THE SQUEEZE • by Alexander Burns

It is, I believe, day seven of my time here. Every part of me aches. My captor, ever cheerful despite my agony, has no end of ways to inflict pain.

I was caught just outside that little deli on 4th. She was blonde and petite, with coy, sheepish eyes, as if custom designed for my tastes. We talked for hours, and I walked her home that evening. I didn’t see the black bag until it had been yanked over my face, months later. No one warned me. No one warned me what marriage would really be like.

Light in the corridor. She’s coming. There will be threats. In defiance, I’ll croak, “Honeymoon’s over, I guess?” Dark hands will close about, and my face will explode in pain. I struggle a little, bed sheets twisting around my ankles.

She doesn’t even ask any questions.

After a while, body mercifully numb, mind teetering on the edge of madness, she brings out the tools of her trade. Dull nails scrape across my skin. Light from a dim lamp glints off a pair of tweezers. Tissues wipe away the blood.

Finally I scream and thrash against my warden. “No more!”

“Stop crying, you dramatic baby,” she says. “It’s just an in-grown hair. Now hold still, I see a zit here.”


Alexander Burns lives and writes in Fort Worth, Texas, about whatever crazy stuff happens to occur to him at the time. His work has appeared in Every Day Fiction and A Thousand Faces.


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 average 2 stars • 1 reader(s) rated this

Every Day Fiction

  • chetan

    Nice one..!!

  • Great stuff, Alex. 😉 A definite five.

  • JohnOBX

    First reaction is a smile, but then I started trying to make sense of some of the time elements mentioned and things didn’t quite add up.

  • Yeah, I know, a surprise ending and all that. I like surprise endings. But … the “tone” of the last line was way out of sync with the “tone” of the rest of the piece. It surprised, but it also jarred. The last line felt like it had been swiped from some other story because the author couldn’t think of an ending that really FIT the rest of the story.

  • I’m sorry, but I just don’t understand any of it.

  • Bob

    I get what you’re trying to do here, and it’s a cute idea. The mechanics keep it from succeeding, though.

    As JohOBX says, sequencing is weird, which detracts from the story. I still don’t know what the hell the “Black Bag” is supposed to represent, or when it was yanked over his head – months ago, from present time? Months later, after their initial meeting? I shouldn’t have to think this hard for such a short and simple story. And it doesn’t really add to the story.

    And then “dark hands will close about, and my face will explode in pain.” I get hyperbole and its role in humor, but . . . dark hands will close about WHAT? I assume his face, but again, I’m the reader; I shouldn’t have to fill in your blanks.

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  • gay

    What I want to know is why guys marry us, EXPECT us to administer to them, then complain about it? Good grief, who ELSE but a wife would lovingly explore a guy’s hairy white back? Let us have our fun!

    The Black Bag is marriage. And Alex, I laughed my head off.

  • So funny and so compact!

  • Roberta SchulbergGoro

    Bob is right, the reader should not have to fill in the blanks – the burden should be on the writer. But anyway, I thought of one explanation – she was a cute kid who gave him syphilis or he gave it to her and he blames her or she blames him. It’s sometimes passed on to children. They have a cure for it now. Dark hands is possibly blindness.)

  • Jen

    I had to reread this to finally get it, but it really is a cute little story. I think some of the wording is confusing people.

  • This was a good story, and, unfortunately, I can attest that it’s based upon truth. I suspect these tortures will not cease. My only recourse is that I must be notified in advance of anything plucked from my body.

    On to the mechanics. This story does require some work by the reader (filling in the gaps and so forth). I don’t mind that if the story is good. In fact, I kind of like it. And this story is both good and very short.

  • Annie

    LOL, funny… good job :o)

  • Thanks, guys! Sorry I wasn’t around to react a little more on Monday.

    I don’t really get the time confusion, but oh well. They met, months later they got married, and the story picks up after the honeymoon. It’s all in there.

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  • LOL! Funny, Alex. 🙂

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