"Do you see it Flim?" The colt nudged his twin playfully in the shoulder. They crouched in the thick bushes, atop a pile of prickly sticks.
"Of course I do, brother of mine." Flim grinned mischievously at his reflection, green eyes glistening in the morning sun.
The tan colt practically giggled with excitement. "This is going to be rich." He gestured to the dusty road before them, and the unsuspecting earth pony pulling his cart of empty baskets.
"You said it Flam." He readied the bucket of cold water beside him, lifting it with his magic. Nodding to Flam, he levitated it above the road with a green aura. His twin did the same to an identical bucket of water. Together they positioned their bombs, turning them upside down at just the right moment. The effect was glorious and immediate.
"What the? Garh! Who did that?" The now drenched brown stallion looked up, trying to detect the source of his discomfort.
Flam leapt up out of the bushes, sticking his tongue out at the earth pony. Immediately, he realized his mistake as the pony unhitched himself from the cart and practically flew towards them. Tucking his red and white striped tail between his legs, he turned to Flim. "Best make our getaway."
Flim shot up, "You don't have to tell me twice." With a grand leap forward, Flim started out at a hard gallop through the orchard, Flam following close behind.
Flam looked behind him, noticing the angry stallion was gaining. Note to self, don't anger an earth pony. Bad idea. Flim always beat him in sprints, and today seemed no exception. He was already a good twenty paces ahead of him. With a painful lurch, he felt the stallion's mouth clasp around his tail. He tumbled to the ground with a thud. "Flim!"
The stallion's mood seemed even worse, now that he had to gallop nearly a half mile to catch the colt. His amber eyes flashed menacingly, "You've got some explaining to do kid." Looking up, he called to Flim who had frozen several paces ahead. "You better get over here too. Before I serve your brother up on a silver tray."
Flim gulped, galloping back to the stallion. The colt was not even out of breath, and stared at the huffing pony with amusement. He smirked knowingly, white teeth flashing, "I would have thought an earth pony could outpace a couple of unicorn colts."
That did it. With a loud clap, the stallion cupped Flim so hard on the head he was sent reeling to ground. "Ouch! Geeze mister, we're only kids. Give us a break."
He rolled his eyes. "Yeah right, I know your type. Think just because you're born with horns, you're so much better than us." He shook his black mane dry, glowering at the pair before him. "What makes you think you have the right to mess up my hard work? Eh?"
Flam shuffled uncomfortably in the dirt. "We were just having a bit of fun."
The stallion's deep voice resounded across the apple orchard. "Bit of fun? Bit of fun?" He gestured grandiosely at the trees, full of apples ripe for harvest. "Do you little runts have any idea how much work I've got to do today? And with nopony to help?" Flam shook his head, as the stallion continued, "Do you have any idea how much you're little bit of fun has set me back? Lands above. Learn to think about somepony other than yourselves!"
The brothers looked at each other, faces hung low. They never thought about it like that. Flim turned to Flam and whispered in his ear, "We ought to make it up to him."
"Yeah, guess you're right." Flam turned to the pony, "Say, mister? Could we make it up to you?" He looked around the orchard, an idea forming. "We could help harvest the apples. We can use our magic."
The stallion's hard set face broke into a small smile, "Well now, that'd be a big help." He started to walk towards the road, "Barrels are over here boys. Let's get started, we're burning daylight."
Flim stared incredulously at his brother, "Really, Flam, that was your idea?"
Flam sighed and shrugged, "Sorry Flim, it was the best idea I could come up with. Besides, it might be fun."
"Get a move on back there." The pony was several paces ahead of them now.
Flim pushed his brother hard in the shoulder, giving a sarcastic smirk, "Sure, loads of fun."
They trotted behind the tall pony as he made his way once more to the cart. Flim stared at the basket of apples tattooed on his flank. Typical earth pony mark. "Say, mister, what's your name?"
He chuckled, "It's Rob Roy, but you can call me Roy. And yours?"
The colt grinned back, "Name's Flim, and he's Flam. We're twins."
"You don't say?" Roy chuckled, and grinned at the pair. "You're the first set of twins I've ever met. Can't see how your parents tell you apart."
Flam puffed himself up, "I'm taller than Flim."
His brother rolled his eyes, huffing. "Not for long. Dad says I'll be as tall as him soon enough."
Roy chuckled as the boys got into a friendly tussle. They had reached the cart, and he lifted out a few empty baskets. "Here you go boys. All you have to do is put the apples in the baskets. Normally we buck them but-" He looked over at the boys' lank bodies and unusually long horns. "-I think it'd be faster if you just use your magic. Don't want any accidents."
"Cool." Flim levitated a basket along with Flam. Together they galloped off to the nearest tree.
Roy raised a hoof, "Hey there, start from the back. That way you'll be closer to the wagon when you're tired."
"Right!" They made their way to the back of the orchard and started the work alongside Roy. It was a lot harder than either of them had thought. While magic came easy to them, it was still a tiresome task to use it for hours on end. Flim glanced over to Roy who was bucking the trees just as fast as when they started. How does he do it? He turned to Flam who was sufficiently lathered in sweat, "Break?" Flam nodded, and they walked over to the stallion. "Say, Roy, can we have a break?"
Roy grinned, wiping sweat from his forehead, "Sure you can."
They all gathered under a particularly large tree. The twins collapsed in the shade, panting. Roy just chuckled, watching them with interest. It was not every day a flashy pair of unicorns show up in your orchard after all. "Say, boys? What are a couple colts like yourselves doing out here anyway? Don't tell me you ran away from home."
Flam sighed, playing with the blades of lush grass. "I wish. No, we're just passing through with the troop."
"Troop?" Roy cocked his head, imagining a troop of strange animals following behind the twins. Somehow it fit.
"Yeah." Flim grinned up at him. "Our family runs a circus. We're on our way to Las Pegasus for a gig."
"Really? So you're carnies are you?" He burst out in another booming laugh, ruffling Flim's striped mane affectionately. "Lands above. Never thought I'd see the day where I talk to two carnies."
Flam flushed, he always hated that word. "We're not carnies! We're just business ponies trying to make a living. Isn't that right Flim?"
"You bet!" Flim smiled at his twin, puffing his chest out. "We're super famous too."
"Uh huh." Somehow Roy did not quite believe them on that one. Still, colts will be colts. "You kids are decent help, you know that? Wish my boy was here too, but he's gone off."
"Where'd he go?" Flim watched Roy stare off into the distance with a longing look.
"Oh, he's gone to make his fortune. Convinced this farm wasn't good enough for him." Roy's voice began to choke up, "Bit hard, you know? You raise them up, only to watch them turn their backs on you." Composing himself, he smiled sadly at the twins. "Ah well, it's in the past. Let's get to work boys."
"Yes sir." They happily went back to the task at hand. For some reason he could not explain, Flam found the work oddly satisfying. He turned to Flim after a few minutes, "Say, this isn't so bad. Is it?"
"Naw. Guess you were right after all Flam." He nudged his brother playfully, "You always are." They chuckled to themselves as they worked to finish the tree they were working on.
Flim could not understand why anypony would want so many apples. The orchard seemed to stretch on forever, and they were only scratching the surface. It was easily more than anypony's family could eat, even their family. He looked over at the earth pony, "Say, what do you do with all these?"
Roy turned a sweaty head to the colt, "What, the apples?" He grinned at Flim, holding up a particularly large apple. "See this? This here's more than just a snack. Did you know all the things a pony can do with apples?"
Flim shook his head, getting a little confused now. "What?"
"Well, how about jam for one. Or pie filling, cider, hard cider, decorations, fruit chips, perfume-"
"-perfume?" Flam stopped working to stare at Roy like he was crazy. "What in the hay?"
Roy nodded, "Yup. Though I don't make it, I know plenty of mares that'd go crazy for a bottle of apple blossom perfume." He looked up at the tree, grinning proudly. "Though my apples are best dipped in hot caramel."
"Yum." Flim held up an apple, newfound appreciation for the fruit. "They really are something, aren't they?"
"You bet. And you unicorns wonder why we like them so much." He chuckled, ruffling Flim's mane once more. "But, we'd better get back to work boys. Lots to pick."
For the rest of the afternoon, the boys worked quietly along with Roy. They were normally quite talkative, but hours of hard work would shut up even the chattiest colt. Finally, as the sun began to fade, Roy stopped the boys, holding a sweaty hoof out. "Thank you kindly kids. It's been a pleasure."
Flam took the stallion's hoof nervously. "Yeah." He turned to his exhausted twin, "We had a lot of fun, even if it was a lot of work."
"Yeah, sorry about earlier." Flim shuffled the grass uncomfortably.
"It's okay boys. You more than made up for it." He looked around at the orchard. Though there were plenty more trees left, they had taken a serious bite out of the workload. He hoisted a basket in front of them. "This one's for you both. Take it and share it with your family."
Flim's eyes sparkled with excitement. "Thanks." He gave the stallion a big hug. "We'll miss you."
Roy chuckled, "You too kids. Take care now." With a cheery wave, he turned back to the road and pulled the cart away.
The twins watched until Roy was out of sight. Flim grabbed an apple from the basket and started to eat. Flam did the same, and joined him on the grass. "Today was pretty fun, wasn't it?"
"Uh huh." Flim smiled at the bright red apple he was eating, "Say, Flam, Roy was right you know."
"About what?" Flam took a large bite out of his own apple, a contented look stretching across his face.
"Just that, apples sure are useful. I mean, all the stuff he said you can do with them. It's incredible." Flim looked up at the orchard around them, "There's so many things they could become if given the chance." He looked meaningfully into his brother's eyes. "Why they're opportunity itself."
Flam chocked on his apple, spluttering, "What? Flim that is the lamest thing I've ever heard!" He clapped his now embarrassed brother on the back. "You know something?" Picking up a fresh apple, he cut a slice off of it, passing it to Flim. "We've got every bit the opportunity this fruit has. Even more. Why, together we could do anything we want to."
Flim stared at Flam, a mischievous look forming. "You're right." He stood up, green eyes flashing with excitement. "Why just think of the possibilities. We could start our own business, run our own show, become rich and famous. Own an island-"
"-or a castle!" Flam leapt to his hooves as well, hugging his brother tightly. "Why limit ourselves to one dream when we can have it all? Opportunity is all around us Flim, we've just got to chase it."
Flim grinned broadly at his twin, "And as long as we're together, there's nothing and nopony that can stop us." A warmth began to fill their bodies, and a flash of light surrounded them. Flim gasped, pointing to Flam's flank, "Flam! Look."
Flam turned to see an apple with a slice cut out of it on his rump. He glanced at his brother to see a slice of apple on his. "We did it Flim! We've got our cutie marks." They danced together in the meadow. It was too good to be true. And, sure enough, somepony had to ruin the moment.
"Flim, Flam. There you two are." The pair whirled around to see a tall ebony unicorn galloping towards them. He was a lot older than they were, nearly a stallion, with a fine silver mane and tail. He skidded to a halt in front of the boys, amber eyes stern. "What are you doing out here? You've had Mom and Dad worried sick."
Flam stepped forward, and puffed his chest out. "We were doing some charitable work."
The colt rolled his eyes. "Yeah right. The day you two do charitable work I'll eat my hat." That was quite a big deal, as the colt never left home without the black bowler hat now plastered to his head.
Flim stepped forward, "It's the truth Blackjack. Honest."
"Uh huh." He leaned forward, squinting at the twins' flanks, then started back. "You got your cutie marks?"
"That's right." Flam wrapped a hoof around Flim's back. "We sure did."
"What are they anyway?" Blackjack looked closer at the marks and burst out laughing, clutching his sides. "By Celestia that's lame! What are you? Apple farmers?"
Flim flushed, and pushed his older brother. "Yours isn't much better Blackjack." He gestured to the cards on Blackjack's flank, an ace of spades and a Jack. "You just got yours from gambling."
"I did not." Blackjack's smooth black cheek turned a little red, and he turned around. "Come on then numskulls. Mom and Dad will want all the thrilling details of your future in agriculture I'm sure."
"It's not for apple farming!" Flam jumped on Blackjack, joined seconds later by Flim. Together they wrestled their big brother to the ground, laughing merrily as the sun sunk low over the orchard.
"Flam? Flam? Hey are you up?"
"Huh?" Flam opened his eyes blearily, looking up at the stallion standing over him. He started backwards. Why must he do this every morning? "Personal boundaries Flim, we've been through this." He pushed his twin backwards, and righted himself with the world. After taking a swig of water from the nearby stream and re-coifing his red mustache, he turned to his brother. "You may speak."
"Oh, you're going to love this!" Flim hopped up and down like a school colt, gesturing to the massive machine behind them. The sleek contraption was finally ready for action, and his twin was just a little too ready to get started. "I've thought of the lyrics to introduce the Super Speedy Cider Squeesy 6000 to the world. You want to hear it?"
Flam sighed. As if I have any choice in the matter? "Continue."
Flim coughed theatrically, "It's a little rough, so let me know what you think.
Well, lookie what we got here, brother of mine, it's the same in every town
Ponies with thirsty throats, dry tongues, and not a drop of cider to be found.
Maybe they're not aware that there's really no need for this teary despair
And the key that they need to solve the sad cider shortage you and I will share
Well you've got opportunity in this very community
We're the world famous Flim Flam brothers
Traveling Salesponies nonpareil"
Flam stared at Flim with his mouth hung open. The non-mustachioed stallion looked rather worried. "Too much? Maybe it is a bit too corny?"
"No, Flim." Flam put a hoof around his brother, grinning broadly. "Opportunity eh? It's perfect."
So, I hoped you enjoyed my story. I'd love to know what you think in the comments below. I love to explore Flim and Flam as characters, and I wanted the chance to tell the story from Flam's perspective a little more, as Flim was the focus of The Mess We're In. More to come with the twins in my future story. Thanks for reading!