"Oh Boy," Christian exclaims as we head toward Laz's awesome yet slightly mildewy saab. "I can't wait to get my tattoo finished!"
Before heading out on our adventure it was decided that getting some food was in order. We stopped at Grasshopper and had some lunch and good conversation.
Said conversation consisted of the question of whether or not Laz's invention of a giant hamster ball that people can run in on water would be feasible. The logistics of the operation were scrutinized on multiple levels as Laz and Christian fell into a heated debate regarding oxygen molecules.
They continued on outside and were overheard by a couple of passerbys who seemed interested and joined in. The kid in the middle looked particularly perplexed.
While Laz, Christian and their newfound friends pondered the mysteries of the universe and the periodic table I took in some of the local graffiti
and some good advice.
Apparently New Hampshire is the magical land of illegal fireworks, tattoo parlors and smoke shops. We cruise down the main strip taking in the scenery (a variety of tattoo parlors, ads for fireworks and smoke shops) before arriving at Christian's particular parlor. This was of course was sandwiched between two other parlors. Laz briefly entertained the idea of a customer strolling up for a tattoo and being greeted by three or so different artists who had to fight it out for the business. I'm glad we got inside before any of them could get us.
While Christian was preparing for 2 excruciating hours of needly jabbing bits Laz and I took it upon ourselves to survey the local flash art. i'm not sure if it was the california surfer dolphin who gave me a cool look through his shades paired with a thumbs up or the bad ass duck with a mohawk, ciggarette and piercings; but the horror was beginning to creep in and i wasn't so sure about this place anymore.
"I can probably come up with something bad to say about every one of these," Laz comments as he gestures towards the board.
Why in God's name did Christian take us to this place? Perhaps he was planning to get the pink panther tattooed onto the side of his neck.. In a fight. With the tazmanian devil. Over a banner that said "MOM". We had to stop him before it was too late.
We get into the room but everything is okay. Just some finishing touches. Christian sits in the chair. Needles are prepared. In a bit they're off to a good start. A little bloody but that's okay.. keep going on the elbow. More blood now.. pooling around the-
Laz begins to look uncomfy and I start to feel a bit nauseous.
Christian was playing it off cool- chatting here and there like it didn't at all feel like there was a swarm of angry bees all up on his arm.
You could see the pain in his eyes though.
Laz and I decided to get right the hell out of there and check out the local color. Perhaps there was some apple picking around the bend. (This was New Hampshire, right)? We aqquired directions and went off in search of more exciting adventure.
After a short drive we excitedly jumped out of the car at "Applecrest Farm". The harvest had looked a bit meagar from the drive in, but we were still cautiously optomistic. Suddenly we realised that there wasn't an apple in sight- only a pile of grossly oversized pumpkins and strange crates strewn about the parking lot. It was a bit eerie.. especially so because we appeared to be the only customers. The whole place had this abandoned look to it. Laz scouted it out.
"Mmmm- giant, orange.. apples"
We decided to try our luck anyway and venture inside. As Laz approached the door it suddenly looked as if gnomes might run the place. I was beginning to have doubts about this whole escapade. I could see the headlines: Two Unsuspecting Travellers Eaten by Carnivorous Applecrest Gnomes...
I didn't come across any gnomes or anything remotely gnome-like inside but we stayed on guard as we browsed around apple totes, maple syrups and various gift foods. I came out with a couple of apples and some delicious fudge. I bet the gnomes made the fudge. Laz had gotten himself some apple cider. We decided to hit up one of the 50 or so smokeshops on the way back. As he drove Laz described the pipe he was looking for in great detail: a long, clay, ornate deal.. like something out of Lord of the Rings, perhaps.
The shop was gigantic- with one door labeled "CIGARS" and another labeled "PIPES". It was kind of like a choose your own adventure. We entered "PIPES" and were greeted by a group of older guys lounging in a circle of leather armchairs and puffing away. It was like stepping back a century or so- I had to look down to make sure I wasn't suddenly wearing a petticoat or something. The bespectacled shopkeeper greeted us at the door.
He started by showing Laz a selection of pipes as i wandered around a bit. Laz explained what he was looking for, and was answered with a comment about how those pipes seemed to have become more popular with the release of Lord of the Rings. (hmm..) After a bit of shopping around (and after the shopkeeper showed us an amazing photo of himself on halloween dressed up like he came out of the old west) we decided it was time to head back to 2006 and see how Christian's tattoo was coming. We bid everyone a farewell and entered the time warp.
We woke to find ourselves trapped in the past, facing mirror images that were not owr own and driven by an unknown force to change history for the better. Our only guide on this journey was Al, an observer from 1989 for some reason, who appeared in the form of a hologram that only we could see and hear.
After a couple of leaps we made it back safely to our own time, jumped into Laz's saab and drove away.
We picked up the new and improved Christian and started home -which took about 45 minutes longer than it should have because *someone* didn't want to pay a toll and had us lost in East Boston for the rest of the night. After a couple of dead ends and a near miss where some "Scary Italians" almost nabbed Christian we decided to pay the $3.00 and perhaps make it back alive.
All things considered it was a good day. We learned some valuable lessons, had a few laughs, traveled back in time.
Now prepare to be completely blown away by Christian's version of the story:
getting lost in east boston (no tolls) and the "scary italians" that are gonna get christian