peaking of which, it seemed like the person Iiwas working with on the night shift today was that rumored Takenaka…

“Thanks for your hardiwork.”

“Ya, I suppose it’s time for shift change.”

Just before 12:00, I entered the store anditook over with the evening shift worker.

Since we worked different hours, our relationship was not very close, though our greetings were exchanged repeatedly like this and we would talk for a while before the shift change.

While taking off my uniform from the hanger in the back room and changing, I cast a quick glance around the store.

At this hour, manyicustomers were still coming in and out of the store.

“How is it? Are you accustomed to working the night shift?”

The one who spoke to me was Nagase, the evening shift worker, whoiwasialready getting ready to go home.
He was a university student with a long, waxed wolf hairstyle and mole under his left eye that exuded sex appeal.

All in all, he gaveioff the image ofisomeone who would look good in a band.

“…Even ifiyou asked me that… I’ve only worked a few days here.”

“I see, I have heard that the night shift is often too free, but it makes people feel sleepy, right?”

“Oh, that happens when there is too much free time.
But lately, myidays and nights are reversed, so I don’t get that sleepy.”

“Right, I suppose that’s how it is.
I heardifrom Aoyama the other day that something happened.”


“That the door opened? About that.”


I glanced at theiautomatic door from the side.

Whenever a customer entered or left, it would chime and open systematically.
Otherithan that, of course, it never opened.

“Wasn’t that frightening?”

“Not really, I just found it strange.”

“Haha, you’ve got a lot of guts, don’t you? The last person who joined the night shift kicked up such a fuss that they quit within three days.”

“Heh, is that so?”

“The manager occasionallyiinspects it, but apparently it’s not malfunctioning, which is odd, isn’t it?”

“Isn’t it clogged with trash or something?”

When I said that, Nagaseilaughed.

“Hahaha! That’s the way to think of it, the night shift workers must be able to hold their positions.”

“I know, right? If someoneimakes a fuss about specters and such, there’s no end to it.”

I was caught in the moment and laughed back.

After exchanging small talk, Nagase got ready to go home and I went to the counter.

Even so, Takenaka was late…

Even though it was almost time for him to start his shift, he hadn’t arrived yet.

I forgot to mention it.”

Before exiting the convenience store, Nagase paused as if reminded of something.

“Today, Hirai has replaced Takenaka.
I heard they switched shifts at the last minute.”

So that meant Hirai would be with me today? fehujriipr

“She will be here soon, I guess.
Hakamada, do your best on the night shift.”

With that, Nagase climbed on his large two-wheeled bike and left. biudw

After sending Nagase off from the store, I started to attend to the remaining three customers one after the other.

The old man with three beer cans, dried squid, and fried chicken sticks.

A young man who brought a plastic bottle and potato chips on top of a sexually explicit magazine.

A sweet bread and a pack of milk… And daily necessities for women only. bdwbiuqi

The office lady that brought it to the cashier made a very disgusted face.

Ah, yes, yes, youihated showing theseithings to men, right?

I can understand that. irebyebiyew

Without a trace of concern, I placed it in a transparent bag under the register and handed it back to her, along with the other items in the bag. wdheu8

“Thank you very much.”

I sent the three customers off with equally the same words, and in no time at all, silence descended upon the store.

I looked at my watch and noticed that it was past 22:00.

The night shift began at 22:00.

Hirai… Was she late…?

It did not really bother me thatimuch whether she was late or otherwise, since it was the night shift and I would not be so occupied that I would be overwhelmed…

That was my thought a few dozen minutesiago.

Standing alone at the counter was on the contrary too quiet and unnerving for me to relax.

Being alone wasitoo boring.

I wondered what happened to Hirai.
Even if I wanted to contact her, I couldn’tie-mail or call her because I hadn’t met her yet.

Or rather, more importantly…

My gazeishifted from the clock to a diagonal angle.

Behind the shelvesilined with magazinesiandicomics, I looked toward the glazed casement.

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