During my wild college days, I had a work-study job as a store clerk. The job wasn’t particularly exciting; it was usually more study than work. Sadly, the masses weren’t interested in our little store. At least the steady paycheck allowed me to dine like a queen at my favorite restaurant back then -- Burger King.
Most of the memories from that job were buried away in my mind and old journals, never to be heard from again, until recently my roommate mentioned her “love pentagram.” Instantly it called to mind the one interesting aspect of that former job -- my first manager, *Samantha, who was Wiccan.
For the job interview, overly ambitious 18-year-old me came in wearing a business suit and carrying a padfolio containing a resume and cover letter. Of course I razzle dazzled Samantha. She was equally impressed at how I not only asked questions about the position but took notes while maintaining steady eye contact. I sucked at math (and still do) and knew nothing about working any place other than a newspaper, but somehow I convinced her to hire me.
I worked Friday through Sunday. Other than on Fridays, Samantha wasn’t in the store with me. That meant lots of freedom to do whatever I wanted -– read, surf the pre-Facebook Internet, oh yeah and actually study. However, the time seemed to drag slowly. Being in the store all alone got old really fast. Soon I begin to crave those times when Samantha was in the store, so I could have some human interaction.
Samantha was in her early 30s, which to me seemed so much more mature, sophisticated and cultured. Early on she shared about being Wiccan. She told me one day when I complimented her jewelry. Samantha responded by explaining each piece she was wearing, particularly a pentacle ring.
Samantha had a very warm personality, and it wasn’t hard to like her. Sure I didn’t care too much for handling inventory, dusting the store or working during spring break. But overall she was a pretty cool boss.
But she was still my boss, so it took me by surprise when Samantha seemed to take me into her confidence and share all facets of her life. I’m extremely nosy, but even with me, there are limits to what I do and do not want to know. I’ve never been inclined to be bosom buddies with a boss.
Soon I learned she didn’t just share things with me. A little old lady who volunteered at the store once told me Samantha needed to work on her oversharing. At times her details were TMI. I really didn’t need to know about her husband’s side chick or love child, but at least Samantha’s stories were never dull.
Quite a few stories were about her coven. I found it fascinating because her beliefs were extremely different from my own. I’m a Christian (a Baptist one at that). I knew people who practiced other religious beliefs, but I'd never had the opportunity to talk about it at length. Religion is one of those subjects people tend to avoid discussing. So it was rather refreshing to have an exchange of our beliefs.
Of course we always remained respectful of one another. Samantha told me a variety of coven tidbits, such as what happened at gatherings, personalities of the different members and spells she worked on. Looking back, what came next shouldn’t have surprised me.
My nosiness must have convinced Samantha I would be willing to complete coven tasks. One particularly slow day, Samantha said she was in charge of arranging activities for children at the next coven gathering. She then handed me several stacks of coloring sheets dedicated to their deities. There was nothing to do that day in the store, but she had something for me to work on, Samantha said. My task was to organize the sheets into packets. Also, I had to be careful not to let her boss see me working on it unless I wanted both of us in trouble.
I was too stunned to speak. She took that as consent and headed to lunch.
I’ve never been one to tell a boss, “This is not in my job description,” but there was a line crossed. She didn’t ask if I wanted to help but just delegated the task to me like I was in the coven. Also, she assumed I would be willing to sneak behind the big boss’s back for something not remotely related to my job. I was a store clerk, not a coven assistant.
I briefly wondered what would be the repercussions for not completing this task. Would she fire me? Place a hex on me? Ultimately, I looked at those papers, pushed them to the side and started reading a book. I was a rebel (more like passive aggressive).
A customer came in shortly before Samantha’s lunch break ended and still lingered when she returned. I used that as an excuse for not working on her assignment. I’m certain Samantha didn’t believe a word about me being so busy with customers. She simply seemed mildly annoyed that the task fell back to her.
Samantha never told me to do anything directly related to her coven again. But there were still the occasional requests that I babysit her daughter while she participated in coven activities. I always made sure I was busy. And there was that time Samantha wouldn’t let me off work for a funeral because she had an an important coven event. But at least she never put that hex on me.