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1. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 4 > Issue: 1
Kolby Granville

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2. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 4 > Issue: 1
Bethany Bruno

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Can a marriage be irrevocably broken before it even begins? In this work of marriage related ethical fiction, the story starts with the narrator holding uprooted azaleas in his hands, with a shotgun pointed at him. His wife and child watch from the upstairs widow of the house behind him. In the moments before his end, he recounts the story of their marriage and its failure; his wife’s father giving him an antique pocket watch on their wedding day, and accusations from that same father, shortly thereafter, of infidelity. He recalls the birth of their child as well as the death of his wife’s father. And finally, he recalls the infidelity and fights that lead to the narrator moving into the arms of his co-worker mistress. Everything has gone wrong and none of it, at least according to the narrator, is his fault.
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3. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 4 > Issue: 1
Todd Sullivan

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Is the purpose of all art to help us see a bit of the eternal? What might you learn about yourself if you saw a transformative piece of art? In this work of philosophical short story fiction, Ro’sed is a journalist sent to interview of the eclectic restaurant, “One Hour.” He meets the owner who offers to cook him a dish while they do the interview. Over the course of the strange hour the owner talks about his philosophy and history with food, and with art, and his belief that “art is man’s attempt to imitate god.” The owner has no partner, no children, and few friends; he doesn’t even have a dog. He has dedicated himself to cooking and learning what is possible when you pour your entire being into an artistic endeavor for a lifetime. Of course, the food he cooks for Ro’sed is amazing, and the experience transports him to his own childhood and his dreams of being a great fiction writer. He wonders why he has compromised on his life and questions why he was unwilling to purpose the focused artistic excellence the restaurant owner has found.
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4. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 4 > Issue: 1
Cory Swanson

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Would you rather have youth, or power and money? In this work of philosophical short story fiction, a 20-something software engineer, after an extensive physical exam, is brought into meet the elderly head of the mega-corporation he works for. The wheelchair bound owner makes him an offer; they will switch bodies. The wealthy tycoon gets the young man’s body, and nothing else, while the young man gets the old man’s body and all the wealth and power that comes with it in the remaining years. The young software engineer has a sister in need of money medical expenses, and he thinks of all the good he could do. He accepts the offer and they switch bodies. The young man almost immediately regrets his decision.
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5. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 4 > Issue: 1
C. S. Griffel

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What would you do if you were responsible for following orders, and giving the command to start World War III? In this work of cold-war-era philosophical short story fiction, Comrade Lt. Colonel Petrov is at work on his day off. He is in charge of the USSR’s most cutting-edge satellite monitoring system when an alarm sounds that five nuclear missiles are on their way from the US to the USSR. The call comes from command to confirm the launch. While everyone at his station sees the missiles, he refuses to confirm the launch has occurred. Why five missiles? Wouldn’t a launch against the USSR be massive? It just doesn’t make sense. Petrov refuses to report what the screens clearly show and, it turns out, prevents a retaliatory strike based on incorrect information. He goes home to his wife, unable to tell her how his top secret day went.
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6. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 4 > Issue: 1
Jacqueline Parker

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Is the time we spend with family ever a trivial pursuit? Is is okay to lie to your children to keep them innocence and happiness? In this philosophical short story fiction, the narrator’s daughter finds a few ants wandering around the kitchen. The narrator innocently tells his daughter “all life is precious.” She immediately takes this to heart and starts encouraging the ants to come into their house with food. The narrator’s wife is not happy about the ants that have taken over the house. The narrator, a teacher currently teaching Our Town to his class asks them for their advice. They suggest an ant farm for their daughter, and a white lie to his daughter about the ants leaving as he kills the remainder with poison. He does this, but his daughter finds the traps and the trail of dead ants.
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7. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 4 > Issue: 1
Richard A. Shury

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To what extent should medical AI make life-and-death decisions? In this work of philosophical medical/AI short fiction, a group of young boys are out for a birthday. They are all drinking and, inevitably, get into a serious car crash as they plummet off the side of a bridge. The car automatically signals the accident and emergency medical drones and ambulance are immediately deployed to the wreck. There is limited time the medical drones must choose. Some of the boys live, some die. The deciding factored turned out to be that the drones are programmed to prioritize saving the lives of minors over adults. The boy who died, the one who has the birthday they were celebrating. Note: this story is a part of our legacy-of-excellence program. It was first published in the November 2020 issue of After Dinner Conversation.
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8. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 4 > Issue: 1
Geoffrey Hart

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What are positive externalities, and what role does someone have to provide a person, not with what they want, but what they need? In this work of philosophical short fiction set in the Middle Ages, a traveling wise man and his apprentice come to town. The local townspeople pay what they can in exchange for the knowledge the learned man can provide. Why won’t my crops grow? Why are my teeth falling out? Why is my steel too brittle? Finally, a merchant comes to the man and offers him huge sum of money and a veiling threat so that he will provide “advice” to his daughter not to marry a lowly guardsman. The traveling advisor refuses to give this advice, while explain to his assistant that the best advice is sometimes it is best to give your customer what they need, not what they want.Note: this story is a part of our legacy-of-excellence program. It was first published in the November 2020 issue of After Dinner Conversation.
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9. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 4 > Issue: 1

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10. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 4 > Issue: 1

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11. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 3 > Issue: 12
Kolby Granville

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12. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 3 > Issue: 12
Veronica L. Asay

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To what extent should we use modern values to judge those working within the unjust rules and prejudice of their time period? Do unjust customs excuse unjust actions in response? In this work of historical ethical fiction, Benedict and the narrator elope and honeymoon in Scotland. Benedict is wealthy with a large estate and so, when they come back, the narrator is to become the lady of the estate. However, she quickly learns Benedict has a secret, his older brother of diminished mental capacity, has been declared dead and is being secretly kept in the attic of the house. This was done when Benedict was born so that he, and not his older brother, would inherit and control the family estate. The narrator is offended by the situation, but facing acceptance (and lower social standing) or divorce, she opts to continue the family lie.
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13. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 3 > Issue: 12
Alan Winnikoff

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To what extent are allegations of past wrongdoings newsworthy and relevant to voters and political campaigns? In this work of philosophical short story fiction, Mayor Ted is retiring and has requested that Brendon run to replace him. After consulting with his wife, Brendon agrees to run and throws himself into the campaign. As momentums builds, he is contacted by the local newspaper about a former employee who says he attempted to kiss her on a business trip ten years earlier. A few weeks later, one of his son’s teachers comes forward saying he groped her in the parking lot of the school. Brendon denies the allegations, but knows the first allegation is true, while the second was caused by him tripping on an uneven portion of sidewalk. Regardless, his wife decides to temporarily leave him to gather her thoughts, his female campaign manager resigns, and Mayor Ted withdraws his support over the “optics” of the allegations. Brendon limps to election night alone, but, much to his surprise, wins.
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14. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 3 > Issue: 12
Thomas J. Weiss

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Can atrocities happen without anyone having alterative choices to stop it? Does superior technology presuppose superior morality? In this work of philosophical short story fiction, the Rigel and the Musca are in a territorial race to the edge of the galaxy. Earth, a habitable planet with an underdeveloped civilization is needed for real estate development so it can support forty billion additional aliens. Vega is the alien real estate developer who has come to earth to offer a choice; support your colonization, and have technology shared with you prior to alien arrival, or fight us, and face your complete extinction at the hands of superior technology prior to alien arrival. Left with no good choices, humanity decides to fight.
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15. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 3 > Issue: 12
Brian Howlett

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How would society, and human interactions, be different if we were each allowed one free killing of another? In this work of philosophical short story fiction, the narrator works as one of two designers at an athletic shoe factory. Ally, the other designer and a missed love interest, takes him to lunch to inform him their departments are being merged and she will be the head of the department. In effect, she will be his boss. After they leave the restaurant, the narrator decides to finally use his “one free kill” and shoots and kills Ally, not for love, he says, but for work.
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16. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 3 > Issue: 12
Megan Neary

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Who deserves more credit, those who correct past wrongs, or those who never commit the wrong in the first place? Is it ever too late to do good? In this philosophical short story fiction, Lev is nearing the end of his life as a pawn shop owner. Upon reflection, he feels he frequently took advantage of those who were most in need, and wants to “examine his account with God.” To set things right, he goes about the process of freely returning all the items he has in his store to their original owners. Some items have been in his store for years, however, some owners, now decades older, he is still able to find. He returns the items he finds, and listens to their stories about why they originally sold them.
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17. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 3 > Issue: 12
Henry McFarland

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Should you set aside religious convictions to allow a medically necessary procedure to save your life? Is it wrong to interfere with those who make the choice to die for their religious convictions? In this medical and faith-based philosophical short story fiction, Jenny is a devote Christian whose life is threatened by a terminal illness. However, she can be saved by the use of stem cell technology, which she considers cloning. As such, she declines the procedure and, against the urging of her husband, accepts her pending death. Her husband secretly dismisses her wishes and lies to the doctor so that, when she is near death, she is able to accept the life-saving stem cell procedure. Jenny lives, and divorces her husband for refusing to follow her religious wishes. Her husband regrets nothing.
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18. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 3 > Issue: 12
Julie Sondra Decker

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If you could meet your clone, would you want to? What if you found out your clone was gay? In this work of philosophical short fiction, through a mix-up of process, Douglas Junior is a blue collar finds out he has a clone that has been unknowing living for years. Because the process took place after Douglas Junior was an adult, the clone is 20+ years younger than him. Excited by the prospect of being a “father” and meeting a younger version of himself, he reaches out and they meet over a meal. Things don’t go as plan as Douglas Junior learns his younger clone has excelled in math and science, is a budding astronaut, and is gay. None of this makes sense to Douglas Junior and the interacts quickly break down to argument. Faced with confusion, Douglas Junior decides the scientists are wrong, Douglas Junior Junior isn’t his clone.
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19. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 3 > Issue: 12

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20. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 3 > Issue: 12

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