My Adventure Searching For A $13 Tattoo

For many, October is the spooky month, full of horror movies and month-long plans for Halloween costumes. For others, October is about the start of fall, corn mazes and pumpkin patches that lead to jack-o-lanterns. For Chicago, it was the perfect time for Friday the 13th. A day hyped up to be a day drowning in bad luck, this Friday the 13th just happened to be the best time for almost every tattoo shop within the Loop to celebrate with tattoo deals...

Our group of eight flew through the streets of the South Loop as we started our journey to the Roosevelt train stop. A group that I had only just met; all with one goal to get $13 tattoos for Friday the thirteenth. An adventure that had been delayed by my six hours of Cinema classes and the aching need for Harold’s Chicken to fuel my tattoo craze. It was on this adventure that I learned that the Red Line was quite possibly the best train in the area. I gripped the pole for dear life as the orange train rocked and weaved on the tracks, making it for a very uncomfortable two stops. The train stopped, but far from fast enough. As we exited the train on the Ashland stop I thanked the CTA gods for getting me to my destination safely. My newfound friend Karena and her boy-something, (they’re exclusive but no labels, whatever that means) Leroy lead us down the unfamiliar streets as we walked towards The Hard Core Element Tattoo Shop.

The adrenaline was pumping as we walked. I was prepared for hours of waiting, after calling ahead a few hours before I was assured it was at least a 5-hour wait. I had prepared by packing multiple snacks and drink options for myself and my suite-mate Delisia, who came along for the adventure and to provide moral support, completely disregarding the possibility of ever needing the bathroom. After a 10 minute walk, we spotted the neon signs and the line of tattoo enthusiasts wrapped around the building. As we approached, closer and closer, we realized the line not only wrapped around the building but the houses that lined up down a whole block. We cursed under our breathes as we realized we were fucked on that night's sleep, but thank god for the game of Uno.

We sat down on the cold concrete as we completed our walk of shame down the never-ending line of eager young adults because for some reason no one else wanted to wait 8,000 years for a tattoo…weird! We had only been there for about 20 minutes before one of the receptionists came strutting down the line flashing her iPhone light in our faces, “You weren’t here before” it was then I knew this adventure was going to be short-lived. Apparently coming at quarter to seven was too late, they had cut off the line about the time we had just reached the Ashland stop. We were too late and had wasted our time and quite possibly our lives on that horrid orange train for no tattoo. A group of virgin skinned girls ahead of us moaned as they hastily starting searching there phones for another shop around the Loop offering deals.

The prospect of getting my fourth tattoo had been so hyped up I refused to come back home without my fresh ink. As we dragged our feet back to the Orange line I called Code of Conduct, a shop I had walked past earlier that day heading to my Cinema classes. I had never noticed it before, as it doesn’t screen tattoo shop; it’s tucked away under train tracks with its only neighbor being an alley. They weren’t offering any Friday the thirteenth deals, but were accepting walk-ins for another hour and a half. I dragged my suitemate with me as I intended to fulfilled my great tattoo adventure. $100 spent and a tattoo running along my left forearm later, I had completed my goal for the night. Friday, October thirteenth, 2017 will now forever go down as my most daring day. A day usually spent filled with superstition and bad luck became a day of watching multiple needles pierce through my skin and mark me forever.

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