Between the end of junior high and the start of senior high I had six weeks of summer holiday. I was 16 years old

My parents wouldn’t give me any money and I wanted a haircut and some new clothes. So I got a job.

The local pet shop. Just a five minute walk up the road. The man who owned it knew my parents. He was well known in our suburb. Charming. Personable. Popular.

A tiny but busy pet shop, it supplied a lot of racing greyhounds with kangaroo meat. It also sold goldfish ,canaries and budgerigars. No cats, dogs, mice or snakes, unlike the one across town.

I enjoyed the job. It was not dull. There were times when we’d have a dozen or more customers crammed into the small space, three deep at the counter, and only the two of us serving. Behind the counter the shelves were stacked with worming tables, grooming brushes, pet toys, birdseed and all the other sundry things that animal owners buy.

One day, when it was very busy, I was at the counter and my boss passed behind me. As he did, he put his hands on my waist, pushed his groin against my backside, put his mouth to my ear and said “exsqueeze me”. I was in the middle of serving a customer. I turned my face toward him and frowned.

Nothing else. No words were spoken. Nothing happened. I finished my shift and went home.

The next day I arrived for work at the usual time. He opened the cash register, gave me my pay and told me that he didn’t need any more help.

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