Why I Never Got a Tattoobyqhml1©
True story, about the law of unintended consequences.
It was always the four of us. Jimmy, Rocky, Zane, and me. We went to school together, rode our motorcycles together, two of us worked together. Non of us was married, well Rocky was for awhile, but it didn't work out. Every weekend for the most part whatever we did we did together.
This particular Saturday was one of the rare days I had to work. I didn't get home until five, and I knew where the guys were, so I cleaned up and was headed out the door when my neighbor Dominic came by. He and his family were new to the area. I liked his wife and kids well enough. He and I hit it off because one day I was cleaning my Harley Sporster and he came over to admire it. I then went back to his place to look at his new Gold Wing.
We agreed to ride together the next Sunday. I took him to a local bar, introduced him around, and we had a few beers. He played some pool, threw some darts, and had a general good time. It was only after we left when got a glimpse of his wild side.
He was riding in front. We were going down a back road home because it had a lot of twists and turns. It had just been repaved and the smooth surface felt like silk under our wheels. A black snake started across the road just in front of us and without warning Dom jammed on the brakes and slid to a stop. I just barely managed to miss him by moving over into the other lane. By the time I got back to him he was off his bike and in a blackberry thicket, thrashing around and cussing.
All of a sudden he stood up and yelled.
"Got you, you son of a bitch!"
He had the black snake in his hands. It was about three feet long and very pissed off, and it had it's fangs sunk into his riding glove. I found that he always wore full leathers when riding, even in the summer.
I couldn't believe it.
"You almost wrecked us over a damn snake?"
He was grinning like mad, holding the snake.
"Aw, I knew you were too good a rider to hit me. Look at this bad boy, don't he look great?"
"I'm sure he's quite lovely as far a snakes go. What are you gonna do with it?"
"I'm gonna put it in a terrarium. My wife and kids will love it."
I wasn't so sure about that. Plus, most black snakes grow to six feet or longer. It better be a big terrarium.
I opened a saddlebag for him and he stuffed the snake inside.
We stopped at Rockys' house on the way home so I could introduce Dom and to admire his new bike, an 1100cc Kawasaki. Up until then he had a 350cc Honda he had bought cheap.
It was a decent enough bike, but Rocky weighed around 320 lbs, and there was no way it was big enough. I rode behind him right after he first got it. It looked like he was running down the road with a tail light up his ass.
We had another beer or two at his house, and by the time we got home Dom had forgotten all about the snake. He parked inside the garage, and no one touched it for three days.
His girls,11 and 13, would earn extra money washing and polishing his bike, so Wednesday they took the polish and cleaning supplies and started.
They had the it looking good. Then they opened the saddlebags to wipe them out. The snake was still there, still alive, and pretty pissed. It shot across the oldest daughters arm and onto the floor. This brought on a round of screams and dodging, because the garage was shut and the snake had no way out. Mom heard the screams and thought the bike had fallen on one of them. She snatched the door open and the snake thought he had a way out, so he slid across her feet and into the kitchen.
She screamed, jumped into the garage, and slammed the door behind her, somehow managing to lock her and the girls out. They were still standing in the garage two hours later when Dom got home. It took him three hours to find and remove the snake. His family refused to come into the house until it was gone.
Even though I had nothing to do with it she got it in her head I was responsible and was pretty cool to me for awhile. That's why Dom hadn't been over for a while.
We shot the breeze for a few minutes. I told him I was on the way over to the bowling alley to meet the guys, eat a burger, shoot a few games of pool in the small attached pool hall, and drink a few beers. I invited him along.
"That sounds great. Laura and the girls are out to do some shopping and see a movie, I got a few hours to kill."
I asked if he wanted to leave them a note[this was before cell phones] but he said he would be back before they got home. Just in case I wanted to stay long he took his own car.
We met up with the guys, ate, and started shooting pool. Rocky was pretty good, as was Dom. Jimmy and Zane were o k, I just plain sucked. It just wasn't my game. After about three hours we were feeling no pain.
Dom had a couple of tattoos on his arm and Jimmy was admiring them. He had been talking about getting on for a month. Rocky and Zane were mildly interested, I could have cared less.
Dom was telling us about one he had wanted to get and was surprised to find tattooing was illegal in this state. Now you find them on every corner it seems, but back then it was a big deal. As usual, I talked before I thought. One of the guys from work showed me his new tattoo and told me where he got it.
"I know where you can get tattoos."
They were all interested.
"No shit? Where, and when can we go?"
This from Rocky.
"Two towns over to the west. He works on the weekends at night. We could go now."
They all wanted to go.
Rocky told Dom he would shoot him a game for the price of the tattoo. Jimmy and Zane chimed in and before you knew it we had a mini pool tournament. The losers had to pay for the winners' tattoo. I figured I was gonna end up paying, but luck and alcohol influenced motor skills came into play and I ended up winning.
I actually lost because I had to drive, having the only vehicle that would hold everyone. It was a conversion van. Go ahead and say it, a pussymobile. And yes , it was.
We all piled in. Jimmy looked in my cooler and saw the half gallon of liquor. This necessitated a stop at the handy mart for ice, solo cups, and chaser. I stuck to beer and very little, I didn't want a DUI on my record.
It took us an hour for us to get there. It was a big farmhouse in the middle of nowhere. The only thing unusual about it was the amount of cars and motorcycles parked in the yard. I figured we were in for a long wait.
We went in and met Slick. I never knew his real name. He told us he had a few guys ahead of us but they wanted small things and it would be an hour or so. Apparently most of the guys there were just hanging around for moral support. A few bikers came in behind us and Slick said that would be all he could do tonight, turn off the porch light, that was the signal he was closed.
I watched Slick while he worked. He was a small, slim man. He had to be pushing seventy. His hands shook like a leaf until they got to the skin, then he was solid as a rock. His work seemed to be first quality.
Rocky, Jimmy, and Zane all got a lightning bolt on their forearm, so I thought I would get the same. Dom was next.
Dom was from Baltimore, of Italian stock. He was olive skinned, with jet black hair. And he was hairy as a gorilla. He was also catholic, and wanted a large crucifix on his chest.
Slick told him he would have to shave his chest to get the tattoo right. Dom was past trashed by now and agreed. Slick took an old fashioned straight razor and strapped it until he though it was sharp enough. He soaped up Doms' chest and started shaving, stopping after every stroke to rinse the razor.
Then it happened. A cosmic alignment of consequences. Slick was shaving around the right nipple when he suddenly sneezed. At the same time Dom let loose a tremendous belch. The combination of the hand twitching from the sneeze and the chest heaving from the belch resulted in Slick cutting off the right nipple!
Well, he didn't cut it completely off, it was hanging by a slim strip of skin. Slick yelled "Oh shit!" and grabbed up a bottle of rubbing alcohol and dashed it on the wound. Then he stuck the nipple back on with two bandaids. Dom never said a word, He must have been seriously trashed.
He told Slick to go ahead and give him the tattoo. I looked over at the biker sitting beside me and said
"Bud, I think you're next."
And that's why I never got a tattoo.
Dom got his tattoo. We all got home just before daylight. I led Dom up to his front door, then took off. His wife started to give him hell but he was too far out of it, so she put him to bed with the firm vow to get him after he woke up.
She didn't get a chance. He woke up in serious pain about four hours later and she had to take him to the emergency room, where they finished removing his nipple. Now he's got this great tattoo, but to my knowledge he never again took his shirt off in public.
I thought his wife was gonna kill me. I took it until I finally snapped and told her he was a grown man and made his own decisions, I didn't talk him into shit. She opened and closed her mouth a couple of times and stomped off. she never spoke to me again in the three years they lived across the street. Dom didn't come around me much either, I guess I brought back bad memories.