Ash and co. and Team Rocket
"Much Dismay About Drama"
A pink haired woman smiles as a Chansey hangs up a poster reading "Coming Soon to the Diamond Theater--Spring Melodrama!" Another reads "Laugh! Cry! Cheer! Help Pokemon!". "I just love this time of year--the crew picks out a great show every year..."
"Not to mention a certain lovesick breeder that has the hots for you puts on a great performance, no matter what role he plays!" a black haired girl giggles as she runs to help a Chansey examine a young Squirtle.
"True, Yuka. Brock may be annoying sometimes, but he does have an excellent stage prescence." the woman agrees. "Speaking of which, what role is he playing this year?"
"The host, Ace Chandler--saw him leaving Crafty Central this morning with an old hat and a bag of prop hair." Yuka reports. "Wonder what he's going to make with that, Joy?"
"Knowing Brock, probably a wig." Nurse Joy replies, stifiling a giggle at the image of Brock with long hair.
Meanwhile, at the Harrison house...
"Why are you putting hair onto a hat, Brock?" a brown haired girl asks, piqued in the red-brown prop hair that an older boy with similar features to her is attaching to a faded brown cowboy hat.
"You know that the Pokemon Center's annual melodrama fundraiser is coming up soon, Terra." Brock replies as he ties some of the fake hair into a small ponytail.
"Oh yeah--you did great as the bad guy last year!" Terra smiles at the memory.
"Well, this year's production is called 'Not Fit for Man or Beast--or 'It Was a Dark and Stormy Knight'." Brock continues. "I'm playing the host, Ace Chandler."
"You mean, the narrator?" Terra is confused.
"Not just the narrator, but also the music provider and the one to tell the audience when to cheer for the hero or boo the villian." Brock explains. "The director told me she sees Ace as a long haired drifter, so I'm making this wig hat. So when I put it on..." He pauses to put on the completed hat. "it looks like I have a completely different hairstyle."
"So, you're essentially going to play your guitar, do the 'when we last left our heroes' bits, and cue the audience." Terra muses.
"Only no singing from me." Brock replies as he retrieves a yellow-brown guitar from a stand and tunes up. "I have my own little motif for each character or situation...."
"Will you sing 'The Cowgirl's Yodel'?" Terra begs.
"Well..." Brock plays a few uncertain notes--the song actually has no place in the written script.
"Not even during the intermission?" a boy begs. "I really want to hear you yodel!"
"Okay, Forest...I'll see if I can work it in during the intermission." Brock assures his siblings. before turning his attention back to demonstrating his soundtrack. "This is one of the 'introduction' riffs..." He then plays a bluesy riff in E minor. "And this little progression actually heralds the start of the show..." With that, he plays a D minor chord progression. "You'll hear little variations in it throughout the show."
"So that's the main theme?" Terra asks.
"You could put it that way." Brock smiles. "This is the heroine's theme..." He then plays a soft melody in D major.
"Pretty!" Terra comments.
"The bad guy's entrance..." Brock begins before playing a tense E minor chord.
"It's missing something..." Forest muses.
"Well, it'll have a harmonica, a fiddle, and the occassional mandolin in there during the actual show." Brock assures his brother. "The bad guy's full theme, which has a harmonica included with it..." He then plays a rhythmic riff in E minor.
"Who's in the band with you?" Terra wonders.
"Misty's playing fiddle and Crystal's playing harmonica and mandolin." Brock explains. "Only they're not seen during the show." He then interjects "The hero appears..." before playing an exciting riff in D. "Of course, you need to have Ash do the scream for best results."
"I need to save my voice..." Ash replies from another room, his voice a bit scratchy from screaming and war whooping all afternoon.
"Good thing we don't have rehearsal tomorrow..." Brock replies back.
"Your mom and dad were essentially volunteered to play the mom and the dad in the play this year." an older man with slightly graying brown hair adds as he walks by the room studying a script.
"Didn't Dad have a part last year?" Forest wonders.
"Nice hat, cowboy..." a brown haired woman smiles as she walks past the room with a load of laundry. "The ponytail's a cute touch."
"Thanks--thought it would give me a bit of a rustic look." Brock replies.
"What's the play about?" Terra asks.
Brock plays an uneasy riff before playing a quiet melody in G. "Without giving too much away, one stormy night, the heroine, Rebecca Hart, and her mom are visited by the evil Guy Forsythe and his Pokemon sidekick, a Meowth named Snag L. Tooth." Forest and Terra giggle at the pun. "Guy wants the Hart's homestead, but he also wants to marry Rebecca. Rebecca, meanwhile, actually loves Darien Lyons, our hero and an adventurous young cowboy with a heart of gold."
"YIIIIIIIIIIII-OOH!" Ash unleashes a war cry for effect, prompting Forest and Terra to cheer.
In character as Ace, Brock continues as he plays the main theme. "Can Darien defeat Forsythe and win Rebecca's hand? What about her paw, and what role does he play in all this? Find out when the Diamond Theater proudly presents 'Not Fit For Man or Beast'!" Forest and Terra applaud.
"I'm at least thankful only the Pokemon get the punny names." Ash muses as he grabs a bottle of water and takes a long drink. "and thankful that Flint and Lola come see the melodrama every year."
"Well, it's a nice evening out." Lola smiles as she listens to Brock practicing the tune "Maid in the Kitchen".
"And who doesn't love a story where good ultimately triumphs over evil?" Flint agrees before spotting Brock's disguise. "Is that real?"
"Oh, it's just a wig hat." Brock confesses, removing the hat long enough to allow Flint to see where he attached the prop hair. "The director envisioned the host as a long haired drifter, so this was my solution."
"This is gonna be a cool play!" Forest smiles, excited as he listens to his brother experiment with putting "Leppas in June" with "Maid in the Kitchen".
Elsewhere, at Team Rocket's base...
"How's dis one?" a small cat Pokemon asks as he models a black bandanna around his neck.
"Too dark..." a lavender haired boy replies as he smooths out the wrinkles on a white Rocket uniform identical to the one he is wearing and wipes a spaghetti sauce stain from the familiar red R on the shirt.
"Okay, how about dis one?" The Pokemon next models a pale blue bandanna.
"This is a villian you're playing, here...shouldn't it be a bit darker, Meowth?" a maroon haired girl wonders.
"Ya do have a point, dere, Jessie..." Meowth muses as he digs for another bandanna. "Besides, I don't have dat big a part, so when I'm true sayin' my lines, I can look for Pikachu while James plays Forsythe."
"Hat twerp won't even know Pikachu's gone until the final curtain call." Jessie smiles.
"Jus' tink of da boss as a fan of da melodrama..." Meowth muses as the scene swirls to Giovanni and a group of Rockets in a theater. "Da coitin goes up, and da audience is entralled by your performance of da lovely heroine..." We then see Jessie as the heroine of the imagined melodrama, shuddering in fear as Ash, now playing the villian, approaches her. The Rockets in the audience boo at Ash. "Just when all hope seems lost, da hero appears to save da day!" Just then, James, as the hero, appears onstage, to the cheers of the Rockets. "But da cherry on top? Watchin' it with da twerp's Pikachu by your side." Giovanni pets Pikachu as a dust cloud rolls about on the stage.
Back in the present, Meowth finds a red bandanna. "How bout dis one?"
"Yeah! Perfect!" both human Rockets cry.
"You look perfect as Snag L. Tooth." Jessie muses. "You'll do perfectly on opening night and possibly get Pikachu too!" The Rockets laugh at this, giddy about their new plot.
A week or two later...
"Are you going to introduce our characters before the play or after?" Misty asks as she puts on a small white cowboy hat over her wispy red hair.
"Before." Brock, now clad in a black shirt, tan overcoat, dull gold trousers, black shoes, and his wig hat, replies as a blue haired girl in a denim cowgirl's outfit with white fringe arrives onstage and sets a harmonica on a crate next to a chair. A mandolin sits on the right side by the chair.
"Cool costume, Brock." the blue haired girl smiles as Brock gives Misty an A note to tune by.
"Made the hat myself, Crystal." Brock replies as he finishes tuning his guitar and listens to the girls tuning their instruments and the chatter in the audience.
The lights flash the five minute warning a few moments later, and Nurse Joy walks out onstage, quieting the audience as the last few people find their seats. "Good evening, and thank you all for coming to this year's Spring Melodrama!" Applause fills the air. "Thanks to your generosity, we've sold out the theater and raised 100,000 credits from ticket sales, which will go towards improving the Pokemon Center and helping less fortunate Pokemon. You've come through for us yet again, and in return, we promise you a show you won't forget!" More cheers and applause waft through the crowd in agreement. "So without any further ado, please welcome your host for this evening--that rascally drifter Ace Chandler!"
Applause fills the air as Brock saunters onstage in a spotlight. "Howdy, everybody!" he calls, to an enthsiastic cheer from the crowd. "It's a wonderful night for a tale of dastardly villians, brave heroes, lovely ladies, evil plots, and finally, things workin' out all right in the end, isn't it?" soft cheers waft through the audience. "Say what?" Brock asks, prompting a louder cheer. "That's better--wouldn't want y'all to fall asleep before we even start the show." he smiles as he walks back over to stage right, where a chair and his guitar are waiting. "Before we git started here, allow me to introduce my posse--the lovely Marian Lawson on fiddle..." Misty gives the audience a polite nod as she appears by the crate, then checks her tuning. "and the lovely Skye Newman on harmonica and mandolin..." Crystal waves as she appears in a spotlight in the chair by the crate. "and of course, I've got my trusty gitar and my own sweet voice." he smiles as he makes himself comforable in his chair. "So now that we've met everybody, let's play a tune or two to start the show." With that, the guitar, fiddle and harmonica kick off the main theme, prompting the audience to clap along.
Once the song ends, Brock segues into the heroine's theme. "Our story begins on a night when the wind was a-howling, the rain was-a-blowing, and thunder lit the black sky on the plains. A prospector known as Nicholas Hart--or Nicky, to those that knew him--had set out from those parts five years before, leavin' his wife and daughter behind. Missus Hart hadn't heard a peep from Ol' Nicky in all those five years, and she was beginning to think he had died on his latest quest for gold. Her daughter Rebecca, meanwhile, had a little better fortune--she fell in love with a handsome young rider named Darien Lyons." Some cheers go up at the name. "But even she was beginning to think her daddy had ridden off that great trail in the sky..." He lets that hang as he finishes the song and the curtains open, revealing the set of a Western house.
Dawn, clad in a maroon gown, is looking out one of the windows at the "rain" and "lightning". Lola is nearby in a pale blue gown, pretending to be asleep in a chair. A soft sound effect of thunder plays before Dawn comments "Not fit for man or beast..."
"What's not fit, hon?" Lola asks as she feigns waking up.
"The night, ma--cain't ya hear the storm?" Dawn asks. Some "thunder" rumbles to illustrate her point.
"Shore can, now that ya mention it." Lola replies. "I kin only imagine your daddy out on a night like this...been gone five years now..."
"...and he's not comin' home." Dawn sighs over a sad harmonica riff.
"Now what makes ya say that, Becky, hon?" Lola asks as the fiddle and guitar join in the sad melody.
"I kin sense it...and even if Daddy finds gold, what would make him wanna come back here to this ol' shack?" Dawn asks.
"Cause he said he would--your pa's known as Honest Nicky, and when Honest Nicky says he'll be back, he'll be back, no matter how long it takes." Lola assures Dawn as the melody shifts to a major key for a moment.
A sound effect of Ponyta hooves gets Dawn's attention. "Maybe that's him!"
"Now who would come to call at this hour?" Lola asks as a knock comes at the door. When she opens it, she gasps and Brock plays an E minor chord as James, clad in a black gunslinger suit, and Meowth, wearing a miniature black cowboy hat and his red bandanna, are framed on the stoop.
"Why, Guy Forsythe...what brings you all the way out here tonight?" Dawn asks as Meowth "struggles" to carry in a heavy sack.
"So you do remember me, Miss Becky." James replies with a sweeping bow. "It's been some time since you and your daddy came to the bank and signed this here..." He then produces a prop deed from one pocket and shows it to Dawn, to some boos from the audience as Brock adds a tense riff.
"Yes--five years." Dawn replies.
"Correct...and you know what that means..." James replies with a sneer.
"W-what?" Dawn stammers fearfully.
"Today is when the money is due!" James replies. He laughs gleefully at this, despite the audience's boos.
"Oh no...didja hear that, ma?" Dawn gasps.
"Course I did!" Lola growls in anger. "No wonder your daddy was in such a hurry to join the gold rush...."
"Cause if he struck gold, he'd pay off the mortage!" Dawn explains.
Lola sighs. "Well, if Mr. Forsythe wants the house, we'll just have to wander among the cactuses..."
"Cacti." Dawn corrects Lola.
"Cacti--excuse me...I seem to be forgittin' my p's and q's here." Lola nervously giggles. "We'll just have to wander among the cacti lookin' for a new town to call home..."
"Ah, but it isn't that easy, madam." James interjects. "I only want my money and nothing more."
"Now see here, mister!" Lola snaps, making James rear back in surprise. "If I had money I wouldn't be livin' in this ol' shack!"
"That may be true, but I will have my money or else." James replies.
"Or else what???" Lola demands.
James puts an arm around Dawn. "Or else your precious Becky Hart must marry me." he sneers. The fiddle and harmonica punctuate this with a panicked chord as the audience boos.
"No! No! A thousand times no!" Dawn pleads as the audience continues booing James.
"You seem to have spirit, little lady." James continues. "I have a nice surprise for you--we will live together in my private vill-ah down south, man and wife." More boos and giggles at James' mangled pronounciation fill the air.
"But what about--" Dawn starts.
"The town's dried up, the bank is closed, and the townsfolk have moved on to greener pastures." James replies. "I managed to salvage the remaining gold, which is all there in that bag--right, Snag L. Tooth?"
"Meowth! Dat's right!" Meowth replies before scanning the rafters for any sign of Pikachu.
Then, something dawns on James. "I take that back--not every one of the townsfolk has moved on. One of the few out here that remain is Darien Lyons." The crowd cheers at the name as the small band plays a triumphant stinger.
Misty leads the heroine's theme as Dawn muses. "Oh, Darien Lyons...he's strong, brave, handsome, smart, a real sweetheart..." Cheers punctuate the musing.
"So you know Darien?" James gasps before sneering as the heroine's theme turns to a minor key. "He'll only be catching tumbleweeds instead of bandits before too long--and I hope to be down south before that happens."
"So are YOU going south, Snag L. Tooth?" Dawn challenges, snapping Meowth to attention.
"Dat's what da boss said." Meowth deadpans as he plucks the petals off a daisy. "But it's too hot down dere--I'd rather live in Willow Gulch to da east--by da riverside."
"You'll do as I tell you, Snag L. Tooth." James warns.
"Sure, sure, anyting you say, boss--it's just I'd rather be down by da riverside." Meowth protests. Some people in the audience laugh at the reference to the old song.
A knock at the door startles Dawn. "Who is it?"
"Could it be your pa?" Lola asks.
"Oh no!" Meowth gasps. "What'll we do, boss?"
"We've been followed...hide the gold and make it appear these folks took it." James whispers.
"Where?" Meowth asks.
"In the woodbox there." James whispers.
Meanwhile, Dawn opens the door to reveal Whitlea on the stoop in a checkered dress. "Missus Fleming, what a surprise! How sweet of you for comin' to call on a night like this..."
"May not be great for walkin' but I had to talk to someone." Whitlea smiles.
"Don't you get lonely livin' all by your lonesome?" Dawn asks.
"I thought I'd like it here on the plains..." Whitlea sighs as Meowth sneaks over to the woodbox and hides the bag. "But I'd give anything to head back to Willow Gulch and the riverside."
"Did someone say da riverside?" Meowth gasps, excited.
"I did, sweetie." Whitlea replies. "And who might your guests be, Missus Hart?" she asks Lola.
"Everyone, this is Missus Fleming, our neighbor." Lola explains to James and Meowth. "Missus Fleming, the handsome man in black is Guy Forsythe, and his Meowth Snag L. Tooth."
"How d'ya do?" Meowth tips his hat to Whitlea before asking "How'd ya like to go down south?"
"Quiet!" James barks before addressing Whitlea. "A pleasure to meet you, madam...you may not know me, but I do know you."
"Say, didja hear the bank was robbed last night?" Whitlea interjects.
"Dat's old news! We were da ones who--" Meowth starts.
"AHEM!!!" James interrupts, annoyed that Meowth almost told the truth about the town and the bank. "Oh really? The bank was robbed?""
"They say Honest Nicky returned the other night and left a bag of gold in the bank." Whitlea explains.
"Pa?" Dawn's eyes shine at this.
"Really?" Lola is just as excited.
"I remember a handsome stranger depositing a bag of gold, cause I put it in the safe myself." James muses.
"You best git yerself a new safe, cause someone cleaned out the bank the next day." Whitlea continues. "Every cowboy's out lookin' fer the rascal right now."
"A posse?" James gasps as an aside.
"I'll be on my way..." Meowth starts for the door.
"Wait." James cautions Meowth before asking Whitlea "Where did the posse go?"
"All I know is what the paper said." Whitlea replies. "And the paper didn't say where the posse's gone."
"But, Mr. Forsythe, you said the bank was closed!" Dawn protests.
"Only closed for the night." James assures Dawn. "And now someone's made off with a bag of gold. Don't worry--we'll find the culprit."
"Don'tcha worry, Becky! I'll put a claw--" Meowth starts.
"That's enough, Snag. L. Tooth!" James snaps.
"Well, if the bank's closed for the night, then way are ya taking the bag down south?" Lola wonders.
"What bag of gold?" James feigns ignorance, to some laughter.
"The one Snag L. Tooth carried in before." Lola explains.
James looks around the room. "I don't see a bag of gold anywhere..." He addresses Whitlea. "Did you?"
"No I don't--but I don't see Mt. Moon and I wouldn't be surprised if it was up your sleeve." Whitlea retorts.
"Smart cookie, ain't she?" Meowth remarks, to some laughter.
"You saw that bag, didn't you, Rebecca?" Lola asks Dawn.
"I did so!" Dawn replies over a tense riff from Brock.
"There's somethin' fishy goin' on here..." Whitlea grumbles. "I jes know it!"
The lights go down on the set and come up on Brock and the girls. "Is Missus Fleming's hunch correct?" Brock starts. "Has Honest Nicky Hart returned? And what about Darien Lyons? Will he be the one to uncover the truth?" Misty adds a tense riff. "Find out in Part 2 of 'Not Fit For Man or Beast', or 'It Was a Dark and Stormy Knight'!" With that, the theater lights come up for intermission...
As the audience gets up to stretch and move around, James pulls Meowth aside. "Did you find out where Pikachu's hiding?"
"Sure did!" Meowth replies. "I'm gonna go track him down as soon as I make my grand exit in Act 2."
"Good thing they rewrote how my character is defeated." James heaves a sigh of relief before his communicator beeps. "Glamour Girl calling Black Hat, come in please..." Jessie's voice crackles through the tiny speakers.
"This is Black Hat." James replies. "It's intermission between Act 1 and Act 2--we have found Pikachu."
"Really? Where?" Jessie asks.
"Somewhere in da backstage area." Meowth replies. "As for our debut, the crowd loves us so far!"
"Got a lot of boos in the first act." James adds. "Meowth exits in Act 2, so he'll be in charge of catching Pikachu."
"Very well--I hope we actually succeed this time." Jessie muses before the communicator blips off.
Back onstage, Brock and the girls are entertaining the crowd by singing cowboy songs, playing tunes, and telling corny jokes. When the new day is dawnin', I wake up a yawnin'; drinkin' up the coffee hot and strong. Brock sings as the fiddle and mandolin play a rhythm to back his guitar. Make the bed into a roll, down the trail I'm gonna stroll, singin' the ol' Tauros call...
The crowd roars and James and Meowth balk as Brock starts to yodel. "Wow...I didn't know the big twerp could yodel!" Meowth gasps.
"Learn something new every day." James muses as he returns to his dressing room to prepare for the second act.
Onstage, Brock and Crystal perform the set of "Leppas in June" and "Maid in the Kitchen" together before Misty joins back in with the main theme to herald the start of the second act.
"When we last left the Hart family..." Brock begins over a tense D minor chord. "The evil Guy Forsythe and his Meowth companion Snag L. Tooth had arrived to collect on a mortage that the man of the house had signed five years before. Forsythe threatens to marry the lovely Rebecca Hart if the family can't pay up, but as Rebecca holds out hope that her beloved Darien Lyons will arrive to help, she and her neighbor Missus Fleming figure out that Forsythe is not all he seems to be..." Murmurs waft through the crowd as the lights shift over to the set of the house from before, which is just as it was at the end of the first act.
"There's somthin' fishy goin' on here..." Whitlea repeats the last line of the first act. "I jes' know it!"
"I'm warning you, Missus Fleming, stay out of this." James cautions.
"Don't talk to me like that!" Whitlea retorts. "You couldn't take me down in a fight, be it with fists or words!"
"Oh yeah?" James rolls up his sleeve in preparation to fight over the full version of the bad guy's theme.
"For the pride of Willow Gulch and the riverside!" Whitlea cries as she jumps James. With that, the two of them "fight", to the cheers of the audience.
Meowth, meanwhile, watches the dust cloud roll around onstage with feigned tears in his eyes. After sniffling a few times, he takes a paw print hanky and wipes away the feigned tears.
The dust cloud clears long enough for James to notice Meowth's "tears", "What's the matter now, Snag L. Tooth?"
"Nostalgia..." Meowth "sobs".
"Cut the waterworks, will ya?" James requests.
"I can't help it, boss--I wanna ride in a pretty little boat down da riverside!" Meowth continues to "cry". Some "Aw"s go up from the audience.
"That's enough." James growls, not buying Meowth's tears for a moment.
Meowth's sad face then turns sinister. "You, tell me ta be quiet? I'm true with bein' quiet!" The audience gasps as he draws a pop gun styled to look like an authentic six shooter.
"Oh, ho, we have a traitor here, do we?" James muses as he draws his own pop gun to a tense riff. "You seem to forget who's in charge here..."
"You show me and I'll show you!" Meowth retorts as he and James circle around a table.
"If you don't reach for the sky by the time I get to ten, I'll fill you full of holes!" James threatens.
"Likewise!" Meowth counters.
The audience giggles nervously as James and Meowth circle the table, counting as the band's tense E minor chord grows more and more uneasy. "One...two...three...four...five...six...seven...eight..."
The music stops when Meowth collapses to the floor. "Gee, I'm gittin' dizzy here..."
"A duel isn't going to get us anywhere." James agrees as he puts his pop gun away.
"Say...I have an idear to resolve dis peacefully." Meowth suggests.
"That's a first..." James remarks to the audience before asking Meowth "What's your idea, then?"
"Look, boss--I don't wanna go down south, where it's hot most of the year." Meowth explains. "I wanna go east, to da riverside." He pauses to retrieve a deck of cards. "Why don't we settle dis with a nice game of cards? If my hand beats yours, I go east."
"Little does he know that he's up against the best poker player in the West." James comments to the audience before telling Meowth "Okay then, we'll play a round of poker." He shuffles the cards and deals himself and Meowth a hand of five cards. The fiddle and mandolin play a light hearted melody as James discards two cards from his hand, and Meowth discards three.
"Full house, Aces over Queens." James announces, showing his hand to the audience. "Beat that!" he challenges Meowth.
"A royal flush!" Meowth triumphantly shows the audience the hand in question before jumping up from his chair and dashing outside. "See ya, sucker!"
"Drat!" James grumbles as a sound effect of a Ponyta's hooves is heard. When he looks at the deck of cards again, he balks when he sees there are more aces than a standard deck of cards should have. "Why, that sneaky Meowth was cheatin'!" he growls. "If I ever catch up to Snag L. Tooth out east, I'm gonna turn him to fiddle strings!"
"I resent that remark!" Misty comments, to some laughter.
"Don't you think you need to be goin' too, Mr. Forsythe? It's mighty late, you know..." Lola interjects.
"So you want me to go, you say?" James muses as he starts for the door. "Okay, I will depart as you request...but not before we have settled the matter of the mortage." he adds as he reveals the prop deed again.
"Oh my! With all the excitement, I forgot about the mortage!" Lola gasps.
"What will we do? We don't have nearly enough money..." Dawn worries.
"Money isn't everything, Becky dear..." James purrs as he prepares to tear the prop deed. "I will tear up the deed and forget this whole matter if you will pledge to wed me in return." The band plays a tense stinger at this, prompting boos from the audience.
"But I can't marry you, Mr. Forsythe..." Dawn protests over the boos.
"And why not?" James demands.
"I do not love you." Dawn replies curtly.
"But you could learn." James assures Dawn as the boos continue.
"But I love Darien Lyons!" Dawn protests, prompting cheers from the audience at the hero's name.
James growls as he puts the prop deed away. "I will not allow that cowpoke to stand between us! Come on!" He grabs Dawn by the hand and starts for the door as the audience gasps.
"Let go of me, you cowardly Ekans!" Dawn pleads as she "struggles" to get free.
"Oh no you don't..." James sneers as he shows Dawn the bag of gold.
"The gold!" Dawn gasps.
"Yes, all gold--gold that will pay your way to my villa-ah down south!" James roars over a tense riff.
"Help meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!" Dawn screams over a terrified fiddle riff.
Just then, James and Dawn stop at center stage when a Tauros moo is heard over the storm sound effects.
"Tauros? At this time of night?" Dawn smiles.
"Then that means..." James freezes in feigned fear as the Tauros mooing and the galloping of Ponyta hooves gets louder over the "storm".
"Dunno who'd be brave enough to drive the Tauros at this hour..." Lola deadpans.
"YIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII-OOH!" Ash unleashes a war cry from offstage, to a triumphant sting. "YAI-YAI-YAI-YAI-YOH!!!!!" he screams again.
"Well, well, well, what did I tell you?" James sneers as he backs away, still holding Dawn's arm and the bag of gold.
The band plays the hero's riff as Ash, clad in a Sawsbuck skin cowboy's outfit, royal blue bandanna, and white cowboy hat, is framed in the doorway, to the cheers of the audience. Pikachu sits on his shoulder, wearing a miniature white cowboy hat and royal blue bandanna, sparking intently as Ash draws a pop gun of his own. "Halt! In the name of the law!" he announces as the door slams behind him.
"Darien!" Dawn smiles as the audience cheers.
"Evenin' Miss Becky." Ash smiles, tipping his hat to Dawn. "And evenin' to ya too, Missus Hart." he smiles to Lola.
"Evenin' Mr. Lyons--what spurs you to drive the Tauros on a night like this?" Lola wonders.
"Heard that some rascal cleaned out the bank last night and I'm on the warpath lookin' for who done the deed." Ash replies.
"They say a posse was out lookin'...." Lola muses.
"I'm a-part of that posse, so I figured it was as good a time as any to round up the Tauros." Ash assures Lola. "It's a great year fir'em--goes to show that even a town can thrive when it's not fit for man or beast..."
"Well, these two are headed down south..." Lola starts, gesturing to Dawn and James.
"No, Ma!" Dawn screeches as she struggles some more. "Save me, Darien!"
"We was bout ta do that, Miss Becky." Ash assures Dawn before addressing James. "Pikachu an' me gotcha red handed, Guy Forsythe--robbin' yer own bank, spinning hopeless lies, fleeing the country, and roughin' up a lady besides!" Pikachu charges up a thunderbolt as Ash draws his pop gun again. "Hands up, Forsythe, before my lil' partner here shocks ya to high heaven!"
James draws his own "weapon" while holding Dawn in front of him at the same time. "Not so fast, Darien Lyons...I'm not giving up the fair Rebecca that easily!"
"Don't listen to him, Darien!" Dawn pleads. "I'd rather die than be with this brute!"
"Just do as Mr. Forsythe says..." Lola sighs in defeat.
"You're right." Ash agrees as he puts away his "weapon" and Pikachu stays his attack.
"Perfect." James sneers before ordering "Sit!" to Ash. "Now my pretty one..." he muses to Dawn before pushing her into Ash's arms. "Bind him hand and foot, and be sure it's tight enough that he nor the little rat can't escape." Dawn reluctantly starts tying Ash and Pikachu to the chair as James grabs Lola's blankets and proceeds to bind and gag her in it. Lola tries to protest, but her pleas are muffled over the tense music. "Now, bring me some wood from the woodbox." Dawn complies with this. The band plays the villian's full theme as James "lights" a prop match and laughs deviously as he tosses it into the prop wood, making the set glow ominously red.
"You're not crazy enough to burn the house to the ground?" Dawn gasps in shock.
"Take one last look at your precious Darien Lyons--cause you're coming with me!" James orders. But before he can head for the door, it opens, revealing Flint in prospector's leathers.
"Goin' somewhere?" Flint asks, startling James.
"Double drat--it's Honest Nicholas Hart." James mutters as Flint enters.
Lola tries to show her joy at Flint's appearance, but the gag muffles her triumphant cry.
"Help me, Daddy, please!" Dawn begs.
"Shore can, baby doll." Flint assures Dawn before grabbing a bucket of water. He then spots James drawing his "weapon" from the corner of his eye. "Drop the six shooter and unhand my daughter!" he demands as he throws the water on the "fire", returning the set to normal. "You untie your ma, sweetie, I'll free Darien." he assures Dawn. Dawn nods and frees Lola.
"Well! If it ain't Honest Nicky himself!" Ash gasps when he recognizes who "freed" him and Pikachu.
"And that..." Flint continues, pointing out the bag of gold. "is the bag I left in the bank with that double crossin' galoot!" He looks at Ash. "Aren't ya goin' to arrest him?"
"Of course--not only did he steal yer gold, the mortage was fake!" Ash announces as he takes James by the arm. "Yer goin' ta jail, Mr. Forsythe--where ya belong."
"I have a better idea..." Dawn suggests. "Why not leave him here to rot with his mortage, where it's not fit for man or beast?"
"No! Anything but that!" James pleads as Pikachu charges up a Thunderbolt.
"Yeah...and as fer all of you, you can join my on my ranch not far from town." Ash suggests, noticing Pikachu eager to attack. "Fire when ready, pardner."
"CHUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!" With that, Pikachu unleashes his Thunderbolt, sending James and Meowth flying backstage with a *ping* from stage right.
Flint smiles. "I've always wanted to see your ranch, Darien..." he smiles as the cast exits and the curtains close.
"And so, Guy Forsythe was shocked to high heaven by Darien Lyons' Pikachu, and the Hart family made themselves right at home on Darien's ranch, where they never worried about money or food again." Brock concludes. With that, he leads the girls into a festive tune as a Western style "THE END" appears on the curtains for a few seconds.
The audience roars with applause as the band leads off the bows. A charred James and Meowth crawl out from the wings at stage right and shakily bow before inching backstage again. Flint and Lola are next, and then Whitlea. But the biggest ovation is reserved for Ash, Dawn, and Pikachu, who take their bows together.
Nurse Joy smiles from the audience as the entire cast takes a bow--the Spring Melodrama was once again a hit, but in her mind, Team Rocket wound up the star!