Tag Archives: Patricide

The Ballad of Poor Richard

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.ImageWell, 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.

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Pokemon Patricide

The year was 1997.  Your rung on the third-grade social hierarchy correlated to how baggy your jeans were.  Mine were Jnco jeans; guess where I was?  I wore the same Reese’s Pieces shirt to school everyday because I thought it would help teachers remember my name.  Also, I wore it because I had a severe speech impediment that forbade me from speaking R’s correctly.*  The first day of class each year–you know, when you have to stand up, say your name, and tell a lie about yourself?–I would have to stand up and say:  “My name is Weese Connaw.”  Now guess which wung…errr…rung I was on.  Indeed, not even my admittedly too-baggy jeans could increase my social standing.  So there I was, a young boy named Reese wearing a t-shirt that read Reese and garbed in enough denim to make Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears jealous.  Though my classmates may have adamantly argued against it, I was a normal kid.  As such, I had normal desires, not the least of which was catching ’em all.

Now, if you are not familiar with Pokemon you might be familiar with Digimon, in which case you eat this cereal, drink this drank, and just bought a pair of Toms…err…Bobs.  If the previous sentence applies to you, knock off the knock offs so we can get back on track:  Digimon are nothing more than bootleg Pokemon.  These are facts.

Forgive the digression, the story will continue.  So, like my peers, I sought to collect as many Pokemon cards as I could get my pudgy little fingers on.  Not surprisingly, there was a premium put on powerful, holographic Pokemon cards–Charizard and the like.  The better cards were a struggle to find, especially for me.  My parents did not support my endeavor as unconditionally as I thought appropriate.  What resulted was my collection including a slew of Weedles, Digletts, Machops, and Pikachus;  basically, all pre-evolution cards, all worthless to me.  I wanted me a Blastoise with surging water canons mounted on his back, and I wanted the background to shimmer when I tilted the card to and fro.  I could have been somebody if I had that card…

Here is where the story makes its point.  There came a day when tragedy struck one of my classmates.  His father died.  One night, an aneurysm in his father’s brain ruptured; his father never woke up.  The next day the boy came to school and, conspicuously and inexplicably now that I think about it, everyone knew what had happened.  You would have thought the family and school would have wanted to keep that information a secret, especially from third graders but, lo, we knew.  When we were at recess on the playground, another boy happened upon a wayward item, lost in the wood-chips.  What was it, you ask?  Why it was a holographic Blastoise.  Why is that of any consequence to the sobering tragedy I have just recounted?  Because the young boy who found the card decided to give that holographic Blastoise to the other young boy who had lost his father.  It’s a sweet story, really.  You probably think that there will be a twist.  You’re right.  No, the twist is not that I was the young boy who gave the Blastoise (this story would be far too self-indulgent if that were the case).  And no, I was not secretly the young boy who lost his father (though this would certainly be a tale of perspective if that were the case).  No, I was the boy who heard this story during lunch and responded, without a hint of jest, with these exact words:

I wish my dad would die so I could have a Blastoise.

That was unforgivable.  Yet, since I’ve forgiven myself, I thought it would make a nice story!

*You’ll be happy to know that I have since acquired the elusive ability to speak my R’s correctly.

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