|"Sigh. Yeah, I guess I can tattoo your other perfect booby...."|
When you wish upon your star
Don't let yourself fall, fall in too hard
I fell into you, now I'm on my back
An insect decaying in your little trap
I squirm into you, now I'm in your gut
I fell into you, now I'm in a rut
"I lift you up like the sweetest angel
I'll tear you down like a whore"
~ Marilyn Manson, Deformography
Tuesday turned out to be a very interesting day at the tattoo parlor. It started off like any other day; we opened the shop doors, smoked a few fags while we drank our coffees, and waited for customers to come in. J was the only artist working that day, as W had the day off, and for once our day wasn’t fully booked up with appointments. We were waiting for people to just walk in and demand that they be tattooed right away.
We didn’t have to wait long. Two good looking young men in their mid-twenties wandered into the shop, and D and J started chatting with them about a back piece they both wanted. I sat a few feet away at the desk, half listening while I prepared the day’s paperwork.
The door chimed again and I looked up to see a tiny old man in dress pants and a green shell walk into the shop. He looked to be Italian or something similar, with olive skin and suspiciously still-black hair. He looked around awkwardly for a moment, making me wonder if he had perhaps wandered into the wrong shop.
“Hi there,” I called to him from behind my desk, and he shuffled over to me. But instead of standing in front of the counter like a regular customer would, he came around to my side of the desk and stood right beside me, where I sat.
“I want a tattoo,” he said with a thick accent. Maybe Spanish, I decided.
“Okay, what kind of tattoo would you like?” I asked him. I didn’t really see this guy getting a full sleeve of flames and eagles and giant boobies, but whatever. What do I know.
He looked around the shop for a moment, then pointed to the cash machine. “Like this,” he said, and fingered one of the screws holding the faceplate onto the machine.
I hesitated. “Like what?” I asked him.
“Like this!” he said again, tapping on the black screw with his fingertip.
“Uh...kaaaay. How ‘bout you draw it for me?” I suggested, and passed him a pen and pad.
He grabbed the pen from me and started to draw a small black circle on the paper. He kept colouring it in, making the circle wider and wider with the black pen, until it was about the size of a dime. Then he handed it back to me.
“Um...” I took the paper from him and stared down at it. “You want a big black dot?” I asked stupidly.
“Yes,” he nodded emphatically.
“Kaaaaaaay,” I said again. I wondered if maybe he didn’t actually know what a tattoo was. Perhaps the language barrier had convinced him that a tattoo was some kind of fluffy dessert. “And where do you want it?”
“Here,” he said and pointed behind him.
“Where?” I said. A feeling of dread started to brew in my stomach.
“Here,” he said again, and tapped his finger on his butt.
I swallowed. “On your...butt?” I hissed.
“Yes,” he nodded.
“So you want a big black dot on your butt?” I said incredulously.
I snapped out of my stupor and nodded professionally, like this was the kind of thing I see every day. “I’ll just go and find out how much that will be,” I said pleasantly and backed away from him slowly, then bolted to the back of the shop and into the copy room.
“J,” I hissed from the doorway, peering in at the lone tattooist, who was getting his camera out of his bag.
“Look at this,” I said and shoved the post-it note into his hand.
“What is it?” he asked.
“There’s a guy out there who wants you to tattoo this on his butt,” I giggled and shook my head. “On his behind, on his bottom, on his buttocks, on his - “
“Are you fucking kidding me?” he asked, still holding the offensive post-it note.
“Oh no,” I said. “I am not kidding you. How much?”
“It’s just a dot,” J said, waving the paper.
“Yup,” I agreed.
“And he wants it on his butt.”
“On his asshole?”
“I don’t know,” I admitted. “Maybe.”
“I don’t wanna touch an old man’s butt,” he said.
“Well, you’re the only artist here today,” I said sweetly. “There’s nobody else that I can ask to do it. And it will only take a few minutes.” I was trying to talk him into it, though I don’t know why. Maybe because the old guy at the counter just seemed like a sweet, kindly old man. And maybe also because it was just so screamingly hilarious.
“Alright, but it’s gonna cost him,” J sighed.
“How much?” I asked.
“I want $200,” he said firmly.
I snorted. “As if.”
J just stared at me.
“Oh, you’re serious?” I said, and he nodded. “Okay, I’ll try,” I said, and left the copy room with a grin.
I gave myself a little shake and composed my facial features before I walked back out to the storefront. I approached my little elf and told him how much it would cost to get a beauty mark tattooed on his butt.
To my surprise, he nodded and agreed without comment, and just handed me the money. I immediately felt bad for J, who was prolly bluffing, hoping his price would be so outrageous that the little old man would storm out of the shop in a huff. No such luck.
D and I tried to make ourselves scarce during the two minute tattoo by hiding in the office, but there was no one else in the shop and we could hear everything J said as he walked the little elf through the tattooing process.
“Okay, so take your pants off and put them on the counter...now just lift up your boxers and...no, you don’t have to take your underwear off...please, sir, just keep your underwear on...okay, fine, take ‘em off, and just lie down on your stomach...okay, can you feel that? is that where you want it?..okay, we’re gonna start...how’s that, you okay?...there, done, have a look in the mirror, is that big enough?...no? kay...there. we’re done. you can put your pants on now...sir, we can discuss aftercare in a minute, please just put your pants back on...”
I have to hand it to J; he was an absolute professional throughout the whole thing. Unlike D and I, who were giggling and snorting so loudly behind the office door we had to turn up the shop’s music to try and cover the noise.
When they were done and the little elf was dressed, J pulled back the curtain and set him free. He walked out of the store very quickly, his shoulders hunched up to his ears and his legs slightly bowlegged. When the door closed behind him, we all collapsed into laughter on the floor, then spent the rest of the day reenacting the whole episode for anyone who walked into the shop.
It was a pretty great day.