jim-burns

Gotta catch ‘em all

Jim is halfway between burning his master’s thesis to the ground and locking himself in his office for three days to finish it with nothing but beer and Sour Patch kids for company when he pulls the app up on his phone in order to preserve his sanity.

The disclaimer kicks in warning him to stay alert with a picture of a giant blue dragon about to eat a dude looking at his phone. Then the music starts and there are his stats: CaptainFine, level 19, Valor. 

And there’s a Pikachu nearby.

The thesis gets forgotten. Jim starts wandering around the grad students’ offices, sometimes spinning in circles, noting when the distance markers signify he’s getting cold or hot. They take him into an open door, and sure enough, a giant yellow mouse with red cheeks stands in range.

Jim touches the screen, switches to the great balls (no way is he risking Pikachu breaking out and running away) and nabs him with a curveball on the first throw. “Shit yeah!” he says while jumping up and down.

“Uh…” a voice says to his right. Jim turns—there are two PhD students staring at him. One has a bowl cut and glasses, wearing a blue cardigan over a tie, and the other…wow he’s hot. Brown hair cut in a sexy style, green eyes like the grass after it rains, vintage Prince t-shirt and worn-in Chucks and jeans.

“What was that you were just doing?” says Bowl Cut.

The music continues to blare off Jim’s phone.

“Uh, it’s…Pokemon Go? You know that thing everyone plays all over campus. Well and the world, really. It’s kind of this insane phenomenon. There was a Pikachu and—”

Bowl Cut’s left eyebrow climbs into his hair.

But the hot guy immediately grabs his phone and turns on the app. “Pikachu has been elusive,” he says. The game boots up, and he shouts. “Yes!”

He manages to get the Pikachu too, and he renames it in his Pokedex.

Jim stares. 

The guy smirks. “You better be Team Mystic,” he tells Jim.

Jim’s expression turns smart-assed. “Better red than dead.”

Team Mystic narrows his eyes. “Are you the one who keeps taking my gym?”

Jim bites his bottom lip. “You’re DoctorLen with the super high CP Vaporeon.”

“CaptainFine, you little shit,” the guy says, and they shake hands. Jim lingers, noting the guy doesn’t pull away.

“I have so many questions,” says Bowl Cut.

The Doctor snorts. “I’ve tried to get Spock to play, but he says it’s a sign of the end times.”

Spock sighs. “What I said is that we as a culture do not need more reasons to detach from the reality and people around us, as this game seems to be inspiring.”

“You just watched us make friends,” Jim points out. “Jim Kirk, by the way. I’m focusing my graduate studies on American military history.”

“Oh you’re Pike’s fella,” DoctorLen says. “Spock and I are under Boyce. History of medicine, Leonard McCoy.”

“Nice,” Jim says. He checks the app—there’s a Wheezing nearby. “Are you busy?”

“I can take a break,” Leonard says. He grabs a hoodie and a snapback with the Starfleet U logo on it.

“Someone set a lure downstairs,” Jim reads. “And there’s a Wheezing.”

They bolt out the door to the Pokestop, parking under it and catching a bunch of Pokemon. They talk while they do it, Jim learning Leonard’s from Georgia and his dad is a bit miffed he opted for history of medicine instead of an actual MD. Jim commiserates with a stepdad who wanted him at MIT. They nab pretty decent Growlithes, an Ivysaur, and a Ponyta. Jim stands close to Leonard the whole time, looking at him when his eyes aren’t on his screen.

The lure runs out, and Leonard shuts down the app. He gives Jim this sort of smile that’s only part of one, but it’s cute, and Jim is smitten. 

“So,” Jim says. “Do you want to get dinner later? There’s a bunch of gyms and Pokestops just off campus in the historic district, and there’s this place with really good tacos—”

“I know that place,” Leonard says.

“Is that a yes?” Jim asks with a grin.

“Yeah,” Leonard replies. “Come back by my office again at eight. We’ll walk over together.”

Jim grins, and he reaches up and runs a hand through Leonard’s hair. Leonard flushes, but his eyes sparkle. 

“It’s a date.”