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The PokeMarket

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THE POKEMARKET

James Kojirou said he’d buy the Pokémon food himself. He knew Jessie wouldn’t do it, there was no point in asking. She’d left him a “Honey Do” list, and they weren’t even married. Though sometimes he felt like they were. They’d been friends long enough. They shared a flat in Viridian City.

 

Miss Jessica Musashi was pretty little thing. What with her well-sculpted face, her dark blue eyes, shiny red lips, and hair the same deep magenta as the prettiest and fullest magenta rose. Oh, how he loved the smell, the look of roses. Petals so full and smooth and delicate. Roses worth a thousand words, for each color spoke its own language and had its own meaning. He decided then he’d stop at the florist and buy himself a rainbow dozen.

 

He thought then of those little English roses, round-faced, youthful, with their blush painted cheeks and their gentle demeanor. Although Jessie may have been as pretty as a rose in her physique, she was far from one in mind. Oh no. She fit the “handsome brute” stereotype much better. She was fussy. She was hot-headed. She was mouthy. She was quarrelsome. She was resilient. She was ambitious, stubborn. She was authoritarian, tenacious. Hardly anyone he’d ever dream of marrying. Oh, but there was no woman he loved more in the world than she. Not his nanny, (although she was a close second), not his Momma, hardly, and certainly not his ex-fiancé.

 

Oh, what a character was that Lady Jessebelle. She was the cattiest cat. Cattier than he and Jessica’s own precious Meowth, who was, in fact, a “scratch cat”, according to the ever-reliable Pokedex. But Jessebelle was the worst kind of cat. She was sadistic and aggressive, obstinate and obsessive, and, as far as Miss Musashi was concerned, she belonged in an insane asylum. And…she was probably right. Jessie was always right. He knew better than to disagree with her. But still, he couldn’t ignore the bias Miss Musashi had in her. Not when it concerned Lady Jessebelle, her estranged twin sister. He laughed to himself when he thought about how small a world this really was. To think that his ex-betrothed and his dearest friend were sisters. Sisters! Fancy that! He preferred Jessie much more, although when he thought about it there was one particular trait they shared that would forever confirm the family resemblance: Terrifying.

 

He wiped some sweat from his brow with a clammy hand and continued down the street. He ran into a gathered crowd, waiting for the streetlight to tell them all they could cross without certain death. It was a bright spring day. Warm, not hot. Temperate, not icy like the grey dead of winter. The sky was blue and puffy clouds were gathered ‘round. The sun shone bright yellow and kissed the skin on his lightly freckled face with warmth. Now, the thing with freckles were, they were commonly associated with red hair. But his shoulder-length hair was as powder blue as pretty periwinkle flowers. Although, as far as he was concerned, his locks were as luscious lavender as French lavender in bloom. Meowth teased him, “My blue-haired friend, Jimmy boy” he had said. The fact that Meowth could talk and walk like a bipedal was puzzling to him at first too, but he was used to it. But oh, how he disdained when Meowth said his hair was blue and called him ‘Jim’ or ‘Jimmy’. Not pet names. Misnomers. Those weren’t his names. Those names were hardly dignified enough to fit someone as princely and dignified as him. James. It was James, not “Jim-Jimmy Jim-Bob” or whatever the hell else Meowth said when he drank too much catmilk or ate too much catnip. Why Jessie had found it funny to purchase Meowth a package of “Meowjuana” was beyond James. Now that picky Pokémon was hooked on the stuff. Though it surprised no one that the roguish Jessie and James, alleged Team Rocket members, the bad-news babes, had a talking, bi-pedal cat that was a stoner, for a friend. What friends he had! A brutish woman and a stoner cat. Oh, but how he loved them. He’d sooner kill himself than leave his oddly paired and not quite but basically ‘husband’ and ‘wife’. They were in some unholy matrimony, those three. Unholy because they often exhibited political incorrectness and blasphemous behavior. (But to this day, he still had no regrets involving his wearing of a skimpy orange bikini and fake breasts. Likewise with the makeups and the wedding gown. The Odette ballet dress. The schoolgirl skirt. The nurse dress. The pink socialite furs and hat. The crop tops and kinky leather. He had no regrets.)     

 

The sign lit up green and the passing cars, buses, and motorbikes skidded to a stop right before the crosswalk. Some horns were honking, and some colorful language was spewed as the crowd cut across the rode to the sidewalk on the other side. The crowd split off down different paths, thinning out, and James could breathe again. There was then a rustle in the collar of his shirt, and a sweet voice going “Mime, mime!” in his ear. She climbed out of his shirt collar and up on his shoulder then, perching herself comfortably, nuzzling his cheek with a shiny red nose and little pink hands. He smiled and turned to face her.

 

“What is it, Mime Jr.?” he asked gently, “I thought you were cold?”

 

“Mime, mime!” she replied, smiling, and closing her button eyes in a wide, sweet grin.

 

“Of course, you want to have a look ‘round too, don’t you dear?” he figured. She nodded and flailed her arms.

 

“Mime, mime, mime!”  

 

James Kojirou laughed.

 

“Alright then, Mime-y. Take a look around! This is Viridian city.” She hopped up onto his head so she could see better, examining the towering buildings, bright sky, and hustle-bustle of people. To a creature as tiny as her, this place was massive, and she was beaming with childish excitement. There was so much to look at and being on her Papa’s head she felt like she was king of the world.  She pointed at the things she’d never seen, flailing her arms wildly and chattering with excitement. She wanted to run ‘round and see everything. She’d never been to “Viridian City” or if she had, she was too young to remember.

 

“Mime, mime, mime! Mime, mime, mime!”  She hopped up and down and teetered from side to side. She was so excited, one of her little feet slipped from under her.

 

Her excitement quickly turned to terror, “MIME! MIME!” She squealed, tumbling off his head, to his shoulder and down towards the ground.

 

“Oh! Goodness!” James Kojirou’s thought stream was interrupted when his little Mime Jr. fell, “Mime’y, darling, be careful!” Swift, warm arms caught her, and both he and her exhaled in tandem when she landed safely. Bright green eyes locked with shiny button ones and the happy smile returned to her face.

 

“I know you’re excited, Mime Jr. but you have to be more careful so you don’t fall and get hurt, okay?”

 

“Mime, mime!”  She declared, giving her humble word. Again, James smile.

 

“We’re almost to the Pokemarket.” He said, “Then you’ll be able to fill that hungry tummy of yours.” Just then, there was pop and a prickly, round, green creature appeared in front of them.

 

“CACNEA!” In an instant, James was painfully glomped by that affectionate pokemon of his, and he let out a pained cry.

 

“AHHHHHH! Cacnea, what are you doing? I didn’t say you could come out of your Pokeball! I love you too, but please, you’re full of needles and it hurts!” Mime Jr’s prickly sibling released their painful grip on their trainer and plopped themselves on the ground in front of them.

 

“Do you want to walk around the city too?”

 

White eyes shut contently, “Cac Cacnea!” Cacnea replied.

 

“Alright, well, I don’t see why not. But you have to stay next to me, no wandering off, okay?”

 

“Cac-nee-a!” With a hand, Cacnea saluted as if to say, “Yes, I promise!” And so, they continued down the cracked and grooved pavement, heading to the outdoor market. Mime Jr. observed her prickly big sister-brother, waddling happily by their trainer’s side, with a happy “Cac, cac, cac” with every step they landed.

 

James Kojirou wore a proud smile as he continued down the blocky streets. Oh, how cute his little Pokémon were. He loved them more than he loved his own, dearest Jessica. Pride swelled in his chest as he considered himself the proudest of parents. But then with a bittersweet thought, he wished that Wheezing, Victreebel, and his precious Chimecho hadn’t grown up and moved on. Wheezing had left to save his new friends, Victreebel had been cruely severed from him via force, but in the end, she’d found love, and that in it of itself made him happy-sad. But Chimecho. There was so much more time they could have spent together, if only she hadn’t gotten sick and had to stay with Nanny and Pop-pop. He hated himself for letting her over-exhaust herself for his sake. He should have noticed. He should have taken better care of her. He should have never let Jessie borrow her for a Pokémon contest! Oh, what horrible stress he had allowed her to go through! Damn me. And if it weren’t for those meddling twerps, she wouldn’t have been electrocuted so many times.

 

He remembered the last time he had seen her, she had been too sick and weak to use her own self-healing. But still, she’d managed to open her soft button eyes to smile at him. To say, “It’s okay, James. Nanny and Pop-pop will take good care of me! I’ll be okay!”

 

“Chime, chime…” she’d sung softly, in that sweet little voice. His eyes had filled with totodile tears then. Clenched fists and trembling shoulders, and he’d had to let her go too soon. She was still a baby to him. No parent should have to leave their child behind. Even if he promised to come back for her one day, to visit her when he could, it would never be the same. He sighed and blinked away the sting of tiny tears.

 

“Mime, mime…” Mime Jr. leaned forward and nuzzled James’s face. His hand came up softly to grace her back and head. Nanny had said, “Mime Jr. can sense that you’re sad and lonely.”  He smiled sadly at her concerned expression, and then sighed, “Almost there, look!” he pointed at the crowd in the busy square, “There’s the Pokemarket, you can see it!” he said, “We’re going to buy some flowers too, what do the two of you think of that?”

 

“Cacnea!”

 

“Mime, mime!”

  

And it was in that moment, he drew near to a group of giggling, ogling friends on his left-hand side. They were looking right at him. Of course, it didn’t take a genius to figure they were laughing at him. And for his own defense, he turned his face away to avoid judgmental stares.

 

“Look at that Cacnea!” squealed one, “It’s so cute!”

 

“Such a precious, prickly baby.” Said another.

 

“Sure, it’s cute, Renee, but that little Mime Jr. is adorable too.”  

 

“Pfft.” Said the fourth, “True, the Pokémon are super cute, but their trainer is gorgeous.” Two of the three others chuckled, the third who had made the comment about Cacnea being prickly, said:

 

“Leave it to Jaymes to find the pretty boi more attractive than the Pokémon.”

 

Jaymes hmm? Thought James Kojirou-san. An unusual name for a female, although who was he to make assumptions? He wasn’t really.

 

“Oh, whatever, Eliza! Does it surprise you?”

 

“Nope.”

 

Renee shook her head, amused by their antics, “Where did you say that bakery was again, Alex?”

 

“Just a few more blocks down, we’re almost there.”

 

When he heard their conversation he briefly made eye contact, looking up at them. Before he smiled the one called Eliza said, “We were just talking about how cute your Pokémon were.”

 

“Mmm hmm!” the one called “Jaymes” nodded briskly, smiling, “They’re absolutely darling!” (It was here he noticed the person looked like Jessie, if Jessie had pixie cut and heart-shaped sunglasses).  

 

When this other Jaymes said this, he remembered a certain face framed with purple hair, a slender form, and dressed in green. That charming asshole Harley had said something similar if not the exact same about James Kojirou-san’s Pokémon. That Harley was strange. He was hot and cold and full of himself, but he genuinely cared for his Pokémon, and was colorfully flamboyant, and James respected that. He had teamed up with Harley once, for a scheme at a Pokémon contest. Well, Jessie had made the executive decision to do so, James himself and Meowth had just been strung along for the ride as they always were. In the same day that Harley had been nasty to them, he had also kissed James on the lips. Spontaneously. In a blink Harley had grabbed him by his front, tugged his collar, and planted one on him. James had turned bright red and Meowth turned into a shocked, spluttering mess. And to this day, he wasn’t sure why Harley had done such a thing, but he had, nor did he know whether to be disturbed or amused. As far as kissers go, though, while he loathed to admit it, Harley wasn’t a bad one. But that didn’t change the fact that he was an insolent prick and James would sooner kiss a Jynx, Meowth, or Jessie’s Wobbuffet than Harley again.  

 

He looked back at Jaymes. He decided the red-head was prettier than Harley. For more reasons than one but being nice played a major roll in his opinion.

 

“Oh, well thank you!” James Kojirou replied.

 

“Mime, mime!” Mime Jr. mimicked.

 

The other Jaymes chuckled. And then Kojirou noticed the Pokémon on the flannel-clad shoulder. “That’s a cute Bulbasaur you have there.”

 

The red-head’s face lit up, “Thank you, so much!” two fingers scratched the bulbasaur under the chin, “Did you hear that, Gino?”

 

“Bulba!” it said, smiling a toothy smile.  

 

 He then wished them well, and pulled a bright pink rose from his belt to hand it over to the Jaymes with the Bulbasaur, and then left behind a squealing, blushing mess. And then continued down the hill into the market.

 

The market was a hullaballoo of conversation, laughter, and delicious smells. His stomach growled, so he stopped for a cheap lunch at a nearby ramen shop. He ran into the twerps but didn’t say anything to them. It was his day off. He’d gone to buy flowers and Pokémon food. He didn’t want to waste his precious off time to try and steal Ash Ketchum’s stripy yellow rat, especially when the only thing he would get out of it was one unplanned electrocution, a blast off, and a bruised body to boot. And there was no persistent Jessie or stoned Meowth to tell him what to do, so he enjoyed his ramen with his Pokémon and left the quaint little shop without a fuss.

 

Since his last paycheck for his last odd job hadn’t been used to pay for some showy, useless gadget, James Kojirou had enough money to pick up some type-specific food. He wandered the market and stopped at his new favorite vendor.

 

“Hello James!” she said to him, “What are we getting today?”

 

“Hello, Stacey! Something a bit different than usual.” He answered. And in that moment, Mime Jr. jumped off his shoulder and hugged a giant bag of food.

 

“Mime Jr.!” he blushed. He plucked her from the table, and much to her own protesting chagrin, “That’s the display, you can’t do that.” He looked at the vendor, “I’m sorry. She’s too excited for her own good today.”

 

The vendor smiled, “That’s alright. It happens.” Mime Jr. continued to squirm and struggle and point at the food. And that was when James Kojirou realized that she was so excited because it was a bag of psychic Pokémon food.

 

“I’ve just perfected a new recipe for psychic Pokemon.” She said. She turned around and produced a few pieces of food from the containers underneath her. “Would you like to sample some, Mime Jr?”

 

Immediately, the pink-bodied baby stopped squirming and smiled, “Mime, mime!” Stacey handed her a piece of food, which she took and devoured. Her face lit up and she chattered contently.

 

“Cac, cac!” There was a tug at the table. Stacey’s eyes wandered to the source.

 

She smiled, “Of course I didn’t forget about you, Cacnea.” She offered a handful of grass Pokémon food for them, to which the cactus Pokémon was so overjoyed that they tried to embrace the vendor, and James had to reach forward and grab them before they could.

 

“Cacnea, I know you’re trying to say thank you, but it hurts when you hug people, you’re covered in spikes, silly!” he sighed, “My apologies again,” he said, through his wincing as the sharp spikes dug through the fabric of his casual clothing, “They’re not used to being out of their Pokeballs in a place like this.”

 

Stacey nonchalantly laughed. Mime Jr. let out another content squeak of joy.

 

“She loves it, how about that!” James gave his warm compliments, “I’ll take box of that. If Mime-y likes it, I’m sure that Wobbuffet will too. I’ll also get a small box of grass type food for my Cacnea, and a medium-sized one of bug type food. And your largest box of poison type food.” He finished with a “I can’t believe I’m doing this” tone, but he didn’t have a choice in the matter.

 

“You must have a lot of poison types at home then, I take it.”

 

James sweat dropped, “No, it’s just that Jessie’s Seviper has the appetite of a Snorlax.”

 

Stacey laughed and continued to package up the food. When she was done, she stacked the large stack of boxes on the counter. “I’ll tell you what. Since you’re a regular and this colossal box of poison food is kind of expensive, I’ll go ahead and give you a discount. Half off your order today.”

 

“Are you serious?” James’s face lit up.

 

“Absolutely! My treat, since your little friends there warm my old lady’s heart.” She smiled sincerely.

 

James was relieved and flabbergasted all the same, “I really don’t know how to thank you, Stacey.” Because what would have been an almost 60-dollar order came out to be about thirty, give or take.

 

“Don’t worry about it, James dear, just keep bringing your cute little babies for visits and we’re square.”

 

James couldn’t hide his ecstatic joy, “Did you hear that, dears?” he asked his Pokémon. They chattered happily in response. James went to pick up the boxes from the counter, shoulders shaking with the weight. In response, he felt a tug on his pant leg. He looked down, Cacnea was looking up at him, chattering and waving their arms.

 

“Do you want to help, Cacnea?”

 

“Cac-ne-a!”

 

 James laughed, “Okay, dear…” he handed them the smallest box, “There you go.” And then he turned and made his way down the street of the market again, bidding Ms. Stacey goodbye and a final warm thank you, and headed toward the flower shop, with Cacnea walking proudly beside him, singing merrily with their precious cargo.

 

And when they left the flower shop after thanking young Miss Daisy for her helpful hand and sweet comments, Mime Jr. was carrying a dozen rainbow roses.

 

James had to practically kick down the flat door to get inside with his full load. “Honey, I’m home!” he announced.

 

All at once a chorus of voices filled the room, and Jessie’s boisterous Pokémon trio came thundering into the hall.

 

“Sssuviper!” “WOB- BAA-FETT!” “TOX! DUSTOX!”  

 

Poor James Kojirou let out a fearful cry, for they were coming at him faster than he could blink and he couldn’t move because of his massive load of food and Mime Jr. did the same.

 

“CACNEA, CAC!” Cacnea stepped in front of them and threatened to attack them.

 

“Oi, back up, ya noisies!” Meowth called from behind, although he was speaking Pokémon so they could better understand. “Or he’s gonna drop all the food and there ain’t gonna be no dinner for yas!” But his lazy, stoned drawl, and his unwillingness to get up from the sofa did nothing to stop them.

 

“HEEEEEEY!” Jessie’s voice filled the room, and the trio came to an abrupt halt, skidding to a stop. If it was a comedy, there would have been a tire skid placed over the action which had just occurred, “LET HIM GET INSIDE FIRST! THEN YOU CAN ALL EAT!”   

 

Immediately, they turned and flew/slithered/waddled back into the main room as fast as they had stampeded to the entryway. When he stepped into the main room, James found that Meowth was lounging on the couch and Jessie was at the table with a glass of red wine. Mime Jr. hopped off James’s shoulder and skipped into the kitchen area with the bundle of roses.

 

“Mime, mime!” she said, handing them to Jessie.  Blue eyes looked down and smiled.

 

Awww, thought she, You’ve brought those lovely roses for me, thank you James dear…are you finally starting to see? Or are you still too oblivious?

 

“These are almost as beautiful as me!” she declared, bending down to take them from Mime Jr, “Let’s put them in the middle of the table, shall we?”

 

“Mime, Mime!” The happy little Pokémon hopped up onto her shoulder.

 

“James, be a dear and feed the Pokémon, will you?” she said, wandering in the kitchenette to find something to cut the stems and wrappings, “And set the table.”

 

“Sure Jess. I was planning on it.” Although normally, James Kojirou would be one to gripe or huff about following such petty orders, feeding Pokémon was an exception. He still had the same love and devotion for taking care of and raising them that he did as a boy. And they were just as happy to be fed. He set all the bowls around their small, wooden table, he poured the drinks, warmed up the leftovers from last night, and then all seven of them gathered around for dinner. Jessie was on one end with Dustox, with Meowth on the other, James in the middle. The Pokémon surrounded them on all sides. Mime Jr. sat in front of James himself, Cacnea beside them on piles of pillows and papers so they could reach their dish, and on the other side, Suviper sat coiled in the chair, and Wobbuffet at its side.

 

And then their happy and strange little family had the best meal they had had in months. The first dinner in their tiny, quaint little flat in the middle of Viridian City, discussing how they’d try again to best the twerps tomorrow.