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
This my fifteenth shift at the convenience store.
Okay, so — the legal drinking age in Japan is twenty. Same goes for if you want to smoke or vape.
Generally speaking, most convenience stores will ask you to show some kind of ID if you don’t seem like you’re old enough to be buying that stuff.
So, then...what are you supposed to do when you get a customer of questionable age who doesn’t have ID and, more importantly, isn’t even human? Do you still sell them their smokes and booze, or what?
“Heeeeey, buddy! *hic* Gimme some o’dat booze.”
Standing over by the automatic doors is some drunk old dude...with the body of a dog.
Yep. Everything from the old-man-face down is light brown and hairy. I’d say he’s probably a...shiba inu?
He’s also got what looks like a wrapping cloth tied around his back...to carry his stuff in, I guess?
But, four paws aren’t enough to keep this booze hound from wobbling as he makes his way into the store.
“Sir, pets aren’t allowed in here.”
Well, they’re not. I say this as regretfully as I can, which only earns me a:
“Are you really that dumb, kid? I ain’t noooobody’s pet!”
Huh. So, that was him talking before. Wait, what’s the point of sticking some old guy’s head on such a cute dog? Okay, sure, it’s not like a normal pet would have a face, so... That must mean he’s some kind of monster.
The booze hound staggers up to the register, plunking himself down hard in front of the counter. It was 2:30 AM when he first barked out his request, and I’m wondering if it wouldn’t be a better idea to call him an ambulance. Or take him to a vet.
“Uh, I’m pretty sure that alcohol is supposed to be toxic for doggies...”
“I ain’t some young pup, y’dumb punk! I’m forty-seven! *Hurk*...!”
Well, that can’t be right.
I mean, this dog is already three sheets to the wind, for one.
“Uh, were you, maybe...drinking before you came here?”
“Yeah, sure, I was drinkin’. Found another old guy hangin’ out on a park bench with some booze. He thought he might’a been dreamin’, but he passed me a drink with a ‘Well, whatever. Bottoms up, little guy!’”
What is it with old drunk guys and their ability to shrug off practically everything?
No, seriously — if you saw a dog with a human’s face, would your first thought really be “he’d be fun to do a few rounds with”?
“Look, I’ve got the cash for it.”
In a practiced move, the booze hound tugs at the knot on his wrapping cloth, pulling out a wallet that’s seen better days.
He deftly undoes the clasp, rifling through the contents.
“...Huh, izzat all? Well, it’ll still get me a drink.”
He hands me a thousand yen bill.
Wait, this mostly-dog-shaped drunkard has more money than a demon lord?! Seriously, what is this world coming to?
“Just to be sure...do you have any ID?”
“’Course not. Who’s ever heard’a dog with a driver’s licence?”
He flings his front paws wide, in the best semblance of a shrug a dog can give.
C’mon man, you can’t just swap species whenever it suits you.
“Oh, could I get a pack of smokes, too? One of the Green Leaves.”
“Wait, you smoke?!”
“Can’t a man have a few vices? A dog’s life is hard enough.”
“...I think I’m starting to see that.”
This old guy drinks like a fish, probably smokes like a chimney, and still has the body of a dog.
I don’t want to drag my manager into this, but...
I really don’t know what I should do in a situation like this.
I mean, you’re not supposed to let dogs drink booze, right? So, if I sold him some, would that be like, a jailable offence? I don’t want to end up behind bars!!
The feeling of guilt that I’d have to carry around after selling controlled substances to a minor (?) aside, I’m pretty sure this guy would give me almost as hard a time if I didn’t. Honestly, it feels like I can’t win either way.
“Would you...hold on for just one second?”
“Huh, gotta take a leak? Sure, but hurry it up, kid.”
With the booze hound’s blessing, I slip quietly into the break room.
“Hey, um, Manager...?”
I soon hear the long, mechanical sigh that signals the start of his boot-up process.
“Uh, well, there’s this one thing I wanted to run by you. Um, I know that we can only sell smokes and booze to people twenty and up, but what if they’re uh, not human? Hypothetically speaking. Would it...be alright to let them buy some?”
“...I see. I’ll be right there.”
He closes his eyes, mulling the situation over. It doesn’t take long before he’s come to some kind of decision, and he starts to pull on his uniform. Manager, you’re the best.
Still, even though nothing seems to faze him, I’ll bet this’ll throw him for a loop.
When he steps out into the store, the first thing he does is try to spot the problematic customer.
He glances around, eventually stopping to give me a questioning look. (So cute.)
Without a word, I flick my gaze meaningfully down at the space in front of the register. My manager’s eyebrows furrow in mild confusion, but he comes around to check.
...Huh? Isn’t that reaction kind of, well, weak?
The booze hound’s eyes widen in recognition, and my manager’s expression shifts to one of pleasant surprise.
“Heeey, long time no see! Howzit hangin’, Manager?”
“Oh, not bad. What about you? How’ve you been?”
My manager and the booze hound exchange a high five, grinning from ear to ear like they’ve been pals forever. Meanwhile, I’m really confused by all this.
“We’ve had a few drinks together over the years. Do you remember that first time? It must’ve been the coldest night that winter.”
“Tha’s right. Sometimes I’d wind up drinkin’ at the oden place ‘round the same time your manager was. We ended up sittin’ beside each other this one time, and when we got to talkin’, we found we got along just fine.”
Sure, that scenario’s normal enough, but overlooking those visuals would take some serious suspension of disbelief.
I watch as my manager crouches down lower, to have an animated conversation with the booze hound.
Something about that doesn’t sit well with me. ...Huh. I think I might actually be jealous of a dog.
“An’ we’ve crossed paths a couple’a times since then. So, yer still managin’ a convenience store? I still don’ see why a shy ‘un like you’d pick a job where you gotta talk to people!”
“Hey, knock it off, Pops. I’m trying to get better at it.”
His massive hand comes down on the booze hound’s shoulder, as he gives it a few light pats.
All in all, it’s a pretty surreal scene — but their good-natured banter makes them sound just like a father and son. My manager’s usually stepping in to save me from a bad situation, so it’s kind of nice to see him talking to someone more casually, for once.
Even if that someone is a dog.
“So, got’cher self a girlfriend yet?”
I would also like to know the answer to this question, yes.
“No, of course not. Who’d want to go out with someone like me?”
“Hey, now, have a little more faith in yerself! You’re a great guy! All y’hafta do is put yourself out there, and you’ll land a sweet lil’ thing in no time!”
“That’s...not going to happen. I’m...not very good at talking to girls.”
Oh my gosh, you mean this great hulking guy’s actually a blushing wallflower?!
“Ha ha! You’d never know it by the look o’ya, though!”
The two of them keep chatting for a while, and as they start to wrap things up...
“Here, it’s on me.”
My manager tucks a few cans into the booze hound’s makeshift bag.
Then, I watch as he slips a few extra bills into the beat-up wallet, pulling the extra yen from his own pocket while the old dog isn’t paying attention.
“I’m not getting you any cigarettes, though. They’re bad for your health, and I’d rather you kept dropping on by, Pops.”
He flatly refuses to buy the booze hound any smokes, though. The old dog huffs indignantly.
“Sheesh. ...You’re the only one who tells me nice things like that, y’know. ...Maybe I oughta quit, once ‘n fer all.”
I never thought I’d hear a dog debate the merits of going cold turkey, but there you have it.
“I mean, it’d be nice t’see yer kids someday, Manager.”
With one last, barking laugh, the booze hound shuffles out the door.
My manager lets his eyes flutter closed, muttering softly.
“...He reminds me a lot of my late father.”
His voice quivers, ever so slightly, like he might start to cry.
Getting to see this more vulnerable side of my manager...was nice.