Ink and Memories


pearl_icon.gif richard_icon.gif robyn_icon.gif

Scene Title Ink and Memories
Synopsis Sometimes the dead aren't dead. And sometimes they are, so we remember them in ink on skin.
Date March 13, 2018


The interior of the shop is all dark-stained wood floors and brick walls, building old and full of original materials refurbished. There's the warmth and well-lived feel that'd be well-suited to a public house (a small one). Huge antique mirrors along three stations in the back help bounce light, and a small sitting area features simple furniture made of reclaimed palettes and old steamer trunks topped with grey fabric cushions, accented with gunmetal upholstery tacks. The floor is refinished, vintage random-pegged wood stained a deep mahogany. A couple of refurbished tablets rest on the seats, presumably for customers to browse digitized portfolios. A small set of shelves is tucked against the side wall, with hand-embroidered patches, stickers, and screen printed tees featuring the shop's logo. A huge metal sign is bolted to the exposed brick of the left wall, brushed aluminum cut in the shape of a winged skull with MARKED in an arc under it in 10 inch letters.

At night, it's backlit with tiny purple LEDs, an eerie glow that spills into the seating area. A 50s cigarette machine under the sign dispenses homemade candies wrapped in sachets of paper the size of cigarette boxes. An old wooden dragon, perhaps seven feet long, is suspended from the ceiling, likely reclaimed from the previous shop's basement treasures—it's been restored with a dark stain to match the floors. A seven foot mirror leans against the back wall beside a heavy wooden door marked OFFICE. Classic rock pipes in via powerful speakers bolted into the eaves.

The tattoo shop is quiet for this time of night, though it could have something to do with its location, recent opening, or the fact that it's in such a colorful neighborhood. Or maybe the owner's just made everyone run off in tears. Yeah, there's a muscled, grown man with watery eyes shoving his way out the door, a huge bandage over his arm from elbow to shoulder, presumably covering a huge tattoo. He makes short work of disappearing down a nearby alley.

At one of the stations in the back stands a dark-haired woman with wavy, long hair, wearing leather and dark jeans, all black. Her arms are fully tattooed. She's got her head down, cleaning up her station, wiping it down with some kind of disinfectant.

Classic rock pipes through speakers bolted into the corners of the entry.

It's been awhile since Richard had any of his tattoos touched up, and it's been… a long time. As it turns out, he could only find one actual tattoo parlor established throughout the Safe Zone when he checked the directory. It wasn't exactly the best neighborhood in the Zone, but what neighborhood is, outside of Yamagato Park?

And this definitely ain't Yamagato Park.

He's dressed down for the part of town he's visiting, in urban camo BDUs, a sweatshirt, and an old and battered flight jacket over the whole outfit as he steps into the shop, turning his head to smirk after the man slipping out the door. "Hey," he calls out casually as the door swings closed behind him, "You do touch-ups?"

The artist yonder tosses a handful of things into a trash can, uses a bit of hand sanitizer, and takes a moment to stretch her back, arms held up high over her head. It's only when she's finished that she turns, rolling her shoulders briefly before her hands drop to her hips. "Only if the art's worth my time." The response is almost a reflex, and it's only after she's said it that her gaze actually finds the newcomer to the shop.

Pearl Valentin stands very still for a series of beats, that toe to top gaze stilling on Ray's face in a progression of appraisal. A full chorus of music passes before she tips her hear, long hair sweeping across her shoulder. "Take off your clothes."

"Well, I like…" Richard is starting to say as he stops looking around the shop's interior and sweeps hazel eyes over towards the dark-haired woman at the tattoo station, trailing off as he meets her gaze in return. He just stares at her for about ten full seconds before he tries to say something, fails, tries again, and finally brings one hand up to rub against the nape of his neck.

"Okay," he says finally, blinking at last as he observes as if explaining something to himself, "You're dead."

Hands still resting on her hips, Pearl makes her way into the entryway, boot-heels reporting a bit more sharply on the lovingly restored hardwood planks. For a dead woman, she's looking well. Bit of red lipstick, well-worn leather vest, comfortable jeans. None of the blood-soaked clothing from last time they met. Maybe a few more crinkles around her eyes when she smiles. Not that she's smiling. "You've aged."

Pearl stops perhaps two feet from Richard. "I'm not dead." Obviously.

"Time has a way of doing that." It's a funny thing, time. It does that. Richard's gaze drops down to those boots, and then trails slowly upwards over the woman in front of him, taking stock of her in a way that might be considered shamelessly impolite in other company, settling finally back on her face.

"You died," he observes in the tone of a man calmly attempting to explain to a zombie that post-mortem ambulation is quite impossible while screaming on the inside the whole time, "I— I saw you die. Jesus, I— "

Wait, wait, use logic. "Are you— Pearl's long-lost twin or something?"

It's slowly that the door to Marked opens once again. Hesitantly, that a woman with short black hair, wearing a ruffled white blouse, a black leather jacket, and a black band pulled over one of her eyes steps in. She looks unsure if she's in the right place, even though Robyn Quinn knows for sure that she is. She's not sure how she's talked herself into finally doing this - now, after all these years of talking about it but not being about it.

Well, no, she knew exactly what had spurred her to to do this, but for once she was going to follow through. She has no idea, though, exactly what kind of conversation she's walking in on. So instead, as the door behind her closes, she turns back, taking in the place before her eyes land Pearl, and someone she can't quite see. Maybe she should've made an appointment first, but here she is. She reaches up a hand waving. "Bonjour," she says, offering a smile. "I-ah." She's here for a tattoo sounds stupid after walking into the parlor, so she stops there.

Pearl's expression shifts very fairly as Richard struggles his way through the logic of her reappearance in his awareness. She stares at him while he speaks, her brows drawing ever-so-faintly together as if there's the start of some human emotion there, but it's when the man asks after potential twin-status that she smiles. It's teeth-flashing grin. "Fine. I…" she pauses as the door opens, and another body passes through. She lifts a hand to her mouth, and taps her index finger against her bottom lip once, whatever she was going to say stalling there. The woman steps forward, well into Richard's personal space, though her body faces the door. She reaches up, presumably to touch Richard's shoulder, her hand's certainly headed there, to rest lightly against the jacket, her thumb grazing the base of his throat, index finger dropping lightly against the pulse point.

Her gaze lands on Robyn. Though the conversation isn't your usual tattoo shop banter, it doesn't look overly intimate. And Pearl's reaction to another potential customer belies any awkwardness. "Hello. Welcome to Marked." She gives Robyn another beat to finish her sentence, though her attention remains comfortably split. Her hands are cool, not cold, and she definitely looks alive. Not corpse-y at all. "Tattoo virgin?" The warmth of amusement slips into her voice. Understated.

The shop is quiet, save these two. Some classic rock mix plays on the speakers, currently spitting out something by Journey. There's the faint smell of recently applied disinfectant in the air, though it's balanced by a warm vanilla scent, like an old bookshop and some kind of recently-extinguished candle.

Ray's gaze drops down to that hand as she reaches out over the fleece-lined collar of that Chicago Air jacket that he's wearing, not budging from where he was standing as the tattoo artist infiltrates his personal space without protest; the skin of his neck warm under her touch, pulse several beats per second higher than what might ordinarily be expected. Given that he seems to think he's looking at a ghost, maybe that can be understood. After a few mioments he brings a hand up to catch hers, fingers closing over her hand where it rests. He turns his head towards the door as she calls out that greeting, and Robyn is standing there.

His life is a serious of weird coincidences. He blames his godfather for that.

"H-hey," he breathes out a chuckle at the utter absurdity of seeing her here, "Hey, Robyn." His gaze sweeps back down to the woman before him, watching her instead of the 'customer'. Maybe he's waiting to see what she introduces herself as.

Well, Robyn recognises that voice, but would be rude of her to not address the owner first. She offers a smile, one that waves a bit, to pearly. "Ah, yes. In every sense." Tattoo virgin, that is. Eye scans the room for a moment, looking for the speaker that is playing one of her favourite classic rock bands, before looking back to Pearl. "Oh! I'm sorry. I- probably should've called. Not sure what protocol is." For this situation. Is there tattoo etiquette?

Her eyes drift down to the source of the voice that spoke her name, and she lets out a soft sigh. "Hello, Richard." She offers him a friendly smile and a small wave. "Told you New York is too small."

From the gentle press of Pearl's fingertip over the pulse, it's easily clear to Richard that she's checking his heart rate in that casual way of hers. Can't have the customers dropping in the lounge, can we? She stands where she is, touching his throat, letting him hold her hand, perhaps giving him a moment to realize she's alive, she's here, her skin temperature is within living human range. No zombies today, sir. Not in the strictest movie sense, anyway. No ghostly translucence. She murmurs, Take a slow, deep breath."

To Robyn, and in a more conversational (louder) tone, she says, "It's fine. I shouldn't order my male entertainment during business hours."

That's Pearl for you, saying things like that with almost no effect, as if she's being one hundred percent serious. Hey, maybe she is. Maybe Richard moonlights.

"Walk ins are fine for consultation. Hit or miss on chairs. My other artist is out sick." The place is only a couple of months old. There's a good chance not all of the artist positions are filled. "One woman operation tonight. Are you interested in a tattoo."

Pearl's thumb brushes in small, reassuring circles against Richard's collarbone. She hasn't threatened his life in the handful of moments he's been in the shop, so there's still about a twenty-three percent chance she's not the Pearl Valentin the man once knew.

"To be fair, this is the only tattoo parlor I could find in the Zone directory," is Richard's answer to Robyn's observation, drawing in a slow breath— which he lets out in a bark of laughter at the quip from the artist. The fingers covering hers at his neck squeeze fiercely for a moment before he lets that hand fall back to one side, hazel eyes bright in a way they never were when he had his power and a sudden grin broad upon his lips.

Nobody else would make a comment like that but Pearl-fucking-Valentin.

He sweeps his hand to Robyn, breaking from that near-shock from when he first walked in and saying with laughter in his voice, "Go ahead and take care of her. She's good, Robyn. Did some of my ink." Not that Robyn's ever seen his ink, at least that he's aware of. He used to spend a lot of time unconscious during his freedom fighter days, after all.

"I wouldn't care." About the male entertainment, said with an amused tone - she'd not taking the comment too seriously despite her terse reply. Her eye flick over to Richard, and she shakes her head. "Could've stayed in Rochester," she notes, raising a finger. "Felt it better to bring business back here." To the Safe Zone, and by extension, to Marked.

She nods as Pearl lists off the general of status of things. "Well. Richard's endorsement goes a long way, so…"Robyn smiles and nods, finally walking further in rather than standing awkwardly at the entrance way. "Yes. I am. Been putting it off for years." Reconnecting with her past seems like as good a time as ever. Eye flicks to look towards Richard. "I had no idea you had ink, Richard."

It's only when Richard barks that laugh that Pearl's fingertips finally fall away from his skin. She flashes the faintest of smirks before her hands drop once again to her hips. She doesn't move from where she stands, not yet. "I opened here because for the same reason. This is my city. Had to come back sometime." She lifts a hand briefly before dropping it again, gesturing in a loose circle. "Little more local color that my previous stomping grounds, but I, for one, find it charming." Crime rates: charming. Sure.

"Better to know what you want and wait to find the right artist than walk in with no idea and end up with a butterfly on your ass." Pearl murmurs. "For instance."

There's a pause before Pearl continues. "You can pay with Fruit Loops and whiskey." This to Richard. Pointedly. Of the other woman, she asks, "Portrait or script?" Shot in the dark, but you never know.

Once that hand's fallen, Richard steps back to give the woman space to work… and also to make it seem less awkward to Robyn, because the two of them really were standing quite close there. One of the tablets is swept from a seat before he drops back into it, leaning back and considering the digital pad for a few moments before carefully setting it on the nearest flat surface before he breaks it. If it's not mil-spec, it's probably not safe to get into the man's hands. Long legs stretch out, one booted foot resting over the other.

"Your previous stomping grounds are worse these days," he comments, his tone a bit dry, and then he looks back over to Robyn with a curious glint in his eye - wondering, perhaps, what she has in mind. He keeps looking back to Pearl, though. Like he's afraid she's going to disappear.

"I am fairly sure," Robyn says as she makes her way over, that most everyone's old stomping grounds are worse." All of hers certainly are. She offers Pearl a smile. "Something trite. Predictable, sadly." She clears her throat, taking in a deep breath. "Script. Lyrics. I imagine that's typical as you can get."

Her lips curl up in a smile. It's somewhat amusing, to her, that Richard is here for this. He might recognise the lyrics, after all. "Princess, We're Looking After You," she explains, though she doesn't name the source.

"Pretty sure my old neighborhood was worse than this one when I lived there…" Pearl glances over as Richard takes a seat and peruses one of the tablets. She doesn't comment on his occasional glances, though there's undoubtedly a think or two on her mind.

She shakes her head. "Anything original now is going to be over in a couple of years. The only thing that gives ink any lasting meaning is what it means to you. Fuck what anyone else thinks." Pearl nods to Robyn and then asks, "Where do you want it and how big?" She takes a few steps over to the counter, picks up what looks like another tablet, a stylus, and taps it on. She lightly taps the screen a few times, drawing while she waits for those answers.

"I have water if you need it." She roughs out a few things with the ease of someone who does this every day. "Brush script or ornamental filagree?" She turns the tablet to display a pair of samples of the first word in the lyric. One's a simple, bold calligraphy, the other more delicate but highly adorned with filagree elements as well. "You want something stiffer, check under the other bench cushion." That's to Richard, no doubt.

"It's worse now," Richard comments.

Then he's turning to check the bench cushions, fingers curling beneath it to pry it up. The man's brows leap up as he slides a piece of wood aside, drawing out a bottle and a tray of tumblers. Replacing the cushion, he sets them all down once more and starts to work on unscrewing the cap of the bottle. "I called it," he breathes out a chuckle at Robyn's request, "I wasn't sure which song — my odds were on The Way Back Is Closed — but I knew it was gonna be a Kjelstrom quote." Totally predictable, if one knows Robyn Quinn well enough.

A smile is offered Richard's way - yes, he called it. The choices had been either that, or Stand By Me. Having the song she basically eulogised Else on her body made her strangely uncomfortable, though, so…

"Brush script," is a quick answer, looking at the tablet. She glances up when Richard draws out tumbles and a bottle, watching it for a moment before she returns her attention to Pearl, offering a soft laugh. "I'll be the only one with these lyrics. I imagine, anyway." She says that with a hint of sadness mixed with pride. "So, that'll be unique at least. She quirks an eye at Pearl - her visible one this time, before looking between her and Richard. "I take it you're friends." A shake of her head. "Everyone in the city, Richard."

Pearl smiles down at the tablet, nodding. Brush script it is. She clears the screen and begins anew, roughing out and then crafting the letters, arranging and rearranging with deft flicks of the stylus in her hand. She studiously does not reply to the friends observation, leaving that to Richard to answer.

The music finishes off a jag of Journey and flips into something from The Cure's Disintegration album.

"I don't know everyone in the city," is Richard's deadpan response as he fills one of the tumbler glasses from the bottle, liquor glistening amber in the lights of the shop, "I only know everyone who matters. I used to couch-surf in her apartment when I didn't feel like going all the way home from Staten Island and mooch off her Froot Loops." That explains the Froot Loops comment. "It was…"

The bottle's set down, and he picks up the glass, looking at Pearl through it as he says more quietly, "…a very long time ago."

"Right." Robyn watches Richard for a moment, her smile faltering as she looks back to the tablet as Pearl begins the first stages of her work. She - subconsciously - begins to hum along with the song that plays overhead, unable to resist a Cure song, and she can't just start singing it in public.

"A very long time ago," Robyn echoes, not quite as quiet as Richard does. "I know how that goes." Needless to say, she doesn't ask about it further. She returns her attention to Pearl again, looking at the tablet with just the barest hint of excitement on her face.

Pearl taps the screen a few more times before she stows the stylus in her back pocket, and flips the tablet to Robyn, neat brush script. She holds the tablet lightly. "The lines can be stacked if you'd prefer it that way, or laid in as a single long line. Ink color makes a difference. Since it's your first ink," she glances over at Richard, like she can feel him looking at her. Yeah, it's been a long time, "I can draw on a temporary you can wear a few days to see if you like it, or go straight in with the real thing."

There's another brief pause before she says, "Full disclosure." The corner of her mouth twitches. "Those weren't my Froot Loops."

"Then I have no shame about eating them all. Your room-mate was a grade-A bitch," Richard replies with a rough snort - and a crooked smile - before tilting the glass back to his lips and bringing his head back with the motion.

It's not a shot glass. He's probably not supposed to drink it like that.

Once it comes back down, he's coughing, one hand thumping against his chest and waving the pair off. He's fine. He's fine. His esophagus is made of stern stuff.

Even these days. Robyn Quinn isn't one for half measures. "Over the shoulder blade," she remarks, pointing up her right arm, "to the elbow. Stacked if needed." Nowhere that could be normally visible, as much as she might secretly wish for it. She's pretty certain that SESA dress code would frown upon plainly visible tattoos. She rolls her shoulders, returning her gaze to the tablet.

"Always someone else's Froot Loops," she notes with a hint of a smile. "Sounds like she deserved it, though. The roommate." She watches Richard take his drink, snickering as he does. "Richard," she starts, leaning forward a bit. "After this, do I need to show you how a pro does it?"

Pearl flicks a glance over at Ray as he firebombs his internals with a swig of the good stuff. She doesn't rush to his aid or the like, nope. Poor guy. All the concern from the ladies. "Yeah she was—and still is. I think she has like four kids now. They're all just like her, except the oldest one. She's just like me, but more sneaky." Take a moment to consider that, why don't you. Course it's been a long time. Who knows what she's like now.

"Good choice. Give me a minute to pull out the table. You can have a drink if you want one. I'll be ready in five. Black ink?" Pearl's already on her way back to open a side cabinet—what appears to be a cabinet, before she pulls out a padded, collapsible table. She makes short work of popping it up, draping it, and turns to one of the stations, hands spidering over the marble top as she collects several supplies together within easy reach.

"Cards, I'll have one too if you wouldn't mind." Oh good, the tattoo artist wants a drink while she works.

"It's her booze, I'm not going to give it out unless she says so," Richard replies to Robyn with a smile twitching up at the corner of his lips. Then that permission's given, and he notes as he starts pouring more tumblers full of the liquor, "…you really shouldn't drink before you get stuck, though, unless you want to bleed everywhere. I'd highly advise waiting until after the session's done."

Then he pauses for a long moment, slanting a look over towards Pearl as she calls that request back. "Don't go by Cardinal anymore," he replies, adding enigmatically, "I killed that guy."

Robyn chuckles, shaking her head. "After," she clarifies. "Seen enough people get drunk tattoos to know better." She taps her cheek, hands falling back into her lap. "And I didn't mean…" She motions to Pearl's liquor. "I'll never turn some down, though. But after." In case that wasn't clear. Looking over to Pearl, she offers a shallow nod and a smile. "Black ink," she confirms. She hadn't considered anything else - and the possibility intrigues her, but maybe for another day.

Even if she had taken up that drink, Richard's follow up would be a sobering comment. By now, she knows more of this story - it's hard not to with the company she used to keep. She manages to keep herself from adding literally under her breath, though the way her lips quirk into a more mirthful smirk may betray that restraint.

At the mention of killing 'that guy', Pearl does glance up from what she's doing. She looks at Richard for a long moment, and there they go exchanging a look again. She narrows her eyes a bit, thinking on that. "Sometimes a girl needs a change. I bleached my hair for a couple years." See, she gets it. There's a smirk shortly that comment, but something about that moment of silence between, and her expression when she catches Robyn's smirk, suggests they'll be having some kind of discussion later. A statement like Richard's can't be left to lie too long. "I'm definitely not calling you Dick. Or Rich."

Pearl picks up a tattoo machine featuring a brass knuckles motif, coppery metal plates custom etched with MARKED across the upper arch. She assembles it with fresh, sterile liners, testing the mechanism with a short burst of humming vibration before she makes a slight adjustment, hooking a stool over to the table-side with her foot.

"Off with your shirt. Stretch out butter-side down and we'll get started." Pearl doesn't offer any warnings or lengthy introductions to the tattoo procedure, save to say, "If you need a bathroom or water break at any point, say the word."

"Thank you," says Richard with a smirk upon his lips, "For not calling me Dick at least. Only three people've ever called me that, and it's never ended well for anyone involved…"

Up to his feet, and he grabs one of the filled tumblers before walking along over to the tattoo area, leaning over to set it somewhere within arm's reach of the tattooist, "Most people just call me Richard, these days, although I suppose Ray works if you absolutely need a last name to call me by."

This should probably be more awkward, but all Robyn does is give Richard a quick glance, before slipping off her jacket and beginning to unbutton her shirt. This, at least, she was prepared for, so the embarrassment is minimal, if there at all. "Not a Dick," she offers with a hint of amusement. "I'd say I always thought it was weird people called you by your last name, but…" Well, that's what she used to do too, so she can't really say much.

Taking her place on the table, she takes a deep breath. "I'll be fine," she assured, re: breaks. She's seen enough people get tattoos that she thinks that she knows how this goes. "Change does the soul good," she offers. "Keeps things fresh."

Pearl touches two finger to her brow and salutes Richard's whiskey delivery service with a quick flick of her wrist. She reaches for the tumbler to take the tiniest of sips, savoring the burn before she snaps on a pair of black latex-free gloves. "I've missed you."

"I'm sure you will be," she says to Robyn—fine, that is. "It really doesn't hurt as much as they say." Yes, yes it does. It does, but this one won't. Yeah, it'll sting a bit, but certainly not as much as it would in other hands. She does the usual: wiping down, lightly running a sharp razor over the skin to take off any hairs that might catch or redirect ink, testing the skin texture, generally being handsy but professional. Pearl picks up a gold-foiled fine-tip marker, and lines out lightly in red a path for the lettering, hatching it at certain points like a long ladder from shoulder to elbow. She doesn't use a stencil, opting instead to take a few moments with another color, a dark blue, to lay in the actual script, strokes sure and practiced. It's still a bit gestural, but getting there. "Dick may just grow on me."

It's perhaps four minutes of fiddling later that she picks up the machine again, hits the pedal, dips into the deep black ink, and says, "Here we go. Oh, don't forget to breathe." And the first line goes in, skin lightly stretched between the fingers of her other hand.

It's not as if Richard hasn't seen naked and half-naked women before, and Robyn's a friend - he doesn't stare or look, but he isn't awkwardly staring in other directions about the whole thing either. Bodies are just bodies, after all.

"There were a lot of 'Richards' in the world," he explains to the comment, stepping along back over to drop back in his seat, stretching his legs out as he pours himself another drink. "Not a lot of 'Cardinals'. It was a trademark. Anyone talked about Cardinal, you knew they were talking about me." Wryly, "These days, I'd rather just be Richard."

"A statement," Robyn replies, understandingly. She can't help from chuckle at Pearl's comment. She doesn't want to but there's just some things that even she can't help. "I know how that goes. Weren't many Quinns back when I was going by that." She goes by Robyn for much different reasons than why Richard made his change, but she gets it.

With that, she falls silent, ready to let Pearl do her thing. She's going to try and get as used to what's about to happen as she can before she speaks up again. She may have seen this alot, but- well, tattoo virgin. This will be an experience for everyone involved, for sure.

Pearl shakes her head, though a smile curves her lips. "That's perfectly reasonable. A perfectly reasonable request." She glances up from her work briefly, then her gaze flicks back down to the work at hand. "You'll never be just, babe. Leaving behind the fancy name as you may be."

"Keep breathing." That could be meant for Richard or Robyn, but most likely it's for the latter. The sharp sting gives way to a dull burn after a few moments. For the average person, it's uncomfortable, but not unbearable. "The past has an ugly way of rearing its head, but you deserve the good." Her hands progress over the shoulder blade and along the very curve of the upper arm. She pulls lines in Robyn's skin with sure, swift moves of her wrist.

Ray's gaze flickers up from the glass in his hand, hazel eyes widening ever so slightly. "I think that's the nicest thing you've ever said to me," he muses aloud, "You're getting soft in your old age, Valentin." It's sipped more casually, now, as he waits in the seat and idly watches the artist perform her work. The delicate dance of needle and skin and ink, performed with necessarily surgical precision.

Well, if you're any good at it, at least. And he knows Pearl is.

Richard can maybe see the way Robyn chews on her lower lip, keeping with the instructions to keep breathing. "Rude," she offers teasingly at the mention of old age. "Has a point. Hard to be just when you do what you do." Referring to Raytech, in this case, rather than anything more clandestine - as far as Robyn knows, that's all in the past anyway. Her visible eye widens just a slight bit, and she returns to chewing on her lip as her focus returns to the unusual sensation of the tattoo being applied to her skin. She's clearly pleased she's finally doing this though.

"I've learned a little temperance in my advanced years," Pearl says. "Either that or the pendulum swings more widely these days. Won't it be fun finding out which?" She grins and murmurs, "You have beautiful skin." This is to Robyn, of course, and though it could be quite a creepy kind of observation in another setting, it's sincere in this one.

The machine in her hand lifts from the skin now and then to re-dip in the ink. It's the thin burn between ever-evolving configurations of the fingers of her other hand, indelibly etching these lyrics to Robyn's skin. "You're sitting well for your first one." She doesn't look up to see how Robyn's doing, likely because she can feel from the tension in her body. "The last guy I had in here wouldn't stop crying." She says that like she means literal tears. When she wipes the tattoo, it's with a gentle brush of her gloved fingers.

"It's true," Richard comments from his seat, "I passed the guy coming in. Big biker lookin' guy, looked like he'd just been watching the starting sequence of Up." Nobody can get through that sequence with dry eyes. The tumbler set down, he pulls out his phone, squinting to check if he's got service. Which of course he doesn't, this isn't the good part of town that has cell towers again. He tucks it back away, then.

"And I'm just a normal guy, these days," he observes casually, "Nothing out of the ordinary here."

"Crying? From the pain?" Robyn seems surprised by this, as she settles into the sensation of getting a tattoo. "It's not so bad," she observes, before her smile falters a bit. "Experienced much worse, for sure." Maybe there's a bit of humour to be found in this? "Grisley story," she adds, trying to muster a slight smirk. "Don't recommend bleeding eyes." And that was only part of the immeasurable pain she felt that day. She has no idea what else might be at work, but she certainly seems comfortable enough. "Normal. Here's to that," she offers, another toast she would give if she could.

Well, the opening sequence from UP is a nightmare you should never watch when you're feeling weepy. It destroys even the most hardened of adults no matter the horrors they've witnessed. Damn animation.

Pearl's glance flicks again toward Richard. She mmhms like she totally believes his assertion. "Sure." Sure. Tell us another one, Ray-ray. "You're a regular dude, and I'm an organic gardener. If we were still those people we were back in the day, we'd be dead." Ha ha. Ha.

"To be fair, my previous client annoyed me before he sat down, and instead of kicking him out, I went a little heavy-handed on his ink." Dirty tattoo tricks. Pearl passes the middle of Robyn's arm headed for the elbow. The letters lay out in a single line, large enough to be readable without any fuzzing down the decades affecting its legibility. "So this might need a little touch up after it heals. Those are gratis. You can come by any time while you're healing if you have questions about the progress. Should go easily as long as you keep it clean and dry. No scratching."

It's perhaps another fifteen minutes before she puts down the final stroke.

"I thought I saw some tomatoes out back," Richard quips in return, reaching out to pick up one of the tablets again as the tattoo work continues. He browses through the work on display, finger sliding over the screen now and then, the liquor level in the tumbler glass slowly going down as Pearl does her work. He adds to her instructions, "When she says to keep it clean while it's healing, she means it. Don't be shy about asking someone to help with it, either, trust me - you don't want to see an infected tattoo."

"Mm." Robyn's response to "keep it clean". "With any luck, won't be out in the field." And if she is? Well, she'll get it figured out. She certainly plans on heeding the advice, though. "Try not to see infected anything," she adds after a beat. "Tattoos, cuts, whatever." She managed to stifle a laugh at the reasoning behind why the last patron left the way he did, but she's definitely smiling from it.

As the last stroke finishes, she turns her head to look in Pearls direction. "Touch ups. Got it. I'll keep it clean and protected." She falls silent after that, looking back ahead. "Thank you for this, on short notice. No notice."

"The tomatoes are on the roof," Pearl mutters, eyes on Robyn's tattoo progress. When it's finished, she rubs it down lightly with a clear goo, clearing way most of the stray smudges of ink stain. She straightens from her hunched lean, taking a moment to roll her shoulders, and puts her machine down on the nearby marble countertop. Once she's done that, she pulls off her gloves and reaches for the tumbler nearby, taking another small sip. She reaches up, both hands in the air, taking a low, slow stretch.

She picks up the top sheet of a little stack of business-card-sized after-care instructions. "You can keep it loosely covered if you have to… do anything energetic." She doesn't elaborate, but smiles, stepping back again to retrieve some wrap. "I'll cover it before you go, to keep it safe for the next few hours." She taps a roll of clear film. "It's my pleasure to do a walk-in. I hope it wears well for you." She doesn't ask any details about what it means, who it's for, but there's something in the last she says that speaks of satisfaction in the work.

Richard tosses the tablet lightly onto the counter with a clatter once it's done, and then he braces hands against his knees and pushes himself up to his feet. "It's easy to forget tattoos are cuts too," he says with a chuckle, stepping along over and flashing a crooked smile to Robyn, one brow lifting, "They're generally prettier than other wounds."

He waits patiently then for the final instructions to be given and the tattoo wrapped. The artist might notice an odd new piece of 'art' on the man, a black handprint wrapped around his actual hand. She's probably seen stranger.

"It'll be lovely." Of this, Robyn Quinn has no doubt that Pearl's art is wonderful, from what she saw as a test and Richard's endorsements. She takes the card, turns it over, reads the instructions carefully. "I work for SESA," she says dryly, though no mention of her current assignment is given. "It's an unfortuante probability. I'll make sure to take care of it." Because the last thing she needs is to be pulled from her assignment because her dumb ass let a tattoo get infected.

As Richard rises to her feet, she sits up, reaching for her shirt. "These are wounds we want," she says a bit quietly as she buttons it back up. "But for now, I believe…" A glance over to Pearl, and then up to Richard. "I believe I was going to show you how a pro handles their liquor."

The smirk that forms on her face is almost devilish.

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