August 3, 2019

“Life,” A Novella by Burbuqe Raufi

“Life,” A Novella by Burbuqe Raufi

Editor’s Note: “How could you live and have no story to tell?” wrote Dostoevsky in his short story, “White Nights.” Life is about the stories we live and tell, and the three interrelated stories in this intriguing novella by Albanian writer Burbuqe Raufi, are no exception. We present these three stories of “Life” – Sergey Volgov, Angela Miller and Samuel Blanc – beginning tonight and concluding next week. ** “Life” Part I Sergey Volgov—the man who fought poverty. Freckled and ashy pale, Sergey Volgov, a very old man, sat in the wheelchair by the window, watching the mesmerizing motion of the late autumn leaves falling from the trees and landing on the muddy ground, waiting to experience his last breath, but his beaten body resisted freeing his moaning soul. A harsh torture, as was his thin…

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July 31, 2019

Paths of Existence: Poetry by Yong C. Takahashi

Paths of Existence: Poetry by Yong C. Takahashi

Journey  I emerge from the mud Caked in past indiscretions Mistakes weighing me down I attempt to shake it off And decide I’d never be able to Reduce the heavy load I decide to cry until I’m whole Hoping not to drown in tears Unable to cleanse my past I praise the rain that comes but  It’s cold, dark, and unrelenting Not the salvation I prayed for When I think I may drown The sun comes and warms me I look back at the faded footprints And marvel how far I’ve traveled The old path is almost gone The rotted breadcrumbs I left To find my way back home Are washed away and I must Forge a new path to happiness  The Collector  We can collect treasures Even coveting wounds That aren’t even ours Treasures proudly displayed Spotlight shining on them Repurposed into excuses You can use not to succeed After years, they collect dust Graying, covered with cobwebs Too tired to clean the artifacts  Scrambling to recoup…

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July 30, 2019

A Free Webinar for Writers

A Free Webinar for Writers

Dear Coffee Club Members: tomorrow night, Wednesday, July 31, you’re welcome to attend a presentation by Judith Briles, a writing consultant par excellence. It’s free, it starts at 8:00 PM Eastern Standard Time, and it’s sponsored by the Independent Publishers of New England. You needn’t be a member to sign up. Oh, and did I mention it’s FREE? ~ Cheers, Jack

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July 28, 2019

“The Kraken,” A Tale of the Sea by Kimberley M. Munsamy

“The Kraken,” A Tale of the Sea by Kimberley M. Munsamy

Daniel Dlamini, a postgraduate student in marine biology at the University of Cape Town, switched on his laptop and checked his email. It was a daily routine. He would get fried hake, thick-cut chips, and a cheap beer from the cart parked outside the harbor, dine on the edge of his boat while the sky darkened from summer to winter blue, then check his email. His mentor, Dr. Samson Saris, was on an expedition and was due to have his reserves restocked, but two months had passed and Saris could not be reached.   When Daniel checked his email an hour later, there was a new message in his inbox. With quivering lips and frenzied eyes, he clicked on the link and watched the first video attached to the email.   **  He adjusted the camera mounted to the dashboard, smiled broadly,…

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July 27, 2019

“Dixon and Sparks” – A Great New Audio Arts Adventure from ZBS

“Dixon and Sparks” – A Great New Audio Arts Adventure from ZBS

It’s always a pleasure to welcome ZBS back to the Fictional Cafe, and tonight is no exception. For your listening delight, we present all eight episodes of “The Night Has Begun,” a Dixon and Sparks radio drama. ZBS audio is very high quality, so headphones are recommended. We’re also very happy to display Genevieve Shapiro’s artistic talents in the featured image (so like a record album cover) here at FC again. Genevieve, in addition to her art for ZBS audio works, created the featured image for ten-year-old Joy Son’s very first published short story, “Princess Olivia.” Thank you for sharing your art with us, Genevieve! The story: Polly Parker believes someone has put a curse on her fiancé, Clifford Barnett. Clifford and his partner, Alan Hendrix, are what’s called headhunters — they find executives to run…

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July 24, 2019

Abigail Kipp: Getting to the Heart

Abigail Kipp: Getting to the Heart

Favorite Things   A few of my favorite things fill my head  Sunlight through green leaves dancing in the dark  Rap songs on the radio ignoring what is said  Just moving along down roads lost in the mark  Watching dancers soar wishing I was too  Silver rain on bare skin cool wet slides down  The sound of white snow falling in que  Black skirts a little too short peaceful small town  And the way you looked at me like I lookedAt you lost in innocence the before  The fall when we were both completely hooked  Before we started cold trench and ash war  Moment of love I am doomed to repeat  With everyone that comes next like useless meat.   ** Two languages (free form)  Two languages And I can’t find the words Crawling in my mouth Screaming to be free  Twenty-six letters And I can’t locate The syllables That read  How you let go.  How do I write When poems are all a…

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July 21, 2019

” To Whom It May Concern” A Short Story by Claire Sartin

” To Whom It May Concern” A Short Story by Claire Sartin

I am dressed my best to do it, if that helps: a classy dress with large floral black and white print that falls just below my knees.  It is strapless with a sweetheart neckline, the kind that looks good on everyone.  I must have bought the dress for a special occasion, but I found it shoved in the back of my closet, unworn, tags still attached.  The dress makes it appear less meaningless.  I didn’t know of my attacker until after it happened.  I didn’t even realize it had happened until months later.  When I woke up there was just one man standing by the bed.  I heard a variety of beeps all around me and a faint consistent ticking sound that seemed to be coming either from right below my head or inside my ear.  I opened my eyes and stared up at a white…

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July 18, 2019

Startling Flash Fiction by Arya-Francesca Jenkins

Startling Flash Fiction by Arya-Francesca Jenkins

WHATEVER YOU DESIRE         When they are together, her nose turns up automatically at everything he says, her head turning to observe passersby or leaves quavering on a tree, incidentals, he, the point from which she departs to engage in everything. This is how it almost always is.         He has no idea, even while cultivating his fevered impulse to draw her in, make her look into his eyes, respond to the hand holding hers as he inquires what she would like to eat and drink–life’s menu, always at her disposal, proffered by him.          His drone of words tickles their fecundity. Everything so green. He has never seen her more beautiful, wearing the ring he gave her, a diamond perhaps too large. But what is love, if not extravagant?         She demurs at his suggestion for the wine, then lets him choose her appetizer and entrée. This makes him smile. He knows her, and she, in turn, appreciates being able to settle into the cushion of the life he is creating for her with such dexterity…

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July 17, 2019

Shawn Anto: The Tests of Life

Shawn Anto:  The Tests of Life

Moka Pot I used to play these games lungs became a trap for darkness.                                                                                         I used to hold my breath waiting for the moka pot spurting alive.   Suffocate negative lines over a world day by day hoping pot by pot.   These simple and harmless tendencies start off as one motion an egg uncracked, porcelain.   One must suspect harmless become harmful in throat breathe one-two, one-two.   A moka pot bubbling over it is the inside that matters hi-jack cells, vibrating.   Endless dream, endless violent end not so, not-so I promise I hold my breath, welcome it, attachment. Sculpture of Incision       stare red eyes down, under a shattered crown, we collapse     everything around golden & memory particles dispersing like tired eyes of their fear.   a choice of no in…

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July 14, 2019

Ellen Rachlin: Poems of Survival

Ellen Rachlin: Poems of Survival

Strategy     Cannot be hit   …well maybe hit   but not marred   and if marred,   put that thought aside;   just stare at open, fast to strike   surfaces,   then look nowhere   but the eyes.     In spacetime,   there should be   no difference between   what opposing fighters   see and measure,   but here the arc   of a kick holds   mixed coordinates,   so it’s best to move   at all times because   moving is winning,   winning is moving;   punishment is   achieving victory.   Nearby there are always   judges, and rarely, a referee.                                                                                       Continuity     Rage wore itself out   on no-name turf   between opposing hills,   in the end, claiming   Crown and…

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