I was visiting with a friend today when I noticed that one of the two young men working in her front garden was someone I wanted to see – not as in visit, but really see. I knew this man had a tattoo and I had heard much about it. I wanted to see it for myself.
As I was leaving, I made sure I visited the garden where the two men were working and I struck up a conversation with them. We talked about the various perennials being planted. We talked about the one man’s wife’s latest foray into running and that they were thinking of adding a second child to their family. Then we talked about my book which gave me the perfect opportunity to broach the topic about seeing the other man’s tattoo. One of my works in progress is about a man with a full body tattoo. I needed to do some research.
I know that tattoos are personal and that the person sporting them may not want to show them off, so I broached the topic carefully – “Hey, Jimmy (not his real name) I’m told you have an amazing tattoo. May I see it?” I could already glimpse ink on his forearm and thought he’d show me that tattoo. I didn’t know I was in for a real show and tell experience.
Jimmy stopped working right away and smiled at me. “Of course you can,” he answered as he stood up from the garden where he was busy planting. Right away he pulled off his T-shirt then turned his back to me and undid his pants. Before I could yell, “stop!” Jimmy had his pants and briefs down to his ankles as he showed me the work in progress on his back, his ribs, his buttocks and his legs. His hands carefully covered his manhood as he talked over his shoulder and gave me the story of his naked back and backside. It was a zombie-Halloween combination. Jimmy’s front from the waist up was untouched and would remain that way. There would be no tattoos on his neck or below his wrists. Jimmy’s tattoos would remain private unless he wanted you to see them.
My friend stood on her front porch, speechless as the other fellow (I’ll call him Fred) made Jimmy bend over so that I could appreciate the detail of the zombie’s toothy red mouth on Jimmy’s right buttock and its body that was now part of Jimmy’s leg. Both Fred and I moved in closer to Jimmy’s backside as the detail was pointed out to me. I noticed every fine white hair on Jimmy’s butt.Then my eyes moved up to the two children walking across Jimmy’s back. They were trick or treating. I don’t know if they were zombies or human.There were houses, other zombies, jack-o-lanterns and so much more on Jimmy’s back. It was not finished – only the outlines were done.
Jimmy told me how long it took to come up with the concept, how long it took to meet with the artist and have him agree to do the work, and how long it took to have the draft sketched on his body to see if the design actually worked and so on. This is not something Jimmy takes lightly. He drives eleven hours to get to the artist’s studio. He has his back worked on for hours at a time for a day or two before he heads back home. I am amazed at Jimmy’s dedication.
As I took in Jimmy’s back, I made mental notes for my hero’s tattoos. I could now visualize the placement of the people on his back, I could see where the dragon would go (that idea came from the fellow I met at the gym, June 6th blog) and where the other tattoos would be placed. It all came together for me. I may not have written one word for the book, but I now have my visual.
Before I left, I thanked Jimmy and Fred for their time and waved good bye to my friend who was still standing on the porch. I didn’t have the chance to take one look at my manuscript, but I decided to write this blog. I never know when my muse will send someone or something my way to inspire me.Today, I thought it would be an arm. Instead it was an arm, a leg and a very cute butt. Thank you, Jimmy. Thank you muse.