October 19, 2021

“Professor Walker’s Leap of Faith,” by Robert Pope

“Professor Walker’s Leap of Faith,” by Robert Pope

This all began one lovely day in May as I walked the flowering roadways of Akron, Ohio. On the sidewalk of Portage Path, a street named after Native American lore from the local past, heading toward Market, which runs through the heart of our small-town city, I saw what looked like an enormous chicken coming toward me. My mind told me it could not be a chicken that large, at least the size of a man, so I took my glasses from my shirt pocket thinking it must be a man dressed for a costume party or some sort of promotional advertisement. With my glasses on, the chicken idea faded away. A powerful-looking man came toward me, yet the sensation of having seen feathers coming off him remained, putting my mind in a quandary as…

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October 13, 2021

“The Life of a Private Eye,” by Michael Larrain

“The Life of a Private Eye,” by Michael Larrain

The Life of a Private Eye, Part 4, Zounds! Once there was a man who didn’t flirt with his nurse.Once there was a wife who let her husband slide.Once there was a day when nothing bad happened to anyone,a day that had slipped god’s mind. It might have gone unnoticed,had not the Creator of the Universe hired me to look into it.I figured god could afford it, so I charged twice my usual rates,plus expenses. I began with a vague recollection ofbelieving all would be well on the day in question, the feelingthat I was on a roll, even as I was sitting still. It had fallen onmy mother’s birthday. I couldn’t call her. She had departed when I was a boy.So I settled for laughing at how she’d loved telling risqué jokes and stories.Then…

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October 11, 2021

“Artemis 7,” A Short Story by Zachary Lattman

“Artemis 7,” A Short Story by Zachary Lattman

The world watched as a cool, confident man took his place at the podium. “Good afternoon,” he said with a booming voice that filled the room. “I am Administrator Devin Cernan, and I want to thank you all for being here.” He looked down at his feet, and sighed. “Today is both a hard day, and an exciting day for NASA. In a few moments, Artemis 7 will touch down on the lunar surface, bringing NASA, the United States, and the world, back to the moon for the first time in nearly 50 years. That is a tremendous accomplishment, and it belongs to thousands of men and women, who have worked for decades to bring the Artemis program to fruition. However, today is bittersweet, as the highest priority for the Artemis 7 crew will be…

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October 7, 2021

“The Place Where the Chiefs Meet,” by Frank Diamond

“The Place Where the Chiefs Meet,” by Frank Diamond

Editor’s Note: We are pleased to announce the return of Frank Diamond to the Café. His latest short story, presented here, is accompanied by the song “To Live Again” by singer/songwriter Camille Peruto, and a reading of the story by actress Maggie Peruto. The Place Where the Chiefs Meet I am 26 and it’s the night my father died. My mother insists that I had nothing to do with it. My siblings don’t play; they curse me over the phone. They’ll be in tomorrow. At one point, I slump at the kitchen table, crying and sick from withdrawal. Crystal tugs my arm: “Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!” I shake loose and run out.   I should head to my apartment, but I don’t want to be alone. Dizzy’s not there. He’s heard about Antonio and decides to visit friends “in Jersey.” That’s…

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October 5, 2021

“Architeuthis Considers the Sapiens,” by Katy Scrogin

“Architeuthis Considers the Sapiens,” by Katy Scrogin

Architeuthis Considers the Sapiens      Before, we could believe in their innocence  when they’d only seen us dead,  another limp tendril of sea-culled debris  delivered to dry land  in those in-between hours  when it was understood that nothing happened or arrived  outside the boundaries of their serene dreams    They had eons to build legends  upon our pale still limbs  to fill their need for fable  with splayed gray membranes  growing stale and sacred on the sand    But now their truth-seekers know  the cold-tingling thrill of penetration  into deep-dwelling realms        of untethered motion        volition  the stinging grasp of unstoried life.  What now, my unarmed soul,  now that they know?      * It wasn’t until 2006 that humans finally saw a living Architeuthis dux, or giant squid. Until that point, the dead specimens…

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September 28, 2021

“The Templar Reprisals,” An Excerpt by James D. Best

“The Templar Reprisals,” An Excerpt by James D. Best

Editor’s Note: James D. Best is a prolific author, perhaps best known for his Steve Dancy Westerns, which have sold over 100,000 copies. Jim’s tagline for the seven novels (and one short story collection) is “Honest Westerns. Full of Dishonest Characters.” But like many successful popular fiction authors such as Lee Child, Michael Connelly, Lisa Gardner and John Sandford (to name a few of my favorites), Jim has written some excellent works beyond the Dancy series: Deluge, The Shut Mouth Society, and now The Templar Reprisals. I’m a big fan of his work, not only because he’s a darned good writer but he also writes excellent, intriguing stories. He lives up a hundred percent to my favorite aphorism, “A good story, well told.” Herewith, the first four chapters of “Templar.” If you like what you…

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September 23, 2021

“Souls of Their Feet,” A Short Story by John E. Caulton

“Souls of Their Feet,” A Short Story by John E.  Caulton

So as not to be overheard, I stoop a little and whisper into the youth’s ear, “What’s with the mucky feet again, eh? It’s all right depicting the hoi polloi in such a way, I suppose, but the Virgin? I mean, c’mon!” The youth, not feeling the need to lower his own voice, is not very forthcoming. Half smiling, half sneering, he curtly replies, “With respect sir, my master already explained it to you, on your last visit, if you remember.” Indeed, he had, and rather bluntly too. In fact, I almost wish I hadn’t asked at all, but I simply needed to know about the feet business. We all did. I change tack. “Has he forgiven me, yet?” I ask the youth. He answers, “For asking too many questions, maybe. But for the figurine,…

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September 21, 2021

“The Awakening of Artemis,” An Excerpt by John Calia

“The Awakening of Artemis,” An Excerpt by John Calia

The missile hit just as she was activating her ground control station. Drone pilot Diana Gutierrez-Adams was about to fly her first combat mission when she was thrown across the room. Dizzy from the blow to her head, she stumbled to her feet. Points of light prickled in her eyes. The pain she should have felt was overcome by the rush of adrenaline. Looking around, she realized the east end of the building had collapsed, destroying several stations and likely killing the drone pilots. She swung around toward Gabrielle’s station. Like Diana, she had been thrown to the floor but, unlike Diana, she was unconscious.  “Gabrielle!” she yelled as she took a step toward her friend. Her head spinning, she tripped forward breaking her fall with her elbows. She crawled across the room and knelt down next to…

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September 13, 2021

“Bridge Across the Ocean,” a New Novel by FC Founding Barista Jack B. Rochester

“Bridge Across the Ocean,” a New Novel by FC Founding Barista Jack B. Rochester

Today, we celebrate with Jack, our fearless leader, the publication of his new novel, Bridge Across the Ocean. He began writing it ten years ago, and needless to say it’s been through a few changes since then. Here’s a short synopsis: Jedediah Smith, Luke Lin, David Bondsman and Rick Saundersson have created the most innovative bicycle drive in history: The Spinner, a technologically advanced device that produces and stores its own energy without using batteries. It’s 2011, and it’s ideally positioned for the just-emerging city bike market, and the world’s largest bicycle maker located in Taiwan is interested. Just before they are to leave for Taipei, Taiwan, to discuss a licensing agreement with Joyful Bike, Luke is struck down while cycling and killed by a hit-and-run driver. Although heartbroken, the three friends decide to continue…

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September 9, 2021

“Party Time,” Poetry by Shoshauna Shy

“Party Time,” Poetry by Shoshauna Shy

            PARTY TIME      Everybody’s laughing at you  because you’re swinging a stick  like a fool at nothing  and because it’s June Fest   but moms made them come  h e r e.  Even Bobby Ferrell, your classroom  “book buddy” jeers.  The cake your mother served was lemon coconut for your sister  who missed out on her own party  in April when sick.  You trip on your own feet.  This makes the pitch of laughter rise –  and then ka-SHAB! – the stick  makes contact, the string snaps,   and the piñata tumbles to the ground.  Nobody understands, least of all you,   why you keep whacking and whacking   that jackass flat even after it spills  the goods. CHOOSING THE BEST TIME  TO STAGE YOUR OWN ABDUCTION      Not while your dorm mate is in Connecticut  and won’t notice how you aren’t there  but your purse and cell phone are.  Not the day…

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