September 17, 2018

The Poetry of Wayne King

The Poetry of Wayne King

Editor’s Note: The featured image is Wind in the Maple by Wayne King. Wind in the Washline   Peace Comes on a Breeze Spirits Rise, Hope is Reborn The Washline Dances     The Prevaricating Day   Summer in the North Country A warm breeze, briefly noted. Through pine and hardwood, Crossing fields of corn and Unmown grass portending hay Cutting, courting, cunning Teasing, testing, trimming As if intending to remain, Yet only taunting.   June days, behind us now, Beckoned us out, out Out to shake off winter Stubbornly liberating spring A month of April showers, Ours for but a pair of days, Dried to hard baked soil by May Constraining wildflowers Still pushing, prodding, poking through Heralding summer’s silken start.   Now, even as a warm wind blows from the West, Turning winged wind…

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September 14, 2018

I Understand the Game by Howard Williams

I Understand the Game by Howard Williams

I UNDERSTAND THE GAME by Howard Williams   My boyfriend deals drugs. And the entire life that we’ve built together has come at the cost of it. But after two years my perspective of the world outside our apartment is viciously sobering. We live in a spacious studio with exposed brick walls in downtown Washington, D.C. not too far from Georgetown University. When we first moved in I didn’t know how I’d fill the spaces, but I managed to transform the room into a home. On one of the walls I painted a huge graffiti mural of various black figures from Malcolm X and Martin Luther King to Audre Lorde and James Baldwin all compiled in the continent of Africa. The rest of the walls have paintings hung on them created by some friends of…

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September 12, 2018

How I Lost Control And Found Tranquility by Richard David Bach

How I Lost Control And Found Tranquility by Richard David Bach

Editor’s Note: Richard Bach dedicates this short story to all the authors who fear that their characters are taking over and dictating their narrative. This is the story of one such author fighting to regain control. HOW I LOST CONTROL AND FOUND TRANQUILITY   I opened the window to let out the lingering fragrance of cannabis and the lingering perfume of the young woman who turned and blew me a kiss as she walked down my driveway to the Uber waiting at the street. It had been a recreational evening and I hated to see her go, but I resolved to get back to work. Nights are best for me. I’m at my most imaginative, most creative, most productive, after dark. But I hadn’t possessed any of those talents of late, and I hoped that…

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September 3, 2018

“Deluge,” A New Novel by James D. Best

“Deluge,” A New Novel by James D. Best

Jim Best lives in Kansas, where lately raging rain has caused rivers to rise and towns to be flooded in epic proportions. So perhaps his latest novel, Deluge, is prescient. Taking a break from his phenomenally successful Steve Dancy westerns, Deluge is set in the present, but its antecedents are in 1862, when a sixty-five-day downpour pummeled the western United States. California suffered the brunt of the storm. Almost a third of the state was under water, roads were impassible, telegraph lines down, rivers overflowed, hundreds of people died, and hundreds of thousands of animals drowned. Sacramento remained under water for six months, forcing the state government to move to San Francisco. Geological evidence shows that a flood of this magnitude hits the western United States every one to two hundred years. Well, it’s been a…

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August 21, 2018

PictureStories with Grant Kreinberg

PictureStories with Grant Kreinberg

After a four-year absence, Grant Kreinberg returns to the Fictional Café with some new photographs for which he, Sarah and Jack have written prose and poetry captions. We hope your imagination flies, as did ours, and you enjoy the mood-setting provided by Grant’s images and our impressions. “Port Costa Doll” I gasped as the angel appeared, seemingly from the golden mist that arose from the apothecaries. At first glance I thought she seemed a puppet, but she moved in ways that said she was not. She shimmered, and I was aroused but then ashamed, for I was certain she was only a child. Then I saw the words, “A charming surprise,” and I wondered. **   “Who Said What?” He said . . . she said . . . the eternal misunderstanding. **   “All…

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August 14, 2018

“All the Rage” by Lynne Conrad

“All the Rage” by Lynne Conrad

  Cold fear seized Lucy as she mashed the Mustang’s gas pedal further down; her speed now hovered at eighty-eight. She peered into the rearview mirror, terrified by the man in the dented black Ford truck riding her bumper. She had peeled away from the curb in front of the nail salon when this truck pulled up beside her and the driver laid on the horn, waving his fist at her and shouting hoarse curses out of the open window. “Shut up and move on! I didn’t do anything to you!” Lucy screamed out her window, but this guy’s response—it had to be a guy, she thought—was to rev the truck’s engine as he drove along beside her. People walking along the sidewalks stopped and stared. The truck driver slowed and fell back, so she…

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August 10, 2018

Exploring Literary Trilogies and Tetralogies by Victoria Merkle

Exploring Literary Trilogies and Tetralogies by Victoria Merkle

Editor’s Note: The trilogy and tetralogy are commonplace in genre fiction: science-fiction, fantasy, mystery. But what of literature? Tori Merkle dissects the phenomenon and helps us understand its often unrecognized significance, not only in storytelling but in an author’s oeuvre.  Literary Chronicles: An Exploration of Trilogies and Tetralogies in Literary Fiction by Tori Merkle It’s a fact of storytelling: chronicles sell. Series novels, commonly a trilogy or tetralogy, are especially popular in genre fiction—we sit waiting and watching for the next sci-fi or fantasy saga to top the bestseller list and then hit the box office. Once we get the first luscious taste of a fictional world, we’re ravenous for more. We become attached to the characters as if they’re intimate friends. We’re eager to know what happens next. This is the same energy that…

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July 31, 2018

Thoreau Didn’t Need a God of Consolation: Six Flash Fictions by Mitch Grabois

Thoreau Didn’t Need a God of Consolation: Six Flash Fictions by Mitch Grabois

Photo credit: Beverly Bambury Editor’s Note: Mitchell Grabois’ work nearly defies naming conventions, and that’s a good thing. It’s how new plants, birds, constellations and literary genres are born. We asked Mitch what name he gave to these creative, innovative set pieces, because they transcend the commonly known genres. They are almost anti-plot; the narrating character could be the author or someone else, but we can’t be certain; the prose structure leans into the movements in a musical work. Here’s what Mitch replied: “I consider these flash fictions because they are written in prose and they tell stories (though perhaps not conventional ones). Thanks for considering the work poetic—as you know, in much literary fiction there are elements of poetry in the prose.” Infidelity  1.  I hid behind a tree, not the Tree of Knowledge or…

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July 29, 2018

“Trash Picker” by Frank Diamond

“Trash Picker” by Frank Diamond

Emma actually stopped Paul on the church steps. Blocked his way. Emma, Paul’s former sister-in-law, and her posse had been waiting, though Paul had not given indication to anyone from the old neighborhood that he’d be attending the funeral. He’d been disconnected from his troubled history for like . . . hell, forever, it seems. Still, they guessed Paul would show. And why shouldn’t he? Michael is his son. Was. Was his son. He is grieving, Paul is. Can’t they see? Maybe, but they don’t care. Here they are at the top of the steps under a bright September blue that kind of reminds Paul of the 9/11 day. Beautiful, beautiful. Emma, now a middle-age plodder, and two lugheads bulging from their Sunday best, with arms crossed upon bellies. These must be her sons; the…

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July 24, 2018

Zipporah Kuteesa’s Poetry Debut!

Zipporah Kuteesa’s Poetry Debut!

Editor’s Note: Zipporah Kuteesa, The Fictional Cafe’s 500th member, submitted her poetry to us. We are pleased to present her words, published for the first time!   I REMEMBER NOW! I was reminded of the joy That came with passing by. The toddler I was… Fascinated by the beat, That drew us out into the heat, The thundering of the drums, My grandmother holding me back And I running back. My young intrigued eyes blinking So fast I didn’t want to miss a beat.   I was reminded of the oneness That we shared in bliss, My mother and I, We never questioned why Grandma at her age was antsy And upbeat about the pulsating drums. Because we too could feel it It spoke full of meaning The ancient morals that kept us Sane, one,…

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