Octavia had spent much of the last hour preparing herself to see Vinyl's, 'gig.' She had ensured her mane was correctly combed and conditioned to its usual lustrous sheen. Her bow-tie was carefully tied around her neck, which was no small feat considering the inherent clumsiness of the hooves she was forced to use. A final glance at the mirror, a proprietary shot of Glenmorangie to start the night, and she felt ready to watch as Vinyl acted upon her wager. The dinner had went well, all things taken into account. The majority of it was idle chatter, to be fair, but she had promised to watch Vinyl play tonight, at the very least to ensure she held up her end of the bet. Octavia was always a mare of her word.
Her cello remained at home, the lack of its familiar bulk and weight made Octavia almost feel like a feather. She had always carried her cello, everywhere. One never knew when the chance to play to an audience, or practice a sheet would emerge, and Octavia liked to be kept on the tips of her hooves in that respect. Not that she needed any ego massaging, she was quite aware that the ponies she played to wouldn't see a better performance in their lifespans.
It was because of this extensive preparation for the event, that she was currently looking at Vinyl with a mixture of shock and indignation, as they waited outside the...establishment she was playing at tonight.
"Look, I know, it's not classy. But a mare's gotta find work somewhere, right? Just, uhh...if anypony with a strange accent offers you the chance to be a model..."
Vinyl shook her head in an ominous manner.
"Those sort of ponies come here?!"
Vinyl glanced around her, as though she were expecting a pony trafficker to be standing right behind her.
"I dunno. I just play the set and leave, okay?"
"Good...but I'm staying right at the front. I don't trust these...types."
"Well, that's just awesome." Vinyl's irritating grin swarmed over her face. "You'll be right there to see me in my prime!"
The club was a shambles. Octavia felt sure that a weather team must have organised a hurricane on its roof. The entire building was constructed from rustic planks of rough-cut timber, and rusty metal banding holding the structure together. The doors were simply two, small gates that hung onto the hinges with a similar desperate grip as a pony on a cliff edge would experience. A crude effigy of a bull stood next to a stallion who seemed like a similarly crude effigy of a pony.
Octavia allowed herself to be patted down, being sure to cut the security guards an irritated stare that conveyed her unspoken threat of a lawsuit, should their hooves go any further than the call of duty. Once they had ascertained she wasn't a crazed, knife-wielding aristocrat, they allowed her in. Vinyl, irritatingly, was allowed through with a casual wave, Octavia could only assume she had worked here before.
Inside the club, it was as much a shambles as the outside had implied. The bare floorboards were entirely missing in some places, whereas in others it had been slowly layered with dirt and other debris. Not a shred of carpet or decoration clothed the soulless interior, it seemed like a business on its last hooves, in Octavia's eyes. Obviously, a cleaner wasn't on the payroll in this establishment either. It was, however, the chicken wire across the stage that intrigued Octavia the most.
"Why is there-?"
Vinyl giggled nervously.
"That's to stop the bottles hitting me."
"B-bottles? Why would there be bottles hitting you?"
An equally nervous smile joined Vinyl's little giggle.
"Let's just say...it's their way of telling me to change track. They're..well..." She stifled a real laugh, "They're not what you'd call...classy."
"I can imagine in an establishment like this. But please, don't leave me alone out here...with these...vandals."
"Oh, don't you worry. You can sit with your Auntie Scratch in the firing line, behind the invincible chicken wire."
Octavia crossed her forelegs, assuming her pouting position.
"Don't patronise me, I'm not a pre-school filly. I just don't like the idea of being near these ponies."
"Hey, I'm not making you stay, Octy."
"We had a bet, and I want to see you try and do a set here without your magic."
Vinyl waved a complacent foreleg at her audience.
"These are my ponies, alright? Besides...I just imagine the paycheck, and let the music drown out the smash of the bottles."
"And my consolation?"
"Well, if I fail the bet, I buy you a round of that Skooma stuff you love, right?"
Octavia slammed a hoof to her face.
"It's Jura, you foal...Jura."
Octavia followed Vinyl through the back entrance behind the bar itself, leading onto the stage behind the chicken wire. She claimed a seat for herself, placed so that any potential bottle projectiles would have to come through both the wire and the turntables to meet her. Vinyl took her position on the stage itself, front-and-center, presiding over her crowd. Octavia couldn't help but feel that most of the genetic driftwood gathered here today would be traced as a serious cause of intellectual degradation in several generation's time.
Vinyl grabbed the first disc between her teeth, loading it carefully onto the turntable, before doing the same with another. She shot Octavia a smug grin as she turned her head to see her.
"Look, ma. No horn."
For her part, Octavia simply reclined as far as the bit-store, plastic chair would allow.
"No matter, we'll see when the glass starts flying."
"Oh, we will, Octy. Hold onto that carefully-groomed little mane of yours, it's about to get blown away."
"I hardly think so, you'd actually have to be able to drum up some talent in that noise you so irritatingly mislabel as music. But do please continue, I'll be sure to prepare some bandages and sticky plasters."
Vinyl laughed, before jabbing the turntable with a hoof and kicking off the set. A wave of bass hit Octavia, ringing through her skull like a migraine, which she felt certain it would give her. She clamped her hooves to her head, simply thinking of the forfeit for failing the bet, and smiling in the knowledge that eventually the polar-white mare would slip up. The same mare's hair was energetically flying back and forth as she got into her own little world, snapping a new track on whenever a particularly large salvo of bottles struck their flimsy wire shield. It dawned on Octavia that the bar must make a killing from all the bottles of lager it had to be selling.