He zoomed through the door, seemingly seven feet tall, wide-eyed, wearing an Ireland hoodie and a leather jacket. In a slight Boston accent, he said he needed something for his "Mahm". He didn't know what. I asked him about her. He told me about how proud she was of her heritage; half Irish and half Swedish. He also told me about how he was dancing with her and she died right in front of him, suddenly.. He shuddered. He's gruff, very high energy with a checkered past (he described to me that in prison he was tattooed with ink made from burned checkers, urine, and shampoo and a single needle with a cassette tape motor). His high strung demeanor makes me unsure of what he'll do next. He's never had a professional tattoo before. After pacing around, and turning his back to count his money, he decides that he wants to get the tattoo right now. He tells me he wants a flag thats half Irish, half Swedish. He leaves for twenty minutes and I draw it up for him. He comes back, I take his ID, and have him fill out paperwork, all of which he's baffled by. He says he's never been tattooed by a woman, and maybe the feminine touch is just what he needs for this piece for his mom. He says he doesn't want anything "gangster". I take him to my room and begin to set up. He asks questions about every piece of equipment and relays all of his stories about getting prison tattoos from guys who enjoyed administering the pain. One last thing before I start, I press play on my music player. It's a playlist of random stuff that I've felt like listening to lately. And as the deep solemn voice of The White Buffalo's cover of House of The Rising Sun starts to bellow out of my speakers, I notice my client is crying. He tells me that this was his mom's ringtone for him. He says something about fate. I feel honored to be part of it. I wait until he stops shaking and begin the tattoo.
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