2007-09-05: Under The Gun


Sal_icon.gif Jack_icon.gif

Summary: Discussion of criminal exploits in the near future occurs while Sal draws on Jack some more.

Date It Happened: September 5th, 2007

Under The Gun

East Village - Ink By Numbers

"Ghhhhrrrrrgh," Jack grunts. He pulls a spent cigarette from between his lips, grinds it out, and immediately lights a new one. After twisting his neck and producing an admirable snap-crackle-pop as stiff joints and muscles abruptly loosen, he nods to Sal and offers his arm again. "Okay. I'm good when you're good. Fuck me, it's just unpleasant when the thingy is rattlin' against your bones, innit?"

He and Sal are tucked away in the private tattooing area at Ink By Numbers. This is their third session on Jack's piece, a full sleeve that covers his right arm from collarbone to wrist. It's a mishmash of graphics, sentiments, and oddities. Razor blades are cozied next to ferocious, curly-haired poodles. An adorable baby cupid brandishes an enourmous revolver. Cartoonish bombs with sparking wicks, dice, playing cards, broken bottles, brass knuckles, and sundry other bits and pieces fill in the spaces between larger graphics, mostly of women.

Sal is happy to catch a few moments' break during sessions such as this, his own half-finished cigarette clasped between his teeth as he rolls his wrist, shakes out his whole arm, before taking up the needle again. "Don't be a pussy," he chides, before applying the needle to skin once more - probably a good tactic to avoid retaliation, no one wants to move too much when permanent ink is being injected at high speed onto your arm. He resumes colouring in deep circular movements, Jack's forearm in focus currently. "You know me, I love this, but are we on crack?" he has to say, as he inks in a poodle-tail. It's maybe the fifth time he's stated that, too, over the course of a few days.

It's true, Jack would have more to say about being called a pussy if he wasn't under the gun right now. Still, he graces Sal with a momentary glare that he can't really hold on to. He takes a long draw from his fresh cigarette and blows smoke toward the ceiling, away from both their eyes. "It's unique," Jack insists for approximately the fifth time. It's anyone's guess wether or not he knows what 'unique' means. "I mean, tell me this piece doesn't have my name all over it."

"That it does, my friend," Sal says with a smile, not looking up. "It's going to look pretty awesome by the time it's done. You should let me take a few pictures for the wall of fame." He pauses to ash out his cigarette, before resuming his task, dabbing away streaks of loose ink and a smidgeon of blood. "I just gotta guess that you had a lot of time on your hands to come up with all this, si?"

Going on their second hour in the chair, Jack has gotten pretty good at doing stuff while holding very, very still. The trick is to move slowly. He also ashes his cigarette, then leaves it smoldering in the tray in favor of his bourbon flask. A swig later and the cigarette is back between his teeth. "S'not all mine," he admits. "S'bits an' pieces from lots o' different artists. Puttin' 'em all together was a real motherfucker, though, an' I don't mind admittin' it."

Sal grunts a response, lapses into silence. After the sheer number of hours put together, there's only so much conversation to maintain, but the quiet is comfortable, underscored by the humming of the tattoo machine and the sound of music from the front room. This time, though, it's him to strike up conversation, only when he lifts the needle to swap out the colours. "You remember that tape we got?" he asks, glancing towards Jack. "The dude who's your fellow countryman and all." Because England (which is the accent on the tape) and Ireland are the same.

"Whut?" Confused, Jack arches an eyebrow in Sal's direction. "The tape I got had a painfully crazy Englishman natterin' away. You tryin' to insult me, boy-o?" His heavy brows knit together and he peers over at his tattoo artist. Under the needle, his arm flinches when a particularly intense set of vibrations rattle the bones in his forearm, but not enough to disrupt the process. He takes another draw off his cigarette and resists the impulse to blow smoke and bitch more.

Jack only gets a flash of a smile as to whether Sal is trying to insult him, and the Latino lets up his needle at the small flinch from his client. Time to work on a different area, and his other hand directs Jack to position his arm, clasping his wrist to do so. "Crazy is right," Sal says, as he resumes his work. "But not painfully so. I met up with him a couple of nights ago. Gave me a cheque for ten grand straight off the bat."

The bartender leers over at Sal lasciviously. "Oh really? Must've been some night." Smirking broadly, he loosens his arms and flips it over cooperatively so that Sal can go to work on a topless girl wearing a comically secure chastity belt. He allows himself a snicker, then asks more seriously, "So what's the cheeky fucker want, anyway?"

Almost all of the outlining is done, by now. Only colour is left to do, which is a simpler, if more brutal job as the needle is ground into Jack's skin. Sal chuckles, then shrugs his own tattooed shoulders. "I don't even know," he says. "Supplies, presumably, but I got a feeling there's more to it than that, because he mentioned me getting a cut in whatever profit he's going for. He wouldn't give me any other information but he said something about there being big money in hotels. I guess a heist. You sure you're not in?"

"As tempting as it is to go in with a crazy wetback an' a guy I never met before, I'ma have to pass." Surprisingly, Jack sounds like he means this. A part of him does long for the days when he always had his eye on the next job, always for the challenge, never for the money. "Trina, y'know. Even in a coma she'd kill me. It sounds bloody excitin', though. Lemme know what you find out?" Grinning again, he takes a final drag from his smoke, then butts it out in the ashtray.

"Will do. I got a feeling about this, like it can all go horribly wrong or work out great," Sal says, pausing to push longer locks of black hair behind his ear before resuming. "Probably smarter to do like you're doing and sit out, but…" A smirk and a shrug. "At least this Enigma guy seems like the real deal, if insane. You do realise this means you're pussywhipped, right?" TATTOOING YOU, CAN'T KICK MY ASS.

"You do realise this means you're a nutsplatter, right?" Jack retorts, but his heart really isn't in it. It's a fairly accurate assessment and both men know it. It's not that Trina would really kill him. Hell, she'd probably let him get away with it. But having her around is making him more and more liable to behave himself willingly.

Okay, so. Pussywhipped.

"Moving on. I can't get over the Enigma thing. People still give themselves codenames? If that's the case, I wanna be Batman." Still being sure to hold very still for the tattooing process, Jack whips an imaginary batarang from his imaginary utility belt and launches it at an imaginary bad guy.

"You be Batman, then, I'll be— shit, are there even any Mexican superheroes?" Sal asks rhetorically, as he fills in the cartoonish chastity belt of the woman on Jack's arm. "Non-lame ones, anyway. But yeah, Enigma. Or Em, apparently. But fuck it, after the ten thousand dollars, I'm fine with calling him Sugardaddy if that's what he wanted. I'm getting involved with too many crooked micks, you know that? The accent was fake," he adds, to clarify, because he does actually know the difference between English and Irish, deep down.

"Shoulda known it'd be one of my own. Sounds like a crazy Irish plot-n-scheme." Which brings them to the more serious portion of the conversation. Jack scrunches his mouth up to one side thoughtfully and lets out a low sigh. "Just lemme know if things get crazy, wot? By now I figure I owe you at least one good bail out. God knows your unicorn-huggin' ass couldn't get yerself out of a jam if— ow!"

It's anybody's guess as to whether or not the sudden, sharp prick of the needle is an accident. If it's not, Jack probably deserves it

By the slight smile playing out on Sal's mouth? A guess can be made as to how deliberate that was. He withdraws the needle at that point, moving to light himself up another cigarette. "Well I don't know about you, but I'm spent for today, dude," he says around the cigarette as he touches the flame of his lighter to the tip. "Let me get you patched up and send you on your merry way. This should only take one more visit, though." He wheels on his stool to grab the first aid kit, wheeling on back. "I know exactly how we can celebrate its completion, too."

Jack brandishes his arm to be salved and bandaged, but that's not what's on his mind. Few men tremble with excitement at the thought of gauze. "Did you get it?" he asks, a boyish smile tugging at his face and lighting up his eyes. "Did you get the thermite? God, I've been itchin' to use an explosive I know nothin' about."

"You bet your ass I got it," Sal says, as he begins to patch Jack up. "I dunno about you, but exploding shit with a material they use in the military that I haven't heard of before just sounds like a promising evening. You got any plans for what you wanna test it out on?"

"Yeah," Jack replies, his grin widening devilishly. "There's a building on 33rd, like… maybe ten blocks from the Den? Yeah. Ten blocks. Anyway, it's between a Starbucks an' a Barnes & Nobles. Some old clothing store wots bein' demolished. I thought we might speed the process along." He stifles a chuckle against the back of his fist and winks over at Sal. "Do our civic duty an' all that."

"Super rad," Sal says with a grin that's far, far too gleeful for when talking about casual and senseless destruction of public property. "I reckon we finish up your arm, grab a couple of bottles and tequila and head out when it hits the wee hours of the morning." He holds his hand out for presumably a street-style handshake, enthused.

Jack streetshakes as skillfully as can be expected from a guy who is both completely white and completely Irish. Which is to say that exuberence is being subsituted for experience at some points. When they're finished he reaches into his pocket with the hand at the end of his untattooed arm and digs out a few crisp hundreds. Without preamble, he slaps the wad of cash against Sal's chest and lets him catch it. "Tequila? Sounds fun. I can't remember the last time I had a worm crawl outta my nose. Consider it a man-date. I'll see you next week, hermano."

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