I once appealed to the universe, beseeching it to take my father’s life so that I might, in return, receive a holographic Blastoise Pokemon card (If you do not recall the story, read about it here). That plea I made, unforgivable as it was, did not mark the end of my pocket-monster-inspired antics. The forthcoming story acts as a pseudo-sequel, and it picks up roughly a year after the events of Pokemon Patricide:
It was 5th grade. The Pokemon fetishism that rapt the 4th grade consciousness had inexplicably dwindled, no doubt supplanted by gel pens, Old Navy sweater-vests, Tomagatchis, hair-bleach for white-boys, and, of course, a growing sense of maturation. Indeed, most of the kids in 5th grade, fickle creatures incapable of anything but fleeting adoration, had no qualms about treating their pocket-monsters like lint and abandoning them forever. But it wasn’t a simple disenchantment with Pokemon; no, there was a collective backlash against it. Pokemon became stigmatized as unsophisticated and infantile. And so, unable to divorce myself from my Pokemaniac impulses, and equally unfit to embrace a pariah’s existence, Pokemon became my mistress.
I made sweet, shameful love to my mistress in the back-corners of classrooms. I forewent the urinals on bathroom breaks, opting instead to take my mistress into the stalls with me and shuffle her delicately. At home, I adored her in my bedroom. However, love her as I did, I grew bored of her. She needed an injection of something new. She needed to be traded.
I needn’t tell you the inherent difficulty of trading Pokemon cards in school. It had always been a black-market and clandestine affair, appropriate only in huddles during recess or at crowded tables during lunch. But 5th grade saw a new hurdle. No one can be trusted. There was no longer solidarity among the kids, yet the administration was still as suppressive as ever. How, then, in that environment was I going to negotiate a Pokemon trade?
The answer came in the form of a new kid. For the sake of anonymity, we’ll call him Poor Richard Lotruck. Poor Richard, a Tom Cruise doppelganger if I ever saw one, immediately warmed-up to me. We became fast friends. I told him everything, even about my mistress and how embarrassed I was about her…how I had never, and would never, tell anyone else about her. For my candor, he returned in kind.
He told me about all the tigers he had at home. When we learned about colorblindness, I was enamored with the idea, and he confided to me that he was, in fact, colorblind. He told me about a spaceship he and his dad were making. And, most importantly of all, he told me about the exhaustive collection of Pokemon cards he had. I was bewitched: He owned a copy, often duplicate copies, of seemingly every card I was interested in! And there was one card I was particularly interested in…a Dark Raichu.Well, Poor Richard and I got to haggling about what I could give him in return for one of his countless Dark Raichu cards. I was a bit confused as to why he would want any of my cards, seeing as he already had copies of them all, but I wasn’t in a mood to ask questions, fearing that I would lose my Pokemon confidant. And so, as per Poor Richard’s request, I brought to school a collection of my ten best Pokemon cards.
Poor Richard and I did not have every class together, but we did share a classroom, albeit at different times during the day. And so, Poor Richard devised an ingenious plan: He would look over my cards during his class, and then, in true covert fashion, he would nestle the cards on a specific page in the book beneath his seat. Then, when I entered the class directly after he left, I could surreptitiously retrieve my cards by flipping to that page and removing them. Sure, the plan seemed a bit intricate, but I dug it.
And so, I handed him my collection of cards. He gave them a quick study, pocketed them, then told me they would be on page 497 when he was done. I asked if I could see the Dark Raichu card. You’ll never believe it, but he had forgotten to bring the card! I said it was okay and that he could just bring it tomorrow. We went our separate ways.
When my class was over, I hustled to Poor Richard’s classroom. I saw him as he walked out. We made eye contact, and he winked at me. I entered the room, located Poor Richard’s chair, snatched the book, opened it to page 497, and gasped. The cards were not there. Perhaps Poor Richard mistakenly put the cards on a different page? I held the spine of the book, and then shook it violently. Nothing fell out.
Later that day, I confronted Poor Richard. I told him that my cards weren’t there. A caricature of shock and empathy looked back at me as he explained how he had put the cards on page 497, how he had no idea what happened to them, and how, regrettably, he could not give me the Dark Raichu card because I had no cards to trade for it. I told him I understood and he seemed relieved.
I did understand. I understood that I had been played like a goddamn fiddle. I understood that Poor Richard was a Tom-Cruise-looking little shit who took advantage of my vulnerable combination of trust and fear. I understood that he knew that I wouldn’t tell on him because he knew how embarrassed I was to still like Pokemon. I did understand…that Poor Richard Lotruck had to die.
But since I wasn’t in the murdering mood, I settled for a healthy, festering, consuming appetite for revenge. Yes, I devoted the rest of 5th grade to biding my time until I could strike back at Poor Richard. The waiting was not easy, nor was pretending to still be his friend. I had to listen to his lies, act as if I was enthralled by his grandeur, and hold my tongue and fist as I saw his self-satisfied smugness. Luckily for me, Poor Richard was an idiot. An admirable con-artist? Maybe. An unbelievably daft student? Most certainly. Every time his idiocy was reaffirmed by his report card, my revenge hunger-pangs quelled a bit. It was delightful to see him fail.
Time went by and it was almost the end of the year. The summer was approaching quickly, and Poor Richard was tip-toeing towards a precarious impasse: Would he become next year’s stupidest 6th grader? Or would he delay that inevitability for one year in order to double-down as 5th grade’s oldest idiot?
I saw my chance to make that decision for him. See, we had a group project. The group was Poor Richard, two friends of mine, and me. We finished the project. Naturally, Poor Richard contributed nothing. There is, however, a gentleman’s rule that, when it comes to evaluating group members for a project, one should always give full credit. I broke that gentleman’s rule and, behind Poor Richard’s back, convinced the other two group members to break it as well. We all gave Poor Richard zeros. When the teacher asked to see us after class in order to affirm that what we wrote was true, we did not back down. Poor Richard Lotruck got held back and I…I was the straw that broke that camel’s back.
Moral: Don’t mess with my Pokemon, asshole.