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[Fillydelphia] Day Shift at Rock and Rhythm Records


DeepBass
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It was just a few hours till noon, and Deep Bass was awkwardly fumbling with the key to the record store that he had been working for the last few months. It had been a long night of songwriting for the multi-talented musical pegasus, which had seriously cut into his sleeping time. He didn't like opening the shop, but Mr. Hooveston had come to rely on his musical knowledge, and had previously mentioned a promotion being in the works for him. After a few seconds of heated battle, Bass finally managed to get the key into the lock, and open up the door. He slowly pushed the door open, allowing it to swing closed behind him. He went over to the register, and unlocked it with no less struggle than the door. After making sure that the proper amount of bits was in the register to give proper change for a decent portion of the day's purchases, he cantered back to the door and flipped the sign to say that "Rock and Rhythm Records" was open for business. Bass sat on the ground behind the counter, and waited for the day's first customers. After a few minutes of nopony walking in, he decided to put some music on. He left from behind the counter, and headed toward the rock section. It was still too early for anything too heavy, so he decided on a record by Neighday Parade. He took the record between his teeth, and went back to the sales side of the counter, setting the record on top. Then, he proceeded to pull a record player out from under the counter. He placed the record on the player, and dropped the needle. Almost immediately, the sounds of alternative rock filled the shop. Bass sat patiently behind the counter, shades over his bloodshot eyes, and tapped his hooves in time with the song, waiting patiently for the usual crowd of DJ's or music junkies to flock to the shop.

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It had been ages since Thunder Beat had been home in Fillydelphia. He often grew homesick of the little crowded apartment where he and his parents once lived. 'What's the harm in stopping by?' he thought to himself as he reached the city limits, all the while dragging a full cart behind him. He never traveled anywhere without his drumkit... though traveling was usually a lot longer of a process because of it. He roamed the familiar streets of Fillydelphia as memories of his foalhood rushed back to him. There truly was no place like home. As he passed by a record store, he felt the urge to perhaps pick up a few backing tracks for his practice sessions. Freestyling on his own was all well and good, but if he ever wanted to make it in a band, he'd have to learn to play in time with others and not just to the beat of his own drum. He parked his cart next to the store and pushed open the door with his hoof, a bell above the door ringing to signal his entrance. Beat took a step inside and surveyed his surroundings. It was pretty early in the day, so it was no surprise that the store was mostly empty, save for a pony behind the counter who appeared to be absorbed in the music of a record player. Beat plodded around the store, not completely sure of what he was looking for. Growing impatient of searching, he decided to bite the bullet and ask for help. He approached the counter, cleared his throat and spoke. 'Hey bro... got any backing tracks for drums?' he asked, grinning nervously like an idiot as he tended to do around strangers.

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Bass continued tapping the rhythm with the song, so entranced in the music that he barely noticed the bell ringing, as a new face trotted in the door. He shot a quick, shade masked glance to the door, noting any specific characteristics he could. The red coat, and the drumstick and lightning bolt cutie mark. He shrugged, and continued his tapping. He kept a stern eye on the earth pony, as he trotted through the aisles, keeping watch to make sure he wasn't another hooligan that he was all too familiar with, growing up in the streets of Filly. After a few minutes, he decided that this new pony wasn't really much of a threat, and went back to his music induced glance. After a few moments, he was snapped out of his non-instrumental jam session by an unfamiliar voice, jumping back from shock, his shades flying from his face, and midnight blue, silver flecked eyes wide in fear. After a few seconds, he regained his composure, and placed his shades firmly back over his eyes.

"Oh… uh, yeah, we got those. Follow me."

He stepped out from behind the counter, and began leading the new pony toward the back of the store.

"So what kind of backing tracks are you looking for, bro?"

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Gesturing him to follow, Beat and the salespony walked towards the back end of the store. Walking through the rows of records, the salespony spoke up. "So what kind of backing tracks are you looking for, bro?" Beat squinted as he pondered the question. He hadn't had much luck lately when it came to finding drum work. Perhaps if he broadened his horizons, he might find a gig. "Hmm... probably a bit of everything. Fast and slow tempos... ballads, marching music, heavy stuff. I'm just looking into getting some practice in a bunch of genres. Never know when an opportunity might arise and I wanna be ready for anything." he explained in an assertive tone.

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Bass listened attentively to the potential customer, attempting to gauge the new pony's musical palette. He nodded his head as Beat spoke. "Hmm... probably a bit of everything. Fast and slow tempos... ballads, marching music, heavy stuff. I'm just looking into getting some practice in a bunch of genres. Never know when an opportunity might arise and I wanna be ready for anything."

Bass nodded and grinned. The prospect of this new pony practically had Bass beaming. Partially due to the fact that Bass was sure that this pony was probably going to provide the entire day's sales, and partially because Bass found it as another chance to get some of his recordings off the shelves.

"Well, it's good to be well rounded."

Bass stopped in front of a room with a glass door, in the back of the shop. Inside was a few shelves of records, labeled by artist name, and of course, mixed in with it all was the name Deep Bass, making up its own shelf, practically. Also included in the room was a record player that was hooked up to a few speakers that were run throughout the room. He then turned back to the pony, and smiled.

"Alright, this is where we keep the instrumental backing tracks. Some have vocals, and some don't. But at least you can sample them. Just go ahead and pick out the ones you like, and bring them up to the counter. I'll hook you up."

Bass then turned, and trotted back to the counter, only stopping to dust off a sign that read "Multi-instrumentalist / Vocalist for Hire." Bass felt that he was being a little too desperate with the sign. He was like a kitten in a box. "Free to a good home." But Bass knew that, desperate as it may be, it was necessary. There weren't many bands recruiting in Filly. In fact, there weren't that many kittens, either, but that's another story.

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e salespony had led Beat to an enclosed room at the back of the store. Shelves of records adorned the walls, with a record player being the centerpiece of the room, almost beckoning to be played. Beat's eyes lit up at the potential as the salespony turned to him. "Alright, this is where we keep the instrumental backing tracks. Some have vocals, and some don't. But at least you can sample them. Just go ahead and pick out the ones you like, and bring them up to the counter. I'll hook you up."

Beat grinned and nodded in response. He gave a quick "Got it. Thanks!" as the salespony returned to his behind the counter duties. Beat pushed open the door, taking a step inside. The room was quiet. Too quiet. Beat picked up that the room was soundproofed, as not to make a ruckus of noise for the outside customers. The urge to let out a loud shout to test the soundproofing hit Beat... but his better judgment kicked in, as he realized it might not be the smartest idea. What if he was wrong about the soundproofing? What if the silence was his imagination? What if he yelled so loud, that he shattered the windows? He had a budget for food and entertainment... but not a budget for broken glass windows. He'd probably be forced to work at the store until he paid back the money. Or worse... he'd be thrown in jail! Locked up and the key thrown away! Or maybe none of these things would happen... maybe he'd just yell and the salespony would give him a weird look and that'd be it... maybe it was Beat's out of control imagination getting the best of him again. Beat shook his head, clearing the cobwebs of his overactive imagination. Perhaps some music would help get his mind off of his insane train of thought. He turned his gaze to the shelves of records and used his hoof as a guide while reading. In a flurry, he grabbed records off the shelf and flung them on his back.

"Hoofenheim... heavy metal... check! Doo-Wop... classic rock and roll... check! Her Royal Majesty's Equestrian Marching Band... check! Southern Twang and the Appleloosa Banjo Boys... country... check! Deep Bass.. hmm..."

Thunder Beat stopped and pondered for a moment, raising his hoof to his chin and stroking his goatee in thought. He considered himself to be a decent music buff... but for the life of him, he couldn't recall what genre this 'Deep Bass' character played under. What was especially odd, was that Deep Bass had an entire shelf to himself. "He must be pretty popular..." thought Beat aloud. The more he thought of the name, the more it sounded familiar. He popped on a record and listened to the music. He didn't recognize it at all... so why did the name seem so familiar? Like he'd heard it before... at least once or twice. He shrugged and put the Deep Bass record on the pile on his back. The records stack was getting pretty heavy, so Beat decided to end his spree. Returning to the counter, he grabbed record cases one by one with his teeth and put them on the counter. With his mouth full, he spoke in a slightly incoherent tone. "This should be everything then!"

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Bass stood behind the counter, scratching his chin, and grinning, as he watched the new pony enthusiastically pick out records, and set them on his back. It was almost as if he were watching a foal in a candy store. A quick thought hit him, which caused him to let out a short chuckle. The thought that maybe he wasn't the only pony late for the maturity train was entertaining, indeed. There wasn't much else he could do, but watch as the oddly familiar looking new pony shuffled through the records. Another entertaining thought came to mind.

"That pony must be on the same diet as Midsy or something. They both have a pretty crazy amount of energy."

The thought of his old friend Mid Wobble came to mind. Honestly, he didn't know where he would be without her. After all, she did help him get through the tragic, and unexpected passing of his fillyfriend, and long time musical companion, Steady Rhythm.

The thought of Rhythm and Mid Wobble caused his memory to shoot back to the musical school he was enrolled in so long ago. And that's when it hit him.

"So, that's why that pony looks so familiar!"

Bass, certain that the pony in the back room was almost done, stood, poised to close the sale behind his register.

He watched as the pony set the rather large stack of records on the counter, and his jaw dropped in awe, as the pony spoke. "That should be everything, then."

"Wow… that's a lot of records."

Bass began counting up the records.

"Right… that's thirty bits, but I'll go for twenty five."

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"Wow… that's a lot of records." said the salespony as he filed through the tower of records that Beat had placed on the counter. Beat chuckled before the salespony spoke again.

"Right… that's thirty bits, but I'll go for twenty five."

"That's a done deal!" exclaimed Beat, reaching into his vest for his pouch of bits. With the ringing of coins, he poured a pile of bits on the counter a nd counted them out. "5, 15, 20... 25! There we go!" While the pony behin d the counter dealt with the bits, Beat scooped his excess change back into his sack pouch. Taking a look at the tower of records, Beat wondered if he didn't perhaps over do it again. He shrugged to himself as he grabbed the top record to have a closer look. It was the 'Deep Bass' record that peaked his curiosity. Thinking this would be the perfect opportunity to get more information, he held it up face first and asked the salespony about it.

" Hey... I was gonna ask... who is this... 'Deep Bass'? There was a bunch of records with that artist title in the back. Is he... or she... or they... big in Fillydelphia at the moment or something?" he asked with a cocked eyebrow.

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Bass counted the coins, scooping them up, and putting them in the register. The last thing he was expecting was for the red pony to ask the question he did. "Hey... I was gonna ask... who is this... 'Deep Bass'? There was a bunch of records with that artist title in the back. Is he... or she... or they... big in Fillydelphia at the moment or something?"

Bass thought for a moment, trying to piece together what to say as not to sound cocky. If there was anything Bass hated, it was making himself sound cocky.

"Well, he's actually a local musician. He used to be in a band that played a lot of local bars, and whatnot. But nopony has heard from the band since their drummer died. But I'm sure you wouldn't have a hard time finding him if you look around."

He wasn't kidding. Literally to his right was a picture of Bass and his old band, Quikhor5, with a signature under each member, and the words "R.I.P. Steady Rhythm" written underneath the signature of a mare striking a pose next to Bass, with a drumstick between her teeth. Yeah, it was quite obvious, but not a lot of ponies ever paid it much attention. Mostly, the only comments were "Wow, she's hot!" Bass turned his head, looked at the picture, and smiled.

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The salespony paused before answering Beat. It looked like he was trying to pick his words wisely... almost as if he was hiding something.

"Well, he's actually a local musician. He used to be in a band that played a lot of local bars, and whatnot. But nopony has heard from the band since their drummer died. But I'm sure you wouldn't have a hard time finding him if you look around."

"Aww, that's rough about the drummer." replied Beat, his eyes falling towards the ground as a sense of empathy for a fallen felow drummer washed over him. The salespony's gaze turned to a framed picture on the counter as he smiled to himself. Beat, being the curious type, spoke up to break the somewhat depressing silence.

"What's that you've got there?" he asked, standing on the tip of his hooves and tilting his head to get a better look. It appeared to be a photo of a band, yet Beat couldn't make out any of the members, least of all the strangely familliar white pony.

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Bass leaned back and raised an eyebrow at the red pony as he leaned over the counter to look at the picture, and spoke. "What's that you've got there?"

Bass turned the picture around, so that the pony could see it better.

"It's Deep Bass' old band, Quikhor5. The mare was the drummer."

His smile turned to a sad frown, as his memory went back to his relationship with Rhythm.

"She was really something, that mare. Always knew how to put a smile on my face."

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The salespony turned the picture towards Beat, allowing him to get a better angle. He could see it a little better now. There were several signatures as well as a big "RIP Steady Rhythm" underneath the signature of the drummer.

"It's Deep Bass' old band, Quikhor5. The mare was the drummer."

The salespony frowned, as he became more morose.

"She was really something, that mare. Always knew how to put a smile on my face."

Most ponies would have perhaps picked up on that little slip up in the salespony's words... but Thunder Beat was the type of pony who let obvious things just kinda fly over his head. Nodding in response, he scratched the back of his head with his hoof. He avoided making eye contact, to make things less awkward.

"You must have been a big fan, I gotcha... I'm sorry for bringing this up then."

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Bass looked at the red pony, raising an eyebrow, noticing that he was trying to avoid eye contact, and chuckled slightly when he heard the stallion's next statement.

"You must have been a big fan, I gotcha... I'm sorry for bringing this up then."

Bass shook his head.

"I wouldn't exactly say 'fan'. No, just remembering the good old days. It's kind of hard to find work around Filly, lately. It doesn't really matter how many different styles you can bust out, anymore."

Bass pulled another record out from under the counter, and set it on the record player. The sound of a swing-style jazz band filled the store.

"Yeah, don't even get me started on the modern lack of appreciation for a decent jazz piece. So, where you from? I can't really say I've seen you around Filly before."

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"I wouldn't exactly say 'fan'. No, just remembering the good old days. It's kind of hard to find work around Filly, lately. It doesn't really matter how many different styles you can bust out, anymore."

"Oh... he's a photographer!" thought Beat to himself. "Different styles of photography... reminiscing of when he find work... which is why he now works in a record store! He keeps the last photo he took as a memento of the good old days! Duh, it's so obvious!" Poor Beat... not the sharpest knife in the drawer... though one would have to give him points for his creative thinking. The salespony/photographer changed records on the countertop record player, upbeat brass playing as he continued.

"Yeah, don't even get me started on the modern lack of appreciation for a decent jazz piece. So, where you from? I can't really say I've seen you around Filly before."

"Oh, well I actually AM from Filly... born and raised. I've been travelling across Equestria, just kinda seeing the world and picking up any opportunities for work as I pass by, y'know? Maybe you should give it a shot sometime, yeah? Your opportunities aren't as limited when you're on the road."

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"Oh, well I actually AM from Filly... born and raised. I've been travelling across Equestria, just kinda seeing the world and picking up any opportunities for work as I pass by, y'know? Maybe you should give it a shot sometime, yeah? Your opportunities aren't as limited when you're on the road."

Bass tilted his head in a slight confusion, then waved a hoof at the comment.

"I don't know. I've been to Canterlot, and Manehattan, and even there, there isn't much call for someone of my talents. I mean, yeah, I've gotten some small jobs in coffee houses, or jazz bars, but I'd like something that'll get me out of this shop. Preferably something that would allow me to travel."

Bass shrugged, and began tapping his hooves to the rhythm of the music as a smooth bass line from a stand-up bass could be heard above the other instruments.

"So you must have some interesting stories, huh?"

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The salespony waved dismissively at Beat's suggestion.

"I don't know. I've been to Canterlot, and Manehattan, and even there, there isn't much call for someone of my talents. I mean, yeah, I've gotten some small jobs in coffee houses, or jazz bars, but I'd like something that'll get me out of this shop. Preferably something that would allow me to travel."

The salespony began to tap his hooves to the jazz in the background as he spoke. Almost instinctually, Beat also started drumming along with his hooves. It was an interesting quirk he had... even when he wasn't playing on the drums... he was drumming on something. He was usually pretty unaware of it though. With the pace at which his front hooves moved, he could have perhaps been a tap dancer, had he not been so passionate about the drums.

"So you must have some interesting stories, huh?"

Beat scrunched his mouth in thought, his hooves not stopping. His voice seemed to wobble along with the rest of his body. "Hmm... a few. But it's all quiet on the western front lately. Finding work has been a bit slow for me too. It's why I'm kinda looking for a band to play with, y'know? Nail down some more solid work, instead of just having to do oddjobs for bits. So yeah... I can kinda see where you're coming from."

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Bass took a mental note on the pony's wobbling tone, and body as he spoke.

"Hmm... a few. But it's all quiet on the western front lately. Finding work has been a bit slow for me too. It's why I'm kinda looking for a band to play with, y'know? Nail down some more solid work, instead of just having to do oddjobs for bits. So yeah... I can kinda see where you're coming from."

Bass nodded toward the very sign that he had passed earlier.

"Well, if you're looking to start a band, I'm sure you can find somepony around Filly who'll play with you. I'm pretty sure Deep Bass is looking for a new band."

Bass shrugged lightly, and gave a subtle grin.

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The salespony nudged his head towards a sign, which read "Multi-instrumentalist / Vocalist for Hire".

"Well, if you're looking to start a band, I'm sure you can find somepony around Filly who'll play with you. I'm pretty sure Deep Bass is looking for a new band."

Beat's eyes lit up at the prospect of finding a bandmate... though he still hadn't made the very obvious connection, what with the sign and all. The tempo of his hooves picked up with his excitement.

"Oh snap! Really? That'd be awesome. Does he work here or something? D'ya know where I could find him?"

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Bass let out another small chuckle, deciding to use this moment to have a little fun, as he watched the pony's eyes light up.

"Oh snap! Really? That'd be awesome. Does he work here or something? D'ya know where I could find him?"

This sent Bass into a fit of laughter, which lasted for a good minute. Finally collecting, and recomposing himself, he managed to get a few words out.

"Yeah, he works here. In fact, I'm sure if you wait a few minutes, you'll catch him."

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The salespony laughed hysterically, seemingly for no reason. "I don't remember saying anything THAT funny..." he thought to himself. Unsure of what to do, Beat chuckled along nervously. The salespony regained his composure and spoke, still chuckling.

"Yeah, he works here. In fact, I'm sure if you wait a few minutes, you'll catch him."

"Awesome! I'll keep an eye out for him then!" exclaimed Beat as he turned towards the shop window, his head darting around as he tried to get a better view of outside the store, in the hopes that he could see Deep Bass... despite not actually knowing what he looked like... or even what type of pony he was.

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Bass had to fight back another insane fit of laughter, as the oblivious red stallion's head quickly turned to the window. "Awesome! I'll keep an eye out for him, then!"

Bass nodded, and stepped out from behind the counter, his bass clef cutie mark in full view, as he headed to the aisles.

"Cool. I'm just gonna straighten up."

He then began to straighten up a few records, as he waited for the pony to realize what was going on.

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Thunder Beat was excited. Getting a band together? A band formed with ponies from his own hometown, no less? Awesomeness. Beat hadn't even asked 'Deep Bass' yet, but in his mind... he was already getting a yes. Deciding not to get ahead of himself, he stood up straight, looked as cool and calm as he could muster... and waited.

He waited.

He waited a little more.

He waited a little longer than that.

Sweet Celestia he waited...

It's been an eternity of waiting. It felt like minutes... hours even. Dare it be said... days... and still no Deep Bass. Beat looked at the clock on the wall to see how long it'd been. What he saw, sent a shiver of shock up his spine. It had been five... whole... minutes.

Needless to say, Beat wasn't the best waiter in the world. At this point, he'd all but given up hope. Defeated, he trotted towards the salespony, cleaning up shelves.

"He... he's not coming..." sighed Beat, his head drooping low, weary from the epic waiting game he'd just played.

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Bass looked over from the records he had only just begun to straighten, and noted the defeated look on the pony's face. "He... he's not coming..."

Bass lowered his sunglasses, and raised a visible eyebrow at the pony. It was about that time that Bass had realized that his small prank had possibly gone too far. The last thing he wanted to do was ruin his ticket out of that record store, so if this pony walked out, that would be bad business for him, that's for sure. He had to think of a quick way to gibe the pony a decent clue.

He thought for a moment, pressing his hoof to his chin.

And he thought...

Then the idea came to him.

"Well, can you do me a short favor? Go look at that picture on the counter one more time. I'm sure that should help you just a little bit."

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The salespony paused, rubbing his chin in thought before he spoke.

"Well, can you do me a short favor? Go look at that picture on the counter one more time. I'm sure that should help you just a little bit."

Beat sighed, shrugging. "What harm could it do?" he thought to himself, as he trotted over to the picture on the counter. He held it in the light and took a closer look. The photo featured a band of ponies, all posing for a photo... signatures below, autographing the picture. Beat didn't see the point in looking at the picture, but to play along, he looked anyway, thinking to himself. "Hmm... that's a nice drumkit... the lighting is kinda bad for the photo... heh, the bass player kinda looks like that salespony... wait a sec..."

Bass held the picture in the direction of the salespony. He lowered it up and down, comparing the two. Ding ding ding... he had a match. But who was this salespony? To investigate further, he attempted to read the signature... "D...e...e... I think that's a P.... B...a..." *SNAP!* Finally it clicks. Beat sheepishly wandered over to the salespony. He grinned, embarassed at his inability to see the obvious. "Aww shoot... I'm an idiot... you're Deep Bass, aren't you?"

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Bass nearly burst into laughter, as he watched the pony trying to figure it out. It took a lot of effort, but he managed to hold it.

Bass put down the records he was straightening up, and turned toward the pony, as he walked over. "Aw shoot… I'm an idiot… You're Deep Bass, aren't you?"

By this point, Bass was in tears from trying to hold back laughter.

"Alright, ya got me. Although it was pretty funny."

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