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A short story from the archives.


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Hello all,

A while ago, I got a piece of writing that the author wanted feedback on and with their permission, I did a rewrite. I remembered it today in my English class and I figured that some of y'all might wanna read it. I won't spoil the plot with some sort of manufactured summary so please enjoy --Yellow.



"The heck is that?"

"Long story," Liam shrugged, "not enough time."

"Well, why not?" I questioned, annoyance growing in his voice.

"Like I said," Liam repeated, "it's a long story and I have better things to do here coming up soon. I have a friend coming by to help with studying for an upcoming physics exam."

It was as if either fate, or probability, had willed Liam's friend to walk in on their conversation.

"Ah!" I gleamed, "You there!"

"Who, me?" Liam's friend said, wildly confused.

"Yes you," I continued, sounding like a mix of a game show host with a formal southern accent, "I'm in quite a bind here. Your friend won't reveal why he has the world's most disappointing tattoo on his inner forearm."

"Come to think of it," his friend continued, "I never did figure out why he had that tattoo."

The both of them looked expectantly at Liam, hoping that he would succumb to their curiosity.

"The story begins with me at a hot dog stand." He changes his mind, "That’s at the end actually. It really starts further back when I was in high school. There was a girl that he thought was cute, and she had a yellow umbrella and I never asked her out."

"Well," I remarked mockingly, "I'm sure we're all satisfied with that epic, heroic tale of pure cowardice."

Liam sat on his chair, part fuming and part thinking. He reached for his cup and took a sip from the stale, bitter coffee. After letting the murky substance fester in his mouth for a moment, he brought himself back to the past, dredging up old memories one more time. 

"Well, some other guy asked her out one day, but she rejected him. I really wondered because that guy was hot, and I thought that if she rejected him that could only mean that she liked me back and was keeping herself available, signalling that she wanted me to make a move. That day though, it was drizzly and she had an umbrella that was yellow." 

"Isn't that a stupid reason to get a tattoo?" I asked, my sarcastic tone, replaced with one of genuine interest."

Liam's face slowly grew into a scowl

Liam's friend pulled me aside and whispered, "He doesn’t want anyone interrupting him anymore. We should probably let him finish if we want him to get to the bottom of the story." into my ear

We moved back and sat down on two folding chairs that we had previously left. Liam, sensing the return in interest, wiped the scowl off his face and took another sip of his coffee

"I went through the rest of high school without asking out any more girls and when I got to college, and I was still 'girlless'", he said, making air quotations to reinforce his point,"One day I was walking to this dorm, thinking about my lack of a girlfriend, and it's when I found a hairbrush on the floor that was covered in a mat of faintly greasy blonde hair. To be completely honest, one of my oddest pet peeves to see a hairbrush full of hair so I picked up, poured some rubbing alcohol over it, waited a few minutes for it to dry and picked all the hair out."

Liam reached over to the small coffee table that rested next to his chair. He fished around in the small pile of random objects that lay upon it until he found what he was looking for. He tossed the hairbrush he had found into my lap and continued his story. 

"About a week later, I was in line at a hot dog stand. There was a beautiful girl in front of me, and as she walked away from the stand, I noticed that she had poured  mustard along either side of the hot dog bun. It was too much of the condiment that it poured over the center of the sausage, almost like a reverse Moses."

Liam went to take a sip of his coffee mug but none of the gritty liquid met his lips. He grumbled and set the mug back down. He then got up and disappeared into the kitchen, walking back into view minutes later with three coffee mugs in his hand. He gently handed a coffee mug to his friend and I, while keeping one for himself. Liam took a few sips of coffee, silently savoring the taste. 

"To my weird brain, that’s clearly a sign of something important. So that’s the story of why I got the tattoo." he said, sitting down, "Questions?"

Liam's friend and I sat there dumbfounded. Why would he've wasted all this time reflecting on a couple of odd occurances?

"No, not really." Liam's friend replied, trying to mask his confusion and disappointment, "I just remembered that I had forgot to turn something into Professor B'Sharp. Can we study for the exam later?"

"Sure?" Liam said, amused, "Why not?"

I patted Liam's shoulder gently and left the room along with his friend to try to make sense of whatever had just happened. 

I would later learn many years later that, Liam was quite pleased with himself. He felt quite happy with what he managed to accomplish. He managed to keep his reputation as an idiot and a scatterbrained weirdo so that no one would suspect anything while he hide his relationship with his boyfriend from everyone. He did acknowledge that it might still be suspicious with how often he mentioned girls. It was still painful to think about how no one would ever accept him, but he was okay because he had plans to move far away with his beloved. They both had the same tattoo, but in a different color which was the other partner’s favorite. Liam knew that a line tattoo could be interpreted as an innuendo, but what was important was that they were the one and the same. It was the perfect symbolism for their relationship. And that’s the real story of why Liam got his tattoo.


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