The chapters are not numbered by the actual number of the episode it was based on. The chapters may not be named after all (or have a slightly different title) of the episodes it was based on (some chapters will be based on more than one episode). There will also be original chapters to tie things together.
This story is written chronologically, unlike the TV show. Read all chapters in order as they are posted here, and do not skip any chapter.
Chapter 1: Help Wanted
An octopus trudged through the front door, leaving behind his sweet world of comfort. It seemed like the pressure of the seafloor was bearing down on his eyelids. He blinked several times until his blurred vision cleared. He sat in his plain boatmobile, twisted the key, made sure his "eye-catching" brown shirt was straightened, put on his dusty employee hat, and stepped on the pedal.
On both sides of the street were scarcely any buildings. Minute coral and dull sand stretched all the way to the horizon.
He blocked out the lifeless environment by filling his mental vision with images of beautiful sculptures. He sat up and glanced to his left and right when he was near an intersection.
'Another day of this insanity.'
He stopped his boatmobile at a red traffic light.
A male fish wearing expensive clothes pulled up his luxurious car to the octopus' left.
The octopus switched between glancing at his own clothes and car and the driver's clothes and car for a few seconds. His brown shirt no longer seemed to be "eye-catching". He glared at the driver but turned his attention back to the road when the driver looked his way.
"Squid, is that you?" The driver leaned towards the octopus. "Long time no see. It's been a few years since we met, hasn't it?" He chuckled. "You look way different than your yearbook pic."
Squidward focused on the boatmobiles passing across the road in front of him.
"Still a downer as always, eh?" said the male fish.
Squidward tightened his grip on the wheel. He opened his mouth but the traffic light turned green. He then stepped on the pedal again. He took a deep breath.
"Thank Neptune that was over," he muttered. 'High school was the worst.' He adjusted his employee hat. 'Too bad there's nothing else to look forward to.' His nose then honked as he laughed. He leaned against his seat more and the images of sitting behind a cash register faded.
The brown speck in the distance enlarged to a giant lobster trap within a few minutes. A giant sign stood next to it. The sign consisted of an abnormally high wooden pole and an opened artificial clam skeleton. The red words 'THE KRUSTY KRAB' were painted on the fake clam, with the 'K' in 'Krusty' being a lighter red than the other letters.
Squidward stepped out of his boatmobile and stood near the entrance, which was a glass double door.
The stench of the building's chipped wood wafted through the slits of the entrance.
Squidward took a step away from the double door. He folded his arms as he watched the red speck in the distance rattle toward him. He glanced behind his shoulder at the building's windows, which gave him a full view of the dining room. Images of repeatedly pressing buttons and uttering monotonous phrases flooded his mind.
The red speck grew to become an aged crab. He wore a blue shirt that had been bought from a dollar store and purple pants that had endured countless voyages across the seas. He fueled his rattling feet by squeezing the coins in his pockets. He looked up at the tattered signal flags that hung above the entrance; splashes of stormy waves and the booms of formidable cannons echoed in his mind.
"Ahoy, Mr. Squidward." The crab, with a key from his pocket, unlocked the double door. He entered the building.
Squidward followed him.
Squidward trudged to a boat which had a cash register on the tip of its bow and sat it in it. He rested his head on his hand. He glanced at his other hand and thought of handcuffs.
Mr. Krabs took a deep breath.
"Ah. Th' fresh smell o' grease in th' mornin'." The faint images of employees entering and leaving the building flowed through Mr. Krabs' vision. He then stepped on the green floor to make sure it was stable. 'Another penny I don't have to spend.' He entered his office.
Mr. Krabs laid back on the seat behind his desk, entered the safe's passcode without looking, and took out yesterday's profits. He then began to count the dollars one by one. When he reached the middle of the first stack, he glanced at the dining room through the office's opened entrance.
He slapped the money to the desk and scuttled back to the dining room.
"Mr. Squidward, go fetch a towel and a bucket and swab that graffiti on th' double." Mr. Krabs pointed at a fresh graffiti depicting Squidward's face with the word 'loser' next to it and then returned to his office.
Squidward looked at the graffiti. His hands closed into fists.
'Great, someone's giving me more work.' He went to the kitchen, took hold of a towel and a bucket, used the kitchen's sink to fill the bucket up, and came back out. He ambled towards the double door, savoring whatever pleasant sights he encountered in his thoughts. However, he looked at the floor when the creaking of his footsteps became too loud. 'He tells me to clean the windows yet he can't even bother to fix the floor. If I get injured from these damn planks, he wouldn't even pay for the medical expenses.' He shook his head. 'It's ridiculous that this restaurant survived this long.'
"I don't hear any swabbin'! Quit stallin'!"
Squidward glared at the office's door before exiting the restaurant.
Squidward fell to his knees. He glanced to his left and right to make sure no one was seeing him. He then wet the towel with the bucket.
'Hmph. They don't even treat me with the bare minimum of respect.' The towel's water was peeling away the spray paint. 'Why bother spray this trashy excuse for art if someone's gonna get rid of it?' His thoughts wandered into the deep forests of analysis.
The graffiti was near the 'Help Wanted' sign.
A yellow sponge opened his eyes and clicked off his foghorn alarm clock. He sat up and looked at the sunlight coming out of his window. His yellow pores seemed to have absorbed the light. His child-like buck teeth stuck out and his red cheeks became distinct as he grinned.
"Good morning, Gary!"
"Meow." Gary, a snail, had been sleeping on a pile of newspapers. He slowly opened his baggy eyestalks.
"Today's the big day." The sponge climbed a ladder that was next to his bed.
On a nearby calendar, March 15 had been marked with a big red 'X'.
The sponge hopped up and down on the jumping board.
"Look at me. I'm-" He jumped at the right time. "Nake~d!" He flew across the room.
His underpants fell off like the booster of a rocket.
He landed directly into his squarepants; which consisted of a white shirt, red tie, and brown pants with a belt. His head and legs popped out of the clothing.
He bolted to a door, twisted it open, and slid down a slide. He jogged through a library that had shelves reaching to the ceiling. He then ran into a dark hallway, anxiously glanced in all directions, and then dove into the exercise room. 'I need to buy a night light later.'
The sponge was now in a mini-gym. A banner that said 'I Love Pain' hung on a wall. A barbell of stuffed dolls was on a blue mat. Several other toy-like equipment were in the room.
He stood before the barbell and took a deep breath. He squatted a few times and repeatedly closed his hands as he eyed the barbell.
Gary peeked through the open door.
'I can do this.' The sponge stuck out his tongue slightly and gripped the barbell.
"RRRGH!" His muscles squeezed as he struggled to lift the barbell over his head. A sweat-drop ran down his brow. His legs shook under the barbell's pressure. After several agonizing seconds, the barbell reached the top. He stuck out his chest in triumph.
The aches dulled.
He released the barbell.
"I'M READY!" The sponge began his battle chant. He dashed out of the mini-gym like a soldier charging into a battlefield. His vision blurred as he dodged incoming projectiles. He slowed down as he reached his home's front door and the projectiles cleared into furniture. He snatched his black shoes and tied them on.
The sponge exited the pineapple. He turned to face the microscopic brown speck on the horizon. He resumed his running.
"I'm ready! I'm ready! I'm ready! I'm ready! I'm ready! I'm ready!"
He passed by a rock. His thoughts filled the coral pieces and sand with bright colors and also filled the sky's floating flowers with rainbow hues.
A brown rock with an antenna opened, revealing an obese pink sea star who was wearing aquamarine pants with purple flower patterns.
His back loosened its grip on the rock's bottom.
The sea star landed on his living room's floor as the rock fell with him.
SpongeBob slowed to a halt. His eyes beheld a wooden castle. He was now standing before its asphalt moat. He glanced at the emblem on the castle's purple flag.
Sunlight made the castle's windows sparkle a bit.
"There it is. The finest eating establishment ever established for eating. The Krusty Krab, home of the Krabby Patty. With a 'help wanted' sign on the window! For years I've been dreaming of this moment! I'm gonna go in there, march straight to the boss, look 'im in the eye-" He squinted but could not see Mr. Krabs inside the dining room. "Lay it on the line and…" His mental world formed into the Krusty Krab's kitchen. He saw people pointing and laughing at him. "Hey, look! A noob!" "He did my fries wrong." "All energy, no skill." "Hurry up!" His thoughts faded and the wooden castle became a restaurant that resembled a lobster trap. His gaze fell to the ground. He sighed. "I can't do this." He turned around and walked towards his home at a snail's pace.
SpongeBob collided with a pink belly.
"Uh, Patrick!" He stepped back.
"Where do you think you're going?" Patrick's arms were folded. He was scrutinizing SpongeBob's face, walking across a mental field of needles to find the next right words.
SpongeBob glanced to the side.
"I was just-"
Patrick gently put a hand over SpongeBob's mouth.
"No, you're not. You're going to the Krusty Krab and get that job!" Patrick grabbed SpongeBob's shoulders, turned him around, and pushed him forward. 'That should do it.' His lips began to curve but stopped when SpongeBob turned around again.
"I c-can't, don't you see? I'm not good enough." SpongeBob bit his lip and shook his head. "I've never got a real job before. The training I did in other restaurants wasn't enough. I heard that fancy restaurants like the Krusty Krab have really high standards for hiring people." His fingertips repeatedly touched together. "Plus, Mr. Krabs and the customers are going to be relying on me. If I'm gonna share the wonderfulness of Krabby Patties, I need to give them the best I can do." He tried to step past Patrick but Patrick continued to block the way.
Patrick glanced around as his mouth opened. The words could not come to his tongue. Upon seeing a wooden stick in the distance, he heard a saw in his mental noise. 'Oh yeah!'
"Who made a spatula out of toothpicks in the woodshop?" Patrick's arms relaxed.
"I did." SpongeBob looked at his own hands. His achievements flowed into his memory. He imagined himself wielding a spatula in the kitchen. His heartbeat quickened.
"Who's a..." Patrick perceived that SpongeBob's frown had disappeared. "Uh..." He leaned towards his right and then to his left and vice-versa. "Who's uh..." He looked up at the sky. He swallowed and then noticed the aftertaste of the cheese he ate that morning. "Who's a big yellow cube with holes?!"
"I am!" SpongeBob stood upright. He felt a surge of energy flowing into his body. He looked behind his shoulder, perceiving that the distance between him and the Krusty Krab was now smaller.
"Who's ready?!" Patrick pointed at the Krusty Krab.
"I'm ready!" The self-inflicted chains broke away from SpongeBob's thoughts.
"I'M READY~!" SpongeBob leaped, turned around in mid-air, and then dashed towards the restaurant. "Go, SpongeBob! Go, SpongeBob! Go self!" he chanted.
Patrick marveled at SpongeBob's prancing. He took a deep breath.
Not a mark of the graffiti was left.
Squidward rinsed the towel a final time and stood up. The pressure on his knees lessened. He stretched for a second but heard the high-pitch voice of the yellow pest.
'Oh no…' He turned and saw SpongeBob dashing towards the Krusty Krab. 'Oh Neptune no…' He glanced at Mr. Krabs sitting in the boat while counting the cash register's money. Himself tremblingly sitting in a fetal position on the boat with the yellow devil shrilly laughing behind him appeared as a half-second vision.
Squidward barged into the dining room.
Mr. Krabs nearly dropped his money. He glowered at Squidward and opened his mouth.
"Hurry, Mr. Krabs, before it's too late!" A sweat-drop began to form above Squidward's forehead. He tremblingly held open the handles of the double door. "I gotta tell you about-"
SpongeBob pushed the double door just enough so that Squidward would not trip on a table or chair.
"Permission to come aboard, captain!" SpongeBob puffed out his chest and marched towards Mr. Krabs. "I've been training my whole life for the day I could join the Krusty Krew…" He stopped and put his hands on his hips. "...and now I'm ready."
Mr. Krabs put the money back into the register and stepped out of the boat.
SpongeBob, bowing slightly, stepped back. His right foot tripped on a loose nail and his spongy skin made him bounce to the ceiling...
...and to the floor...
...and to the window...
...and to the door...
Mr. Krabs and Squidward dove to the boat.
...and to the metal wall...
...and to the mast...
...and to the tables...
...and to the boxes.
SpongeBob landed on the floor again.
"Heh heh, oops." SpongeBob's blush was stronger than his grin.
Squidward and Mr. Krabs stepped out of the boat.
Mr. Krabs walked to SpongeBob, looked down, and put a claw on his chin. SpongeBob's innocent grin made him unable to restrain his smile.
'He was like me in me youth.' He gazed at the mast, where he then saw a vision of his naive and ambitious self clinging to a mast against a storm that had occurred during his first treasure hunt. He then gazed at the kitchen through the window behind the boat. The howls of the former storm formed into voices. "I can't dine in a mess like this!" "My food!" "This place isn't even worth a penny!" His mental voice took over. 'He's just a rascal. He won't survive the lines of customers.' He sighed.
"Well lad, it looks like ye don't even have yer sea legs."
SpongeBob jumped to his feet. His eyes moistened.
"Mr. Krabs, please, I'll prove I'm fry cook material." His trembling hands clasped together. He gulped. "Ask Squidward, h-he'll vouch for me."
Squidward resisted the urge to chuckle. He winked at Mr. Krabs.
'If he's gonna prove his worth, he's gonna have to endure the waves and get to the shore himself.' Mr. Krabs smirked.
Mr. Krabs and Squidward briskly walked to the boat.
"Give him an impossible errand, that'll keep him off our backs," whispered Squidward as he watched SpongeBob. A chuckle escaped.
"Good idea. When me and me mates became pirates, we all had to get beaten in or do some other Hades-like task," whispered Mr. Krabs. He then covered his mouth with a claw to suppress a laugh.
The two strolled back to SpongeBob.
"Well lad, I'll give ye a test, and if you pass, you'll be in the Krusty Krew!" Mr. Krabs put his claws behind his back.
SpongeBob took out a notepad and a pencil.
"Go and fetch me…"
SpongeBob tremblingly held the pencil.
"A, uh..." Mr. Krabs chuckled. "Hydrodynamic spatula…"
Squidward hopped to the boat and hid his giggling by sitting close to the register.
Mr. Krabs glanced at the entrance and at the kitchen door.
"...with, um, port-and-starboard attachments…"
A boatmobile sped past the restaurant.
"...and, uh, turbo drive."
SpongeBob managed to scribble all of Mr. Krabs' words on the notepad. He shoved the pencil into his pocket and shook the pressure off his left hand.
"And don't come back 'til you get one." Mr. Krabs eyed the cash register. From the corner of his eye, he saw SpongeBob fidgeting his legs and inserting the notepad into his pocket. 'This will seal the deal.' He ran to the office, snatched an employee hat from his desk, and ran back. He held out the employee hat towards SpongeBob.
SpongeBob's eyes widened. He clutched the hat. His lips trembled as he felt the hat's softness. He goggled with sparkling pupils at the hat's glowing whiteness. He placed the hat on top of his head. His surroundings became more clear. His arms and legs felt stronger. Old memories of previous rites of passage entered his thoughts. He snatched a mini-mirror from his pocket and glanced at his reflection. His beam widened to a grin. He put the mirror back and checked his notes.
"Aye, aye captain!" SpongeBob military-saluted. "One hydrodynamic spatula, with port-and-starboard attachments, turbo drive, coming right up sir!" He pushed the notepad into his pocket and turned to the double door
"Carry on." Mr. Krabs waved and strolled to the cash register.
SpongeBob dashed through the entrance.
Squidward stepped aside as Mr. Krabs entered the boat.
"We'll never see him again." Mr. Krabs gently took out the cash register's money and lied down. 'With him gone, all of you are safe.' He gazed at the dollars.
"You're terrible, a hydro-what?" Squidward's nose honked as he laughed. He visualized a distressed SpongeBob hopelessly searching for the spatula and himself relaxing on a lawn-chair in a quiet neighborhood. He then leaned against the metal wall with his arms crossed behind his head.
Mr. Krabs laughed.
Forty-five minutes later…
A group of red buses were SCREEECHing as they dodged incoming traffic in downtown Bikini Bottom. From the drivers' and passengers' perspective, the surroundings outside the buses were a blur. The bus group then accelerated once they managed to escape the crowded labyrinth of streets.
The windows and doors of the buses rattled.
Weird utterances were coming from the passenger's seats.
The bus drivers were clenching their steering wheels.
"Will you guys ever shut up?! Just wait a damn minute and get away from the door! Neptune!"
"Hey! Hey! Please! Passengers are to stay seated and put their hands outta the window!"
Mr. Krabs was lying on a windowsill. He was playing with a wad of money.
"Meep meep meep meep meep meep"
Mr. Krabs sat up and eyed the horizon.
The group of buses sped to the Krusty Krab and skidded to a halt around it.
Mr. Krabs detected a familiar smell wafting into the building and then sniffed it a few more times until he noticed that it was coming from the buses. He shuddered and jammed the money wad into his pocket.
"Do you smell it?" He grabbed Squidward's shoulder and pointed at the buses.
Squidward groaned and put down the novel he had been reading.
"That smell. A kind o' smelly smell…" Mr. Krabs resumed his watch.
"MEEP MEEP MEEP MEEP MEEP MEEP"
The bus doors unlocked.
The anchovies slowly opened the bus doors and peeked at the Krusty Krab.
"MEEP MEEP MEEP MEEP MEEP"
"A smelly smell that smells smelly." Mr. Krabs' claws trembled as he dragged Squidward into the boat and hid behind him. He visualized beyond the restaurant's windows a brown and green tsunami that carried countless clothes.
"What?" Squidward eyed the buses.
"ANCHOVIES!" Mr. Krabs guarded his chest with his claws.
"MEEP MEEP MEEP MEEP MEEP MEEP MEEP MEEP MEEP MEEP MEEP MEEP MEEP"
The anchovies poured into the dining room like a flash flood.
Squidward clenched his teeth and leaned towards the microphone near the boat's bow.
"Please, please, QUIET!" He stood up.
"MEEP MEEP MEEP MEEP MEEP MEEP MEEP MEEP meep meep meep meep"
The meeps faded until the Krusty Krab was as quiet as a shore whose waves were receding.
'At least they're somewhat civil.' Squidward took a deep breath.
"Is this any way to behave, hm~?"
The anchovies stared at Squidward. Some of their stomachs gurgled.
Squidward sat down.
"Could we show a little decency and form a neat, single file line in front of the register?"
"Meep meep meep meep MEEP MEEP MEEP MEEP MEEP MEEP MEEP MEEP MEEP!"
The anchovies rushed the boat.
Squidward and Mr. Krabs gasped and clung to each other.
SpongeBob was seeking through the shelves of Barg'N-Mart, which had seemingly grown to the heights of skyscrapers. A sweat-drop ran down his face.
The background music coming from the speakers changed to another song.
SpongeBob allowed his legs to dance to the song's rhythm.
"Barg'N-Mart, meeting all of your spatula needs," he crooned.
Mr. Krabs and Squidward were clinging to the boat as it sailed across the anchovies trying to hurl it to the floor.
The boat lurched to the left.
The dollar bills flew out of Mr. Krabs' pocket and separated into green rain.
"All hands on deck!" Mr. Krabs lost his breath. He snapped all the dollars back into place. He tightened the wad with a rubber band. "Get yer anchors out o' yer pants!" He cradled the wad to his chest. His eyestalks kept switching between the anchovies and the money. He took a deep breath and furrowed his brows. 'I've been through worse gales.'
"One single file line was all I-" Squidward fidgeted when an anchovy arm hit him. "I asked!"
Squidward's shirt was wet with sweat.
The anchovies formed into a waterspout and threw the boat towards the ceiling.
The two crewmates felt weightless.
"Woah! Batten down the hatches, Mr. Squidward!" Mr. Krabs hugged the wad.
Squidward's face lost a shade of color.
The boat fell and stayed afloat.
The anchovies threw them towards the right of the room.
"We're taking on water, Mr. Squidward!"
Squidward glimpsed the saliva frothing in the anchovies' mouths.
Mr. Krabs tumbled across the boat and shoved back an anchovy arm reaching for him. His limbs began to tremble when a few anchovy hands attempted to grab the money.
"When will you let go of that stupid money?!" Squidward tremblingly clenched the boat's bow as the anchovies shoved the boat from behind.
The anchovies threw the boat towards the left.
"I want my mommy, Mr. Squidward!" Mr. Krabs' quivering lips melted whatever remained of his mask of toughness. He imagined the anchovies tearing his soft pink flesh like what ravenous clams had done to an overboard crewmate in the past.
"Do do do do do do, spatula, spatula, port-and-starboard attachments," sung SpongeBob to another song playing in the background. He scanned the left and right shelves and then leaped to the next set of shelves. He was only a few paces away from the isle's end.
From the corner of his eye, a hazy metallic rod sparkled.
He jerked to the right and snatched the object.
It had a spatula head and a few red buttons.
He pumped his fist.
"Yes!" he whispered. He then dashed to the lines of waiting people.
SpongeBob gazed at the hi-tech spatula and saw on the metallic head his reflection wielding the spatula like a sword while slicing hordes of ingredients. His heartbeat raced and his legs trembled as he moved his gaze towards the mall's entrance doors.
"Next," said the cashier.
"Can you hurry up?"
SpongeBob looked behind his shoulder and saw a woman with crossed arms.
"Sorry." He smiled awkwardly. He turned to the cashier and gave the spatula.
The cashier scanned the object and glanced at the cash register's monitor.
"That would be seventy bucks."
SpongeBob quickly handed seventy dollars from his wallet to the cashier.
The receipt printed from the cash register and the cashier gave it to SpongeBob.
SpongeBob shoved the receipt into his pocket and sprinted through a glass double door.
SpongeBob probed the spatula's buttons until noticed the word 'SPIN' on the button nearest to the spatula head.
"Ooh~ What does this do?"
He contemplated the Krusty Krab's direction before pressing the button.
The red LED light on top of the spatula head began flashing.
Two extra spatula heads came out and all three spatula heads spun at the same speed until they were a gray blur.
"Can't wait to tell Mr. Krabs…" SpongeBob jogged and held on to his employee hat with one hand. He then hopped and pushed the spatula upward.
The spatula soared while carrying SpongeBob until it reached a certain height.
SpongeBob looked down.
The buildings had shrunk by three times their size.
He took a deep breath and dove towards the 'brown box'.
A tsunami of anchovies propelled the boat towards the dining room's right corner.
The boat smashed into the mast and the rain of planks sunk into the anchovy sea.
In mid-air, Squidward and Mr. Krabs clung to the mast. The two then climbed the mast like squirrels until they reached the crow's nest, where they then squeezed into it.
Squidward watched the anchovies.
Mr. Krabs eyed the cash register and began biting his claws.
The anchovies surrounded the mast and climbed it like a reverse whirlpool.
Squidward sat into a trembling fetal position.
'There's no way I'm gonna survive, I'm gonna get eaten alive…' His clarinet, thousands of art pieces with his face on them, and the roars of audiences were swept by a mental rip current into the void. His eyes moistened.
The anchovies toppled the cash register and barge into Mr. Krabs' office.
Mr. Krabs grabbed his chest as if he got shot in the heart.
"This is the end. Goodbye, Mr. Squidward." He covered his face with his other claw. Tears trickled down the hardened shell that covered his head.
"Oh, Mr. Krabs!" Squidward was sobbing. The meeps blocked out the background clarinet music playing in his mind.
"Permission to come aboard, captain!" SpongeBob flew towards the crow's nest. "Da da da da da da da da!" he sung.
The anchovies widened their eyes and began to climb down the mast.
SpongeBob looked down at the anchovies and detected the desperation in their cries. 'Some Krabby Patties will keep 'em happy.' He glanced at the toppled cash register and then at Mr. Krabs. 'I know what'll cheer him up.' "Did someone order a spatula?" He held out the spatula towards Mr. Krabs. "That's right! One hydrodynamic spatula with port-and-starboard attachments, and let's not forget turbo drive!" He pressed the 'TURBO DRIVE" button.
The spatula heads spun so fast that they became a grey circle.
The circle repeatedly hit Mr. Krabs' nose.
"Oops." SpongeBob inspected Mr. Krabs' nose for a few seconds and then flew back a bit. "Would you believe that they only had one in stock?" He regained his smile, turned around, and furrowed his brows. "To the kitchen!" He dove through the kitchen window.
SpongeBob landed on the floor. He looked up and saw Mr. Krabs gazing at him. He tightened his grip on the spatula. He leaned toward the window and his free hand cupped near his mouth.
"MEEP MEEP MEEP MEEP MEEP MEEP MEEP MEEP"
The anchovies rattled against the metal wall.
SpongeBob darted around the kitchen in search of the ingredients and then gathered all of them to one table. He flicked on the grill, hurled the patties to the grill, and flipped the patties with the spatula's spinning.
The patties became a dark red color after several seconds.
He sliced the other ingredients with the spatula. He then combined the cooked patties and the sliced ingredients into Krabby Patties. He batted the burgers through the window with the spatula.
Some anchovies devoured the Krabby Patties and dropped money to the floor.
Mr. Krabs tightened his grip on the crow's nest. His mouth opened slightly.
SpongeBob and the spatula became a yellow and grey blur.
Krabby Patties were getting shot out of the window.
His muscles began to ache.
Many anchovies were devouring Krabby Patties and dropped dollars while walking away. Before long, the dollars on the floor outnumbered the anchovies.
SpongeBob opened the kitchen door and tossed one final burger.
The anchovy dove and gulped the Krabby Patty with his back to the floor. He placed a dollar on the floor and jogged through the entrance.
The engines of the buses started. The group of buses then drove around the Krusty Krab for several seconds before entering the road. In less than a minute, the buses disappeared from the horizon.
SpongeBob exited the kitchen, took a deep breath, put his arms behind his back, and leaned against the wall.
Mr. Krabs and Squidward were climbing down the mast.
Mr. Krabs grabbed Squidward's shoulder when Squidward was below him.
"Don't dirty th' money." Mr. Krabs' stubby feet steadily touched the ground. He slid a portion of the money away from the mast before he released Squidward's shoulder.
Squidward fell to his knees and unsteadily stood up. He rubbed his sore arm. His eyes were no longer moist. He took a deep breath.
"Ah…" He strolled to the toppled cash register, adjusted the register, and laid down on the floor. He opened his novel, turned to the bookmarked page, and read while keeping the book close to his face.
Mr. Krabs rushed to SpongeBob.
"Can you get me a bag for me green children?"
"Yessir." SpongeBob nodded. He stepped into the kitchen and dug through all the closed spaces until he came back with a giant bag. "Here you go." He tossed the bag.
Mr. Krabs caught the bag and commenced to snatch the money on the floor.
"Can you get me a wheelbarrow while ye're at it?"
SpongeBob hastened to the kitchen and returned with a wheelbarrow.
Ten minutes later…
Mr. Krabs was wheeling a bag overflowing with green towards his office. He looked at SpongeBob's squarepants and his head tilted to one side.
"By the way, lad, what's yer name?"
"SpongeBob SquarePants." SpongeBob adjusted his employee hat and his squarepants. He did a military salute.
Mr. Krabs gazed at the money coming from the bag's opening.
"That was the finest fast-foodmanship I've ever seen, Mr. SquarePants!" He grasped an empty name tag and wrote 'SpongeBob' on it. "Welcome aboard!" He swiftly put the name tag on SpongeBob's shirt. Within his mental vision, he saw his younger self being surrounded by a pirate crew and his captain placing a pirate hat on his head.
'He spelled the 'Bob' part of my name right!' SpongeBob gazed at the nametag with sparkling eyes. He then glanced outside but did not see any incoming customers.
Squidward lowered his novel, saw SpongeBob's nametag, and jumped to his feet.
"B-But, Mr. Krabs-" he said.
"Three cheers for SpongeBob!" Mr. Krabs patted SpongeBob on the shoulder. "Hip-hip!"
"Hooray," cheered Squidward halfheartedly. "Mr-"
"Hooray." Squidward bit his lip. "Mr. Krabs!"
Mr. Krabs strolled past Squidward and resumed his wheeling.
"I'll be in me quarters, counting up th' booty."
A small gust started, causing the clam sign to rattle.
Squidward was looking downward as he stomped back to the register. He contemplated his hands.
'I couldn't do anything.' He sat down, leaned against the metal wall, and stared at the ceiling. His fantasies of an Eden before SpongeBob's arrival blotted out the yellow pest. However, when his employee hat dropped to the floor, he felt a pang that soured the daydream's sweet taste. He concentrated on his heartbeat and breath. 'I wouldn't be alive without him.' No matter how much his eyes strained to blur the yellow demon, the bittersweetness would not leave. He then glanced at Mr. Krabs. The pang made him witness the crab bow down and burn a burger offering before an idol in the sponge's image. He then scowled at the yellow idol cleaning the tables.
Patrick, pushing open the double door, sauntered into the restaurant. His mouth watered when he detected the scent of cooked Krabby Patties.
"Good morning, Krusty Krew!" He grinned when he saw the employee hat on SpongeBob's head.
Squidward sat up and groaned as he heard Patrick's voice.
"What would you like to order, Patrick?" He perceived the closing distance between SpongeBob and Patrick. He shuddered at the thought of them giggling and prancing in the dining room.
SpongeBob's heartbeat was still rapid. He instinctively dove through the window, quickly cooked countless Krabby Patties, and fired them towards Patrick.
A flying burger brushed Squidward's head, causing him to duck.
"AAHH-" Patrick's mouth got blocked by a hail of burgers.
The Krabby Patties propelled Patrick out and covered him in a pile.
SpongeBob stood on tip-toe and leaned towards the ordering window. His hand covered his mouth.
"Dear Neptune!" He barged through the kitchen door and dashed through the entrance.
"Pat, you okay?!" SpongeBob gripped Patrick's arm and heaved him up.
Patrick's foul skin was intact. The Krabby Patty's scent minimized his odor.
SpongeBob's breathing slowed.
"Yeah." Patrick gulped three Krabby Patties. He took out a few dollars from his pocket.
"I didn't mean to do that. We had a huge amount of customers right before you came here so I thought that there were some more left." SpongeBob clasped his hands together. "Hehe…"
"It's alright." Patrick waved a hand. He then gazed at the pile of Krabby Patties. "I haven't seen anybody who can cook as fast as you." He patted SpongeBob on the shoulder and pointed at SpongeBob's chest. "You had it in you all along. You gotta believe in yourself."
"Can't argue with that."
Patrick turned around and strolled towards his rock. "See ya later."
"Bye Pat!" SpongeBob waved and then dashed back to the kitchen. 'I gotta clean up my mess!' He bit his lip.
When the Krabby Patties' aftertaste faded from his mouth, Patrick looked down at his stomach and felt a twinge. He perceived a wild snail and stared at its shell of loud colors. 'There's probably nothing in it. What does a dummy like me know?'
As Squidward contemplated the Krabby Patty pile, a light bulb lit up. He gasped and then skipped towards the office door.
"Mr. Krabs! Mr. Krabs!"
"Don't tell! Don't tell!" SpongeBob dashed out of the kitchen and gripped Squidward's ankle. "P-please!" "Well lad, it looks like you don't even have your sea legs." He looked up at a red flower and a green flower hanging in the sky. The flowers formed into Mr. Krabs and Squidward respectively. The floor he laid on shrunk into a table. The heel he clung to became a Krabby Patty. His arms became light blue tentacles. "Mr. Squidward, time is money. Quit waistin' those patties! Do you know how much they charge to deliver the ingredients?!" He gazed at Squidward's heel as it moved closer to the office. 'That happened less than a month ago...'
"Mr. Krabs, come see your new employee~!" sung Squidward as he pushed open the office door with his hip. His ears already began to hear the Krusty Krab's former quietude.
Mr. Krabs shook his head.
"Take it easy on Mr. SquarePants." He leaned against his chair. "The lad needs time to adjust to me vessel." He smiled at the sight of SpongeBob.
SpongeBob wiped the sweat from his brow. He stood up and his heartbeat slowed to a normal pace.
"Thanks." He then exited the office and walked towards the kitchen's door while keeping his gaze downward. 'I'm probably too overwhelming for Squid.' He gazed at the hi-tech spatula. He visualized himself accidentally shooting Krabby Patties at Squidward. 'I should give him some alone time.' He stepped into the kitchen.
SpongeBob glanced at Squidward one more time as he inched the door to a close.
Eight hours later…
"Good job, me boys!" With a grin, Mr. Krabs flipped the sign on the glass double door from 'OPEN' to 'CLOSED'. "I don't reckon we'll have to worry about low sales for th' next two weeks." He pinched the extra pennies in his pockets.
SpongeBob tossed a trash bag into a dumpster and wiped his hands. He whistled as he sauntered around the building to the entrance.
Squidward's arms ached. He glanced at the patched-up boat and sighed.
'It's all over now.' He focused his vision on the rising half-moon. The moon's light, while crushing the thin rays of remaining sunlight, obscured the yellow and brown haze near the corner of his eye. The sky's darkening shades of blue were pleasant to Squidward's eyes. He allowed the slow winds to push him towards the tiki. He contemplated the horizon which brought him the moon and visualized that same horizon mercilessly bringing out the sun. He thought of his skin getting scalded by high-pitched laughs and cha-chings. He gazed at his hands but imagined them getting crushed by the moon and sun's vast sizes. He sighed.
Mr. Krabs glanced at SpongeBob's hi-tech spatula and then at a dollar in his pocket.
"Oh yeah." He poked SpongeBob's shoulder. "I'll be taking that spatula." He received the gadget. "I'll sell this at an auction. Ye'll get a classic spatula on Monday." His heartbeat quickened as he appraised the spatula.
A light bulb lit up in SpongeBob's head. A lump formed in his throat.
'I won't be working tomorrow…' He glanced at a wandering jellyfish before doing a military salute. "Roger that, sir," he said quietly.
Mr. Krabs laughed while tossing and catching the gadget in his claw. The dollar in his pocket felt like a green stack that was as tall as a skyscraper.
SpongeBob turned around and, skipping, caught up with Squidward.
"Isn't this great, Squid? We two can be together for almost the whole day." He perceived Squidward's deadpan face. "I know that sitting in a register isn't all that fun but at least it won't be so bad anymore, y'know?" He gestured with his hands as he spoke. "We could do some fun stuff when there's no customers."
Although the yellow flame was warm, Squidward still felt the burns he had received when he had touched it. The asphalt road became the cash register and the sky became the wooden ceiling. "Isn't that guy new?" "Yeah. I just got hired. Didn't you order this?" "Yep, thanks." He then visualized himself sitting alone on the moon and witnessing a square sun, with its rays, concealing him from the people of the seven seas.
Several minutes later…
"Hello?" SpongeBob snapped his fingers.
"I'm gonna get some beauty sleep," droned Squidward while blinking slowly. He walked into his tiki and locked the front door.
"Good night." SpongeBob waved as skipped into his pineapple.
Gary, with half-opened eyes, was watching the TV.
An anchorman was on the screen.
"In other news, our Holy Ones are currently having a meeting in Mount Olympus. The exact topic has been kept a secret but Jupiter has informed us that the secrecy of the meeting is to ensure the Oceanic Union's safety…"
"Hi, Gar-bear." SpongeBob petted Gary's shell. "I got hired. I hope you didn't miss me." He heard Gary's stomach grumble and then went to the kitchen.
Squidward lolled on the couch. He glanced at the many self-portraits and the ceiling but remained still.
'I can do that stuff later.' The mental images of paintbrushes and clarinets faded. The incidents in the Krusty Krab caused by SpongeBob replayed in his mind. 'Thank Neptune that's over. Working today was torture.' When the unpleasant thoughts overdid their stay, he turned on the TV with the remote. The bright screen pushed away those memories.
"We've just received reports that another group of anchovies had been trespassing into restaurants in New Kelp City. Authorities have stated that all the trespassers have been captured. However, they also revealed that the anchovies became unconscious upon arrest and suffered from amnesia when brought for questioning. One neighbor of an anchovy family has stated that a few anchovies have been loitering near an unidentified temple yesterday and did not return. This has been the third incident in this recent bout of deranged anchovy criminal activity…"
Squidward sat up.
"That's odd." He put a hand on his chin. He gazed at the floor as he searched through the mental fog for the tiny light he lost sight of.
MEEP MEEP MEEP MEEP
A light bulb lit up. 'That's right. I heard those same sounds last night.' Squidward's heartbeat quickened. He snatched the laptop from the coffee table. 'This stuff can't be a coincidence.' Wild predictions raced in his mind until other concerns shrunk to specks.
A few hours later…
"Good night, Gary," SpongeBob flicked the bedroom lights off and leaped to his bed.
The faint sounds of slithering and the rustling of newspapers slipped into his ears.
SpongeBob slowed his breathing.
Through the window, a tiny flicker could be seen in the night sky.
'It's probably nothing.' SpongeBob closed his eyes. His squarepants had the smell of grease. Flashes of flipping patties and holding dishes were still anchored to his mind. He tossed to the other side of the bed and could not restrain his smile. His arms moved to the bed's right side and his legs moved around the mattress. He opened his eyes and stared at the ceiling. His heartbeat quickened as the flashes became more vivid. He gazed at the moonlight in his room and closed his eyes again.
The laptop was closed.
The darkness in the pineapple's windows could be seen through the window in the tiki's bedroom.
Squidward took a deep breath. He fell to his bed. He glanced at the laptop and then at the router in the corner of the room. He stared at the ceiling. Images of endless hyperlinks to previous century reports of ravenous anchovies circled his mind.
'What a waste of time. There's no way those conspiracy theories are true. For extraordinary claims, there has to be extraordinary evidence.' He glanced at the self-portraits hanging on the walls. He visualized them decaying in his abandoned home while a stainless sponge statue stood before City Hall. He gazed at the moonlight. He then imagined himself running up a stairway towards the moon, whose surface and craters were yellow and green respectively.
He moved to one side of his bed and closed his eyes.