa extols, as he ruffles the growing mane on Avocado’s head. Avocado always enjoyed that, and he was happy when he did get the answers correct.
However, and while Avocado was happy, a thought glanced by his mind. Grandad had been giving over his schoolwork more often than not lately, and he had been reading these speshul books more often with granddad. Avocado remembered that the test was coming soon, which necessitated this question.
“Gwampa, wha’ am tests fow?”
Harold was a little caught off-guard by that question. He could anticipate Avo asking it, but Avo never asked it on the day our little green foal told him about the upcoming test. Nonetheless, he had an answer for him
“Well Avo, tests are something we all have to take to see if we remember things. We also take them to see how we think in certain situations.”
“Well, lets take your daddeh. He’s currently studying what you call biznis. Lets say that one day he wants to sell lemonade.”
“Fwuffy wike wemonaid!”
“I know you do. And a lot of people do too. But lets say daddeh wants to sell more lemonade to more people. And in order to do that, he needs to make more stands. And find more people to sell lemonade at those stands.”
“Bu’ wiww fwens wan’ sum monies tuu?”
“Precisely Avo. That’s what business is like – figuring out how to make money while accounting for how much you’d lose.”
“Fwuffy wememba daddeh tawk abow’ biznis!” beams Avo. As he says this, he feels a little sad, “but aww Avo fwens awways fowget stuff.”
Avocado turned to his grandfather, and asked a question that surprised Harold, due to the gravitas it poised.
“Gwampa, why fwens awways fowget? Or hab head huwties?”
Harold used to be indifferent about fluffies. He knew his neighbours owned a few at some point, and he had seen children play with them. He had been familiar with their difficult history, and had acknowledged their latent development in recent years. But, living with Avocado in the past year had made him reconsider the fluffy pony animal. And yet, while he developed a great love for out little green foal, he had to acknowledge the unique exception that Avocado posed, and one that unfortunately made him stand out from many others.
“Dear little Avo,” says Harold, as he gentle massages him, “Not every fluffy is interested in reading books, or understanding what their human does. Some fluffies are perfectly happy playing with their building blocks and their toys, and that’s fine. Some fluffies would prefer to have lots of babies, and that’s fine, if they can manage the sponsitiwies. And you enjoy learning stuff and remembering stuff. Not many of your friends will be able to do that, but that’s okay.
Friends can share your likes and enjoy playing the same games, but each friend you have will always be different from you in some way. Part and parcel of being a friend is accepting them for how they are different from you.”
Avo remembered that lesson from the friendship lesson the foals had at the start of the year. Even though Amber had to repeat a lot of lessons, as fluffies are naturally forgetful, he didn’t mind it. And, as much as Blueberry was always afraid of things, and Buttercup was more interested in exercising than learning things, they were both still his bestest friends.
“Ewewy fwuff am speshul in diffwen weis.”
“Precisely, my little Einstein.”
“Who am Ai-stai?”
“He was a very smart human, Avocado. But I can tell you about him another day. Now, we got to focus on this upcoming test.”
“Now, lets go over the lesson again.”
It was a few days before the test itself. Other than Avo, Blueberry and Bonnie, most of the other fluffies weren’t taking the test that seriously, as they were more looking forward to the middle of the Year. Around about this period, some of the foals would reach maturity, and thus the daycare had marked the end of the May as the period when the foals were going to “graduate” from being foals and be recognized as “gwown ups”.
But for Avocado, something about the test felt like it had a finality to it. Like as though it was marking the end of something. Talking to his daddeh a bunch of times, daddeh had mentioned to him that he was going to follow him soon. As Avo dwelled on that prospect, he felt that one of the things he should do was try and resolve some of the things at the daycare. And today was his chance to do one of them.
“Fwens. Abo knu dat Buttewcu’ was wif Buwwskwid. Bu’ Buttewcu’ nu am bad fwuffy.”
Avocado was standing before the various foals at the daycare. Buttercup was by his side, along with Blueberry.
Avocado continued with his address, “Buttewcu’ am Abo’s fwen. He a fwen ob Bwuu tuu.
Mummah Amba an’ Candy awways say fwuffies mu’ fowgive. Afta aww, fwuffy awways says sowwy, wite?”
The foals realized Avocado had a point. To err is fwuffy, but to forgive was divine. And just as fluffies have to ask forgiveness from humans when they do bad things, a lesson they also had to learn was to forgive other fluffies when they apologize for bad things.
“S-sowwy ewewy fwuffy. Buttewcu’ onwy wike Buwwskwid cuz Buwwskwid wuv wacies, an’ babbeh nu hab otha fwuffs to wace wif.”
As Buttercup said this, one of the fluffies in the back cried out, “Fwuffy wike wacies tuu!” Wondering who said it, the foals all turned their heads and saw the crimson coloured foal with a green mane approaching Buttercup.
“Buttewcup may be fass, but Chiwwi wiww twy.”
And then, Avocado had an idea.
“How abow a wace!”
A quarter of an hour had passed, and four foals were lying on the mat, exhausted from excessive waddling. Only Chilli and Buttercup were still standing, though breathing heavily. It was a race around the mat, to see who would be the fastest. And, of course, Buttercup won. But Chilli, who had always competed in the races with Buttercup, still eyed him.
“Buttew am fasta than Chiwwi, bu’ babbeh wiww nu gib up! Sumdae, Chiwwi wiww win!”
Buttercup, though catching his, smiled, and proudly said, “Shuwe ‘ou wiww.”
And Avocado smiles, as he sees the two foals brought their hoofs together, simulating a handshake.
“Avo, just remember that, end of the day, its alright whether you pass or fail. No one is going to call you a dummeh or a smartie if you pass or fail.”
The day of the test finally came. With his grandfather’s advice fresh from the morning, Avocado looked around. Each foal was seated on the map, with a small table placed in front of them. Mummah Candy and Amber were in front of them to make sure each foal did not leave their places – if they did, they were going to the sorry box.
It was a simple paper test, the size of a digest. The test consisted of 20 questions with multiple choice answers, all housed with a booklet of four pages. For every question, all the foals had to do was dab their hood on a plate of paint, and hoofstamp the box which had the correct answer. The paints varied per foal, but all foals had two paints – a main paint, and a special white paint called “wawa papew”. Ideally, and should a fluffy make a mistake, the foal could cover the mistake up with the “wawa papew”.
Avocado read the test. The questions started out simple enough
Woof (b) Meow (c) Moo (d) Shamone
The answer of course was (a). Avocado dipped his hoof in the paint, and pressed it neatly on the answer.
The first lot of questions were easy. But there were some later ones that were a bit more difficult. And the last question was the most interesting.
The question showed a large white triangle, but with many other triangles within it. The grey triangles came together to create a kind of grey shape. But the question was clear.
“How many white triangles are there?”
Remembering the finger counting lesson from his grandfather, Avo silently counted the white triangles, and firmly pressed his hoof in the square that had the number six.
And with that, Avocado was finished. He decided to look around.
Buttercup was fast asleep. Blueberry was covering his head, having a bad case of head huwties. He could see Chilli was busy making hoofprints all over the paper, most likely not taking the test seriously. Marigold was licking herself, keeping clean, and the sheet was just as clean, with no paint on it. Out of everyone, the only other foal that was doing the test in a way that he did was Bonnie. She was a bit slower, but she was definitely trying her best.
The Auburn proceeded to collect the test results. After a while, she then made the announcement.
“Alright fluffies, I know that test was very hard, so, lets all have some milk and cookies!”
And with that, the entire class erupted in joy.
“Oh hi Bonnie! How was da test?”
“It am otay. Hab a bit ob head huwties, bu’ Bonnie twy am bestest.”
“Wets go get some cookies!”
As Avocado turned around, Bonnie had a mischievous though. She started butting her head into Avo’s rear, surprising our little green foal.
Bonnie giggles, “Avo, Bonnie am tiwed. Hewp cawwy babbeh!”
And without a second thought, Avocado lowered himself, and let Bonnie climb on top of him. She wasn’t that heavy, and it was a short distance to the cookies. But for Bonnie, she was feeling blissful, as she could feel Avocado warm fluff and strong body below her.
Not too far from them, Buttercup was pulling a toy cart with Chilli on it. He had beaten her at another race earlier today but he felt like doing something nice for his new racing partner.
“Babbeh am kween! Kween Chiwwi!” yells outs the red foal, trying her best to effect a regal voice.
“Otay babbehs! Nu need to gu so fass, ewewy bbbah wiww gwt miwk an’ cookies!” said Candy, as she escorted the foals from behind. Blueberry was by her side, and was still suffering from a headache.
“Test am so hawd, huu huu. Babbeh hab head huwties.”
“Nu wowwies, babbeh. Test am ovah. Time ta hab cookies!”
“Yay cookies!” Blueberry replies with gleeful anticipation.
The class were all following Amber, who was carrying a tray of Danish cookies and milk. Placing the tray on a low table, she distributed the cookies to each foal, making sure each got one. Each foal also got a milk drink. Some, like Buttercup, ate their cookies first, then drank their milk. Some, like Chilli, took a little sip of the of the milk then bit a cookie. Avo, being our unusual green foal, squeezed a little of the milk on his cookie, then chewed on it. It was also something Bonnie tried doing, but she had difficulty getting the milk on her cookie. Avo proceeded to help her with it. As Avo went back to eating his cookie, Bonnie slowly chewed on hers, enjoying another nice thing Avo had done for her.
Amber looked at her class. It was a sight she had seen for a few years now, but she had always enjoyed it. As the foals munched away at their cookies with their cute little mouths and sipped their milk drink, Amber sighed in adoration.
It was night, and Amber had finished marking the papers. Chilli and Buttercup’s paper was just hoofprints all over the place. Blueberry had answered the first set of questions, but gave up halfway. And Marigold’s paper was pretty much blank.
Only two foals passed the test. Bonnie barely passed, while a certain foal got almost every answer right except for two of them. And compared to the rest of the class, both Avocado and Bonnie’s papers were very neat, as they both carefully placed their hoofprints within the boxes, as intended.
As Amber held up Avocado’s paper, she looked at it in both amusement and awe. She wanted to frame it up, and hang it in her house, as a work of distinguished art. And now, she felt more determined to see that Avo got the best possible education.