August 9, 2020

“Meteor Shower,” Poetry by Mark Hammerschick

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“Meteor Shower,” Poetry by Mark Hammerschick

Meteor Shower   Canvas black  the eternal oil spill galactic  dark matter  speckled waves of crystal  diamond sky  ruby, emerald, sapphire   lightspeed  silent night bright   terminal velocity  eyes focus  straining in the dark time  as seconds, minutes, eons  stretch galaxies  into small hands  that even rain cannot  feel  for in feeling  we begin to fall  headlong into night  riding the meteors  of our past   knowing the showers  of our future  will smother  those small hands  someday  not even the rain has such small hands  Smokestacks of oak, hickory and birch  lurch in the balance of sleet and snow  on a confused Sunday in early May  as my woods fill up with snow.  It’s a snowy evening  tucked away on this Highland Park cul de sac  hugging Lake Michigan’s shore  as the gales of this Spring day  recall the final…

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August 7, 2020

“The Loser,” An Audio Adventure by Strange/Love

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“The Loser,” An Audio Adventure by Strange/Love

“The Loser” is a fantasy-sci-fi story from Strange/Love, an audio fiction anthology created, written and Produced by William J. Meyer. While most podcasters out there develop their episodes to follow either a certain theme or storyline over the course of their “season,” Strange/Love prefers to release audio short stories of various genres with different voice actors. For example: “The Loser.” Jordon has always been the girl on the outside, listening to the police cruiser radio with her Mom and dreaming of being a dinosaur. But one weekend she is invited to a sleepover with the richest girls in town. For just one weekend, Jordan hopes to be accepted into the cool girls’ circle. But unfortunately for Jordan, the girls have something else planned. Unfortunately for the girls, Jordan has a trick up her sleeve as…

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August 6, 2020

“Party Boy,” A Short Story by Lee Anderson

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“Party Boy,” A Short Story by Lee Anderson

I’m alone at a charity event in Patricia Yeo’s new Midtown eatery. Shirtless, chiseled busboys and lanky, large-breasted servers run lightly about the restaurant, carrying trays the size of manhole covers. The place is gold-trimmed and supported by Roman columns but a terrible place to have a party. Not enough room. We’re ass-to-hip in here practically.    I meet gazes with Celine about ten minutes after I arrive. She approaches me without hesitation. I actually don’t think she’s ever hesitated a day in her life. “Uh-oh,” she says. “Lazarus Fucking Cooper. Is that you?”  “Last I checked.”  “Well, there’s no telling what’s going to happen now.”  “We’ll have to be careful.”   “Yeah, you attract bad energy. I’m a lily caught in the rapids with you.”  “I see you haven’t changed.”  “Does anyone?”  A hyper-paced metal song begins growling from heightened speakers,…

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August 2, 2020

Paulo Navarro — Surrealist Expressionist Paintings

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Paulo Navarro — Surrealist Expressionist Paintings

As a university student, Paulo founded his own gallery and art academy. At first it was a children’s art academy (Pintando Ilusiones) and later PHI Gallery, where important established and emerging artists shared the space created by Paulo. This artist also participated in the “Circulo de artistas emergentes,” an emerging group of artists with which he traveled through various Latin American countries representing his nation, and created important exhibitions and artistic cultural projects.  Within this group, he exhibited in Costa Rican spaces as well as other destinations like Nicaragua, Panama, Cuba and Japan. He has also exhibited individually at the University of Costa Rica, at the Creative University. In Nicaragua, he has exhibited individually in the city of Granada in the Gallery of the Casa Los Tres Mundos Foundation. In Mexico, in the city of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon presented a sample of his work at the MuZiak Academy…

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July 30, 2020

“The Ahava Order,” A Novel Excerpt from Robert Przybylski

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“The Ahava Order,” A Novel Excerpt from Robert Przybylski

The Ahava Order is the first book in Robery Przybylski’s series of the same name. This excerpt is reprinted with permission. Copyright (c) 2019 Robert Przybylski, published by Royal Hawaiian Press. *** The Ahava Order Winter life in Anad, a small village situated among forests, was running its usual course. Roe deer searched for food among plants in snow-covered fields, livestock heartily ate hay. For the Mage Azam and his wife, Eva the Enchantress, the day was going to turn out memorable. That morning, just as every morning, their son Zephyr was preparing food for the animals, while his father was getting ready to hunt for Amash—a horse-sized animal with everlasting white fur from the family of Great Wolves. Inhabiting numberous forests, the species hunts alone, pairs off and doesn’t form packs. Azam was about to choose a weapon when the village squire, Bolv, a squat man with a crop of curly hair on his head and a slightly red face—the effect of having consumed…

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July 27, 2020

“Departure,” A Short Story by Bari Lynn Hein

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“Departure,” A Short Story by Bari Lynn Hein

When Chelsea stepped off the school bus on her last day of kindergarten, she handed me a construction-paper card shaped like a necktie. “This is for you, Mommy,” she said. With pink and yellow tempera paint she had filled the tie with flowers, and with black she’d placed the letters M and O over the preprinted F and A in FATHER. I understood, in that moment, that the next two and a half months were to be treasured, that my days of unfettered freedom with Chelsea would be finite.  Eventually, I moved the card from my refrigerator to a box on a shelf above my desk. In the years that followed, I added more treasures to the box: a seashell that Chelsea had found at the shore, a rubber Minnie Mouse and Canadian coins from our trips to Disney World and Niagara Falls, a…

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July 24, 2020

“Anansi Chronicles,” An Audio Drama by Chad Sterling

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“Anansi Chronicles,” An Audio Drama by Chad Sterling

“Sacrifice, is what makes a God great.” This is the first sentence that starts off the in-depth podcast that is the Anansi Chronicles by Chad Sterling. Unlike most stories that are created from the somewhat-crazed minds of their writers, (and this barista includes herself in that category of crazy as well), Sterling instead has gone out to unearth and display stories that were told for centuries around campfires, but over time have been forgotten or hidden. The first episode starts as a god leaves his kingdom in search of stories. Some time later, after Asa the witch is taken, Kamau the Obayifo undertakes a perilous journey to the ‘new world’. In episode two, Kamau undertakes a blood search for Asa. In episode three, history reads directly from the rare document written by the witch Asa…

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July 21, 2020

Kira Rice-Christianson — Six Poems

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Kira Rice-Christianson — Six Poems

Little White Lies     I started carrying around   these little white lies;   they live here on my face.   Like when I ask you a question and   your answer seems ingenuine but   I smile at you softly, anyway.   Or when I fix you a plate  and you give me your thanks,  and I kiss the side of your head.   While inside I scold   the woman who does as she’s told,   though I lay with her each night in bed.   Or when you don’t come home  for three nights in a row  and I lay awake cracking my knuckles and toes.  I picture her holding your body, unclothed.  The thought leaves me paranoid,   and I look through your phone.   I shouldn’t have done that, now I can’t sleep.   My body is filled with anxiety and heat.   I…

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July 17, 2020

Jarrett Mazza and Michael Piekny Q&A

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Jarrett Mazza and Michael Piekny Q&A

At The Fictional Café we love writers and love the written word.  We want to showcase the best contemporary writing and give our subscribers innovative, thought-provoking works across a whole range of art forms.  When it comes to fiction and poetry, every so often one of our Baristas really connects to a certain work and goes the extra mile to help showcase it to our global audience.  This was the case with yesterday’s featured story, Knowing, by Jarrett Mazza.  One of our Editorial Board members, and Fiction Barista, Michael Piekny, really connected with Jarret’s writing and reached out to see whether Jarrett would be interested in working together on a developmental edit of the story.  Jarrett was on board and the two of them worked closely together over several weeks to fine-tune this story of…

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July 16, 2020

“Knowing,” A Short Story by Jarrett Mazza

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“Knowing,” A Short Story by Jarrett Mazza

SOMETIMES I WAKE UP AND forget where I am or how I arrived. We often wonder about our personal truths, our pilgrimages that help us to see who, what we are. At night, when I’m sleeping next to her, I sometimes roll quietly out of bed and stumble into the kitchen to shake off the nightmares I’ve had. I’m bleeding in each one. I can assemble so many pieces of my life and merge them meticulously together and take some time to assess how it’s all going to work before I get back to bed. But we can’t change overnight. We just need time. I suppose the lowest moment, the moments where you could say I wish I was saved became increasingly more frequent. Alone in my two-bedroom loft, before I met her, I found…

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