It’s My First Time Working Late Nights at a Convenience Store, and If I Keep Getting Demon Lords, Kappa and Other Oddballs as Customers, I’m Giving My Two-Weeks’ Notice
I stand behind the register on my third night on the graveyard shift, staring out at the convenience store with glassy eyes.
This place has issues.
The only customers I’ve seen so far are demon lords and kappa.
And then there’s the...offering of cucumbers that I got from last night’s kappa.
I thought about eating them, until I started to wonder if that would turn my skin kappa-green, which sent non-stop chills down my spine. So, I decided to re-gift them to the store’s miniature shrine.
There’s one thing about this place that’s been consistent, though.
I let my eyes fall shut at the memory, as my mouth pulls into a grimace.
“...I can’t believe how many people haven’t paid for their stuff.”
Yep, that’s pretty much it.
When I open my eyes...
I can’t help but call out a second, more emphatic greeting.
In walks a customer wearing a white hat, sunglasses and a large face mask that covers just about everything the sunglasses don’t. She’s dressed in a long, flowing dress that’s a vibrant shade of red.
Clutching a large, black tote bag, tonight’s new arrival shuffles into the store, scanning her surroundings all the while.
Going by appearances alone, this is one sketchy customer.
But, honestly? I couldn’t care less.
I’m just so freaking happy that I’ve finally seen a human being walk through those automatic doors.
Clamping both hands to my mouth to smother a grin, I think back over the past two days.
It took until the start of my third late-night shift to get a normal customer.
I’m over the moon.
The woman in the red dress glances around the store again, before taking a basket and milling over to the sweets section.
Go ahead, take all the time you need!!
What I couldn’t have known at the time...was that this customer would end up being the most dangerous one of the bunch.
The woman in the red dress has stuffed her basket with nothing but bags of hard candies.
Huh, she must really love the stuff.
I scan through the pile with a rhythmic beep-beep-beep.
“That’ll be two thousand one hundred fifty yen.”
The lady on the other side of the counter murmurs something.
Focused on ringing her up, I missed it completely. I lean in, to try and hear her a little better.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that. Could you say it again, please?”
“Am I pretty?”
I slowly pull back from the counter, to take a good, long look at this woman.
Why would she ask me something like that? Still, I guess it’d be rude to ignore a customer’s question, no matter how weird it is.
“I’m sorry miss, but with your hat, mask and sunglasses, I can barely see your face. I really couldn’t say.”
There, I’d say that was pretty diplomatic.
No, wait. At times like this, shouldn’t I have just gone ahead and complimented her?
...How should I know?! There wasn’t a section in the training manual about how to answer customers who ask you if they’re pretty! Heeeey, Manager! Come do your job for once!
Without another word, she takes off her white hat and places it on the counter, shaking her long, luxurious black hair down in a shimmering cascade.
I’d call her beautiful for those locks alone.
I can’t help but gasp. I mean, damn.
Next, she carefully takes off her sunglasses...
Uncovering elegant eyebrows and round, wide, scarlet eyes. She’s even got a beauty mark under her right eye, and I feel like I finally get why people call them that.
Never mind the hair, those eyes!
They’re the most gorgeous pair I’ve ever seen!
“Am I pretty?”
She asks the question again.
“Well, judging by what I’ve seen so far, I’d say you’re beautiful. But...since your mask is still covering half your face, I guess I’m only giving you half an answer.”
She blinks, offering no comment.
Did I...say something to offend her?
Without a word, she dips her head down and carefully takes off her mask.
Her face completely uncovered, she glances up at me, giving me a bright, broad smile.
Her mouth is terrifying.
Her grin literally stretches from ear to ear, her lips stained with a blood red lipstick.
“Am I pretty?”
Well, one thing’s for sure.
This is no ordinary customer!!
“Am I pretty? Well? What do you think? Don’t just stand there slack jawed. Would you call someone like me pretty or not?”
I can feel her warm breath brush against my skin as she leans in to whisper in my ear. She runs her hand along my cheek, and I just freeze up.
“Why haven’t you said anything yet? Perhaps you find me repulsive? A face like this would be, wouldn’t it? Come on, out with it.”
There’s a pause, as she rustles around in the tote bag hanging from her shoulder. She pulls out a sickle, the razor-sharp edge glinting under the store’s stark lighting.
“If you don’t tell me I’m pretty, I’ll kill you.”
I take a few deep breaths, to try and calm myself.
There’s a panic button underneath the counter. If I push that, it should call the cops.
For, you know, times when people whip out dangerous objects that have no place in civilized settings.
And this would definitely be arrest-worthy. My life is very clearly in danger!
I try to casually reach under the register to push the panic button, but the kuchisake-onna scrambles up onto the counter and grabs my wrist.
She’s strong. She might not look it, but she’s got me pinned easily.
“No, none of that. And I’m going to keep ahold of you until you answer me.”
“Ngh! Alright, I’m sorry! You might be pretty, but your attitude sure isn’t! There, I said it! Now can I call the cops?!”
“I don’t believe you. ...Which part, specifically, has caught your eye?”
“Uh, like that super-silky hair of yours that smells really nice, or those wide eyes that make my heart skip a beat, or how my knees go weak when you whisper in my ear? ...I guess that makes your mouth cute, too, in a roundabout way... Uh, yeah! All of that! That’s good enough, right?! ...Please let me call for help.”
“I...what? Oh, my. You...that’s...hm.”
If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that this kuchisake-onna, who’s only inches away from my face, looked...embarrassed.
The sickle in her hand falls to the counter with a clatter, as she grabs my arms with both hands, gazing silently into my eyes at point-blank range.
“Now that I’ve gotten a good look at you, you’re not so bad yourself.”
She sounds like she means it, too. I think I might actually blush.
Staring strongly enough to burn a hole through my skull, the kuchisake-onna’s gaze drifts down to my nametag.
“So...‘Muramatsu,’ is it? What’s your first name?”
I get the feeling she’d kill me for not answering that question too, so I reluctantly offer it to her.
“Which kanji would you write it with?”
“Um, the same character as the one for ‘clear skies’.”
“Hmm...what a lovely name. I rather like it. ‘Haru.’ Hee. Heh heh!”
“...What’s so funny about that?”
Really, this isn’t any time to be laughing. Yeesh, she gives me the creeps.
The kuchisake-onna lets go of my arms and slides off the counter. After she puts her mask back on, she pulls out a fairly expensive-looking wallet from her tote bag, and takes out a bill worth five-thousand yen.
I turn it over in my hands, inspecting it.
...Thank god, it’s not a cucumber! It’s cold, hard cash!
“Um...thank you very much.”
While I count out her change in mild shock, the kuchisake-onna packs up her sickle. Then, she takes her change and puts it into her wallet, tossing it into the same black tote bag as the pointy weapon.
With her sunglasses back on, she tugs her hat firmly down on her head before finally glancing back up at me.
“I’ll see you again, Haru.”
Leave the sharp objects at home next time, okay?
“If you so much as blink at another woman before then, I’ll kill you.”
It’s only my third day on the job, and I’ve never feared more for my life than I did tonight.