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: 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?”

“Absolutely.”

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!

 

​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

 

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.

 

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

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!

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly

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.

Buy Phicklephilly THE BOOK now available on Amazon!

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly

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