Alan Crane stared at the small black scorpion seated on his shoulder. His initial impulse to brush the creature off his shoulder was interrupted by the scorpion’s question. Alan took a quick glance around his messy bedroom to double check for any alcohol or drugs he might have consumed the night before, but he found no traces of anything that would explain away the scorpion as a hallucination.
“Are you real?” It sounded like a silly question coming out of his mouth, but it was the only words that came when he tried to speak. If the black arachnid was not real, it wouldn’t be able to admit it. Alan looked at the site on his forearm where he got the tattoo. The number 40 still decorated his skin, but the spot under it where the black scorpion was supposed to be showed no signs of a
“Yeah, you feel real to me too,” Alan said. “But how did you come out of my tattoo?” The scorpions pincers moved outward slightly, and Alan got the impression that the thing shrugged at him.
“I just felt like getting up, and then I did. I thought you’d have a plan since you brought me to life.”
“No plan, it wasn’t
“I’ve never needed one… I didn’t even exist until just a bit ago. But I’m not against it if you want to name me,” it replied.
“Well, I dunno. How do you work? Can you become a tattoo again?” The scorpion spread its pincers to shrug, then it sunk into his shoulder. It became a flat piece of artwork on the new spot again. “Can you still hear me?” Alan asked. The scorpion emerged from his skin into reality again.
“Heard you perfectly, but I couldn’t reply.” Alan nodded.
“So a name. What can you do?” The second he asked the scorpion’s tail shot forward like a rocket, but it stopped a fraction of an inch away from Alan’s skin. He flinched for all it was worth, but if the scorpion were serious Alan’s delayed response would not have helped him a bit.
“I like stabbing things,” a small drop of green liquid collected on the end of its stinger. “and poisoning them.”
“Okay, your name is Stabby now.” Alan decided. He always preferred simple descriptive names for his pets going back to his first puppy named Barker.
“I like it,” Stabby said. “So what now?” he asked.
“I don’t know. How strong is that poison?” Stabby shrugged.
“Never tried it. Let’s go try it. Can we go try it?” Stabby danced eagerly on Alan’s shoulder. Alan nodded.
“Yeah, let me get a shirt on and we’ll go see what you can do.” Alan dressed while he considered what might be an appropriate test. He hoped Stabby’s venom was lethal. His dream was to become a contract killer, and it sounded like Stabby could help him with that. He hated to do it, but in his mind there was only one place they could go to test Stabby’s limits.
Alan stood outside the elephant exhibit at the zoo and scanned the herd for one that looked healthy. He held his hand out toward one, palm facing out to show the scorpion tattooed on the palm of his hand which one he picked. Then, he brought his hand up to his face; Stabby stood ready, already out of his skin and in three-dimensional form.
“Did you see it?”
“Yes. I’m gonna go stab it, I’ll be right back.” The scorpion hopped off his hand, landed on the grown, and skittered under the outer fence of the enclosure. Alan lost site of Stabby as he wandered into the brush of the exhibit, so he focused on the elephant he chose.
“He should be there any second. I wonder if he stabbed him already,” Alan thought to himself after about five minutes.
“I just got
“You’re here? I can hear you but I can’t see you.” Alan said.
“Of course you can’t, I’m by the elephant.”
“How are you talking to me?” Alan asked, surprisingly loud. In the back of his mind he noticed a couple step further away from him after his outburst.
“The same way I’ve been talking to you,” Stabby replied. “You know I can’t actually speak, right? No vocal chords. It’s a psychic link. Anyway, I’m gonna stab the elephant.” Alan felt slightly embarrassed that he thought the scorpion spoke, but it passed quickly because Stabby started counting down.
“Three. Two. One. Stab.”
One second after Stabby said, “stab” the elephant toppled over on its side.
“This is gonna be awesome,” Alan said to himself.
“I know!” Stabby replied.