last year, july 15, 2009, as derek turned 43, colossus (aka red constantino) and i became ink siblings. after many months, i finally sought out who would have the honor of binding us as such. i tracked down alfred guevara of the wuds fame (ye know, one of those seminal punk bands of the ’80s—and yes, it’s a single “r”), who turned buddhist along the way and was the first to offer a decent tattoo outside olongapo.

he did not disappoint. alfred did it old school—no running back and forth a photocopy machine and stenciling in the design. he drew freehand on my left wrist, taking off from a tiny print-out i had of a lotus with a pearl resting in its petals. two and a half hours, he labored. the threshold for human pain is two hours, he explained. and the wrist is one of the most sensitive areas of the human body. by the time he got to “highlights”, i was stomping my feet and demanding why the fucking flower needed “highlights.”

and then red arrived.

he wanted a dragon on his arm, to appease the tsunami moon-tidal wishes of his daughter, luna. “a luna dragon,” he put it. a chinese dragon with a crescent moon guarding its wild head.

colossus was all right the first two hours. for the next, he washed his impatience down with san mig light. for the final fourth hour (and a half), he was crying to the gods and cursing himself and gulping down my safety bottle of glenfiddich like it was paracetamol.

“ako ata pinaka maingay mong customer, alfred,” red said, his forehead slick with an incredulous sweat.

later, at around 3 a.m. and our skin plastered with petroleum jelly and glad wrap, we both heaved sighs of relief. the worst was over. we were brother and sister.

i went home in the hopes that my new lotus would negate the curse of the scythes on my wrist, an impulse tattoo i had done two years before.

colossus went home to a happy luna and, a few days later, met up with kala the beautiful, his wife, in bangkok. “putang ina! mukha kang maton!” she cried.

oh, but kala, he was no maton that night. nope he wasn’t. i have the video to prove it.

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