A day at the (un)stables
rating: +14+x

The dinosaur starts to beep. I can't tell why, but I continue to rub its belly. The little T-Rex still won't shut up, and then it hits me.

My alarm clock is blaring. My arm reflexively moves to slap my clock's snooze button, but I just slam it against my nightstand. I open my eyes just enough to be blinded by the early morning sun and crawl under the covers like a vampire. The clock's beeping has sped up, and now I'm desperate for silence. I throw off the covers and walk to the other side of the room, where the damned thing is sitting on the floor. I pick it up, turn it off, and hate past me for putting it there. I look at the time, and my eyes snap all the way open as I remember that I've got work today.

Swiftly walking from my bedroom to the bathroom, I grab a towel from the closet and start the shower. After I've made myself squeaky clean, I head to back to the closet and pull out my uniform. Uniform is perhaps a little too formal. I slide on bluejeans and a beige shirt with the Foundation logo.

I walk into the kitchen and make toast. It is good toast. I brush my teeth and use mouthwash, strike a few poses in the mirror, and then head out. I march down four flights of stairs, it's a good workout at least. Not like I need one. I make for the front door of the building, and I'm just in time to catch one of the on-site transports. It's an old bus really. My co-workers and I load up, and I take a seat for the short ten minute shuttle from home to work. The driver stops, opens the door and we quietly walk off. I don't bother to watch it drive off, and instead head for the bio wing. I slide my ID past a scanner and open a steel door into the main compound.

I slide in behind my supervisor, Brad, a tan, muscular man with a beard, who's typing an email now, and casually push my badge up to the clocker. It beeps and I slink back outside. I was a little late. I take a walk, in my clunky boots, to the nearest Paddocks entrance. Normally it's quiet, but there are very obviously experiments going on today.

I see a few labcoats in paddock 13 and a strange sight. Well, not to me. Not anymore, anyways. Eleven ninety-four is being tested. I cringe at the thoughts of taking care of whichever horse gets messed up today. Oh, it's Nick. Bastard bit my hand yesterday. I try to remind myself not to be such an ass, but that train of thought is lost when he attempts to put on a sweater.

A little chuckle to start the day is nice. All of our animals are equine in nature, our Site has specialized in these SCP's for a while now. now I'm the only horse-care provider on my shift now, since Emily got transferred to Site-23. This particular fact makes the vast majority of my chores a pain. I head down to the south storage shed. Wellington is waiting.

"Good morning Wells!"

He gives a shake and returns with an "Absolutely is!"

"Let me hook you up and I'll load up breakfast."

Twenty kilo hay bales. Nine of them. Held in the most awkward position and then then thrown onto the back of a carriage. I've worked here for quite a while, but I'm certainly not strong as one would expect a farmhand.

"Wells?" His grand head turns with a lovely top hat between his ears."Ready?"

Mr. Wonderpony nods and backs up under the harness I hold for him. I always worry I'll screw up a tie or attach a strap to the wrong place. Once Wellington is snugly fitted, I hope properly, I hop up on my throne of hay bales.

"D'you see the testing goin' on in paddock thirteen?" I try to make the ride between lots and paddocks go by as fast as possible.

"Nay sir, what're the witch doctors up t' today?" He pulls us forward, toward lot number one.

"That nosebag, makin' Nick stand like an ostrich."

"Ha, bloke deserves it." I felt like slightly less of an ass. Coincidentally, those very creatures awaited the eight AM feeding in Paddock two. I toss bales over the fences as Wellington plods us along steadily. The whole thing takes a little less than an hour. We return to the south shed and Wellington backs his trailer into it. I unhook the guy, and with a third of a bale under my arm, we march over to his lean-too. Wells technically has free roam of the pathways, but he "Wouldn't dare bovver anybody unless it's an emergency". He'll stay around his little home until he's needed again.

His "little home" is decorated with a hat hook, a cabinet, a dining table (horse height of course) and some gas lamps, as well as a picture of what I presume is an English pasture. I bring out an over-sized plate from the cabinet and set the table for Wells.

"Breakfast is served milord" I take a bow and dump the hay onto the plate.

I leave Mr. Wonderpony to his morning meal and head for my next job. The real reason anyone works with horses. To pick up shit. Believe me, I get plenty of cool moments working with horses, but those are like golden flakes on a turd. Like the one I just stepped in. Normally, no big deal, I got my big boy boots on, but this one had a little extra give to it. I sigh. I drag my foot along the grass for a couple of paces, and head for the tool room, located back by the entrance. I pick out a scooping shovel, and a wheelbarrow.

Even though it's summer, I didn't expect it to be forty degrees out. I sweat my ass off between shooing still-hungry donkeys and dumping kilograms of horse manure onto our compost pile. After a few trips back and forth, Brad comes out with his own set of tools. I say the usual "hello"s and "yes sir"s. The man is an expert on equine biology, psychology, mythology, and any other -ology that might have to do with horses. Brad deserves respect. He's also a pretty cool guy.

By ten o'clock, we've deemed the lots to be clean enough. Clean has a very different meaning here.

A few minutes after we put away all of our stuff, we get word from a suit that Nick is done with testing, and Brad and I put head out and walk him in from Paddock thirteen. The clumsy appaloosa steps on my steel-toed boot as we let him into his stall back at the main compound. Other than a couple bruises, the animal is fine. Maybe next time.

Brad notes that two of the unicorns (procured with multiple fatalities from thirteen twenty-three) could do with a cleaning. They dainty ponies will literally wither in filth, so they have to be brushed in their pristine, shining, white coats. I handle one while Brad does the other, picking clots of dirt from their hooves. With a good brushing, clouds of dust fly off the majestic beasts. One pees. The splash zone is wide enough to get me. I head to a bucket of sawdust we keep in the aisle for this very reason, and sprinkle it on the stall's floor.

The clean-freaks are dealt with, and I ask Brad if it's alright for me to take lunch. With a nod he heads into his office. Probably doing site finances, or maybe playing solitaire. I head out of the Bio Wing. Walking to the admin building, which is where I take breaks, because the Bio-Wing doesn't have it's own break room. I scrub my hands intensely, I don't want horseshit in my food. We must have a cloning SCP or something on site, because the refrigerator is filled with hundreds of jars of applesauce. Additionally, I scrounge up some bread and peanut butter, and make a lovely lunch.

After my snack, I strike up a conversation with one of the guards, Tony, I think, who is also on break.

"Anything cool happen today?"

"Nah, just some confused tourists I had to turn away"

I shrug, "Not every day is action packed, I suppose"

"After a few years at the Foundation, you'll begin to appreciate those quiet days!"
After we have a laugh he notes that he'd better report back. I say goodbye after our short conversation and do the same.

I go into the Bio Wing- I call it the Bio Wing, but this is a glorified barn with some high-tech doors.

I'm looking for something productive to do when I see that Brad is giving a full tour to some execs. I straighten up and grab a broom, sweeping away dirt or dust from their path. Wouldn't want them to cut funding because their loafers were ruined by some soiled bedding. I stand around with a forced smile and internally cringe as they take notes on their tablets after every couple of Brad's sentences. They eventually leave, and we both give a sigh of relief. Brad says he'll take care of the afternoon feeding. I thank him as he nods and heads out.

I do the next chore; medication and supplemental feed. With nosebags in hand I dump handfuls of different pellets into each one. Some horses require special ointments for minor wounds, and Nick needs a huge pill stuffed down his gullet for when he encounters the after-effects of his experimentation. I take quite a while getting each animal fed and/ or drugged, doing one and then walking back to the list in the feed room to see who's next.

I eventually get to Nick who is a little skittish around his feedbag today, and I can't blame him. The scent of food overwhelms his nervousness though. I slip the pill between his lips with my own hand, trying to stop him from chewing it. I'm successful, but my hand is covered in a saliva and barley mush.

I walk over to the London-Lean-to for a handkerchief I could borrow from Wellington. What a guy.

"Ahem, Thomas, 'ould you moind placin' a request in fo' me?" His voice contains a little embarrassment.

"Oh, sure, whaddya need?"

"Could you ask the big-boss-man if I could 'ave an easel an' a set o' paints?" Wells fidgets a little bit in place, shuffling his feet.

"I never took you to be an artsy type Wells! A workin' class fellow such as yourself could use a hobby though, so I'll see what Brad and I can do." He's my friend after all.

"You're a real mate, ya know that?" I smile, and try not to think about the fact that my best friend is a talking horse with a bow tie.

Next on the big list posted outside the office is to check the automatic water dispensers, that are scattered around each pasture. I take the long walk as a moment to rest and just take in what a strange position I've got. I could be an accountant for some battery company, though I feed unicorns on a daily basis. I like where I am.

My streak of positivity is ended as my thoughts come to rest on oh-forty-two. That's why I'd gotten my job here, they saw I was well trained and good with horses. I was just an intern told to torture a Pegasus until he stood up. I go through the motions of undoing the rim of the waterer and testing to see if it works. I understand the importance to the what goes on there, but can't you just let him die and clone him? I saw crazier stuff go on at Area-32. Bah, I'm not a scientist, I don't know the complexities of anomalous objects. He's a cognitohazard anyways, he just makes me think that he … What if he isn't? What if it was all something the Foundation came up with to strike down any sympathy for him? Just an elaborate brainwashing scheme?

I shake my head to clear my thoughts and check the last dispenser. The lies I'm told are to keep me safe. I know that much.

Upon finishing my duties, I notice that the clouds overhead look rather threatening. The temperature is a bit cooler, and I smell rain. I jog back to the office and take cover just as it begins to drizzle. It barely lasts five minutes, so I decide to do another crap check. Not much has been produced, but I still clean up what's there. It bothers me to waste time.

I'm done quickly, and after dumping the last wheelbarrow, I pet some ponies. Stress creators and stress relievers. The two are sweet, but I try not to get to know them. Some of these guys are food for an SCP I'm not allowed to know about.

I say goodbye to my new acquaintances and head back to Wellington for the evening feed. I beat him to the south shed this time, and am able to get a few bales onto the bed of the small carriage before he shows up.

"Good evenin' Thomas," I nod back to him, "Hey do you know if I've gotten a letter from the wife an' foals yet?" This is one of the few subjects I'm not allowed to talk to Wells about.

"Uh, no, not that I know of," I'm not a great liar, but Wells is too optimistic.

"Probably too busy enjoyin' life without rules!" He gives a laugh. I smile, but inside, I feel bad for the guy. The secrets we keep from one another here.

We go through the evening feeding without incident, though it takes two trips to get enough for the animals to munch on through the night. I bid adieu to Wellington, who pulls open his cabinet and lays a blanket on the ground, all using his rather mobile lips. The sun is setting, so I hold my hand up to stop myself from being blinded as I walk back to the office. Brad is getting his things together, though I know he won't leave for another two hours. He'll do a check of all the security gates and any last minute stuff. I say goodbye and clock out. Brad nods silently.

I wait a couple of minutes at the bus stop with some other employees, making small talk. It's hard to get answers about how someone's day has been when they are, under penalty of death, not allowed to tell you what they do for a living. We all know the importance of secrecy here, and conversations mainly stay on the weather and latest TV shows.

The driver pulls up, letting the night shift out before accepting us on-board. I walk back to my apartment after drop off, and stare for a couple seconds at the stairs in front of me. I take the elevator. I unlock my apartment and flop onto my couch. A few minute off of my feet feels good, but the hot shower I take next is much more soothing. After I dress myself in some pajamas, I turn on my laptop and send a long message to Emily. I miss having someone next to me when it's hard work 24/7. I think tomorrow is her first day on the job at her new position. I make a few flourishing keystrokes and click the 'send' button. Some computer program, or memetic SCP, or something censors a few of the thing I mention. A little annoying, but I think I get the points across. I close the laptop and eat dinner.

Dinner is tacos, I decide. Good tacos. After I brush my teeth, I climb into my bed and under the covers. I'm about to close my eyes when I remember my alarm clock. I give it a toss to the other side of the room. Wake up future me, you lazy ass.

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