During my senior year in high school, my parents said "It's time you started earning your own money." So I got a part-time job at the Carousel Snack Bar in Southpark Mall, about a ten-minute drive from home.
The Carousel Snack Bar had the curious idea that going to a mall was a rare, exciting event, not part of everyday life, so they sold the kind of snacks you would expect at a carnival: hot dogs, popcorn, cotton candy, and soft-serve ice cream.
There were benefits to the job: all the junk food I wanted, a bookstore down the hall, and a never-ending parade of high school and college jocks.
But I hated my boss, Mark Morris (not his real name). He was about thirty, a little on the chunky side, with black hair, a square face with a little beard, and nerd glasses. But what he lacked in physical presence, he made up for in raw machismo.
1. He swaggered. He swore. He barked out orders while swearing: "Clean out the butter dispenser, damn it!"; "Restock the f*** ketchup!"; "Didn't I tell you to change the god** bun warmers!"
2. He kept us late every night, mopping, polishing, shining until an hour after the Mall closed. I'm still fuming over being forced to stay late and mop out the store room, thereby missing the district jump quiz tournament and killing my chances of going to the regionals!
3. Every other sentence was a clever reference to penises or sex, or both:
"How's it hangin', Sarge?" (he called all the boys "Sarge").
"You guys better take your hands outta your pants and start pushing the the cotton candy!"
"It's cold enough out today to turn an Eskimo dick into a popsicle!"
"Hey, dickless wonder, I said go chop the onions!"
Considering that we were sixteen and seventeen-year olds, his comments seem dangerously close to sexual harassment. But the term was not in common use yet. I thought sexual references were standard in the work world.
4. Mark was only obnoxious to the boys. The girls got away with murder:
"Of course you can take tomorrow off, Dear. Your studies come first."
"Of course you can skip the mopping, Sweetheart, if you're too tired."
5. When we asked permission to leave our post, Mark always implied that we intended to have sex:
"Gonna go choke the chicken, huh?"
"Gonna go spank the ol' trouser snake, huh?"
"Don't have too much fun over there, Sarge!"
"Sure, Sarge. Wanna borrow my Playboy?"
I wanted to quit, but my parents said "You have to stick to your commitments. You'll be working for bad bosses your whole life."
Which is true, but no other boss has ever asked if I was going to "spank the ol' trouser snake."
Mark actually did keep a stack of Playboy magazines in the store room, and sometimes on a slow day he disappeared into the Flowerama restroom with one for fifteen or twenty minutes. We speculated that he was maybe "spanking" his own "trouser snake."
I pretended disgust, but actually, I wanted to see it.
Maybe I could think of a plan to get a glimpse of Mark's penis, and minimize the obnoxious comments at the same time.
got naked with the male witch, I decided on a plan. Joel, a very cute Augustana music major who was working part-time at Flowerama, agreed to be an accomplice. First he put a wad of putty on the latch in the back stall in the bathroom, so it wouldn't lock. Then we waited.
Until a rainy Tuesday night, long past the Christmas rush, so customers were scarce. Suddenly Mark barked, "Clean out the cotton candy machine! I want it so shiny you can see your dick in it!" Then he stuck a rolled-up Playboy under his arm and headed across the hall.
About five minutes later, Joel called the store. "Nobody here. He's ready."
"I'm going on break," I announced.
Flowerama was deserted except for Joel, who was pretending to be immersed in a florist's magazine. He nodded as I passed, walked to the back of the store and through the door marked "Employees Only." It led to a corridor, with the employee restrooms across the hall.
I carefully opened the door to the men's restroom. Two stalls, a urinal, and a sink. I saw Mark's feet in the far stall. And his pants and underwear.
Not gathered around his ankles. All the way off, carefully folded, at his feet.
The plan was to burst into the stall and yell "Caught you!", but this was much better!
"Hey!" Mark yelled from inside. "What 're you...."
I ran, bursting through the restroom door and the "employees only door" while Mark was still fiddling with the latch on the stall. I deposited his clothes on a tray of lilacs, then ducked behind the checkout counter next a giggling Joel.
Mark burst out a moment later, naked from the waist down. Still fully aroused.
He saw his pants on the lilac tray, stomped over and picked them up, glared at us, and then stomped back to the store room to get dressed.
I worked at the Carousel Snack Bar for another few weeks, finally quitting when my modeling career started.
Mark never talked about what happened, but he made far fewer references to the penises and sexual appetites of his employees.
By the way, his trouser snake was a Kielbasa+.