Chapter One: Security Zeal
September 10th, 2017
AKA: Week 1, Day 1
Jason walked up to the restaurant, his only guide the smiling bear's face lit up be neon tubes. It was odd how different the atmosphere changed just by the time of day. When he was here not twelve hours ago, misremembering the time for his shift, it was full of life and the laughter of tiny human beings.
Now? Bleak, dark, cold, and – was that a light?
A man wielding a flashlight shined the light near Jason, then opened the door.
“Uh, hello, hello? Are you one of the new night guards?”
“Yeah, Jason. Jason Brown.”
“Great! Well, come on in, I know it looks a little, uh, spooky, but it's fine.”
As Jason stepped through those doors he was well acquainted with, and his eyes adjusted to the dim light, he saw three people sitting around a table, playing what appeared to be strip poker.
“Oh, uh, really, guys? Didn't I tell you? The other two guards are female!”
“Yeah, you told us. We're just not classy and gently-mannish like you.” The one without a shirt used a lot of gesturing while explaining his partial nudity. Then he turned to Jason and smiled. “Hi. The name's Mike Schmidt., that guy's Jeremy Fitzgerald, and he's Fritz Smith”. Mike gestured in turn to the pale man who had no pants, but had thankfully kept his boxers, and the darker-skinned man who only appeared to have lost his tie.
“Jason Brown. Nice to meet you... even though I'd prefer it with more clothes.”
Mike chuckled, and Jeremy started guffawing; Fritz, however, started to look down, as though being caught without a tie was just as shameful as being nude. The man with the flashlight coughed.
“Yeah, so would I. Anyway, seeing as you've met them, my name's –”
“Phone Guy!” The others chorused, cutting him off.
Jason was bewildered. “Why 'Phone Guy'? That seems like kind of a stupid name.”
Jeremy spoke up. “Well, yeah, it kinda is. But, dude, this guy, he like, never showed his face to us. Only left some recordings on the, y'know, landline, every night.”
“It was really bad by the time I was hired.,” Mike interrupted. “Sometimes he'd ramble on for half an hour or more before getting to something that was actually worthwhile. Most of the time, though, he'd just list off horror stories and getting his facts mixed up. Real helpful in the dead of night with those guys wandering around,”pointing a thumb at the opened-curtain show stage, “jerking every time their servos locked for more than a minute.”
Jason looked over at the show stage. The only one he could see up there, and it was only by his weirdly glowing eyes, was Freddy.
“Okay, yeah, I admit, recording those probably didn't soothe you all that much. Especially, uh, that one time I, um, decided to record at work... and I had a heart attack...”
Jason cut in, “That sounds terrible. Where they really that bad, or was it just ridiculously unfortunate timing? And, minor note, where are the other animatronics?”
“No, it was actually health issues, so, like, it's why I look... some people have said deflated. And don't worry about the robots. They usually just wander around, do their own thing.”
“Then how do we guard them? I mean, you gotta know where something is to guard it, right?”
“That's why we have the security cameras.”
There was a knock at the door, and the guards' eyes noticed the two female employees for the first time.
“Ah! Let me just, uh, go let them in. Um, Fritz, could you show... actually Jeremy, you go, you have the fewest clothes on. I warned you guys. Go show Jason his, uh, room and suit.”
Jeremy ushered Jason along toward the “Employees Only” door as Phone Guy greeted the two with his signature “Hello, hello!” Jeremy put a key in the lock to open it, instead of relying on Freddy, as Jason had before.
As soon as they walked on the stage, why he did that was obvious. The bear, although still on, hadn't even moved from his place. Jeremy made no mention of it, instead going through the back door and turning down the hallway.
“So, like, don't get me wrong on this, Phone Guy's great, loves us all equally, guard or robot. But the dude's seriously overbearing, you haven't even heard the half of it yet. I mean, like tonight, why do we need to wear pants? If we're doin' our job right, nobody would know!”
“Yeah, sure, sure. So what's this about my own room?”
“Oh, you mean this?” Jeremy gestured to a door that was indeed marked “Jason Brown: security guard”, although as Jason stepped through, he was severely underwhelmed.
There was almost nothing in it, except a desk with a laptop and a chair.
“It's so neat, right? Your uniform's even in the bottom drawer. Might want to put it on. Say, why didn't you have it before you came here?”
“Uh... my roommate. Yeah, he's got a real problem with the color purple.”
“Heh, yeah, some people are weird.” Jeremy made no mention that he was proudly standing in almost sleepwear before a new employee.
Ms. Chavez, however, did. “Mr. Fitzgerald! Have you no shame? This is no way to greet a new guard!”
Jeremy immediately stood at as much attention as one could while in boxers. “No, Ms. Chavez, ma'am!”
She pointed to Jason and scolded “If you must insist on not bringing your suit home, you must be expedient about putting it on the first thing when you get here. This is a business. And you!” she whipped to Jeremy, “Go put the rest of your suit on by ten or you can go outside in that until midnight for all I care!”
As she left, Jeremy turned to Jason. “When I said 'no', I actually meant I had no shame. Don't think she took it that way, do you?”
Jason smiled. Oh, this was going to be fun.
When all the required clothes had been put on, the stepped back out into the main lobby to discover a large circle around Ms. Chavez. They joined the other security guards just as her watch switched to 10. She lifted her head to yell at them for not being there, then stopped.
“Congratulations. Everyone managed to make it here in time with all their clothes. Now, as manager, it is my duty to introduce everyone who may have not met our new additions, human or robotic.
“Our oldest member has requested that he keeps his monicker of 'Phone Guy', for some reason that eludes me. He is the head security guard, and thus person you turn to if a problem occurs. I trust him implicitly, and he has the highest rank below Manager.” She smirked slightly, as if proud she was above someone older than her.
“The next in rank is Mike Schmidt, the last security guard at the old location and quite knowledgeable, if sometimes more casual than I'd prefer.
“Fritz Smith is actually the lowest rank in guarding, but he is the top person to go to when something technical breaks down. Do not attempt to fix yourself, he has years of experience.” Jason wryly noted that the comment was directed very much at him, as if she was expecting a reaction. He would not give one.
“Scottie Clarkson is a new employee to us, but was at one point hired by a rival company which apparently managed to rip off the design and behavior of the animatronics. They weren't in business for long. We welcome her warmly.” Ms. Chavez only preformed a golf clap, but the guards and animatronics alike were more enthusiastic.
“Jeremy Fitzgerald was employed shortly before Fritz Smith at one of our previous locations, but was untimely cut off for... what was it, again?”
“Called in a sick day when all I wanted to do was get roaring high,” his smile faltered as he continued, “on the... well, frankly, the worst day possible.” After this he was uncharacteristically somber.
“Jennifer Martin is also a new recruit, and we are very glad to have her. She's a bit introverted, but she should fit in well.
“And this is Jason Brown, by far one of our more... eccentric guards.”
She was making his efforts to keep cool extraordinarily difficult.
“Let me introduce our newer members to the animatronics, then I pass on the job of securing the building to you.