Chapter 10:

The Monstrously Cute Couple's Visit (Part 1)

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. Bookmark here

Ding-a-ling-a-ling...   Bookmark here

“Welc-...”Bookmark here

Before I can finish the rest of the greeting, I’m interrupted by two sickly sweet voices. Bookmark here

“Aww, Oni-woni! Don’t be like that, snookums.”Bookmark here

“But, Pompom-om-nom! You know you love it, honey bear.”Bookmark here

“Snrk...!  Heh...ha ha...!” Bookmark here

Okay, man. Cool it. Don’t you dare laugh. Play dumb, and just ignore them.Bookmark here

Ugh. This gig sure loves pumping up the difficulty level.Bookmark here

And to top it all off...they’re both sporting a pair of horns on their heads. Bookmark here

“Oni-woniiii?”Bookmark here

“Yes, Pompom-om-nom?” Bookmark here

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. Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

But seriously, that sounds like something you’d call a theme park mascot.Bookmark here

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—Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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. Bookmark here

The two of them stroll through the store, arm in arm, lost in their own lovey-dovey universe.Bookmark here

And all I can hear is this endless chorus of: Bookmark here

“Oni-woniii?”Bookmark here

“Yes, Pompom-om-nom?” Bookmark here

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. Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

(One, two...) “ “Do you have any birthday cake?” ” Bookmark here

Whatever I was expecting to be asked, that wasn’t it.Bookmark here

...And why couldn’t just one of them say it? Bookmark here

“There should be some slices of strawberry shortcake in the sweets section...”Bookmark here

I start to point them in the direction of the cooler that holds all the fresh desserts, but... Bookmark here

“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.” Bookmark here

...A Swiss roll is made from sponge cake, but whatever.Bookmark here

I mean, I see what they’re getting at.Bookmark here

So, it’s Pompom-om-nom’s birthday? ...That would explain the sash, I guess.Bookmark here

But really, going out to buy a cake at this hour is a terrible idea.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

Ugh, I suppose that the least I can do is check the store myself. Bookmark here

“If you’ll give me a minute, I’ll go see if we have any extra in stock.”Bookmark here

“Isn’t that lovely, sweetheart! They might still have some cake!” Bookmark here

“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.”Bookmark here

“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!” Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

I do a fairly thorough sweep of our stocks, but we’re completely out.Bookmark here

And we’re not getting another delivery for a few more hours.Bookmark here

Well, all I can do is go and break the bad news to them.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

Still, it’s not like I can lie about it, either.Bookmark here

“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.”Bookmark here

I give them a low bow, to round off the sincere apology.Bookmark here

Huh. Don’t they...have anything to say about that?Bookmark here

I slowly look up to see that the couple’s bright, shining smiles have been replaced by absolutely bone-chilling glares.Bookmark here

And I feel the blood drain from my face.Bookmark here

“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.”Bookmark here

Oni-woni rattles off this huge monologue without stopping to take a breath, finishing just inches away from my face.Bookmark here

Dude, TMI.Bookmark here

I get that you want to do something nice for your wife, but that doesn’t make any of this my problem.Bookmark here

We’re sold out, and that’s that. Just suck it up, maybe screw around some more, and then go to sleep. Yeesh.Bookmark here

“So, where’s my cake?” Bookmark here

Pompom-om-nom gives me a big, toothy grin.Bookmark here

The sinister smile is a real departure from her earlier cutesy housewife character.Bookmark here

I’m telling you, there’s nothing I can do!Bookmark here

But, the two of them keep leaning further and further over the counter, getting way too close for comfort.Bookmark here

“You understand how important this is to us, don’t you? Now, hurry and bring us what we’ve asked for.”Bookmark here

“After all — in this world, isn’t the customer supposed to be king?” Bookmark here

I seethe at their unrestrained entitlement, barely containing my growing rage.Bookmark here

You know what? I give up. There’s no reasoning with these two.Bookmark here

Time to bring out the big guns.Bookmark here

“Sorry, but would you hold on a moment, please?” Bookmark here

Without giving them any time to reply, I race off to the break room, where my manager is still sound asleep.Bookmark here

“Hey, Manager...?” Bookmark here

I quietly call out, and I’m rewarded by the loud mechanical sigh that signals his exit from sleep mode.Bookmark here

“...What happened?”Bookmark here

I feel tears of relief prick the corners of my eyes as my manager sleepily glances over at me.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

...He’s my hero.Bookmark here

“I see. Give me a moment.”Bookmark here

Give him a do what?Bookmark here

When I tilt my head in question, though, he only gives me a firm thumbs-up in answer.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.