I get called “bitch” five times a day; it comes with the job, and today was no different. I was hoping for a trio of divorcees since it was the middle of the week or in other words, their self-validation desperation’s primetime. It’s quite entertaining how I can convince them that their pains are novel tragedies; unprecedented pains and see them add layers of substance to themselves with each nod I give. The extra 50 bucks worth of fake sympathy don’t hurt either.
“Ding!” I heard the doorbell go while I was sterilizing the needles. “Crap. It’s a do-over.” I thought to myself as I heard the heavy footsteps of who had to be of the male kind. I went to the front and surely he was there: a man in a beige coat, high-end shoes and a rich-bastard-cast-out-of-SoHo look of confusion. “Are you lost? Oh, wait, your phone must have died. I’ll get you a charger so you can call your ‘chauffeur’.”
“Are you actually at this advanced level of being a bitch or am I just a special brand of special?”
“Never mind. So, huge dragon all over your back to symbolize your fearlessness or some masonic symbol for your frat?”
“Your face on the sole of my left foot,” he said with so much nonchalance that I suspected weed somewhere in the scenario.
“Finally immortalized,” I replied with a sickly-sweet 1950’s sort of smile.
“Like all true bitches are.”
“Two. You realize I will be causing you immeasurable amounts of pain, don’t you?”
“I will be your Christ and you can express all your passion on me.”
This guy was keeping up with me, or I with him; I don’t know. We were like a Monty Python sketch and I was both the Python and the viewer.
“The only passion I can afford to asses like you, kind sir almighty, is a box of baby butt wipes.”
“Must be a pain being such an affectionate mother.”
“Judging by the babies who willingly offer themselves for me to puncture and pierce, not so much.”
“Masochistic much?” I spat back.
“Devoted, more like it.”
Well, isn’t that intriguing?
“Devoted to what? A splash of ink? Isn’t that too pathetic for you?”
I can see why my mother can’t stand me.
“Says Ms. Sleeves of Devil Worship.”
I stuck my tongue out, licked my middle finger, and wiped the marker ink of my right arm’s lily tattoo. His eyebrows raised but mere millimeters; a decent-enough reaction seeing as I was conversing with a 1992 cyborg. “I wouldn’t have taken you for a hypocritical bitch. One with issues, deeply-rooted ones, yes, but hypocritical… you’re too bitter for it.”
I was amused by his hypocritical analysis of my hypocrisy. There was truth to this spec of being at least.
“Not that I owe you any explanation, but I’d love to burden you with one,” I replied as I sat on my lovely, squeaky, fartsy-soundy, leather chair, “no one trusts a clear-and-soft-as-a-baby’s-butt-skinned tattooist to permanently damage their skin. I have to show them, or rather you as a collective including you as an individual, that I am just as stupid, reckless, irresponsible and short sighted. You, dear costumer; your most common insecurities are of paramount importance. Andthree.”
“Okay, Wilde; Oscar, not Olivia. Don’t even dare to think of a comparison because that will break my heart. Now, I want the engraving that’s in this ring-“ and he took his wedding ring off then handed me it, “-erm, well, wherever fits that isn’t my balls would be good.”
“Sole of your right foot, then?” I realized the catastrophe my derailed train of words had caused when he clenched his fist and gritted his teeth. Instant regret hit me in the gut nearly as strong as he would have liked his clenched fist buried in said inhuman gut.
“Left forearm is a good place. You’ll always be able to see the tatt. I… I apologize for what I said.”
“All of it?”
“All of what? I mean what I just said.”
“Yeah, well, you can’t get your hopes up for a bitch.”
“Four. Sit your ass down and take your coat off.”
Before he did so, he grabbed a bottle and got two pills out of it which he swallowed dry, a feat I have always found remarkable for some reason.
“Don’t tell me those were painkillers.”
“Those were painkillers.”
“You just had to kill my fun, hadn’t you?” I said as I prepped his arm for the tattoo.
“I live to kill things. Joke. Don’t get your wrestler boyfriend now.”
“I can’t. He’s already off smashing your car.”
“Just be gentle, okay?”
I intentionally pierced his skin a bit harder, for the sake of a human reaction, or maybe just vengeance, or definitely just vengeance.
“Five.” I said chuckling then continued to engrave his tattoo. Minutes later the phrase ‘To be one and only. To run your course of blood’ was in black radiating with red on his forearm. I immediately got up after doing what had to be done shouting “your money, please!” on my way to the counter. I heard him follow me there and I wished I hadn’t. I wished he’d ask for another tattoo and I wished I could insult him some more for it.
“Don’t you sit back and admire your work or whatever you people do?”
“I am not people, and I don’t sit back to admire any work because there’s nothing admirable about following dictations. Whatever you see on TV doesn’t apply in real life for once. And I don’t listen to metal either. Your credit card.”
I charged him just as was due. He was the first costumer I didn’t charge 15$ in compensation for horrid conversation. I gave him his card back and said “thank you for choosing this place and all the nice things.”
“Too much of a bitch to complete that sentence,” he said walking out.
“Hey! That’s six! You ruined my count!” I shouted running after him but I guess his chauffeur has already picked him up.