Story 27

Posted: November 27, 2015 in Uncategorized

Getting close to the end! This one’s for the day after Thanksgiving. Had a bit of fun with the insanity of Black Friday.



“It’s too fucking early to go to work…” was what Travis grumbled to himself that morning.


It was approximately 3am, when he should have been asleep. Unfortunately, it was also 3am the day after Thanksgiving and he worked retail. Which could only mean one thing…


Black Friday.


Granted, the comic shop wasn’t exactly huge. So, they could have gotten away with a Small Business Saturday sale and been okay. But Sloane had already gotten the fliers made and shipped out to everyone and their brother. She wanted this day to be even busier than the first Saturday in May of any given year.


But at least on Free Comic Book Day, they opened at their usual time.


Travis had finished getting dressed for the day, Batman shirt tucked into his khakis. Name tag pinned to the shirt… Heavy enough bags under his eyes to require a bellboy.


Was it such a crime to want to get back to sleep?


Of course, he had no intention of going into this particular fray alone. After a great deal of begging and pleading, he had convinced Spencer to come along as an on-site medic. Spence was used to being conscious at horrifically ungodly hours, anyway. Plus, there were a few things he wanted to buy there, so he might as well.


Also, given that these sorts of events could get a bit crazy, he had enlisted Ivy’s help as security. He had considered asking his aunt, but he just wanted to spend time with Ivy today. This seemed to be the best he could do, so he’d found himself begging her for help. He may have had to get on his knees and trade a few favors (which he might have done anyway), but he got her to agree to it.


And so, the three of them were making their way to the local comic shop, Ivy making sure she had her vodka and Spencer armed with coffee and a first aid kit. As they walked, Travis recalled the meeting they’d all had about today. Sloane had called in all hands. She’d even declared the employee break room to be the war room at that point. The fact that she didn’t have an army helmet and riding crop at the time quite honestly astounded him. She had been stressing the importance of not getting lost in the Black Friday madness. “We WILL have business that day!” she had shouted, pounding the table. He had almost expected her to add in an “Even if we lose most of our men!”, but she hadn’t. There was no getting out of it. To Travis in particular, she had said “Even if you die, that’s no excuse to miss out…”


Yeah…someone had gotten a teensy bit bent out of shape recently, it seemed. But she had told everyone that if this sale went well, there would be a nice bonus for each of them. And she planned to buy all of them breakfast. It had been Travis’ idea to offer Spencer and Ivy’s services. But he did say that he couldn’t promise they’d agree.


They came to a stop outside of the shop, where Travis’ coworkers were waiting for Sloane to arrive. She had the keys, and all. Leo was seated on the ground, getting a few extra winks before they had to go in. Bruce had his phone out and seemed to be in the middle of…either texting or playing a game. Travis wasn’t sure. But he did see Peter leaning against the wall, his pale hands shoved into his pockets. Tony was the first to notice Trav and his backup arrive.


“…You brought her as security?” he asked, looking Ivy over. “She ain’t that big. The horde would just trample her.”


“Yeah, nice to meet you too, Tony,” she replied drily.


“She’s good for it,” Travis said. “Trust me on this.”


“Uh-huh… Morning, Dr. Abbot.”


Spencer nodded in greeting.


They pretty much knew Spencer by this point. But as Travis’ coworkers noticed the trio’s presence, a bit of their focus had gone on Ivy. Trav was known to talk about her at work every so often. And now that they got to see this girlfriend of his (who, to Peter’s surprise, was not an imaginary entity to cover up Travis’ feelings for Spencer), they were really sort of surprised.


“Hey! Sorry I took so long to get here, guys!” Sloane called from a little ways up the block, running to the group. “I had to get Andrew to the hospital for his appendix. It burst not too long ago, and I wanted to stay there with him, but he told me to get to work. Told me that I needed to deliver on this sale and everything. That’s what I love about him…he’s not a big fan of the shop, but he’s still so supportive…”


“He’ll be okay, though, right?” Travis asked.


“Yeah,” Spencer replied. “If I know the hospital as well as I think I do, he’ll be resting comfortably by the time the sale ends.”


“I won’t be here very long, though,” said Sloane. “I want to be there when he wakes up. I’m really sorry…Tony, you’ll be in charge, okay?”


Travis bristled slightly. Tony being in charge would likely result in someone being hurt. Not even a customer, either. Just any employee that happened to accidentally hit the wrong button on the cash register. He would tear into them like a lion would a gazelle. Travis had learned this the hard way once, when Tony started screaming at him for a mathematical error. He was off by a nickel. A freaking nickel.


It had taken a lot of negotiation to get Tony to reconsider docking his pay for that.


The group began setting up for the sale. A lot of the stuff there was half off, in particular the statues and action figures. Some of the graphic novels themselves were seventy five percent their normal price. And then there was a raffle for some of the smaller collectables and whatnot. Those, and some of the signed, really high quality hardcovers.


Eventually, it neared five in the morning. The doors had been locked again during the preparations. Ivy had been stationed just outside of the doors, where already a small crowd was beginning to form. Spencer was behind the counter, where it was safe. Tony would be working the cash register, while Travis, Leo, Bruce, and Peter would be helping the customers find what they were looking for. And even stuff they didn’t know they were looking for. No way in hell did they not intend to turn a hefty profit today.


It was soon time to open the doors.


With baited breath, the small crew of men watched the doors.


“…Who should unlock it?” Travis asked, noticing the horde outside, staring inside with hungry eyes.


“Since you asked, Malone?” Tony began. “You can. Plus, if you get hurt, you’ll heal real quick.”


“Thanks, Tony…” he muttered.


Outside, Ivy was eying the masses preparing to storm the comic shop. If anyone got out of control, she was there to make sure they got back under it. A few of the waiting customers looked at her, as if sizing up the threat she’d pose. She gave them the iciest glare she could muster, not breaking eye contact as she took a swig from her flask.


Spencer did a quick inventory of the first aid kit. Stuff for sutures, bandages, and disinfectants were in there. Should do well in a pinch, at least. He should be safe back there, behind the counter. Nobody could see him back there. Nobody could target him directly.


Leo had been breathing a few prayers in Spanish. He wasn’t a particularly religious man. But if this was about to become the shitstorm he anticipated, he wanted to make peace with whatever deity was out there. Just in case.


Bruce and Peter looked at each other.


“If I die…” said Peter. “I want you to bury me with my favorite camera.”


“I won’t let that happen,” Bruce told him. “But if I die, could you punch the guilty party in the balls for me, please?”


“Of course.”


Because what were stepbrothers for?


Travis stepped toward the door, taking a few breaths to psych himself up.


And slowly, he unlocked the door.


The second the door was open, a roar erupted from outside. They began to charge into the shop. Travis had managed to dodge being trampled (but only just), as he leapt to the side. Everyone was stampeding through the shop, nearly knocking one of the displays of action figures over. The only thing keeping it from falling on someone was Ivy reaching out with her powers and using those to keep it upright.


It took a grand total of ten minutes for Spencer to receive his first patient. One customer had actually bitten another one in the arm. To the point that it drew blood. And so, Spencer was deployed from his safe little hiding place to tend to the wound. He nearly got kicked in the face by someone. It was entirely accidental, in his case, though. Either way, this was not how he really wanted to spend his morning. Ever.


At least one customer had to be escorted out of there by Ivy, as he had been trying to shove a Wonder Woman statuette into his pants. He had tried to defend himself, saying that he wasn’t trying to leave with it. Which left all sorts of unsettling thoughts as to what else he could have been doing with it in his pants, of all places.


The sale had lasted for three hours. In that three hours, however, each employee had taken a few punches. Some of the customers had gotten to face Ivy’s wrath. Only a few, though. Spencer was a bit shaken by the experience.


“…Is it always like this?” he asked. “I mean, I’ve heard a few horror stories about this day…”


“Could have been worse,” said Tony, as Spencer cleaned up the tiny cut on his face (sustained from some irate lady’s keys). “Imagine what the bigger stores had to be like…”


“Nah, it seems like it was just us,” said Bruce as he checked his phone again. “We got all the crazies.”


“True,” said Leo. “But we did also make a ton of cash.”


Nobody really argued that one.


As they began to pick up a bit of the debris, Sloane made her return.


“Hey. Andrew’s out of surgery and recovering. How’d it go?”


“We may have had the craziest group of the day,” Peter said.


“But hey! Nobody’s dead, right?” Travis asked.
Sloane nodded in response, before going to take breakfast orders for everyone. She would have done this sooner were it not for her boyfriend being in the hospital. But at least she was making good on it now.


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