There was a rumor going around about me at school.
Like all good rumors, it struck the perfect balance of being just believable enough to gain some traction while still keeping its National Inquirer shock-level status.
There was a rumor going around about me at school...that I had a tattoo of a dragon on my belly. And Mrs. Porter, the math teacher on my team, had started it.
It began casually enough. "Hey, while you were gone on Friday, I maaay have told a few of the girls that you have a tattoo."
I looked at Mrs. Porter. "Well, I do have a tattoo." And I do. A tiny one, on my hip. Barely big enough to bear mention.
She laughed. "Yeah, well, I told them you have a giant tattoo of a dragon on your stomach. Like a huge one. I said that the tail wraps around your belly button. They were skeptical at first, but by the end, I think they were actually starting to believe me."
I grinned. "I like it. I am now The Teacher With the Dragon Tattoo."
Like all good rumors, it persisted, bouncing around like a superball thrown full force in an empty room.
Maybe it was because it's April. Maybe it was because I was bored. Or maybe I rather liked the idea that students thought that their English teacher with a penchant for floral dresses and bright lipstick secretly had a big-ass tattoo of a dragon winding up half of her torso. Whatever the reason, I decided to fan the flames of the rumor that I had a flame-breathing creature hidden under my shirt.
So today, at lunch, I sauntered casually into Mrs. Porter's room, noting that the three girls who were the original recipients of the Dragon Tattoo Rumor were all sitting within earshot. I leaned over, engaging in a casual conversation with Mrs. Porter. She turned to me.
"Did you know that you're supposed to have a midlife crisis every 29 years? I learned it from Donna on Parks and Rec. Something about Saturn's journey around the sun being 29 years long."
I thought for a moment, pondering. "Hmm. Well, I'm turning 29 in a month. Wonder what my midlife crisis should be..."
I made a show of thinking deeply about this thought-provoking question. "Ooh! I know! I should add on to my dragon tattoo," I said, just loud enough so that The Rumor Mill Trio could hear.
Slam. The sound of palms hitting the desk. "WHAT did you just say?!" Victoria, one of the three girls, twisted around in her seat in a move that would make a chiropractor wince, sheer shock painting her freckled features.
"I...I said I was going to add on to my tattoo?" I said, trailing off and doing my best to look supremely confused.
"SAY IT AGAIN!" she demanded, getting the attention of her two friends.
"My tattoo? I have a tattoo on my stomach." I sighed. "It was a stupid college decision, but yeah, I have a tattoo of a dragon. It's kinda big." I gestured to my stomach, my hands stretching to accommodate the size of my imaginary ink.
Three mouths formed perfect Os.
"Oh my God."
"We didn't believe her!"
There was a rumor going around about me at school. And I intend to keep it going.