Tabby's Trauma
written by Tabby

"So here I am back from Atlantis!" Tabby exclaimed cheerfully. She and Sugarberry were sitting at a table in the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe. Tabby had recently returned to Dream Valley after she and Clever Clover had been on a quest to find Atlantis.

"It's good to have you back," Sugarberry said warmly. "It must have been exciting, being in Atlantis."

"Yes, it was extremely exciting. Especially when I nearly got myself killed several times."

"I could never do anything that daring," Sugarberry commented.

Tabby took a spoonful of her strawberry sundae. "I suppose I'll go back to working at my vet clinic again now."

As Tabby said that, a shadow passed over Sugarberry's face. "Err... that's right."

Tabby noticed that there was something wrong with her friend's manner. "What's up, Sugarberry?"

"Umm..." Sugarberry stalled.

"Spill it," Tabby ordered.

"Well... you see... while you were gone... someone opened... a new vet clinic," Sugarberry stuttered, fearing Tabby's wrath.

"What? WHAT?" Tabby screeched.

"He's a new pony in town," Sugarberry went on to explain.

"So I go off to find Atlantis and some creep thinks he can go and open a new clinic!" Tabby slammed a hoof down onto the table, making the dishes rattle and attracting the attention of several nearby tables. "So who is this new pony?"

"His name's Thomas... he's a unicorn stallion."

"And what kind of a name for a pony is that?" Tabby demanded.

Sugarberry cocked her head. "It's really not any worse than Tabitha, when you think about it."

"Don't you dare call me Tabitha!... and he's disgusting handsome, I presume?"

"Yeah," Sugarberry nodded.

"And that means I have absolutely no chance against him."

"I did take Fluff into the new clinic for his yearly check-up," Sugarberry ventured.

"Talk about loyalty!" Tabby said bitterly.

"And I heard Tex took Emilio in once."

"What is this; is everyone ganging up on me?" Tabby exclaimed.

"Well, you were out of town... we really didn't have a choice," Sugarberry stammered.

"What I'd really like to do is to give this Thomas a piece of my mind!" Tabby declared.

"Are you sure you want to go that far?" Sugarberry said timidly, knowing that Tabby often took her anger too far over the edge.

"Of course I--"

"So you want to give me a piece of your mind, huh?" interjected a mildly amused voice.

"AIEEE!" Tabby shrieked and nearly jumped out of her skin when she saw who it was.

"Uh-oh." Sugarberry shrank back in her seat.

Thomas slipped into the chair between Tabby and Sugarberry. He was a white unicorn stallion, with brown mane and tail and the symbol of a brown cat. "Hello again, Sugarberry. And who is this?" he questioned, glancing at Tabby.

"I'm Tabby." Tabby held up her head up defiantly and added, "The other vet in town."

"I was just telling her that you had opened a clinic as well," Sugarberry piped up.

"I've been hearing a lot about you from my new clients," Thomas directed at Tabby.

"Oh really? What did they have to say?"

"Actually, they all said your service was good... but they find my clinic to be more efficient," Thomas said.

Tabby snorted. "Figures."

"They especially liked those magic injections you give... I've been meaning to ask you, where do you get those?"

"I get them from a secret supplier in the Dark Forest, and I'm not allowed to give out his whereabouts to anyone," Tabby said haughtily.

"Well... I've heard you've been off exploring, Tabby," Thomas changed the subject.

"Yes, I was off finding Atlantis," Tabby said.

"So Atlantis really does exist!" Thomas exclaimed.

"Yes-- but getting back to the vet clinic business--" Tabby glared across at Thomas-- "I'm sure that I'm still the best vet in Dream Valley."

Sugarberry sat back in her chair and listened to their conversation with interest.

"Why don't we just see about that?" Thomas challenged.

"All right, we'll see who can run the other out of business first!" Tabby said brightly, her eyes gleaming with excitement.

"This ought to prove interesting," Thomas said. "Let's do it."

"You're on!"

* * *

Early the next morning, Tabby was busy at her clinic. She wasn't open for service yet; she was working on cleaning the place up.

"Okay... I've vacuumed, straightened the chairs in the waiting room, and put the magazines in a neat stack." Tabby paused in the middle of the floor and tapped her hoof on the ground. "What else is there to do?"

Tabby glanced over at her filing cabinet. Papers were piled up on top of it and many were laying on the ground. "Maybe I'd better arrange those better," she decided.

After about half an hour, she had all her files in much neater order. Her clinic was actually looking pretty neat now. "Not a half-bad job!" she said aloud.

"Now for the advertising." Tabby pulled out several large sheets of poster board she had found in her house the previous night, along with a pack of markers, and sat down at her desk in the main room. She started writing out in big letters on one of the sheets: "Come to Tabby's Vet Clinic! Offering the Exclusive **Magic Injections**! 25% off all visits today!"

Tabby stood back and surveyed the poster. "If that won't get ‘em, nothing will." She got to work copying the message onto the other sheets of poster board.

As she was working on the last poster, the door opened and someone walked in. Tabby looked up from her work; it was Princess Tiffany who had entered.

"Hey, Tiff," she greeted the princess.

Tiffany came over and glanced at the paper Tabby was working on. "Advertising, I see?"

"Yes." Tabby hastily wrote out the last words. "Thomas and I are seeing who can run the other out of business first." Her eyes gleamed.

Tiffany raised her eyes. "Personally, I think that Thomas's clinic is the best there is."

Tabby narrowed her eyes. "We'll just see what everyone else thinks... hey, what're you doing here, anyway?"

"I was just on my way to Sparkler's jewelry store, and I saw you were working in here so I thought I'd stop in and have a little chat," Tiffany explained.

Tabby sighed. "Now I'll go put these posters around Dream Valley... you can go on to the jewelry store.

Tiffany flounced out of the clinic and Tabby followed. Tabby's first stop was the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe. "Scoops!" she called inside the shop. "Can I hang a poster out here?" She pointed towards the bulletin board outside of the shop.

"Oh, sure, Tabby!" Scoops called back. After all, Tabby was one of her best customers.

Tabby got permission to hang posters at several area businesses, including the Perm Shoppe and Pony-Mart.

After all her posters were hung, Tabby headed back to her clinic and waited for the ponies to start coming.

She waited. And waited. And waited...

Tabby tapped her hoof impatiently on the counter. "Where is everyone?" she sighed in exasperation.

At that moment, the door came open again. In came Posey, with her pet iguana.

"Hey, Posey!" Tabby greeted her.

"Hello, Tabby." Posey's eyes shone with worry.

"So what's wrong with your iguana?" Tabby questioned.

Posey's lip quavered. "Well... I was hoping you could tell me."

"What're his symptoms?" Tabby prodded.

"He's stopped eating," Posey said softly.

"And that's it?"

"Yes; he hasn't eaten since yesterday morning. You can help him, can't you?"

Tabby sighed. "Of course I can help him. I'll just give him one of my magic injections, and he'll be all better!"

Posey smiled with relief. "Oh, I hope it works!"

"It'll work; trust me," Tabby assured her. She whipped out one of her magic injections and pricked it into the iguana's skin.

"He's looking hungry already!" Posey exclaimed with delight. "Look, he's poking his head around, looking for food! Oh, thank you ever so much, Tabby!"

"No problem," Tabby said. "That'll just be twenty-five jangles."

Posey quickly paid the twenty-five jangles. "I'm sure you're the best vet in all of Ponyland," she said earnestly.

"Just be sure to spread that around to all your friends," Tabby said as she took the jangles from Posey.

"I will!" Posey called as she walked out the door with her iguana.

"Hooray, one visit for today," Tabby said dryly.

A few minutes later, Sugarberry came in the door. "Tabby! How's business today? I saw that you put up some posters."

"Yes! And I've still only had one visit today!" Tabby said. "That Thomas must be getting everyone to go to his clinic!"

Sugarberry paused in thought. "Well, most of the inhabitants of Dream Valley are female, and since the new vet is a very handsome male--"

Tabby sighed. "Yes, that's it, of course. And that means I'm doomed," she said dramatically.

"Don't give up yet," Sugarberry said encouragingly. "Why, look, here comes Salty now!"

"Two visits for today," Tabby said sourly.

Salty brought his pet guinea pig up to the main counter. "He cut his foot up on the floor of his cage," he explained.

Tabby inspected the guinea pig's cut-up foot. "This is easy enough to fix," she said, and took out another of her magic injections. She pricked the guinea pig with it.

Sugarberry was also looking at the guinea pig with interest. "Look! The cut is healing over already!"

The magic injections certainly worked fast; within a few minutes the guinea pig's foot looked normal again.

"Wow, you're good!" Salty said. "What's the total cost?"

"Twenty-five jangles," Tabby responded immediately.

Salty gave her the twenty-five jangles, picked up his guinea pig, and left.

"All right! Two visits for today!" Tabby cheered. She frowned. "What am I saying? I'm never gonna beat the new clinic with two visits a day!"

Sugarberry shrugged. "It's better than nothing."

Tabby survived the rest of the day at her clinic; she got several more patients to take care of. Finally, it was time to close up for the day. Sugarberry had since left.

It was now evening, and Tabby headed over to the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe for her daily visit. If she was lucky, Sugarberry would be there as well, and maybe even Tiffany.

As she entered the shop, Sugarberry waved to Tabby from a table she was sitting at. Tabby waved back, and after she got her order (a strawberry sundae, as always) she headed towards the table Sugarberry was at.

"Hello again," Sugarberry greeted her. "Tiffany's supposed to be coming, too."

"I'll never be able to run this other clinic out of business!" Tabby complained.

"Maybe you shouldn't aim for actually running it out of business," Sugarberry pointed out.

"That's no fun," Tabby said.

"Hi there, you two!" came Tiffany's voice as she joined them at their table.

"You're really getting into this peasant thing, aren't you, Tiffany?" Tabby commented. "You're at the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe almost as much as I am!"

"Yes, I've found out that it's rather fun being a peasant," Tiffany said. "You were just talking about the new vet clinic, weren't you?"

Tabby groaned. "It's a tragedy."

Tiffany sighed dreamily. "I simply cannot wait until Theodora gets sick again!" she said, referring to her pet Bombay cat.

Sugarberry and Tabby both looked up at her in shock. "Why would you want her to get sick?" Tabby questioned.

"So I can take her in to that handsome new vet," Tiffany explained.

Tabby shook her head. "Really, Tiffany!"

Tiffany swung her head around to face Tabby. "And I don't think you'll be able to beat Thomas's clinic."

"You don't have to rub it in," Tabby grumbled.

"Just stay in business without competing," Sugarberry suggested.

Tiffany looked paused in thought. "Why not get employed at the new clinic!" she exclaimed.

Tabby stared at her. "Why would I want to do that?"

"Think about it, Tabitha!" Tiffany said dramatically. "You'd be able to do the work you like but not have any responsibilities of keeping the place up!"

Tabby scowled. "I don't want to have anything to do with this new clinic."

Tiffany, however, was very pleased with her idea. "I'll bring up the idea to Thomas tomorrow; I'm scheduled to have lunch with him then."

"You can ask, but don't expect to get anything out of me!" Tabby warned.

Tiffany waved her hoof in the air. "Just leave it to me, Tabitha."

* * *

The next day was another slow day at Tabby's clinic. Tabby had to admit that Tiffany's idea was actually pretty appealing-- but she wasn't going to give into anything involving the new clinic that easy; no way!

That evening, Tabby finished up at the clinic and trotted along home. As soon as she was in the door, the phone jangled. She ran to pick it up. "Yes? What? Who is this?"

"It's Tiffany... this is Tabitha, isn't it?"

Tabby clenched her jaw. "That's Tabby to you!"

"Yes, well, anyway, Tabitha-- I talked my idea over with Thomas this afternoon."

"Oh, really?"

"And he thought it was an extremely good idea to get you employed at his clinic."

Tabby sniffed.

"And he said he'd be calling you concerning details tonight," Tiffany went on.

"I don't see how you got me into this mess!" Tabby said. "I never even wanted to get employed at another clinic!"

"Just think it over, Tabitha," Tiffany said briskly. "I'm sure you'll decide to take the job in the end."

Tabby sighed. "Whatever you say, Tiff... goodbye..."

"Yes, goodbye, Tabitha. I'll see you tomorrow." With that, Tiffany hung up.

Tabby slammed down her receiver. "I don't care what they say; I am not getting a job at the new clinic!" she said stubbornly.

She was still silently fuming when the phone rang once again. Tabby picked up the receiver. "What?" she said irritably.

"This is Tabby, I presume?" It was Thomas.

"Yeah, yeah," Tabby responded, very annoyed. "It's Thomas, isn't it?"

"Yes, and Tiffany was just explaining an interesting idea of hers to me at lunch today," Thomas went on.

"Look, I already know what this is all about," Tabby interjected.

"Uh-huh," Thomas said. "So, would you want to be employed at my clinic as a vet?"

"No," Tabby said immediately.

"Won't you at least think it over?"

"I'll think it over, but the result will be the same," Tabby said haughtily.

"All right then... good night."

Once again, Tabby slammed down the receiver.

* * *

By the next evening, Tabby was beginning to regret not accepting the new job. Sure, she didn't want to have anything to do with the new clinic, but it might not be a half-bad job...

"Well, maybe I'll decide to take it anyway!" she said aloud. "But I don't have to worry about it now. I'll just go to the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe and see if Sugarberry's there."

And so, Tabby trotted on along to the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe. Luckily Sugarberry was there, again, and Tabby soon ordered and sat down at the table her friend was at.

"Hi, there!" Sugarberry said.

"Yep." Tabby took a spoonful of her strawberry sundae. "Watcha been doing today?"

"Working on my latest novel," Sugarberry explained. "But I was talking to Tiffany earlier--"

"So, Tabby, have you decided to take the job yet?" interjected Thomas's voice.

Tabby turned to face him. "I'm considering it."

"Great!" Thomas said.

"What would my working hours be?" Tabby questioned him.

"Eight in the morning to four," Thomas said promptly.

"And the pay?"

"Two thousand jangles a month."

Tabby tapped her hoof on the table. "Make it three thousand a month and I'll take it," she challenged.

"Three thousand it is. All right, you're hired," Thomas said.

"Wow, Tabby!" Sugarberry exclaimed.

"You can come in to work at eight o' clock on Monday," Thomas went on to say.

Tabby smiled smugly. "I'll be there."

"And that reminds me." Thomas turned to Sugarberry. "I'm looking for a new secretary and receptionist. How would you like that job, Sugarberry?"

Sugarberry turned slightly pink. "Umm... I could do that!" she exclaimed.

"Then both of you are hired." Thomas sat back in his chair.

Sugarberry leaned over towards Tabby. "Then you and I can still talk between times at work!"

Tabby's smile broadened. "Yes, this won't be half-bad."

"What, there's no job for me?" came Tiffany's voice. She looked slightly hurt.

Tabby snickered.

"Sorry, but all the positions are filled now," Thomas explained. Tiffany sniffed.

"Aw, don't feel bad about it!" Tabby encouraged her. "As long as Theodora keeps getting sick, you'll be in there plenty."

Tiffany's face brightened. "That's true! I'm not very good at working, anyway."

"So now everyone's happy!" Sugarberry said cheerfully.

"You know, I do believe that Theodora is sick again," Tiffany was telling Thomas. "She sneezed once right before I left the Royal Paradise."

Tabby glanced at Sugarberry and smirked. Tiffany will be Tiffany!

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