69. Suicide

While I was drawing this, a woman leading a small terrier-style dog, stopped and looked down at me.
After the inevitable explanation of what I was doing here, sitting in the street, I told her that her dog was cute, and leaned slightly forward, holding out my hand to it and making some of those sweet dog-attracting sounds people make to a dog when they want it to engage with them.
‘He’ll just ignore you.’ said the woman who was wearing a white tee shirt, chinos, bright red lipstick.
Her arms were covered with highly skilled portraiture tattoos.
‘He’s not interested in you out in public, but if you come to his home he’s all over you.’
‘I see.’ I said, giving up on the animal and straightening up, ‘So out in public he’s a snob?’
The woman laughed.
‘I like your tattoos.’ I said to the woman, pointing to a particularly excellent black and grey work of a couple: a man and a woman.
‘Those are my parents.’ she said.
Then she showed me other black and grey portraits up her arms but none were as skilled as the one of her parents.
I ask her who did it.
‘It was a woman up in Orange county,’ she said, ‘she was really good,’
Not having any black and grey work, and thinking maybe one day I might get some, I asked the woman for the tattoo artist’s number.
‘No,’ said the woman, ‘She committed suicide.’
‘Jesus!’ I say.
‘Yeh,’ said the woman rolling her arm around to show me, this time without explanation, a good, but not as good as the parents, portrait of a baby on the back of her arm, ‘she did this one too.’
‘Yeh, it was a real shame,’ said the tattooed woman, as we admired the tattoo of the baby that the tattoo artist from Orange County who had committed suicide had done.

Today’s podcast- Haileywood Episode 1: His Own Private Idaho

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