Box Within a Box
I was bored, waiting for my friend to call, but that was nothing new.
My mother, Judy used to say, “Just find something to do.”
I’d whine, “But there isn’t anything to do.”
She’d say, “I’m not your entertainment committee.”
And I’d sulk away, usually to my room where I’d light plastic G.I. Joe’s on fire. Or surf the net, looking at dirty pictures that I knew I wasn’t supposed to. I sort-of grew out of that phase, not entirely. I still enjoy a good bonfire, and the net is, well, the net.
The phone rang. Anastasia, or Shannon. Who would it be?
“It is I.”
“Why are you talking so weird? Did I catch you masturbating again?”
“Yer funny, Stazi. What’s up?”
“Ray Ray from Tampa Bay and I are over. Done.”
I sat up, boredom slipping away like wildfire. “No way. What happened?”
“We went to Art Bar last night. Shannon was supposed to bring that dude, Carl. Turns out she had other plans, if you know what I mean.”
I fiddled with my laptop. “I’m not sure I follow you. Shannon and Ray Ray…?”
Stazi let out a groan. “I’m so stupid. I should’ve seen it coming. She was all over him on Tuesday night when we bowled at Bayshore. I hadn’t had a single drink. Ray Ray had about ten vodka tonics. I told him that night, we’re done. Finito.”
I thought it over. I’d just cut Ray Ray’s hair for a trade. Plan was he’d give me a tattoo. I wondered now if that would happen. “I guess it’s better to know his true nature now, rather than if you, well…”
“Maybe, but it doesn’t make me feel any better. I mean, what is it with guys? Can’t keep their dicks in their pants for a day?”
I sighed. The other line beeped. “Hey Stazi, hang on, k?” I clicked over. “Hello?”
“Hey Parker, it’s Ray.” He preferred my last name.
I hunkered down on the sofa. What luck! Both on separate lines simultaneously?
“Hey Ray, can you hang? I’ve got Judy on the other line,” I lied.
“Sure,” Ray said.
I clicked back over to Stazi. “Honey, that’s my mother.” The lies were flying out faster than darting bats.
“Aw, Judy? Tell her I say hi. And Jim Squared, too.”
My mom was on her second Jim. Long story, unimportant. “Will do, and hey, hang in there. Let’s go to the mall later? Or Alterra?”
“Okay. Anyplace where we won’t run into him. That asshole.”
We hung up, and my phone rang.
“Parker?” he said.
I smiled, it was Ray Ray. “What’s up, Ray?” Spill it all, man.
“Not much. Wondered if you wanna do yer tattoo today?”
My heart raced. “Yeah, that would be cool. Should I come to the shop?” Ray worked at Cutthroat Tattoes on the east side.
“Do you know what you want done?”
Oh shit. “I was thinking, maybe some Chinese letters. You know, like a box within a box?”
“Huh? I thought you’d be down for a spiral or a dragon image.”
“Nah. Got any books at the store?” I had no clue what to get. And the only place I could imagine a tattoo was my pelvis. That way it would only be private viewings.
“I was gonna do it at your house.” Ray paused. “Is that okay?”
Okay? What would Stazi think? Not to mention Shannon. The pot thickens. Aw, why not. “Sure, that’s fine. How about this afternoon? Say, around 3?”