The Town: Crime is Magic - Chapter 4
Know When to Hold ‘Em
“Over? But it’s only like 9:00!” Deadbolt complained as several ponies began saying goodbye and cleaning up Sugarcube Corner. It had been a great party to say the least, and the four ponies had appeared to become fast friends with the Elements of Harmony.
“Hey, this ain’t Canterlot,” Willowisp reminded him. “These ponies got jobs to get to in the mornin’. Ponyville always shuts down this early.” Deadbolt looked confused, not familiar with any customs other than Bucktown’s.
“Come on, i’m still wide awake! Ain’t there someplace we can go in this town?”
“Ooh, ooh! I know! I know!” Pinkie Pie said, bouncing up and down with excitement. “There’s this REALLY cool place by the city limits called Sully’s that’s open ALL NIGHT!”
“Darling, a BAR?” Rarity asked, shock apparent in her voice. “Now, really! Isn’t there somewhere more.... sterile that we could enjoy the rest of the night?”
“Ah’ve heard a that place!” Applejack cut in with a smile. “Big Mac an his buddies go there all the time. Never been there mahself, but i’d like ta see what all the hubub’s about!” Everypony else seemed to agree with her. After all, who could pick out a better spot for some fun than Pinkie Pie?
“Well...” Rarity began. “I suppose it could be fun. Just let me tuck in Sweetie Belle at home.” She looked over to see Sweetie Belle sound asleep on Tripwire’s back, her small frame rising up and down with her soft breaths. She saw Spike following suit on Twilight’s back as she and Trip talked on the couch. “All right then, how about we meet up back here in 20 minutes, and then we’ll hit the town!”
Everypony agreed as Tripwire gingerly walked over to Rarity. “Hey, the city limit’s a long way from here on hoof, and we ain’t all gonna fit in Deadbolt’s van. You still got my truck in the garage?”
“You have a truck?” Twilight asked.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
“This.... is.... AWESOME!” Rainbow Dash exclaimed from the back seat of Tripwire’s lavish black SUV. She and Fluttershy slowly sunk into the soft heated seats as they let out a long sigh. “This has to be the SWEETEST ride I’ve ever been in!”
“It’s.... wonderful,” was all Fluttershy could utter as she turned on the massage feature. Ecstasy shot through their spines as Twilight giggled at their goofy expressions.
“It’s a bit much, don’t you think?” Twilight asked Tripwire.
“Hey, it was my dad’s,” Tripwire replied with a grin.
Trixie sat in the passengers seat beside him. “Sure woulda been nice to have this baby back home instead a’ collectin’ dust in your sister’s garage!” she said with a grimace.
“You really think our block’s the best place to park this?” he asked Trixie sarcastically. She playfully rolled her eyes at him. She knew inside that he was right, but would NEVER admit it.
“Allright, ladies. Up an’ at em, we’re here!” Tripwire shouted towards the backseat. A wave of moans and groans met his ears as he parked the car. The neighborhood wasn’t the nicest or the safest, but it sure beat Bucktown! Trip recognized the block as a hot spot when he and Will were narcotics dealers in Ponyville, but it appeared to have been cleaned up for the most part. There was plenty of business on the block now, illuminated by the bright, hypnotic neon signs and Luna’s almost-full moon. A far cry from the rest of Ponyville.
They walked in as the rest of the ponies unloaded out of Deadbolt’s van. They struggled with the doors; Trip had forgotten that motor carriages were a bit of a rare sight in Ponyville. They headed in and took in their surroundings. There were about a dozen occupied booths and tables of ponies drinking and telling stories and jokes. There was loud electronic music playing, and more than a few ponies were dancing in a clearing of tables, to which Pinkie Pie dragged Fluttershy into. “I TOLD you this place was sweet!” Pinkie said as she and Fluttershy began to grind in the middle of the dance floor.
Deadbolt and Trixie pushed two tables together as a waitress came over to take their orders. “Gee, i’ve never really went out for alchohol before.... I’m not really sure what to get,” Twilight said, rubbing the back of her head nervously.
“Really?” Rarity asked. “Darling, you’ve been on your own for over a year now! You simply must stop spending all your time in that old library!”
“She’ll have a screwdriver,” Trixie said to the waitress. “You’ll love it, honey! Trust me,” she said to a bewildered Twilight. Everypony else ordered their drinks as Rainbow Dash pulled Willowisp towards the dance floor. Rarity looked on, disappointment fresh in her mind once again.
“He’s not gonna come after you,” Trixie whispered in her ear. She must have seen her crooning towards him. “Ya can’t be afraid to take initiative,” she said with a welcoming grin. Rarity was more than grateful for any advice, but this appeared to confuse her.
“Initiative?” she responded with a small whine in her voice. “He’s the one who should be reaching out to me!”
“That kinda thinkin ’ll get ya a long, celibate life!” Trixie said. Rarity appeared shocked with her bluntness. Tracy was well-groomed and very beautiful, but her speech and mannerisms resembled those of her brother! “This ain’t 19th century Trottingham sweetie, get with the curve! Your friend Rainbow Dash over there’s with it, and that ain’t the only thing she’s with.” Trixie pointed over to Rainbow Dash and Willowisp, who were dancing muzzle to muzzle. “You want him, go take him.”
“Hmm.... Perhaps you’re right. Are you sure colts respond to that sort of thing?” Rarity stopped for a second as the waitress came back to their table with a tray full of drinks. Twilight and Tripwire were sitting next to each other as they took her drink and moved it in front of them with telekinesis. Twilight studied the light-orange drink and took a sip, followed by a fit of coughing. Applejack laughed as she patted Twilight’s back. “Too much for ya, sugarcube?”
Twilight looked around and saw everypony else enjoying drinks that looked much stronger than her own. She took another sip and kept it down with a rough smile. “P-please...” she told a still-giggling Applejack.
Trixie took her drink in one hoof and stood up. “Watch this,” she whispered to Rarity. Trixie hopped up on the table and grabbed Deadbolt’s shoulder with a sinister grin. He was just telling Willowisp something when he looked up at her. She teleported the two of them to the dance floor without a single word. Before he knew it, Trixie was in front of him with her back turned, grinding against him with her drink still in her hoof. Rarity’s jaw dropped when she saw that Deadbolt just.... went with it. “Are colts really that passive? Is it REALLY that easy?” she thought to herself as Willowisp and Rainbow Dash sat down and grabbed their drinks. “Guess it couldn’t hurt to try...”
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
“Feds will never understand how a colt who’s looking at forty years with a shot to get out of it if he gives up his friends tells ‘em to go buck themselves,” Deadbolt said to Tripwire, Trixie, and Willowisp. Applejack and Fluttershy had just left with a stumble in their trot a few minutes ago after saying goodbye. Fluttershy basically had to support Applejack’s entire left side as they left, since AJ had gotten into a drinking contest with a few surly colts a bit earlier. They had been out for about three and a half hours, and Twilight, Rarity, and Rainbow Dash were sitting at the bar for some private talk. Pinkie Pie laid down passed out on the seat next to them, a small pool of saliva accumulating around her muzzle.
“It’s all heroin and handguns now,” Trixie added. “These junkies get arrested, they think it’s ‘Equestrian Idol.’ When they caught Hotwire and Straightaway, cops put their finger in the bullet hole in his ribs sayin’, ‘who’s the other ponies?’”
“They said ‘Sorry, prick. Pain lasts a second, shame lasts a lifetime’”, Will added.
Deadbolt raised his bottle. “To Hotwire and Straightaway, takin’ their time like real colts.” They all raised their bottles and drank.
Tripwire, who had always been quiet during discussions about his father, spoke up. “Yo, Dash, Pinkie, where ya goin’?” Dash had flown up with Pinkie Pie on her back, leaving a trail of saliva as they flew.
“I gotta take her home,” she said forcing a smile past the straining look on her face. “Can’t leave her behind like this. It was great seeing you guys, though! Gotta do it again soon!” Rainbow Dash slowly flew out waving goodbye to the ponies as they waved back.
“All right, fly safe Dash!” Willowisp shouted as she went out the door. He and Tripwire migrated to the bar and ordered a few more drinks as they sat down. Will had sat down next to Rarity, and she could see Trixie staring holes into her. “Do it!” she mouthed from across the room. Rarity was more than a little buzzed, so she scooted up next to Will. Twilight was preoccupied talking to Tripwire about something inaudible.
“Not to sound accusing Will,” she started, “but isn’t Ponyville the last place that you’d want to hit up?”
“Hey, bits don’t discriminate, ponies do. We go where opportunity goes, and if you ain’t noticed yet, Ponyville ain’t the same small town it used to be,” he said elegantly, despite just having finished his 7th 12 oz.
“Yes, of course I’ve noticed, look where we’re sitting! The mayor would have looked down on this type of establishment in her town 10 years ago! You and Tripwire were a big part of that change, moving around this stuff,” Rarity siad as she pulled out a small plastic vile from her purse. She motioned it towards Will’s bottle as he pulled it away.
“Hey, what are ya doin’?”, Will asked her. “When’d little Rarity get mixed up with that s***?”
“Darling, i’m not so little anymore. More has changed than just the scenery....” Rarity looked deeply into Will’s groggy blue eyes as he stifled a hiccup. She put a hoof on his thigh as he looked over at Trip, clearly considering his choices. “You want him, go take him”, she thought. “Trip! Will’s taking me home! Don’t stay out too long!” Both Tripwire and Willowisp appeared bewildered at the statement, but neither of them asked any questions as Rarity pulled Willowisp out of the bar. Trixie and Deadbolt watched from afar, laughing at Will’s situation.
“Hmm, never seen Rarity act like that,” Twilight said.
Tripwire sighed. “Yeah, don’t know what got into her. I knew her and Willowisp were gonna happen sooner or later, but.... it’s wierd! That’s like my sister and my brother!” Twilight giggled at the ridiculous disgusted face Tripwire was making. Her giggling stopped as her stomach growled.
“Hey, we should get going too. I’m starving!”
“Yeah, I know this diner that ain’t too far from here. Me and Will used to go there all the time, and it’s open 24 hours. Just hope it’s still there...” Twilight smiled as they got up from the bar. “Yo Deadbolt, Trix- I mean TRACY!” he corrected himself, hoping Twilight didn’t notice. “See you guys back at Rarity’s! We’re hittin’ a diner!” They waved them off as Tripwire and Twilight left. The two of them climbed into Trip’s truck.
“Oh, sorry,” Trip began as Twilight got into the passengers seat. “I shoulda come and got your door for you, huh? What kinda guy lets you open the door....” Twilight looked down with the same distressed look she had at the party. “What’s wrong?”
“I....I have to get something out there. Otherwise I'll be pretending to listen to you all night when really I'm thinking about something else.” Tripwire nodded. “A few days ago I was in Canterlot, and I was caught in a bank robbery... Four men took over and opened the safe. They took me as a hostage, and one of them hit the manager until he blacked out. Uh... they blind folded me and drove me around. And then they stopped and let me out over at the beach and... and one of the guys told me to walk until I felt the water on my hooves. It was the longest walk of my life, I kept thinking I'd step off a cliff. And... and then I felt the water.”
“Oh... I’m sorry.” Tripwire replied, holding his composure well.
“It’s okay,” Twilight replied, perking up. “I mean it’s not like it was your fault.”
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
“So, what do you do for a living?” Twilight asked Tripwire as she bit into her daffodil sandwich. They had shown up at the unmarked diner about ten minutes ago, and had just been served. Only a few other ponies were in the diner, several sitting quietly by themselves. Fluorescent light illuminated the generally clean restaurant as a middle-aged earth pony wiped down a counter.
“Sanding Gravel. I break rocks, punch the ticket at the end of the day, go home. It ain’t glamorous, but it pays well, and I get to work with my best friends.”
“Is that how you met them?” Twilight asked him as he swallowed a bite of peach cobbler.
“Oh, no way,” he replied, covering his half-full mouth with a hoof before swallowing. “I’ve known Willowisp all my life, and we met Trixie and Deadbolt as soon as we moved out there. They were neighbors of Will’s grandma, and we started, um, hanging out together. Very tight community!”
“Well... in my old community, I kinda represented the poor ponies. You were defined by whether or not you owned a boat, and my family didn’t.”
“No boat?” Tripwire asked. “How could you look yourself in the mirror?” Twilight almost coughed up her food in laughter. “Back on my block, people with two toilets were fancy. We had one and it hardly flushed.”
“I knew you’d make fun of me.” Twilight smiled and looked down to her plate. “Can I tell you a secret?”
“I lied to the FBI....” Tripwire dropped his fork in surprise. “When one of the ponies were beating the manager, I caught a glimpse of his cutie mark. It was this.... this pot of gold.” Tripwire’s hooves began to shake, but he calmed down. “Did she see Will’s mark in the bar?” he thought silently.
“What do you think I should do?” Twilight asked him. He thought hard and chose his words carefully.
“Tell the FBI,” he bluntly stated. “If the guy's got a record, and I'm sure he does, they'll have his cutie mark on file. They'll ring him up the next day. Robbery, weapons, assault, he'll get 30 years. Of course they'll worry somepony's gonna come looking for the witness. FBI will probably wanna put you in Witness Protection, you know. They'll probably put you somewhere uh... down south or in the desert or somethin’. You know, somewhere safe.” Twilight thought about what he was saying, and it seemed to make sense. But then again, leaving her friends and her home was the last thing that she would want to do.
“OR... you could wait,” Tripwire calmly continued. “You’re holdin’ all the cards, there's nothin' that says you gotta play ‘em right away. You're the one who's vulnerable in this situation right now. The FBI are just ponies like us who wanna find the bad guy so that they can go home and nuke their supper. Twilight.... you gotta look out for yourself first.” With that, he picked up his fork and shoved a large piece of cobbler into his mouth.
“Wow, you’re quite the expert on this stuff, huh?” Twilight jokingly asked as she picked up her sandwich. “I came to the right pony!”
“Heh, you flatter me,” Trip replied. “I just watch alotta TV.”
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
“Seriously, WHAT could you and Rarity need this huge truck for?” Twilight asked. She and Trip were in front of the library, enjoying the heater before stepping into the cool night air. Trip had teleported out to her side to make sure he opened the door for her.
“Umm.... Work?” Trip replied as Twilight rolled her eyes at him. She was smiling with a warm sense of relief of finally opening up to somepony. It was like hundreds of pounds of weight had just lifted off her back! “Hey, if you got problems with your hybrid I can always throw it in the trunk!”
“Now how did you know I drove a hybrid?” Twilight asked.
“Ah... I took a guess. I'd... you... I mean it just seems like a 'Ponyville' carriage. Why, you really have a hybrid?” Tripwire asked, laughing a little.
“Yeah, well, I HAD a hybrid,” she replied. “It was a present from my parents for stopping Nightmare Moon, but it got vandalized.” Trip looked a bit disturbed at this statement. “Yeah, i’d only drive it out to the Everfree Forest for my research, but there were these colts and.... you know.”
“The colts what?” Tripwire asked, trying to hide his concern and slight anger.
“They started getting... you know it started with yelling when I walked by. And then they got really aggressive and...”
“Well, what were they doing?”
“Once glass bottles started getting thrown I started coming to terms with not being cool enough to walk through the outskirts.”
“They threw bottles at you?”
“I... I'm fine. I just have to, you know, go the long way. It doesn't matter.” Twilight tried to dismiss it with a smile, and Tripwire let her believe that it was fine.
“Yeah, just gotta live with it I guess,” he said as Twilight unlocked the library door. “Do you uh, you remember what they look like?”
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
“Will, I need your help.” Tripwire walked into his living room to see Willowisp watching TV in the dark. Deadbolt and Trixie were either asleep or not home, and he could hear Rarity in the shower. Will looked up at Tripwire with a blank stare. “I can’t tell you what it is, you can never ask me about it later, and we’re gonna hurt some ponies.”
“....Whose carriage we takin’?”
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
“You got the sledgehammer?” Will asked Trip as they drove to the Ponyville Assisted Living Complex.
“Bro, I don’t need no buckin’ hammer! I got THIS,” Trip said as he lit up his horn.
“Pffff, overcompensating bastard,” Will said leaning back in his chair with a smile.
It was about 1:00 in the morning as they pulled up to a white apartment building. They got out of the truck and opened up the back. They threw on thick black coats and Red-and-White hockey masks, and they both had steel horseshoes on. They went through the white, dimly-lit lobby of the assisted living complex and headed up the stairs. They quietly walked down the carpeted hallway and stopped at a brown wooden door. “You ready?” Tripwire asked Willowisp through his mask. He gave Trip a nod and Trip knocked on the door. Loud rock music could be heard coming from the other side of the door. Willowisp took out an expandable metal rod and covered the peephole with the tip.
“Who is it?” a loud colt’s voice said from behind the door. He tried to look through the peephole, but something was blocking the other side. He had a chain on the door so he could open it to see without letting anyone in. As he cracked the door to see, a flash of silver light smashed through the door, breaking the chain and pushing the frame off of the hinges, and into the colt’s face.
Tripwire and Willowisp charged into the apartment, taking the occupants by total surprise. Tripwire hopped on top of the tattoo-covered mahogany earth pony and began punching and bucking him in the face repeatedly. Willowisp flew over to the gold-coated unicorn on the couch and cracked him across the face with his metal rod before he knew what was happening. Both ponies were now bleeding from their face and mouths, and the unicorn had several gashes down his back and legs from Willowisp’s rod. He threw the rod to the side and grabbed the unicorn, ramming his horn straight through the 13-inch television. Tripwire continued to smash his steel horseshoes into the earth pony’s face and chest. Tripwire got up off of the groaning pony and brought his front two hooves up, then brought them down on the colt’s front right hoof. The colt screamed in agony as his hoof bones snapped and crushed beneath the masked assailant’s horseshoes.
“Yeah, that your throwin’ hoof!? Huh, ya like throwin’ bottles!?” Tripwire antagonized the colt, who was clutching his hoof and screaming in pain. He brought his front hooves up again and brought them down hard on the colt’s already-crushed hoof, followed by another loud wail of pain. “If you’re still here in a week, we’re comin’ back!” Trip said as he motioned Will over to the door. Will got up off of the bloodied unicorn and made his way back over to the door, but when he looked back at the mahogany earth pony on the ground, he felt inclined to ask.
“What did you do?” Will asked him, poking him with his blood-spattered rod.
“I-I don’t know what you’re talking about!” the colt responded through clenched teeth.
“That’s my brother right there,” Will said, gesturing to Tripwire. “What did you do to get him so cranked up, huh?”
“I don’t know what the buck you’re talking about!”
“Oh, you don’t know, huh?” Will asked as he pulled a revolver gauntlet from his jacket. “No, how ‘bout now?!” Will held the revolver up to the colt’s head.
“Hey, Chill Chill Chill!” he tried to tell Will.
“Hey, don’t buckin’ tell me to chill! You remember now?!” Will asked him.
“Bro, that’s enough! Come on!” Trip tried to tell him to no avail. “Oh yeah, he REALLY listens to me, Deadbolt!” he thought.
“What did you do?”
“I-I-I don’t know!!”
“No?” Will asked as he aimed his revolver lower down the colt’s body. *Bang*Bang* Will put a bullet into each of the colt’s lower kneecaps as the colt rolled around the ground, screaming from the pain once again. “Oh, there goes college soccer! You’re bucked up now!” Will told the bawling colt. Will hovered over him as he pulled back his hockey mask. “Hey, hey, look at me!” he said as he straightened the colt’s face. “See my face? You tell the cops, all right. But just remember, I've seen yours too.”
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
“We can’t be down here killin’ ponies....” Trip told Will from the truck. The radio was off and both of them had been silent and stonefaced since they left the destroyed, bloodied apartment. They were leaving the outskirts and were a few blocks away from home.
Will only replied “Hey.... you called me.”