A Christmas Tattoo
Mired to the hips in a too-soft couch, I shove the cell phone hard against my ear for closer contact with my daughter. J is sobbing, stranded by a blizzard at an airport a thousand miles away. Beside me—the side opposite the phone—my son slouches, a six-foot, skinny teenage mop-top. B’s posture is defensive, his expression stricken. The couch, in textured velour, muted greens and gold, clashes with the view through the storefront window behind it: the buckling asphalt parking lot of a seedy Tampa strip mall and the words PIERCINGS * TATTOOS, blazoned on the glass in biker orange and gunbarrel-gray. We’re in line to get our Christmas present—a together-tattoo, a rite planned for weeks—with only two-thirds of our three-person family on hand....
Selected Fiction and Creative Nonfiction