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1. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 2 > Issue: 7
From the Publisher
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2. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 2 > Issue: 7
Paul Hilding Taps
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Do you have the right, or even the obligation, to disobey laws that you find personally unjust? In this work of philosophical short story fiction, John is a trumpet player that is called by the VA to play taps at the funeral of a Vietnam veteran. He plays at many funerals for veterans as a penance for having fled to Canada to avoid the draft. John goes to the bridge where Daniel previously lived and finds his camp, complete with purple heart and copy of The Collected Dialogues of Plato. Daniel marked several pages in “Crito” outlining the death of Socrates. Like John, Daniel had disagreed with the war, but decided to serve anyway. Upon his return he went to college, but had a breakdown and was unable to finish. John visits the local church, and visits Daniel’s sister. In the end, he plays taps at Daniel’s funeral while still coming to terms with his own, different, choices.
3. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 2 > Issue: 7
Fryderyk Sylla The Perfect Daughter
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If you have the ability to do good, does failing to do so mean you are allowing evil to exist? Do we have a moral obligation to improve our offspring? In this work of philosophical short story fiction, Jane goes to visit her parents over the Christmas holiday. She has recently learned that her parents, under a program that favors the rich and elite, had had her genetically modified before she was born to be the best possible version of herself. Jane is crushed at learning that her life success has nothing to do with her hard work and is angry at her parents for having genetically modified her. Her father argues the problem of evil; that it was in his means to do good, and had he failed to do so, he would have been a god that allowed evil to exist. Jane is unhappy with his responses, but now must move forward with the choice of what she will do, when it is her time to have children.
4. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 2 > Issue: 7
Jay Allisan Blackorwhite
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What is the purpose of the criminal legal system? What factors should we take into account when punishing criminals? In this work of philosophical short story of fiction, the prison medical doctor is called in the middle of the night to take care of Fuzzy, an uneducated, mostly toothless, prisoner who has spent the majority of his life behind bars. Fuzzy, it seems, has gotten into eating cheese, something that strongly disagrees with his stomach and causes severe diarrhea. While the doctor waits for Fuzzy on the toilet and treats him for dehydration he learns Fuzzy’s story. Fuzzy was a young child from a poor family when his brother got him into a small-time gang robbing homes. Fuzzy and his brother wanted to get out of their life and move to Houston to look for legitimate work, but need enough money from a big heist to cover their travel fees. Their final heist goes wrong and the police show up. Fuzzy watches his brother get wrongly gunned down and, in a panic, hops in the van to try to get away. In the process he hits and kills a police officer with the van. The remaining members of the gang are captured and found guilty. Fuzzy, it seems, was able to eat so much cheese as it was his “last meal” on death row and assumed he wouldn’t be around for the results. However, there was a last-minute error with the electric chair so he was forced to face the retribution of his culinary choices. Hearing Fuzzy’s story, the doctor feels greater sympathy for Fuzzy and his life.
5. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 2 > Issue: 7
David Wiseman The Devil You Know
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Is there a moral obligation to always confront evil? Can evil ever be given the chance to live in peace? In this work of philosophical short story fiction, the narrator is walking down a small-town street when he comes across the devil, relaxing on vacation for the holidays. The narrator knows it is the devil because of his horns and goat legs. He also has a few small demon children in tow. The narrator, surprised, stops the devil to talk to him. The devil is cordial and says he has outsourced most of the “hell work” and spends his time traveling around the world moving from place to place. He likes the small towns during the holidays and enjoys the peace and quiet. The narrator feels he should do something, perhaps confront the devil, rather than allowing him to exist in peace. Finally, the narrator has second thoughts, in part because he doesn’t have a suitable weapon. The devil and his children continue in peace on their way.
6. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 2 > Issue: 7
Harman Burgess The Fortune Teller
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Does believing in determinism mean no acts are immoral? Is the appearance of choice enough? In this work of philosophical short story fiction, Jon and Michael decide, after a drunken night on the town, to visit a fortune teller. She takes their money and hands them each pre-written envelopes to open the next day. Jon opens his and finds an exact transcript of the television from the exact moment he opens the letter. Additionally, there is a warning, that Michael is going to kill him. A moment later, Jon’s phone rings and it is Michael, acting strange. Jon goes to Michael’s house, is stabbed, and nearly dies. While unconscious he can feel the fortune teller feeding off of him. He wakes up before death. Jon and Michael decide to head to the fortune tellers house to “rough her up.” When they arrive, they find that she is, indeed, something beyond the normal world. Michael runs out of the house in fear and Jon attempts to confront her. She disappears. Moments later, the entire house disappears.
7. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 2 > Issue: 7
Joanna Michal Hoyt Cast Out
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How do you deal with generalized fears? How do you learn to overcome a mental health issue so you can serve others? In this work of philosophical short fiction, Verity suffers from irrational fears. She is afraid the fire in her fireplace will catch her mattress on fire so she puts out the fire and rolls her mattress into the snow outside. A friend comes over, but she is too distraught to spend time with them. She heads to the community building and is told, “Tell truth and shame the devil.” And so she does. She stops trying to hide her mental health issues and, bit by bit, they get better. She gets a job helping the local healer. Eventually, when those from the neighboring community have childbirth issue that need help on the outskirts of town, she is asked to go in the place of the healer. The neighboring community members tell of a “fear plague” that has stricken communities they are fleeing. Time passes, and, eventually, a strange mist comes to the town; the fear plague. When a neighbor goes briefly missing the community jumps to the conclusion it was caused by the strangers on the outside of town. The fear has taken hold of them, everyone is a suspect, and everyone is at risk. Verity rush to the front of the group, talks sense into them, and calms them down. The missing community member is found.
8. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 2 > Issue: 7
W. M. Pienton The Book of Approved Words
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Can you change your thoughts by changing your words? Do you have an obligation to speak the truth, even a politically incorrect one? In this work of philosophical short fiction, the narrator is a government approved writer. His job is to update published works by deleting words that have been made illegal; words like Easter, retard, and faggot. Words that might offend anyone. The narrator leaves his office to pick up the newest edition of the Bureau’s Book Of Approved Words. Of course, in getting the new edition, he must turn in the old edition. The narrator goes home, frustrated. Each year, it seems, there are less and less words. The narrator finds his brother-in-hiding, Silas, waiting in his house. He works with the Freedom Of Speech Movement and has a request, he would like a copy of the old banned books the narrator received from his grandfather that he keeps hidden. They plan to upload the books to the net for others to read. The next day the narrator is reassigned from writing movie reviews to writing music reviews because he wrote one to many “anything-but-glowing,” movie reviews. He agrees to provide an earlier edition of a dictionary to his brothers group. The narrator submits the old edition dictionary to be published on the net, his career has come to an end. He is now an outlaw too.
9. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 2 > Issue: 7
Additional Information
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10. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 2 > Issue: 7
Kolby Granville From the Editor
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