Thursday, August 18, 2016

Pokemon FireRed Jacklocke Part 4

   With a shiny badge and an enlarged ego, I made to leave Pewter City and its magnificent fossil collection when I was approached by a familiar-looking man in a lab coat. I braced myself for the questions about my gender and name, but was instead presented by a pair of running shoes by Professor Oak’s aide/errand boy. My jaw dropped to the floor. Every Christmas, birthday, and Hanukah (I’m not even Jewish) for 3 years I begged my mother relentlessly for these shoes, and each year she told me the same thing: “We just can’t afford them.” And I was forced to let the matter go. Ever since my father left us to go chase his dreams of being a karaoke master, money had been pretty tight. And even though I understood this, it still felt like a Blaze Kick to my heart every holiday that I couldn’t get them. But here they were. As soon as the aide left, I hastily zipped on the shoes and caressed that smooth polyester finish. It was then that I noticed the note inside the box.

“Dear Jack,
Here is a pair of RUNNING SHOES for my beloved challenger. Remember, I’ll always cheer for you! Don’t ever give up!
From Mom”

   And it was here that I began to bawl like a baby. I have no problem admitting this because, let’s face it, I wasn’t exactly a fountain of masculinity to begin with. I continued this cavalcade of tears for a very brief 42 minutes, until I felt a polite tapping on my shoulder.

   “Hi!” said the beaming young stranger.

   “Um, hello?” I answered.

   “I like shorts! They’re delightfully comfy and easy to wear!”

   “Um, that’s great dude.”

   “Do you like shorts?”

   I looked down at the jeans that I was wearing in 78 degrees Fahrenheit weather.

   “Sure,” I lied.

   “That’s awesome! I’m Ben! I was standing over there and saw that you’ve been crying for like the last forty minutes. I just wanted to come over and make sure that you’re alright.”

   “Why were you standing in one spot for forty minutes?”

   “That’s just how I roll.”

   I was also curious about why he told me he liked shorts, but I think it’s best to choose your battles.
“So what’s wrong?” he prodded further.

   I told him about my recent departure from home and about my mother’s surprise gift. He nodded along understandingly throughout my tale, even, surprisingly, the part about the Pokelympic games.

   “Yeah, leaving home for the first time is tough,” he said like a sage about to give me advice.

   My interest piqued, I decided to ask, “How long have you been on a Pokemon journey?”

   “About 3 hours. But I have to be home for dinner soon, so it’s going to end in a bit.”


   “Let me show you the ropes of being a Pokemon trainer!”

   “I’d rather you didn’t.”

   “First things first, let’s have a battle! That’ll help me understand what your strengths and what your weaknesses are. Try not to lose too badly, your master is watching!”

   A leech seed and some tackles later he ran back home with a scratched up Rattata and a bruised ego, telling me that he needed to go home now or his mother “won’t let me go fight the Pokemon League Champion tomorrow”. At least I felt better then.

   Apparently Ben’s wasn’t the only little kid’s day that I would ruin on this trip because Vermin, Bruce, and Bacchus essentially left a breadcrumb trail of fainted Ratatta and Caterpie in their wake as we headed east across Route 4, with me wondering all the while why my mother wrote “running shoes” in all capital letters in her note to me. That’s not even close to grammatically correct.

   It is also with great pride and self-appreciation that I present the newest member of my team: Tyrant the Nidoran. I have high hopes for him, hopes that involve lots of horn attacks, double kicks, and all-around ass-kicking. Call me stupid, but I'm feeling pretty good about this.

   To be continued…
   Read the rest of ActionJ4ck's Jacklocke challenge here.

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