December 25, 2019

“Professor of Death,” by Dan Coleman Chapter II

“Professor of Death,” by Dan Coleman Chapter II

     In his other profession, Robert Fountain was an assassin. A highly skilled and experienced, highly paid and very well-connected killer of important people mostly of political persuasion, but occasionally a high-class criminal or two. At least he thought he was. Lately, he was beginning to wonder if it were still true. This career began long before his academic one when he dropped out of college after a year to join the Army in the heat of the Vietnam War. He was sent to officer candidate school and trained as a Special Forces commando, eventually serving three tours in Vietnam. On his first tour, he was promoted to captain two months before his twenty-first birthday, making him, at the time, the youngest captain in the U.S. Army. He was a major when he got out,…

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December 23, 2019

“Professor of Death,” A Short Story by Dan Coleman

“Professor of Death,” A Short Story by Dan Coleman

Editor’s Note: This short story will take you through a few unexpected turns with each chapter. You may begin to think you are being treated to a horror/fiction story and then maybe it’s really about a romance. Or is it? In any case, we hope you enjoy each chapter. We present these three intriguing chapters of the short story “Professor of Death” – beginning tonight and continuing throughout the week. ** Things were getting a little too scary to suit Robert Fountain. He could feel the times changing around him, sense the movement of sinister winds, like the rolling in of a tidal wave, and he didn’t want to be standing on the beach when it got there. He was a man with two professions, one public, in which he was a respected authority of some…

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December 21, 2019

“American Child” – A Poem by M. Sullivan

“American Child” – A Poem by M. Sullivan

I’ve walked along the maps of my home around the bends of the Housatonic River and up Mount Greylock hanging over Jamaica Plain I’ve run my fingers over the shores of Nantucket and felt the Mystic and run my gaze over Watatic the high Wachusett and felt the rumble of the Mattapan line and wandered the streets of Swampscott and of Chappaquiddick I remember the first bus I took to school named the Cummaquid Chief and how I thought as I shook afraid that the bus would be driven by a head- dressed brown- skinned face- painted man with leather moccasins and fierce gaze the names meant nothing to me no near mountain no great cove nothing that lay in the midst of waters nor far off among the waves there was no place I…

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December 19, 2019

“Satiety,” and Other Poems by Brian Rihlmann

“Satiety,” and Other Poems by Brian Rihlmann

SATIETYthere used to be  a much longer delay  between hope  and disappointment     now, I pluck the fruit  and it withers  in my hand    I know it’s bitter  before my tongue does    soon I’ll leave the fruit  and nourish myself   on emptiness    I’ll chew the blue of the sky  I’ll taste the black of the night  and be filled  ** REBORN   and when the pain finally goes as inexplicably as it came we grab its arm to drag it back  through the door like a spurned lover saying  “please stay… I didn’t mean it”  we believe if we let it go then it has no more meaning than a passing cloud a brief summer storm a dead leaf blowing down the street in the wake of a truck   it must mean something more than that we think—  we think so and thus it is reborn to scream at us through all our days and nights   ** QUIT WEARING OTHER…

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December 16, 2019

“The Man in the Iron Hat,” a Short Story by Audrey Kalman

“The Man in the Iron Hat,” a Short Story by Audrey Kalman

The hat was a marvel, like a chastity belt or a grate over an abandoned and dangerous well. The wide curve of its bowl fit the man’s head perfectly. The thick brim jutted over his eyes, hiding everything above the horizontal plane of his vision and much to either side. It was astonishing that something intended to be worn could be fashioned of a material so ancient, so dense and pebbly and so, well, iron age. Yet the hat seemed to him the most natural thing in the world.  He didn’t wear it with pride but he didn’t resent it either. It simply was. He put it on every morning. It sat on his head through breakfast with his wife and children, through the tedious search for his briefcase, the train ride to the city, the day in the office, the ride home, drinks, dinner, TV, lovemaking—three times a week—until, just before he laid his head on the pillow,…

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December 10, 2019

“Acquaintance,” Flash Fiction by Ramisa Alam

“Acquaintance,” Flash Fiction by Ramisa Alam

“Would you like to see the menu?” the waiter couldn’t help himself from approaching Lisa.   “No thank you. I’m waiting for someone.”  She has been waiting for quite a while. She doesn’t mind waiting in such a nice place. Smooth jazz playing and she has her phone to keep her company.     Lisa prefers this eatery to other ones nearby. This is the only place that has enough space to fit her laptop, papers and coffee mug on a table for one. Some days she plugs in the headphones, gets into the new assignment and hours goes by without her noticing. When it comes to meeting someone for the first time, this place is tops at cordiality.  She looks down at her phone to check the time.  It’s 4:54  What’s taking Nina so long?  Nina has a habit of being late, Lisa knows that. Nina must have gotten into those hairstyle tutorial videos and lost the track of time. Classic Nina!  Despite never meeting her…

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December 8, 2019

A Short Story, “Judgment Day,” by Philip Sherman Mygatt

A Short Story, “Judgment Day,” by Philip Sherman Mygatt

On a cold, rainy April day, I put a gun to my head and pulled the trigger. It wasn’t the way I wanted to die, but I had no choice, especially after losing my wife, whom I loved so dearly. It wasn’t a random act; I had carefully planned it as I spiraled downward into the depths of insanity and deep depression. It wasn’t pretty, but I was finally out of my misery, or so I thought at the time.   I had always wondered what it was like to die; perhaps it was like getting anesthesia before an operation, or perhaps it was like just closing your eyes and going to sleep, however it turned out to be quite different. Even now as I send this message across that invisible barrier separating life from death, it’s…

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December 6, 2019

“Temporary Graciousness,” a Short Story & the Eclectic Poetry of KJ Hannah Greenberg

“Temporary Graciousness,” a Short Story & the Eclectic Poetry of KJ Hannah Greenberg

Editor’s Note: We welcome Channie Greenberg back to the Cafe today with new poetry and fiction. Channie never fails to surprise us with the interesting directions her art takes – nor to delight us. My Etsy Site  My Etsy site’s full of objects made from century eggs, sannakji, and puffin hearts,   But not fugu, or hákarl, especially not shark meat served alongside surströmming.  See, I couldn’t, hereafter, entirely disconnect all of my offerings of fins and tails,  Give up completely trucking with evil, especially lads revealed to be key criminals.  No lack of midwifery of unhealthy scions insures my partners keep their beds clean;  Outlandish creatures show up in my life, regularly, despite my doughty efforts.  What’s more, since I’m temporarily ineligible for base jumping, given my gestation,  I dusted off my teacup collection. I like porcelain, locally sourced,…

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December 3, 2019

“Typhoon Season,” A Short Story by Michael Colbert

“Typhoon Season,” A Short Story by Michael Colbert

Logan followed Natsumi to Japan and he was beginning to wonder why. Yesterday he wondered why when he drank bad coffee from 7-Eleven but was desperate for an iced latte. Today he wondered why when he tried to buy stamps at the post office to send his seventeen-year-old sister a birthday card.  “Kitty,” he said. “America made kitty.”  Natsumi had told him what to say as she ran out the door of her mother’s house to buy more medicine. Her mother was sick. Badly sick. With what, Logan didn’t know.  “Logan, I need to go home to Japan,” she’d said. In bed, her back was to him. He stroked her smooth shoulders, outlining the Astoria house he saw through the window. “My mom is sick.”   They were coming up on the end of their lease. Their first apartment together. They met in college, Wesleyan. He was studying…

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November 30, 2019

“Out of Time,” Powerful Flash Fiction by Lucy Zhang

“Out of Time,” Powerful Flash Fiction by Lucy Zhang

A ticking time bomb. Every tick a precious second lost–not preserved in Snapchat or Instagram–the memory of it cached in a few brain cells before a new memory purged space for itself. Ellen, twenty-nine years old and ticking, kept a bright pink box, the First Response Rapid Results pregnancy test, in a cabinet behind the bathroom mirror. She already wasted one test on a false-alarm missed period. After peeing on the tip, feeling the warmth of a droplet of urine on her finger, she had stood watching the test for ten minutes while her husband, Wes, stood outside the locked door to the bathroom. No pink. Safe.  Or not safe, she supposed. She and Wes had been trying for children for a few months now. You’re in the prime of fertility in your twenties, Ellen’s mother had…

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