LIVING INK • by Eddie D. Moore

Justin spent hours talking to his tattoo, Jill; and most of the time followed her advice. When he was sad, Jill would do a little dance which always cheered him up. If his friends came over to play games and joke around, she would fill his mind with laughter and many witty remarks and he often would share them with the group. To everyone else she was just another tattoo, but for Justin she was a friend and companion, until he met Sabrina.

Sabrina was gorgeous with long, dark hair, a full figure and a spontaneous personality. His heart burned intensely whenever he saw her or heard her voice. At first, Jill was silent and said little. Justin thought it was very considerate of her to allow them their privacy. But it was not long before the silence became snarky remarks, pointing out things Jill considered flaws — her ears are too pointy, isn’t one of her nostrils bigger than the other, or will the chairs support those thighs. Jill’s comments got more personal and eventually became outright insults accompanied by rude hand gestures. Despite Jill’s attempts to sway Justin’s feelings, he only had eyes for Sabrina.

In frustration, Justin returned to Living Ink Tattoos searching for answers. The tattooist, Bill, had just finished giving a customer instruction on how to care for her new tat and she was leaving as Justin waited inside. Bill had several tattoos and piercings, though some found his appearance to be intimidating, he was one of the nicest people you could hope to meet.

“What can I do for you, Justin?”

“Well, I have a new girlfriend and Jill just doesn’t like her at all.”

“Ha! I don’t do relationship counseling.”

Jill was apparently in a very bad mood because she began to mumble about counselors wearing ties not tattoos, having desks instead of glass counters, and books instead of drawings.

Justin ignored her ranting. “Let me look through your portfolio again.”

Bill began to flip the pages, pointing to options that he considered his best works of art. Daggers, webs, and dragons were among his personal favorites. After he flipped a few pages he came to a man riding a motorcycle. The wind blew in his hair and he wore black leather from head to toe. Jill gasped then hummed to herself. She told Justin this is what a real man looks like and asked why he did not have any leather.

“I’ll take this one, Bill.”

“Good choice! Where do you want him?”

“Let’s put him on my shoulder close to Jill.”

“Let me step into the back room and prepare to work the magic. I’ll be right back.”

After a few minutes Bill returned with three bottles of ink and began, as he promised, to work his magic. They talked about motorcycles, craft beers, and women. Time passed quickly and before long Justin was admiring the new tattoo in a mirror.

“You do miraculous work, Bill. I think I will call this one Jim.”

“Thank you. You already know how to take care of it. When you are ready for the next one, I will be here.”

By the time Justin got home, Jill and Jim were practically engaged. Sabrina met him at the door and greeted him with a long passionate kiss. With Jill focused on Jim, he could once again enjoy his time with Sabrina. Justin now understood why you never see anyone with only one tattoo.


Eddie D. Moore travels extensively for work, and he spends much of that time listening to audio books. The rest of the time is spent dreaming of stories to write and he spends the weekends writing them. His stories have been published by Jouth Webzine, Saturday Night Reader, Every Day Fiction, Theme of Absence, Flash Fiction Magazine, and Adventure Worlds. Find more on his blog: eddiedmoore.wordpress.com.


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 average 4.6 stars • 5 reader(s) rated this

Every Day Fiction

  • Paul A. Freeman

    Good build up in the story, but the pay off was a bit weak for me. I also found the dialogue was a little wooden due to a lack of contractions.

    • Eddie Moore
      Thanks for the advice about the contractions! I did put a few in but I did not notice that there were several times that I "did not" (ha) when I should have. Lesson learned. You may have just made me a better writer.
    • I am never sure about this because of course there are people who deliberately "do not" (not "don't") use contractions.
      • If I am writing dialog for a character that should be of some education I try to avoid contractions.
        • Chris Antenen
          Nope, again. I have a lot of education and I use them all the time. It's context that's important. Sorry, didn't mean to be bossy.
          • No problem.
          • I agree. Contractions in dialogue are very context-specific. I also use them all the time in everyday conversation, as most people do. I consider them an important part of making a conversation on paper sound more realistic.
      • Chris Antenen
        I think you should read it aloud. What's wrong with contractions? We're not writing essays. I would have written "I'm never sure about this," because that's the way I talk.
        • You will admit that "You can not be serious" (a la John McEnroe) is different in emphasis from "You can't be serious".
          • And incidentally I was not saying there was anything wrong with contractions, just that some people do not use them and some can't live without 'em :)
          • Chris Antenen
            Oh, yes, and he also used "Seriously?' in the commercial. Do you realize how long ago that was? I don't want to. Good point, though.
      • Jessica Carter
        I do not use a lot of contractions. It is more about making sure I am understood. Probably because I spend the vast majority of my time with children - "No. I said do *not* touch that," - and so forth.
        • Paul A. Freeman
          We're talking about exceptions. We dispense with contractions when talking with children or when talking to people with a limited knowledge of English, or who are partially deaf, etc.. And often those for whom English is not a first language will not use contractions because they think this is 'proper' English. Best to look through some modern books and read your work aloud to find out how it sounds.
  • Paul A. Freeman

    Good build up in the story, but the pay off was a bit weak for me. I also found the dialogue was a little wooden, largely due to a lack of contractions.

    • Thanks for the advice about the contractions! I did put a few in but I did not notice that there were several times that I "did not" (ha) when I should have. Lesson learned. You may have just made me a better writer.
    • I am never sure about this because of course there are people who deliberately "do not" (not "don't") use contractions.
      • If I am writing dialog for a character that should be of some education I try to avoid contractions.
        • Chris Antenen
          Nope, again. I have a lot of education and I use them all the time. It's context that's important. Sorry, didn't mean to be bossy.
          • No problem.
          • I agree. Contractions in dialogue are very context-specific. I also use them all the time in everyday conversation, as most people do. I consider them an important part of making a conversation on paper sound more realistic.
      • Chris Antenen
        I think you should read it aloud. What's wrong with contractions? We're not writing essays. I would have written "I'm never sure about this," because that's the way I talk.
        • You will admit that "You can not be serious" (a la John McEnroe) is different in emphasis from "You can't be serious".
          • And incidentally I was not saying there was anything wrong with contractions, just that some people do not use them and some can't live without 'em :)
          • Chris Antenen
            Oh, yes, and he also used "Seriously?' in the commercial. Do you realize how long ago that was? I don't want to. Good point, though.
      • Jessica Carter
        I do not use a lot of contractions. It is more about making sure I am understood. Probably because I spend the vast majority of my time with children - "No. I said do *not* touch that," - and so forth.
        • Paul A. Freeman
          We're talking about exceptions. We dispense with contractions when talking with children or when talking to people with a limited knowledge of English, or who are partially deaf, etc.. And often those for whom English is not a first language will not use contractions because they think this is 'proper' English. Best to look through some modern books and read your work aloud to find out how it sounds.
  • Jessica Carter

    Ha! I was entertained the entire time. I love reading about crazy people – or is he crazy?! 🙂 Also, what an original idea! Talking tattoos. I bet there are tons of people who are glad they don’t really exist.

    • They don't exist? "Hush, Jill stop talking like that about her!"
    • My niece had a tattoo of a naked pink angel on her arm. It was very large and totally appropriate to a teenage Hell's Angel. She had a few words with it when she became a grandmother and decided it was really no longer appropriate!
      • Chris Antenen
        That's funny.
        • Yes. Mind you it was expensive to get it removed and her arm looked as if she has been burnt for months afterwards.
  • Jessica Carter

    Ha! I was entertained the entire time. I love reading about crazy people – or is he crazy?! 🙂 Also, what an original idea! Talking tattoos. I bet there are tons of people who are glad they don’t really exist.

    • They don't exist? "Hush Jill, stop talking like that about her!"
    • My niece had a tattoo of a naked pink angel on her arm. It was very large and totally appropriate to a teenage Hell's Angel. She had a few words with it when she became a grandmother and decided it was really no longer appropriate!
      • Chris Antenen
        That's funny.
        • Yes. Mind you it was expensive to get it removed and her arm looked as if she has been burnt for months afterwards.
  • Tamera Norwood

    I loved this story. It was clever and sweet, and a tiny bit scary. If the dialog needs a little more attention, the idea was still a flash of brilliance. The ending gave it a fairytale quality, and made me smile. You’re a natural storyteller.

    • Thank you! You made me smile.
    • I agree. Some stories ought to be "happy ever after." That is what fiction is all about :)
  • Tamera Norwood

    I loved this story. It was clever and sweet, and a tiny bit scary. If the dialog needs a little more attention, the idea was still a flash of brilliance. The ending gave it a fairytale quality, and made me smile. You’re a natural storyteller.

    • Thank you! You made me smile.
    • I agree. Some stories ought to be "happy ever after." That is what fiction is all about :)
  • A clever and cute story. Definitely original. I wonder, were you at all tempted to call the second tattoo “Jack”? If so, it’s good you didn’t…

    • The name crossed my mind but never considered. I have the hardest time choosing names for my characters. I needed a J name and a good friend of mine happens to be a biker named Jim, problem solved. Thanks for the encouragement!
  • A clever and cute story. Definitely original. I wonder, were you at all tempted to call the second tattoo “Jack”? If so, it’s good you didn’t…

    • The name crossed my mind but never considered. I have the hardest time choosing names for my characters. I needed a J name and a good friend of mine happens to be a biker named Jim, problem solved. Thanks for the encouragement!
  • Joy Manné

    I loved it. You surprised me all the way along and i couldn’t guess the ending.

  • Joy Manné

    I loved it. You surprised me all the way along and i couldn’t guess the ending.

  • Chris Antenen

    I really liked this story. One ‘but’ — but you didn’t need to explain so much in the last paragraph. Readers are smart, you didn’t need to tell us that ‘With Jill focused on Jim . . ..” Last sentence is iffy. Really liked the title and the premise.

    • Thanks Chris, In hind sight I have struggled with the last sentence. I probably could have phrased it better.
      • Chris Antenen
        Nope, I know the feeling -- you want to keep that last idea. Don't.
  • Chris Antenen

    I really liked this story. One ‘but’ — but you didn’t need to explain so much in the last paragraph. Readers are smart, you didn’t need to tell us that ‘With Jill focused on Jim . . ..” Last sentence is iffy. Really liked the title and the premise.

    • Thanks Chris, In hind sight I have struggled with the last sentence. I probably could have phrased it better.
      • Chris Antenen
        Nope, I know the feeling -- you want to keep that last idea. Don't.
  • The opening line is a classic. It ranks alongside “It was a cold clear day in April and the clocks were just striking thirteen” (1984) and the rest of the story does not disappoint.

    • "It was a bright cold day in April" was what I had in mind :)
    • Thanks Derek, My favorite opening line to a story is "Once there was a dead man." A World Out of Time, Larry Niven
  • The opening line is a classic. It ranks alongside “It was a cold clear day in April and the clocks were just striking thirteen” (1984) and the rest of the story does not disappoint.

    • "It was a bright cold day in April" was what I had in mind :)
    • Thanks Derek, My favorite opening line to a story is "Once there was a dead man." A World Out of Time, Larry Niven
  • Very enjoyable story you’ve written here, Eddie! Cool concept, and great execution. You didn’t overdo it with the talking ink, and I’m glad because that would have bogged down the story.

    I’m also glad (as others have mentioned) that you chose to use Jim instead of Jack.

    I agree with Paul (and others) on the contractions. It’s how most of us speak. But I will say that I didn’t notice it too much in your story, which is good. Any story that can keep me from seeing minor flaws in the writing is a good story by me. And this was definitely a good story. Thanks for sharing! I look forward to reading more of your work.

    • I'm glad you enjoyed it Scott! Thank you for your thoughtful comments.
  • Very enjoyable story you’ve written here, Eddie! Cool concept, and great execution. You didn’t overdo it with the talking ink, and I’m glad because that would have bogged down the story.

    I’m also glad (as others have mentioned) that you chose to use Jim instead of Jack.

    I agree with Paul (and others) on the contractions. It’s how most of us speak. But I will say that I didn’t notice it too much in your story, which is good. Any story that can keep me from seeing minor flaws in the writing is a good story by me. And this was definitely a good story. Thanks for sharing! I look forward to reading more of your work.

    • I'm glad you enjoyed it Scott! Thank you for your thoughtful comments.
  • Adrienne

    Great story. Entertaining and clever!

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  • Ej Shumak

    Nice and smoothly renered — dialog was believable. Neat finish —