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 is my thirty-fourth graveyard shift.
“Wel-... Whoa, what the hell?!”
Right, so. A question for anyone working in the service industry:
What would you do if someone showed up at your place of business...who looked exactly like you?
Would you pretend you didn’t notice the similarities? Nah, that’s not going to happen. It’s impossible not to stare.
Sure, you can tell us apart right now — since he’s in jeans and a T-shirt and I’m not. But...if we were wearing the same thing, I don’t know that you could.
Still, I have heard that there’s supposed to be three people in the world who look more or less like you. Wait, hang on. Doesn’t this guy look a little TOO much like me? That can’t be right.
I can’t tear my eyes away from this dude who is literally my double.
I mean, he nailed it. I’ve never seen anyone look so similar to a stranger (?) before. Seriously, how is that even possible?
My clone glances at me, chuckles a little too smugly, then starts to wander around the store.
“You’ve got to be kidding me. ...Huh. I wonder if Ayame could tell us apart?”
I stare a little too hard at this copycat customer from my comfortably distant spot behind the register.
The other guy, meanwhile, is doing a really good job of pretending not to notice...when he’s totally checking me out.
Aw, c’mon man. Of all the things you could stop and browse, did it have to be the porn? I haven’t done anything wrong, but I’m already suffering from second-hand embarrassment.
The customer grabs I-don’t-know-how-many adult magazines and brings them up to the cash, plunking them down on the counter with a cocky grin.
“Mind ringing those up for me?”
He even sounds like me.
Okay, that’s just freaky. Is he like, me, but from a parallel world?
Honestly, that wouldn’t be the weirdest thing that’s happened at this store. Hm, I guess he could also be me, but from the future?
Actually, doesn’t that seem a little more likely?
Like, why else would he not be bothered that we have the same freaking face?!
And he walked up to the register with this swagger that seemed to suggest that he’s the original Haru and that I’m the fake.
Isn’t this weird? Am I the only one who’s totally flipping out over here?!
I keep sneaking peeks at this guy in between each beep of the scanner.
Yep. He’s a dead ringer for me. And that jerk seems to be enjoying my discomfort while he waits for me to finish the transaction.
“Um, if you don’t mind my asking...”
I can’t help it. I’ve got to know. So, I decide to just go ahead and bite the bullet.
“Yeah? What’s up?”
He smiles, and I swear, it’s like looking in a mirror. I’ve basically given up on treating him as a proper customer.
“I know this is pretty far out there, but... You’re not like, me, from the future or something, right?”
“Huh? Uh... Heh heh... Wait, you’re serious?”
He covers his mouth as he tries to hold back his laughter, in the same way I always do.
Look, I didn’t want to have to say it, but here we are.
Don’t you snicker at me, guy who looks like me.
“Uh, yeah man. Ha ha!”
Yep. That’s a flat out lie. And I should know — that’s MY face. I’d know my own mocking smile anywhere. That jerk. Well, now I’m pissed. What kind of self-centered ass do you have to be to try and fool yourself?
“Nice. Okay, if you’re from the future... What am I going to be doing three years from now?”
Asking about something a little closer to the present day ought to be trickier than the cliched five or ten years, right? So, what’ve you got for me, buddy?
“...Sure, alright. Well, you get married to the love of your life, and you have two kids. You’re not working here anymore, though. You’ve got a full-time gig in the big city.”
Honestly, that sounds like a pretty decent set up. No complaints there.
Huh. Maybe he’s not trying to screw with me?
“Okay, what about my manager? What happens to him?”
If this guy doesn’t have anything to do with me, then he shouldn’t know who I’m talking about, right?
“The manager, huh? Well, he gets asked out by a bunch of girls, but since he’s so darn shy, nothing ever comes of it. He stays on as the sole manager of the store.”
That seems...really, REALLY likely. I can’t call him out on a lie there, either!
Wait, so if he’s giving me honest answers... Then maybe he IS from the future?
I lean back, to get a better look at his whole body.
“Dude, do you have to stare so much?”
The longer I gawk at him, the more I start to think that between the two of us...he’s the more handsome one. And that’s just not fair.
More importantly, if my manager saw this, he’d faint. I should quietly wrap things up and send him on his way.
“Thank you for your patronage.”
“Hm, might as well flip through a couple of these while I’m here.”
He makes himself way too much at home in the seating area, shamelessly unwrapping his porn and reading it in full view.
Dude, could you not?! I’d never be able to show MY face in front of my manager or Ayame if they caught you looking at that stuff here! Ugh, why couldn’t he look like that shitty influencer instead?
“Hey, is that your girlfriend standing outside?”
The sudden question catches me by surprise. Shouldn’t he already know that?
“Yep, figured as much.”
With the biggest grin on his face, the guy who looks more like me than me slinks out of the store.
...That can’t be good. He’s not going to do something to Ayame, is he?!
“Hold on a second! If you mess with her, so help me...”
When I make it outside, he’s already chatting with her, casually holding her hand.
And something inside me just snaps.
“Don’t you touch her, you creepy clone.”
I yank him away from her, stepping protectively in front of Ayame.
“Ayame, that guy’s a fake!”
“Dude, that hurt! Why’d you have to tug so hard? Ayame, he’s the imposter.”
That jerk screws his face up in pain, shamelessly trying to play the sympathy card.
“What the hell are you talking about? You’re the one she should be worried about!”
I’m so angry that I’m almost shouting at this point.
“No way. I’M the real Haru. You believe me, don’t you Ayame?”
That con-artist, on the other hand, manages to keep his cool.
Sure, I was pissed that he had the balls to read porn where I work — but not so much that I’d have the guts to get up in his business about it.
His attempts to deceive Ayame, though... Now that’s another story.
“I don’t care if you don’t believe me, as long as you don’t trust a word HE says.”
Ugh, this whole conversation is a mess. I don’t even know what I’m saying.
“I’ll bet you can tell us apart. Can’t you, Ayame?”
The copycat grins, like he’s got this in the bag.
“Well, of course I can.”
I feel her press up against my back.
“Oh, um, A-Ayame?!”
“The man who would throw himself in harm’s way for me — that’s my Haru. You don’t smell the same, either. And there’s slight differences in your voices. But, above all...he doesn’t make my heart pound like you do.”
She wraps her arms around my waist in a gentle embrace, as my own hands fly up to my face.
Oh, Ayame... Could she be any more perfect?
“...Geez, that got old quick.”
The mimic shakes his head in disappointment, then turns around. When he spins back...this time he looks exactly like Ayame.
He’s kept the T-shirt and jeans, but they hang a little more loosely on Ayame’s slender frame.
“I’m a doppelganger, so screwing with people like this is my jam.”
He explains all of this as Ayame, with her voice and mannerisms.
“He looks just like me...”
She stares back at the other Ayame, muttering in disbelief.
Wait, where have I heard about doppelgangers before?
Okay, I know that they can imitate people almost perfectly, and... Uh, wasn’t it that if you saw one, it’s a sign that you’re about to die?!
“Hey, um... I heard that seeing one of you guys means that your days are numbered. That’s not true, is it?”
“What, that rumor? Ha ha! Naaah, that’s just some superstition. If I could do that, I’d be more like a shinigami.”
“...Oh, thank god.”
“Psyche! You’re totally gonna die.”
“Dude, seriously?! Which one is it?!”
“Ahahaha...! Oh my god, your face...! Aw, you’re alright, man. You didn’t try to kill me, and you’re so easy to tease. You can bet that I’ll be back to bother you again!”
Hm? One of those compliments (?) was not like the others.
“Most people get really weirded out when they know there’s another version of themselves running around somewhere. Usually to the point of wanting to dispose of the other. I should know, I’ve had to learn that the hard way.”
I feel a chill run down my spine.
My visible shudder makes him smirk. Grinning from ear to ear, he says...
“Y’know, we don’t skimp on any of the details. We copy bodies down to the last tiny mole. Soooo, making a perfect pair of tits is no problem at all. Wanna see?”
Still as Ayame, he grabs the edge of his T-shirt and starts to pull it up.
With a wordless shriek, Ayame dives at the doppelganger, desperately trying to cover him up.
“Ahahaha! Seriously, you guys are hilarious!”
The doppelganger howls with laughter as Ayame yanks his shirt back down to where it ought to be.
“Hey, hold on a second! What about all that stuff you told me about the future?!”
“Oh, that? I made it all up.”
...I hate that he was so spot on with his half-assed “predictions.”
“Honestly, I kind of envy you two. I don’t have a face of my own, so I’m always stuck borrowing someone else’s.”
If I didn’t know any better, I’d say he sounded...sad? That troublemaker twists away from Ayame, turning and making his way across the parking lot.
“See you later, dumb and dumber!”
The doppelganger looks back and waves goodbye, laughing as he does.
“Don’t you dare show any of your faces here again!”
Red-faced, Ayame points a threatening finger at his retreating figure.
Great. He spent the whole evening just toying with us.
On my way back to the register, I spot that loser’s pile of porn sitting out in the open.
“Yeesh, at least take your trash home with you, dumbass.”
Right as I’m taking the pile of adult materials over to the counter — to bury it deep in our less visible garbage bin — my manager pops out of the break room.
“Ah, Haru. I wanted to go over this month’s shifts with yo-...”
“I won’t judge, since you’re the right age for it, but... Um... I’d much rather that you didn’t, uh, purchase those sorts of things while you’re on the clock. To say nothing of, um, reading (?) them. Right. Well. I’ll...leave you to it, then.”
He backs into the break room, shutting the door softly behind him.
“Manageeeer!! It’s not what it looks like, I swear!!”
That’s it, I’m banning any and all doppelgangers from this establishment.
Yeah, you’d better not come back here, you dick.