The fudge was late.
The freaking fudge shipment was late. Wrap your mind around this. Irate eyes as far as you can see. No love, man. Just angry people.
I'd be more verbose, but I don't know if I can remember the words that make me speak better.
So, yes. Late fudge.
You know what people wanted at blankety-blank in the freaking morning? Fudge brownies. Now, I had the shipment in and the fudge in the batter , but they were still baking when we opened the doors.
So we start the day, brownies still baking. Which always starts things right. We are lacking the one thing people want most. So you know what they get to do? Complain.
Seriously, I've not had a brownie in days. I've been working non-stop for a flipping week, and they think that they have to right to whine to me that they wanted the fudgey kind. Trying to guilt-trip me, or something. I tell them 'no' and it's like I killed their dog, man. Big sad eyes.
Or worse, the 'you're lying' comeback.
You're right. I'm lying. I have a million fresh brownies behind me, and I've just chosen not to serve you.
I had a Nikto mother and her 87 leashed brats in front of me. Leashed! How can you leash your child? Seriously, like, how can that leave them well-adjusted when every time they wander off, they get yanked back on a bungie cord? Made me wonder if there is a direct correlation between leashed kids and those freaks that come in the mall with studded pet collars around their necks. Or people stuck in middle management.
I'm losing focus. Nikto mom. Right. Attending to her and all the kids wanting different brownies all in individual bags, not touching the others, because, Force forbid, that they'd have to share a bag and like, cut down on the waste, though they don't, like, care, and like, they'll just toss the empty packets out of the Speeder-Van on the way home, littering the Coruscanti cityscape...
I'm going somewhere with this.
Burning! I was so busy with the spoilt, tethered slithering spawns that I forgot the batch of fudgies in the oven.
S'Nausy rushed out the back, with oven-mitts on, holding a tray of smouldering blackened lumps. He called me back there and proceeded to pitch a fit about me burning our very valuable product. He said that he was lucky that he was in the back asleep on the toilet, as he smelt the smoke and saved the whole store from burning.
Obviously that was the perfect reason to deny me my first 15 minute break.
* * *
Lines and rows of people, and man, after so long, they have all blended into the kind of paintings that younglings do with spray cheese in a can and peanut butter. Mmm, elbow macaroni.
But, man, there was my man, man. My guy of guys, compadre and comrade, monkey versus robot, and all the other cool things I could call him but I'm just to burnt out to think of.
Right, it was Fluke, man. Fluke showed up.
So he gets up to me, right? And, like, he orders a brownie. I get him the finest freshest biggest one I could get with the boss giving me the squinty eye. Hands it over and Fluke reminds me of the little thing we set up for him.
A lifetime supply of free brownies. He saved me and JJ and the whole brownie Empire when we were fighting Yatta. Fluke's just a ninja in a blast helmet like that.
So I go to give him his brownie. And Sgt. Stedenko, I mean, S'Nausy was all, like, pointing, and waving, and yelling not so loudly, and berating, and rolling up his newspaper. Seems I'm not allowed to give things away for free.
So I offered him one of the freaky mutated off-cut, yet still chocolately spicey and good that me and JJ are allowed to have.
Nope, S'Nausy had cut me off yesterday after I yelled loudly enough in the back that everyone in Coruscant heard me. Yes, sorry, senators, man, that was me. After Yoda ordered 13 dozen.
13 dozen!! And we HAD to sell all of them to him because they were for the Jedi Temple, and S'Nausy said that there were a lot of potential repeat customers there.
Uh... Where was I?
I need a freaking brownie.
Fluke's freaky brownie!
Right, so I was like, 'what if I just, like, give Fluke the bread, man, and then he can buy it.'
No, and like, instead of paying for Fluke's brownie, S'Nausy made me pay for all of the freak brownies I'd gobbed for the past few days. At, like, no discount!
So in the end, Fluke had to buy his own brownie. I told him that I'd pay him back, once I got my paycheque, because I was tapped out. My mana pool was empty and I was taking some serious burn, man.
Fluke was really cool about it though. I think I even smiled when he called our dictator S'Nausy a Goobersmoocher.
* * *
More people. More freaks. More baking. More dropping things and incurring the wrath of our fascist leader.
Oh man. Bail Organa. Look, Bail's a nice guy. He is, but, I was not in the mood to play. And well...
"Hello Qui-Gon!" he said, with this, like, big happy smile and a little royal wave.
He, like, knows nothing about fashion, man. Like, what self-respecting guy wears a muscle shirt, low enough to show off his chest hair, with a tropical print loose shirt over top, billowy pants and Birkenstocks. He was really tan. Like, Tatooine tan, not Alderaan tan. And, like, look, when I was Quiggy Starlust, I dabbled in the use of make-up. So I can spot it when I sees it. I seed it. He was wearing eyeliner. And lip gloss. And to finish it all up, a gold Astro-sign medallion around his neck.
He didn't look like a wild and crazy guy. He looked like he wanted to break into interpretative dance.
I was out of it. I am out of it. So his chipper enthusiasm was wasted.
He bubbled and talked and talked, and like, talked.
I just, like, got him his brownie, but he wanted extra nuts on his, so I had to get the sack of nuts and sprinkle them all over.
"So, look, you look exhausted, darling. You should really come to my spa. A whole day. On me. I'll even give you one of my famous 'reaching' massages." He pulled out a card and scribbled something on the back. "Here's a pass, and on the back is my number. Call me anytime, big guy."
I gave him his brownie and he proceeded to eat it in one bite. He winked at me and said, "Your nuts were delicious. I hope to get more soon."
I need a shower. In bleach.
* * *
The day trudged on. I'm not sure which day. I think it was the last one, though.
So, me and JJ are ringing and wrapping and handing and trying to not jump over the counter and go psycho with a spatula. And, like, JJ starts looking impatient. Crossing his legs, tapping his fingers, doing these little sigh kind of breaths that are, like, impatient.
At a 1.7 second break in the line before the next couple of indignant jerks waddled on up to the counter, he turned to me and said, like not real loud, or anything, "Qui, man, watch the front. I really got to take a piss."
I nodded and let him go, and my customer sauntered up, a Rodian, with a little scaly Rodian boy at her side. She scoffed at me. "If I wanted my son to hear such language, I'd have taken him to Mos Eisley Cantina. This is a family mall. I demand a free brownie."
Aw man, I'd get blamed for this again. So, like, I had to add my two credits. If I was going to lose my break, it had better be worth it, man.
"No, I'm not giving you free a brownie. I mean, isn't, like, your boy warped enough from the home-schooling, the ridiculous clothing you pick out for him every morning and your attempt to turn him into a brain-dead, bread-driven, Yuppie clone, like yourself?"
Her big eyes went even wider.
She stormed off, dragging her kid behind her.
Two cool things, man. She didn't narc on me to S'Nausy, who'd have docked me a day's pay and taken my breaks away. And, like, her son was smiling at me when he left. He, like, knew, man.
* * *
Two hours. There was a group of kids abandoned in here for two freaking hours. Eight raisin-faced Weequay brats. Ranging in age from about 3 to about 12.
Their mom uttered the dreaded "Now you kids behave. Mommy's off to do some shopping and she'll be back to get you later."
All of the little pruny punks asked for money.
"Mommy doesn't have any money for brownies. See if they can give you free samples."
At first, they mulled around at the tables. The 6 year old learned that the lids screw off the sprinkles containers. Suddenly, there was a rainbow cloud and, when the dust settled, there was, like, sprinkles on the floor, the tables, the chairs, the customers and the kids.
We got I-SUC to vacuum it up.
The 7 year old walked to the front of the line, and, like, as the regular, paying jerk in front of me was getting ready to tell me that he wanted a freaking brownie, because everyone wants a freaking brownie, she said "We're hungry. I want a brownie."
"It's, like, his turn."
I have been a Master to three Padawans. I have worked in the crèche attending the Younglings. I have dealt with children from one side of the galaxy to the other.
She got the weepy, pouty, quivering chin, teary eyed look. This look could lead to two different outcomes. "The Whimper" often follows "the Pout." It is continued sighing and whimpering until the adult cracks and gives the child what they want. This phase can be quickly ended with "the Backhand," but as, like, we weren't in Wall-Mart and her parent wasn't around, it would not be feasible. What I feared was called, "the Tantrum." It is the bleat and howl like a wounded Wookie, while thrashing and kicking, paying no heed to what is being hit, scream until they are sick, while deafening those around them, until they are given what they want. Or beaten like a red-headed step-child.
This girl looked to have a set of lungs on her, and had already begun the scream preparation, by drawing in large breaths.
In defeat, I handed over the samples tray, and she hurried off to her other broodlings.
Soon, they were bored. They had thrown the empty tray. The sugar from the brownies had kicked in, so they, like, were bored and sugar-crazed runts. Running around, opening boxes, coming behind the counter, tipping over chairs, peeking in the back room, and generally making things suck on a higher level of the Suck Scale. We ascended to Pit of
, Floor 6. This was the equivalent to disembowelling, flesh-eating viruses, and Raffi songs.
S'Nausy went over to the smallest one, who was painting on the walls with frosting.
"What's your name?" he said in his sweetest tone. Which I could hear through. It was like saccharine sweet, laced with speeder engine coolant.
Now, I was ringing at the time. I only got a partial glance. But, huh.
The little one turned and proceeded to melf on S'Nausy's suit. Stick it to the man, little man.
Cool thing was that people in line lost their appetites after hearing and watching the little guy ralph up brownie. So, the line cleared out at least.
At that, the eldest brat scooped up the little guy and the whole lot left to find the woman that we should have called the authorities on so that her kids would get to leave and she'd be revealed as the careless cheap mother that she is.
And S'Nausy got what was coming to him.
* * *
We had 15 minutes left. Then it was over. The week of
... You know what, HELL. Freaking HELL was like almost over. There was still a line. Long line.
S'Nausy came out of the back. He was in there cleaning the spew off for, oh, like, an hour and a half.
Wearing my poncho.
I turned to JJ. He pointed to an unopened container of icing near the cheap, lying, no good, rotten, floor-flushing, low-life, snake-licking, dirt-eating, inbred, overstuffed, ignorant, blood-sucking, dog-kissing, brainless, reckless, hopeless, heartless, fat-tuchus, bug-eyed, stiff-legged, spotty-lipped, worm-headed, sack of monkey crap that S'Nausy is. Hallelujah! Holy crap! Where's the Etherol?
I reached out with the Force, holding my hand out, and then I clenched my fist. The plastic imploded, spraying him, and my poncho in dark chocolate icing.
Darn. He'd have to take it off.
"What was that?" S'Nausy asked, as he pulled my poncho off over his head.
JJ gathered up the remnants of the container. "Contents under pressure. Wow. We're lucky that thing didn't go off and kill someone."
S'Nausy went to change, and he took off my poncho. It would be worth the dry cleaning bill to get that Captain Wally out of my gear, man.
People. People. People. JERK. People. People.
* * *The clock struck eight. The last day of the week was always a shorter work day for mall employees. However, the rest of Coruscant had shut down. It was a day of rest. A day for the common folk to mingle with the posh elitists at the local mall.
Eight signified closing time for the small baked goods shop. This was not to be. There were still people queued up and trailing outside of the store.
JawaJuice looked at the clock and gazed over the line. Someone caught his attention, as an Ithorian came to stand at the end of the line.
"Qui," he said, without blinking, his left eye twitching,
"Ring. I'll be right back." There was a sing-songy quality to his voice, tinged with a touch of insanity, nearly sounding like a tightly stretched rubber band.
He cut through the line, still not blinking, as if he were possessed. Standing before the Ithorian, he asked,
"What time is it?"The hammerhead looked at his Commtech and back at JJ.
"Eight oh two."JJ nodded, his expression unchanging.
"We closed at eight."
"I was thinking..." the Ithorian started in stereo.
JJ drew in a long breath and screamed at the top of his lungs,
"WE ARE CLOSED! SCRAM!" The hammerhead scuttled off, looking traumatised, whilst JJ returned to the front.
Qui-Gon dealt with each customer blindingly fast.
"Thankyoucomeagain." And onto the next, he went.
"FUcomeagain."The Dresselian woman turned and asked,
"What was that?"Qui-Gon spoke slowly, exhaustion rolling off of him in waves.
"Thank you. Come again."She nodded and wandered off.
Soon, the store was empty, except for the two clerks.
JJ looked to the slumping spectre and sighed.
"It's over."Mr S'Naus Ages returned from the back, smiling, to greet the two.
"Good show, chaps!"The jawa was less than enthused.
"Where is our permit and our pay?"The man touched his finger to his lip, thoughtfully.
"Oh yes," he said, plucking two envelopes from his back pocket. He chucked lightly.
"Don't mind the fudge and the vomit."The small one tore into his envelope, while the ghost stood motionless, staring blankly into the distance.
"THIRTEEN BUCKS? Hey, wait a minute."S'Naus Ages nodded.
"That's right. 120 million gross, less Social Security..."
"Less unemployment insurance..."
"Less brownie making..."JJ scowled.
"Less apron purchase..."
"Wait a minute."
"Less store rental..."
"Less Springtime Club."
"But..."S'Naus Ages went to the back.
"See you next year." He exited, leaving two confused staring employees, totally zoned.
"Thirteen bucks..." JJ murmured.
The back doors swung open and the Ministry of Spice representatives exited.
"GUMBIES!" Qui-Gon cried.
"They.. The... You... Wh... I... My brain hurts!" To the ghost, the men had changed form, looking like a rival tribe to the Ni.
This was not the case for JJ, who saw them simply as men in very very bad hats.
Mr Bif Shank presented the Jawa with a sheet of paper, the permit. He nudged him lightly.
"This is for you, know what I mean?"
"No clue. Look, this is great. I need to get him home." JJ put a hand on Qui-Gon's shaking ethereal arm.
"He's freaking out. And if I don't get home soon, I'm going to kill you all. One by one. With a spork from the food court and a wafer thin mint."
* * *The trip home was a blur. None of the passengers spoke a word. Even I-SUC was drained and dragging.
Qui-Gon entered the flat first, going straight to the kitchen, with I-SUC in tow. JJ trudged upstairs to deposit the permit into his Fire-Flood-Lightning-Monsoon-and-FOOF Proof safe.
* * *Before he even opened the door, he could hear a tearing sound, weaving with the sound of a long shrill beep. There was a clatter and a splatter and all that was left was very light mumbling.
JJ pushed the kitchen door ajar.
And was completely shocked.
Every jar, tin, can, bottle, container, tea caddy, Tupperware box, door, was open. The oven hung ajar. The ice-box cooled the room.
There was a mix of any imaginable non-perishable spilled out on the floor, juices mixing into a repulsive globulous combination. The smell was that of a gluttons sick, cocktail onions meshing with strawberry syrup, nacho cheese with Nutella. The muck was splattered on every wall.
Chanting was coming from the corner. The words repeated again and again. Qui-Gon was huddled against the corner-most cabinet, sitting in what looked to be a mix of pizza sauce and marmalade.
He said, in rapid succession,
"light is green. trap is clean."This was not the most disturbing sight.
There was a trail of wiring, circuits in puddles of sludge, snapping with dwindling sparks, broken parts of blenders, and a wheelchair, collapsed and torn.
I-SUC was dead.
*Cue dramatic music, Spanish inquisition, and wacky next door neighbour to stop over to ask for a herring. Stay tuned to JawaJuice Jump Up for more on this as it congeals.*