Sunday, September 16, 2012

Mortal Ink - short story part 1

Mortal Ink

(part 1)
Alisha Adkins, 2012

Both brothers had done some freelance work as tattoo artists in the past, but now their dream was about to come true at last.  Having finally managed to scrape together just enough money to open a shop together, they were now on the verge of going into business for themselves.  
            The brothers were nervous and excited, almost giddy with anticipation.  It was quite late, but they were still in their shop unpacking and setting up.  They were anxious for their shop to be ready and hoped to be able to open their doors in the next week.
            Although they were not yet open to the public, Matthew had left the shop's front door unlocked in order to transport equipment from his car.  While he and his brother Michael were moving one of their new padded leather client chairs,  two men burst into the shop brandishing guns. 
            Two slightly built men in rumpled "business casual" attire had simply walked into their shop, slamming the door behind them as they waved pistols and loudly began demanding money. Both of the men sported greasy hair and wiry mustaches, were nearly a foot shorter than the brothers (who were both six foot three and a half), and were positively wispy compared to the brothers' broad, muscular frames.  One of them was wearing a bolo tie.  
            Michael and Matthew, still clutching the chair they had been arranging, looked at each other with bewilderment.
            One of the men strode over to them, his chest puffed out confrontationally, and unceremoniously struck Michael in the face with the butt of his revolver. 
            These hoodlums seemed intent upon intimidating, beating, and robbing them. Matthew and Michael both released their grasp of the chair and began to back away from the men. Michael clutched his bleeding face as he backpedaled. 
            "Guys, we don't have any cash because our business isn't open yet." Matthew tried to explain. 
            "Yeah, I'm afraid that we have nothing to give you guys." Michael echoed, punctuating his statement by spitting some blood from his mouth. 
            "Your equipment looks expensive." the man with the bolo tie said.  "What is that, a tattoo gun?  I bet all this junk would bring us some good money." 
            "Please don't do that." Matthew implored the men.
            "Please just spare us and leave the equipment." Michael pleaded, alarm rising in his voice.
            They both knew that, if their equipment was stolen, they wouldn't be able to get together enough money to replace it.  It would mean the end of their dream. 
            But the brothers' pleas fell on deaf ears; the robbers resolved to take their gear and set about examining a nearby tattoo gun.  Having backed all the way to the wall, Matthew looked behind him to the ceremonial katanas that they had meticulously displayed there just earlier that day.  While their assailants were still engrossed in appraising their equipment, he took one from where it hung on the wall, handed it to Michael, and then took the other for himself.  As if in synchronization, the two slashed their would-be attackers in unison, each cleaving his chosen foe in half. 
            The resulting mess was phenomenal. The clean up was going to add days to their projected grand opening date.  So much blood to mop up...
            And then there was the matter of the bodies.   If they reported the attempted robbery, they would undoubtedly come under scrutiny for protecting themselves and dispatching these criminals.  More importantly, the shop would become a crime scene.  That could easily add an extra month before they would be able to open and was bound to generally cause an immense amount of hassle.
            "You know, I doubt that anyone knows they were planning to come here and rob us." Matthew said as they stood over the halved bodies.  "I don't think they planned it; it was a crime of opportunity.  A door open late at night.  Nobody can tie these guys to us."
            Michael nodded.  The brothers were frequently of a single mind.  Thus, they quickly were able to reach a consensus on reporting the events of the evening.
            "Let's not." they agreed.
            "So what should we do with the bodies? " Michael inquired.
            "Well, for the time being, I guess we could freeze them.  I have a nice chest freezer."
            "Yeah, that'll prevent stink until we decide how to dispose of them.  Good idea." Michael nodded.
            Having determined a course of action, the two brothers began to peel off the bloody clothes that clung to the upper and lower halves of the bodies and then wrap them in plastic wrap. However, Matthew soon paused, an idea beginning to take shape in his mind.
            "Are you thinking what I'm thinking, Brother?" he asked.
            "I think I might be, Brother." Michael responded, a smile beginning to curl at the corners of his mouth.
            "There is a remarkable lack of tattoos on these two." Matthew said, a grin breaking across his face.
            "Not one tattoo on either of them." Michael concurred.
            "So much empty space." Matthew said solemnly.
            "It's a waste." Michael nodded.
            "Like throwing away a blank canvas." Matthew sighed.
            "You know, Matthew, we both could probably use a little more practice before we open to the public." Michael said somberly.
            "They would make ideal practice dummies for tattoo artists in training, wouldn't they?" Matthew thought aloud, a hint of excitement beginning to creep into his voice.
            "It's rare that a tattoo artist gets the opportunity to tat someone from head to toe." Michael said.
            "Let alone choose the subject of the art himself!" Matthew added.
            "It's an opportunity." Michael intoned emphatically.
            "It would be a crime to waste so much empty skin."
            "We would be remiss to squander this chance."
            "Then it's settled?"