The following morning at Canterlot High, everything seemed to be carrying on as usual. But today, something was different. Jokesterrap had yet to pull any pranks. But instead, he spent most of his free time reading in his grandfather's journal. Some of the students felt rather relieved that they could get some peace and quiet without Jokesterrap playing a trick on them. But others felt like he would pull a huge prank later on.
"You never know what he might be up to," Rarity was saying.
"Maybe he doesn't want to pull pranks today," suggested Fluttershy.
"Perhaps he's sick," said Rainbow Dash.
"Ah don't think it's that," said Applejack.
"Maybe he's still upset about what the others said about him yesterday," said Vincent.
"I said I was sorry!" remarked Mystery Mint.
"I'll try seeing what's up," said Flash.
"I'll go too," said Vincent.
At lunch, Jokesterrap was sitting at a table by himself when Flash and Vincent come up.
"Hey Jokesterrap," said Vincent. "Mind if we sit with you?"
"Yeah, sure," he mumbled halfheartedly.
The two guys sat down, rather unsure of how to start a conversation.
"So," Flash finally said, "what's new with you?"
"Oh nothing really," said Jokesterrap. "What made you think there was something going on?"
"Well, usually around this time, you'd pull a prank on someone," said Vincent, rather concerned about Jokesterrap's new behavior. "Anything wrong?"
"No, nothing really."
"You sure you're not angry over yesterday?" asked Vincent.
"Then what's going on?" asked Flash.
"I, uh, just don't feel like pulling pranks right now," said Jokesterrap. "I'm up to other stuff now."
"If I told you," said Jokesterrap, "it wouldn't be secret."
"Fair enough, I guess."
"Want to come join the others?" asked Flash.
"Er, no thanks."
"What? But you like joking around with friends!" exclaimed Vincent.
"Well sometimes they don't like my jokes," said Jokesterrap. "So why bother them?"
"But most of the time, you mean no harm, right?"
"True. But still, I'm rather busy with my secret work."
"Well alright then," said Flash. With that, he and Vincent went over to the other table where their friends were.
"Any luck?" asked Sunset.
"He says he's busy with something," said Vincent. "And that he's not interesting in joking around since others find it annoying."
"That's not right..."
"He never used to worry about bothering us before," said Twilight.
"So what's making him worry now?" asked Flash.
"It's a mystery," said Rarity. "On the plus side, he seems to be behaving himself.”
"It's just not like him to all of a sudden stop joking around," said Vincent. "Something's obviously wrong with him."
"What if one of us told a joke?" suggested Pinkie Pie. "Maybe it would help him feel better."
"So, anyone got any good jokes?" asked Rainbow Dash.
"I think I got one," said Vincent. "I remember seeing it on TV."
With that, he got out of his seat and held his corndog out as if it were a microphone.
"You know something we have in common?" he asked, while talking as if he were doing stand up comedy. "Flying on the airlines and listening to the airline announcements while trying to pretend to ourselves that the language they're using is really English. Doesn't seem like it to me, y'know? Whole thing starts when you get to the gate. First announcement; 'We would like to begin the Boarding Process'. Extra word 'process'; not necessary. Boarding is enough. 'We'd like to begin the boarding'. Simple enough and tells the story.”
"People want to add extra words to make things sounds more important than they are,” he went on. “'Boarding Process; sounds important'. It isn't. It's just a bunch of people getting on an airplane."
This had earned him some chuckles from some of the students.
"People like to sound important," Vincent continued. "Weathermen talk about Shower Activity. Sounds more important than showers. I even hear some guy talk about a rain event. He said 'The county will be expecting a rain event' and I thought "Whoa I hope I can get tickets to that'!
This resulted in more laughs from the other students. The only one not laughing was Jokesterrap.
"I knew it!" he snapped. "You all do think I'm nothing but a joke!" He thought they were laughing at him.
"No we weren't," objected Watermelody. "Vincent told a rather amausing joke and we laughed."
"It was about me, wasn't it?"
"Of course not," said Vincent. "Why would I make a joke about my friends?"
"Are you sure you didn't come up with those jokes yourself?" asked Sunset. "They were really good."
Vincent blushed a bit hearing this.
"Th-thanks," he said bashfully.
But Jokesterrap still wasn't happy.
"So you all find Vincent funnier than me, do you?" he scowled.
"They never said I was funnier than you!" the blue-haired teenager protested indignantly.
"Then why is it that they laughed at your joke while most of them thought mine were a nuisance?" Jokesterrap asked.
"Well," said Vincent. "That was my first time doing a joke. They're used to you doing jokes and pranks all the time."
"So they think I'm boring?"
"No! Far from it!"
Before Vincent could say anymore, Jokesterrap stormed off.
"I hadn't meant to hurt him, did I?" Vincent asked, feeling upset.
"He just took it the wrong way," said Twilight. "I'm sure sooner or later he'll be back to his old joking self."
"I hope," Vincent said before sighing.
Soon, the bell rang and the students made their ways to their classes.
Jokesterrap stayed quiet for the rest of the school day. He didn't even speak to his friends. Poor Vincent felt very bad; he never meant to hurt his friend on purpose.
"He's really upset with me," he said to himself. "I wish there was a way to make up for it."
"You shouldn't blame yourself like that," said Sunset, putting a hand on Vincent's shoulder. “I don't know what's wrong with Jokesterrap, but I know that it's not your fault."
"Are you sure?" Vincent asked, not once looking back on her.
Sunset smiled. "I'm sure. You're far too nice to hurt someone on purpose."
This made Vincent smile too.
"Thanks Sunset," he said. "I'm feeling a little better now."
Before Vincent could saymore, Sunset gave him a hug.
"Hey, what're you-?"
"It's just a little hug Vincent," said Sunset. "Nothing to be nervous about."
"I know that, it's just... I've rarely had a girl hug me, apart from Fictionary, as she's my sister."
Sunset could see that the hug had made Vincent's face blush bright red. She felt herself blush as well, but tried not to show it.
Soon, school had ended for the day. As the students were getting ready to go home, Jokestrrap raced off towards his spare bike. Since he had left his regular bike by Gladstone's shed, he had to make do with this other one.
"Not the most comfortable bike," he said. "But it'll have to do."
He was just getting ready to take off when...
"Hey, Jokesterrap, mate!"
It was Vincent.
"Oh, what does he want now?"
"I wanted to apologize for earlier in the lunch room," said Vincent, "and wanted to see if you wanted to join me and the gang for pizza later."
"Er, no thanks Vincent," said Jokesterrap. "It's such a nice day, so I thought I'd take a little bike ride."
"Well, if you say so," sighed Vincent, "I'll make sure we save at least a couple of slices for you."
"By the way," asked Vincent. "What happened to your bike?"
"Oh, uh, I seem to have misplaced it," said Jokesterrap. "So till I find it, I'll have to use this one."
"Ya wouldn't last a minute on this heap of scrap!" Vincent remarked with a slight hint of sarcasm.
"What are you calling a heap of scrap?" snapped Jokesterrap. "This bike might be old, but it's still reliable!"
Before Vincent could say anymore, Jokesterrap sped off on his bike.
"Here I go again," muttered Vincent, "upsetting him without intending to. I gotta keep my mouth shut next time..."
Instead of going back to his house, Jokesterrap went along his trail to see Gladstone.
"It's a good thing I remembered to tell mom and dad this morning that I wouldn't come right home after school," he said, "otherwise they'd be panicking over where I was."
Jokesterrap soon came to the railway line in the forest. But instead of going West to Gladstone's shed, he went to the East.
At that moment, Trixie had been taking a walk when she thought she saw someone along the railway tracks.
"Isn't that Jokesterrap?" she asked herself. "I'll be he's up to something." But when she looked again, she saw no one. "I thought I saw... Oh, what the heck - I must be seeing things."
Eventually, Jokesterrap came to a nearby junction where a flatbed and a handcart were waiting for him. Waiting by them was a man wearing a workman's uniform.
"Just in time," the workman said. "Almost gave up on you."
"Sorry I'm late," said Jokesterrap. "Had to make do with this old bike and the journey wasn't so great."
Earlier that day, Jokesterrap had made a call to one of the Railway workshops, seeing if he could get the parts he needed to fix Gladstone without paying so much. And as it turned out, they had some parts that were taking up too much space. So Jokesterrap talked them into giving some of the parts to him instead.
"Did you guys get everything on my list?" he asked.
"Afraid not. The boss doesn't want us spending all time running off to drop off parts. So he says we gotta do it one piece at a time."
"That's okay," said Jokesterrap. "Better one at a time than not at all."
Jokesterrap gave the workman some money for the part.
"I know you guys said I could have the parts on the house," he said, "but I thought you deserved a little money for coming out here."
The two shook hands and Jokesterrap climbed onto the handcart.
"I'll bring this back soon," he said.
"Go ahead and keep it," said the workman. "Boss got some new electric trollies and wanted me to get rid of that old thing."
Jokesterrap soon made it to Gladstone's shed. He stopped the handcart in front of it and opened the shed door to see his engine still where he had left her yesterday.
"Hi Gladstone," he said happily. "I've got something for you."
Jokesterrap then brought the handcar into the shed next to Gladstone and took the tarp off of the flatbed.
"Ta-da! A brand new steam dome just for you."
If she'd have talked, Gladstone would've been most grateful.
Then Jokesterrap started telling the engine about his day at school.
"You should have seen them at lunch, Gladstone," he said unhappily. "Everyone in the cafeteria was laughing at Vincent's jokes. They never laughed that much for mine. They probably think that's all I'm good for and have gotten bored of me. I bet you kinda know what that's like; to feel as though you're not appreciated now a days. It's a good thing Grandpa bought you and saved you from scrap, though."
Gladstone still stayed silent.
"Well don't you worry," said Jokesterrap. "Once I've fixed you up, we'll show them all what we can do. Just you wait and see."
Jokesterrap knew Gladstone couldn't say anything, but it felt good to have someone or something to talk to.
"Goodnight Gladstone," he said, getting ready to leave. "Tomorrow's Saturday so I'll come by earlier to get that new steam dome hooked up."
With that, he closed the shed door and set off with his bike. He alo remembered he had to go back and fetch his other bike so he wouldn't forget it.
When Jokesterrap got home, he put the bikes in the garage and went inside.
"Mom, dad, I'm home," he called.
"Hey son," said Tinker. "A friend of yours came by earlier and brought you some pizza."
"Who was it?" asked Jokesterrap.
"I forget his name," said his mother, "but he had blue hair and wore glasses... Vernon, Victor, or whatever it was..."
"Yeah, that's the one!"
"Well that was rather nice of him," said Jokesterrap.
So, the family ate the pizza for their dinner.
"Pepperoni and Gumdrop," commented Jokesterrap. "Rather interesting idea if I say so myself."
"Get any new parts for Gladstone?" asked Tinker.
"Yeah," Jokesterrap said. "Her new steam dome came in. It'll be a while until the rest arrives."
"Won't you need any help fixing her?" his mother asked.
"I'm sure I can manage on my own," said Jokesterrap.
"Okay then, son, but don't be too proud to ask for help."
"I won't, dad," said Jokesterrap.
Before long, it was time for bed. As Jokesterrap was settling down in his bed, he looked at the picture of Gladstone.
"We'll show them what we can do, Gladstone," he smiled. "Just you wait."