January 28, 2020

“Go Blow,” a Short Story by Alan Berger

“Go Blow,” a Short Story by Alan Berger

He would have said how the fuck could they make a trumpet out of plastic and have come forth out of it with such beautiful sounds. Sounds like he heard his father play on his brass trumpet. But Gabriel was only four years of age when he got it and didn’t know yet what plastic was.  Gabe’s mother and father were always fighting. With her doing most of the fighting and him doing most of the ignoring. She was jealous of his trumpet, which he played all the time.  Gabe would listen to his father play in the next room and play along with him from his room.  That duo would harmonize until mom started hitting dad and if Gabe was still playing after a few smacks at dad, she would go into his room and smack on him.  By that time dad would start playing his horn…

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January 26, 2020

“Junk Mail,” a Short Story by T.R. Healy

“Junk Mail,” a Short Story by T.R. Healy

As he waited in line to order a cappuccino, Poston was surprised how crowded the Java Station was this late in the morning. Generally, it was less than half full at this time but, for whatever reason, every table was occupied. He couldn’t sit outside because it was still raining so he supposed he would have to share a table with another patron which was not something he liked to do. “Do you mind if I join you?” he asked an older woman with spiky auburn hair that made it appear as if she were in a constant state of fear.  “Sorry?” she replied, looking up from the spiral writing tablet next to her espresso.  He pulled out the opposite chair. “It’s so crowded in here.”  “Oh, yes, of course. It is busy, isn’t it?”  Nodding, he sat down…

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January 22, 2020

“That Finals Hour,” Poetry by John Grey

“That Finals Hour,” Poetry by John Grey

THAT FINALS HOURIt’s not complacency. It’s stupefaction.The final is in an hour. And I’m notsucking this pen like a popsicle.Behind my lips, I’m in a chewing frenzy.Yes, I’m sipping coffee. And peelingand orange. But the activity requiredis like a drug. My frayed nerves deserveno less. Some friends stroll by.Trades looks tell all. Once eyesadopt a principle of honesty,self-confidence falls flat on its own face.In a room to the building on my right,it’s not a simple mathematics test thatawaits but the labors of Hercules.A growling Nemean lion of an algebrapuzzle. A geometrical hydra. Astamping, snorting, trigonometryCretan Bull. Compared to me,the ancient strongman had it easy.He could stop at twelve. Ah, if onlythe test were on mythology. Allthose contradictory characteristics.Gods and heroes. The supernatural.The bloody. The inspiring. Themiraculous. Best of all, one plus oneonly had to equal…

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January 17, 2020

A Podcast Curtain Call for Decoder Ring Theater!

A Podcast Curtain Call for Decoder Ring Theater!

You love these audio adventures from Gregg Taylor and his crew at Decoder Ring Theater, and so do we! So here’s another for you this week. It isn’t part of any series, but rather one of Gregg’s special works: a science-fiction detective story. We hope you like it. We did! Please click the arrow below to listen to “ID0” – that’s Eye Dee Zero.

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January 15, 2020

“Hue,” Colorful Flash Fiction by Kasondra Perez

“Hue,” Colorful Flash Fiction by Kasondra Perez

Southern California is the same hue as your eyes. Brown rutted brush where the goats will chew out the fire breaks so maybe we won’t burn up like your rage on a Saturday night after maple colored scotch.   I remember white blankets of soft ice covered the town where I went to school. Everything was touch and go, where winds would pick up like a whip and snap you forward on the walk from your dormitory, coming up again on the return like a violent slap to the face of pitch cold, kind of like last night with your words, never actually, but reaching into my grey matter and thumbing at the tabs of files until pulling out one labeled Insecurities. You took that folder and studied it like admissions counselors studied my manuscripts. Scrutinized and memorized. …

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January 13, 2020

“True Home and A Bottle of Champagne” by Samuel Ekanem

“True Home and A Bottle of Champagne” by Samuel Ekanem

 As the only human figure in the void corridor, Inem Ikang paused and wondered at her shadow, cast on the corridor walls – the corridor her only possible passage, its walls made of plywood. She had never imagined this: someone casting shadows in the absence of light. And so she started to dance, her body moving slowly, side to side, until the shadows made clearer semblances of her and she was sure they were not spirits. By the time her heart started to bang inside of her, she stopped dancing and craned her neck around the corridor, searching for light. But then she realised that there’s usually no light when there’s darkness.  She moved closer to the wall and caressed the shadows with both hands. The feelings awed her – the wall feeling doughy like half-baked bread. She caressed and caressed, and…

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January 11, 2020

Decoder Ring Theater is Back!

Decoder Ring Theater is Back!

Hello! The name’s Fink, Ruby Fink, Fictional Café’s Audio Arts Barista. Every 365 days there’s a strange tradition – for Earth’s population to cozy up with friends, watch a ball drop in New York City from the comfort of their homes, and make enough toasts to ensure the previous year is a hazy blur of memories. It’s human nature I suppose, to try and wipe out the worst of the old, in order to replace that with hope for the new. New diet and exercise plans, the promotion you’ve been hoping for, maybe dreams of a romance or two for those who are single and available . . . or at least aren’t attached enough to their current partner to remain exclusive. At this time of the New Year, change is not only accepted but…

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January 8, 2020

Amanda Grafe: The Enlightened Paintbrush

Amanda Grafe: The Enlightened Paintbrush

We’re very pleased to introduce Amanda Grafe, an artist, illustrator and author of four books. A Rhode Island native, she holds a M.S. from Johnson & Wales University. We met Amanda at the Rhode Island Author’s Expo in December and were immediately impressed with her creative work. We hope you will be, too. Artist’s Statement (1): Abstract painting allow rules to be bent in ways other art forms cannot. Sticking mainly with oils, but occasionally incorporating other mediums, has given me a chance to selfishly explore, emotionally mend, deconstruct enigmas, and fight against both societal and personal constructs I feel do not serve humanity.  Generally, I prefer not to title my work. Although titles are useful, I believe they can in some instances confine the viewer’s mind, instructing them as to what they should be…

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January 6, 2020

“Low-Hanging Fireworks,” Poetry by Richard-Yves Sitoski

“Low-Hanging Fireworks,” Poetry by Richard-Yves Sitoski

Low-Hanging FireworksMother never woke up tangled in starsbut stayed on Earth, which father droppedand watched as it rolled beneath the couch.Her music was straight as a prairie road,his was bent like an elbow to the gut.He prefered the company of dogs,she of me when I felt like one.He proved that there are no happy alcoholicsand that love is conditional,she that mushrooms can push through asphaltand that cancer comes without a screenplay.The cookies she baked were chocolate chipbut I always wound up with raisin.He taught me to fish, but each oneI caught swallowed the hook.He tried to be anonymousbut the rest of the world ignored him.Some nights he came home after not coming home.Some days her migraines were low-hanging fireworks.I wrote this poem because memoryis no insurance against decay.I wrote this poem because it ain’t gossip…

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January 3, 2020

“Suzy, the New Girl” Roopa Raveendran-Menon

“Suzy, the New Girl” Roopa Raveendran-Menon

Suzy, the new girl, and I became best friends fairly quickly. It took us around five days to be inseparable but I swear that I could have been her best pal the day she walked into the classroom.  I even remember the time—It was ten minutes to the first recess gong. Chubby Chandini had already stuffed half of the contents of her tiffin box into her mouth. I knew she had bought potato pancake—bits of yellow potato laced the little fuzz above her thin lips. I had buried my head in my textbook to swallow the loud chortle that had threatened to sneak out.  That was when Suzy had walked in.  It was hard to believe that she was wearing our dull blue and white checked uniform because she wore it so well, with the flair and grace of a diva. I…

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