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Dry Jokes

by DrBksMD

“Oh Maaaaaud!” Pinkie’s boisterous voice echoed through the voluminous expanse of the cave. “The train’s ready to leave in fifteen minutes, and I don’t think we can count on the sheep again if we’re late.
“It’s okay, Pinkie. I’m ready.” Maud came into view as Pinkie bounded past the last of the stalagmites.
“So everything is packed?”
“Yes, Pinkie. Most of what I need is already in Canterlot.”
“Riiiight…” Pinkie looked Maud up and down, then all around. “All you have is your small travel pack.”
“Yes. Just my notes.”
Pinkie flipped the flap open on Maud’s pack and ruffled through. Sure enough, the only thing in Maud’s pack besides miniscule mineral particles was a loosely bound pack of parchment. Pinkie began reading in earnest, but slowly stopped and stared Maud in the eye.
“I don’t get it.”
“Don’t worry, Pinkie. It’s fine.” Maud slowly guided Pinkie’s hoof to deposit the papers back into the saddle bag.
“Fine? How is this fine? You really think that you’re going to help those ponies with those jokes? I wouldn’t even consider half of those to even be “jokes”.”
“These jokes are for a different crowd of ponies. Celestia’s letter mentioned that the Canterlot detective department needed a moral boost, and I know exactly what to do.”
“But where are the actual jokes in your routine? I barely see any of the funny wordplay, your signature punchlines. It’s all just dry remarks.”
“Pinkie, I know what I’m doing.”
“I know you know what you’re doing, and I know that you know that I know that you know what you’re doing. But I know funny, and being funny is serious business.” Maud began walking towards the cave’s exit.
“I’m going to be late if we keep talking. We can continue when I get back.”
Pinkie pondered to herself alone in Maud’s cavern.
“I love Maud and her stand-up routines are the best, but not even I can see how any of that was funny.” Pinkie paced back and forth. “I’m not going to let Maud fail, Celestia is counting on her! I guess I’m going undercover!” Pinkie bounded back out of the cave in earnest.
“Hello, and welcome to the first, annual, and final Canterlot ‘optional’ positivity seminar.” Maud spoke slowly and monotonously into the microphone as the grizzled audience looked on. “I trust that this will be an experience that will be well worth the bits spent from your department's budget.”
A noise softly rose out of the crowd, barely detectable by Pinkie’s stark black stealth suit. Using the eye tracking interface in her spy goggles, she rewinded the audio recording. There was no denying what she heard.
“Those were chuckles, alright.” Pinkie strained her brain trying to understand. “How was that any bit funny?”
“Please follow me, and we'll begin the exercise.” Maud outstretched her hand toward the Canterlot Maze behind her. “I’m sure that if the equally annual takeover of Canterlot occurs while we’re away, the magic tree lite brite will have the wonder mares of Ponyville on the case.”
“Hehe, right?” A slight shove of solidarity between two of the detective ponies did not escape the lenses of Pinkie’s goggles.
Pinkie’s confusion continued to grow at each stop that Maud made with the detective ponies. First was the petrified prison of the three villains who had last attacked Equestria. “Equestrian justice always seems to involve what some ponies would consider to be worse than death. What do you guys think?” Maud tapped her hoof against Chrysalis’s eternally snarling face. “I’d ask Sombra or the Storm King about that, but… let’s just say Tirek was fortunate to be part of a punishment package.”
After a rather enigmatic hour or so of meandering the maze premise, Maud brought the group back to the front and the detective ponies broke into smaller groups around the assortment of refreshments. Pinkie dropped down directly in front of Maud in full recon gear, only taking time to rip the mask and goggles from her face in order to properly ask the burning question in her mind.
“Maud, these ponies are happy! I don’t… what, how did you know that would work?”
Maud gently lifted a hoof to guide Pinkie’s gaze softly to her own.
“Pinkie, your happiness is unsullied. Ponies laugh when you laugh because it is a laugh of genuine exuberance, unburdened by a world that can be unkind. These ponies see a side of Equestria daily that can bring down a pony’s spirits. Celestia knows what that can do to a pony over the moons.”
Maud began to walk back to the castle gates, Pinkie bounding alongside.
“Remember Pinkie, a pony can laugh without laughing.”