July 20, 2021

“Incompletist,” Poetry by Tom Pennacchini

“Incompletist,” Poetry by Tom Pennacchini

Incompletist    It’s all a bit sketchy don’t you know what with the RMS and all.   Formal education and I didn’t work out but I was on my way across the country to fulfill my own peculiar  and  particular manifest destiny which at the time (at the time)? was a semi – conscious state of befuddled uncertainty laced with a lack of pragmatics that was nothing short of utter ineptitude.     (Oh essential humor I laugh to myself now at the notion of then going clear across the country to maintain my standards and my continuous quest for success in failure).    We arrived at the train station and said our goodbyes.     After you left there was a welling and a filling and at the same time a depletion of air.   I rushed outside after a constricted couple of…

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July 15, 2021

“Seal on the Run,” A Short Story by Ewa Mazierska

“Seal on the Run,” A Short Story by Ewa Mazierska

Whenever Robert and I travel to Scotland, to our house in Aberdour, we go for a walk towards Kirkcaldy, where one can see seals lying on the rocks. Sometimes we are accompanied by a friend named Scott, who spent many years in the British base in Antarctica. He entertains us describing the lives of different types of seals. What all of them have in common, however, is that they are patriarchal. Dominant male seals take possession of their territory by forcing other male seals to lie down in submission and fight with those who dare to challenge their power. Once these macho males announce themselves as winners, female seals start climbing to the beaches, waiting to be impregnated. In this way, their life in harem begins. It is a slow and passive life: waiting for…

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July 12, 2021

“A Walk in the Woods,” A Short Story by Robert Perron

“A Walk in the Woods,” A Short Story by Robert Perron

Johnny knocked at the kitchen door, side of the house, just like when he and Mike were kids. But this fall day they were thirty and Johnny wore his deputy sheriff’s uniform, olive jacket over beige shirt, a badge on his left breast. In the driveway, his Department of Corrections sedan. Mike turned the inside knob and pulled open the glass-paned wooden door. “Should I put on a pot?” he said, lips crinkling to a smirk, knowing the visit wasn’t social, certain it had to do with his soon-to-be ex-wife. Every day papers in the mail, his lawyer, her lawyer, the town, the state, the county. Now a visit from the sheriff’s department. Mike’s parents’ kitchen of faded linoleum, paneled cupboards, and fixtures from the forties centered on a square, wooden table with four chairs….

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July 10, 2021

“House of Many Ways” by Diana Wynne Jones

“House of Many Ways” by Diana Wynne Jones

Hello and welcome back, Fictional Cafe listeners! It’s time for the House of Many Ways by Diana Wynne Jones. Since so many people enjoyed Howl’s Moving Castle, I thought it would be fun to pull up another epic from the hands of the same gifted author. Charmain Baker has led a respectable, and relaxing sheltered life. She has spent her days with her nose in a book, never learning how to do even the smallest household chores. When she suddenly ends up looking after the tiny cottage of her ill Great-Uncle William she seems happy for the adventure, but the easy task of house-sitting is complicated by the fact that Great-Uncle William is also the Royal Wizard Norland and his magical house bends space and time. Though she is supposed to clean up the mess…

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July 5, 2021

“Meeting in the Middle” — Poetry by Alison Jennings

“Meeting in the Middle” — Poetry by Alison Jennings

Meeting in the Middle, Lebanon, KS The center of these United States lies in this heartland space, where love does battle with our hates, where politicians court their base; yet there should be some room for peace: our modern civil war must cease. Lies in this heartland space proliferate, become more lies. It’s something that we need to face or else this fragile union dies. How can we mend the social quilt? Can democracy be rebuilt, where love does battle with our hates? Let’s hope it has the upper hand. The intervention of the Fates may be required for us to stand on principles, but not take sides, to have a chance to heal divides. Where politicians court their base, there’s no chance for compromise. “Dog whistles” emphasizing race – or victimizing Anglo guys –…

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