Saturday, December 31, 2005

The Peculiar Rendezvous of Franklin and Shakur

Even after his passing, TuPac's Thug Life tattoo continues to amaze me. Such comittment to the game deserves respect. On numerous occassions I've joked and pryed about getting it done on myself. However, while Mr. Shakur probablly didn't find anything about the Old English arc across his midriff to be comedic, if it were on my breadbasket I would, and I'm not to into comedy tattoos.

I seem to have a knack for vicarious living. So when Jarred, whiskey-jawed and spark-eyed kept pressing me to go with him to his tattoo shop at one a.m. to give him a free-hand adaptation of Pac's legendary stain, I agreed. I was reluctant at first, but this wasn't exactly a commonplace opportunity. Reassuring me that he had wanted it done in a less-than-professional fashion for quite some time, I gave in. If he wanted it looking real shitty, I suppose I was his go-to-guy. In exchange for my anti-services Jarred offered to provide me with a tattoo of my choice. Given his abilities with brushes and needles I happily accepted, opting for a leg-attached lightbulb. I wasn't the one who needed to worry.

Listening to Owen while tattooing, especially when pop-culture hip hop text is involved, makes for a strange experience. I can't imagine that many folks make sweet love while listening to Sepultura. Jarred wouldn't let anyone change the tunage so while Mike Kinsella swooned away I stabbed away, permanently digging black ink chicken scratch onto my friends belly with absolutely no precision or tact. Using the needle gun's foot control was kind of like driving a really shitty car with fuel line problems or playing white boy funk on a wah-wah pedal, but much harder. In the end, Jarred claimed he got exactly what he wanted. For me, it wasn't what I had expected to happen on a rainy Monday night in a sleepy Northern California town, but it was one of those wonderfuly rare mistakes of comradery that even if I could, I'd never give back. I've got the lightbulb to prove it. Couch surfing once again, instead of counting sheep I drifted off to the sounds of soil and wood shifting in the distance as Benjamin Franklin and Tu Pac Shakur tossed and turned in their respective graves.

The Four Forty

When the door creaked we couldn't help turning around. Other than myself the only humans in the bar were Tyler, his wife Sara, and the bartender, whos snowy mountainstache and aloha shirt could have easily been counted as an additional person. She came in laughing with two men at her side. Both of them were clearly older and drunker than she was. Something was out of place. Pock-marked tire store guys didn't go out with girls like that. Maybe they did, and maybe that was part of the intrigue. I could tell she was intelligent; it was given, but not directly placeable. She had a big nose and you know what they say about girls with big noses. By this time my stare should have been obvious cubed. She didn't seem to care so I kept at it. I would have anyways. Cropduster was glossing the moment with a coat of Hollywood surrealism and reviving the jukebox from a long term bout with monotony. I forgot had forgotten how good that record was. If she was wearing any makeup, I couldn't tell. On top of my demanding definitions of evolved gift and talent, the belle was ringing with style - a combination that as far as I'm concerned can be hard to dig up, especially if you happen to spend a good amount of your time seeking it in dive bars. I wishfully figured the two rustic lads for brothers. Despite the forming crush, it was a logical guess. Tyler was talking to me, but I was snared. When she ordered a whiskey on the rocks I cracked a rib.

I've got this thing about heaven. See I don't believe in any conventional version of it, but I know exactly how I'd want it to be if I did. My references regarding it generally consist of me telling my friends about hypothetical things I'd do in certain social situations if certain parties or bars were located in heaven. So, after an hour or so of ping ponging glances off the pixie haired little sister, when brother number one put his arm around her shoulder, cupped her left breast and stuck his tongue down her mouth I ordered another round and retired to the clouds.

I approached the two of them slowly, casually lighting a cigarette while my sneakers click-clacked like boots across the linoleum floor. Their eyes were closed so they never saw it coming. I placed my index and middle finger in their unified mouths with rapid confidence, dividing their lips slowly by making a V. The man began slurring loudly. When the flapping swing came I extended my slobber covered hand, effortlessly swaying his brawl instigation and never breaking my stone-walled gaze. She looked at me, fathoms of brown eyes peeling in mine. I took a drag off my cigarette, exhaling slowly, pausing to give my words accent and intensity. "I will love you better".

When I came to Tyler was egging me on, offering up drinks and money, promising me it'd be the best and most successful pick up maneuver of modern times. I declined, opting for self-pity, another dirty-tap pint and my fifth game of Erotic Photohunt.

Jack London Hair

If you ever happen to find yourself in East Oakland, somewhere around Fruitvale and 25th, past the witching hour, tread lightly. In the shadows of chrome automotive accessories, questionable corners and fog-doused coniferous spires, beasts lurk. I know because I've seen them. Elevated on the splendor of old friends, older scenery and a hoodie winter I was slo-mo pogoing around the yard, dodging in and out of conversations and spraying out my hellos and hugs. No iced breath, only rising smoke. No vampire crowds, just the best of familiarity and strange friendlies. No sore sights on the sight see'rs. Years ago I wouldn't have cared, I probably would have hated it, but now the couple of wrinkled, almost-forty-something reformed punks provided an odd inspiration.

Dan kept asking me if I thought pissing in the backyard was a safe idea. I'd nod, blab and swig, and he'd keep stalling. The minutes kept tugging. Well on my way to being sufficiently greased up and not wanting to deal with the inevitability of the inside single bathroom line, I finally offered to accompany him. We swayed up through the grass and cracked steps towards the fence, talking about slow progress, old times and not much at all. It felt better than most conversations I'd had over the past month.

Earlier in the day I had heard the weatherman on the news talking about something called the "Pineapple Express". I thought of roller coasters. Hours later, bathing in its warm, late night Pacific manifestation I mimicked it, polluting the lawn's fresh water supply. Then we saw it. A crouched car sized mess of fur and red eyes. A ghost in the residential brush. Teeth gleaming in the strobed moonlight. Far below our landscaped retreat someone on the patio mentioned a half wolf. Gasp. This was no ordinary pet: Staring me down, it's big nosed, loud mouthed back yard-soiling prey, I realized it was a rabid piss guardian, capable of unspeakable horrors. Its paw/hoof twitched. A branch cracked, followed by a snarl. Could it smell my partial jewishness? Cautiously, I raised my zipper, making sure each bracket locked quietly without any turntable impressionism. Then I dubbed the Alaskan halfie "Dick Fang" and went back to the party, laughing with Dan. I've always liked Huskies.