Friday Flash Fiction: Watch How I Soar

Happy New Year! I hope everyone survived 2017 relatively unscathed. Me, I think my mantra for 2018 might take a page from Selina Kyle: “Four… five… still alive!”

But anyway. It’s Friday, and that means a flash fiction piece. As mentioned previously, I’m in a Facebook group called Friday Flash Fics. We’re given a photo as a writing prompt, with our flash fiction responses (500 words or less) to the photo posted every Friday.

I’m beginning to notice a trend in these photos:

image of shirtless man with tattoos in marijuana boxer shorts

Mind you, that’s not a complaint.

So the first thing I noticed about his one was not the boxers with the pot leaves on them or that he’s smokin’ hot. (Okay, maybe a little of the latter.) The first thing I noticed was that one of his tattoos is the Millennium Falcon (“Twelve parsecs!”), and another is of the mockingjay from The Hunger Games. From there, I went full-on nerd, so enjoy.

Watch How I Soar

Every tattoo tells a story about himself, he said, but they’re not the stories anyone would assume from what the tattoos look like. It took me a while to understand what he meant by that, and part of me was… well, the part of me that clicked his profile and sent him a message and invited him over, that part of me only cared about seeing what was underneath his underwear… which looked almost as ridiculous as his tattoos: old man-style boxer shorts, not even boxer briefs, and they were covered in marijuana leaves.

Neither the tattoos nor the pot boxers had been evident in his profile pictures. Those photos were all from the waist up—demure for the app, where more often than not the photos were from the waist down—and the tattoos were all on his right side, which he’d angled away from the camera in each photo. The tattoos weren’t a deal breaker for me, they were just… curious.

“A story,” I repeated. He stood framed in the threshold between the bathroom and my bedroom. I sat on the edge of my bed, barely able to keep from getting up, closing the distance between us, and tugging those stupid grampy pants off him. Patience, I told myself.

He started to hook his thumbs in the waistband of his shorts and my heart momentarily flung itself against my ribcage, like a crazed dog trying to get out of his yard. Pausing, he looked up at me; he’d lowered the shorts enough so that the V-shaped ridge of muscle was just beginning to show, pointing downward like an arrow, directing your attention toward more exciting regions. Not that I needed directing.

“You want to hear about them?”

No, I want you to get naked and get over here. “Sure.”

He smiled and stood up straight, the boxers staying where they were. Damn. He pointed at his bicep and a tattoo of the Millennium Falcon. “So, this was my favorite movie as a kid, and the last thing my dad and I did before he passed away was we sat down and watched the original trilogy all the way through.” He glanced up at me. “You know what his last words to me were?”

“May the Force be with you?” I guessed. He smiled and shook his head.

“Do, or do not, there is no try,” he said, in his best imitation of Yoda.

Me, I aimed to try.

“How old were you when he passed?”

“Sixteen. So, I asked my mom if I could get the tattoo, since I was underage, and I told her it was how I wanted to keep Dad’s memory with me.”

His expression softened as he stared at the tattoo, no doubt remembering his father. My own resolve wavered, if only for a moment. This was getting more personal than I’d expected. “And she let you do it?”

He laughed. “No, she said ‘hell no’ and why don’t I plant a tree in his honor or something. So, I had a friend make me a fake ID and I went and got it anyway.”

“A rebel.” I pointed at the one near his shoulder. “And that one?”

“The mockingjay? I was never much of a reader growing up, but my best friend told me I had to read The Hunger Games and it would blow me away, and she was right. I read the whole trilogy in like a week and those were the first books I’d read just for fun since high school.”

“Nice.” I wasn’t much of a reader either, but I’d seen the movies. I was also beginning to realize that if he told me about each and every one of his tattoos, we’d never get anywhere.

Also, heaven help me, we were getting to know each other.

“Then this one…” he said, lifting his arm and pointing at the feather on his forearm; at the same time, he exposed another one I hadn’t noticed before.

“What’s that one?”

“This?” He raised his arm over his head, displaying his tricep. The tattoo was a leaf, gently curling in on itself. When he moved his arm, it looked like the leaf was moving along his skin, too.

“So, I guess I have a confession,” he said, grinning sheepishly.

“Oh?” Great, just great. Was he going to say he was into something seriously freaky? I mean, I could go with the flow where a lot of kinky stuff was concerned, as long as I didn’t bleed or cry. Or both.

“Yeah. I’m, uh… I’m a huge nerd.”

“A nerd.” And this was confession-worthy?

“Yeah. If it’s got spaceships and aliens in it, or vampires or magical creatures or superheroes, chances are I probably watch it, read it, or play it.”

“So, what does that have to do with a tattoo of a leaf?” I asked.

“Ever hear of a show called Firefly?”