The man was clearly hammered. Smashed. Plastered.
Certainly, most intoxicated.
And he was standing right in front of the door to the bar.
“Gewwd afternoon ladiessss.” he politely slurred. As the teenager and I approached the entrance to the bar the man’s eyes widened. “Don’t you ladies know it’s only 3 in the afternoooon?”
“Oh, we’re not going to the bar.” I told the man.
He seemed relieved. And then he gestured toward the teenager, “I th-thought she was a little young for a bar.”
The man backed up as the pony tailed teenager and her unassuming forty something mother walked past him, walked past the bar and walked next door to the tattoo parlor. And when that man saw the teenager and I walk into the tattoo parlor, his eyes widened again, he steadied himself against the wall and he started muttering to no one in particular.
I told the owner of the tattoo parlor that he had missed our appointment two nights before. I told him it was the first time I had been to a tattoo parlor at 10:30 on a Saturday night. I was surprised to find his shop closed when I arrived.
Looking a bit sheepish he chuckled awkwardly, “Um…yeah…we were working Hempfest, you know, in the city, and…..well, we just got so busy…...SO busy….and I didn’t get back to the shop until like, midnight or something. I’m sorry, you know, it was….it was…..Hempfest.”
There were quite a few people in the shop that day. All were inked up. All were staring at the teenager and me. All were waiting for my response.
“Well yeah….wow….Hempfest. “ I said. “Never been myself but I bet you do get a lot of business there.”
The shop was completely silent. The really, really tattooed guy in the corner smiled at me. The slightly less tattooed lady next to him smiled at me. The owner smiled at me and finally said, “Hey, let’s get that advertisement taken care of. I was going to write you a check but Joey took the shop checkbook. I can give you cash though. I’ve got Hempfest money from Saturday. Is that ok?”
The teenager and I walked out of the tattoo parlor having successfully sold an advertisement for her high school soccer program. As we walked back to the car, the teenager held a tattoo picture in her hand. I held a wad of Hempfest cash in my hand. The hammered man was still in front of the bar and perked up when he saw us. He swayed a bit and walked toward us. He lifted one shaking hand and pointed at the teenager. “I’ll tell you summmthing. She! She…is tooooo young for a tattoo!”
“Yes, yes she is.” I told the man. I put my arm around the teenager to steer her around the hammered man. I saw the pale, untouched, ink free skin of my arm. And I must say, it looked a little bit naked.
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Guilty pleasures of late: The Johnny Cash movie (and soundtrack) Walk the Line with Reese Witherspoon and Joaquin Phoenix. The Rob Lowe autobiography, Stories I Only Tell My Friends. And toasted pesto, turkey and havarti sandwiches on sourdough bread. I enjoyed all of these things. You should check them out.