Title: Reaping the Whirlwind (The Boom Boom Boom Ba Remix), Part 4/14
Summary: What does the addition of supernatural-related reaps to the reaping workload, Roxy’s promotion, the addition of a new grim reaper with supernatural experience, a new sort-of boyfriend who may or may not be a pirate, and an approaching apocalypse all have in common? New grim reaper boss George doesn’t know, but she’s willing to bet that in the middle of it all the universe will kick her ass. Again.
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Dead Like Me crossover
Characters: Dead Like Me (order of appearance) — George, Mason, Daisy, Roxy, Kiffany, Delores, Penny, OCs. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (order of appearance) — Dawn, Buffy, Willow (appearance only), Giles (appearance only), Xander, OCs.
Pairing: George/Xander (nothing explicit)
Rating: R for language, cartoon violence and death, sexual situations
Warning: Spoilers for all of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV show only), Dead Like Me, and Dead Like Me: Life After Death.
“I hate doing these reaps,” Penny said in her Lisa Simpson voice.
“I can’t believe they’re making you guys do these, too,” George said as she watched two vampires bicker about where they should go get a bite to eat. “Since when does this count as ‘natural death’?”
“The people upstairs found a way to make us do it,” Penny said. “I’m still trying to figure out how they managed to change the definition of ‘natural death’ to include death by supernatural means. You’d think the word ‘supernatural’ would be a clue that it’s not ‘natural’, right?”
“Mason says we need a union to fight this thing,” George glumly said. “And to push for better staffing in the supernatural death division so we don’t have to deal with this crap anymore.”
The vampires got into a tussling match. Out came the fangs, the fucked-up face, and the yellow eyes.
“I miss the days when we didn’t even know that shit like this existed,” George remarked as the taller vampire got the shorter one in a headlock.
“Hey, at least having reapers who deal with death by external influences take on some supernatural deaths makes sense,” Penny said.
George shot her a glare.
“Murder’s an external influence, even if it is supernatural creatures doing it,” Penny said as she waved at the vampires, who were now hissing and snarling at each other as they rolled around on the ground between the between two large dumpsters.
“Thanks for throwing me under a bus,” George grumbled.
“You’re welcome,” Penny said.
They watched as the vampires separated and resumed their argument about where they could find the tastiest blood.
“So, how are you holding up?” Penny asked.
“Hmmm?” George absently acknowledged as she checked her post-it.
“With the new girl,” Penny clarified.
“Heard about that, did you?” George asked.
“You need to get plugged into the grapevine,” Penny giggled. “So, spill.”
“Her name’s Dawn, and she has experience with the supernatural.”
Penny made a face. “Ouch.”
“It gets better,” George said. “She has experience dealing with assholes like these two.”
“Guess you’re not going to stop doing supernatural deaths any time soon,” Penny sympathetically said.
George nodded as she watched the vampires resort to playing rock-paper-scissors to choose where they were going to eat. They both came up with ‘rock’. “Like you said, murder’s still murder. Doesn’t really matter how or who does it. Or in the case of these bozos, what does it.”
“Do you know what really creeps me out about this?” Penny asked as she waved at the vampires.
Once again, both vampires came up with ‘rock’. Clearly neither one of them could list imagination as one of their strong suits.
“Unh, I’d guess ‘they’re vampires’ would pretty much cover it,” George sarcastically answered.
“Besides that,” Penny huffed. “It’s how we’re standing right in front of them and they can’t even see us.”
“It gets creepier,” George said.
“The new girl, Dawn, went with Daisy on Daisy’s vampire-related reap the other night. Minute she saw the vampire she went nuts and attacked it with a piece of wood,” George said. “I guess she was trying to stop it from killing Daisy’s reap.”
Penny’s hand flew to her mouth. “No!”
George nodded. “Yep.”
“What happened?” Penny demanded.
“Hard to describe,” George said with a shrug. “So I gotta show you instead.”
“Show me what?”
George suddenly whooped and ran right at the two knucklehead vampires, who were now digging through their pockets and looking for a coin they could flip.
“George! What are you doing?” Penny shouted after her.
George ran right through one of the vampires like she was a ghost.
“Are you kidding me?” Penny shouted.
George bowed. Then she kicked out at the vampire she didn’t run through. Her foot passed harmlessly through his shin.
“They’re not even reacting,” Penny noted.
George walked back, again passing through one of the vampires. “Seriously. They not only can’t see us, they can’t feel us either. We can’t even touch them, and that’s even if we hold a piece of wood and try to stab them with it.”
“Can you feel them when you walk through them like that?” Penny asked as she stared at the vampires in horror.
“Nope. It’s like there’s nothing actually there, even though my eyes tell me they’re there,” George said as she rejoined Penny.
“Is it like that with all these supernatural things we’re dealing with?” Penny asked.
“Haven’t done a lot of these, hunh?” George asked.
“My second vampire-related reap, my third supernatural one,” Penny answered.
George nodded. “We’re pretty much invisible to all of them. Although I think there was a monster with spikes and pleather skin that could see me, but I’m not sure. It might’ve been aiming for the kid standing next to me.”
Penny shivered and hugged herself. “In other words, so far yes we’re invisible to these things, but no idea if it’s true across the board.”
“That about sums it up,” George glumly agreed.
A graveling appeared in a puff of smoke and made a beeline for one of dumpsters.
“The vampires will be so thrilled that dinner is coming to them instead of the other way around,” Penny sourly remarked.
The graveling jumped into the dumpster and began rooting around. Several pieces of wet-looking garbage were tossed out and landed on the ground with a disgusting plop.
“Oh, ew. Yuck.” George waved a hand in front of her nose to get the smell away. “I don’t want to know.”
“Two post-its. Two vampires. What more needs to be added to this,” Penny complained as she grimaced.
George considered the wet garbage on the ground. “Bet you $20 that only one of the reaps dies by vampire.”
Penny professionally eyed the graveling as it hopped out of the dumpster and lumbered toward the vampires. “Not a bet. I’ll pay if you can accurately guess how the non-vampire reap dies.”
“Easy. Slips on the garbage and cracks open their head on one of the dumpsters,” George said.
Penny stuck out her hand so she and George could shake on it. “You’re on.”
The gaveling reached up and tapped one of the vampires on chest before scurrying off. In response, the vampire froze and turned. He then elbowed his companion and mimed that he heard something.
Right at that moment, George heard a male and a female voice talking.
“This is it,” Penny said as they turned to face the approaching couple.
George linked arms with Penny and whispered, “Pretend to be drunk.”
Penny sagged against her as George began weaving her way toward the couple.
The couple stopped and eyed George and Penny warily.
“Scuze me,” George slurred. “But you look familiar.”
The couple exchanged confused glances.
“You. Hey, I’m talking to you,” George waved at the guy. “You’re Dusselberg, right?”
“Unh, no,” the guy shook his head.
“She wa’n’t talkin’ ta you,” Penny slurred.
“Thass right,” George nodded. “Talkin’ to her.”
The girl looked like she wanted to hide behind her date. “Do I know you?”
“N. Dusselberg, right?” George carefully annunciated. “Knew you in college.”
“I…don’t remember you,” the girl said.
“S’okay. I remember you,” George slurred as she and Penny continued their slow, but relentless walk by the couple.
“Unh, do you need us to call a cab or something?” the guy asked.
“Nah,” Penny said as she forced herself to trip so she could strategically land into the guy. She ran a hand down his chest to reap his soul. “We gotta ride.”
George flung an arm around N. Dusselberg and informed the girl, “We jus’ gotta find it.” As she pulled her arm away, she felt the tingling sensation in her hand indicating a completed reap.
“Night-night,” Penny waved as she once more began leaning on George.
“Smooth,” George complimented Penny as they continued their fake drunk walking.
“This ain’t amateur reaping hour you know,” Penny said.
They stopped when they heard the vampires roar behind them.
George straightened up. “Guess that’s our cue.”
“Remember, you owe me $20 if you’re wrong,” Penny reminded her as they turned to go back to the dumpsters and the vampires.
Both vampires had one victim each.
“No way,” George protested.
“I think I’m going to buy something nice with my $20,” Penny cheerfully said.
The vampire holding N. Dusselberg bit into her neck, which caused her date to go nuts. He managed to twist out of his vampire’s hold and began running to save the girl.
“That’s so sweet,” Penny sighed.
George nodded. “You wouldn’t believe how many guys I’ve seen turn tail and run instead of trying to save whoever they’re with.”
“Only goes to show that there are a few good men out there,” Penny said.
“Too bad he’s not going to survive it,” George said.
Right on cue, the guy stepped on the wet garbage, which caused him to slip. He fought to keep his balance, but before he could recover he smacked his head against the corner of the dumpster with a sickening crack and went down.
“Damn,” Penny swore under her breath.
“I think someone owes me $20,” George brightly replied.
“Excuse me, but what just happened?”
George and Penny turned in unison to see the reaped couple standing behind them.
N. Dusselberg stepped forward as she stared at the scene in front of her. “Is that us?”
“I’m afraid so,” George said as she grabbed the girl’s arm and gently led her away.
“But don’t worry,” Penny said as she gently took the guy’s hand, “we’re going to take you someplace safe.”
“There’ll be lots of pretty lights,” George promised the girl as they got further away from the feeding vampires.
“And you won’t have to worry about the mess behind us at all,” Penny promised. “It’s all taken care of.”
“But what about—” N. Dusselberg began.
The end of her question was swallowed by screeching noise.
George froze. “Oh, no. Get down. Get down!”
“What? What is it?” Penny demanded.
“Just do it!” George ordered as she grabbed her reap and pulled her to the ground.
“What’s going on?” Penny’s reap demanded.
“Shhhhh!” George ordered as she wildly looked around.
There was another screech as a giant squid-like creature strode into view. It was using its two-dozen tentacles like they were legs. It moved in an odd, lurching gait down the street.
N. Dusselberg whimpered and hid her face in George’s chest. George automatically hugged her reap and whispered something about how it couldn’t see them.
As I huddled with my reap telling her that there was nothing to worry about, I was having a hard time making myself believe it. For a start, that thing was easily 10 times bigger than the last time I saw it in action, namely ripping the face off a guy and leaving him with only the back half of his head.
Sure, it couldn’t see us. We weren’t in any danger, because it sure as hell wasn’t going to come after what it couldn’t see. That really wasn’t the point.
The point was that it could see the living just fine.
If that thing’s appetite grew as much as its body did, there was definitely a tag-team of grim reapers running ahead of it and working like hell to make sure all of the relevant souls had been reaped before the face-ripping began.
If this kept up, there wasn’t a single grim reaper in Seattle who wasn’t going to need some heavy therapy.
“George, what are those things hanging from its, unh, I hate to say waist but I don’t know what to call it,” Penny asked.
George forced herself to study the squid-like thing as it strode by. “Oh, my God,” she groaned.
“What?” Penny sounded terrified.
George swallowed to prevent herself from throwing up. “Faces. Those are the skins from people’s faces.”
N. Dusselberg tried to burrow into George’s chest.
“Are we in hell?” Penny’s reap asked.
“No, honey. You’re not in hell, and you’re not going their either,” Penny soothed.
“I promise there are lights. I promise there are lights. I promise there are lights,” George whispered into the top of her reap’s head.
The squid-like thing turned a corner and its screeching noise began to fade.
“Is it safe?” Geroge’s reap whispered.
“I think so,” George answered as she began to stand.
As Penny got to her feet, she said, “Change of plans.”
George paused in helping N. Dusselberg get upright.
“I say that after we get these two crazy kids to their destination, instead of me paying you that $20 I owe you, I buy you $20 worth of drinks,” Penny said. “I’ll double it if you tell me everything you know about that thing we just saw.”
George didn’t have to think about it. “You’re on.”
The good thing about being a reaper, and the bad thing about being a reaper, is reaper metabolism. Good, because if you do something stupid like eat something that’s been poisoned with enough crap to kill an elephant, you’ll get sick but you’ll also recover pretty fast. Bad, because if you have the overwhelming need to get drunk, it’s like waging a war to get there.
While it’s very hard for reapers to even get buzzed, let alone drunk, it’s not impossible. Thanks to years of living with Mason I knew that with enough money, or at least with enough determination, it was possible to get falling down, rip-roaring, dancing-on-tables-with-a-lampshade-on-yo
The key was to keep guzzling the booze until you go blind.
The first time, and before now the only time, I ever got drunk was right after what turned out to be a one-night stand with Trip, he of I’ll-call-you-but-never-did fame.
After I left the bar that night, I walked by a bridal shop and saw a bride-and-groom display. Naturally, I did what any sane, drunk, heartbroken, dead girl would do in that situation. I smashed the plate glass window and attacked the mannequins. By attacked, I mean that I pushed the bridal mannequin to safety before kneeing the groom mannequin in his non-existent nuts. By the time the police arrived, I was beating the crap out of that tux-wearing moron.
I ended the night by calling Delores from jail. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen your boss arrive at your jail cell in full renfaire costume with a certified cashier’s check made out in the amount of your bail.
I should’ve known that it would lead to trouble if I tried it again.
George cracked open an eye with sleepy moan.
Damn it. Her alarm didn’t go off.
She reached out with a heavy arm to smack her radio alarm clock to the floor. Her hand hit a lamp instead. Thankfully, the lamp remained cemented in place, like it had been bolted to her nightstand.
“Ow,” George grumbled.
Wait. A lamp? I don’t have a lamp on my nightstand.
George’s eyes flew open as she sat up in bed. “What the hell?” she demanded.
A warm lump underneath the sheets next to her gave a complaining moan and stirred.
“Holy shit!” George hopped out of bed dragging the sheet with her.
A very naked man groaned in protest and rolled over. He smacked his lips with a wince and looked up at her.
Remember how I said the first time I got drunk I got arrested and needed Delores to bail me out of jail?
This time I was apparently kidnapped by pirates.
The man’s one visible eye flew open and he let out something between a shout and a scream. He reached for the sheet as he also hopped out of bed, which resulted in a tug of war over the sheet.
“Let. Go,” George yelled as she tugged on the sheet.
“Sorry! Sorry!” he shouted as he did exactly what she asked him to do.
George went hurling backwards and landed with a smack against the wall.
“Sorry!” he shouted again as he rushed over to her.
“Stay back!” George yelled as she pulled the sheet up to her chin.
The naked man with brunet hair and the eye patch stopped short and held up his hands. “Staying back.”
“Ummm, you’re still—” George nodded at him.
The one-eyed man blearily blinked at her and then looked down. He made an “eeep!” sound as he turned around.
“View’s not an improvement,” George complained.
“Best I can do because you’ve got the sheet,” the man said.
Obviously he wasn’t thinking too clearly because he could’ve just yanked the bottom sheet off the bed. Could be he didn’t think of it because he was hung over. Or maybe he didn’t think of it because he woke up next to a complete stranger and was panicking.
I’d just have to live with staring at his bare ass. It wasn’t a bad ass to look at, to be honest. It just wasn’t an ass I actually knew.
Unless I did actually get to know it at some point last night.
“Okay, who are you and where are we?” George demanded.
“I think we’re in my motel room,” the man answered.
Or maybe he didn’t grab that bottom sheet because he was confused and had no idea where we were.
“You think we’re in your motel room?”
“Not sure. I got a lot drunk last night,” he said apologetically. “This is what I get for trying to keep up with the serious drinkers. I’m more of a one-beer kind of guy.”
“Don’t need to hear your life story,” George snapped.
“Shhhhhhh. My head’s trying to fall off,” the man said as he slowly swiveled his head.
“Well?” George demanded.
“Yes. Yes we’re in my motel room. The Avalon Motor Inn.” He began to nod, but stopped and grabbed his head with a hiss. “I’m never drinking again.”
“Good for you. Now where are my clothes?” George asked.
“Ummm, no idea.”
George firmly wrapped the sheet around her. “Great. Then we need to do a search.”
The man waved toward the bathroom. “Why don’t I get a towel first? For the sake of being a little less naked than I am now.”
“You do that,” George said as she got to her feet.
The man scuttled sidewise like a crab into the bathroom.
George managed to unearth her shirt, her jeans, and one sock by the time the man returned.
“I found this,” he said as he held up her panties between a thumb and forefinger.
George snatched them out of his hand. “Thank you.”
He nervously shifted from foot-to-foot as he kept the towel wrapped tightly around him. “I think I saw something clothing-like behind the television.
George stomped over to take a look. Success. The other sock and her bra had been found. “I need to get dressed.”
“Bathroom’s all yours,” the man said.
With a nod, George went in and closed the door.
The only good thing about this situation was that I didn’t have a raging hangover, unlike the half-naked pirate in the next room. Score one for reaper metabolism.
I’ve experienced so many firsts since my death. My first apartment. My first bills. My first kiss. My first time with a guy. And now my first walk of shame.
Yup. Life after death is just full of surprises. Let the good times roll.
George emerged from the bathroom fully dressed in a matter of a few minutes, just in time to catch her hung-over host pulling a battered t-shirt over his head.
“Igottago,” George said in a rush of breath.
“I, unh, found a wallet, a belt, a watch, and a jacket on the floor in the corner,” the pirate said with an uncomfortable nod to the pile on the bed. “Since they’re not mine…”
“Thanks,” George mumbled as she proceeded to gather everything up.
The man ran a hand through his hair as he shifted uneasily from one foot to the other. “I, unh…”
“What?” George snapped as she slid her watch into place on her wrist.
“This was,” he swallowed hard, “consensual right? I didn’t, ummm, force any issues or anything?”
Right, pal. I'd love to see you try forcing me to do anything.
“Pretty sure I went willingly,” George said shortly.
“Soooo, you remember what happened last night? Because I have to tell you, I’m drawing a blank,” the pirate sounded so hopeful that it gave George pause. “The last thing I remember I was trying to convince— Actually, forget that. I was talking to some people I…knew. Sort of. I vaguely remember someone telling a joke and me getting up to get another round of drinks, but I honestly don’t remember a thing after that, so I have no idea what I said or…or…did that might’ve resulted in you maybe doing something…something…ummm…that maybe you didn’t want to do.”
I actually started to feel bad for the guy. He was so worried about whether or not I consented to this mess that he tying himself into knots. On the one hand, I wanted to slap him for not taking me at my word, on the other it was actually kind of sweet in a fucked-up way.
“I, unh, was there with a friend myself and, ummm, I don’t actually remember even seeing you at the bar,” George said as she watched the man’s shoulders sag. “But, really, if I’m here I came willingly because I’m pretty sure my friend would’ve stopped it if I wasn’t. Willing, I mean. And, sure, I was drunk off my ass, but the way I figure it, you were too. So, y’know, the whole fucked-in-the-head thing goes both ways in this case.”
Pirate man didn’t seem entirely convinced, but he nodded his head. The head nodding turned out to be a big mistake. His skin took on a slight shade of green as he slapped a hand over his mouth and ran into the bathroom.
George followed him a few steps, but the sound of him throwing up killed the impulse to go any further. “I, unh, I think I just better go.”
Pirate man gagged his response.
“Oooooohkay. Bye,” George said as she turned and fled out of the motel room.
As soon as the door slammed behind her, she checked her watch and swore. She had to swing home, pick up the reap reports, get everyone’s post-it written out, run the mess over to the Pancake Stack, and then run to work.
If everything went perfectly, and if she skipped breakfast, she’d be only 45 minutes late. She’d have to think of a good excuse to feed Delores.
George purposely set off for the motel’s parking lot and stopped.
“Shit!” George exclaimed with a stamp of her foot. “Where the fuck did I leave my car?”
Don’t ask me how, but I managed to keep Dawn reap-free for the extra full week that Mason asked for. As it turned out, the extra week was all Dawn had. In short, she got her first assigned reap. Luckily it wasn’t a supernatural reap, just a dumb car accident. I don’t know why, but the fact that her first reap would be normal came as a relief, because fuck knows what she’d do if it was some kind of monster, like the giant squid-thing that kept giving me nightmares.
Even though Dawn had way more time finding her place in the reaper universe than I did, I figured she’d need someone to watch out for her on her first reap.
Maybe Mason’s worries were getting to me. Near as I could tell, Dawn hadn’t yet broken down or begun mourning her own death. There was something unsettling about the way she just accepted everything. What if Mason was right? What if Dawn didn’t think her death was real? What if Dawn thought she’d wake up tomorrow alive and well? And if she did believe either or both, how would she act with those ideas in her head?
Worse, what if I was right and Dawn was looking for a loophole to get out of this? What would happen if she thought she had found one? The potential for her fucking up and screwing herself over in that case could lead her to doom herself in ways I didn’t even want to imagine.
All I knew for sure was that we were out of time. Someone had decided that it was time for Dawn to be thrown into the mix, and had decided to force the issue.
And there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it.
The Pancake Stack was quiet, not surprising since it was after the supper rush.
George took a sip from her coffee and hoped neither Dawn nor Daisy noticed that her hand was shaking.
“Stop being so dramatic, Georgia,” Daisy complained. “The pregnant pause doesn’t suit you at all. Only a trained actress like myself can do it properly with the right amount of style to make it truly compelling.”
“Sometimes a sip of coffee is just a sip of coffee, Daisy,” Georgia said as she put her cup down and flipped open her Day Planner.
“Do I have to do this?” Dawn asked.
“You’re a reaper.” George held up Dawn’s post-it. “And you’ve been assigned your first reap, so yes you have to do it.”
Dawn gingerly took the post-it from George’s fingers and studied it. “Not a lot of information here,” she complained.
“You get the same information that we all get,” George stated.
“Now, Dawn, just remember everything Mason and I showed you,” Daisy soothed. “It’s no more complicated than that.”
Dawn slit her eyes at Daisy before returning her attention to the post-it. “I wonder what’ll kill this person.”
A car accident, but I wasn’t allowed to tell Dawn that.
“As I explained, our reaps are death by external influences, usually by normal means,” George said.
Dawn raised her eyebrows. “So I only imagined those few vampire-related reaps I saw Daisy and Mason do.”
“We actually don’t get a lot of those,” George said.
Daisy, who’d been silently watching George through the whole exchange, said, “Dawn, honey, if Georgia says that this reap is normal, then it’s a pretty good bet that there’s nothing supernatural about it.”
Dawn caught the subtext of that quick enough. “So you get more information than what’s on this post-it.”
Dealing with Dawn is a lot like walking through a minefield. You never know what she’s going to notice.
“I tell you exactly what I know,” George carefully said.
Notice that I didn’t say that I told her everything I knew.
“So how do you know this is a ‘normal’ reap?” Dawn asked as she waved the post-it like a flag.
“Because I’ve got no indication that isn’t. If I knew, I’d tell you.” George hoped that her tone was enough to stop Dawn from asking more questions she didn’t want to answer.
Dawn leaned back and suspiciously eyed George. “So definitely not a vampire.”
George resisted the urge to grind her teeth. “I swear to God, you want my ulcers to get ulcers. No, this reap will not feature vampires, zombies, freaky monsters, and definitely no giant squids with tentacles that suck off your face.”
Dawn sat bolt upright as her jaw dropped.
Oh-oh. Something tells me I just swallowed my foot.
“You’ll have to excuse Georgia,” Daisy said. “She’s a little obsessed with the squid.”
“Drop it, Daisy,” George said.
“Excuse me, but this squid.” Dawn cleared her throat. “What color was it?”
“How the fuck should I know? I’ve only seen it at night, which is not the best way to judge color,” George said. “Now, about your reap—”
Dawn leaned forward. “Did it have about two-dozen tentacles? Have an icky habit of wearing faces around its middle?”
“According to our fearless leader, it more has a habit of ripping faces off of people,” Daisy said. “Sounds rather fantastic if you ask me.”
George shot Daisy a glare.
“It screeches, too, right?” Dawn pushed. “A loud screech that makes you want to run and hide.”
George switched her glare to Dawn. “Why are you asking?”
“I’m right.” Dawn sat back as she studied George. “I can see that I’m right.”
Daisy’s gaze pinged between Dawn and George. “Are you trying to tell me that our Georgia is actually understating how bad this squid-like creature is?”
George ignored Daisy, and instead kept her focus on Dawn.
“Impossible.” Dawn seemed lost in thought. “Can’t exist in this dimension at all. It’d collapse inward in 10 minutes. Unless…” As her voice trailed off, Dawn’s head snapped up. “You know what? We need to go do this reap. Like right now.”
“You have 2 hours to get there, and it’s barely a 30-minute walk,” Daisy said. Her southern accent was bleeding through around the edges.
“Might as well get there early and get the lay of the land,” Dawn said as she hopped to her feet. “I’m heading out. Later, George.”
George and Daisy stared after Dawn as she scurried for the exit.
“Oh, my. What on earth was that about?” Daisy asked, this time with her southern accent in full force.
“I don’t know, but it worries me,” George said.
Daisy twisted back around to face George. “I think we have a problem.”
“Maybe,” George cautiously agreed. “Daisy—”
“I know.” Daisy held up a hand. “I’ll keep a close eye on her during her reap tonight.”
“May need you to do it for longer than that.”
Daisy’s eyebrows lowered, a sign that the idea didn’t thrill her at all.
George quickly waved her hands. “I’m not asking you to turn narc. I’m just saying that someone needs to watch her for trouble.”
“And trouble is coming, that’s for sure,” Daisy glumly agreed.
“Look, use your judgment,” George said.
Daisy blinked with surprise.
“If you see trouble, the kind of trouble I need to know, give me a head’s up,” George explained. “But make sure you only tell me if it’s important and the kind of thing that’ll blowback on her.”
“Or us,” Daisy added.
“That, too,” George agreed. “Anything you tell me, I’ll have to act on it. So only tell me if you think I really need to know.” George began to slowly nod her head. “Understand?”
Daisy actually smiled and sat up a little straighter. “I’ll do what I can.”
“Daisy, are you coming?” Dawn’s voice rang out across the restaurant.
George and Daisy peered over the divider and saw that Dawn was poking her head into the restaurant.
“Be right there,” Daisy waved back.
“God! Let’s get a move on,” Dawn ordered as she stepped back outside and let the door close behind her.
“That change in attitude isn’t weird at all. Nope. Not one bit,” George remarked.
“I’ll keep an eye on her,” Daisy said as she got up. “And Georgia?”
Daisy half-smiled. “Thank you.”
“For what?” George asked. “Dumping a mess in your lap?”
Daisy half-shrugged and turned to follow Dawn out of the restaurant.
“I just don’t get anyone today,” George grumbled as she sat back in her seat.
I half-expected to hear a horror story about a reap gone wrong from Daisy, but nope. I half-expected Dawn to come storming back to the Pancake Stack to inform me that she absolutely would not do another reap, but nope. If anything, the next four days were almost approaching normal, except for the fact that Dawn and not Roxy was the fourth member of our club.
The number of post-its also increased. It was still a two-reap minimum with bonus third reap for some lucky chump in our club. That’s nine reaps a day, which was a far cry from the four or five souls a day our merry band had to collect when Rube was The Boss, and more than the six or seven we were doing while Dawn was still shadowing Mason and Daisy.
Also, Someone upstairs was clearly annoyed with me. All of our reaps were now assigned, and I was all out of wiggle room in picking and choosing reaps that best matched my schedule, let alone anyone else’s. Worse, the reaps were all over the map, time-wise that is. The only good news was that at least half occurred at night, so I wasn’t stuck trying to explain to Delores why I was sneaking out of the office twice a day.
As for Dawn, she seemed downright cheerful. While Mason and Daisy groaned about the workload, Dawn just swooped up her post-its with a smirk and a quip. It was fucking irritating.
I should’ve realized that Dawn’s positive, can-do attitude was sign that trouble was boiling on the horizon.
What really blows my mind is that when it exploded, I didn’t hear about it first from Mason or Daisy. Oh, no. When it exploded, it happened on the fifth day after Dawn’s first reap right in the middle of the Pancake Stack.