"Good evening, ladies and gentlemen," said a young, pretty lady with pink hair, "welcome to Pallet Primary's annual nativity play. Let us hope we do not have a repeat of last year's... tragedy."
The audience winced as they remembered.
"And now, without further ado, I hand you over to my grade 3 class!"
The smiling lady, the class' teacher, turned away and walked backstage. The second she was away from the audience, her expression darkened, and she muttered, "trust my luck to end up in this crappy town, no @#*%ing Pokemon Center, so what do they give me, a job teaching stupid little third grade brats..."
Not all Joys live up to their names.
On stage, a spikey-haired boy led another boy by the hand.
"Come on, Mary," said spikey-hair - also known as Gary - "we are almost at Bethlehem."
This is so embarassing, thought Richie, as he was led along, why do I have to go to an all-boys school? And why did they choose ME to play Mary?
"That's a relief," said Richie, patting his stomach-with-cushion and feeling like an idiot, "I need some place to stay. I think the baby will arrive soon."
The entire room cracked up. Gary glared. "SHUT UP, will you? My wife is in pain here!"
Richie hit Gary over the head, and the two looked as if they might get into a fist fight.
"Keep going," hissed Joy from backstage.
"It is too bad we have to go all this way," continued Richie, "just because we were born in Bethlehem."
"Yes, too bad," agreed Gary, while thinking about the brilliant quality of the scriptwriter's work.
"Ah, I think we are in Pallet right now," said Richie.
"You mean Bethlehem," said Gary, with a sweatdrop. "Yeah. That'll do."
The two reached a painted cardboard house and Gary knocked on the door. The house fell over.
"OW!" shouted a kid, pushing the cardboard house off him, "why'd you do that, you big jerk?"
"It was an accident," said Gary. "Your house is pretty weak."
"Do you have any rooms for us?" asked Richie of the "innkeeper".
"Not for you, I don't give rooms to jerks. Besides, you just wrecked the house, how CAN I give you any rooms, unless you wanna sleep in rubble?"
"Good improvisation," muttered Joy, groaning inwardly.
"Fine!" snapped Richie, "who needs YOU? We'll find some other place."
He grabbed Gary's arm and pulled him away. Gary stuck his tongue out at the innkeeper. Richie stormed up to another 'house' and stomped on the ground, careful not to ruin this house.
"Yes, can I help you?" asked another boy playing an innkeeper.
"Do you have any rooms for us?"
"I'm sorry, we're all full up. This is a very busy time of the year."
"Sounded like a brush off to me," muttered Gary, but led his 'wife' away. They knocked on a third door, and were met by a third innkeeper.
"Do YOU have any rooms for us?"
"I'm sorry, sirs, we're all full up. Christmas is a busy time of year, everyone wants a place to stay."
"Christmas hasn't been invented yet, ya moron," said Gary.
"And whaddya mean, sirS," added Richie, patting his stomach, "I'm supposed ta be a girl here." The audience was trying very hard not to laugh, but suspecting that this play was not designed as a comedy, they demonstrated remarkable restraint.
"Well, tough," said the innkeeper, "I said we don't have any room, and we don't have any room!" Richie leaned forwards and grabbed the innkeeper's shirt collar, pulling him close.
"You want me to give you a black eye? I gotta have this stupid baby somewhere."
"Stupid baby," muttered Joy, head in hands, "wonderful impression to give, Mary."
"Mary, you're supposed to ask if they have any room in their animal stalls," said Gary helpfully.
"I don't wanna go out in some stinkin' animal stall," said Richie, "gimme a room, innkeeper."
The innkeeper shouted, "SHUT UP! You're saying your lines wrong!" By this stage, weird noises were coming from the audience as they tried valiantly to hold back their laughter.
"Fine," said Richie, feigning sweetness, "DO you have any stalls?"
"Why yes we do, if you are willing to sleep out with the animals."
"Well, I'm not, I just said I'm not."
"We'll take it," said Gary, sweatdropping.
"Cheapo," muttered Richie, but followed Gary as they all walked backstage.
Joy, the narrator, spoke loudly from backstage. "Mary and Joseph had come to Bethlehem, and the only place they could find was an animal stall. They were just in time, and Mary began to have her baby -"
"OW! $#&$ THAT HURTS!"
She stared at Richie. "What are you doing?"
"I'm just playing my part."
"But that's what pregnant women do. I've seen it on TV. First they -"
"Yes, that's enough. MARY BEGAN TO HAVE HER BABY RIGHT THERE THAT NIGHT. Meanwhile, in some hills not too far away, shepherds watched their flocks by night...."
Five shepherds came out with a herd of mereep, and all of them began to sing "While shepherds watched their flocks by night". The audience took this opportunity to laugh unnoticed. The song faded, and the sheep lolled around.
"Me-e-e-ee. Meeeh." One of the mereep, Ash Ketchum, crawled around and thought dark thoughts. WHY, he wondered, do I always get stuck being a sheep or some lame-o role, while my stupid rivals get the good parts. He decided then and there that he was not going to get shafted in this play.
"Me-e-ereeep," he bleated, standing up on his hind legs - er, legs. "I bring you good ne-e-e-ews. In Bethlehe-e-e-e-eeem, a -" One of the shepherds took his cardboard staff and bashed Ash over the head with it.
"BAD Mereep," he scolded, "Pokemon don't talk."
"It's a good thing we shepherds are here to control them," agreed another shepherd, also hitting Ash over the head.
"Mee-ee-ow! Knock that off you blockheads!"
"Now our own mereep is insulting us!" The five shepherds all clutched their staffs and launched into an offensive against the wretched mereep.
In the end, their classmate dressed as an angel, had to come and seperate them. "Would you all cut that out?" he snapped, "I CAME to bring you good news, but noooo, I find you all here acting like a gang of thugs!"
v The shepherds remembered where they were. "Oh! Sorry, angel. Er, what's this good news about?"
"A new king has been born in Bethlehem."
"Oh. What's that got to do with us?"
"Aren't you gonna go see him?"
"Wouldn't we get kicked outta the castle? I mean, look at us, pretty daggy. I'm wearing a sheet fer Pete's sake."
The angel sweatdropped and kicked the shepherd in the shins. "Your appearence matters not. The king awaits."
"The king awaits!" echoed half a dozen other angels, and all of them began to sing "Glory to God in the Highest" while the audience, relieved at another reprieve, broke into silent laughter.
And it drowned out the pitiful bleating of the felled mereep... After the song had finished, Joy continued her narration. "The shepherds left their flocks -"
"Good," said Ash, "now let's make a run for it, guys. We don't need bad trainers like them!"
He pulled his fellow mereep up, and they ran backstage. He made sure to nudge hard against the head shepherd on his way out.
"The shepherds left their flocks. Meanwhile, some way away, some wise men were... er, there... and they were told to follow a star."
A boy in a star costume ran across the stage, looking hyperactive, and forgot to stop running at the end. He crashed into the wall and fell, insensible. Three wisemen followed, looking sheepish and holding cardboard (that cardboard is good for anything) gold, frankincense and myrhh.
"Miss Joy?" ventured one of the wisemen, nervously, "the star fell out of the sky."
"Do we have to keep following it?"
"I don't wanna run into the wall too."
"Just keep going," hissed Joy.
The wisemen walked onto the middle of the stage. "The star is right over that palace," said one wiseman. "We must go and visit the king there."
"Yeah, there's no better place for a newborn king than in a palace." Joy continued: "The wisemen went into the palace, but found that there was no newborn king to be seen."
"That star gypped us," said a wiseman.
"The king of the palace met the wisemen and heard them tell of a newborn king." Herod crept onto the stage and looked blankly into the audience. Everyone waited expectantly.
"Oh king," said a wiseman, hoping to help him a little, "if the newborn king is not here, then where?"
"I... I..." Herod ran off the stage in tears.
Their scene cut short, the three wisemen stomped off the stage at the prompting of Joy.
Mary and Joseph went back on. Richie held a doll in his arms.
"Look," said Gary, "isn't it a lovely baby."
"We'll call him Jesus."
"Okay. Hey, do I get a say in this?"
"YOU go through having the kid, YOU can name it." Gary sweatdropped.
The shepherds trudged in, followed by the wisemen.
"We heard a new king had been born," said a shepherd.
"We come bearing gifts," said a wiseman.
"Gold," began his comrade, placing the cardboard gold in front of the duo. "Frankincense," continued his other comrade, placing a cardboard jar down.
"And myrrh," finished the first, following suit. "And if you know what the heck myrrh is, I'd like to know."
"I don't know what it is," said Gary, "and I dunno what frankincense is either. But I'll take the gold, if you don't mind."
"Don't you guys have any respect for privacy?" asked Richie, "I mean, come on, I only had the kid five minutes ago."
"That's in real time, we're in play time."
"What the *@%$ are you talking about?"
"Language, language, Mary."
"Don't call me that!"
"Everyone knows you got picked for this part 'cos you're just like a girl! Baby!"
"YOU'RE the baby, you baby."
"No, that's the baby," said Gary, snatching the doll from Richie, "and you're gonna wake it up if you don't all shut up."
"Why don't you MAKE me shut up?"
"Maybe I will!"
The two stuck their tongues out at each other.
"Lover's tiff," said one of the shepherds.
This caused quite a storm. In the fistfight slash free-for-all that ensued, Ash chose the moment to come to the fore of the stage, still wearing his Mereep costume. "Meeee-eeh," he bleated, "as you can see, the characters weren't cast very well. I shoulda been Joseph."
"Nahh, I think Mary," growled Gary, then ducked as Richie threw the myrrh at him.
"Grrr, why you..." Ash pulled a wad of cotton wool from his head and threw it at Gary.
"Hahah, great costume Ashy-boy," taunted Gary, as the wool did no damage at all.
v Ash glared and pulled off his 'horns', before running at Gary and hitting him over the head with them. Gary sought, and found, assistance from most of the shepherds, whose staffs were by now quite dented, but still useful. The star chose this moment to regain consciousness, and started bawling for his mother.
Joy stormed, impatiently blew her hair from her face, and snapped, "I hope you're all happy! I'm not gonna put up with this any more. I can't take this repeat performance year after year! I quit!" She whirled and stomped backstage again.
The auditorium erupted in cheers.