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José Enrique Medina


I print cards that read, “Break up with me and tell me: I don’t love you.” I include a toll-free number. I pass them out at bars and the gym to the hottest guys. Also at church if the priest is fine. I’m too busy to date, but still want to feel the horse kick of rejection in my chest, the lingering soreness reminding me my lungs are pulsing. By skipping to the end of the relationship and experiencing this time-saving pain, I’m hoping to, finally, feel. Unfortunately, only wimpy men call, building me up, trying to tell me I deserve love, and there’s somebody out there for me, and all kinds of time-wasting chatter. I tell them, “Bro, I’m paying for the call. Can’t you follow instructions?” I don’t know . . . Maybe it’s my fault. Maybe my standards are too high. I’m thinking about making new cards, replacing “I don’t love you” with “I need a break,” or “It’s not you, it’s me,” you know, something softer, to allow these men to shatter the mask of politeness and unleash the heartless sadist in them.

José Enrique Medina earned his BA in English from Cornell University. He writes poems, flash fiction, and short stories. His work has appeared in Best Microfiction 2019 AnthologyThe Los Angeles ReviewRattle, and many other publications. He is a Voices of Our Nation (VONA) fellow.

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