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 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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December 20, 2021

“Thousand Faces,” Poetry by Gazala Khan

“Thousand Faces,” Poetry by Gazala Khan

1.    Thousand Faces    Ten thousand we saw in a blink,  It’s not daffodils moving along with zephyr,  With the bounties showered in plains.  This time, it’s the migrants.    The migrants,  Fighting two deadliest pandemics: COVID and hunger.  The latter is familiar   And former is in voices everywhere.    The beads of sweat rubbed by red gumcha* never evaporated,  The yearning to return home is discernible.    One of them named Sakina walked a thousand kilometers for days  So did many others.  The kaccha house** awaited her arrival  But the journey never culminated.    Abandonment commenced,  The invisible guest reigned   Bleeding toes, sunburnt faces and many empty stomachs  Fastened their way to homes.    Beyond every pain, the rest of us numbed still moved on.  And the second harrowing journey began.    * Hindi word used in India to describe cotton towel for wiping sweat.  ** A kind of…

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December 16, 2021

Founder Jack’s New Novel and a Great Offer

Founder Jack’s New Novel and a Great Offer

Get a book and a chance to do some good at no extra cost! Fictional Cafe Members: Enjoy a great read and support cycling safety too! If you ride a bike, as I do, you might be interested to know we ride one of the most innovative machines in world history. Bikes became popular in the 1800s because of a shortage of horses caused by –  whoa! would you believe a volcano eruption? – and henceforth were called “hobby horses!” Before they made the first airplane fly at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, the Wright Brothers had a bicycle shop where they sold (doh) bikes named “Van Cleve” and “St. Clair.” Mark Twain wrote a ludicrously humorous article about his experience riding – and falling again and again – from a “penny farthing” bicycle, pictured here. I got…

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