November 21, 2018

“An All-American Holiday” by Adriana DeNoble

“An All-American Holiday” by Adriana DeNoble

On Thanksgiving morning, Mía put her overnight bag in the back of David’s Mini Cooper. She loved the tan leather seats, cold from the night air, scented from David’s dark rolling tobacco. His strong hands guided the steering wheel loosely. He leaned his right arm on the console and played with Mía’s fingers while he stared at the open highway ahead. At each red light he would lean over and kiss her. They ended up in David’s hometown around five in the evening. To Mía, all of the houses looked alike, most white with colorful shutters, and just a sliver of lawn between one and its neighbor. They pulled into the driveway of the last one on the block, with black shutters and round, stubby shrubs lining the front. A short set of steps led…

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November 7, 2018

Daniel Lev Shkolnik, Typewriter Poet

Daniel Lev Shkolnik, Typewriter Poet

Photo Credit: Tori Merkle Photography We met Daniel in Harvard Square, where he stood at the corner of Mass Ave and Brattle, typewriter poised to write a poem for a dollar. We asked him to write a poem for our dog, and what he pounded out on the old manual keyboard was sublime. We asked for more, and a correspondence ensued – Boston, New Orleans, Florida – and produced the following excerpts from his impressive body of work. Here’s how he describes his writing: As for the story of how I came to write poetry in Harvard Square: it has everything to do with my love affair with New Orleans, which started three years ago when I hitchhiked from New York to the Big Easy. New Orleans is a place where there’s an established legacy…

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October 21, 2018

“The Radio’s On,” a Short Story by Kevin White

“The Radio’s On,” a Short Story by Kevin White

He said he was going into the den to pay some bills. He took his beer with him and kissed his girlfriend on the head and said he would back in time to go to bed. She did not say anything but she probably smiled. He went into his den and shut the door and went to his desk. It included pencils, paper clips, an old transistor radio he never used, tissues, a phone book. He sat for a while, sorting out all the paperwork, when his cellphone rang. It was her again. He had to answer. “Hello?” “Hey, Kevin.” “Hey.” “I’m…surprised you picked up. I’ve been trying to get you.” “I’ve just been busy.” “Doing what?” “Just…things. Nothing, really.” They were treading worlds of the past and they were doing it too lightly to…

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October 17, 2018

Ghostographs: An Album by Maria Romasco Moore

Ghostographs: An Album by Maria Romasco Moore

NOTE: Ghostographs is a chapbook of short fictions inspired by old photographs by Maria Romasco Moore. It will be published November 1 by Rose Metal Press. The following review was written by Simran P. Gupta, Fictional Café’s Poetry Barista. Ghostographs: An Album by Maria Romasco Moore   The Perfect Book to Welcome Fall Reviewed by Simran P. Gupta The sun is setting earlier and earlier, the temperature is dropping steadily, and it’s time to pull out our long sleeves and warm socks. If you’re like me, you’ll switch from your favorite sweet iced coffee at Starbucks to all the drinks that symbolize fall and its accompanying chill: hot apple cider, cocoa, herbal teas, all things pumpkin. And of course the return of hot coffee! I’ve always been fond of dedicating October to books that make…

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October 8, 2018

“Rearguard,” A Short Story by Robert Perron

“Rearguard,” A Short Story by Robert Perron

Jana backed off from Barry’s fart. No odor but a blast, a massive rip that blossomed the seat of his Royal Robbins convoy shorts before undulating out a leg hole. Okay, maybe she imagined the blossoming and undulating, but not the acoustics. Barry, a meter ahead, uphill, his left boot perched on a stone set in the trail for that purpose, twisted his body and said, “Sorry.” A wide tan hat protected his balding pate and shadowed the mien of sincerity on his salt and pepper face. “Quite all right,” said Jana. “Some things can’t be helped. I suppose.” Barry turned, applied hiking poles to path, and lifted his right foot. Jana let him gain several steps, and several steps later he ripped another, his head making a half turn and his shoulders shrugging. Oh,…

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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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