February 21, 2018

‘Sceaux,” a short story by Salvatore Difalco

‘Sceaux,” a short story by Salvatore Difalco

We sat side by side in the quiet café, a stone’s throw from the Parc de Sceaux, famous for its Château. Outside it rained. A woman passing with a dark blue umbrella stopped and peered at us. For a moment I thought she was going to come and join us at our table. She looked familiar, her face somewhat twisted, possibly anguished. Clearly the battle to remain an individual in the angst-ridden city had taken its toll on her. “Do you know her?” you asked, staring at a spot left of my head. “I do not,” I said, turning to see what it was you stared at. The waiter. “Monsieur,” he said, clicking his heels and bowing his head. “A bottle of rouge, please,” I said. He stared at me for a moment, his eyes…

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February 14, 2018

Happy Valentine’s Day to All!

Happy Valentine’s Day to All!

Your baristas wish you and your loved ones a Happy Valentine’s Day! Each of us has chosen a V-Day message to share with you:   Caitlin: “Sometimes I think of you and I feel giddy. Memory makes me lightheaded, drunk on champagne. All the things we did. And if anyone has said this was the price I would have agreed to pay it. That surprises me; that with the hurt and the mess comes a shift of recognition. It was worth it. Love is worth it.” -Written on the Body by Jeannette Winterson:   (A little Valentine’s message for parents…) “Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”  -Elizabeth Stone, A Boy I Once Knew   “The brain appears to…

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February 11, 2018

Introducing Steve Sangapore, FC’s New Visual Arts Barista

Introducing Steve Sangapore, FC’s New Visual Arts Barista

We’re incredibly proud to introduce Steve Sangapore, our new visual arts barista. Steve is a contemporary surrealist painter based in Boston, MA. He is a 2013 graduate of Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, CT, where he earned a dual-B.A. in studio art and graphic design. His interest in science and philosophy has been the driving force behind much of his latest work. His incredibly unique, awe-inspired view on those topics has led his paintings to be exhibited nationally and published in art magazines and journals, including Art Business News, Creative Quarterly, Artscope, and  Art Reveal Magazine. You can see how widely his art has been on public view at his website About page. Several of  Steve’s works appear beneath his Artist’s Statement. We’re looking forward to him introducing new artists and perspectives on the visual arts to you,…

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February 6, 2018

“Sitter Envy” by Christopher S. Bell

“Sitter Envy” by Christopher S. Bell

Even on a Friday, Nina felt guilty calling off. She wouldn’t have to improvise a cough on Monday; her fellow technicians recapping their weekends in expenses and well-planned excursions, an occasional raw moment surfacing from the dust. Usually this meant somebody out of place wandered in, caused a ruckus, and migrated back to their designated end. Flagstaff had many corners to facilitate bad habits. “Don’t pick your nose, honey,” Nina instructed her son, both mildly catatonic on the sofa. She’d wanted to have an adventure with Levi that day, take him somewhere new and gauge his expression. Instead, her four-year-old spent a good portion of the morning sleeping before they discussed Shirley over breakfast. The young boy had grown quite fond of his babysitter, championing their endless summer in between bites. Beyond disappointment, Nina felt…

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January 31, 2018

“Forgetting She Forgot” by Roger McKnight

“Forgetting She Forgot” by Roger McKnight

Addie Voss’s Michael was the one with asthma, but she learned to share it with him.  He wheezed and hacked and she complained about his clogged-up tubes like they were her own.  Looking for relief, the two fled Illinois and headed for sunny Albuquerque, but the desert air gave Michael nosebleeds.  In Redding and Denver, it was the heat or the altitude.  That had been the go-around since they got married in the early ‘90s, nomading it here and there, looking, hoping. Now today, an ordinary Tuesday, Addie was waiting in confusion at San Francisco International for a plane back to Minneapolis, their latest city, where she had left Michael and their four kids a couple days earlier.  For Michael, jobs were plentiful in Minnesota, even if breathing remained a chore.  She guessed other things…

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January 26, 2018

“Saratoga Noir” Podcast, Episode 2

“Saratoga Noir” Podcast, Episode 2

It’s Friday night again and we present another podcast, this week the second episode of “Saratoga Noir” from  our friends at ZBS Media. Be sure to follow along in the accompanying comic strip created by Genevieve Shapiro, whose splendid art has appeared here at the Café a few times in the past. We love her illustrations! This is the second of 20 episodes. If you like what you hear – and see – let us know and we’ll post some more episodes. If you scream really loud, maybe we’ll post them all! But if you just can’t wait for more, hop over ZBS where you can download the entire work, and many, many others, for chump change. Please click on the arrow to listen to Episode 2 of “Saratoga Noir.”

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January 19, 2018

“Saratoga Noir,” 2018’s First Audiobook!

“Saratoga Noir,” 2018’s First Audiobook!

Welcome back to Friday night podcasts here at Fictional Café, except for the new year we’re renaming this popular feature audiobooks. Reason being, podcasting has really evolved a lot, and since we concentrate on fiction, anything you listen to here is a story – and that makes a podcast, to our way of thinking, an audiobook. If that makes any sense. If it doesn’t, you could always fall back on the Firesign Theater’s David Ossman’s handle, radio movies. This week, we welcome back our friends at ZBS Media and one of their very best works, “Saratoga Noir.” Not only is the audio great, but just check out the comic book that accompanies it! This is just the first of 20 episodes. If you like what you hear – and see – let us know and…

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January 4, 2018

New Year’s Poetry by Chimezie Ihekuna

New Year’s Poetry by Chimezie Ihekuna

Editor’s Note: Please see Simran’s review of  Chimezie’s – “Mr. Ben’s” – collected works in the Reviews section. Be Inspired When you’re down, you tend to be close to your feet and consequently, close to defeat. But for the sake of success, please rise to your feet. That’s the feat!                                          Succeeding The Race Success is the race, So, you should to move at your pace  After all, it’s your lane So don’t let your strength wane It’s about completing your journey Don’t let anyone take you funny There are no competitions Because you know your onions Reaching the finish line is its own accomplishment Then you will appreciate the beauty of your commitment   Talking Thoughts Talking can be cheap But its consequence might be difficult to keep Its seeds can be weak…

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December 20, 2017

Reimagining Kristen Roupenian’s Short Story, “Cat Person”

Reimagining Kristen Roupenian’s Short Story, “Cat Person”

Editor’s Note: From time to time, fiction and real life converge like a solar eclipse. The “ME TOO” movement and a short story by Kristen Roupenian entitled “Cat Person,” published recently in The New Yorker, have crossed paths and set the world on its ear. It’s a timely story, to be sure, but it’s also something of a literary fete: the author’s first short story, controversial as hell, accepted by the country’s most prestigious magazine (and one of the few still publishing fiction), which immediately landed Roupenian a book contract with Scout Press, reports the New York Times. Like Roupenian, Rachael Allen is a college student who found herself able to relate to the short story and draw some shared experiences into a complex skein of perception, emotion and experience that reaches out beyond the…

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December 19, 2017

“Once Pink Youth” – Poetry by Hope Bolinger

“Once Pink Youth” – Poetry by Hope Bolinger

Drip Castles Teardrops of North Carolina sand bite into Pure pink skin, The color of raw sunsets—of a conch’s innards—of a teething child’s gums.   A sunburnt fist Plunges into a wan Bucket full Of sludgy sand.   The Atlantic water on top of the Sunken soil sloshes like Stomach acid.   Fistfuls of sopping slush Form spires of mire, tilt(yards) of silt, ditches of grit—graves of gravel.   Alas, pure pink castles of Muddied fancies Disappear   In a wave Of briny ocean breakers Dissolving into a stump of once-pink youth.   Snow Questions Spring Yellowed school books say Spring makes all fair beings grow, do ashen teachers see sun’s rays—sickles, shred Snow? Sharp grass blades impale, sting? No frail child, browning slush, murky backwash from tires muddied your thoughts. Infant soft moss Spring…

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