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Lost Weekend by Jeff Nazarro

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The Green Line train was late, and when it finally came you had to squeeze in and hold your breath. At Harbor Freeway, only a couple of people got off, and then a morbidly obese man wedged himself on, turning in the doorway and telling the few people remaining on the platform, “There’s another train two minutes behind this one: just wait.” The doors closed in their faces.

The train rolled west, then the operator announced, “Due to police activity, this train will not be stopping at Vermont/Athens Station. The next stop for this train will be Crenshaw Station.”

A man pulled out his earbuds and said, “Huh?”

I told him.

He said, “I’m going all the way to the end—Redondo Beach.”

“Doesn’t matter then,” I said.

He put his earbuds back in.

A woman saw us talking. She pulled her earbuds out and said, “What?”

I told her, too. She wasn’t getting off at Vermont, either.

When the train slowed through Vermont/Athens Station, everyone looked out the platform-side windows. Uniformed LAPD and Metro workers …

This Arrangement We Have by John Grey

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Yours is a loveliness not just in lips and cheekbones but in that gentle fundamental
some call the soul but I refer to as the watch dog
making sure your eyes see the right people, your hands touch where the appropriate response awaits and your heart only falls in places where it will not be broken.
Yours is a loveliness for which no explanation is needed unless you hear it first from me.

Sometimes We Kiss by R.H. Daniel

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Harry

Midnight trips to deserted Buddhist temples. Cheap pasta with beautiful views. Scrawny arms to match your weak assertions of wildly unbelievable exploits. We never kiss.

Fortune

Fantastical name, with fantastic stories: Your "wife", your "house", your hospital visits. Your OCD makes you a great host. You tell me you prefer silent sex. To my shame, sometimes we kiss. 

I-van I-vouldn't

A filthy message on a filthy website brings us together. A Hell's Angel/accountant with a penchant for cats and a casual approach to hygiene. As a sub you only have access to one set of lips. Sometimes you kiss.

Roman

After discovering our shared love of 90s pop culture, you charm me out of horrific period panties. A hot hipster with a serious gambling problem and a love of soft furnishings. Sometimes we kiss.

Juan Car

An incredible chef who never cooks for me. Hot and hard and fast and funny you live in a mausoleum to your grandparents and call me to cry about your dog. We don&#…

Winter Rest...

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A friend recently sent me a link to this wonderful article on the excellent blog, Writer Unboxed. It really resonated with me and reflected something true for the season, I think, which we tend to overlook. As ever, we should be taking our cues from Nature rather than our crazy hyped-up and currently rather unhealthy human society...

Here is the article for those of you who are interested in the idea of allowing our creative side to lie fallow for a season and embrace it.


Winter Rest


All our best wishes from Cafe Aphra for this Christmas season and the end of 2017.








Photo by Pavan Trikutam on Unsplash

Brexit Saved Me by Joy Manné

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It’s an English party, on the remote island where we winter, and most of the guests are retired, like us. Our hostess greets us at the front door. In the living room, with its Persian carpets and paintings by talented imitators of Monet, our host encourages us to take a glass of wine. ‘So sorry you’ve been ill. I was ill too, you know. It lasted ten days. Flu.’

‘Laryngitis. I can’t remember the last time--.’

‘I’m never ill either. Champagne?’

He steers us to their long terrace.

It’s standing time; mulling time; drifting from group to group time; talking about the weather time; performing oneself time; sizing up and deciding who it’s worth spending longer with when we sit down to dine. As always the men and women keep apart until they have drunk enough. An exclusive group of men sit on toffee-colour cane arm-chairs at the further end of the terrace. One has even been an ambassador. The less important men gather in groups scattered along the terrace away from the VIP’s. What do retired me…

A little bit of winter motivation...

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And our personal Cafe Aphra favourite...




Heart's Desire by Claire Macrae

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The summer of her tenth birthday, Lucie’s family went to live in the woods.

It was her dad’s choice. Living somewhere beautiful was his heart’s desire, and Lucie’s too. She wanted Narnia, and this looked almost right. 
Her parents tried hard to make the house decent. An old man and his son had lived there before. The son was grown up, but he had a Condition. When the old man died, the son was taken away, Lucie didn’t know where. When she found out that her bedroom had been his, she was scared. Supposing he hadn’t really gone? Or only out through the wardrobe, into the woods. If he’d done that, he could come back. At night she lay taut and silent, listening for warning sounds: footsteps, the clink of hangers, his hands peeling a path through her clothes. 
She wished she could share a room with one of her sisters, but they wouldn’t have had that. They were both much older and Susan-ish; they didn’t want to live in the woods. They missed their friends, and shops, and places to go.
Too soon, …