Part Two: Of Evil Trolls And Fairy Godmothers
You know, if you told the average person on the street you were an ex-Team Rocket member, they would give you a look of pity and horror and move out of gunshot range. I think they have images of black-clad assassins hunting ex-Rockets down and machine-gunning bloody R's in our chests while screaming "Nobody leaves Team Rocket!"
Yeah, sure. I mean, ewww, there's no way that would be good for the uniform… As any female Rocket can tell you, especially those of us in the white skirts, blood is hard to wash out. Almost as difficult as the debris from blasting off…
Giovanni doesn't give a shit if you leave Team Rocket. Actually, the tight-wadded bastard is only too glad to get you off the pay roll.
Even someone as lovely, charming and desperately talented as yours truly… Did I say desperately? I meant, stunningly…
I beamed into the video phone screen, jacket slightly disordered over my skin-tight chemise, sex appeal at full wattage. Probably wasted effort, as I'm not a bloody Persian.
"Jessica, if you are intending to recite that ludicrous motto, you should be warned that I'm considering using you as combat practice for my next genetically engineered pokémon."
Not being Ash Ketchum, I know when to back off. I don't make the same mistake more than, say, twice daily. Three times, tops. Besides, the motto was kind of pointless of my own… It had been habit only. I felt oddly depressed, and tried to shake it off. "Hey, Boss, any new assignments for me?" I asked brightly.
The old bastard glowered at me through the dramatic shadows. Say what you like, Giovanni has a certain flair, else I would never have considered working for him in the first place. Pity one of Persian's cat toys was hanging from his voice distorter. It was a pink raticate with a happy expression and a little pink bow, and Persian had obviously ripped its guts out. That's why I love cats.
Hell, I even miss the big-mouthed Meowth.
"It's surprising you would ask that, Jesse, as I was under the impression that you had quit the organisation."
James and Meowth snitched on me? I suppose I should have suspected it… No honour among thieves and all that. Still, I was a little hurt. "A little misunderstanding…"
"Goodbye, Jesse." He reached for the switch.
"Wait, Boss!" I sought for control, as he paused. "Surely you can't afford to lose someone as beautiful and stylish as me over a little misunderstanding?" I fell to my knees. "Please, Boss, please…" I sobbed hysterically. "I may have had bad luck stealing pokémon, but you know I look terrific in the uniform…"
"Why would I need you for that, Jesse?" Giovanni smiled at me, as he reached for the switch again. "After all, I have Cassidy."
- * * * *
So there I was. Day three of independence. Not a Pokémon Master yet, thank you very much. Look, I choose my pokémon more for looks, loyalty and… tongue length… than fighting ability, okay? No one knows why James chooses *his* pokémon. Lucky dip?
Brief employment in a fashion house - after all, with my looks and style, who could turn me down? Unfortunately, it was terminated after I gave my incisive and witty opinion on one of my client's looks. Oh, and her pearl necklace ended up in my handbag, purely by accident, of course.
I don't mind admitting I cried myself to sleep. Carefully of course, so I wouldn't ruin my magnificent eyes. I wasn't used to sleeping alone…
When I woke up, a beautiful girl with long purple hair was hovering over me, lit by a radiant glow.
"Yes, my dearest."
A girl… A beautiful girl in a Team Rocket uniform, her dark purple hair arranged in two stylishly attractive pigtails, not horribly deformed blonde ones like some Rocket members I could mention. She shimmered with ghostly light, throwing beams spreading behind her, almost like angel's wings.
"Mama?" My eyes grew wide - which is pretty impressive, considering how huge and beautiful they are normally.
"Jesse… My little girl."
I was overwhelmed with joy. "Mama, you finally caught Mew! We'll be rich and famous! We can depose Giovanni and become evil dictators of the world!"
The beautiful girl rolled her eyes. "Jesse, darling, how old were you when I left for the mountains?"
"Um, seven? And you didn't send me one single crappy birthday present!" I added, remembering.
"And how old was I?" my mother asked.
"Um, 22?" Our family never was renowned for their early grasp of birth control. Maybe I was lucky James tended to wear my underwear.
"And how old would you say I am now, dearest?"
"Um… Early twenties? You've really kept your looks well, Mama, no one would think we're not practically the same age."
"That's because I'm a ghost, you bimbo! I mean, an angel from heaven sent to look after you." She was looking decidedly less angelic by the moment. "To think you're my only offspring… What a waste of perfectly good ovaries. Still, at least you look good."
"You're dead?" I started to cry. "Does that mean – does that mean – you never caught Mew? And we'll never rule the world together?" I flung myself on the ground and sobbed, as my dreams shattered around me.
"Nice to know my only daughter loves me," Mama grumbled. "Now, listen carefully, Jesse, we don't have much time before I am forced to return to my own plane of existence."
"But – but - why didn't you catch it? How can two people as beautiful as we are be such failures? Our family must be cursed…"
"Young lady, will you shut up and listen, or I'll send you to your room! THIS is why the Andes seemed such an attractive proposition… Now, are you listening?" I nodded tearfully, wondering why I'd missed her so much. After all, the crazy bitch had made me eat snow. "Your true love is about to marry another," she declaimed.
Thunder rolled dramatically, as I tried to make sense of this statement. My true love? "But, Mother, Tyra already ditched me."
Mama glared at me. "I knew it was a mistake to let you play with those naughty children in the bike gang! Jesse- Jessica , wipe that pout off your face this instant! Now, listen carefully. Tyra is not your true love."
I hesitated. It was an unwelcome thought, but not exactly an unfamiliar one… "Cassidy?"
"No!" Mama shrieked. "Look, I've long since resigned myself to my baby daughter marrying a lesbian, but at least it's going to be a male one." She seemed to make an effort, and choked back her temper. "Your true love is James."
Oh. Him. Yes. I felt hot blood creeping over my cheeks, and I suddenly felt like crying again. I stumbled to find something to say. "That wuss? But –"
"Can you truly tell me you don't love him?"
It's not as though I'm not used to lying. Hell, my late profession depended on it. But I couldn't, for some reason, not this time. "Well, um, maybe I do, kind of…"
"Good girl. Now, I have a gift for you, darling…"
She extended a gloved hand, with three pokéballs balanced rather precariously in it.
I could feel my eyes light up, and my hand shot out of its own volition. I opened my mouth to speak, but Mother shrieked at me before I could complete the sentence. "No, I did NOT find Mew after all! Talk about one track-minds…"
"Wonder where I got it from?" I asked sulkily. But my mind was racing. Hey, for a girl of my lightning-fast wits, it's only a matter of time… "James is getting married?"
"Yes. Now, these are magic pokéballs. Only open them in your time of greatest need. And I don't mean when your hair gets mussed up, do you hear me, young lady?"
"James – is – getting – MARRIED?" I could feel blood throb in my forehead. I reached into my shirt and produced the flame-thrower that manages to hide there without disrupting its perfect line. "Mama, I have to run. I have a pink-haired harlot to – talk to."
"Pink hair? Jesse, who do you mean?"
Mother sounded somewhat alarmed, but I didn't listen. I was already running.