Jeff and Marty shuffle down the center aisle and finally find seats on a crowded bus. Marty holds an overflowing paper bag of groceries for his chili. Jeff does nothing to help. After a few moments, a young man across the aisle holds up his phone in their direction. He looks puzzled at his screen for a while and then puts it down.
Young Man– Excuse me guys, are you Pokemon?
Marty– No, we’re creeps.
Young Man (weirded out)- Oh, um, sorry.
Jeff– Not like, “creepy” creeps. We’re just called creeps.
Young Man– Why?
Marty (shrugs)- Probably an answer out there, we’ve just never Googled it.
Jeff– What’s a Pokemon?
Young Man– Pocket Monsters.
Jeff– Ah, that name seems kind of on the nose. Never heard of ‘em.
Marty– I bet we could fit in a pocket on cargo shorts. I don’t think anyone uses those anyway. Could be an easy way to get around.
Young Man– They don’t actually go in your pocket. They go in a ball.
The Young Man points at his phone.
Jeff– That’s your phone.
Young Man– The balls are in my phone.
Marty– And the monsters are in the balls?
Young Man– Yes, but also they’re everywhere.
Jeff and Marty look around. Marty points at a rather grotesque looking Man, that is glaring for not perceivable reason, and starts to say something but Jeff stops him.
Young Man– You can’t see them without a phone.
Jeff (leaning forward)- Where do these monsters come from?
Young Man– Japan, originally.
Jeff and Marty– Ahhhhhh.
Jeff– Do they power up?
Young Man– Yea.
Jeff– Do they transform?
Young Man– Yep.
Jeff– Do they have a very linear purpose?
Young Man– Totally.
Jeff– This is making more sense now. Good luck with your monsters.
Young Man (perturbed)- Where are you creeps from?
Marty– San Mateo, California.
Young Man– Isn’t that place historically significant for the Japanese-American community?
Jeff– I don’t think so.
Young Man– Yea, yea I’m pretty sure I heard that somewhere, sounds like you could have some Japanese influences yourselves.
Jeff– No! You see, we only get stronger so heroes can kill us and level up and get more items and get stronger…
Marty– Are we Pokemon, Jeff?
Jeff– No, it’s way more complex than that.
Marty– Sounds similar.
There’s a long silence while Jeff thinks. Someone on the bus farts but no one takes ownership.
Jeff– Okay, the powering up linear monsters you put in your phone, why are you putting them in balls in your phone?
Young Man– You collect them, and level them up, like you mentioned, and then fight them.
Marty– Then if they win the fight, you win?
Young Man– Sure, but you also level up yourself and as you do you can find stronger monsters. Or evolve weaker ones into stronger ones. Or trade in weaker ones for candy to make your stronger ones stronger still.
Jeff– Then what?
Young Man– You battle those and then catch more and keep getting stronger monsters.
Jeff– Wait, you have to always be finding these perpetually stronger monsters.
Young Man– Yea, you go to real places in the world like; downtown, parks, forest preserves, under the bridge, alleyways, even stranger’s houses.
Marty– That’s the game?
Young Man– Oh yeah, everyone’s playing it.
Jeff– Son, have you ever tried heroin?
Young Man– Jeez, no.
Jeff– I think you have. (Wink) C’mon Marty, this is our stop.
Marty– The bus is still moving.
Jeff (muttering)- I have to end this conversation on top.
Jeff pushes open the bus window and jumps out. Marty follows willingly, grocery bag in hand.
To be continued….
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