January 26, 2022

“A Sad Tale,” Poetry by Vera West

“A Sad Tale,” Poetry by Vera West

Editor’s Note: This is Vera West’s first full poetry post on The Fictional Café as our new Poet-in-Residence for 2022-2023. Please help us welcome her to the Café and be sure to read her haunting, heartbreaking trilogy of poems at the end, called “A Sad Tale.” loneliness It’s an odd thing to grieve in advance, to let your mind give you a sample taste of the things you fear; the most flavorful being: loneliness. I’m anxious about the day when my loved ones are all gone, and I’m truly alone. between sisters the first time I told her our father had killed our dog, she hadn’t believed me. Perhaps it was the way I’d said it; “he killed our dog,” was all I’d said. the second time I told her she asked our father and…

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January 24, 2022

“The Last Professional,” A Novel by Ed Davis

“The Last Professional,” A Novel by Ed Davis

Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from the novel The Last Professional, copyright (C) 2022, by Ed Davis. Cover and interior Illustrations copyright (C) 2022, by Colin Elgie. Published by Artemesia Publishing, Tijeras, New Mexico. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. You can purchase Ed’s book here. A story of the River of Steel  By Ed Davis  Illustrated by Colin Elgie  So pay attention now my children  And the old story I will tell About the jungles and the freight trains  And a breed of men who fell.  –Virginia Slim   A four-lane highway passed over the Sparks yard at its eastern limit. The highway bridge had pedestrian spirals at each end and a jump-proof fence all across both sides. From mid-span, looking west, Lynden and The Duke could see the entire layout—freight cars hulking in the darkness, car-knocker’s lanterns…

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January 19, 2022

“Observations Through Yellow Glasses,” Yong’s New Book!

“Observations Through Yellow Glasses,”  Yong’s New Book!

Yong Takahashi moved to The United States with her parents when she was three years old. She grew up in a traditional household where her Korean and American worlds pulled her in opposite directions. Shortlisted for The Sexton Prize for Poetry, Observations Through Yellow Glasses: A Memoir Through Poems invites you to follow her journey as she learns life’s bitter lessons, longs for love, and attempts to heal the wounds she collects along the way. A few words from Yong: “I set out to write a memoir by my fiftieth birthday. Several people asked me not to use their names. I tried to figure out how I could tell my story without pointing fingers so I decided to write about snippets of my life through poetry. Each poem highlights a snapshot of a feeling or…

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January 16, 2022

“Chez Mars,” A Short Story by Lisa Verdekal

“Chez Mars,” A Short Story by Lisa Verdekal

When we first arrived, we christened the fancy habitation station Chez Mars, joking it was the best hotel in the galaxy. Now, a year later, it’s more like a prison. Back then, we firmly believed that our stay here would only be a brief transition period. The incredible innovations in technology would allow us to get back to some sort of normality after our ordeal. Just a couple of more glitches to fix and we would be the first to live comfortably on the planet Mars. Instead, we linger in a perverse state of endless holiday. At the beginning, it started off as a way to keep us entertained while we waited. Initially, we were very impressed. Images of sun and sand and sapphire water played along the walls, the sky darkening and brightening with…

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January 13, 2022

“The Coldest Hour,” Poetry by Zoey Collea

“The Coldest Hour,” Poetry by Zoey Collea

The Coldest Hour The mountains, the mountains set adrift on a tundra of pickled grass Springing up like nubby hairs on that of a newborn’s scalp I haven’t taken the time to learn a second language Though the sun burns through the window onto my hair and I can almost smell it burning To know every word inside and out like my favorite song on the café radio at the moment of the day when light slips into its cremation and becomes a dusting around office buildings and parked cars I hold my bag tightly to my side the layers of clothes I have on makes it hard to concentrate, but someone told me that distraction is actually a good thing. When I reach home, I empty the stale coffee I purchased some at the…

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January 11, 2022

“Dead Dreams,” by Sandeep Kumar Mishra

“Dead Dreams,” by Sandeep Kumar Mishra

In his dreams, Rajan searches for the ghosts. He hunts for them, tracing their footsteps in the dirt. He is back in his hometown—he knows these roads. The moonlight shivers on his skin. The crooked streets rattle around him. His heart burns in his chest. Baba, mama. Where are you? He runs, following the path laid out for him. The streets smell like smoke. Everything is hazy and deserted, shuttered up and locked away. He knows his neighbors behind each door, but no one steps out to help him. They’re too scared. Rajan is terrified, too, but he keeps running. Please, if I could just see you one more time. I didn’t know it would be the last time. I would have said so much more. Baba, mama. When he looks up, the ghosts are…

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January 4, 2022

“Dinner with Jim-J34719,” by Nicholas Schroeder

“Dinner with Jim-J34719,” by Nicholas Schroeder

A small Italian restaurant in downtown Seattle, Earth—May 10, 2650. Peter: [enters and sits down at a table near the back of the restaurant] I’m supposed to meet a friend of mine here. Did you see someone come in right before me? Waiter: I believe it went to the restroom. Jim-J34719: [arrives] Pete! How are you? Peter: It’s been ages. I haven’t seen you since the last trade meeting. Jim-J34719: Yeah, that’s part of the reason I asked to meet. Peter: Interesting choice. Jim-J34719: Well I know you always loved Italian food. Peter: Jim, is everything okay? Jim-J34719: No, nothing serious—more of a moral crisis. Peter: Are you collecting that favor I owe you? Jim-J34719: No, I just need a friend: someone to talk to. Peter: Well you got it! It will be like our…

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December 31, 2021

“Painting with Morris,” Visual Art by Morris Wiener

“Painting with Morris,” Visual Art by Morris Wiener

Artist’s Statement: My seventh grade teacher, Miss Steinberg, told us that since we would be graduating into high school the following year, we should all have some idea of what we wanted to do with the rest of our lives. She informed us that the following day, each one of us would be asked to come up to the front of the classroom and briefly explain what we wanted to become and why. Well, I don’t believe that anyone was too pleased with that . . . I certainly wasn’t. Not because I didn’t know “what,” but rather, I didn’t know “how.” How am I going to explain to a group of pretty tough guys and girls (most of them played baseball, badminton or basketball) that I wanted to be an artist? Somehow, I got…

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December 29, 2021

“A Look Back,” Poetry by Duane Anderson

“A Look Back,” Poetry by Duane Anderson

A Look Back    Look at the past,  look at the present.  My before  and after pictures,    one in my teens,  head full of hair,  one in my sixties,  head full of nothing.     Where were all the things learned  from all the years in between,  but time took hold  and all was forgotten    Look at one,   full of potential,  then look at the other,   head turned around to see what happened.  Estate Planning Offers    It was confirmed I was getting older after    receiving an email on an estate planning webinar  addressed to the Class of 1975,  and then sending it right during the coronavirus pandemic,    to a group that I was a part of,    the higher at-risk age group.  Was it bad timing or a coincidence,  but hoped their message…

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December 26, 2021

“The Grudge Store,” by Richard David Bach

“The Grudge Store,” by Richard David Bach

(Advertisement)  THE GRUDGE STORE  Are you holding a Grudge, but don’t know what to do with it? We can help.  Grudgestore.con is the online repository for those who are carrying Grudges but don’t have the time nor space to hold their Grudges themselves. Our satisfied customers select the level at which each Grudge is to be maintained, from an intense boil to a low simmer, with an option to slowly cool to room temperature. We have a cryogenic unit for those who wish long-term cold storage, and microwave reheat capability in the event a dormant Grudge requires rekindling.  Our flat-rate annual membership comes with the privilege of reviewing each Grudge once every 90 days to ensure that the Grudge is intact, valid, and worthwhile retaining. Additional visits and revisions are available at small additional fees, and we have quantity discounts for those with multiple Grudges. …

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