the time i was 16 and sold porn

My first job was at a video store  in Hillsborough, NC. One day I got a call from a man who wanted to know about the availability of two movies. He didn’t have their titles, just their serial numbers. Both started with XXX .

I plugged them into the computer and told the man yes, the two films in question were indeed in the store and I’d be happy to hold them till he arrived.  He asked  if I could please read the titles out loud to him. I glanced at Christina, my co-worker and friend, as she blissfully rolled up movie posters in the corner of the store.

I tried to speak as memories of similar encounters hurling themselves around inside my head  — the fathers of kids I went to school with greeting me as they checked out the ever popular “Extreme Teen 19,” the guy that rented nine porns and brought them back less than 24 hours later in a plastic bag. Or, the very placement of the porn drawer—by the floor so I’d have to bend over, well aware of my extremely pink thong poking out of the top of my low rise jeans.

I was a professional and I could certainly speak the words I saw on the screen.

The man on the phone seemed to be in a hurry. He didn’t have time for me to waste his time. He demanded that I read the titles aloud right now. So I did.

I said Hotel Pleasures. Then I said Pink Hotel on Butt—but, I couldn’t. On “butt” I burst into hysterical coughing laughter, tripping and gasping into the phone. I fell against the counter and somehow managed to throw the phone across the room. It hit the wall and fell down and Christina ran over in horror. I grabbed the phone and hung it up.

When I finally came to I explained to Christina what had happened. As she stared at me the significance of my behavior became apparent. What had I done? Laughed in a patron’s face? Hung up on him? I was sure to lose my job and what if I dragged her down with me?

The silence between us was palpable until the phone rang.

Shit.

I jumped over the counter and ran to the far end of the store. Christina screamed for me to answer the phone, but I couldn’t. She hissed, she begged but I cowered in the new release section, the one patron in the store glaring at me as I blocked her view of the videos.

Christina answered the phone — cool calm and professional. She apologized for the mix up. A lot of calls had been dropped. There was something wrong with the phone line. Oh? Yes of course. Hotel Pleasures and Pink Hotel on Butt Row.  Later this evening? Certainly.

Later that evening the store got busy. It was Saturday and Christina and I were tag teaming behind the counter, me boxing the tapes, her doing the cash register.  I had apologized and forgotten.

I recognized his voice behind me.

He stood there with a woman that was presumably his wife and wanted to know which one of us he’d spoken to on the phone. I turned around. Christina turned around. We stood looking guilty as charged, as if in a line up or maybe it was just me. I crossed my eyes and stared at a spot on the far wall. Christina retrieved his movies while I stood there concentrating very, very hard on not letting my mouth give way.

But I couldn’t. I burst out laughing and he got his answer.

A couple of days later I told my boss what had happened. I was afraid the guy would call and complain and if I was going to get fired for being obnoxious to porn customers I wanted to be able to defend myself.

Of course my boss laughed and basically said the guy was a creeper. I never saw him in the store again but I did notice a significant increase in the number of people that rented Pink Hotel on Butt Row.

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2 responses to “the time i was 16 and sold porn

  1. It is against the law to sell, to customers under 16, knives and certain other articles with a blade or point made or adapted for causing injury. First Porn

  2. Great stories! Keep em up

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