FIMFiction link: http://www.fimfiction.net/story/56451/Shame-at-the-Check-Out
Shame at the Checkout
Beads of cold sweat rolled down Rainbow Dash's neck. The hot ceiling lights above intensifying the anxiety she felt to such a point that she felt as though she was going to pass out. There she was, standing in the middle of Ponyville's largest store. Her eyes were wide, staring at the newest piece of fan-merchandise being sold.
No, it wasn't anything to do with the Wonderbolts.
It was a limited-time offer Daring Do wallet. Rainbow Dash had to keep her mouth shut to prevent drooling. The wallet was grey and had adventurer's face printed on the front, grinning competitively at some invisible foe. She was a force to be reckoned with, even as just a picture. Hilariously, based on how she looked out of the wallet, Rainbow Dash felt like she was the foe- her hero's ruby eyes piercing into her own like arrows in bows, primed to fire.
Overall, it was beyond awesome, much better than most mass-produced merchandise for the franchise. The smiling image of Daring Do, the snarling beasts in the background that tried to grab her as she swung away on a rope. Rainbow Dash did not just want the wallet. She craved it, hungered for it. The wallet was like a siren singing a heavenly song, inciting her to purchase it.
Picturing all of the fans of Daring Do wearing their own accessories, from saddle-bags to jewelry. made her ripe with envy. Not only because of the cool merchandise that they had and she wanted, but because they had the bravery to go outside and show it off without caring what anybody else's opinion was. Even though many ponies preached that the books series was "foalish", mocking anypony that liked it beyond a certain age, it didn't stop many die-hard fans from showing it off. Their response would be to simply lift their noses up with a smile as they walked on- like they owned the town and did not give a flying feather what others thought.
Rainbow Dash knew that except for her close friends, like Twilight and Applejack, most mares in town didn't read "Daring Do". Instead, they read more "mature" books, such as the "Fifty Shades of Clop" novel that everypony seemed to be talking about. Sure critics and stallions everywhere panned it, but that didn't stop a large number of mares from enjoying it. The cyan pegasus ran into mares reading it on a daily basis, sitting at coffee shops, leaning back against a tree. They would read it anywhere at anytime.
The cyan pegasus wished that she had the tiniest fraction of guts that they had when it came to expressing their love for the books. In fact, the only reason she was confident enough to get the books was because Twilight always got early copies,and would allow Rainbow Dash to either get it early so she could sneak it out of the library when nopony was looking, or read the book in the privacy of the library itself. Though she was perfectly content to help her friend sneak out of the library to read the book on her own, Twilight personally enjoyed having Rainbow Dash stick around so they could embark on the adventures of 'Daring Do' together.
She even made a pair of "Reading Buddies" t-shirts for her and Rainbow. The cyan pegasus begrudgingly wore her's around the library- but only there. Never would she step outside in something so embarrassing.
Rainbow Dash was too nervous to purchase the books in a public store. This fear was intensified one time when she decided to see where the local bookstore kept its copies of "Daring Do". She found them in the back of the store, specifically in the "youth" section. This angered her. Why would they put them in the youth section when ponies of all ages enjoyed the series- so long as they were willing to give it a chance.
At first she was insulted, then relieved that she made the decision to only purchase copies of the book from Twilight. But then she realized how silly she sounded, how weak. She was Rainbow Dash, the supposedly tough, strong pegasus that never cared what others thought and tried to approach life with a 'that's just your opinion' attitude. Angry at herself, it was then that she decided to take measures to help her get over the irrational fear she had of caring what others thought.
That's why she was here today. She was going to buy the very first piece of Daring Do memorabilia, excluding the books, and take a stand against this overwhelming, self-conscious fear, and purchase something she truly wanted.
"I can do this, I can do this." She slapped her hoof against her head, trying to psyche herself up to go through with the act. Every now and then she'd shift down the row of collectibles to make it appear as if she were looking at the newest "Batmare" accessories, something much less embarrassing for her to be a fan of. She did like Batmare, but she liked Daring Do even more. So she kept her focus on the wallet with the adventure pony on it..
"Just grab the bag, trot over to the checkout, pay for it and leave. It's as simple as that. And besides, who cares what everypony else thinks. You're Rainbow Dash! The fastest and coolest pony in Equestria, a wallet doesn't change that in the slightest."
She thought this with confidence, but in reality she was anything but. Truth was that she did care what others thought about her, she cared about her image and how others saw her.
As she continued to contemplate, a voice came over the intercom of the store, "Attention shoppers. We'll be closing in five minutes. Please finish finding what you're looking for and proceed to the check-out."
Rainbow Dash swallowed hard, took a deep breath in and exhaled slowly.
"It's now or never."
With that, she slowly extended a hoof out towards the wallet, seconds seemed like hours, the ceiling lights felt like the afternoon sun, blazing against her and causing her to sweat even more than she already was.
She extended her hoof out towards the wallet, grabbing it and bringing it to her chest. She fearfully looked from side to side, making sure nopony saw her. A couple of ponies trotted by, but they were too far away to notice the paranoid Rainbow Dash..
She let out a sigh, feeling slightly better about the situation she found herself in. But her anxiety didn't end there, for she knew holding the wallet was only half the battle. The other half came from successfully making her way through checkout as quickly and stealthily as possible. She looked down at the wallet. Daring Do's face gazed up into her own. Suddenly, Rainbow Dash felt a wave of determination surge through her.
"I can do this." She thought, taking a couple deep breaths to steady herself. "Daring Do would never care what anypony thought, and neither do I! I'm going to buy this wallet, and I'm going to hold my head up high while doing it! Bring it haters!"
And with that, Rainbow Dash started to trot off, but stopped after about three steps. Her panic was quickly winning, as she knew that she'd need to do something if she hoped to get through these next couple of minutes. She quickly turned around and snatched two of the Batmare wallets that she thought looked somewhat cool and trotted off. It wasn't like she actually wanted the Batmare wallets, even if she did enjoy some of the comics and movies. In fact, she had no desire to buy, let alone use, the two wallets she had in her possession right now..
But she felt that maybe, just maybe, if she bought two cool wallets from a more mature franchise such as Batmare, it would cancel out the "immature" Daring Do wallet in the eyes of the cashier and anypony else that happened to be around. She trotted briskly towards check-out, going as fast as possible, her Daring Do wallet sandwiched in-between the Batmare wallets to hide it from view.
Her eyes were still wide and she was still extremely nervous. She couldn't go more than ten seconds without looking over her shoulder, fearful that all of the customers in the store were staring at her. She imagined them pointing at her and calling her names behind her back because of her choice to buy the 'Daring Do' wallet.
Finally she reached the checkout line. It wasn't too long, only one pony stood between her and the cashier. But as soon as she got there, about three other ponies got behind her, having found what they were looking for and getting to check-out before the store closed. Rainbow Dash took a couple of deep breaths, relaxing herself, getting her mind onto anything else other than what she was buying. She didn't want to seem nervous, that would draw unwanted attention to herself and, possibly, the somewhat embarrassing wallet she bought.
She determined to get through this checkout as quickly and painlessly as possible. Her eyes wandered, waiting for the pony ahead of her to finish her check-out so she could get it over with. The mass of food she was having the cashier go through made Rainbow Dash grit her teeth in aggravation.
"I knew I should have gotten in the express line."
Finally the mare ahead of her was done and walked off, taking roughly ten bags stuffed to the brim with food along with her, Rainbow Dash knew it was her turn. She walked over to the register and handed the cashier the three wallets. Daring Do was still sandwiched in-between the two Batmares, something that would give ponies the idea for a stimulating fanfiction. Rainbow Dash shuddered at the thought of such stories being written.
She waited for the cashier to look over the price of each wallet. Instead of scanners, which only the richer places in Equestria had, Ponyville had the price printed on tags that were stuck to items. The cashier looked at the top wallet's price-tag and clicked it into his small calculator. He then turned the wallets over to see the price of the bottom Batmare wallet, and, again, entered it into his calculator. Rainbow Dash held her breath in anticipation. Her head started to feel light.
"Miss?" the cashier asked.
"Yeah?" Rainbow Dash answered meekly, preparing for the worst.
"You're really a huge fan of Batmare, aren't you?"
Rainbow Dash's jaw fell as the pony smiled, pointing to the two wallets he already looked over.
"Oh...yeah that! He-he, I...I love...Batmare." she said nervously.
The stallion chuckled, "Me too. Especially the recent movies that came out. They're fantastic. Colt Nolan outdid himself with that finale."
"Yep, he sure did." Rainbow Dash sighed. "Gotta love that actress that plays her. What's her name? Hayseed Bale?
The cashier pony nodded and looked over the Daring Do wallet, a curious look on his face. Rainbow began to bite her lip, preparing for the cashier to call her out in front of the ponies that were behind her in line.
"Is everything...okay?" Rainbow Dash asked.
The cashier pony shook his head, "No. I'm afraid something is not okay."
Rainbow Dash closed her eyes, ready to hear something like "You do know this is a foal's book series, right?" or "pretty interesting wallet for the coolest pony in Ponyville, <snicker>" or, possibly the worst, "What's next, are you gonna admit to wearing diapers, too?"
She could just imagine everypony laughing at her, mocking her for liking something that was so unlike her normal interests, or at least how she wanted to show off her interests. Finally cashier pony spoke.
"The tag is missing from this wallet."
Rainbow Dash opened her eyes and looked up at the cashier. "R-really? That's it?"
"What else would it be?" the cashier asked with a small chuckle. "You ought to relax a bit, no point getting worked up about checking-out of a store."
"He-he, yeah. Silly me." Rainbow Dash said nervously, rubbing the back of her head. She still couldn't believe that nothing happened. She worked herself up to be humiliated in front of everypony behind her, yet the only thing the cashier noticed was the lack of a price tag. She was about let out a sigh of relief when the cashier did something that revived the terror she felt.
Now Ponyville might not have had scanners at their stores, and much other technologies that could be found in wealthier parts of Equestria were also absent from the simple, quaint town.
But if there was one thing ponies in Ponyville took pride in, it was their ability to express themselves in the most gregarious, bombastic way possible. That was why so many impromptu songs broke out around town, that was why the town was so welcoming and full of brightness.
And that's also why intercoms were commonplace.
The cashier took out a small walkie-talkie and before Rainbow Dash could stop him, spoke into it: "REGISTER TEN, I NEED A PRICE CHECK ON A 'DARING DO ADVENTURE WALLET'!"
Rainbow's face blushed a bright red. She shrunk back from the counter, humiliated while the oblivious cashier continued.
"REGISTER TEN, COME ON I NEED A PRICE CHECK! IT'S THE WALLET FOR LITTLE FILLIES WITH DARING DO ON IT!"
Rainbow Dash slowly turned around to see some of the ponies behind her, snickering as they watched her embarrassed reaction. Her wings folded against her side, her ears fell flat against her head. She never felt more of a connection with Fluttershy than she did at that moment.
A taller stallion, roughly the same age as the cashier, trotted over to the register, a curious look on his face.
"You called me over?"
The cashier nodded, pointing to the mortified Rainbow Dash. "Yeah, this mare wanted to buy these three wallets, but the price tag on this Daring Do Wallet is missing."
"Dear Celestia, why is he doing this to me!?!" the pegasus thought, her cheeks now like a pepper in coloration and heat. "Does he understand how embarrassed I feel right now?"
The taller stallion, put his hoof to his chin in thought. "Hang on, this was in the youth section, right?"
Rainbow Dash cringed at the word 'youth' being used to describe something she wanted to purchase. She suddenly felt as if she was shrinking, slowly turning back into a school-aged filly from the humiliation she was enduring. Finally, she couldn't take it anymore and spoke up.
"Actually...I don't need it." she said. The two stallions looked at her, eyebrows raised.
"What?" asked the taller stallion. "You don't need this 'Daring Do Adventure Wallet'?"
"Stop referring to it by its full name!" Rainbow Dash screamed in her head, but her eternal dialogue did not match her internal thoughts.
"Nope! Don't need it. I'm fine." Rainbow Dash said, voice rapid and panicked.
"Really?" the cashier asked.
The cashier looked at Rainbow Dash, then back at the taller stallion, who simply shrugged. The cashier nodded and turned back, still with a look of bewilderment on his face.
"O-okay, then." The cashier said, clearly not understanding the motive behind her sudden dismissal of the wallet. "That brings your total cost down to six bits for the two Batmare wallets."
But Rainbow Dash didn't want the Batmare wallets. She wanted the Daring Do one. The other two were simply means to add maturity points to her reputation. Now that she chickened out, there was no need for the wallet.
"No, that's okay I just remembered I had a wicked sweet...[i]Wonderbolts[/i] wallet at home! Yeah, that's it! Got a nice wallet with the Wonderbolts' symbol on it. He-he."
A snicker came from behind her. She turned to see the four ponies with their hooves over their mouths, trying to contain their laughter.
"You do know a Wonderbolts' Wallet is very foalish as well, right?" asked one of the ponies behind her, his face bright red from trying to hold back an eruption of laughter.
Rainbow took a step back. She couldn't take it anymore. He wings extending and pulling back to her sides as she fought the urge to fly from the store like her tail was on fire. She turned her attention back to the two employee ponies, both of whom seemed completely oblivious to her torment.
"So...yeah...thanks I'll see you later." and with that, she bolted out the door, leaving a rainbow trail behind her. The stallions exchanged perplexed looks.
"What the hay just happened?" asked the taller, non-cashier pony.
"Couldn't tell you." the cashier muttered before looking up to the next pony in line. "Next customer please?"
The tall employee left as a teenage colt trotted up to the register with a fresh "Batmare" comic. He wore a pair of glasses and was quite thin.
The cashier smirked. "Ah the newest Batmare comic, I see."
"Yep! I love her, she's so totally wicked awesome." the colt said in a nasally voice, his braces making him spit a little as he spoke. The cashier was about to ask for the bits when the colt held out his hoof to stop him.
"Hey, um, is there any way I could get those three wallets?" he asked, pointing at the two "Batmare" wallets and the one "Daring Do" one that Rainbow Dash abandoned.
"Uh...sure." The cashier said, clearly confused but willing to play along. "By the way, what do you want them for, exactly?"
"Oh, I write fanfiction stories," The colt said with a grin, pointing down at the wallets, "and these three babies give me some excellent ideas!"