Err, sorry, I know that that wasn’t the best way to start things off, but I’m not great with breaking the ice. Look, I’ve got talents and skills and…stuff, everypony does, but greeting my interrogator isn’t one of mine.
Damn, now I’ve gone and snapped at you. Look, I’m sorry, I’ve just been having a rough time. That’s part of the reason I’m here, after all. Can we start over? I’ll even introduce myself and everything.
I’m Bits Foster. I’m not the best looking pony you’ll find, but I enjoy my smokes and my music like any other bloke. I admit, I do like to go and have a drink every now and again, and when I’ve had a few too many...well, I do things I regret. I guess I’m pretty average really… except that I’ve got Lady Bird.
Oh man, I wish you could see her. She’s got this smile, right? It starts off small and then keeps getting bigger, and the more you make her laugh the more it looks like her face can barely hold it, and she makes the cutest- oh, right, sorry. Lady Bird is my wife, see, and sometimes, when I think of her, I just…heh, but you don’t want to hear that. You’re here to hear what happened right? How I ended up here, looking like this. Well, I’ll tell you everything, but I don’t know why you bother. I’m going to be locked up no matter what I say.
I guess it must have been last night, right? I don’t know how long you’ve kept me here, so you know better than I. It was already dark when I got off of work, and I was technically on my way home. I hadn’t seen Lady since the night before, and we had…well, it hadn’t really been a fight. Looking back, there was nothing to fight over, but at the time I guess only one of us knew that.
So I was on my back to the apartment, and I wanted to talk to her. More than anything in the world, I wanted to just sit down and make her talk to me and tell me why she was so quiet, why she slept turned away from me, why she hesitated when I told her I loved her, why…Ah, damn, there I go. Sorry, like I said, this hasn’t been easy.
Well, it wasn’t any easier then. I wanted to talk to her, but I also wanted to be anywhere else in the world at the same moment. So when I got a call from my friend Mikey, I used the excuse to detour over to the bar and meet him. Why not, right? Well, I mean, I know why not now, but at the time I was just putting off the talk.
Right, so I walk over to the bar to meet my friend, and as soon as I walk in the world is changed. Now, it’s important you get this, because it’s important to me. The streets outside were packed, and the sign for this place is gigantic, but barely anyone uses it. I guess the name “Mareway and Hurst” isn’t much of an attention grabber. Sure it gets the odd passerby, but most kids walk in, see the grime, and turn right back around. See, they think that the peeling varnish on the bar counter or the rickety legs of some of the stools are signs of poor up keeping, but sir, those are memories. Everypony knew everypony in here, ‘cause we had all been coming here for years.
So like I was saying, I walk in, and immediately my friend Mikey yells to me from the bar. “Hey, Foster!” he says, “What’s been up, coltcuddler, I haven’t seen you in ages!” Now, to you, this just seems like a pony being coarse in a bar, but Mikey only lives for two things: causing trouble and getting away with it. To see him so excited, especially with half a pint already drained in his hoof, is to see mischief in the making. So right away, I know I should turn around.
Yea, I should have. I should have gone back and talked with Lady Bird. I shouldn’t have sat down and ordered a beer. I shouldn’t have yelled to him over the music until my throat was hoarse, and I certainly shouldn’t have kept drinking when I noticed that my drinks seemed to down themselves. I should have waved to Mikey, left, and gone back home. But temptation got the best of me.
Hey, look, can I stop for a second? Do you have Lady Bird here, too? I mean, she didn’t do anything wrong, I don’t mean to say that she did, I just…I want to talk to her. I just want to tell her that I’m sorry. She probably knows it, and I know she won’t forgive me, but…hell, nevermind, I’m just being stupid.
Don’t worry, I know you won’t answer me; I just had to get that off my chest. I don’t think you could tell me even if you wanted to, but I just needed to say that. Sorry I had to interrupt myself for it. So back to the story, I was quite drunk.
Well, I wasn’t hammered or anything, but I would notice every few minutes that my throat burned, and then I’d look down and see that I was holding an empty shot glass. The kind of drunk where part of you wants to forget everything and have a good time with your friend, but the other part wants to forget everything and die. That kind of drunk.
Well time passes, Mikey’s orange flank is starting to blur, and I knock somepony’s glass over with my wing. I turn around to apologize and pay for it, and over the poor guy’s shoulders I see a bunch of ponies that don’t belong here. I mean, I’m wearing a damn button down and loosened tie, straight from work, and Mikey’s got his old green coat on, but theses colts are in full suits and shades. Shades, inside, after dark, in a low light bar. They’ve got their manes slicked back identically, and I guess they were talking to somepony across from them that I couldn’t see. I’m looking right at these guys, leaning forward to get a better view, and I guess I must have been staring for awhile ‘cause all together, all three of them pull down their shades and look right back at me. “Can I help you?” They all yell together over the music, and about that time I figure out that there’s only one of them and that my eyes can’t be trusted anymore. I kinda turn away from him and stare at the bar, ‘cause I don’t know what else to do without looking like more of an idiot, and he goes back to talking with the pony across from him at the table.
That was the first time I met Ray Wells. I didn’t think much of it right away, but Mikey had seen me turn and he wasn’t about to let a chance for trouble get away from him.
“Hey Foster, you met this plothole? His name’s Ray.” Mikey gestured wildly with his pint, but I was drunk enough to know what he meant. “Says he’s been seein’ your mare,” and he dropped his voice real low here and leaned in, “in an intimate way!” He sat straight up, took an innocent swig of ale, and winked at me.
Well obviously, I wasn’t buying it. Yea, me and Lady had been “fighting” for the last few days. Or, I guess it was a few weeks really, but they weren’t really fights anyway. We had been more distant was all, and this was Mikey for Celestia’s sake.
I guess he knew I wasn’t believing him, cause he kept going. “Says he beats her up,” he pushed me verbally, “says he treats her like a whore. He says he spits in her face, yet she keeps coming back!” He laughed and made some crude motions, taking another gulp out of his glass.
“It’s a lie, he’s full of it!” I yelled back, laughing along with him. I figured that he was probably the one lying here, but I wasn’t about to let him know that he had hit so close to home. Not that I thought he was right or anything, just…well, I knew something was wrong, and I was here to forget all about it. If I had just told him to cram it, you bet he wouldn’t have shut up about it for the rest of the night. With a casual insult or two, I could just brush it under the table.
But the music ended and there was a shift between bands. Or maybe that was the last band for the night, I can’t really remember. Point is, it got a lot quieter in the bar all of a sudden, quiet enough to hear other tables. Quiet enough for me to hear Ray.
I really was gonna let it slide, you know. I was gonna turn the other cheek and go about my business, and maybe if I had I wouldn’t be here now. If I had done a lot of things differently, I wouldn’t be here now. But when that music stopped, I overheard the bastard as he started to speak.
“I got a new mare,” I heard that voice say. It was more of a boast than a piece of conversation, and I remembered how out of place that kid had looked. This was a bar for old timers; this colt would have been better suited at a club or something, not my bar.
Sorry, It’s just…well, you can imagine. “I got a new mare,” he bragged, “been an open plot for a while. She was some guy named Foster’s once, but now she’s mine.” Yea, and here’s the real kicker, “And that poor old foal? Heh, he doesn’t even have a clue.”
Lady? If you can hear me, I’m so sorry. If I ever hurt you, if I ever made you leave me for him, I would take it all back if I could. I just needed you to tell me, filly. I just needed to know what I did wrong. I just don’t know, my little bird, I just want to know what happened.
What, you still want to hear the story? Can’t I just talk to her for a minute? Look, I know she’s back there somewhere, you had to ask her questions, and I’m obviously not going anywhere. What else do you need me to say?
No? Celestia, you could at least answer me. Look, if I finish, can I talk to her? Or just see her? I just…I need to see her. Please? Okay, what if I finish my story first? Then can I talk to her?
I know I talked to Mikey after that, but I don’t remember what we spoke about. I just kept listening to Ray speak, I kept listening to him brag. I think I knew even then what I was going to do, or else I never would have stayed so calm. Somehow, I kept my cool enough to even order another beer.
I guess I knew the truth then. Mikey won, ‘cause he definitely stirred up a bit of trouble. I don’t blame him really, I’m glad he told me at least, but…well, like I said, I’ve done things I regret. I don’t blame anypony except myself. Well, and Ray.
Ughh, how I blamed Ray. I must have sat at the bar till damn near closing time, just listening to him chatter. Long after he had stopped talking about the…things he had done to my little bird, I kept hearing them in my head over and over. You know, I had actually noticed some of the bruises before, and I had believed her when she had come up with one excuse or another for them all. I mean, why would I be suspicious? We loved eachother, and I would have never been unfaithful. I tried my best to be a good husband, I really did. I worked a job I hated with ponies I hated in a city I hated to put a roof over her head. She didn’t have to work with the hours I had, so she had all day to do whatever she wanted. It was hard some days, but knowing that she was happy made me happy.
Looking back now, I guess I can see the signs of when it all started to slow down. When we married, she was living with her parents, and they had had a beautiful garden. Lady Bird would spend all her free time back there, listening to the birds sing and fly through the trees, and she told me the story once of how she got her cutie mark doing just that. I always told her that we would have a garden that big one day, but when I came home with a birdfeeder for our apartment one afternoon…I never could place the look in her eyes. I know it now though, it’s the same feeling I had when you dragged me down here. “This is it,” her eyes had said, “This is as far as I’ll ever go.”
Ughh, I got sidetracked again. I’m sorry. I was talking about Ray, right? Well, there’s not a lot to say. I know that this is the part you actually care about, so I’ll try and remember, but it all kind of blends together. I know I had more than a few beers, and I know that most of the bar had already left. Mikey was all but unconscious next to me, but I just stared straight ahead at the bottles on the shelf behind the bar, listening to that damned colt talk. The only other thing that happened was that I dropped an empty beer bottle. It broke on the ground, and since the barkeep was in the back I bent down and cleaned it up myself. I just piled the brown glass on the bar next to me, and kept drinking.
Eventually, I heard Ray stand up. I wasn’t sure what he was going to do, or what I was going to do, but when I didn’t hear his friend stand up I figured it out. I watched his reflection in the bottles as he walked across the room, heading out the side door. Nature was calling to him, as it does to any pony who spends that long downing booze.
I don’t remember standing, but I remember pushing the door open. I think it was the air that brought me back enough to remember it at all. It was so cold that night, but at least the buildings on either side of the alley kept the wind at bay. It was a little rainy, and the wind whipped above me, but I could hear hoofsteps coming from farther down the alley.
I started to hover toward the footsteps. I couldn’t see Ray, but I knew he was around the corner behind the dumpster, because that’s where everyone stops to piss. It’s just far enough away from the door that the owner doesn’t get angry, and I had drained myself back there more than once. I don’t know why that mattered, but it did. He was in my bar, using my piss spot, after screwing my bird.
I didn’t have to try very hard to keep silent as I floated towards him, but it was awkward flying in such a cramped area. I didn’t pay it much attention at the time, but my right hoof hurt like hell as I tensed up, coming up behind him. I stayed quiet and landed on my back hooves, using my wings to steady myself as I put my hooves around his neck. He spun around in surprise and stumbled, and I looked right into his eyes as I sunk the glass into his breast.
It had happened so fast. I didn’t even know I had been carrying the glass, and I released it with a shudder as I realized what I had done.
Something wet and warm surged across my face as the moment passed. I couldn’t tell you what I was thinking; I doubt I could think at all. I certainly couldn’t move, and with every second that we stood there more blood sprayed over my hooves. He looked at me wordlessly, and his eyes were what really got me.
Damn, those eyes. I know it sounds cliché, but I’ll always remember those eyes. It wasn’t that there was anything special about them; in fact, that’s exactly why I couldn’t get them out of my head. I don’t know what I was hoping for, maybe some final recognition or a flash of anger, something to justify what I had done, but there was just confusion. Celestia, he didn’t even know who I was, why this was happening. He was just some bloke out for a drink, and now he was bleeding out over the asphalt.
I smiled with relief as his breath became shy, his body falling on top of me. I let out the breath that I hadn’t known I was holding, and stumbled backwards against the wall. His body slid down my chest and fell onto the ground, and just lay there limply.
I know you want some sort of justification for this, and believe me, I did too. But the truth is, I don’t know exactly what I did next. I know I wondered if he had a family, and I guess I wondered how much money was in his wallet because I remember taking it out, but it was never about robbing him. If there’s one thing I didn’t care about that night, it was money. All I can remember caring about was trying to get away, to pretend that it never happened. I guess my mind was too shell-shocked to make much sense, but maybe if they found him with no bits in his pocket, they would think it was a random mugging.
There. I’ve confessed, alright? Can I see Lady Bird now? I just want to explain things to her. I…I wasn’t in my right mind, you can tell that right? Temporary insanity and all that? I don’t care if I get locked up, I probably deserve it, but I just want to see her one more time. I just want to say I’m sorry in person.
You’ve got what you wanted, alright? Can you just give me this one request? No? Wait, there’s a bit left! If I tell you a bit more, will you let me see her? Yes? Well look, how about I finish up, and then you decide, alright?
I don’t remember getting home; I guess the clarity that adrenaline had given me had been overwhelmed by the alcohol. I don’t know if Lady was there or if we talked or anything, but I do remember the next day. Or, I guess today, right? I haven’t seen a clock in, well, awhile, so I don’t really know. Anyway, I woke up like it was any other Sunday. Had me a cup of black coffee, read the paper, and had one of my favorite cigarettes. Honestly, I felt right as rain until the phone rang.
“’Ello?” I said as I picked up. Lady hadn’t been home when I woke up, so this was the first person I had talked to that day.
“Hello Bits Foster? This is Officer Sloan from the Manehatten Police Department” Yea, you can bet my blood chilled at that.
“Oh, officer Sloan, I-”
“Where were you on the night of the 31st?”
“Oh well I happened to be-”
“Happened to be in a pub named Mareway and Hurst?”
“No, I wasn’t there actually-”
“Do you know Ray Wells?”
Boom. Million bit question. Did I know Ray wells? Of course not, he was just some bloke I had met the night before, I didn’t know him at all. He wasn’t like I expected, even his final moments were just a misjudgment on my part. I didn’t know anything about him.
“Ray Wells, Ray Wells…sorry officer, I don’t think I know him” I replied. I know it was a lie, or at least it was answering the wrong question, but I thought that maybe I could still get away. Just get away from the whole thing, just forget about it, and everything would be alright. “The 31st? I was out of town. Yea, t-that’s right, I was out on business in fact. You see, I was with my bird, we’re in love.”
“Well thank you for your time, sorry to bother you”
Hah, yea right. Sloan wasn’t actually asking me if I did it, we both know that. He was just offering me the easy way out. That was my opportunity to turn myself in, and I lied through my teeth. I was just too stupid to realize it until later. Just put it on the list of things I regret now, I guess.
It was about an hour later that I heard another click. I looked up from my kitchen table to the door, wondering who was trying the handle. It was locked of course, but that didn’t stop it from being kicked in a second later.
It was just an apartment door, and was nothing but splinters in moments. Before I knew what hit me, I had half a dozen guns in my face with a fat pony yelling to get on the ground. All I could do was scream back that I was innocent, over and over again, as they pushed me down and cuffed me. I was desperate, but they just laughed at me. Sloan was there of course, though it took me a minute to connect his voice with the fat blue pony in my face. I think he said it best though. He told me that I murdered somepony and we both knew it, and that I would spend the rest of my life in prison paying for it.
And that brings me to you, officer. You guys have had me in here for hours, maybe a full day, and I haven’t been able to eat or sleep. You asked for my story, and I gave it, and I admit that I lied on the phone and when I was brought in, but I’ve got nothing left to hide now. Please, all I want is to talk to her, to make everything alright again. I just want to forget...
No, I suppose I’m being foalish again. I probably don’t deserve it anyway. I never deserved her, you know. A lot of people got what they didn’t deserve. I never deserved a wife like that, she didn’t deserve a murderer like me for a husband, and Ray never deserved to die. Well, when you see her, could you tell her I’m sorry? I’m so sorry, for everything.
For what good it does us now.
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