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Mitch Grant just wanted a job, and maybe a little respect, but at fifteen, he found both just beyond his reach. Too young to be legally employed, he knew that the only cash likely to come his way would have to pass “under the table”—through some discreet, off-the-books business arrangement. And that meant talking to the Chair, a shoe salesman at the mall famous for his skill in getting customers from “just looking” to the cash register. The Chair had hired Mitch once before for a temporary assignment—too temporary for the cash-strapped Mitch. When he goes to see the Chair this time, however, it’s the super-slick salesman who desperately needs help. The Chair is finally cracking under the strain of all that service with a smile. So Mitch proposes a deal—a way for the Chair, and other beleaguered mall workers, to combat the endless humiliation they suffer at the feet of their customers, while helping Mitch with his cash shortage. The Chair agrees to the terms, and soon Mitch has recruited his friends Page, Marcus, and Jimmy to “staff” a bold—and brash—new venture. Demand for their services skyrockets and along with it, the authorities’ alarm. Words like gang, Mall Mafia, and even terrorist start to fly. Mitch soon realizes that his small business has spiraled out of control—big time!
About the Author
Growing up in Vermont, Erik E. Esckilsen held a few part-time jobs too frightening to write about before landing a position selling shoes at the local mall. That experience left an indelible impression, inspiring this book and sending him fleeing from retail sales forever. Since then, he has driven a cab, played in rock-’n’-roll bands, traveled the world, and worked as a journalist with such publications as Entertainment Weekly and the Boston Globe. He lives and writes in Vermont and New York City.