Johannes Punkt’s Flaskpost

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Tag: tattoos

Welcome to the Airport Tattoo Parlour

Hello readers,

I just want to let you know that I also have a newsletter called Airport Tattoo Parlour over here at this link: I write there about as often as I write on this blog, that is once a month. Except the newsletter is better than the blog. Below is one of the letters which sets the tone for what I try to atmospherize with them:


Once, my sister got a chemical burn on her hand. Turned it all bumpy and crimson. It stayed like that for a week until it went away one night, but it flares up every time she’s stressed. She stressed a lot more after the burn, of course. One day she went back to work and stole a bucket of that chemical. She found an airport tattoo parlour and asked one of the artists there to paint something pretty with it. Now her hand goes useless and filigrees blossom up her arm but it happens less often and it’s not ugly.

Drinking Game

Drink if you have bad reasons for reading these rules again.

Drink if you want there to be a reverse tattoo parlor, that sucks the faded ink right off your skin along with any scars or marks or pasts

Drink every time you look over your shoulder because your pattern recognition is oversensitive

Drink if the words “bad excuse” stand out to you as much as your name

Drink when you have a small, quiet room

Drink when you run out of words, again, as punctuation, as an endless row of commas,

Drink to me

Drink too much

Drink up

The Sweetest Dead Girl

He was young, and he believed in destiny. One day he woke up with an idea, and he bathed his dark, smooth skin in citrus oil until it glowed crimson, and set out. The first tattoo parlour he found sounded like angry insects and had the colours of a poisonous flower.

He said to the tattoo artist, who was a muscular man who seemed to have bulked up solely to get more skin to draw on, “I want to know the name of the sweetest dead girl that you ever knew, and I would like that tattooed on my arm.”


If you scan deep enough, deeper than where the blood comes from, you will see where the ink spills out. It finds its creases and grooves, and it flows down the inside of your skin until it reaches your ankles, where it fades out.

If you look at the sky, you will see where the ink runs, you will see patterns in the criss-cross, and you will know the names of the brightest lights.

Everybody’s blood is the same colour. However –

You and I stare at the sky the same way, we have the same tattoos hidden under our skin.

Routine Appointment

Once a week, every week, you head down to the tattoo parlour to get my name removed from your chest. The tattoo guy has long since stopped bothering to tell you that there’s nothing there. Those five letters are clearly still there, with the jet black of an industrial printing press, still smelling fresh. Your heart is nothing but scar tissue by now. You attempt to chat with the guy, but it rings false even in your tone-deaf ears. He suggests that if my name is still there in a week, you should consider writing something else over it instead.


One tattoo for every person whose life you have ended; they creep closer to places where it really hurts. One piercing for everyone you’ve damaged; three pills for everyone who hurt you. A little red blemish for every time you are misunderstood and a new wrinkle for wasted kindness. And after 35 years, you are already running out of skin. You say to yourself like you say every year, that this time there’ll be fewer mistakes. But next week you are back at the parlour, asking the man who asks no questions to draw a blue crow on your thigh.