“I don’t think this is the way to the donut shop,” said Sweetie Belle.
“You might be right,” said Scootaloo.
“How could we have gotten lost?” asked Apple Bloom. “We’ve were there earlier today.”
“I hope we find it soon,” said Scootaloo, glancing skyward. “It looks like it’s going to rain.”
The clouds that had replaced the sun from that morning were growing darker and heavier. The Crusaders quickened their pace.
“Now I know we ain’t seen that before,” said Apple Bloom, indicating a restaurant. The sign out front read Pig Pickin’ and BBQ. It included a stylized picture of a roasted pig. The three fillies shuddered.
“But where in the world are we?” asked Sweetie Belle. “I know we headed in the right direction, but we must have taken a wrong turn somewhere.”
“Was that a raindrop?” said Scootaloo.
“Looks like some weather comin’ in,” said Applejack, tipping her hat back.
“The TV news said there was going to be a thunderstorm tonight,” commented Beth. She peered at the sky from under the distinctive eight-pointed cover the Marines issued.
They walked towards the donut shop in silence for a few minutes.
“What have you been up to since Ah saw you last?” asked Applejack.
“I get up. PT. Eat, work, back to bed.”
“Well, there’s not much to tell. What about you?”
“Ah ain’t touched liquor since then,” said Applejack. They both laughed.
On a more serious note, the pony said, “You need to stop livin’ in the past. The best you can do is set the record straight. Some might not believe you, but some will.”
“What am I supposed to say? ‘I did not have sexual relations with that pony’?”
Applejack flushed a little. “It’s a start.”
They kept walking. Beth kicked a rock off the sidewalk with her boot. “At least there’s nothing in the UCMJ about it yet.” The rules for military personnel were notoriously strict, but slow to be revised.
Applejack laughed. “Only a matter of time before they either legalize it or outlaw it completely. Those poor politicians have no idea how to go about getting’ ponies and people to live together.”
“That’s probably the first time I’ve ever heard someone feel sorry for a politician,” remarked Beth. “Anyway, I like you AJ, but I’m not up for a roll in the hay.”
“Same here, sugarcube.”
Shortly, they reached Dunkin’ Donuts. “Have you seen three little ponies in here?” asked Applejack.
“They were in here earlier with her,” said the man behind the counter, nodding to Beth.
“They didn’t come back?” asked the Marine.
“No, I would have remembered appetites like that.”
“We have a problem,” said Applejack.
Several blocks away, Apple Bloom echoed her sister’s words. “This is a big problem, girls! We have no idea where we are!”
“Calm down. I’m sure we’re just a little lost,” said Scootaloo.
“A little lost is like saying a cake is a little burned!”
“Well, we can always ask for help,” pointed out Sweetie Belle. “It worked last time. Maybe we’ll even make a new friend.”
The Crusaders looked around. The rain was beginning to sprinkle, and they were on a stretch of cracked sidewalk along a back street in the city. The traffic was lighter, but so was the number of people available to ask for directions.
A bright orange vehicle pulled into a parking lot ahead. Blue lettering spelled out “General Lee Taxi Service.”
“Most taxis are yellow,” commented Sweetie Belle. Seeing the confused looks on the faces of the other two fillies, she clarified, “You give the driver money and they take you where you want to go.”
“That sounds great,” said Scootaloo. The three of them ran up to the car.
The man sitting behind the steering wheel was chomping on a sandwich when the Crusaders approached. He swallowed in surprise and said, “Can I help you with something?”
“Do you know where the Dunkin’ Donuts is?” asked Apple Bloom.
Sweetie Belle flashed some money. “How fast can you get us there?”
Applejack stormed out of the donut shop. Her anger wasn’t directed at a specific target, and Beth didn’t want to become one.
“When Ah get my hooves on them—” the pony started.
“Whoa, take it easy,” said the Marine. “They could be lost and scared somewhere.”
Applejack let out a deep sigh. “Ah suppose you’re right. We should really get to lookin’ for ‘em.”
They walked back towards Applejack’s apartment. The raindrops were picking up now, although not enough to warrant a sprint for cover.
Beth gave a short chuckle.
“What is it?” asked Applejack. Her tone suggested that it was not the time to be laughing.
“Nothing. This rain reminds me a little of a time during boot camp. I was feeling pretty desperate then, too.”
“And how was that funny?”
“There were a lot of us that were feeling bad about getting kicked around. Then the sky opened up. The drill instructor told us, ‘The rain makes you strong! All of you will learn to love it. Right now, you should be so motivated that your motoboner is hard. Mine is!’.”
“What the…” said Applejack.
“Yeah, I couldn’t figure it out either,” said Beth. “It was a female DI.”
Applejack snorted, and then laughed hard. Beth joined her.
A little while later, the woman said, “I’m sorry to bring that up. I know it doesn’t have much to do with anything.”
“It’s all right. I suppose I needed somethin’ to take my mind off things for a little while.” Applejack’s voice didn't hold the same note of depression as before.
“Don’t worry,” Beth assured her. “I’m sure we’ll find them soon.”
“This is amazing! Way better than the scooter!” squealed Scootaloo. The vehicle’s engine roared as the driver skillfully weaved in and out of traffic. Apple Bloom looked fascinated, but cautious. Sweetie Belle hung on for dear life.
The orange car slid to a stop in front of the donut shop. “Just a minute!” called Scootaloo. The three fillies ran inside.
“One dozen to take with us, please,” said Sweetie Belle.
“Sure. Good to see you again, by the way.” The man behind the counter grabbed a donut box. “Another pony and that woman you were with earlier came by asking about you.”
“If they were here, they must be lookin’ for us!” said Apple Bloom. “They’re probably worried.”
“We’d better hurry, then,” said Sweetie Belle. She quickly advised the man which donuts the three of them would like.
After paying, they dashed back outside to the taxi.
Apple Bloom told the driver the name of her sister’s apartment complex.
“And step on it!”