View Full Version : Sin City-complete
04/06/2005, 02:33 PM
Four years in the same uniform, and now I can’t get used to not wearing it. My civilian clothes aren’t as tight fitting, so I feel they’re about to slip off. Without the sever black and red tunic, with it’s red “R” logo of authority, I feel like I have lost any authority I once possessed. Out of habit I’ve neatly combed my thick, brown hair, even though I hated doing it when I first arrived at the headquarters. My large blue eyes in the mirror I stand before are the same; my face is still too long and pale as if it’s reflecting a harrowing life, and my body is still tall and lightly built enough to almost make me look ill. Still it doesn’t feel like me underneath the denim jacket, so vital for covering my arms, my Hard Rock Café T-shirt, and plain, black trousers. Less smart than those of the uniform despite their colour. All it needs to make me look like a slob is some stubble. For a moment I panic. I think this is a big mistake. So, whipping the sweat from my forehead, I turn around to avoid confronting the fact that I’m quitting my life as a Rocket grunt and becoming a Pokemon trainer. Now I’m looking at my cheap apartment style room, crammed and particularly utilitarian with all my personal effects in a sports bag on the bed. The company’s famous red and black colour code was everywhere, and all the furniture has the R on it. They can’t let you forget how grateful you should be to them for taking you in. I spot a picture resting on a table next to the bed. I forgot to pack it. I take it and looked at the three uniformed men on it, all smiling happily, and I realise with a shock that one of them is me. I looked so young. Almost childish. I checked to see that my most precious possessions, in their non-descript, innocent looking biscuit tin, are safely at the bottom of the bag, with clothes and things on top to make sure no one sees it. I have to take my Vulpix, called Vulcan, with me of course, but I wouldn’t consider putting him in a Pokeball for the journey. He was on the bed, watching me.
“Your not on the photo. I guess we weren’t close enough yet. Sorry” I say to him.
“Vul Vulpix Vul Pix Pix” he replied. I take it he’s telling me it’s ok.
I dropped the photo in the bag. Someone knocks at the door. I know I can’t avoid another person saying goodbye, can’t just pretend I’m not here till whoever it is goes away, so I answer. I see it’s Meowth, and I suddenly feel contempt for his ridiculous appearance. A stupid, giant cat like some children’s cartoon, with a bad gangster accent. What was next? A Penguin from Alabama?
“They’re ready for ya downstairs. You know I never saw one a’ these leaving ceremonies before. Is it true the boss’ll be there to give a speech?”
“It’s just my waiting around for ages while the executives give boring speeches about how I should take Team Rocket’s values out into the real world. Like what? Always let them know you’re coming using a stupid motto? I don’t want this. I want to leave quietly. I’m not even dressed for an official gathering.”
“That’s the point. Besides you look fine.”
“I look like Henry Hill, after he joined the witness protection programme. Adam Kails, unimportant man walking.”
“If ya don’t wanna quit, I think now is da time to say it.”
“I want to quit. When I came here, before the new “Humanitarian” rules about who could become a Trainer were created, I did this stuff because it was the only way I could get a Pokemon. I’ve always said since then that I’d leave once I found something slightly better. Now I’m starting to do jobs because I like it. When you enjoy all this you know its time to hand in your notice.”
“OK. We’re all waiting.”
04/06/2005, 02:34 PM
The ceremony is in a big hall, with a platform and a microphone at one end, seats in rows before it. It’s usually used for training new recruits. People hardly ever leave. Team Rocket is a place not just for those who can’t make it any other way than stealing Pokemon in our modern, Pokemon dependant society. It’s a place for those who can’t make it on their own by stealing Pokemon. Also Giovanni, our “Company Director”, his self-given title, believes he needs to reward the hard work of someone who’s been working diligently for him, by making a big fuss when they want to stop doing it. It doesn’t matter if I actually want this “Honour”, it’s part of a company owner’s job to motivate his workers by showing them how much respect he treats one of their own with. Anyway Rocket Grunts, and Executives, are flooding into the room. Vulcan is walking beside me as always. Meowth has already sat down. Bradley comes up to me. He worked with me on a few jobs. Like everyone I’ve seen in the last couple of weeks he’s annoying me more and more every time I meet him. Vulcan is clearly looking at him in the same way I would like to.
“I don’t suppose your leaving because you’ve booked some time in rehab yet,” he whispered to me. I found myself going to pieces just after it started. I had to tell someone, even if it was just one person. I thought he wouldn’t share the secret because his brother was into the same stuff. Instead he starts nagging me.
“I told you. I can beat this. It’s already been six days,” I quietly answered back.
“If you look this ill after six days, I’m glad this is probably the last time I’ll see you. At least tell me your not leaving because it’s getting too hard to sneak the stuff in.”
“I want to beat it. Why would I want to get any more?”
“I bet you have some though. I know you too well.”
“You can keep on talking if you want but I won’t be listening.”
“You can’t beat this on your own. It’s like trying to overcome AIDS by and effort of will. Have you checked for that yet by the way?”
“I think I’d notice if I had it.”
“The idea is to find out before it’s too late.”
“It’s not like I’ve been doing it with three homeless men down at the switchyard. I’ve been careful.”
“I beg you. If it’s too late for you at least tell me you your supplier is so we can prevent this from happening again.”
“I think we should sit down. Everyone’s looking at us.”
“Fine. You go enjoy jumping off a cliff. I’m not going to hold your hand on the way down.”
04/06/2005, 02:35 PM
The ceremony was long winded, with lots of nonsense in Giovanni’s speech about how much my work would be missed. We’re called Grunts because those were the low-ranking, non-collage graduating soldiers of Vietnam. We’re nothing and you’d best laugh in the face of everyone who says otherwise. I only met him once, and that was when he wanted to shout at me for making a big mistake during my first few months. It doesn’t matter though since the image of his face is plastered on practically every wall of the base. I can see one from the seat I’m sitting in. Fortunately he had the good sense not to smile while he was modelling for it. He doesn’t practice doing it enough. When he grins he looks like a shark trying to hide his own deadliness. I shake some hands; try to pretend I’ve not gotten sick to death of seeing the same people everyday for the last few years. Then I’m home free. I’m walking along the road in the sunshine like Billy Hayes after he escaped from the Turkish mental institution. I feel a little better. My application for a Pokemon licence is no longer invalid according to the new rules. I should be able to go and collect it from a Pokemon lab, one in every large city on Kanto. I should be able to just tell the local Pokemon professor about Vulcan and set off on the Gym Leader trail. Of course people are bound to notice that there are no official records of my wondering through life in almost the last half-decade, but that is only a small, far way voice in the back of my mind. My need is great enough to shout louder.
“Well, at least I’ve taken the first step” I say to Vulcan. He says something in his own language, which I take to be agreement.
04/06/2005, 02:37 PM
I sit in the reception of the Pokemon lab in Pallet Town, which looks like a hospital waiting room, except all the people around are giggling kids. They make me feel old. I need a fix but that’s been true for days. I’m torn between the fear of not being fully alert when I meet Professor. Oak, and the fear of concentrating so much on how I feel now that I won’t be alert anyway. An aide, one of those Pokemon researcher wannabes that hang around these places, says he’ll show me the way. He leads me through some corridors.
“I’m surprised you’re only starting your Pokemon journey now. Were you a trainer before who decided to give it another go or something?” he asks.
I want to enquire as to his name but I don’t wish to answer a question with a question. Polite till the last. At least with strangers. With those I haven’t had a chance to push away yet to the point where my behaviour doesn’t matter.
“There were some problems with my Pokemon licence application.”
“Do you mind if I ask what they were?”
“I’d rather just keep that between me and Professor. Oak.”
“He’s not here. He’s at a conference on importing Pokemon from Hoenn. Actually I think they’re recording it for the Discovery Channel.”
I’m not surprised to hear that. If there’s a televised event to do with Pokemon anywhere, you can bet Pallet Town’s resident scientist will be there.
“Is there someone else ruling in his stead?”
“One of his friends from way back, Bill Sullivan, is filling in for him. He’s also known as Bill the Pokemaniac. I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve heard of him.”
“I’d still rather explain it to as few people as possible.”
“Fair enough, but whatever you tell him he’s gonna tell me. He wants to make sure he doesn’t miss something that might be more helpful to Professor. Oak than he’d imagine.”
“What’s your name?”
“Ok. This is a hard subject to talk about. The reasons I was refused permission to train Pokemon are painful to recall. If I do tell them to anyone, they stay between him and me.”
04/06/2005, 02:38 PM
It looks like a whirlwind hit Professor. Oak’s office just before I arrived. Pokemon books and loose papers are piled everywhere. There are actual Pokemon too, in glass jars with labels on them. Some of them are on the floor, where you could easily stand on them, sending jagged pieces of glass into your own flesh. It looks like one of the Pokemon has escaped, though I suspect it’s now hidden it’s self under some of the clutter by now. At least there are no socks or old pizza boxes on the scuffed, coffee stained desk that occupies most of the free space in the room. It doesn’t seem to be Bill’s fault though. Even if he has floppy, Hugh Grant style hair, he’s certainly kept his clothes neat, even if they are literally two hundred years out of date. I begin to regret choosing to enter the Pokemon world if everything else in it is destined to be this eccentric.
“Hello, I’m Bill. I’ve been justifiably nicknamed the ‘True blue Pokemaniac.’”
He gets down on the ground now, shoving papers aside, trying to reach Vulcan’s eye level. He ruffles his hair (or coat. I don’t know what the technical term is.)
“I see your Vulpix recognises me.”
He stands up.
“I apologise for whatever inconvenience of Professor. Oak’s sense of interior decoration might cause you. His impracticality exceeds even my own. So, to what do I owe the pleasure of your company?”
“Are you making fun of me?”
“No. I admit my value system in regard to etiquette is old fashioned but I find it ingratiates me with most people. Please tell me how I can help you.”
“I want to start my Pokemon journey. You should have my licence somewhere here, though I won’t blame you if it takes a few months to find it.”
“I have your file here also. It’s not important but I need to check it as company policy. It’s just a formality but those responsible for government bureaucracy can be very demanding. Perhaps you could assist me in finding it.”
Now I begin to worry at the though that yet another will discover the imperfections, to say the least, of my past, and reject me for them. I am forever trying to escape the shadow of similar “Formalities.” Non the less I search with him in the vein hope that avoiding the look of a small impropriety will ingratiate him towards me.
“Are you feeling all right? You appear to be shaking. Are you could? I could easily increase the temperature in here,” Bill says.
“No. I’m fine.”
04/06/2005, 02:39 PM
“Possession? Not with intent to distribute I hope. Is the explanation for your recent disappearance from the annuals of public life connected to incarceration?” he asks, after reading the newly found file for a couple of minutes.
“No, and it’s behind me now anyway.”
“It appears to me that there’s a strong possibility you’ve merely moved on to something even more self destructive. I wish I could say it’s none of my business, but I am forced by law to approve your Pokemon licence in Professor. Oak’s absence.”
I close my eyes and sigh tiredly. I imagine one of those dreams where your always trying to get to a goal in the distance, but it keeps moving further away. The thing I’m reaching out for in this dream is a sense of hope.
“Vul Pix Pix Vulpix Pix.”
“Vulcan’s right. I’ve already been looking after him for a long time. They say we’ve all got to start somewhere. No one has ever given me a chance at this dream. Someone has to eventually don’t they? Please! I just want to get away from all those things you’ve got written down.”
“In my view society does owe everyone a second chance, and your Vulpix certainly seems to respect you.”
“Vul Vulpix Pix.”
“He said he’s called Vulcan.”
“Fair enough. Unfortunately I have no choice but to send your file to the gym leaders for approval. However, given the opinions I just expressed, I can assure you I will fight hard to persuade them on your behalf. If the majority agree to it I will give you the licence. If not it will be illegal for you to use your Pokemon in combat.”
At least he didn’t have the power to separate Vulcan and me. I don’t think I could stand that.
“I don’t understand. I though the new government legislation states that if I have already been prosecuted for a previous crime, which happened at least five years ago, in which no one was injured, you would be allowed to train Pokemon.”
“Those principals were put in place to give equality to those who will never break the law again. Unfortunately I am concerned about future misdeeds you have the potential to commit.”
Vulcan is obviously on my side, growling menacingly at Bill, who looks down at him nervously. Despite how grateful I am to my Pokemon for his efforts, I decided it would be better to calm him down. I knell on the floor, to get to his eye level.
“I’m sorry…” Bill says looking down at me “…but there’s nothing else I can do in this context. Return tomorrow at ten. I should have an answer for you by then.”
04/06/2005, 02:40 PM
I go to a motel whilst I wait. It’s not particularly glamorous but where else can I go? I was expecting to just set out on my journey, with my camping gear, from the word go. My parents are an issue I don’t even want to think about, and there’s no way the company will take me back for a few more hours then let me go again. By the time I arrive I’ve already decided to have a quick fix in my room, just to get me used to the smaller dosage, till I’m ready to stop completely. My body is trembling now and people keep asking me if I’m all right. Everyone was used to it at the HQ. I must have forgotten how annoying it is. My room will be empty. No one will see. Except, when I ask to book it, I’m told my “Friend” has already gotten one for me and is waiting there. Number 666. I don’t recognise the name my “Friend” wrote in the register. Could it be the company? I doubt it because they have no reason to contact me. I haven’t stolen any secret plans from them or anything, and I’m certainly not of a high enough rank to help them out if there’s a big disaster. Besides it’s not their style. If it were them I’d have expected them just to buy the motel, or at least invade it, lock up the staff, and replace them all with company workers. It could be the police but if they had enough evidence to convict even one member of the company they’d have done it by now. Could it be some old girlfriend trying to surprise me in the hope of reconciliation? That was a possibility, but, possibly because of my pessimistic nature, I thought it more likely that they’d be a sinister explanation. So I instruct Vulcan to stay down in the lobby just in case, and I go into the sparse bedroom slowly and cautiously, like some action movie hero, but I have no gun of course. I hear the shower running. I go into the bathroom, with no idea of who to expect. It’s Meowth taking a shower.
“Well well well, if it isn’t Bobby from Dallas” I say, trying to hide my surprise.
“Hey, you never even dreamed I was dead” Meowth says, his voice muffled by the shower door that stand between us.
“I though cats licked themselves to get clean.”
“I’m not a cat. In fact I find that kinda insulting. Now if ya don’t want an autograph, would ya mind wait’en outside till I’ve finished.”
I go back into the grey walled, compact, and impersonal feeling bedroom. Just like home. Well my theory about the company needing to speak to me was out. It was ridiculous to think that they’d send someone like Meowth. Someone very recognisable, well know as an operative, and with a very poor job completion record. The idea that he was wearing a wire for the police seemed unlikely too. Not only was it unlikely that he’d quit now, when he’d been told off constantly for years, it was also difficult to swallow the idea that they’d want info out of me. I never made it high enough up the ladder to know anything important. So he followed me for personal reasons. Why me? It’s not for advice, we were close but not as intimate as others he knew. He comes in and looks at my arms and I realise, in my surprise at this situation, that I’ve left them bare.
“Are those what I think they are?” Meowth asks.
“Please, I’ve already talked about this enough for ten people with Bradley. Just don’t comment ok?” I say.
“Ok. I was just wandering why you didn’t tell me. Why you didn’t tell us all.”
At that moment Vulcan came in, growling at first, then calming down when he sees it’s Meowth and he doesn’t have to protect me. One of the things I’ve always liked about him is his continual effort to save me. Sometimes he seems more like a Growlithe, a dog like animal, than a Vulpix.
“Vulpix Vulpix Vul.”
“He said you was taking too long. He was worried about ya.”
“You can translate for me? Is there anything he wants to tell me but can’t communicate on his own?”
Many people don’t understand the composition of the Pokemon language. Some don’t even realise that it is just one single language. The truth is it’s not the words that are important, because Pokemon can only say their name, but the context, tone and rhythm that matters. Of course they can’t use those factors to make complex sentences like we can, but they do pick up the meaning of what they’re saying to each other.
“Vul Pix Pix Vulpix Vul Vul Vul Vulpix Pix Vulpix Vulpix.”
“He said don’t let anyone pat him. It makes him feel like a pet, not a Pokemon. I feel da same ta be honest.”
“Sorry I called you a cat.”
“Apology accepted. It’s not easy been a Pokemon, epically a talk’en one. Sometimes people don’t respect ya.”
“Ok. Well I didn’t tell you because I though you’d react the way Bradley did, and I didn’t tell everyone because if the boss found out he might decide not accept my resignation, as a punishment.”
“So why do you do it in the first place?”
“I thought we weren’t going to talk about this. Will you make up your mind!”
I was getting angry again. I know it’s because I feel ill all the time and that makes you grumpy, but I don’t want to think about it.
“Fine. One last question.”
“I don’t know ok? Can we leave this subject now.”
“Inject ya self, or whatever. It’s clear your fighting so hard it’s making ya angry fa no reason. It’s not like I’m some kid who’s gonna be in theory for da rest of ma life if I see it. Obviously Vulcan’s seen it before.”
I look at my bag. It’s in there now, waiting for me. The only way to beat these hammers pounding at my head like it’s a brick wall on a construction site. Only one way to beat this dizziness, this sickness inside me. It won’t last long but it will give me at least a brief break from this constant pain. It would be so simple to reach out and get it. I could feel like I’m in love, having ice cream, and a thousand other things I crave, all at once, only even better. Just reach for it…
“No! I will beat this!”
Reluctantly I turn away. It feels like I’m tarring my eyes away from a glimpse of haven, for fear that if I see such a marvellous place I’ll wish to be dead right now so I can go there.
“So why are you here?” I ask eventually.
“Dis is kinda awkward” Meowth replies.
“More awkward than what we’ve just been talking about?”
“I need ya help, and I don’t say that very often, trust me. They kicked me outta the company. The boss said I was a disgrace. ‘Course I’m used ta dat, but dis time he fired me too. I got nowhere else ta go. What, am I expected ta return to a life of petty crime on da streets? Jessie and James could help me, ‘cept if da boss catches me with them I don’t know what he’d do to him; just that I wouldn’t like it.”
“So you want to come with me on my Pokemon journey?”
“Yes. I’ll even act as part a ya team if ya want. I can bring my self down ta that level.”
“I work alone.”
“That’s nice Maverick but this isn’t work. It’s Pokemon train’en.”
“I’m not nice like this. I can’t even say if I was before I started with this stuff, but now I’m ten times worse than I could ever have been. I get angry at the smallest things, I look worse every day, and most of the time I can’t concentrate on what anyone’s saying. I’m even worse if I actually get a fix. You don’t want to travel with me. I shouldn’t live with others right now. I’m dangerous.”
“I’ve seen worse. I’ve been on dis planet a very long time.”
“I’m going to hate you. There’s times I’ll want to beat you.”
“I’ve taken plenty of those.”
“What do you think Vulcan?”
“Vul Pix Vul Vul Pix” Vulcan cried happily.
“Don’t bother to translate. I might not be able to go on my Pokemon journey anyway, but if I do there’s one last thing I want you to know. You never, under any circumstances, talk to me about the stuff I’m into. No subject is off limits, politics, religion, whatever, except that.”
“Sounds good to me. Why might we not be able ta go?”
“Bill, who’s replaced Professor. Oak for a while, says there’s a problem with getting my licence. He has to check it with the gym leaders first. I don’t have much hope that they’ll accept it.”
Meowth did the closest thing a cat can get to grinning.
“That I can help ya with. I can talk da hind legs off’a donkey, and still persuade it ta walk up Everest afterwards.”
“Cool, but how can you contact them?
“I’m ya lawyer, manager, whatever. Tell Bill I’ll pled on your behalf.”
“I don’t think it will work. Your face is too well known. Trust me; your disguises fool fewer people than you think.”
“Oh ye of little faith. He’s not a police officer. What does your average citizen know of my activities? Why not try me. Ya never know, I might deliver. What have we gotta lose?”
“I don’t think I have any in the first place.”
“Ok. We might as well try, but if it doesn’t work I get the bragging rights.”
“Fair enough. Told ya I was good at persuading people. Hey, now that we’re all together, can we make up a motto? I’m real good at it.”
Vulcan said something that I took to be a firm “No.”
04/06/2005, 02:41 PM
“In this town of pain/You could be the lucky one/Fate turns on a dime/The only thing that will change/Are the lights when they get brighter/They replace the sun/Out the door you get burnt/And there is no way back in/You got nothing/Snakeyes, the house always wins…”
Loud music. Alcohol. Shouting. People dancing like they’re possessed. I’m rich, single, young, smart and white. I’m in the perfect place in society. I’m the guy all the adverts are aimed at. My name is Bradley Staunton and I’m on Giovanni’s legal team. So how did I end up on a mission to catch a drug fuelled ex criminal who used to be my best friend? Why am I trying to ignore this loud music/alcohol caused high at eleven o’clock on a Friday night? In other words somewhere I would never normally be. Why am I at a frat house party that’s somehow grown up? Why am I waiting for a man I’ve never met to give me information I don’t really need for a purpose that’s never been explained to me? How did I get into this mess?
04/06/2005, 02:43 PM
I guess it started at 9:30 am this morning, some 13 hours ago. I was invited to Giovanni’s office, a regular occurrence for me, since I’m his lawyer, and a rarity for everyone else. There are only two things to learn about Giovanni. The first is his image as an autocratic leader is what keeps him in a position of authority. The second is he isn’t like that. If you work on his side of this business, or Adam’s, you have to present an inscrutably, tough image. You’ve all seen how he acts. He seems like a shadowy, lethal figure whenever he’s giving orders to a large group of people. He can’t afford to show weakness. If you’re given the privileged glimpse of him I am…No. I’ve got a better way of telling you. Let me give you the example of what happened when I turned up for the meeting this morning. He was loosening his tie when I entered. He felt safe. He had breathing room. People either see us as evil, Nazi-like dictators, or stupid thugs. That isn’t right. I know no one thinks of themselves as evil, just flawed like Adam’s personal habits are a personality problem. He used to say “Sure we’re an ordinary business, like Murder Inc was an ordinary business.” However you can work for a cigarette company, or a comical plant accused of polluting the planet, and you still won’t be malevolent. Your most likely an average guy who goes home to his wife, and compliments her on her cooking skills then plays baseball with his kids. You just get on with doing your job and forget the rest. What do you call five hundred lawyers at the bottom of the ocean? A good start. I hate jokes like that, and once your working for the company they just get worse. I wouldn’t work for the Nazis. My grandparents were at Auschwitz.
Ok, so maybe he’s a little abrupt but that hardly makes him Stalin.
“Yes sir. Is there…”
The phone started to ring. Giovanni (I hate not being able to call him Mr. Something) get up out of his leather chair. I remained seated in mine. There’s about 20 different extensions on the phone.
“Yes…How did that happen? It was a very simple…Fine. Get into damage control mode. Get them out of there, then phone the press…What complications? I…Fine. Find a way. I don’t know. That’s your job….Good. Deal with it. ‘Bye.”
A red light went on, one of the other lines.
“You wait for ages for one phone call, then three turn up at once. Excuse me” Giovanni said to me. He gestured vaguely to his mini-bar. I couldn’t think of a way of telling him I didn’t drink at 9 am without using words. Why does everyone have an addiction?
“If I hear a single letter of the words ‘Team Aqua’ again…Well you know how to fix that. It will take men, equipment, money and time but…You have Pokemon I assume…Well that’s my fault for not instructing you well enough I suppose…Fine. If you start to lose back down. We can use the element of surprise our selves next time…Fine. I don’t have time for any more of this. Bye.”
He made himself a Jack Daniels.
“Sir, please, you can’t start drinking at 9 in the morning. Even if your not concerned about your health, then surely you realise someone will notice eventually.”
“How exactly do you know the amount I take? Your never here.”
“That’s because I’m too busy keeping you out of the courts sir. We’ve been fighting this wrongful death case for 21 months now.”
“I may start early, but have you ever seen me without full command of my self? I didn’t call you in here to discuss this anyway.”
“Then why am I here?”
“I want you to find Meowth for me.”
I looked at my watch.
“He’s probably just about to leave the mess hall. I can…”
“His employment here has been terminated.”
“I’m aware of that but knowing him as well as I do I suspect he had a farewell breakfast before he actually went out the door.”
“I’ve never seen a side of him that’s that pleasant.”
“Yeah. I wouldn’t expect him out till some time tomorrow afternoon to be honest.”
“Speaking of breakfast, can I get you anything?”
“Thanks you sir but I don’t mind…”
“Just because I employ you doesn’t mean I’m testing you every time I offer you a free meal.”
“Toast, with no spreading fats. And milk please.”
“That’s the strangest breakfast order I’ve ever heard.
“You haven’t noticed I’m eccentric yet?”
Giovanni used another one of the lines to order the food. I observed that he didn’t order anything for himself.
“Aren’t you going to have anything? You might disturb my guilt complex.”
“I already had something. I don’t mind watching people eat.”
“Thanks. So is it policy that if someone leaves unwillingly you don’t organise a farewell ceremony?”
“Please don’t ask. Then I won’t have to lie, or refuse to explain.”
“Stop apologising. I’m not going to shoot you for asking a straightforward question. It’s counterproductive to kill members of your staff. Just remember it for next time. I only talk on a need to know basis.”
“Fair enough. Why do you want Meowth hunted down if you dismissed him?”
“Let’s say he has something of mine that I want back. He may not realise its significance but significant it is.”
I didn’t know what would happen to Meowth if my mission was successful. I’m a professional. I don’t ask questions about other departments and I certainly don’t refuse an assignment. However, if I felt Meowth was in danger I would think of an alternative plan that wouldn’t compromise my position or his health.
“How do I find him?”
“Brad, can I call you Brad?”
“I prefer Bradley. Brad makes me sound like a 17 year old punk rock musician.”
“Bradley, it’s not my place to say how you’ll find him. I don’t have any experience in that area. That’s why I hire people who do.”
“I’m not someone who does. I…”
At that moment the food arrived, interrupting me. I could tell by the taste that it was made in large quantities. Because it would feed a large group of people it was created efficiently instead of well, but I was used to it.
“Do you have any suggestions for where to being? At least help me with that” I said.
“The reason I chose you is your intimacy with Adam Kails. They were others who knew him but recently, as you may have noticed, he’s been spending less time with them and more with you.”
That’s not a surprise considering that he kept such a vital truth hidden from them.
“No one knows the new him better than you, and I know, from discussions with Meowth’s known associates, that he intended to seek Adam out if he ever left my service. Find Adam, using your personal relationship with him as a tool, and you’ll find your real target. I want him brought here so I can recover my possessions. Do what you like with Adam. The rest, as I said, is need to know, and I need to know that you won’t worry about the implications of any other information I give you.”
More coming soon...
04/07/2005, 09:36 PM
Looks good so far. Keep up the nice work.
04/08/2005, 09:13 AM
Thanks Stripes. I'll keep up the good work.
“A talking Meowth managing the affairs of a novice Pokemon fighter. That’s certainly a novelty,” Bill says once I give him our cover story. I doubt Meowth’s powers as an author whatever his powers of persuasion.
“I think when you mentioned his verbal capacity, you put your finger on it. It’s very clear he’s an unusual Pokemon for an unusual situation.”
“Vul Pix Pix” Vulcan says, meaning that he agrees Meowth is unlike any Pokemon he’s meet before.
“You shouldn’t feel about it. In some ways it’s almost a burden” Meowth reassures him, patting his shoulder. I’d say I was nervous all morning, if I was going beyond the confines of mere understatement. I think I was anyway. My fingers wouldn’t stay still when I thought of this meeting, and I was sweating and my stomach felt bad. Was it the meeting though? Or was it my personal habits? I never can tell. I tried it; I had the needle in my hand. I didn’t need to search for a vein. Mine are prominent. The pain doesn’t bother me now. It is a lesser concern each time. Now I clench my teeth a little. My progress. Then Meowth came in and reminded me of how important this day would be. No sense in getting too relaxed. I tried to shout him out of the room. It’s like that moment when you’re about to come, she’s begging for it, almost at climax her self. Then you start thinking of her husband and that picture of his bulky frame standing next to his slimmer, shorter friends. You tell her you can’t do it, and she’s disappointed and has a little less confidence in her self than before because of you. However, even after the arguments, when you’re standing outside the door of the cheap motel, you still want it. So you go to your room and do it on your own. Then you face your guilt as your clearing your self up. I wanted the fix after he left but I had fear too, and a realization that he’s right. Junk is like a porno flick in a place that your girlfriend could walk into sometime soon. I resisted though. I’m a very strong person. I pride my self on it. I was getting away from my self a little. I needed to concentrate on the situation with Bill, not my new vice and the old one I use as a metaphor for it. The old one that went on for way too long considering the risk of getting caught. I can imagine the more you read about me, the less you like me. I’m trying to get away from my past though. Please remember.
“Can we speak to the gym leaders yet?” I asked.
“Forgive my client. He don’t know when to let me do da talk’en. Even if I explain it first.”
“Stay calm. Sometimes when people insult me it’s for my own good. They’re just trying to give me good, if unsolicited, advice” I whisper to my Pokemon in response to his defensiveness. I think he probably had to be a protector of someone, like a big brother, for a long time before we met. Attempted heroism is his defining trait. However, like most humans with that characteristic, he doesn’t see why people say I need to be protected from junk. It’s too abstract and idea. He only understands the physical.
“As you can imagine their work loads often inhibit them. Regrettably a small number of them…”
“When I was asked ta come here I was informed dat you had some measurement ‘a authority. Obviously that’s inaccurate. If da real boss when you’re here is still Prof. Oak I wanna know where he is so I can take dis matter ta somebody who can do something about it.”
“I can assure you that whilst I retain power here, power is truly the thing that I possess.”
If this is Meowth acting he obviously missed his calling. He leans back in his chair, looking confident. Clearly Bill is falling for it.
“I’ve been in dis business a long time. This ain’t my first client. I lost patients with talk’en long ago. Show me some action or I’m outta here. Dats a bigger threat dan it sounds.”
“We have a video conferencing room. Give me a few minutes” Bill said getting up. I congratulate my friend once he’s gone.
“Pix Vulpix Vulpix.”
“As Vulpix says, I told ya I was persuasive. But this ain’t over yet. The gym leaders are gonna be harder. There’s more a dem. They can back each other up.”
“Your accent is hard to translate some times. Come to think of it I might not be alone in that difficulty.”
“Sorry. I’m a Brooklyn kinda Meowth. I’ll try ta clean it up a little.”
04/08/2005, 09:14 AM
Considering their cost, the ten videophones in the lab impress me when I enter. Of course the money flows into Pallet Town Pokemon lab like blood through the veins of accountants. Since two great trainers come from here, Ash Ketchum and Gary Oak, getting grants for research isn’t difficult. Eight faces appear on the small screens in front of me. Brock, with a tough face but soft eyes. Misty, with a look of feminist determination to prove her worth. Lt. Surge, conceited and fierce. Erika, compassionate but a little sad. Sabrina, a little wild and crazy. Koga, a wise but stern father figure. Blaine, entirely wild and crazy. Then the new gym leader of Viridian city, who replaced Giovanni once his identity was exposed. The new guy named Alex Stanton, a temporary replacement. He studied to be a Pokemon researcher at first, and only become interested in training a good twenty years later than normal. He was inexperienced. A better trainer would come along soon to challenge him for leadership, tired of his incompetence even if it was small. Alex was weak and would lose the match, so the other trainer would get his request instead of the usual badge.
“Allow me to present Adam Kails and his manager Meowth” Bill said to those eight watchful eyes.
“I’ll do da talk’en” Meowth said hastily.
“We agreed to take it in turns to hear your arguments. I’m up first,” Brock said.
“Well my biggest concern is your client’s ability to look after his Pokemon. I’d hate to see him abandoned.”
“I suppose da best way ta find out how a Pokemon feels is ta ask him. Vulpix?”
“Vuplix Vul Pix.”
“He wants me ta translate.”
Vulpix began his speech.
“What I gotta say is simple. I’ve been with Adam for over four years. I’m not naive. If he abused me I would’a gotten outta his life long ago. If it came down ta him or me I would jump in front’a da bullet, for the good reason that I passionately believe he’d do da same. I would die for him, and ya know what else? I would kill for him. Dat’s all I gotta say on da issue” Meowth translated.
I know my smile is warm and genuine though I can’t see it.
“Thanks you” is all I can say. I am blinded by his compliment.
“I wish I had someone who was will’en to say dat about me. Don’t you?” Meowth asked Brock.
“Good. Now I know for sure that you won’t mistreat him,” Brock said. His image disappeared.
“Ok. Who’s next?”
04/08/2005, 09:15 AM
“What happens if you get arrested again?” is Misty’s question.
“Why would I?” I respond. Meowth seems to think it’s a good move because he doesn’t reprimand me for talking.
“You’ve been irresponsible once so you might be again. It might even happen by accident. You’ll probably get a parking ticket or something. With a prior conviction you’ll get a longer sentence. Then your Pokemon will have to wait for you on the outside, all alone. You shouldn’t let that happen.”
Misty was interesting. She could use her words as a weapon if she wanted. They were fierce and spiteful enough considering how small the matter in hand was. However her anger was genuine not calculated. She was just looking out for Vulcan in a way I can’t. She was too nice to use her power. Under other circumstances I would ask her out. Meowth looks like he’s about to reply, then he changes his mind. He seems to realize that Vulcan can be an asset in this argument.
“Pix Vulpix Vulpix Vul.”
“He says he’ll wait. You’ve seen how dis Pokemon feels about his master, or should I say his friend? However it don’t matter no how. He ain’t gonna do dat stuff again. If ya most know he’s try’en ta quit. Now there’s nothing more likely to motivate ya than your best friend’s feelings for ya is there?”
Misty’s eyes seemed to soften for a moment, as if this remark had touched her a little.
“Ok. I agree.”
Another one done but Misty won’t leave my mind. I begin to vaguely search for a plan that will allow me to meet her. Her looks are unusual too. She doesn’t hide her attractiveness or show it off. She just doesn’t seem to realize that she’s actually pretty but it’s recognisable to everyone else.
“I’m Lewis Surge, sir to you, and I’d love to talk about what you’ve done wrong but I know it won’t change anything. So here it is: do you deserve another chance? All these practical concerns are small details to be sorted out later compared to this question.”
“I know Meowth doesn’t want me to answer that. I’m like a witness who counsel knows will get unnecessarily angry on the stand and say something I shouldn’t. I hope he gives me a chance though because I think when he hears what I have to say he’ll understand my reasons. Maybe it’s better for you to say something damaging because you have to admit the truth to yourself sometimes. I’ve done things I regret. Sometimes, when I have nothing else to think about, I ask my self how I could have done so many painfully stupid things. Even if it’s just cynicism I never seem to find peace with myself. I always second-guess my motives. I complain too much, there isn’t much of my body to save, I’m weird, I’m angry, I’m not clever enough, I can’t have a fully functioning relationship with people. In many ways I’m pathetic. Don’t I deserve to compliment myself sometimes? Don’t I deserve the chance to occasionally say I’ve done good things to? Dimmitt, don’t I deserve some peace? Forgive me! I certainly won’t.”
“I didn’t know you felt so strongly. None the less this speech isn’t going to get you off completely. I know…”
“Please Lewis. He clearly feels remorse for what he did. Even if he still has a problem he’s evidently trying to solve it,” Erika says, interrupting him.
“Just give him a chance. Keep watch over him. If he gets into trouble I’m sure I won’t object to whatever punishment you see fit to impose upon him.”
“I’m entitled to my vote. I don’t like irresponsible trainers.”
“Adam, please forgive Lewis. He’s stubborn and I can’t change him. It doesn’t really matter anyway. You only need five votes. I don’t really have any objections. After listening to what you and your Pokemon are saying I believe in you. You’ve already won my vote.”
“Thank you Erika. Meowth, can we take a break now? We’re half way through and this is tense.”
“If you guys have no objections?”
04/08/2005, 09:17 AM
“Getting all of your faults pointed out to you at once isn’t fun” I say to Meowth once we’re in the corridor outside the videoconference room and I’ve checked to see if anyone’s around to overhear.
“At least Vulcan did a good job.”
“Thanks Vulcan. I really appreciate what you said. I’m just not in a good mood.”
“Ok. So let’s look at dis ding objectively. Number one we seem ta already have three votes outta four. We’re more dan half way dere.”
“Your accent is getting worse.”
“Sorry. Stress, as you said. I’ll try to filter it out. Is this better?”
A more upper class accent but the old one was still visible a little. Still a good attempt. I tell him that, and that it’s particularly important in front of the gym leaders so he’ll make a good impression. He shouldn’t sound like he just walked in from the streets.
“Ok. Not only have we already gotten votes but this is the perfect chance to meet your future opponents and guess the chosen strategy of each based on his or her personality. We’ll have to spend a long time work’en on that later anyway.”
“Don’t take this managerial thing too far. I’m suppose to be gaining freedom if you recall.”
“Fine. We’ll discuss dat later. For now, you ready ta go back in?”
“Yeah, I’m calm. Remember the accent.”
04/08/2005, 09:19 AM
“Hey, are you that Meowth who used to belong to Team Rocket?” Sabrina asks.
“Yes, and I’m that man who used to belong to Team Rocket. I hardly think this is relative” I say.
“So smoking dope isn’t your only crime. In fact that’s true of both of you.”
“Yes. It’s in my file so I might as well admit it.”
“I guess it’s like you turning people into dolls if they lose. We all have something we don‘t want to think about. Don’t you agree?” Meowth asks with an edge of threat in his voice. I have to hand it to him. He can see what will work as a method of persuading someone, then change that method when the next person comes along. He uses the power Misty could have if she wanted.
“Ok. You’re a sharp one. Make sure you don’t cut your self.”
“Is that a vote or not?”
04/08/2005, 09:21 AM
Now it’s Koga’s turn.
“I will remain natural in this argument.”
“What?” Meowth exclaims. Clearly he wasn’t expecting such a position on this matter.
“I agree equally with both sides of the debate heard so far, and I think there are equally important considerations that neither side has suggested. Therefore my stand is that I don’t have any.”
“But you must see that…”
I put a restraining hand of Meowth’s arm, tell him that we have to let this one go. After all we may have Sabrina’s vote despite her deliberate mysteriousness, and there are two people left.
“So it falls to me to voice the greatest concern that our collective group has. Let’s not play make believe here. We know you still have the habit. Please don’t protest Meowth. I know that look well by this juncture. Now, Mr. Kails, are you capable of looking after Pokemon considering your brain altering addiction?” Blaine asks. Meowth’s eyes betray his view that this will be the hardest and most important case he will have to make. The one he knew would come up at the same time he hoped it wouldn’t. Instead of IQ, Meowth had EQ; emotional intelligence. He knew how to use the gym leader’s own weaknesses against them. He’d known Brock and Misty a long time, due to his pursuit over several years of the Pikachu belonging to their long term friend Ash Ketchum. He knew he could get Brock’s vote by plying on his attitude to abandonment, caused by the way his father suddenly left him to cope with his little brothers and sisters on his own. He used Misty’s buried romantic feelings for Ash to gain her vote. Lt. Surge clearly only knew one language, anger, and Meowth would probably have used that, except I ruined it and maybe cost another vote. Meowth didn’t tell me off though. He was a gentleman in that respect and I was grateful. He didn’t have to get Erika on his side, she did that her self. He perceived that Sabrina was using the situation as an excuse to be a brat, so he subtly let her know he too could play at that game. Koga surprised him but there was nothing he could really do. Now he was responding to Blaine’s logical arguments with the cold reasoning.
“Firstly Adam is trying to quit but if he goes into rehab he’ll have ta leave his Pokemon on the outside like Misty suggested. So I’ll help him instead. Secondly Vulcan has lived wid him for years with no adverse side affects.”
“Your very good at manipulating these people I’ll grant you that but I’m not sure if it worked with me. I’m sorry to say I won’t tell you my answer yet. This needs further consideration.”
Ok, the pressure is mounting now. One “No” vote and two maybes, Meowth’s expression seems to say. Everything hinged on Alex Staunton.
“I think all of this is irrelevant. Meowth would naturally be on Mr. Kails side no matter what. He’s biased. My fellow gym leaders can not see what will happen. Any of the things they’ve suggested could be in their own futures, or the future of any man on earth. The only real considerations is whether we can forgive the past actions of a person or not. Does what you did before mean that you will continue in the same vein forever? Personally I think people can change. So I will vote in this trainer’s favour” Alex says. Everyone has said his peace. Now it’s time for the vote.
“We must converse amongst our selves” Alex says, then vanishes from the screen. The wait is frightening and boring but it’s soon time for the votes to be counted. Alex is doing the honours.
“Brock votes “Yes”, Misty votes “Yes”, Lt. Surge votes “No”, Erika votes “Yes”, Sabrina votes “Yes”, Koga casts no vote, Blaine votes “No”, and I vote yes. Congratulations, you get to be a Pokemon trainer.”
More coming soon...
04/10/2005, 04:34 AM
This is Bradley. The lawyer remember? The one who’s been sent to track Meowth down? I knew Adam well enough to know he’d try to become a Pokemon trainer as soon as he left, and for that he’d need to visit a Pokemon lab to obtain his licence. In which case I checked the nearest one, in Pallet town, and was soon in front of Bill. His office clearly followed some internal organisation system that only he could decipher. I wouldn’t let mine get in such a state. I did like his fashion sense though, even if it was too flamboyant. His conservative image reflects my own. I wondered how I would look in another’s vision. Even in the confines of my own I appear to be yuppie scum, to express it bluntly. My jet black, slicked back hair and glasses combined with my Victorian Englishman’s accent isn’t pleasing to most people. They have a natural instinct to distrust me on first sight. It’s a fake image but one that’s tough to compensate for.
“You obviously don‘t have Pokemon. May I presume that your not a trainer?” Bill asked.
“I don’t think I could stand the pressure. Every other trainer I came across in the world would be a rival with the power to beat me. I would be forced to take on insurmountable odds. I couldn‘t handle it.”
“So, to put it succinctly, why are you here?”
“I’m looking for a Meowth.”
“Any Meowth or did you have a particular example in mind.”
“There’s a talking Meowth belonging to my corporation.”
“He‘s already vacated.”
“Actually I’m looking for an associate of his, Adam Kails. If I find him I’ve located my real target.”
Bill’s eyes narrowed.
“What’s your interest in him?”
“I need any information I can get about Adam’s current location. As I stated earlier I don’t know a lot about training.”
“I understand that but what do you intend to do with him?”
“Look at me. As a weapon I’m as effect as a pair of socks. How do you think I’m capable of harming him?”
“Indirectly, by delivering him to whoever you work for. In which case I‘ll be partially responsible too.”
“He stole something. Did you know that? I was briefed expansively. Meowth took Team Rocket’s technical drawings for machines that we have patents on. Some of them the world has never seen. We want him back to give justice and retrieve what’s rightfully ours. It’s that simple.”
“Is it currently a crime to torture someone? To beat him?”
“It’s not my business what happens to him once I’ve apprehended him.”
“That’s what worries me.”
“I could get the same people who are capable of hurting him to pay you a visit. I…”
“9 out of 10 for effort.”
“I don’t suppose you’ll take a bribe?”
“Please don’t insult me.”
“He could be hurt crossing the road, or changing a light bulb. No one knows what will happen. Your providing me with information could be the thing that saves his life. I don’t even have poof that they’ll hurt him. I’ll argue for mercy on his behalf. Whatever it takes but I have to find him. My job could depend on it.”
“There’s a man I know who works at Alex Staunton’s gym. He’s called Philip Marshall. You could wait for Adam to arrive, then inform you. You could be waiting for him. Against my better judgement, I’ve decided to give you his address.”
“Thank you. Words can’t describe my appreciation.”
“Keep this in mind though. I’m a highly public figure in an industry that brings a lot of money into the government. If you harm him or anyone else I know I can assert pressure too.”
04/10/2005, 04:35 AM
So that’s why I’m here, waiting for Philip to turn up. The deal was he was meant to phone me, meaning that something must have gone wrong with the deal. So I have to wait here, a place he seems to like for some unintelligible reason. Apart from the atmosphere, this place seems to be bad for my health. Even dressed like these punks I’m getting more of those “He looks like a back stabbing tax cheat” looks. My face just seems to attract hatred. If I don’t leave soon they might start beating me.
“Ok. I know the owner. One of the back rooms, let’s go” a voice whispers in my ear. As we leave I pray I’m doing so with Philip and not some prostitute, or, worse, someone who thinks I’m a prostitute.
04/10/2005, 04:36 AM
It’s raining when Meowth and I leave the gym after my victory. I’m smiling though. I have my exciting new Pokemon licence. I keep Vulcan huddled in my rain coat. Since he’s a fire Pokemon this weather is bad for him. Unfortunately my good mood doesn’t last long.
“How did ya get on Heroin in da first place anyhow?” Meowth asks out of the blue. To say this is a difficult subject for me is like saying it’s a little hot in the Gobi desert this time of year. It brings up flashes of memory that I would give anything to erase. My parents arguing with me all the time. Weeks of wandering directionless in the streets, in rain like this, searching for my future. What I had to do to pay for my habit, which is it’s own set of painful things to recall. The slow dissolving of my self respect as I realize the world has given me no choice but to join the corporation. I feel pure hatred for my companion who would ask me these questions. My resentment is suddenly like scolding water boiling to the service. My grip on Vulcan is probably tightening threateningly but he doesn’t complain. He knows the reason why.
“Let it out. Put it behind ya. Telling me could this is like reveal’en any truth to anybody. It destroy ya, but it could set ya free.”
“It was so fundamentally stupid…” I began angrily. “…I don’t know why I didn’t see how dangerous it was.” Now my rage fades to be replaced by a wave of self pity. Lots of waves, washing up and down. Sickening.
“I wanted to be a film star. I wanted fame, that’s all.”
I was like some emotional kaleidoscope, speeding from one feeling to another. I was calming now. More scientific. Offering a rational explanation.
“It was an experiment that I was going to make a documentary movie about. Like that man who made a film about the effects eating nothing but McDonald’s for a month had on his body. An exposure of the drugs trade. A study of the effects that using Heroin for 12 months would have on my body. ‘A year in the life of a drug addict’ it would have been called. After it was over I guess I was already hooked.”
I though I had the rage under control but it had hardly started. It was spreading like a cancer through me. Chocking me. Killing my soul.
“My parents found out about it and kicked me out into the streets. If I ever return they said they’d kill me. I hate them too much to do it anyway now. They throw me out like I hadn’t been their child for twenty years. Like I meant nothing. I’m their son! Their blood! How dare they! Then…then I had to go out into the streets. Alone. Doing things…I don’t even want to describe…what…what I had to do in order to pay for what I needed. I didn’t know what to do with my life. I had no friends, no love, no one to turn to, no future.”
I try to choke the subs coming fast now, the tears flowing like rain drops so sharp they hit like needles. However It’s like putting my hands around my own throat though. It doesn’t work.
“I tried to become a trainer. I found Vulcan abandoned by the side of a road. His owner didn’t want him. He left Vulcan like the world left me, with no one to turn to. They wouldn’t let someone like me get a Pokemon licence. That was worse. Even the people who make the laws that protect most people’s rights decided to reject me.”
They start to dry up eventually though, my tears, and I can finish my story.
“You wouldn’t have wanted to see me then. I’m bad now but I was in a worse mess then. So I joined Team Rocket. What other choice did I have? I wasn’t living anyway. I wasn’t even surviving.”
“I didn’t know. It’s ok. Shush. All that stuff…it’s ok.”
He takes me into his arms. He tries to comfort me. I seem like his young child but I don’t care.
04/10/2005, 04:38 AM
Philip leads me to a nondescript storeroom. It’s not a very attractive space, covered with dust and filled with cold steel crates. I can still just about hear the music:
Nothing’s true and nothing’s right/So let me be alone tonight/You can’t change the way I am/Are you strong enough to be my man?
When I turned to see who had lead me here I was shocked.
“You’re a woman.”
“With those observational skills I have to wonder why you need my help” this obvious Goth winnable says too me with a lethal sense of irony. Her hair and the Slavic features of her face matched the darkness of her clothes. A clear goddess of gloom.
“But your called Philip.”
“Philippa. Philippa Marshall. I wish I could say I’m pleased to meet you but you’ve already told me you feel a mere woman isn’t good enough to work under a gym leader.”
An Umbreon, beautifully sleek and dangerous, like Philippa herself, came through the door the door that lead to the place I hadn’t been to yet. It joined it’s master, standing at her side.
“This is my Pokemon, Lady Midnight, also female.”
“Whatever she tells you about me is a lie” I say to the Umbreon.
“Umbreon breon breon.”
“She doesn’t like you.”
The Umbreon walks back to where it came from.
“That makes another rejection by a girl to add to my list.”
“We both do just what we want. It’s a perfect arrangement. My gym uses dark Pokemon.”
“I really apologise for my apparent chauvinism. It was your name that fooled me” I say. I remember being teased at school for the polite attitude that I had and my fellow students didn’t. I kept up my penitent demeanour anyway. I feel it’s the right thing to do, even in front of this stone fox. However I find my self rapidly running out of patience.
“I forgive you. I was just testing you to see if you can cope with me. We’ll be spending a lot more time together.”
“I know I smiled at you earlier but I think your being too optimistic.”
“I didn’t mean it personally.”
I study my watch.
“Adam has arrived at my gym. See, it only takes ten seconds. Why do we need to spend time together?”
“Adam hasn’t arrived at my gym yet. How long did that take?”
“More time than it will take me to walk out of here.”
“That lock is surprisingly stiff. Did you take that into acount?”
“This is the door. Watch me use it.”
“Fine but I hope you realize that’s a broom closet.”
“What do you want?”
“I want a favour.”
“I’m not that desperate.”
“You really are proud of your sexual prowess aren’t you?”
“I try not to fly in the face of public opinion.”
“I had a work related favour in mind.”
“I knew you were really a prostitute. Why do these things always happen to me? I hoped I at least had better taste.”
“I think we’ve been talking at cross purposes. I want you to get me a promotion. I want my own gym.”
“Remind me exactly when I gained influence on the Pokemon world. Oh, wait, I didn’t.”
“I don’t want someone who has influence. I want someone who can win a logical debate on behalf of his client.”
“I’m no expert on thinking on my feet. It takes weeks to prepare a court argument. I’m better at that. Meowth was always the one who could size up a person in a second and use his knowledge to his own ends.”
“You’ll have a little while. I’ll help you create your strategy.”
“Suppose I am capable of doing it, why would I want to? You haven’t impressed with your motivational techniques so far.”
“Because if you don’t do for me perhaps I won’t do for you. I can do a lot. I can summon Meowth to my gym very quickly. You won‘t have to wait for him to reach it on his own. Then, again, I can do nothing.”
“Some would call this extortion.”
“I can assure you everyone would call it extortion. So how about it?”
“If I want to find Meowth I assume I don’t have a choice. It‘s a deal.”
“That’s what I like to hear.”
My cell phone rings, so I look around for some place in the room which would have afforded privacy. It’s futile.
“If you want me I’ll be in the closet.”
“I know you said you weren’t interested in my body earlier but I at least assumed it was nothing to do with my gender. I suppose I was wrong.”
“Well that’s an original sentiment.”
“I need to take this call.”
04/10/2005, 04:39 AM
I answer my phone amongst the janitorial products.
“This is Giovanni. I want to know about your progress.”
I tried to stall to avoid revealing the recent complication.
“What would you like to know about my progress?”
“Telling me what you’ve achieved thus far will be adequate.”
“I have succeeded in one way. I made contact with someone who knows where Adam might be in an indeterminate amount of time.”
“Surely you have a vague determination as to how long we’re talking about.”
“Sir, did anyone ever tell you you sound more intimidating on the phone?”
“I need to sound tough in front of the junior personnel. I apologise for doing it to you. You don’t need that type of motivation. So, progress?”
“Adam will be at a certain gym anytime between the next few days and the next couple of years.”
“I see. So when you said you had succeeded in one way, you meant you managed to pin point the length of your assignment to the nearest decade? Somehow I expected more.”
“I think he can be summoned to the right place quickly.”
“That’s more encouraging.”
“Yes sir but there’s a small complication.”
“I wonder, with a due sense of dread, what that can be.”
“The person I’m in contact with wants her own gym, so I have to argue on her behalf in front of the elite four. They’re the ones who decide these things right?”
“Yes. Now sometimes I admit I can be too harsh. Of course some eventualities are out of your hands. I trusted you with a complicated assignment when you consider all the possibilities for human error.”
“Thank you for being so understanding.”
“Fine. Take all the time you need. This isn’t a sinecure though, so if it takes forever I certainly can’t continue paying you forever. Understand?”
“Yes. You’ve made it abundantly clear.”
“Just to keep you on track I’ve decided to come and personally help out.”
“That’s very kind of you sir but perhaps you’d be more helpful once I’ve actually located Meowth.”
“I’m sure I could assist with the research.”
“I’m not sure that I can work well when…”
“…I’m breathing down your neck?”
“Of course not sir. I…”
“Good. I’ll meet you in the Pikachu café, Pallet Town, tomorrow at 10 am. I turn up punctually. I admire others you do that also. Please let me admire you. You already work for me so it will be most convenient that way.”
“I’ll be looking forward too it.”
“Oh, and drop the penitent act. I’m not that blinded by egotism.”
One more update to go...
04/12/2005, 02:50 AM
“How did your little phone call go?” Philippa asks as I emerge.
“Like the British BSE epidemic.”
“Did you enjoy the closet though? The decorator spent hours…”
“Do you want me to start planning the strategy for getting you a position as a gym leader or not?”
“No but since there’s no one else…”
“I could go and get one of the winos who called me a “****” while I was waiting for you. I’m sure his persuasive powers are beyond reproach.”
“Fine. Let’s just get on with it.”
“I assume I need to get the elite four to back you. Is that enough?”
“Yes but you don’t have to reach all of them. Just Lance. He’s their spokesman.”
“Fine. Well, first I need to know his weaknesses.”
04/12/2005, 02:54 AM
The rain won’t abate; you can hear it pounding on the roof like a fist. I’m inside anyway. I’m in a Pokemart because I need to buy stuff for my journey. The journey I can finally go on. It’s very crowded and it looks like I’m in for a long wait. However it’s good to not be soaking and freezing simultaneously. Also chairs have been erected in the store for anyone who has a friend nice enough to keep your place in the line while you sit and wait. So Meowth is taking my stance in the queue. He offered to do it, saying he knows what I need better than me anyway. With nothing else for us to do, a guy sitting near me starts to talk.
“So, are you a new trainer? Most of the people coming here are. It’s the usual starting point. Everyone wants to come to the great Professor. Oak to get their Pokemon” the guy says.
“No wonder this place is so busy” I answer.
“Professor. Oak is a normal man, who does the same as any Pokemon expert. People seem to expect that if they meet famous people they’ll be famous too. How does that work? It’s the good old American dream. Some day we’ll all be celebrities. Oh, we can’t be daunted by such minor considerations as the fact that it never happened to anyone else.”
“You seem cynical.”
“A cynic is a optimist’s word for a realist.”
“Yes but what a realist would call a problem, an optimist would call a challenge.”
“This could go on forever” my new friend says laughing.
“Your right. Let’s discuss something else. To answer your earlier question I’m about to start training. I need to gather supplies. My Pokemon is with Meowth. He decided to wait in boredom for me.”
“He sounds like a good friend. I haven’t encountered one of those in some time.”
“Are you being pessimistic again or is there a genuine reason you have for thinking that way?”
My companion pauses for a few seconds to think. His head tilts slightly to one side and he seems to be considering something important.
“I don’t want to put you off before you’ve had time to form your own opinion” he answers.
“What happened to you might not happen to me. I’ve wanted this for years. In fact that hardly covers my sentiments. Now I come to carefully consider it my ambition to be a trainer is all that’s kept me going for far too long.”
“Ah. I can remember when I thought like that. I never considered the odds. When your young you never do. Consequences don’t mean anything to you. That’s what youth’s all about. Have you ever really considered the statistics? Everyone else is doing the same thing you do. It’s one of the most common professions in this country. Everyone has the dream but hardly anyone has the skill. It’s a trap. You can only learn by doing it so if you start off with no natural affinity for it you’re a walking failure just waiting for your legs give out so your unsuitability is confirmed. You see people who have succeeded but you never see the masses who have tried and fail. It looks easy but one day you realise your not good at it. Your no trainer. I tried but I couldn’t beat anyone. I came here to return my stuff. I won’t need it anymore. I started at ten and now I’m thirty six and having to start again with nothing. Not even an education. Hope is hell. It lifts you onto a cloud, gives you a brief glimpse of what it’s like to rise through the sky towards heaven, then shacks you off so you plummet to the ground. Thump. Well, that hurt. It’s a crime sending children out into the adult world to live on their own means at ten. Ten! You can’t even look after a pet at that age let alone your self. If you succeed things are no better. You’re a Pokemon master in your teens. Great, the last half decade went pretty fast but never mind. So, what do I do with the next fifty years now my life time’s work has been finished before your twenty. You lose even if you don’t lose. Pokemon training is a savage thing. Where did this spirit of ‘Let’s make our animals beat each other up so we get bragging rights’ culture come from anyway? Why would anyone want it? The best advice I can give you is if you want it so bad don’t do it. Desire kills your judgement. I’m not a trainer. I never had the capacity. Are you?”
04/12/2005, 02:57 AM
So we’re nearly at the end of Bradley’s part in this story. My time is ending. It’s ending in Philippa’s kitchen. Outside the dark tint of the rain clouds has turned everything else black. I’m in the kitchen now because Philippa said I should get my self a coffee whilst she tries to get through on her ‘cell phone to Lance. He’s in deep cover, locked up in his lonely tower, on his thrown like a king, with the interior walls gold and ivory and, the exterior ones, that face the world, made of black stone. The guards are on it’s turrets, waiting to brutally beat anyone who dares to try and meet the great Lance Rodriguez. I stare at a sharp kitchen knife on a counter top and wonder ideally how it would feel if I slit the veins in my wrists with it. How much blood would there be? That wouldn’t please my unfriendly friend. My companion, Philippa. The woman with the bulldog’s teeth, the vulture’s sense of desire, and the crocodile’s false smile. Her constant demanding for the power of a gym leader is like a child’s greed for chocolate. She disgusts me already, like Adam’s stubborn attempts to kill himself for the sake of a few minutes worth of narcotic induced ecstasy. Or the way Giovanni automatically expects people to obey him just because he has more hubris than anyone else he’s ever met. I even dislike my self for going on with his plan instead of helping Meowth and Adam to get away from the company’s glutinous hands. I’m too scared to say ‘No’ to anyone. Lady Midnight is in the garden, ignoring the weather so she can torture a Pidgey. Preparing to impale the small bird, ready to eat it’s flesh like any other cat. A bloody ceremony that hardly seems worthwhile just to chew uncooked meat. I’m sickeningly tired of living in a world based on the principal of survival of the sneakiest. Philippa holds out the phone now, waiting impatiently for me to take it. Her right foot is tapping on the tiled kitchen floor.
“Thanks. My mission to help Giovanni enjoy scaring Meowth to death is nearly complete” I say to her, taking the phone. Then I say hello to Lance.
“Hi. This is Lance, and Lance is busy. Be quick.”
“Trust me I just want this 24 hour long headache to be over with.”
“What do you want?”
“I expect your sick of asking that. Fine. I won’t start begging you. Philippa, the junior trainer at Alex Stauton’s Pokemon gym. You know her?”
“I’ve heard of her. So?”
“So she wants to own a gym. I won’t give the arguments she expects. You don’t have time for pointless endorsements that you hardly believe anyway. Give it to her or not because she’s paid her dues and it should be her turn. Do it or not because you think she’d be good at it. Do it or not because you need the services of another worthy trainer.”
“That was very honest. Fair enough. I’ll arrange it and call back later. Tell her she’s got what she wants and that it’s mostly because she has a good man working for her. Now I have things to do. Excuse me.”
I turn to Philippa.
“You’ve got what you want. Now can we just get on with what I want? I need this nightmare to be over with.”
“I don’t see why not. Never I go back on a deal.”
“No, that doesn’t appear to be your main fault. Now I need to meet Giovanni. I’m leaving, at long last.”
04/12/2005, 02:58 AM
“About that girl called Misty…” I begin as Meowth, Vulcan and I leave the shop.
“Vul Vul Pix Pix Vulpix.”
“He’s right. Sometimes it’s better ta wait. We’ll get to her once we’re done wid Brock. Trust me, the more ya want it, the better it’ll be. It‘s like dat wid Pokemon. The longer it takes ta make champion, da sweeter dat word sounds.”
“So who where ya talk’en to in dare?”
“A very interesting person. He made me think about my ambitions in a new way. I disagree with some of his notions but he gave me some things to consider.”
“Maybe I always needed something to latch on to, without my parents to act as the natural obsession of my youth. Maybe the habit and Team Rocket and Pokemon is my way of having a group to belong to instead of belonging to a family. Perhaps I should treat my journey as a goal in life not the only life worth living. Maybe I should stop treating of drugs that way too.”
I spot a trash can near by on the border of a city park.
“Wait a second” I tell my two Pokemon friends. They watch me in slight puzzlement as I rummage in the bag containing the stuff from my old room in TR HQ. Then Meowth and Vulcan’s faces clear when they see what I do next. I take out the needle and the little vials, the Heroine, from their box and throw them into the garbage can. The center of my former life gone with the flick of a wrist, and, replacing it just as simply, with my freedom. I feel much lighter somehow as I walk back.
“Ok guys. I think I’m ready now. Ready for a new life.”
And I smile. And I keep on smiling.
04/12/2005, 03:03 AM
Could this be true?/Could this be me?/The one who kept himself so high and free/caught up in the highest game of all/and all my defences tumble and fall/and only the ace of hearts can save me now.
Music is playing in the Pikachu café when I enter. Giovanni sits, unmoving as I walk towards him. He’s waiting for the other man to arrive first as he usually.
“Your very famous but I’m not sure I should be honoured” Philippa says as she sits opposite him.
“Likewise. Can I get you something?” he asks her. Lady Midnight goes up to him and starts rubbing against his legs.
“She didn’t do that to me.”
“Cats seem to have a natural feeling of empathy for me.”
“I think we will have breakfast thanks. We need to wait for Adam to get here anyway. I decided I didn’t really want any information about Lance. I’ve had enough physiology over the last day or two to last me a life time. Philippa’s gym is already waiting for her” I explain.
“So now what?” Giovanni asks.
“Now Philippa call’s Adam. Let’s get this over with.”
As I wait I’m aware that Philippa is using her ‘cell to make the call, but only vaguely aware. Instead I start to think about my position. I’m not doing my standard work but lots of other people are. This is the first time I’ve witnessed this side of the story. Will I ever forget this first look? Will I want to see it again even though it revolts me? I don’t know now if I can keep ignoring the fact that everyone doesn’t live in the same manner I do. I don’t want to work with people who hunt down the Meowth’s of this world and don’t experience my sense of guilt.
“I got some for you too” Giovanni says, nosily stealing my train of thought from me.
“Well just because I employ you doesn’t mean I’m testing you every time I offer you some food does it?”
“Ok. So what if I quit? The perfect solution.”
“Why on earth would you?”
“Because I have enemies now. I used to think that word was just an overly melodramatic term for someone you had a fight with last week. I suppose I found out just because I haven’t seen something doesn’t mean it’s not there.”
“You could always come on the gym trail with us” Adam says, looking down at me as I sit at the table. Like God smiling down at me for attempting a redemption a few seconds ago.
“It seems like a while since I’ve seen you” I tell him.
“Yes. In fact I don’t think I’ve seen the world the way you have for far too long.”
“Maybe I’ve been seeing new things too recently. Perhaps its not a bad thing.”
I notice Vulcan and Lady Midnight conversing in their own language. I wonder what they’re saying. Is it exactly the same things we’re discussing? Are they uttering the same statements as us at this exact minute?
“We presumed you’d know why you’ve been called here. So we decided not to create a pretence involving Philippa” Giovanni tells Adam.
“It’s ok Meowth. I forgive you.”
“Thanks Adam. It wasn’t anything important I took. Dis is what ya wanna know boss so you’d better start listen‘en. I took dem as a souvenir of my time wid ya. I wasn’t even gonna sell ‘em. Its da plans for my machines. Mine, James and Jessie’s. The machines we used ta try ta capture da Pikachu belon‘en at Ash Ketchum. I was on dat assignment for years. None of ‘em worked. If they weren’t useless I would’a succeeded by now. You’ll just be punish’en me outta spite.”
“Fine. I have an alternative suggestion. Give them to me. I’ll punish them, not you.” Meowth hands the technical drawings of his inventions to his former leader, who crumples them up and throws them, basketball style, into the nearest bin.
“Another massive weight gone with a simple hand movement” Adam says.
“What?” I ask.
“Good. I believe it’s time to go home. You coming back to the HQ Bradley?” Giovanni asks.
“No. I’m going with Adam for a while. I need some time to find my self.”
“Fine by me. Meowth?”
“Ya know what? Ya already fired me, so I don’t need at worry about insulting da guy in charge anymore. Take ya job offer and shove it.”
“Good luck Meowth. You’re the worst employee I ever had but you know how to insult people. Perhaps there’s hope for you yet” Giovanni says. Then he leaves. So does Philippa. After all, she has a gym to manage.
“Can I go on my journey now?” Adam asks.
“I don’t see why not.”
We pay our bill and leave the café. Leave the last few hours behind.
“Look, it’s stopped raining.”
04/12/2005, 03:05 AM
Bradley didn’t stay with us for long. He went into private practice. I read in the ‘papers recently that he’s defending a man who was injured when Team Rocket agents attempted to rob his house. As for Meowth, he eventually persuaded Jessie and James to quit their jobs at Team Rocket too. It feels good not to have to call it the company again. I have no need to hide now. My past has lived up to it’s name. It’s past. Anyway Jessie, James and my former manager set off on their own gym trail a few months ago. I haven’t heard from them since. Philippa got caught cheating in order to win a gym match. She was demoted to junior trainer again till Lance feels he can trust her. Giovanni went on being Giovanni, but I assume there’s nothing to be done about that.
04/12/2005, 03:10 AM
As for Adam, he became champion, after trying to live with Misty for a few months. Meowth left him after he reached the elite four, stating that he was no longer needed. So he finally took my advice and went to a drugs rehabilitation center. He’s been out a long time now and hasn’t even touched a needle since. I know because he’s been working with me and a writer friend of mine to tell our tale to the world. Save computer file on my laptop’s word processor programme. It’s
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