What’s that friend? Col. Crunch Strawberry Shortcake?
Why thank you friend, that certainly does hit that spot. Hot enough to melt a fluffy to the sidewalk today. Literally…saw that twice when I was out on my route. As I’m sure you know, I’m a Sketti Man. I make sure all every fluffy pony living in our town’s got a warm, lovin’ home. Easy enough, if you make sure there ain’t no other kind of livin’ fluffy ponies in town.
You say your niece had a couple fluffies that got away from her and got picked up by one of us Sketti Men? Well, that’s a shame, sure enough, but the law’s the law. After all that mess in Cleveland, fluffs got declared an invasive species…everywhere. Hard to have a native environment when you were cooked up in a lab somewhere, y’know? So that puts the responsibility of keepin’ ‘em safe and indoors and away from us Sketti Men square on the shoulders of the owners. If they get to us, they don’t got a responsible owner, and that’s the end of it.
Course, we do got a little loudspeaker on the truck we can use if the fluff does got an owner. Give a call out, give the critter a stay of execution for a minute or two. Don’t need someone runnin’ up to the truck a minute after we stow the thing in the freezer ‘cause he let the leash slip out of his hand, see what I mean?
And even past that, we try and make sure folks can keep their fluffs inside when we’re goin’ by, keep ‘em from hearin’ that damned song. Keep a map of the routes up on the site. Hell, there’s an app you can get that’ll show the location of every Sketti Man on the streets in real time, even send you a little alert if one’s gettin’ to be in earshot. Still though, once in awhile, some rainbow-colored little bastard’ll hear that song, and then…
“Mummah wuv babbehs, babbehs wuv mummah,
Babbehs dwink miwkies, gwow big an’ stwong!”
Bonnie, a bright yellow pegasus fluffy, happily sang to her foals as they took their turns suckling from her teats. She was, she strongly suspected, the happiest and luckiest fluffy in the whole wide world. It was a beautiful day, the big bright sky ball (which she always loved, since it was the same color as she was) was shining down on the nice green grassies in her daddy’s beautiful backyard.
And her foals were all simply the bestest foals ever! She had one for each leggie, a number called ‘four.’ There was Blue Baby and Red Wingie Baby, both fillies, and Green Wingie Baby and Green Pointy Baby, both colts. All best babies! She was so lucky!
Her daddy was inside, smoking his silly leaf and helping the little man inside the TV fight monsters. It was a very hard job, and he always liked to put Bonnie and her foals outside so they wouldn’t bother him while he was working so hard. But that was okay, because, as noted before, it was such a beautiful day!
Once all the foals had drunk their fill, it was time for a little nap. They gathered together in a fluffpile on the softest grassies in the shade of the great big tree-friend in the backyard, knowing that soon Daddy would invite them all back inside once all the monsters were gone. And if it was a good day of fighting monsters, Bonnie might even get a treat!
But sometime later, Bonnie was awoken by the sound of her foals’ dissatisfied chirping. She opened her eyes, only to shut them again when the sunlight glared right into them. “Wha…wewe nice shade gu?” She asked as she rose carefully to her feet. She looked around, and found that the tree-friend’s nice shade had somehow climbed all the way up the wall! How did that happen? And…and where was Daddy?
Looking around in distress, Bonnie found that the long skinny part of the shade was still on the grass, so she walked her foals over there and put them inside, away from the sunlight. It was pretty, like her, but it was getting very warm! “Babbehs stay in nice shadies, Mummah gu fin’ Daddeh,” she told them, and they all chirped back at her.
Bonnie waddled up the steps to the porch and peered through the no-see stuff the door was made out of. She could see her Daddy on his chair…he was asleep! The black thing he used to help the little man in the TV was still sitting on his lap and there was a haze of silly leaf smoke in the air. There must have been lots and lots of monsters to fight if Daddy was so tired!
She glanced back at her foals. Green Wingie Baby and Blue Baby were stumbling through the grass playing super-slo mo huggie-tag, and Red Wingie Baby and Green Pointy Baby were pushing a big ball around by butting their heads up against it. They still seemed to be having fun…maybe Daddy could sleep longer? “Yus,” she decided out loud. “Daddy hab nice sweeps fo’ fight wots of munstahs, Mummah and babbehs pway in gwassies more!” A rumble suddenly sounded from her stomach. “Ohhh…bu’ Bonnie nee’ make poopies soon…poopies on gwassies nu gud poopies, nee’ wittabawks.”
But then a sound floated through the air. Bonnie’s ears perked up. It sounded like other fluffies! Singing! What were they saying? The sound got steadily louder until Bonnie could make out the words:
“Sketties am bestest nummies!
Sketti Man hab bestest Sketties fow aww fwuffies!
Pwease come owt fow yummy nummy Sketties!”
The almost tuneless ‘song’ repeated over and over again, accompanied by some tinny chimes, but Bonnie heard them the first time. Her eyes widened, drool filled her mouth and all other thoughts were vanished. “Sketties? Sketti Man hab sketties fo’ Bonnie?” She began turning in a circle, looking for the source of the song. “Wewe fwuffies? Wewe Sketti Man? Mummah wan sketties! Make bestest sketti miwkies fo’ aww gud babbehs!”
As the song grew louder, it was easier to pinpoint its source…it was coming from the front of Daddy’s housie! It sounded like it was right outside the backyard! “Daddeh!” Bonnie cried, rearing up and pounding on the sliding glass door as hard as she could with her soft leathery hooves. “Pwease hab wakies Daddeh! Sketti Man am hewe! Wan gib skettis fo’ Bonnie fo’ be gud fwuffy! Daddeh! DADDEH!”
Inside, all that could be heard was a muffled, high-pitched screech and a series of soft ‘pomf’ sounds. Actually, even that couldn’t be heard over the chime sounding from her owner’s phone, alerting him that a Sketti Man was nearby. Since he was sleeping through that anyway, Bonnie didn’t have a chance.
Outside, horror of horrors, it sounded like the singing fluffies were going away! As fast as she could (which wasn’t very fast at all) Bonnie hurried to the backyard fence and screamed in desperation. “Pwease nice fwuffies nu gu ‘way! Pwease stay an’ hewp Bonnie fin’ Sketti Man! Bonnie nee’ yummy sketties!” Behind her, her foals were chirping hungrily, their own internal programming already telling them that whatever these ‘sketties’ were, it was something they needed.
“Bonnie…Bonnie mebbe…gu fin’ Sketti Man?” The yellow pegasus panted, sitting back on her haunches. Her eyes widened as new thoughts began to emerge in her head. “Gu outside of Daddeh gwassie pwace? Wifowt Daddeh?” With a low, frightened moan she sank down and covered her eyes at the mere thought. “Nuuuu…tu scawy!” Then she listened to the song again. “Bu’….bu’ Bonnie nee’ sketties! Babbehs nee’ sketti miwk! Bu’…Daddeh…”
Now here was a true moral quandary. Daddy didn’t want Bonnie to go far away from him, that was a rule. Especially outside, like at the fluffy park. Bonnie had never, ever even thought about trying to leave Daddy’s housie by herself before, but she had a feeling Daddy really wouldn’t like it.
But then she thought of the little man in the TV that her Daddy helped. He went out on adventures to fight monsters and help his friends and his family, didn’t he? And Daddy helped him do it! She looked back at her chirping foals. They needed her help…Daddy would be proud of her for being a brave fluffy and finding the Sketti Man! “C’mon babbehs!” She cried, waddling up to them and carefully placing them on her back. “Mummah an’ babbaehs gu hab a-ben-toor an’ fin’ Sketti Man!” She marched towards the gate, full of purpose, only to stop in her tracks. How would she get out? The gate was closed!
Then she noticed all the big boxies sitting by the trash can. The gears in her tiny fluffy brain ground along for a moment, and then she smiled. “Mummah push boxies and cwimb up!” She set her foals down again and pushed one of the boxes that looked small enough for her to climb, taking a great deal of her stength despite it being an empty cardboard box. “Mummah…win fiwst wevew! Bonnie…am bestest…a-ben-toor fwuffy!”
She clambered awkwardly up on the box and reared up on her hind legs, pawing at the latch mindlessly with her forehooves until, quite by accident, she pushed the latch up and the gate swung open. “Yay!” she cheered. “Mummah an’ babbehs gu’ fin’ Sketti Man!”
She got down, retrieved her babies and walked to the open gate. But when she looked outside and saw the entire, big wide world she stopped. She felt a little scaredy pee pee come out. “N-nuuuu…” she whimpered. The song was so faint she could barely hear it, but suddenly the idea of leaving the yard without her Daddy was so terrifying that she very nearly turned around and gave up.
But then, a miracle.
“Mu…mum…mummah! Mummah! Wub! Mummah! Wub mummah! Wub mummah!
Bonnie gasped and craned her neck around. It was Green Pointy Baby! “Gween Pointy Babbeh am nao Gween Pointy TAWKIE Babbeh!? Mummah hab su many happies! Mummah hewe babbeh! Mummah wuv yu!”
The tiny green unicorn had lifted his head and was swaying it back and forth, listening to the fading song. “Sket! Sket! Sketties! Sketties…sketties…sketties!” It peeped, trying to follow along with the song that was striking a deep chord in the tiny foal’s mind.
“Gween Pointy Tawkie Babbeh wan’ sketties?” Bonnie got a hilariously serious look of resolve on her face. “Mummah wan’ sketties tu!” Closing her eyes tight, she lowered her head and ran until she was over Daddy’s front yard and on the sidewalk. “We gu fin’ Sketti Man, babbehs!” And with that, she was off, following the sound of the song, leading her to adventure!
Bonnie soon found that she had to walk on the grass and dirt on the curb and in the yards on either side of the sidewalk. Her soft, domestic fluffy hoof pads were just too sensitive to stay on the hot concrete for long.
And with a gurgle in her tummy, another problem reasserted itself. “Bonnie nee’ make gud poopies,” she fretted, dancing from hoof to hoof nervously. No litterbox, no litterbox! Even if she went back home, Daddy was asleep! Where…?
“Ohhh, dat wike bigges’ wittabawks!” Bonnie said, looking a couple houses down at a yard covered not in grass, but fine white gravel. “C’mon babbehs…mummah gon’ make gud poopies, den we keep on a-ben-toor!”
With a grunt of relief, Bonnie clambered up into the yard and squatted down, letting a burst of pent-up feces unload all over the pristine white gravel.
“HEY! YOU FUCKING SHITRAT! GET OUTTA HERE!”
The sudden shock of the unfriendly voice made Bonnie squeal and an extra burst of shit pour out. Looking back over her shoulder, she saw a very mean-looking mister rushing towards them from the house the yard belonged to with a shovel.
“Tu scawy, Bonnie sowwy!” She yelped, running off the yard. Her forehoof tripped as she made the transition from gravel to sidewalk, however, and she felt something fall off her back. With a gasp, she turned around and saw that Green Wingie Baby had tumbled back into the yard. But before she could do anything, the shovel came crashing down onto the tiny green foal with punishing force.
Time froze, and Bonnie found that she couldn’t breathe as the shovel came back up and she saw the shattered, exploded remnants of her baby stick briefly to the metal surface and then fall to the gravel again. One bulging eyeball hung out from the foal’s flattened skull, seeming to stare right at her.
“I SAID GET THE FUCK OUTTA HERE!” The man bellowed, and Bonnie cringed back as he lifted the shovel again. For an instant she was frozen with blank panic, but the frightened chirping of her remaining babies galvanized her into action again, and she ran blindly down the street as fast as her hooves would take her, far faster than she ever thought she could possibly run. (Maybe a light jog in terms of human speed.)
She ran and ran and ran, all thoughts of the Sketti Man banished from her mind. All she could see was her precious Green Wingy Baby, his brutally broken body peeling from the underside of the shovel to hit the ground with a wet slap. Only luck and the sleepy, quiet town she lived in kept her safe as she dashed across street after street without a single thought for safety.
Finally Bonnie reached a point where she could run no more, stumbling to a stop in an alley behind a convenience store beside the dumpster, slumping to the ground with her legs splayed all around her. “BAHHHHBEHHHHH! HUUU HUU HUU HUUUUUUU!” She wailed in pure misery. “MUMMAH SOWWY! NU SAB BAHHHBEHHH! AM WOWSTEST MUMMAH! MUMMAH BONNIE SOWWY GREEN WINGIE BABBEH! HUU HUUHuuuuuu…”
As they did when she was frozen with fear, now the chirps of her remaining offspring brought the yellow pegasus out of despair. “Mummah! Mummah! Wub wub!” Green Pointy Talkie Baby sounded particularly distressed.
“Huu huu huuuuu…Mummah hab odda babbehs…Mummah nee’ be gud Mummah fow odda Babbehs,” she sobbed softly to herself. “Mummah…Mummah nu wan’ Sketti Man mu mowe. Mummah wan gu back tu Daddeh…wan…wan Gween Wingie Babbeh ba-huh huh huuuuuuuUUUU!” For another few moments she descended back into helpless wailing.
When she finally managed to get down to the level of quiet sniveling, she began to rise up to her hooves. “Ahhh! Hoofsies hab bad huwties!” She cried, trying to lift all four hooves from the ground at once only to fall flat on her stomach again. After running over the hot, rough payment for so long her hooves were seriously burned and abraded.
“Mummah! Mik! Mik! Mummah? Wub? Mik!” Green Pointy Talkie Baby sounded hungry…and Blue Baby and Red Wingie Baby were both making their hungry peeps as well.
“Babbehs hab tummy owwies?” Bonnie asked, suddenly feeling crushingly exhausted. “Mummah sorry babbehs…Mummah need fin’ nummies fo’ make miwkies fo’ babbehs.” The thought of the Sketti Man passed through her head, but she shook her head to dispel it. She had no idea which way the Sketti Man went! Who knows how many forevers it would take to find him! She needed to find other nummies, and fast!
Tears in her eyes from the effort of fighting past the pain, she stood up and looked around, lifting her nose to the air to sniff. “Nu smeww pwetty,” she whimpered. “Bu’ mebbe Bonnie smeww nummies, tu…” Limping heavily, she made her way to a black trash bag that was thrown carelessly next to the dumpster. “Mebbe nummies hide in twashie baggie?” She looked the bag over for several long minutes, trying to figure out how to open it. Meanwhile her remaining offspring continued their hungry babbling.
Finally, unable to think of anything else, she grabbed the plastic in her teeth and pulled as hard as she could. “Come owt nummies! Nu hide fwom Mummah an’ babbehs,” she muttered through her clenched jaws as she twisted her head from side to side. Finally, her efforts were rewarded with an expanding hole torn in the side of the bag.
“Ewwww!” she moaned as the bag opened wide, spilling its contents. “Nu smeww pwetty! Nu gud nummies! Bu’…nummies am nummies, and babbehs nee’ miwkies…” Holding her breath, Bonnie began digging through the garbage. In short order her search was rewarded…a bunch of stale hot dog buns, covered in wet coffee grounds and other detritus. “Mummuh nu wike yikky twashy nummies,” Bonnie pouted, half gagging with every bite. Regardless, she forced herself to eat her fill. As she felt her teats began to swell she sat against the side of the dumpster and dropped her foals down in front of her.
As Blue Baby and Red Wingie Baby began to suckle, Bonnie lifted Green Pointy Talkie Baby and hugged him tight. He looked so much like his brother it broke her heart. “Mummuh nu wet bad tings huwt odda babbehs,” she promised fiercely. “Mummah keep odda babbehs safe!”
“Wub Mummah wub!” The green foal babbled happily, returning his mothers hug.
After Red Wingie Baby and Blue Baby had their fill, Green Pointy Talkie Baby took his turn. Bonnie hugged each of her babies in turn, promising to them all that she’d keep them safe.
When the meal was over, Bonnie placed her brood on her back once again and gingerly limped out to the alleyway’s opening. At that point a terrible truth dawned on her. “Bonnie…Bonnie nu knu how tu gu back!” She whimpered. Nothing looked familiar…she wasn’t even sure which way she’d come from! She cringed back from the wide open space beyond the alley and scuttled backwards. When her rump hit the side of the dumpster, she got down even lower and crawled underneath it, feeling much safer beneath the big metal box.
“Babbehs…babbehs and Mummah take nappies,” she whispered in a shaky voice. “Nu be woud…take nappies…mebbe aww jus’ bad sweepie dweams. Mebbe…mebbe we hab wakies by twee fwiend in Daddeh’s gwassy pwace.” Even Bonnie knew she was speaking total nonsense, but she couldn’t think of a single thing else to do but close her eyes and hope the horrible nightmare went away.
The foals didn’t need to be told twice and dropped off immediately, not really aware of much of anything but their mother’s fluff and a pleasantly full stomach. Even the memory of their missing fourth sibling was fading quickly. For Bonnie, slipping off to sleep was a bit harder, as she gave a start at every sound of footsteps and cars that came past. Finally though, she managed to slip into a fitful doze.