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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 23: 28 April 2024
Microfiction: 458 words [R]
By Jeff Burd

Last Time


Jessica is heaving with breath. Her thighs are quivering against the sides of my head. She can’t help clenching her groin, and each time she does my ears pop. After a few minutes, I stop and raise my head.

She raises herself on her elbows and looks down at me between her cleavage. “What the fook are ya doing?”

“I can’t,” I say.

“What the fook?” she repeats. She runs a finger over one of her black eyebrows and flicks off a bead of sweat.

“Your pubes,” I tell her.

“What about them?”

“They’re like pine needles. They keep poking my face and tongue.”

“Bloody ’ell. You have to tell me now? It can’t wait a few minutes?” Her heels are hooked under my armpits. I think she’s going to release them, but instead she locks down and tries to pull me back in place.

“It hurts,” I tell her. “Seriously. It’s like porcupine quills.”

She collapses onto her back and sighs, but doesn’t release me from her leg lock. I can’t believe how strong she is. She’s like really strong.

“Can you please just continue and we can talk about this in a wee bit?”

“It really hurts. What do you do to them?”

“What the fook do you think I do? I take a shower and they get clean.”

“Do you comb them or anything?” It’s a perfectly fair question.

“No I don’t fooking comb them. Should I?”

“I don’t know,” I say. “Can you wax?”

She looks down at me between her cleavage again. “Would you like that?”

“I’d love that,” I tell her.

“I’ll look like a little girl. Would you like to think about that each time we fook?”

“No,” I say. “That would ruin the mood.”


She finally loosens her legs, and I lie next to her. She pulls up the blankets and covers herself. It’s quiet for a few minutes.

“What?” I ask.

“What d’ya think?” she replies.

We lie like that for a while. I listen for the heavy in-and-out sounds of her deep-sleep breathing, but they don’t come. She’s already pissed, so I figure I might as well ask. I nudge her. “Hey...um, you use a lot of toilet paper when you’re here. Do you think you could bring your own? You can keep it in a drawer or something.”

She doesn’t say anything, so I let it go. Maybe I’ll ask again in the morning.

She turns away from me and curls into a ball. I’m stretched out long and staring at the ceiling. We look like one of those binary power switches. She’s the “◯” on one side and I’m the “|” line on the other side. It’s kinda funny if you think about it.

—From Jeff Burd’s debut collection of flash fiction, Sixteen Ways to Be in Love (Alien Buddha Press, April 2024); appears here with author’s permission. Please check out John Brantingham’s review of this book, also here in MacQ-23.

Jeff Burd
Issue 23 (April 2024)

is a graduate of the Northwestern University writing program and has taught high school English for 29 years. He is the author of Sixteen Ways to Be in Love, a collection of flash fiction released in April 2024 by Alien Buddha Press. And he’s working on a novella-in-flash, Hello, Joe, the “coming of middle-age” story of Joe as he struggles to understand who he is and to establish meaningful relationships.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Two flash fictions from Jeff Burd’s collection, Sixteen Ways to Be in Love, which were first published in MacQueen’s Quinterly:

What to Expect in Issue 10 (October 2021)

Training and Comfort in Issue 3 (May 2020)

Three selections from Burd’s novella-in-flash, Hello, Joe, in MacQueen’s Quinterly (Issue 19, August 2023):

Confessional (microfiction)

Just the Wine (microfiction)

Regina (flash fiction)

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