Copyright on this story text belongs at all times to the original author only, whether stated explicitly in the text or not. The original date of posting to the MMSA was: 22 Feb 2018
Justin gets a tattoo
The sun had just started to set when the young wolf hurried down the street. Peering back and forth
as if making sure he wasn’t being watched, he jogged from shop doorway to doorway. With a quick motion,
he ducked through one door. The bell gave a soft rattle as he snuck into the store. In the setting sunlight,
the sign above the shop door read clearly
Earnie’s Tattoo Parlour and Piercings.
Justin tugged down the hood of his jumper and glanced around at the front of the parlour. The walls were decked with scraggly, brightly-coloured images meant to inspire the minds of anyone who happened to be sitting around this makeshift waiting room. They made the room feel enclosed and claustrophobic. Justin unzipped his hoodie and looked over at the large, heavy-set warthog man who overflowed across the room’s narrow desk. The man, Earnie, was covered in tattoos. Every spare scrap of flesh was dotted with ink, even peeking from beneath his thinning hair line. He peered up at Justin from behind the ratted pages of an old paperback novel.
Yes? he grumbled,
What do you want?
Justin paused, glancing around for a moment. He hadn’t wanted to come back in here, not so soon after
the last time. Thinking about the last time, he wanted to reach up to rub his eyebrow piercing. He swallowed,
I want a tattoo.
Earnie placed his book down squarely on the table, and peered intently at Justin. His eyes ran up
over the wolf’s baggy black jeans, across his striped hooded jumper, and stopped at his fringed emo-style
No’ he said,
You’re too young.
Justin bit his lip and sighed.
Aw come on’ he whined,
I’ve got a permission note and everything.
The warthog shook his head, and leaned across the desk to tap his finger against a thin cardboard sign. No chance. Over twenty-one’s only he read aloud from the sign.
Justin rolled his eyes and took a deep breath.
I’ll pay upfront’ he offered,
And I’ve got $50
extra if you do it.
Earnie tipped the sign over, setting it face-down.
Without any hesitation, Justin dug into his pockets to recover a handful of crumpled notes. He tugged
them free. While he counted, Earnie peered intently at the young wolf.
Now I recognise ya’ he declared.
You were in here for your eyebrow piercing, about seven months back.
Justin nodded, enthusiastically.
Yeah, that was me!
Heard your dad spanked you for it wheezed the warthog.
The wolf glanced down to hide the soft red hue that crossed over his face. He blushed.
you? he barked. Then he thought,
I mean, no, he didn’t. I was just, like, grounded and stuff. That’s
all. No biggie.
A sneering grin crossed Earnie’s plump face.
Justin dropped the notes onto the desk. For good effort, he dropped along with it his carefully forged permission note, containing his father’s signature in clear, shaky and noticeably forged handwriting. The tattooist took no notice of this, and motioned the young wolf towards the back room.
The back room of the parlour held a hefty leather tattooist chair, a mould-encrusted sink, and a
fine layer of dust. Beneath the dust sat a variety of equipment, including inks, piercing guns, and needles.
Earnie fumbled his way along a narrow wooden shelf, and moved his half-finished takeout dinner boxes to
one side. He grabbed his tattoo iron, and began to shake loose the layers of dust and burger grease.
what kinda ink do you want?
Justin sunk down into the chair, his eyes bright with excitement and anticipation. I want a green lantern emblem on my arm he barked cheerily.
A wha? snorted the warthog.
An emblem’ explained the wolf. He shuffled over slightly to give himself access to one of the
deep pockets in his pants, and dug into it. He yanked free a torn, crumpled and dog-eared Green Lantern
comic book. He creased it as flat as he could on the arm of the chair, and pointed emphatically at Hal
That one. On my arm.
Earnie gave a terse, short-tempered grunt.
Whatever, comic book boy, it’s your arm. Lose the shirt.
Justin shrugged off his jumper, and tugged his black t-shirt free, leaving his small metal ankh necklace
rolling against his taut chest. He grabbed onto the armrest, his eyes starting to focus on the tattoo
iron. Earnie gave the needle a few whirrs, letting the dust shake themselves free.
This isn’t going to, erm... hurt, is it?
The warthog glared at the wolf.
Yes’ he replied sardonically,
Of course it bloody well will.
Justin nodded, and swallowed. The needle whirred up again, and the wolf screwed his eyes shut. He
glanced away. The tattooist clutched a large hand against the wolf’s upper arm, and Justin felt the needle
brush his skin.
Wait! he called out.
Earnie looked up,
I... began Justin. He bit his lip.
Ermm... he continued, before he realised that he
wasn’t actually saying anything. He was simply trying to delay the experience. He took a deep breath.
How bad will it hurt?
Earnie set the needle down.
Remember when your dad spanked you for getting your eyebrow piercing
done? he asked. Justin nodded, all pretence gone.
Worse than that’ explained the warthog.
Okay said Justin, growing more nervous by the second. Earnie picked up the needle again, and kicked the whirring into full force yet again. It sounded even louder this time. Justin grasped onto the arm of the chair. He gripped the armrest, and squeezed. He squeezed until his knuckles flexed strong against the back of his hand. He grit his teeth, all in preparation for the sensation. Earnie lowered the needle against the boy’s arm.
Justin felt a scratch.
With that, he leapt from the chair, scrambling across it to the opposite side of the tattooist. He
clutched at his arm.
It hurt! he yelled.
Earnie slammed the needle down angrily on the armrest.
I told you it would! What do you bleeding
Justin growled defensively,
I don’t know! Do it without it hurting!
The warthog felt his patience draining out like water gushing from a broken glass.
And how am
I supposed to do that, you little brat? Do you want something to bite down on?
No! retorted Justin,
You’re just... he paused, thinking vapidly,
You’re just not
doing it right.
Earnie rose to his feet. ’I’ve been in the trade for thirty years’ he bellowed.
Justin felt like he could stamp his foot,
Maybe you’ve forgotten how to do it properly!
Sit down! growled the warthog.
No way, you’re totally crazy! retorted the wolf.
Earnie pushed the chair out of the way of his hefty stomach and began to roll up his sleeves.
your dad doesn’t whup your butt right, boy’ he growled,
Think I’m going to have to do it myself!
A look of fear flashed across Justin’s face. His eyes widened.
You what? he yelped in panic.
You can’t spank me! No chance!
Rising to his full considerable height, the warthog advanced upon Justin, I can and damn well will he rumbled.
Justin backed away a few steps, his path blocked by a crumbled array of cobweb-encrusted shelves. The warthog grabbed ahold of the boy’s shoulder, and Justin realised just how large Earnie’s hands looked. Large, and doubtless very strong and hard. He blushed furiously. He tried to bat at the warthog’s large hands, but the ink-encrusted tattooist took no notice. Instead, the warthog grasped ahold of the wolf’s shoulder with one strong hand, forcing him into a prone position across one litter-strewn desk. The other hefty mitt grasped ahold of the back of Justin’s pants, ready to yank them down and begin the spanking.
With no recourse left, Justin did the only thing he could do.
He turned and leapt atop the warthog, sinking his sharp vampiric fangs into his prey’s unsuspecting neck. He drank frantically, draining the tattooist of his blood, sating his own undead thirst. The warthog’s body crumpled to the floor with a thud, his skin growing pallid as his blood was drained.
Justin rose, wiping his lips. He checked his arm. Just a scratch. He sighed. Maybe he’d be able to work up to a tattoo, he thought to himself. Maybe best to start with something easier, like another piercing.
He left Earnie’s body where it was, and strode out of the parlour. He stopped at the desk, pocketing his crumpled dollar notes. The moon was now in full bloom, the winter night air making it glow pale and bright. Justin pulled on his shirt, fastening his jumper tight. He opened the door, the silence broken with its soft ringing. Then he paused.
He closed the door, and sighed. Hide the body. He rolled his eyes. What a drag. But he remembered
what his dad said,
Don’t give the mortals any reason to suspect us, lad. He thought back to the
last time he’d forgotten to properly dispose of his prey, and the spanking he’d received for that. He
turned the sign on the door, setting it to read
closed, and went into the back office in the hopes
of finding some disposable bin bags.