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Tits & Tats and other stories

Tits & Tats and other stories

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Tits & Tats and other stories

Länge:
159 Seiten
4 Stunden
Herausgeber:
Freigegeben:
Sep 3, 2012
ISBN:
9781608640850
Format:
Buch

Beschreibung

Tori is a woman in her early 20s struggling with both her sexual identity and her quest to become an artist in the misogynistic world of tattooing. Set during San Francisco Pride in the early 1990s, Tori meets Tempest a drag queen who pushes Tori to challenge herself and her status quo.

Herausgeber:
Freigegeben:
Sep 3, 2012
ISBN:
9781608640850
Format:
Buch

Über den Autor

For Andrew Bowen, theology is a playground. His fiction and essays splash in the often murky waters of religion and spirituality, and have appeared in over a dozen venues like decomP, Metazen, Pulp Metal Magazine, Sheldon Lee Compton’s Bent Country, and Michael Solender’s Not From Here, Are You? He is the creator of the year-long interfaith journey, Project Conversion in which he fully immersed himself in 12 faiths during 2011. He is represented by Ms. Jenee Arthur.

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Buchvorschau

Tits & Tats and other stories - Andrew Bowen

Tits & Tats

and other stories

By Andrew Bowen

SMASHWORDS EDITION

978-1-60864-085-0

* * * * *

PUBLISHED BY:

Rebel Satori Press on Smashwords

Copyright © 2012 by Andrew Bowen

Discover other Rebel Satori Press titles at:

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/rebelsatori

Smashwords Edition License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you're reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then you should return to Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the author's work.

Tits & Tats

Blueberries

The Case for Mashed Potatoes

An Unlikely Rapture

Faces

Acknowledgements

For my daughters.

May you take shit from no one,

and never surrender your dreams.

Tits & Tats

Chapter 1

Maybe this isn’t such a good idea, Quinton said and looked down the slope of Leavenworth Street.

Tori slid the key into the lock. Don’t be a pussy. You said you wanted to do this.

Yeah but—

The lock clicked open.

Tori smirked over her shoulder at Quinton. Too late.

Florescent lights flickered to life as Tori and Quinton walked into Bay Boys Tattoo and Piercing. The twisted grins and narrowed eyes of dark, graphite-begotten creatures gazed down at them from flash sketches along the wall like gargoyles keeping watch. Quinton looked away and hurried to keep pace with Tori.

She reached under the wall-mounted table in Greg’s studio and pulled out a manila folder. Quinton’s hands fumbled over tubes of ink.

You gonna make it, Quint?

He stopped and wiped his forehead. Just don’t want to get caught. He’ll kill us.

Tori pulled the translucent stencil from the folder, held it up against the light and squinted at the purple lines of the sketch.

Quinton squirted each tube of ink into corresponding thimble-sized ink wells. He attached the cord from the foot pedal to the needle gun and exhaled. Okay. We’re set.

Alright, she said and fitted a pair of latex gloves on each hand. She pulled the base of the glove and let it snap against her wrist. Get that shirt off and take a seat.

The buzz of the tattoo gun numbed her fingers. She leaned back, switched hands and flexed the fingers of her right hand.

Hanging in there?

Quinton nodded. Yeah. How’s it looking?

She tilted her face and pursed her lips. The thin black lines of the needle gun were steadily overcoming the purple lines of the Further bus sketch on his back. Not bad, I think.

He craned his neck over his shoulder. You think?

Calm down. She reached for a hand mirror on the table. Here, you can—

What the fuck!

Tori jerked and dropped the mirror. Glass shattered and sprayed across the floor.

I told you this was a bad idea. Quinton fell out of the chair and grabbed his shirt off the table.

Tori held up her hands. Greg, wait. I can explain.

Shut the fuck up. He pointed back toward the door and glared at Quinton as he pulled his shirt over his head. You’ve got five seconds to get out of here before I stomp you into the floor.

Quinton lowered his face, said Sorry Tor, and scurried out of the booth. The bells on the front door of the studio jingled as Quinton escaped.

Greg lowered his arm and stepped into the booth. Tori tried to find a place for her hands as her heart beat rumbled inside her head.

This is my studio.

I—I know, baby.

He stepped closer. The mass of his muscular torso loomed over her. That’s my tat gun, my ink, my chair.

She clenched her throat and tried not to cry as she backed against the table. The orange flames tattooed on his neck rippled as his muscles flexed. Light shimmered off the sweat that glazed his shaven head. The stench beer flooded her lungs.

She coughed. Greg I was just—

He lunged at her and jabbed his thumb against his chest. And you’re my girl!

Tori covered her face with her arms and whimpered.

Greg took the folder from the table and studied the sketches of the bus. Tori flinched as he ripped the collection of pages in half.

Women don’t tattoo. He tossed the two limp halves of the folder into the trash can. I ever catch you touching my shit again…

She trembled and squeezed her eyes shut as she waited for the summation of his threat.

Clean this mess up and go home, he said and walked out of the booth.

Tori unfurled her arms from around her head and looked down at her hands. Ink covered the palms of her latex-covered hand like a melted rainbow. She sniffed back the lump in her throat, peeled off the gloves and started to clean.

Chapter 2

Ice tinkled as it settled to the bottom of Tori’s glass of rum and Coke. She looked up and reached for the drink. The lavender lines of the bar stamp on her hand stood out against her pale skin. She retracted her hand and traced the lavender curvature of the word: EDEN’S, the name of the bar, with her fingernail.

A cue ball smacked against billiard balls at the other end of the bar. She leaned back and squinted into the smoky and dimly lit establishment. Each of the five other patrons, all men, either watched Pricilla: Queen of the Desert on the quiet television or played pool.

She settled back into the stool, finished her drink and chewed the leftover ice.

The front door opened behind her. Tori hunched and looked over her shoulder as the light from outside pierced the darkness of the bar. A tall figure eclipsed the light as the doorman checked them. Tori shaded her eyes until the door shut the glare away. A woman stood with her left hand in the grasp of the doorman. Adrian stamped her hand as she pushed her shades back against her Rachel hairdo. A flutter rose in Tori’s stomach and she quickly turned.

Clicks from the woman’s heels boomed in Tori’s head as they closed in on her. Tori’s black hair slipped from behind her ears and veiled her face. The woman sat on the barstool beside her.

Kamikaze, honey.

The woman’s deep, smooth voice rolled along Tori’s skin and tickled her ears. Sweat moistened her palms. She closed her eyes and licked her upper lip. Lines of color swirled before her eyes. The sweetness of the rum and Coke lingered and fused with air laced with orange and clove.

The bartender set the Kamikaze on a napkin. The woman sipped, puckered her lips and purred, Ahhh. You are a naughty chemist, my dear. She pointed at Tori with her thumb. This one gonna make it?

He shrugged, took Tori’s cup of melting ice and walked away.

Tori sniffed and tucked her stringy black hair behind her ears. She glanced at the woman and looked her up and down before staring at herself in the mirror behind the liquors. Hi.

The woman took another sip and smiled. Hey there, kitten. What’s your name?

Tori.

She set her Kamikaze on the napkin and proffered her hand. Tempest.

Tori took Tempest’s hand and held it for a moment. Great perfume, she said as the sunny glow of a familiar face surfaced from memory.

Thank you, darling. Tempest pulled her hand away from Tori’s weak grip. It’s Cinnabar.

I know… she said and rolled her bottom lip against her teeth. She shook out of her daydream and continued. So Tempest…that a stage name or something?

A smile twitched at the right corner of Tempest’s mouth. Something.

Tori raised her eyebrows and nodded. Tempest sipped her drink and glanced at the television. Billiards smacked in the background. She turned away and exposed her profile to Tempest.

Tempest tilted her face with a soft smile. You look down, sweetie. How about something to drown your troubles?

Breath rolled in Tori’s throat. She opened her mouth to protest but Tempest already had her finger lifted to the bartender.

Two more Kamikazes, hon.

The bartender went to work.

Tori shook her hand. Oh, thanks but I’ve had too much already.

What’s one more?

Tori shrugged.

Don’t worry. I’ll make sure you get home in one piece. Tempest lowered her voice. Just don’t puke on me.

Tori smirked and shook her head.

There’s a pretty smile.

Tori blushed and looked down at the bar’s scuffed surface. Never seen you around. Here for Pride or…

Yeah, with some girlfriends from Tacoma.

Why are you in the Tenderloin? Better off hitting Castro or the SoMA area at night.

Tempest shrugged. I enjoy some anonymity from time to time. Besides, Polk Street has a certain te me se quoi.

Tori chuckled. A name like Tempest and you want anonymity?

Touché. Kitten’s got claws, Tempest said with a grin.

Sorry, I didn’t mean to—

Don’t apologize for having balls, honey.

The bartender placed their drinks on napkins in front of them. Here you go, ladies.

Thank you, they said together.

Tempest lifted her glass. To balls.

Tori lifted hers to Tempest’s. To balls.

They knocked the drinks back and lowered the empty glasses to the napkins.

Tempest crossed her legs and nodded toward Tori’s arm. Love the ink. She pointed, Is that the Nirvana smiley face?

Tori looked at the half sleeve on her left arm and smiled. Oh, yeah. You like Nirvana?

Kurt was a doll. Tempest pursed her lips. Did you see him on the MTV Headbanger’s Ball in drag?

Yeah, Tori laughed. That was hilarious.

Poor thing. Made such an ugly girl.

Oh I dunno, Tori said and poked her glass away. I thought he pulled it off pretty well. Christ, hard to believe it’s been over a year since he died.

I know. Poor Frances Bean.

Yeah.

Light flashed against the mirror and shone against their faces as a new patron walked in. Tori and Tempest squinted and lowered their heads until the light faded.

So, where’d you get the ink?

Well, they weren’t all done at once. Each piece is woven into the next.

Like a story?

Tori nodded, Exactly, and pointed at the middle of her bicep. Like this one, the two koi carp swimming around my arm…got it after the Nirvana tat.

Tempest squinted and leaned toward Tori’s forearm. Who’s Meredith?

Oh, um... Tori stroked the tombstone on her skin with her fingertips. "Best friend growing up. Big

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