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"I'm retired."

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Gloomy Inks

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Don't get too freaked out, or too happy (take your pick there. Love for the Gloomy one, or hate so richly deserved? Just no apathy. It's the worst. I'd take disappointment over that!) since I have not given up crumbing arms for a living.

"Well ya silly fuck, what's with the fake news? Not having one of those crazy spells again, I hope?"

My lady and I live in a really fucked, scary place. Right over the fence is the hood. And when I say over the fence, it's a well jumped chain link deal that does not stop bullets. Seems every second or third Saturday night there is just a butt-ton of shooting. The only saving grace was that my lady, knowing how freaked I get by anything with feathers or hair, got me one of those tactical tomahawk things, and didn't even bat an eye when I came home tonight, "Honey! I got a new Ka Bar!"

Our complex is so damned bad that I had to do some serious acting when we first got here. I found this guy Pete. Pete has this tiger... OK, lemme back up. Pete was standing out front when we first moved in. We didn't talk, I just saw his tiny little head and my mind blurred to Browning's Freaks, and Stoney and rat poop, backwards soldered needles on the bar...

So one night I come walking out and there is Pete, big 'ol bottle of vodka in his hand. "Hey man, I like those tattoos," He says, stealing my line.

I'm polite, so what was I to do? I took a drink. Handed the bottle back. Pete said, "I used to go to prison a lot. I know how to tattoo.

(For the record any thing over two years sentence in the state of Florida is a trip to prison, not county jail. Unless you're being held for trial, and then that's a whole other different thing. So "used to go to prison a lot" doesn't fill me with the kind of confidence that say, would have me bring this guy into my home. To say nothing of line of sight of the medicine cabinet)

I know where to pick up a strong case of Hep C, I thought.

"Is that a tiger?" I pointed to kinda hashy, bad lined, but just in under the seven second rule, tattoo.

"Yeah man, but he fucked the face up!"

Well, no shit. "Sorta looks like a Tazmanian Tiger, really," I said, "I can fix that up ya know."

Now he wants. And he wants some tattoo machines, needles (but they don't have to be clean), and a few deep cell batteries. So I scared the living shit out of him. When you talk to criminals Henry Hill was right, no swearing, no threats. I was just vague as Hell and LO, some how I got a lot of cred with this guy, who I still have not, nor will I tattoo.

The CC as we call it is so awful, that all it needs is a tire fire. There have been three murders and robbery/rape since we got here. My woman says, "Don't go out at night!"

It was one of those things though, had to go, had to walk, and there was no way getting around it. So grab my cane, and don't let it fool ya, I may be illin', but don't even mess with me the stick, and start walking. When I get up to the front part of the complex, there is the "legit" gang guys standing out there, and I hear one of them go, "Tattoo. I know he's got loot."

Or something like that.

I get ready to shit and run as fast as I can... and a long ambles Pete!

"Don't fuck with that man," He said very loud so I could here it too, "He a good man. Kind man. And a HARD man. You're going to get hurt."

"Thanks Pete," I thought and got to the store and back in one piece.

I said "legit" gang as we have a group of young, well, Young Tattooed Boys. The YTB. I know because I saw graffiti one night that said just that. I was to say the least, unimpressed. Not my kind of people for one. I did the 'hood thing when I was young. Two, Young Tattooed Boys?

What, is there a male review? Chippendale's called and failed your audition. You're a terrible male stripper and you need to get your GED.

"Yo dog, they call me Magic Mike."

(I punched myself in the eye for that, don't worry)

Since I am sick, I just sit around all day. So I'm out front one afternoon. I'm relaxing, smoking an unfiltered Camel that scored from my bro Marty from Long Island who hates Manhattan. Up comes two of them, and as they go up the stairs I hear one say, "Man, fuck those two..."

"Shut it, ya little faggot, " And I sat, waiting.

Marty told me he wanted a piece too.

Nothing. Silence. Stayed that way too, until I came home from getting a tattoo late one night.

Out on the front of our building is a veranda, public, and here are four YTB, with two more down in the parking lot. Wouldn't you know it, the ones in the parking lot are running dope. "Fuck this. We're getting out of here," I muttered.

I get up the stairs. "Tattoo! Hey bro, you tattoo?" I'm asked by this dumb looking kid with this real dense, heavy black and gray that'll have him looking much like the young d bag he once was when he's older.

"Not your bro. And I'm retired," I light a cigarette.

"Retired?" The littlest thug asked.

"Not retarded. Retired, yes I am." (Big thanks to Sailor Ned, who's long been dead, for the attitude I've been having! See Ned here:

" )

"Wanna smoke a blunt?" I'm asked.

I groan, "No. I don't and you all are morons for smoking out here."

In can tell I'm making the shortest, and most heavily tattooed pissy. Why? Cause I called him a name.

"What's your deal man?" He asks, "Why you got so little respect?"

About two years ago I found out why my 91 year old grandfather smiles, closes his eyes and shakes his head. Because people are morons.

"Cause your buddy here called me Tattoo. If you don't mind..."

"We do," He said.

I had my gun as I always carry in the car, but it's a narrow hallway, and who the fuck am I, Clint Eastwood? "Might have put a five tight in the tube or not. The question is, do you want whip shading? Well do ya, PUNK!?"

I braced myself for a beating, shooting, or something completely different. The one who called me Tattoo did this real little kid, looking at the ground, and I swear that he moved his foot, like a coy chick from a bad 40s movie, right on the toes, "Do you think we can buy some tattoo needles from you? We got the guns..."

In my head, "BWWWWWWWWAAAAAAA!"

From my mouth, "Nope. Tattoo is not in the tattoo supply biz. Sorry Charley. Try T Mart!"

With that I left.

So, I dunno even what I was trying to get down on paper, digital, fuck, never mind. It was funny. Sorta?

Where's Pete and the vodka?

(Gloomy has promised to move if another tire fire starts in the now totally gated closed South parking lot. -Ed.) (Which is also Gloomy)

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