THE HENNA WARS meets diverse Gilmore Girls.
Visually impaired Lana’s summer before college is full of sabotage and (semi-hostile) flirting when she goes head-to-head with her longtime rival as their parents’ small-town businesses compete for a cash prize.
My eye throbs with every tick of the teapot-shaped wall clock.
Sitting behind the register at Flying Colors, I drum my fingers against the countertop, waiting for Dad and Papá to return and fill the store with their baritone laughter. Rainy Shallows is tiny, and they should be done with their errands soon. Good. Because all I want is to go home and avoid rearranging tattoo convention flyers for the seventh time today.
Also, beyond playing Uno on my phone, there’s nothing here to distract me. And I need a distraction, pronto. This morning, I received intake forms and a reminder for the first ophthalmologist appointment since my retina detached. Like the red marker scribble circling September 1st on my wall calendar isn’t engraved into my brain. Between the pain and the anxiety, I couldn’t forget if I wanted to.
Before I can start another mind-numbing game of Uno, the family van parks alongside the curb out front, the duct-taped rearview mirror hanging crooked. Papá comes out first and gives me an enthusiastic thumbs up through the window.
I lift my hand to wave, but then Dad steps onto the sidewalk with the most horrendous sign I’ve had the misfortune of seeing. The junky sign is taller than I am, the unlit neon spelling out Tattoo Parlor. And as if that weren’t atrocious enough, every ‘o’ is replaced by grinning skulls with chipped gold teeth and wonky jaws.
Right now, three pairs of empty, bony eye sockets stare at me.
If they think that will attract new clients, they can think again.