• Published 16th Feb 2012
  • 7,552 Views, 92 Comments

The Finger Trap - PPG Hunter

Ponies on Earth. Humans in Equestria. And one poor schmuck in the middle of it all.

  • ...

III. Horse Tranquilizers

There were two of them. One was a thirty-something African-American man, tallish with a medium build, his black hair in a crew cut, wearing wire-rimmed glasses and a moustache. The other was a petite woman in her mid-twenties, a fair-skinned Caucasian with shoulder-length auburn hair and pale green eyes. The man was the first to speak. "Are you Adrian Parker?" he asked.

I nodded. "Yes, sir."

"I'm Danny Thiessen, and this is my partner, Molly Wootton," he continued. "We're with Centre City Animal Control. We were told you needed our help to remove a horse from your yard. Can you direct us to the animal?"

"Uh, yeah." I pointed a thumb over my shoulder. "She's sitting on the couch right now."

"What?" Danny's voice became stern. "Mr. Parker, you were given strict instructions not to confront the animal, and you brought it inside your house? Do you have any idea how dangerous that is?"

"Oh, I'm well aware of the risks. I can also assure you that those risks are nonexistent here. This is... far from your typical horse." I propped open the screen door for them. "If you could just follow me, I'd be happy to show you what I'm talking about."

"Please, Mr. Parker," he scoffed as he and Molly walked in. "I'm not entirely sure what that's supposed to mean, but I can't think of any possible circumstances that would justify y--oh sweet God!" Danny stared at the creature on my couch.

"You see her?" I asked, uncertain whether to be relieved or frightened to know that Twilight Sparkle was in fact a real being.

"Of course I see her!" he exclaimed. "It's kinda hard to miss a freaking... deformed purple unicorn!"

"It's really more of a lavender," Molly added.

Danny rubbed his forehead. "Is this some kind of joke? Am I being punked? Is there someone in the other room, watching his hidden camera feed and hoping I'll do something hilarious while I'm freaking out?"

"No, no, and no," I said. "Respectively. But you're lucky. You only had to worry that the horse was a prop. Here I thought I'd gone nuts and was seeing things."

Twilight sat up straighter at this remark. "Wait. You mean to say that all this time, you thought I was a figment of your imagination?"

Danny's eye twitched. "It... talks?"

"Oh yeah," I said. "Does magic too. Not the Siegfried and Roy kind, either. I'm talking real magic. Merlin magic."

"Excuse me," Twilight interjected, "but can we get back to the part where you thought I was your imaginary friend?"

I held up a finger. "Hang on a second, let's keep things straight. Imaginary, yes. Friend, no."

"And can you blame him?" Danny asked. "Talking purple horses with horns don't normally exist."

"Well, where I come from," Twilight shot back, "talking hairless monkeys that walk upright don't normally exist, but somehow I managed to avoid accusing you of being fake."

Danny considered her words for a moment. "Wait, did you just call me a monkey?"

"Calm down, dude," I said. "It's not a black thing. It's a human thing. She means we're primates, all of us. She doesn't even know enough about humanity to be racist. Not against you, anyway. Maybe against horses without horns."

"Right. Sorry. Force of habit." Danny took a deep breath. "It's a sensitive topic, you know? Who am I kidding, of course you wouldn't. Not personally."

"And for the record," Twilight said, "I am not 'racist' against earth ponies, pegasus ponies, or anypony else. I can't believe you would even suggest that."

"My Little Pony!" Molly suddenly blurted, apropos of nothing. Danny, Twilight, and I all turned our heads to face the woman in silent confusion. It was a standoff of sorts, each of us expecting one of the others to demand the explanation we were all seeking.

"What?" I asked after several awkward seconds.

"My Little Pony," she said again, as if we would get it the second time. "I knew this pony reminded me of something, but I couldn't quite place why she looked so familiar. So here I am, wracking my brain while you three are going at it, and it finally hits me: duh, My Little Pony."

"Like the little girls' toy?" I asked.

Molly nodded. "My niece absolutely loves them. Funny thing is, she's a total tomboy otherwise. She'll act out these war games where the G.I. Joes ride the ponies into battle against the Decepticons. And sometimes the good guys lose. It's very grim for a kid her age."

"Molly, please," Danny said. "Even if you're right about this, we don't need to hear the details of your niece's toy collection."

"And what makes you think this isn't just your typical... magical... talking... pony?" By the time my brain picked up on how stupid the words sounded, they'd already left my mouth.

"Look at her haunches." Molly pointed at Twilight's upper thigh. In all the commotion, I hadn't even noticed the strange marking there. It appeared to be a six-pointed magenta star, with five smaller white stars surrounding it. "Each of the toys has a similar marking. It's part of what identifies them, since they all come from the same few molds."

Twilight glanced back at the star. "Oh, you mean my cutie mark?" she asked. "It's something everypony gets as we're growing up. It's supposed to represent our most special talent. Strange that you'd have fictional characters that work the same way, but... no worse than finding a world where the Daring Do stories are real, I guess."

"Cutie mark? That's what you call it?" A wide grin formed on Molly's face, and she squealed with delight. "Oh my God, that's adorable! You're adorable! I need to introduce you to my niece! She would just eat you up with a --"

Danny interrupted her euphoria. "Molly, could you at least pretend to be a professional?" Big words, I thought, coming from the guy who practically peed his pants in terror when he first laid eyes on this pony.

"Oh, come off it, Danny." She waved her hand dismissively. "We're dealing with something way beyond our professional expertise. Where's your sense of wonder? Where's your appreciation for this beautiful creature that fell into our laps from... uh..."

"Equestria," I said to complete her sentence. She and Danny looked at me questioningly. "It's located in a parallel universe that's only reachable by moving along hidden higher dimensions, which she did by using her magic." Their questioning turned to doubt. "Hey, I'm just telling you what she told me. You think her story's crap, you take it up with her."

"Why would I lie to you?" Twilight asked, hurt by my insinuation. "And even if I did, what other explanation would make more sense?"

"Genetic experiment gone horribly right and implanted with false memories," Danny offered.

"Some child with latent psychic powers turning her fantasies into reality," Molly suggested.

"I was just gonna say 'robot,'" I said, "but I like their answers a lot better."

Twilight's expression soured. "That was supposed to be a... what do you humans call it... a rhetorical question."

"Yeah, well, clearly you underestimated our creativity." I turned my attention to the animal control officers. "All right, enough of this. I called you two in to take this pony off my hands, so... make that happen."

"What?" Twilight gasped. "You said you just wanted to talk to these humans."

"I did. Long enough to determine if you were real, which you are, and to explain your situation to them, which I have. Now that that's done, I can safely entrust you to their care." Twilight eyed me angrily. "I'm not asking them to take you in as one of their stray animals," I told her, "but rather as a person who's a long way from home and needs a place to stay."

"But why can't I stay here with you? What about all the time we spent together, when you were showing me your electrical machines? I thought we were bonding." I could swear she was giving me puppy dog eyes. Apparently those were a thing in Equestria too.

"We were killing time," I said. "There's a difference. 'Bonding' implies a long-term relationship, whereas we'll never see each other again." Yeah, hindsight's a bitch. "Look, I'm sure you're a nice person, a wonderful person. But... I am a simple man who lives a simple life. Wake up, go to work, come home, go to bed. Eat and poop as necessary, repeat until death. So far it's worked out pretty well for me, and I have no complaints. But you, and all you represent, are anything but simple. You are staggeringly complex. Your presence in this world is the sort of thing that makes scientists, philosophers, and theologians give up on trying to understand the universe and take up something more fruitful, like drinking heavily. And I want no part of that."

"Maybe in the future," I continued, "after the dust settles and we as a species have learned to cope with this bit of novelty, maybe then I'll let you hang out here. And even then I'm not making any promises. I am not a people person, and those people being ponies does little to change that fact. But for the time being, I definitely want nothing to do with you. All I'm asking is that you leave the revolution to the revolutionaries. You're the one who decided to build a bridge between our worlds, not me. So do what you will here, but do it with those who want to help you: again, not me."

"And what leads you to believe we're any more likely than you to volunteer to contend with this weirdness you've so eloquently described?" Danny asked. "After all, we don't have to take her; intelligent animals aren't in our job description."

"It's in your nature," I responded. "There's no way you two took the animal control job for the money. You took it because it's what you want to do, what you love to do. That tells me you have helpful and nurturing personalities. Well, what has four hooves and could totally use some help and nurturing right now?" I pointed my thumbs at Twilight. "That girl. Oh, sure, intellectually you might realize that you'd be getting in over your heads by making her a part of your lives, but emotionally all you see is a poor little lost pony, and all you can think is 'Oh no, look at the poor little lost pony!' You can't help yourselves."

"You think we're so predictable?" Danny tried to stare me down, but his gaze flickered toward Twilight once, twice, three times, and at last he brought his eyes to the ground in defeat. "All right, you win this round," he said through gritted teeth. "We'll do it." He looked at Twilight. "So what do you say? Would you like to come with us?"

"Will you treat me with more respect than this human has?" Twilight asked, gesturing toward me with her head.

"That's not setting the bar very high," Danny joked, "but I think we can manage it."

"In that case, I'd be glad to go with you two. But before we go, I should properly introduce myself." She bowed her head slightly, as if curtsying. "I'm Twilight Sparkle."

"Really?" Molly clapped her hands together. "Even your name is like one of the toys!" she said giddily. "As soon as we're out of here, I have to --"

"We are not taking her to see your niece!" Danny scolded. Molly's face sank. "We have to ease people into this whole notion of... magical talking ponies... if we don't want to start a panic. That means not taking her straight to the public. When we get back to the shelter, we can start doing research on the safest way to reveal her existence. There has to be some part of the scientific community that's prepared for... perhaps not this exact scenario, but something similar enough that we can use their general game plan."

"Well then," I said, "there's no time to waste. The sooner you get out of here, the sooner you can find a way to introduce Ms. Sparkle to the world -- including Ms. Wootton's niece. So... goodbye to all three of you. I wish I could say it's been a pleasure, but that would be a filthy lie."

"Likewise, Mr. Parker," Danny said. "Come on, Twilight. Let's go." Twilight rolled off my couch and stood up to leave. "By the way, I'm Danny and that's Molly. Not sure if you heard me say that to Mr. Parker, but now I've said it to you." The three of them headed toward the door. Danny held it open for Molly and Twilight. Thank God this is over, I thought. Then Molly stopped right at the door and turned around. Or not. Dammit. And I was so close!

"Hold up, I just thought of something," she said. "We can't leave just yet."

"Why the hell not?" I asked.

"We've never seen a pony like Twilight Sparkle before, right?" Molly explained. "She's an entirely new species. And Mr. Parker, as the first human to discover that species, you get to name it."

"We already have a name," Twilight objected. "We're ponies."

Danny shook his head. "She means a scientific name. Something unambiguous that can be used across languages."

"Oh, for the love of -- you have my blessing to give it whatever name you want. Even Adrianparkerisanassholicus rex. I couldn't care less if I tried. Now get out before I call the cops and have the lot of you arrested for trespassing!" I shooed them away with my hands.

"Okay, geez," Molly said. "Sorry to have bothered you." She turned around and led Twilight outside, while Danny brought up the rear and closed the door behind him. As soon as it was closed, I made sure it was locked. As I was saying, thank God this is over. I don't know whether I was tempting fate or simply fooling myself. In either case, while I spent the next twenty-four hours trying to settle back into my daily routine, Danny Thiessen, Molly Wootton, and Twilight Sparkle were setting into motion a chain of events that would end with me being taken into custody by the Air Force.