“I can’t believe you don’t have a tattoo!” Shelly said
“I’m only 18.” I retorted.
“Seriously, I had one by the time I was 16.”
I think part of the problem was I didn’t know which one to get, let alone where to put it on my virgin skin. Tattoos were forever and that far away.
I was sea sick from the sway of her Suzuki racing through rush hour traffic as we made our way to the tattoo parlor. Sitting in the passenger seat, listening to Eminem prophesize his hate for women, I couldn’t help but think I was doing something illegal. Though my parents were open-minded people, we’d never really talked about tattoos. What would they think of my new addition of rebel?
“Are you scared?” Shelly asked.
“No! Why would I be scared?”
“Because getting tattoos fucking hurts.”
“It can’t be that bad.” I said.
“Have you ever been to a tattoo parlor?”
“You should be scared then.” Shelly laughed.
I just stared out the window, not really noticing that the car had stopped and was now parked in the lot of the tattoo shop.
Shelly bounced out of her car; she was high on the thought of the pain of some new artwork. I lumbered out of the car, not really sure what to expect.
Once inside, the low hums of tattoo guns were filling my ear with fear. The needles were furiously working there way through epidermis after epidermis, as if it were warding off crime. Being petrified of needles was making me rethink my decision.
“So what you gonna get today?” The burly tattoo artist asked.
“I’m going to get a lion on my back,” Shelly answered.
“How about you?”
“I’m not really sure.” I said.
“She new?” He asked Shelly
“Yep! You’re going to de-virginize her!”
Oh good! The man who will “deflower” my body is speaking to my friend as if I wasn’t in the room.
“Well, you have some time to figure it out while I start on your friend,” he told me.
Sitting down, picking up the tattoo design books, I noticed immediately all the pictures of skeletons, dragons and other death type tattoos. Why so gloomy? Why did having a tattoo have to be so badass? I just wanted a simple dog. I knew immediately I’d be the laughing stock of the tattoo shop if I wanted my dog tattooed on my flank. I quickly scanned the book for animals. If a dragon engulfed in flames is considered an “animal” I was screwed. Flipping furiously to get inspiration, other than death, I found a wolf. Ok, this might work. It was decided; a wolf would prowl upon this virginal land.
“Marcy,” the receptionist called.
I stood up.
“Follow me,” she said.
She took me to a room with a chair, and a silver table (similar to one you’d find in an operating room) that had instruments, wrapped in celephane, on it.
“Go ahead and take a seat.”
I wanted to run. That needle was staring me down. It was telling me we were going to fight and he’d win. But my ego superseded my logic. The artist had drawn the wolf and was placing the outline on my back. His belly kept hitting my back, as it seemed to jut out further than his arms. His long black hair seemed to stick to everything, as if he’d rubbed it with a balloon before making his entrance. He smelled like a mixture of Tabasco sauce and spilt beer. But, many patrons had assured me Sergio was the best.
I didn’t say anything. Sergio laughed and started the engine to the tattoo gun.
“How bad does it hurt?” I asked as the needle approached my skin.
“I’ll tell you a secret.” Sergio leaned in closer to my face. “Tattoo’s hurt like a son-of-a-bitch. One of the worse pains you’ll have is this tattoo, but Marcy, you’ll get addicted to it. So instead you should be asking yourself, am I ready of a life of ink and pain.”
I sat silent.
“So how about it, you ready for this addiction?” Sergio asked.
“Fuck it! Let’s do it!”
PS – I now am a proud owner of 12 tattoos, Sergio wasn’t lying.