September 22, 2022

“The Day I Thought I Would Die, ” by Mini Babu

“The Day I Thought I Would Die, ” by Mini Babu

The Day I Thought I Would Die The day I thought I would die the woman who accompanied me to the hospital said, she needs cooking oil for, “tomorrow,” I used up a little of my valued time, to contemplate on, “tomorrow.” Coffee houses, supermarkets and theatres drove past me, coffee, bread and rice were found unseasoned . . . And they went on talking of “coffees” while I rode in a vehicle called, “now.” All things, other than me were yesterdays and tomorrows. ** Talcum Powder The first time I powdered my face, I imitated the manner my father did, tender strokes on the brow, cheeks and chin, and a mellow even rub, from that time on, I thought of him, twice a day, at no unusual hours, later on, I gave up using…

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September 20, 2022

The Strong Stuff Volume 2 Coming Soon!

The Strong Stuff Volume 2 Coming Soon!

Good day café patrons! We’re hard at work putting together the second volume of The Fictional Café anthology, The Strong Stuff: The Best of The Fictional Café. The response from our first book was so positive, we had to brew another. While the first covered the first five years of our best work, this one will cover three years, from 2018-2020. Our second volume of The Strong Stuff will feature about 80 contributors of short stories, novel excerpts, poetry and art. It’s going to be a beautiful coffee table book and we hope you will check it out. Stay tuned for updates on how you can get your hands on a copy, piping hot off the presses! To check out our first volume, visit our Anthology page. — Your Baristas

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August 31, 2022

Martha Clarkson Brings Urban Photography to FC

Martha Clarkson Brings Urban Photography to FC

Artist’s Statement: I photograph in order to apprehend the world in a different way, create a story that has not been told before. It could be any number of things that compel me to take the photo, but I am driven to find the neglected vantage that will facilitate an unexpected story for the beholder, each one a little different. *** Martha Clarkson’s writing and photography can be found in F-Stop, Seattle Review, Portland Review, Black Box Gallery, Tulane Review, Hawaii Pacific Review, The Seattle Times, Feminine Rising, Nimrod, Tipton Poetry Journal, Rattle and many more. “Her Voices, Her Room” won the short story prize from Open City/Anderbo.  She has two notable short stories in Best American Short Stories. Martha attended University of Oregon’s Creative Writing Program, and was a past poetry editor for Word Riot….

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August 29, 2022

African Safari Campfire Stories by Lesley Mukwacha

African Safari Campfire Stories by Lesley Mukwacha

“17 guides and a lioness”  Being the head ranger at a fast-growing game reserve in Zimbabwe, I was assigned the duty to take seventeen young aspiring newly recruited guides and game scouts for a seven-day intense training program in the Victoria falls national park, something I enjoyed and was very good at. Something I was passionate about. I was excited beyond measure.  The seventeen young men were also just as excited as this would be their first such experience and would certainly shape them into remarkable safari guides, tour leaders, game rangers, and anti-poaching scouts. We were all ready to get the show on the road. The company had given us two vehicles for the trip into the heart of the park, a 4×4 22-seater overland truck for the seventeen boys and a 4×4 Land…

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August 25, 2022

“Blue Ridge Autumn,” A Poem by Reed Venrick

“Blue Ridge Autumn,” A Poem by Reed Venrick

“Blue Ridge Autumn” ONE On a cold but sunny afternoon, late autumn, Wendy hurries up a chilly, pine-shaded sidewalk. And as she hurries, she memorizes her favorite poem from that semester’s study and strife; she, sounding out dee-dum, the stresses of iambic rhythm, while inhaling the rich aroma of pine boughs hanging over her ascending walk. After another week of classes, just a few weeks more, at the university across the ridge, but now Wendy hurries on up to her waitressing job at the restaurant and hotel called “The Grove Park Inn,” where Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda dined, where Thomas Wolfe rushed to write—gazing out to Mount Pisgah. Hopkin’s “Spring and Fall,” the sounds stepping inside Wendy’s fresh-air brain, as she recites the lines on an autumn day cold enough to need a woolen sweater,…

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August 9, 2022

“The Guacamole Incident,” by William Torphy

“The Guacamole Incident,” by William Torphy

Horace reaches for the party-sized plastic tub, hits it with his thumb and pushes it off the coffee table. The tub falls face-down, sending gobs of guacamole exploding across the new cream-colored Berber carpeting, instantly transforming its surface into an abstract painting of green clods and speckling red.   He slides off his lounge chair and kneels next to the goopy mess. Silvia will be home soon from her therapy appointment. There’s going to be hell to pay and he needs to think quickly. Grab something to sop up the carnage— a rag, a towel, a sponge. Maybe something like a trowel to first scoop up the worst of it. Armed with a spatula, he attempts to spoon up the chunky clumps but he only manages to spread the catastrophe further. He tosses the guac-covered spatula…

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August 4, 2022

“I’ll Have Water Overnice,” by Kaeli Dinh

“I’ll Have Water Overnice,” by Kaeli Dinh

I’ll have water overnice Freedom was getting to sleep over at our uncle’s. Fridays consisted of squirting ketchup into our waters and Saturdays with blankets over our eyes from the late-night horror films. We were three spoiled children that slept with sugar running through our veins and nightmares we didn’t tell our mother. Then the pencil marks on the wall got higher and our hands started to grab more. But uncle was still squirting ketchup into his water. Freedom was forgetting to answer his calls and taking cash out of the birthday cards he made. Keeping us healthy costs more than his insulin shots. But his hand kept feeding until he lost his sight. He was fooled humbling himself a Giving Tree. We took his only good apples and now his eyes. When he wanted…

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August 2, 2022

“Art as Comic Expression,” by David Meyers

“Art as Comic Expression,” by David Meyers

Artist’s Statement:In my artwork I am interested in the boundary between lowbrow and highbrow culture, the semiotics of visual language and revisionist mythology.  Emerging from a sardonic mire of humor, I look toward finding wonder in the mundane surroundings, a created narrative and a hair-brained idea somewhere between smart, silly and stupid. I love the visual language, the history and conversation that art creates, silly jokes, overthinking, under thinking and the dialogue in-between. I make the work that I want to see in the world. Art isn’t always about high notions of beauty and what ails the world, it can be about the screws in your pocket, about drinking a beer, about sitting in your underwear, about a piece of trash at the beach. Art’s power is its endurance, and I find it best fitting…

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July 28, 2022

“Algorithms and Lies,” A Short Story by Dave Swan

“Algorithms and Lies,” A Short Story by Dave Swan

Mick Sanford stared at the screen, blinked, and shook his head, thinking his editor had lost her millennial mind. She’d just sent an email telling him to submit his new manuscript, “Murder By Desire,” for review—not by her, but by some artificial intelligence bot. Unbelievable.  Muttering about the young punks wrecking the business, he started his video meeting app. “Good afternoon, Mick,” Lindsey Parrish said pleasantly a minute later. “I thought I might hear from you today.”  She was going to hear plenty. “You’ve got to be kidding me. What the hell is this?”  “The principle is really no different from spellcheck,” Lindsey said, unruffled. “It gives us metrics that affect the quality of the story. I’m not saying I’ll accept all of Max’s advice—”  “Who?”  “That’s what the bot is called. A lot of…

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