A tribute to Carpdime’s Avocado
Chapter Ten – Movement
featuring art by Polar
There was a tension at a small table within the local diner. A plate of steak and eggs was getting cold, as the redhead who would usually wolf down a hearty breakfast on one of her workout days was stunned by what she just heard.
“Why didn’t you tell me about this?”
The Auburn didn’t look at the redhead. Avoiding the glare and crossed arms, the Auburn looked out of the window, and sighed. Feebly, she admitted, “I didn’t want to worry you.”
“Worry?! I’m your best friend! Of course I’m worried. That punk made your life hell. You spent an entire year in rehab because of him.”
Amber mustered up a little courage to look back at a friend. Scarlet’s face was filled with anger but, and more importantly, disappointment.
“Did you even file a report?”
“I did. At first, I was worried he might come again. But he didn’t show up, so I put it behind me.”
“And you didn’t even tell me.”
The redhead, with consternation, glanced to the side, avoiding Amber for a while. She glanced back at her dish and tried to eat one of the eggs, breaking the yolk with her fork. As she placed it on the bread, she could feel both curiosity and disappointment preventing her from enjoying her meal. Placing both utensils back on the table and looking back at her friend, she asked the question.
“Is that the reason why you’re leaving?”
The Auburn was looking at her own breakfast of eggs benedict on rice, which she had yet to touch. As she kept playing with her food, she replied, “No, that’s not it at all.”
“Then why are you leaving?”
A sad sigh came out of Avocado’s mouth. Standing before him was the likeness of his owner, Mark, who he had been conversing with by the tablet over the past many months. Thousands of miles away, on the other side of the continent, Mark apologized.
“Abo hab biggest saddies, bu’ Abo undahstan. Tests am hawd.”
“I know Avo. I really want to be there, but I got to pass this test. I made a promise to Grandpa that I would be able to look after you if you pass.”
Despite the disappointment, Avocado knew full well the importance of school, and with that, tests. After all, just as Mark could only be with him in spirit during his own test, the most that Avocado could do for his daddeh was to wish him well for this test that he imagined hummehs usually take in their schools.
“Avo am shuwe daddeh will do am bestest! Avo bewief in ‘ou, daddeh!”
Our young man smiled. Despite his young age, Avocado always acted rather mature for a fluffy. And while it was unusual, it was something that he appreciated about the little guy.
“I’d like to talk to grandpa.”
“Otay!” squealed Avocado in delight, as he turned round to call his adoptive grandfather.
“Gwampa! Daddeh wan hab tawkies wif ‘ou!”
And with that, our little green fluffy scampered away, as he retreated to his room. Through the screen, Mark could see his old man approach the tablet. After the usual greetings, the topic turned to Mark’s own studies.
“Big exam huh?”
“Yeah, but I think I got it down. I did quite well last time, and I managed to breeze through the midterms. I already put in most of the legwork for this class, and I have a good feeling about this paper.”
The old man nodded. He wasn’t sure of our young man was lying, but, as he had done so many times before, he could only place his faith that Mark was telling the truth and, more importantly, was doing his best.
With that topic in mind, Mark quickly mentioned, “By the way, I heard that Avocado passed his test!”
It was just a passing remark. Mark had heard about how well Avocado had been behaving himself in class aside from the occasional shenanigans, and had faith that Avocado did okay at his test, and was a model example of a domestic fluffy pony.
But Harold’s face was rather somber.
“That’s an understatement, Mark. Avocado has gotten the highest results of anyone in his class.”
Mark’s eyes widened as he heard that.
“The highest? Avocado did that well?”
”Pretty much. Even his teacher was shocked. She knew Avocado to be smart, but his results exceed any fluffy who had taken similar tests in the past few years. Apparently, he has even outscored most other fluffies in the state. Only a few have outdone or are at about his level.”
Baffled by what he was hearing, Mark simply asked, “So he’s a genius?”
“Apparently. Ms Auburn suggested that Avo should get some further education. Its optional but, with his intellect, Avocado could take on a job, provided he’s trained in it.”
“I had heard about that. They’ve been employing fluffy in simpler jobs. But what kind of fluffy schools even offer that kind of training?”
Harold was sort of prepared for this moment. Earlier that day, when he was talking to Ms. Auburn about the various schools that offered further education for particularly gifted fluffies, with the prospect of providing with employment, she had mentioned St Muffins. That school was located not too far from his hometown, and while it would take a while to drive there, Harold was prepared to make the constant journey to ferry Avocado to and fro at this school. Plus, this school came with a dormitory, something that Avocado could try first.
“Well, Avo’s teacher passed this pamphlet about the few specialized schools that set up for furthering fluffy education. The ones that she recommended are St Muffin’s, which is nearby and West Celestial Academy, which is on the East Coast. I’m thinking of sending Avocado to St Muffin’s as-”
“Wait a minute,” interrupted Mark, as he asked, “did you just say West Celestial Academy?”
“Yes, what about it?”
“So you managed to land a position at West Celestial Academy?”
The Auburn nodded her head as she noted, “Yes. I’ll be working there as a Physical Education coach, as well as a guidance counselor. I’m close to finishing my thesis, and I’ll be getting extra credit from my time at this Academy.”
Doctor Luca readjusted his glasses. He had been a veterinarian at the Mayclore clinic for a few years now, and had developed a close friendship with the Auburn. He was shocked by her sudden announcement to leave the daycare for further studies, and was also baffled by her decision to join West Celestial Academy, which was on the other side of the country.
“I still think it’s very far for you to travel, but I won’t judge.”
Seeking to change the subject, the Auburn asked, ”So did you find out anything new about the fluffies sold by the Foalcan company?”
“Funny you mentioned that. I actually did a little investigation, and there’s a discrepancy between how some of them were neutered. Apparently, a specific batch before March of last year was completely neutered, with little to no sexual organs. However, I reviewed two of the foals who came into my clinic lately who were of a later batch. And both of them were chemically neutered like Avo was.”
“That does seem unusual.”
“It is. And speaking of Avocado, how did he do in his aptitude test?”
Grinning, the Auburn playfully poised to the doctor, ”Would you believe me if I told you he passed?”
Dr Luca maintained a straight face, as he replied, ”No I wouldn’t”.
“What do you mean?”
“He’s a foalcan, right? Foalcan said that their foals were 3D-printed. There is this common belief that fluffies are pre-programmed and are able to speak naturally. It’s a myth, but it was true that the original fluffies, which were artificially constructed in Hasbio’s labortaories, had a synthetic brain that was programmed through an artificial intelligence. These fluffies were capable of learning but, and due to the AI that was programmed into their brain, their aptitude for learning was heavily limited.”
Trying to comprehend what Dr Luka was saying, the Auburn asked, “Are you telling me that the first fluffies didn’t actually learn?”
“That is what I’m saying, yes. You see, the reason why ‘natural born fluffies’, or the fluffies as we currently know them, are able to learn things is because they have a naturally developed brain. Theirs is a difference between a brain that has been developed by nature, formed in a womb, and a brain that was created by humans. It is like comparing the difference between a computer, and an animal brain.”
The Auburn was speechless. After a while, she could only manage a simple response.
”But I don’t get it.”
The doctor, raising an eyebrow in suspicion, asked, “Tell me - How well did Avocado do?”
“He’s the top of his class.”
And the Auburn took out the papers to prove that our little green fluffy was, indeed, the smartest fluffy of his current batch.
“Intriguing. And you said he’s a foalcan?”
“He’s not the only foalcan. A number of entrants to my classes have been foalcans. Granted, none of them are as intelligent as Avocado, but they were still able to learn one or two things.”
“This is getting more and more suspicious.”
“What are you going to do about it?”
Dr Luka diverted his gaze for a while and looked to his desk.
“I don’t know just yet.”
“And now in business.
Foalcan Inc has secured another two billion in funding from the Friendship Fund. Melissa Momnes, one of the youngest CEOs in Silicon Valley history, is a rising star in the biotech industry-”
The sudden chime of the doorbell alerted the old man, who was watching the news on the television. His son had recently returned home, taking a week off during his summer break to spend time with his parents. His son had borrowed his father’s car to make the trip to visit our little green foal, who he had not seen for almost half a year now.
The old man smiled, as he greeted his son, Mark. Avocado was in his arms, as he enjoyed this minor game of upsies with his father figure.
“Hey son. And welcome back Avo!”
“Daddeh bwing Abo home fwom skuul!”
Despite his intelligence, Avocado was prone to the fluffy pony weakness of stating the obvious. Grandpa acknowledged Avocado with chuckle, “Yes he did.
I got the television on and they’re showing My Little fluffy. How about you go watch an episode while I talk to your dad?”
Mark bent down, and slowly let Avocado jump on to the floor. The little fluffy proceeded to gallop towards the living room, where the television was.
Father and son walked towards the kitchen. The son, still recovering from jet lag, made himself a cup of coffee.
“So you’re really going to take Avo?”
Mark placed the coffee on the table.
“I thought we agreed to it, dad?”
The old man looked to the window. His wife, Catherine, was in the garden, pulling out the weeds.
“I really wanted to send him to St Muffins.”
In protest, Mark pointed out, “But dad, you promised me.”
“I know I did, son.”
Mark stared at the ground. He was angry, but, he could understand why his father had his reservations.
“Avocado really means that much to you, huh?”
Harold could feel a lump in his throat. It was hard to admit.
It feels so weird Mark. Avocado doesn’t feel like a pet to me, or even like an adoptive grandson. He feels like a son to me.”
“I know dad, I know.”
It was a silent agreement between both men, speaking of a past that haunted them to this day.
“If you really want to keep looking after Avo, dad, I g-“
“No,” said Harold, interrupting his son mid-sentence. He repeated himself, as he clarified, “No, I’m being selfish. I had a good time as a father, and I raised a responsible son who put his priorities first, and got so far.”
Facing his son, Harold placed his hands on Mark’s elbows, as he assured him, “The whole family is counting on your Mark, and I know you did well. I’m happy that you got yourself back on track. I should learn to trust you more.”
“It’s okay, dad. I wouldn’t be as responsible if I didn’t have you as a dad.”
Harold slightly slapped the elbow of his son, as he gripped it tightly.
“You take good care of Avocado, okay? He’s more than just a pet.”
“I know dad.”
From across the kitchen, Mark looks to the room where Avocado had been staying for the past many months.
“So you’re really doing this huh?”
It was a busy day at the airport. In the background, the intercom was announcing the flights that were departing, reminding passengers to board the terminal. The redhead and the Auburn were standing just a few meters away from the check-in, and the Auburn had already placed her luggage. Her fluffy, Candy, was currently in a pet carrier placed with the other pets and fluffies within a compartment on the plane.
Both girls sighed, though for different reasons. Realizing the rather synchronous nature of their sighs, they then started to laugh. They then gave each other a hug, as the redhead whispered in the Auburn’s ear. “You take care of yourself, girl.”
“You know I will. This is not the first time I’m doing this.”
It was an early morning in August when the fluffies of East Side Daycare returned for the first day of the new school year. Though adults, these fluffies still had to take lessons as they were prone to forgetfulness, and the confines of the daycare was a place to socialize, as well as develop other social skills. However, someone was missing today on the first day of the daycare. And it was not just the Auburn and Candy.
“Whewe am Abo?”
Bonnie looked around in confusion, wondering where her favourite friend was. She could recognize everybody in her class, but Avocado was not there. Scarlet, who was the substitute teacher for the day, explained the situation to our little peach coloured fluffy.
“Avocado has gone to another school. One closer to that of his daddy’s. He might come back soon some day, though.”
But Bonnie did not hear the last part, as she cried out, “Abo am gone?!”
“Not forever, Bonnie. He’s just gone to another school.”
Bonnie was stunned at first. And then, she wailed, as the tears fled from her eyes and soaked her fluff.
“Dis nu am faiw!! Fiwst mummah Amba and Candee, and nao Abo? And Bonnie neba got to say gud bai!!”
“Fwuffy am saddies tuu! My bestest fwend, Abo, aww gone! With nu gudbais!”
That came from Blueberry. He was incredibly fond of Avocado, and the green fluffy had helped him find courage as a foal. But now, he was also gone. As both Bonnie and Blueberry cried, Buttercup looked on helplessly.
Later that evening, the redhead was sitting at the sofa watching television when she noticed that Buttercup had his head down.
“What’s wrong, Buttercup?”
“Mummah, wiww Avocado come back?”
The Scarlet smiled. She got up, picked up our yellow little fluffy, and sat down on the sofa with him in his lap. She stroked his mane and head, attempting to reassure him.
“Avocado will come back some day. He might be gone for a forever, but he is family. Just like how Mark, my cousin, is family.”
Buttercup lowered his head and closed his eyes. Feeling the sadness, he too could feel the tears wet his fluff.
“Butew miss Avo.”
An old man was standing in the room. He had already put aside the toys that he had given to Avocado to play for the past few months. It was a joy to see those toys be used after years of inactivity. He could still heard the childlike laughter and squeals coming from a little green foal, who grew up to become a fine stallion. He had heard the laughter and intelligence, as he had raised a fine young son. And yet, a bitter memory lingered in his mind. Looking in the emptiness of the room, he falls to the ground and cries.
At a dormitory near West Celestial Academy, a young auburn haired woman was looking through the documents that she received, as well as the tracksuit she was going to wear. Nearby, on the ground, her loyal and dedicated fluffy was sleeping soundly. The Auburn knew that there was a possibility she might not come into contact with our little green fluffy. But she still hoped that she would be able to track his progress, somehow.
It was a long journey, but, Avocado was finally back at the beginning.
Avocado remembered this place. He remembered the sink, where he would get a bath. He remembered the dining room table, where his father would dry him, as well as feed with him, and teach him some things. And underneath the table was his pet bed, which his father got for cheap off from PeeBay. Although the light was still on, and daddeh was going to watch his game of football, AVo was feeling tired after a long flight.
Snuggling into his little pet bed, he felt a familiarity he had forgotten for so many months. And yet, it was comforting. It wasn’t as spacious as grandpa’s house. And it didn’t have all the toys he had played with as a foal.
But it was home. And Avocado was happy.