The Pain Game by Felicia Aguilar

Love is painful, Marissa thought. She had the bruises and blood streaks to prove it. As usual, Mateo had gotten carried away. He said he didn't enjoy it, but when she felt his fists colliding with her head she knew he had once again gone too far.

“Ma’am, are you okay? Ma’am?”

Marissa watched as one of the other officers began dragging Mateo away in handcuffs. He looked back at her. "You bitch!" he spat out, his eyes blazing, but Marissa was staring elsewhere, at the hand of the officer who was holding her arm.

Office Beaird was shaking her. “Ms. Campos, are you okay?”

"Yes, I'm okay."

Marissa had not been able to walk away from Mateo, from any of it. They had a hold on each other, like chicle, her mom liked to say. “You’re like gum to each other. It's not healthy.”

“Okay, Ms. Campos, can you tell me what happened? Neighbors say they heard some pretty terrible screams coming from your apartment.”

Marissa recalled Mateo’s fists on her face. “He beat me.”

"I can see that. You have a busted lip, black eye, bruises all over...god, you poor thing."

No one would ever understand the connection they shared. Marissa gravitated towards Mateo. She felt it when she entered the tattoo parlor and saw him for the first time. She sucked in a breath, felt her body moving inches in his direction, her eyes searched and found him.

"There is pleasure in pain," he said, as she felt the needle dragging into her skin.

In the background, Mateo was being restrained: “This bitch liked it. No, I’m telling you, she liked it!”

There was much pleasure and pain in the act of loving Mateo. She couldn't help but continue to see him, despite his little problem. When she knew he was going to do it, she would tell him to only hit her in certain places, places that could be covered. It began first as only spanking.

“He punched my face, punched me in my ribs…all I felt was the pain, Officer.”

Officer Beaird’s hand was rubbing her shoulder. “Go on, sweetheart…”

“He hurt me,” Marissa said.

Harder, harder...over the weeks, his hand became heavier until one night he spanked her so hard that purple welts blossomed. She couldn’t sit down for three days.

“My dad used to beat my mom,” Mateo said that night, while rubbing cool aloe on her ass cheeks. It stung.

Marissa took what he said as a sign. But things only got worse.

“Sweetie,” Officer Beaird said, “I know you probably don’t want to talk about it now, but if you want to press charges…”

“I do.” She wanted him gone.

One night, Mateo pulled her into their bedroom. He had candles lit, rose petals on the bed. It was all very romantic so Marissa was surprised by his knuckles smearing across her face minutes after she undressed. Her hand flew to her cheek; it was already tender to the touch. Mateo was breathing very fast.

“You like that, don’t you?” he asked her then.

She nodded. What else could she say?

Mateo was yelling again. “I tried to stop – I didn’t want to, Officer! She begged me to do it!”

“He pushed my face into the floor, and pulled out a chunk of my hair…I felt blood on my cheek,” Marissa continued.

She found Mateo in their room later, curled into himself, hands over his head as if he were trying very hard not to burst at the seams.

“What’s wrong, baby?” she cooed.

“Baby,” he looked up at her, and she realized he had been crying. “Baby, I can’t do this anymore. This is sick…”

She put her ice pack down on the bed so that she could envelop him in her arms. “Ssh, ssh, it’s okay.”

But it wasn’t okay. She knew things had to end then.

“Officer, I’m telling you and I will keep telling you, I didn’t want to. But for months, she has been wanting me to beat her. Begging me to. She actually cried when I didn’t hit her hard enough!”

“That’s enough. Get him in the goddamn car!” Officer Beaird yelled. Marissa saw Mateo struggle again, and once he was in the back seat of the cop car, he began kicking at the windows. Marissa saw his face. It resembled a mask as he yelled, mute and voiceless now. She couldn’t believe she had ever loved someone so weak.

Officer Beaird finished with his notes, and then he smiled down at her. “It’s okay, sweetheart, I see a lot of these domestic violence cases. We’re going to take care of him for you. And this is off the record, but no macho asshole should be hitting a beautiful girl like you. My old man used to beat on my mom, so I have a special place in my heart for guys like that. All right, let's get you to the hospital."

Marissa managed to smile at Officer Beaird with her swollen lips. She sucked in a breath and felt her body moving in his direction. Her eyes found his. She felt that familiar twinge between her legs.

Officer Beaird wasn’t weak like Mateo.

Marissa looked down at his large hands and knew they would be just perfect for inflicting pain.

Felicia Aguilar, while seeming rather innocent, has been writing disturbing
stories all of her life. Her work has been published in The NW Drizzle, Postcard
Shorts, and the Flash Fiction Offensive. She lives in Dallas, Texas and is the
mother to two wild toddler children, and wife to a wonderful husband who
supports all of her creative endeavors. More of her work can be seen at


Christopher Pimental said...

Yes they were big enough. Yes they were. The entire Latino community of "machistas" just got owned in this story.

Bill Baber said...

Very well done!! Like this a bunch- love the style...

M C Funk said...

Another beautiful bruise on the blank page, Felicia. You thrill not with little slaps and tickles like most, but because you dig deep until you can put your fingers on our nerves.

Good, true, ugly. Great job.

Scotch Rutherford said...

This was a great twist story—supporting two separate story interpretations. Even if you think you've got it on the first read, on the flipside it’s a real switch.