I never slept as horribly as I did last night. A solid slab of steel as my mattress, the feeling of impending doom looming over me all night, and worst of all, the image of Fluttershy’s terrified, sad eyes gazing into my very soul, begging me to tear her away from all evils. At least they gave me a pillow. This is the end. This’ll stay on my record forever and I’ll never get a good job, let alone a job as a veterinarian. I should’ve known ponies would get me thrown in jail.
I was slightly startled when the guard opened our cell. “You two, you get your one call.”
I looked over to Luke and he looked back at me. I said, “You go first. I’ve gotta think about what I wanna say.”
What AM I gonna say? This isn’t exactly something I ever expected to have to explain to my parents. My parents are first generation bronies. They both claimed to have joined the fandom back when they were 14 years old, when the show was in its seventh season. They always had mixed feelings about ponies coming to Earth. They always said it was great to actually see them in the flesh, but they didn’t like how they were treated as less than human.
Minutes passed and Luke came back, looking defeated. I stood up and stepped out of the cell, but not without a shove from the guard. I looked at the old phone on the wall with dread and a little bit of wonder. It’s been decades since payphones were extinct, why still use one here? I guess if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I took the phone in hand and dialed my mom’s number. It rang, and rang, and rang again. Finally, after what felt like hours, she picked up.
“Hi Mom, it’s me.”
“Eric? Where are you calling from?”
I swallowed hard and cleared my throat. “The county jail. Me and Luke were illegally holding a pony in our apartment…allegedly.”
There was a long silence on the phone, a silence that made me want to curl up in a ball, throw up, and cry. “Okay, we’ll be right over.”
She hung up and I did the same. I stumbled back to our cell and sat back down on the bunk. “Who’d you talk to,” asked Luke.
I looked up and responded, “My mom. I told her we were in jail and she said she was on her way. What about you?”
“Michelle. She sounds almost like she’s getting jealous.”
I furrowed my brows. “Of who?”
“Fluttershy. She sorta went on a rant about how I’m doing so much for an animal that I would never do for her. I think she’s just upset that she can’t be with her.”
We waited in that cell for a long time, I don’t know how long. I started thinking about the trial. What evidence are they gonna use against us? Knowing a rich pig like Vincent, he’ll have something up his sleeve. How can we get out of this? We’ve got to talk to Fluttershy somehow. Things were looking pretty hopeless. If Vincent owns Fluttershy, he owns rights over her, and I doubt he’d do anything to jeopardize himself.
Luke and I sat down in a room with windows on all sides. Sitting before us was a man in a suit with a briefcase. “Gentlemen, my name is Arnold Goldstein. I am you state assigned lawyer and I will do everything in my power to give you a brief sentencing. I’ll be frank with you two, the evidence against you is overwhelming and you have little to no chance of proving your innocence.”
Luke spoke up immediately, “We have a chance. We have reason to believe that we are protected under the Hospitality Clause.”
This seemed to intrigue Mr. Goldstein. He raised his eyebrows and leaned back in his chair. “Do you have proof to make such a bold claim?” he asked.
“Well…no,” Luke responded, “but when Mr. Vincent came to retrieve Fluttershy, she…shied away from him.”
Mr. Goldstein closed his eyes and exhaled. “She’s Fluttershy. Of course she’d shy away from someone.”
“Not like she did. She openly welcomed his daughter, Annabelle, which is understandable since she loves children and animals. But when he came, she couldn’t get far enough away. Something haunts her about him. Something about Vincent scared Fluttershy enough that she had to run away for her own safety.”
Mr. Goldstein opened his briefcase and pulled out a sheet of paper. “According to the report, Futtershy had no injuries whatsoever, and she’s Annabelle’s pet so she couldn’t have been overworked. How do you propose that you qualify for the Hospitality Clause?”
Luke widened his eyes a little and gestured with his head. This made Mr. Goldstein squint. “You don’t mean…A man like Ned Vincent? Why would he sully himself in such a way? He’s a successful business man with a happy family. Why would do such a thing?”
Luke suddenly was the one with all of the answers, and it almost seemed like he was going to represent Mr. Goldstein for a moment. “I can only think of one reason.”
We headed back to our cell and sat down on our bunks. I couldn’t believe we actually had a chance of coming away clean! I tried to wrap my mind around this possibility but it all seemed so surreal. Just a few minutes ago, I thought my life was over. Now, things were about to go right for once!
“Hey Luke?” I asked.
“What’s the Hospitality Clause?”
Luke just shook his head.