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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April 3, 2019

“Chronicles of Cambodia”

“Chronicles of Cambodia”

Creative Nonfiction by Vlad Linder Translated from the Russian by Marika Marina One can travel in different ways: observe the surroundings comfortably through a car window, or blend into the local people’s lives, experiencing and going through their pain and joy, troubles and concerns, just as the author of ‘The Chronicles of Cambodia” did. Vlad Linder describes in detail his journey to the land of The Khmer Rouge, which took place in April 2012 . . .. Part I A week after my arrival in Sihanoukville, I was rather tired of the predictable life of a settled tourist. Staying at a snug little house right on the shore of the Gulf of Siam, I kept feeling I was looking at the world through a well-polished, barely visible glass. I set off to a place, where…

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March 31, 2019

“A Mayan Love”

“A Mayan Love”

A Novel in Ten 140-Word Tweets by John Gantz We’ve intentionally chosen today, April First – AKA All Fool’s Day – to publish this wise, witty, sex-and-death novel. We leave it to you to discern exactly what this Mayan love story means. You may want to re-read it a few times. Oh, and figure out why we’re publishing it today. 1. The body lay at his feet, desiccated, looking up. He nudged it. Another one, he mumbled. Time is short. 2.  What is it she asked, hookah smoke curling around her head? ’’’Nother roach. I thought they could survive an A-bomb.” 3. TS Elliot was wrong. It wouldn’t end with a whimper, OR a bang, but a cloud, a cloud of alien germs bathing the earth. 4.  Come here, she said, opening her blouse. He…

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March 28, 2019

Tributes to Heritage: Preeti Shah’s Poetry

Tributes to Heritage: Preeti Shah’s Poetry

Mother Hindustan In the years that you have been inked into a map, laid down, unraveled, all corners of you outstretched,  with man who has always crossed at your borders, you have sung the songs and poems of martyrs. But will another song ever be sung? Your tongue was made of the lakes from the Kashmir Valley. You still hold it still. Even as your children suckle from you, bite down, swallow blood, when they  fear the milk will stop flowing.  You still hold your tongue still.   All of your children were born under the  mountains of your body and the stars from your eyes.  All of your children fell asleep to the coolness of your  breath. But forgot its sweet lullaby.  But, none ever forget the sounds of burning flesh.     They…

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March 26, 2019

“Secret Shepherd” – A Novel Excerpt, Part 2

“Secret Shepherd” – A Novel Excerpt, Part 2

By James Osborne Editor’s Note: Yesterday, we published Part I of this two-part excerpt. If you haven’t read it, you can scroll back on the home page slider to read it. When they arrived at the school, the three national elders were waiting. With them were Namusat’s current chief and the local council, and another local elder. When everyone was introduced and seated, Chief John Boisvert turned to Paul and said brusquely, “Why have you come?” Paul heard a sharp edge in Chief Boisvert’s voice, but he could see his eyes were not angry or aggressive. They bore a look of elegance and kindness… and much sadness. “I have not come with handouts nor have I come with any promises,” Paul replied. “I came to listen, perhaps to learn from you, and with your help…

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March 25, 2019

“Secret Shepherd” – A Novel Excerpt

“Secret Shepherd” – A Novel Excerpt

By James Osborne Editor’s Note: Due to the length of this excerpt from James Osborne’s new novel, we are presenting it in two parts, today and tomorrow. Namusat, Quebec, Canada November 1994 “Another two just last night!” Dan Stonechild said, his voice breaking. “That’s four suicides here in three weeks, Paul. Oh my… four! Four little kids!” Paul Winston embraced his friend awkwardly. Both wore knee-length parkas against the 30 below zero cold, their hands thrust deep in double-layered mittens, their feet clad in fur mukluks. Paul had just arrived on a chartered plane in the remote First Nations community of Namusat in northern Canada, after a long flight from his ranch near Colorado Springs, Co. As they walked toward the tiny village, Paul could see Dan was struggling with his composure. “Are you sure…

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March 18, 2019

“Never Odd or Even”

“Never Odd or Even”

A New Short-Short Fiction by Janelle Hardacre Editor’s Note: Ever wonder what goes through the mind of a fish and chips cook? Wonder no more. ** I collect things to tell her. Did you know that ‘never odd or even’ is the same backwards and forwards? I think she’d like that. Some of the things in the collection are white lies; like that her mam didn’t wanna see me anymore because I could never get the grease stink out. It’s getting busier. I slide the slice under the fish, check that the batter isn’t burning, then pull across the Perspex door. The hiss of the fryer blocks out the small talk of the server lasses. Every time I go to shake the chip baskets I see her name in flicky writing on my arm, so…

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March 14, 2019

The Poetry of Keith Carreiro

The Poetry of Keith Carreiro

A Caprice of Nature the earth, a drop of cerulean dew in a black puddle ocean of space, whirls on its news paper axis, while I walk by portland amazed at a barber seated in his cutting chair — he plays paganini on a violin. the ancients thought the soul capable of re-remembering life if asked precise questions such acuity would provide a channel through which the mind and heart might flow   as a modern when i again experience what an ancient knew i see the might and decay of empire wane and glow   in the yes of joy in the no of sorrow   time a current of mystery with its own tug and pull rushes my spirit within its tidal pulse   knowledge re–born is useless without wisdom as a sage…

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February 27, 2019

The Poetry of the Prolific Mercedes Lawry

The Poetry of the Prolific Mercedes Lawry

A Woman Who Paints Saturated sky, two figures buta suggestion near a yellow blushof wheat. The eye regards, sensesthe repetition of hours, a trajectoryof absence, a pause. Whatcollection of brushstrokes emergesfrom this woman, dismissed or chided,discouraged or sick of the moon’sromantic lies. To choose this roundedshape, smear of viridian, she bravesthe tyranny of time and place, her children and the hungryhouse, all that love regrets. When she paints, she is betweenellipses, melds hand and eye,draws in the gases of the sun,exhales this field, empty of wind,and these two who might be toilingor traveling or devoted. Message intention of rootsdown and around earth seethes invisibly,a conjunction of hunger the knowing of treeto tree, beyond a pale, cream sky the wind is emphaticleaves, unanchored, blood red to dun brown,become a handful of flakes mingled with bird wingand seed, November’s pulse of loss I…

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February 19, 2019

Mark Greenside’s New Rabelaisian Novel

Mark Greenside’s New Rabelaisian Novel

The Night at the End of the Tunnel, or Isaiah Can You See? “It was the best of the worst of times, the worst of the best of times, the beginning of the end of the beginning.” That’s how this story begins. It’s late 70s, early 80s, New York City, and nothing works. No place is safe. Porn is everywhere. The streets are filthy, and the subways are worse. Trust is committing suicide–love is abused, and institutions and individuals are corrupt, corrupted, or corruptible. The City and country are disintegrating. Enter two of the unlikeliest characters you’ve ever met–think Charlie Brown meets Mr. Natural, or Alfred E. Neuman in The Heart of Darkness. All these guys want to do is survive, and they do–but in a way neither they nor you can imagine. What follows is…

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