One And One

By Chloe George

“There’s a tattooist at the party?” she said on the train there.

“Yes. He’s Naomi’s mate. He does them on the cheap.”

“At the party?”

He looked ahead.

“How much of a market can there be for that? It’s not like having your eyebrows threaded.”

She wondered if the tattooist would have a bag for his equipment like Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman; if he would have a sign to encourage custom or if the sound of the tattoo pen would be marketing enough. Would he mingle at the party like a regular guest or sit and wait for business?

When they arrived there was no tattooist in sight, but there was a woman cutting someone’s hair in the kitchen.

“That girl with the scissors is Naomi. She puts these parties on.”

“Why?”

He shrugged. “For fun.”

He went off to talk to someone without her. He did this quite a lot. For a while she watched a band in the lounge who played gypsy folk covers of show tunes. Someone handed round a plate of barbecued meat.

Eventually a man with too-short trousers came up to her.

“What are you reading at the moment?” he asked. No beating about the bush.

“Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor.” Not 100% true but she’d read it once.

A girl approached and asked if she could take a picture of them for her blog.

“I can’t have photos taken of me, I’m a Mormon,” she told her.

“Like the ones in Witness?”

“Thereabouts.”

She found him sitting down in a chair in the next room with the tattooist standing over him.  She stood for a while then said:

“What are you getting?”

“A handwritten quote: ‘One and one are one’,” he said. “It’s Sartre.”

“What does it mean?”

He looked at her. “It’s Sartre.”

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