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CHAPTER 2 - Expectations

Hussein outlined the shop's day-to-day as he showed off his magnificent storefront. "Now my boy, we open at 10 AM but usually I am here around 6 or 7. These fluffy horse creatures require great attention. They have everything they need within their pens - food and water dishes have automatic dispensers on regulated timers for my convenience. I have seen what these things do if they get... needy. Trust me, they are very stupid and it is very ugly. Their poop boxes do filter waste at regular times but we need to clean out the catches every night. They are very wasteful things but the less work needed to keep them smelling good the better. Our clients demand fluffy horse creatures that smell fresh and that means they want it to match their own scents. We have over fifteen hundred eh.. fragrances? I say this right? Yes, we have fifteen hundred fragrances, some of this more expensive than most people's paychecks! Have you heard of Clive Christian?" My stare was as blank as the references section on my resume. "Eh... I thought not. We must cater completely to the whims of these people. As is said, 'the customer is king.'"

As we approached the holding pens for the various fluffies, each pen marked with an equally impressive sign denoting the names and personalities of fluffy contained within each, he outlined how he had organized his setup in further detail. Earth, unicorn, pegasus, and alicorn, each had their own enclosures and each fluffy within had a gold personalized nametag and summary. "Our clients want to know what fluffy horse creature they wish to acquire and how they behave. We do not carry so-called "smarties" or "toughies" but, if so desired, customers can custom order whatever they wish. A few friends in the Hasbio have shown me certain, eh... methods for adjusting personalities so anything is possible."

Hussein continued on about customer demands and desires as I looked over the pen arrangements in more detail. The pens were laid out along the right half of the store in 4 equal rectangular areas. The walls of each pen are about 3 feet high, enough to prevent any sort of escape but short enough for the fluffies to peer over and view their potential owners. Each fluffy was prancing around, cooing and giggling with ignorant joy as they played with their overly expensive blocks and balls, chasing each other around in games of tag or hide and seek, giving each other hugs and sleeping wherever they so desired. These were truly designer creatures; Some black on white, some multicolored manes and tails, some with secondary body colors in varying patterns and arrangements, and quite a few alicorns to boot. As I glanced over the summary panel for each fluffy one thing stuck out to me.

"Mr. Hussein, are they all female?"

Hussein grinned, "You noticed that, eh? Well it's far easier to keep females together as it helps eliminate unwanted breedings. These females are all untouched by males, of course. The last thing a client wants is a 'used good.'"

Hussein looked to continue but was cut off by a delicate voice from a pure white earth fluffy. "Awe yu nu daddeh? Yu beh Snuweh's nu daddeh?" I turned my attention to the innocent gaze of what appeared to be a 2 month old filly, her large blue eyes and innocent smile betraying her lack of awareness of the situation. I nearly opened my mouth to respond but was interrupted by a firm hand on my shoulder and a hearty laugh from my new employer. "Not quite, Snowy. This here is your new nutrition expert. I know you eat the best there is but Alan here is going to make sure your nutrition makes you and your friends the best!" The fluffy's gaze slowly shifted to the ground with a dejected "Oh... Otay... Fank ou Mistah Aw-wan." before she turned around to hug the discarded stuffed rabbit she left behind to greet a would-be customer.

His hand still on my shoulder, Hussein directed our tour to the door at the back of the shop labeled "Preparation." "Now for the most part, you'll be in the back. I need some new foods to aide with their digestion. These things still make foul and liquidy excrements, very disgusting." He swung open the door to reveal a darkened room roughly half the width of the showroom separated by a wall running the length of the room to the back leading to another door. He flicks the light to reveal his vast array of perfumes, wrapping materials, different styles of gift baskets, designer toys and trinkets; the room was covered in vomit enducingly-cutesy white lace style wall papers and extremely plush white shag carpeting. I could only imagine the royal family setting up their newborn here if they had lost all semblance of taste. "Here is the preparations room for new sales. Often clients will want to come and hand select various gift ideas for their new creatures so I made sure everything is as exquisite as my showroom. It also makes the fluffy pony creatures feel comfortable while we get them ready." We walk down the tile path along the wall of the prep area, past an elaborate wooden door. "Behind here is my office, just pray we don't need to meet in there beyond finishing of your application, yes?" He lets out a hearty chuckle as we continue our tour.

Hussein swung open the door at the end of the tile path to an oddly normal looking employee lounge. I guess he spared expense only when it came to his workers. It was oddly surprising given the outlandish nature of the rest of the store - microwave, coffee maker, fridge, blah blah blah. Everything seemed lifted from the late 80's and into the early 90's. Hussein, as extravagant as his persona, doesn't seem above dumpster diving. At least the seats weren't cheap plastic shit and had some actual comfort in mind. "I don't need to explain such a room... Wait is this your first job, boy?" I shook my head, and began to tell him of my time at WalMart. "Ah, then no worries, you know this deal. Just make sure to label things you bring in. I do provide daily meals because a happy bee is a busy bee, yes?" Oh goody, my first job where I don't have to starve. He then motions to a staircase running along the back wall obscured by a half-wall hidden behind the kitchen area. Oh, please no.

We descend the stairs into a cool, unevenly lit room about the size of the employee lounge above, fitted with a more elaborate and fairly updated kitchen area laid out along the right wall. By recent, I mean early 2000s. The appliances matched color but were all different brands, some good, some crap, all heavily worn. More of Hussein's dumpster diving resulted with cheap counter tops and food prep areas... And my primary work location. "Here's where I will need you, friend. I have everything you will need for meal preparations. Like I said I want to cut down on their foul smelling excrements." He swung open the fridge and freezer doors to reveal "gourmet" pet foods, various mineral waters, store brand frozen berries, vegetable pasta sauces, and mason jars of ground meat. I've seen these "gourmet" meals before so I know what he was dealing with - 50% actual food and 50% byproduct all suspended in heavy grease and oil. No wonder they were dropping such loose stools; not to mention the woefully poor digestion system these fluffies are known for. I kept quiet, however; I needed to keep this job for as long as I could. I rummaged through the cabinets and found many packages of various store brand pastas and pots and pans strewn throughout, all in various states of wear and cleanliness. The utensil situation was similar as well; all strewn about the drawers, mismatched colors and states of use. ...Fffffuck "I have everything you will need to get started, but I know you will need ingredients. Just make a list of what is needed and I will make sure it will be there the next day, okay?" I nodded, still looking over the arrangements. That's when I noticed the unopened bulk bag of cheap dog food. My voice sheepishly perked up: "Mister Hussein, who gets this kibble here?" as I gestured to the bag. Hussein gave a quick glance before his short reply of "This doesn't concern you yet, my boy. When you are ready, I will teach you."

"You have reminded me," he added making his way to a door at the back of the room. I failed to take notice of the reinforced steel door while my attention was preoccupied with the disaster that is my work space. Hussein reached for the odd push-button switch to the ride side of the door. Red, white, and blue; three round buttons in a vertical row on the face of the light switch. He firmly pressed the blue button which caused the red button to pop back into alignment with the white button below it. He began speaking to himself, "waaHid, Ithnaan, Thalaatha..." then reached into his pocket and pulled out out a key ring, taking ahold of a small black key and unlocking the large door. "‘ashara, aHad ‘ashar, ithnaa ‘ashar..." Hussein walked over to the bag of kibble and slung it over his shoulder, looking over to me. "Now wait here, I'll be back after a few. You get uh... intimate with your station, yes? ‘ishriin, waHid wa ‘ishriin, ithnaan wa ‘ishriin..." He then stood to the right of the door in front of the switch, nodding his head what seemed to be every second. "thalaathiin." He pulled the door open and made his way through the hanging strip curtain into a room awash with a soft blue glow. I couldn't make out what was behind him but I could distinctly hear fluffy mumbling, chirping and... whimpering? I couldn't make out much while Hussein quietly pulled the door closed behind him.

I took his words to heart as I opened each cabinet and drawer, rearranging things as mom taught me; neat, tidy and easy to find. I must have lost track of time as while I was busy putting the pans in order the large ominous door swung open; the same cooing and chirping sounds emanating from within. The strip curtain whipped open with Hussein's large figure pushing through and a small yellow and purple puff ball clenched firmly in his hairy grasp. He slammed the door behind him, pressed the white button on the switch beside it, muttered something, then brought the puff up to eye level - a female pegasus fluffy held firmly by the scruff. "Listen here, you shit creature. You have had last of Hussein's patience. Next time you make customer angry you will want die, understood?" There was no response, the fluffy's face covered in mucus and tears, it's rear end, stomach fur and hooves brown and yellow with caked shit and piss. The only expression upon it's face was akin to a thousand yard stare accompanied only by heavy breathing. Hussein's back-hand cracked like lightning across the animal's face. It's expression perked up; but still the same dejected and horrified look, and it turned its face and red eyes slowly to meet Hussein's. "Did you hear me, shit horse?!" The fluffy managed to weakly respond, "Dayzee nu knu wah d-daddeh sey..." Hussein reiterated, "YOU WILL BEHAVE AND GET SOLD OR YOU WILL STAY THERE FOREVER, GOT IT?!" He slammed the fluffy's body against the door in time with last his words. The fluffy began to nervously ramble, "Dayzee wan gud home!! Dayzee wan yummeh fud and nice mummah o daddeh!! Dayzee-" He slapped the terrified creature once more, "SHUT UP! I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU WANT! YOU WILL BEHAVE OR I WILL TAKE MY TIME WITH YOUR PAIN." A sullen look washed over the fluffy's face, its gaze focused soley on the ground. Hussein, seemingly finding his position in the universe once more, looked over at me whilst I was squatting in front of the cabinets with my gaze over my shoulder at the situation unfolding. "Ah, good boy, I never really got time to set things up well. I am sure you will take to your new position well." He walked over to me, lowering the fluffy to his side, "These things need constant discipline, as you know. If I let up at all then they think they own my store! Totally unacceptable, yes?" I stood up, turning to him with a large pot still in hand. "Oh great! Erm..." He paused, looking at his mucus covered hand. He looks to the fluffy and wipes the mess off on it's back - the only clean patch of fur left. He continued: "These animals need pasta treats today. Would you mind making a large batch? I'll need at least 3 boxes worth." The fluffy's ears perked up, her head lifting to look towards Hussein, "D-Dayzee hab sketties?" He shook his fluffy held hand violently, exclaiming, "NO! Only good shit horses get pasta!" The fluffy's head dropped back down with an audible sigh, "Dayzee sawwy daddeh.." He looked back to me again, "That is, if I will expect you to join my staff?" I nodded, slightly worried for my own safety but somewhat confident that he takes his aggression out only on the animals he hawks. "Yes, sir. I can start today."
Uploader Mr_Roberts,
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CwinicawDepwession: Good shit, I'm definitely interested in seeing more of this weird, opulent little shop.
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