• Published 14th Jun 2016
  • 1,808 Views, 51 Comments

Den Fjerde Væg - Meta Four

Ditzy Doo meets Ponyville's other secret agent. Twilight Sparkle learns an unsettling fact about her brother. Pinkie Pie meets her older sister. All of them live in the shadow of a wall...

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Act I. Walls of Darkness

“You’re absolutely sure you want her help?”

“We promised Broad Strokes we’d help him. I don’t think we should do it halfway.”

Bridle Boulevard was crowded this afternoon—crowded by Ponyville standards, at least. In the midst of the bustle, two figures stood unmoving, rocks in the stream of ponies.

The first figure, Time Turner, sighed. “Very well, then. And what do you know—speak of the trickster, and she appears.”

The second figure, Ditzy Doo, gazed down the boulevard. She had no trouble picking her target out of the crowd. The mare’s coat and mane, both arresting shades of pink, would have stood out even if she weren’t the only pony who traveled by bouncing.

Behind Ditzy, Time Turner said, “One-two-three, not it!” A flash of green magic and a miniature clap followed his declaration. Ditzy knew without looking back that he was gone.

Ditzy rolled her eyes, then called out, “Hey, Pinkie Pie!”

“Hiya, Derpy Doo!” Pinkie said as she bounced past. “Splendefarious day, isn’t it?”

“You got a minute? I need ask you something.”

Pinkie moved so abruptly that Ditzy almost thought she had changed direction in midair. A second later, Pinkie’s smiling face was inches from Ditzy’s own.

“But you already did ask me a question, silly!” Pinkie patted Ditzy on the head. “And I’ve got ... one hundred sixty-seven minutes, give or take a few. Why? Do you want one?”

“No, I just ...”

“Because I’m always happy to share with my friends!” Pinkie wrapped Ditzy in a crushing, but mercifully quick, hug. “But if it’s time you want, you know who’s an even better pony to ask?”

“Pinkie, I need some professional advice.”

Pinkie tilted her head. “But I don’t know anything about the mail. Half the time, I can’t even remember which way the little flag on the box is supposed to go!”

Ditzy shook her head. “No, Pinkie. A party, or something a lot like a party.”

“Oh!” Pinkie slapped her forehead. “My job, not yours. Silly me! So what kind of Something A Lot Like A Party is it? A half-birthday bash? A demi-cutieceañera? An I Can’t Believe It’s Not A Welcome Home Party?”

“An art show.”

Pinkie furrowed her brow and tapped her chin with one hoof. She looked ... serious. “Tell me more.”

“It’s for Broad Strokes, from Manehattan. He did me a big favor, so I’m repaying him by setting up a show for his art.”

“Interesting, interesting,” Pinkie said, nodding. “I’ve never heard of him. But there are lots of art ponies I’ve never heard of!”

“Hardly anypony’s heard of him. That’s what I’m trying to fix.”

“Wait, wait, did he do that painting of the dogs playing poker? I love that one! Or, or, did he do that Pona Lisa with the mustache?”

Ditzy shook her head.

“Phooey. Well, I guess I just have one more question: what is an art show?”

Ditzy blinked. “It’s when somepony sets up a bunch of art and invites everypony to come look at it.”

“Like a ... museum?”

“Sort of, but smaller and temporary. And I thought maybe we could get more ponies to come if we had music and snacks, too.”

“Oooohhh.” Dawning comprehension lit up Pinkie’s face, and her smile slowly returned. “You mean it’s an art party! Why didn’t you just say so, Derpy Doo?”

Ditzy remained puzzled. “But it’s not ...”

“There’s gonna be a bunch of ponies getting together with food and music! That makes it a party in my book!” Pinkie pulled out a large book, flipped it open, and shoved the page in Ditzy’s face. “See?”

“Well, what do you know …” Ditzy yanked her head away seconds before the book slammed shut—releasing a small shower of glitter and confetti as the pages slapped together.

Shaking the confetti out of her mane, Ditzy continued, “And there’s gonna be art.”

“Of course! What kind of art party would it be with no art? Not an art party at all, that’s what!”

“Yes, exactly. So, what I wanted to ... ask you ...”

Pinkie, a huge grin plastered on her face, was vibrating—her entire body rigid, yet shaking in place. Ditzy wondered if Pinkie might jackhammer a hole into the ground if she persisted.

“You want to set up this art show yourself, don’t you, Pinkie?”

“Oh my goodness, how did you know? I’ve never hosted an art party before! Omigosh omigosh, are you as excited as I am?” Pinkie rushed forward and grabbed Ditzy’s face with her hooves. “Probably not, because I’m pretty ding-dang excited!”

Ditzy flinched, but didn’t struggle against Pinkie’s grip. “Yeah, probably not.”

Pinkie released her. “Well, don’t you worry one bit! I’ll make this the most artrageous party Equestria’s ever seen, or my name isn’t Pinkie Pie and yours isn’t Derpy Doo!” She began pronking away.

“Um, it isn’t,” Ditzy said.

Pinkie stopped—this time Ditzy definitely saw her halt in midair—and rushed back. “Oh, you silly filly.” There was a slight twitch in her eye. She still smiled, but the smile looked just a bit forced. “I know what my name is! You can’t pull one over on Pinkie that easy!”

“My name is Ditzy Doo. And some ponies call me Derpy Hooves. You’re the only pony in Equestria who calls me Derpy Doo.”

Pinkie’s face contorted in a fashion Ditzy had never thought possible. Her jaw hung open, and the corners of her mouth moved up and down, completely independent of each other. Her eyes alternately blinked, scrunched nearly shut, and flew wide open. Ditzy couldn’t decide if Pinkie was wrestling with a sudden avalanche of conflicting emotions, or in need of medical attention.

“Um ...” Ditzy said. “It’s, it’s no big deal. I shouldn’t have brought it up. I’m sorry.”

“No, I’m sorry! Look at what I’ve done!” Pinkie rushed forward and threw her forelegs around Ditzy, resting her head on Ditzy’s shoulder. “What kind of friend am I, when I can’t even get my friends’ names right?”

“I really don’t mind, Pinkie.”

I mind!” Pinkie leaned back to look at Ditzy, her eyes huge and watery, her bottom lip wobbling. It was an expression of such overblown sadness, Ditzy’s gut couldn’t decide whether to cry along with her or just laugh. So Ditzy did neither.

Instead, she wrapped one of her own forelegs around Pinkie and pulled her tight. “Well, what day did I arrive in Ponyville?”

“March 11th.”

“When’s my birthday?”

Pinkie sniffled. “One hundred thirteen days from now. I know because it’s exactly fifty-seven days after mine!”

“And when is Muffin Monday celebrated?”

“First Thursday of August.”

“You see?” Ditzy patted Pinkie’s back. “Would you know all that about me if you were a bad friend? And you do that for everypony in Ponyville!”

“I guess ...”

“So what does it matter if you get a name or two mixed up?”

“Huh. You’re right!” Pinkie suddenly returned Ditzy’s hug with enough strength to knock the breath out of her. “Thanks, Ditzy!”

“Urk …” Ditzy choked out.

Pinkie loosened her grip. While Ditzy gasped for air, Pinkie continued, “I guess that’s why Twilight Sparkle didn’t say anything that time I called her ‘Twilight Twinkle’!”

“Heh,” Ditzy said, regaining her breath. “Well, they mean almost the same thing. I can see why—”

“And you know what? Sometimes, I think the name of our town is Fillydelphia! Can you believe it?”

“Ha! Have you even been to Fillydelphia?”

“Only technically. Oh, and sometimes, sometimes when I’m really, really, reeeeally tired, I’ll forget I’m an earth pony and fall on my face when I try to fly!”

“Ummmm ...” Ditzy’s eyes widened. “Are you implying …”

“Not like that, you goober! I just ... just ... Ooooh, what’s that?”

The flap of Ditzy’s saddlebag was up. Pinkie’s hoof shot into the open pocket and pulled out a medallion. It was a hexagon, painted as an impossible cube.

“So pretty!” Pinkie said. “Where’d you get it?”

“From, uh ...” Ditzy looked back and forth. “It was a gift. Technically I’m not supposed to have it yet, so please don’t tell anypony.”

Pinkie tilted the medallion. As it caught the sun, the light revealed an etching: a stylized picture of the sun and the moon.

“Oh!” Pinkie said, as she shoved the medallion back into Ditzy’s pocket. “Oh my goodness, oh my goodness!” She leaned into Ditzy’s ear and somehow managed to whisper and sing at the same time, “It’s only a paper moon, hanging over a cardboard sea ...

Without thinking, Ditzy whispered back, “But it wouldn’t be make-believe, if you believed in me.” Then her brain caught up with her mouth, and she took several steps back from Pinkie. She stared, slack-jawed.

Pinkie smiled. “Looks like we’ve got catching up to do! My place, or yours?”

Pinkie slammed her door and fastened three deadbolts. Then she secured the flat latch with a padlock.

“Pinkie,” Ditzy said, “is there supposed to be a small alligator on your bed?”

“Don’t worry about Gummy!” Pinkie said as she placed a thick wooden beam across the door. “He knows how to keep secrets.” She ran a thick chain back and forth across the door, looping it through reinforced eyehooks on each side. This she held in place with another padlock.

“Huh,” Ditzy said. She blinked at Gummy. The baby alligator blinked back: first one eye, then the other.

Pinkie shoved a bookcase, loaded with massive tomes, in front of the exceedingly locked door. “Just one more thing ...” she said as she grabbed a small gem from the bookcase. She tapped it, then tossed it into the air, where it hovered and fired a fan of blue light that swept the entire room.

“Room secured!” Pinkie chirped. “So, Ditzy Doo, how long have you been in the Service?”

“Not very long. Technically I don’t have a position yet, because I haven’t finished the classes. But, remember when Town Hall blew up? I took my oath right after that.”

“Ooooh are those two related? Are you in the Explosives Division?! Oh, oh! Maybe you know if it’s possible to—”

“There is no Explosives Division.”

“Officially ...” Pinkie wiggled her eyebrows suggestively.

“Right ...” Ditzy rolled her eyes. “Besides, I don’t think I’m authorized to tell you any more about that incident.”

“Phooey. Dumb old Need To Know policy ...” Pinkie said under her breath. Louder, she continued, “So, what division are you in? I didn’t recognize your badge, and I know everypony’s badge, even the ones I’m technically not supposed to know, so that must mean you’re in a completely new division!”

“Yeah. I’m the newest member of the Khôraguard. Also the only member.”

“Oh, boy!” Pinkie wrapped Ditzy in another hug. “We can be I’m the only member of my R.S.S. division, oh Celestia I’m so lonely buddies!” She leaned away to grin at Ditzy. “And you know what that calls for?”

“Um ...”

B.R.S.S.F.F. party! Here, hold these!”

Pinkie shoved a baking sheet of unfrosted cupcakes in Ditzy’s direction. Ditzy grabbed it, and Pinkie commenced decorating them, squirting intricate frosting designs out faster than the eye could follow.

The bedroom had transformed. Streamers and balloons that had not been there seconds ago, now decorated the walls and ceiling. A party hat rested at a jaunty angle on Ditzy’s head. She hadn’t even noticed Pinkie place it there. Pinkie and Gummy were similarly behatted. Gummy stood atop the spinning turntable, but no music came from the machine.

“Done!” Pinkie whispered. “Sorry there’s only one color of frosting, I didn’t have much time to throw this together!”

Ditzy said “Why—” before Pinkie’s hoof cut her off.

“Gummy?” Pinkie asked, still whispering. “Trouble picking out the music?”

Gummy continued spinning, so Pinkie bounded over to that side of the room. “Hmm, The Hay LF’s greatest hits? No …” she muttered to herself as she poked through her record collection. “Balepusher? Baguette’s Feast soundtrack? No, no. Ooh, here we go!”

Pinkie pulled out an album with a teal cover. Gummy flopped off the turntable just in time for Pinkie to pop the record on. Jaunty accordion music played as she bounded back to Ditzy’s side. “There we go! Can’t have a party without the music,” she whispered.

“Why are we whispering?” Ditzy whispered.

Pinkie grabbed the baking sheet from Ditzy and flung the cupcakes into the air. “Because this is a Classified Top Secret party, and I don’t want anypony without proper clearance feeling left out!” She jumped back, balancing a serving tray on her haunches, wiggling her rump to catch every single cupcake before any could fall. Pinkie’s perfect balance continued as she danced in the middle of the room, without spilling a single pastry.

“But—” Ditzy whispered. Pinkie cut her off by bucking just right to send two cupcakes flying into the air. One flew towards Ditzy, who dove forward to catch it. The other landed on Pinkie’s outstretched tongue, and she devoured it in a single bite.

Clutching her cupcake, Ditzy continued, “But we’re not the only agents in Ponyville. Aren’t you forgetting somepony?”

“Oh yeah, him.” Pinkie’s mane bounced as she tossed her head back and forth. “He always has important paperwork to do at the same time as my Service parties. It’s uncanny!

“Paperwork. Riiiight ...”

Ditzy looked at the cupcake in her hoof. The frosting on top was a surprisingly accurate recreation of her Khôraguard badge. She took a bite, and found it was a rather savory spice cake.

Pinkie tossed another cupcake her way. This one bore a design that Ditzy didn’t recognize. It most closely resembled a window with its curtains drawn, but it had an odd arch above, and no window panes.

“Is this your division crest?” Ditzy asked.

Pinkie now had the tray balanced on her head. “Yep-aroony! I’m in Den Fjerde Vægvagt.”

Ditzy blinked. “I definitely don’t remember that from any of my classes.”

Pinkie stopped dancing. “That’s right! Because ... I! Do not! Exiiiist! Woo-oo-oo-oo ...” She reared back and waved her hooves as if playing an invisible theremin.

“Okay. Pinkie, are you sure you’re actually an agent, and that wasn’t just a particularly vivid fantasy?”

The record player skipped. The stylus bounced out of the groove, scratching as it slid across the record’s surface.

Pinkie looked slightly hurt as she planted all four hooves on the ground. “Please don’t joke about that.” The cupcake tray wobbled but did not fall as she reached into her unruly mane, far deeper than should have been possible.

“Oh,” Ditzy said. “I’m sorry ...”

“Oh, it’s okay! I know you didn’t really mean anything by it. So just don’t do it again! And here you go!”

Pinkie pulled her hoof out of her mane, bearing a medallion of her own. Ditzy still didn’t recognize the crest, but it had the proprietary etching of the sun and the moon, so it was unmistakably an R.S.S. badge. The design was not a window after all. It was a stage’s proscenium.

“You see?” Pinkie shoved the badge back into her mane. “Totally an agent!”

Meanwhile, Gummy reset the record player stylus. The music resumed.

“Huh,” Ditzy said. “So what does the Veg ... What does your division focus on?”

Pinkie lowered her head slightly. “I’m not supposed to tell anypony outside. I gave the Princess a Pinkie Promise and everything!”

“Wow,” Ditzy said. “The Service is keeping secrets from itself now? How deep does the rabbit hole go?”

“Oh, you should ask Fluttershy about that! She knows more about rabbits than I ever will!”

“No, that was a ... Nevermind.”

“Anyway, the Princess said I need to keep it a secret because the cra-a-a-azy stuff I see would cause most ponies to get down in the dumps! I think Luna called it an ‘exit stencil crisis’, and she sure made it sound serious!”

“Wait a second, what was that you said?”

“And I don’t get how a lack of exit signs is that bad, but I’m not gonna contradict Luna when she’s—”

“Pinkie!” Ditzy grabbed her shoulders. “Did you say you can see things nopony else can?”

Pinkie looked to the side, apparently considering her answer carefully. “Yyyyes. I can.”

“So can I!”


Ditzy pointed at her misaligned eyes. “The Service didn’t just hire me for my pretty face, you know.”

Pinkie pushed the tray of cupcakes towards Gummy, just before she slumped back and sat on her haunches. “But that doesn’t ...” she muttered to herself. “Why would you have a physical side-effect if ...”

She leaped back to her hooves and leaned into Ditzy’s face. “What kinds of things do you see?”

Ditzy smiled. “Magic. Spatial anomalies. Portals to higher dimensions. Eldritch beings from those dimensions. Exotic forms of energy. You know, that sort of thing.”

Pinkie furrowed her brow and nodded. “Those eldritch beings ... are they watching us?”

“Some of them, yeah.”

“And those portals ... No, better idea!” She grabbed Ditzy and turned both of them to the side. With one foreleg slung over Ditzy’s shoulder, she pointed straight forward and said,

“Ah,” Pinkie replied, “but what kind of wall?”

“Drywall, I guess? Same as all these bedroom walls. No, wait, if this room is supposed to be R.S.S. secure, then it’s probably reinforced somehow ...”

“Darn it.” Pinkie released Ditzy and stepped away.

“Not the answer you were looking for?”

“No. Not at all.”

Ditzy turned. “Now, if you had asked me about that wall, I’d have mentioned this crack right here ...”

“What crack?”

Ditzy stuck her head through the higher-dimensional crack and emerged from the opposite wall, near the ceiling. “This crack.”

Pinkie glanced at Ditzy’s face, then at Ditzy’s body. Then she whipped back to gape at Ditzy’s face—a double-take so fast, Ditzy wondered how she didn’t give herself whiplash. “Whaaaaaaaa …” Pinkie somehow vocalized as her mouth fell open, her jaw landing on the floor.

Ditzy pulled her head out of the crack. “I guess we’re not on the same page after all. Heck, we’re probably not even reading from the same book.”

Pinkie pulled her jaw off the floor, snapping her mouth shut. “Oh! But maybe Twilight has an extra copy ... Gummy!” Pinkie spun and scowled at the alligator, who was trying in vain to devour one of the cupcakes. “What have I told you about eating things bigger than your head?”

Gummy blinked at her.

“Smaller bites, silly!” Pinkie pulled the slightly soggy pastry out of his mouth, deftly sliced it into wedges, then placed them on a napkin before the alligator. As she did, a new song began, this one a mariachi tune.

Ditzy’s eyes widened. “Oh my goodness, is this ‘Sibponey’? It is! I haven’t heard this one in years!”

“Oh?” Pinkie said. “You like it?”

Like it?” Ditzy grabbed Pinkie’s forehooves, reared back, and stepped forward. This left both ponies standing on their hind legs, leaning on each other for balance. Ditzy took one step back with her left hoof, and Pinkie matched, stepping forward with her right. Without another word, they fell into the traditional steps of the danzón.

The greatest dance-fighter of all time, Spruceling, once said, “I don’t fear a pony who’s practiced a thousand dances once. I fear a pony who’s practiced one dance a thousand times.” Pinkie Pie was a pony who had practiced a thousand dances twice, maybe three times. Ditzy Doo was a pony who had practiced one dance five hundred times, five years ago. At the end of the first verse, Ditzy lingered too long with her rear hoof extended back, then Pinkie mamboed hard to the right. Ditzy double-stepped to get back in time with the music; Pinkie slipped into a cha-cha-cha and stepped on Ditzy’s hoof.

Ditzy tilted her head in the direction of the record player and smirked. “I didn’t know you liked mariachi.”

“It’s party music!” Pinkie giggled. “Maybe you didn’t notice, but parties are kinda my thing.

Ditzy smirked. “Oh my goodness, how did I miss that?”

“It’s okay, Ditzy, we all make mistakes from—Whoa!”

Ditzy stepped forward to pass Pinkie on the left. Pinkie stepped in the same direction and crashed into her. She stumbled and grabbed Ditzy for balance—and just pulled Ditzy down to the floor with her.

Both ponies flailed to disentangle their legs and wound up lying on their backs. Pinkie broke out into laughter, and Ditzy quickly followed.

“Wow, that takes me back,” Ditzy said in between chuckles. “My dad used to dance the danzón with me, when I was just a filly.”

“Better than that, I hope,” Pinkie replied.


“Haha! Sounds like a swell guy.” Pinkie grew pensive. “I wish my dad taught me Sugarcuban dances. Or waltzes. Or tarantellas. Or fandangos. Or pandanggos. Or clogging. Or …”

Ditzy reached over to place a hoof on Pinkie’s shoulder. “Your parents didn’t approve of dancing?”

“Well, sort of?” Pinkie stood up, and helped Ditzy off the floor. “They only believe in one kind of dancing: the traditional Maremenian saber dance.”

Ditzy blinked. Behind her, the record player began a new song: a lively, shrill number with a flute, lyre, and zither.

“Omigosh, omigosh!” Pinkie bounced in place. “And that’s a traditional Maremenian song!”

“Heh,” Ditzy said. “What are the odds?”

“I wonder …” With light steps, Pinkie walked over to her bed. She stuck her head underneath the mattress—and emerged with a large, curved sword gripped in her mouth. “Still got it!” she proclaimed, her words only slightly muffled by the handle in her jaws.

She set the sword on the floor, where it balanced perfectly on its guard, and spun it. “Whaddaya say, Ditzy? Are you up for a few turns?”

“Ummmmm …”

Time Turner’s office door announced Ditzy’s arrival with a loud creak.

“Ah, how was the discussion with Miss Pie?” he asked, turning away from his desk.

Ditzy levelled her harshest glare at Time Turner as she stepped in. “Paperwork? Really?”

“... I don’t follow.”

“Every time Pinkie’s tried to throw a party for the Service, you said you had paperwork and didn’t go.”

“Oh brother. I was afraid this would come up …” Time Turner grabbed a crystal from his bottom desk drawer—a twin of the crystal Pinkie used earlier. As it swept the room, Ditzy closed the office door behind her.

“Well,” Time Turner continued, “surely you’ve noticed by now just how much paperwork this job involves …”

“It’s not that much.”

“Look … When you put Pinkie and I, alone, in one of her parties … I tried attending, once. It … it …”

“I know she can be a little intense, but it couldn’t have been that bad.”

“Well …”

Two years ago ...

“Can you turn the music down?!” Time Turner shouted, trying in vain to make himself heard over the thumping bass drum from the record player.

“What?” Pinkie Pie shouted back.

“Aaaugh!” future Time Turner shouted. “There’s an alligator in my hair!


“For the love of Celestia!” future Time Turner, number two, shouted. “Why is my tail on fire?

“What?” Pinkie’s eye twitched.

“Oh, for crying out loud …” future Time Turner, number thirteen, muttered. “How is the punch bowl on fire?”

Pinkie wore a rigid grin, and Time Turner noticed for the first time that her mane had gone straight. “Is everypony having fun?” she asked. “I’ve got cupcakes!

Time Turner shuddered. “Never again.”

Ditzy rolled her eyes. “Right. But why didn’t you at least tell me she’s a fellow agent?”

“Because you’re better off not knowing. She’s dangerous.”

Ditzy raised one eyebrow.

“Scoff all you want, but I’m serious! Look, your instructors in Canterlot stressed the importance of keeping to your lane and not sticking your snout in other divisions’ business, right?”

“Didn’t stop you from learning about the Eyeless King.”

“Exactly! Because, for the most part, Luna and the Service senior leadership don’t actually care whether we stay in our lanes or not. They just want us to be discreet about it. But with Agent Pie and Den Fjerde Vægvagt, it’s different.”

Ditzy sat down. “Different how?”

“After I met her, professionally, I went digging to find out what exactly she did. It took me months to get my hooves on a single folder. The documents were magically encrypted—literally unreadable by anypony without the proper clearance. In contrast, do you know how long it took to me to read the files on the monsters you deal with? One week.”

Time Turner sighed before continuing. “I don’t know what Agent Pie deals with. But whatever it is, Princess Luna is very serious about it not falling into the wrong hooves. And that scares me.”

Ditzy furrowed her brows. “That sounds serious, all right.”

“Of course.”

“So if you wanted me to avoid learning too much about Pinkie for my own good—” Ditzy stood back up. “—why did you make me talk to her about setting up the art show?”

Time Turner’s eyes widened, his pupils darting to look at every corner of the room. “I … well … It was your idea to consult her in the first place! So—”

Ditzy leaned in closer, poking his chest with one hoof. “I get the impression you’re really just avoiding her because you don’t like her.”

He snorted. “And so what if I am? That’s not a crime.”

Ditzy stood back, her expression softening. “She’s lonely, you know.”

“What? Her? I don’t believe it.”

Ditzy began trotting a circle around the room. “As soon as she heard about my division, she insisted on throwing me a party. She called it an ‘I’m so lonely because I’m the only member of my R.S.S. division party, or something to that effect.”

“Oh.” Time Turner’s ears flattened.

Ditzy stopped at his side. Smirking, she said. “So the next time she throws one of her Service parties, we have to attend.”

“I don’t see how … Wait, ‘we’?”

“Of course. Us, together.” Ditzy hooked one wing over Time Turner’s shoulder and pulled him into a side-hug. “I’m not going to abandon Pinkie to … whatever she’s facing, but I’m not abandoning you to her Pinkie-ness, either. We’re all in this together.”

Time Turner smiled. “I guess that doesn’t sound so bad.”