East and West: A Tattoo Story
Slowly, I prepare my station for the tattoo to be done today. There is only this tattoo, there is only now. The future is nonexistent, the past is void. There is no hurry, there is no pain. There are only the materials to be prepared. Stainless steel needles and rich, thick black ink. Barrier bags to prevent cross contamination. A hit of A and D escapes into the air. It is a smell which brings me back to my very first tattoo. All of this is a meditation and this where I want to be.
Jeff is prepared, as always. His attitude is mild, he is in no rush either. He is finally off work, now he can relax. This is exactly where he wants to be too. He is not a victim of the tattoo, he is a master of it, which he will shortly prove.
I pick up the tattoo bell and dip the needles in an oily pool of ink. “You Ready?” “Born Ready.” I stretch the skin out with my left hand and rest the heel of my right hand again his shoulder. I hit the footswitch and the bell begins to buzz. I lay the needles into the skin and the session has begun. Passing like a dream, four hours is up. We have travelled far enough for today. Starting at the shoulder, and ending at the wrist. We are the conquerors of skin and nerves. We are the servants of progress. We are the Keepers of the Light.