Tattoos

Custom User Avatar
More by this author
The ringmaster of the circus ran her fingers along the tattoos that encircled her biceps, touching each beast in turn. She shook her head. It was hard to believe it had been twenty years; the day she got her first animal seemed like just weeks ago. It was a wolf; she wore it with pride before she knew what it really meant. She would lie there at night, in one of the beds in the prop van, and play with it, making it dance on the pale skin of her inner arm. Soon it was joined by the others, a rat first, and then a hawk, then so many more. She lost track of the tattoos just as she lost track of years, in fact, she could only remember the years by the tattoos which she received on them. Another year, another tattoo, that had been the motto of the circus, but only she truly took it to heart. The other performers had more missing years on their arms than they had missing teeth, but she kept score. That was why she had been chosen to take the place of the old ringmaster. She never missed a beat.
The Artist interrupted her, tapping one of his needles against an empty coffee mug nestled amongst the papers on his desk. Nobody knew him, that was how he liked it. He lived forever in the twilight of people’s minds, immersed in his seclusion, scratching his sleeveless arms with the stubs of pencils as he churned out masterpiece after masterpiece, then burned them all, casting his brilliance out to the winds. He stared into her eyes. “What’s wrong, Llydia?” He hooked his thumb up at a plaster mask in the likeness of a Grecian statue, hanging on his wall like a hunter would hang the head of his kill. “You been having trouble from their sorts again?”
She brushed a few black strands of hair out of her face. “No,” she said, “no trouble at all. I’m just thinking a little.”
The Artist wheezed a short laugh. “That’s a dangerous thing to do nowadays, you should know better than to try.” He chuckled a little longer, gathering his inks from the desk drawer. “Honestly though, with all the trouble that’s been brewing lately, you could end up dead.” The Artist locked his eyes back onto her. “Just the other day some accountant was killed for doing work with the bald men. He was just an average Joe, that could have happened to me or you or anyone else.”
Llydia shot him a wry smile, raising her eyebrows just the slightest bit. “Now now, we aren’t exactly average Joes now are we? I think we’ll be fine.” She directed her attention towards the stack of papers nearest to her seat. “Anyways, let’s get down to business.”
The Artist nodded silently to himself. “It’s your birthday again, isn’t it.” The sunlight streaming down through the dusty window now caught on his needle, eagerly poised, its golden casing gleaming. “What’ll it be this time?”
The ringmaster pulled a paper out from the middle of the stack, holding it up to the light. She lowered it. “Would you be willing to do a panther?”
The Artist flipped the switch on the side of the needle, its outline blurring as it sprang into life. “For you darling,” he said teasingly, “I’ll do anything.”





Join the Discussion

This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

Nikiblue said...
Feb. 18, 2010 at 9:56 pm
Wow, I'm so impressed by your writing. Please continue to write more! I'll continue to read whatever you come out with, just let me know when you do. Keep up the great work!
 
Wendy said...
Feb. 9, 2010 at 1:58 pm
I like this line:
Another year, another tattoo, that had been the motto of the circus, but only she truly took it to heart. The other performers had more missing years on their arms than they had missing teeth, but she kept score.
This piece has a nice pace.
 
Robolob said...
Feb. 9, 2010 at 12:54 am
Yeah! Boo-Arg! Tattoos have left an impression, a panther or maybe anything.
 
bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback