Rupert propped his front hooves up against the side of the bench. “Nice wady be nyu mummah?”
The woman looked down at him. “Oh, I’m sorry, dear. “I’d love to take you in, but I’m too old to take care of a mare!”
Rupert raised an eyebrow. “Buh nu am mawe! Am boy fwuffy!”
“Oh, you can be anything you want to be, honey!” The woman smiled at him, and turned back to her book.
Rupert sighed. He saw a man looking at the bus timetable, over by the bus shelter, and walked over. “Hewwo, nice hoomin! Be nyu—”
“Fuck off, shitrat!”
The man’s boot lashed out. Rupert felt it connect, and went flying across the pavement. He smacked into one of the shelter’s support poles, and came to a stop.
“SCREEEEEE! Owwies! Why meanie hoomin huwt fwuffy?”
The man didn’t reply. Rupert rose to his feet and looked around. Some of the humans muttered to each other and stole glances at him, or at the man that had kicked him, but none of them made eye contact for more than a moment.
Rupert lowered his head and walked away, shaking. His ribs were sore, and one of his legs wasn’t moving right, but nothing seemed to be broken.
He turned down an alleyway. It was almost dark-time, and most of the humans had gone home already. Maybe he would be lucky enough to find a spare boxie this time…
His stomach growled. He hadn’t had any nummies today. He’d found some fish and chips on the ground earlier, when he’d gone looking for humans at the beach, but the white and grey birdie-monsters had got there first. They hadn’t been interested in sharing.
Rupert turned and saw a pink stallion perched on top of an overflowing dumpster, sneering at him.
“Dummeh! Dis am smawty wand!”
“S-sowwy!” Rupert’s heart skipped a beat. “Wupewt nu know—”
“Buh… maybe smawty an’ pwetty mawe can make twadesies.” The smarty hopped down onto some garbage bags, and onto the ground. He took a step forward; Rupert took a step back.
“W-Wupewt nu am mawe! Am boy fwuffy!”
They always got it wrong. They always called him a mare, never a stallion. Some of the humans at the fluffy store had said that he looked like a mare because he had ‘andygen sensitivity’, or something like that, but he had no idea what that meant.
The smarty sneered. “Weawwy? Buh Wupewt wook wike mawe.” He drew in a deep breath, and closed his eyes. “Smeww wike mawe.” He turned a little to the side, so that Rupert could see his no-no stick. It had already started growing big and strong. “An’ if pwetty mawe wan’ stay in smawty wand, den pwetty mawe mus’ gib smawty speciaw huggies.”
“Buh-buh nu am mawe!”
“Dummeh!” The smarty leaned in close, close enough that Rupert could smell his breath, and jabbed him in the breast. ‘Ou AM mawe! An’ if dummeh mawe wan’ stay hewe, den—”
“NU! Nu wan’! Am STAWW-”
“Dummeh mawe! Gib enfies NAO!”
The smarty leapt forward, and headbutted Rupert in the face. His horn grazed Rupert’s cheek, an inch or so below the eye. Rupert howled, and swung blindly with his hoof. He felt it connect with something soft for a moment, and slide off.
The smarty swung around on his forelegs, and drove a hindleg into Rupert’s side. Rupert howled as the soft hoof connected with his bad leg, and crumpled.
The smarty was on top of Rupert a moment later. The pink stallion smacked him in the back of the head with a forehoof, and then shifted his weight onto his injured leg.
“Nuuuuu!” Rupert said. “Nu am mawe! Nu am—” He went silent as he felt something hard prod his special lumps.
“Huh?” The hard thing—the no-no stick—jabbed a few more times. Prod, prod, prod. “Why dummeh mawe haf speciaw wumps?”
Rupert breathed out, and felt a weight lift inside his chest. Maybe he wouldn’t have to give the smarty special huggies after all—
“Hmph. Dat nu mattew. Smawty gib poopie-pwace huggies instead!”
“Yeah? Well fuck you too, asshole!”
Dean Tugrul hung up his phone, resisting the urge to throw it. He grabbed the cigarette he’d tucked behind his ear, lit it, and handed the lighter back to Louise.
“Hutch off his meds again?”
“Something like that.” Dean took another drag, and shook his head. “He thinks I’ve been spying on Eleanor this time. Says he saw me watching her through the window last night.”
“You told him you were up in Bowral, right?”
“Yup. Wouldn’t listen.” Dean gestured to the pint glass on the bench. “You going to finish that?”
Louise groaned. “Urgh, warm beer.” She reached into her handbag, pulling out her purse. “I think you need another drink. You want another Blonde? This round’s on—”
“SCREEEEEE! Nu wan’! Nu wan’!”
Dean raised an eyebrow. “The fuck was that?”
“Sounds like a fluffy.” Louise said. She turned her head towards the alleyway, off to the side of the pub, and grabbed his arm. A loud screech rang out a moment later.
“Come on, I think it’s in pain.”
“Seriously? You know how I hate shitrats, Louise.”
“Oh, quit your whining.”
Louise grabbed his arm and pulled him around the corner. A pink and yellow fluffy stallion was straddling a sky-blue mare in the middle of the alley, up against a heap of split garbage bags. The mare wailed and screeched as the stallion thrust into her, his face buried in her mane.
Dean burst out laughing. “Holy shit, look at him go!”
“What. The. Fuck.”
The smarty kept thrusting at the same pace for a few more seconds. He made a few faster, deeper strokes, shuddered, and threw back his head.
Several seconds passed. The smarty dismounted the mare, and stumbled off towards a pair of dumpsters. He settled into a nook between the two bins and closed his eyes. The mare sobbed into her forelegs. Neither fluffy seemed to notice to the humans watching them.
“Holy shit.” Louise’s mouth hung open. “Okay, this is way too fucked up for me, and I’m no abuser.” She gulped. “I’m gonna go buy those drinks.”
“Never seen a smarty before, huh?” Dean asked. Louise didn’t reply; she was already gone. Dean watched the sobbing mare for a few more seconds, and cleared his throat.
The mare looked up at him, eyes glazed over. “W-W-Wupewt … n-n-nu am … nu am mawe…”
Dean raised an eyebrow. Rupert? Shit, I thought that was a mare. “Really? But I just saw you getting reamed by that smarty. Looks like the sort of thing a mare might do, don’t you think?”
The fluffy struggled to its feet. It looked up at him and scowled, its eyes regaining some of their focus. “N-nu! Nu am mawe! Am boy fwuffy! Am stawwion!”
“I dunno. Still seems pretty mare-like to me.”
The fluffy wailed. It limped past Dean, out of the alleyway. He fought the urge to go after it for a moment, before turning to the smarty. Hmm … I wonder…
“Hey, pinkie. You awake?”
The smarty grunted, and opened an eye. “Huh? Dummeh hoomin? Gu way … smawty am sweepies…”
“Afraid not, buddy.” Dean picked the smarty up by the scruff with his free hand, ignoring its protests. He lifted it up into the light, turning it so that it wouldn’t be able to piss or shit on him.
“Y’know…” Dean took a drag on his cigarette, and blew the smoke in the smarty’s face. “I fucking hate shitrats. Especially smarties. But I’ve had this idea for a while, and you might be just what I’m looking for.”
The smarty’s eyes began watering. It flailed around, batting at his wrist with its forehooves. “DUMMEH - kaf - HOOMIN! Wet smawty down - hic - NAO!”
“Yeah, yeah.” Dean rolled his eyes. “Sorry hoofsies, sorry poopies, forever sleepies, I’ve heard it all before. I’d normally just kill you, but I’ve been looking for something to deal with the ferals around my place, and I think you might be it. What if I told you that you could have a place to stay? A house, and food—but only if you make sure to beat up any shitrat I tell you to?”
The smarty’s scowl vanished. “Wait … so dummeh hoomin gib housie an’ nummies, if smawty gib owwies to dummy fewaw fwuffies?”
“Dat … dat am WITE! Smawty am bestes’ smawty EBBUH! Dummeh hoomin gib smawty bestes’ housie WITE NAO! ‘Ou housie am smawty wand nao! Gib bestes’ smawty aww da toysies, an’ bestes’ sketties, an’ gud nummies, an’ enfie babbehs, an’ nummie enfies, an’ enfie sketties, an’…”
Dean chuckled. “Thought you might say that.” He put his cigarette in his mouth, walked over to a recycling bin, and threw back the lid.
“I’ll take you back to my house, but not right now. I’m having drinks with my friend this evening, and I can’t have you ruining that. But I’ll be back for you later.”
He hefted the smarty up over the bin and dropped it inside. The fluffy screamed as it hit something solid, before resuming its tirade of threats and insults.
And we won’t have any more of this ‘dummeh’ shit, you hear me? You’re my goddamn attack dog from now on, and you’re gonna start acting like it.”
“DUMMEH HOOMIN! Wet smawty OUTSIES! NAO!”
“Yeah, yeah, whatever.” Dean peered down into the bin. “Guess we’re gonna have to spend some time on that ‘dummeh’ thing, huh?”
“SMAWTY GIB HOOMIN FOWEBAH SWEEP—”
“And while we’re at it, we’re gonna have to give you a new name. No more ‘smarty’ shit from now on. How does ‘Dog’ sound to you?”
“NU AM BAWKEH MUNSTAH! SMAWTY AM BESTES’ SMAWTY—”
“Guess it’s settled, then.” Dean twisted the ash off his cigarette, scuffed it out with his shoe, and dropped the butt onto the smarty’s face. “I’ll be back in a few hours. Have a good night, Dog.”
He slammed the lid shut.