Today’s prompt is to write a story based on this illustration:
“Uncle Bo! What’s on your leg?!” Aw, crap. He wasn’t supposed to let her see that until she was at least 10.
“Um, nothing?” She laughed like she always did at his I’m-not-hiding-anything-I’m-definitely-hiding-something voice.
“You’re silly.” She moves his hand where he was trying to pull the cargo shorts back over his ink. “It’s a funny little guy! Did you draw that? Mom says you shouldn’t draw on yourself, ’cause you’ll get poisoned.” He got a little spit shower on that word. “But I can show you how to get it off! One second!” And she ran off. Should he just tell her? Or pretend it was somehow magical? Magic would probably mean she would draw on herself. Telling her would mean … well, either way, his sister was going to be pissed. (She really needed to relax.)
Casey ran back in with her Little Mermaid washcloth, dripping a water-trail behind her. She squatted down and started to scrub. He watched until she got that determined but frustrated look she had when she knew something was supposed to work but didn’t. “Maybe it needs soap.”
He caught her and tickled her and hugged her tight before she could get away again. “UNCLE BO! I HAVE TO GO GET SOAP! LET ME GO!”
“Case, it’s not gonna work. That little guy is permanent.”
“No. You just need to wash it better.”
He laughed. “True. But all the washing is not going to get it to come off. It’s a tattoo. I got it when I was a teenager, and it’s gonna be on my skin forever.” Her face looked exactly like her mother’s when she had first seen it.
“Why would you do that?”
“I have no idea.” He tickled her again to erase that face. “No, kidding. I … I was young and dumb. But – I don’t know – I like him. I just… He reminds me that the things I’m scared of, scared to do, are totally ridiculous and I should just laugh at them. He makes sure I don’t take myself too seriously.”
“BO! WHAT. No, cover that up. Don’t tell her about that.” His hand was instantly on his shorts, putting them back in place.
“Uh, too late?” His sister rolled her eyes.
“No, Mom, it’s okay. It helps Uncle Bo.”
“Helps him how?”
“It makes him laugh.”
“Really? That’s what you told her? Did Uncle Bo tell you the part about how he wished he’d never gotten it?” His face flushed. He didn’t want to tell her that part. His niece is looking at him with a question.
“Yeah. I mean, I – if I could do it again, I wouldn’t have gotten it, I think. But it’s mine, so … yeah.”
His sister walked over and picked up her daughter, accusing him with her eyes, but saying as nicely as she could, “Dinner’s ready.”
His dream was suddenly tickling him. Which was unfortunate because the beach scene where he was hunting for a single, seafoam green eye melted away into his room. The beach was nice. He couldn’t remember why he needed the eyeball. He felt a brush on his leg and automatically kicked away.
“Hold. still, Uncle Bo. I’m fixing it.”
“Casey?” His eyes were starting to adjust; he could make out the faded purple Minnie Mouse nightgown. “What are you doing?”
“Mom says this is how you get rid of mistakes. Your tat. toooo. was a mistake, right?”
“Um, kinda, yeah.”
“Then I fix it! Hold still.” She reached out with some white brush and painted his leg. He sat up, trying not to disturb her work.
“What is that?” She held out the little bottle, and he took it. He leaned over and flipped on the bedside lamp. White-Out. He started laughing. “Oh, Casey. You clever little girl.” She beamed. He handed her the bottle and slid his tattooed thigh closer to his niece.