2007-07-19: Cover Your Cock Up

Starring:

Jack_icon.gif Sal_icon.gif

Summary: Tattoos, guns, and vaginas. And other questionable guy talk.

Date It Happened: 19th of July, 2007

Cover Your Cock Up


East Village - Ink By Numbers

It's a late and lazy afternoon. No sorority stampedes, blessedly enough. Sal slips into the curtained-off back area, where those that know where to find him would indeed find him, leaving the front room in the capable of hands of his piercings girl, Jessie. Currently, he's fidgeting with the settings on a rotating fan, because it doesn't seem to be working as awesomely as he feels it should. Hot day. Next to him are various drawings of future tattoos, whether for himself or for other people, in various stages of completion. "Motherfucker," he mutters, finally mock-punching the fan and flopping back down into his seat. Resume sketching as he hides from customers.

When Jack steps through the door he looks different. Thinner. Older. He hasn't exactly been taking awesome care of himself since Trina was hospitalized. Though he's lost weight all over, the change is most visible in his face. Thin to the point of being gaunt, his cheekbones are prominent and his jaw more clearly defined. A week of mostly being indoors has taken a bit of the ruddy, energetic glow from his complexion, as well. His hair has been shaved down to a dark, half-inch bristle. He's clean, at least. Fresh jeans, a white t-shirt, and a shower, though it seems he's taken to putting off shaving 'til every third day or so.

When he enters he nods to Jessie but he doesn't pause to chat like he normally would. He waves in passing, then raps on the wall a few times as he approaches the back, gradually revealing his presence. "Sal? You here?" He pokes his head through the curtain and raises both eyebrows. "Hey. Man. S'hot in here."

"No kidding." Sal doesn't at first look up from his drawing, completing whatever detail he was working on before shooting a filthy glance at the not-so-awesome fan, which he reaches over to try with again, banging the higher setting a few more times before giving up, muttering something about getting a new one. That's when he sees Jack, raising an eyebrow when he initially notices what's changed. Not a word from Sal, though, just a gesture with his hand, continuing with what he was saying. "Less than ideal. If you can stand it, take a seat. Want a drink?" Because any store of Sal's will have a bar fridge stocked with beer somewhere.

"I'm good," Jack replies with a demure wave of his hand. Wait. Jack just turned down a drink?

Moving on. "I'm here on business. Sorry I haven't been by to shoot the shit, but life's been a real ball o' funfucks lately. You ever finish that piece we were talking about?" He does accept the offer of a seat, hooking a chair with one booted toe and flipping it around so he can straddle it comfortable.

Now Sal KNOWS something's wrong. Still. He's not about to pry. He just leeeans over to grab himself a beer, almost falling off his chair to do so, but it's a practiced move and he accomplishes it, in the end. Smoothly uncapping the bottle and taking a swig, he shrugs dismissively at the apology when it crops up. Then, he points one black-polish nail at Jack. "Yes. I did. Check it out. Ah, sec." The beer is set aside in favour of flicking through his notepad. Pictures go by - epic dragon; flaming heart; the absinthe fairy. As he browses, he adds, "Considering the last time we spoke, dude, I'm not so surprised I haven't heard from you." He's cultivated the ability to not ask questions, whether people are buying tattoos or firearms, but he has to add, "Everything go okay?"

"There were… complications," Jack replies vaguely. "But it would've been a lot worse without those Thompsons you got me. I owe you on that one, man." He grins crookedly, looking like his old self for the first time since he walked in. "Speakin' of, got another order for you." He digs in the pocket of his jeans until he comes up with a list written on a sloppily folded piece of paper. "Lessee… I need more flashbangs. A thousand rounds of 9mm subsonic. Two bricks of C4. And thermite. Can you get thermite? I dunno what it is, but I hear it's wicked dangerous."

Sal pauses his picture-browsing and holds out his hand for the list, glancing it over once Jack's done listing out a few things from it. "Thermite?" he repeats, squinting down at Jack's handwriting. "Uh." Bad form for an arms dealer to not know his stuff, so he just nods. "Yeah, sure, whatever. Dunno how long it'll take me, but, the other stuff is cake, gimme a few days."

"Beautiful," Jack replies. Something isn't sitting right, though. He's forgetting something. "Gimme that for a sec." He snatches the list and scans it twice before handing it back to Sal. "Rope. I need rope, too. And a big fucking knife. Oooh, that's pretty." Jack extends a finger to point at a sketch of a bee buzzing around a rose.

He wants to object to knife. He sells loud damn hardcore weapons, check it! But in truth, Sal can get a knife pretty easily. And. And rope. Proper rope. And Jack's a nice enough guy, so Sal just grins at him. "Rope, huh? Dude, that'll take ages, I'm telling you, it's fucking hard to come by. Yeah, I'll throw in some rope, and a knife, Rambo." He spares a glance towards the bee and the rose, and his smile only brightens. "You'll never guess where I drew that on this chick," he says, before finally flicking the drawing pad over and handing him a different, complete drawing, fully shaded. "There."

Jack's eyes light up. Instantly, he looks ten years younger and then some. He runs his fingertips lightly over the sketch, careful not to smear the graphite in the process. It's a drawing of a prize fighter circa 1890-ish, complete with bruises, lumps, missing teeth, and black eyes. Battered but unbroken, the fighter still has his old-fashioned leather mitts raised to guard his face. A bold banner below his feet reads 'FREE BOXING LESSONS'. "It's perfect," Jack murmurs. "Man, you're a true arteest. I wanna get it right here." He slaps a hand over his left shoulder.

"I just got a lot of free time," Sal says with a smirk, taking back the picture with a nod of thanks at the compliment, clearly pleased. "It's gonna look badass on skin, too. Take a seat, I don't have anything going on now." He hops up from the comfortable chair he'd been occupying, gesturing for Jack to situate himself there instead. Another brisk pull from his beer is taken, before it's set aside and Sal heads for the equipment. As hot, homey and slightly cluttered as this room is, beer fridge and all, it's definitely a clean operation.

Jack tugs his t-shirt over his head and tosses it aside. With his torso exposed, more evidence of his run-in with Carter is visible by way of a spectacularly multicolored bruise that covers much of his left side and a long scrape down the middle of his back. They're mostly healed, but obviously weren't fun when they were aquired. They don't seem to be bothering him, though. He takes the indicated seat and presents his arm for inkwork. This isn't his first date with a tat gun; he has other pieces. You'll have to ask Trina, Sal, or Nathan for details. "Think you can can put it down all in one go?" he queries, lifting an eyebrow. "I've got the minerals for it if you do."

A clock on the wall gets a glance from Sal as he pulls on latex gloves over tattooed hands, then shrugs at Jack. "Depends if you got anywhere to be." He draws up a wheeled stool to sit next to, reaching to pull a tray closer, everything he needs within arms' range. Efficiently, he traces the immediate outlines of the picture onto Jack's arm with impermanent ink - though even this takes a little while, the picture relatively complex. And it has to look awesome. The healing wounds, however, get a glance, and he adds, "Man, you definitely got a story you're not telling."

The muscles in Jack's jaw clench briefly. "I've gotta get back to the hospital." Absently, he brushes his fingertips along his bruised ribs. His grey eyes have clouded over with frustration. "Not for me," he continues. "Trina's there. She got hurt bad. Coma." Though it's difficult, he manages to remain still while the outline for his tattoo is put in place. "Man, we had a couple o' crazy nights. There were bullets an' traps an' my fuckin' car got blown up. It was like a goddamn John Woo flick."

Sal lifts his pen from Jack's shoulder, looking a little surprised. "Your— your car blown up? Man. That happens?" Back to outlining, cutting a few corners on details but getting the basic idea and scaling down correctly, his other hand on Jack's arm to make sure he's keeping still. "Sorry about Trina," he adds. "Do we need to shoot some bitches or is it taken care of?" He's mostly joking. Mostly.

More jaw clenching. "It's mostly taken care of," Jack replies. "Still a few loose ends, but there always are." The 'we' isn't wasted on the Irishman. He meets Sal's eyes briefly, then nods. One side of his mouth tugs upward into a half-smile. "I should've called you. Things were pretty scattered, though. That shit escalated quickly."

"There's always a next time," Sal says, tone almost light, though he inclines his head to Jack before leaning back to inspect his tracing objectively. "And I promise I won't even be late to the party, fashionable or otherwise. Here, take a look at that, don't smudge it up though." He gestures towards a handy nearby mirror as he prepares a needle, because of course it's fine! Great, perhaps, maybe even Superb.

"Fantastic," Jack croons as he looks the lines over. Though it's just the roughing, he already likes what he sees. "You always were good with a gun." His smirk leaves the statement heavily loaded, no pun intended. He watches Sal get the shading needle ready, then stifles a yawn against the shoulder that's not currently getting poked on.

That earns a rough chuckle from the Mexican, and it's time to get to work. Sal allows the conversation to lapse as he begins, letting the noise of the tattoo machine fill the room, underscored by whatever's on the radio in the front room. After a short while, he lifts the needle to dab away some wayward ink. "You good?" Jack's not exactly a wilting flower, but it's courteous to check.

"Pffft. C'mon, baby. Hit me again." The pain is good. It's not just art, it's a blessed distraction from the concerns that are plauging him. Trina. Elena. Carter's associates. He shakes his head to clear it. "An' do the gloves black, I think? I want 'em to look old fashioned." Though it's his skin, he still looks to Sal to see what the other man thinks.

"Right on." The machine kicks up again. Sal can, at least, relate to that. He might not have quite as many demons as Jack, but you don't litter your arms with tattoos if you don't at least dig the process. "Yeah, figured," he adds, agreeably, at Jack's suggestion. A few more lines inked in, carefully. "You ever done this? Used a tattoo machine, I mean. You shoulda seen my earlier work, you'd be so fast out that door. I think the first tattoo I did had to be finished up by a professional." A short burst of laughter from Sal, and he shakes his head once. "So bad." Bad by Sal's standards, anyway.

Even the idea makes Jack grimace. "I'm no arteest, hermano. Especially not when it comes to permanent applications." He shakes his head ruefully. "No way. Saw a kid do his own, though. Man, was that a trip. Started out with a lightning bolt and ended up with a pyramid." He sucks in a hiss of air between his teeth as the needle brushes a nerve. That doesn't mean he's a sissy. It happens sometimes.

Sal pauses the needling at the hiss, but then resumes after a second. Jack's a man's man and can take it, after all. "Never done it on myself," he says, voice taking on that distracted, vague tone he gets when he's concentrating on his work. "I'd probably end up with a pyramid or something too, if I tried. You know, a really big, all black one to cover the cock up." Grin!

"A big, black one?" Jack quirks an eyebrow curiously and lets out a snort of laughter. "Never would've pegged you for a dark meat kinda guy. I guess sometimes you feel like a nut, and sometimes you don't." Jack's trying to keep on a serious face. He really is. Mostly because if he laughs, he risks jogging the tattoo gun and giving himself a permanent mistake.

"…You know what, dude? I'm holding the goddamn tattoo gun, okay? You don't wanna mess with me." The needle doesn't let up, as if daring Jack to laugh, though Sal is grinning to himself and attempting not to do the same. "So, you know. Fuck you. I tattooed a girl on her vagina yesterday."

"Ooooooh." Jack is intrigued by this. Girls with things on their goodie bags often like to have things in their goodie bags. "The cash an' prizes, huh? Sounds fun." Wait. Stray thought. "Unless it was a fat chick. It wasn't a fat chick, was it? Chubby vajaj tattoo. Ick." Cue distasteful shiver.

The needle lifts briefly to allow them both a shudder, more of a mock one on Sal's part. "Ay dios mio," accompanies it, as he brings up a sanitised cloth to gently wipe over the tattoo, inspecting his work so far. "It was this hot Italian chick. First tattoo she ever got, so that was pretty rad. Better than another chick with a butterfly on her back, you know?"

"Yeah. Though I do love those bullseyes on the lower back." Jack smirks and stretches briefly while he has the opportunity, rolling his shoulders to loosen muscles that have been cramped into the same position for too long. When he's finished he takes up tattooing position again and continues, "Honestly, how many dozens of slutty sorority girls has this job landed you?"

"Herds." Sal also takes a moment, switching hands to roll his wrist, and reach for a sip of sadly warming beer, which gets a nose wrinkle before the bottle is set aside. The needle touches down on Jack's skin again. "Way, way more than my other business, that's for damn sure." Pause, then he snickers. "Bullseye. I just got it. That's awesome."

"Hah! For a smart fucker, you're kind of slow sometimes." Jack's grin and chuckle take the edge off of his jab. After all, he's the last person who should talk about who's smart and who isn't. He peers at the tattoo as it progresses, but it's always hard to get an idea of what's going on when you're looking at it upside down and covered with ink smears. "Man, I don't see how you keep track o' what's goin' on under all that crap."

"Well maybe that's what I'm paying attention to, instead of you being a smartass," Sal remarks jauntily. "I promise it'll look super rad by the end of this, trust the arteest." To steal a phrase. "Here, though." He cleans up what he can of it, and urges Jack to lift his arm a little more for observation. The outline is complete, the gloves filled in with black as requested, and the shading pretty much done. "Really only need to colour in the banner and we'll be done and done."

"Red for the banner, I'm thinkin'. I want it to be the first thing people see." Jack lifts his arm as requested, still peering at it from his perspective. "Man. S'lookin' good, even upside down. What you reckon I'll owe you for this?" As he asks, he glances at his list. "If you need time to price the rest of that shit, you can always send me an invoice."

"Well you know how much most of that costs you," Sal says, now bowing his head back down over his work, the needle going in deep, circling strokes, though not unnecessarily so. "No idea how much thermite will be, I'll let you know ahead of time. And the tat?" He tilts his head to the side, pausing in his consideration, before resuming his work. "Two hundred and fifty sound good?" It's mostly a question, as well as an offer.

"Sounds good," Jack replies. "I'll leave cash with you for the regular stuff, and you let me know what I need to send over for the thermite." He watches proudly as the final strokes are put down. This might be Sal's work, but it's his skin, and it was his idea. This tattoo has Jack all over it.

Whatever the fuck thermite is. Sal nods once in confirmation, but otherwise concentrates on finishing. After pulling the needle away for the final time, he cleans the image up, bandages it smartly, and peels off the gloves. Then, rolls his shoulders, in an attempt to relieve the tension that extended tattooing can create. It's just not an activity you want to fuck up. "There you go," he says, kicking the ground to wheel slightly away from Jack, gesturing to him. "Congrats, you're the owner of another awesome tattoo." He sticks a hand out for a manly and confusing street-y handshake, you know the kind. "You'll hear from me in the next few days about everything else."

The wad of cash that Jack pulls out is far more than the two fifty he was quoted for the ink. He always buys the best, and the best never comes cheap. He palms the money to Sal, then gropes around the streetshake without accomplishing any particular portion like only an Irishman can. "I'll be lookin' forward to it, man. Order extra thermite. We'll get drunk and see what it does."

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