Hey, could you check this out and critique me? Thanks so much!!
A tiny silver bell rings from somewhere in the back of the dingy tattoo parlor as I enter. I take a deep breath littered with the fumes of ink and human sweat and glance around the tiny joint. A man bent over a chest rest glares at me as I enter while the tattoo artist delicately moves her tool over the man’s bare skin.
“I’ll be with you in a sec,” she says without looking up as I take a seat in one of the overstuffed fake velvet chairs. I nod even though I know she can’t see me and slip the little scrap of paper out of my jeans pocket. I sigh inwardly to myself and turn the crumpled slip over and over in my hands, biting my lip and drawing tiny beads of blood to my raw lips. My tongue snatches up the salty beads of blood and soothes the slight stinging sensation. Whatever. I’ve felt worse pain before.
Finally, the woman finishes with the grumpy old man and he slaps a couple of bills down on the table before sulking out, hints of angry red skin showing through the thin white tank top he wears. The woman cleans her equipment and brings them to the back of the store for sterilization and brings out a new set for me. She crinkcles her finger at me, beconing me to approach.
“And what would you like, dear?” She croaks at me as I sit down in one of the chairs before her.
“This,” I say and hand her my slip of paper.
“Where?” She asks and I roll up my sleeve, exposing the underside of my wrist.
“Right here. And in that order too. A fancy script.” I reply not rudely, but out of anticipation. The woman glances up at me through her eyelashes as she prepares the pen to meet skin.
“One of the most painful places to have a tattoo done. And especially with the menagerie of marks you have there.”
“They’re healing,” I respond and give her a slight smile. The woman nods and sits down on the chair beside me, extending my arm and placing it on the table before us. She holds down my arm with her left hand, using her right for the artwork. At its first touch, the pen stings. I let out a low hiss and the woman looks up at me with a small smile.
“Sorry dear, only hurts for a bit.” I nod and she continues, leaving me to get lost in my thoughts.
I think about my family and chuckle silently. They always believed that tattoos are one of the worst actions you could do to your body. My friends, on the other hand, would think differently. They know what the tattoo means to me, how it will remind me of the past few years. They’ll be proud of me.
Before I know it, the tattooist lifts her pen from my skin for the last time and sets it down on the table.
“You’re all done, sweetheart.” The woman says to me and pats me on the back. From beneath her chair, she pulls out pamphlets of tattoo care and the like and begins to explain them to me. I pay her the cost of my artwork and add a few extra dollars on just for the young smiling faces I can see trapped behind glass in picture frames on the front desk. She thanks me and releases my arm.
“It takes a strong person to stand up to the inner demons in us, young lady. Be proud of that tattoo,” she whispers quietly to me as I stand to leave.
“Thank you,” I reply and exit the parlor. I take a few steps away so I am out of sight and finally glance at my tattoo.
Critique: (Well, this was a really interesting short story. Is it longer? I loved your description of him biting his lip. What is the significance of the tattoos he got? Other than a few misspellings, I really liked it. :D )