March 3, 2020

“I Shipped Myself Out of Folsom,” by Townsend Walker

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“I Shipped Myself Out of Folsom,” by Townsend Walker

Probably ought to start with how I got there.   Driving up 395, stopped for coffee in Olancha. Tall, weathered man came into the diner, pulled up a stool like he owned the place. We started chatting—horses, construction, steel work. I’d done it all. Will Thornton had a big ranch out there in the high desert, east of the Sierras. He was looking for help and hired me on.  That’s how I met his daughter Holly, not a pretty girl, but with a daddy owning fifteen hundred acres . . .  I courted her, but she didn’t take to me much. With Will, I was getting along real well. He liked my work, we chatted about what I’d done, what he’d done, about desert life. One day setting fence posts, he eased into talking about his daughter. Too much a stay-at-home, would never find a man in their town of 192 people. I wasn’t shy about telling him I was sweet on Holly, “be happy to oblige” and he helped me convince her. We got hitched in Reno with Will and Holly’s sister as witnesses.  Real soon it started not to…

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March 1, 2020

Milton P. Ehrlich — Poems of Rumination

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Milton P. Ehrlich — Poems of Rumination

ONCE Following orders   on the battlefield,  it was kill or be killed   my sergeant said,  no different than   when he taught me  to thrust and parry   with fixed bayonet.  The young soldier  wore thick glasses  and looked a lot like    one of my classmates.  Sergeant claimed  Gooks don’t belong  to the human race.  Don’t ever feel sorry   for killing an enemy,  I can’t forgive myself.  I look down at my finger,  ready to squeeze the trigger,  and hear my mother asking:  What has become of you?  ** THE MARITAL HAPPINESS QUOTIENT    I Uber my way across the country  in my Hugh Hefner silk pajamas  to study happiness in marriages  of all my old friends who are still   walking and talking coherently.  Computer porn ended a few bonds  that had once bloomed like a flower.  For those that served breakfast in bed,  a lotus blossom was…

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February 28, 2020

“Parasitecology,” by Rob Trevino and Alan Gallauresi

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“Parasitecology,” by Rob Trevino and Alan Gallauresi

A fun and witty comedy written and directed by Rob Trevino and Allan Gallauresu, this podcast features the relationship of Javier Duran (Rob Trevino), a suicidal nerd with crippling anxieties and his alien parasite, Cher Gandhi Statham (Alan Gallauresi). Their bond grows… until they stumble upon a devious plot endangering both their worlds, perpetrated through viral social media campaigns.  But how can they save the world if they can’t get out of bed? To listen to more episodes of Parasitecology, go to https://ohthehumanity.com Please note: While Parasitecology is a comedy, it incorporates the serious and, for us, highly personal topic of mental health, including dealing with anxiety, depression and suicide. If you or a loved one is at risk of self-harm, please: get help and call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. Episode 5…

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February 25, 2020

“Broken Hearts & Dead Flowers,” by Michael Summerleigh

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“Broken Hearts & Dead Flowers,” by Michael Summerleigh

BROKEN HEARTS & DEAD FLOWERS (February 1970 – upstate New York)  Josh stepped out into the beginning of the day, heard the steel door slam behind him as he pitched the black garbage bag into the dumpster.  He checked the door once to make sure it had locked, buttoned his denim jacket up around the paper sack of unsold apple crisps and burgers, jammed his hands down into the pockets of his jeans.  It had been a slow shift, some heavy wind and a couple of inches of snow discouraging the stoners from boarding the Midnight Munchie train that usually kept the Jack-in-the-Box busy through the night. He’d sent Kyle and Donnie home at two, started shutting everything down around three-thirty. . .picking up wax paper burger wraps and empty Zig Zag sleeves in the small…

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February 23, 2020

“Ethereal Tryst,” Poems by Horacio Chavez

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“Ethereal Tryst,” Poems by Horacio Chavez

Ethereal Tryst    Meet me where the pink hued clouds entwine with infinity  So, will we conjoin in our appointed waltz  Upon that coral floor together in unity  To enjoy what is and bemoan that which remains  Our fate to hunger…  Our union asunder    Our feet skillful  We dance the dance fate has called out  Without malice though willful  We are without doubt  For all but our destiny…  We step carefully    Accepting that which is within our grasp  In lieu of that wish that eludes  Satisfied with the fortuitous clasp  Of mind and spirit to conclude   The interlude…  Of our love subdued    Perhaps fate will grant our desire  Beyond the tryst that both plagues  And blesses the fire  Kindled by the wave  That we may forever crave…  Our ethereal tryst  ** In Love With a Poet    So you’re in love with a poet you say …

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February 20, 2020

“Dimples of Haiti,” Poetry by Mbizo Chirasha

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“Dimples of Haiti,” Poetry by Mbizo Chirasha

DIMPLES OF HAITI  Haiti,  stink of sweat smelling millet slavery and the scent of blood revolutions.  Slapped in the face with sanctions mud by hands under the influence  of imperialistic alcohol. A super-concoction of propaganda maize porridge and  Media yeast.  Waterfalls of anger washing away your freedom dimples  Handmaidens and mental epileptic waiters serving political syphilis in ideological cafes  Children smelling stale ideological urine and dirt diplomatic cocaine  Identities condomised with donor culture and sexual myopia  Baboons eating colors of your flag, munching apples of your freedom  Tongues kissing bottom streams of the state under the veil of democracy gospel  Haiti, my pen is a weapon of mass instruction, I see the spreading yellow York of the sun, gently falling over the darkness of your skin, yawning off the old skin of dust, Regaining the lost richness of your dimples.  ** DAWN OF…

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February 16, 2020

“After Thucydides,” Poems by Bruce Robinson

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“After Thucydides,” Poems by Bruce Robinson

After Thucydides   Read to you my silent poem,  how does it go? Goes  without saying, va    sans dire.  And then someone spoke  and there was the largest crowd    in history, and a luminous  array of tariffs  made us rich again    which after all was our  pre-existential condition  before the construction    of our glorious, seguro-  will-cover-it wall,  and we learned that    however true it may…be..  that truth is something   intermittent, which is how     some histories are written.  ** It’s Your Past Catching Up with You  and then your past   catches up with you, or tries to,  and then your past  tries to oscillate your future,   or makes a very good effort  to be closer than it appears  and then you’re past  all caring, all over-canvassed  tenses meet each other mid-stream,  toll…

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February 14, 2020

“Rhyme Spree,” by Decoder Ring Theatre

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“Rhyme Spree,” by Decoder Ring Theatre

Hey Fictional Café Listeners, who likes Saturday morning cartoons featuring masked heroes? Well, so does Decoder Ring Theatre’s Gregg Taylor. He’s turned one of his comic books into a two part series, perfect for watching with your morning cereal! We hope you enjoy this installment of the “Night of the Red Panda” series. (And isn’t it handy that it’s the perfect story for Valentine’s week?) Rhyme Spree Part 1 Rhyme Spree Part 2 Thanks for listening! For more podcasts please visit our Podcast page.

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February 11, 2020

“Designer Baby,” by Joann Mead

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“Designer Baby,” by Joann Mead

Designer Baby: Underlying Crimes  Chapter 1  My Mai    “You are mine. You are my Mai.” He chuckled. “Mai, Mai.” Repeating over and over, he laughed at his alliteration as he clapped his short, thick hands in time with his rhythmic chant.  “Only tonight. No rough stuff. Just what we agreed, Vlad. Promise?” For Mai Tran, this business has rules that must be followed. Her patrons were usually compliant. Most were lonely businessmen with too much money and time on their hands. Most had pedestrian tastes. But this client was not typical—more brutish and less refined than the Scandinavian men, and with none of the sophistication of western Europeans.   Mai keenly observed the differences in her clients. She was a quick study. This patron was decidedly coarse with his disheveled hair and beefy body. She comically thought the size of…

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February 9, 2020

“Surgeon General’s Warning,” by A. R. Farina

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“Surgeon General’s Warning,” by A. R. Farina

When the warning first appeared, we were already addicts. It was total and complete saturation. I never knew anyone who wasn’t using although, I found out later, some people weren’t. The kids who were fed free lunch used. My parents used. Hell, they were worse than anyone I knew. All the parents were terrible. There was an old jokey Public Service Announcement that came from when my grandparents were young about a kid doing drugs because he learned it from watching his dad. I saw it a few times as a meme. “I learned it from watching you, Dad!” It would be funny if it weren’t so true. The morning the warning came down, I was in school. First-period classes had just begun when the smartboard turned on. Like every other morning, Jake, the admin…

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