Hard Leather Couch

By London

Disclaimer: Don't own 'em. Duh.

Chapter 1: Waiting

Music filtered through the speakers, coming out with a tinny sound, into the waiting room. Beetlejuice grumbled to himself and once again checked his number. It was long enough that he didn't want to even try to say it out loud. He shifted on the leather couch and inwardly cringed at the way it creaked.

He glanced up at the digital counter that sported the ticket number of the next person being helped in big red numbers. It dinged and changed to 307,483. Beetlejuice groaned and looked around. Someone in this stupid waiting room had to be interesting. When he first entered there had been some hot ghoul who smacked him. Bitch. Not like he was going to do much other then touch her leg. He had also gotten his head shrunk by some lame, non-speaking witch doctor, but with a snap it was back to its original size.

Beetlejuice stood up and went over to the counter. He pounded on the fiberglass pane until it crashed open.

"What do you want?" Miss Argentina asked. Her blue face was nothing but a scowl.

"What the hell is taking so long?" Beetlejuice asked. Miss Argentina rolled her eyes and made to shut the sliding pane, but Beetlejuice caught it, stopping it.

"Let go of the window" Miss Argentina said. She had already had half a dozen verbal arguments with him.

"No" Beetlejuice said. "I want to talk to someone. Now."

"Give it a rest you jerk" Miss Argentina growled. "You have to wait until your number is called." She struggled with the window. Beetlejuice looked as if she wasn't putting up any kind of fight. "Let go!"

"Give me a new number" Beetlejuice said. "I'll leave you alone if I get a ticket with a lower number."

Miss Argentina put her full weight into the sliding pane, but it didn't even budge. She cursed, or at least Beetlejuice guessed that she was cursing, and pulled a piece of paper out from a drawer.

"If I give you this, then I expect no more problems from you" Miss Argentina said.

"Sure" Beetlejuice said. He took the number from her and she slid the door shut, nearly catching his hand in the process. Beetlejuice cackled and turned to the rest of the waiting room. No one even seemed to care. He looked at the number in his hands. It was still in the millions, but closer to the number that was on the digital display. "Shit."

Beetlejuice walked over to the leather couch and plopped himself back down. The couch was uncomfortable and hard.

"You'd think that they'd give us a better couch" Beetlejuice scoffed to no one in particular. Beside him was a thin man in a chef's uniform. His skin was a greenish-grey color and he had a knife sticking out of his chest. "You a chef?"

"I was" The man answered. He had his arms crossed and sported an unhappy look on his face. Beetlejuice turned towards him.

"Are ya haunting a restaurant?" Beetlejuice asked. The man grumbled and raised an eyebrow to him. "What? My pits stink or something?"

"I don't want to talk with you" The chef said turning away from Beetlejuice. Beetlejuice growled and faced forward. He let his legs stretch out as he slouched. He had already read the reading material, silently and aloud.

Beetlejuice was beside himself. He had no idea how much time had passed, but he was the only one left in the waiting room. He had kicked his feet up on the couch and laid down. If only there was some whiskey, he thought. He had been singing off key.

"…From your head down to your OW! Scream until you like it!" Beetlejuice belted out. "Scream until you like it!"

The window at the front desk slid open and a woman with half of a head poked half of her body out.

"Will you PLEASE BE QUIET?!" She screamed. Beetlejuice looked at her with a smirk.

"I guess you liked it, huh?" Beetlejuice commented. He chuckled and stood up. He swaggered over to the lady, who was quite the looker, until you saw her profile. "Babes, look. This is how it is." He held up his number. "I need to be processed. I'm going nuts in here."

"You'll have to wait for your number to be called" The lady said. Her name tag said 'Sue'. She tried to shut the window on him, but he caught it.

"There ain't no one in here" Beetlejuice growled. Sue looked at him as if he was lying. "I used to fuckin' work here! Christ! I know how it goes! There's always someone free back there!"

"Your bad language is not going to help you" Sue said. "Please remove your hand from the window."

"Make me" Beetlejuice growled. Sue tried to move his hand, but he didn't move. The more she tried the more frantic her efforts became. "Look, Sue, we're up to 746,003. Can't you make my number the next one called?"

"That's against the rules" Sue said trying to push the window shut.

"Look you half-wit" Beetlejuice smirked at that. "I've got places to haunt, people to kill, you know how it goes. I need out, toots."

"You're just going to have to---" Sue said. Beetlejuice was through the window in a second. "Hey!"

"Piss off" Beetlejuice said. He pushed open the door and turned back to Sue. He flicked his finger toward the girl and was amused when all of her writing tools got up and walked away.

"My pens!" Sue screeched. Beetlejuice walked out of the office and into the cluster of paper and desks. Things hadn't changed. The dead still did paperwork in a mechanical-like fashion.

Beetlejuice saw the ghoul he was looking for. She was a purple-skinned, black-haired girl who had obviously died in the 1940s. He snuck up behind her and quickly pulled her chair back. He was rewarded with a loud shriek. Beetlejuice cackled.

"BJ?" The girl said. Her face, which had looked angry, softened as she stood up. "What are you doing here?" She grabbed his red tux coat and pulled him down so he wouldn't be seen by anyone else. She sat on her chair. "Juno has been on the warpath because of you."

"Fuck her" Beetlejuice said. "So what have you been up to, Ruth?" He gave her a full fledged smile. "You almost out of here?"

"You know I was sentenced to four hundred years as a civil servant" Ruth replied. She smiled at him and gave him a quick hug. "What kind of trouble did you get into?"

"I didn't do nothing bad" Beetlejuice said. "I just did as I was asked. I made a deal and I kept my end of the bargain."

"Is that the marriage thing I heard about?" Ruth asked. She went back to filling out a form. Beetlejuice ran a hand up her leg. Ruth gasped and slapped it away. "BJ."

"What?" Beetlejuice asked. "Look, that marriage thing was just a sham to be free. Didn't mean anything to me."

"Great" Ruth said sarcastically. "That's a perfect way to start any kind of relationship."

"I need to get out of here, Ruthy. I need to go back and fix some stuff, starting with a particular girl" Beetlejuice said. He looked around. No one seemed to care that he was there. "I need to know which door I should take."

"Why don't you just try them all?" Ruth asked.

"Do you know how many doors there are?" Beetlejuice asked. Ruth sighed and flipped through a six-inch stack of papers. After a few minutes she stopped.

"Right now it's door 254" Ruth said. "Left side."

"Great" Beetlejuice said. He stood up and planted a kiss on Ruth's temple. "Thanks, toots."

"You're welcome" Ruth said. She seemed overly consumed by her work. "I'm busy you know."

"Ruth, here's a tip" Beetlejuice whispered. "At some point, stand up and leave through one of these doors. You won't be stuck here if you just leave."

"I can't just leave" Ruth said. "That's preposterous!"

Beetlejuice rolled his eyes. He knew what civil servants had to do. If they just left, then their sentence would be up due to a show of will power. Most became so consumed by their work that they couldn't leave. Beetlejuice walked away from Ruth and ran to the hall of doors.

Door 254, on the left side, was a red padded door. Beetlejuice strolled through and found himself in a house with a cottage feel. He looked around, confused. He was supposed to be at the Deetz'. He walked out to the middle of the foyer and glanced around. It looked similar, but only in structure.

"Delia!" Charles yelled from upstairs. Beetlejuice watched as the man appeared and started to come down the stairs. "Delia! Let's get going! The party has already started!"

Beetlejuice watched as Charles passed right by him, heading for the kitchen. He smirked. This was definitely the place.