Implications of Policy
I posted a bit in my LJ a while back from a story I hope to write with goa'uld!Jack--a scene set in a DC-area Safeway. widget285 asked if the goa'uld had a Safeway card, and I had to admit he did not; she regretted not getting to see goa'uld!Jack face down checkout girl!Brittani, and I said, well, okay. So here you are. An AU of an AU that isn't written yet. It is unbetaed flashfic, and is Completely Widget's Fault. (Also Brittani is no longer a checkout girl. Sorry.)
The snake didn't believe him.
Jack hadn't offered up the information in the first place, of course, but the peculiarities of wholesale grocery shopping came pretty low on the list of elephants not to think about. The fucker wanted something sweet; it knew Costco was a place with food; and so it was damn well going in there to satisfy its craving. It didn't actually talk to Jack--that was vanishingly rare, and always bad--but Jack had the impression that it expected the uniform to get it privileges. The word "ethnocentrism" floated up from somewhere, and fuck, that was depressing, even now he couldn't get Daniel's voice out of his head.
So anyway, the snake didn't believe him. Nor, at first, did it believe Brittani. Brittani was maybe twenty, and didn't seem to be quite grown into her body yet. Her gestures were just a little awkward, and her shoulders hunched forward in that automatic don't-look-at-me posture common to gawky teenagers everywhere. She was, however, sure of one thing: No, she could not let anyone enter the store without a membership card.
"It's only forty-five dollars," she said, a little anxiously. "That's for one year's basic membership, and you should recoup that in savings. Easily! Are you buying for a family?"
No, Jack thought--even this much later, still a flinch there, he noted clinically--and "No," the snake said. "Listen, I missed dinner, and I just need a little something to hold me until I get home. So I'm going to walk in here--"
"Sir, I'm sorry, I can't..."
"I'm going to walk in--"
Brittani--who the hell named their kid something like "Brittani" anyway? Hadn't they ever heard of the Supreme Court Justice name test?--stood up straighter, and looked the snake right in the eyes. "Sir, I'm sorry, I can't allow that. Now, you can buy a membership or leave the store." She finally cracked, gaze going back down to the floor, but then she saw another employee watching them and firmed up again. "That's company policy."
The snake stared at her. Jack felt bad for the kid; she was doing her job, and taking crap for that was no one's idea of fun. But good for her, for sticking to her guns. It didn't matter in the long run whether or not the thing got into Costco, but hey, Jack enjoyed watching it get thwarted. No bulk-packaged mini-donuts for you, bucko!
It looked at Brittani; looked at her considerably taller and heavier co-worker; looked back at Brittani. Jack could feel it the instant that it decided mini-donuts weren't worth the aggravation of arguing with a human, and for about half a second, he was pretty damn pleased with his countrywoman. Not that she knew she was throwing out an evil from beyond the stars, but Jack had always been more interested in ends than means anyway.
The snake went back to its car--well, actually the car of Desmond Edwards, but Desmond wouldn't be needing it now--and waited. Jack knew what it was going to do pretty much as soon as it did, of course, and of course couldn't do a goddamn fucking thing about it, because the snake was touchy about its prerogatives and unimpressed by the idea that the humans of Earth didn't owe it anything. They might have policies; but so did the snake, and it knew damn well that its needs were more important.
They sat there for two hours, until Brittani got off at ten, and then followed her to her car at a reasonable distance. Jack had hoped for someone else walking with her, hoped for a late customer, even hoped that she tended toward paranoia, but he hadn't had a piece of good luck for a very long time and the universe apparently didn't feel like starting now. She heard him--it, the snake, dammit, she heard it--in time to turn around, but not soon enough to do any more about it than Jack did.
It killed her fast, or Jack did--he couldn't decide, not for sure, because it was the snake who wanted her dead (insolence, it had whispered, but they'll learn) but Jack's hands that knew how to do it quickly and efficiently and quietly. The snake liked it baroque, when it bothered to dirty its hands at all, but it knew it was taking a risk and it felt that just making sure the slave didn't survive its poor behavior was good enough. The slave--Brittani, Jack thought, the snake didn't care what Jack called her but Jack did, it mattered--Brittani lay face-down between her car and the van next to it, neck broken, eyes still open wide.
Jack figured she'd be found pretty quickly, so they left. Stole her purse first, though. That was Jack's idea too.
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