A tribute to Carpdime’s Avocado
Chapter Five: Avo’s first day at school
(continued from Chapter 4)
The rays from a gentle sunrise could be seen from the window, as the old woman was giving Avocado a bath.
“Hee hee, dat tickwes!”
Most fluffies are afraid of water, as they hate how their fluff soaks up the water, adding more weight to their body. However, a few fluffies like Avocado enjoy bath time, and especially enjoy the thrill of making splashes in the water.
“Please stay still Avo, I’m trying to get you clean.”
“Otay gwamma,” says Avo, a little disappointed.
After ten minutes of washing with soap and water, followed by drying with a towel, the old woman proceeds to comb Avo’s mane. He was still a small foal, about the size of a guinea pig, but he was cheerful and effervescent like a young human child. He had the amount of sleep a healthy foal of his age needed, and thus was bright and active. Despite his tiny size, the old woman was able to neatly comb Avo’s mane, like as though it was hair on a prepubescent human male.
“And there you go! A handsome young boy,” smiles the old woman. She then proceeds to take a mirror and show Avo his neatly combed maned and clean fluff.
“Avo wook nice, gwanma!” squeaks Avo, his voice cracking as he raises his two front hooves to clap.
As she fauns over Avo’s appreciation of his appearance as well as his enthusiasm for his first day at school, she is reminded of something. And for a while, her smile grew a bit dim.
“Gwamma? Wuts wong?”
The old woman was caught off-guard by Avo’s sudden observation. She proceeded to correct herself and smiled quickly.
“Oh nothing Avo! I was just happy about how you look.”
She then proceeded to place Avo in his pet carrier. The old man was currently getting dressed in the master bedroom and was getting ready to take Avo to the daycare.
“You have a good day at school, okay? School may seem scary, but you’ll have fun!”
As Avo said this, the old man came into the dining room. Placing his hand on the handle of the carrier he then said, “Alright Avo, it’s time for school!”
As man and fluffy departed the house, the old woman waved at them, and said loudly, “Have a good day at school, Avo!”
As she watches the car depart from the house, the memory that she tried to suppress came back. Her eyes started to well up.
She was a young woman with bright auburn hair. Eyebags were starting to form under her dark blue eyes. Immersing her hands in the stream flowing from the faucet, she scooped up the water and brought up to her face. As she massaged her face, she opened her eyes, and stared at herself for a good half-a-minute.
The Auburn-haired woman came from a broken home, and she never knew stability in her early years. As it was a sensitive matter, she refused to discuss or mention it, leaving only rumours and gossip to speculate among those who barely knew her. Some opined that she was caught in the middle of a messy divorce and was treated as a pawn between two rivalling parents desiring her affection. The nosier of the chatterboxes heard from the grapevine that she was actually illegitimate, and that she never really knew her father, being born to a single mother. Whatever the case, she was an introvert for most of her life and kept to herself. At some point, the Auburn was making the beginning steps down a wrong path. She started mixing around with the wrong kind of company, who took advantage of her meekness and insecurity, and tempted her with vices like illegal substances and truancy.
However, she was not without real friends. Intervention from her friends and then the family that really cared for her took her away from this darkness. She spent many a month in rehabilitation, and had to retake a year in high school, having to relearn the many things she abandoned in her bout of truancy. But the allure of being a rebel kept calling her back, and she could feel herself slipping, her desire to return to the life of a wild child beckoning.
And then, one day, there was the announcement of the fluffy pony biotoy. The creature intrigued her. To many, they were just playthings, a corporate product marketed to young girls, which ended up attracting a male demographic for some bizarre reason. However, when she first saw the biotoy in the window, she looked at them with incredulity. Their happy demeanour, their babbling chatter, their stupid smiles. But, as she looked at the eyes of the fluffies, in both the foals, and the adults, she saw an innocence that she once felt as a child, before the madness happened. She remembered a toy she once owned, an MLF plushie that she lost in the madness. And now here were these toys made flesh, like the figurative Velveteen Rabbit.
She didn’t just want to own one. She wanted to know about them. The one in the window looked the most like that plush, and she went out of her way to understand every aspect of her. Upon finding out about the new job of teaching at fluffy daycares, the Auburn went back to her studies with a newfound determination. Over time, she managed to get a certification as a qualified biotoy caretaker and was now working toward a degree in animal psychology and behaviour.
“Mummah am otay?”
The adult Waggytail fluffy was looking at her owner curiously, wondering why she was staring at herself in the mirror for so long.
“I’m okay, Candy. Let’s get ready for class.”
“Hello little fluffies!”
And then the Auburn introduced herself by her real name to the fluffies. She had to start the class a bit earlier, as she had to prepare a quick orientation for the newcomers. Surveying the five newcomers who was going to join the class, Auburn noticed Avocado, who was looking quite handsome with his combed mane. Auburn understood that he was a foalcan fluffy, and yet, she could not help but be moved by his immediate friendliness that previous Friday.
In Auburn’s arms was a much older, and bigger, fluffy. At this point of time, the only other fluffies that Avo had seen were the glimpses of the fluffies on television and his owner’s computer screen, and the fluffies he saw while he was at the airport and during the flight. So, for him to see so many foals his age, as well as the adult fluffy, was a new experience to him.
“And this here is Candy. Candy is a fluffy, like all you little boys and girls, but she’s much older, and is also a good mummah.”
That was the first time Avocado heard the term ‘mummah’ used in reference to a female fluffy that was a parent.
“Huwwo babbehs! Fwuffy name am Candee! Candee wiww hewp babbehs wearn nyu thingies!”
“We will be teaching you various lessons for the next few months until you become “big” fluffies!” says the Auburn, slightly tired, but still maintaining her interest despite the routine nature of the job. She continued, “And the first thing we will learn today, is the Alphabet. I’m sure some of you know your alphabet by hard.”
“Avo knu awfabet!”
Avocado said this, as he raised his two front legs in the air in enthusiasm. Auburn was a bit surprised, as she knew that most foals who were taught at home wouldn’t remember the alphabet that well, a reason they had to be sent to the daycare to improve their knowledge retention.
“Alright, Avo, can you sing the Alphabet song?”
Ay Bee Sea Dee Eee Eff Gee…”
The Auburn smiled, as Avocado recited ten letters. However, Avocado kept going past the letter K.
“Kyu Ess, Tee Yiew Vee!”
Auburn look on in incredulity as Avo kept going. However, Avo was starting to stumble with a particular letter in the Fluffspeak alphabet.
Auburn smiled and was about to tell Avo to stop when suddenly, Avo blurted out “Dubwoo!” having conquered the difficult of saying “Double U”. Beaming, he finished the song with “Ecks, Wai and Zee.
Fwuffy knu da A B Cs, necks time fwen wiww sing wif fwuff!”
“Avo am so smawt!” said Candy, as she clapped her hooves together in praise.
Auburn was a bit taken aback. Knowing that she had to stick to the lesson plan, she quickly adopted a smile, and congratulated Avocado.
“Very good, Avo! And now we will learn some other new things today.”
For the first session, Auburn was teaching the foals about toys.
“This here is a ball,” said Auburn as she pointed to a picture of the ball. Following her owner, and with an actual toy ball under her hoof, Candy repeated the word but in fluffspeak.
“Dis babbehs iz a baww!”
“Baww!” said all the foals. Some said it with question marks, while others, like Avo, knew the toy well enough.
Because fluffies speak fluffspeak, and are incapable of learning international standards of English, the model of teaching that has been adopted at most fluffy daycares is a system where foals get not one but two teachers. The main teacher, the human teacher, teaches concepts to the fluffies, while an adult fluffy, ideally a female who has raised foals, plays an assistant role. The idea is that the human teacher provides a specific concept to the foals and the fluffy mare will relay the lesson or idea in fluffspeak. Documentation comparing foals raised purely by humans and foals raised purely by their fluffy parents have found that the mixed model provided the best results.
Just as she did with toys, the Auburn did a similar session with animals, particularly pets that fluffies might encounter.
“This is a dog. Dogs can get angry very easily. It is why they bark and can become barking monsters. Fluffies should not disturb sleeping dogs, otherwise they will become barking monsters!”
“Dis babbehs, am a guud boi! But some guud bois can be bawky munstahs wen dey nu hab guud sweepies! Memba’ babbehs, nu tawkkie wen guud bois hab sweepies! Wet sweepie gud bois sweepies!”
After the lessons, a timer went off on the Auburn’s watch. This signalled the mandated break time, during which the foals were supposed to play among themselves. While this play was monitored, foals were encouraged to play without the presence of a human, as a means of developing independence. Of course, a camera would allow the caretaker to observe the foals interactions and from there, notice any problem behaviour. As the lesson concluded, she and Candy gathered all the foals together.
“Otay babbehs, nu wunnies nao. Hold da taiw in fwont and fowwow Candee!”
Remember the road safety lesson Auburn and Candy had taught earlier, Avo instinctively used his mouth to hold the mare’s tail with his teeth. A younger foal did the same to his tail, and another likewise, until they formed a secure chain. Once a few orderly lines of fluffies was assembled, Auburn and Candy marched the foals to their play area.
While walking through the corridors, Avocado was amazed by the various activities he could see in the daycare. While the daycare had different rooms for classes, it also had many rooms specialized for that one necessary part of fluffy life – play. Crossing the foyer, Avocado could see the fluffies playing outside. Some were enjoying a quick dip in a pool of water, while one was busy picking flowers. The Auburn brought Avocado and his classmates to a larger playroom, and the first thing that Avo saw was a plastic castle. From the few adults who were playing in it, Avo could tell that it was designed with the older, more grown-up fluffies in mind. Not too far from the castle, some of the adults fluffies playing on a seasaw, and some were making a tower of building blocks.
There was a padded area where the foals were playing, watched by a few fluffy mares. Both Auburn herded Candy and her foals into the pen, as she gave the instruction.
“Alright fluffies! Remember to play nice!”
Within the padded pen, Avo could see the various play areas designed for foals within this padded pen. There was a maze for the smaller foals that they could enter, and slowly to find their way, but was big enough so that a mare or a human teacher could come in and collect the foal if it got lost. Some of the other foals were playing catch or a basic game with a ball. A few of the younger foals were suckling from a mare, who was singing the mummah song.
As Avo kept watching the foals around him, Candy went up to him.
“Gu on Avo! Nu be shy!”
Avo shakes his head, as he turned to his teacher. “Avo nu am shy, mummah Candy. Avo wuv wookies!”
Although Candy understood that Avo was a little bit more introspective and thus enjoyed watching things, the goal of playtime was also to develop bonding among the foals. Candy looked around, until she saw one blue foal huddled in a corner. The foal had a green tail and had his face to the wall, not wanting to be seen.
Candy used her hoof to direct Avo’s attention to the blue foal as she said, “Poor babbeh am aww scawedies. Twy to make fwens wif babbeh, Avo.”
Avo recognized the foal as the same one he met when he was that flight. Feeling curious, Avocado approached him with a greeting.
“Fwuffy am Awocado! Nice tu meet yu, fwen!
Wut am fwen name?”
The blue foal was a bit nervous. He remembered what his owner told him about strangers. But there was something about Avocado that seemed reassuring. That, and he wasn’t a stranger, nor was he a bawky munstah or a meowie munstah. Rather he seemed gentle, like his daddeh.
“Huwwo Bwuubewwy! Babbeh am Avocado!”
Blueberry hesitated. He looked down at the ground, as he quietly whispered, “H-huwwo Avo.”
Sensing his timidness, Avo had an idea. He said to the blue foal, “Fowwow babbeh!”
“Bu-bu Bwubewwy am scawed.”
“Nu wowwies, Bwuubewwy!
Avo turned his back on Blueberry, and wagged his tail, as he said “Howd da taiw!”
Blueberry, being in Avo’s class, remembered this lesson. Bringing his mouth to Avo’s tail, he let our green foal guide him to a set of building blocks, which were made for his size. Upon reaching the blocks, Avo then asked Blueberry, “Fwen eba pway wif bwockies?”
Blueberry shook his head.
Avocado smiled, as he then said, “Babbeh wiww show fwen how pway wif bwockies!”
It is the end of the day. As the dim glow of dusk bathed East Side Daycare, the various owners who sent their fluffies for the Morning shift were coming to collect their foals. There were also a few who were sending their foals and fluffies for their evening class, these fluffies usually belonging to various professionals that worked the night shift and had some nocturnal fluffies.
“Bye bye mummah!“
“Bye bye fwens!”
The old man had come to collect Avocado from the daycare. However, while the other foals had been dismissed, the Auburn wanted to speak to the old man.
“I must say. I am genuinely surprised by Avocado.”
“Oh, and why is that?”
“In our classes, we have to teach fluffies to differentiate living things, or ‘fwens’ and ‘munstahs’, from non-living things. Most foals take months to be able to understand this idea, but Avo seems to grasp the concept quicker than others.”
The old man chuckled, remembering the incident with the RC car.
“Also, I’m surprised that Avocado knew his alphabet.”
“Well, my son played the MLF Alphabet singalong to him when he was staying with him.”
The Auburn raised her eyebrow at that remark.
“That’s even more surprising. Even with training, a lot of foals tend to forget the Fluffy alphabet and can only remember the first ten letters. Avo here was able to remember all the letters, even W.”
“So, what are you saying?”
“I don’t know. It’s too early to tell though, but I do find him a little remarkable.”
As she said this, Avo had finished his drink. Upon placing the drink down, he noticed the old man and, in enthusiasm, called out to him.
“So how was your first day at school, Avo?”
Avo was now back at home. He had finished his dinner not too long ago. He was seated on the lap of the old man, who was relaxing on a large leather couch.
“Oh gwanpa, Avo had wots and wots of fun! Avo pway baww, pway wif Bwuubewwy, had sweepie times, and had sketties!”
“That’s nice and all Avo, but did you learn anything?”
“Ummm…. Weww…… Canddee tawk about aww da many type of animaw fwens. Wike, guud bois, biwdy fwens and meowie fwens!”
“I see. What else did Candy talk about?”
Avo rubbed his forehead a bit. Then, he remembered something.
“Mummah Candee say, wen fwuffy wawk on cwossing, wook weff’, den wight, then hold da taiw in fwont of fwuffy!”
Ah yes, road safety. The old man figured that Avocado was learning about basic road safety.
“That’s right Avo. But do you just cross on any part of the road, Avo?”
“Nuu, gwandaddeh! Thewe am speshul pwace. Wike, got speshul wines. Oso, dewe be bwightie pwace wif tuu daddehs!
Ib red daddeh, fwuffy nu wawkies! But, if gween daddeh shinies, fwuffy can hab wawkies!”
The grandfather smiled, as he nodded his head.
“That’s right Avo. You don’t cross any part of the road, you look for the one with the green man and the red man. And you only cross the road when the green man is shining.”
As he says this, the old man uses his two fingers, and ruffles up Avo’s main with glee, as he cheerfully remarks, “You’re a smart little fluffy, arent’cha?”
Avo, amused by the ticklish effect of the gesture, giggled and said “Dat tickwes, gwandaddeh!”
The old man smiles. He then remembers something.
“Oh Avo, do you remember daddy?”
Avo’s face lits up. But then, remembering that his owner had to go to school, he sighs a bit.
“Babbeh wuv daddeh! Bu’, daddeh hab to go to skool.”
“Well Avo, you’re in luck. Daddy’s hewe!”
Avo’s raised an eyebrow, as he looked quizzically at his grandfather.
In response, the old man brought out a tablet PC. With one press of the button, Avo could see a picture of his daddeh on the screen of the tablet PC.
However, it was not a picture, it was a video.
Avocado’s face lit up. For the first time in a few days, he finally got to see his true owner again.
The old man then placed Avo and the tablet PC on the coffee table in front of the sofa. Setting up a support for the tablet PC, Avo waddled up to it. He started to prance up and down, gleeful at the sight of his daddeh again.
“Daddeh! Babbeh miss daddeh wots and wots!”
“So, Avo, I heard you had your first day at school today?”
And so Avo told everything about his first day of school. Though separated by thousands of miles, the power of technology allowed the young man and his fluffy to remain connected, despite their respective academic obligations.
“I’m happy your first day went well, Avo. Now remember, you gotta study hard! There’s a lot to learn at school!”
“Remember to listen to your teacher! And to Candy as well – she sounds just like your mummah!”
Avo nodded, as he proudly said “Avo wiww do babbehs bestest at skool!”
Getting ready to end the call, the young man smiles, as he then says “Well Avo, daddeh needs to go to bed now. You take care, okay?”
In a gesture of longing, Avo walks up to tablet, and attempts to hug the screen.
“Babbeh miss yiu,” says Avo, as he kissed the figure of his father figure on the screen.
A streak of wetness flows the right eye of the young man, as he smiles.
“I miss you too Avo. Goodnight.”
As the call concluded, the young man looks pensively at his notes. He did not feel comfortable telling Avo that Candy was just like Avo’s mother, as he knew full well that Avo may have never had a mother, being from a foalcan. But he remembered the story he told Avo before.
Whatever the case, Avo was going to do his best at school. And perhaps he should to.