February 28, 2024

“Between The Notes” by Steve Sangapore

“Between The Notes” by Steve Sangapore

*Featured image courtesy of Mike Castro Demaria on Unsplash* Let’s be honest: life can be hard. As artists we often create art as an outlet to relieve some of life’s stress, but what if this has the opposite effect? Read along for a transparent and insightful take from FC’s former Fine Art Barista Steve Sangapore, as he shares some of his struggles and discusses how taking a step back from creating helped with healing his mental health. The Value of Rests in the Music of Life Can art heal?  Yes. I believe that the creation and the consumption of art both have the power to heal, feed and improve the human soul and intellect. However, through firsthand discovery, I learned that there are indeed situations in life when the creation of art can not only lose…

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February 23, 2024

Dungeons and Damsels by Unchained Productions

Dungeons and Damsels by Unchained Productions

Dungeons & Damsels is a medieval fantasy sword and sorcery audio drama series by Unchained Productions. Episodes are stand-alone short stories of different characters throughout the same fantasy world. (Since each episode is very short, I’m posting several of them) In the Nurmi region, tavern entertainer Tarin uses magic to create illusions to tell his stories for coin, and finds he unwittingly auditioned for a different kind of gig.   Tavern server from Sylvanwood, Skeyo tells her companions at campfire how she discovered her innate talent reveals to her unexpected things, and brings unexpected danger. Running errands for a peculiar lord in Gardur, Tuntemus takes an unexpected journey into a strange realm. In a mountain monastery in remote Luostari, an acolyte of The Discipline is presented with a seemingly impossible challenge. And its solution, the…

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February 20, 2024

“Becoming Queen,” A Short Story by Lorraine Parrish

“Becoming Queen,” A Short Story by Lorraine Parrish

*Featured image courtesy of Pexels on Pixabay* Doubt has a funny way of sneaking into our minds when we least expect it, and all we need is a little encouragement to push past that negative voice. Come along as Lorraine guides us through an elegant performance in “Becoming Queen.” Inky darkness disguises me among the shifting walls of velvet.  It calls to me — an energy that ebbs and flows, like blood pumping throughout my veins.   Come closer. This whir of energy beckons, sighing into my ear — Reveal yourself to me.    My skin tingles in anticipation as high-pitched whispers dissipate into an atmosphere rife with tension and excitement. Normally light on my feet, I stumble over a wooden block secured to the floor. Their expressions — raised eyebrows, and curled lips—reveal both contempt and perhaps, surprise? Whatever…

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February 9, 2024

A Brief Legacy of Steve Schleicher

A Brief Legacy of Steve Schleicher

It is not often that The Fictional Cafe does a page to honor someone who has passed. But when a person like Steve Schleicher leaves this mortal plane, he deserves to have his accomplishments shared with the world, just one last time. So without further ado, a brief legacy of Steve Schleicher. Stephen Lloyd Schleicher was born on September 14, 1965 to James and Joan (nee Wiley) at St. Mary’s Hospital in Watertown, WI. He attended the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater from 1988 to 1990 where he obtained a Bachelor’s of Science in Education, in Social Studies Teacher Education. From 1996 to 1999, he attended the Aurora University where he obtained a Master’s Degree in Secondary Education and Teaching. He then moved to his hometown of Watertown and taught Government at Watertown High School for 25 years…

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February 9, 2024

Steve Schleicher: A Remembrance

Steve Schleicher: A Remembrance

One of the saddest things about someone you know dying is thinking about all the “coulda shoulda” things you wish you had said and which now must remain unspoken, unshared. This is sad when you’ve only spoken with this person on the phone, yet always really liked him. This is especially sad when the person dies unexpectedly, as did FC’s Audio Arts actor Steve Schleicher.  All we’re left with is the memories of the relationship we had with the person who has passed. In the case of those creative people —artists, short story and novel writers, poets who have graced our pages at The Fictional Café—we come to realize we only get to know certain aspects of them. Indeed, often it is a rich aspect, but that loss only means we carry a heavier one….

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February 6, 2024

An American Family in Crete

An American Family in Crete

Veteran FC Barista and lifelong iconoclast Jason Brick moved his family and his writing to the Greek Island of Crete for a year to learn about another people and their culture. We were delighted to hear about his Odyssey and eager to find out what it was like, so Jack interviewed Jason recently and got these comments and photos back to share with you, our faithful Coffee Clubbers. Please share your Comments and ask Jason any questions you may have. He’ll be back. Jack: What in the heck are you doing in Crete? Jason: I’ve brought my family to Greece for a year so we can experience what it’s like to live in a country and a culture distinct from America. We’re on the island of Crete, which is off the coast of mainland Greece—the…

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February 4, 2024

“Zzzzzz….” A Short Story by Dan Brook 

“Zzzzzz….” A Short Story by Dan Brook 

“Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.” Feeling a little sticky with sweat and having butterflies in his stomach, Anatta was getting anxious and slightly panicky. He realized the irony of racing to the San Francisco Zen Center, but he could not help himself. He was rushing to get there, just so he could sit still in silence to calm his mind, supposedly to see “the nature of reality” as he had read somewhere. It wasn’t the only irony, to be sure, and he got agitated thinking he was running late, though he was actually on time as usual.   Exiting the MUNI station, as Anatta did each week, he was still in…

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January 28, 2024

Meet PS Conway, Our New Poetry Writer-in-Residence

Meet PS Conway, Our New  Poetry Writer-in-Residence

After a grueling quiz with poet PS Conway, administered by your Fictional Cafe poets Yong and Vera, along with me, your founder, on the six most fascinating drinking establishments in Ireland, an explanation of a potato famine, and a perfect recitation of Molly Bloom’s soliloquy in James Joyce’s Ulysses, we have anointed PS Conway our new Poetry Writer-in-Residence for 2024-25. Delighted with his perfect score we capped his nomination with this interview below, which confirmed him as an excellent choice. Another P.S.: we choose a Fiction Writer-in-Residence and a Poetry Writer-in-Residence every two alternating years. Expect to see, and read, a lot of PS’s captivating poetry in both images and words. JACK: Hello, faithful members of Fictional Café’s Coffee Club. I’m here with Vera West, our former Poetry Writer-in-Residence, to interview Vera’s successor, PS Conway,…

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January 26, 2024

Bulletproof Pt. 1-3, The Other Stories

Bulletproof Pt. 1-3, The Other Stories

If you could never be killed, how would you use your gift? Saving lives? Making a difference to mankind? Or would you join the Callaghan Brothers Space Circus and entertain the masses by being killed over and over again for your adoring fans? Immortal Audrey and Elastic girl, Kalinda, must escape from the Callahan Brothers Carnival, but how do you escape a circus in space? Roll up, roll up, we’re going into the abyss. Bulletproof Audrey awakes from a long bloody slumber and is tasked with bringing down the mastermind behind the space carnival that imprisoned and tortured her. Will she do as she is told, or will she enact the revenge she so desperately needs? Written by Joanne Askew (https://twitter.com/j_askew_author) Narrated by Erika Ventura (https://www.facebook.com/bioartsy/) Edited by Karl Hughes (https://twitter.com/karlhughes) With music by Andrew…

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January 25, 2024

As I Make You

As I Make You

A Flash Fiction by Matthew Bala Image Courtesy of Al Quino, unsplash.com Bulging my fingers into the spinning clay, I look into the rotating bottom and let my tears glisten there—the figure moves faster than my hands can shape, and I’m left with only a few touches to produce the right form.  The pad of my thumb grazes the orbiting ovoid, trimming up and at its waist into some obscene shape; surrendering a chuckle, I retreat my hands, looking at this earthly bong I’ve now made. The long snout stretches for air, its bottom rounded to the sides of the hog pan.  My palms now fondle the roundness of my creation, feeling the argil beard my cupped hands and cuticles of bending fingers. Deliberately, I close my two arms in on each other, shooting my…

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