Too Much Junk
written by Tabby

"Clever Clover's house is just an awful mess!" Seabreeze was telling Tabby and Sugarberry as they walked around one of the many parks in Dream Valley. Seabreeze was visiting from Friendship Gardens.

"He is the messy type," Sugarberry commented.

"We outta do something about it," Tabby said.

"But what?" Seabreeze asked. "We've been bugging him to clean it for years, but he hasn't done a thing."

"Then we shall clean it for him," Tabby explained.

Seabreeze looked thoughtful for a moment. "Hmm... that might do it."

"We'd have to get his permission first, of course," Sugarberry pointed out, stopping to pick a pretty white daisy to add to the bouquet she was gathering.

"We'll get permission, all right!" Tabby said bravely. "I'll see to that. Just meet me at the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe tomorrow afternoon, Sugarberry; you'll see."

* * *

After she got home later that evening, Tabby went straight to her phone to make her important call.

Quickly dialing a number, she held the receiver to her ear and waited for someone to answer. "Hello?" came a voice over the line.

"Cleve Clove!" Tabby said brightly. Cleve Clove was the new nickname Tabby had invented for him, and it drove him crazy. "Is that you?"

Clever Clover groaned. "It's Tabby, isn't it?"

"That's right, Cleve Clove!" Tabby exclaimed cheerfully. "You simply have got to meet me and Sugarberry at the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe tomorrow afternoon at three!"

"Why?" Clever Clover asked suspiciously.

"We have serious matters to discuss with you," Tabby said gravely.

"What serious matters?"

"You'll find out when you get there."

Clever Clover sighed. "Fine. I'll be there."

Hanging up the receiver, Tabby burst out laughing. "Oh! I can't wait!"

* * *

The next afternoon, Tabby and Sugarberry were sitting at a table at the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe, waiting for Clever Clover to arrive. "Do you think he's still coming?" Tabby commented to Sugarberry. "What's the time, anyway?" She squinted at the hand clock hanging on the wall.

"It's five minutes to three, Tabby," Sugarberry said, rolling her eyes.

"I wish this place would get a digital clock... hand ones are just so difficult to read!" Tabby sighed. "Oh, but look, there's Cleve Clove now!"

So it was. Clever Clover strolled up to the counter to order, and Sugarberry waved to him. He nodded back, and when his order was prepared he walked over to the table.

"You made it!" Tabby congratulated him. "Here I was thinking you'd chicken out or something."

"Me? Chicken out? No way!" Clever Clover exclaimed.

"We're glad you're here," Sugarberry said graciously.

"Now, what are these ‘serious matters' you have to discuss with me?" Clever Clover demanded.

"It has to do with the condition of your house," Tabby stated.

"We've heard that it's a terrible mess," Sugarberry chimed in.

"And that you absolutely refuse to clean it," Tabby said.

"So?" Clever Clover questioned, not seeing the point yet.

"Therefore, we need to get your permission so we can clean it ourselves," Tabby said bluntly.

"But you wouldn't know what to save, or what order I need anything or--!" Clever Clover protested.

Tabby groaned and shook her head. "Now, look here, Cleve Clove--"

"And anyway, I've been thinking of doing it sometime soon," Clever Clover went on.

"Yeah right!" Tabby exclaimed. "You'll never do it! Come on, just let us!"

"No, no, I'll do it myself," Clever Clover said.

"Oooh!" Tabby fumed.

"Now, Tabby..." Sugarberry said.

Tabby quickly regained herself. "And what day will you do this?" she questioned Clever Clover.

Clever Clover paused in thought. "Friday," he decided.

"That's two days from now," Tabby figured out. "You'll have to sign an agreement, of course."

"You're not getting me to sign any agreement!"

"Wanna bet?"

"Don't push him too hard, Tabby," Sugarberry whispered to her friend.

Tabby finally looked at Clever Clover. "Okay. No signed agreement. But you're cleaning your house on Friday, and we'll come over to supervise. Got that?"

Clever Clover nodded. "Yep."

"All right. We're done with you for now, Cleve Clove."

* * *

"Okay, Sugarberry. Here's Cleve Clove's house," Tabby commented to her friend. It was Friday, nine o' clock in the morning. Sugarberry and Tabby had trekked over from Dream Valley to Friendship Gardens. "Do you think he's up yet?" The house looked rather dark inside.

"Let's see," Sugarberry said.

Tabby trotted up to the door and knocked on it loudly. She waited a minute, but no one came. Tapping her hoof impatiently on the ground, she started knocking again. "Hey, Cleve Clove! Aren't you up yet?"

"Eek, Tabby!" Sugarberry said. "Don't shout so loud!"

"It's the only way to get him up," Tabby explained.

Tabby's shouting had obviously done the job, though. A few minutes later, the door was pulled open, revealing Clever Clover standing inside.

"I was just getting up," Clever Clover explained, frowning slightly at Tabby.

"Man, this house really does need cleaning!" Tabby exclaimed, peeking inside.

"Yeah, it does look pretty bad," Sugarberry agreed.

"Guess I'd better get to work," Clever Clover sighed.

Sugarberry and Tabby walked inside the house. It looked even worse than what they had seen when they were outside. Piles of stuff were piled up everywhere; they couldn't see a neat space anywhere.

"This is awful, Cleve Clove. Terribly awful," was all Tabby could say.

"I wonder what we'll find in all this stuff!" Sugarberry commented. "It looks like it's been building up for years. Have you ever cleaned it before, Clever Clover?"

Clever Clover thought. "No, not in my recollection."

"We'd better be able to throw most of this stuff out," Tabby said, looking down into one box sitting on top of a pile.

Clever Clover shrugged. "Maybe."

Sugarberry had brought a pile of paper grocery bags. "We can put the things to get rid of in these," she explained.

Clever Clover started looking through the box Tabby had glanced into. "Hmm... these are some old issues of a magazine I used to subscribe to," he said.

"Let's get rid of them!" Tabby exclaimed.

"No; they might have some information in I'll want someday," Clever Clover said.

Tabby shook her head. "Tsk, tsk."

Clever Clover set that box on the ground and went to work on the next one. "Some old papers... wonder what they're from..."

"Let's get rid of them," Tabby said again.

"Yeah, I think I can," Clever Clover finally decided.

"Hooray!" Tabby exclaimed.

Sugarberry helped pile the papers into one of the paper bags.

And so it went on for many more hours. Clever Clover actually did find quite a few things to get rid of, much to Tabby's surprise, and delight.

At one point, Clever Clover lifted up a small heart-shaped piece of paper and yelped. "Hey! Here's the tag that I lost off one of my Beanie Babies, Nuts!"

Tabby shook her head. "You should've kept it in a safe place. But at least you cut it off and didn't leave it on the poor squirrel."

"I like keeping the ear tags on the Beanies I own," Sugarberry said.

"I have all the cats and I cut the tags off all if them!" Tabby boasted and laughed evilly.

Sugarberry shrugged. "Let's just break for lunch," she suggested.

"Sounds alright to me," Clever Clover said.

"Sure," Tabby agreed.

"Let's just go over to Sweet Berry's restaurant," Clever Clover said. Therefore, the three trotted over to Sweet Berry's place.

* * *

"Time to get back to work," Tabby prodded Clever Clover after the three had returned from lunch. "We've cleared a few rooms out, at least."

"Yep. We've only got some back rooms now that I don't use for much," Clever Clover explained.

After looking into the rooms, Tabby agreed they didn't look like they were used for much-- except for storing junk! There were things piled nearly up to the ceiling in the first room she looked into.

"Cleve Clove, what is this?" Tabby demanded, picking up a gold flowerpot off a dresser sitting against the wall. The flowerpot was filled with dirt, but only a dried-up brown plant remained of what had once grown in it.

Clever Clover took the flowerpot and looked at it. "Oh, that's a fern I had once... I never got around to throwing it out after it died."

Even Sugarberry had to shake her head that time. "Well, I'd say it's time to throw it out now," she commented.

"Probably," Clever Clover said.

Tabby tossed it in the garbage bag. "And now, for the rest of this stuff!"

* * *

They were nearing the bottom of the pile in the one room. "Almost all this stuff I don't even recognize as mine anymore," Clever Clover said. "It must be from the ponies who lived here before me... this stuff is really old. Here's a paper dated from the 1500s."

"I didn't know one house could hold so much junk," Tabby stated.

"We have to keep all these things; they're historical!" Clever Clover exclaimed.

"At least we can straighten things out," Sugarberry said.

They worked in silence for awhile longer, when Clever Clover pulled a long, thin object out of one box. "Hey, come look at this!" he exclaimed.

Tabby and Sugarberry both came over to look at what he had found. "It's a sword," Tabby said bluntly. "Let's get rid of it."

"Tabby!" Sugarberry exclaimed.

"There's something special about it... the vibes... in fact..." Clever Clover jumped up and started out of the room. "I've got to check something out!"

Sugarberry and Tabby followed him into his library, which they had already cleaned up. He pulled a book off the shelf and madly flipped through the pages to find what he was looking for. He seemed to have found the right page and mumbled to himself while he read. "Broad-bladed... ornate bronze hilt... three feet long... yes, this has to be it!"

"Got to be what?" Sugarberry asked, wide-eyed.

"Excalibur!" Clever Clover exclaimed.

"Isn't that King Arthur's sword? How would it have gotten into your house?" Sugarberry said skeptically.

"But look at the description in this book, and the picture drawn of it," Clever Clover argued. "It matches the description so well."

Sugarberry looked over the pages Clever Clover showed her.

"I wouldn't doubt it, Sugarberry... who knows how many centuries junk has been piling up in here," Tabby said.

"That's right!" Clever Clover exclaimed.

"Well, it could very well be Excalibur," Sugarberry finally admitted. "Let's keep working. Who knows what else we might find?"

And so, they busily went back to work, now with renewed vigor. Finally, Clever Clover announced they were finished sorting out all the items in that room.

"On to the next!" Tabby urged them.

They went into the next room. "Things keep getting older," Clever Clover commented. "And I think this is the last room."

The three ponies were fascinated by all the old items. Sugarberry picked up a thing and stared at it for awhile. "Come look at this!" she said to Tabby and Clever Clover.

"It's a wooden cup," Tabby said as she looked over Sugarberry's shoulder.

"With carved engravings on it..." Clever Clover murmured.

"Do you think...?" Sugarberry said.

"It's the Holy Grail!" Tabby exclaimed gleefully. "Yes! We've found the Holy Grail!"

"Wow!" was all Clever Clover could say.

"It's amazing," Sugarberry said. "We've found Excalibur and the Holy Grail, all in one day!"

"It really was time to have your house cleaned," Tabby said again.

Sugarberry set the Holy Grail in a crate with Excalibur.

After sorting out all the items in that room, they thought they were finished with the house. But Tabby noticed a door on the back wall of the room. "Look! There must be another room!"

"Cool! A room I didn't know about!" Clever Clover exclaimed. "Let's open it and see what's inside!"

After finding two great artifacts already, the three could hardly dare imagine what lay behind this last door. Clever Clover opened the door slowly; the three held their breath as they looked inside.

The room was rather small, and, like all other rooms in the house, was crammed with boxes.

"Let's start digging!" Tabby said energetically.

The three once again got to work. Though all the things they found were interesting, they hadn't found any extremely great finds and were losing hope that there would be any more. But then they reached the very last item in the room-- in one of the dark, dusty corners.

Tabby, Sugarberry, and Clever Clover all stared at it in silence. It was a wooden box, covered with ornate gold angels.

Breaking the silence, Clever Clover yelped, "It's the Ark of the Covenant!"

"Yay!!" Tabby exclaimed and bounced around merrily.

"Isn't it just so thrilling?" Sugarberry said, wide-eyed.

"Let's put it in the crate with the sword and the Grail," Tabby said. The three carried the heavy object over to the crate, but Tabby wasn't of much help, insisting she was too weak to carry it.

"Just think, Cleve Clove! All this cool stuff was in here all this time, but you didn't know about it ‘cause you didn't clean!" Tabby said.

"Well, you're right about that," Clever Clover admitted.

"What'll we do with everything? Just leave it sit around in here?" Tabby questioned.

"Give it to a museum, I suppose," Clever Clover said.

"That's boring. Start your own museum," Tabby said.

"Hey, I could!" Clever Clover exclaimed.

"You'll make millions in admission fees," Sugarberry said.

"Yeah, once word gets out that you not only have Excalibur but the Holy Grail and the Ark of the Covenant, everyone will want to come!" Tabby said.

"Hey, I just remembered something!" Clever Clover said suddenly. "One of the first boxes we went through-- I had drug that out of one of these back rooms a little while back. Those were historical papers in there!"

"Ah, now we have to look back in all the get-rid-of bags and find those papers," Sugarberry sighed. Clever Clover trotted into the kitchen, where the bags were piled; Sugarberry and Tabby followed.

"Now, it would have to be near the bottom of the stack..." Clever Clover mumbled as he searched through the bags.

Tabby and Sugarberry joined in the search. Finally, Tabby exclaimed. "I found it! I think!"

Clever Clover went over to that bag and looked at some of the papers. "Yep... these are those papers, all right. Ancient." He picked up the bag and took it back to the room he would have gotten it out of, and sorted through all the papers and set them neatly in a box like they had done with all the other historical papers.

Clever Clover had just picked up one tattered book that was in with the papers. "I wonder what this is..." He flipped through the pages.

Tabby looked over his shoulder at the pages. "Hmm... looks Greek to me."

Clever Clover yelped. "You're right! This is Plato's Lost Dialogue!"

"Are you sure?" Sugarberry gasped.

"Look, Sugarberry. We've already found Excalibur, the Holy Grail, and the Ark of the Covenant. Are you really going to doubt Plato's Lost Dialogue?" Tabby said.

"Yes, that's true..." Sugarberry said.

"Now we've found four really cool things!" Tabby exclaimed.

Clever Clover dropped Plato's Lost Dialogue in the crate with the other three items.

"You know, you really outta start locking your place up," Tabby commented. "You've got a lot of really valuable stuff. A robber could come in, and you'd never ever see the things again!"

"That's right, Clever Clover!" Sugarberry agreed.

"Yeah, I guess so," Clever Clover consented. "I wonder if I have any house keys."

"Come on, come on, let's look!" Tabby prodded.

"I think I remember seeing some keys in my junk drawer in the kitchen... let's see," Clever Clover said.

The three trotted back to the kitchen. Clever Clover opened his junk drawer and looked around through everything.

"Are you finding anything?" Sugarberry asked anxiously.

"Not yet... hmm..." Clever Clover mumbled. "What are these?" He had neared the very back of the drawer. He lifted out one stone disk, then another, and another, and set them on the counter. The three disks got gradually larger; Clever Clover placed the largest on the bottom of the stack, then the medium-sized one on top of that, and the smallest on the very top. "It looks like an ancient key!" he exclaimed when he was done stacking. "I wonder if it's the key to this house?"

"It looks a little old for that," Sugarberry commented.

"What it really looks like is a set of baby pony stacking rings," Tabby said. "Really, Cleve Clove. Didn't you even get rid of your old toys?"

Sugarberry touched the smooth, stone disks. "But they're stone. Baby pony stacking rings are made of plastic."

"And look at the engravings on them! This is definitely an ancient artifact," Clever Clover said. "I've read about keys like this."

The largest stone had carvings of the phases of the sun; the middle-sized one had phases of the moon; the smallest ones had carvings of phases of the Earth.

"But I'm pretty sure you'd have a better house key somewhere," Sugarberry said.

Suddenly, Tabby's face lit up. "Oh! Oh! I'll bet you anything it's the key to Atlantis! Just like in that one computer game of Friendly's!"

"Hey, I remember that!" Clever Clover exclaimed. "Yes, these disks look just like the ones in the game."

"Wow," was all Sugarberry could say.

"Now we'll have to go out and find Atlantis to see if it really is the key," Tabby suggested.

But that was an adventure for another day...

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