|Zen and the Art of Gazebo Repair|
|Published:||July 31, 2013 (#9)|
August 28, 2013 (#10)
Katie Cook (#10 pp. 24-25)
|Credits • Gallery • Allusions|
Zen and the Art of Gazebo Repair is the third arc of the comic series by Katie Cook, spanning issues #9 and #10. It features Big McIntosh as the central character – with most of his dialogue in narration boxes.
The story begins at Sweet Apple Acres; Big McIntosh, at the request of Granny Smith, sets out to fix a squeaky board in the gazebo near the farmhouse. Unfortunately, he has no nails to fix the board with, and there aren't any to be found inside the house. He sets out for the hardware store, but discovers that today is the Summer Wrap-Up Hoedown and Festival, and his path to the hardware store is packed with ponies, carnival rides, and game booths.
Big Mac encounters Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, and Scootaloo, who have constructed a catapult for the craft show and plan to set off an elaborate assembly of fireworks after the hoedown. When a miscommunication causes Sweetie Belle to light the fireworks prematurely, Apple Bloom and Scootaloo launch the fireworks away from the craft tent, and they detonate in the distance. The Crusaders go to find more fireworks, and a visibly shaken Big McIntosh walks off.
Big Mac then runs into Mr. and Mrs. Cake and is roped into looking after their foals Pound and Pumpkin while they go to deliver a cake. The foals are unable to sit still, so Big Mac pacifies them with a magic and puppet show put on by Trixie. The Cakes return afterwards to retrieve their foals, to Big Mac's relief, but as a result of the diversions, he's gotten lost amid the carnival games.
After bumping into the Cutie Mark Crusaders a second time, Big McIntosh wanders aimlessly across the festival grounds in search of the hardware store. Among his other fated encounters at the festival include the Wonderbolt Fleetfoot, who upon crashing into him falls head over hooves in love with him; Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon, who criticize his choice of attire and coat color; and Bulk Biceps, who attempts to sell him various bodybuilding supplements. His penultimate encounter for the day would be with Princess Luna, who's come to the festival to have fun. In need of a partner for the festival games, she picks Big McIntosh out of the crowd. Though unwilling at first, Big Mac indulges Luna and wins a number of trophies with her.
When McIntosh is finally able to sneak away from Luna during the scavenger hunt, he runs into Zecora. He walks with her briefly on the way to the hardware store, but soon makes a shocking discovery: one of the Crusaders' fireworks displays has burned a sizable portion of the store down, and there's a note on the front door:
- "Store closed for festival. Need something? Come find me in the crowd!"
- — Lugnut
To Big McIntosh's annoyance, his adventure continues.
Picking up where issue 9 left off, Big McIntosh now sets out to look for Lugnut, the owner of the hardware store. After winning a prize at a ball-toss booth (and handing it off to a stalking Fleetfoot), Big McIntosh runs into the Crusaders yet again. He watches them launch more fireworks about the festival, with the help of Snips and Snails, before going about his business. Everywhere he goes, he's pointed in another direction.
Big Mac eventually happens upon a "Do Not Cross" partition and finds that the Summer Wrap-Up Parade has started, with a Dodge Junction parade float leading the other floats. He attempts to sneak directly across the parade, but he's yanked onto one of the floats with Sapphire Shores and her backup dancers. Mistaken as one of the dancers himself, Big Mac is roped into dancing to Sapphire's songs. From atop the float, Big Mac looks around for Lugnut, unwittingly leading the others in dance and creating a new dance craze. When the song ends, he beats a hasty retreat.
After escaping a camera-happy Photo Finish, Big Mac then comes across Spike, who's set up his own crafts (and kissing) booth. The young dragon guilt-trips Big Mac into buying one of his figurines, and the stallion immediately hands this trinket off to Fleetfoot as well.
The sun starts to set, and as he passes by Flim and Flam, Big Mac reaches the hoedown corral, where dozens of ponies have gathered to dance (to the newest dance craze Big Mac had inadvertently created earlier, no less). He makes his way through the crowd and bumps into Tealove—who, like Fleetfoot, instantly falls in love with him. As Fleetfoot and Tealove butt heads in the background, Big McIntosh meets Cheerilee, who informs him that she'd just seen Lugnut heading back to his store to make repairs. Big Mac gives up and decides to head home.
He meets Zecora again, who sees his frustration and offers him some wisdom. As Big Mac reflects on the day he just had, he realizes that it wasn't all bad, despite not finishing what he set out to do. Zecora encourages him to forget about his troubles for the time being and enjoy himself at the festival. Big Mac does just that, as he's later seen hoof-wrestling Princess Celestia, riding the Ferris wheel with (and receiving a kiss from) Princess Luna, and watching the Cutie Mark Crusaders' fireworks display.
After a full night of merry-making, a tired Big McIntosh makes his way home. He passes by Lugnut, who informs him that he'd borrowed some nails from the farm to make repairs to his store—to Big Mac's utter shock, all of Sweet Apple Acres' nails were in the Crusaders' clubhouse. Lugnut also mentions that Big Mac will be needing some lumber—a comment that leaves Big Mac confused.
It isn't until the next day that Big McIntosh realizes the meaning behind Lugnut's words: one of the Crusaders' fireworks had destroyed the gazebo.
A page from the scrapbook of Big Mac
The back of the issue features a two-page spread from Big McIntosh's scrapbook, showcasing photographs taken at the Summer Wrap-Up Hoedown and Festival. Photos taken include Mr. and Mrs. Cake sleeping beside their foals, Apple Bloom attempting to get her cutie mark in tarot reading, Rarity stitching a dress for Fleetfoot, Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon giving advice to Hayseed Turnip Truck, Princess Luna winning at a high striker game, Spike giving one of his figurines to Rarity, the Cutie Mark Crusaders winning a ribbon for their catapult, and Big McIntosh repairing the gazebo with the Crusaders and Lugnut's assistance.
- Big McIntosh: [narrating] It all started off like any other day... Quiet. Nice.
- Scootaloo: I'm sure it's fine.
- Sweetie Belle: Are you sure? It sounded kind of... destruction-y.
- Trixie: I hope you're all ready for... the Great and Powerful Trixie and her traveling magic and puppet show!
- Fleetfoot: Oh dear! I'm so sorry! I was just knocked out of the sky by a flaming ball of... fireworks... Hi.
- Big McIntosh: 'Yup.
- Princess Luna: I like thee, citizen. Thou art very easy to converse with! Most pleasant!
- Snips: I'm telling you, a pair of scissors is a perfectly reasonable cutie mark for a pony!
- Snails: But... what does that mean your special talent is? Paper snowflakes?
- Big McIntosh: [narrating] What is it about today that is making everypony crazy?
- Fleetfoot: Spring... wedding...
- Flam: Stick around everyone! We've got a musical number coming up about this great product!
- Flim: Stay for the whole song and you'll get 5 bottles for the price of 7!
- Tealove: The bridesmaids will wear lavender...
- Zecora: You may not have completed your quest... But maybe that is for the best? Think about the day you've had, was it really all that bad?
- Big McIntosh: [thinking] Wait... Was it all that bad? [aloud] 'Yup. [thinking] ...Well, maybe not.