Nigel Thornberry wept with his gargantuan nose nestled in the flesh of his dead Gyarados. Its corpse had begun to stink under the hot sun.
“Why?” He screamed at the sky as snot and tears poured onto his mustache.
But in truth, he knew why.
Gyarry had perished because Nigel had committed the ultimate sin of the Pokemon world: he had caught and attempted to train a MissingNo.
‘Missy’ was a great asset to Nigel’s party at first, but then, strange things began to happen.
His Venusaur sprouted a second head where its flower should have been. Rather than follow Nigel’s commands, the Venusaur recited garbled French poetry while the second head gibbered the same poems backwards.
When Nigel had attempted to evolve his Eevee, it metamorphosed into a Rhydon instead!
Being the adventurous type, Nigel couldn’t help fooling around with the infinite rare candy trick. But when he fed several dozen candies to MissingNo., it began to level up in irrational numbers. By the time Missy reached level 54.728495960…, Nigel noticed that Pallet Town had become an actual pallet but with colors incomprehensible to humans. The trees, buildings and other trainers of the 2-D Pokemon Game Boy world had begun to extend themselves into the Third Dimension.
Since Gyarry’s and Missy’s Pokeballs had been right next to each other on Nigel’s belt, some of Missy’s garbled existential data must have leaked into Gyarry’s Pokeball and infected him.
This became apparent at the moment of Gyarry’s death. Nigel had commanded Gyarry to use water gun against a rival trainer’s Onyx. Gyarry, with his perception of reality muddled by MissingNo., manifested an actual gun, pointed it at himself and blew his own head off.
The majestic water snake had fallen to the ground and blood had pooled beneath his shattered skull. Nigel had run toward Gyarry thinking, oddly enough, of how perfectly suited his nose was for running at such speeds. Nigel’s aerodynamic schnoz could probably reduce enough drag to shave off ten seconds or more in a hang glider race, give or take.
“Gyarry!” he wailed. “Gyarry, why?!”
Nigel lay huddled and bawling over Gyarry’s corpse, the tip of his nose grazing his buddy’s scaly blue skin. The other trainer had called the Pokemon Center and, fifteen minutes later, two Nurse Joys arrived to cart off the poor, dead creature’s body for a postmortem examination.
At the Lavender Town morgue, a Nurse Joy and her Chansey assistant wheeled Gyarry’s body into the medical examiner’s room. The Chansey handed Nurse Joy a pair of bone cutters, but before the nurse could cleave Gyarry’s rib cage, a human arm busted out of its torso.
The Chansey and Nurse Joy shrieked and leapt backwards.
The arm reached for the Gyarados’ mangled head and whipped off what had apparently been a mask the whole time.
“I’m Gary Oak, bitches!” the brown-haired boy beneath the mask sneered.
“How did you … how …” Nurse Joy stammered.
“No time for explanations,” Gary leapt off the table and tore off the rest of his Gyarados costume. “There’s a Nigel Thornberry whose face just screams to be laughed in,” He cackled and winked at Nurse Joy and Chansey. For a split second, his body became all glitchy and static-y like an old TV. “Catch you bozos later.”
¥ ¥ ¥
That night, Nigel sat in his apartment alone, drinking raspberry iced tea in front of a switched-off TV. His wife had left him years ago, taking the kids, the monkey and that feral jungle boy Donnie with her. Nigel had decided not to continue with his nature show after the divorce. Instead, he resolved to become a Pokemon master by the end of the decade.
But catching and training Pokemon proved to be lot more difficult than the former Wild Thornberry could have ever imagined. Over the course of five years, he had only ever caught one Pokemon: Magikarp. Bulbasaur and Eevee were given to him by Professor Oak out of pity for Nigel’s lackluster training skills, and MissingNo. had leapt into one of his Pokeballs of its own volition. Nigel had never bested any gym leaders either. He was content to simply battle Rattatas and Pidgeys in the tall grass surrounding his apartment building.
But now, his dream was crushed. His precious Magikarp whom he had raised into a Gyarados one painstaking experience point at a time was dead for real. No Pokemon Center could bring him back.
Suddenly, there was a knock on the door.
Nigel, dressed only in a stained t-shirt and a pair of tightie-whities, didn’t feel like answering. The only people who ever knocked on his door were solicitors or HUD representatives inspecting people’s apartments for Caterpies, Weedles and other verminous Poke-critters: the ones whose final evolutionary forms were so lackluster that no one ever bothered to try and catch them.
“Open up, you big-nosed jerk, it’s Gary.”
Did he say ‘Gyarry?’ Nigel’s heart thudded, but then the truth dawned on him. Oh, it’s just Professor Oak’s douchebag grandson Gary. What does he want this time?
Nigel shuffled across the room, his bare feet crunching various food wrappers and TV dinner containers. He opened the door a crack.
“Move aside, numbnuts.” Gary burst into the room. “Quite a dump you got here, Nige,” Gary spat on the floor.
“What can I do you for, Gary?’ Nigel sighed.
“Nothing,” said Gary. “I just want to make fun of you and your shitty-ass apartment. What’s this?” Gary picked up a set of plastic rings once used to hold together a six pack of canned beverages. “You’re gonna choke some Seels and Laprases with this shit, you asshole.” Gary hung the six-pack holder on Nigel’s mustache like a Christmas ornament. “There ya go,” he laughed. “I have another piece of news you might like to hear.”
“What is it Gary?” Nigel thought that if he provided bare-minimum answers to Gary’s queries, the little twatnozzle would leave him alone.
“I killed your Gyarados. In fact, that overgrown blue penis-looking thing you loved so much was never real to begin with. It was me in disguise all along!” Gary laughed.
“Very good,” Nigel chuckled, but deep down he wanted to wring the puny fucker’s neck. So what if child protective services were called on him. At this point, he would prefer life in prison to living without his Gyarados. Failing at being a Pokemon master was, Nigel reasoned, tantamount to failing at life.
Gary began to rampage around Nigel’s apartment, picking up things both functional and broken and throwing them indiscriminately across the room.
“Fuck you, Nigel Thornberry!” Gary threw a Doobie Brothers record at the TV and it shattered. “Fuck you and your lame existence. I’m glad your fucking ho wife left your ass. Your nature show was stupid anyway.”
That was it. Fires redder than Nigel’s hair and mustache began to burn in his eyes. He balled his fists.
“You can murder my Pokemon,” he growled “and you can destroy my stuff, but nobody refers to my nature show anything other than …”
All three of Nigel’s Pokeballs exploded their contents into the room.
Venusaur the French poet, the Rhydon who was once an Eevee, and the scrambled existence known as MissingNo. appeared beside Nigel, ready for battle.
Gary laughed so hard he might as well have been rolling around in the trash. “Are you fucking kidding me? Sorry, buddy, but your entry level retard circus ain’t gonna put a scratch on my Mewtwo.”
Nigel stretched him arms out as though he was being crucified. MissingNo. broke itself into bits which flew up Nigel’s nose and integrated themselves with his body. Using MissingNo.’s paste-like qualities, Nigel fused his lower body with Venusaur. The Nigel/Venusaur hybrid then fused with Rhydon, creating a chimera with the armor and horns of a Rhydon, the flowery appendages of a Venusaur, and the face of Nigel Thornberry.
“SMASHING!” The chimera screamed.
Using the MissingNo. particles in the Chimera’s arm, Nigel formed a giant hammer and smashed Gary Oak to pieces.
The pieces sat inert on the floor for several minutes.
Is it over? Thought Nigel. No, it can’t be.
Nigel observed that the shards of Gary Oak were made of garbled bits of letters and numbers like MissingNo. That’s when he put the whole picture together:
Gyarry had been infected by MissingNo. ever since the glitch had hopped into one of Nigel’s Pokeballs. The damn glitch had altered Nigel’s perception of reality in such a way that the Gyarry had been Gary Oak the whole time. MissingNo. was not only capable of altering individual perceptions, but could fuck with causality on the objective level as well. Gyarry had been himself, MissingNo. and Gary Oak simultaneously and all along.
Faced with MissingNo.’s seemingly limitless powers of reality manipulation, Nigel realized he didn’t stand a chance.
As he suspected, the fragments of Gary/MissingNo. began to reconstruct themselves. Nigel needed to do something about this quickly.
But what could he do other than pray for a Deus Ex Machina to intervene and save the day?
Gary, now completely reassembled, opened and closed his hands and grinned at Nigel. “You can’t kill Gary motherfucking Oak, you cocksucker. You of all people should know that. Nothing can save you now. I could murder you, and my grandpa’s lawyers would get me off scott-free. You know why? Because …”
“You’re a motherfucking prick?” A shrill voice sounded from somewhere outside.
“Who said that?” Gary looked every which way. “God? Is that you?”
“Close enough.” A boy in a cap stepped into Nigel’s apartment. “Ash fucking Ketchem at your service: ready to wipe the floor with a certain trust fund kid’s stank booty.”
The Nigel chimera balked.
“You’d better get out of here, mister,” Ash nodded at Nigel. “This dickhead has a level 99 Mewtwo and he ain’t afraid to fight dirty.”
“I’ll join you,” Nigel assumed what the Thornberry family called a ‘fighting stance.’ “Two versus one shouldn’t be against the rules in a self-defense situation.”
“There’s just one problem with that statement,” Gary smirked and indicated something to his left. “This ain’t two-on-one.”
“Be careful,” said Ash. “He’s got girth and knows how to use it.”
A lightning bolt struck an empty Dorito bag. From its depths crawled a wriggling mass of peach-colored flesh. The fleshy mass expanded until, standing before the bewildered duo was a fat man with a butt-chin wearing nothing but round, frameless glasses.
“Peter Griffin to the rescue!” The man made a noise similar to a sheep bleat.
Nigel took this to be laughter.
“Snorlax, Muk and Thundercat, I choose you!” Three Pokeballs fell from Peter’s ass cheeks. The tubby sleeper and pile of viscous fluid appeared, but the third did not.”
“Thundercat?” Peter bent to inspect the third, unopened Pokeball. “That’s weird. Let me try hittin’ it with something.” He grabbed Gary by what Nigel assumed was one of those new pocket sausages everyone was talking about: the ones advertised in those magazines hidden behind plastic barriers in the grocery store.
“Hey!” Gary yelped. “Cut it out, you tub of lard. This is a Pokemon battle, not …”
“Got it!” Peter bleated once more.
The Pokeball burst open and filled the room with pink light.
“Grab on to something!” Ash screamed in Nigel’s ear, “or you’ll be sucked in.”
Peter’s laughter could be heard getting quieter and quieter as he, Gary and both their teams of Pokemon swirled down the pink vortex into a kind of world only Pokemon understand.
“Thundercat, eh?” Nigel stroked his chin. “Is that one of the later generation ones?”
“No,” said Ash, “Thundercat isn’t a Pokemon at all. When that guy Peter tried to summon it, it must’ve reacted badly with the MissingNo. virus and created a temporal/spatial distortion. My advice to you would be to find a way to detach yourself from MissingNo. as soon as possible. If it comes to it, you might need to start a new game and overwrite your save file. The MissingNo. glitch is bad news. I’ve dealt with it millions upon millions of times. One-in-ten of the Third-Dimensional Gods that control our actions have and will continue to try and make us capture it. As sad as it is to say, that is the nature of our world.”
“But if I start a new game,” Nigel broke in, “does that mean I’ll die?”
“The current you will cease to be, yes,” said Ash, “but when you reenter the body of your assigned Third-Dimensional God, you can always name yourself Nigel again. Since ‘your’ memories are also the memories of your God, your personality and experiences will remain intact.”
“That doesn’t sound so bad.” said Nigel. “You might even say, it sounds quite smashing.”
“I like that term,” Ash smiled at Nigel. “It’s so … you.”
“I concur,” Nigel stroked his mustache. “I concur.”