January 14, 2021

“The Color of Jadeite,” by Eric D. Goodman: A Review

“The Color of Jadeite,” by Eric D. Goodman: A Review

Editor’s Note: Being in the publishing industry, I’m fortunate to regularly meet talented writers and artists. It is sometimes an instant connection and other times a bit of serendipity. In the case of Eric D. Goodman, it was the latter. A year ago, we published a novel excerpt by Eric, called “Traffic Report,” from Setting the Family Free about a horde of animals unleashed on an Ohio town. A few months later, we published a collection of poems by Charles Rammelkamp and I got to chatting with Charles. While looking up his forthcoming novel, Catastroika, I noticed a familiar name. It seems that Eric had written a blurb for a review of Catastroika. Intrigued, I reached out to both authors and found out that they were actually longtime friends from Baltimore! What’s even more interesting…

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January 11, 2021

Maziar Karim – The Poetry of Pondering

Maziar Karim – The Poetry of Pondering

1. back home    every morning   alley swallow me   and the city  digest me  I know  in this swarm  the night puke me  and I will back home again       2. empty rifles     rifle opening   is not scary  when every morning  with toothless mouth flowing   and at the night  with empty rifles   back home      3.   no name    cervix  was the beginnings  and crater  was the end of big bang?  I wish instead galaxy  we observed human      4. curved universe    Cloud mass of black whole  it bends the galaxy  the sun  it bends the earth  leaf  it bends aunt’s feet   and pain  it bends human’s feet  we haven’t been guilty   we just born  in the curved universe        5. Human     Human is a cosmic   Between two kisses   and a hug       6. To levitate    To fall  and…

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January 6, 2021

“The Witness” A Short Story by Derrick R. Lafayette

“The Witness” A Short Story by Derrick R. Lafayette

I spent the entire day in bed staring at the white ceiling. If you stare at it long enough, it begins to sweat. Mother always said I was an “overthinker.” When she remembered me, before Alzheimer’s. Before the inevitable change where we all wither. I never believed it until now.  I scrolled through my phone searching for the app that controls my life. Since my remote’s been lost in the abyss of my apartment, I needed it to tune in and tune out. It was an ungodly hour. I could tell from the pulsating tangerine glow of the streetlights on my white curtain blinds. During particular times in the night, they malfunctioned. I used to think microscopic cameras were inside snapping pictures of me. Aliens sending morse code. Or, that I was subconsciously controlling it with my mind, trying to send myself a message from within. A myriad of paranoid fantasies. I take pills now. I’m better now. I don’t think as much. …

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January 5, 2021

“Love Apple” — The Cartoons of Prachi Valechha

“Love Apple” — The Cartoons of Prachi Valechha

Artist’s Statement: I’m Prachi Valechha and I’m a freelance cartoonist and 2D animator from India. I enjoy milkshakes, kiddie goggles, dancing in the shower and I’m the creator of the fictional town called PeachTown.  I’m one of those people who think in visuals, not words and the need to be able to communicate and express better is what got me into art. Not to forget playing with color and controlling movement. I’m inspired by wild architecture, road and motel signs, Toshio Saeki, Ai Yazawa, Vince Collins, Sally Cruikshank, 90s Cartoon Network, Aeon Flux, shows like American Horror Story: the confusing, shocking, wild kind of things. Cartoons and media have taught me more than school has ever done and I believe that’s it’s an amazing medium to bring a change – while making it look fun….

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December 31, 2020

Derrick R. Lafayette Is Our First Writer-in-Residence

Derrick R. Lafayette Is Our First Writer-in-Residence

Announcing the newest position on The Fictional Café: the Writer-in-Residence. Our Editorial Team has awarded this role to longtime FC contributor Derrick R. Lafayette. Following a wonderful year of our first Poet-in-Residence, awarded to Mbizo Chirasha, we decided to expand upon this idea by adding a prose writer. Each Residency lasts two years. This staggering allows our members to greet a new face each year and allows us two full years of sharing each Resident’s work. As our Writer-in-Residence for 2021-2022, we will be publishing some of Derrick’s short stories, novel excerpts and perhaps some essays as well. He’s been featured on our site several times over the last three years. Each time, we’ve been impressed by his growth as well as his ability to create engrossing tales using both unique storylines and moments from…

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December 29, 2020

“Prince of Satan,” A Short Story by Mbizo Chirasha

“Prince of Satan,” A Short Story by Mbizo Chirasha

A solitary baboon barked throughout the night. The barking sound was the stitch between silence and darkness. Dogs never barked to anything. Owls were ironically trapped in their dark nests. Dawn arrived unexpectedly. My father coughed from the pit of his lungs. My skin tightened because his cough was deep. His incessant loud snores disturbed the silence. Fingers of the sun soon filtered into my torn blanket. Intense heat pricked my whip-lashed back. I felt an irritating pain inside me. I sneaked out of my night trap with a bold start and peeped into the real world through the crevices of my rondavel. I couldn’t believe my innocent eyes. Just outside, next to river, stray dogs whined and snarled amid a leisurely sexual act. I made an embarrassed laughter. They danced in their act as…

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December 27, 2020

“Pirate Ayanna and the Seagulls,” by KJ Hannah Greenberg

“Pirate Ayanna and the Seagulls,” by KJ Hannah Greenberg

Ayanna, who was already an old salt, licked her right paw. The Curse of the Abandoned Scallywags had visited her. She next licked her left paw and then looked across the boat to the crow’s nest on the mainmast. If only she had believed Cook, she might not be limping.  He had warned the crew, after they had dragged him out of the sea, about the curse. More exactly, he had scolded them, while he shook water out of his fur, heedless of who was standing nearby, that blaspheming another soul would bring retribution in the form of conveyance. More explicitly, as he had sucked down the first mug of rum given to him, Cook had declared that whoever spoke words of affliction, upon the furry head of another, would cause their merits to relocate to that other feline and would cause that other feline’s woes to transfer to them.  At the time, the assembled cats had laughed and had patted Cook on the back, all the while suggesting that his brain was as waterlogged as was his coat. After refilling his mug and throwing a blanket to him, they had returned to their duties. None had paid full attention to his jabbering. …

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December 20, 2020

Umi and Mori Haikus by Julie Brinson

Umi and Mori Haikus by Julie Brinson

Six Umi and one Mori Haiku    following bright sun  alone, he surfs a strong wave  with a young dolphin    seen in clear water  bright life on a coral reef  illumination                                     a tiny seahorse  sleeps in tropical sea grass  and moonlight falls down    drifting on currents  wishes lost in old bottles  many horizons    in cold waters deep  sad songs of the lonely whales  mourning lost ones loved    sea salted sands  shift into the greens and blues  then the yellow sun      bright sun warms noon day  overripe apples hang low  –sticky, drunken bees    *** Julie Brinson has previously published random poetry in numerous independent, underground literary magazines and journals in the 1990s. She has written various Internet articles and essays in the years since.   Two short poetry collections: Courage…

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December 17, 2020

“Squid Eyes,” A Short Story by Lisa Sita

“Squid Eyes,” A Short Story by Lisa Sita

Every time Amanda cried black ink, people thought it was her mascara running. Sometimes a concerned fellow female, in trying to be helpful, would recommend that she try a waterproof variety, since there were so many on the market and were actually quite effective at preventing embarrassing smudges. She always tried to explain after politely thanking these women that she was not wearing any makeup, but they never seemed to believe her.  Amanda’s parents first noticed the color of their daughter’s tears when she came slipping and sliding out of the womb at Lenox Hill Hospital one early winter morning. As soon as the cord was cut, little Amanda’s eyes spouted like tiny oil wells that ran and dribbled into the creases of her new baby flesh. The doctor who delivered her and others who were consulted could find no reason for it. Thinking first that the black tears…

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December 14, 2020

Martha Engber – Two Poems of Vulnerability

Martha Engber – Two Poems of Vulnerability

The House      Once there was a house.  Once there was a choice.    The house was made of inside,  while the choice lived outside.    Before that, there were many other choices,  all outside, too, but  that could be gotten to    because the house had a  door that opened, allowing a going out  and a coming in, and had, and did.    But then came this choice, of surprise  and delight and innocence,  more than any other.    A choice made wholly of outside,  it could not come in, but rather must be  gone to and embraced.    Surprise. Delight. Innocence.  Yet a choice to which the responsible  door should not open.    The house suddenly so bounded, so  permanent, so…  shut.    The windows, with their crosshatched bars,  gazed out at…

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