A Change of Jobs
written by Tabby

Tabby entered the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe-- as she did every evening, so what was new about that? Actually, she was slightly apprehensive this time. Her co-workers at the vet clinic, Thomas and Sugarberry, had told her they had important matters to discuss with her tonight. Tabby simply hated important matters.

Following behind Tabby was Meowth, the Pokèmon she had recently caught. He came with her everywhere; and, naturally, she and Meowth had been wreaking havoc across Ponyland ever since Tabby had found him.

Tabby scanned the room as she ordered two strawberry sundaes (Meowth always had one as well). Yes, there was the table with Thomas and Sugarberry seated at it, and Merry Treat was with them.

"Do you suppose I'm fired?" Tabby pondered to Meowth.

"Merry Treat wouldn't be there if that were the case," Meowth pointed out. He, as well as Tabby, was good friends with both the pony

"Highly mysterious indeed," Tabby murmured.

"Let's get on with it!" Meowth exclaimed as he pawed his way over to the table. Tabby followed close behind.

"Meowth! Tabby!" Merry Treat greeted them.

"Just get down to business and tell me what this is all about," Tabby said as she and Meowth seated themselves.

"Have you heard--" Merry Treat started.

"--that's there's a Pokèmon Center--" Thomas continued.

"--behind built in Dream Valley?" Sugarberry finished.

Tabby nodded.

"And that--"

"--the center needs--"

"--a head nurse."

Tabby's head was slightly spinning from this alternating speech. "Mm hmm," she said in agreement.

"And anyway--"


"--let's see..."

Tabby cocked her head in the moment of silence that followed. "Oh," she finally said, trying to look intelligent.

"What does this have to do with Tabby?" Meowth interjected. "I mean, if I ever get hurt, it'd be a good idea to have a nurse there, but--"

"And we've decided--"

"--after careful consideration--"

"--that you, Tabby, would--"

"--make a great head nurse there!" Merry Treat blurted out.

Tabby paused in silence for several seconds before she started rambling. "You mean you've been deciding this behind my back?" she shrieked. "There is nothing I positively hate more than goings-on behind my back. Imagine that! Why didn't I hear about this sooner?"

"Uhh, Tabby," Merry Treat started to stay, but quickly shut her mouth when Tabby went on.

"And, say, does that mean I'd get fired from the clinic? I wouldn't get to talk to Sugarberry and Thomas anymore? I wouldn't get my three thousand jangle paycheck?"

"Tabby--" Thomas interjected.

"And I'd get to be head nurse, you said? That'd be rather cool, actually. Would I get a staff of Chanseys? I simply love Chanseys! And hey, would I get paid?"

"Err..." Sugarberry stuttered.

"And I just found out the most interesting thing from Cleve Clove. The Log-a-log shrew in the Redwall books he's loaning me is actually a different shrew in every book! Ha! I thought it was the same one all the time--"

"TABBY!" Meowth shrieked.

That finally shut her up, and somewhat brought her back into reality. She blinked slowly several times. "So, you think I could be the head nurse at the center, huh?"

Merry Treat nodded. "We have it all figured out. All we need is your consent."

"Naturally, we'd miss you at the clinic; but you'd get paid by the Pokèmon League," Thomas explained.

"And of course you'd have a staff of Chanseys, including ponies that volunteer to work there," Sugarberry continued.

"I'm going to be the first to volunteer!" Merry Treat declared. "I love working around Pokèmon."

"That'd be rather fun!" Meowth exclaimed.

Tabby had a cocky expression on her face as she said, "Great! I'll do it!"

* * *

And so, during the next few weeks, Tabby studied up on the care of Pokèmon. That obviously meant she was really into it; she hated studying for anything else!

Plus, she had caught a couple of Pokèmon for herself in her spare time, with the help of Meowth: Jigglypuff and Oddish. Tabby was having fun!

The Pokèmon Center was being constructed very quickly as the Bushwoolies were in charge of building it. They'd already down a great job on the Dream Valley Pokèmon Gym, which Merry Treat was the leader of.

Finally, Tabby's last day of work came at the vet clinic. She braced herself for sentimental goodbyes as four o' clock rolled around.

Meowth walked with Tabby out into the main room. Sugarberry, seated behind her desk, wiped a tear away from her eye. "Oh, Tabby, I won't see you near as much anymore," she sniffled.

Tabby sighed in exasperation. "Sugarberry, how many times do I have to tell you? We can always gossip at the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe like we always did."

Sugarberry reached for a Kleenex. "Don't worry; I'll get over it... it's just a bit of a shock."

"You'll be fine," Meowth assured her. "Me, I'm looking forward to it." His eyes fogged over dreamily. "The pet of the head center nurse..."

"So this is it, huh?" Thomas said upon entering the room.

"For Pete's sake!" Tabby blustered. "You're both making this out to be the end of the world. It's not that bad." Sentimentality was another thing Tabby abhorred; her only chance was to brush off their comments.

"That's right!" Meowth agreed.

"But... we will see you again, won't we?" Thomas said hesitantly.

"Certainly. Remember, there's always the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe!" And with a wink at both of them, Tabby and Meowth fled the building.

"Dead seriousness-- I just can't stand it," Tabby complained to Meowth as they walked along home. "They're great ponies in their natural state, but when the dead seriousness sets in-- ugh!"

"Say, what's for supper tonight?" Meowth questioned, changing the subject.

Before answering, Tabby had to admit to herself that the attention from her co-workers was nice... not that she'd ever admit that to anyone else. "Chicken," she said after the short pause.

"Just as I thought," Meowth said contentedly.

"And then maybe I can finish reading the Salamandastron book tonight," Tabby planned. "And tomorrow-- our first day at the Pokèmon Center! Yahoo!"

* * *

The next morning, Tabby and Meowth stood outside the newly-constructed Pokèmon Center. They were in awe of the huge, domed building.

"Look, Meowth, look! And we're in complete control of it!" Tabby cackled, and then snapped back. "Oh! Right! Come on, we must get busy."

"Cool," Meowth breathed as he hopped up on the main counter.

Tabby sat herself in front of the computer. "Look! It has internet access! It's ever-so-interesting looking at your webpage from another computer."

Meowth leaped gracefully down from his seat on the counter and went off to explore the other rooms. Tabby hummed idly to herself. "La de da, now we just have to wait for some injured Pokèmon to come in."

It was amazing how many ponies in Ponyland were now into Pokèmon training. Back when Tabby had first gotten her Meowth, hardly anyone knew what the word meant. But now, a Pokèmon Center and Gym was just what the city needed with the explosion of interest in Pokèmon.

Meowth reappeared a few minutes later, with a pink oval-shaped Pokèmon following him. "Chansey!" the Pokèmon greeted her.

"This is Chansey, and this is Nurse Tabby," Meowth introduced to two. Turning to Tabby, he said, "Say, we have the neatest equipment back there! More Chanseys, too! You're gonna have to come look at it--"

"Hey, everybody, what's up?" called Merry Treat's voice. "Any Pokèmon come in yet?"

Tabby shook her head. "No. Not a one."

"It's probably too early in the morning for there to be many Pokèmon out," Merry Treat said reasonably. "Have you done anything so far?"

"Meowth has looked over the equipment," Tabby said promptly.

"And you've been looking at your web page." Merry Treat laughed gleefully as she stared over at the computer screen.

Meowth tugged on one of Merry Treat's hooves. "I wanna know what that one thingy does. Come and show me, pretty please!"

Merry Treat winked at Tabby. "Why doesn't Tabby do that; she should know everything about that stuff!"

"All in time, all in time," Tabby said, brushing off the comment. "But anyway, look, there comes someone now!"

Giggling, Merry Treat went off down the hall with Meowth. Blue Belle frantically ran up to Tabby, holding a Weedle-- a yellow worm-like Pokèmon-- in her hooves.

It's the Weedle Girl, Tabby calculated to herself. It was known far and wide of how much Blue Belle adored this hairy bug creature.

However, when the pony saw the head nurse, a smile played on her face. "You don't look quite like the other Joys."

Tabby looked indignant, and then Merry Treat called, "Their hair color is nearly the same!"

"That's right," Tabby agreed with a triumphant smirk on a face. "And now, for your Weedle."

"He has a cut on his side," Blue Belle sniffed. "He was helping me fix breakfast this morning, and got in the way of a fork. It stabbed him slightly."

"Hmm, a cut. Some superglue should fix it up fine." With that, Tabby whipped out a tube of the glue and applied it to the wound. The mystery of how superglue healed wounds was only known by skilled Pokèmon nurses.

As the superglue started working, the Weedle looked up at Tabby and smiled.

"Thank you, Tabby," Blue Belle said gratefully. "We're both grateful. All my Weedles mean so much to me; I hate it when anything happens to them." She wiped away a tear.

"If there're any complications, let me know," Tabby said briskly.

Blue Belle waved as she left the building.

Shortly after that, another concerned Pokèmon trainer dashed through the doors. "Nurse! You've got to help my Sandshrew!" Shoreline deposited the yellow rodent-like animal on the counter.

Tabby quickly surveyed the Sandshrew. "What's wrong with him?"

"He just doesn't seem healthy lately," Shoreline explained. "Look at how pale his skin is. And his eyes are dull and lifeless."

"Hmm. Yes." Tabby nodded intelligently. "A potion should have him healthy in no time. She pulled out one of the aqua and purple bottles, and simply sprayed it on the Sandshrew.

"That had better do the trick," Shoreline commented. The Sandshrew did actually seem to be perking up already.

"It will; don't worry," Tabby assured her. "I've been in the Pokèmon nursing position for years."

Shoreline looked at her suspiciously. "I thought you just started working here today."

Tabby realized too late her mistake. "What did I just say? I meant--"

Shoreline simply scooped up her Sandshrew and headed back outside. "I'll be calling you if it doesn't work."

Tabby had stopped listening, though. She stood for several moments, admiring the potion bottle. "These are nearly as good as my old magic injections!" she said gleefully.

* * *

Around two in the afternoon, there was a pause in any new Pokèmon being brought in. Tabby was leaning back in her chair reading one of the Redwall books, and Meowth was peering over her shoulder.

Tabby was dimly aware of the sound of the opening door. "I'll be right with you," she murmured off-handedly, as she wanted to finish the chapter she was on.

Meowth tapped her on the shoulder a few seconds later. "I think you'd better take a look at this."

"Just a sec." Tabby waved her hoof through the air in dismissal.

Being a sensible Pokèmon, Meowth ran off to fetch Merry Treat.

"Prepare for trouble--"

"And make it double."

And at the sounds of those words, Tabby's eyes flew open wide in realization. Before her stood Jessie, James, and Meowth, the renowned Pokèmon stealers of Team Rocket. The two human members of the team were dressed in their usual white outfits with the trademark red "R" on their shirts.

Tabby absolutely adored Team Rocket in the cartoon series. She watched in rapt attention.

"To protect the world from devastation--"

"To unite all peoples within our nation--"

"Merry Treat! Meowth!" Tabby hollered. "Come on, you've got to see this!"

"To denounce the evils of truth and love--"

"To extend our reach to the stars above--"

"Tabby! We've got to protect the Pokèmon!" Merry Treat cried in alarm. "I'm going back to stand guard over them. You try to hold Team Rocket off!"

Tabby signaled an "okay" without diverting her eyes from the scene in front of her. Jessie and James both struck a majestic pose.



Tabby grabbed a piece of paper off of the desk.

"Team Rocket, blast off at the speed of light!"

"Surrender now, or prepare to fight!"

"Meowth! That's right!" the Meowth of Team Rocket finished up their motto.

Tabby ran over to them, clutching the paper and a pen. "Oh, please, can I get your autographs?" she said in awe.

Tabby's Meowth rushed over to confront the other Meowth. "What do you want here?" He unsheathed his claws.

The Team Rocket Meowth did likewise. "Aw, get outta my way!"

"Our autographs, you say?" Jessie pulled back her long red hair. "I don't think anyone's asked for our autographs before, have they, James?" She added quickly, "Of course, that doesn't mean we're unpopular--"

James appeared to be ignoring her. "Wheezing, go--" he cried as he prepared to let his PokèBall go.

Jessie silenced him with a swat on the arm. "Shut up, James. This kind nurse wants our autographs. Let's appease her, shall we?" She was obviously pleased at the prospect of it.

"Autographs? Certainly!" James quickly put away his PokèBall.

"Here." Tabby eagerly thrust the pen and paper at them.

Meanwhile, the two Meowths were still arguing.

"This is my territory. I'm not letting you steal any Pokèmon!"

"We'll just see what Jessie and James have to say about that. He quickly glanced about, seeing what his companions were up to. They were... scribbling on a piece of paper?

Tabby's Meowth stepped closer to the other, his claws glinting in the afternoon sun. "Outta here, or I'm gonna let you have it..."

And then the two went over in a fighting ball of fur and claws.

Anyway, Jessie and James had just finished writing out their names for Tabby. "Oh, thank you; I'll be eternally grateful," she said breathlessly.

"It was a pleasure," James declared.

Jessie called off their Meowth. "Meowth, come here," she said sharply. "We've got to get going."

The Team Rocket Meowth immediately jumped in front of her. "What do you mean? We haven't sacked this place yet!"

"Nonsense," Jessie chided him. "We can't steal Pokèmon that belong to a fan. The nurse here is exceptionally nice."

Tabby winked at the villainous Meowth.

"I can't say that much about the Meowth here," he grumbled as he rubbed a scratch across his face.

Tabby grinned to herself as Jessie and James merrily pushed Meowth out of the clinic. She felt honored. Imagine, being visited by Team Rocket on the first day of work! She sighed blissfully to herself.

"How'd you do that?" Meowth asked curiously. "They're gone!"

"Yo, Merry Treat!" Tabby called. "They've left!"

Merry Treat came running up to Meowth and Tabby a few moments later. "Left? They left?"

Tabby shrugged. "I just asked for their autographs, and they left. See, they're not all that villainous."

"Wow," Merry Treat breathed. "Hey, can I see the autographs?"

* * *

It was around five that same afternoon, and Merry Treat had since left. Tabby was technically off work for the day (if there were any emergencies that she was needed for, ponies were instructed to call her home phone number), but she had come to a critical part in her Redwall book, and had to stay to finish. Meowth was busy surfing the internet.

"Ah hah, so you're still here!" came Thomas's voice.

Tabby waved one hoof in his direction, but kept her eyes glued to the book. "You'd think that the Redwall lands would be free of vermin after a point, wouldn't you?" she remarked off-handedly to no one in particular.

Thomas came over and swiftly snatched Tabby's beloved book from her hooves. "How about discussing that over dinner at the--"

"At that really fancy place that no one can ever remember the name of?" Tabby interjected. "Say, they have a salad bar, don't they? I though so. I simply adore lettuce-less salad. The only things a salad really needs are cottage cheese, croutons, and sunflower seeds--"

Meowth had since gotten off the computer, and this time Tabby was interrupted. "Come, Tabby! Let's go! I've never eaten out at any place besides the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe before."

"Meowth is invited, isn't he?" Tabby implored.

Thomas reached out and scratched Meowth under the chin, which Meowth thoroughly enjoyed. "Of course. I wouldn't dream of separating you two for a second," he said with a wink. "Now, come on."

And so, the trio exited the building, Tabby prattling on endlessly. "There's only about four more Redwall books I have to read. Isn't that a tragedy? What's really a tragedy is reading up until the end and finding out who dies. Digletts have got to be the most annoying Pokèmon ever. Cleve Clove annoys me with them endlessly. And he really doesn't play fair in Pokèmon battles; Spike and Friendly agree with me. And--"

Meowth was murmuring to himself in imitation of the Dugtrio Pokèmon. "Trio, trio, trio..."

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