"Lockjaw, use...something. I can't say I really care what."
I stood there sipping from my flask while Lockjaw squared off against the Sentret. He looked back at me, confused.
"Look, I said just do whatever. It doesn't matter anyway since I don't even have a Pokedex anymore."
It's true. I had to give it to some kid after his mother yelled at me for kicking his football into the woods. I was in a really bad mood. That was the day Craig left me. I mean I left Craig. I mean we left each other. It was mutual. Really. Anyway, according to the rules, the Jacklocke technically isn't in effect if I don't have a Pokedex.
Lockjaw chomped on my arm again in response, but once I shook him off he was able to best the Sentret by himself. So far my plan of not getting attached was working quite well. We proceeded through Route 29 with Lockjaw handling anything related to battling and myself handling anything related to drinking. It worked out alright, because we made it to Cherrygrove City without any problems. We employed the same strategy through Route 30 until we were finally within sight of Mr. Pokemon's house. That's when we hit a bit of a snag in the form of a simple Pidgey.
"Lockjaw, do whatever," I said dismissively as I stumbled over to a tree for support and watched events unfold.
For some reason my Pokemon kept insisting on using Leer and only Leer. The Pidgey continued to batter Lockjaw with Tackle, but the Totodile's only response was to try and lower its defense. I was starting to get nervous. Seeing this many hits on my Pokemon reminded me all too well of my past failings.
"Come on, Lockjaw!" I complained loudly enough for my Pokemon to hear me.
But he ignored my complaints and continued employing his own strategy. When the Pidgey finally landed a critical hit I said enough is enough, stood up, and shouted at my Pokemon.
"Lockjaw, just use Scratch!"
He obeyed without question and knocked out the opponent in one hit.
"Mewsus, Lockjaw," I sighed in annoyance. But my annoyance quickly turned to dread when I heard a familiar voice speaking behind me.
"Oh, how the mighty have fallen."
I turned around to find the very man that had been plaguing my dreams every night for the last year and a half standing in the doorway of Mr. Pokemon's house: Professor Samuel Oak. Puzzled by his presence, I followed him inside and saw him standing next to who I assumed to be Mr. Pokemon.
"So you're Jack!" Oak said cryptically.
"I'm Jack, yeah. Did you forget that?"
"The real questions is, did you forget that?"
"Okay chill out, Rafiki. I'm just here to pick something up for Professor Elm."
"With your Pokemon by your side?" he asked, pointing at Lockjaw.
"That's not my Pokemon. I'm just borrowing it until I'm done with this stupid errand," I answered while taking another swig from my flask.
Oak snatched the container out of my hand and investigated it with a sip.
"Why are you drinking Vanilla Coke Zero out of a flask?"
"Mm, 'shut up'. I bet that's the first command you gave all day." the old man taunted.
"It's the second! You saw that battle out there."
"I did," he acknowledged. "You once commanded Pokemon like a born champion. Not anymore."
"Why should I bother?" I responded angrily. "I don't care anymore."
"Lost much, you have. Stopped caring you have."
I stared at him, puzzled by how many elderly adviser archetypes he was going to go through in this conversation. True to the trend, he grabbed my hand and placed a small device in it.
"Now start caring, you will. Reclaim what you've lost, you will."
I looked down in horror at the Pokedex in my hand. The Jacklocke had officially begun.
"No. No. No. No. No," I repeated. "Mr. Pokemon, just give me that Pokemon egg that Elm wanted so I can leave."
Mr. Pokemon complied and I dashed out of his home as quickly as I could. I ran through the tall grass with Lockjaw, fleeing from every fight that popped up. I was determined to return to Professor Elm and give back this Pokemon as quickly as possible.
"Lockjaw, get away from that Weedle!" I shouted every time one came up. Lockjaw would bite my arm in frustration each time I ordered a retreat but I ignored the pain and pressed onward back to Cherrygrove City. I breathed a sigh of relief when we finally arrived there because I knew that we could make it back to New Bark Town and Elm's lab without walking through any more tall grass. That would mean no more risks. But I was wrong.
"You got a Pokemon at the lab," said the red-haired stranger.
"Um, actually I just borrowed it," I explained, hoping for the conversation to end peacefully.
"What a waste," he taunted.
I was not prepared for that.
"That's a Pokemon that's too good for a wimp like you," he elaborated with a look of oddly-familiar smugness on his face.
My anger grew.
"A wimp? Do you have any idea who I am or what I've done?"
"Don't you get what I'm saying?" he said as he stepped even closer. "Well, I too have a good Pokemon. I'll show you what I mean!"
It finally hit me that this guy was practically a carbon copy of Buttock, a quality that irritated me to no end. The list of similarities was extended when he threw out a Pokemon and demanded a battle without warning.
I ordered Lockjaw to use Scratch, which the stranger's Chikorita responded to with a Growl. We repeated a Scratch, but the Chikorita now went on the offensive with Tackle. I felt the anger in my Totodile rising simultaneously with mine, and I ordered my Pokemon to use Rage, knocking out our opponent.
After the battle, the stranger simply glared at me.
"Do you want to know who I am?" he said as he marched off. "I'm going to be the world's greatest Pokemon Trainer."
"I don't care!" I called after him. This battle and the memories of Buttock reignited my passion. "My name is Jack! I am already the world's greatest Pokemon trainer, and I am going to reclaim my title!"
I looked at my new friend Lockjaw proudly and he responded by biting my arm. But I was too fired up to feel any pain. It was on now.
To be continued...
Read the rest of ActionJ4ck's Jacklocke challenges here.