My car having taken a dump I have been paying a close friend/client to drive me around until I find a ride that suits my coolness. There are quite a few options, but sadly the 1943 Willies Jeep was off the table, as was the Fat Boy. Trying to score some normal guy points with the lady took her out for Mexican. By cab no less! Romantic! Really!
Back when I was younger there were only a few Mexican places around, and all were Tex-Mex. I have no problem with that as my old bassist’s family always does a big Tex-Mex spread May 5th, but after I had the real stuff I was hooked.
For those of you with real Mexican restaurants please excuse the gush.
The family that runs the joint is from Michoacán, one of the more dangerous places down there at the moment. I haven’t spent too much time down there, but I’ve been there enough times to tell that this place was going to be legit. As it was.
Of course I get a beer and half way through I have me an anxiety attack. I try not freak out too bad. I was smart enough to get to the hospital when I first had them, so I know what they are, and what I can do to limit the things. Hate them though, really panicky, racing thoughts, the whole nine.
She knows I have them and that I’m trying my best to still play the tough guy, so she gives me a look and I get up to walk outside. For any of you who have these things, the great outdoors helps. Not me though. No, nicotine helps me, so I wander out and light up a smoke. I sit down on bench and lean my head back, late afternoon sun (Yes, I took her to an Early Bird) on my skin. I take a deep breath, and think about something calming. Soft shading. Old jazz. Atomic weapons. The Middle East.
And hear this puttering noise. It’s a smaller sound than I VW Bug, so I look up and there is this little cart. It was like a golf cart I would have, nothing frilly about it. Real engine too. Behind the wheel a guy in his early 50s and at shotgun, his lady.
I’m looking at the thing and he says, “Hey man” and asks me if I like it.
“I do, what is it?” I ask and he raises his left arm, and points exposing a vivid Chinese dragon, green, yellow, great color blending. Just a bit of orange to make it pop out, very refined old school. Suffice to say I still don’t know what that vehicle is.
I missed the whole thing.
“Who did that dragon?”
The guy nods to me, “That’s ancient.”
“I dig it man. Who did it?”
He was either messing with me, or he had no clue about the proliferation of tattoo and tattoo related things that are around him every day. Either way he could see I was interested, and who do people like to talk about more than themselves? “I got it done in Ohio. Some guy named Lyle Tuttle.”
“Tuttle is a big name,” I said.
“Yeah?” The guy said.
“Sure is,” I shook his hand, “thanks for talking to me. I always say something when I see a good one.”
He walked back inside. I followed, rejoined my lady and finished dinner.
Pays to ask, you know? I’ve run into people with crazy stories. Some of them I’m sure are BS, and others I’m sure are not. I talked to an old cat who swore up and down that ABC Hank and Danny Danzl had down his ink in Seattle. One guy told me that Frenchy did his two in Denver. Another old cat told me he went to Wagner, “The best.” I also had a paranoid schizophrenic named Mike tell me Doc Webb had it in for him.
“Webb has been dead since 1986,” I said, trying to find an out.
“Doesn’t matter,” Mike said in a voice so serious it makes me wonder, “He still after me.”
So you can get some strange answers too.
What's more creepy than the malevolent, disembodied spirit of Doc Webb? I'll tell you. I checked my bill at the Mexican place. Great deal for the money, but they charge you for after dinner mints!
10 Cents a piece for mints.