Tabby's Surprise Birthday
written by Tabby

Tabby yawned and stretched as she tossed her covers off. Sunlight streamed through her bedroom windows. Then something struck her. "It's my birthday!" she cried out, and scooped up Callie, her pet cat, who was curled up at the foot of the bed. Tabby squeezed the fluffy ball of fur extremely tight.

Callie growled and squirmed to release herself from her owner's grip. The feline succeeded, and jumped gracefully to the floor. Then she trotted out the door and ran away into the next room.

"Some cat you are!" Tabby exclaimed. Then she jumped out of bed and trotted over to her dresser. She picked up her brush and carefully ran it through her mane and tail. Then she ran out of the room for breakfast.

After she was done with that, she merrily skipped out of the door to get to the new really-ultra-modern-professional veterinarian clinic where she had recently gotten a job.

On Tabby's way over, she ran into Spike, who was waving his arms around frantically. "Tabby, Tabby!" he cried out. "I've lost the manual to my new computer game, and I can't play without it!"

Tabby paused in thought. "Talk to Friendly; maybe he borrowed it," she suggested.

"Thanks!" Spike ran off again, this time in the direction of the Bushwoolie holes.

"He didn't even say anything about my birthday," Tabby sighed, slightly miffed. "Ah well."

She made her way on to the clinic, and as she pushed through the main doors (which she could just barely open under her own power-- hmm, maybe she was a bit too weak), she glanced up at the clock on the wall. She was her customary five minutes late.

"Hey, Sugarberry," Tabby greeted her friend, who was now the receptionist and secretary at the clinic.

Sugarberry, who was sitting at the main desk, looked up from her paperwork. "Hello," she said cheerfully.

Tabby tapped her hoof on the desk. "Who's up first for today?" she questioned.

Sugarberry consulted the record book. "You've got Tex bringing Emilio in at 8:15."

Tabby groaned. "For Pete's sake! How much more trouble can that tarantula get into?"

"He says that Emilio has a cold," Sugarberry supplied.

"That should be easy enough to fix." Tabby tossed her mane in annoyance. Sugarberry hadn't mentioned her birthday, either. And this year Tabby had even gone through the trouble of not talking constantly about the occasion days beforehand, as it annoyed her friends so!

At that point, Thomas entered the room. He was the veterinarian that had started up this new clinic. "Hi, Tabby. Sugarberry, did you find those records yet?"

Tabby clenched her jaw. What was with everyone today?

And then Tex entered the building. Tabby snatched Emilio from his hoof and took him into the appointment room. Tex followed behind.

"All right, so what're his symptoms?" Tabby sighed as she poked around the tarantula.

"He's been sneezing a lot," Tex explained.

Tabby inspected Emilio further. "Yep. Looks like a cold," she said after awhile. She handed him a small bottle. "Mix some of this with his food every day and he should get better," she instructed. "Don't mess up."

"Okay, Tabby, I'm much obliged," Tex said gratefully.

"Yeah, yeah, whatever," Tabby mumbled as he walked out of the room. She sniffed. "Hmm. No mention of my birthday," she noted.

* * *

Later that morning, Tabby sat in the appointment room between visits, thinking.

"Not a single word about my birthday yet!" she said aloud. Most of the clients so far weren't good friends with her, so they might not have thought to say anything. Tex was her arch-enemy, so he might not have bothered. Thomas was fairly new in Dream Valley, so he might not have found out yet. Sugarberry might have been too busy with her work. Spike had been awfully distraught over his lost manual. Callie, of course, probably didn't know any better. But all of them together? No, that was rather fishy.

She tapped her hoof on the counter. It wasn't quite right... something had to be up...

All of a sudden it hit her. Of course! They're planning a surprise party for me, only pretending to have forgotten! Really, you'd think they could have come up with something more imaginative than that!

With this in mind, Tabby had a smile on her face when her next client walked into the room. It was Princess Tiffany, clutching a cat carrier in her hooves.

Tiffany lifted the carrier up on to the counter and opened the carrier's door. Her face fell when she saw Tabby. "Oh, it's just you," she sighed.

Tabby smirked. "Hoping for Thomas, eh?" She sighed. "Really, I'm under-appreciated working here. Cleve Clove says ‘She'll do' and you say ‘It's just you'!"

Tiffany's face brightened. "Oh, Clever Clover said that?"

"Sure, Tiff, whatever," Tabby muttered as she watched the black Bombay cat creep out of the carrier. "Anyway, what's wrong with Theodora?"

Tiffany paused in thought. "Uh... she threw up last night!" she said after a spell.

Tabby rolled her eyes. "Tiffany," she sighed. "That doesn't necessarily mean she's sick."

"I thought I'd bring her in just to be sure," Tiffany said haughtily.

Tabby checked her over quickly. "She's in perfect health, Tiffany."

"Well, then." Tiffany pushed Theodora back into the carrier and snapped shut the door. "How about going with me to lunch at the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe? It's nearly 12:00 lunch break," she invited.

"Sure!" Tabby exclaimed. "Let's go." Tiffany left the carrier under Sugarberry's watch at the main desk, and the two strolled off towards the shop. They got there, ordered, and sat down.

"Oh, look, Clever Clover just came in," Tiffany sighed dreamily. "He's such a dashing pony, isn't he?"

Tabby nodded slowly. "Yeah... he is always dashing off somewhere."

Tiffany wasn't listening, however. She had stood up in her seat and waved her hoof madly in the air in the direction of Clever Clover. "Clever Clover! Oh, Clever Clover! Over here!"

Clever Clover saw and waved back. He started towards the table with his food tray.

"I've been simply dying to talk to you about your work," Tiffany said once Clever Clover had sat down. "I've always been fascinated with archaeology."

"You have not, Tiffany," Tabby interjected.

Tiffany frowned.

"Yes, it is an interesting field," Clever Clover said.

"And I heard you discovered Atlantis. What a daring adventure!" Tiffany went on.

"I was with him," Tabby said.

"Yes, but I'm sure he did most of the work." Tiffany batted her eyelashes furiously.

Tabby was about to burst out laughing at Tiffany's act.

Clever Clover went on with the conversation. "...yeah, the oricalcum machine was a really unique find..."

"You're lucky to have made it out alive," Tiffany said with admiration.

"It wasn't that dangerous." Tabby swallowed down the last bite of her hamburger and choked back laughter. "I'd better be getting back to the clinic now; see you later," she said as she stood up from her seat. Then she wandered back over to the clinic. When she got there, she saw a cart parked outside. Why, it was the flower cart! Tabby's spirits lifted immensely. Had someone remembered her birthday after all?

A mysterious cloaked figure dashed out of the clinic and started pushing the flower cart away. Tabby trotted back into the building. Thomas was just setting the long white flower box on the counter.

"Who're they for?" Tabby asked anxiously.

"The driver said they were for Sugarberry," Thomas said.

"Oh," Tabby said flatly.

"For me?" Sugarberry said with delight. She quickly opened the box to reveal a bouquet of brightly colored tulips. "Aren't they pretty?"

"Yeah," Tabby sighed.

"They're from Quarterback," Sugarberry said dreamily after reading the card.

Somehow, Tabby managed to make it through the rest of the day. Not very un-surprisingly at this point, there was no mention of her birthday from anyone. Her only hope was that they were planning a surprise party.

When the work day was through, she headed over to the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe, where she went every afternoon. She walked in and ordered her usual strawberry sundae.

The shop was fairly empty, but Tabby spotted Quarterback and Sugarberry just sitting down at one table. She trotted over to join her friends.

"Oh, hi, Tabby," Sugarberry said, looking up from her banana split.

"Hey," Quarterback greeted her as Tabby sat down. "Big day in Ponyland, ain't it?"

Tabby could not help but grin. It slowly spread across her face. Did she even dare hope... that Quarterback of all ponies had remembered?

Quarterback continued. "Yep. I'm showing my film of the highlights of the past football season tonight at my house!"

The grin quickly left Tabby's face. "Did Tiffany ever come back for Theodora after lunch?" she asked suddenly.

Sugarberry smiled. "No, I had to call her to get her to come back in."

"Figures she's forget... anyway, what are you doing tonight?" Tabby stared at Sugarberry.

Sugarberry shrugged. "I'll probably sit around at home and write in my latest novel," she said after a pause.

Now, is that the truth, or are you planning something? Tabby thought. "I'll most likely do nothing," she sighed. "I'd better be going home. Maybe the mail went by now."

"Okay, see you," Sugarberry said. She and Quarterback waved as Tabby left the shop. On her way home, Tabby made a detour by the Bushwoolie holes. The Bushwoolies were outside, working on building a snow-Bushwoolie.

"Hi, guys!" Tabby greeted them.

"Hi, yeah, yeah, hi," the Bushwoolies all said.

"Did Spike find his manual here?" Tabby questioned Friendly.

Friendly nodded. "Yeah, yeah, got it back! Borrowed it I did!"

"Well, that's good," Tabby said.

"Yep, yep!" the Bushwoolies echoed.

Tabby waved as she headed off again. When she reached her mailbox, she pulled down the door. A large pile of letters sat inside.

"Yes!" Tabby exclaimed. Oh, there had to be some birthday cards in here! She sifted through the pile as she walked inside. "They just want money... a bill... that's only a catalog... more money wanters... junk mail... what, another bill?... yet another who wants money..." Tabby went through the entire pile and tossed things on her kitchen table as she went along. "What is this?!" she cried out as she neared the bottom of the stack. "Not a single personal letter! This is so cheap!" She hit her hoof on the table. "Oh, but what, what's this?" Between the last two catalogs was a glass bottle. It was addressed to Tabby, and it looked like it was from Barnacle! "He had to have remembered!" she exclaimed as she hastily pulled the cork out of the bottle and slipped out the paper inside:

ARR, Tabby!

Just a note to be sayin' that I'm fine and I be headin' back to Dream Valley soon.


"What?" she shrieked. "Barnacle didn't even remember!" Tabby set the note and bottle down, crushed. She sniffled.

So she silently ate her supper and then sat down on the couch in her living room and took out her latest Cat Who mystery novel, which had just come out in paperback. Perhaps if she read, she could get her mind off of the awfulness of the day.

And so, she passed the evening away like that, without a single visitor or phone call.

Tabby mournfully got ready for bed. "They really did forget," she realized as she crawled under the covers.

* * *

The next morning, Tabby stormed off towards the clinic. "They're not going to forget my birthday and get away with it!" She banged through the doors and stood to face Sugarberry.

"You look a bit frustrated," Sugarberry said, wide-eyed.

"Frustrated! Frustrated!" Tabby hissed. "Have you any idea what yesterday was?"

Sugarberry looked slightly fearful. "Err... not really..."

"Think, Sugarberry! Think!"

"It was the sixth of February..." Sugarberry said slowly.

"Exactly! And what happens every year on February sixth?" Tabby said wrathfully.

Sugarberry's eyes suddenly opened wider and if she could have turned paler than her usual milky-white color, she would have. "It was your birthday," she said, shrinking back.

"That's right!" Tabby said menacingly. "And what do you know? Not a single pony, Bushwoolie, or dragon in all of Ponyland remembered!"

"Umm... I'm really sorry..." was all Sugarberry could say. "You weren't bugging us about it like you did other years..."

Tabby turned on her heel and stomped into the back room.

"Her birthday was yesterday, huh?" Thomas said as he entered the room.

"That's right," Sugarberry said as she frantically picked up the phone receiver. She had plotting to do.

* * *

When it was time to get off work late in the afternoon, Tabby frowned. She was still annoyed over having her birthday forgotten, and she wasn't about to forgive everyone quite yet.

As she once again struggled with the door so she could get outside and head home, Thomas came up from behind and held it open for her. "Thanks," she commented and started on her way.

"Just a second!" Thomas called after her. "Why don't you come to the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe with me?"

Tabby narrowed her eyes. "If you think that'll make up for forgetting my birthday, then you're dead wrong!"

"Aw, come on," Thomas prodded.

"Ah ha!" Something dawned on Tabby. "Because there's a surprise get-together planned there for my birthday. Am I right?"

"Err... you might be..."

Tabby sighed. "Clever. Then I suppose I'll have to go; otherwise it'll be ruined." And so, she headed off in the direction of the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe, with Thomas following behind.

When the two arrived at the shop, Tabby's suspicion was confirmed. There was a large group of all her friends gathered at one of the tables: Sugarberry, Quarterback, Spike, Clever Clover, Friendly, Tiffany, and-- Tex? What was he doing here? Ah well, she'd take that up with Sugarberry later.

"Well, here I am!" Tabby announced.

"You don't sound very surprised," Sugarberry said, slightly disappointed.

"Really, Sugarberry! It wasn't that hard to guess what was going on," Tabby said.

"Hey, let's eat!" Clever Clover exclaimed and dashed up to the ordering counter. Laughing, the rest of the group followed.

After they were all seated, Spike presented Tabby with a small, thin, wrapped box. "A present!" Tabby exclaimed with delight. She quickly pulled the ribbons and ripped the paper off, tossing them carelessly on the table. Then she lifted the lid of the box. She saw a white bean-bag cat. "It's Flip!" Tabby beamed. "The last Beanie Baby cat I need."

"We had to pay ninety jangles from a shop downtown to get her," Clever Clover explained, "but we all pooled our money."

"Yeah, yeah. Pretty cat!" Friendly said.

"I could have easily payed the full amount myself," Tiffany said haughtily.

"Quick, quick! I need a scissors!" Tabby suddenly exclaimed, realizing the ear tag was still on the cat. "Anybody got one?" In the end she just snatched up a knife that was sitting on the table and murderously hacked at the plastic strip connecting the small heart-shaped tag.

After a while of hacking, the tag fell to the table. "She's free!" Tabby exclaimed.

"Hooray!" Spike cheered.

"I would have left it on," Quarterback commented.

"She's a million times better this way!" Tabby said. "And hey, she's really great! Thanks everybody! I might even consent to forgive you all now for forgetting yesterday!"

"Lucky us," Tex said.

After the party was over, Tabby merrily skipped home carrying Flip, the cute little cat. Hmm, I ended up with a surprise party in the end anyway. That's cheap. Ah well.

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