The whir of the buzzsaw was drowned out for a second when Billy took a big swig from his bottle of ice cold Pepsi; the vacuum released so loudly you'd have thought the hatch from Apollo Thirteen had popped off in the middle of outer space; the bottle had been washed and refilled so many times at the factory in Piscataway it looked as smooth as a sand dollar. He wanted a girl put on his back and left it up to the artist, Steady Eddie, to figure out what kind of girl.
"At least tell me how big you want me to make her boobs. . . " Eddie asked him then looked at the kid doubtfully when he just shrugged.
"I dunno, maybe a hula girl or summuh."
"Kid, you high or what?"
Eddie figured the kid was either high or dumb as fuck. Eddie had lost his left arm to diabetes but had been doing it for so long in his little shop on Bond Street in Asbury Park that going to one hand was no big thing. Didn't take his insulin for a couple of years, just got sick of it, then developed gangrene and they just kept cutting and cutting and cutting. He smoked in the hospital bathroom and set off the fire alarm - four times.
"Hey where's my Pall Malls?" he had yelled when the charge nurse finally found his carton underneath the gauze pads while he was dozing. They put nicotine patches all over him and he ended up looking like a Polka dot greeting card.
But he made the kid a nice tattoo anyway. Put clothes on her, but had one leg bending over kinda sexy. Old school. He was remembering his wife Bette, how she looked when she was seventeen. Hot as hell. She died in the seventies.