A few years ago, a repeat client of mine walked into the shop seeming quite disoriented, which was unusual for him. he shows me a geometric design he wanted to have tattooed and asked for a price quote, all twitchy like.

i could tell by the psychotic glint in his eyes and his self-inflicted rantings that he was off of whatever meds he was supposed to be on. i quoted him the minimum charge and he proceeds to dig around in his pocket. he procures a bunch of twigs, leaves and bottle caps. he tells me that they are magical and sacred and wants to know if he can trade them for the tattoo.

at this point i have to giggle to myself and when i tell him no he continues to tell me how powerful they are and that he got them from a shaman. i tell the guy "cash only" and feeling defeated & possibly realising the lack of monetary value, he gives me the sticks, leaves and bottle caps because he "wants me to have them" and he leaves the shop. i actually kept them for like a year, cause they made me giggle every time i saw them, so in a way i guess they were kinda magical.

now, off-handedly in our discourse i made the mistake of complimenting dude on his dope vintage leather jacket. so half an hour later he comes back to the shop wanting to know if i would trade the jacket for the tattoo. i woulda come out on top on this deal and it WAS a tempting offer, but i just couldn't bring myself to take advantage of the guy in his debilitated state. i was kinda hoping that he would see the lack of monetary value in his jacket and give that to me in defeat also.

i learnt that day that i do have morals and that no matter how hard i tried i would never be able to pay my rent with sticks, but at least i could make a fire, adorn myself in leaves and drink out of battle caps. i always get the crazy ones.