Fiction Friday – Like the Real Thing

Flipping through his collection of art reference pictures, Toby looked across the table at the stylized bat sitting on the dining room chair looking back at him. It wasn’t touching the milk he had tossed in a bowl, but he didn’t really have anything else in the house right now to offer it. Looking back at where the tattoo had been on his stomach yesterday evening. Faint redness remained, but all signs of the ink were gone.

“Damn it. Where is she?” He quickly returned to the thick folder of pictures taken from an endless number of sources. Reference material for his hobby. To help keep himself from getting too anxious or accidentally ripping any of the papers, he talked to the little bat that had been his tattoo.

“So, are you just a regular bat then? You haven’t taken off into the rafters. How do real bats behave?” Another glance at the former tattoo confirmed it was unlike any real bat, instead being the stylized work he had drawn to use as his first ever body art.

The little thing tilted it’s head and made a squeaking sound.

“Well you aren’t the same size as my tattoo, so that has to mean something right? Glad I didn’t base the tattoo off of a flying fox or I’d be looking at something the size of a chicken right now.” Toby chuckled to himself. He was getting close, since this is where all of the casual clothing females were in the folder.

Success! He grabbed the picture with the words ‘ice cream’ written at the base and gave the woman there a kiss. Toby had no idea where he had found the picture or why he labeled it that way, but every time he had happened across it, he’d been struck by how unassumingly attractive she had been. Not sexy in the way most of his assignments required, but more of a girl-next-door sense.

“Stay here. I am going to see about getting the girl of my dreams.”

It took hours at the same tattoo shop as last night. The owner was curious how his tattoo was doing and he just passed it off with a casual statement of well. More than once the artist remarked about how giddy he seemed and asked what was special about this picture. Toby didn’t really have a way to explain, so kept saying things like, “I just always liked it.” and “Who can stop with just one tattoo!” which led to some side conversation each time.

When he was done, the woman in her entirety was tattooed on his back. He laid down every bit of money he had, including the savings he had pulled from the bank on the way over. Rushing off, he left the picture there. When the owner called out to see if he wanted it back, he had only one thing to say.

“No, I have something better now.”

After Toby had left, the artist remarked to one of the other people working that day, “What do you suppose ‘Ice Cream’ means?”

Looking and thinking for a moment, the other man’s brows lifted in surprise. “Oh, that’s that ‘Ice Cream Killer’. I read about that one a while back. Estibaliz Carranza I think was her name. Real sick one. Why?”

“That guy just got her tattooed on his back.”

“People want some weird stuff sometimes. As long as he’s happy with it.”

“I did a picture perfect job. Any closer and she would be the real thing.”

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