2007-07-12: Love Is Forever


Carmine_icon.gif Sal_icon.gif

Summary: Like tattoos. Carmine has the best idea ever and he totally will not regret it later.

Date It Happened: 12th of July, 2007

Love Is Forever

East Village - Ink By Numbers

It's late, which means Sal is the only one in the store, always the first to open and the last to close down. He sits on the edge of the counter, quiet music playing - Johnny Cash, for those playing at home - with a leg folded over the other, a sketch pad in his lap. With a heavy ink pen, he seems to be putting definite lines to a loose sketch of… something. Hard to tell. The store is otherwise brightly lit, the sign outside glowing neon, the door closed but unlocked. Who knows when you're going to get some business? Of the tattoo kind or the… other kind, after all.

This is not usually the sort of place one would find Carmine except when he's here to bust some skulls or put the fear of God into someone. Which doesn't seem to happen often these days, really. But he's had a bit to drink and went roaming about New York's East Village looking for a grand time. And look! A body art place! Grand time! The tall Italian shoulders inside, lit cigarette between his lips. He blinks, squints at the man on the counter, then at the pictures on the wall. "… d'you make tattoos?" Despite being upright and generally not looking anything less than sober, his words are slurred slightly and there's the obvious smell of alcohol about him.

Head up at the sound of the door opening, Sal looks at the man with some calculation, before deciding he's unfamiliar. He tosses his sketchpad aside and pushes himself off the counter, gesturing one arm towards the decorated wall. Sal's dressed plainly in a T-shirt and jeans, what can be seen of his arms heavily adorned in their own tattoos. "Do we ever," he says, and only after a brief hesitation does he add, "Come in."

This plan that Carmine has is absolutely brilliant. Because when he's drunk, he's just a bit more sentimental than usual, and boy is he drunk now. So in he ambles, dressed in a navy blue suit without a tie. "Need a picture of a power drill," he states. "An' … an' a name on a banner … thing. Cross it. Can you do that?"

Well. At least he's not asking for an anchor. Or 'I <3 Mom'. That's always a sure sign to quit while you're ahead. "A power drill?" Sal repeats, raising an eyebrow, then loosely shrugging. "Yeah I don't see why not, if you gimme a few to put it to paper. But uh." Yeah, because the drunkenness isn't lost on Sal, even if this guy is probably the more stoic of drunks Sal's had finding their way to his parlour. "How many have you had, dude?"

How many? Carmine's brow furrows slightly in the vaguest display of confusion ever. "… I've neverrr had a tattoo," he finally manages to utter, clearly misunderstanding the question.

Sal opens his mouth to clarify. But then shuts it again. Man, you know what? Guy wants a power drill on his whatever, he can have a power drill on his whatever. So Sal smiles obligingly at Carmine, and steps around him to lock the door, seeing as no one is manning the front of the parlour. "First time for everything," he says, Californian accent even thicker with the jovial tone added to his words, and Sal heads towards the curtained off door. "Come right this way, man. Where're you wanting the tat to go?"

Yeesh, this tattoo guy's a bit weird. But oh well. Carmine's not worried. He follows Sal into the curtained-off area without hesitation, stripping off his suit jacket as he goes. The question gives him pause to think, but after some consideration, he decides: "Righ' here." And he thumps a hand over his left pectoral. Because that's where his heart is (or would be, if he had one, maybe).

"Take a seat. And look this over, sign it if you're happy," he says, handing over a single-sheet piece of paper work with a place for a signature down the bottom. While Carmine amuses himself with that, presumably, Sal gets to work, first sketching out the design. Would you know there's a handy powerdrill reference picture? There is, and Sal uses it as his visual aide to cut some corners, working swiftly. There have been weirder requests, most definitely. "What's the name?" he asks, as he begins. "The one you want in the banner?"

Look! Words to read! This is very serious business. Carmine takes the paper and stares at it Very Seriously. Whether or not he's really actually reading it is hard to determine, but after a considerable amount of time, he signs it. Yeah, yeah, the tattoo parlor isn't responsible for death or scarring or allergic reactions or bad art or anything like that. Whatever. "What's your name?" No, wait, that came out wrongly. Carmine shakes his head. "No, no, I mean … Francesca." And then he proceeds to spell it: "F-R-E-N-C-H— no, no. F-R-A-N-C-E-S-C-A." Yeah, that's the one. "She's my wife." Pause. "She's a bitch."

Sal snickers softly, not looking up from his work, pen moving against paper rapidly and confidentally. "Sorry to hear that," he says. "Maybe she'll lighten up after this, huh?" A glance up at the man with an encouraging and easy smile, before returning to his sketch. "Sal, by the way. That would be me." Oh, he's signed the paperwork. Excellent. Sal picks up his drawing, stepping closer to offer it to Carmine to evaluate, other hand reaching for the contract. "Swapsies. What do you think?" The drawing, done in heavy black ink, is pretty much what was described, a powerdrill on a 3/4 angle, with a banner across the centre, the name 'Francesca' done in cursive.

Another blink-squint as Carmine examines the drawing critically. After a moment, his eyes widen a bit. "Wow." 'Wow' is not a word generally in Carmine's vocabulary. "That's really good. You're really good, Sal. That's good." Generally, he's not that praising either. "Maybe she will. She shot me in the leg once. An' she does this thing with a stapler." He makes a ka-chink motion on his forearm. "But she's really pretty." That's about as close to 'I love her' as he'll get in public. As he speaks, he's already unbuttoning his shirt.

The clause is set aside, and Carmine's description of this particular relationship gets a moment of staring from Sal, and a slight wince at the charades involving a stapler to the arm. "Intense," is all he can say, before moving to quickly clean down the area - a pretty basic procedure, probably more basic than better parlours allow, but technically, he shouldn't even be serving a drunk guy in the first place. But that's what happens when you own the business. He pulls up a chair next to the larger, reclining one that Carmine gets, gloves on his hands and tools set out on a tray. "It's always the hot ones," that are crazy, is the silent part of that sentence, but he leaves it there. "She know you're doing this?" It's a question out of curiousity, as Sal sets things up.

"Nnnnnnope." Carmine sounds … chipper? Or as chipper as he gets, that is. The smile that accompanies is quite small. "My first wife's a bitch too. Except she's my ex, so she's supposed to be a bitch." That's how things work, right? Right.

Chipper is fine by Sal. His imagination is running now and all he can see is himself about to permanently draw on some guy who is probably mafioso or something crazy like that, so definitely, chipper is something we can work with. Even the stoic kind. "Good thing you didn't get that one's name done on anywhere," Sal says, quickly cleansing the patch of skin to be tattooed over with antiseptic soap and water. "I've managed to avoid getting any names. Got everything else, god knows. Now I'm gonna trace this on here first, then we'll get to the needling. So you got about five minutes to run out the door." Definitely a line he uses on at least every second customer, as he starts the trace.

Which means that Carmine can get a (good?) look at Sal's own body of work, so to speak. He's definitely not running. Because this is the best idea ever and he'll totally not regret it when he sobers up. The mafia man peers at Sal's arms curiously. "Yeah, that's … good. Did you do it all yourself?" Self-tattooing tattoo artist? What?

Sal chuckles, focused on his work but all the same listening and responding easily. "No, that'd uh, be harder than you think. No, these are from all over the place," he says, and the eclectic, varied designs back up this claim. Tracey trace tracey. This is done mostly by applying the paper to the slicked skin, using a pen to make the lines darker. Not rocket science, to anyone with practice. "Back in LA mostly, started out there before setting up shop here. What do you do?"

"I'm an accountant. I account things." So astute, the mind of drunk-man. "It's really boring. Drawing on people is probably more fun." Not that Carmine can draw to save his life. He has the art skills of a three-year-old with Parkinson's and one eye. He peers down at the tracing work going on around his chest area. "That sorta tickles."

"Well yeah, I dig it," Sal agrees, moving the paper to check the lines. Still not dark enough. Tracey press tracey trace. "The actual tattooing will too, just more, you know, intensely. I don't think it hurts as much as people make like it does." Shrug. He removes the tracing paper, and readies the needle. The pedal is pushed and there's a soft whirring sound, and he flashes Carmine a grin. "I'll go gentle." And with one hand placed on Carmine's chest to stretch and steady the skin, the other descends to apply needle to surface, outlining the image in a series of stinging pinpricks.

Carmine Vincenzo Scarletti Ricci Selvaggi has withstood broken fingers, toes, arms, legs, collarbones, buckshot in the leg, staples in bad places, and various lethal objects hurled at his being. He can definitely stand a few pinpricks. He doesn't even flinch when the tattoo gun is applied — but he does frown down at that hand. "Are you tryin' to cop a feel? Because I'm married." Pause. "To a woman." Just in case he missed that part.

That hand doesn't get moved immediately, though Sal is tempted to, less he gets something broken. He does manage a quickly and ultimately amused smile, though. "Nnno. I need to keep the skin in this area firm," he explains. "Or the image goes uneven, and you wind up with more scrapes than you do ink. Just bear with me, we're cool." Smile! And he dabs away some ink and blood, and resumes his work.

"Oh." Well that makes sense. Carmine understands now. So he doesn't appear to want to kill Sal for the touching-of-chest thing. "That still tickles." He has to tell Sal about the tickling because it's Important. It still really doesn't bother him at all.

Survived the manboob groping. Super rad. "It does, doesn't it?" Sal agrees. "You get to like it after a while, too. Sort of addictive. Don't get how people stop at one." His voice is a litter vaguer, putting a lot more attention into his work now. Carmine may have signed a waiver, but there's nothing profitable about dealing out shit tattoos, ever. It can ruin a business. Outside, the music still plays, but the whir of the needle is louder as he outlines, stopping a few times to clean up the excess ink. "Want colour in this?" he asks.

Carmine will probably stop at one because, well, he doesn't get this drunk usually. But it sort of struck him that in about two weeks, he'll be hitting the big 4-0, and maybe he's having a miniature mid-life crisis. Who knows? "Suuuuure." But what kind of color? Hmmmmmm. "Maybeeee … red." Because eh, the lines don't hurt.

It's not a huge tattoo, so Sal's comfortable with doing the colouring all in one night, after checking his wristwatch. "Can do," he agrees absently, now wiping away the tracing ink entirely. The image is there, in thin black outlining, the skin around it inevitable reddened, but with a surprising lack of obvious cuts. "Aaalmost done." Sal makes no effort to maintain conversation now, invested in the artwork as he gets a new needle, switches the ink for a fire-engine red, and starts the filling in in circular motions, pressing a little harder. He makes quick work of it, adding some embellishments like shading and shadow, and white to highlight other parts. Even if Carmine does regret this when sobriety hits, at least it's a pretty good tattoo.

And neither does Carmine attempt conversation. In fact, he takes up humming, even if it's quiet and breathy and not quite on-key. Hmmhmm hmm hm. And when the tattoo is finished, he looks rather pleased with it. It's so red. In ink and in skin-color. "That's really good. You did a good job." He sounds almost proud of it.

Sal lets Carmine admire his new tattoo for a bit, pointing towards the nearby mirror, before moving to cover the image up with simple first-aid bandage and gauze and etc. "Thanks," Sal says, with a hint of pride as well. "It's a cool idea. No idea what powerdrills mean to you, but hey." The equipment is set aside, gloves pulled off and discarded, and Sal kicks the ground to wheel his chair towards a low desk. A pamphlet is taken and handed over, wheeling on back. "This'll tell you how to keep it clean while it heals, then after that she's all yours. $80 all up sounds fair?" It had better, because there's a distinct lack of question in Sal's voice.

For such a wonderful, awesome, incredible, fantastical thing, Carmine might've paid $100 (but it's best not to trust his judgment right now). He takes the pamphlet and glances it over, then nods and rises to his feet. His shirt is buttoned again and he picks up his suit jacket to throw it on before reaching into his pocket for his wallet. "Cash okay?" When is cash not okay?

"Cash is awesome," Sal responds with a bright smile and a thumbs up, before holding out a hand to accept the money. While Carmine isn't the most expressive of customers, it's still clear he's happy with the work, for at least tonight.

Carmine hands over four 20s without pause. Oh yeah. He'll probably get home, crash, then wake up in the morning and realize just what he's done. Then never drink in public again for five years (until he hits 45). "Thanks, Sal," he slurs. "Be seein' you!" No, probably not, but it's the nice thing to say. With that parting phrase, he turns and heads out on his way home to the wife whose name he now bears on his chest.

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