My Pretty Pony
OK, so I'm a huge Stephen King fan, and I love just about everything he's put to paper. I realize that some people think he's a hack, but they are usually just misinformed. Most of the time you mention Stephen King to a non-fan, they say "oh, I don't like that scary stuff" or "His stuff is too bloody for me." Well, those people have never read Bag of Bones, and almost to a person don't realize that the movies The Shawshank Redemption and Stand By Me were both Stephen King short stories. Anyway, I must have mentioned to someone that one of my favorite Stephen King short stories was called My Pretty Pony. This story is basically about the passage of time, the kinds of time that exist, and how it seems to speed up as you get older. It's not a particularly uplifting tale, told by a grandfather to his grandson, but it's well written, and haunting in its own way. It always reminds me to grab on to every moment that I'm on this planet, and to make my best attempt to not let life just slip by while I'm busy not noticing. Last Friday, I came into work, and standing on my mousepad in front of my computer is this: My Pretty Pony. I promptly named her "Bitchslap" since she was pretty hot -- in a pony kind of way-- and also had some ink. Whenever you combine tattoos with platinum blonde hair, you have a recipe for one tough chick, even if her tats were just lollipops and hearts. I took her off the mouse pad and placed her on my monitor, right next to my pewter spiderman. (Don't ask.) When I left for the day, I forgot to take her with me. On Monday morning I walked in and sat down, said 'sup to Bitchslap, and began my day. Around lunch time, I headed downstairs for a quick bite, and when I came back ten minutes later, her hair was braided. I know she didn't do it herself. I had no idea who gave me the damn thing to begin with, and also no idea who braided her hair while I was at lunch. The pony-giver was messing with me. I was beginning to think I had a stalker. The braid wasn't a good look for her, I think mainly because she doesn't have the cheekbones to pull it off. I took her down off my monitor, all the while realizing that it probably didn't look too normal for a grown man to be playing with a pretty pony at his desk during lunch, but I succeeded in furtively unbraiding her hair. Since it was lunchtime, I managed to do it without anyone walking by and seeing me. She was back to her normal, sultry, yellow-gold self in no time. Yesterday morning, when I walked into my cube, this was on my desk: OK. Someone is spending money on me*. The first time it was funny, the second time it's starting to get a little weird and creepy. But I'm good with it, and call her Violet, because it's the first thing that occurs to me. I stick her on the monitor next to Bitchslap. She doesn't look tough, but she's tougher than me, because there's no way I would have anything, even flowers, tattooed on my ass. The more I looked at her, the tougher she got. At least as tough as Bitchslap, if not more so, I thought. I now had two pretty (albeit tough) ponies, and the top of my monitor was starting to look decidedly un-masculine. Even then, I realized something wasn't right. Those two, just sitting there next to each other, like best buds. It bugged me until today, when I discovered what was wrong. There wasn't any conflict to this story. Two ponies, kinda the same but different colors, yadda, yadda. Where's the back-story in that, for chrissakes? I looked at them again, and thought I saw something deep in their doe-like, painted-on pony eyes. I thought it was a simmering anger, maybe even....resentment. No, that wasn't it. Hatred? Could what I was seeing actually be hatred? Yes! It was hatred. These ponies aren't friends, I realized. For god's sake, they're obviously sworn enemies! What was I thinking? There was only one way to fix everything: I feel much, much better now. Added bonus -- I got my own version of that hot, 'pony-on-pony-action' prison movie after all. Go on, tell me it's not hot. Just look at it. *As it turns out, someone told me they give these things away in Happy Meals. It all makes sense now. Well, not really.