Invisible Lines (Part 6)

Invisible Lines

(6)  (revised 3/31/13)                        {start with Part 1}

Spring was almost done being just a tease, and really starting to show some warmth. Paul truly appreciated the season. The human harbingers of spring were the first to start wearing short sleeves and pants, and that population logically included a disproportionate number of the illustrated, and otherwise modified, revealing art-covered skin like plumage.

Moreover, a Thursday evening was a good time to walk the Downtown Mall for people watching. It was also a decent evening for business, but Eejay was in today, holding down the fort at the shop, and he’d call if there was a sudden rush. Paul had finished a grueling trompe-l’oeil cuneiform tablet back-piece that afternoon and was happy to be out and about, stretching legs, back and fingers. And doing a little research.

Paul leaned against a lamp-post on the brick-finished street, penciling in his pocket  sketchbook the sharp profile of the a woman with the vintage 80’s Mohawk smoking with her goth and emo friends outside Mata Hari’s Vintage Clothes. This was his third sketch of the night, which reminded him that his book only had only a few pages left. Fortunately, Amsterdam Art Supply was a block and a half away, and Paul let that become his primary destination.

Inside Amsterdam was glaring white compared to the darkened blues and browns of the street. The color of potential, of canvas, though not his chosen one. Picking out a new book was a quick affair, and Paul tended not to linger in stores. It was late enough that only one register remained open, with a queue a few people deep. It took a moment to recognize Sima, in this different context, as she took her place in line behind him with an armful of watercolor supplies. Eyes down, mentally counting off items in her bundle, she hadn’t noticed him. And, unlike two Saturdays ago, those eyes, and the rest of her posture were neutral; calmly between the wire-tense and blissed-to-laxity he’d seen. However free of decoration her bare arms and shoulders were, she was very attractive.

Paul had pretty much put Sima and her strange non-tattoo out of his mind, but now the odd, disquieting experience returned. It still bothered him, and only partly because of its conclusion. He’d pretty much decided he’d decline, politely, to do another inkless job for the girl. If she ever came through his door again.

And yet.

Paul was used to his own secret pleasure with every wince and gasp of his clients. It aroused him deep in his core, no matter whether he worked on men or women, and he owned it as his own twisted soul, his own private kink. He never – ever – caused more pain than necessary to make the design, but he didn’t shy from giving it. And here was confronted by someone who sought it out. Who took the pain given and converted it so obviously and purely into pleasure. Wanting literally nothing other than that. It was something he’d not even realized was possible. To manipulate someone’s pain and pleasure with his needle. Tantalizing, and he realized, arousing in a way different from, and beyond his private sadism; what unique power this combination of twists held. Unflappable as he liked to think of himself, it freaked him; Sima took his secret pleasure and turned it into something different, bigger, open. And on top of that, not to leave his mark…

The line moved forward. As she stepped up, Sima looked up and saw him, and gave a little start. She smiled, much more shyly than the first time he’d seen her.

“Hello, Sima.”

“Hi,” she said, quickly, shyly. Her expression changed as he watched, shifting away from calm to something more nervous.

“How are you?” Pleasantries, reintroductions.

“Good. I’m good.” And antsy, now, Paul noted.

“How is everything healing up?” Paul stopped himself from asking how the tattoo looked, since that was immaterial.

“Um.. really well! It’s doing fine.” She passed her free hand over her ribcage. Paul wasn’t sure if she was conscious of tracing the hidden path of the Tiger’s tail with a finger as she looked over her shoulder. How hidden is it now? Not completely gone yet, Paul wagered, and then, the odd thought, I want to see it anyway.

“I’m glad. Look, I might as well say now and save-“

“Seem! They’re opening another line – c’mere! I got a place!” The voice cut in from the register a lane over. Another woman, younger than, but looking very much like Sima, was beckoning to her with exaggerated urgency, waving a package of feathered paintbrushes.

Sima turned to Paul briefly, apologetically, but the relief in her voice was plain to hear.

“I… gotta go.”

Well, Paul thought, Sister, or whoever she is, probably doesn’t know, then. Paul conceptually understood body shame, and other kinds. He’d had enough clients who got inked precisely to face down and overcome those issues. But he knew he’d likely never get it on the visceral level. And whatever Sima felt, it probably wasn’t exactly the same either. And do I really want to know what she feels about it? Paul couldn’t, or wouldn’t answer himself.  

“Who was that guy talking to you?” -” Sima’s companion had a ‘city whisper’, meaning her voice was simply below a shout. “Did you see his arms? Was that a snake? And a scorpion? Brrr! But scary hot for an old-“ Sima shushed her quietly, fiercely. Paul smiled to himself, and let the smile stay on his face as he caught the sister’s stare. She colored visibly. She turned away, and Paul met Sima’s somewhat pained eyes for a moment before her attention shifted to the cashier.

By the time Paul paid and exited the store, Sima and companion were nowhere to be seen.

Well, that’s probably that.

Paul walked and sketched some more, then dropped in to Royal Blues for some music and beer. Only Venus and a couple of her cohorts were there from the inker crowd tonight, Saturdays – and later at night, were much more of a thing for them. It was decent music, but Paul didn’t stay long. He found himself thinking of the shudder of Sima’s skin his fingers as he’d drawn stripe after stripe on her.

On the bus home, he filled last page on his old sketchbook from memory with a study of a pair of lips encircling a cock.

{Continued in Part 7}

Latest Comments

  1. dragon says:

    *swoon* I absolutely love trompe-l’œil. I fell in love with it in the mid nineties! I’ll admit to looking up cuneiform. I’m intrigued by the idea of a trompe-l’œil cuneiform tablet back-piece and wish I had a visual! Perhaps you’ll revisit that later. I don’t have any tattoos. Using my body as a temporary canvas has a lot of appeal. I’m not talking about inkless tattoos. I quite enjoy tattoos on other people. They can be gorgeous works of art when done well and chosen with care for the canvas they become a part of. The right mark on the right skin is incredible erotic, but I don’t have to tell you that.
    I was laughing quite appreciatively at the end of part six. I’m looking forward to part seven.

    • Monocle says:

      I am personally, not unlike you in that way. I’ve never been able to comfortably settle on any particular design or meaningful symbol I’d care to indelibly mark myself with. Have you ever done or thought of henna tattoos? Or some of the more colorful types of temporary body painting?

    • dragon says:

      I’ve been an admirer of Henna/Mehendi ever since I saw it for the first time. *warm smile* The range of reds, browns and almost, but not quite black appeal to me. I think the designs are beautiful! Henna lasts for days or weeks and I am not sure I would be “permitted” such an indulgence. As for the more colorful types of body painting you’ve made me laugh and grin rather wickedly. Yes, I am a big fan of the more colorful types of temporary body art. Water based markers are quite lovely, temporary and easy to self-apply. Wax feels lovely and warm, but it’s best enjoyed when applied by someone else. *Mmm….* I would love to let an artist use me as their canvas, but I’ve never had the opportunity. You might enjoy the work of Craig Tracy.

    • Monocle says:

      I’ve seen some of Tracy’s stuff, but had never been to his site. Incredible stuff! As for ‘permission,’ I wonder if you cold get some if the design were carefully selected…

    • dragon says:

      Tracy’s stuff really is incredible. I’m glad you took a peek. I’m hesitant to even bring it up. He has *very* strong “views” about tattoos and body art of all kinds might be an issue. The design would probably be immaterial. He might give her “a look.” Those are rare and I don’t like them. Is her submissive side showing? *chuckle * Work would not permit anything either, but I could choose a hidden location if he agreed to let me have a go.

  2. paul1510 says:

    I’m enjoying this.
    I’ve seen tattoos that are so beautiful they take my breath.
    I’ve had girlfriends with tattoos, but I just can’t envisage myself with tattoos, it may be a cultural thing.

  3. dark gracie ® says:

    Nice ending. I’m curious as to what happens next.

  4. thelustfulliterate says:

    Umm…yes…tattoos are hot…and I’m loving this story because of their central place in it. I think, for someone without them, you are doing a lovely job of it. I have them…several…love them on others and am completely intrigued by this inkless variation. Considering the pain, I could not imagine not walking away with a prize to make it worth it. However, despite the pain, I keep going back.

    • Monocle says:

      Ah, despite the pain. I wonder how many readers here, and in the general popultion go back (even in part) for the pain. I don’t assume that’s common, but I know it’s not zero, either.

  5. Remittance Girl says:

    Ooooh, yes. Tension. I like

  6. Cara Thereon says:

    I like the changes. Gives a lot more depth to Paul. It feels good… If that makes any sense at all.

  7. Lady Lionne says:

    My second tattoo was, is, large, I had it done in one 4 hour sitting. Here’s a story from memory…
    The pain rolls over the flesh of the body as the biochemical reactions to the process roll inside the body. Sharp shocking pain bites the skin to begin with… piercing flesh & psyche….. thoughts of ”I won’t be able to finish it”… ”it’s too much”… ”I can’t take it”… morph into the mind becoming somewhat numb, ”zoning out”, sounds become muffled, vision blurred in a soft place where nothing feels sharp, everything is dulled, as if immersed in water…..

    Deeper then into the dark pit of the meditation that persistent, relentless pain can offer, deeper into the dark & cavernous parts of the mind where one retreats to, or sometimes fears to enter….. subterranean subconscious….. what’s there? fear? peace? longing? desire? sweet & divine communion or bitter loneliness? I adore those places within myself, and suspect that some fear being tattooed (& pain in general) for they know they’ll need to travel to those places within and are afraid of what will be waiting to be revealed there…

    Then comes the euphoria, the ecstasy borne from agony….. the adrenaline high, the endorphin buzz… For me, personally, it becomes orgasmic when combined with focused breathing and muscle control… an awareness of every single skin cell, of each of them buzzing, vibrating… the vibration from the needles piercing my flesh reverberating throughout my entire body, becoming one vibration, pulsing, throbbing… the high lasts, for me, for hours and only slowly diminishes over days, but when I look at the markings still there is a connection in neural pathways that transports me back, in an instant, to the process, to the overriding sensations and to the emotional groundedness that the experience left behind, on my body, in my psyche, forever…

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