FICTION
Missed Connections / Red Head at the House of Needles
Andrea Blythe

Photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash

i am normally not the kind of dog who whistles at women on the street or stalks them with my eyes. i figure ladies have enough to worry about without some creeper giving them a hard time

but the other day, i was in this tattoo shop because i was a teenage idiot who let a friend of a friend try to test out their brand new tattoo needles at a party and my idiot drunk brain thought it would be hilarious to have Bart Simpson on my rib cage haha and it turned into mottled yellow blob because the guy was as drunk as fuck. so i was at this place because that shit needed to be fixed like now.

i was on the bed couch thing. laying on my side. shirt off in the chill air making my nipples hard as points and my arm up over my head. just lounging you know like an geeky awkard version of an underwear model while the tattooist with hairy knuckles and ice cold fingers starting applying the pain. and i remember thinking i must have been really drunk last time because i sure as fuck don’t remember it hurting so much. when you walked with your hair so

so red, like brick red like cabernet savinon red like the red of a beating heart and you got this black tank on that doesn’t quite hit the top of your jeans so you stomach keeps peeking out in tiny brown strips of skin and i don’t know what to do with myself so i drop my eyes to the pasty green tiles instead. while knuckles tells me to stop whimpering and stop moving and be a man, son

you kind of drift through the place all in black and yet brighter than anything in here and a tattooist sits you on the table across from me and slides a curtain around the bed couch thing. but not all the way. and you take off your shirt and you take off your bra and you lay down on your stomach and i’ve got my eyes on that ugly green floor tile but i can see the movement out of the corner of my eye. so i know. you know

but a guy can only stare at floor tile for so long. so i try the white cracked ceiling. and the walls of tattoo options. and the tattooist. and the floor again.

but i keep coming back to your back. which is filled with this picture of a truely gnarly forest all dark shadows and dangrous creetures and scary as shit things. the kind of forest a guy doesn’t want to enter unless he’s like a knight in shining armor and all death wish brave.

and at the bottom of the picture is this massive snarl of a bramble with giant thorns and a single rose the tattooist is filling in with red. like brick red like cabernet savinon red like the red of a beating heart

you’ve got this friend maybe boyfriend there filming you and i can see this up close image of the tattooist filling in and layering the color through the screen of this guy’s phone. maybe that’s what makes it okay. like if this is something you’re going to put on the internet. then i don’t feel so bad watching it live. besides

ive got nothing else to look at because knuckles got me pinned down on my side trying to correct a drunken mistake that i’m regretting less and less because i get to see you. get to see this image coming into existence on your body. i keep watching sometimes through the screen sometimes not.

really it was the tattoo that kept me looking. because don’t get me wrong you’re really really hot. but that tattoo was a fucking piece of art man. like i could step through your skin and be right there in that forest about to die. not that i would want to. but i could.

at some point knuckles lets me take a five minute break and i don’t want to move even though my arm is aching from being held over my head and i could use a good stretch and ive got to pee. i don’t want to miss anything like it feels important or something. but my bladder wins so i get up and go take a piss. and

when i come back you’re gone. like just not there and for some reason it feels like a great absence. i get all depressed and sad and i don’t know if i miss you. because i don’t even know you. or if i miss your tattoo.

i don’t believe in magic. i don’t believe you’re the kind of girl who spends her time trolling through missed connections and I don’t believe writing this is going to bring you to me because hey, man i’m sure you got a life and shit. but if you do

if you do


Andrea Blythe bides her time waiting for the apocalypse by writing speculative poetry and fiction. Her work has also appeared in several publications, including Yellow Chair Review, Nonbinary Review, Linden Avenue, and Strange Horizons. She serves as an associate editor for Zoetic Press and is a member of the Science Fiction Poetry Association. Learn more at: www.andreablythe.com