Who: Madison and Joanie What: Introducing oil and water Where: The Mailboxes When: Late afternoon Warnings: Uncalled-for bitchiness and probably some language.
There were some points in a person's life when introspection is probably the worst possible thing to do, as doing so would lead to madness. It was about halfway through tattooing a dolphin on a giggly sorority girl's right buttcheek that Joanie disregarded the Rule of Introspection. Three hours later, she was still stuck in a fog thicker than pancake syrup. She vaguely remembered walking back to Bellum, the New York sidewalk stretching into an impossible road that twisted through the Land of Broken Dreams and Eternity as a Tramp Stamp Dispenser. It was at this point that Joanie began to truly fear what she had come to accept for granted. Yes, being a tattoo and piercing artist was challenging, fun work. But did she really want this badly enough to weather five cute animal tattooes on inappropriate body parts for every one meaningful piece?
Her brain's answer to that question was "number unavailable, please try again later."
Pushing a hand through her dark hair that was knotty and kinky from spending all day thrown up in a messy bun, Joanie opened the door into Bellum's lobby and shuffled inside. Her clunky Goth-chic boots thundered through the lobby as she made her way to the mailboxes. Maybe there would be some nice mail waiting for her. Joanie wasn't entirely sure what constituted nice mail - not junk was a start, not bills was an even better one - but she knew that it wasn't going to be there. No, snail mail had been so drastically undermined by e-mail that now it was used solely for the transport of horrible things that even spambots were too kind to send.
Somewhere in the back of her mind, Joanie's common sense told her to just go up to her apartment and turn on the TV until her thoughts stopped being so vocal. But the stubborn, less considerate part of her brain urged her towards the mailboxes. Surely she wasn't being an idiot by staying out in public when she was in a more volatile mood than an active volcano. No, there was no down side to this.
She leaned against the wall of mailboxes, her shoulder rammed into #803. Gaze intent on her own, Joanie stuffed a hand into the black bag hanging from her shoulder. Calling it a purse might have been a bit insulting to actual purses. It was more like a messenger bag with all the corners cut off, being little more than a satchel with a long strap that let it rest against her hip. There were no compartments, leaving everything jumbled together in a giant mess. "Goddamnit," she muttered to herself as she flipped open the flap in order to rummage properly. The bag jiggled against her side tauntingly as she rooted around inside it, trying in vain to find her mailbox key. What the hell apartment building didn't have combination locks for their mailboxes, anyway? A shitty one, clearly. "Where the fuck is it?" And suddenly, Joanie's common sense realized why it should have taken up drinking.