are you sure you want to go through with this? You had always said
tattoos were silly. Plus, it's permanent once it's done."
we've already been through this. It's just something I decided I
wanted to try out," Tom responded from the chair while waiting
for the tattooist to return. "Besides, the guys at work who
have them said it makes you feel younger."
it's your body." Frankly, she was tired of discussing it.
Durkitt was a 45 year-old construction worker who was just looking
for a way to feel young again, which was a hard concept to explain
to his wife Emma. He had talked to several friends who had received
tattoos and how it had made them feel along with the additional
attention it drew from various people. Sounded like fun.
and Emma had been married now for eleven years, a happy marriage
with a seven-year-old son, Joey. Tom was a construction supervisor
for a large company, while his wife Emma had earned a master's degree
in art history before they had gotten married.
they brought home a comfortable income.
ready?" the tattooist, whose name was Ponjin, asked as he entered
noticed that Ponjin didn't have a single tattoo or piercing. That
was a little odd. She had heard that most tattoo artists dabble
also, having tattoos done by others. (There are only so many places
one can reach on one's own body.)
set here," answered Tom.
do you have a preference as to which arm you want it on? And did
you bring a drawing of the tattoo for me to reference to?"
and here's the drawing." Ponjin took it and moved over to his
kind of tattoo did you decide on, Tom?" Emma asked.
a kanji script. I did a little bit of research before I decided."
those scripts and symbols have a certain meaning in Japanese?
the one I found stands for knowledge. The research I did was to
make sure I had the right meaning and wouldn't look like an idiot
in case a Japanese person happened to read it."
idea. Why knowledge?"
figured I could use some."
looked over at the tattooist's work area and noticed Ponjin pondering
his supplies. He seemed to be mouthing some kind of chant that was
barely audible. Strange, she thought. Was he praying? Oh well, to
each his own. She had always prided herself on the amount of tolerance
she demonstrated towards other people's beliefs.
Tom, let's rock," Ponjin said as he brought his supplies on
a cart over to the reclining chair Tom was sitting in.
going to draw the outline of the tattoo first, so that we can be
sure of where you want it placed. Then if that's okay, I can begin
the actual tattooing process. Judging by the drawing you supplied,
it shouldn't take more than half an hour."
proceeded to draw the outline as Tom was wondering how much pain
this would involve. Shouldn't be too bad though. The people he had
asked who already had tattoo experience said the upper arm was one
of the less sensitive areas.
Ponjin said, "Stand up by the mirror and check the outline.
If that's where you want it to go, we can start."
looked it over.
outline and the placement is perfect."
you, sir. Did you have a certain color in mind?"
don't want it black. Do you have a deep, dark blue?"
that's what a lot of customers ask for with this type of tattoo."
donned plastic gloves and began to sort through the supplies on
here comes the fun part. You said this was your first, right? Let
me know right away if there's too much discomfort and we can stop
lifted the needle to Tom's upper arm and began to fill in the outlined
area. The needle produced a buzzing noise, somewhat like a sewing
okay?" Emma asked.
just felt like an electrical shock at first. Now it just feels like
a continuous bee sting, but it's bearable."
added, "That's the normal reaction. Most people find it tolerable."
proceeded to fill in the rest of the outline, occasionally stopping
to wipe off excess blood and ink to get a clear picture of his working
being an artist herself, was spending the time looking at the unique
prints that Ponjin had above his work area. She was tracing them
off to keep since they were so unusual. There was something odd
about them. They seemed to tug at the fringe of her memory, but
she kept drawing a blank. She would try to do some research later.
Tom," Ponjin said. "You can relax now. We're all finished.
You seemed a little tense."
okay, I'm fine."
to hear. I've put some ointment on the tattoo along with a bandage.
All the care instructions are in this take-home packet. Take care
of the tattoo per the instructions and it will last a long time."
Ponjin. I do appreciate it."
you're all paid up, so you're free to go. Keep me in mind if you
want any other tattoo work done."
shook hands while Ponjin looked him directly in the eyes. Tom suddenly
realized that his eyes had a mesmerizing effect. They suddenly looked
so black and deep! He felt himself being drawn into them, like they
were the only thing that mattered in the room. He was starting to
feel some vertigo, as if falling. He shook his head to break the
sure Ponjin. I'll keep you in mind." Tom was still a little
dizzy from the gaze, but it was passing. Odd, he was having trouble
remembering why he was dizzy.
they were leaving the shop, Ponjin added, "You folks make sure
you think about a return visit."
sure. We'll definitely keep you in mind. Take care."
was that all about?" Emma asked. "He seemed kind of pushy."
I think he was trying to get us to come back here instead of some
other parlor if we wanted another tattoo. I thought his work was
you ask me, he seemed a little creepy. How does your tattoo feel,
of a burning, tingling feeling down deep, like it's settling down
to the bone. You would think it would just be painful."
that's a little odd. Well, how does it feel now that you're a tattooed
man?" she said jokingly.
really that much different." Oddly enough, Tom wasn't laughing.
a week passed in which Tom took all the precautions for the tattoo
per the instructions. It had healed well, and at the end of the
week he stopped using the A and D ointment on it.
feeling okay, dear?" Emma asked as they were getting ready
for work on a Monday morning.
normal, except there's always been this low-level tingle in the
tattoo that hasn't gone away. I thought it was part of the healing
process, but it's still there."
be an infection or reaction, although it looks fine," she said
as she was inspecting it.
let it go for a while and see what it does."
able to drop Joey at kindergarten?"
I can make it in time. I'm kind of excited to get to work; I have
a bunch of ideas on how to improve our processes."
you two both have a good day, love you both," she said as she
went out the front door.
double for me, Mom."
arrived home from work a little later than usual that evening, around
did you and Joey already eat dinner?"
taken care of, Hon," Tom said as he was sitting in front of
the television. "Joey's upstairs watching cartoons."
seemed mesmerized by Jeopardy, which he didn't usually watch due
to frustration over never having any good answers for the questions
that were put out.
sat down on the couch beside him, but he didn't seem to notice.
Emma did notice that Tom was getting every answer right, immediately
after it was asked. That in itself was amazing, as a full round
of Jeopardy would usually humble anyone, except for the trivia superstars
in the world. But here he was, spitting them out like so many cheap
how are you getting all these answers right?"
not sure," he said, taking full notice of her for the first
time. "The answers just seem to be right there in my head as
soon as the question is asked!"
Emma thought, this is amazing! Tom didn't know a lot about most
of the categories on the show; much less Art and Literature. And
these questions are all trivia; it wasn't how smart you were, it
relied on your memory and what you had been exposed to in life.
dumbfounded," she expressed as she walked into the kitchen
to start to prepare dinner for herself.
night everything seemed normal, except that Tom kept fidgeting and
woke her up around 2 AM.
what's wrong. Nightmare?"
I just can't get all these thoughts out of my head. Ideas keep coming
to me on their own, things I normally wouldn't have any interest
in. I mean, the ideas are fantastic; we could probably get rich
on the patents alone."
you should write them down for later use; you never know."
need to," Tom answered. "They're stuck in my head like
a photographic memory slideshow. I'm going downstairs to get something
try to get some sleep afterwards."
next day came like any other. The same getting ready in the morning;
off to school and work.
course, Emma found herself worried about Tom while working. It's
like he was turning into some kind of super genius. She had to giggle
as she thought of the famous cartoon Coyote. But this was serious
stuff; she found herself wondering if there was something wrong
with his mind. Something like the famous book about the idiot that
had brain surgery to increase his intelligence but only to crash
back to what he was before after a spate of 250+ IQ. The title eluded
her; Algernon or something along that line.
it was time to head for home. This commercial project was taking
up a lot of her time; here it was 8:30 already. Joey greeted her
at the door, excited.
Daddy went to get another tattoo and he took me with him!"
What's this about? You got another tattoo?"
can I get one too? Daddy wouldn't let me."
Joey, you're much too young." Joey walked away pouting.
possessed you to get another one, Tom?"
compelled to, couldn't help myself."
God, Emma thought. He's going to get addicted to these things and
be a walking tapestry!
look at this, it's already healed." He took the bandage off
and it already looked perfect, as if a week had already passed.
was that possible? she wondered.
what kind is this one?" she asked.
it's the Flash symbol, one of my favorite comic book characters
when I was young."
we're going to stop at this one, right?"
won't promise, Emma. But I will try to hold off."
have you guys eaten yet?"
just got home about twenty minutes ago."
right, I'll make us something."
looked out back and saw the big trash can and realized this was
could you do me a favor and gather the trash and take the can out
was suddenly a small pop, with a vacuum feeling that took her breath
away a little.
She even smelled something like ozone.
what was that!? Did lightning strike nearby?"
I didn't hear anything. In fact it was very quiet outside."
you were outside?"
I gathered the trash and took the can around front."
I just asked you a couple of seconds ago."
chill was starting up and down her spine. She ran to the front door
and opened it. There was the trash can by the curb, waiting for
pickup the next morning. She went outside to look at it. She touched
the handle; it actually felt warm to her touch. She walked back
inside. She went over to Tom, who was sitting on the couch.
your clothes smell a little scorched. Do you smell it?
that you mention it, they do a little. How could that have happened?"
had a really wild theory, but was afraid to mention it. She also
smelled the hamburger burning in the kitchen that she had been cooking.
do something for me please. The hamburgers are starting to burn
in the kitchen. Could you go take the pan off the burner for me?"
be right back"
seemed to blur for a fraction of a second, and then disappeared.
Where did he go? He vanished!
he was suddenly beside her talking.
are burnt, Hon. I don't think they'll be any good."
you went to the kitchen and back in what seemed to be less than
impossible. I walked there and back. You were sitting on the couch,
but then again, you weren't moving after I got up. And the frying
pan wasn't making any sizzling noise and the smoke seemed to be
hanging in mid-air. That would mean I'd have to be moving at an
impossible rate of speed. And when I gathered the trash and took
it outside, everything seemed too quiet, as if the world had stopped.
What the heck is going on?"
think it's the tattoos, Tom. They seem to relate to how you've able
to do these things. The surge of knowledge, the super-speed. Somehow
the tattoo transfers its attributes to you. I did some research
yesterday on the prints and paintings I saw hanging above the tattooist's
work area. Being in Art History I was able to figure out where they
had come from. They were representative of an ancient Celtic religion.
A religion that believed in the transference of power. And I also
saw Ponjin praying over his supplies on his workbench before beginning
the tattoo on you."
God," Tom exclaimed. "This is too wild to even believe!"
know, we should go ahead and go to bed, we're both tired and my
head is killing me. We can figure out what to do tomorrow, if anything."
I am pretty tired for some reason."
Tom couldn't sleep that night. He was either tossing in bed or up
pacing around the house, trying to figure out what this all might
mean. The alarm went off and he was still awake. Might as well try
to go into work and try to act normal. Emma and Joey went off for
their daily routines also.
made sure she left on time to get home. She was really worried about
Tom. She was waking up last night about once an hour since Tom was
up all night pacing or looking up stuff on the computer. Probably
doing research. Who knew what he was looking for or thinking with
that snap-to intelligence he had acquired.
she arrived home she found a note on the door in Tom's writing telling
her that Joey was next door playing with the neighbor kids. Emma
went over to pick him up.
where did Daddy go?"
said he was going back to the tattoo guy."
he say what for?"
but he was up in my room for a while looking through my action figures.
Then he found my comic books. He left in a big hurry Mommy, with
all of my Superman comics. Is he going to bring them back?"
was thinking to her self, 'Oh my Dear God, what has he done?'
"I hope he will, Joey,' she said, trying to reassure her son.
"I hope he will."