I had my first tattoo at the age of 11...

I had my first tattoo at the age of 11. It was on the day that I first bunked off school, instead of going to school I went round my friend's house whose parents both worked, we had the place to ourselves. His brother arrived home with his home made tattoo kit, a bottle of black Indian ink, a pack of needles, and a reel of cotton.

I was intrigued and became a very enthusiastic volunteer to have a tattoo of a cross, as a good Catholic boy, that seemed like a good idea.

At the end of normal school time my friend and me went home to my house for tea. I told my mum I would not be coming home that evening as I was going to stay at my friend's house.

I didn’t stay at my friend’s house. My friend told his parents he would be staying at my house.

We spent the night roaming the streets. We broke into garden sheds and stole some bikes. The next morning I had to go home to get changed in to my school uniform to continue with the lie.

To my shock my father, who I had not seen since he ran off to his latest woman, was sat on the sofa in his paisley y-fronts. I was filthy and he told me to go and wash myself. I did wash my face and hands and quickly changed into my school uniform. I came downstairs and he shouted you haven’t washed and he lifted up my left sleeve of my school jumper. To his and my horror there underneath the grime was my new and scabby blue cross tattoo.

Then came the beating of my life which ended with him kicking me out the door screaming that if that fucking cross was still there when I came home he’d cut my fucking arm off.

That evening there was no ink left in the cross.

written by gary p