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Pikachu’s Inner Monologue

Dark, cool, quiet. I am at peace.

It cannot last. It never does.

It has been—six days. And on the seventh day, I shall not rest, for the next chapter of my miserable life will be at hand. The hand of Ash will again discharge me, flinging me into mortal combat.

Who will this week’s foe be? Life is nothing but a series of random battles with terrifying monsters; sometimes, I even know their names, and the sounds chill me to the bone. Onix, Gyarados, Dragonite, Metagross. How did Ash come to rely on me so? I weigh 13.2 pounds; I duel two-ton behemoths. I am praised for my willpower, my genius for effort. I’m unbeatable! This is what I tell myself…because the alternative is death.

I do my best. I am the lightning; I blast my foes with holy thunder. My lungs beg for mercy under the strain of my battle cry; my foes also beg, but I do not relent. Have you ever seen a living creature literally shocked unconscious, screaming until it passes out from the pain? Worse are the silent foes; their agony cannot be heard, but I can see it in the dying light of their eyes as the smell of their charred flesh reaches my nostrils.

Sometimes, I fail. The laws of physics get the better of me. What is Thundershock next to the wrath of a living mountain of stones? Quick Attack against foes prepared to devour me in a single gulp? Countless times, I have been reduced to a mound of quivering yellow fur; Sabrina’s Kadabra and Bugsy’s Scyther still haunt my nightmares. Ash has five other Pokémon. I hear their shrieks of terror precede my entrance; I can see them being torn apart, crushed flat, burnt to cinders in my mind’s eye. But always,it comes to me. I am the last resort, he who must save the day. Why was I chosen for this destiny? Why am I always to be the hero who must defend this world?

It’s all because this maniac boy scooped me up, stuffed me in a tiny steel sphere, and decided I’d be his constant companion as he traveled across the land, searching far and wide for the strongest trainers, against whom he would lose—I would lose—again and again and again. He is an awful trainer, who succeeds through persistence alone— namely, my persistence. I climb waterwheels, learn to surf and box, level up to the limits of Pokémon existence (resisting the urge to evolve, break free of this body, become a killing machine). As long as there are battles to be waged, I will never win my freedom. I no longer dream of release; only of future Pokémon Centers and the bottles of ketchup that soothe my scars for a scant few minutes.

And here it is. My release from this prison into the arena. The light burns my eyes; I know not what horror awaits me. I can only stand, head high, and roar my fury to the skies:

“Pika! Chuuuuuuuuu!”

—A. Gertler

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