May 26, 2020

“Bleeding Hearts,” A Short Story by Mary Daurio

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“Bleeding Hearts,” A Short Story by Mary Daurio

Sarah left early, taking her stepson Jacob to see his mother for perhaps the last time. * Upon awakening, John found his wife and son already gone, too late to rescind his permission from the night before. He was upset, not at her, but at himself. John knew how exaggerated his reaction to casual contact with Anne was, yet he remained afraid of his ex-wife’s illness. He prepared for work, swearing as he cut himself shaving in haste. The front door slammed behind him and the windows vibrated, but there was no one to witness his wrath, save the blackbirds flying off in raucous chorus. John wanted to scream but felt afraid he wouldn’t stop. He turned the corner to the newsstand. Force of habit. A byline about Liz Taylor’s celebrity fundraiser for AIDS caught…

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May 20, 2020

“Lester and the Mysteries of Wax and Wane,” by Derrick Lafayette

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“Lester and the Mysteries of Wax and Wane,” by Derrick Lafayette

Lester, for all intents and purposes, was walking his dog down a familiar trail at 8:21 pm. The first block was uneventful. The dog peed where he’d always peed millions of times before. Shat where he’d always shat before. Lester readied his green, eco-friendly poop bag, bent down with ease, and collected his pet’s droppings. At 8:35pm, Lester and his dog about-faced and were heading home when a giant flash of light enveloped the sky. He saw nothing but white, and his dog was an inverted shadow, blurring in his vision. When Lester was able to see again, all of the familiar surroundings took an interesting turn. A man whose feet never touched the ground, shrouded in orange garb with mandala designs, appeared before him. The man stretched his arm, opened his hand, and inside…

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May 17, 2020

“The Kaiser of the Immaterial Kingdom,” by Ewa Mazierska

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“The Kaiser of the Immaterial Kingdom,” by Ewa Mazierska

It was late afternoon in late January. I was sitting on my own in a compartment of a Berlin–Warsaw train. There was only two or three minutes until its departure, and I assumed that I would have the compartment to myself when this guy came in. He didn’t say hello or ask if the remaining seats were free, as it was customary on the Polish trains, just took his seat near the door and put his small rucksack and two shopping bags on a shelf above him. Although his behaviour was verging on being rude, I felt instant sympathy for him, in part because behind his actions I sensed a desire to be invisible rather than rudeness and in part on the account of his similarity to my old friend from university, with whom the…

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May 14, 2020

“Process,” An Essay and Poetry by Mbizo Chirasha

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“Process,” An Essay and Poetry by Mbizo Chirasha

Editor’s Note: Featured here is work from The Fictional Café’s 2020 Poet in Residence, Mbizo Chirasha. We begin with the first of two images (above) from his collection entitled “Locked Paddocks,” followed by “Process,” an essay about Mbizo’s search for identity and becoming a “born again human.” Next, we have the second image from “Locked Paddocks” and finally a poem, simply titled “2.” We hope you enjoy the creative work of Mbizo. “Process,” an Essay  Immersed in the cauldron of swirling floods, I flap my weighted wings with a singular drive carrying my dreams in a perforated duffle bag. My feet seek the sun at midnight in the land processing its abortion of tomorrow under the sniper’s telescope so no truth escapes unpunished. I am a child of the South thrown further South where oceans crash with…

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May 11, 2020

“The Party,” A Short Story by William Torphy

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“The Party,” A Short Story by William Torphy

Image: “He Said, She Said” (c) Katheryn Holt, www.kholt.com The Party It was the architect and the gun moll who captured my attention. The party was a casual industry event held in the Hollywood Hills at the home of a producer, one in fact who had bankrolled a film I’d worked on once, though all my ideas for it were rejected in favor of chase scenes and revenge murders. I was a screenwriter who had yet to see any credits on screen. I hadn’t worked for over a year and needed to hustle a project, any project, very soon.    I was out of sorts when I arrived since my wife Jen announced at the last minute that she needed some quiet ‘me-time’ that evening. She did, however, take time to dress me for the affair. Tight black jeans that were squeezing my balls. A fifty-dollar T-shirt a size too small that cut into my underarms. A tailored green cashmere sport coat that made me look like a string bean.   I’d been invited through a friend of a friend of a colleague, someone I’d never met but hoped…

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