Fred Corydon had a long day ahead of him. But he didn’t mind. He had a very special date tonight.
The morning air felt cool as he unlocked the entrance to his Hotel Street tattoo parlor. It would be plenty hot in a couple of hours, the sun blazing over all of Honolulu. But for now there was enough of a chill to raise goose bumps on his heavily tattooed arms. Once inside, he made a final check to make sure that his shop was in order before opening for the day.
The first of a steady stream of customers came through the door around eleven am. A fresh faced sailor, wanting his maiden tattoo. He looked through Fred's sheets of tattoo flash, and then admired Fred's own tattoos-a leggy lovely in a sarong, a long dagger with a red tip, and an eagle and a dragon locked in a fight to the death- before finally deciding on an anchor and sparrow design. There were a lot of sailors in Honolulu now. Had been, since Pearl Harbor.
The day progressed. Around two o’clock, Fred talked a teenaged boy of 17 out of a tattoo. “If Louise is still your girl in a year or so, come back and we’ll talk. Trust me,” the sarcasm seeping out of Fred’s voice, “You don’t want to make it permanent, until you know it is permanent.” And lastly, another sailor who was already so tattooed he had enough ink in his skin to double as a fountain pen, entered the shop and finished off Fred’s day.
Usually Fred stayed open late. Hotel Street really started to jump at dusk, and so evenings were his most profitable hours of business. But not today. Closing up shop around four pm, he headed home to shower and trade his white t-shirt and dungarees for a pair of khaki pants and a colorful Aloha shirt. Rubbing a spot clear on the steamed up bathroom mirror as he prepared to shave, Fred caught sight of the little red heart tattooed on the left side of his bare chest, and his own heart caught in his throat. Daddy's Girl.
“Dames.” he cursed. “They steal your heart, and then they break it.” But this little red heart was one piece of his heart he intended to hang on to.
He couldn't wait to see his daughter.