“He could have let his job go.”

“It was what he was born to do.”

“Whatever. I still think it sucks.”

“Yeah, well… that was only one of my favorite parts.”

“What else?”

“I liked the tattoo scene, where he’s being interviewed by the gangsters, and his life story is in his tattoos.”

In the movie, Viggo Mortensen is covered in elaborate tattoos, and each one holds a piece of information: where he had been in prison, how long, what he had served time for, what his various roles in the mob had been. The gangsters who are considering making him a ‘made man’ knew the symbolism and could tell everything about his life just by looking at those tattoos.

“That was cool,” I agreed, then added as an afterthought, “I don’t even like tattoos, but that was cool.”

He stared at me like I’d just said I hated puppies. “You don’t like tattoos?”

I realized who I was talking to – and how many he had visible on his arms.

My mind wandered to other places he might have them, too… but I had to immediately stop that train of thought in its tracks.

“I’m just… not a huge fan in general.”

“Away from me, woman,” he said grandiloquently, swatting at the air with his hand.

I grinned. “Well, it would be different if you had cool ones like Viggo’s.”

“Oh, you’d rather I spent three years in a Russian prison,” he said, slowly nodding his head like I seeeee.

“No,” I laughed. “I mean, it would be cool if you had your life story in tattoos.”

“I do.”

I gave him a Bullshit look.

“No, really,” he said. “I mean, not exactly like the movie, but – basically, everything I love. Look.”

He pointed to the inside of his forearm, where there were four tattoos in a line. The first was a cursive word that looked like ‘Zoso,’ whatever that meant. The second was three ovals arranged in a triangle with a circle through them. Another had three overlapping circles, and the final one was a circle with what looked like a feather inside.

“Led Zeppelin IV,” he said, quite seriously. “Greatest rock album of all time.”

“What about the Beatles?”

“Got them here, too,” and he pulled up his t-shirt sleeve and pointed to a tattoo of the band’s name in the world-famous font that everybody knew.

It was on his bicep.

It was a very large, very nice bicep.

“But – the rock album – Sgt. Something – ”

“Sgt. Something?” he asked indignantly. “You mean Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band?”

“Yeah, that.”

“‘Yeah, that,’” he said, mocking me good-naturedly. Then he grew serious. “Fantastic album. But…”

He hesitated.

“The Beatles are probably the greatest pop musicians of the 20th Century, I’ll give them that. I love ‘em, especially the White Album. But except on a few songs like ‘Revolution’ and ‘Helter Skelter,’ they don’t really rock. Not hard. They’re light and happy even when they’re trying to sound like they want to fuck you up. Even their darker stuff like ‘A Day In The Life’ or ‘Strawberry Fields’ or ‘I Am The Walrus’ is… ethereal.”

“Ethereal,” I said, nodding my head and raising my eyebrows mockingly.

“Is that too big a word for a rock musician to use, Ms. Journalism Snob?” he teased me.

“Just show me your other tattoos, Rock Boy.”

He had a lot of them. I had to admit, the presentation was pretty cool. They were linked in a beautiful, twisting frame composed of sinuous shapes, like those centuries-old Japanese paintings of ocean waves, or a beautiful depiction of twisting vines. And amidst the twisting shapes were individual symbols that appeared like paintings hung in a gallery.

A red hot chili pepper for… you guessed it. A dollar bill on a hook for Nirvana. The Rolling Stones’ famous lips. A union     Jack for The Who. An elaborate Celtic Cross with flowers and revolvers for… yes… Guns ‘n Roses. A black-inked portrait of Jim Morrison – the famous shot of him that everybody knows – that was done startlingly well, in minute artistic detail. And all over, woven into the fabric of the design, were quotes from some of the most famous rock ‘n roll songs of all time.

Did I mention that he had to take off his shirt to show me most of the tattoos? The majority were on his back and chest.

Sweet baby Jesus.

I think I ovulated right there on the spot.

His entire back rippled with muscles. When people talk about guys’ arms and call them ‘guns’? Yeah, they were talking about Derek’s. And his skin was perfect… not a blemish at all, just lovely, smooth olive skin. His chest… oh my God, I almost had to sit on my hands to stop myself from touching his pecs. His abs were like nothing I’d ever seen outside of a Dolce & Gabbana underwear ad.

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