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

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2. 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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3. 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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4. 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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5. 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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6. 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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7. 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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8. 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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9. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 3 > Issue: 12

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

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

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12. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 3 > Issue: 11
Larry Kite

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What is the purpose of defending yourself in a fight? To what ends should you go to stop getting bullied? In this work of ethical fiction, a pre-teen Rusty is sent to the general store on his bike to buy alcohol for Walt, the local drunk, in exchange for ice-cream. While at the store Rusty is attacked by two older boys trying to steal his bike. He holds onto his bike, but is badly beaten in the exchange. Later that day, Rusty gets a metal pipe and tells his friend Gene to meet him that night. They meet and Rusty tells Gene his plan, to toss the pipe into the bushes, distract the boys who beat him up, and get in a quick punch before running away. Gene gets scared and leaves, just as Bill, one of the boys that beat him up, sees him. In a panic, Rusty swings the pipe, hitting Bill. Rusty goes into a rage and continues hitting Bill. The next day Bill is in the hospital, and the police are at Rusty’s doorstep with questions.
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13. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 3 > Issue: 11
Jesse Rowell

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How can a son receive the attention of his father, when they don’t share similar interests? Should a child change in order to find common ground with their father? In this work of philosophical short story fiction, Gregory is a young, sensitive child, looking for approval from his father. However, his father’s only interest seems to be hunting. His father correctly understands that Gregory is not old enough, and does not have the temperament, for hunting. However, Gregory wants his father’s approval and his mother insists he at least take him out for target practice. Finally, after much waiting, Gregory’s father agrees, not to take him hunting, but out for target practice. While at target practice they find a sick kitten, still alive, with ants crawling over it. Gregory’s father has Gregory shoot the kitten to end its life.
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14. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 3 > Issue: 11
Ava Eckert

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What causes some people to struggle to find love? In this work of philosophical short story fiction, Monique is on an online date when Leo, her ongoing booty call, contacts her. She ends her date, finding out their mutual friend Jace, and her first love, recently died. Monique arrives at Leo’s place, they have unloving sex, and she leaves. Later, they see each other at Jace’s funeral and Leo’s would-be girlfriend asks Monique to back off. She refuses. The following day she goes for her annual mammogram only to find out she is pregnant with Leo’s baby. A few days later she miscarries, and goes right back to her life of wine, grading English papers, and online dating.
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15. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 3 > Issue: 11
Kyle Short

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Are all religious leaders who say they know the will of God, a cult? In this work of philosophical short story fiction, two young boys, Fletcher and Mark, throw rocks at rusted cars in the local dump. While throwing rocks they discuss the recent proclamation of “the Sister” who has told them the end is coming in just two short weeks. The boys discuss if they believe the Sister, and the unfairness of their lives ending before they have had a chance to fully live. They discuss running away from the group to get additional time before the end, but decide the few extra weeks is not a good trade for an eternity of damnation. In the end, the decide to spend their remaining time in each other’s company, trying to enjoy life and be happy.
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16. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 3 > Issue: 11
Craig Hartglass

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Why does society seem to support the leadership of bully strongmen? In this work of philosophical short story fiction, the narrator is visiting his friend Tomas. They have been of-and-on friends for years, but now Tomas is dying. Over drinks, they reflect on their lives while Tomas retells the story of a baboon tribe he read about. The baboon tribe was run by vicious leaders and violence was common. Until, one day, they found a trash heap. The largest, most dominant members ate from the heap, while the less aggressive were denied access. Eventually, the trash gives the baboon’s tuberculosis, and all the aggressive males die off. The passive males reform the tribe as an egalitarian paradise of sharing. As soon as baboons from the outside tribes try to enter, they quickly learn they will be pushed out unless the adopt the kinder ways. This goes on for six generations. Plato argued humans were too stupid to trusted with voting in a democracy. The baboons might tend to agree.
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17. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 3 > Issue: 11
Veronica Leigh

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What is the value of a book? Is hope worth dying for? In this work of philosophical WWII era short fiction, three prisoners in a Nazi concentration camp find a bible. A book in Birkenau. They know that if it is found in their position they will be punished, if not killed, and yet, they decide to hide and keep this hidden treasure. They know, for their own safety, they should burn the evidence. Or, should they trade it for food? Or read it? While the risks are great, they decide they will die before giving up the book. They also consider sharing it with others, at least, until they day comes they are caught.
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18. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 3 > Issue: 11
A.M. Todd

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Are you simply what you repeat? In this work of philosophical short fiction covering the power of repeated action in changing ideas, a weak spirited loser is contacted by the government and informed he has a twin that is the head of a powerful mafia organization. The government will pay him $1 million dollars if he goes through their program to learn the mannerisms and speech of his mafia twin and replace him in the organization. As the twin learns how to act like the mafia boss, he becomes more like him until he escapes the training program with the money and a new personality.
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19. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 3 > Issue: 10
Kolby Granville

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20. After Dinner Conversation: Volume > 3 > Issue: 10
Jeffrey Feingold

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Should a bipolar person go on medication if doing so limits their ability to do “great things?” In this work of psychological fiction, Irena is a bipolar piano player that fled, years ago, from an eastern bloc country. Her troubled relationship ended, and her partner died shortly after their breakup. This put her in a deep depression and sent her to therapy for years where she was treated with medication for being bipolar. One day, her dead ex comes to her and tell her she should enter a world renowned piano competition with a $400,000 prize. Her therapist reminds her about her stage fright that ended her career, but Irena insists. She practices, and wins the competition and the money. She decides to move to New York and leaves the $400,000 prize money as a thank you gift to her therapist.
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