Meet the Rider SWho Got It – NBC Boston
This tattoo of the Orange Line train fire last month has to be seen to be believed.
An MBTA train car, complete with horns, bursts with red flames. It is a tribute to the infamous incident last month in which around 200 people were evacuated from a blazing Orange Line train on the Mystic Riverand it’s on the leg of drag king Slim Jim Shorts.
They ride the Orange Line every day, and when they saw a friend, a tattoo artist, post the scribbled sketch on social media, they had to have it.
“I saw it and I was like, this is sick. I love it. It’s iconic. I’m gonna get it,” said Shorts, who asked to be identified with his drag name and uses the pronouns they/them.
Flames and smoke poured from an MBTA Orange Line train crossing the Mystic River in Somerville on Thursday, July 21, 2022. Passengers had to evacuate the train through the windows and walk down the bridge to safety.
A picture of the tattoo, posted on the site Universal hub as “today’s hottest”, has gone viral online, while the orange line is closed for 30 days for major and much needed repairs. On Wednesday, federal transit officials announced a litany of changes the MBTA must make to become safer.
Shorts called it “surreal” to see what they called the MBTA’s decline in the two years since moving to Boston, and said the Orange line’s closure was “maddening.” The tattoo is a bit of art that is both beautiful and helps them understand what happened, they said.
“It’s just a shame how dangerous and unreliable the MBTA has become because it’s decreasing ridership and it’s decreasing funds. It’s decreasing our ability to invest in infrastructure,” Shorts said. “But anytime I have people not taking the T or driving and joking about the seriousness of the situation, I’m always, like, very defensive – public transit is essential. Many of us depend on it. “It’s beautiful, it’s what makes cities good.”
The tattoo artist didn’t want to be identified but shared this comment about his design:
My goal is to show that the United States as a whole and even in wealthy cities has so many problems. This Orange Line closure is impacting so many, as wealth is hoarded for new condos, homeowners and billionaires, trains and buses catch fire and forests burn in the worst drought since the 1800s If we don’t take drastic action, like getting a burning train tattoo, advocating for sustainable energy and transit, and shared resources, the problems will grow.
Shorts noted that the designer also did a version of the doodle with a halo above the train, and that together they “represent good and evil in a way.”