July 14, 2020

“Another Day of Quarantine,” Poems by Michael P. Aleman

“Another Day of Quarantine,” Poems by Michael P. Aleman

Another Day of Quarantine    The morning sun bathes our bedroom with soft light  on a morning more than serene, a real gift on another day of quarantine.  Cool March air via a slightly opened window drifts in.  I welcome the freshness of the air and the sunlight.  They bring the end of night, and assurance that darkness won’t prevail.   The true blessing, of course, is being quarantined with you,   having you beside me, the halo of your silver hair soft upon your pillow.  The morning air billows the window curtain, offering a badly needed certainty   that normalcy remains, will sustain us to the end.  I abhor the thought of living through this quarantine alone,   for you are bride, lover, companion and friend,  and if the end is at hand, we’ll weather it together.  I will, however,…

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July 8, 2020

“Traffic Report,” A Novel Excerpt by Eric D. Goodman

“Traffic Report,” A Novel Excerpt by Eric D. Goodman

Editor’s Note: “Traffic Report” is an excerpt from the novel, Setting the Family Free, published October 2019 by Loyola University’s Apprentice House Press. Copyright, © Eric D. Goodman. This excerpt is reprinted with the permission of the publisher. Traffic Report This is your eye in the sky, the WCHL Traffic Copter. If you’re just now tuning in for the first time today, here’s a word of advice: stay home. You heard me right, folks: authorities have advised everyone in the Chillicothe area to remain indoors today and to stay off the roads. If you’re already driving to work, go back home. It’s a zoo out there—literally.   Lions and bears, wild cats and wolves have all escaped from a local animal reserve here in Chillicothe. If you leave your house today, you’re walking into a danger zone….

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July 6, 2020

“The Life and Death of Arthur Miller,” by Andrew Lafleche

“The Life and Death of Arthur Miller,” by Andrew Lafleche

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF ARTHUR MILLER or, Damnationem Vita et Humani Conditione  Fourteen days after Arthur Miller’s sixteenth birthday, both his parents were killed in an automobile accident when a drunken driver swerved into their lane as they returned home from a night at the theater. Their deaths occurred instantly, and to that effect, neither were able to be presented with an open coffin at their post-life nuptials. The last time Arthur saw his parents alive was in the moments following Sunday dinner, his mother in a dress, glowing, his father dressed handsomely, saying, “When you finally meet the woman who makes the world stand still, son, don’t ever quit doing for her what you did at the start. That way there will never be an end.”  Arthur clung to these words in the weeks that followed. He clung to everything…

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June 28, 2020

“Countdown to Romance,” by Glen Donaldson

“Countdown to Romance,” by Glen Donaldson

Amid the din of busy Grinders Coffee Shop, silence like the centre of a hurricane enveloped them both. “Could this honestly get any suckier?” Fergus wondered to himself as he grasped his own sweaty, nervous fingers under the table, yanking then releasing them one after the other.  Sitting opposite him was his first meeting date, Willow. She’d said she was 27. She was not only wearing “awkward” like it was her own exclusive fashion label but by this stage had taken to incessant hair-twirling in an effort to get through the dead air and lumbering silences that felt by now to them both as long as a freight train.  Fergus commenced quietly tapping his Ray-Bans on the marble coffee table, being careful not to disturb the two polished silver stir-stick containers that rested in the centre; the same ones he’d positioned and repositioned more than a dozen times.  Like a finger-drumming leopard straining on…

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June 22, 2020

“Up There” — Three Poems by Chad W. Lutz

“Up There” — Three Poems by Chad W. Lutz

Up There      this one goes out   to anyone that’s   ever made me feel   I wasn’t enough    or     felt they were too good  & drifted away    I remember   we fucked   in the auditorium       your idea       & how carnal &   playful you were    wore a skirt  and it hurt  but I’ll admit  I wasn’t ready    here’s   to the loves   that didn’t last  couldn’t last  it’s all in the past now  but I still daydream  time to time    Acan Glaske  big border  you know what that means  government shutdowns  partisan bickering  sniveling banter  back and forth we go    the first settlers  built walls around their encampments  wanted to keep the threats out    the Lakota  the Apache  the Comanche  they lived on the open range  in communion with nature …

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June 18, 2020

Poetry and Prose to Honor Juneteenth

Poetry and Prose to Honor Juneteenth

We at The Fictional Cafe are shocked, dismayed and angered by American policemen gunning down American men of color. We assume you feel similarly. Times of great stress, like the COVID-19 pandemic, bring out both the best and the worst in people. It is a time in which we must be patient, calm, understanding, even forgiving, even while we protest for change. We have no way of knowing what strife and pain, or growth and joy, await us in the endless days of this pandemic. All we have is today to be the very best humans we can possibly be, and that today, today, is Juneteenth when the world bows its head to remember the end of slavery in America, circa 1865. Of course, we know it wasn’t the end and that racism still runs…

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June 18, 2020

“Ave Maria on the Moon,” by Frank Diamond

“Ave Maria on the Moon,” by Frank Diamond

Desperation birthed the plan, if you want to call it a birth, and if you want to call it a plan. NASA threw us at the Moon; a Hail Mary pass for world peace, of all clichés. Look how that turned out.  I, Chuck Dunn, now sit at the entrance to the cave-complex at the base of the Marius Hills, behind the screen—or the veil, as we on the mission nicknamed it. The Moonscape stretches before me like an addict’s vision of the Arizona desert: rock formations back-lean as the dinosaurs might have while gazing at the arrival of their extinction event. Further beyond, the cloaked range dead-stops at the horizon. The Earth hovers between two cupped peaks; a raised blue Communion host. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death,…

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June 15, 2020

“You vs. the Apocalypse,” by Ayman Elsayed

“You vs. the Apocalypse,” by Ayman Elsayed

TITLE: You vs. The Apocalypse  GENRE: Legal, Simulation, Strategy  DEVELOPER: COVID-19  FRANCHISE: Pandemic Interactive  PUBLISHER: Ayman Elsayed  RELEASE DATE: March 15, 2020    The handling of the end of the world is on trial. Your only mission is to survive. Overcome struggles such as mental health, physical isolation and deteriorating resources by interacting with technology. Engage with others. Find a hobby. Judge your community. Protect yourself from yourself.    Single-player  Achievements  Full Remote Compatibility    RECENT REVIEWS: Very Negative. 99.9% of the 7,729,536,211 user reviews in the last 30 days are negative.    Popular user-defined tags for this product: Closed World, Survival Horror, RPG, Retro, Sandbox, Social Distancing, Crafting, Souls-like    —————————————————————————————————————–    _________    / ======= \    / __________\    | ___________ |    | |         | |    | |  START  | |   …

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June 11, 2020

“Silenced,” The Poetry of Joan McNerney

“Silenced,” The Poetry of Joan McNerney

Silenced      What is never spoken of and pushed down  becomes mold crawling over hearts.    Strangling our voices, it scuttles though   corridors, tunneling, warping each day.    My body. . .this swollen thing carried by   legs too thin and crippled to uphold it.    Pushed down, tightly clamped in now  full of pain, gasping for each breath.    Smothered, silenced.        street corners      enveloped in  exhaust fumes  slate-like formations  wait for light  to change  her carbon dress  his face of ashes    crushed within  this granite body  we eat grey food  pulling empty  air thru narrow  passageway to  ink stain train  smudged  along blurred  landscape of city    inside myself  searching a  designer  1 clear line  of perspective  which distinguishes  buildings from  streets & points  to where  the synthetic  sky ends   …

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June 9, 2020

“The Alarming Misadventures of Henry’s Continuing E.D.,” by Len Messineo

“The Alarming Misadventures of Henry’s Continuing E.D.,” by Len Messineo

“Have you no sense of humor?” Sylvia says. Earlier in the evening, she had jokingly referred to Henry—who suffers from male-pattern baldness—as “Cue Ball” in front of their friends at the Eagle Cove Yachting Club.  Now Henry is sulking. He might have been a good sport about it, but Henry, an engineer having a keen intelligence for machines, has none for humans, especially Silvia. He reasons, falsely, that if only he could grow hair, he would escape his wife’s withering remarks.  So, Henry sees his family doctor. The doctor writes him a prescription for Propecia.  By now we’ve all seen the ads on television for the newly FDA-approved medication. A soft lulling music plays while a voice-over—as consoling as a funeral counselor—reads a list of possible contraindications: drowsiness, burning, tingling sensations, difficult bowel movements, seizures, and on and on with the tag…

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