Do The Right Thing
It’s just another typical Petalburg City Party. Everyone here’s got a name that either should be a surname or hasn’t been used since the late nineteen-fifties. That girl there in the red is me. My name’s May Maple, I’ll be your narrator.
So you’re probably wondering how I came to be at this party. Well, I don’t know, maybe you’re just wondering how a Pokeball works, but since you’re listening to my story I’ll assume you’re concentrating on it and continue. I’m at this party because it’s my house, and it’s my father’s birthday.
My dad, Norman, is the Gym Leader here in Petalburg. True to his name, he uses normal types, and is pretty good. I’m not just saying that because he’s my dad; I’m saying it because he came second in the Gym Heroes Challenge two months ago. He just lost out to a guy called Koga by one Pokemon. But he didn’t mind. He’s always taught me that there’s no shame in coming second.
I love my dad, he’s a cool guy. He even let me invite my friends to his birthday party. Not all of them, obviously, just my closest friends. You can see them around the place. The boy at the buffet stuffing his face is Ash, the red-headed girl in yellow who’s pretending she doesn’t know him is Misty, and the tall, dark and quiet guy is Brock. I used to travel with Ash and Brock for a while, until they went off to Sinnoh and I split for Johto. But now we’re all back together and everything’s like old times.
Doesn’t it make you sick to hear things like that? Just like old times. It’s a load of bull. I’m sorry about that, I’ll try to avoid those sorts of clichés from now on.
It’s the hottest day of the year, and unfortunately, no matter how much me and Max annoy dad, he won’t put in a swimming pool.
‘Just get Squirtle to use water-gun,’ he says with a dismissive wave of his hand.
‘What if I get Brock’s Steelix to dig the hole for us?’ I offer.
‘I’ll throw you like a dart,’ he replies, and goes back to his newspaper.
So that’s my home life.
I walked up to the buffet and reach past Ash to grab a corn-jack. He growled like a Houndour but I just pushed him aside with my elbow. Finally he stops eating and stands up straight.
‘Good evening, madam,’ he says, putting on a pretentious accent to match some of my dad’s alleged “friends.”
‘Miss. I’m not married, am I?’
‘You tell me.’
‘Oh God, not this again.’
‘Yes, this again. When are you two going to stop wasting time and just admit that you’re in love with each other?’
‘When are you two going to stop wasting time and just admit that you’re in love with each other?’
He’s talking about me and Drew. I’m talking about him and Misty.
‘For the millionth time, I don’t like Misty in that way,’ Ash said, looking about to make sure she was out of ear shot. ‘She’s my best friend. And that’s all she’ll ever be, alright.’
‘Nope. Don’t believe you.’
‘Fine, don’t believe me. But stop asking me.’
He looked at me angrily. It was too easy to infuriate him. He’d developed a real short fuse in Sinnoh. Then again, he’d always had a bit of a temper. It’s just expanded. Whatever. He’s still not as bad as Misty.
‘Just give me one good reason why you won’t go out with her?’ I said.
‘Because I’m desperately in love with you, May.’
‘You idiot,’ I pushed him lightly in the shoulder. ‘I asked for a good reason. Preferably one that’s not a lie.’
‘But lies are so easy to come up with,’ Ash replied. ‘Why is it that you’re so determined to fix me up with Misty. You don’t even like her.’
‘That’s not true,’ I said immediately. ‘That’s… not entirely true.’
‘Mmm-hm.’ Ash had a look of intolerable smugness on his face. I wiped it off with a handful of noodles from an abandoned plate.’
‘What is the matter with you?’ Ash said, wiping the sauce off of his face and licking his fingers.
‘It’s the hottest day of the year,’ I said. ‘I’m bored.’
‘Just get Squirtle to use water-gun,’ he said, taking off his sauce-stained gloves and shoving them into the pocket of his jeans.
‘You sound just like my father,’ I said.
‘Whatever. I’m going inside to wash my face. This sauce isn’t nearly as delicious as I’d hoped.’
‘Stay out of my room,’ I called to his departing back. He waved at me without turning around.
Okay, so that little scene wasn’t terribly important to the story. I mostly keep it in there to show the easy back-and-forth chiding friendship that we have, and to show just how resistant Ash was when we started the plan.
Oh God, again with the clichés. Sorry about that. I’m really trying, but it’s really hard. There are too many clichés in the English language to avoid all of them. I could speak Japanese if you’d prefer, but I get the feeling that you don’t understand the language well enough to follow such a complicated story. I’m rambling again. Sorry.
The next phase of the plan was to talk to Brock, see if he’d noticed anything about Ash when they were in Sinnoh. Things like sleep-talking, late night confiding in him, and how he acted around the new girl. I can’t remember her name. If he’s fallen for her, we could be more screwed than I can possibly imagine. And not in a good way.
So I go up to Brock and give him a hug and make small talk for a little while before getting down to business.
‘I don’t think he really likes her very much,’ he said.
‘Kari,’ he replied. ‘She’s too much of a glamour-puss. Too focused on the girly aspects of contests. Your contests always ended in bloody battles that were really exciting to watch. I don’t think she even knows how to win a contest battle.’
‘Sounds like you don’t like her very much,’ I said.
‘Not even a little bit,’ Brock replied, nodding his head slightly. ‘If Ash is planning to travel with her again, which I doubt he is, I’m staying behind. I don’t want to be on the road with her for another year.’
‘Okay, you don’t like her, I get it. But what I wanted to know is if Ash likes her.’
‘I don’t think so,’ he said, very obviously watching a girl at the buffet who had more legs than the bucket of chicken in front of her
‘Brock!’ I clicked my fingers impatiently and his eyes snapped back to me.
‘He hasn’t mentioned Misty to me any more than he’s mentioned her to you,’ he said, his gaze waving back towards the girl at the table. I gave up on him – I couldn’t compete with a hot stranger. Not in Brock’s eyes, anyway.
‘Maybe you should just stay out of it,’ he said, still watching the other girl. ‘If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be, and they’ll sort it out themselves. You can’t just assume that if you mash them together enough times something’ll click. It just doesn’t work that way.’
‘It might,’ I argued.
‘No, it doesn’t. Think of all of my cracks at Nurse Joy and Officer Jenny. They haven’t relented and taken me on yet, have they?’
‘But you’re a maniac,’ I said. ‘Ash and Misty are already really close.’
‘Maybe they’re close enough.’
I couldn’t get anything else out of Brock. I just left him to his creepy, sweaty, perverted staring and sat down.
God, it was hot. I fanned myself with a paper plate from the buffet.
Then, out of the corner of my eye, I spy Ash and Misty sitting on the garden wall, talking. I try to sneak up on them so that they don’t see me. I want to hear what’s going on.
No chance of that, though. My genius of a brother finally has the speakers working, and just as I’m walking past them I’m suddenly blasted by the opening chords of The Killing Moon by Echo and the Bunnymen. I love my dad, but his music is lame. For the thousandth time I renew my vendetta against my brother and try to sneak around behind them.
They see me, of course. How could they not? It’s like there’s some cosmic author constantly hurling obstacles into my path.
‘What are you doing, sneaking around like that?’ Ash said suspiciously.
‘I wasn’t sneaking,’ I said indignantly. ‘I was just… walking quietly. We don’t all have to clomp around like Snorlax just because we can, you know.’
‘Ash, why don’t you just go and get something to eat?’ Misty suggested. He shrugged and complied. Then Misty sat down again. It was obvious I was supposed to sit down next to her. And there would be terribly important matters to discuss.
I sighed as I sat down. I so wasn’t in the mood for this anymore.
‘Ash just admitted that he likes me,’ Misty blurted out. Seriously, it was the first thing she said.
‘That’s great!’ I exclaimed, feeling hot and tired, but satisfied that at least the night hadn’t been a total waste.
‘There’s just one small problem,’ she continued, looking down at the ground.
‘What?’ I asked. The little bubble of happiness inside me deflated slightly.
‘There’s another girl as well,’ she said.
‘Oh, God, it’s me isn’t it?’
There goes that cosmic author again. He’s got a real wit on him.
‘You like him too, don’t you?’ Misty asked.
‘No, no, no…no, no,’ I said. ‘Well, maybe a little.’
She looked like someone had hit her in the face with a Wailord.
‘I think I’d better go,’ I said, desperately wanting to get away from her and that accusing stare. And I hadn’t even done anything yet. Not that I was planning to do anything anyway. Am I sounding too defensive? Cr ap, this is bad narrating. I should have gotten Max to do it, he’s so freakishly smart. But there I go, rambling again. Anyway, the point is, this is where we are now. I’ve just run away from Misty, and now I’m talking to you, hoping that you can tell me the right thing to do. Hey, that rhymes.
It’s hardly an original story. It’s really just an ethical dilemma. I know that I don’t like Ash even half as much as Misty does. So it should be a no brainer. But they don’t call it temptation for nothing. God damn it, that’s another cliché. I thought I told you to stop me if I started to say one. I didn’t? Well, I meant to.
So there’s Misty, sitting on the wall, looking miserable as anything. She’s been waiting for this for a really long time. Certainly longer than I have. And like I said, she likes him a whole lot more than I do.
And there’s Ash, once again shovelling food into his gaping mouth with both hands. He would have been happy as an Aipom, with a third hand. Or a Machamp, where he’d have four.
And there’s Brock, standing very close to the all-legs girl but clearly not getting any closer to his goal. She either hasn’t noticed him or has and is trying to pretend she hasn’t. Can’t say I blame her – he’s sweating an awful lot. It’s like a disease, or something. But then again, it is the hottest day of the year. Now that I think about it, I’m sweating heaps too. Maybe that’s partially nerves.
But what do I have to be nervous about? There’s really only two options here in this ethical dilemma. Nice guys finish last, good things come to those who wait. Fortune favours the bold. There’s a pile of clichés for both options.
I walk back over to Misty.
‘What are you going to do?’ she asks me.
I just give her a smile and say:
‘I’ll do the right thing.’