"What," I asked him, "is the strangest thing anyone's ever had you tattoo on them?"
He wiped blood from my arm, dipped the gun in his pot of black ink, and considered.
"Well, the one that left me the most emotionally scarred was the blender," and
he continuing filling in the outline he'd drawn. "This guy had me tattoo a blender,
in turquoise, pretty much life-sized, all up his arm, and I kept asking him why,
and he finally looked me in the eye and said 'I like the way it vibrates, okay?'"
"Wow," I said. "Yeah," he agreed. "The worst part was, I wasn't done tattoooing him. But
I really, really wanted to be done after he said that." He wiped my arm again. "Another
time a guy came in, and asked me to touch up a really old tattoo. He was Jewish too;
it was his prisoner number. He said it was part of him and he didn't want to forget. I
don't get that, wanting to remember that kind of thing." I said I guessed there was
a difference between wanting to remember something and not wanting to forget.
"This is the first time anyone's asked me to tattoo something on them in Yiddish." He
wiped my arm again. "I don't usually ask people when they want ink in another language,
but what does it mean?" I said it meant everything or nothing, and that it was kind of a joke.
"See, my attitude with organized religion is that you pick one or the other. I pick nothing."
He laughed, and said right on. "It's kind of a theme in my life, I guess." He taped a bandage
over my arm and asked to see the hamsa he did last time, and took a picture of it.