Walter Urban Marsh had been a successful tattooist, in Kenwick, for more than a decade. Renown, he had an abundance of, for his artistry as well as the quality of his work, due to which he could be selective, about his clients. People travelled from far and wide to see him. He had even had an exhibition, of pictures, of his work, placed on show, in a prestigious gallery. Walter had had problems since his wife had divorced him. She had left him to set up home with Walter’s bank-manager. The gallery exhibition had saved his business and the three hectic months, after it, of wealthy clients, had meant he could pay his wife off. Another couple of months of constant work; he had been able to go back to the way he had used to work, with each tattoo a work of art. With some of, what he considered to be, his ill gotten gains, he had had a month away, on a short course, at Bellham University, where he had spent more time in the library, than on the course. To mark an end to his past life, after his divorce, Walter changed his name by Deed Poll,.
Bossy, impulsive, flirtatious and independent are just a few, of the many, words that might have been used about Sarah Mason, as flirting for Sarah was usually as far as it went, any more than that and she feared that she would lose her, hard won, independence. Just into her twenties, having finally escaped the parental prison, she wanted to mark the event, and intended that her body was to celebrate her freedom, for she had chosen to have a tattoo done. To that purpose, Sarah had saved up, for a couple of months, to be able to afford one.
It was the third time, in the last hour, that Sarah had passed Walter’s parlour. Courage kept failing her; the thought of the pain, of having the tattoo done, had driven her away, at least five times. Finally she approached and entered the parlour, where Walter was sat drinking coffee, in the front room, of his parlour. The walls, of the front room, were covered in examples, of his artistry, as well as a review of his show. Sarah ignored Walter and examined the pictures. She stood looking at one for a long time. It was of a tattoo that covered a woman’s large breasts. Walter spoke and asked her if he could be of any assistance. Sarah blushed out of fear and embarrassment. She did not turn to him; “Who did the tattoos?”
“Are you just here to look, at my work?”
Walter demanded; “Well? Why are you here?”
Sarah growled; “A tattoo! I want a tattoo.” He pointed out that tattoos were not something
she could get rid of like boyfriends, when she bored of them; to which her reply was; “Yes! I know! Do you think, I’m Stupid! I want something permanent to celebrate…”
Walter laughed; “I don’t do boyfriend’s names or the like, I…”
“They may be stupid enough to get my name, on them, but I’d never…” Sarah glared at him, “I was thinking of…”
“I saw you pass by outside,” Walter smiled; “This is not for a bet, is it?”
Sarah shook her head; “I was trying to get up the courage, to face the pain. I had thought of something simple, but that one’s just so…” He commented that he had others like it; Sarah sat back in a chair; “You’ll fetch the designs, for the others like it.”
He turned to leave and go and fetch them; “I will not do it, for at least a month.”
As he showed her the designs, Sarah flirted with him. All to quickly, Sarah’s flirting and bossiness got to him, so he showed her a radically different design. The design was large and intricate, being composed of figures, scenes and symbols. He told her it would cost more, than she could afford, then slid it back into a folder. He had noticed her interest in it, so he told her the cost of it, bit because she annoyed him, he had inflated the price, to at least three times, what he would have normally charged, for a similar amount of work. Straight after that, Walter sent her away, to think about what she wanted, causing her to demanded that he do it, for her. As he was about to close, the next day, Sarah returned, as she wanted the large complex design and begged him to do it, but he sent her away reminding her of the cost. After she had visited him numerous times, over the course of a month, he finally agreed to do it. After letting Sarah haggle over the price, Walter, in the end, he agreed to a price, that she could easily afford, but that was only on the condition, that she allow it to be photographed and displayed. Once the price had been agreed, he told her to return, in a month.