The Curse of the Tattoo

The Curse



I will never see my legs again. I am not blind. I am not an amputee. But I am cursed.

I was a typical fourteen-year-old girl when I came under the curse. A couple of my girlfriends and I had gotten hold of some cigarettes and some pot. We didn't have anything better to do, so we got stoned. One of our boyfriends came by, saw how we were, and told us we should get tattoos. There was this creepy new tattoo parlor in town, and he and his friends were going there to check out the place. Had I not been stoned, I would have told him to get lost, but since I was wasted, I went along.

I don't know if it was the marijuana I'd smoked or what, but the place seemed really weird. There were all kinds of Oriental drawings and stuff—snakes, dragons, fish, the usual stuff. The creepy guy who owned the place looked like a Japanese of Filipino or Chinese, or all of the above. I couldn't be sure.

I had on a little jean skirt that really showed my sexy legs, and my friend's boyfriend asked if there were any good tattoos for ankles. The tattoo guy suggested instead I get one around my thigh. He said it would look like an old-fashioned garter—really sexy. It would have flowers in the front and a dagger in the back. "Sexy, sweet and innocent in front; strong and powerful in the back," he said.

I sat down in a chair and put my right leg up on a little table as he began the tattoo. He started working on the front of my leg, and had just finished burning in the "sexy, sweet and innocent" part, when he died.

Yeah, he had a heart attack and croaked on the spot. Someone called 9-1-1, and we waited for the cops. I thought we should leave since we had been smoking pot, but we couldn't get out of the parking lot before the cops came. But since the tattoo artist (I never did learn his name) had been burning incense or something, we didn't get busted.

"You were doing what?" mother asked when I told her the next morning.

"It was Karen's boyfriend's idea." I opened up my bathrobe and showed her the half-finished tattoo.

She screamed. I thought I was going to see two people die of heart attacks in two days. I limped (because my leg was still sore from the tattoo) to the phone to call 9-1-1, but my mother quickly recovered. She crossed herself.

"What are you doing? We're not Catholic!" I said.

"Why would you want to get a tattoo on your beautiful legs? Oh, my God! That tattoo is cursed."

"How could it be cursed? It's not even finished." I thought about finding someone to finish it. It would look dumb half done.

"No, that tattoo is finished," said Mom, starting to sound weird. I thought she meant I wouldn't be able to get the rest of it done.

"No, Mom, it isn't. There's supposed to be a dagger on the back to finish the garter."

"That's not a garter tattoo, dear," she said. "Those are two different tattoos that the artist tried to hook together. He died because he did the wrong one first. The dagger would have protected him."

"From what?"

"The curse of the flowers." Mom looked like she'd seen a ghost.

"Flowers?" I'd never heard of a curse being connected with flowers. I guessed it was possible, but it seemed weird.

"Anyone who defiles a leg with those flowers is doomed. And the one whose leg is defiled will never see her legs again."

What a load of rubbish, I thought, as I bent down to look at my new tattoo. I tried to open my robe, but couldn't. I tried to pull it up, but I couldn't. I went to the bathroom and tried to look at my legs in the mirror. I couldn't. I can't describe how the image in the mirror looked. There was no distinct line where I couldn't see anymore. It was kind of like trying to look at something at the edge of your field of vision.

It was time to get dressed. I found a pair of my favorite jeans and tried to put them on. I couldn't. I tried to close my eyes and feel my way into them. Nothing. I tried to put on shorts under my robe. No good. Finally, I found something I could wear: a half slip. I hadn't worn a slip in ages, so I was surprised that it still fit. This meant I would have to wear a skirt. I found an old skirt that also, surprisingly, fit. I put it on under my robe, then found it was easy to take off my robe. It was also easy to put on a bra and T-shirt.

Mom was surprised to see me in a skirt. "This is Saturday. I thought you'd be in your jeans today."

"So did I, but I can't put any on."

She stared at me for a while. "It's the curse." She went up to my room as I went outside. Soon she was back and found me in the front yard. "We have to go shopping. You need some new clothes."

We spent that morning shopping, buying skirts and dresses of every size and description. We also bought something like ten slips, both full and half.

My cursed life means that I have to take bubble baths. I cannot see my legs even in the tub. I can wear most shoes, including sandals, tennis shoes and high heels. I cannot wear boots with long skirts, however. No matter what I wear, everyone else has to be able to see my legs. That's another part of the curse, I guess. So I wear knee-length and short skirts a lot—even in winter.

I cannot smoke, or even tolerate the smell of cigarette smoke. I cannot drink alcohol, not even a glass of beer.

I cannot wear regular underwear, so I always wear a slip, no matter how short my dress. But most of my skirts are full and end just above the knees, so slips are no real problem.

Nobody else I know of has the curse.

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