This Again? Hell-Pokemon-No.
You thought it was over, didn’t you? Well it’s not.
Blinky still won’t shut up about it. He gets all the others riled up when he talks about it, working himself into a frenzy until he shudders and turns blue. Even as he wonk-wonk-wonks into blinking retreat, we can still hear him mumbling about how he’s not getting put back out into the arena.
I tell him to get his shit together and shut his goddamn trap. Then Pinky, Inky and Clyde start trembling and I have to calm them down before they punk out and scramble. I tell them no one’s going to put us back out in the arena as long as we stand together, but if I say it too quietly they don’t believe me, and if I yell, my girlfriend gets her little red bow in a twist and tells me I’m making the whole thing worse.
I can’t really blame them for losing their shit, what with Pikachu and Taurus and Rattata all back out there in the field.
That greedy rat-bastard company raked in a fortune twenty years ago on the backs of their talent, promises them a life of leisure afterward, says they only have to do occasional appearances, you know, just to keep their names out there, keep the royalty checks rolling in, but all very controlled. Weedle and Butterfree and Jigglypuff, all getting fat and happy in retirement, but then BAM! Suddenly last summer they’re all out in the park, in the street, exposed—hunted. Running around like “What the fuck?” Scurrying around, with millions of bloodthirsty gamers on their tails, kids gathering into packs and hunting late into the night like it’s a goddamn Pokemon feeding frenzy. And there’s no respite, no security, not even on a military base. Not even the goddamn Holocaust Memorial was safe until someone leapt in and asked for the madness to stop.
But it finally does. Stop. Who knows why, maybe too many people fall off cliffs, maybe because the weather gets shitty. At any rate, things calm down, crowds disappear, all the drunks get to settle back onto their park benches at night, and we all finally get a little peace.
Until now. Heard of this new Fire and Ice Solstice Event? No? Good. But try telling Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and Clyde. They’ve been on edge ever since they caught wind of it.
There’s no way I’m gonna anything like that happen to my crew. They’re never going to have to scramble in a panic again. But I can never say it calmly enough. And I can’t get too close either.
It was all right until Nintendo started putting their guys out there again. But now, no matter how much time has passed since our time in the field, no matter how many laughs and beers we’ve shared since, it doesn’t matter. The minute my guys feel vulnerable, they start to shudder, and there’s nothing I can do.
Now Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and Clyde—they’ll never let me live it down.
Tara Campbell is a Washington, DC-based writer, assistant fiction editor at Barrelhouse, and volunteer with children’s literacy organization 826DC. Prior publication credits include Booth, SmokeLong Quarterly, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, The Establishment, Barrelhouse, Masters Review, and Queen Mob’s Teahouse, among others. Her debut novel, TreeVolution, was released in 2016, and her collection of stories and poetry, Circe’s Bicycle, with be published in fall 2017.