Chapter 17:

A Werewolf Wanders Over (Part 2)

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

The three of us gather around a table in the seating area, equally spaced.

One of us is drinking a black coffee, another is sitting quietly with his arms neatly crossed, while the third member of the group is staring at the other two with an uneasy grin.

You’d...never guess that we were going to talk about romance, that’s for sure.

But, sipping that coffee is all that werewolf’s done since we sat down, and all my manager and I can do is wait impatiently for him to speak up.

“So, I, um... I’m having a bit of trouble in the love department.”

That’s the exact same thing he said ten minutes ago!!

“What do you mean by ‘trouble,’ exactly?” 

Great! My manager isn’t going to stand for this silence a minute longer! Now maybe we’ll get somewhere with this.

“...Ah. Um, so, it’s like... I’m planning on telling the person I like how I feel about them...”

Okay, that seems normal enough.

“Alright, so, I was thinking that I’d wear a white suit, and bring her a bouquet of a hundred red roses. Then we’d drive out to the coast in the white sports car that I just bought, and I’d pop the question out on the beach. Yeah.”

Uh...wait. Hang on. This isn’t a marriage proposal — they’re not even dating yet! Isn’t that taking things way too far?! 

Sure, a grand gesture like that might be okay in an anime or manga, but wouldn’t most girls find it a little too over the top? I think it sounds kind of overbearing, at least.

And what’s he going to do if she turns him down?! ...I mean, I hate to say it, but that seems highly likely.


With a grumble, my manager rests his chin on his hand as he mulls this over.

“But, yeah, I guess that’s setting the bar a bit too high for a guy with zero experience.”

Dude! If you want advice, lay off the insults!

My manager gazes thoughtfully at the ceiling as he mutters:

“You might want to consider...getting nine hundred ninety-nine roses...”

Wait, what’s with the sudden spike in greenery?

“So, uh, why so many? Isn’t a hundred pretty standard?” 

“In the language of flowers, giving one hundred...means that you love them with all your heart. Nine hundred ninety-nine, on the other hand... Shows that no matter how many times you’re reborn, you’ll never fail to find them.”

Whoa, that’s laying it on WAY too thick!! The poor girl’s going to get crushed under both the weight of those flowers and those lofty expectations! Sure, I thought my manager could do no wrong, but he’s definitely, extremely off base when it comes to romantic relationships!!

“Ooooh, okay. So, um, if I let the flowers do the talking, then she’d almost certainly say yes! You’re a genius! Sorry for, uh, you know, giving you a hard time about your lack of experience back there.”

“No, pay it no mind. Besides...I appreciate your attention to detail. It’s a fine plan if ever I’ve seen one.”   

My manager and the werewolf share a look and a smile, bonding over some kind of mutual understanding.

Uh, hold up. So, neither of them sees any issue with this extravagant confession? Not the white suit, the ridiculous number of red roses, the luxury convertible, or even the ocean-side setting? ...Am I the one who’s got it all wrong?

“So, this girlfriend-to-be of yours... Have you known her for very long?”

Thanks to my manager’s genuine interest, our lycan lothario has opened up completely, grinning from ear to ear as he elaborates on the major plot holes in his master plan.

“Nah, I saw her downtown yesterday, and it was love at first sight.”

Whoa. Whoa, whoa! Back it up! Yeah, no. That’s DEFINITELY not right!

“We haven’t even exchanged two words.”

The werewolf chuckles shyly, and I’m just...wondering what to do with my excessive frustration. No, really. I think I’m two seconds away from grinding my teeth into nothing.  

“Hmm... Professing your feelings for your newly-met beloved with a big bouquet of roses is rather...”

It’s weird, right? Manager, even you think that’s taking things too far, don’t you? Please, you’ve got to say something about that!!  

“Splendid. Truly, the pinnacle of romantic gestures.” 

My manager gives him a confident thumbs-up — complete with dazzling smile — while I hang my head in despair. ...Nope. There’s no hope for my love-struck manager!!

I can’t take any more of this. I raise my hand, to get a question in. 

“Uh, if you don’t mind my asking... How, exactly, are you planning on inviting this woman you’ve never even spoken with out on a drive to the coast?”

The two wannabe Romeos exchange a look.

“Oh, yeah, sure. Got that all planned out too.”  

The werewolf jerks his thumb over at an invisible sports car, with a... 

“Hey, babe. Wanna ride?”

That’s it?! That’s all he’s got?! If some guy I didn’t know pulled up and offered me that line, I’d run the other way! Seriously, that’s beyond creepy!

...C’mon, Manager. Even you think that’s not cool, right? Please, please, nip that bad idea in the bud! 

“No, that might not be the best way to proceed. If some unknown gentleman suddenly appeared and suggested a drive, most women would regard that offer with trepidation.”

I nod in enthusiastic agreement with my manager. Finally, something resembling common sense! This is exactly what I’ve been waiting for! 

“You’ve got to introduce yourself first.”

...Yeah, but...! That’s really not the problem here!

“Ah, uh, right. I hadn’t considered that. You’re one step ahead of me, huh? ...Still, introductions are kinda scary, though. D’you think I could give her my business card instead?” 

And yet, inviting a woman he’s never even spoken to out on a drive isn’t? This wolf’s got weird sensibilities.

Seriously, though — most of this scenario would probably get the cops called down on his furry head. Is there anything between those ears besides fluff?

But the ridiculous romance consultation session just keeps going.

“Well, I think you’ve come up with an impressive plan so far, but have you given any thought to how you’ll convey your feelings to her?” 

The werewolf rifles through the black silk bag at his side, pulling out an expensive-looking leather-bound notebook.

“Here, take a look.”

The title inscribed on the first page says it all.

“Words to Woo By” 

And he’s filled the book already?! Wow, she must really be something, if he’s fallen that hard for her... 

We flip through the pages, unearthing such gems as:

“Our love was written in the stars. No matter how many times the world turns, I will never stop loving you.”

“Until I met you, my heart was gray like a cloudy sky. You were the sunshine that chased the clouds away. The rainbow that promised better days ahead.”

“You are my reason for being. Believe it.”

Is this...supposed to be poetic? 

I glance over at my manager, who’s reading through this rubbish with the serene expression of a Buddhist saint. Well. If someone who’s attained enlightenment could blush that shade of red.

You’re not falling for this nonsense, are you Manager? Does it actually make your heart skip a beat?!

“I rather like this one about the rainbow. It’s very romantic.”

... I’d thought that one was the worst of the bunch, but you do you, man.

“...I knew it. Mister manager, you DO get it!”

The werewolf throws his arm around my manager’s shoulders with a broad grin that’s eagerly returned. 

“C’mon, cashier kid! You get in on this, too!”

He almost crushes my shoulders as he pulls me into this late-night, high-spirits huddle. I smile too, but it doesn’t reach my sunken eyes.

Yep. There’s nothing I can say now that could stop this train wreck. Good luck, were-dude.

I mean... How he’s going to FIND this mystery woman he’s only caught glimpses of downtown is a whole different story.


“I had a feeling this is where I would find you.”

A surprisingly familiar face floats into view.

That crisp suit paired with a matching black gas mask... Those grenade-shaped disinfectant bombs strapped to his back...

“Hey, Grim! What’s up?” 

“Absolutely nothing, as we should be on our way.”

The shinigami tugs on his arm, and the werewolf reluctantly stands up.

“Yeah, yeah...”

“You two know each other?”

My manager glances between the two men in suits. 

“Oh, yeah, uh, he’s one of our new hires. This guy’s obsession with cleanliness can be a bit of a hassle, though. And on that note...we’ve got to get back to work.”

That reminds me — where’s his murder of crows? I take a look outside, scanning the skies for the black birds. When he notices the direction of my gaze, the shinigami offers an explanation.

“The one requirement I have for my birds is that they do I am not. Their most recent target, however, has been this werewolf’s car. Quite frankly, I was unimpressed with their behavior and have been too upset to take them out on my walks. They do still come when I call, though.”

Yeeeah, I can see how that’d tick him off.

“I see the store has not changed much since we last cleaned it. It pleases me that you are keeping it tidy. I will be sure to come again.” 

With a polite bow, the shinigami drags the werewolf out of the convenience store.

“Bye, Manager! So long, cashier kid! Let’s chat again sometime!” 

“Oh, good luck with your confession! It’s sure to be a success!”

“Thanks, man!” 

The two hopelessly misguided romantics give each other another round of thumbs-up, grinning from ear to ear, which finally brings an end to the comedy of errors that was that horrifying brainstorming session.

I guess there’s nothing left to do but wait until that wolf comes back, so we can hear the results.