Sun Stories: Haley – 2016 to Present – Lightning in a Bottle

“Now with what I’m describing you’d think that this young lady is a perfect little angel.

Quite the contrary.”

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I got a text from Achilles (See: Sun Stories: Achilles, 2016 to Present – The Bronze God) He asked if I could work open to close today. That’s 10am to 8pm, on your feet, running around the salon for 10 hours. I agreed, because I have a flexible schedule at my other job, and I think he may have come down with a cold. On top of that it’s been thunder storming all day, and he probably doesn’t want to come out in this mess.

So I’m at the salon, and it’s a pretty quiet day. You’d think more people would come out to tan on a rainy day, but it’s the other way around. They come when it’s warm and sunny out.

I’m just standing behind the counter writing my blog on the computer. When in walks this cute 19-year-old girl. Raven hair, blue eyes and fair skin. She says my name, and I do a double take.

“Don’t you recognize me because I’m not tan?”

“Oh my god! Haley!”

I come from around the counter and she goes in for a big hug.

“I missed you!”

From mid April until the end of August is our busy season at the salon. We can’t provide the level of service that our customers deserve with only one person on shift at night. So Achilles usually will bring on a second person at night to ease the flow of clients. Haley had been working every summer at the salon since she was 16 years old.

Haley has a sister Elisa that’s a year younger that she is. She comes into tan but never worked here. Elisa’s cute, but Haley’s beautiful. There’s a difference.

Haley was also a straight A student last year in her senior year. Beauty and brains. A deadly combination. She wants to eventually go to medical school to become a doctor!

So Achilles brought her back again last summer to help out at night. I wondered how that was going to go. Me, a middle-aged man working with a senior in high school.

Well I’ll tell you how it went. It went fantastic! Working with Haley from day one was glorious. She’d been doing the job for two years prior, so she knew everything about the salon. We ran the place like a well oiled machine. I’m driving in the sales. Haley picks up on how I ask every customer if they need lotion or protective eyewear. She starts pitching it to every client thereafter. She’s like lightning when she works. Super fast and really efficient. She knows exactly when to put the laundry in the washer and stays on top of the time when to get it into the dryer. (I love her South Philly accent. Instead of saying “towels”, she pronounces it “tales”. It is to adorable!

“I’m so sick of these tales! I hate the color and they’re too hard to fold and they don’t fit under the counter right!” she would say.

Working with Haley was a total riot. We would take care of the clients but had a lot of fun working together.

On time this weirdo douchebag guy comes in to tan. Haley asks him what kind of bed he wants to tan in. (Stand up unit, or lay down)

He says: “How about a four-poster.”

Haley is silent but I look at him with a hard eye and say: “Dick. She’s in High School.”

Shut that fucker right down.

I see Haley like a daughter or a niece. Gotta protect the young ladies around us.

I told Achilles about the incident and he also gave them his own personal warning to the guy. I don’t know what he said or did, but we never had a problem with this asshole again.

One day told her that out of everyone I knew, she and my daughter Lorelei, are the only people I know who don’t use profanity, which I find very refreshing. Haley responded by saying that she doesn’t curse around parents. (Apparently this is the same story with my kid.) I like that!

Speaking of her parents, she said her dad is a bit of a curmudgeon, but her mom is a total sweetheart. Her mother would always drive up to the salon at closing in her truck with their dog and pick up little Haley. Her mom is kind of hot. But I love that she would always come and get Haley and make sure her daughter got home safe!

Haley went down the shore after graduating from high school with honors and went to work as a server at Mack’s Pizza in Wildwood, NJ for the summer. She told me they originally want her to work a bunch of hours but she told them she was down the shore to have fun, relax and enjoy her summer. She was still making around $800 a week slinging slices to the hungry tourists.

“It’s the most money I ever made at a job in my life!” she squealed to me today.

Currently she is in college and working part time at an Italian restaurant in South Philly.

Now with what I’m describing you’d think that this young lady is a perfect little angel.

Quite the contrary.

Sure, she’s a great student and is a really well-behaved kid. But technology is much better than when I was a teenager. She has a fake ID that looks exactly like a DMV issued drivers license that says she’s 21. She showed it to me and it looks better than anything I’ve ever seen. That’s so she can get served and go into bars and nightclubs.

She’s a good girl and has a nice guy she is seeing, and she behaves herself. They play it cool and are careful when she and her friends go out. They mostly just like to hang out somewhere and drink beer like teenagers have done for decades.

I love the paradox of the brilliant, beautiful student that has a touch of. I can trust that in a woman.

I remember she would bring her laptop into work and do her homework sometimes. The customers didn’t know what she was doing, and could care less. They just want to hop into an available bed and get their tanning session, and get on with their day. But I know Achilles doesn’t like any of his employees focusing on anything but the clients and what’s going on in the salon. I get it. It’s his business and the salon is his livelihood. But Haley is such a good student with high aspirations, and I never said anything because she’d been working there off and on for three years. So I didn’t care what she was doing because at the time I didn’t know what his arrangement was with Haley after all of that time.

Besides she was always all business when it came to being on point in the salon every night. She made my life easier and I absolutely loved working with this lovely, lively girl. She’s so full of life and apparently I’m good at making her laugh.

When she worked the Saturday shift, (Which is from 11am to 6pm) sometimes her  classmate, Lia would come in and hang on the couch and keep her company. I get it. It’s a 7 hour shift and teenagers get bored easily. She’s a pretty black girl and she’d sit on the sofa and hang with Haley, bring her coffee and snacks to pass the time because weekends are slower than nights during the week. I mean, I’ve had friends come and hang at the salon and chat with me while I’m working. On any given night, Church will swing in and hang for an hour until we go to the bar after I close up shop. (See: Church – 2012 to Present – Brand Ambassador)

But Achilles found out this black girl was hanging out on Saturdays and wasn’t happy with it. Again… it’s a business and his livelihood and didn’t want a bunch of kids hanging around in his salon not doing anything. I get it. He’s right, but I went in once on a Saturday to make sure everything was cool, and to tan. (I like to tan on days I don’t work. It just feels better) I had the pleasure of meeting Lia. She’s a lovely young woman who has been accepted to Yale!

Yes. I said Yale. You don’t get into Yale being a crazy reckless youth. This girl is going to go on to do great things in her life. She’s sweet, charming, and obviously very intelligent and focused on her future.

So my girl Haley surrounds herself with great people and I’m really proud of her. She gives me hope for the future youth of America!

Oh, and she has the exact same birthday as my daughter, Lorelei! Haley is 11/17/97 and Lor is 11/17/96. Two  Scorpios. Don’t mess with my girls or you’ll get stung!

I was so happy to see my former co-worker today. It made my 10 hour shift on my feet running around on a very rainy day just a bit sunnier. Haley is a ray of light that I am happy to have had the opportunity to work with and have in my life.

Oh… one more thing. Haley isn’t on ANY social media. Just doesn’t see the point of it. Hope!

Seeing her today inspired me to write about her, and I am now going to publish another piece about our adventures at the tanning salon. I’ll give you a little hint: While we were working together we came up with official rules for the salon, based on some of the stuff Achilles would lay on me about how to run the salon. We also created lists of clients we loved and hated. But the funniest list we made was the “Things that Annoy Us.” You may not get all of them, and I will explain what they mean in this future post. But if you’ve worked in retail or the service industry, you should be able to relate.

I love Haley, and didn’t realize how much I missed her smile and laughter until today!

 

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Sun Stories – 2016 to Present – The Move

I just start grabbing anything that’s not tied down and tossing it into boxes or bags.

Five guys tearing apart a business and breaking down huge, complex tanning beds and moving them to another location was so brutal, Achilles says he’ll never move again. I can’t agree more. We’re going to a better location and the new salon will be beautiful… eventually. I couldn’t think of a good image to show what a mess the salon is now so I’m sticking with “hot chick in a sunbed.”

I closed on a Friday, and that night the crew came in with Achilles and started dismantling the sunbeds. Great thing was, I didn’t have to sweep or mop the place, because we would never be open for business again at this address.

I went back in Saturday morning around 10am and the crew was in full swing. Achilles, his brother Zues, and two other big strong dudes. They’re all taking things apart and carrying them down the back steps to the alley outside. The beds are huge and have tons of parts.

I just start grabbing anything that’s not tied down and tossing it into boxes or bags. I carry them by hand and walk the three blocks down to walnut street. I carry them up the 30 stairs, unload, and walk back to the old salon. I do this over and over until 4pm.

My whole body hurts when I get home. It’s that moment when you finally sit down for a bit and then have to get up to get more ice for your drink or something. Once on your feet the pain and stiffness kicks in and I groan like an old man.

And the worst part? I have to go do it all again tomorrow. This move has been brutal!

 

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Sun Stories – 2016 to Present – We’re Moving and Adding Fitness!

“Tanning could go away, but fitness is here forever.”

I’ve been working part-time at the tanning salon for about a year and a half now. We wanted to take over the property next door, and make it a spinning cycle gym. We tried to make that happen for about six months until the landlord finally agreed.

But a week later he told us to wait. Then he jerked us around for another month until we found out that the building was up for sale. The whole building including the tanning salon. So we tried to negotiate with the new owners, but it was pretty clear our rent was going up and they had other plans for the building.

We decided to take matters into our own hands. We started to look for another spot. After searching for a awhile we settled on a 2nd floor space on Walnut street. It’s bigger than where we are currently, and a more visible to people walking down the street. Walnut street is mostly all upscale retail brands so we should do well down there.

The best part is, in the front of the new building is a big open space for us to build a personal fitness center. I’ll invest in that and become a managing partner in the business. So I’m super amped about that. I think owning a business in Rittenhouse will be a life changing event. I’m really looking forward to this move and building this business.

Tanning could one day go away. Maybe not completely, but what if science comes up with a pill you could take that would simply activate the natural melanin in your skin? You take the pills and you slowly become tan. That could happen. UV light would still be around for the people who love the feeling, and to treat numerous skin disorders, but a portion of our business could decrease. Fitness on the other hand, will never go away. People will always want to work out and stay in shape. If you had an established business with over seven hundred active clients, that liked to tan and be fit, a gym could succeed in a space like that. If you could do your workout in the same place you went tanning would you for the right price? I think most people would. So this could be a whole new age for our business and I’m happy to be along to make it happen!

 

 

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Sun Stories – 2016 – Corn Chips and String

Another day at the office…

I was working at the salon on a Sunday. Some times the weekends are when that odd things occur. It’s a courtesy day, and we’re only open from 11 to 4pm. I never know who is going to walk through our doors.

On this particular Sunday, a really beautiful, sexy brazilian woman walks in. She doesn’t even look like she needs to go tanning. Her skin is a rich caramel color. She has never been to the salon before. She completes the client consent form, and I put her in the system. I ask her what she’s trying to accomplish. Is she going to an event, or on vacation, or maybe just maintain her current color?

She tells me she wants to just get a bit darker, and only wants to buy one session because she has to fly to Boston tomorrow. I’m trying to figure what her deal is. She could be a model, or a stripper or a porn star on tour, or maybe she’s a high-class call girl. She could be none of those things, but it’s Sunday and my mind wanders to keep it interesting.

I ask her if she wants to do a stand up tanning unit or the lay down bed. She asks what is the strongest. For the best overall tan I recommend the stand up model. It surrounds you with fifty-two bulbs at two hundred and thirty watts of power. She accepts, and I swipe her credit card for seventeen dollars for the nine minute session. That’s the maximum time you can spend in that unit.

She goes into the room. There’s a five-minute prep time on the room for the client to prepare to tan. Undress, apply lotion, etc. When the five minutes expire, the unit automatically lights. I tell people who if they are ready sooner, they can simply step inside and press the start button.

Once she’s in the room, I set the timer and go about my business. It’s quiet this Sunday and not many people have come in. I frequently walk around the salon just to make sure there isn’t any detritus on the floor, or anything else is amiss.

I’m walking back from the beds in the back hallway and the brazilian babe sticks her head out the door of the room. It’s just off to the left of the front counter. The session must be finished. “How’d you make out?” I ask as I carefully approach. “I feel like I get nothing.” she says.

“Well, I put you in for the max time.”

She proceeds to open the door fully and she is wearing the equivalent of what appears to be three Doritos chips connected by a few pieces of twine. She’s lovely. The latina gives me a wry smile. I try to avert my eyes, but she places her hand on her hip, and repeats, “I feel like I get nothing. Can I go again?”

“I can’t really do that, Miss. Nine minutes is the max time we should send anyone in that unit.”

“But I get nothing.” Her green eyes glance about the salon. It’s empty. She proceeds to pull down the top two triangles of her tiny bikini revealing her ample, sunburst breasts to me. “See? Nothing.”

In my mind I’m thinking, “What would Achilles do? What would Achilles do??  What would Achilles do?!!”

“Um…do you have cash?” I chirp.

She turns away, her raven locks swirl as she reaches for a twenty-dollar bill on the table in the room. Her breasts swing as she turns.  There is no corn chip sized piece of fabric in the back, just a bit of string. She’s basically naked in front of me. She takes a step forward still exposed, and hands me the bill. I try to hold my gaze on her emerald eyes, but it’s a struggle.

“Okay so you do me again?” she purrs, giving me a sly smile.

“Y,yes… I’ll reset the unit to do you again…”

I go to the register and ring in another stand up session. I pull out the three dollars change from the twenty, and set it on the counter to give her when she comes out. I write a note in the system to have Achilles ask me about the Brazilian lady.

Her session ends. I hear the door open again. I slowly turn to the left. “You see? Much better this time!”

She’s completely naked. She looks the same color to me. But I now see her waxed vulva instead of the dorito sized piece of fabric that was once wedged neatly into the moist junction between her caramel thighs.

Giggling she slams the door.

A few minutes later she emerges from the room. Thankfully, this time fully clothed. (Thankfully? Who am I kidding?) She struts past the counter, grinning. “Thank you so much!”

“You’re welcome. Oh, miss! Your change?” I hold out the three singles.

“You nice man. You keep tip.” And she was gone.

I feel like I should have been the one doing the tipping…

 

 

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Church – 2013 to Present -Seizure Salad

I’m sitting in my go to bar with Church. It’s our spot and it’s what we do. He’s sipping a Sailor Jerry and Coke, and I’m having my usual Chardonnay with a side of ice. He orders a salad and I go with the sliders. There is a couple a few seats down from me to my right. I know the guy, his name is Brian, but I don’t know the lady he’s with so I wave but don’t approach. He could be working.

On the left of Church, is a brunette in her thirties and an older gentleman. Looks like a lawyer. We don’t really pay any attention. We’re chatting and doing our thing.

Daphne rolls behind the bar and says hello. She tells me it’s a slow night. Not much happening. She goes back to her hostess stand and it’s just another night in paradise.

Suddenly, the woman who was sitting to Church’s left, goes off the bar stool and hits the floor. Normally, I’d call that Thursday night.  We see so many banged up people around the city losing their shit. But this woman was having a seizure. People within visual range are shocked and the bar goes quiet.

I point to the phone on the wall, because the bartender on duty didn’t see one of her patrons suddenly vanish from the bar. “Liz, call 911.”

She starts dialing. Church, with his cat-like reflexes, springs into action and goes from sitting next to me sipping a drink to all the way around the other side of her on the floor holding her head to keep her steady. I get down there and untangle her leg from the lower rail of his bar stool. I have the legs. Church is focuses on the poor woman’s head. She’s thrashing about, and Church is barking commands to those around him. He’s literally single-handedly coordinating the effort to help save this poor woman, and keeping her from injuring herself further.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but Church was formerly a Corpsmen in the United States Navy.

A Corpsman works in a wide variety of capacities and locations, including shore establishments such as naval hospitals and clinics, aboard ships, and as the primary medical caregivers for sailors while underway. Hospital corpsmen are frequently the only medical caregiver available in many fleet or Marine units on extended deployment. In addition, hospital corpsmen perform duties as assistants in the prevention and treatment of disease and injury and assist health care professionals in providing medical care to sailors and their families.

They may function as clinical or specialty technicians, medical administrative personnel and health care providers at medical treatment facilities. They also serve as battlefield corpsmen with the Marine Corps, rendering emergency medical treatment to include initial treatment in a combat environment. Qualified hospital corpsmen may be assigned the responsibility of independent duty aboard ships and submarines; Fleet Marine Service, SEAL and Seabee units, and at isolated duty stations where no medical officer is available.

Yea, pretty bad ass. That’s the guy you want next to you when somebody takes a header at your favorite bar.

She’s making what almost sounds like barking sounds, and staring wildly about. He’s got a good hold on her. He’s talking to her. But mostly he’s trying to keep her from bashing her face into the wooden wall of the bar. The bartender comes around, and some others have gathered. I grab a cloth napkin and ask if we need to put it in her mouth. I always heard that epileptics could bite or swallow their own tongues. Church says, no. He knows what he’s doing and has the situation well under control.

She seems to be calming down. I look over at the guy who was with her. He’s just standing there staring, and looking uncomfortable. The paramedics come and stabilize her. I feel so bad for her. It’s the holidays, and she’s out for a drinks and this horror befalls her. They get her onto the gurney and roll her out. The police are there and also ask some questions. Church is on point, he gives law enforcement the full report.

They also speak to the guy she came in with. He says he doesn’t know her very well. He met her over at DelFrisco’s steakhouse, and then brought her over here for a drink. That’s a big lawyer hang out. Not my scene. This guy didn’t do anything to help or comfort her when she had the seizure, and he didn’t go to the hospital with her. I don’t care if you just picked up the chick in a bar. Lady falls down, you go to the damn hospital with her. I’m thinking that weasel was married and didn’t want any problems. How would he explain to his wife that he was at the hospital with some other woman? I may be wrong, but I got the vibe something was definitely shady about that guy.

We go back to our seats at the bar and have another drink. Church is pissed because somebody was telling him to turn her head when she was foaming at the mouth and that’s not what you’re supposed to do. Me, I was just glad the lady was okay.

Daphne came over to chat and get a recap. I tell her what I know, and tease her.”You had to say it was a slow night and that nothing was happening, and look what you did, Daph…”

“I know, right? Me and my big mouth.”

Indeed…

 

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Sun Stories – Achilles – 2015 to Present – The Battle of Sharon

Achilles has been with his girlfriend Sharon for ten years. They broke up briefly a couple of times but for the most part have stayed together. He met her at one of the salons many years ago. Achilles like me, somehow ends up dating younger women. (Surprise, surprise) She’s like 20 years younger than he is. He’ll be 50 this year. So there’s that. Sharon lives with him at his house. She’s blonde and beautiful, and as you know, those commodities are rare treasures for guys our age. I know he loves her and she loves him. He takes her on great vacations around three or four times a year.

But here is the thing. Like I said before, Achilles is a simple man with simple needs. Wants to work out, eat right, and tinker with his car and his home projects and run his business. That’s it. But for the last year or so, she’s been working on him. She’s 31 so you can hear the tick-tock of motherhood on her mind. But here’s the thing, he has made it very clear that he doesn’t want to have anymore children. He already has two grown sons. So there are no surprises in this relationship. But I think she would like to marry him. And he would marry her. He even showed me a picture of an engagement ring a few months ago.

But for the last six months, she is always picking fights with him. He can’t for the life of him understand why. It’s all nonsense and contrary things that are trivial. I work with him practically everyday. What you see is what you get. She says things and then reverses herself about things. She accuses him of lying and all sorts of things. We can’t figure it out.

It seems like every time she behaves herself for a period of time, he starts to think about going shopping for an engagement ring. Then almost on cue, she starts up shit with him about a bunch of nonsense again. He’s to the point of ending it with her.

But for some reason I don’t think he will. They’ve been together for so long I don’t know how well he’d do without her. He’s a good-looking guy, and very fit so he wouldn’t have any trouble locking down some new talent. But it just wouldn’t be the same. Maybe he needs a fit gal who is just as low maintenance as he is on a daily basis. I just hope she’s not cheating on him. He’s a good guy who is loyal, and just wants to live a peaceful life without stress in his relationship. We’ll see what happens with my friend. Regardless, I’ll be there to lend an ear when he needs to vent about her.

Oh, and incidentally, Achilles recently paid me a rare compliment. He said, “I can’t get any better when it comes to staff than you and Trish.”

That meant a lot to me.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 9am EST.

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