We recently published Mikki Aronoff’s devastating “Truck Stop Tattoo.”
Here, we ask her two questions about her story:
1) I love the opening here: “Had another waitress served you…” It tells us so much about the narrator’s environment that she can imagine another waitress ignoring the swastika tattoos and treating this person like just another patron. It does seem like that is easier for some of us than others, doesn’t it?
This story rushed out the first day of a 100-word workshop with Meg Pokrass. The random prompt words offered quickly drove me to this truck stop. But fast as the story came, the feelings behind it have been bubbling up because of the wrenching, toxic divisions our country has been experiencing. Maybe the waitress is the emetic I needed. She knows her history and herself and is solid in her beliefs. She knows she’s probably alone in her views amongst the truck stop café staff. She’s fearless, but she also needs her job, so she keeps her subterfuge covert, subtle: lousy service. Cold coffee.
2) The reveal of the narrator’s tattoo at the end is so powerful. Why do you think she has chosen to memorialize her grandmother in this manner?
I see this character as constantly weighing her environment and judging how far she can go. She can cover up or not, choose when to provoke or discuss. She is a political being and a visible tattoo is her permanent conviction. It is a braver thing than I could ever think of doing as it makes her a target. But she has chosen this tattoo to concretize her own beliefs, to challenge herself and others, and most importantly, she’s chosen it to immortalize her grandmother, who had no choice.