Chapter 12: Taillow
“Hurry up, dudette, let’s go get that HM,” said Shupster to Cassidy.
The man in the green jacket looked visibly distraught at his being ignored. Ah, the sweetness of desperation. When ignorant people wallowing in the satisfaction of their perfect, perfect lives suddenly get bombarded in the balls by that component of living that they’ve forgotten ever existed, it is considerably bittersweet – you know they get what they deserved, to forget that life is only pain, pain, pain. And right now, that man in the jacket sputtered a pathetic plead:
“Aren’t you going to help me? My Devon Goods! Team Aqua, those thieving lowlifes! They took my goods!”
“Come on, let’s go,” mumbled Butch, shuffling in the spot. Cassidy nodded in acknowledgement.
“Please!” wailed the stranger in another pitiful plead, as if he truly was hoping for help from troubles he wrought upon himself. Pitiful, that’s the word to describe this scene I’m watching live from the pokeball.
Finally Shupster, that unnervingly smart puppety figure, turned half around as if he was only now conscious of the intruder, and glanced at him through a slanted eye-corner. “Do we know you?” he inquired lazily.
“N-n-n-no,” stuttered the man, clearly not expecting the response. “But I was hoping you’d, you’d help me out for a good cause… Team Aqua! I mean, don’t you want to stop them?”
Shupster’s voice still hung with that unfamiliar lazy atmosphere as he questioned the man yet again: “What’s Team Aqua?”
Ever since I was caught, I’ve been uncertain about, and almost feared, Shupster. He was in no terms like a Pokemon, and I could never tell what was on his mind whenever he said something confusing, like what he was saying now. His mind was inexplicably complicated, frequently expressing human emotion and just as well, human faults. And right now, I could as much read his intentions as I could find a suitable simile to insert here…
The green jacket man twisted his face incredulously. “Don’t tell me you’ve never heard about them!”
Shupster’s face brightened. “Well, I don’t think I have,” he said innocently. “Should I have? I mean, unless you’re talking about those striped-shirt, blue-bandanna gangsters of which Pokemon we beat the living crap out of one month ago.” He smirked and the man’s face filled with hope.
“Come on, let’s go,” Shupster said conclusively, motioning to the humans.
“Wait!” the man pleaded again, pacing after us. “You’ve got to help me!”
This time Butch answered that loser, something apt for the situation. “What’s in it for us?”
This apparently took the man completely by surprise. As if he didn’t expect such a cold-blooded retort for his plead, even though it was perfectly sensible. At least you know now, my salesman.
“Let’s blow this place,” Shupster said, deliberately loud.
“Okay,” said Cassidy, turning around with a forced, hard, patient look on her face and a giant sigh. “How about we help you…” The man’s face turned hopeful again. “and YOU in turn give us half of whatever’s in your Devon Goods goodie bag.”
The man frowned immediately and his voice turned desperate once more. “No! I can’t! My boss would never forgive me…”
Shupster tsked impatiently. “Let’s blow this place.”
“Wait, no! Please!” cried the man, this time his voice tone reaching the zenith of the pathetic. “How about, just doin’ it for the satisfaction?”
There’s no real satisfaction in life, mister. I see your lesson that you ought to have learned is still far from your weak, weak grasp, eh?
Cassidy turned on her heel in a menacing stare. “Look, we’ll give you ten minutes to think about it while we go get the Cut HM,” she said tartly.
The man’s face plunged into despair. “I-i-i don’t have time… well, all right FINE,” he finally consented with a fake impatience.
Ten minutes later, we were back in front of the gym, where the pathetic man was waiting loyally for us, sitting on the dusty steps in front of the gym door with his head on his retracted knees and his fingers twitching fiercely.
“We’re back,” yelled Shupster.
The man gave a sigh of relief so huge the peppermint from his gum (being chewed just as fiercely) hit me full force on the face, even through that microscopic hole in the Pokeball.
“Look, I’ve got it figured all out. This was really hard…” he said, chewing now not only on his peppermint gum but on both of his protruding lips, “but… yeah, I’ll split the Goods with you, just get them back for me, kay, kay?” he finished really quickly, as if he hoped we would be dimwitted enough to not hear completely our part of the deal.
Cassidy nodded, unsuccessfully trying to hide her anticipation. “That’s more like it,” she grinned. “Care to take us to where he went?”
The man’s brow was knotted in clear annoyance. “Wasted so much freakin’ time, they’re probably gone by now…” he grumbled. Reconsidering after Shupster’s warning glance, he sighed. “Okay, follow me, dammit.”
As we approached a cave opening at the end of Route 116, the man shivered and turned back. “You carry on, I’m not going in there,” he said. Cowards get pickpocketed easily, my salesman.
“Okay,” Shupster sighed. “We’re closing in on the danger zone. God help us.”
There seemed to be something else, however, standing upright besides the cave mouth. It was only when we closed in that I noticed the figure’s glasses and bald head. It was an old man, as agitated as the salesman, and I wondered if he got robbed of Devon Goods as well. I soon got my answer.
“Young lad?” the old man said in an ancient, wheezy voice, motioning to Butch. “Do you see that cave over there?”
“Yeah, what about it?”
“My poor old Peeko. He’s trapped in there with nasty people,” the old man said, his eyes liquefying. “and they won’t free him till I pay them.” A tear dropped to the ground. “He’s scared, my Peeko.”
Butch frowned. “Sorry, no time, gotta get goods,” he said quickly, and raced, with Cassidy following, into the hole. To be honest, I didn’t feel sorry for the old man crying over there, because it’s just as the world is – time for money. And we’re on our way to getting money, so don’t waste our time.
This chapter's more of a bridge chapter, because a battle's up next...