Monday June 4th, 2012

The exercise:

Write about: the tattoo.

Sliced open the end of my right ring finger while doing the dishes after lunch. Now trying to avoid using it while typing, as it hurts like hell even through the band-aid.

If we didn't have to harvest for our local orders this morning we probably wouldn't have seen the garden today. With the forecast calling for more rain the next two days, I can see things getting a little out of hand out there this week.

Not having much success thus far with the whole typing pain-free thing.


He finishes his meal and sets his cutlery on his plate noiselessly before reaching for his water. The glass has not yet returned to its place on the table before the waitress reappears at his side.

"All done there?" she asks and he nods his confirmation. "How was everything?"

"Oh, excellent, thank you." He speaks the lie without effort, his face betraying nothing. Truthfully, he'd rather have eaten a stray dog. One that was still alive and had some fight left in it.

"Wonderful," she says as she collects his dishes. "Can I tempt you with some dessert to top things off?"

"Absolutely! I think I'll have a slice of your apple pie." It seems the least likely item on the menu to be butchered as badly as his main dish had been. "And a top up of my water when you have the chance would be great."

He'd kill for a cup of coffee, but he fears the version they serve here might have the same dark intentions toward him. As the waitress moves away he steals another look at the tattoo peeking out from under her shirt at the base of her neck. But the lighting is so poor that he finds himself still unsure.

A resigned moan escapes his lips after she disappears into the kitchen. He's not certain that this assignment will be worth the damage the food is unleashing upon his body; he can only hope that a positive ID won't require seconds of whatever concoction is about to appear before him.


Greg said...

Ouch, that cut sounds painful. Lucky you're off to bed, so you don't have to put up with it throbbing for too much longer.
Doesn't the rain just mean that you spend the day hiding in the greenhouse, now it's built? ;-)
That sounds like an interesting place to have a meal, and I rather like the desultory way the waitress does everything. You've had a few of these kinds of stories now, do I detect a detective novel brewing the back of your mind somewhere?

The tattoo
The Needle was sitting in the tattoo parlour, just staring into space. The parlour was almost literally that, the front room of a grand house with a door out to a tall, tiled hallway. He'd removed almost all the furniture when he moved in; what was left was the dentist-style chair that the client reclined in and the three-legged wooden stool that he sat on to create his art. High shelves, up at the level of the original picture rails, held the speakers for the sound-system, and a small metal trolley supported his tools and instruments. At the moment it was stood in front of the floor-to-ceiling mirror that covered two-thirds of the back wall.
Motes of dust floated in the sunlight that sneaked between the panels of the venetian blinds and there was a dusty smell that almost, but not quite, overrode the chemical tang of his inks. Somewhere on a lower, more visceral level, there was a smell of old blood too, but the Needle was confident that only he could smell that.
There was a soft snick as the front door opened, and the Needle stretched, his arms seeming unnaturally long and his fingers, for a moment, appearing to reach out to infinity. A client has arrived, someone wanting a tattoo. The kind of tattoo that only the Needle could provide.

Morrigan Aoife said...

A fairy stands in the light cast by the moon
Her features crease as she reads each rune
Now she knows what may come to pass
And where she must go to find the lass
Searching for the one with the Celtic tattoo
The poor orphaned child who hasn’t a clue
That her destiny will be thrust upon her fast
Once the queen’s evil forces have amassed.

Marc said...

Greg - there are all sorts of stories brewing back there. Eventually one is going to break free.

That's an interesting place to get a tattoo done, though that line about him seemingly reaching out for infinity makes me a little wary of having the Needle do it.

Morrigan - love it! Could almost work as a prologue to a story in and of itself :)

Anonymous said...

the tattoo

she lay there, motionless,
where the strike of lightning placed her,
it came so fast, there was not even time for her life to flash before her eyes like a Movietone newsreel,
someone saw and placed a call
the medics arrived and ripped open her shirt, paddles at the ready...
no, wait!
what's that on her sternum?
what's the protocol again?

for there it was, neatly done in Arial font -
the tattoo read

Anonymous said...

greg, ditto marc, brilliant perspective

Iron Bess said...

I was without internet access yesterday so here is my story to make up for it.

Picture it, 1944, the Second World War is blazing away, the fighting is harsh. My father, sixteen years old, but looking twelve, goes to the recruitment office and signs up. No one asks for his birth certificate, everyone looks the other way because they are in need of someone, anyone, who has a pulse. He is immediately sent to ‘boot camp’ for a couple of weeks and then sent to the front.
His second day at the camp everyone is told to line up outside a small tent in the middle of the compound, so off he goes. He is skinny and small for his age, as he stands in a line with two hundred big, burly, hardened soldiers he is inexorably shoved to the back of the line until he ends up second from the end. At the head of the line a tattoo artist sits with a bottle of blue ink and quickly writes the blood type of each man on their biceps above their elbows on each arm. No explanation is necessary; it is obvious to everyone how useful this information can be for the person in need of blood.

He has been standing for almost an hour the line having shrunk from two hundred to ten. Now there are only six people in front of him when suddenly the air raid siren goes off and the camp erupts into controlled chaos. The front has flared up into battle and the entire platoon is immediately being sent to the fighting. My father and seven others are the only tattoo-less soldiers left in the camp, all of them young, all of them frightened out of their wits.

It is the first fight that he is in, and he realizes that war isn’t glory, excitement, or great camaraderie like the propaganda papers have been painting it. He realizes that war, battle, and combat is the very last place he wants to be. He wants to go home, he wants his mother, he ends up as a prisoner of war in a cold, wet, and terrifying camp along with many of the soldiers from his platoon who have no use for a green, skinny little punk. They are kept there for three days without food or shelter.

When the sun rises on the fourth day a commotion takes place near the front of the barbed wire fence and everyone stands up to try and see what it is all about. Soon the enemy is striding through the camp making everyone roll up their sleeves. My father, along with a hand full of other young prisoners are herded to one side of the camp and made to stay there by machinegun toting soldiers. The majority of men are lined up on the other side, their sleeves still rolled up and showing off their impromptu tattoos. Five minutes later they are all dead, their bodies riddled with bullets. The tattoo of their blood types no longer useful.

Cathryn Leigh said...

I have a tattoo upon my back.
The source of my disposition.
A hasty decision made with care,
From a butterfly to the sun.
Set in a place not as prone to age,
As the tramp stamp would have been.
Between my shoulder blades it sits,
Where my sight does not reach.
Yet it greats me everyday,
As my profile pictures.

Marc said...

Writebite - ooh, great take on the prompt! Was not expecting that at all.

Iron Bess - bloody hell. A different time, a different world. I can't even imagine living through something like that.

Cathryn - haha, solid choice to avoid the tramp stamp :D