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
Tonight marks my ninth evening on the till.
I manage to get out even less of the greeting than usual.
Seriously, is anyone ever going to let me finish? Man, I’m just trying to do my job.
The first customer of the evening comes trotting in, quite literally, on a horse. He’s got his hair pulled back in a tight man-bun and is wearing jeans and a t-shirt that has “Nobunaga” written on it in flowing Japanese calligraphy. Not kanji, though — hiragana.
...That is a horse, right? He’s definitely riding an actual horse, yeah? Oh, hell no. I just went through all that ‘no animals allowed’ nonsense last night.
“Uhhh, sir? Pets aren’t allowed in here.”
I reeeeeally don’t want to address this nutcase, but there’s no two ways around it.
“A pet? ...Have you never seen one of these before? This noble beast of burden is a horse! And when you are addressing me, pray, begin your phrases with ‘Lord Nobunaga, I must inform you.’ I’m Oda Nobunaga, the first man who dared to unify feudal Japan!”
Oh my god, this can’t be happening! It’s Oda Nobunaga, in the flesh!!
Okay, hold on. The demon lord, the kappa and yeah, even the shinigami I kind of get, but a genuinely historical figure has made his way here? You’ve got to be kidding me! Can’t we keep things a little more consistent? For my sake? Really, all I’m asking for is the ability to guess at who might be dropping by in a given day!!
“Um, Lord Nobunaga, I must inform you...that steeds of any kind, noble or otherwise, aren’t allowed in convenience stores. If you would please park your ride outside before entering, that would be great.”
“‘Not allowed,’ you say? Then, I overturn that rule. Horses are permitted from here on out. I have decreed it to be so.”
Just who does this guy think he is? Dude can’t even grow a real mustache.
Tsk. May he fall off that stupidly high horse of his. Painfully.
Whoa, nope. Keep your cool, man. This is Lord Nobunaga you’re talking to here. You can’t say that kind of thing to Lord-freaking-Nobunaga.
“Lord Nobunaga, I must inform you...that if you don’t take that animal outside, then I won’t sell you anything! Not that I know what you even came here for, but still.”
“You would refuse me my right to purchase goods?! That’s an offence worthy of seppuku!”
“Lord Nobunaga, I must inform you...that your ‘rights’ aren’t any good here. Japan’s modernized. Sorry, but seppuku isn't a thing anymore. Neither are beheadings.”
I take a quick peek, to make sure he doesn’t actually have a sword. I mean, I was a bit short with him.
Still astride his horse, Lord Nobunaga crosses his arms with a huff.
“The other stores all turned me away. I had hoped this place would be...more forgiving.”
“Lord Nobunaga, I must inform you...if you thought we were going to be any different, then you’ve got another thing coming.”
“Hmmm. Still, I do have purchases to make. I suppose this was inevitable. My apologies, Monkey. You’ll have to wait outside.”
Did he just call his horse...“Monkey”?
Yeah, this guy might be a few crayons shy of a full box.
But, seriously — what did he come here for?
Lord Nobunaga ties up his horse to the bike rack outside, reappearing in record time with an eager smile that stretches from ear to ear. Then, he heads straight for the section that has all the top up cards — you know, the ones for cell phone plans and apps and stuff. Wait, you don’t mean he...
His grin gets even wider as he grabs about ten of them, which makes a chill go down my spine.
Oh, no. I’ve seen that look before. That’s the face of a hardcore mobile gamer!!
Lord Nobunaga turns, making a beeline for the register. Okay. Play it cool, man. Don’t. Even. Blink.
“I’ll take ten of these to start.”
He holds the top up cards, all fanned out like he was in a game of poker — then starts to fan himself with them.
He’s oozing confidence, like he’s convinced that all ten cards are going to be big winners.
Once he’s finished paying for everything, instead of heading back out to his horse, Lord Nobunaga makes himself at home in the seating area. He pulls out his phone, then rummages through his change for a ten-yen coin, which he uses to start furiously scratching off the backs of his game cards.
No. Don’t tell me. He’s not going to use all those gatcha pulls here, is he?!
“Alriiiiight! Let’s do this!! Nobunaga Gatcha, don’t you dare let me down! C’mon...c’moooon!”
I watch as the beloved historical figure clasps his hands together in fervent appeal. I’ve...never seen this side of Lord Nobunaga before. Nor did I want to.
Especially since I’m going to have to watch him geek out over these pulls for the next ten minutes.
...Wait, what the heck is a Nobunaga Gatcha?
“Another ten, perhaps...”
A few minutes later, Lord Nobunaga hangs his head in disappointment, then dashes back to the top-up card racks. Gasping for breath, he buys another ten cards exactly. The transaction complete, he drags himself back to the seating area, plunks down in a chair and steels himself for another round of gatcha pulls.
“I am Lord Nobunaga, and I demand that you show me the great and mighty Lord Nobunaga! C’mon...c’mon...the next one had better be me...!”
Huh. So, he’s trying to draw himself from that gatcha? How much of a narcissist do you have to be to get that worked up about, well, yourself? Not that it comes as much of a surprise. It’s been obvious how highly he thinks of himself, right from the moment he walked — sorry, rode — in.
This time, his head comes down on the table with a loud clang. Glancing over at the prone lump that is Lord Nobunaga, I can tell that this second round didn’t go well either.
“...Fine. This time, I’ll get thirty cards at once.”
Breathing heavily, he stares at me from across the counter with bloodshot eyes.
“Lord Nobunaga, I must inform you...that...that is, don’t you think thirty’s a bit much? I mean, what are you going to do if those are all duds, too?”
“It can only be now! The drop rates are double what they would be! ...Well, I say ‘double,’ but the usual rate’s only one percent. Curse those weak drop rates! If the only solution is to keep pulling, then so be it! I’ll do it! I swear, I will settle this with those thirty cards!”
He’s dropping cash on these top up cards like it grew on trees. And I get the feeling he does this a lot.
All that work, just to get a digital version of himself.
“Lord Nobunaga, I must inform you... Good luck.”
I prop my elbows up on the counter, unable to tear my eyes away from the scene.
It doesn’t take long before all the used cards sit in a small heap on the table. He stands up, stretches, then sits back down with a...
“Whyyyyy?! Can it tell?! Does it somehow know how BADLY I WANT THIIIIIIIS?!!”
If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that the app killed his parents.
Yep. He’s a lost cause.
“Bring me...all the cards that are available. I only have until 4 AM to win that 5-star Lord Nobunaga. After that, the limited-edition Nobunaga Gatcha will be retired.”
The man staring at me from across the register looks like a zombie, and I can’t help but start to feel sorry for the guy.
Who knew that a game of random chance could drive someone to these extremes?
“Lord Nobunaga, I must inform you...that you might want to quit while you’re ahead.”
“I can’t. I shan’t. I might not have been able to unify the country, but I refuse to lose sight of my gatcha goals!”
He says this like it’s some kind of declaration that’s going to go down in history.
Faced with that kind of sheer determination...who am I to deny him what he wants?
I’ve made up my mind.
About what, you ask?
That I’ll sell this gatcha-crazed feudal lord his top up cards, then see this adventure through to the bitter end.
“Lord Nobunaga, I must inform you...that I’ve brought you our entire stock of top-up cards.”
“How many are there?”
“A hundred twenty.”
“Ha. Ha ha! AHA HA HA HA! With those numbers, my army would be unstoppable!! I’ll take the lot of them!”
His laughter is catching, and I can’t help but join in.
Lord Nobunaga. You can do this. With that many soldiers (cards) at your disposal, nothing can stand between you and your quest for total unity! (Among his collection of gatcha daimyo, that is.)
“Well then, to arms!”
Lord Nobunaga turns; his back straight, shoulders squared, looking every inch the Sengoku warlord, as he marches back to the blood-soaked battlefield (seating area) for the final showdown.
And I give that brave soul a quiet salute.
As the pile of cards dwindles, even I can see that Lord Nobunaga is starting to get anxious.
He has a little less than half of them left.
At first, he was regularly swinging between intense hope and crushing despair, but now his expression is one of supreme focus as he robotically goes through the gatcha process.
If it doesn’t work out, I should at least treat him to a coffee or something.
But, just as I have that thought...
“Hey. You there. Come over here.”
Lord Nobunaga beckons me from out of the blue.
“Huh? Oh, sure. What’s up?”
I’m so startled that I totally forget to lead off with the “Lord Nobunaga, I must inform you.”
“Would you mind taking over for a little while? My fingers are all tapped out.”
“Who, me? Well...why not?”
I mean, it’s not like I don’t see the appeal. It’s the excitement of not knowing what you’re going to get, right? Like with normal capsule toys or prize draws. Who doesn’t like that?
Lord Nobunaga nods in approval, and I sit down beside him.
“This one. The x10 button.”
With that quick and easy explanation out of the way, I tap the button. Almost instantly, the screen lights up in a sparkling rainbow.
“Oh?! Could it be?!!”
Lord Nobunaga rises from his chair, clearly agitated by...something.
A triumphant da-da-da-dah plays in the background, as a sexy Sengoku-period warlord labeled “Lord Nobunaga” pops up on the screen.
“Whoa! Is...is that...?”
“Ah! ...*sniff*... Uh-huh...!”
Valiantly holding back tears, Lord Nobunaga buries his face in his hands — but not before I catch his look of unbridled otaku glee.
“No way. I actually got it?”
Lord Nobunaga nods emphatically, too choked up to speak.
“...Thank you. Your deeds here today have earned you no less than your own kingdom. Or, perhaps you would prefer that I offered you my sister’s hand in marriage?”
“Nah, all I did was pull the right character from a gatcha draw.”
Lord Nobunaga is practically vibrating with happiness.
“My phone’s almost dead, so I’ll be heading out. Again, thank you. I will never forget what you have done for me today. If you ever find yourself in trouble, don’t hesitate to call on me for aid.”
...Yeah, I can’t really think of a situation where I’d ask this guy for help.
Bright, bubbly and practically bursting at the seams with delight, Lord Nobunaga saddles up and rides off into the, uh, twilight.
As I clear up the mountain of used top up cards from the table, the memory of his big win makes me smile.
Well. It’s 3:50 AM, but I guess I’m going to have to place an order for a boatload of these things.
...I wonder if I’ll ever see Lord Nobunaga again?