SUN STORIES – Tales From a Tanning Salon, Now Available on Amazon

Yes. It’s now available on Amazon.

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

I was working at a local media company here in Philadelphia. One of my advertising clients was a tanning salon. I became friendly with the owner. He was always complaining about his staff. I asked if I could start moonlighting there for some extra income.

He immediately hired me. One shift became two, then three, and within a month or so, I became full time. I was tired of working at the media company where I was currently employed. A publication that was no longer relevant in this city. Print was basically dead… but tanning salons were hanging by a thread.

But I enjoyed working there. It was a fun job. I met a lot of great people during my time there. But with every job, there’s always challenges… and temptations.

Sun Stories: Tales from a Tanning Salon, takes you on a sunny, and sometimes dark journey of my time working there. It’s filled with funny, unique, and sometimes cringe worthy tanning stories. But there were other forces at work there. What began as an easy part time gig, slowly evolved into a story filled with love, obsession, sex, and misadventure.

When I was editing Phicklephilly 2, I had a revelation. I realized that Phicklephilly 2 was all about the relationship I was in with my girlfriend, Cherie. The love affair, the passion, and the infidelity of that glorious celebration of two people coming together.

But, I looked at Sun Stories, and saw that it ran parallel to Phicklephilly 2. It was a complete documentation of my work life during that period. Phicklephilly 2 was about my relationship with Cherie, and Sun Stories was my work life.

They’re both happening at the same time. I have to release them together.

That’s my whole life between 2016 and 2018. It’s everything. I have to release them both.

Cherie. I loved her. But after Michelle and Annabelle, I was now armed with how to navigate my future relationships. Secure myself and see what happened. I’d never enter into another relationship without my armor on.

I was working at the media company that was the last cool paper in the city. When I think about going to that publication, I think of Ronnie James Dio. He once said that when he joined Black Sabbath to replace Ozzy Osbourne, he called it, the second coming… or going, of Black Sabbath.

That’s how it felt when I joined this dying publication. I loved all of the people I worked with there, but knew the paper was doomed. It’s greatest days had come and gone. I only did it because I was about to be fired from the start up where I was working. I had such high hopes for what I was going to build with that little start up. The money was great, and I’m forever grateful for that. But they never followed through with the investors to build it out into a national site.

That site is dead now.

It was heartbreaking for me to leave them, but I’m sure the owner was relieved he no longer had to pay me. Why did he never follow through? It makes no sense. I guess I’ll never know. We could have built something wonderful. I jumped to a local free publication and made a go of it. That old publication was in a state of flux, and the changes that unfolded for that sweet paper destroyed the very thing it once was. I worked hard at what I’m good at. Acquiring accounts and building the business.

But the writing was on the wall. They had brought in a fool to run the daily operations. He systematically destroyed the advertising department at the paper. Can you imagine that? The guy gets a job to grow a struggling business and all he knows how to do is ruin it.

He did that. All of the meetings. The Monday morning kickoff meeting. The Wednesday Sales Meeting. The Thursday One on One. He should be horse whipped. He broke the spirit of everybody who worked there.

There are no clients in any of your foolish meetings you silly asshole.

How could he be such a failure as a leader when he seem like such a nice guy?

Detritus.

My father passed away, and I was fed up. I was the only sales guy on the floor. Rocco was a fixture and an account rep. He can’t sell. The new manager brought in a couple of retards, and I could see there was no future there. The place was a rotten husk.

It kind of sucks, because back in the day, I LOVED that publication and the CITY PAPER. They were god to me. If you wanted to see what was up in Philly, they were the papers you grabbed. They were in honor boxes around the city. I would always read them every week. Everything I needed to know was in those sweet papers.

But, here I was working at this anachronism. It was over. My daughter will never touch a newspaper. It’s over. It’s been over since 2008. Print is dead.

Oh, but here we go…

Tanning is dead too.

I had a client who actually spent money with me to advertise his brand. I did my best for him. I believed in his products and services. I gave my all. I came up with creative ideas because I cared. I wrote killer copy for his ads. I did what I’m good at.

I liked it so much, I went to work there to escape the dungeon of selling print advertising in a paper whose epitaph had already been written.

But I had no idea it would open a flower I had never seen before.

This is the most lurid book I’ve ever written.

So let’s begin.

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

 

 

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

My new books, Phicklephilly 2 and Sun Stories, are now for sale on Amazon!

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Sun Stories: Haley – 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.”

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!

 

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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Sun Stories – 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!

 

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!

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Sun Stories -Two Steps From the Move

The place is a mess. I just keep the clients rolling and sweep up the dust and debris.

This Sun Story is not about some cute blonde in a sun bed. It’s about the salon itself. So why the cute naked blonde? Why not? Look at her! She’s a doll!

So if you’ve been reading this blog you’ll know that we are moving the tanning salon down to Walnut Street. Lease was up. Building sold. New owners. Rent was going up. It’s been a great ten years, but it’s time to move to a better address. Where the new location will be is probably the most upscale shopping district in the city, so that can’t hurt.

It’s the last day at the old salon and they are literally ripping the place apart. The premium beds went first, then the rest will go over the weekend. We don’t have to be out until the end of the month, but the weather is going to be really nice this weekend. So we want to get over to the new spot now.

I’ve been working from open to close every day leading up to the move. That’s from 10am to 8pm on your feet. I really don’t mind it, because I like to work and our clients are great. Achilles and his team are dismantling the machines, and I’m running the store. It’s Achilles, his brother and two other big guys. So they’re all of the mind and muscle. Just four dudes and a pickup truck. I’m holding down the fort until we close.

We’re down to just three beds in operation. The premium lay down in Room 10, the all access lay down in 3 and the stand up in 2. The place is a mess. I just keep the clients rolling and sweep up the dust and debris.

The best part is for the clients. I have to tan everybody in whatever is available under the circumstances. Which means if you paid for a medium package, and the premium bed is available, you get to tan in the premium bed. It’s not the client’s fault that we took most of the beds from their package to the new site.

Here’s the reason that moving is going to payoff for us at the new location. For the last few days we’ve been letting everyone tan in whatever is available. So the clients that have never experienced the premium beds are getting a taste of something they can’t afford. The best bed in the house. 600 watt face tanners, 200 watt tubes, Vitamin D P2 lamps, 3 levels of tanning, (Basic, Mediterranean & Caribbean) and most of all aqua misting! They’re all coming out of this bed raving about it and asking about pricing, and how it’s “THE experience.” So now that they’ve gotten a taste of the very best, when they re-up their packages I’ll tell them it’s only $10 more for a 5 pack and just $15 for the monthly plan. So now that they’ve had the best, how can they go back?

So we’ll probably get some clients that will be spending for money for the better experience. We’re also offering a $20 discount for students. So that’ll help us as we come into our busy season.  So I’ll help them move all of the small stuff that I can gather tomorrow, and we’ll take it one day as a time.

 

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

 

Tales of Rock – David Bowie Thinks Witches Are Stealing His Semen

In fall 1975, David Bowie went into the studio in Los Angeles and made Station To Station, one of the best albums of his career. It saw him transition from playing conventional if fantastic rock and roll to recording a series of genre-bending masterpieces that set a template for ’80s pop and whose influence is still being felt decades later. Pretty impressive, considering he was doing so much coke at the time he later couldn’t remember recording the album at all.

According to David Buckley, the author of the book “Strange Fascination: David Bowie: The Definitive Story,” Bowie’s diet at the time consisted of cocaine, peppers and milk, and he lived in “a state of psychic terror.” Interviews published in Playboy and Rolling Stone depicted Bowie surrounding himself with burning black candles and Egyptian artifacts and believing that bodies were floating past his window, witches were stealing his semen and that the Rolling Stones were sending him secret messages. He lived in fear of Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, owing to his supposed practice of witchcraft. In Station To Station‘s title track, Bowie yelped, “It’s not the side effects of the cocaine; I’m thinking that it must be love,” which was definitely the wrong diagnosis.

If Bowie wanted to clean up after this album, he made the wrong move by decamping to Berlin with Iggy Pop. Still, the trio of albums he recorded during this period—Low, Heroes and Lodger—honed his legacy. This trilogy along with Station To Station was cherry-picked to create a perfect soundtrack for Christiane F. We Children from Bahnhof Zoo, a German film released in 1981 that captured the harrowing lives of teenage junkies in West Berlin.

Check it out. I saw it at a midnight showing in LA in 1982. It’s great!

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 8am EST.

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