Here's Fred with his good buddy Jesus.
I know, the title sounds like a bunch of cartoon characters, but in reality, only Aquaman is one. Newport is the town where Fred tattooed Aquaman to my arm. Who's Precious? Why she's Fred's pet alligator that resides in the lobby of American Tattoo, which Fred owns.
This was my solo birthday trip. I drove to Rhode Island Friday morning through a series of torrential rain storms. Arrived in Newport, checked into the Newport Harbor Hotel (which I got super cheap on "name your price" on Priceline.com). I walked around, ate lunch at Buskers, an Irish Pub and then went souvenir shopping for Russ and the gang. This one store had a crazy sale. Newport Hoodies were 50 % off and buy one get one free. They were really nice hoodies so I got one for me and one for Russ. When I got to the counter, the woman told me they were buy 2 get 4 free. I thought I didnt hear her correctly, but she assured me they were buy 2 get 4 free. Needless to say, I didn't need 6 Newport Hoodies, but Kate, Jes, Andi & Mikie could all use one! I also got Russ a "Message in a Bottle" kit. I figured it might help him get his resume to some companies me may not reach otherwise. I also got him a "Ship in a Bottle" kit. Figure if anyone can build a ship in a bottle, it's Russ.
Friday night, I went to Dave & Charles' house. We hung out for a bit and then went and picked up Mark (a friend of Dave's I hadn't seen in 16 years) and headed to John and Jessica's house. John is Dave's co-worker and his wife Jessica made a huge traditional turkey dinner. It was so good. Then Dave and Charles fell asleep while the rest of us went to the basement. John and I played pool while Mark and Jessica watched the movie "Constantine." The whole time, this big wind storm was blowing outside. It was very cool.
Saturday was the day. I was so excited. I walked over to American Tattoo and was immediately blown away by Fred's drawing of Aquaman. I had sent him a few to use as guides, but this is his design. There will not be another Aquaman tattoo like this. I can be sure of this since we threw away his drawing just before I left. In between tattooing, we took a few smoke breaks and shot the shit. I did get the opportunity to watch Fred feed Precious (the alligator) 3 live mice. Not to be confused with "three blind mice." I'm more than sure these three mice saw exactly what would be their fate. Fred's tattoo parlor is actually pretty classy. It's green with a lot of art work up and a cool lounge like feeling. There's also a pool table so you have something to do if he's running late or if you're waiting while your buddy gets a tattoo. It took about four hours. He started with the outline, then the shading, then he added color, then white highlights and then a few touch ups. I know, pretty simple right? I'll tell you what, the first two hours weren't bad, but the last two hours were downright painful. I have a really high tolerance for pain, so I didn't flinch or even clench my teeth, just kept thinking, "Fuck this hurts!" a few times. Fred has some down right strange things in his shop, but I thought they were pretty cool. Notice the first ventriloquist's dummy. Fred knows it at least predates him by 50 years, as it was found in his mother's house. The second dummy was a toy he had as a kid. As you can see it doesn't pay to be a dummy in Fred's shop! Fred is not only an amazing tattoo artist, but one cool guy! Saturday night, I hung out with him and his wife Cindy. They're good people and I'm glad they took me out with them. Fred will definitely be doing my next tattoo. Which will be taking the crucifix on my left bicep and turning it into an old anchor drifting to the bottom of the sea to go with Aquaman.
My birthday is Tuesday. I'll be 39. Some friends are meeting me at Blackstones around 5 or 6 for a few birthday cocktails. I'm looking forward to it. I'm grateful as ever for the wonderful people in my life and I'm sure we'll have a nice time on Tuesday! Even better Russ, turns 50 the 29th of October. His birthday party is Saturday night, but we're not sure where yet. We don't know if "Flask" will open that weekend or the week after.
Well, what d'ya know....I made it 39. Life is pretty fucking fantastic!