It was like magic, all he had to do was roll up his sleeve and anyone who he showed this tattoo to would be scared shitless. This got him out of any problem or potential problem as if it had this phenomenal power to control others. I saw it several times and it just looked like some kind of sword to me, but I was sure it held some deeper significance. I never had the guts to ask him about it, but my assumption was that it must have been gang related. To me he did not come off as being one of those bad to the bone types, you know what I mean, tattoos all over his face or the ones with their prisoner number tattooed on them.
It never frightened me, but when he confronted others and intentionally showed them this tattoo they cowered in shock, as I am sure they knew the secret that I never found out. It was just some ink on skin to me and I have seen all types and some of them were much more creepy and terrifying featuring Satin, gargoyles and dragons and such, but this sword really made people panic as they shook in their boots. He seemed like a mellow guy and I never thought of him as being menacing, but when I saw him reveal this tattoo to others and this happened many times, it always worried the crap out of them.
He did not act like a criminal, but I don’t really know all that much about criminals or convicts anyway. The tattoo must have had ties to the criminal underworld and most likely he got it in prison. It was a distinct signal for others to know exactly what they were dealing with if they tried messing with him or his friends. I always wondered if it meant that he had killed someone, or possibly more than one person, or did it mean that he was willing to kill anyone. Whatever the exact meaning was, I knew this guy was not to be trifled with or he would seek revenge. It had to mean much more than this guy was aggressive or rebellious and people better back off and stay out of his way.
It was just simply a way to end things before anything escalated into violence, roll up his sleeve show his tattoo and it was over. I think the reason that he always wore long sleeves all the time was because this tattoo might have represented a part of his life that he was not actually all that proud of. I knew him pretty well and I probably could have asked him what his tattoo meant, but I was always afraid that he would say that he could tell ne, but then he would have to kill me.