It was only around the evening when the realization came, in muddied boots and boisterous company. Paris heard the voices of three, maybe four people all climbing atop each other to call out to the bartender - ho there, or a round for everyone, please, or I really am sorry about all this, - but their eyes were already at the door, where they'd shrugged off their damp coats and damper trails.
Of course they'd be working late on the day of the first snow; it was their luck, after all. Already, they could see the makings of a spill, the tallest of the bunch bumping about like the world's shittiest pinball. Paris wondered if their giddiness might be infectious, but shunted the thought aside. That's not very good phrasing, is it.
With mood appropriately soured, they set off for the supply closet where they kept their stash of old magazines. It wasn't much, but anything’s better than Raw Impact Footprints Of Death in their entryway; at least until they can order in the truly pungent stuff later. They fished a clear hair tie out of one of their pockets, tying their hair into a tight ponytail. They'd learnt the hard way how much it hurts to have your own hair whip you in the eyes, but the style points were too much for them to give up, even in a place like this.
...They could already hear bustling outside their door. Who even shows up to an event three hours early? Had someone forgotten to flip the sign at the door from "airport" to "humble, incredibly average club"? And is there anything worse than the first twenty minutes of gatherings like that, three to five different friend groups trying to sneak chairs over to their tables?
At least if (mother forbid!) becoming a rockstar didn't work out, they still had some avenues left in modern philosophy. Or niche memes, whichever comes first.
Slithering past the crowd, they began their futile task of slapping down paper around the usual hotspots. Front door, coat racks, the beeline straight from the front door/coat racks to the bar; some politician-or-other smiled back at them from the floor, the familiar wrinkles of meat casting small shadows on their figure. It won't be long until they've got a big, brown stain running through them, too.
Having gotten that out of the way, there was nothing to do but wait for a disaster to come their way. Typically, Paris would’ve taken to a corner with a coworker or friend at their side, each killing time in their own way. Now, however, there was nobody on offer, or at least nobody the little establishment could go without. They'd wondered why so many people had bailed on this shift; clearly, they should've been checking the forecast instead.
Without either shame or self-awareness, they snuck a chair into the border between the staff and public areas, planting it in front of a window. Had it not been for the noise rising from below, it would've been a peaceful sight: their elbow leaned on the frame of it, watching the snow begin to coat the dim street outside, as fine as powdered sugar. Absently, their mind wandered to the holidays. They'd exhausted all their obscure music choices for the playlist last year; and besides, they were still a little sore about the part-timers not liking them. They reached for their phone, poised to open the Bandbamp app and do some research, when--
The phone went flying as a looming shadow appeared across the glass. Paris cursed under their breath, wiping the gadget off on their pants, and moved to stand at their full height to look the interloper in the eyes. "It's you."
Vanja beamed. "That's hardly a way to greet a friend, hm?! Here I thought I was saving you from your boring prison!" ...Or something to that effect. Between the music and the fact they were shouting from outside the building, it was hard to make out what the other mignyan was getting at."
"The least you could've done is pretend to have an emergency," they replied, motioning towards the door. Still smiling, Vanja crossed their arms, apparently unwilling to do things after being told to by someone else.
They shifted from one foot to the other. "What do you mean, well. I'm working."
Vanja simply quirked an eyebrow at that; now Paris was sure they couldn't hear them either. Knowing them, there was only one way to end this stalemate: give up, surrender, resign, or maybe pack their bags and go into hiding. It'd buy them a week, tops, but that week could be spent without incident or injury. Then again, they were rarely deployed this early, and it was the first snow of the season...
As though sensing their train of thought, the mignyan across the glass took a slow step back. No, wait! That's barely enough time to be tempted! It'll look like they were just looking for an excuse!
Before they knew it, they were already out the door, jacket pulled halfway across their shoulders. "Ha! For a second there I thought you might really stick it out!" Vanja cackled, gathering a generous fistful of snow. "Now let's see who can make the best snowman!"
Paris stood at the top of the stairs, fiddling with the zipper on their jacket. Just looking at Vanja's outfit put them in a state very much near hypothermia. "It's been an hour. There's not even enough snow to build anything."
"Is that a challenge?" they shot back, and Paris saw the snowball in their hand crumble from the pressure. Um.
"Yeah," they said, fighting down the lump in their throat. Vanja had already lured them out; there was no point in being fussy. Pulling their rubber gloves taut - they're multi-purpose, thank you - they got to work. Maybe there wasn't enough for a snowman, but...
Paris had managed to form an only somewhat dirty lump of snow when a thought occurred to them. "You're missing the show."
Vanja was too busy with their craft to reply right away. There was an impressive torso taking shape before them, but they seemed to be at a loss as to how to continue; Paris scuttled between them and their would-be snowcrab. That look was far from friendly. "Since when has this place ever heard of a good opening act?"
That was fair. Using the ends of their fingers, they first carved little legs into their creation, then a bulging eye. "I win."
Vanja shrieked. "What?!" They rushed over, knocking into Paris and nearly toppling them over. The crabling, having narrowly avoided a terrible fate, stared up at Vanja with its single watery eye. It was a touching moment, only slightly hampered by Vanja's expression of total dismay.
They pat their coveralls down with some satisfaction. "It's done, so I win."
"That's not what we agreed on! And does it even have a name?!"
Paris, who had not considered this facet of their fist-sized child, stared at them blankly.
The other mignyan shook their head, grin returning to their face at once. "Yeah, I thought so. Talk to me when it's really do--"
Vanja looked at the snowcrab, then back at Paris. If they listened closely, they could almost hear the cogs in their head turn. Of course, listening closely wouldn't help, because just a moment later, a head sprouted from a crack in the door to say - "Paris?"
They startled, going rigid as a lamppost. "Oh. Sorry."
"No, it's cool. We're having a bit of a situation, though," the head said sheepishly. "You folks coming in, or...?"
"Just a minute." They glanced apologetically towards Vanja, who was still holding snow in both hands, looking back expectantly. "Duty calls."
"Have fun, or whatever it is you do." they said, sitting down with their back against the snowman. "But we'll finish this later."
Were they... about to take a nap? In the snowfall? "That's not in the job description, but thanks."
And then Paris was off, ready to attend to whatever horrible thing it was this time. As they stepped into the pleasantly warm building, they discovered the newspapers they'd put down, sticking to their wet boots like glue.