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By Margaret Renwick


'I'm bored, let's get a tattoo.'

Sheila glanced at Claire. The queue shuffled nearer to overhear.

'What a good idea,' her friend agreed, The queue moved closer still and became curiously quiet.

'I just feel like a change, doing something different.'

Claire looked at her friend closely.

'That's about as different as you can get. Why a tattoo?'

'Well I've had my ears pierced and I don't' fancy my belly button done, anyway, who would see it?'

Sensing her friend's mood, Claire entered in to the spirit of filings.

'What would you have done and more to the point, where?'

'It would have to be something small as it hurts,  and tasteful, no bunches of flowers or names, that's a bit common.'

'How about a nice little frog or kitten, or a spider, tastefully done, of course?'

'Aargh!' shuddered Sheila, 'not a spider. Anything but a spider. I might think it was real and try to kill it.'

Knowing her friend's phobia of spiders Claire had deliberately suggested it to see her friend's reaction. Then she had a thought.

'Where would we go to get it done? We can't be seen downstreet, we'll be the talk of the place and your mother would have something to say.

'Get lost! I can't let my mother rule my life, I'm old enough to do what I want to and anyway, I won't tell her.'

Claire, noticing the undivided attention of their 'audience' moved closer to Sheila who bent her head nearer to listen.

'We could get it done on our hip or shoulder then she wouldn't see it.'

Sheila straightened.

'That's a good idea, but what about the cost? I'm pretty skint this week, does it cost a lot?'

Claire knew that Sheila was in the same financial situation she was and such luxuries would have to be thought about.

'I'm sure I saw a sign the other day, two for the price of one, as we are a special case I wonder if he would let us have one each and we could club together to pay?'

Sheila rummaged about in her bag and brought out her payment book.

'I've got it! We'll use our Christmas bonus and it will be the government's present to us!'

They both chuckled as they reached the counter at the post office to receive their pension and turned to smile at the enthralled audience. The vicar's sister and the colonels' wife looked suitable shocked. That would give the pompous pair something to gossip about at evensong.

Sheila and Claire, had been best friends since schooldays and this was their favourite game to liven up a dull day. Sheila's mother, aged 92, did not approve of that either.


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