Shinra Inc. And The Halloween Hangover
by: Jason Tandro

Author's Note: I originally had a completely different story prepared for Halloween. It was a murder mystery parody based on The House on Haunted Hill (the original 1959 Vincent Price classic). As I was re-reading the thirteen page story I realized something: It wasn't even remotely funny. In my effort to push for a halloween story I tried to combine scary and funny which really doesn't work. I consider Shinra Inc. And the Alien and Shinra Inc. And Halloween to be two of my weaker pieces. Ironically my very first "spooky" one, Shinra Inc. And the Ghost was riotously funny, so I'm not sure what happened. I think I tried to force it, or maybe the pressure of upkeeping a schedule cost me something in creativity; either way I was unsatisfied with the piece. So I present this replacement work, and hopefully it will be more funny.

The Shinra Inc. Halloween Party was morbidly depressing. As Halloween took place on a Sunday this year, instead of having it occur on the Friday before, Rufus decided to schedule it for the Monday after. Monday Halloween Parties should be banned. Half the tower didn't even get the memo and so came to work in their usual attire, and thus the few who did dress up felt out of place.

The Conference Room had a nice arrangement of spooky decorations put up the night before, but since Halloween had passed, the night cleaning crew had taken them all down, leaving only the basic party supplies and one bat in the corner of the room which Rufus wasn't entirely sure wasn't real.

"Isn't this great?" Rufus smiled. He was dressed as a Pirate Captain, complete with eyepiece, fake beard, and absolutely no volume control.

"Yes, wonderful," Reeve replied. He had been one of the ones to come to work in his standard clothing.

The directorial staff and the turks sat around the table half-heartedly munching on various snacks and drinking from one of ten over-sugared drinks, none of which seemed like they could have cost Rufus more than 2 gil a litre, which they also realized was probably the reason he had chosen them.

"I wish you would have made the decision sooner," Scarlet sighed. She was dressed in a full dominatrix outfit complete with a leather corset and whip. "This costume has gotten me some funny looks today."

"Hey come on!" Rufus replied. "It's like 'Halloween isn't over until I say it is!' I think Halloween should last all October, you know?"

"And into November, it seems," Hojo replied, who was wearing his usual lab coat, but with a different pair of glasses. Upon closer inspection, Reeve could tell that these glasses had the holographic eyes that seemed to pop out.

"What are you supposed to be?" Reno asked.

"A mad scientist," Hojo replied.

"No, I mean your costume," Reno explained.

Hojo growled low and tore the glasses off his head in frustration. Reno chuckled. He had worn his Turk uniform, but had put on a tie and buttoned his jacket. He had an m&m stuck to his forehead.

"Tseng?" Rude asked.

"You bet," Reno nodded, bumping Rude's fist.

Rude had wisely taken this day as an opportunity to wear his street clothes to work. He sat wearing a white hoodie and jeans, with black steel toed boots. When Scarlet had asked him what he was, he had simply replied: "Comfortable." Something which Scarlet, in lung crushing, breast-squeezing leather could not say.

Elena walked over to the bar, and she had chosen a more modest costume, going as a fairytale princess complete with tiara. Tseng, who was dressed as a vampire couldn't take his eyes off of her.

"Aw somebody's in love," Scarlet teased him as she sat down next to him.

"Yes, way to bang your employee Tseng," Reno quipped sarcastically. "Really setting a good example for the rest of us."

"You've got an m&m stuck to your face," Tseng sniped.

"That's your dot thing, dude. I'm being you," Reno chuckled.

"Oh, really?" Tseng asked. "Let me see."

Reno moved closer to Tseng, with an arrogant smirk on his face. With one deft move, Tseng smashed his palm against Reno's head, crushing the candy.

"Well how about that. I guess it does melt in my hand," Tseng chuckled, patting Elena's shoulder and putting his arm around her.

Heidegger and Palmer had, naturally, already gone through most of the alcohol. Heidegger was dressed up in his military attire, but Palmer had gone as a sumo wrestler, which sadly meant him wearing the overlarge "diaper" and nothing else. Rufus had forced him to stay behind a divider to keep the rest of them from being overcome by the disgusting sight.

"It's November 1st. Black Friday is in 18 days, and you decide to throw a party on the first monday of the month, which you know is our monthly audit. We're going to have to reschedule that, which means we have to reschedule inventory, and then reschedule security reporting. We are going to have four less days to prepare for Black Friday. And you remember what hell that was last year!" Reeve barked.

[Author's Note: See Shinra Inc. And Black Friday]

"Look, everything will even itself out, I'm sure," Rufus replied. "You worry too much."

"Yes, I do. If you would start doing some of the worrying for me, then I wouldn't have to worry too much," Reeve hissed.

"Take a chill pill, have some s'mores," Rufus insisted.

"Trick or Treat!" Came the voice of Rufus's secretary. She looked at Scarlet's outfit. "Wow, and 'treat' it is, I see."

"It's a costume!" Scarlet hissed.

"Just stopped by to give you these audit reports, Reeve, the team got done early today," The secretary explained.

"Thank goodness. They were working today?" Reeve sighed, grabbing the reports.

"I told you not to worry!" Rufus chuckled.

"Yeah," the secretary said. "The head of accounting will be up in a moment to have a word with you about inventory tomorrow, but it's done. The team thought having a Halloween party on November 1st was stupid."

Rufus had no witty remark to this.

The secretary left and Reeve began to peruse the forms.

"See, wasn't this a great idea?" Rufus insisted. "We're having fun, and the work got done anyways."

"Which means a usual day for you," Reeve cursed.

There was a knock at the door and the accounting head walked in.

"Hello Reeve, I... oh my..." The accountant scanned Scarlet's outfit. "You know you can't charge 'escorts' to the company account, right Reeve?"

"IT'S A COSTUME!" Scarlet shouted.