St. Patrick’s Day Hangover

You wake up the morning after St. Patrick’s Day don’t remember much of the evening (thanks to too many green beers). You also notice some discomfort on your forearm. When you roll up your sleeve, you discover a tattoo of a map. Panic sets in as you realize that you now have a tattoo on your arm, but curiosity takes over as you wonder where the map leads.

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223 thoughts on “St. Patrick’s Day Hangover

  1. Jaybo

    St. Patrick’s Day Hangover
    Darby O’Gill sang this ditti to King Brian of Knocknashegga, “Singin’s no sin, and drinkin’s no crime; if you have or’ drink only, just one at a time.”
    I’m Irish as Paddy’s pig, son of a daughter of Cork woman, whose Mother’s uncle ran guns for the Provisional Army. ‘M rolled in cabbage leaves, singed with corned beef, and for all I know, brought into being in a potato patch during a night of holy bliss. I like me fights. I hate me sins, and I come to the conclusion, not a confessor hasn’t done what I have, save the part with me Connell gal, and he’d be a proud Gael of the one I aim one day to courage and marry. But damned be the man who passes off green beer as real Stout. I am now want to know who spiked me pint, for I never was to awoken in a strange place, ‘specially a Church pew. So now, I set up and notice that me shirt sleeve had been rolled up, with stranger markin’s movin’ with me rollin’ head ache. “By the Holy Saint’s here and those across the Sea!” I thought. “There be markin’s on my arm!” Me eyes squint over to focus on lines drawn, as a circle with thirteen stops, each stop topped by a small cross. The fourteenth mark between the first and the last cross was a door with a scribblin’ of a dove above it. And just above that was a round circle superimposed over another two, which themselves were superimposed on each other: the old sign of the Blessed Trinity. Some one’s joke with an indelible Biro. I flushed with anger and if it were not that I was in a Holy Place, I’d have let out a swear that would put flight to a chief archangel.
    No one took me silver pocket watch, ‘Thursday, March 18th, 6:45 AM’, so read it; nor me money pouch. The Holy week services would be startin’ before the day’s be at end. So, I’d best be getting’ out of this Church and head to home. This markin’ on me arm: “Thirteen points and thirteen crosses and another over a box with a dove. Here’s to surprise me! I hear a man’s and a woman’s voices come from behind the High Altar. The moments grace hit me like the stones from Jericho. The vested priest was on his way out with a very familiar redhead who was dressed in a very white dress. “Glory be to God!” I exclaim. I looked around at the Church walls, all buggle eyed, at the Plaster portrayals of the Way of the Cross each with thirteen crosses atop.
    I rose, made a profound genuflection toward the High Altar and meandered to the beginning of the only real Lenten Penance I had done all season. “I adore Ye, Oh, Christ, and I praise Ye,…” I mutedly spoke, working around the Stations and to the Confessional.

  2. Fedoraman94

    ‘Ugh, what happened yesterday?’

    ‘Ow, my head. Man, I had way too much to drink yesterday. It was St. Patrick’s Day, though.’

    ‘Why can’t I get up?’ I think to myself. Panic has started to set in. I try to pull myself up, but my right arm is numb. I sit back down and look at the unknown hotel room I am currently in. It’s a dark room, but the blinds are closed.

    Leaning against the bed for support, I try once again to get up and succeed. I roll up my sleeve to see what’s wrong with my arm. There’s a tattoo there!! I’m shocked at this. I swore I would never get a tattoo.

    I walk over to the mirror to get a better look at it. As I stared at it, with all its strange lines and words, I realize that it’s a map. ‘But why do I have a tattoo of a map?’ I think.

    I get my phone out and take a picture of my arm. Yep, I was right; it’s a map.

    I get dressed and head downstairs, grab some breakfast and leave the hotel, sweatshirt and coffee in hand.

    The cold air hits me like a fist, almost knocking me over. I couldn’t believe how cold it was. I looked over at a tall building to my right with a digital screen on it. It was 7:15 in the morning and 45°.

    My head starts to hurt as the migraine comes back. Quickly I get a cab and begin studying the map on my phone.

    The map shows an area similar to Orange County. In the middle was the famous Circle. Another area of the map said “The Spot” with an X next to it. I couldn’t tell what direction to go until I saw something next to my armpit. There’s a big N with an arrow pointing towards my shoulder. According to the map, “The Spot” was east of the Circle.

    I tell cab driver to start heading east. I get out at a gas station five minutes later and go into the bathroom. I take off my shirt and look into the mirror. On my chest is another tattoo. But there’s no map this time, only words. I can’t read them, so I turn and face the mirror behind me. I stare into this mirror, which allows me to also look into the mirror behind me, and reveal what is written on my stomach.

    The tattoo’s smeared, but I’m able to make out “Go to the place where you drink”, possibly referring to the bar I was at last night. Excited, I get redressed.

    I run out of the bathroom, and call another cab. I tell him to take me to the bar.
    I walk in and the bartender looks at me and says “I knew you’d be back.” He hands me large bags filled with beer. “You won the bet!” He says. “Now let’s go get rid of that tattoo.”

  3. theSkilled

    As I run two fingers over my insipid skin, urbane from lotion and the fragrance of beer wayfaring from my perspiration, I observe the map. I can’t evoke a damn article from latter night and as luck had it (ironically) neither did Carl, my fiancé. I scarcely recall my own name as I trundle out of bed, Carl lying stagnantly sound asleep, and strain to call to mind the nightfall afore. Then it hits me hard; I can’t remember anything at all from yesterday. There was a party, yes, and a very disruptive guest in our house.
    So I follow the map; a floor plan of Carl and my fine-looking vista. I trace it down our great ostentatious spiral staircase, I pursuit it out to the pool deck where disquieting hoary effigies scrutinize and trail my every passage with their grit eyes and then in due course am led in to the garden. There, in a coppice of rose scrubland, lies the x.
    So that’s where I hid the body…

    1. stevenlloyd


      Steven Lloyd

      “How’d you get that tattoo?” Kacy Joe asked brushing her dishwater blond hair out of her eyes to get a better look. “Gosh. I never seen nothin’ like it.”

      “Me neither,” Scott Manning stared at the tattoo. His forearm looked normal before bed. Now it burned and itched. The skin was red and swollen. His daddy killed two bottles of hooch the night before celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. He passed out about 3:00 in the am. Scott snuck the last bottle to his room. He passed out, too.

      He didn’t know what to think of the tattoo. The tattoo stretched elbow to wrist. It was a map. What’s more, he knew the familiar sights.

      The map led him to the Dogwood Bottoms. Only one man lived in the Dogwood Bottoms–old man Pepper Jones, an elderly black man who practiced voodoo. Some say he was near a hundred years old, and could see the future.

      “Woke up with it, is all I know,” Scott said. “I had to tell somebody. It leads through the bottoms.”

      “You didn’t tell your daddy?”

      “He’s got the sickness bad. Been coughin’ all night,” Scott said. “I show him this he’ll loose his marbles. He ain’t got too many of them left.”

      Kacy Joe considered everything. “Well,” she said. “We better get while it’s good and light. Once the sun goes down, daddy told me bad things happen in the bottoms. Things come right out of the ground and gobble you alive.”

      By the time they found the cabin, early dusk caught them. The ramshackle cabin must’ve been three hundred years old. One side of it sagged on its foundation.

      They must’ve been out there for a good while when a voice carried out of the house. “You gonna come up here or stay out there all night?” The voice sounded gravely.

      Old man Pepper sat on the porch. His rocking chair wasn’t in much better shape. It was as if Pepper just materialized.

      “I see you found me,” Pepper said. “Not too many souls brave as you two.”

      Scott didn’t waste any time. “You give me this?” He held up his arm.

      “I did,” Pepper said.” “And you must be Kacy Joe.”

      “You know my name?”

      “Course I do,” Pepper said. “I knows lots of ‘tings, chile’”

      Pepper stepped off the porch, placed his rough, callused hand over his arm. The tattoo vanished. “May it hurt no more.” He took an amber vial out of his tattered overalls. He gave it to Scott. “Two drops a day, boy. None more.”

      “What is it?” Scott asked.

      “I made a promise to your granddaddy. Somethin’ your daddy need to get better. It’ll heal the sickness,” Pepper said. “You all get now ‘fore the suns down.”

      Pepper watched the two disappear into the marsh. He folded his arms across his chest, said “ Them kids gonna make some nice babies one day.”

  4. carson00042

    I feel myself wake up, but I don’t want to believe it. The back of my eyelids quickly become the most interesting things in my life. No, can’t lie here all day, Mark, got to move. Coffee, think of coffee, think of coffee. I jerk my eyes open. An overwhelming sense of sense of nausea overcomes me, but i quickly forget that amongst the primal erge to piss NOW. I am in a race against time, contemplating how best to get urine out of carpet, when I dive into the bathroom and find relief. Okay, now that thats done, time to examine the damage. St. Patricks day, weird holiday. I mean, i’m fucking Danish, why do I celebrate it? Oh, right, alcoholism. Ok, mirror, mirror…shit. Two black eyes? How the hell? I guess that would explain the headache. Ok, anything else? Feet seem okay…genitals good… wait. No. Oh shit. Theres a tatoo covering my entire forearm. What. The. Fuck. What is that even supposed to be? It looks like…couches. And a TV? Wait, thats my bedroom! I got to my bedroom as fast as I could, which was very fast considering my apartment consists of a bedroom and a bathroom. Okay, theres an “X”, X marks the spot right? Or was it a circle? No it’s got to be X! Under my mattress? Okay. My mattress flys across the room as gracefull as a mattress could be expected to be, maybe even a little more so, i’ll give it some credit. I look in the spot where the X marks on my arm/map. I look and see another arm, this one bare. Oh thank god. I remove my prosthetic arm and place this new one in the socket. Classic amputee prank. “I hope that comes off!” I yell. My roomate just chuckles. “Happy St. Pattys Day!” he yells.

  5. neskrov

    What is this? Huh?

    You don’t have a clue? Well — I wake up and find a tattoo on my arm. What is the meaning of this?!
    It looks like some sort of map. Uhh.. I could of had happened while I was asleep.
    The doors were locked and there isn’t any signs of forced entry.

    Well, let’s see.
    I need to try to wash this off before I go out of the house. I can’t go around walking with a tattoo. What would the neighbors think?


    Well, okay. Breathe. Relax. This can all go away with a little rubbing alcohol. It still looks fresh.

    Let’s just hope this works.

    Alright. Here we go, {Water running pours soap into hands. Begins to scrub. Rinses, Applies Rubbing Alcohol)

    No! It won’t come off. The devil take it away!

    Ok..Hmm. Well.

    I should umm {fumbles with packages of cleansing chemicals}
    Damn it! None of it will work!

    –Slumps onto the toilet seat—

    — Raises arm, inspects arm closer in sunlight—-
    –Traces finger through map—

    Hm. Interesting. This looks like a map.

  6. MsGenuineLady

    My body was numb, except for the burning sensations in my stomach and on my left forearm. My stomach agony, I could only assume was from the large amounts of green beer I consumed during yesterdays St. Patrick’s Day festivities but the growing discomfort on my arm had yet to be explained. I was surrounded by darkness searching for answers, images began flashing in front of me like a slide show, my new forest green tuxedo, my friends laughing hysterically, leaving the Irish Pub riding a bike, eating lamb stew and potatoes, the sign for Durty Nellys, dancing on the floor and on top of the tables, singing Karaoke, and glimpses of different faces saying “thank you”, for what I do not know. I felt like I was in kindergarten again, trying to gather the pieces of last night’s events currently scattered throughout my head hoping to form a picture clear enough to help ease my puzzled mind.
    The afternoon sun became too much for my eyelids as they slowly surrender back revealing my tired bloodshot eyes. My whole body and mind became conscious when I realized I was still in my tuxedo lying on the hard bathroom floor in my college dorm room. I glanced towards my left forearm as I rolled back the sleeve, suddenly bouncing up like a rubber ball when I discovered the cause of my discomfort was a tattoo of a map. “Holy shit” I spoke out loud in disbelief but it was only a matter of seconds before my curiosity took over and had me out the door to see exactly where this map lead.
    After walking for about hour through twists and turn and ups and downs I found myself back at the Durty Nellys front entrance. Confused I pushed open the front door to come across a few men sitting at the bar and the owner Jack Robertson, staring at me with a smirk on his face. “Did you do this to me?? “ I asked angrily. “I sure did” he responded walking back into the kitchen. I was right on his tail to demand answers and money because it was going to cost a good chunk of change to have this removed. I flung open the kitchen doors to find Jack standing there holding out an apron. “I tattooed the map on your arm, so I knew you would come back. Today is your first day of work to pay back the enormous tab you racked up, claiming to be a millionaire in your green tuxedo and buying everyone drinks…well …now you are just a dishwasher” he smiled.

    1. Imaginalchemy

      I can’t help but smile at the imagery of someone dancing in a vibrant green tuxedo…and that’s certainly one way to teach someone a lesson about not paying off their tab 🙂 Nicely done

  7. Egg

    “There was a Wild Colonial Boy, Jack Doolan was his name……”

    The blue gum does little to block the antipodean sun as I lean against the trunk and sip me tea. Jack lazes a little ways off, dusty boots crossed, arms folded, his crazy eyes lost in the shadow of his hat.

    I study the crude markings on the inside of me forearm. The skull shape of what could only be Blackboy’s Billabong hugs the curves of the muscle; Deadman’s Lane meanders to the hollow under me thumb; the rise of the wrist, now tinged brown, could only be the Ranges; and the blue streaks that snake between me veins must be Plenty Creek, a favourite hideout when the troopers are afoot. But the green stain on the ball of me hand is unknown to me. Is it a rocky outcrop; a copse; a cave?

    Yesterday was a good craic, and the publican earned a generous share of our riches as we celebrated our national day, but as the evening progressed, me mind surrendered to the Guinness and the foot-stomping rhythms of the fiddle until I was just another drunken Irishman flat on his back in the alley.

    When I asked Jack about me arm this morning, he shrugged. “They’re closing in, Danny. Tis only a matter of time.” And when I remained confused, he smiled and lifted the billycan from the coals. “Trost me.”

    As the sun swings westward, we saddle up, me arm itching and me hand aching as I swing into the leather. When we reach Talisman Gap, we hide the horses and crouch in the scrub to wait for Judge McElroy’s wagon.

    The rattle of a harness echoes through the canyon and Jack bounds onto the road, his pistol high. “STAND AND DELIVER.”

    Two figures spring from beneath rumpled canvas. “Jack Doolan, rogue and scoundrel, surrender your arms and lead us to the loot, and your life will be spared.” Fitzroy crouches behind the wagon, his pistol trained on the outlaw planted before him.

    “Troopers, Jack. Come away!” I yell from the rocks, but Jack Doolan is not one to run. His pistol explodes and Kelly drops.

    Jack spins to the sound of footfall. Davis fires and Jack crumbles with a shattered knee.

    “Where’s the loot, Doolan?” yells Fitzroy.

    “Fook you,” screams Jack, wiping spittle from his chin as he struggles to stand.

    The last shot pierces Jack’s proud heart and I watch him slump sideways, dust clouding his face when his cheek hits the ground.

    Fitzroy stands tall and scans the rocks where he knows I’m cowering like a mangy dog. “Give yourself up, O’Toole, and we’ll grant clemency.”

    I press myself into the stone. The troopers curse Doolan and lament Kelly, and then Fitzroy’s voice is far away.

    “Forget O’Toole. Doolan was a selfish so-and-so; he wouldn’t have told the lad where the loot is.”

    “You sure?”


    When the wagon finally rattles past, I glare at the marks on me arm and I remember. “The Hidden Valley is so green, Danny. Just like home. Promise you’ll bury me there when they cut me down. Will you do that for me? I’ll leave you a map.”

    That son-of-a-bitch.

    …..and just for fun (no offence intended).

    “Ya coffee’s shite, Padraig, run and get us a Murphy’s will ya?”
    “Pub’s not open till tree, I tell ya.”
    “At the offie, ya numbskoll.”
    “Your man told us yes’day it was closed today.”
    “Well ten, see if today he’ll tell us it’s open.”
    “Why should I go?”
    “You don’t have a tattoo on ya arm screaming like a banshee with piles. Now git going will ya?”
    “Give us a look at cha arm, you whiney bastard.”
    (Both consider the tattoo).
    “Ah, tis nuttin but a scratch, Fergal. Well, look at tat will ya? If you turn your arm tis way, it’ll be looking just like Cork, to be sure.”
    (Fergal squeals as Padraig twists his arm behind his back, and Padraig tilts his head to look at the tattoo).
    “Get away witcha. Ya man’s needing a Murphy’s, Padraig. I’m drier than a nun witchout soap. Go on now.”
    “I’ll be needing one meself after we follow ta map on ya arm.”
    “Follow it? For the love of God, go get the Murphy’s will ya?”
    “After we follow it.”
    “I’m not gonna follow it.”
    “Ah do.”
    “Ah do.”
    “Why should I?”
    “Could lead us to a pot o’ gold or sometin.”
    “Ah, go on. Tis nuttin but one of Seamus’s pranks. You remember he bought out the poteen? Tought it’d be a good craic after ta parade but the batch was botchy. Kevin had ta lock him out ta lock-in. The Guardai gave him bracelets for ta ride home don’t ya know?”
    (Padraig chuckles). “Sinead woulda had his balls as billy-goat bait, to be sure.”’
    “Serves him right for puttin’ dis fookin tattoo on me arm.”
    “It has an ‘x’ on it. Let’s follow it.”
    “No, ya ignoramus. And stop touchin’ me, will ya.”
    “Ah, go on, let’s follow it.”
    “Fook off.”

    1. JJerome

      Egg – your writing is damn engaging. Please take the following as a compliment – your writing requres the reader to pay attention.
      You have the power to create whole worlds, and I can learn a lot from you. I invite you, and everyone else for that matter, to join a discussion on my blog. Click on my name and enter the fray!

    2. annefreemanimages

      Egg – the picture in my mind from that first story was so clear and convincing. Loved the ending! Just like something a scoundrel would do. The second one took work to follow because of the dialect, which was enjoyable in its own right. You never cease to surprise with your great ideas and stories.


  8. JRSimmang

    Green. I wore green. Then again, it was St Patrick’s Day. Who didn’t?
    My couch was back in my apartment and I was… Where was I?
    “Are you up yet, Peter?” There was a sweet voice coming from what I assumed was the kitchen. “I put some coffee on. You drink coffee?”
    “Yeah,” was all I managed, choked out and gravelly. I scratched an itch on my forearm and it hurt. Normally, my itches didn’t hurt when I scratched them. Under my sleeve was a small etching, crudely done and lavishly scabbing over. What the hell did I do last night?
    “Cream ‘n’ sugar?”
    “Uh, sure?” I got up, brushed myself off, walked to the front door and left the apartment I was in.
    When I stepped out onto the stoop a blast of subtropical humidity hit me. Normally, I wouldn’t think twice about this, except I was from Chicago. I lived in the windy city.
    “Am I in Florida?” My heart raced.
    “Yes, dear. What happened to you last night?” The lady in the tight denim jeans and oversized button-up shirt handed me a coffee. She put a hand on my back. I backed away from her. “What’s the matter?”
    “Who are you?”
    “Peter. Ha ha. Very funny.”
    “I’m serious. Who are you, and where am I?”
    She must have sensed the persistence in my voice. “What do you mean?”
    “I mean, I don’t remember a thing.” I pushed my sleeve back up. “And what is this?”
    She looked at my forearm. “That is a map.” Then she looked back into my eyes. “And I’m Lacey.”
    I started shaking and nearly fainted.
    Lacey spent the next thirty minutes talking me out of hysterics and telling me of my happenstance.
    “And then we came back home. No tattoo studio, two green beers, and a late night snack.”
    “I have to figure out where this leads.” I motioned toward my new skin art.
    “I’m coming.”
    There was one street name I recognized. This map was from Chicago. $780 later and Lacey and I were standing outside O’Hare. The map was a simple layout of what looked like a city sector. We hailed a cab and headed toward the outskirt of the tattoo. We wanted to walk around the area.
    Twenty minutes and we arrived. We sat in silence.
    In front of us, the city block was gone.
    “I didn’t know why you wanted to come here. This whole block was destroyed two nights ago. Freak accident. Space sattelite,” the cabby said in a thick South African accent.
    I didn’t remember blacking out.
    When I awoke, Lacey was holding my hand, stroking my forearm. I coughed and sputtered. “Where are we?”
    My home town.

    1. Imaginalchemy

      Wow, you packed a lot into such a brief narrative…I assume the character has amnesia because he was there when the satellite hit and he was thrown hard and hit his head? I guess I’m a little confused about the ending, what the satellite impact has to do with the character having amnesia and a tattoo of that city block. But I enjoyed your story nonetheless.

    2. JJerome

      JR – your story started to build tension, then took off in a very suprising direction at the space satellite moment – then it became mysterious. Impressive combinaion. I welcome you and everyone else here to join a brand new discussion about writing. Just click on my name. See you there.

    3. JRSimmang

      Thanks to all of you. I agree, there is some dissonance between the beginning and the end. I was trying to think of some reason to destroy a city block and satellite seemed the most logical…

  9. annefreemanimages

    A Rett Bonneville Story
    By Anne M. Freeman©

    The thin winter morning light made a timid entrance through my bedroom window. I stretched, luxuriating in the afterglow of a weekend with my long distance lover … from the neck down, that is. Everything above the collarbone was on the brink of pounding from way too much green beer. I don’t normally do St. Patrick’s Day, but he was in NYC with his band to perform at one of the big shindigs, so I partied with him.

    My sweet was already on his flight back to Ireland. We met at a show about a year after my calamitous marriage ended in acrimonious divorce. We were both in the line-up that night, me with my guitar, he with his fiddle and incredible voice and band. I was primed for seduction – not, that’s not correct. I was primed to be uplifted, and McIrish was the man.

    McIrish isn’t his real name. Laoidheach is his given name – I won’t even try his surname. I call him McIrish instead. He has flaming red, curly hair, white skin, freckles and blue eyes, and the charm of a thousand Irishmen. When we first embraced, I swore tiny fairies fluttered around me, lifting off my cloths as I melted.

    I slowly turned on my side, careful to not move quickly, and reached to pull his pillow close and breathe in his scent. Something brown on my left inner forearm caught my eye. I looked closer, waiting for my eyes to focus … “NO!!!” I screamed and my head exploded with sudden pounding pain. “OH MY GOD!! NO!!!”

    I focused on a horrid brown tattoo sprawled across my left forearm. How did this happen? How did he let this happen to me? Was I so drunk I don’t remember getting a tattoo? Why? I stared at it through flowing tears, and then calmed. There was no blood, no scabs. It wasn’t a tattoo, it was henna. Holding my throbbing head, I laughed in relief. But what was it? It looked like some bizarre map.

    I grabbed my phone, hoping for an explanation. There was a message. It was him. I heard that magical voice:

    “Oh when I hold my lass
    My hands start with her ass
    And wander ‘round to all her comely parts
    But when I cup her breasts
    I almost lose my breath
    For then I’m closest to my lover’s heart”

    “Darling girl, I’ve painted my heart on your left forearm so that you’ll think of me when you play your guitar today. I love you.” Click.

    I looked closer, and with some imagination it could be the chambers of his heart. At the top of the right chamber, he’d written “Start Here.” From there, a dotted line wound down the chamber and curled round into the center, where there was an “X,” next to which he’d painted “You.”

    I lay back down, feeling the heat rush through my body again. “I love you too, McIrish,” I whispered, and drifted back into sweet slumber.


    1. Icabu

      Wonderful, Anne! Loved the poem/lyric he left for her – and the map of his heart. Very sweet!
      His name is certainly apropos to their shared occupation.
      Welcome back!

  10. Jamie

    “Ugh. Do those damn birds have to sing right outside of my window? I’m not done sleeping yet!” I think angrily and pull the pillow over my face. Immediately I’m aware of a pounding in my head. I open my eyes for a second and close them quickly when a wave of nausea hits me. I feel awful. I’m achy all over and it makes me wonder what I did last night. It is all a blur. I remember my friends picking me up for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. We were meeting my Grandma, of all people. She’s a fun old lady and all of my friends love her. She’s more of a party animal than anyone else in the family and that is why she likes to hang out with me. I like to get my drink on and have a good time. I wasn’t planning on drinking so much yesterday but I’m guessing by the way my head is thumping that I had more than just a couple. This is not good. I have a lot to do today. Why am I so achy? I roll over or at least try to when I feel an intense pain in my arm so I stop trying to roll over and with my other hand, I grab where it hurts. Its then that I notice the gauze wrapped around my arm. I wonder what kind of accident I had as I push myself up and out of bed and stagger to the bathroom. I flick on the light and standing in the door way I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I look pretty bad. My skin is almost green. I wonder if its from drinking those green beers last night. Is that possible?? Does the green dye in the beers turn your skin green? I am still wearing the clothes I was wearing yesterday, minus one sock.
    I peel the tape off the corner of the gauze and unwrap my arm to expose what looks like a map on my arm. I got a tattoo? I don’t even like tattoos! I grab on to the sink and close my eyes because I think I’m going to pass out from the shock of it all. I must be dreaming. I shake my head and get as close to the mirror as I can to examine my arm again. Sure enough, it’s real. I got a tattoo. Just as I’m touching the red puffiness around the outside of it, Grandma appears behind me smiling! “Oh, I’m glad you are up! Now you won’t forget where I’ve hidden the money after I die. I don’t want my money grubbing kids to get it. I want you to have it all. This map will direct you where to find it when its time.” I still can’t believe I got a tattoo and the disbelief must register on my face because Grandma says to me, “Well, you told me to put it in writing on something you won’t lose!”

    1. annefreemanimages

      Very cute idea, Jamie. I really like that the grandmother tatooed the map on his arm. I suggest that you cut down the intro significantly – most of the story is spent on how the character felt – and spend more on the interaction between him and his grandmother. That would be fun. I liked the question about the green beer turning his/her skin green.


  11. Janet Robinson

    If I was aware of anything it would have only been total blackness, but I’m not even certain of that. Slowly I was coming to life. My first awareness was of piercing bright light trying to filter its way through my eyelids, which were too heavy to open. Indistinguishable sounds were echoing around me. I slowly roused, my mouth dry as the desert, my bloodshot eyes stinging, and my head about to split in two.

    When sounds became real and distinct, I realized there was a construction foreman standing high above me shouting, “What in the hell are you doing down there?! We thought you were dead!” I suddenly became fully aware of my surroundings. I was lying on rusted rebar in a deep pit while a cement truck stood above waiting to pour a slab. The vibrations from the loud truck caused me to suddenly feel nauseous. I struggled slowly to my feet and tried not to trip and fall as I made my way to the edge of the pit.

    The foreman leaned down to help me up. “Son of a…what happened to you?” he asked, eyeing my dirty crumpled shirt which was untucked and half way buttoned. At least I had pants on. Thank God I had pants. “You’ve been bleeding,” he said, pointing to my sleeve. I looked down, dazed. I pulled the unbuttoned cuff up just enough to see that it was from a tattoo and not a wound. “I’m fine,” I slurred, trying to speak through the haze. “Thanks for your help,” I managed to say as I started walking away. I tried to walk a steady straight line, but I was failing miserably.

    When I got a block away I pulled my sleeve all the way up to get a good look at the obviously infected marking. Dried blood had caused the material to stick to my skin. It was a crude map that led from where I was standing to two distinct places nearby. I stumbled forward. The first spot led me to my car keys, which were lying in the middle of the sidewalk. It was a desolate area of downtown, so they hadn’t been bothered. The next spot led me to a deserted parking lot a few blocks away. I was relieved to see my car parked there, but as I approached, horror overtook me. There was a dead body slumped over in the back seat, a large bullet wound to the head, and a gun on the front seat. Had I done that? I would no doubt be implicated.

    I collapsed to the ground, my head in my hands, about to vomit, when suddenly a strange dog came out of nowhere, licking me. Suddenly it was my dog licking my face, waking me from sleep. I was home in my bed. The dream had seemed so real. It was a relief when I woke up. Damn green beer!

    1. annefreemanimages

      Hi Janet – your descriptions were clear and concise. I enjoyed reading the story. The opening was really good. The only false note was the last sentence in the second to last paragraph. I felt that the narrator was speaking too clinically – not with horror. Then, in the last paragraph, your narrator reacts to the horror, and we’re back on task.

      Nice job and good idea.


  12. fairlore

    I looked over at my sleeping wife. How does she put up with me and my drunken adventures? I felt my head and confirmed I still had hair and hadn’t shaved it along with getting this tattoo. A breath of relief came from between my lips.

    Sitting on the edge of the bed, completely unwilling to move to the bathroom, I let my eyes wander down to my arm to look at the tattoo again.

    A map. What was I drinking that would allow me to think a map on my arm would be a good idea? Searching my mind for when I last remember where I was and what I was doing, I suddenly saw a woman’s face.

    The sinking feeling inside my stomach reached up into my mind. I groaned. Tell me I didn’t cheat on my wife. I thought hard. There is no way I would cheat on my wife. No way. That woman must be the one who convinced me to get my tattoo. But, why would I do that? That ranks right up there with cheating.
    Moving to the bathroom where the light was better, I put my arm up to the light to see what it really said. A bunch of pictures. Great. Wait, is that my wife’s name on it? I felt a small chuckle as I realized that will probably save me from the face slap.

    I heard her move in the bedroom. “Chris?” she called out to me.

    I went to her and she immediately saw the tattoo. She sat upright a little too quickly for my hazy mind. Her eyes spoke the question hanging between us.

    “I don’t know.” I explained. “I don’t remember what happened, but I guess in my drunkenness I thought a map was a good idea.” Her eyes rolled very dramatically.

    “Can I see it?”

    “Of course!” I said with much relief. “Honey, thank you for not getting mad at me.” She laughed a little and said, “It’s not my arm!”

    She started looking at the map and I watched her face change from curiosity to concern to complete horror.
    “Where the hell did you get this?” I was alarmed now. I shook my head and just looked at her, unsure of what was going on.

    She leapt out of bed, grabbed her suitcase and started throwing clothes into it. “If you think this is some kind of joke, you are the sickest man I have ever met!!” I was very worried now.

    “Carmela!” I shouted at her. “What are you talking about?”

    She paused, looking at me. Calmly she said, “That map on your arm? That map…” she was visibly shaking. “That map is where I was raped by my grandfather for over a year. I don’t know how you found out about this, but you are sick.”

    With that, she packed up her clothes and walked out.

  13. Bumblebee83959

    Comments are appreciated~! I’ll admit, though, this wasn’t my best. I was kind of stuck on this one.

    I woke up the morning after St. Patrick’s Day, and I don’t remember much of that evening (thanks to too many green beers). I also noticed some discomfort on my forearm. When I rolled up my sleeve, I discovered a tattoo of a map. Panic set in as I realized that I now have a tattoo on my arm, but curiosity took over as I wondered where the map lead.

    I rolled out of bed, being gingerly careful with my sore arm as I stomped downstairs. All I cared about at that moment was to figure out where the map lead. Why in the world would I even get a tattoo? Just thinking about them made my skin crawl, but yet I had one on my arm right then. I don’t think my parents would be pleased. I was so thankful that I lived on my own. If my parents asked, I wouldn’t be able to tell them because I didn’t even know myself. I barely remember anything from the previous night, except for a lot of green beers.

    Still too lazy to grab anything to eat, I immediately walked out of my apartment door, clutching the place where the tattoo lay on my arm. The noon rush was over now, only the occasional man or woman stepping out of the elevators to dash out the door. I followed the small flow to my car, when I collapsed in the front seat and rolled my sleeve up again. I studied the map carefully with a keen eye.

    It looked like one of those treasure maps that you usually see in those pirate movies. I turned the key in the ignition, studying it as I drove out of the parking lot. The person who drew my tattoo knew where I lived. Actually, reading it was a lot easier than I expected. I just followed it like it was a GPS.

    Soon, I drove into the nearest parking lot and stepped out. The car was my support as I looked around. Hey, I was still hungover from the previous night. I knew I shouldn’t have drunk all those green beers. I probably got the tattoo while I was drunk or something. Still, I was too close to back down now. My face pale but determined, I looked both ways down the street and crossed it.

    The warehouse was run down, with the boarded up windows and everything. I knocked on the door, but only heard the echo in reply. I brushed my hand along the handle, and the door flew open. Inside, right in the very middle, lay a pot of gold, all shimmering and beckoning.

    I walked towards it, inspecting the coins once I stood in front of it. They looked real, but I couldn’t be sure. Surprisingly, the pot was as light as a feather when I picked it up and set it in the back seat of my car. I drove home, greed burning in my green heart.

    Words: 499.

    1. annefreemanimages

      Another story begging to be longer. An interesting set-up for more. My only comment is that you didn’t have to repeat the green beer prompt quite so many times, as we understood his condition and why from the opening paragraph. Would have freed up a few words for more at the end.


  14. HuffmanHanni

    Feedback appreciated. My first attempt at humor or at least, something lighthearted. Thanks.

    Bright, late winter sunshine swept over Ekaterina’s face like Zeus throwing down lightning bolts. “God, couldn’t someone shut those blinds,” she mumbled.

    She sat up. Her stomach rebelled at this thought so she flopped back down again. Shielding her eyes, she looked around the room and realized that this was most definitely not her place. Posters of bands she had never heard of dotted the walls. A bright, metallic orange Apple laptop, it’s iconic bitten into apple smirking at her like Steve Jobs’ smile, sat on an ultra-modern desk. “How in the hell did I get here?” Ekaterina said.

    Searing pain coming from her left forearm forced her out of her St. Patrick’s Day induced haze. On it was a map. “I got a freaking map tattoo?”

    “Good morning,” came the sweet, sleepy tone from beside her. It sounded very much like a woman’s voice.

    Ekaterina turned to the voice, her bewilderment growing. “Um, hi.”

    The woman sat up. Ekaterina noticed she was naked, and smiled at her. “Well hello yourself Kit Kat.”

    “You know my name?”

    “Yup. You don’t remember mine do you?” the mystery lesbian woman asked. “It’s Lacey.” She said as she extended her arm.

    “Nice to, uh, meet you, Lacey,” Ekaterina said as she shook the woman’s hand. Looking back at her forearm, she showed her new friend. “You wouldn’t know how or where I got this, would you? Or more importantly, why did I get a map permanently etched on me?”

    Lacey looked at the map thoughtfully for a few seconds before she reached over to her nightstand and busted out her new iPhone.
    “Don’t take a picture of it!” Katerina shrieked and pulled her arm away.

    “Relax. I’m just going to scan it with my phone. I have an app that can take a map like that and tell you where it goes,” Lacey said as she hovered the phone over Ekaterina’s trembling arm.

    After watching Lacey’s thumb scroll around on the screen for a bit, Ekaterina said in an anxious voice, “Well! Where does this go?”

    “Hmmmm. Does the address 1876 Bellmont Street mean anything to you?”

    Ekaterina groaned and put her aching head in her hands. “That’s my boyfriend’s address. He’s going to kill me for cheating on him!” Sprinting out of the bed, she frantically searched the room for her clothes. “I’m so sorry for last night,” she said as she put her clothes on.

    “Bye Lacey. Nice meeting you,” she said weakly as she dashed out the door, only half-closing it in her haste.

    Lacey sighed. “Why do I always sleep with the straight ones?”

      1. JJerome

        A single friend of mine used to consider it an accomplishment to score with a married woman. “I’m not the one cheating,” he would say. I never said a word. He was bigger than me.

  15. Matt

    “Hey Mommy is that man dead?”

    The lights were on but nobody was home and it took me a few minutes to realize the kid was talking about me. I opened one eye slowly as not to let too much light hit my brain at once. My head was pounding like a jack hammer destroying a concrete sidewalk. With both eyes fully open I could see I was outside even though nothing was in focus. The ground began to spin and I quickly slammed my eyelids shut. Too late. My stomach felt the motion and forced the remaining green beer and whatever else was in there back out through where it came with quite a display. As my body convulsed it jerked me into a seated position. As I looked down on the ground between my legs at what was just regurgitated, I didn’t remember eating pepperoni.

    The jack hammer started up again as jumbled scenes of last night played in my head like a movie. Then it dawned on me, it was freezing and all I had on was a t-shirt and jeans. I hugged myself and rubbed my arms to keep warm and that’s when I saw it. A tattoo on my left forearm. How could I not remember getting that? Tattoos aren’t my thing but that had to hurt. My eyes were starting to focus and that’s when it became apparent that it wasn’t a real tattoo only magic marker. There was a sense of relief and a scent of something else. The smell of last night’s St. Paddy’s extravaganza was calling for round two so I made my way to a coffee shop to warm up, wash up and sober up.

    The tattoo was really a map with streets, buildings, landmarks and a big “X”. I took a peek outside and realized I was near my elbow and I needed to reach my wrist. I’m guessing “X” marked the spot. Near the street sign was a bank which broadcasted the temperature a frigid 37 degrees. Goose pimples popped from my arms at the thought of leaving warm coffee house.

    A blast of cold air hit me like an ice sheet as I opened the door and headed down Waxley Avenue. People looked at me like I was crazy even sheltering their children as if I was going steal them. As I made my way to the middle of my forearm I froze, literally, in front of McDaniels and visions of green beer and car bombs exploded in my pounding head. Staggering away from the bar I made it to Third Street then headed for what looked like a big rock and the “X”. My shivering was nearly out of control as I rounded the corner and saw the big “rock”, my Chevy truck. And that’s when it hit me. I drew the map on my arm somewhere between McDaniels and the park bench so I wouldn’t forget where I left my truck.

    Comments please

  16. rob akers

    A Captain Bill Rimes Story

    June 2004 Afghanistan

    Captain Bill Rimes stepped into the shower and started to wash the ink off his arm. With a sigh and a splitting headache, he closed his eyes and thought of the last 15 hours.

    Flying another mission over the Afghan desert the Navigator interrupted his thoughts of home.

    “Bill checkout the emergency radio frequency.”

    Flipping a switch, he heard the British accent yelling with the sounds of gun fire in the background. “Any station, this is Lima Two Zero, we are under fire and requesting air support.”

    Bill replied. “Lima Two Zero, this is Indigo 14. We are a C-130 at flight level 230. We copy your transmission and will set up fighter support. I need your coordinates and I will call you back within two minutes with updates.”

    Looking at the co-pilot. “Hold over the coordinates, ten mile legs, left-hand turns, maximum endurance airspeed. You have the airplane.” Turning to the Navigator he asked for the secret radio call signs and frequencies. Feverishly, he started taking notes on his left forearm.

    Two minutes later

    “Lima Two Zero, this is Indigo 14.”

    “Go for Two Zero.”

    “I have six fast movers heading in your direction. I am overhead your position now and will be your on-scene commander. The first package is 7 minutes out, F-16 call sign Smasher 01.”

    37 Minutes later

    “Two Zero, this is Indigo 14.”

    “Go for Two Zero.”

    “I have your air extraction in place. They are 4 hours out.”

    “Unable 4 hours Mate. I have one man wounded. He will not survive four hours. The Taliban are dug in like a Leprechaun at the pub holding a bottle of Guinness. We are in a bloody bad way.”

    “Copy, stand-by.” Bill radioed the six fighters and described the situation. The fighters were low on fuel and ordnance, Bill decided on the plan.

    Donning his bullet-proof vest, Bill addressed his crew. “Boys, the guys on the deck are lost in sea and we are the lifeboat. Armor Up because we’re going to land. We are looking for 8 Brits, one is seriously wounded. Be quick about getting them loaded up because we are going to be a big bullet magnet down there.”

    Looking at the ground, he called Lima Two Zero and told them to get moving towards a road that was nearby and be ready to pop smoke so he could identify their new location. It took ten minutes to descend to the road. Bill pulled off a textbook Maximum Effort Landing using Unimproved Runway Procedures. Sitting on the road, the crew could hear the bullets impacting the airplane. The C-130 had stopped only two minutes when the Loadmaster called ready to take-off with 8 new souls on board.

    Rick, the Flight Engineer spoke up as the airplane started rolling. “Bill watch #4 engine. It has no oil pressure and we need to shut it down once we get airborne.” Lifting off, the C-130 shook as the bombs fell from the fighters.

    Dear Friends: This will be the last Bill Rimes story for a couple of months. I have some training for work that will require my undivided attention. I hope to be back posting with you guys by the middle of June. Enjoy the rest of the spring and all of the future posts! rob…

      1. rob akers

        JJerome, I left a more detailed response on your blog. Thanks for the comments and I would encourage everyone to check out JJerome’s blog. Click on his name and you will be redirected there.

      1. rob akers

        Nothing like having a fast mover scream over your head at 75 feet and 500 knots fully loaded searching for someone who needs a bomb dropped on their head.

        Thanks for the well wishes for my training. Captain Bill isnt going anywhere, he is just taking a short break. But he is a sneaky fellow. He might make a suprise appearence when you least expect it.

        Keep up the good work, my brother!

  17. Frank

    He was crying, but said the tears were due to sea air in the open porthole. But he knew the cause to be separation, first physical and now emotional, when the great ship opened out into the Atlantic. His homeland slipped by the porthole in a series of farewell cameos of dark and green. Like many on board he tried to find an identifiable landmark in the misting distance. He caught sight of the church steeple of his home parish. He laughed at God’s irony — he owed this church a debt — for he had taken holy orders under the same spire that now grew indistinct in the fog. The priest was on his way to minister to the increasing Irish flock in the Americas, but his mood was dull, not just by his emotions, but also by a hangover from last night’s drinking.

    It was a party for the emigrants, billed as an early St. Patrick’s Day celebration — to call it a farewell party would be too much to bear — so they devised a way of celebrating heritage rather than impending isolation. But the old songs caused many to weep — The Rose of Tralee, Irish Eyes, Sweet Irish Rose — how lovingly they sang and how lustily the young priest played the piano, feeling within him the same sense of loss. Someone, trying to lighten the sadness, held up his pint glass and said, “Now Father, why didn’t God make beer a lovely green color?” The priest replied, “God had second thoughts after turning the water into wine!” The night was long and its ending, predictably, as misty as Erin’s disappearing shores.

    While washing himself that morning, the priest had noticed something that looked like a tattoo on his arm. It was a raised area on his right forearm, more a rash than a tattoo since it was not in ink but a blemish on the skin. It had an odd shape, like a map of India he thought distractedly, and he put it down to the amount he had to drink. He didn’t show it to anyone, for the Irish are notoriously superstitious and one of his countrymen would be quick to call it some kind of miraculous favor, or the less cheerful would say it was an omen. He simply covered it with calamine and forgot about it.

    The big ship sailed on, past the last lighthouse on Ireland’s southernmost tip, its light blinking a final farewell. The young priest, feeling more than a little guilty due to his over-indulgence, thought he might ease his conscience by penning a farewell letter to his bishop. He would need to mail it from New York, but no matter. He looked at the stationery provided by the shipping line, but thought it too showy for a simple man of the cloth, so he began to write on a plain sheet of paper. “April 12, 1912, on board RMS Titanic…”

  18. moiradane

    The double whoop of the police siren is all it took to force me from the deepest sleep I’ve ever been in. To be fair, when one is that far gone you can’t really call it “sleep” and still be taken seriously. I passed out. No one really chooses to fall asleep on the hood of their car after it’s been driven nearly half way up the town’s welcome sign.

    It said “Welcome to Dublin, Arizona. The Irishman’s home away from home!” That’s all fine and good except for the fact that Dublin is a small town in the middle of nowhere with a main export of dirt. It ain’t no Ireland. I suppose it’s the mayor’s way of trying to boost tourism. The sudden thought of Mayor Stein just as I’m trying to climb down from the unholy union of car and sign, which now obscures the population count, brings on bright and painful flashes of the night before: dinner at Luke’s Tavern. Drinks at O’Malley’s (another one of Mayor Stein’s brilliant tourism ideas as the owner of the bar is from Mexico). More drinks at O’Malley’s. The desert.

    I immediately lose my footing and fall face first onto the dirt below. As I lay there trying to catch my breath in the surprisingly cool dirt, Deputy Lang rushes to my side.

    “Sheriff Vaughn! Are you alright?” He kicks up dirt in my face.

    “Deputy, although the cool dirt is aiding the pain I’m in, I do not wish to have dirt inhalation as the COD on my death certificate.” He looks at me as though I’m speaking another language. “Back up, son!” The deputy jumps back as I roll over, pushing myself to my feet.

    After a few false starts trying to stand up straight without passing out again, I’m able to look the world in the eye. I immediately regret my decision to get up. Without another word, the deputy and I climb into his car. I nearly lose an eye putting on my sunglasses when I realize the new addition to the welcome sign is not my cruiser. It’s the mayor’s Cadillac.

    We reach the station and I heave up the last of yesterday’s drink special: green beer. As I fight my body one more time, I notice my arm is still throbbing and blood now stains the sleeve. I roll it up and sure as shit, there it was. A tattoo…of a map? Deputy Lang leans in for a better look. “Wonder where it goes.” He’s mocking me. I glare at him as we enter the station.

    The T.V. is on as our local news gal is at the scene of a breaking story. I must still be drunk because there, on camera, is my cruiser with Mayor Stein handcuffed in the back seat. He’s as red as a tomato and yelling for my head. Oh, and he’s naked.

    “I guess we know where the map leads.” Snorts Deputy Lang. I should just retire now.

      1. moiradane

        Thanks a bunch Anne! This was my first stab at posting a story and I really enjoyed it. I agree with you that the section about the map was a bit short. I’ll definitely keep this in mind for the next writing prompt.

    1. DRoberts


      I laughed so hard when I read your story. The first sentence that started me laughing: No one really chooses to fall asleep on the hood of their car after its been driven nearly half way up the town’s welcome sign. And from there I laughed harder. The situation that Sheriff Vaughn finds himself in is very entertaining. He is a great character. Anne is right, this story could be expanded into a novel. Excellent writing. Wonderful characters. Great descriptions. (I’m still laughing) 🙂

  19. iwritemywords

    my friends paid someone to put a tattoo of a heart on me to scare the heck out of me! They know I hate needles and since I don’t have a boyfriend I was very upset! they all started laughing and saying they couldn’t help themselves-They think I act funny when I drink! None of them were social drinkers like I was. I was being “punished” for acting crazy! I know I’m going to have to keep it under control from now on! who knows what tattoo they decide on next?

    1. iwritemywords

      I guess everyone else was able to enjoy the festivities and have a good time I just like to relax and go with the flow-so I think I might have gotten a little careless!(nobody liked it)

  20. rob akers

    Brian turned off the television and rolled over. Mary, his wife of thirteen years had seen him cry only three times before tonight. Once during the birth of their daughter, once when he returned from Iraq and once when his father died. Tonight, she watched the tears run down his face and she knew why.

    “I still can’t believe they did it.” Brian spoke the words more like a robot than human.

    “But honey you always told me that football was a business.” She held his hand and tried to comfort her best friend.

    “It is a business. But this wasn’t business it was personal. Elway shipped him out of town on purpose because he knew about my drunken bet. He knew that Johnny and I had that bet and now I have to defile my body again just because of one stupid football game.”

    “What are you rambling about?”

    Brian pulled up the sleeve covering his left arm and showed her his Pittsburg Steeler tattoo. “Do you remember when I got this?”

    “Yes, of course.”

    He dropped his boxers and exposed the Denver Bronco logo tattooed on his right butt cheek. “Do you remember the bet I lost with Johnny when Denver beat the Steelers?”

    She stifled a chuckle. “Yes, I still can’t believe you made that bet.”

    “It gets worse. The full bet was that I have to get every team that Tibow plays for during his career tattooed on my rump. I never thought I would lose that bet and I was counting on Johnny pasting the five Super Bowl trophies on his rear end and then every time we won another, he would have to make another trip to the tattoo shop. But because of Tim Tibow, I have a horse on my ass and now I will have a New York Jet riding up my backside as well.”

    Mary couldn’t control her laughter any longer. “Babe, it sucks to be you. I love Timmy Tibow and I love the Jets. Go J.E.T.S…Jets, Jets, Jets!” As she flashed her Kelly green New York Jets tattoo on her ankle.

  21. catbr

    I awoke with another intense hangover from drinking at the local bar… only this time it was a little different. Yesterday was St. Patrick’s day and they were serving endless amounts of green beer. Just the thought of all that green vile crap sloshing around inside of me and a whiff of my own sour smelling breath sent me rushing to the toilet. Trying to cool my head down with a cold cloth made me take notice of some pain in my arm. There to my horror was a fresh tattoo of a map on my arm. Now what did I do? Booze always gets me into trouble. I swear I’ll never drink again. The shrill ringing of the phone makes me stir. I wince in pain as I reach for it.

    “Hello.” I mumble.

    “Fran how are you this morning.”

    “I feel like a bag of shit. Is that you Jane?”

    “Yeah. So was it worth it?” Jane sounds a little mysterious.

    “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

    “I guess you just can’t remember. Last night at Kennedy’s some guy made a bet. He said in honour of St. Patrick’s day if anyone got a tattoo of Ireland on their arm he’d give them 100 dollars. So you being drunk and everything took the bet.” Jane started laughing. The sound of it was like a jackhammer to the brain.

    “So that it explains it then. I gotta let you go Jane. I’m feeling really sick.” Feeling really sick and pissed off. I guess I got my work cut out for me. I’ve got to find out who the funny man is. This is one prank he’s going to regret.

  22. TCormier

    18 March, the infamous day after. Sally and her roommate would go out to celebrate, what she thought was the best holiday ever-St. Patrick’s Day. She rolled out of bed, her head throbbing, her whole body aching from so much partying. “I swear, I will never drink that much green beer again,” she thought to herself. Slowly she walked down the hall, unconsciously rubbing her forearm. Passing her roommate’s bedroom, she saw his door closed so she continued to the bathroom. Starting the shower she pulled off her T-shirt and let out a scream.

    Joey came running out of his room, holding a large bat. “What the hell!” he said still half asleep.

    “Look!” she showed him her forearm. There etched in her skin was a tattoo. There were distinct markings like that of a map. Joey now fully awake studied the drawing.

    “I think I know where this is,” he said looking into Sally’s teary eyes. “I used to drive here allthe time when I was younger.”

    Wiping the tearrs from her eyes, Sally asked Joey, “Will you take me there? I want to know where this is.”

    “Sure.” Joey said wiping the sleep from his eyes. Just let me get dressed.

    Five minutes later Joey emerged from his bedroom dressed. Sally was sitting at the breakfast table nibbling some toast. “I don’t remember anything from last night,” she said taking some aspirin for her headache.

    “Really,” Joey replied as he grabbed the keys to his car.

    Several hours later they neared the area where the map showed. Joey parked the car a mile away.

    “Joey,” Sally questions, ” why are we parked here?” He pointed to a sign. It read “All trespassers will be shot on site!”

    Wild thoughts were going through Sally’s mind. Why was there a map to this location on her arm and why couldn’t she remember getting it. Who would have done this??

    Joey looking through some binoculars saw a car off in the distance. “See,” he said pointing it out to Sally. “Someone is watching us. Get in the car.” Sally relucantly climbed in and looked at Joey.

    He looked her way and then took off toward the car on the hill. “What are you doing?” Sally asked. The locks on the door clicked down and Joey picked up speed.

    Joey kept accelerating in speed. He continued to get closer to the other car. Once he reached the peak he came to a screeching halt. Getting out; he pulled Sally from her seat while she struggled to break free. “Why?” Sally questioned as she continued to struggle against Joey, but he was holding her tightly.

    They walked over to the two men standing by the car. The men were dressed in all black with pale gray skin. One of them opened the door while the other turned to Joey amd motioned toward the open door. “Master Krelock, the mothership awaits you. The kingdom will be happy-you’ve found your bride.”

    1. TCormier

      Thank you both for the responses. I enjoyed writing it. I noticed the repetative “eyes” after I posted it. And I think I need to fire my Spell Checker. 🙂

  23. Spidyman

    Chad Walker woke to the sound of running water. It seemed distant as his brain slowly ascended from the slumbering fog. His mouth, dryer than a scorching Arizona day, had the fetid taste of undigested food wedged between his teeth for days unbrushed. Though the curtains were drawn, the little light that pierced his eyes sent shards of blinding white pain to his brain and he fell back with a gasp. As the room spun he attempted to recall what had brought him to this place. It wouldn’t have been the first time he found himself drugged and on the wrong side of an interrogation. Then a voice from the wilderness spoke to him.

    “Welcome to the land of the living.”

    It was a female, vaguely familiar, voice. He opened his eyes a slit letting barely any light in but just enough to see her silhouette. She was wrapped in a towel, her head tilted to the side as she dried her hair.

    “Mmmmphhhff,” was all he could muster. His brain to mouth function was still being hampered by bolts of pain and confusion.

    “Awww, poor baby,” she cooed, sitting next to him on the bed. Her wet hair brushed his face as she leaned toward him caressing his brow and gently kissing his forehead. “Too much Jameson for you.”

    Her scent was like lilacs and honey. He couldn’t help but take a deep, rejuvenating breath opening his eyes a bit more.

    “Here, drink this.” She said handing him a glass of water. “You need to replenish some fluids before we get going.

    Get going? His only desire was to recuperate here in bed with the covers over his head but as he raised the glass to drink he noticed something on his arm and it all suddenly came back.

    Abbey was his G-2 contact here in Ireland. They had met up with Cullen Daley, an IRA insider, at the Long Stone in Dublin last night. Despite the Good Friday Agreement, the IRA was still suspected of supporting recent terrorist activity in London. Daley, the inside man, was assisting Walker in infiltrating the organization. After hours of “testing his fortitude” via rounds of Jameson consumption Daley was finally satisfied with Walker’s credentials.

    Daley explained there were still numerous IRA cells throughout Ireland. Each cell was an autonomous group and the tattoo was am identifier. It confirmed your membership, designated a location, and facilitated entry. But it was coded so each cell had a slightly different mark depending on where they were located. The tattoo also indicated rank within the specific cell and to the overall group structure.

    Chad flipped the covers and bounded off the bed. He stood there looking at the markings on his arm unable to make any sense of them.

    |————————————— |
    | ———- __ __ __ _ |
    | | /_\ _ | _| \ /\ | | / | |
    | __| | | |__| __| \/ \ |__| \_| |
    | ————————————– |
    — – — — —

    As he rubbed his fingers over the tender flesh he held his arm up to the mirror. He stared for a minute and then hurriedly began putting on his clothes. Abbey watched him with some amusement as she dressed too. He slid his arms through the shoulder harness and grabbed the Glock 23 from the dresser.

    Without a word he chambered a round and headed toward the door.

    1. DRoberts


      I thought this was a well-thought out story and had a good build up to the ending. I want to know what happens next. This is a good beginning to a longer story. I liked how you described your characters through their actions-that’s good writing. I definitely felt like I wanted to know more about them. The story was a smooth read. Great job.

  24. Jorja

    On St. Patrick’s Day
    The road rose to meet me,
    But know where I am I do not
    I scrape myself off the pavement
    And lean on the nearest lamppost.
    My mouth is dry,
    My head is roaring and reeling
    My arm!
    I begin to shake as I roll my shirt sleeve.
    A map! Complete with X
    A troll bridge? A leprechaun pot of gold? A fairy ring?
    The luck of the Irish
    X is home
    Follow the ley line
    Now, where am I?

  25. JaneRenner

    “Wow! I have never been to such a wild party before. What’s really in that green beer anyway?” were my thoughts as I roused to the sun shining through the window. I felt a twinge in my forearm and wondered if I had fallen or something. As I reached around to touch it I thought aloud “What the—?”
    I gazed in horror at the sight of this hideous tattoo on my arm. It was a maniacal looking leprechaun standing over an empty black pot that should be full of gold. In his hand he held a map. A map. . .to what? “What happened last night? “I thought as I searched my memory trying to find any little bit of what I did at this party. All I remember is drinking a lot of that green concoction they passed off as beer.
    I cannot read the map by looking in the mirror. . .everything is backwards. “I know, I’ll take a picture of it then print it out. Good thinking in my day after stupor, don’t ya’ think?” I said as if someone was listening. Proud of myself, I did just that. “But whatever possessed me to get such a tattoo? Wait until mom sees it. She’ll have that conniption I’ve heard so much about.”
    Following the map, I head out the door to find the car. It’s nowhere to seen. Maybe it will be at X marks the spot. Two blocks East. . .or is that West? Maybe it’s three blocks. No it’s two. “Whoever made this stupid map, sure didn’t have me in mind. Just go right.” “This blasted tattoo itches.”
    After making several wrong turns. . .there’s the little corner store on the map. “Not far now, according to the map, it is near here. Hey, there’s the car. I know, whatever the treasure is, it’s nearby.” Looking at the map I see the numbers 345. That’s the last clue. It has to be a house number. There is 349, then 347, followed by 345. “Here it is and X marks the spot.”
    Just a tad bit apprehensive about what is behind the door, he takes a deep breath and pushes the doorbell button. In his anticipation, he rocks back slightly on his heel. . .loses his balance and lands on his back. Just as the door starts to open, he jumps up to avoid embarrassment.
    In the doorway stands a beautiful young woman with golden tresses hanging down past her shoulders. He is speechless. . .not knowing what to say. . .he just clears his throat and sputters, “UM. . .Hi.” She reaches and pulls him to her and says, “Well, it took you long enough.” She kisses him firmly on his lips.” As he returns the kiss, he realizes he just found his pot of gold.

    1. annefreemanimages

      Hi Jane – I especially like your tattoo. Fun image. One suggestion, you changed tense in the last two paragraphs. It was first person up until then, and then you switched with the paragraph that starts with “just a tad.” That was confusing. The last sentence worked, but I would have liked for him to react emotionally to her kiss – what did he feel? If he felt something great, then it would bring some punch to the ending line. Otherwise, a nice read.


      1. jren

        Thanks for the comment Anne. It is appreciated. I will need to keep an eye on the tense. That is a problem I seem to have. I will work on that. I did want to write more as far as what he was feeling but I thought it was important to stay within the 500 word limit. That’s sometimes difficult when you want to convey so much more. Thank you again….

  26. NwAdventure11

    “Ah! My head hurts. Brian’s party was off the chain last night. What the—?”

    Clinton looks down and sees a map that was tattooed on his forearm.

    “What did the guys get me into last night?”

    Suddenly, the phone rang and the caller ID was “private caller”. “Who is this?” Clinton thought. Normally, Clinton wouldn’t answer numbers he didn’t recognize, but he was curious.


    An automated voice answered, “Hello, Clinton! You like the tattoo. I thought it was a nice touch.”

    “Who is this?”

    “Well, you can ask a thousand questions but your wasting time.”

    The voice paused snickering, “Not my time, of course, but actually yours and you don’t have very much left.”

    “What do you mean?”

    “It means that along with that tattoo, you were injected with a very special type of poison. There is no antidote or vaccine for this poison except the one that I have. This map will show you where to get the antidote. But here are the rules…. No police! No hospitals! And no friends! I have placed a compass and G.P.S. next to your night stand. You can only choose one of them. Both of these navigational tools have pros and cons so choose wisely.”

    “Why are you doing this?”

    “Clinton, Clinton! Again, with the questions. While you are asking, you only have one 1 hour until the poison will start taking effect. If I was you, I will get my shoes on and starting moving. And if you try anything outside of my rules, I have a tracking device I have inserted somewhere in your body that will quicken the process of the poison.’

    Clinton grabbed the compass. He thought, “It’s a map, it only make sense to bring this.”

    After three taxi’s, he was lead out to this remote woody area. The sound of the trees rustling in the wind and crows croaking near by. The map lead to this abandon house that looked quite spooky and haunted. The boards of the house were worn and broken, the windows were shattered and dirty, and the front door was wide open like it knew it was waiting for him. He checked his watch. It was 11:15a.m. He had only a few more minutes.

    Clinton enters the house and turns left towards a room with a flickering light. In the center of a room was a chest with a note and a key. The note read: “Final destination.”

    He took the key to open the chest and there was a small bottle inside that had a label on it stating, “Drink me!”
    In one gulp, he drank the antidote and didn’t feel anything. He went to turn around and saw figure with a black robe on. The voice of the figure was soft and sweet and said, “You’re not going anywhere!” Suddenly, all the lights when on and the room was filled with people from the party the night before. His friend Brian played a prank on him.

    Clinton face went from ghost white to flesh in an instant. He laughed it off but in the back of his mind, he plotted revenge.

  27. JJerome

    “Top of the morning to you?” My ass! This morning feels like the bottom of a dumpster, loaded with hangover trash spilling out. And what makes my head feel worse? The itch all over my back and arms, from a tattoo of a map on my right forearm. No idea how it got there, but I’m sure it had two parts. Booze and broads. What else is there?
    The map shows a red star and a name next to it – The Mourning After. That name reminds me of home, of Ireland. Beautiful country. When God rested on the seventh day, he took a walk through those green fields and decided to relocate. On my seventh day, I got the hell out and never looked back. If only I could remember why I left. It must have had something to do with the mountains.
    So, I grab an orange from the fridge and a bottle of Gatorade, head into the glare of the sun, and step on a bus that will lead me toward that red star, the intersection of East Randolph and North Wabash. When I arrive, my head is a little clearer, but I’m more confused than ever. I’ve been drunk at every Irish pub in Chicago, hell, even a few foreign bars. Never seen this pub before, but it’s been here forever, old brick building with patrons coming and going. Been so drunk that I couldn’t remember places, but totally forgetting an Irish Pub is like forgetting the name of your favorite saint. I don’t know if I should be scared or embarrassed. When I take a seat at the bar and order a pint, a female voice slinks up behind me, close to my ear. My neck gets bathed in the warmth of her breath. “Been waiting for hours.”
    “Had to call Mom. And visit a sick friend.”
    “Liar. You don’t have friends. You told me so last night.”
    “I was lying.”
    “You don’t remember me, do you?” She says.
    I answer with a sip of Guinness.
    “I’m Lynn. We met before.”
    “Gotta give me more. Did you help me with this?” I reveal the map on my arm.
    “It was a gift. I have another one. Follow me to the little laddie’s room.” She got up and walked toward the bathrooms. I knew it was be trouble, but those legs curving up to say hello to that ass – at least it was trouble that I would remember.
    When we get inside, she locks the door, throws me against the stall, and thrusts her lips against mine. Hungry – that’s her kiss. She rips off my shirt and that’s when I remember the itching sensation on my back that matched the itch on my forearm. The bathroom mirror shows the reflection of the brand new ink inches below the back of my neck – the tattoo of mountains. The Mountains of Mourne to be precise. I’m about to remember everything. That’s when I hear the cocking of a revolver behind my head. My neck is covered in warmth all over again.

    1. sanchez0210

      Incredible. You are a very talented writer. I look foward to reading much more of your work. Great ending. By the way, i loved these lines :

      “No idea how it got there, but I’m sure it had two parts. Booze and broads. What else is there?”

      “Been so drunk that I couldn’t remember places, but totally forgetting an Irish Pub is like forgetting the name of your favorite saint.”

      You incorporate humor and suspense and blend them so well. Enjoyable read.

        1. rob akers

          Very nice. You have a unique ability to say so much in so few words. Wonderful read and nice twist at the end. Would be nice to know why he was shot and who the woman is, but I am sure the answer lies somewhere between the booze and broads.

        2. Egg

          Your unique, conversational style is so natural and a pleasure to read, and it’s true – creative metaphors really are a breath of fresh air to the reader. Kudos to you.

  28. thesaturnbull

    I could not decide if I was actually pleased or still punch-drunk. I did always want a tattoo there, part of me argued. However, the forearm was prime body real estate and visible to the working world, said the other, slightly less giddy part of my brain still functioning from last night’s blurry escapades.

    Ugh, either way, no more green beer. Ever.

    … but a map was a damn cool tattoo, right? Right. So, what was done was done, and permanent. I would move on.

    First, Advil. Loads of it.

    Then, Google.

    For some reason between midnight and four a.m., I had decided to turn my body into a personal game of the Da Vinci Code, and I could not wait to meet my Hanks-ish partner. Oooh, maybe I was Tom, the rogue symbologist, and today I would accidentally (but not really by accident, wink wink) bump into my cagey, full-lipped partner.

    If that was the case, I should probably brush my teeth first.

  29. tvmcgowan

    My head felt like it was filled with concrete as I looked at myself in the bathroom mirror. It was the day after St. Pat’s Day and my mouth was dry, my stomach nauseous. Several green beers with friends at O’Malley’s Pub last night were the cause of my discomfort, at least one of them, “Compliments of an admirer,” the waitress told me.

    I had awoken on my couch, wrapped in the Irish flag I had pinched from a street vendors cart in Dublin when I had visited last summer. The short, stocky proprietor had his back to me helping other tourists. The price was right and I hadn’t cared that it had a blotchy blemish along the orange edge. It had been hanging on the wall of my apartment ever since I returned home from the trip.

    The flag had stuck to my left forearm and I winced as I peeled it off. Was that blood? No, it looked like ink. My eyes and brain were still focusing so I turned on the faucet and stuck my arm under the water to rinse it off.

    It didn’t and as my eyes cleared I saw lines zig-zagging their way between my elbow and wrist. I rubbed it but it wouldn’t come clean. It was a tatoo I realized and damn if it didn’t look like a map.

    “What the…,” I muttered

    An X on the far left of the map had the name “O’Malley’s” etched by it. Lines marked with street names moved along my forearm making left and right turns until they came to an end at a circled X, just above my watch.

    Where did I get it and why a map? I splashed some water over my head, grabbed a bottle of water and a bagel and went out to my car.

    I drove back to O’Malley’s and then followed the route tatooed on my arm. The circled X was a large brick apartment building at the end of a dead end street.

    Entering the building I walked uncertainly down the hall until I saw the same map on my arm drawn on a piece of paper. It was taped to one of the apartment doors. i stared at it. I looked up and down the hallway but no one was around.

    I knocked cautiously. When the door opened the same short man who I had stolen the Irish flag from stood in the doorway. Another short man stood a little behind him.

    Startled, I staggered back a step glancing down the hall for an escape. Another man was blocking the door eyeing me cooly.

    “Good morning,” the short man said as he looked up at me. His lips smiled, but his eyes were cold. “I am glad you accepted my invitation. Remember that Irish flag you stole from me? I want it back.”

  30. markfaith

    All comments are appreciated. Thanks, Mark

    My resurrection was miraculous and immediate as droning bagpipes filled the cathedral. I forced myself to sit up and discovered I was half way down a long church pew. I realized that I was in St. Patrick’s Cathedral. My brain felt like a head of cabbage; resulting from the ingestion of too much green beer celebrating St. Patrick’s Day at Fitzgerald’s pub the night before with some of my college room mates. My mouth tasted like I had been chewing cotton balls and paste.
    A few early morning worshipers-mostly older women and a couple with small children-were gripping their rosaries while feverishly petitioning dead saints for deliverance from whatever. I looked up and saw Jesus on the cross and thanked the Father that I was not suffering nearly as bad as him. What was I doing here and what was this terrible burning itch on my arm? As I left the church I pulled my sleeve up and saw a tattoo of the ugliest looking leprechaun I’d ever seen. It resembled Bill O’Reilly on steroids. Upon closer examination I realized that it was really a map of northern Long Island with the tip of the leprechaun’s nose designating Manhasset, NY where the aforementioned lives. A little person with a munchkin voice appeared and began to dance and sing.
    “Follow the map to his house, follow the map to his house.”
    Taking the Cross Island Parkway it was about a forty-minute cab ride to his estate. I told the cabbie not to wait. He said something in Arabic which I guessed had to do with the small tip I paid. I buzzed the intercom and surprisingly Bill himself answered.
    “Come right up to the house. I’ve been expecting you,” he said. The gate swung open. Before I could ring the bell the door opened and there he stood, larger than life, Mr. Bill O’Reilly. A woman with a large video camera straddling her shoulder appeared from behind him.
    “This is Ann from our Fox camera crew. She’s here to film our interview for tonight’s broadcast.” he said. “Tonight’s Talking Points is ‘Can Consuming Too Much Green Beer Cause Psychosis or It’s The Economy, Stupid’”
    Nancy Pelosi, the ex House Speaker appeared flying on a broom, circling above shouting down at me. “I will get you my little pretty. Just you wait and see. Just you wait!” A bunch of mean looking monkeys flew around buzzing me while gnarling their teeth.
    I began to run shouting, “There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home! Everything around me began to melt away. Every step I made caused more of the landscape to disappear. Soon I found myself waking up in my dorm room surrounded by familiar faces staring at me.
    “We thought you were a goner!” my roommate said.
    “I had a wild dream but it seemed so real. You were all in it.” I said pointing to each person in the room.
    My girlfriend Ann looked concerned. “Are you alright? Are you going to be able to come tonight?” she said.
    “Come where?” I said.
    “Did you forget we are seeing The Wizard of Oz at the college theater? I told you yesterday afternoon and remember I said I would record Bill O’Reilly’s The Factor so we wouldn’t miss it.”

  31. cmschaerer

    Under 1000 words. I tried to keep it short but I got carried away. Comments always welcome. This is my first post. I was having some writers block and prompt helped me a bit. Here it is:

    I was awoken with a loud noise; like my front door being slammed shut -only I live alone. The thought briefly crossed my mind at the same time as a massive throbbing headache waved across my forehead– undoubtedly caused by the Guinness I drank the night before at the Blackrock Pub. Did I drink Guinness? I don’t know, feels like whiskey to me. God, stop thinking. I placed my hand on my head massaging my temples and forehead and slowly rolled over. “Crap!” I yelled it’s Monday, looked at the clock it was 9 am. Late again. I jumped out of bed, hurled myself into the shower, bumping my arm on the door and head on open bathroom cabinet. My eyes were still closed. I turned the water on, and jumped in. “Urgh!” ice cold this time. I had to wake up, as the ice cold water hit my head I realized a horrible pain in my arm. The shock forced my eyes open and I noticed pen markings all over my right arm, from my fingertips to my shoulder. Ha, looks like a drawing. I grab the soap and start to wash my arm and notice the pen is not coming off. “A tattoo,” I whispered, “Where did I get a tattoo?” I thought to myself. “Urgh!” The pain I felt in my head throbbing more, I turn to look in the mirror and I have paint all over my face. I start washing feverishly. “A tattoo, how am I going to cover that up?” I quickly jump out the shower and get dressed. I grab my phone to see if it offers any clues. At the same time I slowly begin to investigate the tattoo. It looks like street directions. Why would I get a tattoo of directions, I have an iPhone. I said to myself as I open iPhoto and see girls dancing on tables, then me dancing on tables, then a video of me drinking four huge beers and five shots and a little man dressed up like a leprechaun. ‘Oh great a leprechaun.’ I laugh, my head still pounding. Then in the last picture, the dude – sorry the leprechaun – was writing on my arm at the very edge of the last picture. Odd thing was is he was using a normal ballpoint pen. Now I was curious. Why would this little dude write on my arm? I could not remember any of this. Then I got a flash of him saying, in a high pitched voice with thick accent, “ef yur lookin for me pot of gold, start here, remember if yu doo find me cottage the next cloo is not far behind. Then you must promise me a prize worth havin’.” I was already late so I decided to take a stab. I took a picture of my arm to see if my iPhone could help with the navigation and started on my way (after I popped a few Ibuprofen). I made my way down the alley and out of Dublin on M7 and then M8. The Map then said about 200 kilometers south. This put me in Cork, an old city, said to be the second largest in the whole of Ireland. As I got closer I noticed the pain in my arm was getting worse, so bad, I had to stop. When slowed down the car engine made a loud bang and ran dead. I could not restart it. “Great now I am stuck here.” I looked out the window and I could see Blackrock Castle from my vantage, which was not on my map. But it said I was exactly where I was supposed to be. Weird I now had the map on my handy iPhone, Google maps shows everything. I looked at my arm and the map had disappeared, but the pain had not subsided. Shocked I was, in a state at this point. Was this really happening? I was glad that I had taken a picture with my cam. I slowly got out of my ’73 Mini, locked the door and then I started to follow the S. Ring Road on foot. The map told me to head across the dead bank of the River Lee. All of a sudden clouds rolled in like they were on fast-forward and it became dark, I could hear thunder in the background rolling in closer to me. My pace quickened, as headed past the riverbed and over onto Castle Road. A got clear view of the castle ahead of me, I headed toward it, as it all of a sudden disappeared and a cliff appeared in front of me. I now stood on a beach, looking at a Blackrock cliff. Fifty or so meters up a small cottage. I scanned the cliff for a clear path and headed up. Small pieces rock and dirt started to fall below and above me. After twenty or so minutes, I looked up and the cottage was farther away. I looked down, and I was at least fifty meters up. I looked up at the cottage again and I saw the little man he was smiling and waving. Then all of a sudden he tossed a key, as I reached to try and grab it, I lost a grip on the rock and fell. I could see the ground coming closer to me as I fell, wind in my face. It was like I was flying. My heart was racing and I squinted my eyes shut, this was the end. I had the key in my hand as I fell. Just before I hit the ground, I woke up. I was covered in sweat, my head pounding. My arm hurting like hell and I opened my hand and there was the key. My hand was bleeding from grasping the key so tightly. On my arm was a faintest writing. A map; I looked closer. It was the same map.

    1. DRoberts

      Your story has potential with some revising and tightening. I think you could have written this in the 500 word limit. The first thing that you might want to do is format the story so that it’s easier to read. A lot of things are happening and its hard to follow without proper paragraph breaks. Some of the sentences seem to run-on and could be cleaned up with proper puncuation or rewriting them. The Writer’s Digest Shop sells books that teach writers the proper formatting to use when writing short stories and novels. You’ll also find books on plot building, dialogue, revising, etc. When I started writing, I bought these types of resource books. They were a huge help.
      I’m guessing that your character was dreaming the entire time? I have to admit that when I got to the end of the story I found it confusing. Maybe, it’s just me, but I didn’t understand the point of the key. Please accept these comments as suggestions and encouragement. Keep on writing.

      1. schaerer

        Thank you for your suggestions. You are totally correct. I followed your suggestions. I have now a new draft. I kept trying to shorten, but I get carried away in the imagery and detail. Here it is. Not the best, but a work in progress. Comments always welcome. TItle “What is at the end of the rainbow?”

        Mike was thrust awake by a loud thud. It sounded like the front door being slammed shut, only he lives alone. That thought briefly crossed his mind as a massive throbbing headache waved across his forehead. Undoubtedly caused by the Guinness he drank the night before. “Feels like whiskey hangover to me,” he slurred.

        He rolled over to get the time. “Crap,” he whined. It’s Monday and the clock said it was 9 am. Late again. He jumped out of bed and hurled himself into the shower and in the process bumped his arm pretty hard on the door. Evidenced by the loud thud and subsequent four-letter word.

        He turned the water on and jumped right in, it was ice cold. A fact that became visible on his face. As he stood there, a horrible pain crept up his arm. The shock of which forced eyes open. His piercing blue eyes follow an ink drawing that was spreading all over his right arm. It was an intricate drawing that appeared to be spreading from his fingertips up to his shoulder. The visual made him think he may have had something other than beer last night. He grabbed some soap and started to scrub, violently, but it did not come off. “A tattoo!” he said in an approving tone, the tattoo signifies a successful evening. Though he seemed to not recall how it got there with his expression. A thought that briefly crossed his mind and was rapidly interrupted by his consuming headache.

        He turned to look in the mirror to begin his morning ritual and saw – a clown. He started washing feverishly. After he got all the paint off his face, he stumbled out the shower, and threw on yesterday’s clothes that laid on the floor. After he smelled them, wincing a bit. Though he made sure to grab a long sleeve sweater (undoubtedly to cover his new precious artwork). He grabbed his phone and started scrolling through photos, thinking perhaps they may offer some clues. At the same time he was investigating the tattoo, which was more and more looking like a map. His face seemed to question the presence of directions, and his possession of an iPhone, which is equipped with Google.

        The pictures showed an eventful Friday night, he seemed pleased. Equipped with girls dancing on tables, him dancing on tables, then a video of him downing four huge beers and five shots, nothing seemed out of the ordinary except for the last two pictures. They were of a creepy little man dressed up like a leprechaun (it was St. Patty’s Day after all). He chuckled a bit, the guy was a creepy and a little purvey (literally salivating over the girls who looked mortified). He was quickly reminded that it was not the best idea to laugh. Then in the last picture, the leprechaun was writing on my arm using what looked like a BIC pen.

        He obviously did not remember any of this and appeared slightly agitated. After staring a bit more at the scene of “girls-gone-wild” he was shocked by a memory flash. The creepy leprechaun saying in a high-pitched voice with thick accent, “ef yur lookin for your lady friend, start here, remember if yu doo find me cottage the next cloo is not far behind. Then you must promise me a prize worth havin’.” He took a picture of his arm with his iPhone, grabbed his keys and headed out the back door. As he headed out he saw a picture on the wall of one of the girls from the bar, he gabbed it and put it in his pocket. From the expression on his face it is clear he is confused and missing something he loves. He reemerge a few seconds later to pop a few Ibuprofen. The map led him out of Dublin on M7 and then M8 about 200 kilometers south. This put him in Cork.

        As approached his destination the pain in his arm intensified, so much so that he pulled over. As he slowed down the car engine made a loud bang and ran dead. It would not restart. “Great now I am stuck here,” he slurred it was clear he should not be driving. He looked out the window and caught a glimpse of Blackrock Castle, on the edge of a rainbow. His eyebrows crinkled – this was not on the map on his arm. But according to his iPhone he was where he was supposed to be. He looked at his arm to confirm and the map dissolved. However, the pain did not.

        Was this really happening? He seemed slightly confused as to the reality of the situation as he slowly staggered (almost falling) out of his ’73 Mini. The picture of his lady friend fell out of his dark leather jacket. Now covered in mud he whipped the glass and looked at her again, he was flooded with memories. It was his Linney. His girlfriend of three years, with whom he had recently split. They met last night for drinks, it was the anniversary of her father’s death. He stared for a moment longer, and then visibly shook his head. He started to remember, Linney went with the little man last night, but rather reluctantly. She said it had to do with he father’s death, something she had become obsessed with since it happed a year ago. He followed them, but lost them in an alley behind the bar.

        Taken back to the present, he turned to look at the castle and then at his car and without a moment hesitation followed the map. Not bothering to lock the car door behind him. He followed Goggle maps on S. Ring Road on foot, over the bridge across the bank of the River Lee. Just as he reached the clearing clouds rolled in so fast it was as if he was watching them on TV on fast-forward. The sky became dark and thunder rolled in the background so close goose bumps grew on his arms. His pace quickened, as headed past the riverbed and over onto Castle Road. He now had a clear view of the castle ahead of him, the rainbow his disappeared. As he headed toward the castle, and it disappeared as well at the same time en enormous black rock cliff appeared in its place.

        He now stood on a beach, looking at a Blackrock cliff, with a dumbfounded expression on his face. Arching his head upward, fifty or so meters up he saw a small cottage. A clear path to the cottage was visible, it was a steep climb, but he headed up. Small pieces rock and dirt started to fall below and above him. After twenty or so minutes, he looked up and the cottage was farther away. He looked down, and saw he was at least fifty meters up. Looking again at the cottage he saw the little man he was smiling and waving. The smile was not friendly in nature. Then all of a sudden the little man tossed a key, Mikey reached out to grab it. He lost his grip on the rock and fell. As he fell he could see the ground coming closer, he felt the wind in his face. It was like flying. His heart was racing and he squinted his eyes shut – this was the end. He had the key in his hand as I fell. Just before I hit the ground, he was again thrust awake. He was covered in sweat, and his headache had not subsided. His arm continued to burn only this time the key was in his hand, which was bleeding heavily from grasping the key so tightly. On his arm was the faintest drawing. A map, he looked closer. It was the same map in his dream. The picture of Linney was gone. He new now he had to find her, it all had something to do with her father. So that is where he knew he needed to begin.

        1. DRoberts


          Good revising. This reads and flows much better than the first draft. There are still some areas that seem to be overwritten-meaning you have a tendency to explain in detail the character’s actions. One example, the words in parenthesis are not necessary and could be cut from the story. You have some really good descriptions, but sometimes it’s easy to overwrite and be too wordy. If you feel you have to explain what you are trying to convey, that is a strong indication that you need to rework the sentence or scene. Overall, this second draft is much better than the first. Well done. Keep writing.

  32. Turtled

    He could feel the sun radiating off his face and the single thought was that he wished he had closed the blinds before crashing into bed last night. He was sure his brain was trying to escape through his temples and the pain was radiating to all of his extremities. As he regained some consciousness, he realized it wasn’t all of his limbs, just one. He moaned and rolled onto his back. Peering out of one eye between tightly creased eyelids, Pat pulled up the sleeve of his sweatshirt.

    “What the f…?” the question trailed off as steadily as the reality settled into his murky mind.

    Charging down the hall he put his shoulder into the door, not worried at all whether he had turned the knob. The door burst open and the handle hit the wall behind it, burying itself deeper into the drywall, paint chips cascading to the stained rug below.

    “Dude! What’s up with this?” Pat jumped up onto Tim’s bed in one motion and flashed the raw red lined image on his forearm.

    “There’s no way we are getting that security deposit back now.” Tim wasn’t quite sure how to deal with the sudden interruption and infringement of his personal space.

    “Focus man! What happened last night?”

    They began to piece together the day beginning with the parade and ending with…how did it end?

    “I remember we went into the Elbow Inn, what’s it called now, Rooks? And we were shooting pool with that guy who races mini-roadsters, or whatever.”

    Pat continued staring at the tattoo, “Is this infected?”

    “Don’t sweat it man, it’ll be fine.”

    “I don’t even know what it is. It looks like South America? Peru maybe? You think someone drugged me and had this put on me.”

    “C’mon stop the conspiracy theorizing, this isn’t the Hangover.”

    “My aunt is a nun in Peru, why would I get a tattoo of Peru?”

    “You got inked by the Incas!” Tim’s humor was falling on deaf ears but it didn’t dampen the exuberance of his laughter. “Let me see that. It can’t be Peru, man, that’s on the other side of the continent, I think it’s Brazil.”

    Pat could only shake his head and try to focus on the timeline. “We were at the Elbow?”

    “Yeah, remember? The guy had a friend who plays in a band in Fishtown. All I remember was he was rambling on about how he did all his own mechanical work. I knew that stuff was lost on you cause your eyes were totally glazed over. But then you turned and said…I need to get a tattoo map of Rio.”

    Pat’s focus finally moved from his arm to his friend’s face. “I said what?”

    “You said, I need to get a tattoo map of Rio! That’s it…it’s Rio!” Tim’s face beamed as he realized he had solved the mystery.

    Pat’s eyes narrowed “I said, I need to get a tune up on my Prius, you idiot!”

  33. laurentravian

    Ugh. I hate hangovers. That’s why I don’t drink. I found myself sprawled on my bathroom floor with a searing pain in my arm. I rolled up my sleeve to see what it was, and maybe pour alcohol on it (hey, medicinal purposes ONLY). It was a red and raw tattoo, and I immediately knew I had been scratching it. I rolled my eyes at my unconscious stupidity and then winced as the whiskey dribbled onto my arm. At last, I looked at the tattoo. It looked like… my eyes widened, and I grabbed my car keys. The man at the mall was very nice about removing my tattoo, especially since I said I hadn’t wanted it in the first place. As he removed it, I thought about Damon. Damon, who I’d sworn to love in Junior High, and gave him a box full of mementos. Of course, he buried it. The map lead straight to where he had covered it with Earth, and it was a clear sign that he wanted a bimbo to bounce. Well, I wasn’t going to be that bimbo. I never would be, after his particular evil and insensitivity. So, I asked the tattoo guy out as a way of making conversation. And that’s how I met my husband.

    1. annefreemanimages

      Hi Lauren – following up on Icabu’s comment, my suggestion would be to start your story with her sitting in the tatoo artist’s chair while you’re toughing it out, getting the tatoo off. You could be telling him the story of the tatoo, and the two could be interacting while their attraction grew. That would be fun! Just a thought to use or lose.


  34. Just B

    Pat staggers out into the blazing sunshine still wearing his ‘I’m Irish. Wanna get lucky?’ t-shirt. There’s not a cloud in the sky yet he sees an enormous, vivid rainbow. That’s strange.

    The mailman shoves mail into his hand with a terse, “Afternoon.”

    “What do you think is causing that huge rainbow?”

    He follows the finger pointing skyward then looks at Pat puzzled, shakes his head, and walks away.

    Pat looks at his arm and sees that the map he had noticed upon waking appears to start at his front door. The simple map is drawn in such a way that it’s easy to follow from his vantage point. A dotted line leads from where he is standing to a bridge in town. That’s also exactly where it looks like the rainbow ends. Foggy headed and thinking a walk may sooth his annoyed tummy, he begins to follow the map.

    Arriving at the bridge, he walks under the abutment close to the cool water. The pungent odor causes his stomach to go from annoyed to angry. He leans against the chilled stone to steady himself, but the rock he chose for support gives way and a hole opens in the earth before him. His hangover can’t adjust to the sudden change in depth perception and, despite his wild windmill for balance, he pitches forward into the gaping yawn.

    The endless fall brings to mind thoughts of Alice in Wonderland and Journey to the Center of the Earth. “Both of them landed safely,” he thinks to himself, struggling to keep both fear and the contents of his tender tum-tum down.

    The air stops rushing over him as suddenly as it started. Pat cautiously opens his clenched eyeballs then leaps to his feet. He is surrounded by a crowd of story book leprechauns.

    “Hooray! He’s back! St. Pat is back!” they dance and cartwheel and cheer. The ground is a dizzying swirl of knee-high green people. Pat swears under his breath.

    “Please impart us with more of the wonderful wisdom you shared with us last night,” they beg.

    “I shared wisdom last night?” he can do nothing more than Mynah bird them.

    “Yes, dear kind guru. You know all there is to know. We want to hear it all.”

    “I’m afraid there’s been some misunderstanding. I have a job and wife and kids. I have to get back home.”

    “But you came back! There is no misunderstanding. We told you that we could only send you back one time and that if you came again it was because you had decided to stay forever and be our clever king. Our lifetime coach. We are so happy you’re here to stay with us forever.”

    Pat stumbles stunned while being led to an ornate throne they have built for him. Images of friends and family reacting to his disappearance, never knowing what happened to him, race through his mind. As they place a weighty crown upon his head, a tear trickles down his cheek.

      1. rob akers

        I like the story and I think you did a good job but I have one thing to suggest. I found it was difficult to read with the present tense language. A couple of times you slipped into past tense as well.

        Again, this isnt a negative just a observation from a new writter.

    1. Icabu

      Interesting! Guess the little folks will have to keep the beer flowing to have wisdom back – drunks do know everything, ya know. Liked the ending – a king and happiness for the leprechauns, loss and sadness for Pat.

  35. anomaly

    There I was with a map tattooed on my forearm. I could tell the artist responsible for it was no cartographer. For one, Nazi-Germany doesn’t exist, and two, Russia, Iran, North Korea and Venezuela are not neighbouring countries. And you could argue whether United Super States of America exists either but…

    Well, no time to waste. There’s a clear red dot that says “You are here” and then an arrow that goes through Australia, China and The Dominican Republic and ends up in South Africa. All, again, neighbouring countries.

    I asked for a flight schedule of such a route and the salesperson replied:

    – The next flight leaves in two hours. Unfortunately you have to make a stop in Sweden.

    “Sweden?”, I replied. No way, and I hung up the phone. I would follow a madman’s map but I will not go to Sweden.

    The next day my phone rings:

    – Yes?
    – Did you go to South Africa?
    – No.
    – Ahh, bummer man. You knew it was trick, didn’t you?

  36. jugglingjenn

    I woke up to a bright light beating me over the head. My whole head was throbbing so much my only conscience thought was that my brain must be exploding! It was then that i realized the discomfort in my arm. Looking over, I was a bit startled to see a man i had never seen before laying naked and using my arm as a pillow. Damn! How did he get in here? Trying to ease my arm out i silently started cursing myself. Wasn’t it just last year i had told myself no more St. Paddy’s Day flings? The green Guiness and the shamrocks undoubtedly played a part in this… Finally getting my arm free, I realized that it wasnt just his head causing the discomfort my arm was actually throbbing!!! Too afraid to look at first i rolled up my sleeve and did a double take. “WTF is this?” I screamed. The naked stranger looked up and smiled at me. “Oh good your up” he said groggily. Looking at him and then dazedly looking at my arm I screamed again. “What’s wrong with you?” he asked. There were no words because they were lost in my throat. Instead of answering i started playing an odd form of charades. Finally after several attempts he just smiled. “admiring my handy work? no need to thank me . i told you we wouldn’t lose the map.” he chuckled. Bewildered I looked at him with as much anger as i could muster. “What is this map doing on my arm? Why was i afraid i would lose it?”I asked in a low whisper. “I don’t know. I just know you asked to tattoo it on you last night and wouldn’t leave until i had. turned out pretty good for me don’t you think?”he said followed by a wink and a nod. That is how i ended up with a crazy man in my bed and a pointless tattoo on my arm. Fuck St. Paddy’s Day!!!

    1. annefreemanimages

      Jenn – that was funny. I would have liked you to develop more about the map part of the story – have the man fill in a few details as to why she wanted it – and how he ended up in her bed. You had more space, I believe. The story had a funny set up.


  37. Dean Kutzler


    The foul stench of the dumpster began to wake Rusty O’toole. He was face down in the gutter behind Flannigan’s, the local Irish pub. St. Patty’s Day hadn’t been too kind to poor Rusty, so much for the Luck ‘o the Irish. He couldn’t help himself—the green beers were only a buck a pint.

    “Oh—my head.” He grumbled. At what point, was drinking twelve pints of green death a good idea in any scenario. And why was this ground so soft? He slowly gathered his senses and stood up.

    The pain in his forearm was insane. Maybe that ground wasn’t as soft as he thought—wait, is that blood on his shirt? Wincing, he rolled up his sleeve to reveal a tattoo the size of his forearm. “Oh great—Really? I thought I was a wee bit older for these shenanigans. What the—?” He said examining the ink. A map? Who tattoos a map on his arm? “You done lost it ‘toole. Savin’ on me pints only costs me in laser removal. I musta’ lost me mind.”

    He took notice of the painstaking detail of the map. “Is that this dumpster?” He said knocking on it. He looked back and forth between the topography of the tattoo and the street ahead. Sure enough—the block in the tattoo was the dumpster in the alleyway. “How can that be?” He said in bewilderment. “What was in that green beer?”

    Without a job or care in the world, Rusty set out to find where X marked the spot. This had to be a joke. The boys in the pub put him up to it. “They’re tryin’ to make me think I’m crazy! I’ll fix ‘em!” But who were the boys he thought? No matter. It didn’t look like a long walk according to the skin—map. He’d get to the bottom of it and there’d be fist-a-cups all around.

    Just for good measure he followed every step of the dotted line, even the strange round about that led him in circles. The map was clear and precise. Around the next bend just past the oak tree, would be where X marked the spot.

    Anxious to see X, he picked up the pace and started to sprint. Once he got passed the oak, he came to an abrupt halt. He was standing in front of his childhood home. It was desolate now from years of abandonment. His happiest memories as a child were here in this house, this neighborhood. Why hadn’t he recognized it until now? How could he have been so lost?

    “Doctor. He’s finally sedated.” The orderly said, looking through the tiny window of the padded room. Rusty O’toole was lying on the floor, out cold from the heavy medication it took to calm him down. His forearm was bandaged up. He’d hurt himself trying to escape. All he ever wanted was to go home.

  38. JR MacBeth

    An old man stumbles into the village pub.  His red face betrays more than mere over indulgence.  There is hot rage.

    “May the curse of Mary Malone and her nine blind illegitimate children chase you so far over the Hills of Damnation that the Lord Himself will never find you!”

    “Ha!  Look who’s a’cursin’ who!  And after last night!  Seamus O’Malley, you ought to be ashamed of yourself, deeply, horribly ashamed!  And while we’re at it, Curse of the Seven Snotty Orphans upon you, you wretched pervert!”

    “Pervert?  What are ya sayin’?  I’m no pervert, and even if I was, I’ma too damn old to do much pervertin’!  And what does any of it have to do with THIS?”

    He rolled up his sleeve and thrust out his arm.  His bloodshot eyes stared accusation into the round face of the old woman behind the bar.     

    “Seamus, you old fool!   A tattoo?  He really did it.  You and your sea dog friends!  Well now, aren’t you a complete match!  You look like them, smell like them, and now have a dandy tattoo.  And of what exactly?  I would have guessed a mermaid meself!”

    All the patrons stepped forward to see it for themselves, leaving the man surrounded by his neighbors, who’s curious expressions were unanimous proof they knew nothing about it. 

    “Damn you old woman!  It’s a MAP, not a mermaid!  And you’re not fooling anyone!”

    A man about his age spoke up.  “We can see it’s a map Seamus, but Mrs. Cavenaugh?  Even you can’t believe she would do such a thing!”

    “Ah!  He blames me for everything!  Well, are ya happy now?  You got the pub’s attention, as usual, and it isn’t even mid-day yet!”

    “To hell with you all!”  As he turned to leave, the old woman shouted after him.

    “Don’t come back, you old pervert!”

    The man’s eyes squint into the brightness outside.  “Pervert??  For the life of me, I can’t remember.”

    But as he limped along, over the ancient cobblestones, it began to come back to him.

    He crossed himself, “Mother of God!”

    In all his 67 years, he had never actually seen a leprechaun before, let alone talked to one.

    He knew what he had to do.

    “Mrs. Cavenaugh?”

    “Seamus!  I told you…”

    “Please, Colleen, I’m here to apologize!”

    The entire room went silent.

    “I know that I danced last night in me drunken stupor, and without a scrap of me clothes to boot, to my everlasting shame.  But it was for a good cause!  A leprechaun told me to do it, and if I did, he would give me a map to his pot ‘o gold!”

    “Mother Mary save us, he’s possessed!”

    “Now, Colleen, give it a chance!  We can all share in the gold together!”

    He no sooner finished his sentence, and everyone was on their feet, pushing him out the door.

    “Seamus! Seamus! He’s a generous man!” Another neighbor, “We forgive you Seamus!”

    As the cheerful group went down the street, Seamus tried to recall what his mother once said…

    “Never, NEVER trust a leprechaun!”

    1. penney

      I instantly started reading this with an accent, and your Mary Malone curse was beautiful. You made me laugh. The ending seemed a little missing, but still loved it. Great job.

    2. JR MacBeth

      Thank you all for your kind comments and feedback, it is much appreciated!
      JJerome, you’re right, there was a lot in this story I wanted to tell, but alas, the darn word limit was just too much for me this time. I probably cut out too much meat, in favor of building an authentic Irish feel, and some confusion was the result. I appreciate you pointing that out.
      Penny, the ending. I think you’re right, I definitely should have made sure I hadn’t run out of word allocation so soon! My hope was that the final line would be suggestive enough of what was surely going to be old Seamus with egg on his face, having been fooled, and made a fool of, by the ever-mischievous leprechaun who had him dance for gold, gold that would never be found.
      Thanks again to all!

  39. grsmari15

    As a budding dancing diva, Lou was aghast to see a tatoo on her arm. How did that happen? What is to be done to rid myself of it? She didn’t try to think about her celebrating St. Patty’s Day with all that drinking. No, she started thinking of the reprocussions that lay ahead for her. And, oh, how her head hurt. How was she to ever be able to get to the theater to continuing starring in her first ever dancing role on a stage as prestigous as the Howard’s had offered her to dance for them?
    Her shock was not wearing away as quickly as it had come upon her. It was just moving over to allow her to remember her evening with her college friends who had come to see her show and to celebrate St. Patty’s Day with her.

  40. rich-jolii

    Brian jolted up in bed, covered in sweat. Heart racing, he tried to gather his bearings. He realized he was home in bed. No longer afraid of whatever he had been dreaming. No longer, able to remember what he had been dreaming. Noticing the telltale signs, lamp knocked over, shoes in the middle floor, and one leg still in his pants, he knew he had done it again. Brian, not one to drink often, more of a special occasion drinker, always went way overboard on those dozen occasions a year, he found special enough to drink. The next morning usually ended up with him swearing to never drink again A burning sensation on his arm made him look down to see a tattoo. He felt a wave of nausea move over him as he looked at it trying to figure out just what it was supposed to be, because it appeared to be a map. Realizing that is exactly what it was, he wracked his brain trying to remember how and why it was there.

    With his head pounding, he reached for his cell phone. Turning it on he noticed a missed call from a number he didn’t recognize. Hitting Joe, on his speed dial, he stared at his arm waiting for his friend to answer. “Dude you are alive.” answered Joe. “I guess, I have felt a lot better.” Brian replied. “I’d say Bro, you were trashed last night. Kept blabbing about this girl you met, how she was the one. You kept blabbing about having her number on your phone and a map to her house and you had to put it somewhere you wouldn’t lose it.” Then some of it started to come back to Brian. He remembered being happy meeting the girl of his dreams. “Then we just didn’t see you the rest of the night.” Joe continued on. “Listen Joe, I have to run and find this girl and figure out what I did last night.” Brian hung up.

    He wondered just how bad things had turned last night. Reluctantly, he followed the map on his arm it wasn’t far from his apartment. Cussing, wondering what kind of tattoo artist would put a map on a drunks arm. He found the place on his arm, nervously ringing the bell. The most beautiful girl he had ever seen opened the door. “What are you doing, you have a lot of nerve coming here.” Cutting him off, “ I know it wasn’t smart wearing a new expensive, white top to a bar on St Patrick’s day, but never figured I’d have someone pour a pitcher of green beer over me. Do me a favor forget my number and forget where I live,” slamming the door. Deleting the number from his phone would be no problem, looking at his arm, thinking that forgetting where she lived may be a bigger problem.

    As Brian walked away, he swore to himself that he was never going to drink again.

  41. sanchez0210

    I take a good look at the faces that have infected me. My mind engraves each freckle, each eyelash, and each damn proud smirk to memory. The leader of the pack is a tall man in his early twenties. The disease has almost swallowed him whole. His chocolate eyes are swimming in a sea of red and his skin is translucent enough that I can see his veins throbbing. He must hurt like hell, yet he smiles. His head is already swollen, and as he tips it back to laugh I swear I can hear the rush of a storm brewing. His death is coming soon.

    I look back down at my arm that now has yellow puss squeezing through edges of the tattoo, dripping down the corridors and ballrooms of the Whitehouse etched on my skin. A tattoo I don’t remember getting, but of course I had to follow the map of my house that brought me to a room I never knew existed. My stomach is doing flips, swishing around all the green liquor from yesterday’s St. Patrick’s celebration. In what seems like an instant I went from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows.

    “What are you going to do now, Mr. President? Have us locked up?” Watery coughs and laughs drown the room as everyone stares at me. A blonde girl that looks to be no older than 16 steps from behind the group and stands right in front of me. She resembles my youngest daughter. Her expression seems sincere and sweet, despite the killer that cradles in her body. She brings her hand up to my cheek and slowly caresses it. Her fingertips are swollen and intensely smooth. Her dying eyes reach mine as she pulls her hand away and slams it forward at full force. Cheers erupt. My cheek is on fire.

    I did this to them, they know it and I know it, despite all my denial to the media. I had quick death shipped in plastic needles and sent undercover agents to inject it into the IVs of hospitals, restaurant food shipments, cocktails of unsuspecting bar goers and so on and so forth. My small team and I are the only ones that have the cure. I have 72 hours before my soul parts from my body. I want to laugh at this thought because, well, let’s be honest – I have no soul, only an ego. I was supposed to announce the cure at the start of election season, become a hero and be elected again. Now I get to die with an audience I never expected, but there is always a silver lining to every story, right? I get to watch them die, too. See, I told you – no soul.

    Feedback Appreciated!

    1. JR MacBeth

      Perhaps not what the writer intended, but I couldn’t help but picture Dubbya here. Probably a lot of presidents could work just as well, which is a nice touch I think with a story like this. Great opening, creative. I like it sanchez0210!

    2. markfaith

      Am I missing something? What the hey does this story have to do with the writing prompt. If the reader can’t figure that out then your effort is wasted and you might as well write about anything.

      1. sanchez0210

        Sure, i’ll be happy to clarify this for you. The prompt indicates to write about what happens after St. Patricks day when a character finds a tattoo of a map on his arm and follows it. If you read carefully you can see i did mention all of those components, but thank you for your feedback.

        1. markfaith

          Sanchez0210- Thanks for not taking offense to my reply. I read it two more times and still had trouble figuring out what your writing about. You see I’m just a simple person, not very lofty in my way of thinking and interpreting literature. I do find your writing interesting because it does challenge everyday perceptions. You keep writing, I’ll keep reading!
          Thanks, Markfaith

  42. Icabu

    The complexion I saw in the mirror appeared nearly as green as the St. Paddy’s beer I’d consumed the night before. Trying to convince myself it was from the massive amounts of dye I’d consumed; my rumbling and gurgling stomach proved it was the aftereffect of too much beer rather than its color. Turning on the cold water, I rolled up my sleeves, needing the chilled splash on my face. I winced as a raw and painful tattoo etched into my right forearm emerged from under the sleeve. Bits and pieces of blurry images from the previous evening flashed through my mind. With a groan, I dropped onto the lidded toilet, cradling my thick head.

    “Why’d you get an ugly tattoo right there on your forearm?” Madison asked. “You’ll always have to wear long sleeves to cover it up.”

    “I don’t remember getting it,” I told her for the tenth time. “Just trace it and … OW!”

    “Oh, don’t be such a baby,” she barked. Wielding the Sharpie like a knife, she traced the outline and detail of the tattoo onto the tracing paper.

    Madison left in a huff, realizing there would be no entertainment this evening. I paced, staring at the tracing of the throbbing tattoo, wondering how soon I could get it removed.

    Memories flashed: drinking and partying at the bar, riding in a stretch limo, looking up at a towering mansion. Details of inside the mansion had deteriorated to fuzzy feelings – warm and enchanting.

    The top of the tattoo matched the outline I remembered of the mansion – towers and pillars. I grabbed a town map from the desk drawer, overlaying the tracing so that the lower right dot sat at the bar’s location. The lines followed streets to the northwest edge of town.

    Looking up at the mansion again made goosebumps flash across my skin. As I topped the marble steps, the wide door swung open. A woman with fiery red hair and a pristine white gown stood just inside.

    “Welcome back,” she said in a siren voice.

    Dutifully, I stepped inside, startling a bit as the door slammed closed behind me. I blinked and swallowed, realizing my hangover had disappeared. I jerked up my right sleeve; my forearm had no hint of the tattoo. The goosebumps returned.

    The woman’s laugh filled the high-ceilinged room. “Welcome to Hotel California.”

    1. JR MacBeth

      Very nice. Disappearing tattoo, she’s entered the Twilight Zone. I have a feeling she can check out anytime she wants, but she may never leave. Great job Icabu.

    2. JJerome

      Icabu – strong description and dialogue. Although your disappearing tattoo was an effective way for you to “get rid” of it, it added a surprise that worked for the story. Remember the painter with the fuzzy orange fro, Bob Ross? He called them “happy accidents.”

      Come join the “happy accidents” on a new blog. Click on my name. See you there!

      1. Icabu

        OMG – I actually do know of Bob Ross! All those ‘happy trees’ that ‘live here and there’. Thanks for reading, the feedback, the invite, and a chuckle.

    3. Frank

      Enjoyable, Icabu, and you have these little teasers to make the reader a little curious too:
      What goes on in the Hotel California? ( I led a sheltered life!)
      “Madison left in a huff, realizing there would be no entertainment this evening.” (Don’t think it was chess!)
      Good work! Thanks!

      1. Icabu

        Frank – thanks for reading and the feedback. I’m beginning to like how the word limit forces the ‘teasers’ and makes the reader fill in with their own images.

        As for what really goes on at Hotel California, I’ll have to defer to The Eagles. For this story, just another tease, so fill in any images you wish.

  43. confused2245

    Just Under 500 words, any and all comments are welcome…

    It’s the stinging that wakes me up. I’m lying face down, fully clothed, on top of the sheets. My forearm sticks to the sheet so I have to peel it off as I reach to the night stand for my phone, but I pay it no mind for the moment. It’s 10:25, which is way too early to be awake on March 18th, and my brain feels like it’s been pickled. I need coffee immediately. I push myself off the bed, pull on a fresh t-shirt, grab my keys and get myself out the door. I’m well aware that I must reek like a latrine, but I have priorities.

    Boston can be chilly on mid-March mornings, but I welcome the cold. It helps mitigate the fallout from last night’s brain cell genocide. At least I wasn’t the only one getting hammered; the street is littered with St. Patty’s Day detritus: green beads, discarded clothing and the odd pool of vomit.

    I get to the coffee shop and mumble an order, making as little eye contact as possible with the barista. As I sit down and sip on the hot, black elixir of life, I try to take stock of the night before. My memory is a mess, mostly shots of Jameson, car bombs and one clumsy pass at a redhead at the bar. I’m about halfway through my cup of coffee when I finally look at my left forearm. I’m taken aback when I realize what I thought was a simple drinking related injury is actually a tattoo. I have some ink, so that’s not a problem, but I don’t have any recollection of getting work done, and two hours of getting poked with a needle isn’t easily forgotten. I’m more surprised when I figure out what I’m looking at. It’s a map, to what I have no idea, but it includes some landmarks around Davis Square. I may be hung over, but I absolutely must get to the bottom of this.

    I walk out of the coffee shop towards Copley station and try to reach a couple friends. No one answers, which is no surprise. It takes about 40 minutes to hop a train at Copley, switch to the Red Line at Park Street and get myself to Davis. I spend most of the ride with my head between my knees, trying not to boot.

    Davis Square might as well be the surface of the moon, it’s so quiet. I look at the itchy picture on my arm and follow its route, past the Tufts campus, a few bars and a bowling alley. The route leads me down an alley to the side door of what appears to be a storage facility. I knock.

    The man who answers is six feet tall, with curly auburn hair, and he’s decked out in green. “Top of the mornin’ to ya,” he grunts as he hands me a fifth of Jameson, a $20 bill, and slams the door.

    1. Icabu

      Ah, Davis Square … head over to Burren for a Guinness to wash down the shepard’s pie and of course a Jameson toast to Paddy and foot-stomping Irish tunes!
      Not too sure about the ending, but sure enjoyed a favorite part of Boston.

    2. sanchez0210

      I love this line – “It helps mitigate the fallout from last night’s brain cell genocide.” haha. Interesting story, I like how in the end he still doesn’t have a definite answer as to what happened. Good read!

      1. JJerome

        confused – I like the littering of hangover details, especially the requisite random pool of puke. What makes the story tick is the ending. If it was the first chapter of a story, I would immediately turn the page. Effective voice overall.

    3. confused2245

      Thanks for the feedback. I’m a Boston native and it’s St. Patty’s day so I went with what I know.

      I didn’t want the ending to be super obvious, but there was kind of an Irish legend/tradition/myth I was going for…


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