See part one here.
The light at the end of the tunnel
So this was going to be it. The final moment of my sad, pathetic life. I guess, in a way, it was fitting for me to go out in a manner such as this – electrocuted and trampled to death by a bunch of crazed junkies, stone cold sober in a faraway land.
I saw the expression in their eyes. If they could have, they would have fried me to death with blue lightning straight out of those glassy orbs bulging menacingly out of their heads. There was no use fighting it. These men had been trained from birth to wield these strange creatures like weapons of mass destruction.
I was done for. I saw one of the creatures rolling forward towards me. It wasn’t so much a creature as it was a red and white ball with eyes. It looked familiar – like a Pokéball but without the button. Then, at the last minute, like only a scared-shitless moron such as myself ever could, I remembered the ball clipped to my belt.
What sort of hell spawned this creature?
This device, and the creature contained within it were perhaps my only chance at salvation, but I found myself still too terrified to let the beast loose. An endless landscape of terrible possibilities raced through my head at a thousand miles an hour. I saw myself unleashing the animal in my charge only to find it woefully outmatched. Knowing my luck it was some small little root-like blue plant like the ones I had seen wandering around in the grass. Or worse yet, one of those damned red carp with the crowns I saw splashing dumbly around in the ocean on my voyage over. Water and electricity – that would end my ride here pretty darn quick.
Or worse yet, maybe it wasn’t some cute little fish or flower. Maybe it was one of those monstrous Pokémon that everyone’s heard stories about. Like that ice bird or the shellfish with scythe arms or worse yet, that psychic abomination that’s only supposed to be a legend. Whatever it was it was bound to be steamed that I’d left it in its spheroid prison for so long. It would no doubt take pleasure in burning me alive or slicing my abdomen open or making my head explode with the power of its awful mind. Still, I had no choice. I ripped the ball off my belt, thumbed the button and threw it at the ground in front of me as hard as I could.
“Go, you goddamn bastard!”
The ball hit the floor of the dojo with a thud and rolled limply to a stop. Nervous sweat began to sting my eyes beneath my aviator sunglasses. I may have also begun to piss myself. Though still clearly intent on murdering me, my assailants laughed heartily. One fat man, in particular, I thought might hemorrhage his gut or possibly give himself a brain aneurism. Unfortunately, he did not. He and his Raichu sauntered forward, crazed as ever.
Lt. Surge sauntered forward arrogantly and picked the ball up off the ground. The old battleaxe was clearly enjoying taking out his frustrations on a novice such as myself.
“Sometimes the button sticks. Here, let me help you with that.”
He knocked the button against his belt buckle and there was an audible click. He lobbed it lazily back to the floor. A red beam began to pour forth as I cowered in the corner. The red beam then began to take shape and form some sort of iridescent mass. Surge smiled, clearly expecting this shape to reveal itself to be a tiny purple rat or perhaps one of those blind blue bats everyone hated.
What came out of that impossibly tiny ball, however, was not a brown pigeon, golden starfish or purple butterfly. Instead, it was the biggest goddamn living creature I had ever seen. At least thirty feet long, it must have weighted a metric shit-ton. It was later identified to me as something called an “Onix”, but in my transcendent state of panic it was the “Fucking Messiah.” A giant leviathan made out of rock. Rock, which, I was sure, would not conduct the least bit of electricity. And he looked pissed.
Take that, you little yellow bastard!
Surely such a brute could not be overly intelligent, but it was. It fixed me with a grimace of intimidation, and I knew for sure that he was aware that I was the pathetic creature that had kept him locked up in his ball for who knows how long. It was a look that said simply, “I’m going to crush you.” It was then that I remembered that I was in room full of murderous cretins. I looked up at my giant rock-snake expectantly. From somewhere behind him, he was hit with a dozen bolts of lightning and lit up like a damn power plant.
He groaned and I thought, shit, I’m done for. My giant leviathan is still no match for these freaks. But as soon as the attack ceased, he looked back at me as though awaiting an answer. I quickly realized that he didn’t want to crush me as I had thought, he was waiting for an order. What a loyal little soldier. I was willing to oblige his thirst for direction. Unfortunately, I did not know the names of any of his attacks. Hopefully the four words on the tip of my tongue would suffice.
“Kick their fucking asses!”
I could get used to this, I thought, five short minutes later as my first Pokémon battle concluded with me as its victor. It was not a clean victory. The gym was in tatters; there were chunks of plaster missing from the ceiling and a light rain was beginning to fall through the holes in the roof. The gym’s inhabitants had not fared well, either. Many of them had been tossed against the wall like rag dolls as my Onix raged through them. Fortunately for them I was merciful enough to recall him before he crushed them into a fine paste.
Lieutenant Surge limped forward. He knew when he was beat. “Fair enough, man. You win. I don’t know where Red is, but I know where he’s from. I wasn’t lying.”
“And where’s that?”
“A little place called Pallet Town.”
“That’s West of here, right?” My knowledge of this country was limited, but my map had told me this much.
“Yeah, but you’ll have to go South and cross the sea to Cinnabar Island, then head North to get to Pallet.”
“Why the hell would I go that way?”
“There’s a herd of Snorlaxes blocking all the roads that way. Fat bastards.”
“Well, thanks a lot, Mack. I’ll give Markson your regards.”
But Surge had already wandered away from me.
I decided to get out of here before a stray lightning bolt struck me dead on the spot. Besides, I had a long trip ahead of me before I could get the scoop on this Red character.
The path less travelled
The path to Pallet Town was fraught with an unthinkable amount of difficulty. Rather than put myself through the horror of another Kanto cruise-liner, I thought I’d try my luck with the land routes. Surge had been right. An entire heard of dozens of rotund Pokémon known as Snorlaxes were indeed blocking all western routes. They seemed like a hearty bunch and by the size of their fangs I decided it would probably be best not to try my luck waking the fat bastards. South to the salty seas it was.
I made my way to the southern beach looking for a dock. There was none. I decided to interrogate one of the local beach bums. He had a scraggly beard and a pair of faded cut-off shorts. If he knew about anything, it would be the beach.
“Hey! Know where a guy can find a boat ride and a stiff drink?”
“Whereabouts you headed?”
“Pallet Town, by way of Cinnabar Island.”
He laughed. Never a good sign.
“Only one boat in this land – the S.S. Anne – and she’s gone on her annual trip. Only comes back around but once a year.”
“Fantastic. So I’m stuck here. I still don’t see what’s so funny about that.”
“You’re not stuck, man. We got other ways of getting around than boats, you know.”
“How you think people came to live on Cinnabar? Think they just sprouted up like a bunch of Oddish?” He got a good, long laugh out of this.
“Very funny. So what other modes of transportation would those be?”
“Well, you could fly if you had a bird that was big enough. A Pidgeot or a Fearow, maybe. Or I suppose you could pick up an Articuno along your way in the Seafoam Islands!” Another long laugh.
“I’m not hanging onto a damn bird’s talons for ten hours. Nor do I own of the feathery freaks.”
“Well, I’ve got an old Lapras I could take you on, if you’ve got a few bucks to spare.”
“What in God’s Glorious name is a Lapras?”
“Big water creature. Kind of looks like a dinosaur with a shell on top.”
“Will I get wet?”
“Oh, most definitely.”
“Goddamnit. There’s no other way?”
Lapras it was.
Not my preferred mode of transportation.
At this point in the manuscript our intrepid reporter’s notes were sopping wet and large portions were simply unreadable. What letters were legible were filled, I assure you, with the worst kind of profanity – worse even than what you read so far. It seems as though the ride on the Lapras-creature was too much for our reporter’s already agitated psyche to handle. We made no attempts to edit it and he refused to even read it, stating simply that he’d rather not remember certain portions of that trip, especially those [sic] flamers and “fossil freaks” on that “goddamn” volcanic island. Suffice it to say this portion will be omitted from final copy, though readers will be happy to know that he reached Pallet Town relatively unscathed, physically speaking.
Home is where the heart is?
The notion that Pallet Town was a small out-of-the-way village was a terribly gross understatement. Planted squarely in the middle of a clearing amidst some forest and tall grass, this pathetic little settlement was apparently home to less than ten people housed in a mere three buildings. There were two houses and, unlikely enough in a small town like this, a Pokémon Research Lab. As the buildings were conveniently labeled with signs, (how quaint) it was not hard to find my way. Surely Red had not grown up in the lab or the house indicated to be the residence of a man named “Blue”, so that left the bungalow labeled simply “Red’s House.”
It was, to say the least, a bit anticlimactic. I approached the home and knocked hesitantly at the door. No answer came immediately, but I heard some rustling and the knocking over of glassware. The door swung open so suddenly I almost chocked on my own breath. It was an older man that answered, perhaps in his late fifties. His short white hair was spiked to one side, as if he had been sleeping on it for the last three days. Oh, and he was wearing nothing but a laboratory coat…an open laboratory coat.
“Who are you? What do you want?”
“I’m a reporter; I’m doing a story on—”
“What’s your name?”
“Are you a boy or a girl?”
“What the hell are you on, man?”
Suddenly a voice arose from somewhere on the second floor of the house. It was high-pitched, shrill and female.
“Oakey! Who’s at the door?”
“Well, tell him to screw off and come back to bed!”
“Will do, Mom!” Clearly I had stumbled upon some horrible sex trafficking ring.
“Good God, man! Is that your mother up there?” To my relief, he laughed.
“Well, she’s somebody’s mom.”
“Perhaps the mother of the legendary Pokémon trainer? The one that you guided along his path to glory?”
“Why, yes, yes indeed! What was his name again?”
“Are you serious?”
“I’m terrible with names.”
Pokemon professor, or crazed sex freak?
The female voice from upstairs, presumably Red’s mother, spoke again. Her voice was impatience incarnate. “Oakey, if you’re not coming back to bed, I’m going to get started without you. Mimey, mimey where are you?” At this, a strange creature burrowed its way out from the bottom of a pile of empty liquor bottles. It had skinny legs and arms, rosy cheeks and pointy blue hair. It almost looked human – but it wasn’t.
“Good god, what is that abomination?” Oak chuckled at my ignorance.
“That’s Mr. Mime. He’s Delia’s…helper.”
“Well far be it from me to break up your little orgy here, but could you perhaps tell me where I might find Red?”
“Well, last I heard he was just up the path in Viridian City. He’s trying to help my grandson perfect his technique as a gym leader. They used to be rivals, but now they’re the best of friends! Erm…what was his name again?”
“How the hell am I supposed to know your damn grandson’s name! Bugger off you old coot!”
Kill it with fire!
I knew exactly where Viridian City was. I could make it there in a little under an hour if I ran my ass off, and run my ass off I would. Just before I reached the tall grass marking the edge of town, I heard a voice back behind me. It was Oak, half-naked and running right for me with a look of pure fear on his face.
“Wait! There’s wild Pokémon out there! It’s too dangerous!”
At this, I whipped out my red and white sphere and unleashed my Onix. Oak fell back on his bare ass as my charge roared loudly at him.
“I’ve got it under control, old man. I’m going to get this story if it kills me!”
And that concludes part two of our intrepid reporter’s story! Tune in next time as he finally confronts the mysterious Pokémon Trainer Red!