Lars grunted and held his hand up in front of his face. He thought that he was prepared for the sun’s light after waking up with his blindfolds not covering his windows and thus letting in quite the amount of said particles. However, he was wrong. The light from the star that was closest to Earth blinded the teen when he first stepped out into it. It took a few minutes before he had adjusted his eyes to the light and could see properly again. At first he looked down on his hand and discovered that it was very pale in the sunlight, nothing surprising really since Lars wasn’t known for going outside his house a lot. In fact, Lars wasn’t really known for much except being “that weird guy” or “that quiet dude” by other people. Lars very much preferred the latter to the former, which was why he allowed himself to be called that by simply not speaking much.
As Lars took his first step down the small set of stairs situated under his front door he almost tripped over due to Morgan crashing into him. But he saved the situation by jumping – albeit a bit awkwardly – down on the ground. Shortly after, the little gray pig came bouncing and landed beside his feet. The teen looked at his Spoink with a less-than-happy expression and the Psychic-type simply responded with looking up at him, trying to make his beady black eyes as big and apologetic as possible. Lars sighed; he just couldn’t stay mad at his Pokémon.
“Fine, fine, I forgive you. Now come on, let’s go get some supplies.” He said tiredly. Morgan just nodded with a happy look on his face and began bouncing after his trainer.
When he was walking, Lars very much liked to observe things. Seeing leaves dancing around in the wind, watching flocks of Bird-Pokémon flying by or even spectating the birches located all over the small city he lived in. It was better than talking to people at least. By simply looking and keeping quiet he wouldn’t get ridiculed for not being able to speak properly. It made him a bit sad that people couldn’t go by without picking on someone because they were different. It wasn’t his fault that he had been born with his disorder! It wasn’t like he had asked to be unable to form complete sentences without stammering or just going silent in the middle of a word. It wasn’t his fault! Lars stomped the ground hard with his right foot out of frustration. A few people looked his way but they didn’t say anything, however he thought that one of them may have been chuckling. This just made him even angrier. Morgan looked at Lars worriedly,
“Come on Lars, don’t mind them. Please, just calm down…” He said through telepathy.
“I AM calm,” Lars looked at Morgan sternly. The pig’s worried expression didn’t seem to faze him all that much. Bur after a while he just sighed and said, “Let’s just go.”
Morgan looked at Lars again and gave off a small sigh; he knew that it wasn’t much use to argue now. So they continued their trek in silence.
After a while they arrived at the local supermarket, a perfect place for getting everything from Poké Balls to Potions and much more! Or, well, at least that’s how it is according to the commercials. Morgan had always been skeptical to commercials in general, he had always claimed that they were just a bunch of baloney to sell the stud they were advertising better. While that was true, from Lars’ experience it had always seemed like the supermarket really had what they advertised for. Literally, this specific supermarket deserved its name very much. It was really… super. Or at least super in the sense that it was full of pretty much anything you could ever want as a trainer and to a good price for that matter. After standing in front of the big building – just looking at it like an idiot – Lars was poked in the side by Morgan. The teen jumped to the side, but after he realized that it was just his psychic pig telling him to get on with it, he went in followed by his Spoink.
The automatic doors swished open quickly to reveal the insides of the store. It was like a completely different world had opened up before them. Literally anything could be found in there, or at least that’s what other people claimed. But then again, that literally anything could be found in a store was very, very silly, wasn’t it?
As they entered, Lars and Morgan were met with a man with a big smile on his lips. He wore a red vest and black pants and his head was balding. The teen inspected him quickly; he seemed to be in his fifties or so, a bit sad that he ended up working in a supermarket. Working in a supermarket was a place where Lars would not want to end up working. The people in that working-environment just seemed like they had pretty much failed at passing school or something like that. They seemed a bit like… failures. But despite that, the man smiled on and started talking to Lars.
“Hello, what can I help you with?” He said.
“N-Nuh.” Lars responded and looked down into the ground.
“Excuse me?” The man said, his smile faltering a bit in confusion.
“I s-said,” Lars began, “Nuh-Nothing.”
“Oh,” the man said, as if he was surprised that this boy was even able to talk. He looked a bit strange with all those rubber bands tied in his hair. “Are you sure that I can’t help you?” He continued, maybe if he could get this person to buy some minor things he probably hadn’t meant to buy in the first place, his salary would be a little bigger next time he received it.
“Lars,” Morgan said telepathically, “Don’t bother, he’ll just sell you unnecessary stuff, y’know how big stores like these work. Let’s go.” And with that, the little pig grabbed ahold of Lars’ hand and started to bounce forward, away from the man. The teen didn’t protest, the idea of having to exchange any more words with the man seemed a bit unpleasant to him. That smile was anything but genuine, that was for sure. As the man saw the odd boy and his Spoink leave, he wanted to run after, but that would probably result in a cut salary rather than an increased one. So he just went back with a sigh, trying to find another customer.
“Well, I’m glad that’s over.” Lars said to Morgan, the pig nodded while skipping along to the teen’s footsteps. Since Lars’ memory was very good, he knew perfectly well what he was supposed to buy. It really paid off to have a “photographic memory” as some would call it. Lars was unsure what to call it since there were a lot of scientific sources claiming that there existed no such thing as “photographic memory” and he usually trusted what science told him. He didn’t blindly follow or believe certain things just because scientists told him so, no; Morgan had influenced him to usually think critically of things regardless of what they were.
First on the list were Poké Balls and Lars knew exactly where to find these. “Trainer’s Market, aisle one for convenience,” as his mother had told him the day before. The teen steered towards the aisle, slouching a bit like he usually did. Eventually, he and Morgan reached their destination where another man in the same getup as the earlier one stood. However, this man seemed much less pleased with his job as he had some kind of frown on his face. But when he spotted Lars and Morgan, the man tried his best to smile but it didn’t really work out well. What then greeted the two was a really awkward-half smile that made Lars cringe a bit on the inside. Before the man could speak up, Lars opened his mouth,
“Duh-Don’t f-f-fake it.” He managed to stammer out. The man tilted his head a bit the way a Lillipup or Growlithe would do when they didn’t understand or hear what somebody told them. Lars sighed and tried again. “Y-Your smile,” he began, and it seemed as if the man picked up on what he said, “It’s f-fake. S-so s-top-p it.”
The man’s lips immediately went from making a strained smile to a seemingly more relaxed – and maybe even comfortable – frown.
“So, kid,” he said, “Is there anything you’re looking for?”
Lars nodded solemnly, but in his mind he cursed himself for getting into an unnecessary conversation. Morgan at that point interrupted his thoughts and claimed that a conversation or two would be good for him. Besides, the man didn’t seem too bad.
“Then, what are you exactly looking for?” The man continued. Lars looked down into the ground a bit. He was getting a bit nervous which was never good, soon what he had thought of saying completely vanished and what was left was a nervous Lars thinking of what to say.
“Y-Y…” He quietly began.
“Yes?” The man queried.
“Y-You h-h-hate y-your jo-job, d-d-don’t-t y-you?” Was what came out of his mouth. To Lars, it seemed pretty clear that this guy didn’t like his job. There was just something about the first few seconds when the man spotted them, the strained smile he put on and the tired look on his face after seeing Lars and Morgan. It all seemed a bit obvious to him and he was sure that Morgan would agree. At this statement, the man seemed… surprised. Like this was the last thing he expected somebody to respond with.
“Yes,” he said calmly with a sigh, “That is indeed the case.”
Lars looked at him for a second, right now the man’s expression wasn’t strained or anything else. It was almost as if he was… sad. “Wh-Why do y-you h-hate it-t?” Lars asked.
“Because,” the man answered. His voice became a bit quieter and he started to slump a bit. “Because I feel that I deserve better. I feel that I’ve worked too damn hard to end up in a place like this.”
Lars was a bit surprised by the man’s honesty. Why was he telling a person he just met something personal like this? Maybe he generally was trusting of people despite not looking like it, or maybe this was something he had possessed the urge to get off his chest for a long time? It all seemed a bit strange to Lars, he had never really experienced someone opening up to him in a manner such as this before. He felt a little desolate over the fact that he was unable to help the man with his problems. So because he couldn’t help, Lars did the most logical thing to do, if you were him that was, which was to tell the man how silly his confession had been at a place and time like this.
“Y-You d-do re-re-realize that t-telling m-me so-something l-like this is a b-bit s-stupid?” Lars began, “Y-You sh-shouldn’t b-be s-so f-frank abou-t s-stuff l-like that.”
The man looked at Lars again, for a moment it seemed like he went over what he had just heard in his head, as if he would’ve misheard something due to the teen’s speech impendent. But when he finally seemed to have recollected everything, the man gave off a snort. Not an angry one, but more like an amused one.
“You’re telling me not to be frank?” He began, “You yourself seem pretty frank about things.” The man finished with a slight chuckle.
“Y-Yeah, b-but t-that’s only b-because-”
“Lars, the man was joking.” Morgan interrupted telepathically. The teen turned his head at the little bouncing pig with sort of a “aha”-expression on his face. The man looked at Lars for a second, expecting him to finish his sentence.
“But that’s only because, what?” He asked.
“Oh, n-nothing.” Lars responded hastily.
“Say,” the man said, “You don’t seem as bad as the rest of the people going about this place, would you like any kind of help? You can be sure that I won’t try to sell you any unnecessary crap like the others.”
Lars was puzzled; this was somewhat of an unexpected turn of events. He didn’t seem as bad as the other people in this place? The man talked about the supermarket as if it was some kind of prison. But then again, maybe he saw this whole place as a big prison. Going after what he had said earlier, Lars deduced that this was in fact the case. But should he let the man help him? He was unsure, so he turned to Morgan.
“Should I?” He asked.
“Sure, this guy doesn’t seem as bad as the previous one. He might actually have some kind of dignity or individuality!” The pig chuckled. So it was decided, Lars let the man help him by saying all of the items he needed and then letting the man direct him where he would go. As they progressed through the list, Lars noticed that this man seemed to know a lot about different healing items, Pokémon and other things as he explained in detail about the items, saying things Lars had never even considered. Needless to say, the teen was glad that he had let the man help him; this would probably prove for some interesting conversations in the future.
After all of that was done, Lars followed the man to the counter where he was to pay for everything. The man slipped behind the glass-and-plastic structure and started cashing in the items. 20 Poké Balls, 10 Great Balls, 1 Ultra Ball, a few Potions, some Full Heals and some Berries later, Lars was ready to go on his Pokémon journey. Well, first he had to properly gear up and all that before he left tomorrow, but that wasn’t the point right now.
“Hey,” the man said. “Good luck on the League Challenge! Oh, and don’t forget!” He held up a white Poké Ball with a red “belt” around it and the button, “This Premiere Ball comes as an added bonus whenever someone buys ten or more Poké Balls at once. But you know what?” Now he held up four more Premiere Balls, “Take these as well. Hope you come back after you’ve completed the League Challenge!”
“T-Thanks!” Lars exclaimed with a bit of excitement in his voice, “I-I-I’m g-gonna’ c-come b-b-back f-for s-sure!” And with that, he was off on his way home, he had a big journey ahead of him tomorrow.
Closing time was drawing nearer and nearer. Edgar stared zombie-like at the clock, why couldn’t they close already? There were no people there and most of the city’s population had already gone back to their homes, eating dinner and soundly falling asleep. The only people roaming the streets at this point in time would be the drunks; Edgar swore they were like Rattata, climbing out of the sewers or their other hiding-places in search for food and whatnot. It was going to be a fun walk home, he was sure of that.
“Oh, Ed, why are you standing here looking all glum?”
Edgar turned around to find that it was Andrew talking to him. He never liked Andrew; the guy was mostly useless, seemingly having no spine of his own. Always sucking up to the customers and such... What made it worse was the fact that this wasn’t a show the man put on either, he really was a suck-up-y person all the time. This was probably why he had gotten a high position in the store and an even higher salary as well.
“Don’t call me Ed.” Edgar responded sternly. This caused Andrew to step back a bit. Sure, the man was used to Edgar being somewhat hostile, but this time seemed different. Or did it? Then again, Andrew’s mind had been playing a few tricks on him lately. Maybe he just imagined it? Whatever the case, Andrew decided to try his luck. After all, he was a rather lucky man to have gotten a well-paid position at the supermarket like this while everyone else were close to crawling in the dust like worms, almost begging for money. This was almost the case with Edgar as well, a thing which made reminding him of his poor salary all the more enjoyable.
“Oh, don’t be like that Ed,” Andrew began, “You can’t be mad at little old me for simply having a slightly better position than you, now can you?”
Edgar’s eyes narrowed. He swore that Andrew was just like a middle-school bully, always reminding you of how worthless you were compared to him. It was sickening. But Edgar decided not to let the fat prick get to him this time, instead he started walking away from him and towards the main entry, he was done for the day whether the supermarket was closing or not.
“Hey!” Andrew exclaimed, “Where are you going? It isn’t closing time yet!”
“Really?” Edgar answered, his frown turning into a sly smile, “Well I thought that since you have a much better job-position than me, you must’ve gotten it from all of your hard work here. So then I thought that it would be for the better to leave the store in your hands since I’m just a lazy bum who can’t be trusted with important tasks. Don’t you agree?”
“Well, but, e…” Andrew said. He wasn’t quite sure what to respond. Edgar then saw this as his chance and continued:
“Well, seems like you’ve made up your mind! I’ll see ya’ tomorrow then!” He merrily stated while simultaneously closing the door before Andrew had any room to protest.
Edgar stepped out on the sidewalk with a sigh. As he had predicted, the streets were slowly but surely filling up with men sporting ugly jackets, worn out shoes and red noses. Most of them were sitting down quietly or leaning on a tree or a house while others roamed the streets shouting incoherent blabber. Edgar slowly ran his hand through his hair, hoping that he wouldn’t have to deal with any of these on the way home. Edgar’s house was not too far away from his current work-place, which was convenient even though he hated it. It had begun getting dark enough for the lamp-posts to light up, making the atmosphere a bit… cozy as well as unsettling. Not that Edgar was afraid of any of the drunks; they couldn’t hurt a fly even if they tried. No, there was something else about walking in darkness with only a few spots of light to guide you here and there. Most people would know that it wasn’t quite that unsettling as Edgar described it, sigh, maybe he was just getting paranoid…
The door to the building opened up and Edgar stepped inside. The stairs were only lit dimly by a set of lamps for each set of stairs – some of these lamps weren’t really in a functioning condition either. That didn’t really set the mood to anything better. The man slowly walked up each step; he was in no hurry at all. These were the times when he liked to take it a bit slow. The supermarket could be hectic at times and thus a nice slow walk up to his apartment was a nice change of pace. Eventually, he reached the door he had been heading for ever since he left the supermarket for the day. Edgar lazily pulled down the handle, opened the door and went in.
Clothes on the floor, a bowl with some cutlery and a glass on the table, a few of Poké Balls on a low hanging shelf… just like always. Edgar was sitting and quietly eating the last meal for the day, this time it was some kind of soup? He didn’t really pay attention to what the label had said; he’d just popped it in the microwave and waited for it to be done.
“Why did you tell that boy?”
Edgar looked back, but saw nothing. There wasn’t anyone beside him, yet he heard the voice as clear as day.
“Hm? I thought you were asleep Peabody.” He responded. A purple and black figure emerged from a room; its black pupils stared at Edgar with a tired expression.
“Well,” it began, “Couldn’t sleep very well. Thought I’d come and talk to you for a second.”
“Fair enough,” Edgar said, “Have a seat.” He then proceeded to pull out a chair for the creature. Peabody’s slightly thick body heaved itself up on the chair, a scene which Edgar chuckled lightly at.
“Yeah, yeah, laugh all you want.” Peabody sighed, “But my species happen to be built this way.”
“That doesn’t make it any less funny.” Edgar laughed. Peabody just mumbled something as he got in the most comfortable place he could find on the wooden chair.
“Oh yes, before I forget,” Peabody began, his snout wiggled a bit and the black pearls atop his head seemed to shine for a moment. “Why did you say what you did to the boy?”
“What boy?” Edgar queried.
“The one you talked to earlier today. You know… the one with the broken glasses and long hair.” Peabody said.
“Oh yeah, what about him?”
“Why did you treat him so nicely? Why did you tell him about why you despise your work?”
“Oh, that,” Edgar began. He chuckled lightly and looked down into his bowl, seemed like it was soup, Tomato-soup to be exact, “I don’t know. There was just… something about him.” He started fumbling around with the spoon for a while, “Something that reminded me of… myself. That look in his eyes, you know the one. It wasn’t as noticeable as in other people of his age, but it was there. That look of excitement, knowing that you’re about to start a journey of your own. Knowing that you’re about to make new friends, enemies and other things along the way. Thinking of the stories you will tell once you get back. It’s all so… marvelous.”
“Now that you do mention it, some things are starting to come back to me…” Peabody sighed.
“Yeah.” Edgar said, smiling weakly, “Do you remember when we started out journey on that day, all of those years ago? Geez, it feels like a really long time although it can’t have been more than…”
“Seven years?” Peabody said.
“Yes,” Edgar nodded, “It was here in the city, that tournament which was held here where the top three would get one of the Starter-Pokémon from the Unova region in America. I can’t believe we actually won that… All those memories…” The man looked solemnly towards the shelf where a red and white sphere rested, containing a blue sea-lion-like monster with a white moustache.
“Y-Yeah…” Peabody looked down.
“"Your very own Pokémon adventure is about to unfold. A world of dreams and adventures with Pokémon awaits, let’s go." Heh, I still remember those words…” Edgar looked down into his soup again as a drop of some sort landed in it. “He’s going to have one hell of a journey, that’s for sure. Just pray that he doesn’t end up like me.”