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Displaying: 1-10 of 10 documents


1. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 4 > Issue: 12
Kolby Granville

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2. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 4 > Issue: 12
Lise Halpern

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Does a triumphant marriage require love? In this philosophical short story, Donna wed her high school sweetheart, nurtured three splendid offspring, only to find herself gradually adrift in emotional detachment from her husband. With her spouse laboring in a distant city, their encounters dwindle, and when they do occur, separate beds are the norm. Amidst a supportive yet ardor-deficient matrimony, Donna crosses paths with Chris, a local carpenter. An unconventional connection sparks, ultimately propelling her into an affair. The eventual decision to divorce her husband for the sake of newfound love sees her embracing Chris, a man deemed less conventionally attractive and materially successful. This choice ignites fury within her children, who lay blame on Donna for the divorce.

3. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 4 > Issue: 12
M.C. Schmidt

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Are you duty bound to stop a dubious transaction? In this tale of philosophical short fiction, Ann Marie, a freshly anointed notary’s first client is an elderly woman endeavoring to relinquish her dwelling to “Father,” the enigmatic figurehead of a cult. Ann Marie declines the notary job, as the deed transfer requires both an attesting witness and the beneficiary—neither of which is present. She recounts this incident to a friend. This leads her footsteps to the aged woman’s abode, where a serendipitous encounter with the woman’s son ensues. She leans he has emancipated his mother from the cult’s influence and has forcefully put her into a de-programming facility. However, a looming choice weighs upon him: the possibility of selling her home to fund her transition into a long-term care facility, for her own good.

4. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 4 > Issue: 12
Thea Swanson

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What would society be if women were independent of men’s influence? Within this philosophical short story, Marlee is encouraged by her doctor’s counsel to stop her long-standing use of birth control pills—medication she has taken since the age of 19. This decision unveils a novel perspective as Marlee navigates the urban landscape through fresh eyes. Struck by epiphany, she questions the compulsion to engage in detached intimacy to bolster her husband’s self-esteem. A broader realization dawns upon her—how many times has she intertwined with men merely to seek their validation? Perhaps for the first time in her life, she confronts the inquiry: why does she require men’s presence at all? Conventional norms dictate women’s reliance on men—for their financial prowess, protection, and for procreation. However, emancipated from these societal pressures, Marlee’s introspection leads her to ponder the fundamental necessity of intimate relationships with men.

5. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 4 > Issue: 12
Penny Milam

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Is it moral to end your 14-year-old daughters’ pregnancy against her will? In this work of philosophical short story fiction, Megan’s father is divorced. 14-year-old Megan visits her father on weekends. One weekend she begs to go to the local farmers market, only for her father to find out her real motive, to visit a Senior in her High School running a wild honey stall. Her father takes the hint, and gives them time to socialize. For the next few weeks Megan cancels her weekend visits. Only on the fourth weekend does she confess the truth; she is pregnant with the Senior’s baby, and intends to keep it. Her father is furious, but realizes his fury is pushing his daughter away. Instead, he decides to allege his support and provide her with prenatal vitamins, which are really an abortion pill. He feels he has saved her future, but someday he knows she will learn the truth.

6. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 4 > Issue: 12
Deborah Serra

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Do you owe others your continued living? In this philosophical short story fiction, Danny opens a disturbing letter from his elderly sister. He immediately rushes to his car, his wife chasing after him. He frantically drives to his sister’s house as his wife, in a panic, reads the letter that prompted Danny’s urgency. It is a letter from Danny’s sister saying goodbye. At 70+ years old, she is bored with life and is ready to die. She isn’t sick, she is simply choosing non-participation. Danny argues it is selfish for her to end her life, while his wife is more understanding. His wife argues that a life without purpose might not be worth living, and that it’s not selfish to end your life when you are ready to do so. Danny and his wife arrive at his sister’s door and Danny attempts to break it down while his wife tries to calm him, and explain the letter is postmarked four days ago. His sister is already dead.

7. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 4 > Issue: 12
Mark Braidwood

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Should we know the story of the lives of those who produce the products we purchase? Do we have an obligation to only buy ethically sourced goods? In this work of philosophical short story fiction, Jack Benson gives his child a prototype toy from his company as a Christmas present. When they check the toy battery compartment, they find a sad poem written in Chinese. Jack decides to fly to China and visit the factory where the toy is produced. He pays an employee to read the poem over the factory floor loudspeaker. A woman on the factory line stands up in acknowledgement, then humbly returns to her work. Later, after the shift, she slips him a book of her writings, presumably, expressing more thoughts and emotions about her life.

8. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 4 > Issue: 12
Charles Williams

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At what point is a discussion a debate; at what point is it undue pressure? Is all unwanted pressure a kind of manipulation and violence? In this work of philosophical short story fiction, the narrator is invited by his father to go duck hunting as part of their bonding time. The narrator wants to spend time with his father, but expresses ethical concerns about hunting ducks. The father asserts hunting is a natural part of human evolution. The debate continues as the narrator decides to go on the hunt, but is undecided if he will pull the trigger. The story ends with father and son in the blind just at the moment before the narrator must decide if he is going to pull the trigger.

9. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 4 > Issue: 12

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10. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 4 > Issue: 12

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