Monday, December 5, 2016

I didn't do it...I don't think

Max found the blazer, pants and "work shoes" at the thrift store for a total of $5 for all of it.  He stood in front of the mirror.  He had to go. He received the invitation and thought going might drum-up some business. He had been working steadily and business was good, but he always worried that somehow, something would go wrong.

As he rode up the elevator, there were a few other people heading to the party. They smiled awkwardly at him.  He smiled and said, "I'm a real estate agent." They just smiled.

He knew from his dreams lately that something was going to happen soon.  Everyone he met, every question he answered about his "real estate work" made him feel more at edge.

Then, suddenly, the lights flickered and everything went black.  Black like the ink he uses everyday. Black like the darkest, meanest eyes of a biker who wanted a swastika tattooed on his arm that Max refused to do.

Max felt a brush against his shoulder, then the lights, then the scream and he walked out of the room, down the fire escape doors, out the door and leaned against the side of the building. It was beginning.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Shades of darkness

     Maxwell never understood his need for privacy.  The shop didn't particularly afford him much of such time. He had just sat on the couch with his feet up on the table when the tingle of the small bell sounded.
     He looked up to see a face that was a bit red with the rest bundled for the cold. "Max," she huffed. "Why is your shop so far from things?"
     He got up to pour her a cup of tea. "Well, hello to you, too, Avery."
     They had met accidentally at the Art supply store late one afternoon. They were both asking for a certain kind of pencil.  While the clerk was searching in the back, they struck-up a conversation.
     She smiled, "Sorry. Difficult days.  I haven't been able to work on anything. But, whatever, I found something--have you seen the circus people around?"
     Maxwell sighed. "They are gone, thank God."
     "No, no they are not."
     Maxwell felt a chill on his forearms. He handed her the cup of tea. "Sugar?"
     "No thanks."
     He sat back down on the couch, looked out the large side window and gazed into the the darken, empty drive-in lot. "He is still here."
     "Who's still here?" She asked.
     Max didn't realize that he had said it aloud. "Oh, nothing. Did you bring your sketchbook? Let me see."
     Banks hesitated then pulled out her books. He reached to take a look.
     She said, "I've just started." The cold no longer concerned them. Only the lines, shades and shapes of their minds were important now.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

#2 - Pictures can say a thousand words

He was really just daydreaming on the couch and before he could get up, she sat down across from him in one of the well-worn club chairs.

He had been thinking about the strange circus in town. Circus people always come in to the shop wanting bizarre designs or touch-ups on old ones. But he thought this lot was a strange bunch.  Mean, really and Maxwell could feel one guy boring a hole in his face while he touched-up his tattoo. When the guy finally spoke he only said, "You're the seer.  I knew your mother. She helped me out once or twice from a tight spot." Then not another word from him. Weird, just weird.

She came in the day after the night circus.  She looked tired, but somehow happy with herself like she knew what she was suppose to do in the world.  Maxwell's shoulders relaxed a bit and he smiled. She met his gaze and smiled back.  She seemed to fit in anywhere.  He looked out the big window and then back to his visitor.

"I'm Maxwell. Can I help you with a design or do you have one in mind?"
"Oh," She said. "I actually came in for a different reason. I'm a photographer.  And from one artist to another, I wondered if I could hang a few pictures around, maybe some of your customers may be interested in them?" Her pitch sounded a bit rehearsed, but also natural in a way.

Max thought about it a moment.  He glanced around at his walls and then met her gaze again. "Sure, sure that actually sounds pretty good. This place could use a bit of something."

She relaxed her shoulders, "Great. Great. That's marvelous." She smiled and laughed a bit.  He could see the tiredness at the edges of her eyes in the slight wrinkles. He knew she was like him, sleep wasn't a good friend to either of them.

"I am usually up at all hours, so don't worry about store hours, just come by when you've got a few pieces and we'll figure out where to hang them. I'm a night owl."

He couldn't tell if she was shy or surprised it was this easy to get a spot to show her work, but she made an awkward gesture, stood up and said "Okay, um, thanks, I'll get back here soon, then." She paused and looked around at the open spaces on the walls. "I have a few larger pieces, maybe we can just group them on one wall? I don't want you to think you have to have a bunch."

As he stood and walked out into the afternoon sun with her, he sighed and thought to himself.  "I hope she doesn't want a tattoo. I will like just knowing her and her photos." She turned and gave him a waved and headed around the corner. He didn't need anymore pictures in his life, but these may be a relief.

Monday, August 29, 2016

#1 - Deep dreams - (In the apartment above the tattoo shop called Mystic Tattoos)

Max’s day started with a jolt.  He sat upright in his bed and looked around.  His dream, for the most part, was pleasant.  He could feel the wind in his hair, eyebrows and ears as he flew down the highway on the Harley. He could feel the vibration of the motorcycle and the coolness of the air.  Then as quickly as the pleasant feeling came, it went.  Somehow the car cut in front of the bike and down it went. The pain was sudden, brutal and then darkness. That’s when he bolted upright in the bed. 

The rain was still droning against the window.  A bit of thunder rolled around in the distance. 

He had inked so many skull and crossbones on customers in the past few years that he couldn’t exactly remember who wore that one.  Well, it didn’t matter, now.  Whoever was the owner of the art, is now deceased. Max was glad that whoever it was didn’t have to suffer much. 

“You have a gift, Maxwell,” his mother always told him. “One day you will discover its power.” Then she would pause, look deeply into his eyes, and say, “I do hope you will use it wisely and for good.”

Max laid back down on his bed and listened to the rain on the roof.  

It was in high school that he discovered what he drew would be a part of him wherever it went.  

He drew happy flowers on his girlfriend’s notebook and from time to time when he would doze off in class, he could hear the teacher in her classroom drone on about math, or bio, or history. Strangely, he never felt strange that he had this ability.  He felt it was a natural as breathing.

As he went through high school he learned that this ability was both a blessing and a curse. He would secretly slip small sketches in various places just to see what would happen.  Sometimes he was amused, other times he was disgusted, and occasionally, he’d wish he’d never left one there.

This particular morning, he felt sad for the guy on the motorcycle.   Death comes so often in his dreams now.  He rolled over and tried to sleep but got up instead.  The window next to the sink was open and he could smell the rain.

As he poured the milk over his cereal, he looked around the airy one room apartment he had slowly and painfully renovated.  Only the rain was his company. 

His father was a straight-up con man and was killed for a long con gone bad. And his mother was seer.  She had a small shop on the first floor.  She would occasionally speak to the dead upon request, sometimes tell someone their future, but mostly she sold herbs, crystals, soaps and salts. She only practiced her “truth arts” as she called them, when they needed extra cash.

As he descended down the stairs to start his day, to patiently wait for his first customer, he wondered what world he would soon join.