Smile Like You Mean It

by Cool_Quick


In a little shop on the outskirts of Ponyville, a salesman arranged his wares for the 23rd time that morning. He was quite proud of his place, and wanted to keep it tidy.

Hearing the bell over the door chime, he said without looking up "We're on lunch break. Please come back in 20 minutes."

A voice behind him, one that was raspy and demonic said "Yeah, I need a stapler."

The shopkeeper shuddered a bit, but said "20 minutes."

Suddenly, he was turned swiftly around and found himself face to lack of face with Jerome Valeska, who put a knife to the pony's throat. "How about now?" Jerome asked.

The keeper made a strangled scream and spluttered. "Yes! Staplers! Lots of them." He pointed with a trembling hoof towards a shelf full of different devices, including paper clips, hole punchers, and of course, staplers.

Jerome let go of the shopkeeper and pranced (get it? Because horses... ah whatever) over to the pile of staplers. He spent about a couple of minutes pretending to select one and then picked up a brand new one that was in a glass case.

"That one isn't for sale..." the shopkeeper tried to say.

Jerome looked the shopkeeper in the eye with a look that said "Please keep talking so I can shoot your head off."

"...actually it was just put on sale five minutes ago, so you can have it..." the shopkeeper corrected midsentence.

Jerome grinned. "Excellent." He reached into his pocket and drew something disgusting from it. At first, the shopkeeper thought it was a dirty handkerchief, but then Jerome put it to his head, and the pony realized that the bloody mess was Jerome's face.

He realized what this insane man was about to do right as Jerome put the first staple on. Slowly, painfully, he began stapling his face back onto his head, and the shopkeeper felt as if he'd throw up. He dared not move, since that knife still looked quite sharp.

Finally, Jerome turned around. He looked even more demonic with his face on, than off. His mouth was stretched into a permanent grin, and blood oozed out from the spots where the staples were.

"Didn't that hurt?"

Jerome laughed. "Not really. Wanna try?" He lunged forward and put a staple right on the pony's tongue.

The shopkeeper was too busy crying out in pain to notice the knife finally hit him right in his lungs.

Less than a minute later, Jerome's third victim in Equestria lay dead on the floor. Jerome himself said "That's for making your prices so high." He looked at the tag on something that looked like a vacuum cleaner. "25 bits? Seems a "bit" high." He giggled to himself as he left the shop, reattaching a staple that began slipping from his detached face.

"Come on girls," Twilight said as they left the castle. "We have to catch that man!"

"Maybe the guards can help us," Rarity remarked as they neared the spot where the guards were.

Well, they were still there. They were just no longer in the living.

The six ponies gasped at the scene, and Rarity immediately covered Spike's eyes with her hoof.

"What in the hell?" Rainbow Dash spluttered. Bloody scenes like this were not common in Equestria.

Twilight put a hoof to one of the guards chests. "They're dead," she stated, in a mixture of both grief and horror.

Fluttershy was hyperventilating, and Applejack even looked shocked. "Sugarcube, ah've only known this her' "Jahrome" for ahbout fifteen minutes, but ah can ahssure ya that ah already think e's one of tha most evil creatures ah've ever seen in mah life."

Rarity was still trying not to faint from all of this, but she finally gathered the strength to nod.

Twilight turned from the dead guards and said "Okay everyone, we have to find this Jerome, and we have to stop him."

"How?" Rainbow Dash asked. "He could be anywhere in Equestria by now. Plus, I don't really want to find him." When they all looked at her quizzically, Rainbow finally exclaimed "He creeps the crap out of me, okay?"

Twilight shivered. "Me too, but we've faced plenty of evil things before. Discord, Tirek, Tempest Shadow..."

"Sombra…" Fluttershy muttered.

"Exactly!" Twilight declared. "What's so different about Jerome?"

"Um, he's insane?" Rainbow Dash stated. "He actually kills ponies? In COLD BLOOD?!"

Twilight's confident smile faltered. "Oh, true. But, we have to at least try. We have something he doesn't. Friendship. Together, we can stop Jerome's wicked plans."

She quickly scrawled a letter to Princess Celestia stating basic facts about Jerome and sent it with Spike. "There. Princess Celestia can help us."

"I hope..." Fluttershy squeaked as they all left the castle grounds, following the trail of blood.

Meanwhile in Canterlot, Shining Armor quickly rushed into the throne room where Princess Luna and Princess Celestia sat playing a game of chess. The two princesses quickly got to their hooves as Shining Armor handed a letter to Celestia. "Intercepted this from Twily. Says it's urgent."

Celestia opened the letter and read...

Dear Princess Celestia…
I am very concerned about a recent event that has occurred. My pupil Starlight Glimmer accidentally brought an insane human from who knows where here in Equestria. His name is Jerome, and he has already killed at least two ponies, and possibly more. I fear for everypony's lives, dear princess, and we're asking for your kind assistance in locating this madman to bring him to justice.
Your pupil,
Twilight Sparkle

"Oh, goodness!" Luna exclaimed. "This "Jerome" seems quite dangerous. What shall we do sister?"

Celestia read the letter once again, her face becoming very grave. "We cannot allow this human to continue." Looking at Shining Armor, she said "Bring all of your troops together. We need all the support we can to locate him."

"Yes, your majesty," Shining Armor saluted before quickly galloping out of the room, leaving Luna and Celestia together in the throne room, wondering just how much damage could be caused by one human.

Meanwhile, Jerome was strolling down beside a railroad track, whistling merrily to himself. He had left the shop and run into a couple just strolling by. Since they immediately tried to call for help, Jerome quickly shot them with a quick blast from his pistol that he "borrowed" from another shop nearby. It was a shop that collected random things from other worlds, and the pistol happened to catch Jerome's eye. The cost? The shopkeeper's life. This, along with the couple, brought his pony death count up to six.

Jerome smiled as he heard the noise of a train coming down the track. He quickly dove into a nearby bush, and waited for the train to appear.

Less than a minute later, the train came sailing around the corner. As it neared him, Jerome quickly dove out from the bush, and caught the rail next to the conductor's car. Nopony had seen him yet.

Most people would have been terrified to be on the outside of a train going 80 miles an hour. Not Jerome. He wanted to throw his hands up and whoop, but that would have spoiled the biggest, and funnest part. (now a word)

He carefully reached out his hand, and caught hold of the door leading into the conductor's compartment. Peeping in, Jerome saw the conductor pony leaning against the controls, looking sleepily straight ahead of him. Jerome smiled as he climbed in without making a sound, and made his way behind the pony.

"Okay, everypony," the conductor muttered into his intercom. "We're gonna reach Canterlot in about fi----" his sentence was interrupted by a knife entering his windpipe. He was dead before he hit the ground.

Jerome pranced into the conductor's seat, and fumbled with the intercom. "How do ya work this thing... there we go!" He heard confused mumblings in the other cars, and said "Hello, colorful ponies! Sorry, but your conductor has been terminated."

Terrified screams echoed from behind him.

"But never fear!" Jerome continued. "I have taken over as your humble conductor to... Canterlot." He giggled. "Sounds like something out of a Hasbro TV show."

He flicked a switch, and the train picked up speed. At the same time, the ponies screams reached deafening levels.

"Hold on to your... horses!" Jerome laughed. "We're gonna have a bumpy ride."