Late One Night

"Vintage" Flash by TeeJay @ White Tiger Tattoo

Normally if I am going to be working late at the shop by myself I lock the doors. There are a lot of reasons for this, some of which I am sure you can figure out. Mostly it is just that one never knows what is going to walk in the door and the odds of it being “bad” increase at night and much more so once alcohol has been introduced. Prudence dictates that it’s just the better move.

So that being said, you can understand why I was slightly startled when the door chimed late that summer night. “What the…?” thought I, “Didn’t I lock that?”. Next step after regaining myself is to try and reassume professional posture and greet the person who has walked in. “Hi”, a pause, “Can I help you with anything?” presented with a slightly different inflection than I would have during hours (when the lights are all on and the sign says Open). Next step is to briefly assess my situation. Tall, clean cut looking guy, slightly confused… but, uh-oh… wearing driving gloves. Now it is a tad bit chilly outside tonight, but not enough to warrant gloves and who the hell wears driving gloves inside of somewhere anyhow? All sorts of red flags go up.

“Is this a tattoo shop?” he says still looking slightly confused and glancing around the shop.

“Yes. Can I help you with anything?”

“I just want to look around.” Now he is not looking around. He is staring directly at me. Directly at me in that awkward directly into your eyes, who is going to look away first sort of way. I am trying to maintain eye contact with him as calmly as possible. Making a point of not looking down at the obviously gloved hands which he is making no effort to conceal and has placed deliberately on the counter between us.

“You an artist?” he queries. “Yes” I respond without hesitation.

He quickly turns around and begins investigating the art on the wall, and I do mean investigating. His head is moving up and down and back and forth as he is looking at the paintings. Kind of like he has a scanner inside his head that has to remain perpendicular to the surface to scan properly. This gives me a moment to back further away from the edge of the counter and look to make sure I have a weapon within reach. Check. Easily accessible weapon at the ready.

I wait.

He scans.

This goes on for what seems like an impossible long time, which of course as these things go, was probably only moments.

“These yours?” he asks nodding at the paintings. I explain to him which ones are and who did the others. He goes back to scanning for a bit more.

“So… you think you are some sort of artist.” This is given as a sort of statement with a bit of hostility. He spins suddenly, walks quickly over to where I am at counter (which gratefully I have backed up from because he is pressed up against it now and leaning toward me over it) and a little too loudly says to me “You think you are some sort of artist ?!?”

“Yes” I reply again, very confused as to where this is going.

Now loudly and very aggressively “Then where is your collage at?!?”

“Excuse me?” I ask, genuinely confused.

“Your collage! Your collage! Where is your collage at?!?”

“Do you mean my portfolio?” I offer, “It’s right there in front of you on the counter.” Hoping that he will stop staring at me so intently and look at the portfolio – look at anything to take his laser gaze from me.

“No, I don’t mean your portfolio” he hollers (obviously now believing that he is dealing with a complete moron who does not quite comprehend English, but will if it is used aggressively and loudly). “I mean your collage. Where is your collage at?!?”.

At this point I don’t even have an articulate response. I think that I probably just stood there looking back at him. No fear in my eyes, just utter confusion. What the hell is going on here?

He gives it another try. He’s really yelling now. “YOUR COLLAGE!!! WHERE IS YOUR COLLAGE AT?”

Genuinely confused and still wondering how much of a threat this guy is. Now I have no idea how to diffuse this situation because I am completely unclear on what the situation is. “I’m sorry Sir, I really do not know what you mean.”

He glares at me with utter contempt and disgust. Actually curls up one side of his lip like I am the lowest form of despicable pond scum on the planet. Breaks his gaze, turns suddenly and beats feet to the door with long purposeful strides. If is possible to holler and mutter at the same time – this man had mastered the art. “hrmmph,,,,thinks shes-some-sort-of-artist…. doesn’t have a collage…. doesn’t even know what a collage is….pffft” and out the door into the night he goes. Never looking back. Never breaking his now purposeful disgusted stride.

Right behind him I lock the door. I decide that whatever it was that I was working on really wasn’t that important and I want to be at home.

I am much better about locking the door at night now.

You can’t make this shit up.


~ by justteejay on December 7, 2010.

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