“I’m sorry, I’m still trying to wrap my head around this. You say they EAT poop?”
Larry’s fake smile held a disdain for the customer in front of him, what he had passed off as little more than a Hugboxer rube was actually an inquisitive little bastard who had spent the last 10 minutes grilling him rather than making a goddamn sale.
“Yes Mr Williams, they’re called ‘Litter-Pals’, they’ve expressly designed for waste-management.”
Steven Williams grimaced at the idea of a litter-pal, when he’d read the name online he assumed it was a toy designed to be used as a Bathroom Buddy, something to calm a Fluffy down when doing its business, now that he’d been informed the whole thing just irked him the wrong way.
“I’m sorry, but that just sounds… well I don’t want to be rude about your line of work but it’s quite a barbaric thought, isn’t it?”
Larry gritted his teeth through a pained smile, this guy needed to either shit or get off the pot, either way just to end this transaction one way or the other.
“From an outsider perspective maybe, but Litter-pals have been specially bred for processing faecal waste, plus having a second Fluffy in your home will help alleviate loneliness in your pet without the excess charge for more food since it eats what your Fluffy eats, just a little while after.
Steven still felt unsure, but if Litter-pals were specifically designed to eat poop, and his little Fluffy at home had been asking for some companionship recently.
“Well, I suppose it couldn’t hurt to take a look at them.”
Larry felt his smile grow twice as large, he knew he had a sale now, it was just a matter of time.
“Fwiends, yu aww hab ben gath-ad hewe tuday tu hewp sowve da cwime.”
The grey Alicorn stallion with a chequered brown and black mane surveyed his audience, consisting of three of his stuffed-toys and an old Barbie doll.
“Da cwime… of whu nummed da wast sketti.”
The stallion pointed accusingly at an empty bowl, the small stains of red sauce being the only evidence to its former contents.
The Alicorn cleared his throat and wandered around the room, keeping all of his ‘friends’ in plain sight.
“Nyo dis am hawd case, bu fow Sheh-wock, da bestesh Fwuffy Dee-tek-tif awound, it am ee-see. Fow it nu can be yu, Mistah Cata-piwwa…”
Sherlock pointed at a Caterpillar toys, made primarily for infants with a bright smiling face, four wooden wheels and a bell at the end of its tail.
“…Yu hab wingie fing on taiw, yu make tuu mush noisies, ebewywun knyo yu take sketti. An it nu can be yu Miss Bah-bee.”
Sherlock pointed to the Barbie doll, it was battered and bleached by the sun with clumps of hair missing, but it was unmistakeably Barbie.
“Yu hab gwuten intowa… intowawa… intow… yu nu cna num sketti, su it nu yu. And Mistah Pad-ing-tin…”
Sherlock moved his hoof so he was pointing at an old stuff toy of Paddington bear, his fabric was scruffy and he was missing an ear, but he was still a cuddly old bear.
“…Yu nu awwowed sketti cos daddeh nu wike yu gettin sauce in yuw nu-Fwuff, an yu am gud stuffy-fwiend whu wisten tu daddeh. Dat mean dat it can owny be… YU, Mistah Wobot.”
Sherlock turned to face the accused, a blockie robot toy with light-up face and chest. Mr Robot made no reaction to his accusation.
“Yu am onwy wun whu couwd num da sketti, an if we wook, we see yu hab sketti stains on yuw mouthie-pwace.”
Sure enough, Mr Robot have small dabs of tomato sauce on his face, granted that might have been from Sherlock dipping him into the spaghetti bowl earlier but that didn’t fit the narrative so he ignored that fact.
“Mistah Wobot, fow steawing numming, Sheh-wock am tu send yu tu sowwy-box fow da west of da bwite-time. Yu yoose dis time tu fink on wha yu du.”
His judgement final, Sherlock took the Robot Toy and carried him over to the toy-box, he dropped the toy inside and silently congratulated himself for solving yet another mystery.
Then he heard the front door open and any semblance of seriousness vanished in the face of sheer excitement.
“HEY BUDDY, I’M HOME!”
“Daddeh homesie, Sheh-wock am su happies.”
Sherlock rushed over to wait by the safe-room door for Steven to return, right on cue the door open and Steven walked in, carrying something behind his back. Whatever it was, it was making a soft whoooing noise.
“Hey Sherlock, you been investigating anymore mysteries today?”
“Sum daddeh, Mistah Wobot num da wast skettis su Sheh-wock put him in sowwy-box.”
Steven chuckled at his pet’s active imagination. “Well good job on catching him out.”
“Wha daddeh hab dewe?”
Steven glanced over his shoulder, for a brief moment wondering if this was the right thing to do, but he figured he’d come this far, wasn’t any harm in going a little further.
“This, this is a present for you, for being such a clever little guy.”
“Pwesent fow Sheh-wock? Fank yu daddeh, Sheh-wock wub pwesents.”
“I know you do, which is why I got you…”
Steven pulled the gift from behind his back and placed it on the floor in front of Sherlock, to the stallions confusion and dismay it was another Fluffy, a brown mare trapped in a wooden box with only her head sticking out. She was crying, which explained the whooing sounds Sherlock had heard, and seemed not to have stopped crying in quite some time judging by the dried snot on her face, along with some other dried materials around her mouth.
“It’s a Litter-pal.” Steven said with absolutely no conviction, suddenly all his worries and anxieties were screaming at him that this was a horrible idea. “It’s a Fluffy designed to help with poopies, see she, um… she eats the poop so it doesn’t hang about in the litterbox all day making a smell.”
Sherlock turned back to the Litter-pal, sure his litterbox did make a smell every now and again but this poor mare already stunk and he hadn’t even used her yet. He was fairly certain he didn’t even want to either.
“Nyu boxie fwiend, num poopies? Dat nu sound wight.”
“No, no, it’s ok.” Steven felt his pulse racing, trying to justify this purchase, more to himself than to Sherlock. “She’s been designed to… ahem, to eat… poop. She, she, she… likes it?”
Sherlock took another look at the Litter-pal, even being a Fluffy and being dumb, he knew that was a lie, the poor girl looked like she hadn’t liked anything for quite some time.
Before he could question Steven any further though, his owner’s phone went off. Steven quickly took his phone out of his pocket, inadvertently spilling some loose change as he did.
“Shit, let me… I’ll grab it later.”
Ignoring the coins on the floor for the moment, Steven checked the text he’d just received on his phone, and to his annoyance it was his work.
“Damn it, alright Sherlock, buddy I need to rush out for a little bit. I’ve got some important letters my work needs right away. I won’t be long, just keep yourself safe and I’ll be back before dinner time.”
Steven gave Sherlock a short pat on the head before rushing off to grab his papers, he was in such a tizzy that he didn’t even realise he hadn’t shut the safe-room door properly. Sherlock stood in the door-frame and watched his owner speed away, he sighed at the all too common sight, Steven’s work was running him ragged and constantly asking him to do work outside of his working hours, and poor Steven was too nice and too soft-hearted to ever say no.
It was why Sherlock had asked for a friend to begin with, because more and more he was missing his daddy and wanted to have an investigating partner again. Now all he had was… God he didn’t even know what to call her.
Leaving the open door, Sherlock strolled over to the boxed mare, still crying, still having not said a word. Part of him felt pity for her and her predicament, part of him wanted her to stop crying because it was a distraction. Either way he felt there was one course of action to solve this problem.
“Wha yuw namesie?”
The mare kept crying for a few more seconds before the question finally hit her. “Wh… wha Fwuffy say?”
“Say wha yuw namesie? Namesie am Sheh-wock, da bestesh Fwuffy Dee-tek-tif awound. Dis am Sheh-wock’s safe-woom.”
The mare looked around the room, it was bright and cheerful, calming cream walls with a rainbow border all along the bottom where Sherlock and Steven had drawn funny little pictures. It was much nicer than the places she was used to, but she knew what was inevitably going to come.
“Fwuffy nu hab namesie, am jus cawwed Witta-Paw Sebentee-Wun. Owd daddeh caww Fwuffy Shit-Fow-Bwains wunce, bu wen Fwuffy say dat an meanie namesie, daddeh hit Fwuffy su hawd dat Fwuffy wose teethies. Witta-Paws nu git namesies, jus poopies.”
Sherlock eyed the unnamed mare a little more, it was difficult with the box blocking most of her body but from her face he could guess she wasn’t unhealthy, maybe thinner than she should be but not dangerously so. Which meant she was either brand-new to the box, or had been doing it long enough her tummy had gotten use to eating poopies, and he feared he knew which was the right answer.
“Hmm, weww Sheh-wock nu gun caww yu Fwuffy, dat jus dummeh cos we bov am Fwuffies. Gun caww yu… Iween.”
The mare gasped, she had a name? Irene, it felt so pretty on her tongue, so right to hear.
“Iween hab… namesie?”
Sherlock nodded, a little annoyed she was starting to cry again. “Yeh, yu wive hewe nyo, yu need namesie. Nu knyo wai daddehnu gib yu namesie befowe he gu, dummeh wowkies make him fowgit fings.”
Irene sniffed back more tears. “Nyu daddeh nu cawe, he say nice fings in metaw-munstah, bu he knyo Iween am jus Witta-Paw, jus fow nummin poopies.”
Sherlock shook his head. “Dat nu sound wike daddeh, daddeh am gud daddeh. Am bizee, bu stiww wub Sheh-wock. Dewe mush be gud weason wai daddeh git boxie Fwuffy fow Sheh-wock.”
Sherlock began pacing, Irene watched with bated breath, scared that at any point, he was going to change his mind and shove poopies down her throat, putting her through all that pain and embarrassment again. But he never did, and as the minutes passed she began to think that maybe she had gotten lucky.
Irene pissed herself at the sudden shout from Sherlock, an all too common occurrence for her, but the warm stream was the only thing that brought feeling back to her legs and reminded her she still had them.
Sherlock turned to Irene, a wide smile beaming on his face. “Sheh-wock teww daddeh dat Sheh-wock wan nyu fwiend cos Sheh-wock miss daddeh wen he at wowkie.”
“Su daddeh git boxie-Fwuffy dat num poopies? Dat nu wight. Dis am testie, daddeh wan see if Sheh-wock can be gud fwiend an hewp boxie-Fwuffy.”
Irene pondered Sherlock’s statement for a bit, it didn’t sound right, but then again, shoving a Fluffy into cramped box and force-feeding it poop didn’t sound right either.
“Su… wha Sheh-wock gun du?”
“Fiwst, need git Iween out of boxie.”
Irene gasped again. “Yu can du dat?”
“Fwiends gun see.”
Sherlock turned around and scanned the room for a tool to help him, unfortunately most of what he had was large and bulky toys, no good for delicate rescue work. The he spotted it, one of Steven’s coins that he’d dropped on the floor, it wasn’t ideal but it was thing enough to give him something. Sherlock grabbed one with his mouth and brought it over to Irene’s box.
“Wha Sheh-wock hab?”
Sherlock placed the coin on top of the box to answer her. “It am pen-ee, Sheh-wock gun twy tu git it in boxie an puww apawt. Nu knyo if dis wowk, but gun try.”
Fuelled by his new found determination, Sherlock picked the coin up again and began running it along the box, paying close attention to the joins between the panels. In truth it was an near-impossible task, the coin was just marginally too big to fit into the grooves, and even if it could fit, Sherlock’s jaw didn’t have the strength to separated the panels.
What he could do however, through blind luck, senseless fumbling and narrative convenience, was run the coin along a tiny latch that all Litter-Pal boxes came with, a latch designed to unlock the box, allowing for cleaning inside, or replacement if necessary.
And when he brushed passed that latch with the coin, the whole box sprung open, splitting in half down the middle and falling to either side of Irene.
The first thing that hit her was the air. A warmth that washed over her body, allowing Irene to feel every fibre of Fluff running down her back that she hadn’t felt in so long. She could feel her wings beginning to move slightly, she had wings, of course, she was a Pegasus, how could she have forgotten? She looked down at her legs, they were still there, cramped and pained, with sores on the parts of her that had been laying down for so long, but they were there, and once the blood flow revived them, she couldn’t wait to run and play and hug her new friend.
The second thing that hit her was the smell.
“Sowwy Sheh-wock, Iween nu knyo dat boxie smeww su nu-pwetty.”
“Nu it… kaff kaff, it ok. Sheh-wock shouwd’ve… oh Sky-Daddeh pwease… weawise dat Iween stiww make poopies in boxie.”
Sherlock strained against the stench of shit and god knows what else for several moments before he could brave to face her again.
“Ok, aww gud. How am Iween?”
“Feew… nu gud, hab huwties in weggies an tummeh, bu nu bad, huwties in weggies stiww meen Iween can feew weggies.”
“Can iween wawkies?”
Irene shook her head. “Nu wawkies in wong time, fing weggies need feew betta befowe can wawkies gain.”
Sherlock looked at her legs, the blistering sores and lack of blood flow had done a number of them, if she managed to keep all four of them it would be a miracle, but that was a problem for when Steven returned, right now there was the issue of food, and that was something Sherlock could fix.
“Sheh-wock hab nummies in cook-woom, daddeh weave kibbew nummies in boww fow bweakfaas. Sheh-wock nu finish nummies an daddeh tuu bizee to em-tee boww, dewe stiww be sum nummies weft.”
“Iween wub hab kibbew nummies, bu nu can move weggies yet, how can weach nummies.”
Sherlock grinned at her. “Nu wowwies, Sheh-wock hab finkie-pwace pwan.”
Without waiting for any questions of concerns, Sherlock rushed over to Irene’s side and pushed her, the mare panicked for a moment as everything went upside down but then Sherlock pushed her again and it all went right side up. She then realised she was being rolled, not as perfectly as some of the no-leggie Fluffies she’d seen in the store but enough that she could be pushed with minimal effort.
“Hehe, fank yu Sheh-wock, Iween wub bein wowwy Fwuffy.”
Sherlock said nothing as he kept pushing her towards the open door, ignoring the stench of poopies coming off of her Fluff, and the stains she was leaving on the carpet. He wasn’t about to admit it, but rolling her was a lot harder than he had expected.
Still though, it was worth it just to hear her laugh.
Steven arrived home a little later than he expected, what he thought was a simple drop-off turned into a lengthy conversation about how he couldn’t cover a sickness because this was a his day-off and he already had plans. He burst in through the door hoping that neither Sherlock nor the Litter-Pal were too hungry.
God he really needed a name for her, or would naming her make her too personal and ruin her status as a toilet. Status? What was wrong with him, how could he think like that?
“Guys? I’m home, sorry I’m late I got…”
Steven froze when he saw the marks on the carpet, brown streaks running between the Safe-Room and the kitchen, and the stink of shit punched him straight in the face now that he was no longer distracted.
What in the blue Hell had gone on in here?
“Sherlock? Buddy you wanna tell me what this mess is?”
“In hewe daddeh.” Came a voice from the kitchen. “Sheh-wock an Iween habben nummies.”
Irene? Oh shit, did Sherlock bring home a feral mare? Steven rushed through to the kitchen where he found…
Sherlock down by his food-bowl, and sitting next to him was the brown Litter-Mare, somehow out of her box and chewing on the remaining kibble, a wide smile on her face. Sherlock looked up at Steven and smiled.
“Daddeh, fank yu fow gitten Sheh-wock nyu fwiend. Sheh-wock wike dis testie.”
“Uh-huh, daddeh git Witta-Paw fow Sheh-wock, bud at am dummeh fing cos daddeh am gud daddeh an Witta-Paws am meanie fings. Su Sheh-wock dee-doos dat daddeh wan Sheh-wock pwove he am gud Fwuffy by wes-coo-in nyu fwiend fwom Witta-Boxie. Sheh-wock fwee nyu fwiend den bwing hew tu nummie boww cos she hab wowstesh tummeh-huwties, she eben hab nyu namesie nyo.”
Irene swallowed her mouthful of kibble and beamed at Steven. “Iween wub nyu namesie, wub Sheh-wock an nyu daddeh su muchies.”
For a brief second, Steven wondered how he could break it to the pair that this was never a test, that he genuinely bought Irene to be a shit-eating toilet and nothing else. But then he realised, he’d been iffy about that whole transaction since he picked her up, and now the two of them had given him an out to save both his guilty conscience, and Irene from her tragic life.
“Well done you two, you passed the test. Irene can stay with us now as your new friend, she’s part of the family now.”
“YAY!” Sherlock cheered. “Sheh-wock hab nyu fwiend. Gun sowve aww da cases togetha.”
Sherlock rushed over and hugged Irene, and in that moment, Steven knew he made the right choice. It would rough for them going forward, Irene’s legs would cause her trouble, she would eventually have to lose one due to the advanced rate of sores infected the limb. Her trauma from eating poop would bring forth a lot of restless nights for all three of them and it would take a far longer time than any of them were prepared for to rid their home of the smell of poop.
But in that moment, watching the pair hug and laugh, Steven couldn’t help but smile.
Then he saw that hugging turn into loving nuzzling as the two Fluffies started giggling, and Steven realised what it meant to have a male and female Fluffy under the same roof.