Sun Stories: Skyler – Saving Grace

Skylar said it was okay to use her real name and photo, so here she is! So cute!

I saw Skyler come into the salon a few times with her roommate and was immediately intrigued by her.

Attractive, calm, and new to the city. She was attending UArts College for Illustration.

But there was something about this simple girl from New Jersey, and her floppy T-shirts and shorts.

Her hair was chocolate and wavy. Her eyes, green and lovely.

She was probably 5’2″ and 100 lbs. A slight figure that I felt had great power in her.

I remembering her coming in on a regular basis before Memorial Day to get her base on for the holiday.

I would be running around the salon, cleaning beds and doing laundry and she had become a regular.

But there was something about her that gave me a good vibe.

At 19, for some reason, I could feel and artistic old soul about this girl.

I wanted to meet her. Get to know her for some unknown reason.

I mean, she is beautiful, but it was different. She’s younger than my daughter. It’s not like that. I just felt that this girl had a certain something that was different.

And really it was just her sitting on the bench waiting to tan with her friend. I would walk by and we would exchange the friendly glances I do with all of my clients at the salon.

I needed to figure out what was going on with the vibe, so I approached her one day when she came out of the stand up in 4.

“Skyler, do you only do stand ups?”

“Yea. I feel it gets me the most tan.”

“You’re right. It’s 230 watts of power for 9 minutes, so, good call.”

“Yea. I go to UArts and live in Philly now but I’m from Jersey so I’m used to go tanning. But it’s so much more expensive over there than here, an you have better beds.”

“We have the best equipment and the best prices in the city.”

“Yea, your stand ups are awesome.”

(I’m just happy to be chatting with her) “If you ever want to try a lay down I’ll put you in a premium bed just to check it out.”

This is a thing I do for girls I like. It usually results in them spending more money and upgrading to a more expensive package and the company makes more money. I’m all about the sales, but it always starts with a taste.

“Okay, sounds, good. I’ll try it. Thanks. hey, are you hiring?”

(I’m delighted.)

“We’re always looking for good people, Skyler. Eileen is leaving for the summer, and I may not be here as much due to some other responsibilities, so yes.”

“Okay, well you have my number. Let me know.”

We go to the control room together and I verify her info. I already like her. I already had a good vibe about this girl. It seems natural.

People apply all of the time. Achilles and I have sawed through so many shitty employees, but we’ve had some good ones.

But I’ve been here for two and a half years and I can pick them.

Achilles just wants to work 10 to 3pm and bolt.

Everything else is me. I manage the part time staff.

It’s been glorious this season. Great girls that never call out and work when they are scheduled, and do a spectacular job all the while he’s reaping in money.

I love Amelia and Eileen. They’re both spectacular.

But tonight, Amelia is serving her country with a one weekend a month with the United States Air Force. Eileen is at a Sorority event.

I get it. Theses ladies have stuff they have to do in their young lives.

Last week I worked alone on a Thursday and Friday and it was no problem.

It’s Thursday this week and for some reason since 3pm I am being run over by clients.

I’m getting killed and I don’t know why.

Could this be the final crazy tanning frenzy of the season?

I have no idea. We’re busier than we’ve ever been and are making more money than we ever have.

That’s our goal and that’s what I do at this salon.

But last week I could handle it for Thursday and Friday by myself without the girls.

But tonight, I am literally being run over by clients. I am overwhelmed. It’s awful. I’m the best but… I can’t.

Skyler walks in.

“You said you wanted to work here 2 days ago. Can you work tonight?”

“Yea. Can I tan first?”


Little Skyler goes tanning in a stand up and then proceeds to grab a towel and a spray gun and clean every bed in the house.

I have never taken a risk like this, but after two and a half years, I knew Achilles would be cool with it. (He just doesn’t want to deal with any bullshit)

I teach her how to clean the beds and let her run with that.

Here’s this 19-yr-old girl running around the salon wiping sweat off of sun beds like a champ.

I’ve been saved by this young lady.

At the end of the night I handed her $45 cash for her shift. (She hasn’t been hired and Achilles knows nothing about her)

I was like… screw it. We got run over. You saw the money and profits. I had no staff. Pay her. Hire her. I need Skyler.

Where is my beloved Amelia, and Eileen?

I really have a great vibe already from this girl, and the timing is right, so I’m just going to go with karma at this point.

Skyler who I saw as someone and is now someone in my life.

That means so much to me, because I can identify the good ones so fast now.

It was one of our busiest nights ever, and Skylar jumped in at a moments notice and saved the day.

So Skylar took the initiative and was hired immediately because of her initiative.

2018 has been the year of great hires at this salon.

She’s happy to be here, and I love working with her. I love training her. She’s eager to learn and ready to work.  I’m delighted with this sudden hire

She’s wearing a Grateful Dead t Shirt and shorts.

It’s fine for the salon. No one cares about dress code at the salon. But Skyler has lovely legs and if she wears shorts everyday, that’s fine. It’s a tanning salon and we’re all about skin.

So, my new hire! I was run over. She wanted to work here. I was getting destroyed on a Thursday. She showed up to tan. I asked her to work, she did. she was amazing.

Skyler saved me.

Now she’s an employee.

My hire!


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Eileen – Chapter 17 – Farewell My Love

Eileen has been an absolute delight to have as an employee at the salon.

She’s 18 and gorgeous. I’m actually surprised I got her.

She called to see if we needed help and I was desperate. She came in dressed to the nines and looked 23. I texted Achilles immediately for where the hell the job applications were.

She called and I really needed help but when I saw her and had to have her.

She was immediately hired, and she took to the salon like it was her own.

I liked that she had a natural knack to service. She’s a hostess at an Olive Garden back at home inn St Louis in the summer. I have found the perfect employee.

Eileen has been amazing in every way at this salon. Achilles is free of the bullshit of staffing and I am bringing him his best.

Eileen is amazing and is the perfect employee that’s always on time. I manage her schedule and Achilles doesn’t have to deal with it. I do this all summer long.

How bad is my life? I kill it at the salon and work with the best girls in the world.

I feed and reward a good staff.

My girls kill it for me. I make the salon my own. They will heave free food and drinks whenever they desire.

Eileen is in a relationship with a boy back in St Louis. They wear promise rings. I take Eileen out on weekly dates to piss him off. It’s funny, because as much rage as Thomas feels, it’s unfounded. I am simply rewarding the fine work I’m getting from Eileen. She’s fantastic and one of the greatest hires I’ve ever had.

Thomas needs to cool his jets and know that I’m not some creepy old guy after his girl but a dad who adores his staff and takes good care of them.

Thomas has been angry lately. He thinks I’m a pervert. I like that. Be worried, child. I am simply rewarding a couple of great ladies for kicking ass during our busiest season.

Eileen and Amelia are the greatest employees we’ve ever had. I adore them both,

I’m honored they’re both in my life.

Ease up dude.

Eileen is a great girl you should honor because she’s amazing and forget about me.

I just loved being with her because she’s amazing.

“I’m not after her. I love the great work she did for me. Settle down, Thomas.”

Eileen is going back to St Louis and her work is done here.

She came in to see us and say goodbye, but it’s bittersweet, because we’re not just losing the Spring help. I’m losing Eileen. One of the best employees I’ve ever had.

But I have to understand. She has to go home. She’s worked so hard on her studies in Criminal Justice at Drexel and given her all here at the salon.

I dream of employees of Eileen and Amelia. We’ve been blessed this season.

I have loved working with both of these wonderful women, and enjoyed my time with them.

Eileen was mostly food and Amelia was more about cocktails, but I love that.

Help has been the major challenge at this company, but I have eradicated that problem with these two wonderful people.

I’ll miss my time with Eileen. She has been a delight to work with. Her personality, her dress code and service have always been first rate. She’s a lovely, smart girl that always looked great for work, and treated the clients with such great hospitality.

I trained she and Amelia and they were both on point.

It made life at the salon so much better during our busy season.

The clients don’t care, they just want to get their base on. But the girls have been amazing and innovative to keep everybody happy. That’s I how I trained them.

I miss Eileen already.

She boarded a jet back home for the summer. She works at Olive Garden as a hostess in her home town. She’s already asked me for a raise when she comes back.

Future lawyer.

I love her.

She texted Amelia and myself when she was going home and said she would miss us.

I know she’ll be missed far more by Amelia and I.

Can’t wait to see our friend again.


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Eileen – Chapter 16 – Helicopters and Pizza

Spring 2019

While Eileen have been busting or butts killing it at the salon, our dear co-worker, Amelia, has been serving our fair nation in the air force reserve for the last two weeks.

Eileen’s picked up all of her shifts and is killing it at the front counter as usual.

I’ve been here for two years and seen it all. I’ve done every job imaginable here. Once that occurs and it gets crazy busy, Achilles and I both agree it’s time to let go and let the staff take over intake and we’ll just go run and clean and clear sun beds all night.

The girls are so much better at hosting the clients and being calm and sweet. I would rather work in the background. Manage the laundry, clean beds, and stock the bathroom.

It really comes down to doing everything all of the time and having the opportunity to just do one thing and maintain it. The girls are so much more calm and so much better at managing our clients.

Back home in St. Louis, Eileen, summers as a hostess at an Olive Garden. She’s 18 and has already grasped the concept of great client service even when all of your clients are all morons.

It’s called the service industry and we need to hold their hands and walk them through the entire process and be sweet about it. Eileen is a great actress and gets the job. That’s what she has to be. Because these people have the disposable income to go tanning but most of them you’d never want to even have a drink with, but Eileen gets it and is sweet to every singe one of them, even if she has loathing in her sweet heart.

I miss Amelia. She’s been in Okinawa for the last two weeks and it feels like forever because I adore her. I have been blessed with such great staff this year. It’s truly like a blessing based on the garbage we’ve had through here over the last ten years.

I mean I’ve loved the few that have been solid but for the most part, in any low end retail business where you pay less than ten bucks an hour you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel.

I can’t wait for Amelia to return so I can buy her a drink and hear all of her stories from her trip. Eileen and I both agree it feels like she’s been gone forever and we miss her at our salon.

I feel like I miss her more, because while we work together there’s something missing. Eileen and I carry the whole ship every night. We get killed here and overrun with people needing to tan. It’s just the two of us. Achilles, leaves at 3pm and hopes we never call him with a problem.

That’s how it’s been for the last two years. Every spring we get run over with people who need to be tanned. Weddings, Proms, bachelorette parties, the arrival of summer, formals, graduations, honeymoons, vacations, etc.

It’s insane.

But it’s when this company makes it’s money. It’s our Christmas season.

I miss Amelia, but my girl Eileen has been deadly every night at this salon.

The air conditioning is failing and the salon has become like the inside of a volcano. The stand up units are so busy that the metal handles inside them are too hot to hold. (which sounds like a shitty Bon Jovi song) Room #4 cuts off because it always overheats. #9 has a bad board and if you touch the fan button, it turns off much to the dismay of a naked person hoping to tan. So we have to deal with those fails. Don’t even get me started on the aqua misting in #1 and #2 failing all night long.

But through this, Eileen is on point with every person that comes through the door. She’s 18. A young girl. But she greets every person without attitude. She’s always charming and cordial. Truly an amazing actress.

Achilles doesn’t even realize the renaissance we have entered with this current model.

I get that. He’s been doing the damn thing for over a decade. The bullshit he’s have to put up running this business has been crushing and very disappointing most of the time. I get it.

But in this moment we have the best.

I see it.

I wish he could too, but I feel he’s jaded and only sees the staff as cattle that roll through and do the job.

The air conditioning unit is failing, and the salon is like an oven. It leaks into room 3 and I joke that we should charge our clients more for the rainforest experience.

The retail outlet below us complains about the gym we opened here that kind of never happened.

They complain about the noise of weights being dropped. The fitness place above us sued us for putting a gym in. We’re the meat in a shit sandwich in rittenhouse.

I see the writing on the wall and it’s very clear.

But despite all of the things we tried to do here, the salon is killing it. The cash is rolling in.

But for who?

I thought I’d be a partner in a fitness center a year ago, but now I see that I’m the greatest clerk in one of the last tanning salons in the city and that’s all.

It’s all going to work out because I have a massive back up plan.

Let’s get back to my subject, Eileen.

Fantastic employee. My hire. Want her everyday.

We’ve hung out. I do the things that Achilles is incapable of. Take your employees out and reward them for their service. I’m great at that, Achilles. Not so much.

We’ve been killed in the last week and I don’t have Amelia. It’s been Eileen and me getting run over by clients.

My relationship is different between both girls. But I adore them both for their personalities and work ethic.

We all joke about so many things like all co-workers do.

But the one that Eileen finds the most delightful is the scenario where I’m hanging out and having a meal with Eileen and her boyfriend gets super jealous.

I have made jokes about this about how maybe we are sitting at Honeygrow or MacDonald’s and her boyfriend flies in on a helicopter and comes in and kills me.

I, as the stand up comedian and the funny dude I am, have come up with many funny scenarios about how her boyfriend gets pissed off and comes to kill me in a helicopter.

Eileen loves these funny stories, and literally squeals with delight when I spin these tales. But like all 18-year old teenage girls wearing promise rings, they’re going to share everything with their significant others.

(Oh…. sidebar here, apparently her boy cheated on her and slept with another girl during this elegant promise ring relationship) I feel bad for Eileen that this happened because it shows his weakness and Amelia and I both agree he’s a thumb and doesn’t deserve a queen like Eileen.

They share everything non-stop on social media and apparently Thomas is getting pissed off that I have been taking is girlfriend out to nice restaurants for ice cream.

Of course I can imagine at his age. But really dude. I’m an old dad that is just happy I got some good staff.

I told Eileen I don’t want to cause her any problems.

She says, “he an kiss my ass.”

“What do you mean?”

He’s being and asshole. He can kiss my ass. He doesn’t understand who you are. I told him when he meats you he’ll like you. I told him we work together and we have a relationship.”

I love that she told her boyfriend that she’s developed a relationship  with me.

I know what you’re all thinking… settle down. It’s nothing. She’s my employee and a teenager.

It’s all in good fun!


If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support.


Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Buy Phicklephilly THE BOOK now available on Amazon!

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Eileen – Chapter 15 – What’s Water Ice? – Part 2

Spring 2019

We leave the salon, and I make sure that Eileen is on the inside when we walk down the street. Girls on the inside. (always guys) We only need to travel two blocks but to my little neophyte she’s clueless. No worries. Eileen starts to complain but then sees Rita’s water Ice and that pacifies her for the moment.

I have to be honest here, I’m really proud of my staff this year. I’ve really enjoyed our tine together, but I really have enjoyed our social time together.

We get in line at Rita’s. It takes forever. But not really.

I’m just happy to be with Eileen.

She’s so beautiful and in this moment everything is so easy.

It’s just two people from different worlds from different ages but share the same experience and it just works.

We’re just two people that are exhausted from the same shit and we need a bit of repose.

Rita’s was the perfect idea. Eileen hates her roommates, and would rather be out that be home.

Eileen orders an enormous gelato with lemon water ice and vanilla ice cream. I’m astounded that this little girl could consume so much dessert, but youth is indestructible.

Whatever baby wants.

I order a small Oreo cookies and cream.

Eileen warns me that it will not be good but I just want a taste. I’m just happy to be with her.

Hers comes out and it looks huge and amazing

“Can you get us a table inside?”

I only say this so she’ll go settle and I’ll get to pay for her again. I like paying for her. I know she must realize what’s happening. Eileen is always s gracious and always thanks me for everything I do for her.

I’m happy to reward good employees. I’ve always been that way. That’s just good business.

But to be honest, when it comes to Eileen, I just really like taking care of her. I’m so grateful that she’s come to work at the salon and has been so amazing, If she ever needs a referral I’m on board.

I know I’ve said it before, but we really have been been blessed this year.

My Oreo slush in a small cup and it looks like a pile of mud and kind of sucks but I actually like it. I like it, because the salon’s air conditioning is broken, and it’s hot and gross, but I’m happy where I am now.

I’m sitting in a quiet space with a lovely 18-year-old girl that I adore sharing water ice in Philly.

If anybody reading this goes dirty, that’s on you because it was a lovely moment with my employee.

I’m telling her stories from my childhood about how we used to go sledding on snow days, and all of the accidents we used to have.

Eileen is fascinated by these harrowing tales, and is giggling while she chokes on her gelato.

I tell her I used to always tell funny stories at the dinner table with my mom and sisters and they would all lose their shit.

I love sharing these old stories with Eileen. She giggles and at some point of my many stories, literally loses her shit and cracks up and giggles uncontrollably.

Being the comedian I am, I love when I can really tickle someone and bring them joy,

My sisters get this.

My father always said I had a quick wit, but never saw the value in it.

“I’m sorry if Thomas (her boyfriend back in Missouri) has been worked up about us hanging out, but it’s just job shit. I like to reward my staff when their good.”

“He can kiss my ass. It’ll be fine.”

“The last thing I want is to cause problems in your life, dear.”

“Don’t worry about it.”

“He’s just mad about you taking me out on all of these dates and is worried for my safety.”

“What? I’m a dad and just hanging with my staff.”

“I told him, he needs to settle down. We’re fine, and I work with you and we have developed a relationship and it’s good.”

“I love that Eileen said that she and I have a relationship and that her boyfriend is afraid of me from 2000 miles away. I don’t want to shake another dude up, but it’s fun to know that my pimp arm is still so strong.

Thomas has nothing to worry about. I adore Eileen as an employee. As a professional, I would never move on her.

Especially with young people.

It’ll be fine.

Baby seals will hit the water, and Great Whites will swim.

I’m starting to see a pattern here with Eileen.

I pay for everything with her.

I want her to be my Sugar baby in my mind, and she’s playing the role beautifully.

Do I mention it?

I brought her a bag of snacks the other day and today a rice crispy treat, It’s small, but steady and sweet. I think she knows I appreciate her beauty and her hard work.

It’s obvious I have feelings for her. She’s so young, I have to be respectful.

But for some reason i think it may be turning. I love that she always thanks me for everything I do for her.

I like that.

But lately i am feeling like she’s my sugar baby.

I love that.

What if I want to  make that happen?

I think Eileen already is my sugar baby!


Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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Eileen – Chapter 14 – What’s Water Ice? – Part 1

“The air conditioner guy is supposed to come tonight. Because this place has been a blood pit.”

Spring 2019

I had to come in at 2pm today. I have no idea why my partner had to leave. I thought he had a new fitness client and he had to spend time with them, but he said no, he just had to go. I’m fine with coming in early, I love being at the salon.

On top of that the air conditioner has been busted for a week.

But I’m so happy to be away from sitting in a cubicle among a bunch of loser rubes that have no idea who they even are.

It’s Thursday and I assume I’ll be run over by clients. but it’s early and I figure I’ll be okay for a while. Normally, I can survive until 5:30 until Eileen get here late after class and we’ll make it work.

Today was not the case.

I came in early because I was asked to. I have a flexible schedule for things like this.

I could never have expected that I would be absolutely run over by the number of people who came to the salon.

From 2pm until Eileen showed up I was absolutely murdered. It was as if they had all concocted a plan to destroy me on that lovely Wednesday evening.

It was busy beyond words. I literally ran for 4 hours. Opening new accounts, tanning ladies, running, and the endless sea of dirty towels that creates.

As I ran through the salon all I could think about was, “What if Eileen bailed on her last class and came in?”

Eileen’s studies are paramount, but I can still hope. But baby never came. She needed to focus on her studies and her future degree. I admire her so much for what she’s doing and love what she’s doing here but I’m on my own for now.

I even forgot about the Rice Krispy treat I had brought in for her because I want my co-worker to have a snack while she helps me deal with all of these people desperate to tan.

I think this is the most busy I’ve ever been since I’ve worked here. I’m getting killed. I am literally doing load after load of towels.

I think around 5:30, I was scrubbing down the sun bed in #9 when I heard a familiar, lovely voice say, “Hello” to me.

I think Eileen has finally arrived!

Thank God.

I’m getting killed!

My savior is here!

Eileen doesn’t realize this but in that moment, I’m so grateful that she’s arrived I’m loving her as an employee!

I’ve been rescued from the 120 degree nightmare that has been my life for the last 4 hours!

The air conditioner guy is supposed to come tonight, because this place has been a blood pit.

The stand up units are so hot you can’t even put your hands on the handles inside the units, without being burned. That’s how bad it is. He was supposed to come two nights ago but totally failed.

We’re doing the best we can under bad conditions, but Eileen has been a love all through it.

She’s stranded at he counter dealing with all of the new intake. I retreat to the back to handle cleaning beds and managing laundry.

Eileen is handling all of the non-stop people with a smile and I so appreciate that.

It’s just another night at the salon, and I bask in the fact that I have the best staff this year.

It’s so hard to find good employees for jobs like this and I’ve been gifted with the very best.

“Is there a good water ice place around here?’

“Rita’s. It’s like two blocks away. Amazing.”

“I want that.”

“Yea, it’s a Philly favorite. Now I feel like I want water ice.”

“Do you wanna get some after work?”

I absolutely love that Eileen has asked me to have water ice with her after our little pizza date last night.

We finally finish all of the horrors of all that is the salon and finish everything there. It was a super profitable day.


Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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Amelia – Chapter 9 – Marathon

Amelia tells me if we are stuck at the salon beyond 8:45 she’s going to bail and go home. She just flew back to the States from Japan and surely she must be tired. (Air Force Reserve)

I get it.

Of course it’s so busy at the salon we get fucked on that time scale. I tell her tomorrow is my buddy Church, and after that I’m drilled with work, so tonight we tell we catch up or it has to be next week.

Amelia relents, and even though she’s exhausted and so am I, we agree to hang.

We manage to get all of the stragglers and line steppers out of the salon and do our best to clean up and close out.

We know this is the only night we can hang, and even though we’re both exhausted, we march over to Marathon around the corner.

We exchange stories as always.

She tells me a lurid tale of a tryst she had while she was abroad.

All I can think of is what a liberated soul my Amelia is.

That’s it. No judgement. I just want her to be happy.

But there is something else.

I’ve really missed Amelia.

I wrote about about this before but I have to say it again.

I have feelings for Amelia.

It’s different.

It doesn’t fit into any dating, relationship, bucket.

I just have feelings for her.

I just love being around her and it’s so fun to spend time with her. (We’re paid to be together)

Okay…. I was sitting at dinner at Marathon with Amelia and we were exchanging stories. We’re so honest with each other. We really safely release to each other. (I like that)

I told Amelia I loved her.

She said it back.

I don’t know.

She’s 24, I’m 55. That’s a spread, but I love Amelia. I’m so happy when I’m with her. I feel like we could run a business together, and still laugh over drinks and enjoy each others company.

But I could be wrong

She’s young, and she has so many choices and I never want to interfere in that.

We had a nice dinner together, and I know she was tired, but I was just so happy to see her.

I’m happier in my life than I’ve ever been. I love that I have so many opportunities and I get stay busy at my age, but I really have been blessed to meet some new people in the real world instead of swiping on Tinder.

She’s my employee so I have to be careful…

But I’ve fallen in love with Amelia.



Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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Eileen – Chapter 13 – & Pizza

I knew in that moment that I still had the power over everybody I ever met. But I had to be careful how I wield that sword.

Are you sill hungry?


Do you want that Eileen?

I do.

Can we do half pepperoni?

Eileen and I tan all of the people, sweep, and mop, and do all of the things we have to do to make it perfect for the next shift like always.

I’m sure Thomas (boyfriend back in Missouri) is furious, but I take Eileen to &Pizza.

I love being with Eileen.

We order a sweet pie that is done in 2 minutes. I pay of course and I’m happy to take care of Eileen. I just figure pizza is a good reward for incredible work at the salon,

We lock up and walk over to & Pizza. It’s raining little bit and I open my umbrella to protect her hair, which as she told me, gets so frizzy in rainy weather.

Eileen’s hair is long, luxurious, and absolutely gorgeous. It is like ribbons of coal that tumble about her shoulders like nothing else.

I know those are words of amour, but trust me, I’m just describing here. She’s 18. My daughter Lorelei is 21, I’m a Dad. I’m simply describing my co-worker’s lovely mane.

If you’ve been reading this blog I know what you’re all thinking.

We get to the place and go and order. Eileen doesn’t like her roommates. Apparently they are a bunch of “petty bitches” as she describes.

I get it. Teenage girls living together in close quarters is a dicey situation. Eileen likes to stay out and delay her time at the dorm. So this is welcomed by my employee.

We order and within minutes our product arrives out of the oven fresh and delish.

We grab a table and put our stuff down.

I like being out with Eileen. We work well together and get killed every night by the crowds of people desperately trying to tan for whatever the hell they have going on. It’s a luxury choice and and a needed service for others.

Some for skin disorders, but for the most part this time of year it’s just so they look tan in the sunny summer and don’t burn.

Eileen is such a good actress. She feels all of the frustration we all feel working here, but she always remains cheery and cordial. I love that. That’s a good work ethic I respect and enjoy.

We both know we’re slammed and the air conditioning is busted at the worst time possible, and the guy didn’t show up for the 2nd time, but we make it work.

We do that every night with out fail. We delight everyone and get them tan with a smile.

I feel the pressure of sometimes working on my own before she gets there before school because of her schedule, but when I hear her voice enter the salon I feel nothing but joy, knowing my help has arrived to save me from being run over for three hours straight.


The delicious pie arrives in  few minutes because that’s what they do at & pizza.

That’s where we were in Philly!

It’s a chain, but I don’t know how they pay their their $35k a month rent, but I digress!

Eileen is happy and that’s all I care about. If baby’s hungry after a monster shift, I’m happy to feed her.

I’m a huge believer in rewarding your best people, and even though Achilles should be doing this, I do it.

It’s just the right thing to do for your best people. I have the best staff I’ve ever had this year. I wish Achilles knew this, but it’s lost on him and that just makes me think more about Mac Mart, but again… I digress.

They have all of these weird fountain drinks and Eileen wants to try a few of them before she commits.

I paid for the pie and the drinks but she grabbed a little cup before, and now I have a big cup and she has a small one.

Eileen is determined to get a big cup and just grabs one after her first Mango whatever.

“Well you paid for it, so I’m getting a bigger cup.”

I love sitting with her and having our little fun dinner together.

I know her boyfriend is seething back in St Louis. I understand teenage insecurity, but what I’m doing is just employee reward shit. Amelia and Eileen are the best employees we’ve ever had. I’ve been a manager of people my entire corporate life. If you take care of your best, they work harder for you and feel valued.

I know Achilles has been fucked over by so many employees over the years and he’s jaded, but I’m not. He’s always guarded around employees. But now he has me as the buffer. The manager that never got to become the co-owner and grow the company.

This was his moment. We could have opened a gym or another tanning salon, but it never happened. But I’ll still treat my employees like they’re valued because I know how hard the job is every night, and they keep coming in on time and doing everything that’s needed. It’s simply what work is. I wish Achilles realized this but we’ll see.

The pizza is amazing and Eileen seems to be enjoying her slices and her drink of choice.

I get napkins and forks and knives because that’s what dads do. I decide to get a third place setting and tell Eileen we should honor Amelia, because she can’t be here but we wish she were.

Eileen loves this idea and takes a picture and loads it into our group text.

Eileen writes: “Amelia, u r missing out, we set a place setting in honor for you.”

Amelia: “I’m not dead.”

Eileen and I lost our shit over that. Amelia’s amazing and we miss her so much.

This has never happened at the salon. There’s never been this kind of connection between the staff and Achilles is completely outside of it. Which is fine, because he doesn’t need this. That’s what he has me for.

For now.

Eileen steals up to the counter and gets a bigger cup and fills it with her Mango delish.

We devour the pizza and I’m just happy to spend some time with my coworker where we aren’t be being overrun with clients.

It’s a moment of repose with a woman I’m grateful is in my life and and decided to call me for a job. I was desperate for staff and Eileen appeared. I didn’t think I’d get the best of the best.

Charming, smart, beautiful, professional. Based on our history at the salon, we don’t deserve Eileen. But we got her and I’m so grateful.

I feel the same way about Amelia. She’s magic.

I am so exhilarated to be out of the rat race. I get to work and be busy, and live a simple life with people I adore.


Eileen goes to the tap and fills her 16 oz cup again for the long ride back to Drexel.

I’m exhausted, and just happy we got to hang out, chat, and have some fun food with a great girl.

We pack up and go our separate ways.

As always, I tell Eileen to be safe going home.

Thomas has nothing to worry about. If anything, he should know his beloved is being looked after by Lorelie’s dad, who would never let anything happen to someone he cares so much for.

Eileen and Amelia have been the best of the best at the salon. I’m so proud of them both. I’m sure I have told them both, but we’re truly in a renaissance at the salon.

When things are this good I think the owner may take it for granted. This surprises me a bit, but I’ll look after the staff as best I can for as long as I can.


Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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Eileen – Chapter 12 – Gelato

We had discussed gelato.

Because when you work your ass of at any job, delicious food comes up.

I told her about Gran caffe L’ Aquilla

That’s the amazing place that my friend Church turned me on to that has award winning gelato.

“Do they have Hazelnut?

“I think they do but I’ll check on that.”

I know Gran Caffe, and I’m sure they have that.

I’m just happy to do something for my employee that is clearly suffering from life’s set backs.

I call and it’s all good.

We are getting killed at the salon but plan the night. Monday my favorite bartender Roman is working an event upstairs at my favorite bar, Tuesday I meet with James, my most adored artistic friend, and Wednesday is Church at Marathon for dinner. So Thursday is the night we’ll do the gelato.

I’m super proud of my staff and unaccustomed to this level of performance.

I tell Eileen they have a hazelnut gelato and she’s down.

I just love the idea of hanging with my staff and rewarding them for their hard work with amazing treats. No one ever did that for me, so I’m setting the standard for future bosses!

Achilles should be reimbursing me for this attention to his incredible staff.

We leave the salon and it is starting to rain. Eileen’s glorious raven tresses don’t like the rain so she covers her lovely head with her hood.

We don’t want my hire to be frizzy when she get to her destination.

We walk the the tree blocks and get to Gran Caffe. She’s never been there and we ask if there are  any seats at the bar. They direct us upstairs. We find two seats at the end corner of the bar ad it’s somewhat more quiet.

I can already see that there are two gentlemen to the right of us who are checking my lovely date.

I mean… I get it. Eileen is beautiful and full of life, how could you not look upon her?

I show her the table that I brought Kita to for dinner many months ago. But we all know that ended. Thankfully Eileen doesn’t know. But will after this writing.

We cozy up to the end of the bar and there are three seats. We drop our coats on the last one and take the other two.

I’m happy to be out on a date with Eileen, She’s my employee and I want to hang with her an reward her for her shitty week, and all of the great work she’s done, but love being out with her in general because’s she’s amazing.

Good companies should reward their employees.

Eileen is dying for Hazelnut gelato. Apparently, she hasn’t had it since she was in Germany 10 years ago!

“So, when you were 11.”

“NO. I was 7.”

“Shush…your fake ID.. Eileen.”

It had been a rough night for us both so I did a Manhattan just to take the edge off. I ordered the flight of gelatao. Five spoons full of crazy goodness.

Eileen ordered the two scoops of hazelnut in a dish.

I drank, and we laughed over the “Things that annoy us ” list I have in my phone about the salon.

And then the dessert arrived.

They placed the sweet glass cup of hazelnut gelato in front of lovely Eileen.

I paused.

She dug in with a scoop from her spoon. Eileen placed it in her mouth.

Her expression said it all.

Eileen tilted her sweet head.



“I think I want to cry.”

Eileen had hazelnut gelato in Germany when she was 7, and now she was back in that moment,

I brought that.

It gives me so much joy to please the good people in my life.

I got the flight which is five spoons of magic that taste like five different Beatles songs. They’re that good, that every one makes you feel different.

Eileen went with two scoops of hazelnut because she wanted it so bad. I knew it would be good.

“I haven’t tasted this in ten years… I want to cry.”

My work is done here. i have great staff. If I can reward them with this level of joy, I’m doing my job.

I’m overjoyed that I have such a wonderful staff this season. It’s super rare. Sure they both have their schedule nightmares, but I work around them, because they’re both so good.

What I’ve learned in this business is good staffing. Reliable staffing. I have that now for a moment.

I adore Eileen and Amelia.

I’ve worked in corporate america for 35 years and have been surrounded by weak, lazy losers. I’ts refreshing to be finally surrounded by real TALENT.

Eileen devours her hazelneut gelato as we cover the list of things that annoy us at the salon.

I love the sound of her laughter as we meet on the list.

I sip my $15 cocktail an assess my life.

So great.

I’m, at a premiere Italian restaurant  where I know the owners and the lead bartender. They’ve come to us and made a fuss.

I’m here having the most delicious gelato with my best hire ever.

We finish up and I put her on the train home.

I’m honored that I have this great relationship with my my staff.

On a side note…

Eileen’s boyfriend is feeling jelly jell (jealous) of Eileen going out for ice cream with Grand pop.

He’s pissed, and says that doing that is some couples shit.

I love that he’s jealous.

I secretly love that my pimp arm is strong across America, but that’s what got Robert Johnson killed. (google him)

Seems a fair death.


Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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Amelia – Chapter 8 – Air Force Reserve and Return

Amelia has been gone gone for 2 weeks because she serves in the Air Force Reserve 2 weeks a year.

On top of her working at the gym on the wrong side of Broad street, getting her certification in personal training, working for Uber in her off hours, and being my number one at the salon, she serves her country.

If you’ve been reading this series about our seasonal hires at the salon you’ve learned quite a bit.

Eileen is the baby, The lovely 18 year old with a steel trap mind, and a sharp wit. She’s lovely and great with the customers. I put her at the front and she’s magic. Eileen deflects all of the customer bullshit and is great at being the perfect actress/hostess to the clients. That’s what I want.

I normally do everything, and its good to know Eileen is my sweet anchor at the counter while I run around and clean beds and manage the laundry.

While Amelia’s been away for two weeks serving her country Eileen has been picking up all of her shifts and has been more than on point. I’m pleased beyond words with my current staff. They’re different but I adore them both and they have been so great this year. We’ve had so much trash roll through here that it’s refreshing to have some sweet young minds that are on point and come in and do the job properly. Achilles is oblivious and bitches about whatever we’ve missed in regard to cleaning, but it’s his ship and that’s his role.

He never sees how bad we get run over by clients. but we just keep hammering on and try to keep the place as clean and tidy as we can.

The air conditioning fails, and the beds overheat, and the system freezes, and we just march on. Tanning people that are ready to look the best they can for what they’re about to do. Weddings, formals, graduations, going down the shore, honeymoon, summer, and skin issues. We do it all and you will all look beautiful in the end. I promise.

I feel like Amelia and I have grown close over our time together. We reveal what’s happening in our lives.

I trust Amelia.

She’s not my hire but we’ve formed an incredible bond. I joke how Eileen is my hire but that’s all bullshit, and I am so pleased with them both.

But while Amelia was away for two weeks, I really missed her presence in my life.

Eileen picked up all of her shifts and was great. I loved working with Eileen and spending time with her at work and beyond. (We’ve had a lot of fun snacks after work together!)

But it felt like Amelia was gone from me longer than she actually was.

I missed my Amelia.

When we work together we have an unspoken energy that runs the salon.

If I do one thing… she does the other.

If I stop doing that thing and do something, she picks up the slack and gets that job done.

I’ve been here for two and a half years and Amelia is my number one.

There’ve been others that have come before at this salon, but Amelia and I really make this place sing.

She just flew in from Okinawa Japan, 2 days ago and here she’s ready for work at 3pm on a Monday, ready to roll.

I was coming out from the back when I first saw her.

Her blonde hair was down and she was wearing a burgundy dress.

As she walked toward me down the hallway, I was so happy to see her. Just to see her lovely face again and her smile made me melt.

She’s so my favorite.

I miss Amelia more than I missed my girlfriend, Cherie.

We hug so tight. God, I missed her.

I’m so relived she’s home. It feels so long I’ve been without her.

Having Amelia back at the salon lets me know that we’re going to survive this season.

My buddy Church has had some recent developments in his life that are amazing and I know he wants to hang and share. He suggests Monday night, but knowing Amelia is just back I tell him Tuesday, because if there’s even the remote chance Amelia can have a snack or a drink with me Monday upon her return, he has to wait.

Tis’ the season, and we get killed at the salon. The air conditioning’s been of the fritz but the boys come to fix it, and we soldier through.

It is non-stop mayhem, but even though Amelia’s been gone for two weeks and is just back, she steps up to the challenge like a pro. We actually trade off duties and Amelia does the job seamlessly.

Amelia and I are a charming, well oiled machine at the salon when we’re being overrun with customers.

They all have to tan before Memorial Day weekend and we have to accommodate.

And accommodate we do.

This is our Christmas season. I will smile, joke and love every person that walks in the door tonight.

Even if they walk in at closing while we mop the floors and carry out the trash.

I know Amelia is exhausted, but we vow to go to Marathon diner for food and drinks to catch up on stories.

We clear everybody out of the salon and cleanse the property.

Amelia is very proactive when it comes to keeping the place clean.

I just want sip a Manhattan with her at Marathon and spend time with her.

So happy she’s back.


Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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Eileen – Chapter 11 – Formal and Lost Phone

Eileen texted me and told me she needed Friday off to go to her formal. She’s in a sorority (of course) at Drexel Uni and this is the event of the season. I check with Amelia, to see if she can work. Amelia, is flying to Okinawa with the Air Force Reserves on Saturday and says yes.

I’m relived because I wont be killed at the salon Friday night with her there. Eileen is eternally grateful we have her covered, and because she’s a freshman and in a sorority we have her back.

My staff is great this year like I said before. Amelia is amazing and so good at everything in the salon. I couldn’t have wish for better. Eileen is fantastic with the clients and new intake every night when we get run over with business.

These girls are simply the best I’ve ever hired in the history of the salon.

Finding staff this rich at this dollar amount is nearly unheard of in this industry. I’ve truly been blessed to have girls this good during the busy season.

So Eileen is off Friday to go to her college formal, and I work her Saturday and Sunday.

I text her Sunday night to remind her that Amelia is traveling to Okinawa for two weeks with the Air Force Reserves and that I need her in at 3 on Monday.

She’s down.

I’ll really miss Amelia, because I think we’ve become good friends working here.

But I’ll just miss her presence because I really care for her.

I text Eileen and she’s ready to work all the shifts this week.

Eileen comes in and she is sad.

“How was your formal?”

“I got super drunk and left my phone in an Uber.”

To spare my readers the drama, I will spell it all out here.

Eileen went to the formal, (I’m sure looking fabulous) got plastered due to the pressure of those around her, puked with the help of her sorority leader, wasn’t looked after properly by her sober coach, there’s video of her drunk ass being led into her dorm, lost her phone in an UBER, went to the hospital, and has been brought up on charges of public drunkeness by the college.

I would usually call that, “Saturday Night in my Twenties” but this is a nightmare for my hire.

An 18 year old girl without her phone is like a seal stranded on an ice floe surrounded my killer whales.

I feel her pain.

It’s a bad week. Baby doesn’t have her phone. which is crippling in this day and age. (I’ve felt it myself)

The salon is crazy busy, and Eileen’s doing great. Obviously for a girl her age, without a phone is like losing a limb, but she has her tablet and doing her best.

I hear the whole horror saga and really feel for her. I wish I were there so I could look after her like I would my own daughter Lorelei.

Eileen’s been a pleasure to work with this season, and I would do anything to help her any way I can. When I heard the story of her struggling to get her phone back from the loser driver I actually felt angry like a family member had been hurt.

Four days pass and Eileen is the consummate professional at the salon.

Eileen’s had a hell of a week, and I want to do something to make her feel better. Like I said, these young girls have their challenges in their lives, but they work for us. They’re the best I’ve ever had.

I recognize talent unlike most of the insecure shitstains I’ve worked for in the rat race. Just assholes that have zero talent and can’t work anywhere else and can’t do what I do.

I’m fine with that. That’s just the way of world, and corporate america.

But I’ll never let anybody that works for me suffer. Ever.

Through all of this drama, where Eileen is now facing fines and has to take computer modules on being drunk, I will support her. It’s total bullshit.

College students experiment with everything. Eileen is a good student and majoring in Criminal Justice. She’s a brilliant girl. I see that in her. She can have all of the teenage world drama she wants, but at the end of the day, she’s a terrific person I admire.

I’m happy to work with young people that are on point and they’re willing to work any job and do whatever is asked of them with a smile. That’s where I come from and Amelia and Eileen possess all of that goodness.

I realize with Amelia gone in Okinawa and Eileen picking up all over shifts, coupled with no phone and censure, she’s in a bad place.

But does it affect her performance at the salon during our crazy busy season? Not in the slightest. Because of her not having access to her cell she was actually more productive. (Surprise)


Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Buy Phicklephilly THE BOOK now available on Amazon!

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly