Well, that’s a coincidence.
Whatever he’d expected to see when he walked into a tattoo parlour, it hadn’t been two men engaged in a deep and, if appearances were anything to go by, passionate kiss. Momentarily torn between leaving again and making his presence known, Kyle shuffled his feet.
The man with his back to Kyle broke the kiss and glanced over his shoulder, a shocked expression crossing his face as soon as he spotted him.
“Shit. I’m sorry. We sorta forgot where we were I guess. What can I do for you?” The slight blush on the man’s face made him more, rather than less, attractive.
“I wonder if you’ve time to set a tattoo for me.”
“Sure, what do you have in mind?” The man stepped away from his kissing partner.
“I’ve got the design I want right here.” Kyle pulled his wallet and extracted a piece of paper featuring a dragon, peeking at it before handing it over.
That’s Darby, isn’t it? It took the man, all of two seconds to recognise the creature. “I loved that game when I was younger.”
“So did we,” Kyle said. “Darby the Dragon™ comes with lots of very special memories for me.” He hated that he couldn’t keep the sad tone out of his voice.
The man studied him for a moment then led him to a chair. “Sit down and relax. I’ll be with you in a few minutes.”
Kyle did as told. The headrest felt comfortable and he closed his eyes, fighting the images clamouring for his attention, determined to break him.
When something pressed against his collarbone he returned to his surroundings only to look away and turn his head as soon as the tattooist started his gun and proceeded the work.
“What’s your best memory about playing the game?”
The question took Kyle by surprise. He didn’t look at the man as he answered. “Playing it with my twin brother.” He couldn’t help himself, the words tumbled from his lips. “We used to do everything together until two weeks ago.” A tear escaped from his still closed eyes.
If the artist noticed his display of emotion, Kyle was unaware of it. The tattoo gun continued its assault on his skin, every painful prick welcomed and treasured.
“What happened two weeks ago?” the man asked. “You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to, of course.” His voice was soft, almost hypnotic.
“He came out to our parents.” Kyle swallowed hard. “They gave him fifteen minutes to pack his bags. I was in work when it happened. When I came home he was gone.”
He opened his eyes and turned to face Troy. “I want that dragon rainbow coloured.”
“You came to the right parlour then.” The tattooist smiled kindly. “Is this a show of support for your brother?”
“They haven’t asked me the question.” Kyle said. “I guess it’s a ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ situation.” Pain and anger stabbed at him with much more force than the tattoo gun ever could. “I guess it won’t be much longer before they’ll realize they’ve lost both their sons.”
I have to admit to being somewhat sneaky this week. Tomorrow my new book Patience will become available for early download on the Pride Publishing website. One of the main characters in that story happens to own a tattoo parlour in Dublin. While the setting and characters in my flash are not related to those in Patience, I had to take advantage of this minor promo opportunity. I do hope you’ll forgive me and that you’ve enjoyed the story.
Other stories based on either this or a related image can be found in the Monday Flash Fics Facebook group.