Rider, pt 1

The ride home is always an adventure right around midnight. Even — maybe especially — on a Tuesday night. The old #44 isn’t full of weekend drunks and party-goers, just your hardcore, day-in-day-out crazy annoying fuckers. The trick is not to sit too close to any of’em, and to make sure you don’t accidentally touch their stuff on your way in or out of the bus.

I don’t know. I’m feeling funny. They warned me, told me, it’s not uncommon to feel a little groggy. Maybe even a little bit nauseous. It’s more of a shock to the system than I would have ever thought, getting tattooed. Not just a skin burn or scar. That’s what Billy told me it would feel like. Feel like I’m getting sick, really. Only deeper than I’ve felt that before. Not just a scratchiness in the throat or whatever. Not that at all… there’s a dreaminess like a fever… This is like a serious drain. Like something’s sucked some life out of me. I dunno… maybe just rack it up to a really long day.

Fuck, I’m starting to sweat. But why? It’s damn cold in here! Can’t wait to get home. Only 12 stops after we get over the bridge. Hope we don’t have to hit every one of’em.

Wow… check out this guy just getting on, his tattoo. Cool kinda tentacles running out from under his black t-shirt; out from under the sleeve, all around his elbow & on down his forearm. Must have a full-on octopus or something on his upper arm or shoulder. He’s a fuckin’ bruiser that one. Wonder how many hours he spends in the gym every day; standing there watching himself pump iron in the mirror day-in-day-out to look like that. Very cool, though, his ink… very realistic. More detail the more you look at it. Seems to gain more depth, become more real… but then I look away and then look back and it’s just a tattoo again… think I’m still kinda drunk or buzzed or something.

Guess I’ve gotten in the habit of eyeing other peoples’ ink all this time I’ve been trying to figure out what I wanted. Finally thought I knew; had it all figured out when I went in the shop. But the guy — the artist — he sorta showed me why that wasn’t such a good idea. Suggested something real different… in fact, now that I think about it, he didn’t so much ask until after he’d started in on my tattoo… Almost like he never intended to do what I wanted. Maybe that’s why he kept handing me Jaeger shots. Least, tasted like Jaeger, little sweeter. Probably should have eaten dinner. Do tattoo shops usually try and get you drunk while you’re getting worked on?

To be continued…

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