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Old 05-06-2004, 04:28 PM
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Default Trouble in Paradise!

I was terribly hot that afternoon, as well as bored. The seven of us were gathered in a tiny conference room with only one window that couldn’t be opened. We all sat around a glass table with a single overhead light that dimly lit the room. The Hawaiian heat wasn’t getting better wearing our black business suits. I had my legs crossed as I just lowly looked outside at the palm trees that swayed in the wind. Boy how I wished this hell was over with…

The advertising agency that I was working for had hired had come up with several possible storyboards for a television ad. I had been working in contact with Dreamscape Nation Designs, a children’s toy company, for three years and every year it was the same. These agents couldn’t come up with a proper ad to save their lives, and I was the client they had to present the ideas to. I found it hard to believe we didn’t even use half of our advertising budget because we couldn’t find anything good to air.

“Okay, look…” Philip said, looking over his storyboard with a little bit of uncertainly, “We’ve been trying to make a great cultural symbol for Dreamscape Nation, and this time I think we were able to come up with one.”

I loved it when Brooks Advertising Agency came up with cultural symbols. This wasn’t the first time I had told them not to do this. It wasn’t the seventh either…

“Philip Richards, didn’t I tell you already that the company wants a positioning by product user strategy?” I asked Philip logically, “The company already has a mascot…”

Philip was already nervous. I was surprised; I thought he was used to screwing up. He had pushed up the boxy glasses on his nose, scratched his messy brown hair and pulled out one of the pens he had in the pocket of his white flannel shirt. He then furiously scribbled something on the storyboard paper itself. I had to wait another two minutes before he was finished making a personal note to himself. I just watched the tiny digital numbers on my watch slowly and painfully advance.

“Okay…” Philip said nervously, looking at all the impatient people around him, “I thought I would give this another try. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for some time and I thought it would really be a nice mascot for Dreamscape-Nation.”

I rolled my eyes and looked at Philip. Everyone else in the room had done the same. Philip took the poster board, and flipped it around. I nearly soiled my pants…

“Say hello to Barky the Clown.” Philip showed the six of us, “I already have animators working on a commercial.”
“They’re wasting their time.” I told Philip, looking at the hideous yellow, blue and red clown drawn on his poster board, “I’m going to say goodbye to Barky, because honestly… I think he sucks.”

Philip then furiously looked at the poster board again, and checked it over. He then turned it around and began pointing at the stupid clown like he was trying to teach me something critically important.

“But you should hear the kind of things he says!” Philip shouted with glee, “He’s pretty funny. I already have…”
“Shut it, Phil.” I told him casually, “I’ve told you a million times they’re not changing anything besides the ad itself, and I really wish you would stop wasting our time and our money with crap like this.”

Philip seemed heavily discouraged, but that was his own fault. He didn’t want to listen, and now he was paying for it. But again, he kept persisting on about his stupid idea.

“Barky is a whole lot better than who they have now.” Phil told me seriously, “Don’t you think kids have had it up to their ears with Joey, Zoe, and Max?”

Joey, Zoe and Max were the company’s current mascots. Joey was a Minun, Zoe was a Plusle, and Max was the Pichu. They had been mostly showing up in print ads because this bunch of overpaid fools couldn’t come up with a television ad to be aired to save their lives, and neither could anyone else. The print ads were good, but we needed something animated.

“Philip, there’s no way in hell they’re getting rid of those three.” I told Philip firmly, “They have been with the company for ten years. You should be focusing on making a product user positioning ad, not trying to replace the three of them with something so… stupid. You present this crap to the company and they’re going to think we’re insane…”
“Look, just drop the idea Phil.” Cassandra said to him, “DSD isn’t going to want it, alright? You do this every single time we have a client meeting…”

Cassandra was the only reasonable one here. She had long, blonde hair and was wearing a red blouse. She had been slouched over with her chin resting on the palm of her hand while her elbow was on the table. Her eyelids were halfway down and she looked even more bored than I was.

“Fine.” Philip replied, throwing his poster board aside, “I’ll just tell all my animators to just stop what they’re doing and work on my problem. How does that sound?”

He sounded like he wanted me to feel really guilty about it, yet he failed miserably.

“Come on Philip.” I said to the little whiner, “There’s no need to overwork your animators like that.”

Then, there was silence for a moment. Philip had taken his storyboard poster and crumbled it into the flannel pack he had next to him. He then slouched over and wore an incredibly depressing frown on his face for the rest of the meeting. Hey, it wasn’t my fault…

“Next please…” I asked, hoping for something better this time.
“Okay Joe.” Donald told me, taking out his storyboard, “I’m sure this is something we can use.”

Donald wasn’t exactly the sharpest tool in the shed either, but he wasn’t half as stupid as
Philip was. But, from what I could see, at least he actually spent his time trying to come up with an idea, unlike the crap Philip had done…

“Here goes.” Donald told me as he raised his story board poster, “It starts off with a young boy getting absolutely sick of his old boring toys.”

I watched as he pointed from one picture on the white board to another. At least he had something reasonable going on.

“Not only are they plain and boring to him,” Donald continued, moving from picture to picture, “but just as he runs his boring toy car on the rug, it breaks. He then throws it across the room, and it smashes to bits.”
“Okay…” I responded, finally happy to see something arise from this.
“Next,” Donald continued, moving his finger to another picture and feeling far more confident, “Zoe comes into the room, finds the pieces of the car and asks “This is what you’ve been playing with this whole time!?’”

I couldn’t help but snicker. I liked what Donald was coming up with. If anyone was going to come up with something good, it was going to be him… out of the rest of these… schmucks…

“’This is nothing compared to what you can find at Dreamscape Nation!’ says Joey coming into the room.” Donald recited as he pointed to another picture in the storyboard, “You wouldn’t believe what you can find here!”

To say the least, I actually wasn’t bored anymore. Donald proved me wrong. He really wasn’t the brainless idiot I thought he was.

“Then it shows what’s currently being offered, such as Eliza dolls, video games, you know, all that other stuff.” Donald said as he continued on.

Yeah, I knew what he was talking about. Just about every ad did it, except the ones Philip came out with…

“Then, it finishes off with Joey, Zoe, and Max waving in front of a retail outlet with the words Dreamscape-Nation hovering above them.” Donald said, pointing to the last picture, “It then says ’Dreamscape Nation, you’ll never know what you’ll find until you step inside.’”

I couldn’t believe it. He did it. It was awesome, probably the best I had ever seen.

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Old 05-06-2004, 04:29 PM
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Default Re: Trouble in Paradise!

“Well glory halleluiah!” I shouted, standing up and throwing my hands to the air before putting them back on the table again, “Donald, I love it. Praise the holy trinity, I’m glad someone finally came up with something around here.”
“I still think Barky the clown would have been a better idea…” Philip said in a groan.
“Oh shut up.” I said to Philip in a bitter tone, “Philip, I come here every two months and all you show me is crap.”

I still couldn’t believe these guys had months to do this, and most of what Brooks Advertising agency had come up with was pure crap. Still, I had to sit through the rest of these presentations, and then whip out a phone call to whoever I thought was best. Considering what I had seen from Donald, Philip could keep his cans and string on a shelf tonight…

Next up was Cassandra Devry, who already felt good knowing regardless of how crappy her storyboard was, it couldn’t be possibly be worse than Philip’s until she used the same stupid clown, or something worse, which might not have been logically possible.

“Okay, here we go.” Cassandra said to me, pulling out her storyboard and flipping it around, “First it starts off black, with a low sounding voice that says ‘Where can you go to find the greatest toys out there?’”

She pointed to the first square on the board, which was completely black, and I found that pretty unentertaining. But from what I could see from the rest of it, it looked like half the squares of the storyboard were black…

“Next,” Cassandra replied, moving needlessly to the second black square, “The voice says, ‘Where can you find those same great toys at an unbelievable price?’”

As she moved to the third black square, I was beginning to wonder why we would bother making this a television ad when it would be far better for radio, rather than wasting money for expensive air time showing nothing but the void…

“And at this part it says,” Cassandra continued, her fingertip on the third black square, “’What store have you trusted all these years to bring you the best quality toys for your dollar?’”

I could already find a few things that were wrong with this. But, as bad as this was, at least Cassandra was actually trying, unlike Philip the clown…

“There’s only one place that does that.’” Cassandra said, imitating the voice that was going to be used, “’There’s just no other place like Dreamscape Nation…”

After four black squares of absolutely nothing, we finally moved to a picture that actually had something. For some reason, from my distance it actually looked like fire…

“Then a loud explosion comes up.” Cassandra pointed to the fifth square, putting a queer look of confusion on everyone’s face.

I sure couldn’t stand the way Philip was looking at Cassandra with his dorky glasses sliding down his nose. Sure, I knew it was bad, but it certainly was a million times better than his. Meanwhile, I had looked back to Cassandra as she pointed to the sixth square.

“After the explosion, a retail store is seen with the wording, ‘Dreamscape Nation’ right above the store.” Cassandra had told us, “Then the voice says, ‘Dreamscape Nation, it’s the store you’ve trusted for years.’”

It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t very hot either. But regardless, it looked like a masterpiece compared to Philip’s…

“Well,” I told Cassandra, not wanting her to feel bad, “Problem is this is a toy store we’re talking about. Using a theme like trust is more centered toward adults than children. Children want to have fun and need a place to go to in order to find something to have fun with, trust and low prices aren’t that much of a priority. Second, there really shouldn’t be a black screen for half the commercial, people actually want to see something, especially kids.”
“In short,” Philip interrupted, “it sucks…”

If murder was legalized, I wouldn’t have hesitated one moment to reach for Philip’s neck and strangle him at that moment. I gave Philip a cold, hard stare, and he looked back at me with anxiety all over his face.

“If that was true, Philip…” I told the overgrown brat, “That would make your storyboard diabolic. And second, if you even want one silver of hope to get even just a fraction of the crap you pump out past me, you’d better shut your trap when I’m talking.”

It went on and on like this until six in the evening. Another guy named Doug Hammock had presented another storyboard for an ad I swore was aired only just a year ago. And then I had to reject four others I thought barely got any real message across. After nearly four hours of meaningless misery, I had decided that Donald’s ad idea was the only one the agency should even consider using. Of course this was far from over. Once the animators and producers actually created this and we had an ad to work with, Donald and I would then have to present it to Dreamscape Nation’s director of marketing among twenty other possible commercials from other ad agencies that Dreamscape Nation had hired. Plus Donald’s team was the only one out of this whole agency that actually used Joey, Zoe, and Max in the commercial. The way Dreamscape felt about it was if you didn’t even mention them, your commercial went right out the window, and I had seen it done before.

Regardless, I told Donald to get some animators and create a prototype for the commercial. To everyone else I just said goodbye and to Philip I said to get the hell out of my face. I was finally glad it was over with, in more ways than one.

Once I finally stepped out of the Brooks Advertising Agency office, I headed out the double glass doors, and the wave of heat outside had surrounded me, and I could feel it through the business suit I was wearing. People were everywhere on the streets like bugs on an old slice of pizza left out on the street. Since I really didn’t feel like cooking myself that evening, I headed out to a restaurant that I commonly went to with friends, a small little place called Franco’s. But this time I went alone.

I had headed to my car and I had realized some schmuck with a black SUV had done a really crappy job of parallel parking next to me, parking extremely close to my car and went right over the line like it meant nothing. Besides the fact it was a stick in the butt to try and pull myself out of this misery, I couldn’t see the oncoming traffic.

I had to perform a see-saw with my car to struggle and get out of this crappy parking spot, and just take a wild chance of going into the street, and risk causing an accident because this two-bit thug with his SUV felt God’s wrath would smite him to nothing unless he got a bigger, fat-ass car. Hell, if could have even be a woman, I didn’t care. Any random schmuck could have done it. But it had only occurred to me that far after I had left that spot, it just might have been Philip’s. If one of these days I found out that it really was, he wouldn’t be seeing that car in one piece when he got out…

Luckily, someone up there liked me and I got out of the spot without ripping one of my bummers off, or someone else’s for that matter. And some tourist idiot didn’t come racing down the roadway and slam into my vehicle either. Every day of my life just had to be an adventure…

I got back on the road, and joined the rest of the traffic, like an ant on its way back to the hive. I couldn’t stand the endless amounts of hotels, it had to be the most annoying business of all time. There were so many tourists just wandering off mindlessly around and around, with no idea where they wanted to go. Even while I was waiting at a red light for the fourteenth time, some freaking idiot had to rap on my car window, and only when I lowered the window down with the press of the passenger window control button, did he finally stop and poke his head in through my window like a guillotine.

“Hey mister.” The little snot said to me, with an acne-coated face and a really tasteless Hawaiian shirt, “Do you know where the nearest marina is?”

I rolled my eyes at this fool. Of course as fate would have it, the light turned green, the guy behind me was blasting his horn, and I couldn’t move unless I wanted to take this guy’s head off and have it roll right on the passenger seat of my car.

“Would you get your damn head out of my car!?” I shouted at him, already thoroughly ticked off, “You’re holding up traffic!”
“Could ya just tell me?” He asked again in a nerdy tone.

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Old 05-06-2004, 04:30 PM
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Well, I couldn’t take this guy’s head off by just driving away. I started slowly moving the car, but he just sidestepped and kept his head in the window. What was wrong with this maniac?

“Hey, you haven’t told me how to get there yet!” The little wimp whined.
“Get your damn head out of my car, before I take it off!” I shouted to him, “Go ask someone else, I’m not in a pleasant mood and I don’t have the patience for this!”

Only then did he pull out his head in shock, and I zoomed through the last few seconds of the yellow light, leaving that idiot alone on the road. I couldn’t believe what that freakin’ idiot had just done. Maps were invented for a reason…

Problem with Franco’s is it looked too much like a bank rather than a restaurant. There were two columns on the sides of the doors and a sliding glass electronic door, the only restaurant I knew that had one besides those cheap convenience stores. Everything looked like it was made of stone, and to make it even more amusing, there was an ATM right by the door. I’m not sure if it was intentional or just happened out of occurrence…

After I headed into a parking lot, drove into a spot between two cars and threw the clutch to the “P” mark. I then stepped out and headed toward the main entrance of the restaurant. The door had slid open as I stepped on the black, rubber pad, and then I walked inside. Behind a wooden desk was a waitress with a black and white floor plan of the first floor and all the tables available.

“Just for one?” She asked me, looking me over.
“Well, since no one else seems to be standing near me, I guess you could assume so…” I responded, rolling my eyes…

She then directed me toward a small table in the back of the room, and I simply waited for a waiter, doing absolutely nothing but staring at the various still-life paintings hung around the room.

And then some bearded young guy came and asked what I wanted to drink. I just decided on some Coke, and he simply left. I really had no idea what I wanted to eat here. I opened the small menu and scrolled through the various items. I picked out what I wanted, just a simple hamburger for now. But, just to pass the time, I looked through the other menu items. Some were labeled as “Atkins Friendly” and “Garden Fare” as low-fat and low carb meals. Truly silly. If someone really needed to diet, they would know better and not go out to eat in the first place…

As I was blankly staring at the pictures of pretty plates filled with all the most perfect looking food that didn’t even look close to what you really got, I suddenly heard a scream. The noise completely broke my concentration, and I looked up to see what was wrong. Then, I suddenly saw the glass of the front door shatter and suddenly bathe the floor with broken pieces of glass. Moments later a group of men wearing ski masks and dark clothing, each armed with Uzis and H&K MP5K’s had swarmed into the room, pointing their weapons at everyone.

“What the hell…?” I asked myself, looking them over.
“Nobody move!” One of the terrorists shouted, his voice muffled by the ski mask he was wearing to conceal his identity.

Why on Earth would these guys go through so much trouble and buy so many expensive guns to rob a restaurant? And then for a minute, maybe for a second they actually thought it was a real bank?

For a few seconds, they looked around and realized people were actually sitting down to eat here. They just looked at each other with odd stares and then looked back to everyone. I guess they we going to try to avoid making it look like they made a really stupid mistake…

“Where’s the cash register!?” The leader of the men shouted, pointing his machine gun around. “Someone open it now!”

And then, I saw something I don’t think I would ever forget. Some eleven year old kid stood up out of his seat, and stood in front of them. Then, one of his sidekick friends had tried to stop him, but he had walked too far away.

“Ya’ll better stop right now.” The little kid warned them, pulling out one of his Pokéballs, pressing the center button to prep the Pokéball for use, “Or you’ll be sorry!”
“What the hell?” The leader asked the eleven year old, “Are you stupid or something kid?”
“That does it!” He shouted, arching back his arm, and then tossing his Pokéball forward, “Go Swablu!”

He then threw the Pokéball forward, and after it struck the tiled floor of the restaurant, the Pokéball opened with a flash of light. Suddenly, the white light had formed into a tiny blue bird with cotton swabs for wings.

“Swab!” The Swablu cried out, looking up at the terrorist.

I sighed. If only cuteness could kill…

The terrorist had looked completely baffled at the Swablu, yet the tiny Pokémon didn’t even care he was holding a killing machine his hands. The leader of the terrorists just couldn’t believe it, and neither could I…

“Just what the hell do you think you’re doing!?” He shouted, looking at the kid with complete disbelief, “Get that big, fat, blue worthless piece of flesh out of my sight NOW! Don’t make me shoot you!”
“Sing attack, Swablu!” The little kid cried.

And then, I heard the most peaceful round of cheerful singing from an overly happy and energetic Swablu. The terrorist just looked at the singing bird, and dropped his gun which rattled as it hit the floor. His arms then fell limply at his sides, while his eyelids had begun to droop. He had stumbled, trying to grab onto something like a chair or table counter, but it didn’t go very well…

“Ughhhhhhhhh….” The terrorist moaned, looking exhausted.

They had begun to drop like flies, but then again, it was making everyone else feel exhausted as well. The sound of it was beyond peaceful and so sedating…

I could barely keep my eyes open, and suddenly I just couldn’t. I just decided to shut them for a little while, hoping I would last but that sure wasn’t the case. I then fell fast asleep myself…

When I woke up, I saw a plank of shredded wood above me, with a few metal brackets to keep it from falling. I realized I had fallen under the table. I lifted up my left arm and pulled back my sleeve to look at my silver watch. From what I saw, it was fourteen minutes past seven in the morning. I was completely in shock.

“Good God, I’ve been here all night!?” I exclaimed to myself.

Regardless, I knew that wasn’t going to set back time. I couldn’t believe I had spent the night under a table in a restaurant. And considering the time, I didn’t have one moment to waste. I couldn’t even care if I was wearing the same suit as yesterday, I had to go to work…

I crawled out from underneath the table and stood up, brushing myself off. I had looked around and no there was no sign of the terrorists, or anyone else for that matter. The whole place was completely empty, while the only thing that had changed was some police tape had been wrapped around the broken glass door. And from the look of things, I really began to wonder…

Did that kid really save the day…?

Despite that, I headed out the door and made my way toward my car. Everything seemed normal, there wasn’t a single police officer or anything. There were people walking about normally, and soon enough, I thought nothing of it. I headed for my car, and there it was. It was so freaking weird that it seemed like not a single thing happened last night, but I remembered it perfectly.

I pulled my keys out of my pocket, and stuffed the car key into the keyhole, and turned it to the right. I then pulled it out and opened the door, and headed inside. I had about forty-five minutes to get to work, which was plenty of time. For once I didn’t have to be in a rush, which was a rarity…

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Old 05-06-2004, 04:31 PM
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Default Re: Trouble in Paradise!

As I pulled out of my parking space, I tried to think of excuses just in case someone asked me about why I was wearing the same suit as yesterday. And then five minutes later, I really didn’t even care anymore.

As I drove through town, I checked my face in the rear view mirror. My chin was fine, I had shaved yesterday so I it wasn’t so bad if I didn’t get the chance to shave. My hair was a little shameful, so while I waited at a red light at an intersection, I tried to comb it with my hands. I straightened my tie, and then I was convinced I looked fine. So far everything was a-okay.

For some time, I had been driving with no one in front of me, and as I approached another intersection, the light had turned yellow, and since I believed I had enough time to stop, I pressed on the brakes and slowed down to a stop. Then, I hear a loud scream of someone slamming on their brakes, and as it got louder and louder, I turned around. Suddenly, I saw a massive, black SUV slam furiously into the back of my car, throwing my body forward and hitting the steering wheel. It hurt like hell for a moment, but then just as fast as I was thrown forward, I was thrown back, and then everything stopped. I could only imagine the amount of damage done to my car…

I put on my hazards, somewhat hoping there was actually something left of those lights in the back to actually flash anything. Then, I got out of the car, and walked around to look at the back. Boy it was bad. I sure didn’t have much of a trunk left, and the back window had been blasted apart. But, to my pleasure, his fat SUV was spewing gray smoke from the radiator that had been crushed. Honestly, his car appeared to be in far worse condition, which made me somewhat happy, along with knowing that he was going to have to pay for the damage because he smacked me in the back.

Then, I saw the driver himself get out of his SUV. Good God, what a pig. I had seen what appeared to be a 400 pound man squirm his way out of his car, and he was dressed like a slob. He was wearing a large t-shirt but his gut stuck out from underneath. Meanwhile, he had legs the width of tree trunks. He looked at me, took off his ugly, tasteless shades and had put his hands at his sides, with a look on his face telling me it was all my fault.

“What the hell were ya doin’?” The fat monster grunted, “Ya could of kept going through the light, why the hell did ya stop?”
“Because that’s what you’re supposed to do, you stupid idiot!” I shouted at him, looking at the damage done to my car, “What the hell were you thinking? Just how fast were you going down the road?”
“I don’t remember!” He whined, finding that as his only excuse.

Stupid, fat idiot. I was annoyed and now people were stopping to look around. People turned their heads just to see how much damage had really been done, and when they saw it, they looked at it like it was more exciting than a freaking fireworks display…

I pulled out my Verizon cell phone and flipped it open. All I had to do was call for a tow truck, and everything would be fine. I had looked at the fallen license plate that came off the guy’s SUV, and it was a sight I would never forget. On the dented plate, it read “PH3RME,” a two-year-old’s way of spelling “Fear me.” I could have laughed but I didn’t for obvious reasons…

Then, just before I even pressed a single button on the phone, I heard a loud, disturbing snort.

“Mind if I use that?” The fat freak asked me.
“Yes.” I responded, “Yes, I do mind very much.”

He seemed to smile, and then he tried reaching out for my phone. I really felt like smacking him but I didn’t. He then pulled back his hand and looked at me like a retard.

“I thought you said I could use it.” He whined again.
“Go to hell.” I responded bitterly.

I then turned back to my phone, and looked in the index. I must have gone through fifty entries of friends and family before I came to the essentials. I then found the number I was looking for, and I pressed “Send.” Seconds later, I heard a tone several times, and then someone picked up.

“AJ’s Towing Service, can I help you?” The guy on the other line asked.
“Yeah, some circus clown just slammed into the back of my car.” I told him, looking at the slob from the corner of my eye, “I need a tow truck, we’re at the intersection of Frigate and Greenbrooke Avenue.”
“Yeah, I know just the place.” He responded, “I’ll send someone to get you.”

I then hung up and put my cell phone away. Then he sniffled.

“Now can I use it?” He persisted.
“No, get your own damn phone.” I responded to him, frustrated at his persistence.

Moments later, I had the happy privilege of exchanging addresses, names, car types and everything else I needed to make sure this miserable excuse for a human didn’t just go walking off without paying for the incredible damage he had done. Then, after we were done with that, all we could do was just wait around. I just watched the people around me carelessly go about their way, turning their heads every so often to see the delightful display of destruction. I couldn’t stand that about people.

I had checked my watch, and suddenly all the extra time I used to have just magically disappeared. If the guy came soon, I might have enough time to take the train or a bus, but it was a little doubtful. After it took longer and longer, I decided to call the office and tell them I wouldn’t be able to show up for the meeting because of this completely lousy car accident. The secretary asked if I was alright, and I told her I was fine. She then asked if I was going to be out all day, but I told her I would try and get back over there as soon as possible, but that it might take some time. She replied with a sarcastic “Uh huh” and hung up the phone. Man, leave it to Brooks to hire such a caring, compassionate secretary…

“Man, why the hell did he have to stop…?” The fat man grumbled.

I couldn’t believe he was actually blaming the whole thing on me. Regardless, he was going to have to pay. Just the thought of his insurance premium going skyrocket was enough to make me grin a little.

Moments later, a tow truck had arrived, and after nearly a half an hour of hooking the car up with a cord and a pull cable, my car was on the flatbed of the truck while the fat guy’s car was being pulled from behind. I couldn’t believe how long it took to hoist those cars up there. Now I was really out of time. I had checked my watch again, and in the meantime, that fat freak had made his way to the truck and sat in the front seat, leaving me alone on the street. I had approached the driver, not very too pleased about the situation.

“Excuse me, but I was the one who called, not him.” I told the driver, referring to the fat guy who was sitting the front.
“Sorry man.” The driver replied, “Look, your car will be in the lot, nothing to worry about. Just come by later to pick it up.”

And just like that, he rolled up his window, and he took off, leaving me completely without a way of getting to work. It was about another three miles to the office building, and it was a heck of a lot to walk. Regardless, I felt I needed the fresh air anyway. So I began walking my head off. I must have walked fifteen blocks before I was beyond exhausted. By now the traffic had died down pretty much, and so I kept on walking. That was until, something else happened…

Someone had shouted behind me, and I quickly turned around. I could see it was a tan-skinned guy wearing a backwards baseball cap. He was dressed in a dark t-shirt and jeans, and then my eye caught something else. He was holding a knife…

“I know you’ve got a wallet.” He said in a dark tone of voice, gripping his knife hard, “And I’d like to see it… before anyone gets hurt…”

Great, first I get in a car accident and now this crap. I couldn’t believe my day had already been filled to the brink with havoc. I dug into my pocket to try and find my black leather wallet. I couldn’t wait to have to cancel all those credit cards…

I handed it to him, and he took it, and opened it up, still holding onto his knife. Meanwhile, I just stood there.

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Old 05-06-2004, 04:32 PM
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“This is it!?” He exclaimed in complete shock, “Five dollars!? You’ve gotta be kiddin’ me…”
“That’s all.” I told him, shrugging a bit, “Usually just enough for lunch…”
“You’d better have something else, because this sure ain’t good enough for me.” He warned me, holding his knife with a tighter grip.

I didn’t know what else he wanted. Then, he came up something else.

“I bet you have car keys.” He told me, looking into my eyes, “I want to see them…”
“I bet you want my Pokémon after that as well…” I looked at him, growing a bit angry myself.
“No, I have no use for them.” He replied looking off to the side, “I just want your car keys…”

Great, this was getting better and better every passing moment. If he were to see the car these keys actually went to, he’d probably not even want them after that. Regardless, I grabbed my car keys out of my pocket, and then I had thought of something clever, something I could do to get out of this crappy mess. I casually tossed them onto the concrete sidewalk, just a foot and a half away from his foot.

“Heh.” He said as he bent over to pick them up.
“Heh.” I said as I bent back my foot.

I then kicked him in the crotch as forcefully as I could, just before he touched the keys. He let out a hideous grunt as the penny loafer I wore slammed right into him, and he let out a blast of spit in the process.

“Uhnnn…” He moaned from the pain.

I then kicked him again in the shin, and he stepped back. I then quickly picked up my keys and started running the same direction I had been walking. I got a very good head start until he started chasing me down the block. The sound of his sneakers scraping against the concrete sidewalk was loud and harsh, and I could tell he was furious.

“I swear I’m going to kill you!” I heard him shout in rage.

I then began running down the sidewalk like a maniac, but he was doing just the same. It was amazing no one was watching us, but still, I ran and I ran until I found an alleyway on my right to sneak into. I then quickly ran into it, hoping to lose him somewhere along the line. It was a tight area, with brick buildings on both my sides, with trashcans in various locations and papers, cans, and other trash was scattered about everywhere. Then, I had to choose again, left or right. I chose left, and continued running further. I took another right and kept going for a very long time down a narrow alleyway. I turned around and I didn’t see him, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t still on my tail, though there was a good chance I lost him.

I continued running up ahead and I saw what appeared to be some sort of block party. It looked like they were using a parking lot for it, and there was music, people dancing, a stage and a whole lot of tropical flowers sitting around for some odd reason. Regardless, if I hadn’t lost the mugger already, I might have a good chance of losing him in the crowd. So, I kept running and soon I stepped out of the alleyway.

“Well Aloha!” I heard someone cheerfully greet me, “It’s about time you showed up!”

I was nearly freaked out of my skin, until I turned to see who it was. Then, I saw a woman with black hair wearing a grass skirt and plenty of flowers around her head and her waist. She had a nice, gentile face, though she seemed overly excited about nothing.

“Welcome to our fifth annual flower festival!” She cheered happily, taking my hand, “Come on, we’ll get you changed.”
“Changed?” I asked, looking around and seeing there was nothing wrong with the way I was dressed, “Changed for what exactly?”

She said nothing, and she kept pulling me toward a trailer that had been driven in. I felt like a total idiot being pulled around by this woman who I had no idea who she was. We rushed over to trailer like a bat out of hell and then she quickly opened the door and we stepped inside. Man, at the rate things were going, I thought she was going to mug me too.

We entered, and I took a look around. It honestly seemed like a giant closet, full of boxes and storage cabinets. There was one other female who looked very similar to the one who had dragged me in here to begin with. I couldn’t take one guess in the world as to why she had brought me here...

“Come on, take off your suit.” She told me, acting like this total freakish nonsense was perfectly normal, “They’re waiting already.”
“I think you got it all mixed up.” I told them casually, almost laughing, “I work with Brooks Advertising Agency, and I’m already late to work. Now if you would excuse me…”

But then, she stood up, and approached me. Then she saw my cell phone, and she quickly snagged it right off my belt, flipped it open, and began pressing a whole bunch of buttons. I could only sit there, completely dumbfounded and she played around with my cell phone. Then, after pressing one more button, she looked at the screen for a while and then she held it to her ear.

“Yes, this is Carla, and I’m here to tell you one of your employees is going to be out today!” She said, very happily for some reason.

Then, she turned to me with a smile, and looked me right in the eye.

“What’s your name again?” She asked me, feeling me feel entrapment.
“Joe…” I responded, feeling uneasy.

Then, she turned back to the phone. I couldn’t believe this was happening. I bet Brooks was going to think I had been kidnapped or something…

“Someone by the name of Joe.” Carla continued, speaking casually into the cell phone, “Yeah, that’s right. Just to let you know, he’s taking the day off, and if you want someone to blame, you can blame me, I don’t care. Okay? That’s great! Thank you! Buh bye!”

She then closed the phone, and I was quite freaked out. She then tossed the phone aside and then turned to me. By now I expected her patience to be completely gone, but that assumption wasn’t even close. I felt like getting out of there but for some reason I just couldn’t get the willpower to do it. If she was crazy enough to pull me in here, I didn’t want to see what else she was capable of…

“Okay, now that we’ve settled that little matter, let’s get you changed.” Carla told me, wanting me to stand up.
“Changed?” I asked, still wondering what these two lunatics wanted me to do, “What the hell do you want me to change into?”
“It’s for the festival, silly!” Carla laughed, looking at me like I had lost my mind, “You’re going to be our lead dancer!”

Good God. I wasn’t that much of a dancer, the only thing I had danced to was some trance techno music down at the Crimson Prism Nightclub I belonged to, just to get the work crap off of my mind. But then again, there were some people who thought I was pretty good at it. Maybe it was just my own perception…

“Okay, fine.” I responded, not seeing much of a solution or escape here, “I’ll be your dancer, if that’s what you want. Just tell me what you want me to dress as, and I’ll do it.”
“That’s great to hear!” Carla shouted with excitement, reaching for the closet.

Well, at least by now I had long lost that mugger. Then, it seemed like the other girl who was in the back had approached me. She wore somewhat of an amused smile. She was shorter than the other girl, but from what I could tell, they appeared to be sisters…

“My name’s Karen.” She told me, seeming pretty happy, “And I’d have to say, for a guy, you must be pretty damn brave to do this.”
“Eh heh.” I replied, not liking the sound of that at all, “And why is that?”
“Well,” Karen explained, using plenty of hand motions, “First off, there was supposed to be another woman who was going to be the lead dancer, but she never showed up for some reason. So, Carla decided to just pick the next person who showed up to the festival, and make it look like you were the one who was supposed to be the dancer.”

Oh goodie. I swear, Lady Luck must have really worked up a nice, juicy wad of spit to launch in my face. Again, for the fourth time in twenty four hours, I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The guys at the office were never going to believe it. But like hell I was going to tell them about… this…

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Old 05-06-2004, 04:32 PM
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“Why didn’t she just pick someone from the audience?” I asked, seeing that as the most logical thing to do.
“Well, then they would have realized something went wrong.” Karen told me, obviously trying to keep things quiet, “Don’t worry, no one will know who you really are.”

I felt a deep feeling in my stomach. I knew something was going to be way wrong about this, I just had a feeling about it. Normally, on any given day, with any logical thought I would have been out of there in a flash, but I just couldn’t. Then, I decided to pop the question. I thought that maybe I was taking this too seriously, and maybe it wasn’t so bad after all. Even though I had spent last night sleeping on the floor like a bum and having the back of my car smashed to pieces, this couldn’t be so bad…

“Look, just what exactly do you want me to dress up as?” I asked, looking into Karen’s face.
“The person who was supposed to be here was a woman by the name of Andrea Frances.” Karen told me, looking off to the side with hesitation, “She owns two Bellossom, one goes by the name of Joanna and the other is named Jubilee. Since she dances with the two them… she likes to dress up as a Bellossom herself.”
That’s what you want me to dress up as!?” I shouted, totally freaked out.

I could have spent the rest of the day cursing my head off after hearing that. I couldn’t believe it. I was going to change out of this highly professional business suit into a Bellossom costume and throw away every ounce of pride I had left. Somebody up there truly hated my guts, and was probably laughing their head off right now. It was enough to make me go postal if I had the firearms to do so.

“Look,” Karen told me, seeing I was tense, “It takes about an hour and a half to get you changed. The festival really only just began a half hour ago, so there’s still plenty of time. Will you please do it? For me?”
“Fine.” I replied, feeling a bit sick, “But for heaven’s sake, don’t ever ask me to do this ever again. I mean it.”
“Thank you!” Karen said cheerfully, “You’re such a great guy. This means a lot to us.”

I’m sure it does. And to think just yesterday I was complaining about the heat in the office. At least it was Friday, and I would have the weekend to recuperate from this… torture. As far as I saw it, I just wanted to do this and get it over with. It seemed like nothing else was going to satisfy the demands of Carla and Karen…

So, I took of my suit and tie, and threw them aside. Then, Karen looked at me.

“How old are you?” She asked me, feeling more curious.
“Twenty-three.” I responded, “Why do you ask?”
“Just wondering.” She replied, looking off to the side, “Andrea is actually much older than you.”

Good for her. I don’t see what this had to do with anything. But then I got to wondering just how much older she was. And then I got to thinking. Man, if only she had come, I never would have been in this mess. But then again, if she had been doing this for four years already…

Maybe I would have gotten sick of it myself…

“So what comes first?” I asked Karen, still feeling odd about it.
“We have to shave your hair.” Karen responded, looking away, “That’s the only way. It’ll be quick, I promise you. It’s just that… Bellossom doesn’t have any hair, and neither should you…”

Fantastic. Now everyone at the office was going to suspect something. Even by Monday morning, it still wasn’t going to all grow back. But then, I thought of using the military as an excuse. Yes, that might work. Hopefully… Oh, who the hell was I kidding?

So, for the next half hour, every single hair on my body was shaved off. I kept asking why, but then they gave me some annoying excuses. Then, once that was all done, I was standing there with only my boxers on. Then, I looked at Karen as he brought out a can a light green face-paint. This just kept getting better and better.

“There, the worst is over with.” Karen replied, feeling somewhat comfortable now, “But, now we need to color your skin green. This probably takes the longest.”

And as I still stood there, I still couldn’t believe I was getting myself into this. Regardless, I was going to have to face the reality that I was…

For better or for worse…

And it did take forever. Karen wanted it to look completely perfect, with every inch of my body colored a light green. She worked quickly, but even then it still took a long time. Around the face was probably the most annoying part, but still, she refused to show me a mirror until it was completely done. As she did my back, I tried rubbing it off just to test. It didn’t come off whatsoever. I could only pray that when this humiliating experience was over, it would at least come off in the shower. And if it didn’t, I didn’t know what the hell do to. There wasn’t a chance I would go into the office on Monday with green skin.

She did my back, my chest, everything, even my lips. And then my legs were covered, which I couldn’t understand, since they were going to be shrouded by that green and yellow petal dress anyway. Still, I couldn’t grab the will to say anything. There was far more than that on my mind at the moment. I was more concerned about how I was going to look after all this. Then, after a very long and daunting experience, she looked me over several times, and was convinced I was done. Then, she got the pink face-paint and put of dab on it on each of my cheeks. I was at a lack for words…

Then, she got the dress, probably the most embarrassing part. From a distance, it looked quite realistic, but I didn’t have any time at all to say anything before she strung it around me, right above the waist. She then very tightly secured it, and hid the band that was used. I looked down and all around me. God, what a sight. I couldn’t put my arms down without touching the gigantic dress. I wouldn’t be caught dead at the office looking like this. Or at home in front of my family. They would never forgive and forget about it. At least they weren’t here, of all things to be optimistic about.

Then, I thought I had heard Karen and Carla giggling at one moment, but they were being very secretive about it. I certainly hoped this wasn’t a trick, or I would be screamingly furious.

Then, Karen got the two red and yellow flowers that were supposed to go on each side of my head. She then approached me, and they were actually almost glued on to definitely make sure they didn’t fall off my accident, and they covered the sides of my head in the process. They were actually quite big for flowers, but I wasn’t going to say anything. I had gone well past the point of no return already…

After she put both of them on, she stepped away, and burst out giggling. I knew it. I knew she was going to do something like that.

“What the hell is so funny?” I asked, but then moments later, I couldn’t help but laugh myself. I already knew, why the hell was I asking?
“You look so cute.” She responded, still giggling up a storm, “Andrea never looks half as good as you do. You really should come back next year.”
“What did I say before?” I asked, still trying to hold back the laughter, “I said no, remember? This is the first and last time I’ve ever going to do something stupid like this.”

But Karen seemed a little discouraged. Still, there wasn’t a chance I was going to do this again. Once was… certainly bad enough…

“Aw.” Karen remarked with disappointment, “It’s not stupid. Andrea says it’s actually a lot of fun, so enjoy it.”

Yeah, maybe it’s fun for her, but for me it’s a complete pain in the butt. Then, Karen showed me a mirror, and I was so hesitant to look into it. She then handed it to me, and I held it and slowly looked at myself. I nearly dropped the mirror.

“Holy crap.” I exclaimed, looking at myself, “God, what the hell did you do to me?”

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Old 05-06-2004, 04:48 PM
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And she began laughing again. And then I couldn’t help but laugh myself. As bad as it was, I’d have to admit she did a very nice job, though I could think of fifty other Pokémon I’d rather dress up as, rather than Bellossom.

“See…?” Karen laughed, having trouble talking, “You look great.”
“Wrong place, wrong time.” I told her, still feeling embarrassed, “I was running away from a mugger, and I land myself into something even worse.”
“Aw, don’t say that.” Karen replied, trying to cheer me up, “You should be happy. I’m sure there are plenty of people who would want to try what you’re doing.”

But they sure as hell wouldn’t be men. I set the mirror down, and decided to just deal with it. Hopefully this would be over soon.

“Okay.” Carla said, ready to wheel out a stereo speaker system, “It’s almost time.”

And then, just as she wheeled it on the floor, I heard something that sounded like a crunch. I looked down, and saw three cases of CD’s, completely crushed under the wheel. All three CD’s had been broken into pieces. Carla and Karen had looked down and were nearly horrified.

“That isn’t…” Karen asked, looking down.
“Oh shoot!” Carla exclaimed, “I told Damien not to leave them on the floor! Now what the hell are we going to do?”

I could tell those were the music CD’s they were going to use. Only now, we probably had nothing…

“Those are the only music CD’s you have left?” I asked, probably assuming they were.
“Yeah…” Karen remarked, losing all of her happiness, “We have nothing to play now.”

I tried to think about it. I knew broken CD’s were clearly impossible to fix. Then, I blurted out something I knew I shouldn’t have even mentioned. I could only guess it was because I was on such a winning streak of losing my mind already…

“I have some trance techno CD’s in my car.” I told them both.
“Really!?” Karen asked with excitement, “Where’s your car?”
“I got into a car accident, so it had to be towed to a lot.” I told Karen, suddenly feeling unsure about this, “It’s at AJ’s…”

Big, stupid, mistake. What, did I really think I was going to go to my trashed up car, running through the streets dressed like this!? No. There was no freaking way I could even grab the insanity to do something like that. Just what the hell was I saying?

“Oh please!” Karen requested urgently and desperately, “We need any kind of dance music you can get your hands on. Really, we need anything. Could you go get it… for us? Please?”
“Okay.” I replied automatically.

Oh God. Wait, did I really mean that? No, AJ’s was about ten blocks away. I must have been losing my mind if I thought I could stroll up and down the streets of Honolulu dressed like this. And even more importantly, did I really want to dance to that kind of music that I played in my car? Eek, I didn’t know what to think.

But, I said I would do it, even though I wasn’t a 100% sure I meant it. It was going to be hell to pay, much more than I could imagine.

“Thank you so much!” Karen exclaimed happily as I walked out the door of the trailer.

Then, I left, and tried to keep out of sight as much as humanly possible. I headed for the dark alley I had used before, and quickly stepped inside before anyone saw me. God, how on Earth did I even get myself into this hideous mess?

I had retraced my steps, and suddenly, I came across another surprise. It was the same mugger who had hunted me down eariler. And then, I nearly vomited as he saw me. He just looked at me and smiled.

“Well, aren’t you pretty…” He said, nearly laughing.


I punched that sucker as hard as I could in the face, and he dropped like a rock. I then realized he was still holding onto my wallet, so I picked it up and quickly realized I didn’t really have a pocket to put it into. Again, it was another thing for me to carry around as I began this outstanding crusade of insanity and humiliation…

Then, I managed to reach the streets, and this is where it really began. Cars and people were everywhere, and it was only making things worse. Ten blocks. God, how was I ever going to do it…? Then, I grabbed my breath, and ran like hell. I knew where AJ’s was, finding the lot wasn’t the problem. It was… getting there…

I turned heads and people looked at me like I was on fire. I just kept running and running like a constipated wiener dog. Eight blocks to go. Some people really didn’t care while others really wondered what the hell was going on. If I had to stop, I just told them to join the flower festival, and that I was dressed for a party. Some of them believed me, others believed… I was insane, which actually wasn’t too far off from the truth.

Five blocks to go. And to think I was doing this just for a couple of burned CD’s I had in my car. Four to go and the embarrassment wasn’t getting any better, but at least I was getting used to it. Then, after some time, I had arrived in AJ’s parking lot. It didn’t take long for me to recognize my horribly trashed car. For some reason, it looked even worse than before.

And then, I realized, I stupidly forgot the car keys. Quickly, I grabbed the smashed trunk, and it opened since the lock had been completely smashed. Then, the truck lid fell off, which wasn’t much of a surprise. Regardless, that was certainly the least of my concerns. The very least…

I had kept a pair of keys in my truck, just in case I locked them in the car. I searched for the keys, found them, and headed for the door. Thank God it unlocked. I threw open the door and reached for the glove compartment. There they were. I grabbed all three CD cases and got out of the car. After I threw my wallet in, locked the door and shut it.

My goodness that light green paint Karen had put on me was good. It wasn’t rubbing off on anything, not on the soft car seat and not on the door, which was making me slightly scared. Just how was it going to rub off when I got home…?

Then, I looked back, and saw the same distance I just ran. I was going to have to go back, I certainly couldn’t drive away this smashed car since it would be illegal. Ho boy…

This time it was even worse, since by now I was tired. About five blocks down, I couldn’t run anymore, since I was just exhausted. I just decided to become a walking advertisement for the stupid flower festival. And then, after a slow and horrific walk down ten blocks back, I had arrived back at the alleyway, and I slowly walked back to the trainer. I was already tired, I had hadn’t even begun dancing yet. Oh yeah, I couldn’t believe what Karen had told me that she bet there would be a lot of people who would rather be me. Yeah right…

Regardless, I had survived, but just barely. I felt like a total freakin’ idiot doing that. I swear, never again would I ever do something that insane. I headed back to the trainer, and stepped inside.

“Ah, you’re back!” Karen exclaimed with joy, “For a minute we thought you had run away, but I’m glad you wouldn’t do a thing like that.”

But I sure was tempted to. Now that two hundred other people already thought I was a psycho, why not make two hundred more believe the same thing? Then, it would be truly over with. Once this dancing had been done, I would never have to think about this thing again. Of course that was until I got home, which I could already predict was going to be another adventure in itself since my car was totaled…

“Maybe it’s about time you met Jubilee and Joanna.” Karen told me, as she handed me two Pokéballs.

I honestly thought they would be with Andrea, but I guess not. Well, it was going to have to be sometime, so I just decided to let them out. Both Pokéballs had opened with a blast of light, and when the light died down, I laid eyes on Andrea’s Bellossom.

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Old 05-06-2004, 04:49 PM
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“Bella!” Joanna shouted gleefully, looking up to me.
“Aw, how adorable.” Karen replied, looking at the three of us with a smile on her face, “You’re going to have so much fun today!”

Oh shut up. Oh yeah, today had already been a blast and a half with all the crap I got myself into. But hell, who was I kidding? With all the random crap I had already faced today, well how much worse could it get? Hey, by now dancing to my own crazy techno music with two Bellossom while dressed as one in front of two hundred people honestly didn’t seem so bad after all.

Well, it sure as hell wasn’t long before they got everything prepared. I couldn’t believe I would be dancing for two hours, but I guess after the first twenty minutes were over, it really couldn’t get any worse after that. So, after they gave my CDs to Damien the DJ and they got the stage ready, I was all set to lose my mind.

So, I got on the stage with Joanna on my right and Jubilee on my left. Then, we waited on Damien, and then blasted on the first song on my CD, one that started off slow and began to build and explode later on. I could already tell Joanna and Jubilee hadn’t danced to this kind of music very often, but it eventually caught on. And there were people dancing along with us, only they weren’t half as insane as were we. I spun around, jumped in the air a few times, and Joanna and Jubilee followed my every move. It was almost funny. Whoever had trained them to do that had done a pretty nice job…

The next song came on, and we were at it again. After running twenty blocks, I wasn’t exactly peppy to start dancing furiously. Still, Joanna and Jubilee keep looking at me like this was nothing, and we should be doing more. I thought I was doing enough already, but then I remembered that wasn’t the case…

Then, I remembered what they like to do. Flips. But the best I had ever done was off a diving board and into water. Solid ground was a whole another story. But, if we continued at our sleepy rate, we weren’t going to last. So, what else could I have done? I tried to visualize doing a back flip off a diving board. So I squatted down, threw my arms behind me, and shut my eyes. I didn’t even want to see everything swirl out of control. Then, I pushed back as hard as I could, and I felt everything around me twist as I turned my arms in a circular motion, and then I opened my eyes. I had landed on the tips of my feet, and people were applauding. I stumbled just a tiny bit, but it was nothing. But Joanna and Jubilee had no problem doing that. They followed me and the crowd continued to applaud. Wow, I could have just killed myself doing that…

So, we danced a little more, and I did another outrageous back flip. God, this was hard. I was ready to drop from the exhaustion, but then, everything completely came to a hideous stop. I had actually gotten used to this, and now something else had to ruin everything…

“What is the meaning of this!?” I heard a loud woman shout.

Everyone stopped, and looked to where the shout had come from. Damien stopped the music, and I had laid eyes on the weirdest looking woman ever. She was… bald… She was pretty short, and she was wearing an ugly pea green sweater, even in this outrageous heat! She had on an ugly looking dress, and wore a very aggressive expression. If this was who I thought it was… then I was in big trouble…

Then, I saw Karen and Carla run out of the trainer, and they had anxiety all over their faces. Damien too looked like he was ready to drop. I saw him put his hand on his forehead, with his long, blonde hair covering it. Meanwhile, his other hand tugged at his white and blue t-shirt in anxiety. He looked quite sick…

“Where were you, Andrea!?” Karen shouted out, looking at the hideous woman, “We spent forever waiting, we just couldn’t wait any longer!”

I almost felt like singing “Uh oh, we’re in trouble now,” because it certainly would have been very fitting for this Kodak moment. As if it all couldn’t get even worse, it just did, at least five times over.

“I thought it started at four!” Andrea hissed, very ticked off, “And tell me who’s this maniac who’s dancing with my Bellossom!?”
“His name’s Joe.” Carla replied, feeling very bashful, “We had to call in a substitute for you, since you didn’t show up.”

Poor Carla. She didn’t deserve this, as wacky and insane as she was. I couldn’t believe how one ticked off woman could crash this entire party. Carla and Karen didn’t deserve any of this nonsense. My day had already been a mess and if this hideous woman with her almond face was going to make everything worse, there was no chance I was going to tolerate it. I stepped off the stage and approached Andrea, making fierce and direct eye contact.

“You bloody maniac!” Andrea screamed at me, looking like me like I was a murderer, “What the bloody hell did…”
“Oh just shut up.” I interrupted her, tired of this nonsense, “What the hell did you expect them to do, just sit around and keep everyone waiting?”

Then, Andrea just looked at me, with a very odd look in her dark colored eyes. She looked at me the way a cow looks at an oncoming train.

“You’re a man?” She asked, very shocked, “Funny, I never would have expected a man to steal my position and dress up like a Bellossom and dance in front of hundreds of people. I thought it would be the last thing a male would ever do!”

No, that wasn’t very far off from the truth. Technically, by choice, I never would have done this. After walking around barefoot all across Honolulu dressed like this, I guess I could have done anything, never to feel shame again.

Then, Andrea turned toward Jubilee and Joanna. She still was very annoyed at everything that just happened.

“What were you doing dancing with him!?” Andrea snapped angrily, “You don’t even know him! Get over here this instant!”

Every ounce of happiness that Jubilee and Joanna had was instantly stripped away and cast into a burning pit of destruction. I felt awful for them, since it was really me who should have been blamed for all this. Still, as I saw them slowly and painfully advance toward Andrea, I never saw a Bellossom so depressed before…

“Don’t give me that!” Andrea shouted angrily, “You don’t know how upset I am about this! You know what you were doing was wrong!”
“Stop this nonsense now, if you don’t want to have to deal with me.” I said in a low, angry tone to Andrea.

She then looked at me, and grew even more furious. She was shaking her little gnarled fist in anger. Man, I’d really hate to see what she looked like dressed up as a Bellossom. No wonder Karen and Carla were so beyond happy to finally get a replacement…

“What were you trying to do, steal my career?” Andrea questioned me with an attitude similar to an angry Ursaring’s, “I don’t care if you can do back flips, I’m still the owner of these two Bellossom and I should have been the one dancing up there with them!”
“Well then I really do pity them…” I spoke my mind when I shouldn’t have.

”What did you say!?”

Hazah, I’m dead. I couldn’t believe I just said that, but then as I thought over it for half a second, maybe it was the right thing to say after all.

“I was told by Carla that they needed someone to replace their lead dancer, and that she asked me to do it.” I told Andrea, telling her the whole story, “So she asked if I could be the one. If you didn’t want something like this to happen, why didn’t you get your butt down here when you should have!?”

She was silent, in a really kind of scary way. She became red with anger, but even her ugly red face couldn’t scare me. I almost felt like just smacking her, just like what I had done to the mugger. I was getting so sick of this.

“How dare you!!” Andrea screamed furiously, “Fine, if you think you’re so much better than me, let’s have a battle, to see who should really be the one dancing up there!”
“Fine, you’re on!” I shouted at her.

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Old 05-06-2004, 04:50 PM
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But then I thought, did I really want to defend my position? If I won, I could already see myself coming back next year, to do this all over again. But then as I thought of it, it was certainly better than seeing her do it, though I couldn’t imagine what she looked like… dancing up there…

Then, Carla had gone back and fetched my belt with my Pokéballs. Once she got them and headed back out, she tossed them to me and I caught it. I then wrapped it just above the green and yellow petal dress that I was wearing. If Andrea wanted war, then she was going to have it.

“Once I tear your Pokémon to ribbons, I never want to see your face again.” Andrea warned me, “You’ve made a fool of me long enough.”

Man, at first I never imagined the owner of Joanna and Jubilee to be such a witch. I wasn’t going to hold back anything either. I had seen most of the audience had left, which was a real shame. It was really pathetic it all had to end because of her… even if it was a bit humiliating.

“Two on two.” Andrea told me, grabbing two of her Pokéballs, “But let me tell you this. You will suffer, and you will lose.”
“If I were you, I wouldn’t bank on that.” I responded, grabbing two of my own Pokéballs.

Then, she sent both her Pokéballs forward. She seemed so overly confident that it was disgusting…

“Go, Combusken and Bayleef!” Andrea cried, just before the two Pokéballs struck the ground.

The light from Andrea’s Pokéballs had formed into a vigorous Combusken and a steadfast, determined Bayleef.

“Combusken!” Andrea’s Combusken cried as he readied his claws and his feet, glaring at me with menacing eyes.
“Bay! Bay!” The Bayleef shouted as it crouched down on all fours, ready to fight.

Army in my hands, I threw my two Pokéballs forward, ready to dish out serious pain. This was going to be one heck of a battle…

“Go, Pikachu and Vulpix!” I shouted, as my glossy Pokéballs flew through the air and struck the asphalt.

The Pokéballs had opened, and the light that had emerged from them had formed into my Pikachu and my Vulpix. Thank goodness they were faithful to my cause.

“Pika!” My Pikachu called out, looking to see who his adversaries were.
“Vulpix!” My Vulpix shouted, giving her oppressors a glare.

Then, I heard Andrea snicker. This woman had really begun to cramp my style.

“This is going to be over with so fast it’s going to hurt!” Andrea laughed, tightening her hand to a fist, “Bayleef, tear the stuffing out of that Pikachu with your Razor Leaf! Combusken, attack Vulpix with your Aerial Ace attack!”

Man, she was on a rampage. Bayleef swung her head in a circular motion, and moments later a swarm of vicious razor-sharp leaves flew like knifes toward my Pikachu.

“Pika!!!” Pikachu cried, shielding his eyes from the cutting leaves.

When the leaves were gone, he was covered by many tiny cuts. Meanwhile, Combusken blasted toward Vulpix at tremendous speed, and in a flash, all I heard was a vicious slash. Vulpix had been hit, but it wasn’t too bad.

“You’re pathetic!” Andrea sneered, pointing her finger at me, “I’ll have you out of here in no time!”
“Andrea…” I told her, looking into her eyes.
“What do you want?” She barked back at me.
“Up yours.” I talked back to her.

I then turned toward Pikachu, who was thirsty for revenge. And by no coincidence, so was I. But blatantly attacking wasn’t my strategy. I had something else in mind.

“Pikachu, use your Thunder Wave attack against Combusken!” I commanded him, “And Vulpix, use your Confuse Ray against Bayleef!”

Pikachu clenched his fists, shut his eyes, and soon enough, a white pulsing lightning had begun to flare from his red cheeks. He sent the pulsing wave of lightning toward Combusken, and Combusken was struck from head to toe with paralysis. Then, Vulpix focused on Bayleef, and she sent her two front paws into the asphalt. Then, everything around her had gone dark while the only light came from her. Then, that same pulsing light had blasted down upon Bayleef, leaving the grass Pokémon with no chance to escape the effects of the Confuse Ray. Soon after, the light and the darkness had faded to normal, and Bayleef was left without a clue as to what the hell she was doing.

“I hate you!” Andrea shouted, now getting even angrier, “You’re nothing less than a thief!”
“Yeah right.” I replied, knowing that certainly wasn’t my fault, “You asked for this.”

Still, I knew she wasn’t going to give up. She kept right on going, like an insane and demented Energizer bunny.

“Combusken, attack Pikachu using your Flamethrower!” Andrea screamed, “Bayleef, attack Vulpix with your Body Slam!”

Holy cow. I’ve never seen anyone get so mad during a battle. She was out of control…

Bayleef had attempted to go after Vulpix, but her coordination was so off she ended up blasting into a lamppost instead, knocking the whole thing down and blasting the light at the end into shards, scattering glass on the black asphalt. Meanwhile, Combusken was somehow able to fight off the paralysis, and let loose a red hot pillar of flames toward Pikachu. For a brief instant, Pikachu was smothered with fire, but when it was over, he shook of the pain and kept going. He was hurt, but not very badly.

Then, I had Vulpix and Pikachu switch tasks, where Pikachu attacked Bayleef with Thunder Wave and Vulpix attacked Combusken with Confuse Ray. The result was nothing less than having both Combusken and Bayleef inflicted with paralysis and confusion, a very deadly combination to have. And it certainly wasn’t making Andrea very bright and cheery…

“No!” Andrea screamed with outrageous fury, “Damn it! Combusken, attack that blasted Pikachu with your Sky Uppercut! Bayleef, attack Vulpix with your Body Slam!”

And I nearly laughed my head off when I saw Combusken so berserk that it punched the bottom of his own chin, sending his head backward painfully and throwing him right off his feet and landing him on his back against the hard asphalt. I hadn’t even attacked Combusken yet it he was already doing most of the damage himself. Meanwhile, Bayleef wasn’t able to move, with her eyes tightly shut and her body quivering in pain, unable to move an inch. Andrea’s face was so red I thought it was going to pop.

“Erraaggg!” Andrea screamed in hideous irritation.
“Pikachu, attack Combusken with your Thunderbolt attack!” I commanded Pikachu, knowing I was in the lead, “Vulpix, attack Bayleef with your Flamethrower!”

Pikachu’s red cheeks flared again with bright electricity, and then a massive, slashing bolt of thunder blasted toward Combusken, striking him on the forehead and sending a massive amount of electricity blasting through his body. Combusken quivered in pain, just barely able to hang on. Meanwhile, Vulpix had thrust her front paws forward into the asphalt to hold back the recoil, and she took a deep breath. Then, she exhaled a massive rush of flames toward Bayleef, who could do nothing but just watch the oncoming doom.

“Bay!!” Andrea’s Bayleef screamed as it was smothered with flames, struggling to remove herself from the blast.

When the fire subsided, Bayleef shook her head to put out the fire that was on the leaves around her neck. She was pretty badly injured, but she still had a whole lot of willpower.

“You are going down, right now!” Andrea shouted angrily, “Combusken, attack Vulpix with your Sky Uppercut! Bayleef, you also attack Vulpix with your Body Slam!”

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Old 05-06-2004, 04:51 PM
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Default Re: Trouble in Paradise!

Then, I saw Combusken able to pull away from his confusion, and then he flew toward Vulpix like a rocket, striking the fox Pokémon with a vicious punch. Vulpix flipped over twice before landing on her stomach, with all of her legs spread out. Still, she got right back up, still willing to go on. Meanwhile, Bayleef had headed toward Vulpix, but just before she attacked her, Bayleef had blasted toward the hard asphalt with a furious attack, hurting no one but herself. After she struck the ground furiously hard with her head, she stumbled a bit, and collapsed toward the ground. Andrea couldn’t believe her eyes.

“No, come on Bayleef, you can get up!” Andrea pleaded, clenching her fists, “Come on, get up! Get up now!”

But it was no use. Bayleef couldn’t handle anymore, and Andrea had no choice but to recall Bayleef back to her Pokéball. Andrea slowly and painfully pulled out Bayleef’s Pokéball, and aimed the red, translucent beam toward her. Bayleef had faded into a red, transparent glow, and was then absorbed by the Pokéball, leaving only a badly hurt Combusken on the field.

“This isn’t over yet you maniac!” Andrea shouted, still looking toward Combusken as one last hope for victory, “Combusken, attack that blasted Pikachu with your Flamethrower!!”

Combusken had tried to attack, but his joints had froze from the paralyzing effects of Thunder Wave. He tried as hard as he could to move, but there was no success.

“No, come on and fight them!” Andrea shouted, very furious now, “Do at least something!!”

But he couldn’t move. Then, I stepped in for the finish. Combusken was going down, and nothing was going to stop us.

“Vulpix, attack Combusken with your Body Slam!” I shouted, to both Pikachu and Vulpix, “Pikachu, attack Combusken with your Slam attack!”

Then, both Pikachu and Vulpix rushed toward the frozen Combusken and slammed into him simultaneously, sending Combusken flying into a brick wall. Combusken hit the wall furiously, and slowly slid down until he reached the ground. He was done for. Then, Andrea pulled out Combusken’s Pokéball, and directed the beam toward him. She completely returned Combusken in silence. Then, once she realized she had lost, she looked down toward the ground, still very angry and tense.

“I never want to see this place again.” Andrea growled like a monster, “I never want to see you, Carla, Karen and Damien, and I especially never want to see you, Joe or whoever you are. In fact the less I know about you, the better. And as for you, Jubilee and Joanna, I’m convinced you betrayed me. So you know what? I never want to see any of you either. I’m going home and good riddance to all of you…”

Wow, what a grouch. I’ve never seen anyone so grumpy from losing a Pokémon battle. Still, if she never wanted to see us again, I was more than happy to see her go. Good riddance to her too. We watched her walk away, and we never saw her again.

“Oh man.” Damien remarked, putting his hand on his forehead, “I’ve never seen her act that way before.”

It was over. I had returned Pikachu and Vulpix back to their Pokéballs, and let out a sigh of relief. Truly, Andrea was nothing what I had imagined her to be. I expected a nice, kindly young lady who just loved having fun. Meanwhile, reality had struck me in the face, and I realized Andrea was nothing short of an old hag.

Then, I saw Jubilee approach Karen, and seemed more than happy to leave Andrea behind and join her company. But then, I was greeted with a total surprise. Joanna had looked up to me, and it seemed she had taken a liking to me. Then, I saw something else.

“I think she wants to go with you.” Damien said to me, looking at Joanna, “But it seems…”
“She wants a battle first.” I could see.

I could see Joanna had a strong spirit. In fact I expected nothing less. But I wanted Joanna to realize I wasn’t going to go easy on her either. This is what she wanted, and I was willing to comply. Then, I prepared myself, and I was ready with my three Pokémon. I grabbed the first of them, held the glossy white and red Pokéball in my hand, and threw it furiously onto the asphalt. The Pokéball had opened up and the light had come out and began to take shape into my Mareep. The sheep Pokémon had come out, and looked toward his opponent. Unlike Andrea, I could already tell this was going to be much, much harder.

“Mareep, use your Thundershock attack.” I commanded Mareep, still looking toward Joanna.

Mareep stood firmly on his front legs and sent a fork of electricity towards Joanna, but when it struck her it did nearly nothing for damage. Joanna then charged furiously, dashing across the black asphalt, and slamming viciously into Mareep with a powerful Double-Edge attack. Mareep was instantly thrown off his feet and landed face down on the asphalt. The sheep Pokémon got right back up again, not looking very lightly from the Bellossom’s attack. I had seen Joanna had slammed into Mareep hard enough to the point of hurting herself as well. Still, she was very far from giving up.

“Tackle attack!” I commanded Mareep, “Hit her hard!”

Mareep gladly obeyed, since he himself felt this was getting personal now. Mareep then stampeded toward Joanna, and dove right at her, sending them both tumbling out of control. Both of them had rolled around on the ground before Joanna had thrown Mareep off of her. Mareep had gone flying before he hit the ground and rolled over to his side. Then, to both of our horror, Joanna had already prepared to dish out a serious amount of pain to Mareep. She had begun spinning, and then she launched a swarm of shining, glossy, sharp leaves toward Mareep, who had no chance of getting up in time…

I heard three very loud and sharp slashing sounds, and I heard Mareep shout out in terrible pain. Joanna looked triumphantly at the fallen Mareep, with her eyelids down in fury, wearing a sharp smile of aggressive victory. Meanwhile, I pulled out Mareep’s Pokéball and aimed the red translucent beam toward the fallen Mareep. The sheep Pokémon had become a red and translucent light the beam, and was then sucked into the Pokéball. I couldn’t believe how much of a nasty fighter Joanna was…

“Man, I never thought that cute adorable face could fight with such a nasty attitude.” Karen replied, very shocked at the way Joanna was fighting.
“I expected nothing less.” I told her, knowing I would definitely have to make up for it.

My big problem was my last remaining Pokémon had already been pretty beat up from my battle with Andrea. Regardless, I still had faith for them, and I knew they could handle it. I quickly grasped Pikachu’s shiny and glossy red and white Pokéball, and pulled it out. Then, I furiously threw the Pokéball forward, and the Pokéball had opened with a flash. The white light had taken shape and formed into my Pikachu, who still looked ready to go, even after fighting with a vicious Combusken.

“Pika!” My Pikachu cried out, looking dangerously aggressive toward Joanna.
“Bella!” Joanna shouted in retaliation, still enraged with fury.

Man, these two looked ready to beat the stuffing out of each other. My advantage here was Pikachu was faster than Joanna, and hopefully that aspect would pull through in the end.

“Pikachu, use your Slam attack!” I called out to him, “Attack her as hard as you can!”
“Pi-Pikachu!” Pikachu acknowledged, getting on all fours and getting ready to burst toward Joanna like a bullet.

I had known electric moves weren’t going to do a thing to a grass type like Bellossom, so I had to rely on one of Pikachu’s other attributes. Pikachu dashed toward Joanna like a bat out of hell, running furiously toward her. Even Joanna was shocked at Pikachu’s speed. Regardless, there was no way Joanna could escape the oncoming attack. Pikachu slammed into her with all the might he could muster, sending Joanna flying and landing on her back, landing her on the asphalt and causing her to tumble over and land right on her face. Pikachu snickered, and boy did that not make Joanna happy at all. She got right back up again and looked enraged at Pikachu just laughing at her. She dusted herself off, and got ready to come back swinging.

“Bell…” Joanna growled in a very angry and aggressive tone.

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Old 05-06-2004, 04:52 PM
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Default Re: Trouble in Paradise!

Then, I saw her spin around in circles, the same way she had done when she attacked Mareep. The green and yellow petals she was wearing had become like a buzz-saw, and then three very sharp and glowing leaves had flown like bullets toward Pikachu. Again, I heard that same familiar triple-slashing sound I heard before, and Pikachu screamed from the pain. When the leaves here gone, I had seen he had been inflicted with three more cuts, not a very nice addition to all the other ones he had previously received.

“Pikachu, use your Thunder attack!” I called out to Pikachu, “Strike Bellossom from above!”
“Pika!” Pikachu agreed, advancing forward with his red cheeks flaring brightly with electricity.

Then, Pikachu looked up toward the sky, and sent an insanely massive blast of thunder toward the clouds. The slashing, white and yellow thunder was sent spiraling into the heavens above. Then, Pikachu sent the massive blast thundering right back down again, and he looked at Joanna with a menacing smile. She was the obvious target…

“Bella!” Joanna screamed out in fear, moving back in anxiety as the massive rush of electricity blasted right toward her.

And then, the thunder struck her powerfully. Joanna was blasted violently with electricity, and was sent tumbling out of control. But, even after all that, she still found the willpower to get back up and fight again. I couldn’t believe how much endurance she had. I knew the damage from the attack was already going to be reduced, but I thought it would at least do some sort of damage.

But man, was she angry now. Joanna had charged furiously toward Pikachu, showing no mercy or forgiveness for the way he attack her. Joanna made hurting Pikachu a higher priority than her own safety, and she blasted toward him at an enraged pace.


Pikachu was hit terribly hard in the abdomen, sending both of them flying backward, but with Pikachu taking the harder hit. Pikachu rolled over several times, trying to breathe from the wind that was knocked out of him. He lay on his side, with one hand of the ground to support his weight while the other was on his chest, trying to massage the pain.

“Pi…Pi…” Pikachu gasped for air, trying to recover from the blow.

I couldn’t allow him to continue, he had already taken a serious beating from Andrea’s blasted Combusken, and after all this, it had been more than enough. I pulled out Pikachu’s Pokéball and aimed the red beam toward Pikachu. The beam had made contact, and Pikachu was sent back to the Pokéball to rest. He certainly deserved it after putting up an outstanding battle.

So, I had saved Vulpix as my last resort. Not only did Vulpix have the type advantage, but Joanna wouldn’t be able to attack with her vicious Magical Leaf attack that inflicted so much incredible damage to Mareep and Pikachu. Still, Joanna had far more than that to unleash pain with.

“Vulpix, use your Confuse Ray!” I shouted to my Vulpix.
“Vul…pix!” Vulpix had agreed, seeming like she had thought of the same method of attack herself.

Then, Vulpix had focused her attention on Joanna, and then the white, blinding light had surrounded Vulpix, while everything else around her had been shrouded black. Then, that same shining white light had flashed down upon Joanna, and she was instantly thrown into a loop. Vulpix could see Joanna had already taken a serious beating, but she was still ready for more. Then, despite her lack of coordination, Joanna decided to play nasty, and she began to dance around, spreading a blue powder into the air around Vulpix. Vulpix hadn’t expected the attack at all, and had accidentally inhaled a large amount of the Sleep Powder. Within seconds, she couldn’t even hold up her own head, and her eyes shut and she literally collapsed. This wasn’t looking very good…

Then, Joanna had seen her attack had worked, and she smiled at her fortune. Already, she had shaken off her confusion, and I was shocked when I realized it hadn’t done a thing. Joanna decided to strike like an assassin, and she attacked using her vicious Giga Drain attack.

At that moment, a warm, yellow glow had surrounded Vulpix, and all the energy that Vulpix lost was sent to Joanna and had continued to refresh her.

“Come on, Vulpix!” I cried out to her, “If you don’t get up now, you might not be getting up at all…”

Still, she was still out cold and Joanna was taking every advantage of it she could. Again, Joanna attacked mercilessly with another Giga Drain, again covering Vulpix with another warm, yellow glow and sucking away at Vulpix’s energy and helping Joanna get more refreshed by the moment. Meanwhile, Vulpix was just lying there, unaware of her lost energy…

But then, I saw Vulpix’s eye begin to flicker, and then her eye opened. Vulpix had suddenly become aware of what Joanna had been doing the whole time, and she didn’t look very highly upon it. Then, while Vulpix was getting up from her slumber, Joanna had danced around and suddenly the white moon had become visible even in the afternoon sun. Joanna had been surrounded by a white light, and after the wavy light had surrounded her and slowly faded, my jaw nearly dropped. Joanna had become completely refreshed from the light, as if nothing had been done to her the entire time!

“Flamethrower attack!” I commanded Vulpix, losing a bit of my patience.
“Vulpix!” She had agreed, sending her two front paws into the asphalt.

Then, after she prepared to deal with the recoil, Vulpix let out a massive gush of flames of fire from her mouth. The consuming flames had smothered Joanna with fire, and all Joanna could do was cry out, totally unable to avoid the blast of fire. Once the fire had vanished, Joanna was burned pretty badly on her side, something she wouldn’t be able to cure herself. Man, considering the way she was behaving, it seemed like the pain was only making her angrier.

“Bell…a!” Joanna shouted in fury, not liking to be cooked alive at all.

She then dashed toward Vulpix in a fit of rage, totally consumed with anger and her passion for revenge. She furiously blasted into Vulpix again, sending them both flying in opposite directions. Joanna had landed on her back, expected the Double-edge to deliver at least some recoil. Meanwhile, Vulpix had been send flying backward. She rolled over at least three times on her side before she stopped and was laid out on the asphalt of the parking lot with her legs spread out.

Joanna had thought Vulpix was down and out, and she began dancing triumphantly and smiling with glee. Then, Joanna had begun laughing at the fallen Vulpix, but it suddenly stopped when Vulpix had thrust her front paws into the ground to pull herself up. Vulpix had given Joanna a cold, dark stare, and it suddenly made the overly excited Bellossom quickly shut up.

And as I knew Vulpix, she really didn’t like being laughed at, by anyone. Especially when she was getting hurt…

“Vulpix!!” She shouted angrily at Joanna, having no tolerance for this kind of nonsense.
“Vulpix, use your…” I had requested, but then something caught my surprise.

Vulpix had already slammed her feet into the ground, and furiously blasted Joanna with another lethal gush of flames, knowing her specialty would hurt Joanna the most. Vulpix screamed loudly as she continued to roast Joanna without any will to stop until she was convinced she had enough. Then, when Vulpix finally decided to let go, the flames around Joanna had vanished, and she had tried to move around but instead she stumbled onto the ground, and couldn’t get up. She was extremely exhausted, and held out her hand to try and help herself up, but she couldn’t.

Then, I had prepared for that critical moment. I pulled out one of my empty Pokéballs, and held it tightly in my hands. The glossy coating of the white and red Pokéball reflected in the sunlight, and then I grasped it tight. Then, I pulled the Pokéball closer to my side, and then furiously threw the Pokéball at the fallen Joanna, launching a fastball pitch that flew through the air like a bullet. Then, the Pokéball had struck Joanna in the side, and the Pokéball had opened and Joanna had become a red glow, and was quickly pulled inside the Pokéball. Then, the glossy ball had shut tight and had lightly fallen to the ground, and had begun to softly rock from side to side.

Everything was deadly silent as I watched the Pokéball continue to rock from side to side. Vulpix had given the Pokéball a deadly stare as we just stood there and watched for that critical, last moment…

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Old 05-10-2004, 01:10 AM
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Default Re: Trouble in Paradise!


Storyline: Pretty good. You tended to make even the blandest parts of the story interseting, and the exciting parts ... well exciting, lol.

Grammar/Spelling: Only a couple errors throughout the entire story. Minor things like commas, or misplaced word.

Detail: Very good. Proably one of your best areas is detail becuase you decsribe anything and everything, which is very good.

Battle: Both of them were interesting and exciting.

Reality: Most things were pretty believable, but some all of Joe's bad luck may have been a little overboard. Even so, it made the story funny.

Outcome: Bellosum captured!
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