Margaret woke at five in the morning as usual. After quickly completing her morning routine, she started the twenty mile drive into town. Her family wasn’t too keen on her living in such an isolated place, but Margaret preferred the solitude. She had spent fifty years of her life being the social butterfly, when she and Leo had retired they wanted to live in peace and quiet. Such a shame Leo had only gotten to experience the thrills of retirement for a decade. He was a good man, and a great husband. Shaking these thoughts from her head, she pulled up at the 24/7 general store.
The owner of the general store, Harold, was sitting at the counter with a coffee and newspaper. Grabbing a cart from the corral, she walked in with a slight wave towards the grizzled old shopkeeper, which he returned. Strolling down the aisles, she stopped at the cereal sector, loading her cart with dozens of the ten pound bags of rolled oats. According to Jim, one way to stop the rancid liquid shit of the fluffies was a high fiber diet. Having solid shits would also make using the feces as fertilizer much easier.
Stopping by the fresh produce section, Margaret picked out a load of apples, carrots, and dried figs, then maneuvered her cart over to the gardening section. Picking up a couple of the brightly colored child sized trowels and mini rakes, she went to check the seed selection. She considered picking up some flowers, but instead chose a selection of radishes, peas, and carrots. Thinking back to the night before, a thought occurred to her. She quickly added tomatoes, basil, and some more assorted herbs to the cart.
Moving on to the ammo and bullet aisle, she looked around in hopes that she could find some blank rounds. She wasn’t worried about hurting the neighbors, there wasn’t really a chance she would hit them from four miles away, but she really didn’t like the idea of peppering the surrounding area with lead. Picking up a case of blanks, Margaret found her eyes drawn to a new setup next to the rifle.
Covered in swathes of bright colors and images of obnoxious smiling ponies, it was full of multicolored bottles of varying shapes and sizes. “Harold what the hell is this?” Margaret called to the shopkeeper, currently reading the newspaper and sipping his coffee. “Fluffy paraphernalia,” he called back to her. “Least a dozen people have requested it since their kids brought them one in hopes to keep them company. Apparently the little fuckers are endearing.”
Margaret directed her gaze back to the display. Most of it was stuff to deter accidents, cause miscarriages, even chemical castration. Jim had told her some horror stories about what a horny stallion could do, especially the smarties, but she didn’t expect it to be so bad that it warranted mass production of a chemical for it. Turning her gaze from the bottle, she looked at the rest of the vials on offer. Some expecting mother supplements, and a dozen of the single serving “Fluffy Skettis” rounded off her cart as she walked over to checkout.
Harold glanced at her cart with mild surprise. “How many of the shit rats did the grandkids buy you?” “None” Margaret replied with a short laugh. “Left the gate open when I left to visit them, came back to a ruined back garden, shit all over the place, and a herd of fluffy ponies smack in the middle of it. Now, I’m going to make the little shits fix it themselves.” Harold smirked. “Good luck with that. That’ll be $139.38 cents. Cash, card, or …” Margaret had already pulled out the check. Filling out the amount and signing it, she handed it over to the grocer.
Pushing the cart out into the parking lot, she loaded the trunk of her sedan and gave the cart a push back towards the corral. Pulling out of the lot, Margaret drove back to the ranch house, sun just beginning to rise in the distance as she pulled back into the drive way.
Walking out to the garden, two bowls of mixed apples and oats in hand, she gazed at the fluffpile that had formed in the center of the garden, right where her vegetable patch used to be. Margaret smiled slightly, when the ponies weren’t babbling incoherently while spraying shit everywhere, they were pretty adorable. Quickly wiping the smile from her face, she set the bowls down on the deck table.
Walking down to the fluffpile, Margaret searched for Grapenut. Finding him on the outskirts of the pile, she gently woke him by scratching behind his ears. “Grapenut sweetie, please wake up. Momma needs your help.” Grapenut looked up, slowly blinking the sleep from his eyes. “Mummah?”
Still half asleep, he raised his arms in the pose Jim had told her meant he wanted to be held. Margaret sighed softly, but did pick him up. Holding him like a baby, she softly tickled his stomach. He cooed and giggled, and for a moment, Margaret could almost forgive him for destroying the garden. That thought quickly faded and she put him down. “Grapenut sweetie, I want you to wake up the rest of the fluffies, then have them line up in front of the deck.” Grapenut yawned, nodded, and then went around softly rousing the fluffies, helping to roll the pregnant mares over to formation. As he did, Margaret went over to check on the smarty in the compost bin.
Opening the lid, she found the shivering stallion sitting in a pile of urine and feces. The sudden influx of light seemed to breathe new life into the smarty. “Dummeh hoomin, wet Bumbwr ou’ o’ sowwy box ow Bumbwr gif WOSTEST huwties and foweba sweepies!” Margaret checked her watch. “No, you’ve got about another twelve hours in here. Perhaps that will give you some more time to reflect on your actions.” She noticed the fear on the stallions face as she began to close the lid. “NO WIKE DAWKIES!” Luckily, the thick plastic of the compost bin was able to muffle a great deal of the ensuing chips, peeps, and huu-huuing.
Walking back to the deck she sat down on the step and faced the herd. “Before you eat this morning I have some rules to discuss, as well as some things to announce. If you have any questions, raise a hoof and wait until I call on you.” Margaret looked out at the fluffies, who seemed to understand, or were at least pretending they did as to not upset her.
“Starting today, you will begin work.” Immediately, Scarlet lifted a hoof, or attempted to at least, as she could only raise it about four inches. “Yes dear? What is your question?” “Wut am wowk?” Jim had told her that fluffies had’nt had their programming finished before being released, but she had underestimated the sheer lack of knowledge programmed by Hasbio. Thinking of a way to communicate it to the fluffies, Margaret settled on an answer she thought would satisfy the group. “Work is the not-fun stuff your smarty says you have to do to live, like collecting foo- er, nummies.”
Jackson raised a hoof up as high as he could “Wike dig tuwwnels unda twee for housies?” Margaret smiled. “Yes dear, just like that. However, it will be what I tell you to do. Okay?” She was met by a chorus of “Otay, mummah!” as the herd immediately tried to work, some trying to dig holes where they stood, others running around collecting grass and weeds, giggling as they tucked them into tufts of fluff, while pregnant mares began singing to their unborn foals loudly and horribly off-key. Margaret sighed again, something she felt was becoming an even more common occurrence in her life since encountering these creatures. “LINE UP!” The fluffies, startled, reassumed formation.
“I will tell you what to do, understand?” The downcast fluffies muttered affirmatives. “Good,” Margaret smiled at the herd. “Work will begin at noon. I will tell you which of you will be doing what at that time.” Grapenut raised a hoof. “Wut am Nuun?” Margaret pointed to the large wall clock under the cover of the deck. “When both of the pointers on that clock point straight up, that is noon. Until then you may play or sleep, whichever you choose.”
Margaret grabbed the bowl of food enhanced with nutrients for expecting mothers from behind her. “Alright, soon mothers will eat first. Grapenut, Jackson, please roll Clementine and Punky over here, Scarlet can you still walk?” Punky glared at Margaret as she was rolled past, still not having forgiven Margaret over her treatment of her mate the day prior. Scarlet waddled over to the bowl and began to eat with the other two expecting mothers.
Margaret knew she would soon have to deal with foals, Punky and Clementine looked ready to pop at any moment. She worried what might happen to the small foals if she wasn’t around to help deliver them, her experiences with fluffies not exactly filling her with confidence of their midwifery capabilities. Setting the rest of the food down and calling the rest of the fluffies over to eat, she walked back inside the house, grabbing a screwdriver from the tool drawer as she passed, and then walked to the antique dinner bell she had in the dining room doorframe.
Removing it from the wall, she carried it outside, mounting it on the side of the deck. “Grapenut, come here sweetie.” Obediently, the green stallion trotted up to her. “You see this bell? When Punky or Clementine are having their babies, pull this cord to ring the bell.”
She demonstrated how a few times, a couple of the fluffies giggling at the chime. After Grapenut demonstrated he could do it, Margaret stroked his head as he cooed gently. “This is NOT a toy, only use it when they are having their babies, okay?” “Otay mummah, Gwapenut wiww be cawefu’.” Margaret smiled, and walked inside to call Jim again. She had a couple more questions that needed answers.