For #samplesunday here’s a little excerpt from the short story The Tattooist, which can be read in the newly-released ebook SKIN: Short Fiction.
“Are you still open?” I rapped on the streaked glass door and mouthed to the scrawny kid sweeping the floor. It was almost eleven, but after dinner and drinks I’d decided that I wanted a tattoo. I mean really, other than bars, you’d expect to find an open tattoo parlors this time of night, right?
The kid came to the door as a voice bellowed from the back, “See what she wants.”
He unlatched the door and asked me without making actual eye contact. “You want a tattoo?”
I really wanted to say, “No, I ran out of eggs and sugar, do you have some I could borrow?” but I refrained. I’ve been trying to curb the sarcasm, but so far I still had snarky thoughts, even if I didn’t always verbalize it.
“Yes, just a small one. Here, between my shoulder blades.” I lifted my dark hair to expose the pale skin underneath.
The kid blushed and motioned for me to come in. “Wait here,” he said.
While he was gone, I browsed the covered walls for an inspiration. I wanted to commemorate my trip to Florida. I was at a cross-roads in my life and if ever a time needed marking permanently for future reminders, this was it.
In three long days, I’d found out my husband (that unemployed, coward loser) was leaving me on the advice of his cracker-jack shrink, I might possibly (probably) be into women as well as men now, and oh yeah, the whopper…I was a newly turned vampire with previously undiscovered supernatural talents. See what I mean? It was a time worth remembering.
My eyes landed on a small tattoo about an inch square. It was a stylized heart, but instead of the top meeting in a “v” the ends were twisted so that the design was part heart-shape, part pretzel. That was my life in a nutshell. A twisted, damaged heart, tied up in knots.
“What can I do you for?”
I turned to meet the gaze of dark-haired man sporting fashionably mussed hair, a tight black tee covered in silver graffiti and dark washed denim cargo pants. He turned on the charm as easy as flicking a switch.
“I’d like this one, please,” I said, tapping the knotted heart design on the wall.
“Ah, good choice.” He picked up a worn blue binder from the counter, leafed through the laminated pages and pulled out the one holding my image. “I’m a sucker for tortured passion.”
If I’d had proper blood flow, I would have blushed. In the last few days I’d gone from rarely-noticed housewife to the woman everyone hit on. It would be flattering if I knew how to play the game. But sadly, flirting wasn’t a talent I had acquired when all my other gifts showed up.
I hope you enjoyed this #SampleSunday excerpt!