Pain is an inevitable part of the process for all who pursue pleasure and for all who pursue joy. It is the black shadow casted from the white light. It is the chaos waiting patiently inside peaceful stillness. It is the chill of winter that makes you forget about the warmth of spring. Pain is as imminent as evolution and as ominous as the random winds of an approaching storm. There is no hiding from pain. There is no running either. Yet we are drawn to pain like moth to flame, proving curiosity and complacency to be clever tricksters. Follow; Curiosity makes us wonder if we can withstand the intense sting of the for mentioned. Thus we wrap our hands around pot handles that we know will scorch our fingers. Complacency makes us hold onto a pain we know for the fear of trading it in for one we don’t. Some feel that the best way to cushion pain’s blow is by facing its source. Others feel that you can avoid pain buy guiding your focus elsewhere. We are indeed the personified sum of our inner most thoughts. However, mortal man has yet to prove he or she can avoid pain all together.
That brings us to the young Brazilian woman at the center of this story. Today is her 27th birthday, and she is currently in the midst of a life transition. She wants to let go of the pain that comes from having everything and nothing at the same time. She has an abundance of material, status and green paper from a hustle she has finally mastered. Yet the pain from a life that is vacant of love is weighing heavy on her young tender heart. No matter what she does she can’t seem to shake the feelings of despair. It walks with her like death waiting for a chance to speak. So she changed things up with a trip through the freezing skies of the Northeastern part of the country. She is now far away from the November winds that were blasting their way past the Baltimore buildings. She has traveled to the Southwest and found refuge in a hot-sunny space which is right off the water. She enters an artistic shop busy with obscure people much like herself. This is her 3rd visit here in as many days, so she is quite familiar with most of the passing faces. She turns down the volume of her ipod and pulls a single headphone from her right ear. Now she can absorb the surrounding energy. She feels at home and those who see her greet her in a manner that makes her feel welcome. It is early but business seems to be doing well here. Her sensitive nose can already smell the flesh burning. Her available ear can already hear motors driving ink from persistent moving needles. The pain in the room is palpable yet different from the one that her young heart carries. Here pain is allocated by the terms you set, not by the selfishness of others. Here pain gets trumped by the love of expression.
A young woman much like herself walks up to the counter to greet her with a familiar smile.
“Wow! You’re pretty hardcore ain’t you?!!”
Asks a 25 year old Irish girl with jet black hair styled in a “Bob-Cut” The length of her hair was trimmed short to flow with the womanly line of her jaw. It also had a distinct silver streak in the very front of it. This made her stand apart from the looks of the other girls. She knows she’s cute and she flips her hair often when speaking.
“Looks like we will get to finish that up for you today”
The girl says while smiling earlobe to earlobe. As she speaks on, she plays with a stainless steel ball stud that is pierced through her tongue. It is a flirty gesture that Simony is well aware of. As she watches the stud glide impressively across her perfect teeth, she shows no signs of returning the sexual energy. Simony plays it cool listening to her speech with one ear and Tupac’s “Me Against the World” with the other.
“Most people take huge breaks in-between sessions but not you! You must have a high tolerance for pain. If you don’t mind me asking, what’s the rush?”
“My job keeps me moving and I don’t have a lot of time to get this done sugar” says the Brazilian princess. “So while I’m on the west coast, why not get it all done?” She finishes.
The young lady Simony is speaking with is a tattoo artist who calls herself Maeveen. She claims to be a witch who studies Wiccan beliefs religiously. The artistically gifted witch has developed quite a crush on her mysterious client since she was chosen 2 days ago. On the first day that Simony came in she asked who the best 2 artist were. Maeveen and a pretty boy named Donovan spoke up without any resistance from the others. At one time, the milk chocolate covered Donovan would have been a sweet snack for the aggressive little spit fire. But she’s over men for the moment, especially ones that are prettier than her. Besides he’s too flamboyant for any vixen trying to stay low key. He is blasting “Hypnotize” by The Notorious B.I.G. on a radio by his booth. This move is upsetting his fellow co-workers as if the East and West coasts were still at war with one another. So Simony plaid the move with the most stealth, and to see her it would all make sense. At a glance Simony appears unassuming which is not her usual style. She blends in well with the west coast women just like Bendito taught her too. Simony’s version of dressing down flows well on the left coast where the females are as equally style conscious as their right coast rivals. She has on a baby blue sweat suit made with soft terry cloth fabric designed by Gucci. She also has the matching sneakers. Yet still this is slumming for Ms. Chiavary. Despite her efforts to refrain from flash, her artistic service provider can tell that her status is regal. The naked eye cannot see what Maeveen can see.
“I’m in the same booth as yesterday Simony”
She says before pausing and then she continues.
“You can go get comfortable while I get my supplies if you like”
Simony tilts her head as she looks at Maeveen to examine her face from a different angle. She has seen that look before on many men. That anxious look that one gets when they want to ask you out but can’t seem to do so. That look one has while trying to muster up the courage to do just that. Simony is no stranger to same sex affairs, but she’s not here for intoxicating romantic confusion. She is here for sobering prosaic clarity.
Wednesday, November 3rd, 2004 Venice Beach California. 9:49am Western Standard Time.
Simony places her music down before removing her sweat hood inside of Maeveen’s booth. Her chosen profession robbed her of modesty long ago. For her, displaying her body in front of strangers is no different than any other working day. With her top removed, she stands confidently in her baby blue lace bra. Her ample breast seem like they’re trying to escape their lacey prison. She then puts her headphones back in before straddling Maeveen’s leather covered work bench. This position accentuates the curve in her back and her healthy backside which both now face her audience. A few first timers are blown away by the art on Simony’s back that was done so far. It is a magnificent piece that covers her entire back from her neck down to the split God gave her. A young couple comes over to get a closer look while Maeveen also arrives with her supplies in hand. Maeveen offers Simony the remote control to a television in the corner. She declines by pointing to her ears with her fingers. So Maeveen slowly guides her down onto her belly without speaking. She figures that Simony won’t be able to hear her speak with the music in her ears. Her assumption would hold true for her previous sessions, but she just turned the volume off and there is no music playing right now. Simony doesn’t feel like talking, she feels like listening. Maeveen un-snaps Simony’s bra and prepares the exposed back of a guarded young woman. As she does so the young couple asks about the significance of the piece.
“This is an original piece by an unknown Japanese artist called The Song of the Siren. It’s from Greek mythology”
Says Maeveen before elaborating to the couple further.
“It tells the tale of a seductress that lures sailors toward her with the beautiful sounds of a well sung song. They become hypnotized by the song of the Siren’s and powerless to resist her charm. Their ships are lead toward the jagged edge of the rocks where she sings. They become shipwrecked and ultimately die inside of a watery grave”
Simony listens as her artist elaborates on every aspect of the piece on her back. She talks about the phoenix in the tree and the voluptuous mermaid bursting out of the water beneath the tree at the waters edge. The joy of listening is soon interrupted by Maeveen pulling down her sweat pants inches past her asses crack. She then feels the cool of liquid antiseptic cover her dorsal surface. Simony then turns up the volume for real to prepare for the pain to come. It warns her with a buzzing sound just before the stinging begins. For most people the pain is too much to bare. Yet Simony discovers that she gets some arousal from this painful stimuli. Yet even a high tolerance like hers needs to dwell on something else to make the time pass. As Tupac sings his songs of rebellion, she wonders if Bendito is really her father. She thinks about how she hasn’t seen him since the first function. She thinks about the 8 functions she has thrown in the time since then and how she has progressed in the game. She thinks about her powerful new friends that have exonerated her from her warrants under her alias “Naive Niesha” as well as how long it has been since she used that name. Most of all she thinks of Liam Irish and how she hasn’t seen or heard from him in all that time. On the rare occasions when Bendito calls her, she doesn’t ask him if he has found Mr Irish. A part of her doesn’t want to know. In her mind if he was alive then he should have found her. She is mad at herself for letting him get that close to her. She can’t help but to think that information was all that Liam may have wanted. To know Simony is to know a woman who refuses to be the victim. Which brings us full circle to this sunny day at the tattoo parlor. It also reveals why she would brand her new philosophy permanently into her flawless skin. Her tattoo symbolizes her disdain for men. If they dare to come close again it may prove costly if they can’t navigate the jagged rocks.
The time soon reaches 1:00pm. Artist and canvas take a break for lunch. Maeveen treats her to pizza since today is her birthday and Simony decides to turn on the TV in the corner. She hates politics, and that is exactly what dominates the coverage on every channel. George W. Bush was re-elected yesterday and it makes everyone in the parlor upset. Since politicians are a healthy percentage of her clientele it upsets Simony too because she knows how self serving they really are. She turns the TV off and Maeveen uses the opportunity to try and converse with her elusive client.
“I can see your aura”
Says Maeveen right before she takes a bite of her slice with extra cheese. Simony just looks at her curiously and starts to reply but then her phone rings.
“Swift” is on the other line which is no surprise to Simony. She has become quite an asset since business has picked up beyond what she could handle alone. Simony steps away to exchange ideas on the next event. She comes back in under 5 minutes to a patiently waiting witch.
“Aura you say? Does your witchcraft give you these special powers?
Simony says with the tone of a skeptic.
“I’ve had sensitive vision long before I pledged faith to the Wiccan beliefs. My faith helps me understand my powers”
Maeveen says her last statement with the confidence of a woman who is self aware. She knows that Simony is out of her league but she finds satisfaction at finally having Simony look at her with interest in her eyes.
“So then, does my aura have a color?”
Simony asks while posing like someone is taking her picture.
“When you first walked in it was shades of gray. Then it changed to turquoise when you were talking on the phone”
Maeveen elaborates cued by the puzzled look on Simony’s face.
“Gray is a bad color. It means depression and confusion. Turquoise is a good color. It is peaceful and infectious and it inspires the ones around you”
“Inspiring huh? Look at me. I’m 5 ft nothing and I come from the gutter. I’ve had to claw my way through the dirt to get where I am only to work in a dirty game. I hope I don’t inspire anyone to be like me. The higher I get to the top the more I realize how shitty the world is. I probably don’t inspire anybody”
Simony says while she reaches for her headphones to tune the world back out. Maeveen places her hand on top of the one Simony is reaching with to stop her short. Maeveen’s touch is soft and non threatening. Simony looks her deep inside of her icy gray eyes which match the streak in her hair before she replies.
“You inspire me. You came all the way to Cali on your own to get a mural done inside of 3 days. You’ve never been here before or had a tattoo before so that means you’ve got balls like a man. I know you’re not from around here and I’m not even sure if you’re into girls, but your so fucking hot I just want to kiss you!”
The other patrons are trying to act like that can’t here what’s being said in Maveen’s booth. They are doing a rotten acting job in trying to do so. Donovan is also watching closely from 2 booths down. He is still a little pissed off that Simony chose Maeveen instead of him to do her art work. None the less, he is crushing hard on Simony as well. Anyone with no nose and bad allergies can smell the envy in his britches. That is exactly why Simony wanted no parts of him. He attracts too much attention around himself. As Simony assumes the position for the rest of her artwork she ponders on. Maeveen was right as she thinks about how she felt when Swift had called. She didn’t think a depressing thought what so ever. However, work would be that much better if Victor wasn’t such a prick to her. He hasn’t layed a hand on her since that fateful day. Yet his words tend to sting worse than his bony grip. While the needle inks the finishing touches she breaks down the dynamic of her personnel. The way she sees it, it takes 4 people to run the operation successfully. Bendito is the muscle, Victor is the money man, Simony is the general and Swift’s the Lieutenant. She wants to cut Victor out but she can’t do it without replacing him. If Simony had her way, she would do business with someone that she could have a special friendship with so that she wouldn’t be so lonely on the road. It has to be a woman and she has to be as sexual as she is. She has to be fine as wine and understand this level of the game. As Maeveen tells her “she’s done” Simony springs up with a renewed sense of purpose. She admires the vibrant colors in the tattooed scene as she looks through two mirrors to help her do so.
2 Booths down, her envious associate makes a move. He comes over spiting all kinds of nonsense he must think is game. Maeveen is visibly upset but Simony is too excited to be. Donovan persists as Maeveen bandages Simony’s back with ointment and gauze. Simony says nothing as he asks her out. All she does is put her sweat hood back on and places her head phones back in.
“Oh it’s like that?”
Donovan says trying to take Simony’s brush off in stride.
“No it’s like this”
Simony reaches in her sweat pants and hands Maeveen 3 Thousand in cash before planting the softest, wettest most intimate kiss on her surprised lips. The whole parlor goes wild with cat calls. She then looks at Maeveen with a sincerity that says goodbye without words. She then looks at the man who isn’t worthy of the title to be called one.
“You’re not what I’m looking for OK?
You are not what I’m looking for”
Simony exits the building as the place goes into a higher state of frenzy. Then she disappears inside the population of Venice Beach pedestrians with clarity in her new found mission…

Next Up… Episode 10. “Search 4 Perfection”

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