I Hate It Here
by Kirb Hysteria
In the Bonds of Holy Crap!
10:30 AM, April 21, 2012
I woke up this morning with a splitting headache as if it had been pressed against a board of wood the whole night. Turns out that was sort of true; when I opened my eyes, I discovered that I had fallen asleep on my desk. I groaned as I lifted myself off the desk. Looking around the room, I saw Lemon Drop still asleep in my bed. That’s right, I let her in last night and she slept there while I was still trying to write my next column. Wait…
I quickly looked down at my desk. There were many sheets of paper, but none of them had words.
“No, no, no!”
I pushed the papers aside, hoping that somehow I had stored a draft of it underneath them. No such luck. At that moment I heard a groaning noise behind me. I looked to my left again to see Lemon stirring in the bed. Her hooves stretched up in the air as she let out a loud yawn. I have to admit, that was pretty cute. This, however, brought up the question of what I was going to do with Lemon. I couldn’t put her back on the streets again, that would be cruel of me. But at the same time, I couldn’t let her stay with me. She wasn’t my daughter and I didn’t have any legal rights over her. I decided I would put her back on the streets, but give her some money so that she could buy food for herself.
I got up and walked over to my bed. When Lemon opened her eyes, she looked directly at me and smiled.
“Wow, you’re a late sleeper. Just like me.”
Lemon opened her mouth as if she was going to say something, but was interrupted by the noise of her tummy growling.
“You’re hungry, aren’t you?” I chuckled. “I’ll go buy some breakfast and a cup of coffee from the restaurant downstairs.”
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention earlier. There is a small restaurant on the ground floor of my apartment building. I never usually go down there for food--often times it tastes worse than one’s own feces--but their breakfast isn’t half bad, and damn do they have some good coffee.
“What would you like? Their menu consists of pancakes, bagels, cereal, waffles, eggs, hay bacon, hash browns, and some fruit.”
“Um… I’ve never really had much of any of those, so I don’t know how they taste.”
“Ah, I see. Well, why don’t you come down with me? You can see it all for yourself.”
Lemon and I returned to my apartment with a platter full of food in her grip. She gently set it on the table and removed the top. I was a little surprised--I hadn’t seen her order food for herself, so I wasn’t expecting to see some of everything on her platter. Lemon noticed my reaction.
“I haven’t had any of these, so I got a little of everything to see what I like.”
“Are you sure you can eat all that?”
“I haven’t had a decent meal for days, except for the salad you fed me yesterday, so I could use a lot of this. Besides, I figured I would share them with you, Mr. Hysteria.”
Damn, this kid was incredibly generous. How am I supposed to let her down? Whatever, now wasn’t the time to think about it. Now was the time to eat.
“So, Mr. Hysteria, why do you always wear that jumpsuit and trenchcoat?”
“Well, the things I report about are liable to upset many ponies. I have been beaten up before by some groups who recognize me as a journalist. Because of that, I don’t want to get public recognition, so I always wear clothing that mostly covers me up. I chose the trenchcoat because it looks cool, but I also wear the black jumpsuit to make sure nopony sees my cutie mark.”
“Oh, you mean like the stuff on your tape recorder.”
“Yeah… Wait, you listened to my tape?”
“Yes, I did. I figured out many things about you from those tapes.”
“Really? Like what?”
“For one thing, Mr. Hysteria, I discovered that you are twenty-nine years old, never use a typewriter because your hooves are too big, and also that you are a very troubled soul with a disturbed state of mind. I have also heard some of the notes you have taken for your column.”
“You made sure not to record over them, right kid?”
“Of course! I know how to use a tape recorder.”
“You know a lot of stuff, don’t you kid? Tell me, how do you learn all of it? I mean, I can’t imagine that you go to school, what with your financial state…”
“Well, I still go to school. I just don’t actually enter. I watch the other students take their classes through the windows, and I try to pick up as much from the lessons as I can. When the other children see me, they’ll chase me away.”
“Ah. So, you’re sort of an outcast?”
“I was an outcast when I was a young colt at my school. It wasn’t for the same reasons, though. I was the weirdo of my class from grade school to high school. I eased up a bit during college, where everybody was a weirdo and I was just one of the crowd. Shows that things change as the years go by.”
“Do they? I feel that they stay the same. The rich will stay rich, the poor will stay poor, the corrupt will continue to hold the power, and the good will continue to be ignored.”
Damn, she’s good. Lemon has a lot of insight for a kid. It’s a shame I’m making her leave. I looked down and realized that we had completely finished the breakfast.
“Man, that was good!” Lemon wiped the crumbs off her mouth and picked up a glass of orange juice with her magic. I raised my glass about to drink down the orange juice when Lemon spoke again.
“I propose a toast… to Marker Hysteria’s crusades in journalism!”
Lemon and I drank down our orange juice. Guess there was no delaying the inevitable now. I got up and walked over to where I had hung my jacket. Reaching into the pocket, I pulled out a pouch of money. I emptied about half of it onto the table. I knew I had more, and that I would get paid later the day for my column.
“Alright, Lemon, come here.”
Lemon trotted over with a smile on her face. I almost had second thoughts, but I made sure to stick to my plan.
“Okay, here you go.” I handed the filly the bits. “This should be enough for you to buy some books to study from, and also a good amount of food.”
Lemon looked up at me, with an expression as if to say, “Really? You gotta be kidding me.”
“Look, kid, I would let you stay if I could, but I can’t. I don’t have the time or the patience to take care of a kid, and right now I really have to get writing on my next column about the royal wedding. So take the money and go, because I--”
At that instant, an incredibly loud siren started sounding outside. I ran to the window and pulled it open. Ponies were running everywhere in the streets, panicking as if the world was about to end.
“What’s going on?”
I ran back to my desk and turned on the phonograph, changing its settings to pick up radio signals. I switched through the radio stations.
“...the royal wedding has been ruined, Canterlot has been invaded…”
“...changeling forces have broken through the force field around Canterlot…”
“...Princess Celestia has been knocked unconscious and taken prisoner, ponies everywhere are in a panic…”
“...Queen Chrysalis of the changeling empire has been sucking the life out of Shining Armor for months in disguise as Princess Cadence…”
Suddenly, I could feel inspiration flowing through me, like blood flows through my veins. I picked up my jacket and pulled out my tape recorder. I needed to take some notes. Without pause, I pushed the “record” button.
“Saturday, April 21, 2012. The sirens are blaring through the streets like a marching band at a hoofball game. But even those sirens aren’t nearly as loud as the hundreds of ponies running for their lives. The reason, as far as I’m able to infer, is because Canterlot has been invaded by changelings and our beloved Princess Celestia has been knocked out and taken prisoner by the changelings’ ruler, Queen Chrysalis.
“The changelings have been our enemies for years, and I suppose they have finally taken to the attack, in what will doubtlessly be called the Changeling Invasion. The princesses have control of the history books, after all, and if they want it called the Changeling Invasion, that’s what it will be called. Because there’s going to be Changeling blood splattered all over Canterlot like some strange expressionist painting. And you know something? It’s not their fault.
“The changeling queen is only about a hundred years old at most--her body keeps being destroyed, but her mind is preserved as part of the grand hive, so every time she emerges, she has a new body but the same mind. Now consider this: how is a maximum hundred-year-old queen able to defeat a princess who has been around for over two thousand years? Well, let’s face the facts: she isn’t. But no one even bothered to check to see if it was possible before it happened. They just accept it because Celestia says it’s possible.
“Queen Chrysalis is a weak, easily-broken leader who thinks she is grander than she really is. The changelings are a terrible, sadistic race of parasites that live only by sucking the love out of everypony they encounter. They have no emotions; they have no capability of falling in love themselves. When speaking about them, I realize now that they are not actually animals. Animals instinctively adapt to an environment once they move there, but changelings do not. They just encounter a place, attack it, and suck the love out of everypony there, and once fully drained they turn the ponies into more of them, and multiply, until all the love is consumed. There is another species that does this: a virus. Changelings are a disease, a plague, a curse on Equestrian life, and Princess Celestia believes that she is the cure.
“Only she isn’t. No, she is just another part of the disease, another organism of the bacterial infection in Equestria, another piece in the puzzle that will result with the destruction of Equestria. Celestia knew that she could destroy Chrysalis if she wanted to, but instead she decided to let herself get taken advantage of. As far as I can tell, it is doubtlessly to further train her protege, Twilight Sparkle, for an assignment that is currently unknown. Yes, why take matters into your own hooves and save the country with the power you have, when instead you can be a lazy rumphead and let the enemy take over while hoping that an OCD teenager will somehow save the day?
“I say this is a bad lesson for other ponies in Equestria, but I know that they won’t do what Celestia does. She preaches about other things anyway, and somehow all the times she has chickened out, screwed over Equestria and just sat around on her rump and did nothing, the ponies still love her! ‘Do as I say, not as I do!’
“I’m sorry. Is that too harsh of an observation for you? Does that sound too honest? Fuck you. If anyone in Equestria gave two bushels of apples about honesty, this wouldn’t be happening right now. I wouldn’t be seeing ponies running through the streets, panicking that the country is about to be destroyed. Enjoying this? Good. You earned it. With your silence.
“You see, this is how it works: The Princesses do whatever the hell they want to, and you don’t do anything. Your boss does what he wants. The jerkoff at the local coffee shop, the terrible parents of little foals who wind up on the streets, the papers that lie to you because they can. They do what they want, and you pay them to do it. This ‘invasion’ was paid for from bits out of your own pockets. They have the power to do something to prevent it, but they don’t, and you pay them anyway. You must really dig when ponies in authority they never earned lie to you, and trick you. It’s happened a million times before, but you never learn, do you?”
I paused. I turned off my tape recorder to listen. Everything was silent.
“The sirens have stopped.”
I listened closely. The ponies on the streets had stopped screaming, too. There was a general murmur, but otherwise, nothing else.
“I am so tired…”
My hoof went to my forehead and I fell face-first onto the floor. Everything went black.
My ears twitched at a noise. It was so distant that I almost wasn’t sure I heard it, but then it came again.
“Wake up, Mr. Hysteria!”
Then it all came back to me. Lemon. The invasion. The column.
I immediately shot up.
“Ah, you’re awake!” Lemon greeted me with her normal happy tone of voice. “You have a telephone from your editor!” She stretched the telephone to reach my ear. I prepared for the anger on the other end, and received… praise?
“Mark! I got some news for you. Your little assistant came over here today with your column. I read it and I immediately stopped the presses! It was too good to wait until tomorrow to send. We re-issued today’s paper, with your column on the front page!”
“You did WHAT?!”
“I know! It’s great, isn’t it? Your column will now be the front page headline on the Saturday papers! You’re famous again, man!”
I turned to Lemon.
“You typed up my column?”
Lemon backed away.
“Well, as you were talking I sort of, um…”
“No!” I looked back at the phone. I didn’t want to vent my anger at Lemon, only at Mr. Word. “Hell no! I don’t want to be famous again! You miserable whore-hopping, rump-licking…”
“Hey, get some perspective, Mark! You could make thousands of bits from this!”
“...father-stabbing, mother-raping, cat-killing--how many thousands?”