Chapter 4: Shupster
“Ain’t I a bit too old to be getting a starter pokemon?” asked Butch.
The three of us were approaching Little Root town. Cassidy let me out of the pokeball about an hour ago, figuring I wouldn’t run out on her. She figured right. Why would I leave this perfectly okay trainer when I had seen much worse? I wouldn’t, really. This ex-Rocket pair (they had told me their story, of course. I totally laughed at that Manaphy trick Wallace did, and how they actually fell for it, but Cassidy told me to shut up) could be good trainers if one of the crew was just a leeeettle bit smarterer.
“You’re never too old for anything,” I said.
“But look at that,” said Butch, pointing to two kids about ten running from a house to a large building, most likely the lab, both screaming in a squeaky female voice, “Ohmygosh, we’re getting our first pokemon!”
“Yea, so?” Cassidy asked.
“I’m gonna look really, really stupid in front of that professor,” complained Butch. “Especially if he actually knows I was in Team Rocket. Then, even stupider.”
“Don’t worry,” I said. “You’re quite an idiot as it is. Even if you were from Team Galactic, that wouldn’t improve your status.”
“See?” said Cassidy in triumph. “That’s the highlight of being attractive. Pokemon come to you.”
“Since when,” I inquired, “was having negative feelings being attractive? I came to you because of THAT.”
“Whatever. Let’s go in the lab.” Cassidy had to drag a protesting Butch in through the door. Meh, I just had to float through the wall. Isn’t it nice being a ghost pokemon?
The two kids that looked about ten were running up to a considerably young professor (usually, I judge by someone’s negative thoughts) with translucent blue-gray glasses. “Hi, hi, hi, Professor Birch!” exclaimed the brown-haired girl wearing a cute red-white hat and a miniskirt with shorts.
“Hello, May,” said Professor Birch. “Your father informed me that you would be coming today. Happy tenth birthday to you both.”
“Actually,” said the silver-haired boy in tacky, yellow-and-black long sleeves, “I’m a month older than May here, but I promised I would get my pokemon together with her. After all, we’re really good friends.”
“Maybe just a little more than that,” I muttered.
Immediately May, Birch, and the white-haired boy turned to the three of us. “What was that?” Professor Birch asked, looking at Butch.
“Zip your zipped mouth, Shupster,” Cassidy whispered, elbowing me in my left glowing eye.
“Why?” I whispered loudly. “I’ve got my rights here, you know.”
“Wow!” said May incredibly. “Did that pokemon just talk, Brendan?”
“No,” said Brendan. “You’re too excited, May.”
Professor Birch smiled. “May, you have yet to learn about the wonders of pokemon. First one is that most Pokemon don’t speak English. And you’ll learn the rest on top of that.”
“Ok,” whispered Cassidy. “From now on, don’t cause any attention.”
“Come over to the table, kids. Now you’ll get to pick your first pokemon,” said Birch warmly to May and Brendan. May squealed in delight and ran over to the table, promptly bumping into Birch. Brendan too couldn’t hold himself, but tried to put on a gentleman act – before long he too was screaming and jumping up and down beside May.
“This,” said Birch, holding up a pokeball, “is Mudkip. It’s a Water pokemon, but will become a combination of Water and Ground after its first evolution!”
“Yay!” shrieked May. “I’m taking that one!”
“Just hold on a second, May,” said Birch. “You might like one of these too. This,” he said, holding up a dusty, scratched pokeball, “contains Torchic. Torchic is a fire type chicken, but when it evolves, it can turn into a combination of Fire and Fighting! Take a look at Mudkip and Torchic if you like.”
May peeped into a hole punched just above the open button in Mudkip’s pokeball. “Omigosh! Mudkip is sooooo cute!” she yelped. “I’m taking that one!”
“OK,” said Professor Birch. “Be sure to take good care of Mudkip and treat it with love! To be a pokemon master, you must master love first!”
“Blehhhhhmmmmph,” I said, the last part being caused by Cassidy slamming her hand to my closed mouth.
Birch glanced at us again, then turned back. “Brendan, who do you pick?”
“Ohhhh, Torchic looks strong!” exclaimed Brendan, looking through its pokeballt. “It’s gotta be tough when it grows up!”
“You’re right,” said Birch. “So you’re taking that one?”
“Sure as a pancake,” said Brendan happily, taking Torchic’s pokeball.
I tsked. “Kids sure have a weird way with different expressions.”
“SHUT UP, SHUPSTER!” Butch and Cassidy yelled together. Then they looked at each other and squinted. “Jynx, you owe me an ice pop,” said Butch.
“Now, run along, kids, and go on your quest to become Pokemon Masters!” said Birch, though still looking at us three uncertainly, especially me. I was tempted to use the “Am I that good to look at” catch again, but something in those blue glasses made me rethink.
“Finally,” said Butch, walking over to Professor Birch, “it’s my turn.”
“Hello there,” said Birch. “Nice to see you’re starting a Pokemon Journey. Nothing’s too old for pokemon, I guess,” he said, winking.
Butch gasped. “You’re implying that I’m too old for this!”
Birch smiled. “Calm yourself. I’m afraid we only have one pokemon left.” He picked up the last pokeball. “It contains Treecko, a grass lizard pokemon. At first it may seem a bit stubborn and hard to train. But it will prove to be as powerful as your partner’s Shuppet.”
“Me!?” I asked. “ME!?” I had never been complimented by a total stranger. What’s more, I’ve never even done anything to show Birch my power. But somehow, it felt good. “Why, thanks! Dude, never been complimented by a stranger before, too bad we can’t shake hands cause I ain’t got any…”
“Gosh,” said Birch breezily. “You didn’t give it such a long name, did you?” he asked Cassidy.
“Uh,” said Cassidy. “Nope, it speaks English.” She turned to me. “You *******! It was a trap!”
“Interesting,” said Birch. “I suppose someone taught it English, then. Quite rare, pokemon that are capable of speaking human language.”
“I’ll take Treecko,” Butch cut in.
“OK, my good man. Good luck on your journey!” said Birch.
We hurried out of there after a quick wave, Butch in excitement, Cassidy in frustration, and me still in the confusion of why I wasn’t allowed to speak English in public.
“You sure were funny there,” said Butch.
“Yep,” I grinned, looking at Treecko through the pokeball. I winked at it and said, “My little friend, you’ve got a lot of English to learn, dude!”
“TREECKO!” it answered happily. I tsked.
"Okay, Treecko, I'll start with the easy ones."