#137 – Come See the Softer Side of Shinra

Seymour: “You? At a make-up counter? That’s like King Kong at Baby Gap.”

Originally Published: 7/21/05 . 39 pages

Synopsis
Rufus has started his own department store, but with Mr. Jingles in charge, can things really run smoothly?

Ramble Milestones
Nothing this time.

At the time a friend of mine worked at a department store, and I came up with this idea while visiting her. Rufus apparently tricked Sephiroth into going to the store by telling him it was the museum of torture devices, which I totally forgot about. Then he’s mean to poor Vincent. All my favorite stuff here involves Reno and the security cameras – especially Seifer and his pants and Bryatt’s line about how no one wants to know what’s going on in there. There are a lot of good lines in here – I like how this one came out.

(In the ramble room we have all the ramble girls, vincent, zidane, tseng and reno, who are all engaging in a friendly game of cards. Then rufus comes in grinning, algus and reeve at his side)

Rufus: “Greetings, everyone! Who wants to be the first to hear the latest Shinra Inc. news?”

Tseng: “I’d rather be the first to run out the door.”

Rufus: “I’m opening my own department store! Reeve designed it for me.”

Reeve: “He kept me chained to my desk till I was done.”

Tseng: “You told me Rufus sent you to Kalm on business!”

Reeve: “He said if I didn’t say that he would break my legs.”

Rufus: “Hey, hey. This is no time to accuse anyone of breaking legs or chaining people up or otherwise abusing power. We’re talking about my department store! I call it: Shinra’s.”

Zidane: “Real original.”

Algus: “Quiet slave. You’re just jealous no one’s naming anything after you.”

Katie: “Is the store in your mall, Rufus?”

Rufus: “No, I chose another mall for my first location. It’ll be selling all of Shinra Inc’s wonderful products!”

Reno: “Is there a bar inside?”

Rufus: “No. Not everything has a bar in it!”

Reno: “Well everything *should*.”

Lark: “I’m always glad to hear about your latest schemes, Rufus, but we were kind of in the middle of a game here.”

Rufus: “But I didn’t get to the best part yet! I need employees for my store! And I decided to hire some of my friends!”

Reno: “What friends?”

Tseng: “No one in their right mind would work for you.”

Noelle: “I’m looking for a summer job. What are you paying?”

Rufus: “One pair of Rufus brand footwear every three months.”

Everyone: “What?!”

Rufus: *annoyed sigh* “Fine… Every *two* months.”

Zidane: “Even I think that’s crap. And I work for *candy*.”

Ashley: “Rufus, no one in their right mind would work for footwear. …Unless they were Jimmy Choos or something.”

Noelle: “Yeah, Rufus. I want money.”

Rufus: *annoyed sigh* “Fine. How does…what is the minimum wage in sequins again?”

Everyone: “Rufus!”

Rufus: “Fine, fine. 7 dollars an hour.”

Noelle: “Now we’re talking!”

Rufus: *hands her an application* “Just fill out this application. Does anyone else want one?”

Shell: “I do!”

Everyone: *stares at her in shock with their jaws dropped*

Shell: “Rude could really use a second job.”

Everyone: “Oh!”

Lark: *wipes brow* “Phew! I thought I was in another dimension for a second there!”

Rufus: *handing shell an application* “There you go. Anyone else?”

Vincent: “I have been quite bored since my angel dumped me. Perhaps a part time job will help me ease the pain.”

Reeve: “No offense, Vincent, but you slept in a coffin for like twenty years and that didn’t ease any pain. I think working for Rufus would only cause *more* pain.”

Vincent: “…Probably. But at least I could get some pocket money.” *takes application*

Zidane: “Ooh! Ooh! Can I have one?”

Algus: “I don’t know if I like the idea of you working outside the home, slave.”

Zidane: “What am I, your wife?”

Rufus: “Let him have a job. Maybe he’ll use the money to buy you a present.”

Zidane: *mutters to himself* “I’d rather chuck it down the sewer.”

Algus: “Very well, slave. But you’ve best not give Rufus any trouble.”

Rufus: “I expect to see you all at the store at 8 a.m sharp tomorrow morning! For every minute you’re late you’re fired for five minutes!”

Tseng: *cough* “Blessingindisguise.” *cough*

Rufus: “I heard that, Tseng!”

 

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(The next morning Noelle, zidane, rude, vincent, kuja, reno and zell are all standing around waiting for rufus)

Noelle: “Reno what are you doing here?”

Reno: “Rufus assigned me to be store security.”

Noelle: “Why’d you agree to that?”

Reno: “The benefits, of course!”

Noelle: “Doesn’t your Turk job already give you health care?”

Reno: “Not those kinds of benefits! I get a case of beer at the end of every shift!”

Noelle: *hits self in the forehead* “Oh geez.”

Reno: “Why is Kuja here?”

Noelle: “Yeah. What made you take a job, Kuja?”

Kuja: *sigh* “Let’s just say that something happened with Kekfa and Stinky and now the whole place reeks like skunk. I thought it was best to get out of there for awhile. I get to work at the make-up and fragrance counter.”

Noelle: “I hope Stinky’s okay.”

Kuja: “Oh, that little thing sure can protect himself.”

(Finally rufus enters, smiling pompously)

Rufus: “Good morning, everyone! Is everyone read to sell, sell, sell?”

Almost Everyone: *shrug*

Zell: *fist in the air* “You bet, Rufus!”

Rufus: “Thank you, Zell. That’s why you’re the assistant manager.”

Noelle: “He’s the assistant manager?!”

Rufus: “Of course. Zell is more than qualified. Besides being…um…” *looks zell over* “…Well, he listens to anything I say.”

Noelle: “Who’s the manager?”

Rufus: “The manager is in his office. If you have any problems, take them to Zell, and he’ll bring them before the manager. Any questions?” *reno raises hand* “Yes, Reno?”

Reno: “Can I have my beer now?”

Rufus: “What do you think?”

Reno: “…Yes?”

Rufus: “Have you already been drinking?”

Reno: “What do you wanna hear?”

Rufus: *sigh* “Anyway, moving on, your goal here is to sell! I don’t want any customers leaving without buying something! For every customer that doesn’t buy something, I’m docking one dollar from your pay.”

Zidane: “You can’t do that!”

Rufus: “Sure I can. I bet none of you bothered to read the fine print at the bottom of that application.”

Everyone: *garden snap*

Rufus: *chuckle* “It’s great to have my lawyers back. Any other questions?”

Noelle: “Yeah, what’s the employee discount?”

Rufus: *blink blink* “Em…ploy…ee….dis…count?”

Noelle: “…Yeah. Employees usually get a certain percentage off the stuff they buy in the store.”

Rufus: *laughs* “What kind of stupid sucker started that!?”

Noelle: *mutters* “I guess that answers my question.”

Rufus: *checks watch* “I have to be getting to the headquarters. Only call me if there’s an emergency.”

Reno: *goes to open his mouth*

Rufus: “Your beer is not an emergency!”

(He stomps off. Zell turns to everyone with a grin)

Zell: “You heard Rufus! Let’s get to work!”

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(awhile later. Noelle goes over to kuja’s counter, where kuja is dumping a large amount of ‘smells like sex cologne’ into a bag)

Noelle: “Hey, Kuja.” *blink blink* “I didn’t know you wore Rufus’ cologne.”

Kuja: “As if. This is for Seymour. He needs all the help he can get.”

Noelle: “Did you get any customers yet?”

Kuja: “No. And any I do better not want to smell this cologne before buying it.” *dumps the last of the samples in* “That’s a good start.” *puts the bag aside* “So how have you been, sweetie?”

Noelle: “I’ve been good. How’s life in loser land?”

Kuja: “Hellish. Why do you think I’m here? There’s not even anything here worth stealing.”

(then reno comes up, grinning excitedly)

Reno: “Noelle! Guess what?”

Noelle: “You got your beer?”

Reno: “Better!”

Noelle: “A naked chick delivered it?”

Reno: “Better! There are cameras that look into all the dressing rooms!”

Noelle: “I should have known.”

Reno: “If you see any hot girls, try and convince them to try stuff on!”

Noelle: “…You do remember I’m your girlfriend, right?”

Reno: “Come on! I’ll let you look in the men’s dressing rooms!”

Noelle: “…Okay.”

(vincent wanders over)

Vincent: “I am curious as to why the store has no customers.”

(rude wanders over)

Rude: “…I just opened the front gate.”

Noelle: “…Does that mean we have to do work now?”

Rude: “Yes.”

Reno: “Whoo hoo!” *runs off*

Rude: *confused* “What the…?”

Noelle: “Don’t ask…”

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(meanwhile, sephiroth, alucard and dracula unhappily enter the store)

Sephiroth: “I should have known we weren’t going to the Museum of Torture Devices! That’s the last time I ever trust that Shinra!”

Alucard: “I don’t even think there is such a museum. …Though we could probably start one, with all the stuff we have in our basement.”

Dracula: *chuckles* “Good times were had by all. …Except for the people in the devices. They looked pretty unhappy…or dead.”

Sephiroth: “And when were you planning on showing me this basement?”

Alucard: “It’s really kind of a mess… Plus I think there are still piles of corpses lying around.”

Dracula: “It’s cheaper than buying an air freshener!”

Alucard: “Dad… I’ve told you before, they don’t make air fresheners that smell like rotting flesh.”

Dracula: “Let’s go try on hats.”

Alucard: *sigh*

 

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(meanwhile, across the store)

Tseng: “I’m being paid right now and that still doesn’t make it worth being here.”

Reeve: *looking at the prices on shirts*

Tseng: “Reeve!”

Reeve: “Huh?”

Tseng: *annoyed sigh*

Bryatt: *reading one of tags on the clothes* “Rufus brand clothing. Anything else is not even worth touching and might give you parasites.” *blink blink* “Parasites? What?!”

Tseng: “If anything’s giving you parasites, it’s his own crap. Do you know where they make that stuff?”

Bryatt: *dropping it like a hot potato* “No. And I don’t want to.”

Reeve: “So why are we here again?”

Tseng: “I’m only here because Rufus wants me to stand around and make sure no one steals anything since it’s the grand opening.”

Reeve: “But isn’t Reno security?”

Tseng: “There are cameras in all the dressing rooms. Including the lingerie section.”

Reeve: “So basically I could wheel whole displays out the door and there’s not a chance he would even get up.”

Tseng: “Exactly.”

Bryatt: “So are you actually going to stop anyone from stealing, or what?”

Tseng: “What do you think?”

Bryatt: “No f*@#ing way.”

Tseng: “Damn right.”

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(meanwhile…irvine runs into rude)

Irvine: “Hey, man. What’s going on?”

Rude: “Not much. Trying to sell shoes.”

Irvine: “But you’re not even wearing shoes.”

Rude: “Rufus stopped ordering the newspaper.”

Irvine: “Does he know you’re workin’ with no shoes on?”

Rude: “Yes.”

Irvine: “And he was okay with that?”

Rude: “He says it’ll make the customers feel better about themselves.”

(then shell walks over holding about 10 different pairs of shoes, which she promptly dumps in rude’s arms)

Shell: “Here you go, Rude. Size 9. You get a discount, right?”

Rude: “No.”

Shell: “Aw, that’s too bad. I’ll be sitting over there!”

(she goes off)

Irvine: “…………….”

Rude: “………………”

Irvine: “…So. You know where Reno is?”

Rude: “No.”

Irvine: “Catch ya later!” *he goes off*

Rude: *mutters to self* “I’ll get some shoes…”

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

 

(meanwhile, Noelle is in the lingerie section when quistis, selphie, and rinoa come over with squall. seifer and Ashley are browsing nearby)

Selphie: “Hi, Noelle! How do you like your job so far?”

Noelle: “It’s okay. But I’m sure I’ll hate it by the end of the day.”

(quistis and rinoa start browsing the racks)

Ashley: “I don’t see anything good for a crackwhore here…”

Rinoa: *annoyed sigh*

Noelle: “Ashley, if they don’t buy something my pay gets docked.”

Ashley: “I wasn’t planning on buying anything.”

Noelle: “Come on! Make Seifer buy you something! What are boyfriend’s for?”

Ashley: “Apparently annoying the crap out of you and nothing else.”

Noelle: “Hey, Seifer! Don’t you want to see Ashley in some of this lingerie?”

Seifer: “Yeah!”

Noelle: “Then you better buy her some!”

Seifer: *checks prices* “Whoa! Are you crazy? Look how much this costs! I’m no SeeD!”

Ashley: “Oh, you can afford one thing.”

Seifer: “Only if I give up my medicine for the month!”

Squall: “How many times do you have to be told Viagra’s not medicine?”

Ashley: “And it’s not helping either.”

Seifer: “Fine! Buy something! See if I care!” *pouts*

Rinoa: “Ooh, this is pretty…”

Selphie: “I like this!”

Ashley: *grabbing stuff* “Seifer, see if there’s an ATM around here.”

Quistis: *arms loaded with stuff* “I guess this stuff is okay.”

Noelle: “Why don’t you guys go try it on? Dressing rooms are right over there.”

Other girls: “Okay!” *they head toward the dressing rooms*

Noelle: *mumbles* “Reno owes me big time.”

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(meanwhile, in the men’s section, vincent is folding shirts while auron stands next to him, chatting)

Auron: “How are you liking your job?”

Vincent: “It keeps me busy.”

Auron: “It is always good to keep busy.”

Vincent: “That it is.”

(a customer comes wandering over, looking confused)

Customer: “Excuse me?”

Vincent: *turns around and clicks claw* “Yes?”

Customer: *seeing claw* “Ugh. Never mind.” *hurries away*

Vincent: *sad sigh* “That’s the fifth time that’s happened.”

Auron: “They just don’t understand you.” *puts a hand on vincents arm* “But I do.”

(before vincent can react zell comes stomping over, hands on hips)

Zell: “Mr. Valentine! Less chit chat with customers and more work! Rufus isn’t paying you to gossip!”

Vincent: *sigh* “Yes, sir.”

(zell moves on to bother someone else)

Auron: “He’s your boss?”

Vincent: “Yes.”

Auron: “What a sad little world we live in.”

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(meanwhile, back to kuja’s make-up counter…he’s looking bored when nida, scarlet, hojo, heidegger and seymour show up.)

Seymour: “You? At a make-up counter? That’s like King Kong at Baby Gap.”

Kuja: *dryly* “Ha ha. Like there is anyone more knowledgeable about make-up then me.”

Hojo: “Kuja, my lovely angel, can you tell me if you sell camera equipment here? Heidegger sat on my new one and crushed it into so many pieces I needed an electron microscope to find them all.”

Heidegger: “My butt should have it’s own zip code! Gya haa haa!”

Kuja: *filing nails* “I don’t know.”

Nida: “But you work here.”

Kuja: “At the *make-up* counter.”

Scarlet: “Well do you have any blue eye shadow?”

Kuja: “Ugh, I hope not.”

Hojo: “I guess I’ll have to ask someone else then. Come on.”

(so hojo, heidegger, scarlet and nida go off. seymour stays behind)

Kuja: “Oh, I have something for you.” *dumps samples on the counter*

Seymour: *looks at them* “Real funny.”

Kuja: “Maybe if you bathe in it, it’ll help.”

Seymour: “Maybe—“ *eyes widen*

Kuja: “What is it?”

Seymour: “Shush!” *points*

(kuja looks at where seymour is pointing. here come locke and shadow around the corner heading towards the mens section)

Shadow: “Need more black stuff.”

Locke: “Ever think of wearing another color?”

Shadow: “No! Then they’ll find me!”

Locke: “You keep talking like that and the only people who’re gonna find you are the doctors from the nut house.”

Shadow: “The dressing rooms had better be secure. Otherwise you’ll have to stand outside and guard the entrance.”

Locke: “Why are we friends again?”

(they go into the mens department. kuja’s jaw drops and he grabs seymour’s arm)

Seymour: “What?”

Kuja: “The dressing rooms!”

Seymour: “What about them?”

Kuja: “There are cameras!”

Seymour: “There are?!”

Kuja: “In the security room! Let’s go!”

Seymour: “You sure it’s okay for you to leave your booth?”

Kuja: “Please. There’s no hope for these products. Let’s go.”

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

 

(meanwhile, sephiroth, alucard and dracula are still wandering around, passing the lingerie…)

Dracula: “Alucard, why don’t you buy your girlfriend some nice lingerie?”

Sephiroth: “How many times do I have to tell you I’m not a woman, you blind freak of nature?!”

Dracula: *whispers to alucard* “Alucard, is it her time of the month or something?”

Sephiroth: “OH MY GOD!”

Alucard: *hand to head*

Sephiroth: “I AM NOT A GIRL!!! I’M A MAN! OBVIOUSLY! DO I LOOK LIKE I HAVE BREASTS TO YOU!?”

????: *snickers*

Sephiroth: *looks around with a sigh* “All right, woman. Where are you hiding?”

(lark steps out from behind a rack of lingerie)

Lark: “I’m not hiding, just shopping. What’s up?”

Sephiroth: “I don’t know who I want to kill more, Rufus, or Dracula, but I can’t, since he’s already long dead!”

Dracula: *chuckles* “Can’t kill me I’m the vampire man!”

Alcuard: “Dad…we talked about that stupid rhyme…”

Lark: “So, Sephiroth, you know Vincent’s working here, right?”

Sephiroth: “What?” *annoyed sigh* “Does he have to follow me wherever I go?”

Lark: “If he works here…how is he following *you*?”

Sephiroth: “He only got a job here because he knew I was going to come here.”

Alucard: “You were tricked into coming here.”

Sephiroth: “He knew that would happen.”

Alucard: “I hope you know you’re making absolutely no sense.”

Sephiroth: “Yes I am. Shut up.”

Dracula: “Alucard, don’t let your girlfriend tell you to shut up.”

Sephiroth: “Where is a wooden stake when you need one!?”

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(meanwhile, kuja and seymour have run over to the security room and knocked urgently on the door)

Reno’s voice: “Beer delivery?”

Kuja: “No! It’s me and Seymour! We want to look at the dressing room cameras!”

Reno: “Since when are you two into girls?”

Seymour: “The *men’s* dressing rooms!”

Reno: “Oh. Well I can’t open the door now! Quistis, Selphie, Rinoa, and Ashley are trying on lingerie! …Why is Quistis trying so many things on at once?”

Kuja: *annoyed sigh* “Seymour, do you have any money?”

Seymour: “For what?”

Kuja: *quietly* “To bribe him with.”

Seymour: “Don’t you have any money?”

Kuja: *flips hair over shoulder* “I have no need to carry it.”

(grumbling, seymour reaches into his pocket and pulls out ten gil, which kuja promptly snatches)

Kuja: “Reno! There’s ten gil in it for you!”

(there’s a pause, and then reno opens the door slowly. he spots the money and grabs it, happily shoving it into his pocket as kuja and seymour run in and go over to the cameras)

Reno: “Ten gil! Cool!” *lightbulb* “This gives me an idea…”

Kuja: *pointing to a screen* “There he is!”

Seymour: “He looks so far away! Isn’t there any zoom or anything?”

(kuja types in a few things on the keyboard in front of him and the camera zooms in)

Seymour: “How the hell did you know how to do that?”

Kuja: “You don’t spend 20 hours a day with Hojo and pick up nothing.”

(they watch eagerly. shadow is hanging a few pieces of black clothing up on the hanger thingy on the wall. reno pokes his head between them)

Reno: “Hey, is that Shadow? I always kinda wondered what he looked like.”

(shadow takes his pants off. apparently he likes to go commando. seymour and kuja’s jaws drop, but reno immediately walks away)

Reno: “I didn’t wonder what *that* looked like!”

Kuja: “Come on, take the mask off!”

Seymour: “Who tries on clothes and keeps a mask on?”

Kuja: “Then again, who cares what you look like when you have equipment like that!”

Reno: “This was not part of my job description.” *look back at girls dressing room cameras* “Dammit! Where’d they all go?!”

Seymour: “I bet if we turned the heat up in the dressing rooms, he’d have to take his mask off!”

Kuja: “Seymour, if you weren’t so obscenely ugly I’d kiss you!” *looks around* “Where’s the thermostat?”

Reno: “Hey, c’mon now. I don’t want to get fired. I really want that case of beer!”

Kuja: “Perhaps the increase in heat will cause the girls to try on more revealing clothing.”

Reno: “Beach party it is!”

(and with that he raises the heat to 85 degrees…)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(meanwhile, alucard, seph and dracula wander into the men’s section…)

Dracula: “Alucard, I want to try on hats.”

Alcuard: “At least try on men’s hats this time, dad. Because I never want to see you in a baby bonnet again for as long as I live…which is forever.”

Sephiroth: “Is it just me or is it getting hotter in here?”

???????: “That’s because you’re here, angel.”

Sephiroth: *groans* “Oh god. He’s following me again. What Lifetime movie did you lift that pick-up line from, Vincent?”

Vincent: “I am not following you. This is the section of the store that I work in.”

Sephiroth: “Then it’s the one I don’t wanna be in.”

Dracula: “Hats!!” *flounces over to the hats*

Alucard: *sweat drops*

Sephiroth: “Dammit!”

Vincent: “Since you’re here, can I help you find anything?”

Sephiroth: “A gun to shoot myself with.”

Vincent: “We have this lovely silver shirt. It…matches…your…hair!” *bursts out crying*

Sephiroth: “Oh great! This is just what I needed today!” *now here comes auron running around the corner* “Even better!”

(auron comes up and starts fussing over vincent)

Auron: “Are you all right? I sensed you were sad.”

Sephiroth: “What is this? Lassie come home?”

Auron: “What did he say to you?”

Sephiroth: “I didn’t do anything but unfortunately get dragged into this stupid store!”

(dracula comes out wearing a fedora)

Dracula: “I’m Indiana Jones!”

Alucard: *hand to head* “Oh god. Don’t start that again.”

Dracula: “Hurry! To the temple of doom!”

(and with that, he grabs alucard’s hand and runs off with him. vincent stops sobbing, and he, auron and sephiroth just stare after them)

Auron: “…Don’t you want to go after them?”

Sephiroth: “Would you?”

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(meanwhile, in the lingerie section…the girls have emerged and are getting ready to pay for their stuff. quistis looks like she’s gained about 50 pounds)

Selphie: “You’re not buying anything, Quistis?”

Quistis: “I couldn’t find anything I really liked.” *fans self* “Is it getting hotter in here?”

Noelle: *also fanning herself* “Maybe there’s something wrong with the heat.”

Ashley: “Makes me wanna try on bathing suits.”

Seifer: *groans* “Aw, man! That’s two months of medicine!”

Ashley: “I told you before it’s not helping!”

(suddenly there’s a loud beep and reno’s voice comes over the intercom system)

Reno: “Attention Shinra’s shoppers! Will all men please report to security for a special opportunity! Having said that, Shinra’s just wants to remind everyone that a good way to cool off is to try on more lingerie!”

(and that’s it. the group looks at one another in confusion a minute)

Squall: *shrug* “Whatever.” *starts to walk off*

Rinoa: “Squall! Where are you going?”

Squall: “To see what the opportunity is.”

Seifer: “Me too!”

Ashley: “Fine. But I’m gonna try on more lingerie while you’re gone.”

Rinoa: “Me too!”

Selphie: “Me too!”

Quistis: “Sure, why not?”

Noelle: *to herself* “Reno must be up to something…”

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(reno sure as hell is up to something! back in the security room, squall and seifer knock on the door while seymour and kuja are still staring at the screen)

Reno: *ear to door* “Who is it?”

Seifer: “It’s me and Squall! What’s the special opportunity?”

Reno: “Pay me ten gil and I’ll let you see what’s going on in the girl’s dressing rooms!”

Seifer: “Hot!” *nudges squall* “Lend me ten bucks.”

Squall: “Whatever. I can see Rinoa naked whenever I want.”

Seifer: “That’s ‘cause she’s a crackwhore! Now gimme 10 gil!”

Squall: “Whatever.” *gives him ten gil*

Seifer: “Okay, Reno! I got ten gil!”

Reno: “What about Squall?”

Seifer: “Nah, he’s gay.”

Squall: *sighs and takes out ten gil*

Seifer: “Never mind! He’s in!”

Reno: “Let’s party!”

(he opens the door and takes the money. squall and seifer look over curiously at seymour and kuja)

Reno: “Those aren’t the cameras you want, trust me. The ones to the girl’s dressing rooms are right over here.”

(he ushers the guys over, and sure enough there are Ashley, rinoa, quistis and selphie changing)

Seifer: “This is awesome! I wish there was a television channel like this!”

(on the other side of the room)

Kuja: *annoyed sigh* “He either better take off those pants he’s been modeling for the last ten minutes or take off the damn mask!”

Seymour: *dreamy sigh* “He’s got more muscles than a ball player on steroids.”

(then there’s another knock at the door. reno goes over)

Reno: “Who is it?”

Zell: “It’s me! Zell! The assistant manager! What’s going on in there?”

Reno: *sweat drops* “Uh, nothing. Why?”

Zell: “Wasn’t that you on the intercom?”

Reno: “No.”

Zell: “It sounded like you!”

Reno: “Nope. Not me. Might have been my twin…uh…Leno.”

Zell: “…. …. …. You have a twin??”

Reno: *more sweat drops* “Sure! Just ask Rufus!”

Zell: “He said to only call him in an emergency.”

Reno: “Oh well. Better ask him later. When I’m not around.”

Zell: “Okay! Keep up the good work!”

(sounds of his footsteps leaving)

Reno: *wipes brow* “Phew. That was close.”

Kuja: “This isn’t working. We need to turn up the heat more.”

Reno: “More? It’s at 85!”

Kuja: “100 sounds about right. Maybe it will inspire a wet t-shirt contest.”

Seifer: “Awesome!”

Squall: “Whatever.”

Reno: “I could never stand in the way of a wet t-shirt contest!”

(and with that the temperature is jacked up to 100 degrees)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(meanwhile, tseng, reeve and bryatt are walking around dripping with sweat)

Bryatt: “I know more and more malls have been popping up lately, but when they did they build one in the Sahara?”

Reeve: “I think the Sahara is even hotter than this. If I can recall the average temperature there is-“

Tseng: “Reeve! You know I love you, but god help you if you complete that sentence!”

Reeve: *gulp*

Tseng: “Who’s in charge of this dump? Something’s obviously wrong with the heat!”

Bryatt: “Well, go do something about it!”

Tseng: “I would if I knew where the heat was!”

Reeve: “I bet Reno knows.”

Bryatt: “Yeah, and what was that announcement about before?”

Tseng: “It’s not like Reno to be awake this time of day… He must be up to something. We better find out where the security room is.”

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(meanwhile, sephiroth knocks on the door to the security room)

Reno’s voice: “Who is it?”

Sephiroth: “It’s me.”

Reno’s voice: “Me who?”

Sephiroth: “It’s me, Sephiroth, you idiot!”

Reno’s voice: “The Sephiroth who used to date Vincent but is now dating the vampire?”

Sephiroth: “Yes! How many Sephiroth’s do you know? It’s not exactly a popular name!”

Reno’s voice: “It costs ten gil to come in.”

Sephiroth: “What? Ten gil? For what?”

Reno’s voice: “I can’t tell you that! It’s part of the mystery!”

Sephiroth: “If you don’t let me in the only mystery is gonna be what happened to your head!”

Reno’s voice: *sigh* “Fine. I’ll comp you today. But only today!”

(and so he opens the door and sephiroth walks in to see kuja and seymour still waiting patiently by one camera, while seifer and squall crowd around another)

Sephiroth: “What the… You’re *charging* people to watch people try on clothes in the dressing room!?”

Reno: “You wish you thought of it!”

Seifer: “Squall, are Rinoa’s boobs real?”

Squall: “Yes.”

Seifer: “Are you sure?”

Squall: “Yes.”

Seifer: “They don’t look real.”

Squall: “They’re real!”

Sephiroth: *to kuja and seymour* “What are you two looking at? Getting ideas for your sex change operation?”

Kuja: “Ha ha. We’re waiting for Shadow to take his mask off.”

Seymour: “But we’re settling for him taking off his pants in the meantime.”

Sephiroth: *blinks at screen* “Wow.”

Reno: “See? Now hand over the ten gil!”

Sephiroth: “Ask for money again and you’ll be using what you got left to pay your medical bills.”

Reno: *annoyed sigh* “Customers.”

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(irvine’s still a wandering in the meantime…)

Irvine: “Damn! It’s hot in here! And there’re no hot chicks in here to put the moves on! So I’m sufferin’ for no reason!”

(zidane wanders over)

Zidane: “Hey, Irvine.”

Irvine: “Hey, Z man. You seen Reno?”

Zidane: “He’s in the security room. It’s back there.” *points*

Irvine: “Cool. Wanna come?”

Zidane: “I can’t.”

Irvine: “Why not?”

Zidane: “Like my necklace?”

Irvine: “Looks more like a collar.”

Zidane: “It is a collar. It electrocutes me if I leave my area.”

Irvine: “Ouch! Why do you have to wear that?”

Zidane: “Because Algus doesn’t trust me. And he’s an evil, sadistic bastard.”

Irvine: “….Yeah. Good luck with that. Catch ya later!”

(and so he goes over to security and knocks on the door)

Reno’s voice: “Who is it?”

Irvine: “Dude, it’s me!”

Reno’s voice: “Dude!”

(reno opens the door happily and lets irvine in)

Reno: “Welcome to the best job ever!”

Seifer: “Hey! You didn’t charge him!”

Reno: “Church of Reno members don’t need to pay! Dude, check this stuff out.”

(he shows irvine the screens, and irvine’s jaw drops)

Irvine: “Man… You are so lucky.”

Reno: “I love to share the wealth.”

Irvine: “Hey… Are Rinoa’s boobs real?”

Squall: “Yes!”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 

(a minute later, tseng, reeve and bryatt show up at the security room…tseng knocks on the door.)

Reno’s voice: “Who’s there?”

Tseng: “It’s me. Tseng. What’s going on in there?”

Reno’s voice: “Uh, nothing. Just…uh…you know, making sure nobody steals and…stuff.”

Tseng: “Reno, what are you *really* doing in there?”

Bryatt: “Whatever it is I hope his pants aren’t down.”

Reno’s voice: “Hey! I’m not Seifer!”

Irvine’s voice: “Seifer!! No!! That’s just wrong!!!”

Seifer’s voice: “What? I thought it was included in the price!”

Squall’s voice: “I thought you needed Viagra!”

Seifer’s voice: “I’m not totally dependent on it!”

Kuja’s voice: “Oh please. You haven’t seen anything until you looked at camera three.”

Sephiroth’s voice: “You’re all sickos!”

Seymour’s voice: “Then why are you in here?”

Sephiroth’s voice: “It has nothing to do with camera three, if that’s what you mean!”

Tseng: “………”

Reeve: “………”

Bryatt: “I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t think anyone’s gay enough to wanna know what’s going on in there.”

Tseng: *knocks on door again* “Reno! What’s going on in there?”

Reno’s voice: “Nothing! It’s just me sitting by myself!”

Seymour’s voice: *annoyed sigh* “Is he ever going to take the mask off?”

Kuja’s voice: “I wish he took it off as easily as Seifer with his pants.”

Reno’s voice: “Would you guys shut up?! I’m trying to convince them I’m alone in here!”

Tseng’s voice: “Reno, you know I can hear you perfectly, right?”

Reno’s voice: “Dammit!” *sigh* “Fine. I got bored, so I invited a couple of friends in here, okay?”

Reeve: “Rufus would be so mad if he was here.”

Tseng: “Yeah, but Rufus isn’t here. He’s sitting back in his nice air conditioned office.” *calls* “Reno! Why is it so hot in here?”

Reno: “I don’t know! Do I look like an expert on heaters to you?!”

Tseng: *annoyed sigh*

Reeve: “Are you giving up?”

Tseng: “It’s too hot to care. Let’s just leave.”

Bryatt: “Won’t you get in trouble?”

Tseng: “Who’s gonna know? And besides, no one is gonna be in more trouble than Reno and his room of ill-repute.”

Bryatt: “Point.”

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(meanwhile, poor alucard has chased his father down to the basement…)

Alucard: “Dad! We’re not supposed to be down here! Can we *please* go back upstairs?”

Dracula: “Not now! I’m nearly to the holy grail!”

Alucard: “Dad, there is no holy grail in the basement of this department store! And if there was, it would kill you!”

Dracula: “Ah ha! It sparkles like a ruby!”

(alucard sighs in annoyance and turns the corner to where his dad is. and his eyes immediately pop open in shock because there is the heater for the store, and it’s shaking and looking like it’s going to explode at any minute)

Alucard: “Uh, dad… I think we should get out of here.”

Dracula: *is trying to pull it away from the wall* “Stop talking and give me hand, Gungadin!”

Alucard: “Okay, that’s it. No crying to me while your burns heal!”

(and with that he runs back upstairs and dracula manages to pull the gas pipe out of the wall just as the thing explodes…)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(meanwhile, back upstairs, the girls seem to be finally finished trying on stuff and are piling it on the counter)

Ashley: *frowns* “Do you smell smoke?”

Noelle: “No. But I think I’m starting to understand how the wicked witch of the west felt after Dorothy hit her with the water.”

Selphie: *dreamily* “Water is cool…”

Rinoa: “Where are Squall and Seifer?”

Quistis: *wearing even more things under her clothes* “Who cares?! Let’s get out of here. It’s much cooler outside. Can I see one of those things that takes the security tags off the clothes?”

Noelle: *distracted because it’s so hot* “Huh? Oh, yeah. Sure.”

Ashley: “I swear I smell smoke!”

Rinoa: “I think I smell it too…”

Ashley: “I’m not talking about the smoke from your crack pipe, crack whore.”

Rinoa: “Ha ha. Very funny.”

Noelle: “Quistis, can I have the security tag remover back?”

Quistis: *is holding nothing* “The what?”

Noelle: “…Didn’t I give you the security tag remover thingy?”

Quistis: “No.”

Noelle: “Man, is it hot.”

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(meanwhile, back in the security room)

Seifer: “Dammit! This sucks! The girls stopped trying stuff on!”

Squall: “It’s good for me.”

Irvine: “Even I’m slightly relieved!”

Sephiroth: “Where’d you get the Spongebob boxers anyway?”

Seifer: “They were a gift, okay?”

Kuja: “Ohmygod! OHMYGOD! He’s taking off the mask!”

Seymour: “Finally! Now you can see what I mean!”

(but just before he gets the mask off, the smoke alarm goes off. shadow, looking alert, pulls the mask back on and starts scrambling back into his clothes)

Kuja: “No!! No!!”

Reno: “Crap! What’s that noise?”

Sephiroth: “It’s the smoke alarm, you idiot. You probably started a fire.”

Reno: “But I wasn’t smoking pot! Honest!”

Sephiroth: “You probably broke the heater by turning it up too much!”

Seifer: “We better get out of here!”

(they run out.)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(meanwhile, back to the girls…they are just about to pay for their purchases when they hear the smoke alarm go off.)

Ashley: “I knew I smelled smoke!”

(then tseng, reeve and bryatt go running out)

Tseng: *screaming* “FIRE!!!! FIRE!!!!! FIRE!!!!!! FIRE!!!!!!”

Bryatt: “I understand he hates fire, but he really shouldn’t do that in front of people.”

Reeve: “You girls better get out of here.”

Selphie: “But what about our stuff?”

Noelle: “It’s probably a false alarm. We’ll get it when we come back.”

(they start to walk away. quistis waits behind a second, somehow shoves more stuff down the front of her shirt, and then waddles off after them.)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(meanwhile, zidane hears the fire alarm go off.)

Zidane: “What the…? I’ve gotta get out of here!”

(he runs to the edge of his area, which he knows is the boundary of where his collar can go. he starts to run back and forth against the invisible barrier)

Zidane: “Dammit! Now I know how those dogs feel!”

(he stops, and draws a deep breath)

Zidane: “I don’t have a choice!” *he runs through the barrier getting electrocuted all the way* “I HATE YOU, ALGUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(and then there’s rude. shell is walking away with a whole load of shoes)

Shell: “I’m putting these in the car. I’ll be right back.”

Rude: “Yes, Shell.”

(she leaves. rude goes around straightening up stuff. then he sits down for a minute with a tired sigh, and just as he does that the smoke alarm goes off. he watches the stuff going on around him, including tseng running by screaming fire and all the other commotion of everyone else running for their lives. then…)

Rude: “…That’s it. I’m taking shoes.”

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(meanwhile, zell hears the smoke alarm go off)

Zell: “The smoke alarm?! Oh no!!! I better tell the manager!”

(and so he runs off to an office marked ‘manager’ and rushes inside. and behind the desk…is mr. jingles)

Zell: “Mr. Jingles! Mr. Jingles! The smoke alarm is going off! There could be a fire! What should we do!?”

Mr. Jingles: *is a freakin’ stuffed animal and should not be the manager of a store of any kind, nor should any idiot be standing there while there’s a fire in the building asking they should do*

Zell: “Do you think it’s okay to call Rufus?!”

Mr. Jingles: *head is filled with fluffy stuff*

Zell: *grabs him* “Argh! We’ve gotta get outta here!”

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(a good two hours later, rufus pulls up in his limo with tinted windows, so he can’t see what’s going on outside)

Rufus: “You know, Bernard, when I said I wanted tinted windows, I meant I wanted it so no one could see in, not both.” *sigh* “Stupid monkey.”

Bernard: *is a monkey*

(bernard, who is smart enough to be able to drive apparently, stops the car and rufus gets out. he then stretches for awhile, eyes closed)

Rufus: “Ah. Smell that money in the air.” *pause* “Why does the money smell like burning?”

(and then he opens his eyes. and then he screams. because his store is nothing but a still burning pile of rubble. everyone stands around staring at it in shock.)

Rufus: “My store! My beautiful, beautiful store! I paid a hundred gil for all the merchandise in it! And I was supposed to get millions in return!”

(he looks like he’s about to cry for a moment, but then he just looks angry and stalks over to where zell is standing with mr. jingles)

Rufus: “Zell! What happened?! Why is my store destroyed!? Did Sephiroth have anything to do with this?”

Sephiroth: *annoyed sigh* “You burn one town and you pay for it for the rest of your life.”

Zell: “I don’t know what happened, Rufus! All the sudden it got really hot in the store and then the smoke alarm went off! And then I went and asked Mr. Jingles what to do, but he didn’t know!”

Rufus: *to mr. jingles* “You! How could you not know? All those training classes for nothing!”

Noelle: “…Rufus. Please don’t tell me you had your stuffed bear as the manager of the store.”

Rufus: “Can you think of someone more qualified?”

Noelle: “…Well, when compared to Zell…”

Rufus: “Well where’s the fire department?! Noelle – roll on the flames and put them out!”

Noelle: “No! What am I, your slave?”

Rufus: “You’re my employee! It’s the same thing!”

Noelle: “It is not! You can’t order me to roll out flames for you!”

Rufus: *annoyed sigh* “Where’s Rude when you need him?”

Rude: *appearing at his side* “Right here.”

Rufus: “Rude – go stomp out that fire.”

Rude: “Yes, sir.” *goes to move*

Rufus: “Wait a minute, Rude. …Where did you get those shoes?”

Rude: “I…bought them.”

Rufus: “You bought them.”

Rude: “Yes.”

Rufus: “With what money?”

Rude: “…..Can I at least have them to stamp out the fire with?”

Rufus: “…………No.”

(rude takes them off and goes to put out the fire)

Rufus: “Where was I? Oh yeah. Zell! Where is the fire department!?”

Zell: “You said to call you only in an emergency!”

Rufus: “I think the store on fire counts as an emergency, Zell!”

Zell: *to mr. jingles* “Why couldn’t you give me a straight answer!?”

(zidane comes stumbling over, hair all askew. he is still being shocked with every step.)

Zidane:“Somebody-ow-Please-ow-Help-ow-Me-ow-God-ow-Kill-ow-Me-ow-Burning-ow-Inside-ow-Oh-ow-That-ow-Algus-ow-Will-ow-Die-ow.”

(speak of the devil, algus comes running up, panting.)

Algus: “Rufus, my friend! I came as fast as I could!”

Rufus: “Algus! Who called you?”

Zidane: “Save-ow-me!”

Algus: “Zidane did. What happened here?”

Zidane: “Save-ow-me-ow-you-ow-pompus-ow-jerk!”

Algus: *sigh* “I really shouldn’t, just to teach you a lesson for talking to me like that, but I will. Just this once.”

(he takes a little control pad with a button on it out of his pocket and presses the button. zidane stops getting shocked.)

Algus: “There you are.”

Zidane: “….I need a hospital.” *faints*

Algus: “…It’s hard to find good help anymore.”

Rufus: “Tell me about it! Where’s Reno?! Why do I have a feeling that he has something to do with this!”

Reno: “It wasn’t me! I didn’t do anything! I was just watching the girls changing rooms like I was supposed to!”

Rufus: “And what about the men’s changing rooms?!”

Reno: “Kuja and Seymour did that.”

Rufus: “What?!”

Reno: “….Oops.”

Rufus: “Kuja was supposed to be at the make-up counter! And Seymour doesn’t even work for me!”

Reno: “Well some men go commando! You can’t expect me to watch that! Unless there’s two chicks getting it on in the background!”

Rufus: “You are incompetent! Where’s Tseng? Why didn’t he call me?”

Vincent: “…He went home.”

Auron: “He was quite upset about being in a building that was on fire.”

Rufus: “What is wrong with all of you!? Vincent, why didn’t you call me?”

Vincent: *holds up claw which is somehow magnetically attached to the phone* “I tried.”

Rufus: “Oh my god!” *sigh* “Rude? How’s that fire coming?”

Rude: “I think I burned off a few layers of skin.”

Rufus: *in tears* “How did this happen?!”

Shadow: “They tried to get me when they thought I had let my guard down. I showed them.”

Locke: “I don’t think anyone tries on clothes slower than you.”

Seymour: “*Tell* me about it!”

Locke: *turns and gives him a weird look*

Seymour: *sweat drops* “I’ve heard rumors.”

(then alucard comes stumbling over to sephiroth, covered in ash)

Sephiroth: “What happened to you?”

Alucard: “Dad. He had me follow him into the basement and then the heater exploded.”

Rufus: “The heater exploded?!”

Alucard: “Yes. Someone had the heat turned way up.”

Rufus: “Who would do a crazy thing like that?!”

Reno: *looks away whistling*

Sephiroth: “Where’s your dad?”

Alucard: “Probably still buried under the rubble. Serves him right.”

(then sephiroth makes a really, really disgusted face)

Alucard: “What? Do I look that bad?”

???????: “Hi, son!”

(alucard turns around to face his father, who is more disgusting looking than ever and has skin hanging off his bones and half of a burned fedora on his head. he looks so disgusting that even sephiroth looks like he’s gonna barf. only alucard looks unfazed by his appearance.)

Dracula: “Got pretty hot back there! I ended up with a ceiling beam through my stomach. I got it out though! Your dear old dad is just fine!”

Alucard: “You destroyed the store.”

Dracula: “Store? I thought we were at the zoo!”

Alucard: “Would it have been better if you destroyed the zoo?”

Dracula: “Yes! That would be some feast!”

Rufus: “You’re lucky I had a 500 million insurance policy on this place!”

Rude: “Can you use it to buy me some shoes?”

Rufus: “No, Rude! And look! You missed that part over there!”

Rude: “Are we at least still going to get paid for today?”

Rufus: “No! What do I look like? A millionaire?”

Sephiroth: “I hope you’re kidding.”

Algus: “Leave the man alone! He had a traumatic day!”

Rufus: *sigh* “I guess I could use the 500 million I have coming to me to build a new store. Who wants to work there?”

Noelle, Vincent, Kuja, Rude, Reno, and Zell: “NO WAY!”

Zidane: *twitch*

Algus: “…That might have been a yes.”

THE END

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