I’m a Mormon, So…

I’m a Mormon, so I don’t have any tattoos or excessive body piercings.

Photo by Wilson Vitorino on Pexels.com

Our bodies -everyone’s- are created in the image of our heavenly father. Our bodies house the spirit that makes us a child of God. As such, we’ve been asked to keep ourselves clean in many ways: avoiding alcohol or recreational drugs, keeping to healthy habits, maintaining an appropriate sexual purity, and ensuring our bodies are free from permanent inking or extra piercings.

An appropriate number of body piercings has been defined as one pair of earrings, in the lobe of each ear, for females. Naturally, a person may have preexisting tattoos or holes; he or she is not expected to pay out to remove these. Everyone is expected to honor his or her covenants to Heavenly Father to keep him- or herself clean, as outlined, moving forward.

©2022 Chel Owens

……

We Mormons are officially members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and are to drop any name but that. Since many recognize the nickname of ‘Mormon’ and it works with the alliteration so well, however, I will use the term.

My other note is that I will keep to official doctrinal practices. I will add my own application of them, especially in response to comments.

My final note is that I LOVE discussing anything I write. Don’t be rude, obviously, but any and all queries or responses are welcome.

My final note beyond the final note is that I do not seek to convert anyone. I am motivated by forming connections, answering curiosity, and straightening pictures. So, you’re safe.

Pumping Poseurs

Super Man

I have nicknames for people at the gym.

There’s The Nymph, Gangnam Style, Bookie, The Amazon, and My Doppelgänger (she’s the in-shape version).

Mostly I name the regulars, the ones who are there any time I go -even though I don’t go the same time, day, or often month.

I could ask their real names, of course. All I’d have to do is get right up in their face, break their exercise focus, wait for them to pull out an earbud, then smile and say, “Oh, hi! What’s your name?”

…Assuming, of course, that I get over my habitual shyness to get as far as eye contact.

Besides fond titles of my own devising, I can’t help but participate in everyone’s favorite gym tradition: measuring myself up to others, physically. Like, to the few people who look less fit than I do.

For example, I like running when older people are walking the track. I see them and think, “Oh, good. Someone I can actually pass.” …Except when a buff old man wearing an X City Marathon shirt walks in. Then, I’m more like, “Oh, crap.”

What is especially funny to me are the attendees who are clearly, boldfacedly, attemptingly-ignorancely showing off.

One time, I plopped down on the mat in a sweaty fit to start my abdominal routine. A man and his girlfriend/wife/significant other walked in. He was dressed like most of us: t-shirt, basketball shorts, running shoes, and socks. She, on the other hand, was wearing strappy sandal HEELS with tight jeans and some sort of loosely-fitting top. Flipping her styled, sprayed hair behind her, she sat at a stationary bicycle and actually tried to pedal for a few minutes while he pumped iron.

They have couches downstairs. She could have waited there. I mean, what if she got sweat stains on those jeans? What if she popped a seam?

I was reminded of her when I finally revisited the gym yesterday. Whilst running -okay, okay- shuffling my two miles, a tattooed, stringy-muscled guy walked in wearing loose gym clothes and flip-flops. Flip. Flops. His long hair was tied back in a curly ponytail and his expression was just like that of JP Sears when he imitates yoga fanatics.

You know: serious, thinks-he’s-all-that STARE. In flip-flops.

I don’t know if there are groups of people who look at the gym as a great hookup place, because I don’t. I intentionally go looking grungy, so my makeup doesn’t sweat into my pores and give me teenage acne. My hair’s a mess because I’m going to exercise and get sweaty and don’t want hair spray sweat pouring into my pores and giving me even-worse acne.

I see people showing off, and think something more like, “I’ll run that mile, too, Pretty Boy. And, I’ll do it with my shirt on.” Er, with my gym shoes on.

Yao

I go to the gym to exercise. Period. And show off. And, probably, to people watch. Hey -it’s boring to run for two miles with only your music for distraction. I gotta pass the time somehow.

Wet Ink

Neon Dragon

“Nearly done, darlin’.” Her makeup-lined lips pursed over prominent, yellowed teeth; a purpled tongue-stub protruded in concentration.

“Sue’s the best,” they’d said, in town. “Just ask for Sue.”

I flinched, involuntarily. “I wouldn’t do that,” she warned. Her potato-skin face never changed expression. Cataract-blue globes never strayed from the machined needle beneath her age-veined fingers.

“Just don’ get the snake,” an old-timer warned. “You’re not gettin’ a snake, are ya?”

A stool creak, a whoosh of compressed vinyl stooltop, and Sue was done. I peeked, tentatively, and gasped in amazement. Slowly, I shifted my shoulder and neck-view forward and backward to see the deep golds, reds, and blues of the dragon’s ink-birthed scales.

“Tommy got the snake,” the diner owner supplied, not looking up from her countertop rag-wiping circles. The group all shuddered and returned to their lunches. Morbidly determined, I’d headed out the door and down the single-lane road to the flicker-light neon of the town’s only tattoo parlor.

Sue looked …the same. Her shriveled glare-stare blinked once or twice as she methodically cleaned the tip of the needle. “Don’t you forget to let ‘im dry,” she scolded, wagging the tool my direction.

Who was Tommy? Why did it matter that he’d picked the snake?

I nodded to Sue, paid, and left through the tinkle-ting of the chipped-paint shop door. A light snow was beginning to fall. Absentmindedly, I slipped on my jacket. It was cold, everywhere except my still-wet arm…

 

This is my fuller-length version of Wait for It to Dry.

Photo credit: Mendar Bouchali on Unsplash

Wait for It to Dry

Neon Dragon

“Nearly done, darlin’.” Her purpled tongue-stub protruded.

“Sue’s the best,” they’d said, in town.

I flinched. “I wouldn’t do that.” Her potato-skin face was expressionless. Cataract-blue globes never strayed from her age-veined fingers.

“Just don’ get the snake,” an old-timer warned.

A stool creak told me Sue was done. I peeked, gasped, and shifted my shoulder to view the deep golds and blues of the dragon’s ink-birthed scales.

Sue looked …the same. “Don’t you forget to let ‘im dry,” she scolded.

I nodded, paid, left. Absentmindedly, I slipped on my jacket. It was cold, everywhere except my arm…

Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge

Photo credit: Mendar Bouchali on Unsplash