Disclaimer: All characters not owned by Joss Whedon are owned by Warner brothers or DC comics. I, unfortunately own nothing.
All in all, it was better than she could have expected. After a thousand years of bloodshed and slaughter in her career as a vengeance demon, she hadn’t expected a few years of humanity to tip the balance of things, even if she had helped save the world. She’d expected to suffer in the blood pits of Arishnamar or worse for all eternity.
By comparison, retail wasn’t so bad.
She attempted to smile at the hulking man in the bright costume. The corner of her mouth twitched as she fought not to offer fashion advice.
The red cape was fetching, but wearing underwear on the outside had gone out with Madonna in the eighties. Still, there was something about him, with his all American good looks and his boyish charm.
“We’ve got glasses,” she said, forcing herself to smile more brightly. “We’ve got x-ray specs that really work, not like those fakes you see in the backs of the comic books.”
He shook his head and smiled a little. “I’m looking for something a little more inconspicuous.”
Anya frowned. “I can’t imagine what someone like you would need with these anyway.”
“I’d like to keep my personal life personal.”
Brightening, Anya said, “I have just the thing!”
The stock of glasses in the back with the “Don’t notice me” charms on them were gathering dust in the back room. Most people who came here wanted the more spectacular spectacles…the ones guaranteed to find true love, the x-ray specs, even the beguiling monocles.
The small curse that came with the charm didn’t help any. The “Don’t notice me” charms worked even when the wearer didn’t want them to.
Romance wasn’t easy when a prospective lover’s eye slid right past you.
Still, all he had to do was take off the glasses. It wasn’t like he’d spend seventy years pining after a woman who didn’t know he existed. Nobody was that stupid.
“I’ll take all ten,” he said.
Her smile brightened and became genuine.
“Could I interest you in collapsible boots and capes? They use genuine fifth dimensional technology to phase in and out of the universe on command. We can make them up in any fashion you’d like.”
He stopped for a moment and frowned. “This stuff is safe, isn’t it?”
She kept her smile carefully fixed on her face as she said “Absolutely safe.”
By the time he found out that the capes and boots were cursed, the store would be long gone, in another dimension.
Besides, what were the odds that he couldn’t handle the occasional imp infestation? It wasn’t as though Mr. Mxyzptlk was vicious or anything. He was just annoying. She’d be glad to be rid of his once a month visits to the shop.
The small humanoid coyote looked bedraggled standing in the lobby. He stared up at her with large, sad eyes.
“I can’t give you your money back. It clearly states in the contract you signed that rocket powered skates are nonrefundable.”
The coyote mumbled, and Anya said, “What did you think was going to happen at 600 miles an hour?”
Bursting into outraged mutterings, the wolf slammed the mangled remains of the skates on the counter.
She frowned for a moment, then said “I suppose I could give you an in-store credit. Those skates did have a defective hinge that was recalled last month. You should have read your newsletter.”
He scribbled something furiously on a small wooden sign.
Outraged, Anya said “Acme Corporation stands behind its workmanship! You’re lucky I’m giving you in store credit at all. When was the last time you actually paid for any of this?”
The coyote shrugged.
Reaching behind the counter, she pulled out a bottle of birdseed.
“Earthquake pills. If he takes more than a few bites of this, it’s all over.”
Sourly, the coyote grabbed the bottle from the counter and stalked out of the store.
He should have read the fine print on his immortality pills. They didn’t protect against pain, and they tended to cause terminal bad luck.
Sometimes retail wasn’t all that different from being a vengeance demon.
It was a devil of a job.