Harriman Nelson's Journal

Lee's Tattoo
The Creamsickle
The Invitation
Bike Week
The Java Connection
Lee's Tattoo
My Friend Lee-page 33
My Friend Lee-page 34
My Friend Lee-page 35
My Friend Lee-Page 36
My Friend Lee-page 37
My Friend Lee-page 38
My Friend Lee-page 39
My Friend Lee-page 40
My Friend Lee-page 41
My Friend Lee page 42
My Friend Lee-page 43
My Friend Lee -page 44
My Friend Lee-page 25
My Friend Lee-Page 26
My Friend Lee-Page 27
My Friend Lee-Page 28
My Friend Lee -page 29
My Friend Lee -page 30
My Friend Lee-page 31
My Friend Lee-page 32
My Friend Lee-page 24
My Friend Lee-page 23
My Friend Lee- page22
My Friend Lee-page 21
My Friend Lee-page 20
My Friend Lee- Page 19
My Friend Lee-page 18
My Friend Lee page 17
My Friend Lee-page 16
A Short Story
A 'Harry Halloween'
My Friend Lee-page 15
My Friend Lee-page 14
My Friend Lee-page 13
My Friend Lee-page 12
My Friend Lee-page 11
My Friend Lee-page 10
My Friend Lee-page 9
My Friend Lee-Page 8
My Friend Lee-page 7
My Friend Lee-page 6
My Friend Lee-Page 5
Life With Lee-page 4
Life with Lee- page 2
Life with Lee-page 3
Reflections-the 'In Between Years'
My photo-scrapbook album
About Me

Note from Seaview Stories
To read the 'Lee's Tattoo' series in order:
#1 Chip's Blog
#2 Nelson's Blog
#3 Lee's Blog
#4 Lola's Blog
#5 Ski's Blog
#6 Doc's Blog

Lee’s Tattoo


“Everyone makes mistakes. Mistakes they regret,” Morton was telling me yesterday as he took a bite out of  what appeared  be an innocent looking doughnut on Lee’s desk.


“That doesn’t mean I’m willing to give Kowalski extra leave because the girl he was head over heels in lust with broke up with him,” I searched in vain for the report I was looking for. It wasn’t an important report. In fact, it wasn’t even due yet. I was simply interested in the research Lee had done regarding the mutated Venus Fly Trap of Dr. Green’s that was spilling over each new planter I put it in  located in my outer office.


“But he needs the extra time to get his tattoo removed. Appointments are hard to come by.”

“They can do that?” Lee asked,  surprised, from the doorway. Surprised because I usually called him or let Angie  if I needed a report he was working on.

I couldn’t help noticing that he didn’t seem so surprised that his breakfast was being consumed by his XO.

“Lee, where’d you get this?” Morton was asking after a moment, his brows furrowed,” not up to Cookie’s standard.”

“It’s not Cookie’s. It’s Doc’s”

“Doc’s?” Chip and I groaned at the same time. Lately Will Jamison was into the health benefits of soy and barley products…

“Yes, Doc’s, you scavenger,  and you deserve that disgusting mouthful, Chip. Next time, simply ask if you want one of my doughnuts. Now,” he turned his attention to me, “what can I do for you?”

“I need that report on my Dionaea Muscipula.”

“Huh?” Chip asked.

“My Venus Fly Trap. I can’t find your report, Lee. Neither can Angie.”

“That’s because it’s still ‘up here’,” Lee knocked on his head.

“Oh,” I squirmed. “Um…

“Babycakes will just have to put up with protein shakes for now,” Lee showed off his fingertips,” I’m getting a bit tired of having to use a diabetic lance every week just to feed your damn plant. Why not let the contract with Bugs- B- Gone lapse? The flies will come back soon enough.”

“So would the roaches. No Lee, we’re keeping the contract.”

“How about an exotic food shop, then? Perhaps they have dried grasshoppers or you can raise them yourself in one of the labs. Besides, Will was just telling me the other day that a diet of honey and grasshoppers is really very nutritious. After all, John the Baptist lived on them and…”

“I’m out of here,” Morton fled.

“At last,” Lee pulled out a paper plate from one of his desk drawers, revealing  a luscious looking jelly filled doughnut, coated with powdered sugar.

“You sneak, you did that on purpose!” I laughed.

“Hey, he ate all of my mother’s home made brownies. It was payback time….um, Harry, about Ski’s tattoo… can they really be removed?”

“Well, yes and no. A lot depends. On skin tone, color of the ink, and age of the tat,” I began. (Now to most people, had they been listening in, would have simply thought Lee’s inquiry was one of a concerned commander. But I knew, and Lee knew, and he knew that I knew, that his concern was  about his  own tattoo. One he’d been unwilling to describe or share a picture with Personnel a short time after he’d first joined NIMR. The one on the part of his anatomy that one doesn’t usually display out of the bedroom.)

"Salabrasion," I continued, " is when a salt solution is rubbed into the tattoo, heated and scrapped away. With dermabrasion, the skin is scraped  away or sanded. In each case, while the tattoo might be taken care of, there’s massive scarring…er…you okay, Lad?”


Lee was getting pale. Not surprising considering the rather…er…private location of his tattoo. I knew all about it now. I couldn’t  help having seen it once when I had to quickly rip off his clothes  and shove him into the emergency shower in the lab after a chemical burn.


“Go on,” he was saying, but with a bit of difficulty. I was glad he was sitting down now.

“Well, there’s also surgery.”

“Surgery?” Lee perked up. I could see the wheels turning in his head; no doubt he wanted to get rid of his tattoo as much as Ski did his.
“Yes, the tattooed skin is cut away and the remaining skin stitched back…you really don’t look well, son, perhaps that doughnut?

“Yeah…er…thanks, forgot all about it,”  he took a large bite. For Lee to forget about a doughnut meant he as (and rightly so) taking all this very seriously.  Surgery was apparently out of the question as well.

“Then there’s scarification. That’s like a chemical peel. An acid is used and the scar covers up whatever’s left of the tattoo….” Lee was squirming in his chair now, so I might as well milk it, after all, his tattoo was his own fault and he’d been rather curt with me when I’d first tried to get him to tell me about it for Personnel. They never did get the info, I recall.

“There’s also Cryosurgery,” I said, “using liquid nitrogen to burn off the tattoo…like an unwanted wart.”

“Well,” Lee said, dejected, “ I hope Ski won’t get his girl’s names tattooed on him again. It’s not worth it….”

“Oh, he’s not going in for any of these treatments, Lee. He’s going in for Laser removal. The Laser searches the contrasts between the ink and the skin, pulses and breaks the ink into mini particles so tiny, they’re absorbed into the body. Takes about 12 or so sessions.”

“Why didn’t you tell me this in the first place?” Lee glared.

“You asked me how tattoos are removed. You didn’t ask which method is best. And Laser treatments aren’t always successful. For example, it won’t work with fluorescent type colors; greens and purples are just about impossible to get out. Light skin with dark ink are removed best. So it should work pretty well for Ski, but…”


“I hear it feels like getting burned with hot grease. Some patients actually hear the skin sizzle, like bacon in a frying pan…”

“Oh gawd.”

I wasn’t sure, but he looked about ready to hyperventilate.

“And Ski knows about all this?”

“He spoke to Doc about it extensively.”

“Braver man than me,” Lee muttered.

“Speaking to Doc, or going for the treatments yourself?”

“A little of both,” Lee looked up and grinned and offered me half of his doughnut.

“Lee, you really don’t have to get rid of it. The tattoo,” I clarified as I downed what was left of the doughy goodness, “after all, only a few people know the details. And it’s not as if the Reserve will ever hold it against you like the Navy did that skipper in that movie*. It’s not even the same tattoo he had.”

“Still, I sure wouldn’t want it generally known that the Captain of the Seaview has a tattoo down there reading ‘All Hands on Deck.”

“I’ve seen the tattoo Lee, remember. That’s not quite what it says.”

“Okay, so the tattoo artist must have had an evil sense of humor.”

“Or got his vowels mixed up,” I laughed wondering if he’d actually meant to use an (i) instead of an (e).After all, Lee had to have been drunk at the time all those years ago. Perhaps the artist had been too.


Just then Angie appeared at the door with a protein shake. “Time to feed Babycakes.”

“Why me?” Lee groaned.

“Because I’m not going anywhere near that monster. I swear it’s alive. Hovering over my poor African Violets.  Oh, by the way, Captain,” (Angie almost never called Lee by his name) “Lola says for you to remember not to pick her up for lunch. Has that Dr.’s appointment.”

“Oh yeah…almost forgot. Thanks.”

“Dr.’s appointment?” I asked, concerned after Angie left. I might not like Miss Hale personally and I still don’t think she’s the right girl for Lee, but she is one of NIMR’s top Communication Specialists.

“ She's just been a bit queasy lately,” Lee explained, “Mostly in the mornings. Speaking of Dr.’s, Harry,  you got the name of the one Ski’s going to see?”

“Um, actually,” I pulled out a business card. “I took the liberty of scheduling you a consultation. I thought you might be interested.”

“Today? " he read the handwritten date and time, "this morning?”

“I think I’ll go with you,” I took his arm before he had a chance to change his mind. He might want to get rid the tattoo, but this was a big decision and no doubt he’d need a little emotional support for whatever he decided. “I have a wart the Dr. next door can look at while we’re there. Then we can go to lunch,” I added to make my overly paternal concern less apparent. Lee never liked being mollycoddled.


But he knew. And he knew I knew he knew. At least he wasn’t going to have to go through this alone.


That was yesterday and my wart (yes, I actually had one on my big toe) is gone.  Lee’s consultation had been less than encouraging; the treatments only have a 60 % chance of working on him. It remains to be seen if he’ll actually schedule any sessions to try to remove the tattoo. We’ll just have to wait and see.


After the consultation,  Lee had handed me the medical description, and a photo of the offending artwork. “For Personnel’, he’d said,  and I was on my way there now before he came in and changed his mind.


I could only hope that none of  staff take it out of the sealed envelope I’d insisted on and actually look at it, or there'll be hell to pay.







* The movie in question is 'Down Periscope'.