Sketch - Laramie Briscoe


My name is Devin, but everybody calls me Sketch. I opened my own tattoo shop two years ago, and I’ve finally gotten to the point where I’m going to be able to give my wife everything she’s ever wanted. I’m going to be able to take time off and spend a day a week with her. In fact, tonight, I stopped and grabbed some wine, got her flowers, and those chocolates she likes.

What I wasn’t prepared for was to be met at the front door by her carrying her shit out.

She loves me, but she’s not in love with me anymore. What kind of bullshit excuse is that? I’ve left her alone too often, I’ve been completely focused on one goal, and apparently she’s sick of waiting.

So here I stand. Half the man I was, pissed as fuck, because while I was busy making a better life for us, she was under the impression I was leaving her lonely. I know one day she’ll see what I’ve been doing has been for us, and when that day comes… She can damn well come crawling back to me.



“I love you, but I’m no longer in love with you, Devin.”

The words echo off the hardwood floor I had paid to have put in our home, they bounce off the walls Nina and I had painstakingly painted yellow. I remember the argument we got into about the trim color; an argument I won by tackling her to the, then carpeted, floor and fucking her into submission. What had happened to that couple? When had that changed?

“I don’t even know what to say.” And I didn’t. Shock and something akin to anger boil in my gut. I want to scream and punch, ask what the fuck is wrong with her, but those words won’t come. I can’t push them past my lips.

She sighs. “That’s precisely the problem, Devin; you never know what to say. You never know when you’re going to be home, you never know what your schedule is going to be. I can’t do this. When was the last time we had sex? When was the last time you told me that you love me? Devin, I’m done.”

There it is again. My real name. For the past seven years I’ve been Sketch. Through my apprenticeship and now at my own shop. Most people don’t even know my real fuckin’ name, and here she’s used it twice in one conversation.

“You’re done?” I sound like a parrot, but I can’t help it. This shit is coming out of left field for me. I’m standing here like a chump, holding a bouquet of flowers, a bottle of wine, and a box of chocolates. Following her out to the driveway, I watch as she walks awkwardly, holding duffel bags in each arm.

“Yeah, Devin. Done.” She rolls her eyes and continues putting her stuff in the car. The car, I might add, I bought her with the first profit that my shop turned.

“Do you even see what I’m holding, Nina?” I ask, thrusting my hands towards her.

“It’s too late,” she tells me, finally showing some emotion.

There are tears in her eyes and I wonder why. It’s not like I’m the one leaving her. I still have no idea where any of this is coming from. “Too late? This is me telling you that I finally have the time. Babe, we’re gonna live our lives.”

“I’ve been living, Devin.” She stomps her foot. “It’s you who’s had your head up your ass at that goddamn tattoo shop.”

That’s it. My stomach drops, and I see for the first time the ungrateful bitch she’s become. I feel anger overtake me. “That goddamn tattoo shop has provided you with a good life, Nina,” I yell.

Throwing the stuff down I have in my hands, I let it smash into a million pieces and watch it roll towards the car. Just like my life, it’s a jumbled up mess of shattered hopes and a river full of broken dreams.

Chapter One


Six Months Later

The pounding of my feet against the pavement is a constant I’ve had in my life for the past six months. The rubber soles of my shoes give as my legs eat up the miles. I breathe deeply and calmly, allowing myself to find my rhythm. In my ears, Godsmack pierces my quiet with heavy drums and blistering guitars. I mouth the words as I continue on my now three-mile journey.

When I first started this route six months prior, it had been because I