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Subject: [FFML] The Pokemon Sketch
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------------------------------
The Pokemon Sketch

by Chris Jones
------------------------------

Jones walked into the local poke-shop. It was loud and
noisy. The pokemon were loud, but didn't raise nearly the fuss
of all the people who were screaming and shouting. Smiling,
Jones walked past the counter and into the gaming area, where
about a dozen young men and a few young women were fighting
their pokemon against each other.

"Woof," a loud, wet voice sounded up from below him.

"Yeah! Hey, who wants to fight my pokemon?" Jones shouted
out.

The person obviously in charge of the group, a young man
who was cradling a Pikachu protectively against his chest,
strode over to Jones. He glanced down at what Jones had
brought into the shop.

"What do you want?" he demanded angrily.

"I just want to play," Jones said. "I brought a pokemon
and everything!"

"Where's your pokemon?" the leader asked disdainfully.

"Right here!" Jones explained, pointing down beside
himself.

"Uhh.. what's that supposed to be?"

"Woof."

"It's a pokemon," Jones explained.

"It's not a pokemon. It's just a dog."

"It's a pokemon. His name is 'Barko'."

"It's just a dog!" The youth insisted, clutching his
Pikachu to his chest.

"Look, it comes with a pokeball and everything."

"That's not a pokeball. You just painted the leash red.
See, there's still wet paint on it."

"It's furry like a pokemon," Jones defended Barko.

"You don't have to be furry to be a pokemon," one of their
observers noted. He pulled out a pokeball and released a
noxious cloud of gas. "It's a Koffing. It's a gas-type
pokemon!" It can use the 'Poison Gas' attack."

"So can Barko."

"No he can't!"

"Go, Barko!" Jones nudged Barko in the ribs with his shoe.

*FBFBFBBFTTTT*

After a few seconds, Barko had an immensely relieved look
on his face. Around him, people began to gag and wretch. The
worst of the dry-heavers ran for cover

"Ewwww..."

"I told you that Barko can use 'Poison Gas' attack," Jones
announced with a proud 'I-told-you-so' expression. "He can
also do 'Thrash', 'Maim', 'Whiz', and if he gets excited, he
can do the dreaded 'Hump' attack as well."

As Jones and Barko's detractors continued to argue, a
little girl walked up to the pit-bull Pokemon.

With nary a thought, Barko snatched the Squirtle out of
her hands and began to savage it.

"Squirtle!! No!!!!"

"It can't be a pokemon," the leader of the youths, the
young man with the Pikachu, finally insisted.

"And why not?" Jones demanded.

"Because I said so," the leader stated firmly.

"Give Squirtle back!"

*GNAW* *GNAW* *GNAW*

"squeee..." the Squirtle wheezed.

"Squirtle!"

"He can fight any pokemon any of you have any day of the
week!" Jones countered. "You're all just chicken. Look, he's
doing his 'Slobber' attack right now!"

"Give... it... BACK!" the little girl demanded, doing her
best to try to work the Squirtle out of Barko's mouth.

*GNAW* *GNAW* *GNAW*

"Mommy!"

"Well, if your Pikachu isn't going to fight Barko
voluntarily," Jones countered. "Then I'll have to formally
challenge you."

"You can't challenge me without a pokemon!"

"I've got Barko!"

"BARKO IS A DOG!"

"Pokemon!"

"DOG!"

"Pokemon!"

"DOG! DOG! DOG! DOG! DOG! DOG! DOG!"

"Pokemon!"

"DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOGGGGGGG! DOG! DOG! DOG!"

"Pokemon!"

"I want my Squirtle back! Mommy!!!!"

"Come here, you beast," the little girl's mother demanded,
trying to get the Squirtle back away from Barko.

"JIM!" the leader of the poke-youth-s called out.

Jim, the cashier on duty at the Pokeshop, walked over,
sighing in irritation. He was wearing a shirt that said, "Ask
me about the new 'Forest Pokemon'. He was also wearing a
button that said 'I am damn sick and tired of Pokemon.'

"Okay, what seems to be the problem *this* time?" Jim
asked.

"This guy wants to challenge me, but he doesn't have a
pokemon!"

"I've got a Barko pokemon!" Jones explained.

"Jones, are you picking on the little kids again?" Jim
asked.

"Moi?" Jones asked, all innocence and light.

"Give it here, damnit! Give... ME... THE... POKEMON...."

"Rules are rules, kid," Jim explained to the leader of the
poke-youth. "If you refuse a challenge, it goes down in your
badge book as a defeat."

"I... I..." the leader clutched at his vest pocket
protectively. "You can't mark me a defeat for not wanting to sacrifice my Pikachu to this monster."

*GNAW* *GNAW* *GNAW* *SLURP*

"It's not a monster, It's Barko!"

"Don't mess with me, mutt! I'm a lawyer! If you don't give
me the pokemon *right* now, I'll have your ass in the
dog-pound so fast, it'll make your head spin."

"Woof," Barko... well... barked. A wet, sticky, and
somewhat mangled Squirtle fell to the floor at the woman's
feet.

"There," she said, trying to find a dry spot to pick up
the limp Squirtle. "There's your pokemon back, so why don't
you go play."

"Ewww.... Don't wanna!"

"Look," Jim explained, slipping into his 'angry-but-patient'
voice. "You can take up the challenge, or you can refuse it.
It's that simple. I didn't make up the rules, but I'm damn
sure gonna make you play by them!"

"What you do mean, 'Don't wanna'?! I spent forty dollars
on that idiotic thing, and you're damn well going to play with
it!"

"It's all squishy now," the little girl noted, holding the
dripping Squirtle at arm's length. "And it's leaking!"

*WHIZZZZZZZ....*

"Bad Barko!" Jones scolded. "She didn't mean for you to
leak! You're only supposed to do that in a fight!"

"Yagh!" Jim yelped, doing his best to shove some old
newspaper under Barko before it was too late. "Listen, kid.
Why don't you just surrender so he'll take the Barko away.
It's tearing up my store!"

"Alright, you bastard," the leader of the poke-youth
shouted. "If you want a fight, you've got one! My Pikachu can
toast your mutt any day of the week!"

"Didja hear that, Barko! You're gonna get to have dinner
after all!"

"Woof."

"Mommy! I wannna new Squirtle!"

"I'm not going to spend any more money on this nonsense!"
the angry mother declared. "Now why don't you put the pokemon
down, and we can go do something nice and sensible. I'll buy
you a new Barbie, okay?"

"WANNA SQUIRTLE!!!"

The nervous Pikachu climbed down off of his master, and
bravely faced Barko across the pokeshop floor.

"Go, Pikachu!" the leader of the poke-youths commanded.

"Sic, Barko!" Jones shouted, releasing the catch on the
leash and slapping Barko on the back. "Sic! Go gettem, boy!"

"Aaawoof!"

The Pikachu's nerve broke, and he began to run in fright.

"WANNA SQUIRTLE! WANNA SQUIRTLE!!!"

"I'M NOT BUYING ANOTHER DAMN POKEMON!!!!" the mother
screamed out.

"Pika!!!!" the Pikachu cried out in panic as Barko's
slathering jaws closed around him.

"I'll hold my breath and die if I don't get a new
Squirtle!"

"Oh my God," Jim muttered, turning his head sideways to
look at the fight. "What is he doing to it?"

"Ah," Jones noted, also turning sideways slightly. "That
would be Barko's dreaded 'Hump' attack."

"PIKACHU! NOOOOOOO!!!!" the poke-leader cried out.

"SQUIRTLE! SQUIRTLE! SQUIRTLE! SQUIRTLE! SQUIRTLE!
SQUIRTLE! SQUIRTLE! SQUIRTLE!"

"No! I'm counting to three!"

"SQUIRTLE! SQUIRTLE! SQUIRTLE! SQUIRTLE! SQUIRTLE!
SQUIRTLE! SQUIRTLE! SQUIRTLE!"

"Yeeouch!" Jim sympathized, wincing involuntarily. "That's
gonna take a few stitches."

"No! You monster! Get away from my Pikachu!!!!"

"One..." the mother called out.

"SQUIRTLE! SQUIRTLE! SQUIRTLE! SQUIRTLE! SQUIRTLE!
SQUIRTLE! SQUIRTLE! SQUIRTLE!"

"Finish him, Barko!" Jones commanded.

"Two..."

All that was visible of the Pikachu from the fight was a
blur of yellow and brown as Barko thrashed his head back and
forth, mad with the joy of the kill.

"SQUIRTLE! SQUIRTLE! SQUIRTLE! SQUIRTLE! SQUIRTLE!
SQUIRTLE! SQUIRTLE! SQUIRTLE!"

"Will you shut up, you little brat?!" Jim yelled behind
his shoulder.

*GNAW* *GNAW* *GNAW* *SLURP*

"Three..."

"SQUIRTLE! SQUIRTLE! SQUIRTLE! SQUIRTLE! SQUIRTLE!
SQUIRTLE! SQUIRTLE! SQUIRTLE!"

"I'm warning you," the mother shouted angrily. "Don't make
me start counting again!"

"Pikachu..." the poke-leader whispered, his face white
with shock from the carnage.

"URRRP," Barko belched. He then executed his 'Poison Gas'
attack again.

"Fatality!" Jones yelled out in glee.

"SQUIRTLE! SQUIRTLE! SQUIRTLE! SQUIRTLE! SQUIRTLE!
SQUIRTLE! SQUIRTLE! SQUIRTLE!"

"Pikachu..." the poke-leader cried out, running over to
the little yellow puddle. "What have they done to you?!?!
Speak to me, Pikachu!"

"Pika..." the poke-puddle bubbled.

"Alright, I'll use *my* hard earned money and buy you
another God-forsaken pokemon. Are you happy now?"

"Hey, lady," Jim suggested. "I think we've got a slightly
used Pikachu you can pick up cheap," he stated, pointing to
the poke-leader, who was doing his best to get the bleeding
stopped.

"Okay!" Jones called out, doing his best to wrestle Barko
back onto his leash. "Barko is undefeated. Who's next?"

"Um... I gotta go home now," one youth called out, quickly
gathering up his pokemon and dashing for the door. "My dad
wants me to mow the lawn."

"His dad wants me to mow the lawn too," another one called
out, doing his best not to look at the sight of the mangled
Pikachu as he ran for the exit.

Within seconds, most of the poke-youth had cleared out of
the shop. Jim was happily ringing up another $40 Squirtle, and
running the lady's VISA through his machine. Even the Pikachu
owner straggled out of the shop, doing his best to keep all
the bits together as he trudged away.

"We'll show them all, Pikachu! We'll get you fixed up and
we'll get that reattached, and you'll be in as good a shape as
ever. We'll show them..."

"Pika..."

Since there were no more of the pokemon left, Barko panted
and looked around in dissapointment. Out of boredom, he
executed his 'Whiz' attack on the little girl as she waited
for her new Squirtle.

"Ewwwwww.... Yucky!!!!"

The lady grabbed her daughter roughly by the arm and
propelled her out of the shop. "Well I never!!!"

"Never what?" Jones asked.

"I will *never* ever come back here again."

"Not until the brat starts screaming again, at any rate,"
Jim noted.

Jones nodded sagely, and found a seat next to the counter.
He wrapped Barko's leash around a convenient doorknob, and
looked expectantly at Jim.

For several seconds, the two sat and listened to nothing.
The only sound in the entire shop was from a guy near the back
of the store turning the pages of a samurai manga.

Jim reached under the counter and pulled out a remote
control. The TV above the counter winked on, and a 'Frasier'
rerun began to play.

"I owe you, Man," Jim admitted, savoring the relative
silence.

"Bigtime," Jones agreed.

"Woof."


_ _ _

Dedicated to Jim, and all the other brave comic shop and game room
workers out there, who really are damn sick and tired of Pokemon.

* * *
C. Jones
http://www.furinkan.net

If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber'd here
While these visions did appear.

- Puck: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act 5, Scene 1