- Jump City, Business District - Shrek’s Department Store : 02:16:22
The premises around the Gotham-borne conglomerate retail store were silent, as it often was; only the passing by of an errant car disturbed the peace every now and then. Inside the walls, a single security officer roamed the store, spinning his flashlight carelessly as he whistled off-key. The guard, not really paying any attention to his surroundings, casually rounded a corner, following the signs mounted above him; bearing a labeled arrow that led to the sporting goods department.
“Slow night, Vin,” he spoke into his walkie-talkie - the type often issued to rent-a-cops, with a unit mounted at the belt, and a smaller microphone attachment connected by a long cord to be worn nearly shoulder level.
“Bill... not tonight...” came the tinny, but clearly exasperated reply from the speaker of the unit. “You KNOW the boss is going to have kittens if he catches you asleep in Sporting Goods watching the game again!”
Bill let out an unrefined chuckle. “Yeah, well I’ll tell ya what... If you gimmie a buzz every now and then, I might not doze off,” he said, knowing that it would annoy his colleague. He was right.
“Bill, for chrissakes, will you once try pulling your own goddamn weight around here?!” Vincent, his co-worker yelled into the mic so loud that it came through Bill’s unit awash with static. He chuckled again. “Huh-huhh... C’mon Vinny, I’m just pullin’ yer leg... I tell you what- I’m gonna make my last rounds up here and then I’ll head up to the office, and I’ll order us a pizza - it’s on me.”
“Yeah - well... all right,” Vincent said, surrendering his angry tone. Bob knew just how to take the hot air out of him. Vince spoke again, his tone much more even, “Just please make sure the second floor entrance to the garage is locked up good - it was your shift that night that homeless guy happened to test it, and it wasn’t locked - I hear maintenance is still tryin’ to get the smell outta the furniture department.”
Bill stifled a laugh, not wanting to rile Vince back up, “Okay, sure thing, buddy,” he replied with a feigned enthusiasm into his mic. Making a ‘u-turn’ in the isle, heading back to the north end of the store, he began thinking to himself about his situation.
‘37, single...’ he looked down, and inhaled ‘...not too much of a gut,’ he thought, giving himself the benefit of the doubt. ‘Max Shrek’s department store, la-de-dah...’ he contemplated sullenly, as he walked into the Men’s clothing area.
“I tell you, Jerry,” he said, stopping to address the mannequin to his right, “what happens in a guy’s life that puts him here? Working a night shift security job at a department store for 5 years. I thought things were going okay, I did all right, I had a girlfriend, and I was a football star in high school. Boy, those were the days...” he said with a measure of fondness in his voice. He stopped, reaching out, he grabbed a corner of the dummy’s shirt: a festive Hawaiian affair that most would consider tasteless.
“You seem like a hip and happening guy, Jerry,” Bill said, letting the garment go; “Yet here you are, working in the same joint as I am...” he looked to the face of the mannequin, “...and you seem happy. Heck, you look like you haven’t stopped smiling in years. What is about you that makes you perfect for this place, and what is it about me that makes me dread every night I have to come in? What’s the difference between us?”
“About 40 IQ points... Jerry’s favor,” a strangely modulated voice behind him spoke with a thinly veiled sense of amusement.
“What the-“ Bill began, turning to face the source of the strange voice, only to be silenced by a spinning kick to the side of his face. The kick connected... hard, and Bill’s world spun on it’s axis as he dropped to the floor like a sandbag, before even getting a glimpse of his attacker - the last thing he heard before darkness came over him was:
“Word of advice, Billy-boy... Get a day job, and then don’t quit it.”
Domo kotsu uru mamoru yo, Teen Titans
Suki kidai naku randemo taberu yo, Teen Titans
Shin kami dari kari oyai
Okuga san su ika shakai
Omae mo wa nari mounai, Teen Titans, GO!
Okida koidei yopei oku dayou, Teen Titans
Mono yami haku daiketsu shichau yo, Teen Titans
Kas rana suke ju kontoro
Mama na daichu kontoro
Megau dou wa hate shinai, Teen Titans, GO!
1,2,3,4, GO! Teen Titans!
‘X marks the Spot’
A non - official Teen Titans (animated series) story.
Written by : Andrew “The Government” B.
- Jump City, Business District - 14:43:17 the next day.
Robin walked along the street, his hands wedged into his pockets. Not that it was cold, or that he had something in there worth keeping track of... he just felt useless.
“...And next, we shall venture to the store of departments! I have promised to get for Raven, a new robe for her to wear... She did not seem enthused with my offer of the floral print... perhaps she would like the ‘plaid’ I have heard so much about!” Starfire babbled happily, floating next to her masked companion.
The concept of shopping, while at first a little lost on her, had become something of a treat for Starfire. Though she seemed to enjoy a different aspect than most people did, Robin smiled slightly. Most people though of shopping as getting things, while the alien girl saw it only as a means to lavish the others with gifts - though rarely with success in some cases. Raven was quickly becoming the owner of an increasingly clashing wardrobe, Cyborg was up to his eyebrows in small appliances, Beast Boy... well, he often found a use for what Starfire gave to him.
Robin grimaced, remembering the last prank the green changeling pulled on them... Why Starfire had given him so many boxes of Ramen was far beyond him. It might have been funny, at least from his point of view had he not been the one on the receiving end of what had become known only as “The Noodle Incident.”
Remembering the aftermath of that fateful afternoon, Robin involuntarily shuddered, and turned his thoughts elsewhere. He remembered what she had given to him only the week previous. It was like a box that contained the past 4 years of his life, summed up into one object. How she had gotten her hands on an honest-to-god Batarang... He wasn’t even sure he wanted to think about it, really. He only hoped that she didn’t fly to Gotham City to wrestle it out of Bruce’s hands herself. Robin knew without thinking that she would go to those lengths to make him happy.
It was a very thoughtful gift, nevertheless... Of course, Starfire wasn’t aware of the events that led to him working alone in Jump City. The feelings that seeing the old familiar black, bat-shaped weapon brought up were mixed, but he really did appreciate the gift, and had even mounted it on his quarters’ wall above his spartan bunk, opposite of his ‘thinking wall’ as he had begun referring to it in his mind - the wall where he often taped up newspaper clippings, articles, photographs, and research data when trying to put the pieces together to bringing a criminal to justice.
Robin looked up through the corner of his eye at his colleague as she floated along; happily talking non-stop about everything from what Cyborg’s use for a food processor might be, to how Raven would look so much better in a yellow sundress. She seemed oblivious to everything but the joys of the day, supporting over 44 boxes of various products in one hand with no visible effort.
Robin wasn’t exactly self-conscious about many things- he felt confident in his strength and abilities, but often he felt overshadowed by the Tamaranian girl. As loath as he was to admit it- part of the reason he hadn’t tried to return more of the alien girl’s affections were her inhuman abilities...
‘When your girlfriend can bench-press a coach bus...’ he thought to himself with only a slight sense of amusement, but a more acute sense of irony. He knew himself to be more the “alpha male” type... but at the same time, he didn’t like the idea that he would be so shallow that he would be unable to grow past such things and let something like a strength difference stand between them...
“-of the Police?” Robin snapped back to reality when he heard Starfire speak the words.
“Wha?” Robin looked up, finding that his red-haired companion was no longer by his side. He looked back to see her a few feet back, pointing off across the street. He followed her gesture, seeing a number of Police cars gathered by the entrance of one of the larger department stores in the area, while an officer was rolling out a roll of yellow barrier guard, with the black repeating print that read, ‘CAUTION: Crime Scene - No Entry Jump City Police Department.’
“Must we not help the Department of the Police?” Starfire asked, with a look of confusion on her face.
Robin shrugged. “That’s up to you, Star - it didn’t set off the alert, so it must not have been that important.” He didn’t think that Starfire’s look of confusion could have compounded, yet it did ten-fold when he spoke the last word.
“Not... important?” Starfire, asked - genuinely not understanding. “A crime has been committed, people may be in danger! How can such a thing not be important? We are the Titans - it is not our duty to help everyone?”
Robin sighed - wanting to explain to her that they couldn’t respond to every report - every petty theft, purse snatching and kitten stuck in a tree... but he had a feeling she wouldn’t understand that either. “Okay... If you want, we can go check it out,” he said with a soothing tone, promising himself he’d take her aside to have one of their frequent “talks” about life on earth, addressing the severity of crimes, and what kinds required the Titans’ personal attention.
The red-haired girl shot off like a bullet, surprisingly keeping the stack of boxes balanced in one hand again, without any visible effort, as if it were the most natural thing in the universe.
Will continue tomorrow.