Sparkler Speculates
written by Tabby

Sparkler stared down at the diamond rings in the glass display case. They didn't seem to sparkle as much as they had when she'd gotten them in at her jewelry shop about a year ago. How many diamond engagement rings had she sold since then? Two, perhaps, or maybe it was only one.

The pale blue unicorn grimaced as she turned away from the case. "All the stallions in town are being so obstinate about proposing," she muttered under her breath. "And I'm sick of it."

"Hello, are you open for business?" a voice queried.

Sparkler looked up at the slim periwinkle-colored stallion who had entered the shop. "Oh! Yes!" she exclaimed brightly.

"I'm looking for a special present for Princess Dawn," the stallion explained, coming up to the counter.

"Princess Dawn? Then aren't you that new lawyer from Friendship Gardens?" Sparkler asked in awe.

"That's right; my name is Winkle. Perry Winkle," the stallion introduced himself. "I'm taking over the family business in Friendship Gardens."

"That's so wonderful," Sparkler gushed. "I bet it's exciting to be a lawyer."

"Well, yes, it has its moments-- but do you have any gift suggestions for Dawn?" Perry gestured toward the glass cases.

Sparkler straightened up. "Of course! I have some lovely engagement rings to choose from," she suggested.

"Uh... not quite that special," Perry said, raising an eyebrow.

"I'll give you a good deal on one," Sparkle went on. Maybe she could finally make a sale if she was clever enough.

"I was thinking more of a tennis bracelet," Perry said after a pause. "Do you carry any of those?"

Sparkler sighed to herself, but tried to keep up her cheerful manner as Perry inspected the tennis bracelets that were available. Something had to be done about this lack of marriages in the Dream Valley and Friendship Gardens area!

Perry finally made his selection, a dainty diamond and amethyst bracelet. "Be sure to see me if you change your mind on the engagement ring!" Sparkler added as he walked out the door with his wrapped package.

Sparkler was suddenly seized with inspiration. If the stallions wouldn't come to her, she'd go to them-- or to their phone lines, at least. She glanced up at the clock. It was early evening; she might be able to catch them at home.

"Why, hello, Toby," Sparkler said sweetly into her phone receiver. "How are you on this fine evening?"

"Who is this?" asked a bewildered voice from the other end of the line.

"Sparkler. I run Sparkler's Jewelry Shop at the mall," Sparkler said briskly.

"Oh," Toby recalled. "That's... nice."

"I thought you might be interested in knowing that I'm having a sale on all engagement rings in stock right now," Sparkler continued. "I have in a lovely selection at low, low, prices."

"Engagement rings?" Toby echoed.

"Yes, engagement rings," Sparkler went on. "I thought I'd announce the sale to all the... the... um..."

"--to all the eligible bachelors?" Toby supplied.

"Exactly!" Sparkler said smoothly. "I'm announcing the sale to all the eligible bachelors in town."

"How long is this sale on?" Toby questioned.

"It's a month-long deal," Sparkler said. Certainly she could sell some rings at reduced prices in a month's time.

"I might drop in sometime," Toby said distantly. "Goodbye." And then he hung up.

"They are so hard to convince," Sparkler seethed. "They'll come to their senses someday-- they had better! But for now... I'll just call Tex."

Tex's reply was basically the same as Toby's after Sparkler had gone through her speel again. "Tamara might not like something I pick out, if I did pick any out," he worried. "She'd have to pick something out. I'll think about it. Thanks for calling."

Sparkler mumbled something that couldn't be made out and then stomped her hoof on the ground. "This is so pathetic," she hissed. "I have to sell some of these year-old diamond rings!"

"I reckon I could help you out there, Sparkler," a voice carried from the door. Butch trotted calmly into the shop.

"Do you need an engagement ring?" Sparkler asked anxiously.

"No, no," Butch chuckled. "I was just watching for-- I mean, I couldn't help but overhear your dilemma."

"Oh." Sparkler's face fell.

"I think you need a different advertising strategy," Butch said critically.

"What do you mean?" Sparkler asked curiously.

"You scare the stallions off by calling them engagement rings, and the mares wouldn't buy an engagement ring for themselves," Butch said matter-of-factly. "Just advertise them as straight diamond rings."

Sparkler's face lit up. "Brilliant, Butch! Brilliant!" she cried out. "That's so-- perfect! Why, I--"

"All in a day's work," Butch said modestly. "Hey, are you busy tomorrow night?"

"Tomorrow night?" Sparkler mentally made plans to close up early the next evening. "Oh, no, nothing at all. Why do you ask?"

"Why not come to the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe with me then?" Butch suggested. "My treat."

"That would be wonderful," Sparkler beamed. "You're so nice, Butch."

"I'm always nice to jewl-- I can't help but invite a beautiful mare like yourself out," Butch corrected himself quickly.

"I'm sure I'll make tons of sales tomorrow, thanks to your advice," Sparkler gushed. "You're simply so clever."

"Aw, stop the compliments," Butch laughed, putting his hooves up in the air. "Just don't forget our date."

"Oh, I definitely won't!" Sparkler promised.

* * *

"I had no idea you were selling such glorious diamond rings," Powder cooed the next day as she stared at the merchandise under an attractive sign. "And they're on sale?"

Sparkler nodded happily. "Twenty-five percent off the marked price." Butch's theory had been correct. The interest in her diamond rings was certainly soaring today.

"That one's just what I need for my New Year's Eve party," Powder declared, pointing at the centrally-located ring. "May I purchase it?"

Due to her shop's prominent placement in the mall and the catchy sign out front, Sparkler was able to drawn in many of the affluent mares in Dream Valley-- and some of the affluent stallions, but these were few and far between. But, she had already sold three of the rings she had so tired of.

"I can't wait for tonight with Butch," Sparkler sighed blissfully during a lull when the shop was empty of customers. "He'll be so happy to know how well his suggestion worked. And he's actually pretty cute."

By the end of the day, Sparkler was overjoyed by how sales had gone up. A young stallion she had never seen before had even purchased one of the glittering rings. "At least there should be one wedding in this town after all this time," Sparkler reflected.

And finally it was time to close up for the day. Sparkler hurried to meet Butch, and the two were soon together at the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe.

"This is so nice of you," Sparkler bubbled over enthusiastically. "And that idea you gave me last night really did work. I'm so excited."

"Oh, it's no problem at all to help the occasional damsel in distress," Butch said nonchalantly.

"You wouldn't believe how well sales went today," Sparkler continued. "You should make a career of advertising."

"Well, now, I'd never thought of that before," Butch pondered.

"Maybe you could even take a little job from me to plan advertising campaigns for the shop," Sparkler suggested.

Butch frowned in thought. "Why, Sparkler, that's awfully kind of you to be offering. But what would this job involve?"

"Designing fliers and posters, coming up with slogans, taking the finished layouts to the print shop," Sparkler explained. "And I'm sure you could do most of it from home."

"Home?" Butch looked a bit crestfallen as if the last word had just broken a dream of his; but he quickly recovered, taking note of Sparkler's sweet smile. "Sparkler, I think that'd be just great."

"You'll have fun with it, I'm sure," Sparkler beamed.

"If I'm working for you, Sparkler, it certainly will be."

Sparkler blushed at the compliment. "Well, we can get off that topic for awhile. How's that duck of yours doing? It is a duck you have, isn't it?"

"Yep, my Quackers. He's doing mighty fine. He even found himself a nice little mate in the woods one day."

"That's so sweet! I think ducks are so cute."

"I'd never thought about them either way until I ended up with Quackers. How about you-- do you have any animals?"

"Oh, yes, there's--"

And so their conversation continued. It appeared that they were getting to know each other quite well by the end of the evening. And, perhaps, the engagement rings were directly responsible for getting them together.

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