Secret Santa #3

The tattoo idea came to me at 14. Then two years on the Internet and in libraries, searching for the perfect roses and the perfect font and the perfect vines. When I spent time with Daddy I wasn’t there at all, I was scouring the depths of the Web and thinking of the roses and vines.

At sixteen, I found the image I wanted, from Feast of Corpus Christi, a medieval manuscript. My vine was there too, but I still needed the font for the text., Annabel Script.

Photoshopped it all together, and armed with a color print I went downtown. The high profile tattoo shops all turned me down.

”That thing would ruin you, you know.”

”It’ll stay with you forever.”

”Wouldn’t touch that.

”You’re not 18.”


I drifted downstream into the seedy part of town and found ”Toddy’s Tattoo Parlor”. I saw this brown guy, with dreadlocks like a furry octopus on his head, loading up his water pipe.

”You open?”

”If you got through the door, I guess so.”

”Will you do this for me?” And I showed my design  to him. His smeared walls were filled with double polaroids, of past jobs still bleeding and maybe four weeks after, when the colors were finally set and the design was shown in its full glory.

”Nope. This thing’ll follow you to your grave, y’unnerstan? I can’t take the risk someone finds out I done that, they’d ship me back to Kingston. And that text. No.”

I explained that was the whole point. I wanted it to stay with me forever.

”You’re not 18. And you don’t have the money.”

Like hell I didn’t. I saved every fucking cent I ever got after I hit on the idea. ”I can pay you 200,” I said.

He weighed the issue. ”An’ you never tell anyone where you got it?”

”Cross my heart.”

”Sit here. Let’s talk design. Across the shoulders? The text’ll look bad. Tell you what – I’ll do the roses and the vine across the shoulderblades and the text below, howzzat?” I smiled and stripped.

The first touch of the needle penetrating me was like a jackhammer, but I bit my lip until I tasted blood. Just like with Dad. Every hit of the needle hurt less and less until I felt nothing. I closed my eyes and dreamed of the roses on my back, and the vines, and the text. Oh yes, the text.

It took ages for him to finish, but I just sat there and let my mind wander while his needles punched my skin. I must have flinched every now and then, because he muttered something like an apology, but then, at 42 kilos there’s not much padding between the epidermis and the bone.

An eternity later he leaned back. ”Done, wanna see?”

I woke up from my stupor and glanced over my shoulder. This guy was good. He wiped the last blood off and gave me a mirror so I didn’t have to twist my neck around so bad. The roses, even if still weak in color and oozing, would look so good in a couple of weeks. Medieval beauty, my skin. And the vine that connected the roses was hammered on me so beautifully that it made me want to cry.

And the text, in the perfect font and style.




~ by yearzerowriters on December 22, 2009.

53 Responses to “Secret Santa #3”

  1. Because I post these I always get first guess which is unfair so I’ll limit my comments to this

    “medieval beauty”

    That HAS to be somthing to do with Sarah

  2. Sarah-tattoo might be a red herring. I refrain from commenting because I know only 3 or 4 of you well enough, but I am having fun anyway. (Although I do think it’s someone trying to be a milder, less poetic Dan.)

    What an experiment! Love it! I’ll go now and lurk as I always do. Sorry for wandering in. 🙂

  3. Yes all the design features adumbrated made me think of Sarah too. But who is she homaging? The end makes me think Jenn, but the style isn’t really in keeping with Jenn’s. It ain’t H’s. Pretty sure it’s not me. The ‘furry octopus’ on his head is a bit of a puzzler. Could it be Marcella, but I say this without any great confidence.


  4. Hmm, actually all the fonts stuff is decidedly Marc-ish

  5. OK, I think I know so I’ll shut up. But I only know because of a comment a while back. If I’m right I’ll shout marshmallows and chocoloate fountain to anyone who comes close. Oh, and it was an e-mail comment, so don’t go looking for it 🙂

  6. I do love layout on the page, but I NEED other people to do it for me as am design illiterate.

    I came in the bottom 5% of the country at spatial awareness aptitude test you knw!


  7. Innit more like a hybrid between Dan and Marc…? This is such fun!

  8. This exercise shows me that I don’t know everyone’s work as well as I should. (Dan seems the most attentive reader – his comments on my style were spot-on.) So this is a bit of a wild guess. It could be Dan doing Sarah, if he’s allowed himself a little subterfuge. But I suspect Dan wouldn’t let himself mislead us, so – Jenn? Or Marcella? If I had to take a punt it’d be Jenn. Not confident.

  9. Sounds like Dan doing Penny?

    Sorry, guys. I’ll be tied up all this week and the next. My sister is here from the army. My in-laws are on their way, and the kids are all home. I haven’t got time for anything else. I may post one article on one of my blogs, but that’s it for this year, I’m afraid.
    So sorry. Please don’t feel I’m neglecting you all.

    Merry Christmas and a blessed 2010

    • Have a lovely lovely break, Anne – and a lovely time with your sister. We’ll miss you and look forward to seeing you in 2010 🙂

  10. Sarah doing Dan. There are echoes of ‘The man who painted Ag’s shoes’ in this…and the inclusion of a web address is a giveaway, innit?


  11. But then ‘colour’ has the US spelling…does that mean it’s an American writing it, or someone writing as an American?

  12. Dan doing Jen.

  13. It’s not in your face enough for Jenn, though as I said the ending might be her thing.


  14. I think this is someone being Dan. There’s a flow to the writing, an ease, a quiet creepiness. Heikki doing Dan?

  15. Loved it. I don’t care who wrote it or who they are pretending to be.

    • I agree. Thsi little game is basically a bit of a laugh – but the quality of the stories is extraordinary.

  16. Jenn trying to be Dan 🙂 because of “colour” as pointed out by Ordinary Joe, but still too nice. It’s the niceness that throws me off. Or maybe it is a very effective Dan impersonation. Hmmm.

    • Too nice to be me?! Oh my word!

      • Yea, ‘nice’ as in the level of in-your-face, searing passion that runs through all of your stories is a bit too muted in this. Too muted to be anyone on year zero actually. Very deceptive.

        Although, if I had though about that point a little more, might have guessed it. I was being too honourable because I haven’t done much analysing here, I only read and enjoy the stories 😀 😀

  17. PD Allen said it best!

    Funny, one of my tattoos–the only one with writing–says REVOLUTION across my back. But when I was 18 and I got my first one and my father found out, he literally cried. I was devastated that he was so crushed and I implored that I didn’t get tattooed to spite him. And I was being honest. There was plenty else I had beef about with him, but the tattoo wasn’t a part of that picture. So I went with my mom to a laser removal specialist, because it just wasn’t worth it to me to have my dad so crestfallen about it. I thought he was being a bit of a drama queen, but he’s entitled. Now this was back in 1989, when they hadn’t perfected the laser removal technology. The sample he tried on me to make sure I was committed to the procedure (which was a 6-month process) was so incredibly painful and inefficient–not to mention ineffective because it left a shadow–that my mom halted it. Imagine those little, tiny rubber bands that hold lobster claws together: now stretch it as far as it can go, like 3 feet maybe, and let it go. That would have to happen 100 times per square centimeter. FUCK THAT.

    The doctor sat us both down and said, “I’ve seen much worse tattoos. I had to remove one recently from a patient’s rear end, ‘I Love To Fuck.'”

    So someone out there had me in mind when they wrote this, indeed.


  18. So is it Sarah being Jenn?

    The bookies are having a field day on this.

  19. I still think Dan being Jenn. I think the medieval stuff was just thrown in to distract us.

  20. Yeah, it’s not me. My [straight-forward] prose writing, which, I know, doesn’t show up here much, is quite a bit different.

    It’s Heikki being Dan.

    • So how coem all the tattoo stuff and fonts and “medieval beauty” – that has to be meant to be you?

      • I don’t write stuff like this. I mean, not as myself and not while I’m writing like other people. I do, however, draw such things.

    • Do you want to explain how on earth you reckon you can spot Heikki in there?

      • Is this really Dan? I’m becoming mistrusting of this father anonymous ‘yearzerowriter’. Especially in a case like this, you could really do some good spy work signing off as someone else.
        It just feels like it, how bout that?

  21. not ‘father anonymous’ — ‘RATHER anonymous’.

  22. OMG that’s a whole new level of complexity! If Dan is not Dan, then who was it that …

  23. Good gawd. OK, I’m logged in as me for proof – that’s all me, sarah! I think it’s probably against the spirit of the thing to do that kind of thing. I wanna know why you think it’s Heikki!!

    • Okay, I feel better now that we’re all being ourselves. I’m always on the lookout for people trying to trick me into things.

      I just think it’s Heikki. I will not give you my people-guessing secrets! My secrets are mine!

  24. Spoil sport

    OK, this seems to have been cracked, but I REALLY want you & Daisy to tell me how you got it – I’m with Marc – never in amillion years would I have pegged Heikki – he’s done an amazing slick job. I knew it was him, but only because for about 5 minutes after it was uploaded it was tagged with his name. I REALLY want one of you to tell me you actually figured it out and didn’t just know the same way I did 🙂

  25. The scary thing was I saw the tags when they were there and I forgot and this is so un-Heikki like it didn’t jog my memory.

    I am rubbish at this game, but there again I told you I would be.

    Besides I don’t believe in Santa, whether he’s playing his cards close to his chest or otherwise.


  26. Is it true? Is it Heikki?

    Gobsmacked. The bookies win.

  27. I guessed it was Heikki because I love the way he tells a story. He did a fantastic job here, as this was so Dan. But there is a gentle scariness that I love that Heikki just seems to emanate naturally within his writing. Like a supremely clever anaesthesiologist, who is telling you a story as the drugs kick in, and just before you black out, you catch something in his eyes, ever so fleeting, that intimates you won’t be waking up again.

    I never read the drafts on here (feels wrong to read something before someone’s ready to post it), so I didn’t know that it was tagged until Dan told me.

  28. I guess the feline has left the cloth container… hee hee hee Happy Holidays, folks, we’ve earned it.

  29. Well, Heikki, you’re sixe shades of awesome- and how Daisy and Sarah spotted you, goodness only knows.

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