The Pocket Monster Diaries, Part 3
Don’t get me wrong: I’m grateful for the Pokémon Centers. The people who work there are polite, competent, and efficient — you never have to wait for more than a few minutes — and, of course, it’s all completely free. It’s a miracle of public health care, really. To top it all off, the staff are unfailingly cheerful. But I can’t quite shake the feeling that sometimes they’re just a little bit too cheerful. The nurses are always so perky and chirpy, and yet they see some pretty nasty stuff every day. How do they do it? Maybe I’m just being paranoid. I had recently been through a pretty stressful experience, after all. But as I sat on the plush waiting room chair, reading an issue of PokéLife that was published before I had the ability to form coherent sentences, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had entrusted Mr. Suds to the care of a facility staffed entirely by identical robots.
The smiling nurse handed my solitary Pokéball over the counter. “Thank you for using the Pokémon center. We hope to see you again soon!” I took it apprehensively. At any moment I expected Mr. Suds to pop out and wallop me for tricking him. Well, it didn’t matter if he was angry at me. I did it for his own good, after all. A few moments passed without incident, and I thought I heard a noise like a low growling. Looking around the waiting room, I noticed only the rustling of an old man’s newspaper and the tapping of a girl texting on her glittery pink PokéGear. I realized that the noise was coming from the ball I held in my hand. I slowly put it up to my ear.
Gentle snores came from within.
Ha! So, maybe Mr. Suds wasn’t as tough as he pretended. I was relieved, at any rate. Now that he was unconscious and not trying to drag me as quickly as possible into the next fight, I would have a chance to look around town a little bit. This was the first time I had been outside of Pallet town since I was old enough to remember, and I was curious to see what it was like here.
Unfortunately, Viridian City wasn’t that much bigger than Pallet, so there wasn’t a great deal in the way of sightseeing. The first thing that caught my eye was what appeared to be some kind of school. All of the kids in Pallet Town were homeschooled, which in my case meant mostly that if I wanted to find out anything I had to look it up on the internet. So I decided to take a peek inside. What I found was…well, a little depressing.
On the other hand, the people here were pretty friendly. None of the houses were locked, so could just wander nonchalantly into people’s homes and strike up a conversation whenever I felt like it. Sadly, most of the citizens of Viridian City didn’t have much to make conversation about.
At the northern end of town, I saw an elderly man sprawled out in the road. I ran over to see if he needed assistance, but as soon as I got within about ten feet of him the overpowering stench of cheap liquor hit me like a physical force. He was being tended to by a woman, presumably his wife, who diligently made sure that he was not trod on by any passers by. Her dedication was touching, in a way. I could already tell that this was the sort of city that just…spewed charm. Spewed it all over the pavement.
Last stop was the Pokémart. I didn’t have very much money, other than my allowance, but I figured that while I was here I might as well do a little window shopping. I was looking over their selection of Potions when I thought I heard something from the guy behind the counter.
“Psst….hey! Hey kid! Over here!”
He was beckoning to me and whispering in a tone of voice normally reserved for betrenchcoated individuals in after school specials. I began to experience a terrible certainty in the pit of my stomach, even as I shuffled over to the counter.
The pimply-faced guy behind the counter handed me a small satchel. “Here, take this to the Professor. And be quick about it.”
“What-” I peeked inside the bag “Are these…Rare Candies? You’re not allowed to-” The clerk suddenly reached across the counter clamped his gross, sweaty hand over my mouth. It smelled like sour cream and Burn Heal. Yech.
“Shut the fuck up, you little punk! Damn, I was hoping Oak would send somebody trustworthy…alright, listen, you take the shit to Oak right away,” he jerked a thumb over his shoulder at the security camera mounted high up on the wall, “and I won’t have to show Officer Jenny the closed-circuit footage of the sad, desperate delinquent who came in here trying to sell me illegal substances.”
“Better get going. Somebody could walk in any minute and see you holding those.”
Shit, shit, shit! I panicked to myself as I scurried out of the store, hastily shoving the bag under my jacket. I had no idea if that guy was bluffing or not. It seemed pretty dumb on his end to involve the cops, but I really, really didn’t want to risk it. It wasn’t very far from here to Pallet town, so…in theory, it would be safest to just deliver the package. I walked briskly, but casually, back towards Route 1, surreptitiously cradling the package out of sight as sweat poured unobtrusively down my brow. As soon as I was out of the city I nonchalantly broke into a dead run.
Even though I was in a hurry, I stopped to check on that guy on my way out of town.
Then I remembered that Professor Oak was using me as a drug mule.
I slammed open the door to the lab, stalked over to Professor Oak’s desk, and threw the bag down in front of him, spilling Rare Candies all over the imitation mahogany surface. He looked up at me with an infuriatingly pleasant expression.
“Ah! Winston! You’re back.”
“I hate you.”
“Oh, come on, now. I just wanted you to run a little errand for me.”
“You made me do crime! I could go to juvie for this!”
I looked around to see if anyone else was even hearing this, but all of Oak’s assistants seemed to have become suddenly, passionately interested in various papers, books, and mundane objects. One young man was staring intently at a painting of a Dratini as if it could reveal to him the ineffable mysteries of the universe.
“Listen, Winston, I appreciate the risk you’ve taken for me, I really do-“
“Unwillingly, I might add!”
“-but these, ah, materials, are absolutely necessary for my research on Pokémon growth, and I require someone I trust to bring them to me.” He put on his best look of sincere fatherly expectation. It’s like middle-aged man version of puppy dog eyes. “Are you someone I can trust, Winston?”
“When Officer Jenny asks me to name names down at the station, I swear to God yours is the first one out of my mouth.”
“Oh. Well, er…here, I have something I was planning to give you anyway. This might change your mind.”
Just then, the door slammed open, causing the aides to wince reflexively and a lot of delicate looking glass instruments to wobble.
The return of the Blunder Twins. Awesome. In all the excitement, with the illegal drug trafficking and what have you, I had nearly forgotten that finding him was my original purpose in leaving town. I can’t say I was exactly glad to see him again, but at least my brief Pokémon excursion was at an end. I wondered what had compelled him come back to the lab. Maybe the location of his hometown was imprinted on his animal consciousness. He was like a worker bee returning to the hive, or a salmon journeying to the stream of its origin in order to spawn. Upon reflection, I sincerely hoped that it was more like the first one.
“G’yorp G’yorp G’yorp G’yo-“
“Grandson! You’re just in time.” Oak cut in mercifully. “I was about to give Winston here his Pokédex. I was worried he would get a head start on you!”
Oak smiled broadly as he held out two red objects the size and shape of pocket notebooks.
“Why, yes. Today is the first day of your journey to complete the Pokédex and become the Pokémon champion. Isn’t it exciting?”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait a second. Why would I want to do any of those things?”
Oak puffed out his chest and raised his forefinger to the sky in his patented “I Am a Scientist” pose.
“Well, the quest for knowledge is a never-ending one! Pokémon are our friends, companions, and playmates, but there is still much we do not know about them, and there’s only so much an old man cooped up in a lab can do. It’s up to eager young men like you and G’yorp here to go out into the field and collect new data!”
“So, other than you being too lazy to do your job, and exploiting naive little kids for free labor, what could possibly make me agree to this arrangement?”
“While scientific advancement is an admirable goal, I don’t expect you to embark on this journey solely for altruistic reasons, oh no. After all, I too was a young man once. I remember the thrill of testing my Pokémon in battle against other trainers. Yes, my fine young fellows, not only will you benefit my research by journeying far and wide, but you will meet new Pokémon, you will become stronger, you will challenge powerful gym leaders and defeat them — and each day you will come one step closer to being the undisputed Pokémon champion.”
“Cool. Great. Well, good luck becoming the Pokémon champion then, G’yorp-” I thought about trying to shake his hand, but at the moment he had it shoved in his mouth up to the wrist, so I settled for a friendly wave. “If you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to my house. Sandshrew and Son is on in like half an hour.” I turned to leave.
“Winston, wait! This is your chance to see the world! Do you really want to stay here forever?”
I looked at my Pokéball. Mr. Suds was still in there. I realized that I didn’t really want to give him up. But I also knew that he couldn’t just live in my backyard like some kind of pet. And I wouldn’t mind having an excuse to ditch this wretched town for good.
…I heard what was probably the smartest part of me say.
This is what he wants! You’re letting him manipulate you! Remember! Remember the Pidgies! They wanted to tear you into teeny pieces and feast on your squishiest parts!
I certainly had a point there. And those were some of the tamest and weakest Pokémon I was likely to encounter on my journey.
And what about the other trainers, huh? If you try to become the champion, people will challenge you everywhere you go, never letting you have a moment’s peace. And if you want to be the champion, you’ll need to face the gym leaders! Do you need me to tell you how hideously strong their Pokémon are?
That was also true. If I chose to become a trainer, I would be looking forward to a life of constant battle, whether I wanted it or not.
“I don’t know, old man. I’ve heard about these gym leaders. People say they’re on a whole different level from ordinary trainers. I don’t want to fight someone like that! You’re probably just hoping I’ll get killed so I can’t rat on you, huh?”
“Nonsense, Winston! The gym leaders are strong, sure, but they’re not all they’re cracked up to be. Maintaining a fearsome reputation is part of the job, you know! Why, I heard that G’yorp here has already defeated the gym leader at Pewter City! What was his name again, ah, Stan the Stone, or, uh, or Craig the Crag, or-“
At the mention of the gym leaders, G’yorp produced a small satchel from somewhere on his person. It was crudely made from leaves and woven grass, and as he opened it I saw that it contained various trinkets: some shiny stones, shards of broken glass, a rusty bolt, a scrap of tin foil, a seashell (probably from a tiny Shellder), and something that looked disturbingly like a finger bone, the origins of which I tried very, very hard not to speculate upon. From this pouch he withdrew a small, circular object that I recognized as the Boulder Badge of the Pewter City gym. He began waving wildly in the air and hooting in jubilation.
“Ah, so it’s true! Good work, my boy! I’m very proud of you! Now, you’re one step closer to being admitted into the Pokémon Lea-“
G’yorp threw the badge into the air, caught it in his mouth, and swallowed it with gusto.
“Ahh….um, yes, well, good job, anyway.”
I was shocked. The badge looked legit, and anyway, how could G’yorp possibly have made or obtained even a rudimentary counterfeit? The only alternative was that the simpleton had actually beaten a gym leader. Could I believe that this traipsing simian, this…this…bonobo, and his single, solitary Pokémon, had really bested an entire gym? I had never cared about Pokémon battles before, but for some reason, after watching Mr. Suds have so much trouble with a single wild Pidgey, the thought of G’yorp and his Derpasaur ploughing through trainer after trainer with ease made my blood boil.
This part of me was new. I didn’t remember hearing from him before.
Yeah I said hey FAGGOT
Listen, pal, I do not tolerate discrimination on the basis of race, gender, religious belief, or sexual orien-
WHAT IS IT, you creep?
Are you seriously gonna let monkey boy here show you up like that? Grow a fucking spine!
Oak looked at me expectantly. “I was worried about you getting a head start, Winston, but now it looks like G’yorp has gone and gotten the jump on you! It’s not too late, though.” He held out the Pokédex towards me. “Well? What do you say?”
Do it faggot.
Do it faggot!
DO IT FAGGOT!
Remember the Pidgies!
Well, I had really put my foot in it now.
If I was going to be a Pokémon trainer, I was going to need to catch some more Pokémon. My taste for Pidgies blunted somewhat after our previous encounters, I decided to see what I could find beyond Viridian City.
Fortunately, the path that was obstructed by the drunken old man before was now clear. Unfortunately, he refused to let me go by unless I heard him out, insisting that he needed to “learn me something.”
“Now watch carefully, son!” he said as a rather sickly looking Weedle crawled out of a nearby bush. “You throw the ball like this…” He tossed the Pokéball with a grunt of effort, and it traveled a few, pathetic feet before landing softly in the dirt just shy of the Weedle. “And if you’re lucky, you’ll cetch yerself a Pokey-man!”
The Weedle slowly inched its way over to the ball, nudged the button with its nose, and was “captured.” I got the impression that it had been through this routine a thousand times before.
With a muttered thanks to my geriatric benefactor, I turned back the way I had come. Perhaps I didn’t want to go this way after all. Instead, I decided to head west, onto Route 22. Perhaps one of Mr. Suds’ future teammates was waiting for me there? I let him out of his spheroid.
“Rise and shine, Mr. Suds! We’ve got work to do!”
He popped out in a flash of red light, yawning and stretching after his long nap. He looked around for someone to fight.
“Not just yet, Mr. Suds. We’re recruiting. Keep your eyes peeled for attackers, but don’t go all-out right away.” I’m sure he wasn’t thrilled with those orders, but he seemed to offer no objections, either, so I took it as a good sign.
We proceeded down Route 22, which lowered into a wide gorge bordered on both sides by rocky slopes. Tall grass sprang up around our ankles as we cautiously walked deeper into the gorge, wary of any possible ambushes.
Suddenly, a rustling sound came from a clump of tall grass to our left. I stopped dead in my tracks, but Mr. Suds stalked over to it, ready either to attack or to withdraw into his shell. When he came within ten feet or so, a small, white, furry shape popped out, screeching wildly.
The creature continued to make loud noises and fling tufts of grass into the air in what was clearly some kind of threat display. He made no move to attack, however.
“Alright…sit tight Mr. Suds…I’m just going to slowly…throw…the Pokéball…” I began to reach towards my belt for one of the complimentary Pokéballs Professor Oak had given me. I don’t know if Mr. Suds wanted to get a hit in before he lost his chance, or if he thought the Mankey was about to attack, or whatever, but I saw him charge quickly towards the little ape-beast. “No! Stop!”
I threw the Pokéball as hard as I could, and luckily, I was on target, reaching the Mankey a second before Mr. Suds did and nailing him right on his little pig nose. He was sucked inside the orb almost instantly, leaving Mr. Suds to faceplant in the grass where the Mankey had been just a moment ago. He fixed me with a glare that I was already starting to get used to.
“Hey. I told you to wait.”
Meanwhile, the Pokéball wobbled…wobbled again…I held my breath…
Yes! I strode triumphantly over to the ball to claim my new Pokémon. I looked at it a moment, then released the beast back onto the grass.
“So…you belong to me now, huh? Is this like…a right away thing?” The Mankey still lookeld really mad, but I was starting to think that maybe that’s just how their faces are arranged. He wasn’t running away, but he wasn’t coming closer either. He was just staring at me intensely.
“Um, alright, this could be worse. Let’s try this: for your first command, come over here, and…shake.” I held out my hand towards him. This should be pretty easy. Mankeys can shake, right? I mean, they have little…hand…paw things. Well, I was about to find out.
The Mankey started to move closer, slowly. I left my hand where it was. It came closer…closer…I could almost touch it now. Slowly, it reached out its hand…paw…thing, towards mine, and-
Punched me right in the groin.
As I was curled up on the ground, cradling my abused testicles, I heard a high pitched, snorting, hooting noise. I thought maybe he had started to attack Mr. Suds, when I saw my Squirtle reach out its little blue hand and hit the open palm of the Mankey’s hand-paw-thing.
The Mankey just punched me in the junk, then high-fived my Squirtle. So, he was technically under my control. But he was also a total dick. Fantastic. Also, that’s when I realized what the high pitched hooting noise was: laughter.
Posted on May 18, 2011, in The Pocket Monster Diaries and tagged Diary, Game Boy Advance, Leaf Green, Let's Play, Mankey, Nuzlocke, Pokemon, Screenshot, Squirtle, Weedle. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.