February 6, 2019

Old Age: Three Vignettes by Jo St Leon

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Old Age: Three Vignettes by Jo St Leon

Dementia I can’t find the word. Somewhere, in the swirling mist of my mind, I know it’s there. Just out of reach. I chase it but it skips away from me as it laughs. It doesn’t want to be caught today. I used to use it, the word, with such ease. It would trip off my tongue, along with a lot of other words, to make sentences, stories, jokes. A whole river of words, ever-present. Unappreciated, until now. Now, I would give anything for this one word—the perfect word—to say just what I mean. For the uncomprehending face which frowns before me to clear and shine with understanding. Still the word prances, dances, teases me as I reach out to grab it. Always on the periphery, never centre stage. I begin to get angry. I…

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February 3, 2019

“Ghost Train” A Short Story by Stephen Brayton

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“Ghost Train” A Short Story by Stephen Brayton

After the seven-hour drive from Connecticut, Rick and Bill were following Joe Spence’s directions to his camp on Chebuncook Pond: Nutting Road for five miles, then right onto a dirt road marked by a row of mailboxes beneath a stand of birches. Bumping along with the boat behind, they crossed the abandoned railroad line that Joe had noted. Even though he knew the railroad map of northern Maine, Rick had searched this one anyway, a Maine Central branch abandoned over a decade ago. They’d come across it at different locations on past trips. Here, its right-of-way through the woods remained clearly evident, no doubt from snowmobile and ATV use. In another half-mile, the waters of Chebuncook Pond appeared through the trees. They passed two camps and pulled in at the third. Joe’s camp looked like…

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January 31, 2019

Editorship is a Partnership

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Editorship is a Partnership

I am a nascent editor. I started submitting my poetry to journals when I was 20 years old. The more I started receiving acceptances—and personalized rejections—the more I wanted to continue improving my craft. I knew the best way to do this would be to read submissions for literary magazines. Not only do I read poetry submissions for South Florida Poetry Journal, but I am also the Associate Editor Barista for the Fictional Café! This brings me a great amount of pleasure. What excites me about being an editor is that I actively and regularly consume language. As eating food strengthens the body, reading and thinking about writing keeps me mentally active, and helps me write better poetry. I don’t ever want that to change. With the advent of online publishing, more and more people—especially…

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January 27, 2019

“Night Embers” A Short Story by Tanya W. Newman

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“Night Embers” A Short Story by Tanya W. Newman

The rains had set in two days ago and hadn’t stopped yet. Grace kept her eyes on the gleaming puddles before her on the sidewalk as she jogged while spiky raindrops hit her face and every car that passed sent rainwater splashing, soaking her leggings. She cut right so she could run down to the park, but running downhill became too much for the knees that once carried her with ease and now buckled and gave out underneath her. She crashed to the ground, her hands hitting the pavement first. She didn’t get up right away. She lay there, letting the rain fall over her in her defeat. Her hands were bleeding. The fiery singes in them told her that before she lifted them to see the scrapes and cuts for herself. They’d have to…

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January 23, 2019

“Seth Seeks Sex for Sex’s Sake,” A Short Story

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“Seth Seeks Sex for Sex’s Sake,” A Short Story

We welcome Paul Negri, a new member of the FC Coffee Club today, with a witty short story for you. Seth Seeks Sex for Sex’s Sake by Paul Negri “It’s so sibilant.” Jamie picked a french fry from Seth’s plate and put it on top of her frisée salad. “That’s the point,” said Seth. He took a sip of water. “Say it fast. Seth seeks sex for sex’s sake Seth seeks sex for sex’s sake. It’s like the sound some women make when they’re having sex.” Jamie filched another fry. “I never made that sound.” “You did. Sometimes.” “I never heard that.” “Of course, you didn’t hear it. It’s like snoring. No one hears themselves snore.” At 39, Jamie looked enticingly older. Trim, pale, blonde, with startling black eyes. She’d overheard one of her high…

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January 14, 2019

“Want You Gone” A Short Story by William Torphy

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“Want You Gone” A Short Story by William Torphy

It’s a pleasure to welcome William Torphy back to the Fictional Cafe. The last story of his we published was “The Invention of Numbers” in 2016. “Invention” was subsequently chosen by the FC Baristas for inclusion in our forthcoming Anthology — but more on that another time. Herewith William’s newest creation, “Want You Gone,” a fast-paced, witty-wise glimpse into a relationship between a daughter and her estranged father. Want You Gone by William Torphy Cherie was pouring steamed milk over a double espresso when her father appeared at the café dressed in a form-fitting orange anorak jacket, stonewashed designer jeans and millennial sneakers. The pegs in his scalp testified to a recent hair transplant and he had obviously undergone a mid-life crisis facelift, his face tighter than a bongo, like one of those aging Las…

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January 10, 2019

Better Latte Than Late, A New Story For The New Year

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Better Latte Than Late, A New Story For The New Year

“Better Latte Than Late” by Rekha Valliappan They dined on mince, and slices of quince, Which they ate with a runcible spoon; And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand, They danced by the light of the moon. –Edward Lear Rila works from home at Author, Self-Published. She was a motorbike rider once, in the days when Harley-Davidsons looked a whole lot different than they look today. But she wants to grow a jardin potager—a French urban herbal garden, and sip dynamite charcoal latte the livelong day. So she can write books. Motorbikes is where she derives her courage from—to face life on concrete terms like a man. Where she comes from girls, cradle to grave, do not even ride bicycles, although some books written a hundred years ago suggest women bicycled their…

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December 21, 2018

M. Stone’s Passionate Poetry

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M. Stone’s Passionate Poetry

Tryst mid-afternoonthe hotel corridor is quietoutside our room where feeble lightdulls bleached sheets later on when the sky is dueto erupt and hasten darknesswrapped in a fog shroudI have a fifty-mile drive home but right now I am malleablebeneath your calloused palms I am a well-fed bird eager to settlewithin the coarse and tenderthe flesh-and-bonenest of you Unincorporated Places at night you drive, alert for deer and drunkswhile I gaze west, my retinas gather the glowof stray porch lights and second-story windows  from communities tucked into collarbone hollowsalong the interstate, which reeks of a paper mill some of their names I mispronounce, but you nevercorrect the strange syllables in my mouth Tenuous is the Thread chaos barely constrained by butterfly wings that make figure eights yet tectonic plates gnash their teeth and continents break  could be a low-flying planeor seismic…

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December 18, 2018

Robert Hamilton’s Carefully Crafted Poetry

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Robert Hamilton’s Carefully Crafted Poetry

Easter Vigil I had imagined it otherwise.Not as we are, on the white sandpossibly surrounded by peacocks and peahens.I meant the other thingwhich I no longer remember. The year Igor Markevitch diedthe batons of conductorsturned to asps and slithered offuntil spiked to death by the cellists.A pistol cracked in B-flat.Aldo Moro was no more. The cognoscenti raisedtheir little coffee cups;thei rsaucers whiteunfractionable hosts.Pop the trunk: Morois not there, for he has risen.The brigades reddenand limp off, firing Kalashnikovs into hollow desert. Asice locked Lake Como’s secretsdeep within, no one sawMarkevitch descend to Hadesin the form of a bee, orMoro,saints, and Caesarswho swatted him away.The peahen’s voiceis a cry for helpbut Lazarus cannot help her,waiting as he must for his second death,knowing full well what to expect.Romano Prodi staggers from the gravesmiling fatly. He smells of eucalyptus.Like bits of…

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December 6, 2018

“Deception Pass” by Daniel Edward Moore

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“Deception Pass” by Daniel Edward Moore

Deception Pass   In the daggered dreams of moonlight, in what cannot wait till morning.   A driver on the bridge’s back, on the way to the worksite’s weary yawn   leaves his car and leaps like hope into water’s frozen hands.   On the spine of Deception Pass, courage leaves prints on the bones   and mercy is late for work.   *** Daniel lives in Washington on Whidbey Island. His poems have been in Spoon River Poetry Review, Rattle, Columbia Journal, Western Humanities Review, and others. His poems are forthcoming in West Trade Review, Duende Literary Journal, The Inflectionist Review, Magnolia Review, Isthmus Review, The McKinley Review, Glass Mountain Magazine, Columbia College Literary Review, January Review, Under a Warm Green Linden and Yemassee. His books, “This New Breed: Bad Boys and Gentleman” an…

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