On the bus today I saw a man with a tattoo on his face. It occupied about as much space as a mutton chop sideburn would and it was a line drawing of a rat. The rat's nose was pointed towards the man's ear, the tail curled down towards his chin. The guy was late 30's or early 40's and the tattoo had that blue, blurry quality that aging, homemade tattoos can get.
It seems like a rat facial tattoo is a goal-oriented tattoo. It is there to please a friend, perhaps a gang, or to alienate someone. Maybe he snitched and this was his punishment, to go through life branded as a rat for all to see.
The man was riding with a woman and a little girl in a flowery dress. At one point the girl climbed into the rat man's lap and put her arms around his neck, tucking her head under his chin in that way that kids do when they want to feel secure. I was glad that somebody saw him as safe, not scary. Also glad that I wasn't obliged to be that person, of course. But glad for him all the same.