My soon-to-be husband, James, holds an egg in his fist, estimating, to my guess, how he got to this point in his life. He was able to convince me that breaking a concrete slab while holding an uncracked egg somehow symbolized commitment.

Together we had watched Jackie Chan on YouTube, a clip from German TV, where he broke through bricks of concrete while holding an egg. The display got James off the couch, got him to reposition the coffee table. He’d brought his hand up and down, down and up, like he was about to chop the table, but he didn’t. He said that if he were ever going to break boards with his hands it would require total dedication. This from a man who listened to music in the shower, on the toilet, mostly classical, a man with two tree-shaped “Black Ice” air fresheners hanging from his rearview. His plan was to perform the stunt with the egg at our wedding.

When I first told my mother I was getting married she said, Why? Without an immediate response, I let the dead air hang. She didn’t fill the silence, either. Together we stayed on the line and listened to each other breathe.

James says he only wants to break a single concrete block at our wedding, not twelve, like Jackie. I take this as a sign of his sensible nature. I take this as a sign of his cowardice.

This fiancé of mine, my beau, breaks the egg every time he brings down his fist.

Shit, he says, wiping yolk from his palm.

I tell him that maybe it’s like the wedding dress, that I’m not supposed to see his performance before the actual day, that maybe it’s bad luck. He agrees and I leave. I haven’t told him that I don’t have a dress yet. I haven’t told him about my mother, or sister, and their disapproval. I keep telling myself to wait.

The other day I held an egg in my hand above the sink and tried to break it. No matter how hard I squeezed it wouldn’t break.

I return to the video, looking for a clue, an answer. First, I watch it with the sound on, then off, then I watch it again. With each view the facts change. Where I once saw Jackie’s fist, I now see the focus lower, there, at 7:03, with his arm held above the first stack of bricks, egg in hand, when he must’ve understood that there are choices in life, and that these choices have consequences, then at 7:04, the moment of impact, and yes, it’s his forearm, not his fist. So the egg doesn’t break. Jackie flips it in the air. And how do I tell James that the video isn’t real? And how do I tell him that I don’t want Beethoven at our wedding, that Black Ice smells like cough syrup, and that we have to make a decision, here, the forearm or the fist.

Pete Stevens is the fiction editor at Squalorly. His work has appeared or is forthcoming at SmokeLong Quarterly, Split Lip, Copper Nickel, Quarterly West, Whiskey Island, Superstition Review, and Gigantic Sequins, among others. Currently, he is writing and teaching in Minnesota. He can be found online at

© 2018 Pete Stevens. Published by LITTLE FICTION | BIG TRUTHS, November 2018.

Images from The Noun Project (credits: Eleanor Bell).


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by Pete Stevens