Rain poured down in curtains, soaking Lyra’s coat to the skin and plastering her mane to her horn. It seemed like a long walk from Bon-Bon's cottage to wherever she was going. A destination didn't seem important anymore. Nothing really did. For the first time, she felt lost in the town that she called home.
The streets were empty as the heavens emptied upon Ponyville. Rain spilled off the rooftops onto the cobblestone walkways; it was the sort of day that one spent at home curled up with a good book and a loved one. Lyra had neither of those luxuries at the moment; she had nothing but her lyre and her tears.
A knock on the restaurant’s rear door wasn't something Pokey expected during a downpour like this. Anyone with an ounce of sense would have hidden underneath the overhang or just stay inside. Even Derpy’s determined deliveries would wait inside until the worst of it passed. The door swung open, revealing a sopping wet Lyra.
"What in the name of Luna are you doing out here?" asked Pokey.
"May I come in?" she asked.
Lyra walked into the kitchen, a sad, soggy mess of pony. Pokey dug through a drawer for a hoof towel to dry Lyra’s neck.
“I thought you were in Canterlot until tomorrow.”
“I went home early,” said Lyra, allowing Pokey to towel her off. “Thought I’d spend some time with Bon-Bon before the wedding. Maybe make sure our dresses fit. Doesn’t really matter though. The wedding’s off.”
The announcement struck Pokey like a slap to the face. Rather than coming up with an intelligent reply, he shook his head, trying to process the magnitude of what she’d just told him. His jaw flapped for a moment as his mind tried put together a coherent sentence, but came up with nothing. He finally squeezed his eyes shut and laid his face on the counter in defeat.
“Lyra, don’t take this the wrong way,” he said with a deep sigh, “but we have worked way too hard on this wedding for you to call it quits.” He picked his head off the counter. “If you don’t get your sorry flank home and make this better, I’m going kill you. Then I’m going to have Zecora reanimate what’s left, and make you walk down the aisle anyway.”
“It’s not about everypony else,” said Lyra. “It’s about Bon-Bon. She called me a liar.”
“She just upset—”
“She called me a liar!” Lyra shouted. “I have never lied to anyone in my entire life. Not a single white lie. Not one fib. Everypony expects nobility to be a little bit dishonest, or conveniently forget tell somepony something, but not me. Honesty and music are the only two things I have to be proud of. Nopony calls me a liar, Pokey. Nopony."
Rather than trying to argue, Pokey instead walked to the pick-up counter. He pointed to a white mare with a cotton candy mane eating a bowl of ice-cream by herself. Lyra tilted her head, trying to see the point.
“What does Nurse Redheart have to do with anything?” she asked.
“She comes in here once a week to eat ice cream and stare out that window. She’s watching the the train station because her soul mate is out there, only a few days away. She decided long ago that it was too difficult to be with him, so, she sits here and thinks ‘Maybe I’ll go back to him someday.’” He turned back to Lyra. “That’s going to be you if you don’t marry Bon-Bon this Sunday.”
"That doesn't even make sense," said Lyra. "Bon-Bon will find me to apologize, then we'll get back together, and—"
"Have you ever met a couple that canceled a wedding?" asked Pokey. "It’s the sort of thing leaves a bitter taste in their mouths that never goes away. Always there in the back of your mind, reminding you that the pony you wanted to spend your life with wouldn't commit. It's a seed of doubt that blossoms into a tree of resentment."
“She wanted to call off the wedding, not me,” snapped Lyra. “That’s why I got angry. That’s why I yelled at her. That’s why I left."
“Because she impugned your noble honor?” asked Pokey, with a haughty wave of his hoof.
“Oh, like I care about that,” snapped Lyra.
“Like it or not, Lyra, you are a noble and you do act like one,” said Pokey. “You may not be out there making commoners miserable like the rest of your brethren, but you do push ponies around.”
“Yes, you do,” Pokey interrupted. “Your parents, your friends, Bon-Bon. You expect her to apologize for something she probably doesn't realize she did. She’s supported you through thick and thin, both financially and emotionally. She loves you, heart and soul, but when’s the last time you did something for her?”
Lyra paused to think. All the ideas for their wedding had come from her: the flower arrangements, the food, the music, the dresses. All Lyra. She had approved Pinkie’s insane plan for building a wedding chapel in Ponyville when Bon-Bon had suggested they get married in Las Neighgas. Bon-Bon had supported them for months when Lyra hadn't gotten paid, and even as far back as when she first moved to Ponyville, Bon-Bon had given her a place to stay.
“You have to make this right,” said Pokey. “I love you like a sister, Lyra. You’ve been there for me ever since I moved here, and you’ve treated me better than my own family. Family is the most important thing in the world, and in two days, you’re going to get the chance to make Bon-Bon your family.”
Lyra slumped to a sit as Pokey went back to preparing his sauces on the stove. She thought back to all the things that had happened in the past few months, from the sabotage to the rumors. Throughout it all, Bon-Bon and Lyra had stood firm together, and yet here Lyra was, ready to end it all over an unintended insult. Lyra put her head between her hooves.
“I can’t go home,” said Lyra. “You know how Bon-Bon is when she’s upset, all crying, and shoveling candy into her adorable, chubby little cheeks." She moaned in defeat. "I really screwed up, Pokey. What am I going to do?”
“You’re going to give yourself time to cool off,” said Pokey, dropping a plate on the counter. He rang the counter bell with a hoof. “You’re going to stay at my place tonight, and, in the morning, you’re going to try and fix things. No one needs to know that you canceled the wedding.” Pokey turned to the waiter grabbing the plate, and grabbed his hoof. “You didn’t hear that, Haute.”
“Hear what, sir?” he asked before carrying the plate into the dining room.
Pokey helped Lyra off the floor and nuzzled her wet mane. “I’ll help you get through this,” said Pokey. “Just because you messed up doesn’t mean you can’t fix it.”
“Thanks, Pokey,” said Lyra, nuzzling back. “I’ll see you when you get home." Lyra perked her ears at something. “Did you hear a click?”
“Probably the stove,” said Pokey, giving it kick. “Things been acting up all week.”
“Thanks for everything, Pokey," said Lyra. "Maybe I’ll find some way to make it up to you.”
“Threesome?” asked Pokey with a hopeful smile. Lyra punched him in the shoulder.
The rain had stopped later that evening to let free a beautiful summer dusk. Though the ground was wet, Carrot Top was in her garden pulling weeds and plucking fresh carrots for her customers in Ponyville. In the garden, there was only peace.
She was standing in the garden like a chubby scarecrow, with eyes staring into the beyond. Carrot Top waved a hoof in front her face, but got no response.
"What are you doing way out here?" asked Carrot Top.
"Lyra left me," Bon-Bon said in a cold and flat tone that her friend barely recognized. "Called off the wedding and just left. I don't really know where she went, so I thought I’d go for a walk.” She looked around with the same blank stare. “I guess I wound up here. You have a nice garden.”
"Oh, no, no, no,” said Carrot Top, dropping her basket. “Sweetie, you can't be serious. Lyra didn’t leave you. She couldn’t have.”
“She did,” said Bon-Bon. “Just left. Maybe she’ll go back to her parents and live the lifestyle of a noblemare. Maybe she’ll meet her Prince Charming.”
“What about the wedding?” asked Carrot Top.
"I'll just have to explain the situation to everypony as they come into town," said Bon-Bon. "She could at least had the decency to tell them what she was doing.” She turned to look right through Carrot Top. “Typical noble behavior, really. Leave the peasants to do everything."
"That doesn't sound like the Lyra I know," said Carrot Top.
"Well, she wasn't sounding like herself," said Bon-Bon. "Maybe every other pony finally got to her. Maybe she’s going to start thinking like a noble now that she’s gone. It’s time I learned my place anyway.” Her eyes focused again as she came back to her new reality. “I should have known that it wouldn’t work. We’re not living in a fairy tale, after all. I should just find a nice mare to settle down with. Somepony who’s kind and sweet with a soul as pure as diamonds. Maybe a musician.”
Tears started to fill her eyes again, as she turned away from Carrot Top. “I’m never going to find anyone else,” she sobbed. “Lyra is everything I ever wanted, and now she’s gone.”
“What happened?” asked Carrot Top.
“She was talking about how she spent all this time in Canterlot playing on the streets,” she sniffled. “She’s a professional musician, for Celestia’s sake. She would never do that sort of thing. What would ponies think if they saw her on the streets playing her lyre for change? So I called her a liar and..."
Her pupils narrowed into pinpricks of panic as she realized what she’d said. "Oh my goddess, what have I done?"
"What?" asked Carrot Top. Bon-Bon galloped through the mud and out of the gardens. "Hey wait! Where are you going? Get back here!"
Bon-Bon plowed through the muddy fields of the garden in a mad dash back to Ponyville. The one thing Lyra prided herself on more than anything was her honesty. The only trait of nobility Lyra ever displayed, aside from her bit of bossiness, was her absolute honesty. To question that was the biggest insult she could think of and Bon-Bon had just tossed it out as a casual insult.
She galloped to the outdoor tables of Balloons Cafe where Pokey was busy turning chairs atop tables and closing up for the night.
"Have you seen Lyra today?" asked Bon-Bon. “Its really important. I really messed up Pokey. Please tell me you’ve seen her.”
"We need to talk,” said Pokey. “Lyra’s—"
"Whatever it is, it can wait," said Bon-Bon. "If you see Lyra, tell her to come home. Please?"
Pokey only nodded as Bon-Bon trotted off into the falling night. A moment later, Haute Cuisine emerged from the restaurant and tossed the keys to Pokey.
"The back door is locked,” said Haute, putting something into his coat. “Sorry to leave you so early, sir."
"Don't worry about it," said Pokey. "See you at the wedding on Sunday."
"Are you certain about that?" asked Haute.
"Oh, I'll get things worked out," said Pokey. "Have faith, my good pony. Pokey Pierce is not a pony who lets the dreams of others fall through his hooves."
"Very well, sir," said Haute. "I will see you Sunday then."
Pokey flipped the last chair atop a table and shuttered the blinds in a twinkle of magic. Despite the fact they'd had a massive storm earlier that afternoon, it start to rain again. Pokey only grumbled as the rain fell upon him and made a mental note to talk to the pegasi about that sort of thing. He trotted away from the restaurant, hoping to make it home before it really started to pour again.
Haute, on the other hoof, had no problems walking through the rain. His expensive raincoat kept him dry in even the worst weather and his dedication to walk through the rainy evening only emphasized the importance of what he had to say. He walked to the door of the cottage and knocked quietly. Bon-Bon opened the door a minute later.
"Haute, what are you doing here?" asked Bon-Bon.
"I'm sorry, Bon-Bon," he said. " I know it's none of my business, but you've always been a great tipper, and I can’t stay quiet any more." He pulled photographs from his coat.
The photographs were of Lyra and Pokey, all of them with Pokey either smiling at her or seemingly leering. One had Pokey drying Lyra off with a towel. The last few were of Lyra, drenched to the bone, wearing a smile, and nuzzling Pokey. Bon-Bon dropped the pictures in shock.
"You're... you're lying," said Bon-Bon. "This can't be happening. There's..."
"I didn't want to believe it either," said Haute, "but she came in today, and Pokey couldn't keep his hooves off her. He told her to go back to his place and said he'd be there later. I think that's what he wanted to tell you when you stopped by today. I'm so sorry, Bon-Bon, but I saw it with my own eyes."
Bon-Bon tried to speak, but found her voice silenced by choking sobs. Haute stepped back into the rain and muttered an apology. He walked away in silence, leaving Bon-Bon on the floor of her cottage in a mess of tears.
Pokey opened his apartment to find Lyra passed out on his couch. The fact that she was sleeping like one of her imaginary humans didn't really bother him, but she should have known to take the bedroom. After all, it was only polite to let the guest have the bedroom.
He tripped over the beer bottles littering the floor and realized she had cleaned out his refrigerator. Pokey only sighed, and jabbed het with a hoof. Lyra growled like a possum and waved off his intrusion.
"Get up and go to bed," said Pokey. "I just put fresh sheets on my bed so you can sleep there for the night." Lyra again responded in vague mumbles that sounded more like threats than anything else. "Get your flank off my sofa before I throw you in the tub."
"Yer not the bossa me," she grumbled. "I'm the bossa you. Lemme go back to sleep. I'm a noble."
"Sure you are,” said Pokey. "and I'm the Duke of Manehatten. Now get up." Lyra squinted and stared defiantly at Pokey.
"Yah know what yer problem is, Pokey?" asked Lyra. "Yer not a noble. Bein' noble means you get to be a jerk to everybody. Just look at all the nonsense they put my Bon-Bon through. You wanna know why they’re angry?"
"Less explaining, more getting up," said Pokey. "I don't want you throwing up on my rug. It really ties the place together." Lyra forced herself to her hooves, and draped herself over Pokey in a drunken hug. Pokey responded by lifting her off her hooves and onto his back.
"Nobles are all mad and stuff 'cause they're all betrotted... betrained... be..." She waved a hoof around in a circle, trying to come up with the word she wanted.
"Betrothed?" asked Pokey.
"That's it!" said Lyra. She shook her hoof a few times. "Why don't I have fingers to snap? Whatever. Anyway, so they're unhappy 'cause they can't get a divorce and they have to stay married to the same pony their whole life. Since most nobles are jerks, they get married to jerks, and that makes them unhappy. They have little jerk foals to continue the cycle."
"That's an interesting philosophy," said Pokey. "So, why didn’t you have an arranged marriage?"
"The pony I was supposed to marry was a total colt-cuddler," Lyra mumbled. "Dad said we should get married anyway, to keep up appearances, but Dad is full of bad ideas."
"Right," said Pokey, floating her to bed. "So the fact that you're a filly-fooler had nothing to with you them canceling the wedding?"
"Who told you that?" Lyra demanded, sitting straight up. She pointed an accusatory hoof at Pokey. "I don't like mares." Pokey turned to look at her as if she had three horns.
“What do you mean you don't like mares?" asked Pokey. "You're getting married to one in two days!"
"Bon-Bon's different," mumbled Lyra. "She always smells like ginger and honey. She's kind and loving and soft and sexy. She's always been there for me, no matter how dumb I’m being. When I’m away from her, it feel like I’m missing a part of myself.” She laid her head on the pillow. “I love her because of who she is, not because of what she's got under her tail. She could change into a stallion tomorrow and I'd still love her.” She giggled a bit as she let her imagination wander. “ It'd make things way more interesting in the bedroom too."
"And on that note," said Pokey, turning to the door, "goodnight."
"Yer a good friend," she said, snuggling with her pillow. “You gotta find yerself a nice mare. Only not Bon-Bon. She’s mine.”
"You too, Lyra."
Pokey left the door open behind him so he could make sure that Lyra was still okay. He walked back to the mess of bottles in his living room. Most were empty, but a few were still capped and cold. He popped one open on a ridge of his horn and sat down on the couch to have a drink. What Lyra said had given him something to dwell on as he read through the sports page.
Still, Lyra had made a hell of a mess in his apartment and the clinking of bottles rolling across the floor kept breaking his concentration. His magic let go of the paper and started sweeping bottles into a paper bag. Within a few minutes, his apartment was in its usual state of acceptable squalor and he settled in for a quiet night on the couch. Had it not been for the knock on his door, he probably would have just fallen asleep in just a moment.
Behind the door, Bon-Bon stood with a tear-stained face. She looked past him into the bedroom where Lyra lay snoring atop the sheets. Pokey opened his mouth to speak but found himself floored by a sucker punch. While the room spun around him, Pokey marveled at just how hard earth ponies could punch when they were angry. Especially the mares.
Bon-Bon walked past Pokey's crumpled body and into the bedroom. Lyra sat up, recognizing the pink and indigo locks of her partner. She rolled onto her stomach.
"Oh my goddess, is that really you?" she asked. "Listen, I gotta tell you somethin'."
"No, you listen!" said Bon-Bon. "How dare you? I gave you everything I had! A place to live, food to eat, a bed to sleep in, and this is how you repay me? By sleeping with Pokey?"
"Wha?" asked Lyra, shaking off her buzz. "Where’d you get that idea?" She paused to look where she was before turning back to Bon-Bon.
"You're in his apartment! In his bed! All liquored up!" she snarled. "Couldn't wait to celebrate getting rid of me, could you?"
"Why would you think I wanted to get rid of you?” asked Lyra. “I was mad at you ‘cause you called me a liar. I’m not a liar.”
“Then why are you sleeping with Pokey?” asked Bon-Bon. “Cheating is lying!”
“Why would I sleep with Pokey?” said Lyra. “Dude’s all muscly. Nice to look at, but I like my ponies soft, round, and warm.” She put on a warm smile. “Just like you.”
“Are you calling me fat?” shrieked Bon-Bon.
Lyra squinted in thought as she tried to see where this conversation was headed. Continuing on the defensive meant that she would have to quell whatever fears Bon-Bon’s fevered imagination had dreamed up, and trying to be apologetic never worked against Bon-Bon's tirades. Lyra decided instead to turn to her goddess-given gift of charm.
Bon-Bon didn't see the kiss coming, but she didn't resist it when Lyra pulled her to the bed. The confusion was enough to break her rage for a moment so that Lyra could get in a word.
"I’m sorry for everything,” she said, petting Bon-Bon's sleek curls with one hoof and stroking her soft cheeks with the other. "I've been acting like a jerk. I don't know where you got ideas about Pokey and I, but I have eyes." She kissed her again. "And lips only for you." Lyra nibbled Bon-Bon's ear, still whispering in a hypnotic voice. "If you don't want to get married this weekend, that's up to you. I'll be ready for you whenever you want me. I’m forever yours and no pony in the world will ever keep us apart."
"No apologies," said Lyra. "Today never happened. Just lay back and let me take care of you."
Pokey found enough strength to peel himself off the floor. His most pressing concern at the moment was to make sure that Bon-Bon didn't murder Lyra. He staggered to his bedroom to find the two mares engaged in rigorous, non-murdering activities. With a shake of his head, he closed the door.
He was definitely going to have to wash those sheets.
The thought passed through Pokey's mind as a statement rather than an acknowledgement of its existence. Whatever time it was, it was just way too early. More importantly, whatever was in the kitchen making all the noise that woke him up was going to receive a swift kick in the tail. Pokey stumbled into the other room to find Bon-Bon happily humming in front of his stove.
"Good morning!" she said with a smile. "How do you take your eggs?"
"Fried," mumbled Pokey, walking to his table. "I'm glad to see you two back together."
"Oh, well, yes," said Bon-Bon, with a small embarrassed cough. "Misunderstandings happen all the time. It's just part of relationships I guess. Did you sleep well?"
"You whinny like a banshee and I have paper thin walls," said Pokey. "So, no."
Bon-Bon nearly dropped her spatula as her cheeks flushed near purple. She stammered, trying to say something, only to squeak out what might have been an apology. Pokey laid his head on the table and closed his eyes.
"Good morning!" chirped Lyra.
"Please shut up," Pokey begged. "Why aren't you hung over?"
"I have a proud noble linage of drunkards," Lyra answered. "In other news, I had a revelation last night."
Pokey was far too tired to offer a snarky comment about what sort of revelations she could have had. He instead kept his eyes closed and head on the table.
"I figured I've been going about this whole thing all wrong," continued Lyra. "As Bon-Bon proved last night, going on the offensive is, by far, the best way to deal with any problem. We've been running around like a bunch of foals trying to dodge rumors and sneak around. No more! Today, we take the fight to them! Announcements in all the papers! On billboards! Pegasus skywriting if we have to!" She reared back, and put her hooves on her hips. "We will invite everyone we can to this wedding, because come hell or high water, this wedding is happening tomorrow! We will not be silenced by those who would oppress us! Where's a radio? I need some patriotic music behind me for this kind of speech."
"Your wedding is tomorrow," said Pokey, opening one eye at Lyra. "Plus, you're both broke."
"Oh, yeah," said Lyra, dropping back down to all four hooves. "Eh, I'm sure we'll be fine. Over-easy, please, Bon-Bon. Hey, where'd you get those sheets, Pokey? They're really nice."
The two mares left Pokey's apartment soon after breakfast, leaving Pokey with a mess of dishes. In true bachelor style, he promptly ignored them and flopped on the couch instead. He began to drift off to sleep when an incessant pounding on his door demanded his attention. Pokey opened the door to Carrot Top, who smacked him in the face with a rolled up tabloid.
"You rotten jerk!" screamed Carrot Top. "How could you do this after everything we've done for them?"
"What are you talking about?" demanded Pokey. "I swear if one more mare hits me..."
"This!" shouted Carrot Top, pointing at the tabloid. A grainy photograph of Lyra nuzzling Pokey in the restaurant’s kitchen stared back at him. It certainly looked incriminating and the headline of "Noble in Scandalous Affair With Local Chef!" didn't help. Pokey put a hoof to his head and started laughing.
"This isn't funny Pokey! This is serious! Why are you canoodling with Lyra? Are you three in some kind of sick, kinky triangle? What are you laughing at?"
"Do me a favor?" asked Pokey as he wiped away tears of laughter. "There's a sack full of bits under my bed. Bring them to the courthouse this afternoon so you can bail me out of jail."
"What?" asked Carrot Top. "You're not making any sense, Pokey."
"I know who the leak is now," he said.
"What leak?" asked Carrot Top. “What are you talking about?”
"And I'm going to go kick them in the teeth," said Pokey, still off on his own conversation.
"Who? No, wait," said Carrot Top, shaking her head in confusion. "How does an article tell you anything? You mean you're not sleeping with Lyra?"
"Of course not," said Pokey. "Lyra and Bon-Bon are soul mates and getting in the way of that is seriously bad karma. No, this photo tells me everything I need to know about our leak. Now I can kill them."
"That's a bit extreme," said Carrot Top. "Look, why don't you bring it up with everypony else? I'm sure we can think of a peaceful solution to all this."
"Fine," said Pokey. "We're probably late for our meeting with the rest of them anyway."
A short walk later, the pair found themselves at the door of the chapel. Lit by the sunlight filtering through the massive stain-glass window, Pinkie’s Party Ponies stood awaiting the arrival of Carrot Top and Pokey. The moment Carrot Top and Pokey walked into the chapel, Berry Punch eagerly demonstrated why her last name was Punch: a double-hooved uppercut sent Pokey crashing mane over tail into the pews. Carrot Top stepped in the path of the charging minister as Pokey picked himself off the floor.
“Pokey is most definitely not sleeping with Lyra!” said Carrot Top. Berry Punch paused to hear Carrot Top out before resuming her assault on Pokey. “It’s all just another piece of the plot against those two. Pokey says he knows who’s been causing all these problems.” Berry put down her hooves, and waited for an explanation
Pokey pushed himself to his hooves and steadied himself on a pew. He dipped out of Ponyville and into unconsciousness for a moment, but he managed to hang on long enough to deliver an explanation. He focused on Rarity and Pinkie a moment, waiting for them stop spinning around the room.
"I know where and when this photograph was taken," said Pokey, rubbing his jaw. "There's only one pony who could have done it: Snappy Scoops. I can't believe I didn't think about that before. Lyra and I heard a click that I thought was my oven. She was standing in the dining room and I just looked right past her."
"What?" asked Rarity. "Oh my, are you sure? She always seemed like such a fantastic fellow. I never imagined her to be a mole for the nobility."
"Wait a second," said Berry. "Isn't she the photographer for the wedding?"
"Well, not anymore," said Carrot Top. "When I find her..."
"I'll handle her," growled Pinkie. "I have something special I do for mean ponies." Her normally poofy mane hung flat against her head over one of her eyes.
"Pinkie, did you change your mane?" asked Pokey.
"Flat iron!" she said, running a hoof down the length. "What do you think? I tried a regular iron but I kept burning my head. Don't you worry; I'll make sure she's never mean to anypony again." Pinkie bolted from the chapel in a pink blur that left the door flapping in the breeze.
"I suddenly feel very sorry for Snappy," said Pokey, "but there's one other thing we have to worry about. It says in the article that Duke Afferio himself is coming into town tomorrow to put a stop to this embarrassment."
"Psh, good luck with that," said Berry. "I’ve done sixteen weddings this week, including one that surprised both the participants. I have found my calling and if this Duke thinks he can stop Berry Punch from marrying people, I’m going to shove that orange mane of his straight up his—”
"About that,” Rarity interrupted. “Pinkie Pie and I were discussing that very issue just last night, and I might have a solution. It’s divine in its simplicity.”
“Let’s hear it,” said Carrot Top.
“Well, I’ll explain it later,” said Rarity. “The happy couple are on their way to the shop already, and your tardiness means I haven’t a moment to spare. I’ll need to see you and Pokey at Carousel Boutique this evening. Ta ta!”
With a flounce of her mane and tail, Rarity trotted through the doors of the chapel and out into the streets of Ponyville. The ponies stood there, trying to parse an explanation from Rarity’s cryptic wording. They shrugged in unison. The plan was probably something Pinkie came up with, meaning it was so insane that it just might work.