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Posts Tagged ‘Jamie’

25: JAMIE: Inked

e blew an extra $2 on gas to drive all the way out beyond the lake, to a roadside tattoo parlor where he’d never been before and he didn’t know anybody. He owed the three shops closer to town money, and all he had was a 20, which he hoped would be just enough to buy him a teeny tiny toad on the inside of his wrist, or hopping right on top of his bicep, somewhere he’d be able to see it and remember that little guy from the woods.

He couldn’t believe there was somebody there already, and not just anybody, but a bodacious babe, and a showcase too, with ink over much of the visible surface of her body, which was to say much of her body. Spring had sprung outside, but it was not what anyone would call hot. However, this honey was wearing cutoffs as brief as a bikini bottom and a torn-up tee shirt that barely covered her impressive though not thoroughly genuine-looking tits. She was half-reclining in the chair, her long slim legs propped up on the footrests, wiggling her knees: apart, together, apart, together.

“I still think it’s going to look hotter on the back,” said the tattoo artist, who had a long scraggly graying beard like Brad Pitt’s and was wearing a camouflage print cap, like at any minute he might drop his irons and snatch up a gun instead, run out into the woods behind the shop and shoot him some hajis.

“I want it on the front,” the girl said in a flat voice. “When someone looks at it, I want to see what’s in their eyes.”

The artist shrugged and lifted the white paper stencil onto the woman’s chest, smoothing it out. Neither of them looked up at Jamie, who wondered, for a moment, whether something with the frog had rendered him invisible. The woman had a teardrop inked on one cheek, a rose with the name Terry on her shoulder, and a swastika arrayed around her belly button. Then the tattoo guy lifted up the stencil and held up a mirror for the woman to see.

The woman, who had straight black hair, nearly Asian looking, lifted her chin and arched her back, twisting her head this way and that as if admiring a new piece of jewelry.

“Bingo,” she said.

The tattoo was of the top half of a woman’s torso: cartoonish breasts even bigger than the woman’s own, seductive shoulders, neck ending in a raggedy edge, right at the hollow at the base of the woman’s own throat.

“All right,” the tattoo guy said, revving his gun. “Lie back.”

Jamie should go. Maybe he wasn’t even here. Maybe they were so high they hadn’t noticed him. Very slowly, very carefully, he began walking backwards, feeling as if he was rewinding time.

“You want something?” the tattoo guy said, at the same moment he inked the curved line of the bottom of one of the figure’s breasts.

“Uh, it’s okay,” Jamie said.

“Sit down. I’ll be done in a while.”

Jamie gestured toward the door. “I’ll be back….”

The guy laughed, looked at the woman. “A B-back,” he said.

“Let him go.”

“Sit down,” the guy said.


13. JAMIE: Kissing the Toad

ive me another hit.”

Jamie held out his hand, expecting someone would put a pipe into it. But his fingers just hung there, empty.

“That’s it, man,” said Donnie, the guy whose mother owned the cabin.

“You’ve got to be kidding,” said the red-headed guy, Travis. “There’s got to be something else here, somewhere.”

Travis, whose eyes were looking as red as his hair, hopped up from the torn black leatherette couch and began pawing through the litter of plastic soda bottles and unbleached coffee filters, baggies and empty cold medicine packages, hunting down an overlooked kernel of crank they’d been cooking up in the kitchen, or bud of marijuana they’d been growing out the back door. The longer he searched, the more agitated he grew, flinging the filters up in the air, scattering the soda bottles across the floor.

“Chill, dude,” Jamie said.

This was why he wanted to keep his crank consumption under control. He was doing pretty well at it too; he was proud of himself for that. It was probably because he was far more intelligent than your average meth head. He remembered half these tweakers from kindergarten. They were stupid then, running around in circles until they fell on the floor, just like Travis there.

“What are we gonna do?” said Travis.

“I’m gonna go see DaShawn,” said Donnie. Donnie’s mom thought it was nice that Donnie brought his friends up there to hunt and fish. Said she was glad the place was getting some use, now that she’d moved down to Mobile. “Anybody coming?”

“I’ll go with you,” said Tiff, who danced down at the Go Go with Taryn. Wait a minute: Where was Taryn? She’d never shown up — was that last night? The night before? It was hard to keep it straight.

Jamie should get out of here too. Go see what had happened to Taryn. Check in on the old man. Change shirts.

Plus, he had the nagging feeling he was forgetting something else. Something important. What was it? He cycled again through the list of possibilities: Taryn, Dad, cats….

Ah, fuck it. If it was important enough, someone else would do it.