The Wise Novelist

What Would Claire Do?

Now the above drawing was created (as a work for hire, lol – Copyright 2023) by my oldest brother, Eddie. For anyone who has read the Trilogy, you have met his ghost. If you read Finding Jimmy Moran, you’ll get to meet his totally un-fictionalized character in a totally fictionalized setting. The fact that we survived each other and our childhoods is a mystery. But it was a hell of a lot of fun. Enough said.

And remember, all of my stories are absolute fiction.

I was looking for a concept with which to possibly do T-Shirts. Eddie is more than just a modern day rendition of Hamish from Brave Heart. He is quite artistic – both of those qualities are central themes in FJM.

Anyway, I didn’t want to just snap a photo of Claire for the t-shirt – although she is quite beautiful.

So, I cajoled my brother into going to his drawing board – 15 times to be exact – to come up with a cool version of Claire that would stand the test of time.

When I saw #15, I knew I had a winner.

Now of course, I could end this story there, but I would be leaving out the fun part.

My wife, Lisa, who has just recently ventured into the world of body art, looked at Eddie’s drawing and said, “that would make a great tatoo.”

“Call Shane (who did her ink) and see if he’s open.”

I did as told (well trained) but Shane was not answering his cell phone or texts. So, Lisa said, “let’s go up to his shop and see what’s what.” So, we drove to Loveland. But his shop had a sign on it saying “Closed – Moved to New Location.”

Now Shane had mentioned he was going to move somewhere in Ft. Collins. So we did a google search but came up empty.

I said, “if I’m meant to get this tatoo today, the Universe will provide a way.”

So, we googled for tattoo shops in Loveland. Four primary ones came up. I went through the list based on proximity to our then location. The closest three couldn’t squeeze in a “walk in” until later that evening. Everyone in Colorado is inked.

The fourth shop we called – Tru Colorz Tatoo – said they could probably squeeze me in in an hour, and asked me to text them the tattoo I wanted. I did as told (I am well trained) and the voice on the other end of the line said -“Fuck it, come now.”

We arrived 10 minutes later at a very cool shop – with all kinds of very cool merchandise – and a great vibe about the place. It was modern and spotless. There were also all kinds of awards lining the walls. Who knew body ink was so competitive. It also had a great late sixties play list rocking on the sound speakers.

We met Johnny, one of the artists – great guy and conversationalist, Mike Flores (the owner), and Mike’s beautiful blond step daughter who goes by the nick name “meatstick” (one word) solely because she is an avowed vegetarian. No really, that’s the reason. And since Mike knows his way around MMA and Boxing rings, and looks like one tough bastard, I suggest you accept that story at face value.

That’s Mike, me and Johnny. Did I mention I would kill for their hairlines. MS was busy tattoing so I didn’t want to interrupt her. But take my word for it, she’s gorgeous.

I watched MS working on a young lady’s leg, inking a large Catfish tattoo – actually half cat and half fish. She is incredibly talented. The detail was amazing. But that’s to be expected because MS was trained as an apprentice by her step dad, Mike.

Anyway, Mike was the one at the shop to rearrange his schedule and squeeze me in to do the tattoo. I was honored.

Mike was the consummate professional, and I have to say the endorphins took off right out of the gate and were pumping the whole hour plus Mike worked on the tat. Johnny kept me completely entertained and distracted by a streaming conversation that covered many topics. He also shot some video for the shop’s YouTube channel, so I’m not sure how much of my tattoing actually got shot. But they are welcome to show it, I never showed pain or shed a tear. Really. Not one.

Lisa spent some of the time checking out the merchandise and selecting a very cool t-shirt.

Anyway, when Mike was done, his daughter MS, came over and inspected the work, and then gave her “that’s really cool” seal of approval. I knew that if I could impress the younger generation, my tat was good to go.

And here it is.

Mike did an amazing job. Thank you Eddie for the initial artwork.

Thank you Mike, Johnny and MS for an absolutely wonderful experience.

That is my first writer’s tattoo. Claire got me here. I owe her as much as any other member of the family.

But then I realized, I hadn’t cleared it with her.

So, I went home and sought out her approval.

Luckily, after studying it closely for a few minutes and licking the plastic cover, she approved wholeheartedly.

She reminded me that Mr. Rogers wore a tattoo of a “T” in a heart on his shoulder.

That is how Mr. Roger’s arrived in my life. With my initial tattoo’ed on his shoulder. Don’t ever try and convince this Celt that we don’t live in a magical world.

So I’m happy to know that this is what Claire would do.

Which is good, because I would really hate to have to lose that arm. I’m right handed.

Anyway, that was yesterday’s adventure.

Although I promised Mike and Co. to return to the shop on Monday, January 30th, with a set of inscribed books, and to let Mike look over the work and tweak it if he feels necessary. We are also going to shoot a podcast.

Hey, if I’m lucky enough to crack the young, tattoo demographic, there will be no stopping me.

As Johnny will tell you, the tattoo crowd are a literary bunch. They just love to read, and the crazier the story, the better. I’m gold.

Never stop selling.

Speaking of photos, I have another set of eyes to add to the Finding Jimmy Moran collection.

Meet Adrienne Stuki (pronounced “Stew-key”), a loyal reader and Claire Fan and a regular contributor to these posts.

Thank you Adrienne. I look forward to hearing what you think of FJM.

So, you, my fine, five readers, go enjoy your day of rest.

Maybe go get a tattoo.

Speaking of which, I am off treadmill torture for two days so as to not get the tattoo sweaty under the magic plastic cover Mike put on it. My knees and ankle thank you Mike.

Oh, and I promised myself this morning that if TWA was still number one when I finished writing my blog, I would brag again. So here.

Talk about magic.

But it is getting late and I do have a kitty to cuddle and rounds to make. Then I have to do my week’s chopping.

You all go out there and make today a great one.

11 Responses

  1. you look better with the trimmed beard…. also of course you met another guy named Johnny.. couldn’t go wrong there……. Great tattoo

  2. If Shakespeare was writing today, there would be a mandatory stock character in all of his plays named Johnny. Johnny’s are ubiquitous. But you, my friend, are one of a kind.

  3. Great drawing Eddie. Very talented. You may want to consider opening a tattoo shop filled with Ed McCaffrey original designs. Tommy’s not going to be done with ink. One tat becomes 2. Two becomes 4 etc etc.

    1. That was my fourth tat. One on my back and one on each forearm. Plus the new one.
      But yeah, it’s addicting.

  4. We had a blast while we did the tattoo. Good times for sure and yes Johnny’s hair is fuego! Looking forward to the podcast and getting to know more about you and your books. Btw it is Meatstick one word but we may use the MS for short lol. Thanks for the mention.

  5. Adrienne: I love all my fur family equally. And when Honey dictates her trilogy, she can have the other shoulder.

  6. Thanks for the love, especially about my hair!! Needs that now a days lol. Can’t wait to read the books!! It was a great experience meeting you Tom and wife!! Big love from me man!

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