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Flight Recordings

The House Call (4 of 4) (end)

Jeffrey Channing Wells

Learning to Fly

The House Call (4 of 4) (end)

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Learning to Fly
[Late afternoon, exterior shot, on a hill overlooking the preparations for Latesummer's Eve. Housecall sits morosely on a picnic blanket, alternately pouring and tossing back highball glasses full of milk using unicorn telekinesis. This for a moment, and then…]

[Twilight trots cautiously up. She holds a basket of apples by the handle in her mouth.]

Twilight (cautiously, after setting the apples down): Hey.

[Housecall pauses in his drinking.]

Housecall (grimly): "Hay" is for horses.

Twilight: What's your point?

Housecall: I'm not sure.

[The two sit and watch the preparations for a moment. Then Twilight nudges the apple basket toward Housecall with one hoof.]

Twilight: Applejack thought I should bring you a peace offering of some of her apples.

Housecall: I thought apples were for keeping doctors away.

Twilight: That's just an old pony saying. It's not really true.


Twilight: I'm here to tell you that I'm sorry.

Housecall: Great. Well, that's done.

Twilight: Just listen to me! I wanted to apologize because I said that you didn't care about anypony. But you're a doctor! You had to care about somepony sometime.

Housecall: Are you coming to a point? Maybe sometime this decade?

Twilight (pressing on): So then I thought, maybe he does care about ponies. Maybe he cares about ponies so much that it hurts him way down deep inside and he has to act like a… a…

[Pinkie Pie suddenly hops into the scene.]

Pinkie Pie: Like a mean old mean meanie crabby crabby crabbypants!

[Her line thus delivered, Pinkie Pie poings back out of frame.]

Twilight: Um, what she said. You only act mean because caring hurts you.

[Housecall says nothing for a time, looking longfaced. Then he telekinetically snatches up an apple from the bucket.]

Housecall: Give me one of these.

[Housecall crunches the apple noisily, then…]

Housecall (around a mouthful of apple): Yuck! These are horrible. Are these last year's apples or this year's?

Twilight (a little resigned): I don't know. I hope they're not this year's. They'd still be pretty green and sour on Latesummer.

Housecall (swallowing hard): Well, that's exactly what they taste like. Your friend could have at least provided you with a peace offering that's edible. But no, everything's "apples" with her. Apples, apples, apples! Way too many app--

[Housecall stops abruptly midsentence, his eyes going wide. And for a My Little Pony, this really is saying something.]

Twilight: Doctor Housecall?

[Housecall drops the half-eaten apple to the ground and canters, as fast as his limp will allow, back to Ponyville. After a moment's hesitation to pick up the apple and toss it in a waste bin, Twilight follows.]

* * *

[Back in the upper room of the library. The remaining ponies and Chase are milling around when Housecall limps triumphantly into the scene, Twilight trailing behind. Everyone looks up. Housecall fixes his blue-eyed gaze on A.J.]

Housecall: Applejack. You said that there's no kind of sickness that enough apples won't cure.

Fluttershy (shyly volunteering): Actually, she used the words "ain't" and "y'all" a little more than that.

Housecall: Her poor grasp of language isn't important. What is important is whether or not Rainbow Dash came to you about her red Pegasus trail before she got sick.

Applejack: Well… yessir. And I thought, heck, I didn't know what the problem was, but a few apples never hurt nopony. An' I tole her as much.

Housecall: But she was so desperate to impress the Wonderbolts, she thought she would eat some extra apples, just in case more apples would help her more.

Applejack (thoughtful): She did seem a mite voracious.

Housecall: And she wanted so many apples that you had to buck them off the trees early before they were ripe.

Applejack: What's yer point, Doctor Housecall?

Housecall: You fed the patient too many apples.

Applejack (staring blankly at him, shaking her head): Okay, now yer speakin' in some kinda' crazy moon language.

[Housecall proceeds undaunted as the scene shifts to a badly-animated scene of what's going on inside Rainbow Dash's stomach.]

Housecall (voice-over): A pony who fills her tummy too full of sour apples risks a situation where the apples start to ferment before they can be moved "on down the line". If that happens, gases start to build up.

[Animation ends.]

Chase: Why doesn't she just burp?

Rarity (prim): Proper ponies don't… "burp", Doctor Tailchase.

Houecall: Ponies don't burp because they can't burp. They're not equipped with the skill. It's just one of those mistakes of nature, like Pinkie Pie's hair.

Pinkie Pie: I wasn't born like this, you know.

Housecall (ignoring her): The patient has Horse Colic.

Twilight (pleased, egging him on): Which is…

Housecall: A "common" pony ailment. Not usually this severe, but common.

Twilight (triumphantly): Which means that Zecora's tea was the only thing keeping her colic from getting even worse… but we took it away with our anti-magic spell! Zecora can do real magic after all!

Housecall: Give me a little less Smug and a little more Treat The Patient.

Applejack (still a little mortified from her role in all this): What can we do?

Housecall: More magic. Just different. The little irritant dragon…

[Spike waves.]

Housecall: …has been yammering on about being a participant in trials of your new funny burping spell.

Twilight: Yep! Just learned it! And it's perfectly safe! …If a little embarrassing.

Housecall: Cast the burping spell on the patient, and get her ready for the art show.

Applejack: You can fix her up? Just like that?

Housecall (smiling slightly): Patient should be feeling at least… twenty percent better. In ten seconds flat.

Chase: That just leaves the red Pegasus trail. What's causing that?

Fluttershy: It's confidence.

Twilight: I think Fluttershy's right. And I think I know just the cure. Time for me… to go back to the drawing board!

[She looks at Rainbow Dash, smiling. Her horn begins to glow.]

Twilight: But first…

[Pull back to the Library, exterior. Audible from all the way outside is Rainbow Dash's funny burp. Then comes the cacophonous scene-closing laughter that is so common to this program.]

Spike (from inside, amidst the laughter): Wow, that was a funny burp!

* * *

[Dissolve back to the hillside scene overlooking the festival, now in full swing. Hovering in the early evening sky is a beautiful giant red skywritten rose blossom. Rarity and Chase walk side-by-side.]

Rarity: I must say, if that unpleasant Doctor Housecall had just listened to you and concentrated on Rainbow Dash's diet, we would have had Rainbow Dash back on her feet in no time.

Chase: I have my moments. So, d'ya want to come to the Latesummer's Eve dance with me?

Rarity (cooling): Doctor Tailchase, I still think that you are a grimy, dirty, filthy creature.

Chase (game): I didn't hear a "no".

Rarity (warming again): No. No, you didn't.

[As they speak, they pass near Housecall and Twilight, who are standing on the hill, admiring the sky-flower. Rarity and Chase walk on out of the scene while the camera remains here. Very shortly, Rainbow Dash shows up, holding a large trophy cup in her mouth. She looks much improved, and her trail is back to the usual rainbow of colors.]

Rainbow Dash (chucking the cup reverently to the ground): I won! I won! I won I won I won I won! And the Wonderbolts said it was the prettiest skywriting they'd ever seen!

Twilight: Congratulations! You did a great job with it!

Rainbow Dash: Thanks, but I owe it all to your awesome new skywriting pattern! Thanks for drawing up a new red-themed one at the last minute!

Twilight: You're welcome! I notice your trail's back to normal now.

Rainbow Dash: Yep! The second Princess Celestia gave me that first-place cup, bam! Right back to full spectrum! I guess I was just so worried about the contest, what with the Wonderbolts and everything, my trail got stuck on my flashiest color! Thanks for fixing me, Twilight.

Twilight: You're welcome.

[Rainbow Dash zips over to Housecall, who has been noticeably silent.]

Rainbow Dash: And thank you for figuring out my tummyache. Guess I shouldn't "bolt" my food down like that!

[Rainbow Dash elbows him jovially at her pun. Housecall stands aloof.]

Housecall: You're a patient. You're my case. It's what I do.

Twilight: Maybe. But I notice that when the chips were down, you did call her by her name.

Housecall (honestly confused): I did?

Twilight: Mm hm! Just once. But you did.

[Housecall is silent for a moment, then…]

Housecall (grudging, sardonic): How about we all just shut up and look at the pretty pretty flower.

Twilight (smiling): All right.

[The three of them stand on the hill looking at Rainbow Dash's beautiful red rose drawing as the sun goes down. As they do so, Twilight looks over at Housecall and begins the closing narration.]

Twilight (voice-over): Dear Princess Celestia: Today I learned that caring about your friends can be hard. Sometimes it can be so hard for someponies that they start to appear mean and crabby. So it's important to remember that just because a pony looks that way on the outside, it doesn't automatically mean he's mean and crabby on the inside. He just might be in a bad place at the time.

[Twilight looks up at Rainbow Dash's rose, and then at Rainbow Dash looking up at her rose, the Latesummer's Eve Art Cup at her hooves.]

Twilight (voice-over): I also learned that even something you're worried is going to be terrible can turn out to be the prettiest thing of all. It's not always easy, but it helps to have true friends around, standing beside you and helping you to do your best.

Housecall (voice-over): Oh, puke.

[Voice-over Twilight giggles at him, and thus ends the episode.]
  • This was *EXCELLENT!!!* All the characterizations are dead-on, and the story is brilliant! I've gotta know: Was writing for ponies as hard as writing for cross-dressing psychologists, talking dogs and semi-sapient zombies?
    • Thanks! The Ponies as characters are easy to write -- they're painted in pretty broad strokes -- but it's difficult to come up with stories involving them that don't violate canon too profoundly. There's nothing wrong with My Little Pony Warhammer 40k fic, per se, but I tend to want to write in-universe and I have a heck of a time coming up with proper Equestria plots.

      I dunno, it may be worth signal-boosting this to Equestria Daily or something to give it some readership. I'll have to figure out Google Docs, as I think they don't accept direct submissions, only links.
  • (Anonymous)
    Google Docs is super easy. It's essentially a web version of MS Word.

    Only thing you'd have to do is fiddle with the privacy settings as, if I recall, by default, all pages are set to hidden to all but owner.
  • Well; as I mentioned before, there's always FiMfic.net. There's also fanfic.net -- although, it can be a bit harder to navigate. Another choice is DeviantArt.com -- it's not just for picture art anymore! Heck, I even have a piece of music that I wrote (to song lyrics by Dan Shive of "El Goonish Shive") posted there. (reynard61.deviantart.com if you're interested. I don't have much on the site right now, but I'm going to try to add some stuff if I get time during the Winter.)
    • Yeah, I haven't reviewed the submission requirements over on the other site. I might as well throw it at as many sites as I can, despite my shame, because, what the hell. Shame is useless. Fly your freak flag high, &c.
    • That's interesting! I don't suppose you have an actual performance / computerized rendition, do you?

      Google Docs appears to be working fine. I guess that was an important skill to learn even if nothing else good comes of this silly pony venture.
      • The music was composed in Finale PrintMusic. I have created an .mp3 of the MIDI and can e-mail it to you or I could try posting it on my Facebook page or a site of your choice. (One of the drawbacks of the program is that it doesn't play through the first chorus, which is somewhat quieter than the second. Oh well...) It's my first composition since Elementary school music class so I hope it doesn't suck too much.
        • Sure, I'd like to hear it! E-mail addy's on the profile page, so long as it's not 20 megs or larger.
  • "Housecall (grimly): "Hay" is for horses.

    Twilight: What's your point?

    Housecall: I'm not sure."


    "After a moment's hesitation to pick up the apple and toss it in a waste bin, Twilight follows."


    The House lines and reasoning in this are just uncanny. Excellent. There's a lot of good atmosphere here, and here's a good line, though there are many before and a couple after it, too: "Housecall: Give me a little less Smug and a little more Treat The Patient." *lol*

    I will be reading this, ad break included, again.
  • Finally got around to reading... and will recommend it to the other Pony types in the household. Well done, and as has been said many times, spot on!

    (I'd use the usericon for my own pony, Gemini Star, but that's slipped away into the Land of Having Blown Up or something because I stopped giving money to LJ.)
  • that was an awesome story! I love how you played with the two series but they still were in character! ♥

    Edited at 2012-01-17 12:03 am (UTC)
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