In the springtime at OU, it was very easy to spend hours in the doorway that led to Dominic, John and Chris’ apartment above Mountain Leather. Sunday afternoons were especially good as many locals would roam the downtown sidewalks and the echoes of my hangover would sweat out and down the back of my shirt. There were several doorways and stoops going up and down the street. You could nestle back in one and watch the flesh go by for hours.
On this particular afternoon, there were several of us loitering on the sidewalk as we spilled out from the doorway. We formed a human speed bump and people had to slow down as they navigated around us.
I was reminiscing with Dominic when I noticed two dudes sauntering down the sidewalk with their shirts off. They had various tattoos and spiky piercings on them. Kids.
The walked around us and continued on their way. I turned and watched them head down the street. When they were out of earshot, Dominic leaned in and whispered, “Did you see this guy with the spider tattoo on his forehead?” I guess I spent too much time checking out their other arm and body tats to notice a spider on whichever’s forehead. I waited until they were out of earshot before starting my tirade.
“Who the hell gets a tattoo of a spider on their forehead?!”
Dominic immediately gave me the wide eyes and whispered “Shhhhhh!”
The dudes were more that half a block away and there was no way I was going to be heard by them so I continued.
“How’s that going to work out in a job interview! Idiot! Which one was it?”
Dominic grabbed me by the shoulders and whispered, “Doug! Shut up!”
Dominic has a soft heart for others and I could understand why he might want me to keep it down, but come on!
That, of course, is when I noticed the guy sitting 10 feet from us in the door stoop next to John’s. He was disheveled. He had crazy eyes. He had a spider tattoo on his forehead.
He also looked very self conscious. If not embarrassed.
I said over my shoulder in the direction of the spider tattoo guy, “But you know what? That takes fucking balls. You’ve got to be a bad mother fucker to get a tattoo on your forehead. Nobody’s going to mess with you!”
And then I ran off like a little girl through the open door and straight up the stairs to their apartment.
I’ve got to feel bad for the dude because it takes some heavy shit falling on your shoulders to get a tattoo on your forehead. Nothing says “I’m fucked up,” more than that. I know there are people out there who get certain tattoos just to have a permanent visible middle finger up to the world. This guy, in the five seconds I looked at him, seemed different. Like he’d been in a Russian prison or a mental facility where the arts and crafts counselor accidentally scheduled painting and needlepoint during the same day of the week.
Or just maybe that dude was just a bad-ass motherfucker and he feels sorry for me.