He listened carefully, hoping that Ben didn’t have some kind of life that Tom didn’t know about. He was counting on the fact that the auditor was a complete social failure. The only thing worse than hanging out with a nerd was being alone on a Saturday night, and all Tom’s other friends were booked.
He knocked again. “Don’t think you can hide from me, bro! I am the right hand of justice and the left hand of jiggy!”
Yes! The telltale sound of footsteps. A second later, the door swung open. “You realize that doesn’t make any sense, right?” Ben asked.
“Whatever, man.” Tom pushed his way inside, curiosity overriding his desire to go out, get drunk, and fail to go home with a woman. Sadly, as he looked around, he could find nothing incriminating. Or interesting. Or…anything.
“Dude, do you even live here?” he asked. “Or do you just rent this room to watch Game of Thrones?”
“Well, actually, the free HBO is the reason I picked this hotel instead of something closer - What are you even doing here?”
The other man was clearly gearing up for a valiant attempt at evicting Tom, but he was doomed to fail. Tom prided himself on having the tenacity of a venereal disease, and right now, he wanted to mess with the nerd.
“I told you, Ben, it’s party time!” he said. “You and me, we’re gong to go out! Hit the town! Pick up some chicks and wake up to omlettes.”
“That’s a disturbing image.”
“Benjamin.” Tom wrapped his arm around the other man’s shoulder. “You need to loosen up. Get a little life in those limbs! And those clothes. You seriously choose to wear that stuff?”
Ben shrugged him off irritably. “My limbs are just fine, thanks. As are my clothes.”
Tom shook his head. “Benji Benji Benji.”
And then he caught sight of the tv. “What is that?”
Ben lunged for the remote, but Tom was closer. He grabbed it and danced out of reach, laughing. “Are those cartoon ponies?”
Ben seemed to decide that his dignity was beyond repair and gave up. “It’s the new My Little Pony series,” he grumbled. “Friendship is Magic.”
“My Little Pony.” Ben nodded. “ARE YOU SERIOUS?” Tom leaned forward. “Tell the truth, bro. Your hiding your niece in the closet or something?”
“It’s a good show!” Ben said defensively, taking the chance to snatch back his remote.
“Oh puh-leeeeeeze.” Tom rolled his eyes. “It’s a show for little girls based off of little girl toys.”
“Hey, hey, Lauren Faust is a genius!” Ben waved the remote emphatically. “My Little Pony is one of the most intelligent, well-rounded shows currently running, and it’s probably the most feminist animated show ever. It has a wide range of positive role models for both girls and boys, and Twilight Sparkle…is my hero.”
Tom doubled over laughing. As Ben protested “IT’S NOT FUNNY!”, the South Carolinian collapsed on the bed and rolled onto his back, kicking his legs in the air.
“I’m sorry, dude,” he said between gasps. “But - Twilight Sparkle.”
Ben had some sweet muscles for a nerd, but he wasn’t strong enough to throw Tom out the window like he clearly wanted to, and they both knew it.
“Tell you what,” he said as Tom finally caught his breath. “You watch the first episode with me, and if you don’t think it’s one of the best damn shows you’ve ever seen, I’ll let you give me a makeover.”
Tom bolted upright. “You serious?”
Ben crossed his arms. “I’ll throw out everything I own and buy whatever you tell me to,” he said.
That gave Tom a moment’s pause. “I don’t know,” he said. “That doesn’t sound very fair to you. I’ll let you keep a few of the less atrocious shirts.”
Ben shrugged. “Whatever you want,” he said. “But you have to watch the pilot first.”
“Just the pilot?” Tom asked, and the other man nodded.
“Do we have a deal?”
Tom held out his hand. “Shake it and make it. I call dibs on the bed! You know, so I won’t be uncomfortable when I wake up.”
He ignored Ben’s smirk. He was just blinded by his own nerdiness. Overconfidence. It was the downfall of many men.
Tom let out a satisfied sigh and reclined against the headboard. This was going to be too easy.
Twelve hours later, the credits rolled.
“That’s it?” Tom asked. Over the course of the night, he had migrated from the back of the bed to the front edge, where he now leaned precariously.
“’Til next Saturday,” Ben answered. He didn’t have to ask, but smug satisfaction made him do so anyway. “What did you think?”
“Dude, that was fricking AMAZING!” Tom crowed. “Equestria is the bomb!”
Ben bounced excitedly. “I know, right?”
“And oh man, that Rarity.” Tom all but swooned. “Pony has got style. If she were real, I would totally let her make all my clothes. And I can see why you dig Twilight Sparkle. She’s pretty cool for a nerd.”
“You know, so few shows really portray nerds accurately,” Ben said. “But I feel like she’s a really good representative of us as a group.”
“All she needs is a Star Trek costume,” Tom said. “By the way, your cutie mark? Would totally be that Star Trek communicator thing.”
“You think?” Ben asked. “I’m not really much of a Trek person. I always thought it would be the Bat Signal, myself.”
“My cutie mark would be a hot woman,” Tom continued, ignoring Ben. “Because that’s what I’m best at. The ladies.”
“Which is why you spent Saturday night watching My Little Pony with a dude,” Ben said. “Makes total sense.”
“Shut up, Benjamin. Anyway.” He leaned over. “I know a deal’s a deal, but considering how many hours we just spent with the fabulous Rarity, I was thinking maybe you and me, we could go shopping. Get you some shirts that won’t give somepony nightmares.”
“I like my shirts, thank you very much,” Ben said.
Tom sighed. “I’m sorry, Rarity. I tried. So!” He rolled off the bed and jumped to his feet. “Next week. Same pony time, same pony channel?”
“Wait, you’re serious?”
Ben blinked. “…Okay.”
“Awesome. I’ll bring the liquor; you bring the snacks.”
“…It’s a 20 minute show.”
“Whatever, bro. Just make sure it’s low-cal. I’ve got to maintain my coltish figure.”
And then Tom was out the door. He quickly looked around to make sure no one caught him coming out of another dude’s bedroom after being there all night. Once satisfied that the coast was clear, he headed out to his car, humming “Do you know you are my very best friend?”
“Dear Princess Celestia…” Ben muttered, and broke out into a grin.