Home > Stories From Small Town > Tattoos and Crime = Stupidity, But That’s Okay

Tattoos and Crime = Stupidity, But That’s Okay

When I install someone into county jail, the booking sheet asks me to identify scars, marks and tattoos. I’ve often wondered why criminals mark themselves with identifying tattoos. This isn’t a complaint; it takes some of the guess-work out of my job.

We have a dirt bag (sorry he earned the title) in town that had the great idea to tattoo an ace of spades on his cheek many years ago. I’m sure you can understand why we call him Spade.

He’s known for petty crime throughout Small Town. I love when I arrive at the call and an ace of spades tattoo can be seen on the surveillance video as well as identified by every person present at the time of the crime.

I drive to Spade’s latest crash pad and pick him up. He always denies any involvement.

This has become our routine:

“Hi Spade, you know why I’m here.”

“No man, what you want?”

“I want the bottle of Jim Beam that you just lifted from Quick Stop.”

“No man, I didn’t finger nothing.”(The smell of whiskey permeates the air every time he opens his mouth).

“Look Spade, you know what’s going to happen now.”

“Yeah, I’m going to jail for somethin I didn’t do.”

“Yep, it must have been the other guy with an ace of spades on his face.”

“Yeah man, I think there’s peoples impersonatin me.”

He could be right. If I was going to commit crime in Small Town, the first thing I would do is place a temporary tattoo of the ace of spades on my cheek.

One day while escorting Spade to his new crash pad with bars, I asked about his tattoo. He told me his brother did the art for him and then Spade tattooed an ace of hearts on his brother’s cheek. He then told me his brother lived about thirty miles from us in Small Town #2.

As soon as Spade was booked into jail, I called the detective of Small Town #2 to see if he interacted with a guy marked with an ace of hearts.

“Yeah, Sweet Heart’s a small time shit bag. Is he causing trouble in your neck of the woods?”

“No, his brother has the ace of spades on his cheek and I just wondered if your ace is as bad as mine.”

Dead silence.

What more is there to say but thank you to all the criminals that make my job easier.

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  1. Suz
    September 10, 2011 at 8:41 am

    Do you ever wonder if, on at least one occasion, it occurred to him that maybe this wan’t a good idea?

    • September 10, 2011 at 8:44 am

      How can I not but he seems proud of his brother’s art work. There are many more arm, face and neck tats that are identified by witnesses. It’s always made me wonder.

  2. September 10, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    Do you ever watch Reno 911? This Spade character is just the kind of likeable criminal I’d love to watch on your reality TV show.

    • September 11, 2011 at 12:25 pm

      We watched clips of Reno 911 at the police academy but I’ve never seen a complete episode. I have a picture of a woman in Small Town walking her dog and pet sheep on a leash down Main Street. I’ll write a post about it soon. I’m sorry to confess but Reno 911 has nothing on my department or town.

  3. September 11, 2011 at 4:33 am

    You’ve GOT to be kidding. I have to believe a book editor would cut something like this out of a novel because it’s so unbelievable. And that brings us to … the truth is always stranger than fiction (cymbals crash.)

    • September 11, 2011 at 12:27 pm

      I hope an editor does not cut stories like this because I’ve saved the best for the book. I swear I couldn’t make this stuff up!

  4. September 12, 2011 at 11:35 am

    seeing as you take requests could you possibly help me design my tattoo?

    • September 12, 2011 at 1:41 pm

      Seeing as the ace of heart and spades are taken, I can give you two choices.

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