The Bride

“Not too cold for you, is it?” Pic unwrapped a fresh needle and clipped it into the gun.

“I ride a Hog. What do you think?” Jen hooked her T-shirt over her leather jacket on the coat-stand and dropped into the chair.

“Ha! But you don’t ride it topless.”

“I have done. Why? You shy?” She grinned. “You not seen boobs before?”

“Oh, there’s not an inch of skin, male or female, I haven’t inked at some point. I just didn’t want you shivering at a crucial moment, you know? It’s bad enough when some pussy flinches at the first touch of the needle, but if you give a shiver just as I’m filling in, I could cross the whole thing out.”

“No, I’m good. Besides, this is hardly my first time, right?”

“Right.” Pic cast a professional eye over Jen’s tattoos. “That one’s new. Who did that?”

“Jesse, over near Bolton. We were there for a festival. You know him?”

“No. Nice job though. Not as good as me, obviously, but nice enough. So, you want it where? High up here?” He indicated Jen’s upper chest.

“Yeah, sort of curved a bit, like this, and in that fancy font.”

“Gothic, yeah, I got it. You want to swab yourself down?” He handed her an alcohol gauze. “You know, on account of me being shy and not having seen boobs before.”

They chuckled as Pic set up the gun and Jen swabbed the area of skin.

“How long will it take?”

“You can’t rush genius,” said Pic. “Why? You on a promise? Your boyfriend waiting for you?”

“Jealous? Just wondered, that was all.”

Pic shrugged. “An hour, maybe. Forty-five minutes at a push.”

He leant forward and gave the trigger an experimental squeeze.

“This Jesse used a transfer first, then inked over it,” said Jen.

Pic sat back up. “Yeah, some people do that, if it’s an intricate design, and especially if they’re not as good as me. That’s why I’m called Picasso, see? I’m an artist. Don’t need any transfers. You ready now?”


“Only every time you talk, you move your chest, so if I’m going to do this, you’re going to need to keep still and keep quiet, okay?”

“You may be the only man in creation that can tell me to shut up and still keep his teeth, you know that?”

“Yeah, well, I’m flattered. Now shut up.”


“Done,” said Pic, sitting up and stretching his lower back. “Not a bad job, if I say so myself.”

Jen squinted down at her chest. “Yeah? What’s that?”

“It’s an apostrophe. Apostrophe S, on account of you belonging to him, see? It’s going to be there forever, so it has to be grammatically correct, right? I’m not just an artist, I’m a whatsit too. You know, a linguist. Don’t worry, I threw that in for no extra charge.”

“Lemme see.” Jen stood up and walked over to the full-length mirror. “Not bad, Pic, not bad. I like the lettering. It’s got class.”

“Yeah, it’s not just a tat, it’s calligraphy, that’s what it is.”

“Some of the others said they – what?” She frowned and peered at her image. “Jesus! What is this? Some sort of joke?”


Jen whirled round and pointed to the fresh tattoo. “This? What the hell is this, Pic? What are you trying to do?”

“What?” Pic stared at the tattoo, looking for the imperfection that had suddenly enraged his customer. “The apostrophe? Seriously, it’s in the right place.”

“Stuff the apostrophe! I don’t give a stuff about the pigging apostrophe! No, I mean this. Who the hell is this guy?”

“Your fiance?”

“My what?”

“Fiance. You know, old man. Husband. Other half.”

“What? I don’t have a freaking fiance. Look at me. Do I look like a prom queen? Do I look like I’m about to waltz down the aisle? Do you think I will ever see the inside of a church?”

“Well, you don’t have to get married in a church.”

“I don’t have to get married at all. I’m not getting married. I’m never getting married. And if I did, it would never be to a guy called that. Who the hell is he? What sort of dork has a name like that? You think I would ever associate with someone called that?”

“Then why did you ask me to tattoo his name there?”

“What? I – You – I -” Jen threw her hands up in frustration. “I never asked you to tattoo his name. Why the hell would I do that?”

“You did. Look.” Pic held up the sheet of paper. “See? Here. This is what you told me to put there.”

“Yeah, yeah, I did. But look. Here, see? What’s that?”

Pic shrugged. “It looks like a crossing out. I thought you’d made a mistake and scrubbed it out.”

“It’s an ‘A’!” screamed Jen. “A freaking ‘A’. What’s the matter with you? Can’t you read? All that crap about apostrophes and you can’t even read? I’m a Hell’s Angel, for crying out loud. A Hell’s Angel. I wanted ‘Satan’s Bride’ tattooed across my chest.

“Who the hell is Stan?”


About snodlander
Snodlander is the nom de plume of Bob Simms. He is an IT trainer, but it's not as glamourous as it sounds. When he's not enthralling classes with adventures through SQL Server, he writes, draws and drinks his own home-brew. Buy his novel on Amazon Kindle at The Young Demon Keeper, It's 74p, for crying out loud!

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