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Nov. 1st, 2016 11:35 pm
smackenzie: (faye)
Now all Sadie needed was a job.

She was torn between enjoying the city while she had a lot of free time to enjoy it, and finding work right away so she could afford all that fun. She and the twins had enough money for a few weeks at the residential hotel, but they would need jobs if they wanted to stay. Sadie let the twins convince her to start applying for jobs right away, on the theory that they'd have more fun once they had money and weren't so worried about having to go home unfulfilled, and prove all their parents right about New York not being the place for them.

The residential hotel wasn't much help with finding jobs )

words: 1753
total words: 2792

intro!

Nov. 1st, 2016 01:45 am
smackenzie: (faye)
Sadie Grabel was born in a small city in upstate New York in 1908, the second child, and first daughter, of Isaac and Fanny. Her mother had come to the US as a five-year-old. Her father came when he was sixteen. They were both children of the old world, but Sadie was a child of the new.

At nine, she knew what she wanted to do )

words: 1039
note: the residential hotel where the girls live is based on the barbizon hotel, which opened in 1927.
smackenzie: (faye)
I cover his tattoo with ointment and plastic wrap, give him the sheet of aftercare instructions although I'm sure he knows what to do, take his payment, congratulate him on his daughter's accomplishment (I don't necessarily think communion is that big a deal, but clearly he does), and send him on his way.

I copy his little magical symbol into a notebook where I keep new and interesting and hopefully useful charms and sigils and signs, with his name and an explanation of what the symbol is supposed to do. I have a lot of charms committed to memory, but every so often I want or need something I know exists, but that I can't immediately bring to mind. Sometimes a client will want a protective charm or a charm for money or talent or love or faithfulness or any one of a hundred things, and I can bring out the book and talk to them and figure out what would work best. And if they want me to ink something on them that I've never seen, or that I've maybe seen once and not memorized or written down, I can make a note of it if I think it will be useful.

Nila called it my spellbook and laughed at me. )

words: 3107
total words: 50,806
smackenzie: (faye)
I put out bread and milk for the brownies before bed, and am surprised as hell when it's still there in the morning. If they haven't eaten it - and sometimes they don't because they just don't like what I've put out for them, as I discover when my car won't start or all my tomato stakes have been pushed over - raccoons or chipmunks or the cat who lives down the street usually do. I don't know the last time there was still bread in the bowl in the morning. I don't know what it means, but my car starts and I don't notice any problems with anything in the house or anything missing, so I put it out of my mind.

I don't think Kay needs to be at the studio today and he wants to be left alone anyway, so I leave him to his own devices and go off to run errands and surprise Maggie at work and, on a whim, drop by the art store I like to see if they have any new and exciting watercolors. I should get back into painting more. I don't feel as if I've had time lately, when in fact if I added up the random free hours in a day I probably do. I just need to schedule myself better. I need to maybe take a day off.

Art supply stores are always tempting )

words: 2175
total words: 47,699
smackenzie: (faye)
“My mom did,” the client says. “She's an artist. I got a couple more that she designed, on my leg” - he lifts his foot - “and the back of my neck. That one's for pride. She doesn't want me to forget who I am and where I come from. It's so I keep my head up.”

I make a mental note to ask if I can see it when I'm done with his chest. His mother sounds like a neat woman, and a good mother.


Kona wanders off and continue inking. The client and his friend have a conversation about some fraternity party in a couple of weeks, and they talk about football, and they talk about their classes and a girl the friend is interested in. I listen with half an ear. If they want to include me in the conversation, they will, but there's nothing that says I shouldn't be listening.

After I'm done and the client's new tattoo has been shown off and covered with gauze, I ask if I can see the tattoo on the back of his neck. He obligingly pulls down the collar of his shirt so I can get a good look. It's small and triangular and I don't recognize it. Not that I've seen a lot of that kind of charm, but I've seen my fair share, on people and in books, and I'm always surprised when I come across one I don't know. I shouldn't be, because there are as many little charms and magical sigils as there are cultures and people who want them, but I am. Call it arrogance, I guess, and the conviction that I know what I'm doing more than you do.

I take the opportunity to show Kay what I want him to do )

words: 1044
total words: 45,524

twenty-two

Nov. 25th, 2015 10:27 pm
smackenzie: (faye)
Kona is talking to a client and Maya is inking someone when Kay and I get to the studio. I suggest to Kay that I wait to show him what to do until Maya is finished, and in the meantime, if he wants to he can hang out in the office. I have some paperwork to deal with, because I always have paperwork to deal with, so I can keep him company.

Kona comes into the office after his client leaves, which gives me a great opportunity to tell him that I've decided we could use a shop monkey to do some of the scut work - “Sweeping,” I clarify, when Kona starts to admit that he doesn't mind a lot of the scut work – and it just so happens that I've brought this potential shop monkey to the studio, and he'll be working part-time manning the phone and keeping everything tidy and cleaning the kitchen when necessary.

Do you want to apprentice here too? )

words: 2137
total words: 44,480

twenty-one

Nov. 24th, 2015 09:34 pm
smackenzie: (faye)
“You're very considerate.” I smile at him. “I saw when I got home. I don't mind.” A pair of cat ears appear on his head, as if he's wearing them attached to a headband, and then they blink out of existence. I glance at Diego, completely oblivious from his position on the table. It's the first time I've had a vision around Kay, and I'm a little relieved that I think I can interpret it. Although if he ever shows up with actual cat ears on an actual headband, I will be really, really surprised.

"I have time to go to the farmer's market before work," I go on, completely changing the subject, "you can come if you want, and after that you should come to the studio with me because I've had a terrible idea."

"I'll go to the farmer's market," Kay says. "What's your terrible idea?"

I have to pay you under the table. )

words: 1747
total words: 42,342

twenty

Nov. 22nd, 2015 05:23 pm
smackenzie: (faye)
Besides, even though my parents and I are on speaking terms again and I'm trying not to be quite so antagonistic, I could not be less interested in doing anything for my mother that involves any more effort than finding something vaguely inoffensive to wear when I see her.

“It's in three months,” Tristan goes on. “I have some ideas. I think a surprise party would be fun.”

“Do you know our mother at all? She'll be pissed we planned a party for her without her.”

“Just let me tell you my ideas. I know she'll like at least one of them.”

How about you send them to me, and I'll close my eyes and pick one? )

words: 8083
total words: 40,596

nineteen

Nov. 20th, 2015 10:17 pm
smackenzie: (faye)
"I don't know. I guess. I should probably tell someone, and you're not gonna... judge me, or whatever the house is gonna do." He sits up, shifts a little - Diego doesn't even move - and says "I started seeing things everywhere. Not just, like, a little thing for ten seconds next to a guy at the bus stop, but everyone. Everyone had a, a hallucination, a vision, whatever they are. I was seeing things all the time and I didn't know what any of it meant. I couldn't go anywhere. I couldn't even stay in the house because there's eight of us and that was just... that was too many people. There's no one at Grandpa's place but him. He sent me some money for the bus and I, I left. I'm sorry I couldn't tell you."

"Why couldn't you tell your friends? You even live with them."

"I don't know. They don't always believe me, that sometimes I see things. They kind of, um...." He snaps his fingers, apparently trying to remember. Diego wakes up, turns in a circle like a dog, and goes back to sleep. "Patronize me. Is that the word? Like they're just humoring me. So what could I tell them? I was hallucinating everything everywhere, around everybody? Putting all of us in one room was too much. Right before I went to my grandpa's, I couldn't even leave the house - any, any kind of crowd just gave me a headache. You know what kinda helped?" He chuckles. "I found someone's sunglasses at the house. I probably looked really stupid at night, wearing these sunglasses, but they kinda made it better."

So why did you come back? Did it get better? )

words: 2312
total words: 32,513

eighteen

Nov. 18th, 2015 11:35 pm
smackenzie: (faye)
This client looks more like a white-collar office worker who sees the inside of a gym maybe twice a week than a tough guy, but all the same, the expression on his face when he talks about his daughter makes me smile. All kids should be so lucky as to have that kind of parent.

His love for his kid, oddly enough, just makes me want to give him the best tattoo possible. To be fair, I feel that way about everyone - if I didn't always want to do the best work I could, I'd be in a different business - but I especially want him to be happy with his ink.

Unsurprisingly (because I'm good at what I do), he is. I tell him to suggest my studio for his wife, if she ever decides to rebel against her mother and get a small, easily-hidden tattoo. I do not suggest he keep us in mind for when his daughter turns eighteen, if she too should decide she wants some ink. I don't want to presume. Besides, who knows what could happen? Maybe I'll move towns and set up shop somewhere else. Right now it doesn't seem likely, but I can't see the future and I could change my mind.

I clean everything after the client leaves )

words: 1250
total words: 30,201

seventeen

Nov. 18th, 2015 03:13 pm
smackenzie: (faye)
"Ok. Thanks." He hangs up and I go back to my client, who seems to have gotten a grip on himself. He's not quite as pale as he was. I touch his arm to calm him before washing my hands and putting on fresh gloves and getting back to work.

He doesn't pass out, much to my relief, but he clearly wasn't expecting it to hurt as much as it does. I have some sympathy - the inner arm is a painful place to get a tattoo, and this is his first one - but not much. It's supposed to hurt.

I give him the aftercare lecture when I'm done, tape gauze over his tattoo, take his money, and send him on his way.

"I'm going to get Kay," I tell Maya. "I'll be back in an hour."

An hour? she repeats. )

words: 2011
total words: 28,951

sixteen

Nov. 16th, 2015 11:54 pm
smackenzie: (faye)
So he tells me about his work and his potential time in another studio, and he tells me about Bodie's work, and he tells me about Jonatha and her studio and the tattoo artists I know and the new people I don't. In exchange I tell him about Maya and Kona and that Rachael left so she could travel, and I tell him about Liliana and Kelly's visit, and that makes me remember the guy who turned into a hedgehog at the coffeeshop, so I tell Mel about him.

"What does that sound like to you?" I ask, at the end of my story. "Does that sound like a curse? Does it sound normal?"

"You're telling me about a guy who turned into a hedgehog in the middle of a coffeeshop, in the middle of the day," Mel says. "What about that is normal?"

"You live with a technomancer. You must have heard some weird magic stories."

Not about shapeshifters, especially hedgehogs. )

words: 1863
total words: 26,940

fifteen

Nov. 16th, 2015 02:02 am
smackenzie: (faye)
"He's doing really well," I tell her.

"I haven't passed out yet." He turns his head so he can grin at Maya, who grins back.


"Usually if someone's going to pass out," she says, "it's going to be a guy."

"It's true," I add. "Women have a higher pain tolerance."

I can practically hear the client shrug. Men don't tend to think they can't handle pain like women can, but in my experience, they can't. I've had women feel faint while they were being tattooed, and I've had to stop so they could recover, but in all the years I've been doing this, and I started my apprenticeship the summer I was twenty, I've only had one woman faint, and it turned out that she was so nervous about being tattooed that she hadn't eaten all day.

But I can count the men who've passed out in my chair on two hands. )

words: 1982
total words: 25,077

fourteen

Nov. 14th, 2015 02:31 pm
smackenzie: (faye)
So we discuss foot tattoos and what he wants the pigs to look like, and he makes an appointment to get one of his feet tattooed. It's been a while since I did a foot. I'm looking forward to it.

After him is a guy in his late twenties who wants what amounts to a Japanese landscape painting on his back. For his first tattoo. He wants tall craggy mountains, scrubby, spiky pine trees, a tiny figure with a tiny walking stick hiking up a cliff, and a tiny temple nestled halfway up one of the peaks. Tattoos that mimic brush paintings and ink washes and watercolors are some of my favorite kinds to do, and I was very excited when he came in, asked for me specifically, and explained what he wanted me to do. He brought along some examples of prints and paintings, but ultimately, he said, he wanted an original. I explained that he would have to sit for long sessions, and it would probably take at least two visits, and that seemed like a lot for his first tattoo. He reassured me it was ok, he was prepared, he knew it would take a long time, and this was really what he wanted. He handled his first session well, although two hours in he needed to take a bathroom break, and we were both pleased with the results.

I think he might need a third session after today )

words: 774
total words: 23,095

thirteen

Nov. 13th, 2015 09:15 pm
smackenzie: (faye)
I spend my unoccupied free chunk of time that afternoon driving around town, trying to think of places Kay might have gone, and then going into them myself to see if he's been there. I don't have any luck, but if Alene was right and he's been missing a week, that can be a long time to remember one customer out of many, especially when the one customer looks like so many other college-age kids, and is pretty quiet and unassuming to boot.

What can I tell people about him, to make them remember? He's about average height, skinny in a slightly underfed kind of way, he has medium-brown hair that could stand to be cut, he's quiet in both the "doesn't say much" way and the "doesn't speak very loudly" way, and he's considerate and quiet and likes cats and puts sugar in his orange juice and has a little bit of magic that he probably won't tell strangers about.

And at least two of his friends are worried enough that they came to Suzume Tattoos to practically yell at me for not knowing he was missing.

I look up animal shelters on a whim )

words: 1278
total words: 22,321

twelve

Nov. 12th, 2015 08:36 pm
smackenzie: (faye)
I haven't been paying attention to the passage of time, other than to mark appointments at my studio. And now that I know it's been a week since I saw Kay, and now that I remember his belief that something's coming, a storm he can taste on the back of his tongue, now I might be a little worried.

"Maybe he just left town," Maya suggests. "Does he have friends he could be visiting?"

"I doubt it," the girl - Alene - says.

"You don't know," the boy tells her. "Maybe he does. Or he went to see his grandpa."

Grandpa's dead. C'mon, Ben, we've had this conversation. )

words: 1719
total words: 21,043

eleven

Nov. 11th, 2015 09:29 pm
smackenzie: (faye)
"Ok, ok," I mutter "I'll feed you."

Kay is still fast asleep, so I slide out of bed as quietly as possible, make a pit stop in the bathroom, and go into the kitchen to feed and water the cat and make myself some coffee.


I've never needed a lot of sleep, and most mornings I don't need the caffeine, but I like to ease into my day, and sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee is a good way to do that. I consider breakfast, decide I should probably wait until my houseguest is awake because it would be rude to eat without him, and then lean down and pick Diego up and put him on the table. He sniffs my coffee, sneezes, and jumps back down to the floor. He sits on my feet. He's fuzzy and warm and heavy.

You're a weird cat, I tell him. )

words: 1936
total words: 19,352

ten

Nov. 10th, 2015 09:37 pm
smackenzie: (faye)
"Are you hungry? Do you want something to drink?"

"Soda?"

"Got it."


By the time I come back with a Coke for Kay, an iced tea for me, and the leftover thumbprint cookies, Diego has moved from a fuzzy lump on the couch cushion to a fuzzy lump on Kay's lap. It's very cute.

"I guess he likes me," Kay says, gently stroking one of Diego's ears.

"I guess he does." I hand over the soda and cookies and sit next to them. "Seriously. It's late. What are you doing out here?"

I like your house. It's cozy. )

words: 1674
total words: 17,416

nine

Nov. 9th, 2015 11:15 pm
smackenzie: (faye)
I say goodbye to Liliana and Kelly, wish them a safe trip home, promise if I'm ever in Atlanta I'll give them a call, and wave them off. I fetch my car and drive to the studio, thinking ahead to my clients and what other things I have to accomplish today.

One of the most important things I don't need to do is clean up any more leaky sinks. The cookies have done the trick and the little studio spirit is pleased. Sometimes I wish it would do some good, rather than just not do something bad, but most of the time that's the way it is with magical creatures - they do what they want to satisfy their own interests. They're not a lot different from people that way.

A client has to cancel so I have a big chunk of free time in the middle of the day, and I take advantage of it to go home and see how Diego is doing by himself. He's asleep in the middle of my bed, and it looks like he's eaten some food and had some water, so he must be doing just fine. After having been terrorized by Alicia's cat, he probably relishes the solitude.

I pick some tomatoes )

words: 1273
total words: 15,742

eight

Nov. 8th, 2015 04:15 pm
smackenzie: (faye)
(I'm a vegetarian 99.44% of the time, until I get it into my head that I really want some fried catfish, or a good scoop of tuna salad.)

I sent Liliana and Kelly back to their hotel with some cookies. They helped me bake, after all, and I was taught that under some circumstances, the good hostess thing to do is send one's dinner guests home with leftovers.

I did not learn that from my mother. I learned it from mine and my sister's nanny, who took care of us when we were babies and continued to watch us after school until I was ten, at which point my sister was thirteen and my mother decided she was old enough to look after me. Our nanny, whose name was Olivia, was also the housekeeper and occasional cook, and it was from her that I learned how to fry catfish and chicken and how to make pie crust and biscuits. Even after she stopped working for us she would send me and my sister cards on our birthday and for Christmas. She retired and moved in with her daughter in Tuscaloosa, and every now and then I think of her and have an overwhelming urge to fry something.

I don't know if Olivia had any magic herself )

words: 1847
total words: 14,469

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