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’s lucky number thirteen on the till.
Before I can finish the rest of the greeting, I’m interrupted by two sickly sweet voices.
“Aww, Oni-woni! Don’t be like that, snookums.”
“But, Pompom-om-nom! You know you love it, honey bear.”
“Snrk...! Heh...ha ha...!”
Okay, man. Cool it. Don’t you dare laugh. Play dumb, and just ignore them.
Ugh. This gig sure loves pumping up the difficulty level.
And to top it all off...they’re both sporting a pair of horns on their heads.
The one called “Oni-woni” — pft! — is your standard bookish-sort of gentleman, with round glasses and black hair. Or would be, if it weren’t for those two pointy little ogre-like horns up top.
The one called “Pompom-om-nom,” on the other hand... Who’s responsible for that gem, anyways? Because honestly, they’ve got horrible taste in names and oh my god, I’m a second away from bursting out into uncontrollable laughter. Okay, man. Breathe. Just breathe.
But seriously, that sounds like something you’d call a theme park mascot.
No, I mean really. What kind of person wakes up one morning and decides that “Pompom-on-nom” is something they could call their loved one without snickering for the rest of thei—
Right. Anyways, “Pompom-om-nom” has her black hair tied back in a ponytail, which only adds to the “hot young housewife” vibe she’s giving off.
She’s wearing a sash that says “No. 1 Party Star” in big, red letters, along with a red and gold striped party hat (that looks more like a traffic cone) that sits almost awkwardly between her two real horns.
The two of them stroll through the store, arm in arm, lost in their own lovey-dovey universe.
And all I can hear is this endless chorus of:
Seriously, I haven’t heard them say anything aside from those cutesy names and it’s driving me insane. Guys. Give it a rest. Please. I’m begging you.
Just as I’ve started to successfully tune out their names, the couple finishes their tour of the aisles and comes right over to the register.
(One, two...) “ “Do you have any birthday cake?” ”
Whatever I was expecting to be asked, that wasn’t it.
...And why couldn’t just one of them say it?
“There should be some slices of strawberry shortcake in the sweets section...”
I start to point them in the direction of the cooler that holds all the fresh desserts, but...
“We looked there already! There aren’t any more cake-cakes, just red bean pancakes, Swiss rolls and so on. It’s my darling Pompom-om-nom’s birthday today, so I want to get her a proper sponge cake.”
...A Swiss roll is made from sponge cake, but whatever.
I mean, I see what they’re getting at.
So, it’s Pompom-om-nom’s birthday? ...That would explain the sash, I guess.
But really, going out to buy a cake at this hour is a terrible idea.
All the bakeries have long since closed, and even if you decided to just make your own, there’s not a single supermarket in this area that’s still open at 2 AM.
Ugh, I suppose that the least I can do is check the store myself.
“If you’ll give me a minute, I’ll go see if we have any extra in stock.”
“Isn’t that lovely, sweetheart! They might still have some cake!”
“Tee hee! It’s wonderful news, darling! I’m so happy! I was worried about what might happen if we went out looking like our usual selves.”
“Oh, don’t say that, Pompom-om-nom! You’re so incredibly, superbly, ridiculously cute that no one would even notice those dainty little nubs of yours!”
I’m not entirely sure what they’re going on about, but I’m guessing it’s got something to do with their being, y’know, very obviously ogres.
I do a fairly thorough sweep of our stocks, but we’re completely out.
And we’re not getting another delivery for a few more hours.
Well, all I can do is go and break the bad news to them.
I circle back around to the register, where the couple are still eagerly awaiting the miracle that they’re definitely not going to get. Yep. This isn’t going to go over well.
Still, it’s not like I can lie about it, either.
“I’m terribly sorry, but we’ve exhausted our stock of cake for the day. Until our morning delivery arrives, whatever’s left in the sweets section is all we have.”
I give them a low bow, to round off the sincere apology.
Huh. Don’t they...have anything to say about that?
I slowly look up to see that the couple’s bright, shining smiles have been replaced by absolutely bone-chilling glares.
And I feel the blood drain from my face.
“Well, that’s no good. After all, today’s the day where my precious Pompom-om-nom was welcomed into the world. And it’s only natural that on this day, of all days, I would want to get my beloved a cake to celebrate. Now, let me shed some light on just how much we love each other. We usually spend our evenings fooling around in bed until 2 AM, but today, we decided that we’d stretch things out a little longer than usual, to get a head start on Pompom-om-nom’s special day. We agreed to stay up until 3 AM, sleep until 8 AM and start the day with dessert. You see, we only have this one hour to get that all important treat. If we don’t have that, then the whole day will be ruined. We’ve been looking everywhere, and this store is our last hope.”
Oni-woni rattles off this huge monologue without stopping to take a breath, finishing just inches away from my face.
I get that you want to do something nice for your wife, but that doesn’t make any of this my problem.
We’re sold out, and that’s that. Just suck it up, maybe screw around some more, and then go to sleep. Yeesh.
“So, where’s my cake?”
Pompom-om-nom gives me a big, toothy grin.
The sinister smile is a real departure from her earlier cutesy housewife character.
I’m telling you, there’s nothing I can do!
But, the two of them keep leaning further and further over the counter, getting way too close for comfort.
“You understand how important this is to us, don’t you? Now, hurry and bring us what we’ve asked for.”
“After all — in this world, isn’t the customer supposed to be king?”
I seethe at their unrestrained entitlement, barely containing my growing rage.
You know what? I give up. There’s no reasoning with these two.
Time to bring out the big guns.
“Sorry, but would you hold on a moment, please?”
Without giving them any time to reply, I race off to the break room, where my manager is still sound asleep.
I quietly call out, and I’m rewarded by the loud mechanical sigh that signals his exit from sleep mode.
I feel tears of relief prick the corners of my eyes as my manager sleepily glances over at me.
I turn the lights on, then launch into an explanation of what’s happened so far. My manager crosses his arms, nodding along as he listens — and I can tell that he honestly does care.
...He’s my hero.
“I see. Give me a moment.”
Give him a moment...to do what?
When I tilt my head in question, though, he only gives me a firm thumbs-up in answer.