The four of them entered the restaurant and sat down for lunch. Looked like the special of the day was Spiced Malasada from Alola. Caleb never traveled much outside of Johto. This was the first time out of Cherrygrove City in a while. Good to be out, he thought to himself.
Jessie sat down with Caleb and his family. Junior and Penny stared at her for a moment. Caleb said, “Knock it off you two.” At first Caleb was seriously angry at Jessie. Now he just felt bad for her. “She’s down on her luck. What did Mom always say about people down on their luck?”
“Show them kindness and show them love,” Junior and Penny said in harmony. His wife had been so kind. She served at a soup kitchen on weekends; she brought him there whenever he wasn’t traveling for work. He remembered when they had traveled together to Cianwood City to help out with medical missions. He helped them build their new pharmacy while Lydia tended to injured Pokemon.
“That’s right, and she’s in need so we’ll show her kindness,” Caleb said.
Jessie felt weird about this whole thing. She just had robbed this man and now he’s offered her a meal. She had no idea what to think of such naivete.
The waiter came over and took everyone’s orders. Caleb turned to Jessie, “So, tell us about yourself.”
She froze for a moment. What could she tell them about her life? Her life was so strange.
At 13 she joined Team Rocket. She followed her best friend Franky into the organization. He had joined first and explained all the opportunities for Rocket members. Man was he wrong, she thought to herself.
The two of them faced off in a number of Pokemon battles and raised capital for the Giovanni. She met him once. He was stoic, calm, and charismatic. His mere presence dominated a room. She and Franky found themselves craving his attention whenever he was around. They were more daring in each new endeavor to raise the stock of Team Rocket. It was Franky’s idea to steal Slowpoke tails and sell them on the open market. It was Franky’s ventures which led to a a jump in robberies throughout Johto.
Then she remembers the end. Giovanni disappeared. Team Rocket collapsed and the members were nabbed one by one. She and all the rest were caught and tossed in prison. She was scared straight at that point, Franky was not. He stole keys and broke himself free. He tried to bring her with him, but she refused. “I need to serve my time, I committed all those crimes,” she remembered telling him. He openly mocked her as he left. She never saw him again.
She shook her head for a moment. She had been daydreaming about her past. “Sorry about that. No point in hiding it. I’m a former Rocket, recently released with my meowth on good behavior,” she said to everyone. Her response kind of just sat there. Their silence was deafening, she thought to herself.
Once more, the silence was broken by Caleb. “We all make mistakes,” he said. “Did I ever tell you about the time I broke every single bone in both of my legs?”
Junior and Penny’s heads spun around rapidly. In sync they both said, “What did you say?”
“Yea, when I was 18, fresh in university I was helping build a new Pokemon Center in town. My friends dared me to jump off the roof.” Caleb continues to regale his children with his tale of youthful foolishness.
Why is he telling this story? Jessie thought to herself. It’s not even close. He just gets hurt, I hurt others. I was horrible. I helped these monsters. I deserved that prison sentence.
She turns back as Caleb says, “And that’s when I realized it was over. I came to the next morning in a hospital bed. Was out for months! The point is, we all do things we’re not proud of or embarrass us. I know I did. The goal is to learn from those mistakes and move on.” Caleb smiled.
“Now, after dinner, we’re heading over to the Violet City Gym to possibly make a new, huge mistake.” Caleb’s smile widened.
Always friendly, she thought, I just don’t get this guy.
The food arrived and everyone ate their meal quietly. Jessie still felt odd about everything. She leaned over to Caleb, “Thank you again, but after this, I’m going to bounce.”
“That’s up to you, if you still need money we are going to be traveling and I know there are a lot of trainers we each can battle.”
She just looked at him, “What do you mean traveling?”
“I’m going to get all the Gym Badges and challenge the Elite Four.”
“At your age?” she scoffed. She wasn’t sure how old he was, but judging by the age of his children, she assumed late 30s at the youngest.
“I’m 40 and I have a lot of life ahead of me.” He puffed up with pride and smiled. His smile was contagious as Jessie looked around and saw both of his children smiling as well. She began to snicker.
He looked at her and winked, “I got this. Falkner doesn’t stand a chance.”
Jessie smiled. Yes he does, she thought to himself. His birds are going to cream him. “You really should consider catching some more Pokemon.”
“Nah, I got this.”
The four of them finished their meal. Caleb paid and they all walked over to the Pokemon Center. After his battle with Jessie, Caleb needed to heal up Bobby. Jessie took the opportunity to heal up her meowth as well.
“You sure you don’t want to come with us?” Caleb asked.
Jessie stood there for a moment. While I don’t really care what happens to these guys, it would be fun to see the old man get smacked around, she thought to herself.
“I’ll go to the gym with you guys. After that, we will see.”
“Works for me,” Caleb said.
“What do you mean a 40 year old Pokemon trainer? Do I seriously have to keep facing off against every old man dealing with a midlife crisis? Come on.” Falkner hung up his phone.
“What’s up, boss?” said Abe. He had been a helper in the gym for years, assisting Faulkner and raised many flying-type Pokemon. He could tell his boss was irritated.
“Another old man wants to face me now. I get it, I’m getting old, I’ve been doing this a while, but still. Send in the youth. Send in the new recruits. A 40 year old from Cherrygrove just starting out? Give me a break. I don’t even know if I want to fight him with full force.”
“Then don’t,” Abe said.
Falkner turned around quickly. “What do you mean?”
“I mean, if the guy’s really a loser like you say, just face off with only one Pokemon, make it your weakest. That way when you win, and you will, your mockery of his foolishness will be even greater.”
Falkner grinned. “I always liked you Abe. That’s a great idea.”
Falkner walked to the door. He smiled as he saw Caleb and his family approaching.
His grin got wider as he said, “Bring it on old man. I’m going to knock you down to Azalea Town.”
This is the fourth part of Pokemon Golden Dreams. Hopefully, you enjoyed it. If you did, check out the overall story index to read the other parts of the story! Feel free to leave your comments below.