itchyfidget (itchyfidget) wrote in itchyfrankie,

It didn’t make sense. How could he know a face but not know a face? After Dan had shuffled back to his office, Eric sat for a long time looking at the wall. His entire office was grey and textureless, which it needed to be. When he had started, the carpet had been a ghastly corporate non-design of small yellow and red diamonds against a deep blue background, a motif repeated and magnified on the walls and which had given him a headache in seconds. He’d refused to spend any time there - an excuse also to avoid the heaving Terminal - and after a week of working from home, Phoebe had sent him a rather testy-sounding message informing him that if he told her what he wanted, it would be done by Monday.

Closing his eyes, he considered searching the database himself. He didn’t have Dan’s fluency with it, and it would be tiring, but he could go in and look for tattoos, if anyone had bothered to make a note of them in the files. The database hinged on fundamental biometrics, unalterable except through surgery; it was pointless to search images for cosmetic details because they were so easy to cover or remove. But if there are pictures, I’ll know him.

Mind made up, he called up the database, found the keyword search, entered tattoo. As he’d expected, there were thousands of hits. He set the display to scroll through them, three per second to get through them in an hour, which he reckoned was about all the data he could stand in one go, and sat back in the grey flannel chair as the files flickered past in front of him. Many of the faces were familiar from previous searches, but a great many were new, and he found himself fascinated by the painstaking artistry, if questionable taste, displayed on the skin of so many of the criminal fraternity. A particularly ornate eagle with blue-green wingtips flashed past on the domed head of a forty-two year-old bald man with a brown goatee beard and three eyebrow piercings. The files scrolled onwards, and he had to pause them more than once to recover his breathing as the data pounded relentlessly into his brain.

His vision was beginning to itch around the edges when a familiar swirling tattoo flickered past. Surprised, he hesitated for a moment, but then reached forward and paused the display, backtracking until he found the file again. Definitely the same tattoo - at least on the hand, where it tapered out in a solid black curl above the fifth knuckle. The tattoo in the picture ran the length of its owner’s arm, a series of bold black stripes ebbing and flowing past the shoulder to the man’s neck, where it ended in an equally familiar curlicue. A different man’s neck, someone he didn’t know. Two prior arrests on suspicion of trying to gain illegal entry to government property. Released both times without charge.

He sat back again in the chair, perplexed. Was this the man from Amsterdam, then? Judith’s footage hadn’t afforded a view of anything beyond the arm, but that was a good match. He viewed the rest of the files, finding no-one else of interest and no trace of the man from the airport.

Minor administrative duties kept him occupied for the rest of the day, but his thoughts kept returning to the two tattooed men. There had to be a connection, and the feeling nagged at him and kept him so distracted that Dan had to return an annotated printout to him three times before he understood what Eric wanted from it.

By late afternoon he’d had enough, and lifted the matte-black jacket from its curved silver hook on the wall. He took the back stairs, preferring to avoid the lift with its mirrors and infinite reflections of colleagues, even more unbearable at this time of day.

As he neared the glass doors at the front of the building, he could see that it was raining hard, the street a dark mosaic of greys and navies punctured by the lights from the surrounding office buildings and their reflections in the dark, shining pavement. At the door, he turned away for a moment to avoid a sudden rush of people coming in, their coats glistening wet and their feet leaving dark, polished tracks on the beige marble floor. He caught a glimpse of a dark brown heeled boot, size 37, carefully placed in front of its mate, and in the moment that it took him to note a polite hand on her arm and the unwavering but distant gaze in her green eyes, he realised the girl was blind. Her colleague - the body language too awkward, too deliberately distant to suggest otherwise - finished folding his umbrella and guided her gently towards the lifts. As she reached up to brush a wisp of straight rust-brown hair from her face, Eric ducked out into the rain and ran across the street to the transit, his mind once more on the tattooed men.

As he lay in bed that night in the dark, waiting for the drugs to carry him off to his favourite quiet, grey place and wondering whether he might really be losing his grip on the data, a much more sensible explanation suggested itself. Same tattoo artist. He drifted off to sleep, feeling slightly ashamed that the thought had only just occurred to him.
Tags: nanowrimo, story
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Brilliant. Unlock. Also, could you call me? I want to write a scene tomorrow but have slightly lost track of where I should be.
Another minor niggle - three per second is pretty slow.

It's still engaging. :)
I'm glad you're still engaged!

I might adjust the rate, if you think that sounds slow. I thought it was still quite a lot, but then I'm not Eric!
Imagine flicking through a book of pictures looking for something. Even with several pictures on a page you can still scan through them all quickly. Eric is much faster than you too. In fact, given his ability to see so much at the one time he might set the computer to display several images at once as well.

While I'm pointing out minor niggles, what sort of database is he looking through? Ten thousand isn't many tattoos if this is a database of all criminals in the country. If it's a much more limited database then that's fine, or perhaps the full database of people observed by his employers but restricted by the rough biometric data he can be sure of from the image.

They're very minor things but the Eric runs strong in me today (and yesterday (and most other days)).

In other news, Dervla Kirwan was on tv just as a stray thought of widgetfox crossed my mind. She's no longer Drew Barrymore and is now Dervla. Would you like to take the opportunity to change from Cameron Diaz? Current tv character is a few hundred year old ghost still pining after the woman he obsessed over when he lived. Sort of a stalker with ambition. I will understand if you have another preference though.
OK, will change rate, thanks :)

Dr Mr Itchy thinks I'm Heather Graham. I'm less convinced, but if that helps ... ;)
I can see the Heather Graham thing.

Dervla Kirwan is much prettier than I am, and has different colouring. I don't think I look particularly like anyone famous, although would obviously be delighted if those who know me contradict.

I look very like the John Singer Sargent portrait of Sybil Rocksavage at Houghton Hall, if that helps at all.
*looks it up*

You do, actually :)

I'm sure there's an Ingres painting (can't find it online but it's in in the Gombrich book on your shelf, about hip height on the leftmost shelf near the window) of a lady in green, who reminds me of you. Haven't seen her face for fifteen years, though, so might not be all that like you.
I'm trying to think of famous people who look like you, but can't. That's not necessarily a bad thing - especially at the moment, there's a certain type of face that's popular (in the Jessica Alba mould) and there seems to be less tolerance for anything outside that stereotype.
In my early twenties, bizarrely, I was often told I looked like Demi Moore. I think it was the killer stare.

In my late twenties, I was occasionally told I looked like Kate Winslet. This tended to be quickly followed by a swift left hook on my part.

I can't see either, but at least I wouldn't mind looking like Demi Moore.
I can vaguely see the Demi Moore comparison, but I really can't understand the Kate Winslet thing.

In terms of vibe, rather than actual appearance, I see you as Kristin Scott-Thomas. I hope you take this in the spirit of how it was intended ;)
Marry me.

The best I've ever been given, actually, was Jamie Lee Curtis, which I think is a similar thing. If I ever lose weight and keep it off, I will have my hair chopped, but it wouldn't work at the moment.

arafel2 told me that the icon I use later on looks like Natascha McElhone, but I still haven't quite figured out who she is.
The icon I use later on looks like Natascha McElhone

Oh, yes, it does and you do!

She's been in a few things, perhaps most notably Steven Soderberg's remake of Solaris. I think she might also have been in Ronin, though I didn't see it.
After rereading this, I may revise my estimate of the number of hits on the database, cheers. I figured the database is larger, but that 10,000 was a reasonable number of people on it who might have tattoos. AFAIK it's only a criminal records database, not one with the entire populace on it (more of that to follow later, one suspects).

Ta for feedback, as always.
Entire population > people being surveilled > people with criminal records
I bow to your unshakeable logic and grasp of basic statistics.
Business as usual, then.
you know you deal with too much asian cinema when the idea of more than one person with the same or similar tattoo sparks the thought -- oooh, yakuza!
I haven't seen/heard of! I'm not sure whether you should tell me or not ... I might inadvertently copy ideas! (I've already banned myself from reading anything while we're writing this)
It's the Japanese mafia. Part of their initiation into the gang is a tattooing... the big time dudes have their full backs, chests and shoulders an ink undershirt.

doesnt' match your stuff at all really, i'm just twisted in the head...specially at 5 in the morning...
Oh, I see! I had no idea. Interesting. And, y'know, kinda scary. Thanks, though! I'm slightly wiser, today.