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You'll Know When There's Ink On Your Skin

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Barnaby, although he always dreamt about his soulmate of perfection, could only conclude that his was an annoying, forgetful goofball. The stuff he would find written was either ridiculous, confusing, or mildly concerning. It was always with the same pen too as the ink never changed, at least that was as much of a conclusion Barnaby could draw. It didn’t even feel like whoever they were thought about where his “messages” ended up. Well...opposites do attract, he guessed.

The first thing that he found written on him was smack dab in the middle of his palm when he was seventeen. It was small in black ink and the handwriting was sloppy, a mix of print and cursive. But, after staring at it for a couple moments, Barnaby was able to make out the word “eggs”, most like a reminder. He was so excited about it that he almost didn’t sleep all night and he was tempted to write something back...but he had no idea what he would say.

There were more shopping lists like these that would line themselves down Barnaby’s palm. His classmates thought he might just be an avid shopper, not a forgetful person when he had the best grades. Finding himself bored during a lecture, at the bottom of “celery, miso, rice”, he thought about writing in his overly neat cursive “Don’t forget!”. But, he wanted something better to say for the first time, then the teacher called his name.

There was one list that made him laugh. Before he went to bed that night, he saw in his palm ‘mayo, ground be-’ then the ink ran out. Then, written in sloppy blue ink that looked frustrated, the end of the list changed to an angry “Buy new favorite pen!” With his cellphone, Barnaby snapped a picture.

He got used to all the lists and random reminder words in his palm until he turned twenty. In the middle of one of Maverick’s company parties, a drawing starting lining it’s way on the side of his palm. Near the knuckle of his pointer finger were two eyes, and just below them and then on the back of his thumb were a pair of lips. He didn’t even notice it until one of the guests embarrassingly pointed it out.

Mortified, he excused himself to the bathroom to ‘wash it off’. He claimed it was done by the kids at the orphanage, and thankfully, he was believed. As soon as the door closed behind him, he dug a fountain pen out of his pants pocket. He yanked off the cap, and angrily wrote in the middle on the back of his hand “Please remove this!” with an arrow pointing to the hand puppet doodle.

He waited impatiently, glaring at his hand until black lines slid their way on his skin.  

“Really!? This is the first thing you have to say to me!?” Was written in that chicken scratch, an arrow then pointing at his message.

Barnaby sighed, already feeling tired. “Just go wash your hands.” Is all he wrote back, then flipping his hand over for more room.

“Or what?” Small and right in the middle palm, where “eggs” once was.

“What do you mean ‘or what’!?” Barnaby thought, going to the sink and washing the blue ink off. When he dried his hands, he noticed something being drawn in his palm. It ended up being a cartoon tiger winking at him, and at the bottom, the words ‘call me!’ with a phone number.

The blonde pulled out his pen again. “Knock it off!” Then made two more arrows. “Get rid of the them!”

“Geez! Okay!” Was written back like whoever was on the other end had the audacity of being put upon.

Barnaby waited a little bit before going back to the party, now satisfied that he saw the doodles fading away. The hand puppet was gone, then black lines began crawling on his skin again. Now what!?

“Can I leave this here?” Then an arrow pointed to the number.

The young man sighed as he thought that was implied. He wrote back a yes-

His eyes widened.

The first three numbers were Sternbild area code.