May 22, 2019

“All Artists are Anarchists”

“All Artists are Anarchists”

Anarchy, Jack’s third Nathaniel Hawthorne Flowers Novel Set amid the tumultuous days of American dissent against the Vietnam War and nationwide student riots, Anarchy brings Tim Rosencrantz, from Wild Blue Yonder, back into Nathaniel Hawthorne Flowers’s life, intent on evil and disruption. Tim, student protester, SDS member, avowed Communist and now discharged from the Air Force, has had a transformation on the bombed-out streets of New York and is now a full-fledged member of Weatherman. Bent on bombing America to its senses, he wants Nate at his side. It’s now 1971 and Nate’s writing career has launched with the publication of The Pieces Fit, his collection of short stories. While he is anti-war and intellectually empathetic, Nate is unwilling to participate in Tim’s anarchy – until, that is, Tim coerces him. Their lives become an…

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May 19, 2019

“The Mystery of Names,” A Short Story by Mir-Yashar Seyedbagheri

“The Mystery of Names,” A Short Story by Mir-Yashar Seyedbagheri

My sister’s name was Nancy Drew. I was Nick. No joke. And in 1955, everyone gave her grief over it, my nerdy, tender sister who always wore lavender and sported large cat-eye glasses, who smelled like perfume and soap, the sweetest of scents. Motherly scents even, scents that were rare in our little home. “Solve the mystery of my bad grades,” some student said. “What about my parents?” another student said. “Why are they so uptight? You’re the detective, Nancy Drew.” “Solve the mystery of your unpopularity,” another, crueler asshole growled. “And the mystery of those glasses,” someone else said. They showed up with flashlights and magnifying glasses like the actual Nancy carried. They all teased her, in the halls, in her classrooms. There were the brunettes with their pageboys, the tall basketball players with…

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May 15, 2019

“Madrone,” Because People Asked “What Happens Next?”

“Madrone,” Because People Asked “What Happens Next?”

It’s March, 1969. Twenty-five-year-old Nathaniel Hawthorne Flowers, two months out of the military, arrives in California and into the arms of Jane Chandler, the girl he left behind. Jane, now a junior at the University of California, Santa Cruz, wants Nate to join her in the creative writing program, headed by Professor Gerald “Gerry” Iron Moccasin, a Lacota Sioux Indian with a penchant for literary theory. Nate is thwarted in his application for admission to Santa Cruz by his poor grades from the University of Chicago, giving him cause to rethink his academic career path. Pressured on every side by Gerry, Jane’s father Will, his widowed mother and the button-down American path to success, Nate increasingly questions whether a college degree—even from prestigious UC Santa Cruz—will help him become a writer. He spurns the college…

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May 8, 2019

“Wild Blue Yonder,” The Novel That Started It All

“Wild Blue Yonder,” The Novel That Started It All

It’s 1965. Nathaniel Hawthorne Flowers has lost his father, flunked out of the University of Chicago, and finds himself facing the draft. He opts for four years in the US Air Force over two years of Vietnam in the army. He and four like-minded troops are thrown together at a small remote air base in Germany, where they try to make sense of their lives and the strange world in which they find themselves. These are military misfits whose behavior doesn’t quite qualify for a dishonorable discharge, yet are sufficiently problematic that if they were sent into the Southeast Asia war zone it would look like punishment—therefore more trouble for the military brass. So they are sent to a place irreverently known in the military as “Bumf**k,” where they can be forgotten about until their…

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May 5, 2019

“The Lighthouse,” A Short Story by Derrick R. Lafayette

“The Lighthouse,” A Short Story by Derrick R. Lafayette

Featured Image Photo Credit: Wikipedia. West Quoddy Head, in Quoddy Head State Park, Lubec, Maine, is the easternmost point of the contiguous United States.  A clump of snow slid from the plunging power lines and splattered atop the coffin. Utility poles leaned on both sides of the road. When Maverick looked up, the empty white sky was blocked by rubber cables. For miles ahead, the snow sparkled untouched. No tracks, nor footprints, completely uncharted. Behind Maverick and Goose were two sets of footprints and sled marks. Thick rope was cutting into their shoulders, dragging the wooden tomb. Its imprints creased the burly coats they’d been wearing for two months. Goose pulled down his wool scarf. The first exhale billowed into a cloud of frost. His nose was beet red, poking out from a black garden of unkempt facial hair,…

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April 20, 2019

Our Barista Sarah Kersey Debuts in The Atlantic

Our Barista Sarah Kersey Debuts in The Atlantic

Fictional Café Baristas are not only editors but writers as well, a message you will hear from us often through both word and action. So we’re very proud to announce that Sarah P. Kersey, our Associate Editor, has a work published in this month’s Atlantic Monthly magazine. What do you, reader, think of as the greatest act of courage? We would like to know. Please send yours to us at submissions@fictionalcafe.com. Type “Courage” in the subject line. Be courageous and give us your name and a quickie bio if you’d like; we’ll only include your name and will publish everyone’s thoughts in a forthcoming Fictional Café post. Thanks for being a Coffee Club member, and we hope to hear from you very soon! ~ Jack

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April 12, 2019

James Croal Jackson’s Slice-of-Life Poetry

James Croal Jackson’s Slice-of-Life Poetry

A Note on Jealousy When I ran into Heather at Union and said hello Jennifer asked who’s Heather with smoke alarm eyes I said a friend I meant it jealousy is the kind of thing that puts teeth in a line of vision I was jealous of your Emi too sometimes one must chomp the string one time I believed I could love without caring about the past but stones settled along the path can still be pushed by gusts under a sky wherein there is no ceiling or ending except for the vastness of our longing in space Terminated Rip the last life-supporting limb off the tree; no money grows here now, no more sustaining green   glints the grass, just faces of dead men we don’t know preside over lives with a capital…

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April 10, 2019

“Eye Contact” Part II

“Eye Contact” Part II

By Ann Davis Editor’s note: Here is Part II of Ann Davis’ experimental fiction, guaranteed to open your eyes. The featured image, “Collapse of the Mind,” is courtesy Steve Sangapore, our Fine Arts Baristas. But . . . before you begin reading, listen: Morris could not remember the last morning the sunlight had looked so golden, or when he had had such a refreshing sleep. Woke up entirely on his own too, before his alarm even, a whole hour before he usually did. Especially surprising was that he felt perfectly awake, with no urge to lie back down whatsoever. Must be from his long nap during the insertion the other day. Oh yes, the insertion! Suddenly driven by an urge to check the mirror, Morris darted out of bed and straight for the looking glass…

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April 9, 2019

“Eye Contact” by Ann Davis

“Eye Contact” by Ann Davis

Editor’s note: We met Ann Davis at a writers conference in December, 2018. She wanted to know more about the Fictional Cafe and then told us the writer’s lament: her hard drive had crashed and she’d lost all her writing. Well, a year passes and we’re back at the same writing conference again when Ann walks up to the Fictional Cafe booth with a two-inch stack of printout in her hands. She had recovered her work! We told her we were entertaining manuscripts that were a little, ah, different for 2019, and she tugged this one out from her stack. We read it, liked it, and accepted it. Of course it had to go through the submissions process as a Word file, but here it is. We’re calling it “experimental fiction.” Due to its length…

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