Got Ink?

It was a Saturday afternoon
The legion branch was full
The band was playing some old twangy country song
The front four tables were singing along
Up at the bar
A steady line up of Nevada players
hoping for another jackpot
to cover another few beers
And to make the afternoon last
Nothing worse, than having to milk
a weak draft for an hour
Until the men came back from horseshoes
About three o’clock
the branch livened up as Jimi McGonagle arrived
grandson of the past president
and general all about me, arsehole
He was strutting around
showing off his new tattoo
No different than his other
thirty or so, but it was new
and it was Jimi McGonagle
so everyone wanted to see
He was proud he now had eight peacocks
All up one leg….there’s a joke here
But, even I won’t go that far….
The crowd swarmed around him
But, in the back corner
The table….I mean THE TABLE…
didn’t move a muscle
In fact out of the three individuals at THE TABLE
Two continued with their dart game
while the third just chuckled, let out a loud
and went back to his screwdriver
with the quickly melting ice cubes
famous at all legions for helping water down the drinks
Jimi, heard the HARUMPH and looked back
The old man took a slug from the glass
and HARUMPHED louder
Jimi, perplexed, came over to see what was the matter
“Don’t like my tattoos Mr. Stein?”
HARUMPH…”they’re fine, if you like that kind of thing”
said the old man, knocking back his glass again
“Gives me eight peacocks on my leg now” said Jimi
Again, no response from me on the possible joke here
“cost me almost $700 bucks to get this one done”
“HARUMPH” said the old man….
“What is wrong with you Mr. Stein?”
“Don’t like it?”
“Like I said….”
“I know, I know”….said Jimi
“Got any ink?” asked Jimi
“Yep” answered the old man, as a fresh glass arrived
He took a slug…
“So?”…said Jimi, “Is it any better than my peacock?..
“Maybe..maybe not”…said the old man
“It just depends”
The crowd had moved away and was dropping back to the bar area
“Can I see it?” asked Jimi…”What is it?”
“’tain’t much to speak of…but I’ll show you”….
“Just quit strutting around and sit….and I’ll have another screwdriver”…
Jimi sat, and the old man looked him in the eye
“Don’t have much colour, like your’n do…don’t have any at all”…
“But, a tat’s a tat, and you want to see it”….”You sure?”
Jimi nodded, ordered the drink for the old man
“HARUMPH”…said Mr. Stein
He unbuttoned his shirt cuff on the left side
and rolled it up, with his big, beefy, work worn hands
“There she be” he said
“Where”, said Jimi
“There’n, on my wrist….just there”
“All I see is a number, an old, worn number”
“That’d be her” said Mr. Stein….”It’s all I got, and it’s all I need”
“What is it?” asked Jimi
“It’s who I am…who I was reduced to”
“It’s my curse, and my strength”…
“I was 17 when I got this in Hammelburg, Germany”….
“It was 1943 and we were rounded up”
“and sent to the camps…we were some of the last jews”
“they missed us in the first go round”
“gave me this…don’t need another one”
“It’s me…this number….it’s me”
“Yours are nice…colourful….but are they you?”
“Mine is me”…
“You can see…I have ink….only one….don’t want anymore”
“Can I sit a while?” asked Jimi
“Sure, son”….”you can tell me ’bout them silly peacocks”
“Bartender….two screwdrivers”
…and so developed a new and deep friendship….

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