"That is the last straw!"
The bulky brown Pegasus slammed his front hooves down on the desk so hard, Ditzy Doo feared it would split in two. He positively glowered at the grey pegasus, his face just inches from hers.
I'm sorry, boss
" Ditzy mumbled, shrinking back a bit. "Uh
it won't happen again?" Her apology was phrased more like a question.
"Oh, right. Sure. That's believable
" the larger pegasus snorted, twisting his black baseball cap haphazardly. "I mean, what are the odds of Ditzy Doo screwing up another delivery? I mean, that never happens..."
Ditzy winced at the harsh sarcasm in her superior's voice. Still, she managed to work up the nerve to ask the inevitable question.
" she began, trying her best to focus both her eyes on the angry pony in front of her. "
how much are you gonna' dock my pay this time?"
The other pegasus slapped a hoof to his forehead. "Ditzy, what're you not getting, here?" he barked back. "It's bigger than that this time! I mean, you have the lowest successful delivery rate in the history of Cloudsdale Mail and Freight, you're constantly losing letters or delivering them to the wrong locations, your sense of direction is so bad it takes you five times as long to get anywhere as it would for any other pegasus
heck you're even a hazard to pedestrians sometimes! You're lucky that purple unicorn didn't sue us that one day when we were delivering the piano and all that other junk!"
Ditzy winced at the memory, and sunk even lower in front of her furious boss. "Well
what do you want me to do, sir?" she squeaked. "I'm trying my best."
"Then your best isn't good enough for this company!" The stallion roared. Ditzy groaned and slumped fully to the floor, covering her head with her hooves as if she feared being struck.
Seeing that he had taken his verbal abuse a bit too far, the larger pegasus softened a bit, and lowered his voice. "Get up, Ditz'. I'm not gonna' hurt you."
Peering up with one large yellow eye, Ditzy hesitantly rose back up to hover at the height of her superior.
" the brown pony searched for a less harsh way to speak his mind. "Ditzy, I know we kind of hired you on
'special considerations', what with your little disability and all. But, in all honesty, you need to at least live up to the basic requirements that come with being a mailmare."
He glanced a little sympathetically at the dejected grey pegasus. "I've given you a lot of second chances now," he continued. "But
I just don't think our reputation can take any more. So, I think
I think we're gonna have to let you go."
"What!?" Ditzy's crossed eyes went wide with panic. "But
but I need this job! I've got little Dinky to take care of at home! After her father
and the accident
I'm the only one she's got for support right now!"
The other pony hid his eyes beneath the brim of his hat. "I know that, and that's why I've been so lenient with you before. But today was different."
The larger pony's eyes turned angry again. "It was a letter from freakin' Princess Celestia, Ditzy! That sort of thing needs to arrive at the correct location, and it needs to arrive on time! Her decree to solve the situation in Manehattan arrived six hours late, and by then rioters had destroyed a lot of private property! Do you know who's gonna' get charged for that, Ditzy? We are!"
Again, the boss made an attempt to control his anger. "Now, you see what I mean here?" he grumbled a little more gently. "I gotta' do what I gotta' do. Cloudsdale Mail and Freight needs to conserve what little reputation it has left. Believe me, if I don't fire you now, they're gonna' be all over me about it. It's pretty much out of my hooves."
Ditzy opened her mouth to respond, but couldn't manage to say anything. Her head swam with unfortunate memories; accidents and errors that could have been avoided had a more 'professional' pony been given the job. Defeated, she just looked sadly at her superior, and then floated over to collect her things.
"Hey, if it helps at all
" the brown pegasus mentioned. "I won't dock anything from your last paycheck. In fact, I'll even throw in a little goodbye bonus for you. You know, a dozen extra bits or so?"
"Thank you, sir," Ditzy tried to smile, but her mood was betrayed by the tears welling up in her eyes. "Have a good afternoon."
With a final sigh, she made for the door, bumping into the doorframe on her first attempt to exit. "Lousy depth perception," she grumbled, as she flew out into the open air of Cloudsdale.
The bright, beautiful day in the aerial city contrasted with the aura of gloom surrounding the grey pegasus. A few other pegasi watched in concern as she fluttered haphazardly by, grumbling to herself.
"I can't believe this," she moaned aloud as she descended from the pegasus capitol toward her home on the ground, "So I get lost a couple of times, and bam, I'm out the door."
She thought about that. Well, more like a couple of times a week, actually.
She brought her forehooves to her face, rubbing her misaligned eyes. "It's these blasted eyes!" she yelled to no one in particular. "I can't help if my directional judgement, and depth perception, and face recognition, and
reading skills, and
oh, all those things, are so poor! I think I function pretty well for a pegasus who can't see straight!"
Wiping the last of the tears from her face, the dejected pegasus flew home, thinking ahead to the grim task of searching through the help wanted section of today's newspaper.
"Mom! Mom!" Dinky Doo burst through the door of the cottage, carrying a colorful paper in her mouth as she scurried inside. "Look what I made in school today!"
Ditzy looked up from the newspaper she was struggling to read to smile at her eager filly. Dinky proudly hoisted her prize in front of her mother's face, holding it at the angle that she had learned made it easiest for her mom to see the details clearly.
Ditzy gazed at the filly's crude but colorful drawing. In the background, there was a small building that was identifiable as their cottage, with various flowers growing around it. In the foreground stood two ponies, a larger pegasus, and a smaller unicorn, both colored in shades of grey. The drawing wasn't greatly detailed, but Ditzy could still tell it was a picture of Dinky and herself. The sky behind them was bright blue, adorned with a rainbow, which was colored nicely, despite the fact that the colors were in the wrong order. The little filly must have spent all day making it look just right.
"That's a very nice drawing, Dinky," Ditzy said as lightheartedly as she could. Dinky retrieved the paper, smiling at her success, but then her smile faded when she looked at her mom again.
is something wrong?"
Ditzy bristled. Her mind worked furiously to create a convincing lie, so that Dinky wouldn't be concerned.
just a little problem I ran into this morning," the pegasus responded, smiling at her filly. "Nothing for you to worry about."
"Something went wrong at work again, didn't it?" Dinky continued, frowning.
Dang. That unicorn could be too smart for her own good sometimes.
" Ditzy stammered. "Yeah, there was a little mishap, but it's really nothing to get worked up over
Dinky put her front hooves onto the couch, glancing at the newspaper before Ditzy could put it away. "Want ads?" she asked skeptically. "Mommy, you didn't lose your job, did you?"
" Ditzy thought fast, not wanting to upset Dinky. "I'm just thinking of maybe switching jobs, that's all," she lied. "Things are getting hectic at work. Yeah."
If Dinky suspected anything more was amiss (and she probably did), she didn't show it. The filly trotted up to her room to do her assignments for the evening. Ditzy sighed in relief and went back to scouring the paper for any job she was qualified for. One small ad in the corner of the page caught her eye.
"Equestria Speedy Shipping Services! Equestria's number-one shipping service looking for new employees! Previous experience preferred. Located just outside of Ponyville, please visit us to apply."
That sounds perfect! Ditzy thought. I've shipped plenty of freight to every city in Equestria in the past. I think I could handle a job here! And the best part is, I'll have a clean slate with my new boss. Maybe I could be a better mailmare this time!
Grinning wildly, Ditzy hastily scribbled down the details for tomorrow, and then rose from her couch to go prepare dinner.
Shoving the remnants of her muffin-based breakfast into her mouth as she flew, Ditzy arrived in the quiet streets of Ponyville. Squinting at the address she had written, she flew through the streets, looking for the location.
It took longer than she thought to find the place. She'd been looking for a large, noticeable office or other glossy delivery building. Instead, she found herself at what looked like a slightly run-down old establishment rammed between a long string of small businesses and an old warehouse. Ditzy suspected the warehouse was probably used as the storage building for freight the company transported.
Ditzy checked the address number, and it matched the one she had copied from the newspaper ad. There was no sign on the door, but she supposed it didn't matter. The pegasus pushed open the door.
The first thing Ditzy noticed after closing the door behind her was the low amount of light. A small window on one side of the room was the only light source, and the shadow of the adjacent warehouse blocked a lot of that light as well. The walls were bare, and the room was totally empty save for a long counter on which absolutely nothing was sitting save for a service bell. A door in the wall behind the counter read "offices".
Ditzy wasn't surprised she'd never heard of this place; it certainly didn't look like a big deal; if the reception room was any indication, it probably wasn't a very wealthy company. Ditzy pondered if a little service like this probably could even be considered a business competitor to the nationally renowned Cloudsdale Mail and Freight.
"Beggars can't be choosers, I guess," Ditzy said aloud, unfazed by how humble as the new place seemed compared to her old place of employment. She flew up to the counter and rang the little bell. Then she waited, one eye focused on the door to the back while the other scanned the bland room for any further details.
The door creaked open, and a male unicorn peered out, his eyes falling on Ditzy.
"Yes, ma'am?" he asked in a clearly uninterested voice, not bothering to bring any more than his head forth from the back room.
" Ditzy stammered, trying not to be intimidated by the unicorn's completely indifferent demeanor. "
I came to apply for a job. I saw the ad in the newspaper, and
The unicorn suddenly looked considerably more interested. "A potential employee? That's good news! Please come on back here, my office is at the end of the hall."
As suddenly as he had arrived, the unicorn disappeared again into the depths of the building. He hadn't even stepped far enough from the shadow of the doorway for the pegasus to get a good look at him.
Ditzy cautiously flew over the desk and gave the door a nudge. It opened to a hallway just as barren as the front room, and the pegasus caught a glimpse of the unicorn disappearing into the last room at the end.
"This building sure is
drab," the cross-eyed pony mumbled as she walked past the row of identical, unmarked doors. Only two in the whole hall gave any indication of what lied behind; one was marked with a symbol of a staircase, and the door to which Ditzy was headed held a nameplate.
"Dr. Candyfloss, Senior Manager."
Ditzy entered the office and found the unicorn that was presumably Dr. Candyfloss sitting behind his desk. She squinted at the sudden change in lighting; this room held a window that wasn't blocked by any outside structure, allowing light to flood the room. Once her eyes adjusted, Ditzy turned her attention toward the unicorn himself.
Dr. Candyfloss had a very airy appearance about him. His coat was white, contrasting with his magenta mane and tail, both of which seemed to be spread out lazily in a wispy sort of style, as if wind had blown his hair back and it had frozen in place like that. It looked curiously like the aerated sugar product that was the unicorn's namesake, if not for the slightly darker color of the mane.
He also wore a small bowtie, and a thick gold ring around one hoof. Perhaps most unusual were his eyes, which were a cloudy gray color that caused him to cast a somewhat unsettling gaze.
Ditzy glanced at his cutie mark, which appeared to be a small, golden bow with an arrow in place. The pegasus had no idea what it meant, but she never questioned it if a pony's cutie mark didn't seem to match their career, considering the bubbles that adorned her flank had nothing to do with her passion for mail delivery or muffins.
"Come in, miss, come in," Dr. Candyfloss called, gesturing to a chair in the corner. His voice was unusually high and breathy for a male pony. Ditzy moved to the chair in question and faced the unicorn.
"Hi!" she said cheerfully. "So
this is where I apply, right?"
"That it is," the unicorn said with a smile. "I'm very glad to find somepony showing an interest; we're woefully understaffed right now. So if you wouldn't mind, I'd like to get right to the interview."
His horn glowed briefly, and a quill and piece of paper escaped the clutter of his desk rose up in front of him.
"So, ma'am, why don't you give me your name and tell me a bit about yourself."
Ditzy cleared her throat. "Well, my name's Ditzy Doo. I'm a pegasus living a short ways outside of Cloudsdale. I'm looking for a job to support myself and my filly, since I'm a single mom and
"Hold it, hold it," Dr. Candyfloss intervened, frowning. "You're a single mother? Dear me, I'm afraid if you're separated, it won't look good for our
"Actually," Ditzy cut him off. "We're not
I mean weren't, separated. It's just my husband is
"Oh!" The stallion responded. Much to Ditzy's confusion and slight indignation, Dr. Candyfloss seemed to brighten considerably at this news. "Well, that works then. No problems. Please continue."
Ditzy struggled to find her voice again. Why in Equestria... she thought, ...Would it be preferable to have a dead spouse to a seperated one? She decided it didn't matter either way; she couldn't fathom how either option could have any bearing on a delivery job.
" she picked up. "Yeah, I need the job if possible, since I don't have any income at the moment."
"Don't worry," the unicorn responded. "We'll be sure to hire you if at all possible, and help you with the whole nasty business." He glanced at his notes. "Speaking of which, would you mind giving me past employment details?"
"Well, my last job was at Cloudsdale Mail and Freight," the pegasus continued, somewhat nervous about the direction the topic was taking.
"Mailmare, of course."
"And why did you leave that job?"
"Well," Ditzy began, her head drooping a bit in shame. "I
wasn't particularly punctual. Or good at navigation. I get the job done, most of the time, but I'm a little slow at it because of my eye condition
"Yes, I was wondering about the eyes," Candyfloss responded. "No offense, of course! They're just
"Oh it's no problem. I get that a lot." Ditzy replied, waving away the mention of her unusual eyes. "So anyways, eventually they had to let me go, because I couldn't keep up with their speed and accuracy standards." She leaned forward suddenly. "But I really try my best! Surely with your understaffing here, employing a less-than-100%-efficient pony is preferable to not employing anyone at all!"
"Calm down, my dear!" Dr. Candyfloss responded with a reassuring smile. "Don't let it worry you. Such difficulties make little difference to us here!"
Ditzy was struck dumb. The unicorn had brushed off her somewhat terrible delivery record like it was nothing. "Gee, Dr. Candyfloss," she said hesitantly. "You guys must really be desperate for employees, then."
The unicorn smiled at the confused pony. "No, miss Ditzy, it's simply that I am more concerned about your personality then your physical skills for this job. And you seem to be quite charming; friendly as well as honest. I think you'll be fine."
thanks!" Ditzy replied, smiling. "So, is there anything else you need to know?"
The unicorn put a hoof to his chin in thought. "Just outstanding medical conditions, I suppose. How bad, really, is your little eye problem? And do you currently have any other major health issues?"
Ditzy grinned sheepishly. "The eyes are the only problem, and they aren't really that bad. My depth perception is a little off, and I get lost easily. Oh, and I can't read very quickly. But other than that, I'm fine."
Dr. Candyfloss scribbled down a few more notes with his magical quill, then looked up and smiled politely at his pegasus guest. "Well then, miss Ditzy Doo, I think you make the cut! I'd be happy to make you a member of the team at Equestria Speedy Shipping Services!"
Ditzy's eyes lit up. "Really? I'm hired?"
"Almost," the unicorn chuckled. "Just sign the line on the employment contract!"
He levitated a long scroll full of text and a quill over to Ditzy. She glanced briefly at the contract, and didn't see any particularly noticeable problems with it. Besides, Dr. Candyfloss seemed trustworthy, just a bit unconventional; Ditzy put her doubts aside and signed her name at the bottom of the contract, which promptly rolled shut and floated into the unicorn's file cabinet.
"Excellent!" Dr. Candyfloss chirped. "It's still early, so we'll have time to send you out on your first assignment later today! In the meantime, please head upstairs to the employee lounge. At least one of our other members should be up there to show you around. I'll call you over an intercom when I have your first assignment."
"Thank you sir!" Ditzy squealed excitedly. She performed a goofy salute before zipping out of the office.
Dr. Candyfloss chuckled to himself as he watched her go. "Such enthusiasm." He said to himself. "I just hope she can live up to my expectations. This job takes a special kind of pony. She may not be a top-notch mailmare, but perhaps she'll find her duties here more to her tastes."
Ditzy opened the door with the little stairway sign on it. As she proceeded up the narrow stairwell, she thought to herself about her new boss; he was an unusual pony, to say the least. Ditzy wondered why he seemed more concerned about her personality then her skills; maybe she was going to be assigned a short, easy mail route full of little old ponies who like to stop and have a friendly conversation with the mailmare.
The grey pegasus was so busy fantasizing about her job that she crashed right into the upper door, causing it to swing open. Once she recovered from the impact, she was able to peer into the employee lounge. It wasn't lavish, but at least it was furnished. A few couches and a bookshelf sat around the edges. A fridge sat in one corner, and there was fresh coffee on a counter, as well as crumbs on a plate, the remnants of what Ditzy hoped to Celestia had been muffins. The room had a rather high ceiling and a large window; it seemed a calm and cozy place for her to relax between deliveries.
However, there was no sign of the other pony Candyfloss had mentioned; maybe he or she had left early, or was on an assignment after all.
"Hey! Yeah, you! The gray mare!"
Surprised by the voice, Ditzy peered almost straight up, and spotted a pegasus that had been hovering by the ceiling when she entered. He had a red coat and brown mane, and a pair of intense green eyes. He also had a strong, sleek build; he looked rather athletic.
Ditzy gawked for a moment as the other pegasus swooped down. "Hey," he said. "What's wrong, didn't Candyfloss answer the service bell again? His office is at the end of the hall downstairs."
"What?" Ditzy was momentarily confused. "Oh
no, I'm not a customer. I'm a new employee."
"Really? You're kidding!" the other pegasus responded. "We haven't gotten anyone new in ages! This'll be really helpful."
He extended a hoof. "I'm Autumn Breeze," he said with a friendly smile. "But I usually just go by Breeze. And you are?"
"Ditzy Doo," the female pegasus answered, shaking Breeze's hoof. "I was just hired a couple minutes ago."
"Sweet," Breeze responded. "The other's are all out on jobs right now, so I'll give you the new worker lowdown."
He gestured around the room. "Later in the day, most of us are going to be hanging out in here. This is where we chill when we're on the clock but not on assignment. It's a nice place, really. Fridge is usually stocked, and we got hot breakfast and fresh coffee in the mornings. Unfortunately, you seem to have missed breakfast today. Pity too, we had some really nice blueberry muffins
Ditzy jumped and put a hoof to her mouth to stop a squeal, as she literally quivered with excitement at the prospect of fresh baked muffins daily. Fortunately for her, Breeze was looking the other way at the time.
"That's about all we got around here
" Breeze finished, turning back to look at Ditzy. "Have any questions before old Candyfloss sends you out?"
"Well," Ditzy pondered. "Uh, is there any way to get from here into the warehouse next door?"
Breeze raised an eyebrow. "What
why would you need to get in there?"
"Well, that's where the freight is stored, isn't it?"
Now it was Ditzy's turn to give Breeze a weird look. "Uh
the packages, the furniture, everything else. Where's the freight we need to ship?"
"What are you talking ab
" Breeze stopped in mid-sentence as he processed Dtizy's last comment. "Wait
did you just say, the freight we need to ship?"
"Yes!" Ditzy yelled in exasperation. "This is Equestria Speedy Shipping Services, isn't it? If I'm going to be a mailmare, I need to know where the mail I'm delivering is!"
Breeze stared at Ditzy, speechless for a split-second. Then, he burst into a fit of laughter so intense that he fell to the floor, rolling and flailing around as he continued to guffaw. Ditzy stared at him, completely at a loss for words to the male pegasus' seemingly senseless reaction.
"Oh, I told him! I TOLD Candyfloss this was gonna happen if he didn't reword the ad! He didn't believe me! Oh, I'm never gonna let him live this down!"
" said Ditzy weakly. "But, can you please explain what in Equestria is going on?"
Breeze finally got to his hooves, wiping the tears of laughter from his eyes. "Ditzy, my girl," he said with a chuckle. "Nowadays, the word 'shipping' has more than one definition."
Ditzy looked skeptical. "Meaning
"Meaning," continued Breeze, "that Equestria Speedy Shipping doesn't deliver letters and haul freight at all."
Ditzy tensed. "Then
then what do you do?"
"The other type of shipping," Breeze answered with a glint in his eye. "We at Equestria Speedy Shipping aren't delivery ponies
we're pony matchmakers!"