I dip my fingers into the ink. It’s really tacky. Old. I look up at Tina who smiles chagrined.
“It’s not going to work.” I shake my head. Tina is crestfallen.
“Can’t you make it work?” She squirms under the layer of rags she uses to make one oversized shirt.
“See how thick this is? It won’t glide across the paper. It would be like trying to write with tar.” I screw the lid back on the small jar and wipe my fingers on the side of the container.
Tina tears a strip off of one of her shirts and hands it to me. She looks at the boxes stacked in the corner, chewing on her thumb. She sets her jaw in determination. She marches over the pile of boxes and pulls off another box.
“What if they’re not all like that?” She whips out a knife and slices a box open to reveal dried black ink. One of the bottles must have leaked. She picks up the broken bottle and throws it over her shoulder. Someone needs to talk to her about littering, but then that’s thinking old school isn’t it? She picks up others and shakes them and tosses the dried ink pots behind her.
I study the stacks of ink boxes. They’re at least 10 deep in all direction. Stacked against an inside wall of the warehouse. If the ink thickened due to exposure to heat and cold, the outside boxes would be the most affected. We needed to work from the wall out. I attack the neat rows from the side closest to the wall, shoving the boxes behind me as I climb. I kick and thrash enjoying the guilty pleasure of the ruin I leave behind me. I catch a glimpse of Tina smiling ear from ear. She jumps on the stack next to be and starts chucking random boxes behind us.
“What are we doing?” She beams through our joint destruction.
“If there are any good bottles, they’d be in the middle. The most insulated part of the stack and building. The inner wall may have insulated them as well from all the heat and cold extremes.” I hold my hand out for Tina’s knife. She bites her lip as she mulls this over. She nods rhythmically after handing over knife. She always has a soundtrack playing in her head. I stab through the tape and pop the box open. We both grab a bottle in the center of the box. I can feel the sloshing weight of the liquid inside. She grins back and tosses back a brassy dreadlocks. We look at each other and open our jars together. We dip and pull out our fingers like dip sticks. I smile for the first time since I don’t remember when. Black ink drips down our fingers and into our sleeves. I flick the ink off my finger, spraying Tina who gladly returns the favor. We screw the lids back on and grab a few more boxes, laughing through our black freckles. Finally we got a break after a week and a half of continual disappointments. Gunner is going to freak.
I used “Ink” as my writing prompt today. Pick a word and write.