Josh’s first impulse was to scream, but he bit his bottom lip instead. It seemed like a slightly less girly response to the bloody animal corpse on the counter. “Um . . . yeah.” He pointed up at the sign above the cash register while looking up at the seven-foot-tall monster in front of his check stand. It was covered head to foot in shaggy white hair, with two dark holes for eyes peering out from the fur, and a black-lipped mouth full of jagged ivory fangs. It was oddly adorable and oddly frightening at the same time, though it smelled like a wet yak that had been frolicking in a pool of Axe.
The sign on the wall behind him read American dollars only. It said it in English, Spanish, what might have been Chinese, and several languages that looked like graffiti, a child’s scribbling, and precisely-thrown monkey poo. In fact, Josh was fairly certain Mr. Kwon had put up that sign solely to fuck with him. But now that Albino Bigfoot had slapped a dead skunk on the counter, he didn’t know what to think.
Josh shook his head, and his stomach roiled as he caught the stench of dead animal mixed with the weirdly sweet stink of skunk musk. “We don’t accept that. That’s not currency to us.”
The mop monster shook its head, mimicking Josh’s movements. Damn it! He never knew if any of these monsters understood him. Weren’t they supposed to be, like, missing links or something? Shouldn’t communication be easier? Josh pointed at the dead skunk, and wondered if he was gonna be able to keep from barfing. If he threw up, would Bigfoot throw up too? “No. That’s not good here. We only take cash.”
Sasquatch pointed at the skunk like Josh was doing, shaking its head and making little grunting noises that might have been an attempt at mimicking his words. He just wasn’t getting through to the walking shag carpet, was he? “Okay, we’ll take credit cards. Hell, I’ll settle for a geode if you’ve got it, but I don’t want roadkill. Okay? Get it out of here.” He began making shoving movements with his hands, which the ambulatory area rug simply mirrored. Christ on a pogo stick, it was like talking to his one-year-old cousin.
Josh looked around behind the counter and found the broom, which he used to push the corpse off the checkout counter. Not his silver werewolf broom, just the everyday kind he used to sweep up after lizard guys who couldn’t navigate the cereal aisle without knocking the Cheerios off with their tails.
The rug monster caught the corpse before it hit the floor and tried to put it back, but Josh shooed him off with the broom. “Take it outside!” He pointed vehemently at the door, and finally Shaggy seemed to get it, stomping off outside and carrying its carrion with it.