Shinji turned to the speaker, looking down to see it was a small girl in a Hello Kitty t-shirt. He was never any good at guessing the age of children, tending to place them in age groups according to maturity and behaviour rather than appearance. This girl was short, so he figured she must be young.
"Does what hurt?"
"The earring in your eye." The girl pointed at the ring he wore through his left eyebrow. It was more ostentatious than he would have preferred, but barbells were fiddly and had a tendency to migrate if he wore them for too long.
Crouching at the child's eye level, Shinji smiled. It was a question only a child would ask. She had asked if it hurt now, not if it hurt when it was done, he liked that distinction. He nodded to the studs the girl wore in her ears. "Do they hurt?"
The girl shook her head.
"Neither does mine. It's the same as your ears, just in a different spot."
"What about that?" This time the girl pointed to the tube he wore in his ear lobe.
"That doesn't hurt either."
Smiling the girl reached out and put her finger through the tube. "Cool." She giggled and skipped back to her mother, waving as she went.
As Shinji walked away he heard the child telling her mother that she'd just put her finger through his ear. The mother chastised the child for lying and returned to her discussion with a sales assistant.
Shaking his head, Shinji wondered if the pair really were related. The child had showed more insight than her mother had. With any luck that skill would survive the educational system, but he wouldn't put money on it.
15minuteficlets — word #85: painful