Rise Today

tattoo picture

With bloodshot eyes and a persistent itch on my left arm, I slumped in the backseat of the van taxi hoping no one would notice. It was two hours til my flight left Los Angeles for Atlanta. I needed sleep. A tall, expensive-suited men dumped his suitcases behind me and climbed in the vehicle. He stared then recognized me.

“Lance! I’m been hearing about you all week. Glad we’re sharing the ride to LAX. So, I hear you got a tattoo out here? You’re not putting that on your expenses are you?”

His laughter was deep and intimidating. He was my boss’ boss. A wrong word, a  misunderstood facial expression, or just about anything and I could be out of work, three thousand miles from home. Whatever color was left in my face after four days of work conferences and almost no rest during the nights, disappeared. I forced my face to form an awkward grin.

“Yes I went to the Sunset Strip and picked up a souvenir.”

He laughed again. I winced. The sting from the artwork done to my left bicep was new.

“I’ve got some Tylenol in my briefcase. So, can I see it? Heard you went to Kat Von D’s place on La Brea.”

I mouthed “yes”, removed my sports coat, pulled up my  shirt sleeve, and released the bandage. There was no way showing your boss’ boss your new tattoo was grounds for dismissal, I thought.

“Lance, that’s great! It is something you planned? I never saw you drinking.”

I’d been sober when I walked into High Voltage Tattoo and asked for a circular Phoenix, representing my rise from the ashes of divorce.

“Yes, it means a lot to me so I took my time making the decision.”

The powerful man took out his phone. The van pulled out of the hotel lot, heading to LAX. He spoke to my boss.

“I’m with Lance. You’re right, I like him. Let’s get him on the Southern California project, soon.”

*****blogger’s note****

This is a true story of last last hour of a trip to Los Angeles for work in october, 2007. While there, I got this tattoo at Kat Von D’s place, and a promotion to work on a project in Southern California in November and December 2007. I eventually turned down a chance to move to San Diego in January of 2008. Four months late, I met my wife and two of my three kids.

This is for two prompts – “FLIGHT” by Trifecta Writing http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/  and “PHOENIX” by Write on Edge  http://writeonedge.com/

I hate Creed, but three of the guys broke away from Scott Stapp in 2004. They made two okay albums then got back together with Creed and I disowned them forever. The song Rise Today was something in head while this episode was happening.


36 thoughts on “Rise Today

  1. very cool. As a rule I don’t like tattoos BUT if you get it because it MEANS something, well that’s fine. A drunken tweety bird on your ass is just lame 😉

  2. I love the stories behind tattoos, and LOVE hearing how a tattoo worked for you, professionally.

    I have my one, on my lower leg, which nobody ever sees at work . . . I might start my sleeve this year. If I do, it’s going to mean that work may see my body art, often. We’ll see how that works.

    Do you have any others? Or plans for others?

    • that place is more of a shop than a salon…or saloon than salon.

      The guy who did the work was in later episodes of her show. she was coming out of the place as I was going in. she’s very tall.

  3. Nice tat. I love that you passed up sunny Cali and ended up with your lovely wife and kids. I’d say it was a better choice.
    Thanks for playing along with us this week. Come on back tomorrow for the new challenge.
    Fyi, your link is taking me to the 100 word song post.

  4. It’s always surprising what bosses of bosses say and think. 🙂 Love the tat – love the story – don’t have any of my own, but daughter has several. (so I’m not anti-tat on other folks) . . . love Carrie’s exceptions for same reason.

    as far as the whole work thing – looks to me like you made the better-best choice.

  5. It’s hard to find things that won’t change over time. I saw a kid on the olympics with the rings tattoo – that totally makes sense – you can never take away the olympic experience he had. The Phoenix makes sense. I’m too fickle. I figured if someone held a gun to my head and MADE me get one I’d get it on the bottom of my big toe where it would wear off over time. I plan ahead for things like that. 100s of people running around putting guns to people’s heads and making them get tattoos, after all….

    • this will sound ridiculous but….there are tattoo people and there are people with tattoos. I’m a tattoo person. I like the art. I think they look good on me and my wife. If you knew me before 2006 and compared me to now, you’d know why the tattoos on my biceps – phonnix and eqyptian falcon god symbol for protector/father are “me”.

      If you plan you tattoo and make it fit your personality, it’s awesome. if not…then its your scenario.

      thanks dude

  6. That’s a great tat. I admire them on other people, and I even know what I’d get if I ever did have one (a jester’s cap), though I don’t know where it would go. But it’s moot, as I am terrible at pain management. I can’t handle a sunburn well, and holy GOD you should have heard me cursing in labor. So poky inky that stings for some time afterward is just out. Completely off the topic of my original point which was “cool bird, man”.

  7. I like some of Creed’s music, you can thank my son for that 😉

    The phoenix is one of my symbols, and I like the circular shape you chose. I have not a clue who Von D is, but it sounds like a person who is “the it” for tattoos. I have 4, all on my ankles or below… I’m working on sandals (grinZ).

    Fortuitous meeting with your bosses boss. It goes to show that being yourself provides an opportunity for a much clearer (and in the long run more comfortable) fit with people. Nice.

  8. I love that you went NF with this – but still told a great story! I keep debating on the whole tattoo thing. I love the art but am unsure as to getting something done myself. I’m afraid I’d look too hard like I’m trying to be someone other than me…

  9. I like this story, and I think that it would go very well on the back sleeve of your upcoming bestseller. In fact, you should tell that story to Conan.

  10. If I ever get a tattoo (meaning if I ever stop being deathly terrified of needles), it would definitely be a phoenix, too. I have it done in henna every now and then. The symbolism is just great.

    I really like the way you said “I met my wife and two of my three kids.” Very sweet. 🙂

  11. Great ink, and a great story. Love that the suit was cool in the end. I have my design picked out, but I have to wait for my moment, just as your ink has its moments.

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