I got my first tattoo with beautiful fucked up Matt, who had had various last names like Misfit and Zombie. I think I was 19. Matt was a beautiful guy who really liked drugs and alcohol. We knew each other from the hardcore scene, saw each other around the streets of nyc at all the punk shows and clubs. We had a strange aquantainceship and were always fond of each other. I have fond memories of him despite his idiotic tendencies but I also understand that he has been awful to many people.
Just remembering how we both were, I find it hard to believe we actually made a plan and met and went through with it. We both seemed incapable of such action. Incapable of being home to get a phone call, incapable of showing up when we said we would. This was before cell phones when our 6th sense was strong and we always found our peeps.
We met and bought beers and took the train to somewhere in Brooklyn. We walk along residential streets to some guy named Mike’s basement studio in his house. (He was Mike Perfetto who became very respected in the elite tattoo community.) It was illegal to get a tattoo in nyc at the time, in the mid eighties, so we were breaking the law. I loved the thrill of breaking victimless laws.
I was getting drunk from my one or two beers as I was always small and never much of a drinker. I tried to pour some of my beer out without Matt noticing, but he did, and I felt foolish. Just writing that sentence blows my mind as to what a little kid I was that I thought I needed to drink more than I wanted.
Inside the shop it said not to get a tattoo if you had consumed alcohol. I felt nervous but did it anyway. I designed my tattoo, the word “love” where a snake created the letter “L” and a spade created the letter ”O”. It was on my ankle. Mike asked me if I wanted the snake to be smiling or angry, I said smiling. Matt got a pair of eyes on his bicep, they were supposed to be his girl Lisa’s eyes. Mike charged Matt for his tattoo and threw mine in for an extra $5.00. Matt paid for me.
When we left we ran into this girl Sherry from the hardcore punk scene. Sherry had the best hair. It was spiked but the spiked were of varying lengths. There were a few really long ones (12 inches?) that stuck off here head and then short and medium ones, very sputnik satellite, a real original spin on the standard spiked hair thing that a lot of kids had. Sherry was tall and looked cool and wore motorcycle boots.
She suggested that Matt and I come over her house for some beers, so we went. She told us about tripping on acid with her man that she lived with, and how they ended up in the shelves above the closet and how fun it was. She suggested that Matt and I come over the following week and do it with them. We both said OK, but I was a bit terrified.
All that week I thought about our plans for the weekend with interest and dread. I was game and I would go through with anything, but I really didn’t want to, but I had too much to prove to back down from any dare of sorts. I also loved peering into the darkness, walking on the edge. I somehow thought that the experiences I would find might lead me to some sort of redemption, in my little kid mind, a year or two out of high school and thrust with the responsibility of being an adult
The weekend came and went and I was relieved to never have heard form Sherry or Matt. Later, we ran into each other at Danceteria or the Ritz, or somewhere, and I reminded him of the plan and he said he was just yes-ing them but had no interest in doing acid with them. I agreed, laughing.
Light years have past since.