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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Full Circle

So many blogs have had tattoos and piercings as subjects, I thought I'd share this futuristic short story I wrote for my Daughter one Christmas just to rag her about the tattoos she had acquired. Using my grandson, as a grown-up foil for my story, it zinged my Daughter pretty good. The real funny part is my grandson is now five in actuality, and he's already started questioning her about the two tattoos she has. I can't wait till he's all grown up and reads this story. :)

“Get the door, would you Colin?” The young man’s Mother called out from the back bedroom.

“Sure, Mom,” Colin answered, as he put down his video game controller, and pushed his almost six foot frame up quickly from the couch. He ran a hand through his close-cropped brown hair, hesitating momentarily as he considered whether to shut off the video game controller or leave it running. Believing he would have to hear about it from his Mom if he left it on, he sighed and turned it off. Vaulting over the back of the couch to make up for his lost moment of video game internal debate, he jogged over to the door and pulled it open. He smiled in surprise. On the doorstep stood his Grandparents, arms filled with brightly covered presents.

“Merry Christmas, Honey,” the elderly, heavy set gray haired woman said, her face crinkling into a familiar smile. “Are we too early?”

“Mom’s only been getting ready for the last hour, so she won’t be out for at least another two hours,” Colin answered quickly, taking the packages from his Grandmother, “but I suppose I can let you in.”

The elderly woman clucked disapprovingly, as the young man’s Grandfather laughed loudly in appreciation of his Grandson’s dig. “Don’t encourage him, Bernard,” she scolded. “He only says things like that, because he knows you’ll laugh.”

Colin stepped aside to allow his Grandparents to get by, grinning as his Grandfather stepped into him, jolting him back a couple of feet.

“Merry Christmas GP,” the young man said as he snapped to attention, shifting his Grandmother’s packages to his left arm, and saluting smartly with his right.

Colin held the position while his Grandfather quickly threw the packages he had in his arms on the couch. Returning to the still saluting young man, the slightly taller older man clasped his hands behind his back and circled the youth with a critical frown on his face. The old man’s iron gray hair, cut to a stubble around the sides, and about an inch in height on top, gave the Grandfather’s lean lined face an impressive scowl. After a moment’s impromptu inspection, Colin’s Grandmother, Joyce, walked over and pushed on the old man, who looked at her, but did not move.

“Leave him be, you old goat,” Joyce told her husband, squeezing in between the young and old men to hug her Grandson, who finished his salute with a laugh. “I don’t know why you two have to play this game. Your Grandpa’s going to turn you into an old sarcastic goat, just like him.”

“Stay out of this, woman,” Bernard retorted, using a gruff accent reminiscent of a Mexican bandit.

Colin laughed and hugged his Grandmother. “You two never let up, do you?”

The young man’s Grandfather broke into a grin, which completely transformed his countenance. He stuck out his scarred, work worn right hand, which Colin gripped in his. “Merry Christmas Cole. You going to come back with us and work at the shop for a few days?”

“You mean I have to work at “Bernie’s Bored Shop” again?” Colin asked, letting his last words rise into a whining toned ending.

Both of his Grandparents broke into raucous laughter at their Grandson’s quip, as their daughter Eva joined them in the living room. Her dark blue dress highlighted her long dark brown hair. Although she wore black shoes with a slight heel, she was still slightly shorter than her Mother. She hugged both of her parents, and then helped Joyce off with her coat.

“You certainly look good, Honey,” Joyce said admiringly.

“Yea, you don’t look forty at all,” her Dad marveled, drawing another appreciative snort from Colin.

“I’m only thirty-seven, you…” Eva stammered, as both her Son and Father broke into open laughter. “Shit… I mean…”

“He got you again, Mom,” Colin chided her.

“Pay no attention,” Joyce sighed. “They’ve been at it since before we even walked in the door.”

“I heard Dad out here, chortling in his annoying little way from back in the bedroom,” Eva replied, shaking a finger at her Father. “What’s so funny?”

“Has Jim been by to see you, or something?” Bernard asked his Daughter. “Cole was remarking about ‘Bernie’s Bored Shop’, and I figured my second born had been visiting.”

Eva nodded, chuckling at the phrase, which she and her younger brother Jim had used to describe her Father’s auto repair shop. He had watched them many times during the day, as they were growing up, at the shop he owned in Oakland. Unless they were destitute for spending money, neither she nor her brother ever went back to his shop for work after escaping from what they kidded their Father was bondage.

“He came by on Thursday. Cole… Colin… damn it, Dad, now you’ve got me saying it. Colin told him about planning on working for you as much as he could over Christmas vacation, and he received the usual lecture from Jim, about the old horrors of working in the Nilson Brothers Garage dungeon.”

“I like working at his shop,” Colin protested. “He’s training me, right GP.”

“You bet, Cole,” Bernard agreed, receiving another icy look from both his Daughter and Wife for shortening his Grandson’s name again. “Someone has to take over looking out for the family’s cars and trucks. By next year, you’ll be fixing whatever new gadget mobile your Uncle Jim dives into debt over.”

“We’ve sold a mess of comics too,” Colin continued. “GP showed me how to do inventory, and introduced me to the supplier the last time I worked at the shop.”

“Oh great, another comic book grease monkey,” Eva exclaimed, holding her hands up as if in supplication to a higher being.

Bernard nudged his Grandson knowingly. “Just wait till she blows up another engine, Cole. You’ll hear a whole different story then.”

“You are never going to let me live down that old Chevy Camaro, are you?” Eva asked, shaking her head.

“Not in this lifetime, little one,” Bernard promised.

“Come on in and sit down,” Eva gestured to the couch. “I’ll get some tea made.”

As they were sitting in the living room, admiring the new artificial Christmas tree, newly decorated, Eva turned to her Son. “Tell your Grandfather what you want to spend your money on, Colin.”

The teenager hesitated, as if being forced down a path he did not want to take.

“Go on,” Eva urged. “Tell him.”

Colin looked at his Grandfather, who sipped his tea with his ever present amused look. “I want to get one of those chain tattoos around the upper part of my right arm.”

Joyce, who had been sipping her tea as Colin made his announcement, almost brought the mixture back up through her nose. Bernard, who had quickly patted his wife on her back, trying to ease her choking, turned a knowing look on his Daughter.

“Well, well, well,” Bernard intoned, as Eva recognized the familiar evil, dawning on her Father’s face like a sunrise in hell. “Oh baby, the circle has finally closed on yet another little gem of history. So, what did you say, my Dear?”

Colin, intrigued by his Grandfather’s reaction, looked questioningly at his Mother, who had immediately leaned back in her seat, and rested her head tiredly on the back of the couch. “See Mom, GP doesn’t mind. What did…”

Eva sat up in horror, enough of her Father in her to recognize his whole script for this scenario was about to be played out. “Shut up Colin, we’ll talk about this later.”

“No, no, no,” Bernard said, with a grin that caused an icy, clammy shudder to race from the bottom of Eva’s spine to the nape of her neck. “Go ahead Cole, what were you going to ask?”

“I was just wondering what you said when Mom asked you if she could get her tattoos,” Colin asked earnestly.

“Why I…”

“Don’t you do it, Dad,” Eva pleaded, as Joyce tried to hold back laughter unsuccessfully.

“It’s like this, Cole,” Bernard said, leaning forward, warming to the subject. “Your Mom never asked me if she could get a tattoo. First, she showed up with one at seventeen on her ankle. She lied and told us it was a decal. Then, she went out in the first year after she turned eighteen to acquire that work of art extending down to the crack in her ass, she calls a unicorn.”

“Oh,” Colin said, suddenly realizing his Grandfather was not on his side in the tattoo controversy, but asked nevertheless. “So, what would you have said, Sir?”

“Well, I can tell you what I told her about tattoos from the time she was old enough to notice them,” Bernard replied, drinking in the resigned look on his Daughter’s face. “Your Great Uncle Jim went out and acquired a tattoo when he was sixteen. He said it was the worst thing he ever did, and regretted it his whole life.”

“I told her about that, and then I told her how my generation looked on young women who savaged their bodies with the travesty of colored ink doodles. If we saw a woman with a tattoo, when I was young, the first impression we had of her was: cheap, low life, trailer park slut. The second impression was usually just one word: whore. Now, as your Mom can confirm, I told her just that many times before she went out and did it anyway. Does that answer your question, young Jedi?”

“Yes Sir,” Colin nodded seriously. “If I were to go out and get that tattoo, someday, Mom will be sitting where you are, happily telling this same story to my teenage kid. I think I will skip the tattoo.”

“You have chosen wisely,” his Grandfather said sagely, turning to his laughing wife. “See, I told you intelligence and common sense skips a generation. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to get some more tea.”

Colin and his Grandmother laughed even more uproariously as Eva put her hands over her face, after watching the old man spring up, and head out to his Daughter’s kitchen, singing ‘Oh Happy Day’.


raine said...

Very good--and very true, lol!

BernardL said...

Thanks Raine, I'm glad you liked it. It's always the less than stellar things we do that haunt us later through our kids eyes.