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Sir This is a Hot Topic

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Tomura and Himiko are the only two left in the store. Himiko is still in her Morticia costume, but now she’s perched on the counter and loudly slurping the rest of her fruit punch. Its from the American Cookie place, which means it hits different and the ice is the good kind of ice. Tomura is a little jealous, but he’s got a twelve pack of Mountain Dew back at his apartment so he keeps it to himself. 


It is 9:02. Himiko locked the doors two minutes ago, when the store closed , but these four people are still in the fucking store. 


Tomura usually doesn’t feel homicidal. (That’s a lie. He works retail. His only two emotions are tired and murder.) These four are making him reconsider his stance. 


They’ve been in here for about fifteen minutes. Thirteen minutes ago, that was fine. Now, though, it’s Halloween night, Tomura was supposed to be closing the store so he could go home and Twitch stream for a few hours before taking his Ambien and passing the fuck out, and Himiko was supposed to meet up with some of her friends from high school to go to a party. 


“Ochako and Izuku are gonna be sooooo pissed,” Himiko says. She’s on her phone. “I told them I was gonna be home and ready to go at ten, but now they’re gonna have to wait because of these two.”


“I know,” Tomura says. He frowns. He let Magne go home at eight because she was new, but now he’s wondering if he should let Himiko leave too. They’re fine for hours, but she’s still a kid and these assholes are keeping her from enjoying Halloween. 


He cracks his back. Loudly. One of the four dumbasses looks over and makes a disgusted face at the noise. Tomura does not get paid to give a shit. He will crack his back whenever he wants, especially since the store has now been closed for--he glances down at the clock on the register--four minutes. 


They’ve turned off the music, too. Himiko has already waltzed around the store to make sure everything is clean, Tomura’s closed their second register and done all the paperwork he can while there are still people in the store. He doesn’t think they’re going to buy anything, but paranoia keeps him from closing the other register. 


Ten more minutes pass. The four of them are still in the fucking store. 


“Can I call Ochako?” Himiko asks, finally. 


“Yeah, go for it,” Tomura says. 


“Thanks,” Himiko says. 


She calls her friend’s number, and puts the other girl on speaker. A tinny voice echoes through the mostly silent Hot Topic : “Himiko? Are you still at work?”


“Yeah, Ocho, there are these weirdos in the store right now,” Himiko says. She looks up at Tomura. “Not you. You’re always in the store,” she looks back down at the phone, “That’s my boss, Tomura. The gamer one.”


“Oh! I remember him,” Ochako says. Tomura has a feeling that he’s met Himiko’s friends before, but to be entirely honest, anyone under the age of eighteen looks like a walking fetus to him, and if they look rich he sees them as a potential threat. 


It’s always rich teens who steal from retail. Tomura knows, because Touya used to be one of them before he finally got kicked out of his dad’s house and decided to get his shit together. 


He’s pretty sure Touya still shoplifts. As long as he doesn’t do it at work, and as long as he doesn’t get caught, it isn’t Tomura’s problem. Fuck corperations, and all that. 


One of the four comes up to the register, and for a moment Tomura thinks that this is the end. They’ve finally realised that they’re overstaying their welcome, that the lack of music and the closed doors and uninterested employees are a sign to go the fuck home. He leans against the register. “Ready?”


“Are you guys allowed to be on the phone while you’re at work?” the girl asks. She’s got those really short bangs and a septum piercing, and Tomura wishes for one stupid second that he was Touya, because if he was Touya he could get away with being an asshole to this girl. She’d think it was hot, because septum short banged girls always fall for Touya’s stupid goth asshole look. 


Tomura is not Touya, and he’s dressed in a t-shirt instead of a costume because the one he ordered off Amazon never showed up. 


He shrugs. “I don’t have a problem with it. Besides--”


“--oh, fanfastic!” she cuts him off. Tomura clenches his jaw so tightly he hears something pop. The girl hears nothing, because she continues. “I’m looking for a part time job, and I love shopping here, so I figured I’d apply. Where do I drop off my resume?”


“We’re not hiring,” Tomura says, which is a lie. He is hiring, he needs at least three new seasonals (he has a feeling Magne will be staying on after the holidays are over, because he likes her and she fits in well), but he’s not hiring this kid. “And if you loved us so much, you might realise that the store closed fifteen minutes ago.”


“Oh, I thought you were open until ten,” the girl blinks. 


The timer on the lights goes out, and the store is swathed in darkness. 


She looks up, confused, and then smiles at Tomura. “We’ll finish up!”


Tomura takes a deep breath, just like his therapist says he’s supposed to do whenever he gets stressed, and then sits down behind the register. He buries his face in his hands and lets out a muffled scream. 


Himiko kicks him with the toe of her heels. “Do you want me to take over while you cry?”


“I’m not crying,” he says. “I think I’ve lost the ability to cry.”


“Okay, I’ll say goodbye to Ochako,” Himiko says. To the phone, she says, “I gotta go, my manager is having a mental breakdown on the floor. Hopefully we’ll make it out alive, but if he doesn’t, you can be my plus one at the funeral.”


Ochako laughs over the phone, and that cements it: Tomura has met her. Anyone who laughs at a funeral joke and is friends with Himiko definitely shops here. 



He ends up driving Himiko home so that she doesn’t have to take the train home alone. She doesn’t live too far from his apartment, but its still a longer drive than he’d planned for tonight. It’s after ten by the time he gets inside, and he kicks his shoes off before opening the door to his bedroom to let his dog out. Mon races around Tomura’s ankles, whining a little, and Tomura leans down to scratch the boy between his ears. 


Mon bumps his nose against Tomura’s leg. Tomura stands up. “You need to piss? We can go piss.”


He grabs Mon’s leash and hooks it to his collar, and the two of them step out so that Mon can wander around the complex and figure out which bush he wants to piss in. Tomura keeps up a steady monologue about all the weird shit that went down at work today while Mon wanders. 


“Himiko won, obviously,” he says. Mon stops by a bush and lifts his leg. Tomura politely looks away. “And Touya’s stupid Nordstrom boytoy came by and Touya fuckin’... busted a nut or something, I don’t know. Anyway, Magne’s pretty great. She can stay. The chick with the bangs cannot. If it were not for the laws of corporate, I would have drop kicked her from my store.”


Mon finishes his business and starts pulling on the leash to go back into the apartment. Tomura doesn’t resist. It’s cold, finally, and he didn’t think to grab a sweatshirt before coming outside with Mon. 


He refills Mon’s bowl and pops a thing of ramen in the microwave while his PC powers up. He settles himself in, sweatshirt on now, and pulls up his Twitch account. Iguchi is online, but not currently streaming, so Tomura pings him to let him know that he’s about to start playing the Untitled Goose Game again. 


It’s not hard, but it’s chaotic, and it lets Tomura do all the things he can’t do while at his day job. 


“Yo, what’s up Twitch, it’s ya boi,” Tomura directs the goose to steal a baguette. “Skinny Penis. Don’t tell Noel I’m using that, this is my city now and I’ll be whoever the fuck I want to be.”


He gets about ten minutes into the stream when his phone starts ringing. He looks down, and it’s Touya (saved on his phone as Worst Employee Ever). Tomura rolls his eyes and pauses the game. “Hold on. One of my employees is calling me.”


He taps speaker, because he doesn’t care if his streamers hear whatever stupid shit Touya’s done now, and also because Iguchi is watching and Tomura wants someone else to have to witness whatever is about to come out of Touya’s mouth. 


“What do you want?” he says to the phone. 


“So I’m drunk,” Touya starts. 


Tomura looks into his webcam as though he’s in The Office. “Okay.”


“And you know how me and Keigo were gonna go to this Halloween party?”


“Yeah,” Tomura lifts the phone closer to the mic, because someone asked to hear what Touya was saying. “Did you make it?”


“Yeah, yeah, we’re there, don’t worry,” Touya says. “Keigo’s really hot. Like. Listen. I know he doesn’t wear much in the way of form-fitting clothing but you know that man is thick. Like he has to be.”


“Touya,” Tomura says. “I’m streaming.”


“Tell your gamer girls Keigo has a fat ass and I’m gonna smack it.”


Tomura looks straight into the camera again. He contemplates firing Touya, but knows that that wouldn’t get rid of the man. He’d just show up with an iced coffee and a futon in the backroom, and start paying rent at the mall. 


He sighs. He can’t believe he’s going to say this. He knows some of his followers record his streams. He knows this could come back to bite him in the ass (and Touya, but Touya wouldn’t care). 


He says it anyway. “Keigo has a fat ass and my dumbass assistant manager is gonna smack it.”