The Pocket Monster Diaries, Part 4
I know I shouldn’t be complaining, but after the ordeal involved in capturing Chuckles, the Caterpie was almost a dissapointment. I honestly felt bad for the little guy, with his big, shiny eyes staring up at me. But, I knew that serious trainers needed a lot of variety on their team. And after getting walloped in the ol’ ultra balls by a fighting type, I thought that a bug sounded about my speed. Plus, I could barely walk to the Pokémart without tripping over at least four of the damn things.
The one that caught my eye was lounging around in the tall grass, and I crept towards it with Pokéball in hand. Before I could make a move, though, Mr. Suds disobeyed a direct order and came charging out of the underbrush to tackle the crap out of his future teammate. Fortunately, the Caterpie managed to survive the initial blow. Unfortunately, he retaliated by spewing a sticky white gloop all over my Squirtle. Eeecch.
Since that seemed to be his only method of defending himself, and it wasn’t doing anything to Mr. Suds but pissing him off, I decided to strike while my Pokémon was trying to disentangle himself from the strands. His attack, while reckless, had weakened the Caterpie enough that it went inside the ball with no fuss. Mr. Suds spent a good twenty minutes washing Caterpie spew off of his shell, but I had no sympathy. If you decide to attack helpless bugs without my say so, I can’t be held responsible if you get sprayed in the face with unidentified bio-fluids. That’s the policy on my team.
Discourteous discharges aside, BugJuice was now officially a member of my team, along with Chuckles. And while firsthand experience with Pokémon battles had not exactly stoked my enthusiasm for the barbaric practice, I’ll admit that I was a little excited to see what my two newest acquisitions were capable of (if only to keep Chuckles preoccupied with punching things that were not my scrotum). And so, after a quick stop at the Pokemon Center, it was back to my old stomping grounds: Route 1.
Chuckles went out first. He looked like a natural fighter, so I hoped that I would only have to point him in the direction of some hapless victim and watch the magic happen. I was not disappointed.
As I watched my Mankey tear into the first pack of Rattata we came across in the tall grass, I was struck by how differently he and Mr. Suds approached the business of violence. While they both had an undeniable zest for combat, Chuckles displayed an almost disturbing disregard for his personal safety. Time and time again, against each unfortunate Pokémon that chose to attack us, he would leap into harm’s way, risking the most severe injuries if it meant a chance to cause greater damage. It was awe inspiring, but also a little worrying. After only two or three bouts with the local fauna, Chuckles was in pretty bad shape. There were savage bite marks up and down his arms, and a large purple bruise over one eye where a Pidgey had repeatedly battered him with its wing as he held it down to the ground and socked it in the belly until it stopped moving.
“Good work, Chuckles! I think you’ve earned a break.” To my surprise, Chuckles allowed himself to be returned to his Pokéball without complaint. Among fighting types, a “complaint” is often registered in the form of a karate chop to the vital organ of your choice, so I was understandably relieved. In fact, despite his injuries, Chuckles looked much more mellowed out after he got the opportunity to put his fighting skills to the test. Perhaps all he needed was a chance to blow off some steam.
Next, I summoned BugJuice from his Pokéball. He sat in the grass placidly and stared up at me. It occurred to me that since my first two Pokémon had been Mr. Suds and Chuckles, the need to actively encourage a Pokémon to fight was an entirely new challenge. I decided it would be best to put on an air of enthusiasm. “Um, alright…let’s go find you an opponent.” Because BugJuice’s only method of locomotion seemed to be “excruciatingly slow crawl”, I decided it would be faster to just carry him to the fight.
I set out once again along Route One, this time with a Caterpie in my arms. “Alright, don’t sweat it. We just gotta start small. If we could find a…” On our left, a flock of Pidgeys, congregating menacingly in some shrubbery. “Eh, no. Keep walkin’.” On our right, a pack of Rattata taking turns gnawing on something that may or may not have once been alive. “Just, uh…don’t…make eye contact. Eyes front.”
Finally, we happened across a rather elderly looking Rattata, laying in the grass all by itself. This guy looked more like BugJuice’s speed. He had patchy, matted fur, his ears were notched, and his fangs were chipped and worn. Surely he wouldn’t prove too tough, even for my docile insectoid companion. I set BugJuice on the ground in front of his grody looking foe. “All right,” I said, taking a step back from the field of play. “Have at him.”
BugJuice stringshotted him in the face. The Rattata looked mildly annoyed.
Then it bit him open like an overripe banana.
As I ran towards my downed Pokémon, the Rattata looked up from his victim and tried to circle behind me for another attack. I tossed Chuckles’ Pokéball over my shoulder and muttered “Go.” He knew what to do. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw him slowly advancing towards the now rather worried looking Rattata. I stepped forward and crouched down to check the damage. It was pretty bad.
“Hey…hey, I didn’t know you for very long but, uh…you’re gonna be okay, and we’re gonna get you to the…oh, fuck, oh, geez….damnit.”
The Rattata hurtled through the air over my head. It bounced once with a terrified squeak, then rolled into the bushes and stopped moving.
Caterpies don’t really have guts, exactly. The stuff that was slowly oozing out of BugJuice’s abdomen was more like a sort of greenish-black paste containing no discernible organs. The gash opened by the Rattata’s teeth covered ran nearly the entire length of his little, motionless body. The large, reflective eyes always had a kind of glassy quality to them, but now it was clear that they were staring at nothing in particular.
It occurred to me that if BugJuice had never met me, he might be munching happily on a leaf somewhere without a care in the world. I certainly couldn’t imagine him picking fights with other Pokemon for no reason. Which is basically what I was doing, now that I thought about it. Shit. I was the worst trainer in the world.
Now that the “fight” (I employ the term loosely here) was over with, Chuckles walked over to see what I was looking at. He stared at me, and then the Caterpie corpse, as if he couldn’t really understand what had happened. I pointed at a soft patch of earth under a nearby tree. “Dig.”
He hopped over to the indicated spot and began to dig enthusiastically with his hand-mitt-things. Soon there was a decent-sized depression, and he looked up at me for approval. “Good enough,” I said, and picked up the dripping carcass. I don’t think Chuckles realized what had happened until I started to cover the body up with dirt. As I was patting the last of the earth down with my hand, I heard a soft keening sound over my shoulder, interrupted by sniffles and the occasional honk. I turned around to see Chuckles with his face buried in his little mitt-paws. He must have been a lot younger than I thought, if this kind of thing was still new to him. He must have been terrified when I came at him with that Pokéball. No wonder his first reaction was to whack me in the nuts.
I reached out and patted his head. “Shh…it’s okay. It’s okay! I won’t let that happen to you.”
I’ve never felt like a bigger liar.
BugJuice…we knew him for such a short time. Too short, perhaps, to say what he was really like, but it was clear from beginning that he had a gentle heart. He never once tried to harm another Pokémon, even when the other Pokémon made fun of him and called him a leaf-eating nancy boy.
No, he just shot sticky gunk at them, gunk that looks like organic silly-string and takes many hours of work and multiple bottles of Goo Gone to wash off. That usually shut them up right quick.
Some cold-hearted, narrow-minded trainers might look at a Pokémon like BugJuice and say, “What was he good for?”
And to those trainers I respond with this quote from the Book of Arceus: “Consider the Sunflora of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin. And yet I say to you, that even Ho-oh in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”
We’ll never forget you, little guy.
Posted on July 2, 2011, in The Pocket Monster Diaries and tagged Caterpie, Diary, Game Boy Advance, Leaf Green, Let's Play, Mankey, Nuzlocke, Pokemon, Screenshot, Squirtle. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.