Lt. Frank Williams was a salt-of-the-earth kind of man: a pillar of the community, active in his local church, and friends with all of his neighbors. His kids had come up through the local schools and his oldest was off to college in the area. From basketball championships to presidential nominating conventions, he had seen everything that the city had to offer in his twenty-eight years as an officer in the Cleveland Police Department.
Or, he thought that he had.
He fidgeted awkwardly in his chair, glancing up at the rather imposing magical horse seated across from him. Her shining, alabaster coat clashed strongly with her dark blue uniform, but not as much as her ever-excited, sparkling magenta eyes. Her flowing, pastel mane, unable to be contained by any police-standard bun, waved gently behind her in a ponytail.
Meanwhile, the pony’s tail was also in a ponytail. The police handbook didn’t have anything to say about tail hair regulations, oddly enough.
Taking a deep breath, Frank Williams forced himself to match the pony’s beaming smile. “Officer Princess Celestia...First of all, let me say what an absolute pleasure it has been to have you on board as a temporary police exchange officer in our department.”
Impossibly, Princess Celestia’s smile grew even larger. “Oh, just ‘Celestia’ is fine, Lieutenant! I’m no Princess here, after all! I’m so happy to have been able to contribute positively to relations between the USA and Equestria, especially since my first encounter with the President didn’t go so well.”
“I’m actually curious,” Lt. Williams began in an uncharacteristic display of curiosity. “Why did you yourself come? Certainly you could have sent one of your guards or police...er...ponies to the program.”
“I was looking for adventure! I wanted to spend a year getting to know earth, and what better way than to be a public servant? I can bring back everything that I’ve learned to Equestria’s public safety commission, too! Don’t you worry, my sister Luna is taking care of everything back home.”
Lt. Williams shrugged to himself. I guess that there’s a different kind of logic behind the decision-making process of magical ponies. “Alright, let’s get right into your quarterly performance review, then.”
Officer Celestia nodded, grinning as wide as ever. “Let’s!”
Grimacing, Lt. Williams took a big breath in. Alright, Williams. Remember, the performance review should be a crap sandwich. Start with the strong points, then move on to the ‘needs improvement’ category. “Well, let me begin by saying that we’ve never had an officer in this department as skilled with a pistol at the range. Sergeant Jackson says you can fire a full clip at a target and leave only one bullet hole. It must be the horn, huh?”
“Oh, yes, and thousands of years of magical practice,” Princess Celestia chuckled. “Hands are very useful for scratching behind my ears, but they just aren’t as stable as good old magic, I’m afraid.”
“The young children of the city feel really comfortable around you, and are even willing to talk to you about crimes they’ve witnessed. It’s been a big help. It’s also worth commending that despite being the whitest officer on the force...and I mean that in every sense of the word...you also have the least amount of complaints against you for racial profiling. Tell me, how did you adjust so well to working in a diverse city?”
Celestia’s eyes sparkled again. “I care for all of my subjects in Equestria, and we come in many more colors than humans do! It was easy.” Her eyes scrunched up slightly. “Although… you said that I have the ‘least’ complaints?”
“Yeah, uh…” Lt. Williams flipped through Celestia’s file. “It says here you only have one. Apparently you called a four-foot-four, seventy-one year old Vietnamese woman ‘Little Filly’...I think that might have just been a little mistake, though.”
“I thought it was a compliment,” Celestia mumbled, her expression falling somewhat.
Alright Williams. You set her up, now it’s time to knock her down...constructively. “That all being said, there is some room for improvement.”
Princess Celestia’s countenance seemed to recover, and she wiggled in anticipation on her folding chair. “Oh, goody! I’m looking forward to learning!”
Lt. Williams winced. “That’s good to hear, because, ah...there’s a lot to be learned. First things first, the DEA had some trouble processing the paperwork detailing last month’s drug seizures. You were in charge of filing that, correct?”
Officer Celestia tilted her head. “I was sure that all the weights and measures were correct on the form.”
Lt. Williams groaned slightly. “They were, but that wasn’t the problem. It was the labeling procedure. For instance, the DEA would like you to use the word ‘Marijuana’ or ‘Cannabis’, and not, as you put, ‘Silly Broccoli’. Similarly, ‘Cocaine’ is the right designation, and not ‘No-No Dust’.”
Her eyes widening, Celestia pursed her lips in a concerned fashion. “Believe me, cocaine is most definitely a No-no.”
“And I’m not disputing that fact, but those are the rules. PCP is not ‘Spooky Sugar’, LSD is not ‘Wowza Powza Yowza’, and MDMA is not ‘Warm Fuzzy Pills’.” Noticing something else, Lt. Williams’ eyes scanned the file again. “...What on earth is ‘Strong Female Role Model’, anyway?”
“That’s the one they put on spoons.”
Remembering the anger-management techniques drilled into him at the yearly seminar, Lt. Williams let out a slow, controlled breath. “I think we also need to talk about that speeding stop you conducted last week.” Turning around to the media set behind him, Williams hit play on the old, combined DVD/VCR player.
The television fizzled to life, displaying a dashcam recording of Celestia approaching a beat up Chevy with a Chief Wahoo bumper sticker while whistling ‘I’m Walking on Sunshine’. “Hello there sir!” Celestia spoke into the window. “I’m an exchange officer with the Cleveland Police Department. I’m sorry to interrupt your Friday evening, but you were going just a teensy-weensy bit over the speed limit. Could I see your license and proof of insurance, pretty-please?”
Lt. Williams hit pause on the tape. “So, already we have a big mistake. Can you guess what it is?”
Celestia looked aghast at the television. Slowly, she turned to Lt. Williams, shame dripping down her features. “Was I really that rude to the poor man?”
“No, you weren’t!” he spat back, before taking a moment to collect himself. “You told him that he was going a teensy-weensy bit over the speed limit. You know that standard procedure is to arrest anyone going thirty over, right?”
“W-well, he wasn’t going thirty over,” Celestia mumbled guiltily.
“You’re right, he wasn’t,” Williams responded. “He was going ninety-one miles per hour in a residential zone. You know how many over the limit that is?”
Celestia bit her lip. “Well, I don’t quite have a grasp of your measurement system yet…”
“Ninety-one minus twenty-five.”
Celestia sucked in a slow, apprehensive breath. “...Twenty-nine?”
Lt. Williams glared briefly at the very guilty-looking pony before hitting play on the VCR again.
“Yeeeah, shhuurrre,” a slurred voice answered. “Jus..Jus lemme…” The car door opened, and a middle-aged man stumbled out.
“O-oh, um, sir? I don’t think that you’re supposed to-”
Just then, the man vomited profusely on the asphalt.
Celestia sprung into action. “Oh! My poor little guy,” she cooed, rubbing the man’s back as he continued to spew his stomach contents out. “Are you alright?”
The man stood up, wiping his mouth and leaning haphazardly against the door of his truck. “Yeah, ‘m fffine. Got da shtomach flu.”
Celestia put an empathetic hoof up to her barrel. “You poor baby! My sister Luna got the stomach flu when we were foals and it just broke my heart! Tell you what: I’m going to give you a choice. I can either write you a ticket…”
“Dash...dash not ghud,” the man responded, shaking his head back and forth slightly.
“Or, you can give me a big hug, get home safely, and promise me that you’re going to take it easy and drink plenty of fluids.”
“Ah like that one, Miss Horshie Cop,” the suspect slurred, leaning haphazardly into Celestia as she wrapped her wings around him. “I like fluids.”
Celestia planted a loving kiss on his forehead before letting him go. “Get well soon, sir!” she cried, waving at him as he got into his truck. Turning around, she walked back to her car as the man pulled away, taking out a mailbox as he went.
“Where to begin...I guess the biggest thing is that this man was clearly intoxicated. You should have immediately arrested him and brought him in to the station. Quite frankly, I am stunned you missed the slurred speech and the vomiting.”
“Didn’t you hear him? He was sick with the stomach flu! Don’t you have a heart?” Celestia whined.
“Are you telling me you smelled no alcohol when he threw up everywhere!?”
Celestia thought for a moment. “Well, I thought maybe he was using a lot of hand sanitizer so he wouldn’t infect anypony. He seemed like a nice, considerate man.”
Eyes wide and neck veins popping out, Lt. Williams took several deep breaths before continuing. “I’d venture to say he was on drugs, too. And do you know why I think that, Officer Celestia?”
“Oh! Oh!” Celestia cried, holding up a hoof.
Lt. Williams looked at her for several long seconds. “Yes!?”
Celestia lowered her hoof. “Is it police intuition, honed by years on the force?”
“No! It’s because, unlike you, I ran his license plate and discovered that he has outstanding warrants for three counts of felony tax evasion, two counts of assault, and nine...nine counts of distribution of cocaine!”
“No-No Dust,” Celestia corrected.
Lt. Williams’ entire body froze as he reached for a water bottle that was filled with something that definitely was not water. I know this is my reward for finishing performance reviews today...but I’m not going to make it that long without it.
He took a long swig, sighing and capping the bottle again as he calmed down. “Alright, now that we know what not to do during a traffic stop like that, let’s talk about the crew of bank robbers you let out of jail yesterday.”
“Reformed bank robbers. They told me very explicitly that they were sorry and were going to be good little humans from now on.”
Lt. Williams blinked several times. “And...that’s just how you deal with violent criminals in Equestria?”
Celestia was unfazed. “Well...yes. Everypony makes mistakes, after all. They were so sorry that they even told me where they had buried apology money for just such a circumstance! That’s how the precinct got the money for the new TV and cappuccino machine. Wasn’t that nice of them?”
Logic was beginning to fail Lt. Williams at this point. “You...you can’t just do that,” he half-whispered, half-pleaded to his pony partner. “They have to go to trial for their crimes...That’s how it works. That’s how it’s always worked…”
“Well, I think that’s unfair of the system and unfair of you,” Celestia responded indignantly, crossing her hooves over her chest and looking haughtily down at her slightly smaller superior. “We all have done things that we shouldn’t have, especially in our youth. It’s important to forgive.”
“Youth? YOUTH!?” Lt. Williams stood up violently, sending his chair falling back against the floor. “This was a group of five men in their late twenties that stole 400 thousand dollars from a Huntington Bank using automatic weapons, shooting four people, one of whom is still in critical condition at Metro Health! And then you took a bribe from them, unintentionally, from what I gather, because you wanted to be NICE to them!” He slammed both his fists on the table, shooting daggers at Celestia from his eyes. “Well, guess what? They robbed another bank today! When are you going to GET IT!? We have a job to protect the people of Cleveland! That means you can’t let off drug dealers, drunk drivers, robbers, and anyone you so please!”
Lifting his hands from the table, he began to gesticulate wildly. “I mean, I’m all for the grace-based approach to living life, but criminal law is criminal law, Celestia! It wouldn’t be such a problem, either, if you didn’t go through half the precinct’s supply of toilet paper and eat every last one of our doughnuts every morning, but you do! Stop it, PLEASE, and shape up!” Gasping for air, he added an addendum. “And another thing: the other women aren’t forgetting what a cutie mark is called.” He gestured haphazardly at one of her flanks. “They’re calling your little...suns ‘tramp stamps’ because they’re mocking you. It’s embarrassing to watch.”
Feeling a sense of relief that came with releasing all the built up pressure inside of him, Lt. Williams smiled and picked up his chair, sitting down on it. When he looked up again at Celestia, however, gnawing regret filled his chest.
Her ears were plastered against her head, her lips quivered, and she sniffled weakly as she futilely tried to fight back the tears that were streaming down her face.
Lt. Williams let out an empty sigh. “Celestia, that was inappropriate of me. I’m so sorry.”
Celestia burst into full-blown tears. “I’m a terrible policepony!” she sobbed, burying her face into the cold, steel interview table.
“No...No you’re not,” he soothed. “There’s lots to get better at, but...you have such a good heart.”
“Y-y-you’re just saying that because you have to be nice to me because I’m from another dimension!” she choked. “I’m terrible at everything! A-at home, p-ponies always listen to what I say, but here, humans just run when I try to talk to them, and I have to yell at them! I hate yelling! It’s so mean!”
“I...It’s okay, Celestia. Yelling is part of the job, but we can work through it together…”
Celestia stood up, eyes closed as she continued to audibly cry. Approaching Lt. Williams, she wrapped her hooves around his neck and clambered on top of him to sit in his lap.
“Oh, uh, Celestia, I, uh-”
“Sometimes they call me a pig! I-I’m not a pig! I’m a pretty princess! I’m so sorry, Lieutenant!” she sobbed into his balding head. “I promise I’ll try harder!”
Blinking a few times, Williams gently wrapped his arms around her midsection and hugged her close. He ran a hand gently down her back as he gently shushed her.
After another minute, her crying had ceased, but she still rocked gently back and forth in Williams’ grip, sniffling.
“...Do you wanna go cuddle the intoxicated drivers in the cells downstairs, Celestia?”
She shook her head. “N-no, last time one yelled at me.”
He looked upward at her. “Then, maybe you want to do the school safety first program this week?”
Celestia wiped her muzzle with a hoof, meeting his glance. “Wh-what’s that?”
“It’s where you get to go across town to all the different schools and teach safety to the kindergarteners. And then, at the end, you can tell them that you’re very proud of all of them. You’re a very good policepony and I think you’d be perfect for the job.”
Celestia smiled and nodded. “Yeah! Th-thank you, Lieutenant!”
“You’re welcome. And next week, you and I can work on all the other police stuff.”
Celestia shot him a salute. “You got it.” She turned tail and walked to the door, opening it and looking over her shoulder. “And, message received, Lieutenant. I promise, only two dozen doughnuts a day for me from now on! Pinkie promise!” She made an elaborate series of hoof motions over her torso and face before finally exiting the interview room.
Lt. Williams exhaled as she left, looking down his list to identify the next two officers he was reviewing: Jim Dangle and Travis Junior. Believe it or not, that pony is probably in the top third of the department. I wonder if our guys in Equestria have learned anything…
“Ow!” Rainbow Dash whined, wiggling as a human jammed his knee into her neck, pressing her against the ground. “Not so hard, that hurts!”
“STOP RESISTING!” the officer screamed, sending spittle flying into her face. He looked over his shoulder, making eye contact with his partner. “Go get the pink one! I’ve got her.”
“What did I do?” Rainbow Dash pouted, tears filling her eyes.
The other officer took off towards downtown Ponyville, lifting his portable police walkie-talkie to his face. “All units be advised,” he huffed, “one suspect, a blue pegasus female, detained for speeding. One accomplice, a pink earth pony mare, fled on foot...hoof toward Ponyville marketplace.” The cop stumbled slightly as he began to cross a bridge over one of the town’s many creeks, interrupting his dispatch. “Pursuing on foot. Be advised, suspects are possibly connected to animal trafficking investigation at cottage located nearby woods, over!”
The walkie-talkie buzzed to life in response. “10-4. Command believes suspect may be armed, take down with extreme caution.”
The officer rounded the corner, spying the bouncing pink mane of his target a block away. “STOP IN THE NAME OF THE LAW!”
Pinkie Pie halted and turned around. “Oooh, are we playing a game of tag!? I guess you’re it!” She began bouncing away, giggling heartily and letting out an occasional snort of joy along the way.
“I SAID FREEZE! I WILL TASE YOU!”
Ignoring the warning, Pinkie Pie bounced along at a casual speed that was more than matched by the officer's.
“LAST CHANCE, ON THE GROUND OR YOU WILL BE TASED!”
“Silly, my hooves are on the ground...sometimes! Boing! Boing! Boing!” Pinkie sang as she jumped along.
Having closed the gap, the officer fired his taser. Two prongs shot out, attaching to Pinkie Pie’s right flank and zapping her with incapacitating power. She halted mid-air, appearing to vibrate slightly for several seconds before dropping and landing on her hooves.
“What was that?” she asked with a curious smile, turning around to look at the officer, who was struggling to catch his breath. Her eyes widened with understanding. “Aww! You must have gotten me!”
Eyes wide and paralyzed in fear, the sworn member of Cleveland’s finest was unable to move.
“Hah! You’re really slow,” she beamed at him, reaching out with a hoof to touch his shoulder.
Immediately, fifty-thousand volts ran through Pinkie’s hoof and into the police officer, who seized under the current and collapsed on the ground.
Pinkie lowered her head to examine the crippled human curiously before closing her eyes and smiling her trademark smile at him. “Tag, you’re it again!” Turning tail, she bounced along toward Sugarcube Corner. “Lalalalala…”