The Coffee Shop (Homeless Pony Thread) WIP

Jun 2nd, 2014
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  1. >Day Coffee Shop in Equestria.
  2. >This is bullshit.
  3. >You shouldn’t have to do this.
  4. >A man deserves to have clean coffee in the morning.
  5. >Not this muddy water with chunks still in it.
  6. >You carefully pour the contents of the sauce pan into your mug.
  7. >Though you tried your best, a few coffee grounds made their way into the cup.
  8. >You take a spoon and drop cold water into the mix.
  9. >The coffee grounds slowly descend to the bottom.
  10. >You need to start using a filter.
  11. >Maybe you can invent one?
  12. >It wouldn’t be hard, just some metal with small holes in it.
  13. >Or you could try that thing that is used to dust cakes with powdered sugar.
  14. >That’s pretty close to what you need.
  15. >Oh well.
  16. >You put your mug aside to allow it to cool for a moment.
  17. >You used to go to a coffee shop.
  18. >Well, it was the only one in town.
  19. >More of a coffee hut really.
  20. >Behind the counter was the always happy pony, Morning Glory.
  21. >Though times were always tough for her she always put on a smile.
  22. >The problem was that business was always poor for her.
  23. >Ponies aren’t very fond of the bitter flavor of coffee.
  24. >She tried in vain to cover it with sugar and cream, but still there were few takers.
  25. >You take a slow sip from your mug.
  26. >Ugh.
  27. >You burned the grounds again.
  28. >Still, you need your coffee to make it through the day, so you drink it anyway.
  29. >Morning wouldn’t have burned it.
  31. >She would have made it smooth, with just a dash of cream.
  32. >It was a shame when you walked up to the burned down shack.
  33. >You expected it to be back up after a week or two, but that never happened.
  34. >Apparently all her money went into that shop.
  35. >The coffee beans from Saddle Arabia aren’t cheap.
  36. >Maybe when it burned down she just gave up.
  37. >She could have taken it as a sign to close permanently.
  38. >That was two months ago.
  39. >Ever since you’ve been forced into making your own drinks.
  40. >You put your cup on top of the mountain of plates in your sink.
  41. >One day you’ll get around to washing them.
  42. >A quick look around reveals clothes scattered around.
  43. >Papers discarded on the floor.
  44. >Wrappers cover your counter space.
  45. >Fuck it.
  46. >You’ll clean later today.
  47. >Once a week whether it needs it or not.
  48. >First you have to buy some groceries.
  49. >You bend over and pick up the weather flier off the floor.
  50. >Thunderstorms are scheduled from noon to tomorrow morning.
  51. >It has sprinkled the last two days, so you are happy that after tonight’s rain it will be over.
  52. >The pegasi usually schedule several days of weather.
  53. >Maybe it helps with the crops?
  54. >You put on a light jacket.
  55. >
  56. >It’s a short walk to the market.
  57. >You fill your canvas bag with necessities, and even a few treats for yourself.
  58. >You’re going to make chili for yourself.
  59. >With the right combination of spices you can make it almost taste like it has meat.
  61. >You sling the canvas bag over your shoulder just as it begins to rain.
  62. >The ground is already soaked from yesterday.
  63. >You decide to walk through the park on your way home.
  64. >Your hood keeps water off of you, so you don’t mind the weather.
  65. >In the distance you see a cardboard box just off of the main path.
  66. >It looks water logged and it is struggling to stay up.
  67. >Ponies are pretty clean.
  68. >Why would someone just leave a box out?
  69. >Maybe it fell off of a cart.
  70. >You walk closer to get a good look at it.
  71. >When you approach you notice that there is a sad and dirty pony sulking inside.
  72. >She notices you and beams, “Hey, Anon. The usual?”
  73. >After a moment her eyes open wide in shock, and slinks back into the box.
  74. >A hoof tries to close what passes for the door.
  75. >The soaked cardboard melts at her touch and slinks on the ground.
  76. >It has writing on it.
  77. >The sign reads, “5 bits hoofjob, 10 bits fulltime, 20 bits anything.”
  78. “How did you know my name?”
  79. >You crouch down to get a good look at the pony but she tries to hide herself.
  80. >Inside is a dirty chestnut mare.
  81. >Mud is caked on her matted coat.
  82. >Her mane covers her face and water drips off of her snout.
  83. >”You misheard me.”
  84. >She tries to look away.
  85. >You’ve seen this pony somewhere before.
  86. ”Do I know you?”
  87. >”No, go away.”
  88. >Her eyes dart toward you and then back away.
  89. >It couldn’t be…
  90. “Morning?”
  91. >Her ears perk up, but she doesn’t look back.
  92. “Morning Glory? Is that you?”
  93. >She looks up at you, trying to choke away tears.
  94. >”Uh… hi, Anon.”
  95. >Your legs are getting tired from crouching, so you put a down a knee to help you balance.
  96. >You don’t care about the mud.
  97. “What are you doing here?”
  98. >She ignores your question.
  99. >”Go away, Anon. I don’t want you to see me like this.”
  100. >She looks thinner than you remember.
  102. “We’re expecting thunderstorms tonight.”
  103. >”I don’t care.”
  104. >You take a deep breath.
  105. “Do you… do you need help?”
  106. >”I don’t need anything, Anon! Go away!” She snaps at you.
  107. >Morning Glory bares her teeth at you like a wild animal.
  108. >Lightning flashes and you can make out a small bag that she is trying to hide.
  109. >That must be all she has left.
  110. >You look again at the sign.
  111. >Times are tough, and she had to resort to selling herself.
  112. >But she never was a good business pony.
  113. >Clearly she is no better off than before.
  114. ”What will you do for 20 bits?”
  115. >She drops her anger and looks down.
  116. >”You can read can’t you?”
  117. >She says in a sad tone.
  118. >You want to ask her how is business, but from her thin frame you can tell it isn’t going well.
  119. “I haven’t had any decent coffee since…”
  120. >No, don’t mention that.
  121. “How much for the usual?”
  122. >She gives you a confused look, before a hoof shows you her box.
  123. >”I don’t sell coffee anymore, Anon.”
  124. >How are you going to say this?
  125. “I tried making some myself, but it isn’t the same. I always burn the beans.”
  126. >She glares at you.
  127. >”Don’t make fun of me, Anon.”
  128. “I’m serious. I have some stuff at home. How much for a cup of coffee?”
  129. >She opens her mouth, but quickly chomps the words away.
  130. >After a moment she offers, “Twenty bits.”
  131. >That’s highway robbery.
  132. >A cup should cost two, maybe three bits max.
  133. >The rain begins to fall down in sheets.
  134. >You decide not to argue with her.
  135. >A hand moves on its own and you count out your bits.
  136. >”I only have eleven.”
  137. >She frowns at your offer.
  138. >Suddenly you remember something.
  139. >You pull out a punch card, and hand it to her.
  140. “I know I only have nine stamps, instead off ten to get a free cup, but maybe you could give me a discount this time?
  141. >Her hoof shakes as she looks at the card.
  142. >It was a promotion from her old coffee shop.
  143. >”I didn’t think I’d see this again,” her voice wavers.
  144. >She looks up at you with teary eyes.
  145. >”Eleven is fine.”
  148. >You watch as she places a few things in her small bag.
  149. >When she steps out you can see her more clearly.
  150. >Her coat looked bad earlier, but in the light she looks terrible.
  151. >Morning looks tired, like she hasn’t been sleeping well.
  152. >Her mane is unkempt and her coat neglected.
  153. >She looks at her soaked box, almost like she is deciding if it is worth saving.
  154. “Forget about it,” you reassure her.
  155. >She just makes a jerky nod and you motion for her to follow you.
  156. “I live this way.”
  157. >She follows behind you to hide a slight limp.
  158. >What happened to her?
  159. >She used to be such a friendly pony.
  160. >Seeing her in this state…
  161. >It’s unthinkable really.
  162. >Doesn’t she have friends to help her?
  163. >You both walk in silence.
  164. >In a few minutes you arrive at your house.
  165. “It’s not much, but it’s home,” you say as you open the front door.
  166. >You remove your muddy shoes as you enter, and she brushes her hooves on the door mat.
  167. “Uh… I forgot to mention… I wasn’t expecting company, so I haven’t cleaned up yet…”
  168. >She looks around at the piles haphazardly discarded on the floor.
  169. >Her stop when she looks at the dishes.
  170. “I was just about to wash those…”
  171. >“That’s alright,” she says finally. “I don’t mind.”
  172. >You push aside the wrappers on your counter and start unloading your groceries.
  173. >Morning’s eyes follow the apples.
  174. >A hoof reaches over to grab one before she retracts it quickly.
  175. ”You can have one…”
  176. >Without further ceremony she snatches one and devours it in three chomps.
  177. >You watch as she rides the way of bliss.
  178. >How long has it been since she has had a decent meal?
  179. “Help yourself.”
  180. >You place two more apples in front of her and she quickly eats both.
  181. >She looks at you with the slightest glimmer of a smile.
  182. >Like she finally has some hope.
  185. “My restroom is over there,” you point at a door. “If you want, you can take a shower while I do the dishes.”
  186. >”Why- why are you doing this? Being so nice to me?”
  187. >You give her a confused look.
  188. >A few months ago she was a cheery pony.
  189. >To be sure, the fact that she is the only pony in town who makes coffee is a weak connection at best.
  190. >You can’t blame her for being skeptical.
  191. “Friends help each other out… That reminds me…” You walk past her toward the linen closet.
  192. >You pull out a fresh towel and some girly soap.
  193. >The bottle is yellow and has a smiling mare.
  194. “I bought this by accident when I got here.”
  195. >She takes it with one hoof.
  196. >“You thought the one with flowers was for stallions?”
  197. “They all looked the same to me.”
  198. >She takes the towel next, clearly unconvinced.
  199. >”I’ll… go clean up…”
  200. >You just give her a nod as she enters the restroom.
  201. >While she showers you do your dishes.
  202. >Luckily you were smart enough to rinse them after you ate, so they were easy to clean.
  203. >Then you tackle the wrappers.
  204. >You walk around with a bag and collect the trash.
  205. >Again, it was only surface deep so it doesn’t take long.
  206. >Finally you grab your clothes and pile them in your room.
  207. >You can wash them later.
  208. >As you are dropping off the last pile, the door to the bathroom opens.
  209. >Steam escapes and you are assaulted by the smell of lilacs.
  210. >Morning stops immediately when she sees you.
  211. >She probably thinks you were trying to hear her clean up.
  212. >Like some kind of sicko.
  213. >Her mane and coat still glisten with residual water.
  216. >She is starting to look like the pony you remember.
  217. “I was just cleaning up…”
  218. >She looks at the pile of clothes, and smiles.
  219. >”That’s good. Thanks for the shower. I feel a lot better now.”
  220. “You’re welcome.”
  221. >”Do you have a brush?” She asks while touching her mane.
  222. “No. I keep my hair short.”
  223. >She makes a little frown.
  224. >”That’s alright.”
  225. >She walks past you to the kitchen.
  226. >”Wow. You did clean up.”
  227. >She did take thirty minutes in the shower.
  228. >”So what do I have to work with?”
  229. >You move next to her to show your tools.
  230. “I’ve been boiling the grounds in this sauce pan, and then I pour it out into a cup.”
  231. >She gives you a look like you are crazy.
  232. >”You boil the coffee? No wonder it comes out burned. You’re not supposed to let it get that hot.”
  233. ”How am I supposed to know? We have machines back home that make it for us.”
  234. >”You could use a Prench Press.”
  235. >You just offer her a shrug.
  236. >You would probably have to order that from a specialty catalog.
  237. >She shakes her head.
  238. >”Alright, let me work my magic.”
  239. >She ushers you out to protect her trade secrets.
  240. >In the meantime you clean off your coffee table and lounge on the couch.
  241. >”You don’t mind if I have a cup too, right?” She yells from the other room.
  242. “No. Go ahead, and just a little cream and sugar.”
  243. >”You usually take yours black.”
  244. “Yeah, but I’m in the mood for something different today.”
  245. >”Alright.”
  246. >You glance over some advertisements.
  247. >They never have anything good on sale.
  248. >”Careful, it’s hot.”
  249. >Morning Glory trots over holding two mugs in one hoof.
  250. >She places yours in front of you on the table, and she sits on the loveseat.
  251. >Davenport recommended that you get pony sized furniture as well as larger specialty ones.
  252. >Your table has two human sized chairs, and three fit for ponies.
  254. >Likewise your couch is human sized, but the loveseat is built for speed.
  255. >You don’t have guests often, but when you do it helps to have things for them to be comfortable.
  256. >You reach over and grab the mug.
  257. “It smells great.”
  258. >”Careful, it’s hot.”
  259. >You blow on it gently to cool it down.
  260. >You watch as Morning Glory takes in the scent.
  261. >She visibly shudders as she inhales.
  262. >”It’s been too long since I’ve had a cup,” she explains.
  263. >She takes a tentative sip, and she slinks into the sofa.
  264. >Morning closes her eyes and you see her relax for the first time today.
  265. >”I needed this so bad.”
  266. >You just chuckle at her.
  267. “Me too. This is a lot better than I can make.”
  268. >She takes another sip.
  269. >”Not just the coffee… the shower, somewhere warm… everything. It feels good to feel like a pony again.”
  270. >You want to enjoy this moment, but your curiosity gets the better of you.
  271. >You put the mug down.
  272. “What happened, Morning?
  273. >She looks up at you and fakes a smile.
  274. >”What do you mean?”
  275. >You shake your head.
  276. “Com’n you can tell me the truth. We’ve known each other for… a year?”
  277. >She looks into her cup like it has the answer.
  278. >You both sit in silence for a while.
  279. >Morning takes a sip of her drink, and you pretend to look at advertisements.
  280. >Just as you’re about to give up, she breaks the silence.
  281. >”I thought I turned off the stove. Heh, but there must have still been an ember in there.”
  282. >Her hooves play with her now empty mug.
  283. >”When I woke up the place was on fire. It was too far gone. I was lucky to get out.”
  284. >She puts the cup aside.
  285. >”I should have double checked.”
  286. “But you can’t be sure it was your fault.”
  287. >She looks at you with sad eyes.
  288. >”Everything I owned was in there. I had to stay with friends for a while. They were nice at first, but I could tell I was overstaying my welcome.”
  289. >Morning takes a deep breath to calm herself.
  291. >”I wanted to open a coffee shop again, but they all thought it was a bad idea. Just like Dad.”
  292. “Why didn’t you go to your parent’s place?”
  293. >”I told them that everything was going great. That I was making something of myself, but you saw the place. Some days you were my only customer. I couldn’t go back.”
  294. >She looks away from you, but her wavering voice tells you all you need to know.
  295. >“I was on the streets for a few weeks before…”
  296. >Her voice cracks.
  297. >”You know…”
  298. “Morning… I-“
  299. >”Are you done with your coffee? I’m done with mine.” She snatches your mug before you can react and excuses herself to the kitchen.
  300. >Part of you wants to follow her.
  301. >To reassure her.
  302. >But, the sobbing from the other room stops you.
  303. >She needs to be alone for a little bit.
  304. >You shouldn’t have pushed her.
  305. >She would have told you eventually, right?
  306. >After a while you hear the faucet turn on, and walk over to investigate.
  307. >Morning is rewashing your dishes, even though they are already clean.
  308. >Well, clean by your standards.
  309. >You watch her clean a few, then she puts them aside to dry.
  310. ”Morning?”
  311. >”These were still dirty,” she says without looking back.
  312. >She is probably trying to keep busy so she can ignore her real problems.
  313. >”There, all finished,” she says more for herself than you.
  314. >Morning turns to face you with a determined look.
  315. >Her eyes are still red from crying.
  316. >”Thank you again, Anon, but I need to get back to work.”
  317. “It’s going to rain all night.”
  318. >A flash of lightning and the following thunder emphases your point.
  319. >”Don’t worry about me. I’ll figure something out.”
  321. >She walks past you and takes her bag of bits.
  322. >You dart in front of her, but she moves around you.
  323. >”Wait. You’ll get sick if you go out there. Why don’t you stay here?”
  324. >”I don’t want any charity, Anon.”
  325. >”Who said anything about charity?”
  326. >She places her bag down.
  327. >”You know I can’t pay you.”
  328. >”Friends don’t charge eachother for things like this.”
  329. >”I don’t have any friends.”
  330. >”What about me?”
  331. >She opens her mouth, but her eyes tell you all you need to know.
  332. >Morning has to stay strong to deal with her issues.
  333. >It doesn’t matter how many people she pushes away.
  334. >”Just stay tonight. If you feel the same way tomorrow, I won’t stop you. You don’t even have to say goodbye.”
  335. >Her resolve wavers at your offer.
  336. ”I have a spare guestroom. Well, it’s more of an office with a futon…”
  337. >”And you don’t want anything in return?”
  338. ”I wouldn’t mind some coffee with breakfast,” you say half-joking.
  339. >She presses her lips together as she considers.
  340. >You turn away as if she had already agreed.
  341. ”Let me show you.”
  342. >You walk slowly, and breathe in relief when you hear her hooves follow.
  343. >You turn on the light to the relatively clean room.
  344. >It doesn’t get much use, as you prefer spending time in the living room.
  345. ”What do you think?”
  346. >She looks around and touches the futon with a single hoof.
  347. >You can't tell what she is thinking.
  348. >Part of you is ready to accept her walking out.
  349. >She turns to you and asks,
  350. >”What do you want for breakfast?”
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