There's a Job For Everyone
rating: +18+x

Before

"Jane?" Cameron Peterson entered the dark Starlow Grocery, shouting out. "You here?"

"Y-yeah!" As Cameron turned the lights on, he saw his dear co-worker, Jane Fischer, struggling to carry a box full of canned corn through the produce aisle. "I could use some help!" She grunted.

He chuckled, running over to her and grabbing the box effortlessly. Setting it on a nearby shelf, he looked at Jane curiously. "You're here rather early. Why didn't you have the lights on?"

"Well… You know how I am, I like the dark." She blushed, running behind the checkout counter, muttering quietly. "I couldn't really sleep…"

Cameron walked to the front of the counter, resting his elbows on it and inspecting her. Her droopy face certainly looked tired, with bags under her rapidly blinking eyes.

She bought her hand up and rubbed them before smiling and grabbing her coat. "Hey, um, want me to go grab some coffee for us? I think Rudy's Cafe is open."

"Sure!" He walked around, going behind the counter beside her. Their hands brushed as he too reached for his coat, pulling his wallet out of the pocket and holding up a ten-dollar bill. "I've got it covered this time."

The flustered Jane snatched the money from his hand, quickly running to the door, quickly slurring her words before leaving. "I'llberightbackseeyoubye!!!"

That was embarrassing, they both thought, and Jane set off on her quest for coffee.


"Did she say anything about me? The Stocker?" Com asked.

"Yeah, she said she doesn't like you."

"Oh."

Lucius seethed silently, standing up. Walking over to the shelves, he took a bottle of soda and began to shake it up violently. It fizzed, exploding as he cracked it open and let the soda spray through the store.

"What the heck are you doing!?" Com exclaimed, crackling through the speaker.

"I've been thinking, and…" Lucius grabbed some more bottles of soda, opening them and spilling them onto the floor. "Maybe, if I make enough of a mess…" He kicked over a display box of chips, stomping on the bags. They popped and cracked under his feet, crumbs spreading everywhere. "Then that dumb Stocker will be able to show her full power!" Dashing through the aisles with his arms outstretched, he knocked everything off the shelves. Glass bottles shattered on the floor and various other foods were destroyed as he turned around and walked through the aisle again, stomping on as much groceries as he could. "I'd like to see if she can fix this…"


Before

"Aughhhh!!!" Jane screamed into the cool fall air. "Why am I so weird!"

She walked along, lost in her thoughts. I really have to act more chill around him…

She stopped, looking up to realize she had been missed a turn and was walking in the woods for a few minutes. Dang it, this is why I shouldn't get distracted.

A leaf crunched behind her. "Ahhhh!" Surprised, she swung her body around to see a man wearing heavy winter gear, along with a hat with ear flaps. In his hand was a crossbow.

"Whoa, whoa, sorry!" He dropped the crossbow to the ground. "I thought you were like, a deer or something!"

"Who the heck are you?!"

"Ah, I'm The Hunter."

Jane raised an eyebrow. "The Hunter? You mean a hunter, right?"

The man shook his head, crossing his arms. "Nope. I'm The Hunter." His eyes widened for a moment before he quickly reached into his pocket for a small magnifying glass.

"What are you-"

"Hush!" He interrupted, looking through the glass at her. "Hmm… You have some potential. Come with me." Tucking the magnifying glass away, he picked up his crossbow.

"Um, why should I?"

"I've got a job offer for you."

Jane paused and thought for a few seconds before sighing and accepting, "Sure, why not. You're probably just a murderer, though. Or maybe even The Murderer." She mocked.

"We don't joke about him." The Hunter warned seriously before pointing his hand into the woods. "Follow me."

After a few minutes of walking, they came to a building whose roof stretched into the sky, ascending into the fog above with no end in sight. Other than its height, however, it looked like a completely normal wooden house. Jane looked up in awe. "Whoa… This place is giant! For how tall it is, I've never even seen it before!"

The Hunter shrugged, throwing his crossbow into a milk crate next to the solid metal door. "Yeah, The Architect and The Hider really went crazy with this place. They were so excited to change bases when they got done building it. Personally though, I liked our underground cave." He took out a large key and swung it towards the door, which immediately flashed and disappeared. "Come on in."

Jane hesitantly stepped through, instantly regretting her decision when she saw the door reappear behind her. "Umm I think-"

"We've gotta get you to The Janitor."

"Jesus, how many people have the title of 'The' here?"

The Hunter escorted her through the first basic room, which was filled with numerous coat-racks. Setting his hat on one as he walked by, he led Jane into an elevator. "A lot of people. It's kind of our thing."

"Is that why I'm here?" She asked, watching him scan the walls of buttons, quickly finding the button for Floor 342, which he summarily pressed. "To become a 'The?'"

"Potentially."

Jane looked ahead and blinked. What the hell did I get myself into?

The elevator door opened, and they both walked out into a small room, fitted with only a simple desk. A mop rested on it, and on the chair behind it was a rather foul-smelling bearded old man. "Another newbie?" He grunted.

"Yep!" The Hunter exclaimed. "Found her while hunting for that Goatman. I looked at her through the glass, she's definitely got potential."

"Hmph…" The Janitor coughed, spitting on the floor beside him. "Well, I better give you the rundown."

The Hunter squealed in excitement, running into a closet and pulling out two blue plastic chairs. He sat down in one, watching The Janitor intently. "Come on, sit down!" He whispered. Jane followed his directions and sat down, looking up The Janitor.

"Alright, now that you're all situated…" He glared at The Hunter before continuing on. "Welcome to The Union. Basically, we're a group of Workers. We keep things running here in Sloth's Pit. Although those Plastics people may deal with all the, eh, strangeness of our town, we actually do the important stuff. Most of us, at least. Hunting doesn't really help, but-"

"No way, hunting is important! I'm super important!" The Hunter yelled, insulted. "I help stop animal overpopulation, I help gather food, and I help hunt dangerous monsters, like that Goatman!"

"You'll never find the Goatman." The Hunter gasped, insulted yet again. "Anyways, as I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted, we help run this town. There's a mess, I clean it up. Something needs to be built, The Architect is on that. Someone needs to keep their finances in check, The Accountant is on that. Etcetera, etcetera."

"And why am I-"

"I wasn't done. You're here to become a Worker. What's your current job?"

"I'm…" She looked down, thinking silently. "A stocker at a grocery store… I guess I can join?"

The Janitor shrugged. "Good, we can work with that, we've had worse. Anyways, here…" He grinned, pulling out a large silver key and handing it to her. "There's a job for everyone."


The back door creaked open. "Holy shit, what bomb went off in here?!" Lucius heard the Stocker stomp through the aisles as he hid under the counter. "God…" There were a few flashes, and then the door creaked open once more, closing with a slam.

Lucius peeked up to find everything was restocked, but the mess was still there. With a dramatic sigh, he went to find a broom, when suddenly the door creaked back open to reveal an old man holding a mop. "Who are you?" He grunted.

Caught off guard, Lucius stuttered, "A-ah, I'm Lucius and I work here, who are you?"

"I'm The Janitor." Lucius looked at him, confused. "Not to be confused with that gas-masked psychopath that works with those crazy artists." Lucius looked even more confused.

"Anyways," he spat on the ground and pulled out a paper from his back pocket. "According to some girl this place, and I quote, 'looks like a horde of thirteen year olds raided it, followed by a bull, and then like seven rabid bears.'" Folding the paper back up, he tucked it away, looking at the demolished store. "Hmph. Really lives up to the description. So do 'ya want me to clean or not?"

"Sure, go ahead," he waved his hands around sarcastically, walking back to his camp behind the counter. "Have fun," he said, peering back at the old man.

The Janitor coughed, raising his mop to the sky. Then he struck it down, hitting the floor. In an instant, the whole mess burned up, leaving just a few smoldering embers in the air. He turned back to the door and opened it.

And then he was gone.

Lucius simply turned back and crawled into his sleeping bag. Am I the only normal employee here? He asked himself, and fell asleep.


Before

Jane dashed into the Starlow Grocery, surprising Cameron. "Hey, what's the big rush?"

"Is there anything I need to do?!" She panted loudly. "Anything I need to restock?!"

"No, but-"

She grinned and ran back out of the store, leaving him by his lonesome.

"I wanted to spend some time with you…"


In the middle of the night, the back door burst open once more, waking Lucius up. He peeked up to see another man, much like The Janitor, but this time he was carrying a mousetrap. "Hey, I'm The Exterminator, I heard you have a rat problem."

"Nope, no rats, get out."

The Exterminator shrugged, turning around to leave. "Less work for me."

Lucius fell back asleep with a sigh.


Before

"First day of class, first day of class, first day of class!" Jane repeated to herself as she rushed through the woods, reaching The Union House. In a rush, she took out her key and swung it, running into the house and stepping into the elevator, pressing the button for Floor 113.

As the elevator door opened, Jane saw a man in a suit on the other side with his arms crossed, glaring at her disapprovingly. "You're late."

"I'm sorry Teacher! I didn't wake up on time and I had to stop at the grocery store and-"

He put his hand up, stopping her flow of excuses. "It's alright, just don't be late next time." Turning, he walked up to a small podium, pointing to a desk. "Take a seat."

As she sat down, the blonde-haired woman in the desk beside her smiled. "Hey there, I guess we're being trained together, huh?"

"Yeah!" Jane stretched her hand out for a handshake. "I'm Jane, or The Stocker. Nice to meet you!"

"Nice to meet you too!" The woman reached over and tightly gripped her hand, shaking it firmly before dropping it back at her side. "I'm Miriam, or The Mechanic. I actually-"

"Ahem!" The Teacher coughed, grabbing their attention. He tapped a blue pen on the podium impatiently, watching them as they turned away from each other, embarrassed. "For our first lesson we will be learning about Charms. They're kind of like, how can I say this, the vessels of our power. They help us gather our magic, concentrate it, and eventually-" With a swing of his blue pen, writing appeared on a paper taped on the wall beside him. "We can use it."

His students watched in awe, and they began to read the tale that had appeared. Once upon a time there was a man named The Teacher, and he was the coolest man ev- The Teacher tore the paper down, crumbling it up.

"That writing isn't the point though. The point is…" He tossed the crumpled paper ball into a recycling bin at the other side of the room with a small celebratory grin. "That you must find your Charms! They can be anything, really. But make it special to you. Something unique that matches who you are as a Worker. And that, my students, will be your homework assignment."


"Oh God! Lucius wake up! There are tons of rats and they're chewing wires!" Com crackled through the speakers above, yelling louder and louder. "Lucius! Come on, wake up!!!"

Lucius quickly rose, glancing around to see thousands of small furry creatures skittering around on the floor. He jumped up onto the counter and instantly regretted turning away The Exterminator. "This is bad!"

"No duh!" Com screamed, "The rats are chewing all the wires! Get them out, do something!"

Lucius looked down at the swarm of rats on the ground. "I think there's too many…"

"God- Augh!!!" Some of the rats squeaked and looked up. "Wait, I have an idea, plug your ears!" Lucius proceeded to hold his hands over his hands, muffling his hearing. "Now…"

"Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Despite covering his ears, Lucius still groaned in pain as Com's voice grew louder and louder. He squeezed his eyes shut, opening one just in time to see the rats start to skitter out of the store, also distressed from the noise. When they all left, Com finally quieted down, and Lucius peeled his hands away from his ears.

"All the rats are g-g-g-gone. Bbb- I- th-th-th-th," his voice glitched, "f-f-ix w-w-w-w-wi-res-"

And then he went silent.


Before

"What's your Charm going to be?" Miriam asked as they walked through the woods, leaving the Union House.

Jane looked down and thought for a moment before responding, "I'm not sure. Grocery stockers don't really have many tools… A clipboard?"

"Nah," Miriam shook her head. "It has to be something you can wave around. A clipboard would be awkward."

"Right… I'll have to find something from the store I can use. What about you?" She asked.

"Mine is definitely going to be a wrench!" Miriam exclaimed with glee. "That's just super Mechanic-y, right?!"

Jane chuckled. "Yeah, it is." She looked ahead to see Starlow Grocery. "Hey, want to come in?"

"Sure!"

They walked inside of the store, surprising Cameron, who was awoken from his nice nap under the counter. He shot up and looked at Jane, a scowl on his face. "Where the heck have you been?"

"Why?"

"You're like, supposed to be here, you know?" Cameron scolded in a snarky tone, "You're getting paid specifically to be here, but you've been just dropping in and out these past few days."

"Hey, that's-" Jane stuttered, frowning, "I've been in school!"

"School, really?" he scoffed, "You're an adult. There are no schools here that aren't the high school."

"Why are you being so rude?"

In the middle of their arguing, Miriam had managed to sneak outside, away from the growing tensions.

"I'm not being rude! You aren't being a good adult!"

Silently, Jane reached behind the counter, grabbing the only thing she could, a small wood ruler.

After she left, Cameron dropped to the ground, grumbling.


Before

"♬ Test day, test day, gotta find somethin' broke ♬" The Mechanic sung to herself, looking around at the different businesses. "♬ Test day, test day, where should I go? ♬"

Her question was quickly answered as she spotted the lights turning off and on in Starlow Grocery. Flickering lights? I should be able to fix that.

She walked inside, where Cameron was messing with the fuse-box, trying to get the lights to stay on. He looked up, groaning as she recognized Miriam, even with the constant flickering annoying him. "Great, you're Jane's friend right?"

"Y-yeah!" Her face reddened as she remembered the last time she had been there. "Um, so I think you've got a problem with your lights."

"You think?" He probably had a horrifying scowl on his face, but Miriam couldn't see it as the lights had just gone out completely. "Oh great."

"Uh, I can fix that if you want." Miriam stumbled closer, taking a wrench out of her jacket. "At least, I can try."

Cameron shrugged, carefully backing away from the fuse box. "Sure, go ahead."

"Alright…" Miriam walked with a hand outstretched, feeling the fuse box on the wall. She took a step away and raised the wrench above her head, focusing on it. Okay… I can do this…

Just as she was about to swing the wrench down, the lights flickered back on. Cameron saw her with the wrench above her, looking like she was about to hit the fuse box and break it even further. He yelled, lurching forward, "What are you-"

As his hand touched the wrench, there was a flash of light, and his vision went black.


Before?

The man who was once Cameron opened his eyes. Above him was a black sky, sprinkled with shining stars. Wind was blowing lightly as he sat up and felt the smooth, brown floor below him.

"Hello?" he asked, "Is anyone there?"

Suddenly, the floor turned to liquid, and he fell through, collapsing onto the floor of a black tunnel. "What the…"

He wandered through the tunnel, hearing a voice get closer and closer until he reached an edge. He hesitantly jumped down, landing on a strange clear platform. Below him was a birds-eye view of Starlow Grocery.

Miriam was panicking next to the fuse box. "Oh my god, how do I-" She hit the fuse box, which sent a shock into him, making him yelp in pain.

"Ow!"

"Wh- what was that?!"

"That hurt… Where am I?" He asked.

"I…" Miriam paused, "I don't know. Are you Cameron?"

He tried to dig through his memories, but drew a blank. "Cameron… Cam… I don't remember…"

"Shit, I can fix this." She raised her wrench up and bought it back down, sending the man flying around, ricocheting off of the walls back into the dark tunnel. He groaned and collapsed.

"D-did it work?"

Silence.

Miriam threw her Charm to the ground, muttering, "Screw this."


Dammit, this isn't working… Lucius fidgeted with the store's fuse box, flicking different switches. "Com, are you back?"

Silence.

The back door opened once more, and Lucius looked back to see a woman holding a toolbox. "Hey, I'm-"

"What, The Mechanic?!" Lucius yelled, interrupting her. "You gonna wave your handy-dandy screwdriver or something and magically fix everything?!"

Concerned, she shyly backed away, stuttering. "I- I'm a mechanic, but that doesn't mean I can use magic. What are you, c-crazy?"

"Wait…" he paused, "So you're normal?"

"Y- yeah, I guess… She opened up her toolbox slowly, muttering, "But really, who is?"

Lucius collapsed onto the floor, looking down. "Yeah, right?"


Before

The man who was once Cameron awoke in a dark tunnel, grabbing his head. "Ow…"

He tried to remember.

"Camer- Cam- Ron- C- Com? Is that my name?" He asked himself.

About a mile away, Jane was sitting on a desk in her new room— her new floor, actually— grumbling. She grabbed her new Charm, her ruler, and sliced through the air, creating three cups of coffee with a small flash.

I don't know how I could have ever liked him, she thought as she began to chug the caffeine down.


With a small crackle, Com sparked online. "Hey, I'm back! We need to lay some traps or something so those darned rats don't kill me again!"

Lucius tiredly looked up at the speaker, rubbing his eyes. "Yeah."

"Maybe we can call someon-"

"No. No more Exterminators or Mechanics or Stockers or anyones." He nuzzled down into his sleeping bag, closing his eyes. "I need to relax for a few days. Or like, for the rest of my life. I saved your life, so I think that entitles me to some peace and quiet."

"Of course."

The back door opened. "I'm The Bed Salesman, does someone need to buy a-"

"Get out!"

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