Just Pull It Out


The doctor was getting younger, by the minute. And I kept telling him I recognized him from somewhere.

The more I sucked on the gas the more I knew him, and the younger he got. When I’d first come in he was middle-aged. Now he was early twenties. We’d shared an experience together, we were good mates, didn’t he know that?

There was sweat on his forehead, his top lip.

He looked to the nurse. ‘We need to call a surgeon.’

‘Just pull it out,’ I said, from behind the plastic mask. ‘It doesn’t hurt.’

‘It doesn’t hurt because you’re on morphine and gas,’ said the nurse.

‘The problem is I don’t know if the blade is touching a blood vessel,’ said the doctor. ‘There’s a lot of blood.’

‘Yeah,’ said my wife. ‘He bleeds a lot.’

‘You mean—‘

‘No, I just mean he bleeds a lot.’

An alarm went off on one of the machines attached to my good hand. Everybody stopped. The doctor looked to the nurse.

‘Take it easy on the gas,’ said the nurse. ‘Slowly, slowly. Just little breaths.’

I continued sucking it in.

‘He could lose the hand,’ said the doctor, now in his mid-teens.

‘Well,’ said my wife. ‘He’s got another one.’

It always struck me as odd how perfectly normal my wife could appear in public.






Peter Jordan is this year’s winner of the Bare Fiction Flash prize. He has received various awards including three NI Arts Council grants. His work has appeared in numerous literary magazines and journals. In addition, seven of his stories are in anthologies. He has taken time out from a PhD to edit his collection, Untouchable, which will be published this summer by KUP. You will find him on twitter @pm_jordan.

featured photography by badpoem