Title: Drowning In Footwear
Author: Beer Good
Rating: PG13
Word Count: 999
Fandom: Buffy/Married With Children
Warnings: Slightly un-PC dialogue – this is Al Bundy, after all.
Disclaimer: Not mine. Money? Christ, both shows have been off the air for years.
Summary: Life has just found another way to mess with Al Bundy. And to nobody's surprise, it involves the customers at his shoe store.

Drowning in Footwear

9764 Jeopardy Lane, Chicago, 1992

It was a normal day in the run-down neighbourhood. The birds were choking on the fumes from the Dodge driving past, the garbage in the yard was stinking, and Al Bundy was cursing as he slammed the door behind him, threw his jacket on the floor and loudly announced:

"I wish the world was a roll of toilet paper and I'd just eaten a bowl full of chili!"

He plopped down on the couch beside Peggy, who continued watching Oprah. "An insane woman walked into the shoe store today," Al continued his rant. "I don't know when the English started dumping their mental patients on us, but..."

"Hmmm? Oh, hi Al." Peggy finally tore her eyes away from the TV. "I didn't notice you coming in. Then again," she smirked, "you never notice me coming either."

"That's because I'm never awake when you do," Al snarked back. "So you know how my boss Gary was going to take all the shoes that me and Griff haven't sold in the last 20 years and sell them to the shoe museum in Cleveland?"

"Not really, no."

"Well, I've only complained about it every day for the last three weeks," Al shrugged. "Anyway, apparently those shoes are worth a fortune by now, and the museum people are supposed to come by tomorrow morning to pick them up. So we'd just gotten all the shoes sorted by size, colour and vintage when this woman walks into the store, dressed like Queen Victoria, carrying a doll. She calls me 'cobbler' and asks me to make her some," and here he adopted a very unconvincing British accent, "'wee little lace-up booties for Miss Edith'. I tell her that we've only got what's on the shelves, she says her precious dolly only accepts handmade shoes, I tell her Toys-R-Us are just across the mall..." Al was getting worked up again. "She says the fairies told her to come to my store, and so I tell her I don't care what the male fashion designers are saying this year, but -"

"Let me guess," Peggy interrupted. "She walked out in a huff, then came back with a bunch of fat women who picketed your store and beat you up?" She chuckled at the thought.

Al smiled the joyless grin of the eternally shat-upon, shaking his head sadly. "No, Peg."

The mall, 2 hours earlier

"Go away. We're closed." Al didn't look up as someone jiggled the door to the shoe store. However, he did look up, jump to his feet and back away with a shocked "Oh" when the heavy glass door was kicked clear off its hinges and sailed across the shoe store, landing with a crash. For a few seconds, Al stared at the man who casually stepped inside... if indeed he was a man; there was something very wrong with his face, all wrinkles and yellow eyes, and long, sharp teeth. "Y-you know..." Al finally found the nerve to speak, "there's no smoking in here. Not that I mind or anything, it's just... mall policy, I don't make the rules..."

"Sorry about that." The white-haired, leather-clad vampire slowly took another drag on his cigarette before dropping it on the floor and stubbing it out with his boot. "Name's Spike. I've come to register a complaint. Seems my girlfriend wasn't completely satisfied with your customer service."

"Your... oh. Sorry...?"

"Look..." The vampire strode across the store, put his arm around Al's shoulders in a friendly manner and sat them both down on the bench. "I realise Drusilla can be a bit of a handful. In fact, just between the two of us, she's pretty much out of her mind. 'S why I don't really care to go shopping with her. I'm sure you know how it is."

Al tried for a smile. "Women, huh? Can't live with'em -"

"Well, I wouldn't know. All I'm saying is," the vampire nodded at the shelves full of ladies' shoes surrounding them, "if I had to work here I'd probably be pretty sick of it too, and I understand your position. No hard feelings?"

"Oh, absolutely." Al was in full grovel mode. "You know, I happen to be the president of NO MA'AM – the National Organization of Men Against Amazonian Masterhood – and we could always use a member of your stature... uh... sir?"

"Sorry, not really my thing. 'Sides, it's almost dinnertime." Spike laughed and gave Al an amicable thump on the shoulder. "I'll just kill you and be off, then."

"K-kill me?" Al's face fell as he got to his feet and started backing away. "But..."

"Sorry, mate. Nothing personal, but just 'cause I understand your reaction doesn't mean I approve of the way you treated Dru. Besides, do you have any idea what she'd do to me if I let you get away? Now, hold still - "

Once again, Al's days as a high school football star paid off. He shrieked like a woman, kneed Spike in the balls, faked right, went left and ran for his life.

9764 Jeopardy Lane, 2 hours later

Peggy stared at her husband. "So then what happened?"

"Well, he chased me through the store room and accidentally knocked over the 20 years' worth of shoeboxes that Griff and me had just spent three weeks – without overtime - sorting. Getting buried under 10 tons of women's shoes isn't something he's going to forget in a long time." Al shrugged with a defeated grin. "Of course, when the guys from the shoe museum show up tomorrow and just find a giant disorganized mess, possibly with a vampire underneath, they're going to refuse to pay and Gary's going to take it out of my paycheck for the next 10 years, but hey – at least I didn't end up someone's dinner!" He paused. "Speaking of which, Peg... I'm hungry, and I almost died today. I don't suppose you could cook me something?"

Peg laughed. "Bite me, Al."