Grapefoot

An Apple In The Barrel Part 2

Jul 13th, 2014
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  1. “May I see your food handlers registration?”
  2.  
  3. Applejack blinked and reached into her knapsack and pulled out a card.
  4.  
  5. The health inspector examined it closely and read her name aloud. “Applejack.” He eyed her with an inquisitive look.
  6.  
  7. “I've seen you here before, quite often actually. You always seem to run a very respectable operation here.” He handed her card back.
  8.  
  9. Applejack smiled and looked to the ground, kicking at a small pebble. “Aww, shucks. It is what I like to do.” She responded in a country twang. Applejack was very lucky her slight cold didn't make her voice sound congested. She often had to choose her words wisely to not sound sick, but this cold was thankfully different. Again, her nostril twitched.
  10.  
  11. “Well keep up the good work.” The inspector smiled and turned to walk away, but Applejack slipped. A tickle in her throat caused her to cough quietly.
  12.  
  13. “You okay?” The inspector turned around and looked at Applejack.
  14.  
  15. “Uh, yeah. I am fine. Just something in my throat.” Applejack could feel her left nostril twitch, and it was probably very noticeable to any pony looking. Her nose burned, and her eyes began to water. This tickle had been real stubborn, and wasn't going away. The only way to relieve herself was to . . . no . . . don't even think about it . . . she had to . . . nope . . . she had to sneeze.
  16.  
  17. The inspector was still looking at her, his head tilted to one side. He watched as Applejack's nostrils grew and shrank, grew and shrank. Her tongue pressed to the side of her cheek as her chest puffed out. As quickly as the pre-sneeze came, it was gone in a quick release that had Applejack doubling down, and sneezing to the ground below.
  18.  
  19. “Heerrnngggggcchhtttt!” She could feel a few mucus droplets string out of her nose. The inspector kept watching and her nose kept going.
  20.  
  21. “Heeettcchhoo! Uh huhhh huhhhh HHHEEEeeeettchhhhooo!” The third sneeze being the most powerful, Applejack actually was pushed back a few millimeters. She grasped her snout and sneezed twice more into her clenching hooves. Each sneeze made her body tremble, and her frame shake. Her hat slid down off her head and over he face when she sneezed the final sneeze in her fit.
  22.  
  23. “Hhhhhheeeeettttsscchhoo!” Applejack rubbed her nose, then looked at her spray drenched hooves, and slowly looked up to see the inspector looking at her wide eyed.
  24.  
  25. “Holy moley. What was that, six, seven sneezes?” The inspector smiled and chuckled. “I haven't seen a mare sneeze like that since my former marefriend from a few years ago.” The inspector seemed more enthralled then anything.
  26.  
  27. Applejack quickly turned beat red as she washed her hooves so he could see, and put on some latex gloves.
  28.  
  29. “You have allergies?” The inspector stood up on two hooves, with one hoof leaning against her cart. He now showed no signs of leaving.
  30.  
  31. Applejack put on a crooked smile, “Just a little bit to dust mites and the sort.” Applejack knew those sneezes were from her cold, which she didn't want to admit to having.
  32.  
  33. “I have none myself. Your cart is so clean, I don't know what could have set you off?” The inspector said waving his pen around his hoof.
  34.  
  35. Applejack blushed, “I really don't know.” Knowing full well in her head, she felt bad about fibbing. But like clockworks, a tickle re-emerged deep in her nasal cavity. It was as if her body was punishing her for fibbing once again. Applejack turned around and let out a quick sneeze.
  36.  
  37. “Eeeeeettcchhoo!”
  38.  
  39. “Bless you!” The inspector smiled running his hoof through his mane. He propped his glasses up and put his clipboard down.
  40.  
  41. “So are you doing this as a solo business, not with some other pony . . . like no coltfriend or anything?”
  42.  
  43. Applejack's nose quivered as she mustered a response. “It is a family business.” She turned around again to sneeze, but nothing came.
  44.  
  45. The inspector grinned. “So you're single right?”
  46.  
  47. Applejack's expression changed as she realized this government employee was hitting on her.
  48.  
  49. “Excuse me? Applejack quipped.
  50.  
  51. “Oh uh . . . well . . . “ The inspector pushed his glasses up again and seemed to shrink in size as all his confidence faded away. “What I meant to ask was are you . . . doing this business as a single employee operation?” Knowing his question was horrible, the inspector blushed and stepped back.
  52.  
  53. “I told you it is family run.” While Applejack enjoyed the attention from this colt, she really didn't want to have to deal with him right now. She just wanted to sell her product and go home. She didn't want to have to hide her sickness.
  54.  
  55. “Well you have a good day. Be sure to wash up after a sneeze fit like that.” The inspector tried to deepen his voice by the end of the sentence, but you could see he was visibly embarrassed. He turned around and quickly walked off to find another vendor to inspect.
  56.  
  57. Applejack shook her head then sat down behind her cart. She dabbed her nose and sniffed. Just a few more apples to sell she thought to herself.
  58.  
  59. ------------
  60.  
  61. Time flew buy and Applejack was putting away the last empty barrels onto her cart when Rarity snuck up behind her.
  62.  
  63. “Well hello, darling! Isn't it an absolutely fabulous day for a facial?”
  64.  
  65. Applejack looked around a few second then looked directly at Rarity.
  66.  
  67. “Uhhhhh . . . why?”
  68.  
  69. “Because I'm with you of course!” Rarity wrapped her hoof around Applejack's shoulders and squeezed her close. “You can just wheel that rinky dink cart of yours to the boutique, then we can trot on over and get a facial.” Rarity glimmered.
  70.  
  71. “No thanks, Rarity. To be honest, I just want to head home and relax.” Applejack sniffed.
  72.  
  73. “Oh dear! You have a head cold!” Rarity exclaimed as she placed her hoof on Applejack's forehead.
  74.  
  75. “Come with me, dear. I positively can't let you go home without some of Momma Rarity's Feel Well Soup!”
  76.  
  77. “Momma Rarity's?” Applejack raised and eyebrow.
  78.  
  79. “Just come with me.” She grabbed Applejack and dragged her along.
  80.  
  81. ----------------
  82.  
  83. The smell of hot soup filled the room as Applejack sat patiently in Rarity's kitchen.
  84.  
  85. “See, doesn't that smell wonderful?” Rarity chirped while whirling a spoon in the pot. “My Mother used to make this for me as a filly when I had the flu, then she made it for Sweetie Belle, and now I have my own version of it!”
  86.  
  87. It was well known that Rarity wasn't a great cook, but what could Applejack do? At least she had shown any major signs of illness while with Rarity. Just a few sniffles here and there.
  88.  
  89. Rarity poured a bowl of soup and placed it in front of Applejack. She then tied a bib around her neck, and stuck a spoon in the soup. “Bon appetit.”
  90.  
  91. Applejack looked at the soup and took a brief smell of it, as much as she could smell with her stuffy nose. She took a spoonful and paused to think of the taste and texture. It was actually quite good.
  92.  
  93. Applejack removed her hat from her head and placed it over her chest. “This is a mighty fine soup, Rarity. I thank you kindly for your hospitality.”
  94.  
  95. Rarity grinned as she knew she had done good. “You just eat that soup up and stay here as long as you want. Just relax. Mi casa es su casa. I will go prepare the couch for you, dear.” Rarity trotted off. She was in one of her generosity kicks and Applejack knew it. When in this mood, it was hard to shun away her offers. Applejack drank the last of the soup in her bowl and walked into the den were Rarity was.
  96.  
  97. “Thank you aga....” Applejack stopped as Rarity had transformed her sofa into a mini throne, complete with fluffy pillows, blankets, a side table with snacks, and a box of tissues. “Wow.”
  98.  
  99. “Lay down. You need to regain your strength, dear.” Rarity said in ernest.
  100.  
  101. Applejack begrudgingly sat down.
  102.  
  103. “Lay down.” Rarity repeated.
  104.  
  105. Applejack had a pouty face for a moment before she sprawled out onto the sofa. She was trapped like one of her apples in a barrel. She was deep in the clutches of Rarity's generosity and had no way of getting out.
  106.  
  107. Applejack sniffed, reached over and grabbed a tissue to blow. Rarity smiled confidently and walked out of the room to leave Applejack to rest. Applejack closed her eyes, and thought. During her quiet time, her nose began to twitch. She reached up and patted it, pushing down on her snout. It squished. The tickle didn't dissipate for more then five seconds, and it was back tickling more then before. Applejack held a tissue to her nose and blew, but it did nothing.
  108.  
  109. She rolled her eyes as the urge to sneeze built. Her nose turned a darker shade of rosy red as her hoofs curled up to her chest, her jaw fell slack, and her nostrils flared.
  110.  
  111. “Haaaassssttttttccchooo!” Applejack sneezed uncovered over her chest, misting everything below her chin down to the tip of her tail. The stubborn tickle continued. “Haaaasssttttttcchhhhttt!” Applejack blocked this sneeze exploding into her tissue. She had at least one more sneeze as she again released into the tissue. “Haaaapppsssshhhhhhooo!” The tissue dissolved, soaking wet, and fell from her hooves. She grabbed another tissue and picked up the remains of the former tissue then wiped her nose and the corners of her mouth.
  112.  
  113. Applejack really wanted to go home. She liked Rarity's kind gestures, but would have rather been by herself. Applejack picked up a small bell that Rarity had left on a stand by the sofa. Rarity didn't explain the reasoning for the bell, but Applejack just assumed it was used for calling.
  114.  
  115. She rang the bell and within thirty seconds, Rarity came into the room.
  116.  
  117. “How can I help you, darling?”
  118.  
  119. Applejack thought a moment.
  120.  
  121. “As much as I love your generosity, I must be heading home. The family needs me.”
  122.  
  123. Rarity seemed disappointed. “Oh I understand.” she said nodding and looking to the floor.
  124.  
  125. “Thank you. Much obliged.” Applejack said getting up from the sofa.
  126.  
  127. “Take some tissues with you.”
  128.  
  129. Applejack grabbed a small hoof-ful of tissues and headed out Rarity's front door. She hooked herself up to the cart and walked towards Sweet Apple Acres. About a twenty minute walk later, Applejack saw the top of the barn as she crested the hill. She was home, and had done well. She sold her apples, and could unpack, sit down and relax. Let this cold take it's course.
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