by Raji Singh
I am James Thaddeus Fiction, the Fifth – a true Fiction. Typhoon tears me from my parents. I alone survive. I become an orphan-foundling, taken in by new loving parents Dr. Ben and Indira Singh. Now I am Raji. As an adult I return to my roots – as editor and archivist of Fiction House.
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Here at Fiction House Publishing the intrigue of the surreal outer body experience of tattooing grips us: been so for nearly two centuries. The inspiration for these needly imprints is a long-lived land-sea creature akin to a giant Galapagos tortoise. We call him ‘Turt’. He’s ever anxious to set sail on some voyage so he is an on again off again resident of the Fiction House.
Turt’s an all-around family friend.
A succinct description of Turt comes in the 1830’s by one of Fiction House’s former authors, Charles Darwin in his seminal work The Beagle Has Landed.
Sir Charles theorizes. ‘There is artwork on his shell. It is Exquisite! Like those of sailors who are completely illustrated. Surely, it is the work of the finest tattoo visionaries.’
My theory is that people want to add their personal avant-garde graffiti to Turt because, like a message in a bottle, some stranger in some strange land one day will see what their mind’s eye has to say.
I have always hankered to have a tattoo of at least just one of the images gracing my pal Turt.
Tenille says, “No Raji. If you get one, the children will be pestering me for one. No, I say. Not until they are 18. Then they may do as they choose.”
Hmm! I want to say, “But I am over 18,” but I dare not.
Still, to have even just one of Turt’s images on me is so beckoning. Turt’s been around long as I can remember. I guess maybe that he’s the big brother I never had. Maybe I want to emulate big bro, at least just a little.
Is that so wrong?
As I archive the writings of Fiction House Publishing, I’ve been coming across notes my Russian immigrant great grandmother, Shelva made concerning one of the House’s hired hands concerning an alternative form of tattoos. It is interesting, but kooky. Seems most all of his – his name is Efraim Ephraim – his ideas fit into the category of kooky.
‘Ach! This Efraim,’ g-granma Shelva writes. ‘He thinks he can train butterflies. To carry on their wings at night – fireflies. The firefly blinks will illuminate onto his arms multi-butterfly hues. And the scent of the firefly-warmed butterfly flutters will make him smell as if he’s his own personal perfume factory.
‘“I tell ya Mz. Shelva,” mine dupa hirert handEfraim Ephraim he says to me, “I’ll be an irresistible, sweet-smelling work of art to all the single ladies when I promenade down Mainstreet at night. I’m sure to find a wife afore summer is over.”
‘Ach! That Efraim. Pretty soon he will be wanting to ride downtown, upon Turt’s shell. He’ll want his butterflies and fireflies to carry paper-thin mirrors so he can project Turt’s tattoos onto himself. So he can garner a whole harem with his ever changing array of body markings.’
I say to myself after reading g-granma Shelva’a analysis of the situation. “Hmm! Kooky as it all sounds, maybe there’s something here to consider. No, not with the wife, the harem, the butterflies, or fireflies. But with the tattoos.”
As the taletellers say, “Well, to make a long story short…” I know now how I can have a Turt tattoo for myself, many of them, and, ever changing. The 21st century’s new technology will allow it. Better yet! Tenille cannot object.
I take the projection idea and discard the rest of the kookiness. The result: My own miniature drones, tinier than any butterflies.
They ferry minsiscule cameras, almost microscopic compared to a firefly.
Circling me constantly, they project onto my skin pictures of the tattoos that bless Turt.
I’ll not mind the myriad of onlookers who will stop to gawk at me. I’ll just pitch them on my Non-Indelible Tattoo System, NITS (patent pending) that they and you too, soon, may order from Fiction House Publishing for a reasonable price (plus shipping and handling).
Be the first on your block, in your city, possibly in your state to own it. (Not legal in the state of Vermont, or the cities of Cincinnati, Ohio, or International Falls, Minnesota.)
(Read more of Turt in the novel, Tales of Fiction House. Join me every Sunday night at the Fiction House, your place for short story, lark, whimsy, and merriment. Meet the many residents as I archive their lives and centuries of adventures. You can read of their origins in my novel TALES OF THE FICTION HOUSE. My novel is available at Amazon, (Kindle and Trade Paperback) and Barnes and Noble.)
©2014 Raji Singh