What's His Story? (aka Win a Story!)

So I'm working at the library yesterday, and I look up from the circulation desk and see this man at the copy machine--directly in front of us.

First I notice the back of his black T-shirt which reads: I Already Hate You


Then I noticed his right arm was fully tattooed, colorful swirly patterns--red, orange, green, blue--from upper arm to wrist.


My co-worker thought he might be having trouble with the machine so she swung around front to offer assistance and when he angled to speak with her, I noticed his face was tattooed in those same brightly colored, swirly patterns. Co-worker noticed too, obviously. When she returned behind the desk we acknowledged each other with subtly raised brows, a silent, "Wow." I mean we're talking a fully tattooed face. All over. Like a tribal mask. I've never seen anything like it and I've seen a lot of brow-raising things.

First I thought, "Jeez." Then I thought, "Ouch." I mean that had to hurt, right? Then I thought, "It's very well done, arty, kind of sexy." (That tribal thing.) But then, "You're going to have to look at that in the mirror for THE REST OF YOUR LIFE." Me, I like to change up my make-up and hair color (as you know) now and then. Stuck with one dramatic look all the time? No, thank you.

Anyhoo, I told myself not to stare. Human art or no, it's rude to stare. So I averted my gaze and, in the process, noticed the rip in his jeans. The really big rip in the seat of his faded, baggy denims that revealed his right butt cheek! Thank God he was wearing underwear. White briefs. But still, you know, I really didn't need to see that. My co-worker saw too. Another united quirk of the brow. What the heck? I mean who walks around with thier underwear showing? And I'm not talking about the way the kids wear their pants low on their hips revealing the the top quarter of thier 'shorts'. I'm talking the entire right rear section and if he moved just so you could probably see more. No! I did not see more! Didn't want to. Thank you very much.

From the description, you may be thinking that said man had to be in his teens or twenties. He looked, in fact, to be in his early fifties. I'm not sure what I expected when he came up to the desk to pay for his copies. I mean his T-shirt did say: I Already Hate You. Turns out he was extremely nice. Soft-spoken and polite.

When he walked away I couldn't help wondering, what's his story?

What do you think? Who is this guy? What makes him tick? Tell me his story and become eligble to win your choice of any one of my published books! Check out the selection here. Already have my books? Play anyway. Holidays are around the corner. Books make great gifts and stocking stuffers. Come on everyone. Flex your imagination and share. What's his story?

P.S. Even if you don't want a book, share a story and make my day! *g*


Cynthia said…
Okay so I don't have a story for you - yet, but I have a question.

Why didn't you ask him when he paid for his copies? I would have. Of course I have this weird quirk for tattoos.

Oh, wait I have part of a story. He has to be an artist. He hasn't worked in an office for decades, if he ever. Tattooing from the neck up is an extreme statement against society and it's norms. He has to be pretty good at what he does because that ink cost him, particularly if it was done well. The torn jeans, absent-minded genius. Too much heavy thinking about larger ideas to give his clothing much thought.

Okay, that's the best I can do on my first cup of coffee.
Beth Ciotta said…
Ya know, Cynthia, if I'd run into him while I was performing in a casino (in one of my many capactities), I probably would have expressed my intrigue with his tattoos, hoping he'd elaborate. When I'm performing, whether it be as a singer, character actor, emcee, or dance motivator, I'm a different me. Less inhibited. Crazy, huh? The real me--who you'll find at the library--is a tad more shy. Also it's a different vibe in the casinos than at at the library. However, if he comes in again, I just may comment on the face tattoo. I truly did find it fascinating.

LOVED your story, or partial story. Excellent observations. If you have more to share after a cup or two of java, please do!!
Kristen Painter said…
His wife's life long dream was to become a tattoo artist. Loving her as he did, heart and soul, mind and body, he offered himself up as her canvas to perfect her art.

Years later, at the height of her career she was killed in a tragic hit and run accident. The driver of the car was never found.

In his supreme anguish, he lost all concern for such petty things as new jeans, choosing only to express his anger at the unknown driver through his choice in t-shirts.
Beth Ciotta said…

Good one, Kristen! (and welcome)Holy guacamole. Aren't you creative in the morning!
Tori Lennox said…
He's a Maori warrior. Or was in his youth. Now he's more mellow and counsels kids to keep them out of gangs. :)
Gabriele C. said…
Lol, if you have a rip in your trousers, don't wear underwear. And wash those cheeks. ;)

He's been a Pictish warrior in a former life and has gone back so often that he can't divide his two realities any more. The rip in his jeans was caused by a Roman sword. :)
Jewell said…
When he was young, he reveled at being a non-conformist. Still does.

Rather than wondering how he got each wrinkle, he has a story for each tattoo. Every marking remains in his brain, as on his body.

That one there, that was in Sturgis when he was twenty-one and so full of himself he actually got the snot kicked out of him one night.

This one he got the night after his son was born. That one there, the one directly on his forehead, that was a huge "bite me" comment to his now ex-wife who had taken said four-year-old son, never to be seen again.

Face and body, a tapestry of his life. Who needs photo albums!
Constance said…
Bob had been a Star Wars fan since the first movie came out, back when he was an impressionable twenty something. His house was a virtual shrine. He identified with the characters, and especially Darth Vader. If only he could be that deliciously evil!

While surfing the Official SW Website one day, he read news that made his heart go pitty-pat. More Star Wars movies! Using his intricate network of Star Wars freaks..err, fans, he scooped all inside information. There was to be a villain, a deliciously evil villain as wicked and malevolent as Darth himself. Darth Maul. Bob HAD to get that part. If he could play an evil, light saber wielding Star Wars villain, his life would be complete.

A source close to George™ told him the as yet unnamed villain would have to be humanoid, but look very different than the average human. But not alien. Just different. Bob pondered his predicament, and decided to do the one thing that would win him the part. He had to show his dedication and knew only one way to let everyone know he was Serious. He trotted off to Sunshine Astral's Tattoo Parlor for a makeover. He was so excited by his plan he didn't ask for tough. He didn't ask for evil. He asked for different.
After being turned down for the part, Bob got a job traveling the country as a Mystery Copier for American Library Association, testing the dedication of library staff. But things are looking up. He has an audition tomorrow for a part on a new lawyer reality show, "Boxers or Briefs".
Beth Ciotta said…
Oh, gee. Now I have to look up Maori AND Pictish warriors! Inquiring minds... ;)

With a sword, eh, Gabriele? That had to be scary. *g*
Beth Ciotta said…
"Face and body, a tapestry of his life. Who needs photo albums!"

Love it, Jewell. :) Great story. Where you been hiding, girl?
Beth Ciotta said…
Constance! Bwa-ha-ha! Priceless.

You guys are kicking my creative butt! Love. It.

I'm going to ahve to find Scott and drag him over here...
Gabriele C. said…
You can read a bit about my Picts here. *grin* I don't mention tattoos in that scene, but the Picts obviously had a nice amount of them. :)
robynl said…
I think he is only trying to make a 'statement' to the world that he can be who he chooses. He is who he is and no one can change him. This is his way of 'standing out' and making a statement.
I'd think that the 'look' he is presenting is so he can get his kicks from people who object to it.
Scott Oden said…
No, his name is Vincent -- though if you call him 'Vinnie' he tends to take it personally. Vincent was a stock broker in his former life, a wheeler and dealer at a high-end Wall Street firm. But, Vincent had a peculiar addiction . . . ink. Like all such addictions, it started small: a tribal design on his upper bicep, easily hidden by his oxford shirt and sport coat. But, Vincent discovered that the endorphin rush caused by humming tattoo needles was more powerful than the finest heroin to him. One became two, then three. Soon, he was obsessed with scoring that next hit, with getting that next tattoo. Nor was he particularly choosy in his choice of parlors. Vincent's addiction started to interfere with work; his superiors at Dewey, Cheatham, and Howe were quick to intervene. By that time, though, Vincent was too far gone. He had become a radical, a hippy, an inked, anti-establishement rebel without no particular cause. He gave Wall Street, his cozy life, the finger and moved to a small island off the Jersey shore, near the glittering mecca of AC. He's been on a quest, of sorts, for the last decade. Vincent is writing the history of tattooing . . . on his skin (he was photocopying Ghengis Khan's tattoos, by the way). He lives hand to mouth, earning money playing the air guitar on the Boardwalk and, in turn, using it to finance his addiction. He lives in a deserted fisherman's shack about 6 blocks from the library.

After he dies, Vincent's hoping some enterprising publisher will flay his body and publish his magnum opus . . .

Beth Ciotta said…
OMG. Priceless, Scott! Just priceless.

Note to self: tour the area and see if I can find that fisherman shack. Just because.

Note to Scott: You're a litle warped. Then again that's why we love ya!
Beth Ciotta said…
Robyn, he was absolutely making a statement and he sure did stand out. I wish I had a picture!
Charlene Teglia said…
Zaz stared at the primitive device, unwilling to admit he might need assistance. He was a member of House Kalor, as his clan markings clearly showed. A race and a House far more advanced than anything Earth had to offer. Still, how to make this machine produce the two-dimensional non-interactive image he required baffled him.

His failure made him surly. More surly than usual, that is. House Kalor was known for their skill in survey and willingness to travel to the far reaches of the galaxy, not for diplomacy.
Charlene Teglia said…
Apparently he’d managed to annoy even more bystanders than usual on this survey trip as more than one Earth native had threatened to summon the Fashion Police.

Fashion Police were not listed in his database of local authorities, but between the baffling machine and the repeated threats to involve him in an interstellar diplomatic tangle for reasons that eluded him, Zaz was on edge.

Nevertheless, he did go out of his way to be polite to the woman who offered to assist him with the machine instead of offering the interfering female a one-way transport to the nearest moon.

Zaz thought the effort to not offend the natives might improve his standing if the Fashion Police did apprehend him. Or at least persuade his superiors not to downgrade his ranking.

The machine did cooperate after a surreptitious kick to the front panel, and Zaz walked out of the building with his copy.

His mission was nearly complete. A few more details and then he could finish his report on the way to the wormhole. If Gal was with him, the forms would be complete before he departed local space.

(thought if I didn't break it up, I'd run over the comment limit!)
Beth Ciotta said…
Hence why Charlene writes for multiple publishing houses. Her imagination is amazing and seeingly limitless. :)

*Beth bows to Charli... and Zaz.* Stellar story! :)

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