Wednesday, 21 October 2020

A New Recipe


by Kiyasu Oka

Matcha Latte with Honey

As the window opened, she brewed her favorite cup of thoughts. 

“Good morning,” the blue sky greeted the lass. 

The cup filled with the warmth of the sun, as she smiled and said, “Today, I will add a new ingredient.”

“What is it?” said the sky.

“My heart’s warmth for a new day.”

KIYASU OKA is a Taiwanese professional illustrator and entrepreneur, whose title can be referred to as a professional color magician. She is the “Magician of Color” from Taiwan. Her most well-known writing work is a personal love letter called “Taiwan is my Country,” published on her Web site since April of 2016. Kiyasu Oka’s Web site is at

Tuesday, 20 October 2020

LLL Love, Laugh, Live


by Amanda Jones

a can of Lilt

A natural charm oozed from her and a radiant smile of genuine love attracted people. Through her life there had been characterful men. As a young twenty-something she nearly married an Arabian on holiday and spoke fondly of his harem. Together with her best friend that had been an experience as they travelled to Tunisia and Yugoslavia in the days before conflict tore the countries apart.

There was always something to laugh about, a distraction from pain and illness. When you looked at Mum you were drawn into a warmth of cheekiness. She was the epiphany of invisible disability. Without her dark glasses, cane or mobility problems she looked well.

So, let’s show something.

You are in severe pain, perhaps you’ve put your back out or caught your finger in the car door. Ouch! But there is no sign of anything hurting, just your voice to demonstrate. ‘You look well,’ greets a friend. How do you feel when they say this considering you are screaming inside? Now think of this every day for the rest of your life and you have met the chronic pain of invisible illness. ‘Well’ can mean more to someone who is unwell, having grieved for their previous abilities and health. Why not say lovely, beautiful or compliment clothes etc instead?

But, Mum chose to hide it, like most of us do, for the sake of a break from dwelling on it.

On her dog walks she met her male friends. She stopped for a chat, flirt and giggle. Sometimes I would find them in the street when I got off the school bus. Then the fish-man asked her to run away with her! She sought my permission, we wanted to stay together, he didn’t. So that was that.

One day my friend, I and Mum returned from a dog walk and she found a piece of sponge in the driveway. She prodded it with her stick. As she lifted it the sponge soared through the air, over the hedge and wall and into next door’s garden as the dog followed it with her eyes, her head moving comically. We were in fits of laughter and still giggle about it thirty years later.

Then one day I sat on the bathroom stool and air flowed into a rubber glove as I did so raising it like a dead hand. Did I scream and laugh with Mum and my friend!

So, behind the tears, pain and sorrow there was always laughter and love.

That’s life. It’s called an attitude with gratitude.

It is possible to be happy and be in pain. But, there needs to be a balance of empathy, pain-relief, distraction techniques and love to be able to live and laugh.


About the author







Sunday, 18 October 2020



by Michal Reiben

lemon tea

My mother-in-law, Granny as everyone calls her does her best to eat healthy foods and she also belongs to a nudist club. We live way out in the country in a cottage that has a large overgrown garden full of tangled thickets and tendrils growing in every direction. Sometimes when Granny comes to visit us and the sun happens to be shinning she’ll drag a battered deck chair way back to the end of our garden and place it hidden between tall stinging nettles and the bordering beech hedgerow. Then she peels off her clothes and plumps her naked bulky body down into the deck chair.  

Our next-door neighbor is a retired colonel who is a keen gardener and a gentleman. Whenever he meets you he lifts his hat and says, “Good morning or good afternoon,” depending on what time of the day it is and then he goes on to discuss the weather. Every day he tends to his garden lovingly, and nature yields herself to his tender touch and attention. As a result, he has neat raised beds of vegetables and fruit bushes.

Today Granny is spending some time in our cottage. Since the countryside is bathed in brilliant summer sunlight she is taking this opportunity to sunbath. She can feel the sunshine wrap her body in warm rays. It’s so pleasant. Her eyelids flutter as they close. She appears to be sleeping.

On the other side of the hedge, the Colonel with prunes in hand and gloves on is attending to his raspberry bushes. He wrenches vigorously at a stubborn weed, finally, it comes out by its roots,  goes sailing over the beech hedgerow, and lands on Granny’s ample bosom. Granny leaps into the air and shrieks in wild panic. The Colonel peeps over the hedgerow to see who is shrieking and upon seeing the naked image before him his mind reels. He turns bright red and stammers, “I-I-I’m so-so sorry madam.” Then he hastily makes a retreat.

When I hear Granny’s scream, I’m worried something awful has happened to her. The hairs on the back of my neck stand up and my pulse quickens. I bolt out of the cottage and down the weedy garden path towards Granny and find her standing by the deckchair, clutching her clothes to her naked body and looking bewildered.

“Granny, what happened?”

“Your neighbor threw some dirt on me.”

“The Colonel? He was probably gardening to energetically. I’m sure he didn’t do it on purpose.”

“He did apologize but it was very embarrassing!”

As I am helping Granny back into her clothes I begin to giggle through my nose and shortly I find myself writhing with laughter.

“Sorry, Granny but I can’t help thinking about how surprised the Colonel must have been?” I splutter.

Granny who loves a good laugh and has laughter lines from her gift of smiling easily tips back her silver head and joins me. Together we howl with laughter until tears roll down our cheeks and we can hardly breathe.


Saturday, 17 October 2020

Reductio ad Absurdum


by  Henry Lewi

Angel’s Delight Cocktail (Gun, Triple Sec and Cream)

   It seemed like everywhere I looked I saw Angels.

  Well, they weren’t really angels, it was the name we gave them. Their ship had crash-landed 35 years ago in the relatively deserted Suffolk countryside, and the original crew of 25 aliens had doubled in number to around 50. The aliens who were peaceful in nature, were essentially humanoid in appearance, all had long white hair and deep black eyes. Their distinguishing feature were the  two large wings emerging from their backs which is why they were nicknamed Angels. It transpired that the wings were part of their respiratory system providing a membrane that allowed oxygen to directly access their bloodstream, an evolutionary response to their world whose oxygen levels had progressively fallen over the many millennia of their existence.

  The alien ship, beautifully designed looking like an extended fattened needle with a flattened base, had been one of many launched from their home-world to search for suitable planets for colonization. The alien community had been happy to share their technology with our world, especially the workings of their proton impulse engine, which had allowed them to cross the vast distances of space. The payment was simple, we had to help repair their Needle-Ship and allow them to depart to try and return to their home-world. It had taken 35 years, and the combined efforts of many of the World’s leading Scientists helped by their Angel counterparts to carry out effective repairs on their Needle-ship; which had been nicknamed THE PIN, because of both its appearance and its Proton Impulse Needle Drive.

  My role as Senior Scientific Adviser to both the British Government and the United Nations Security Council, was to inform the Angel Community that their ship was now ready, and to supervise their departure.

 Some months later as the Angels filed onto their ship, I looked around the Angel community and idly wondered “How Many Angels Can You Fit in the Hold of a PIN?” 


Friday, 16 October 2020

Home Sweet Home

by Greg Duncan


"Stay at Home. Save the NHS. Save Lives."


But who's there to save me, now he's also home, fuelled with beer, no job, no gym?

Shopping is my escape.

Is my journey necessary?

The doctor's closed; the shelter's closed; and when I get home, his fist will be closed.


About the author

Greg Duncan is a member of the Wimborne Writers Group and lives in Poole, Dorset on the south coast of England. The books he has written (many with his wife Valerie) can be seen on his website

Thursday, 15 October 2020

Dramatic Episodes Act Two The Murder Mystery begins.


by Janet Howson

a box of wine

 Shirley had been battling with the dilemma for days and the problem was still buzzing away in her brain when she put the keys in the door of the church hall. It was the following Monday after the completion of Midsummer Night’s Dream and they would be setting off on their next theatrical challenge. This was fairly uncomplicated after the Shakespeare and wouldn’t take too much time to rehearse.

     The question that was haunting Shirley needed an answer. Simple really to those who didn’t know the circumstances. They needed a lighting and sound technician for the Murder Mystery Evening they were presenting at Lauren’s golf club. All the usual technical members of the group were unable to do it and her daughter had committed herself to another drama group and couldn’t take any more responsibilities on. Jamie, her unfaithful and often violent husband was very good at one thing and that was the technical side of the theatre. He had worked all his life as a sound and lighting engineer, creating his own business. He would do it brilliantly. She didn’t really want him around during the rehearsals but he wouldn’t really need to come along until the end when they would be setting up at the golf club and she would let Lauren deal with him as she was director. 

    The hall flooded with light as Shirley flicked the switches. Its familiarity wrapped around her like a blanket. How many productions had she been involved in over the years. Hundreds, she expected. She found a table for her bag and then started pulling chairs out into a circle for the meeting. She hadn’t had any apologies so far which meant they could cast it tonight. This would be all down to Jordon. This was his creation and she would leave it to him to explain the plot.

    “Anyone there?” The voice broke into her thoughts. Shirley smiled to herself. It was Jordon. She knew he would be the first to arrive as Jordon was always the first to arrive. Loyal and willing, she could always rely on him and recently their relationship had taken a different turn. A situation Shirley still felt nervous but excited about.

    “In here, just putting the chairs out.”

     The door was pushed open and Jordon entered backwards carrying sheets of stapled scripts and the asses head from Midsummer Night’s Dream balancing perilously on top

    “I’ve brought back the illusive head before I lose it again. I will put it back into the costume store later.” He deposited everything on one of the stacking tables, rubbed his aching hips and started to help Shirley position the remainder of the chairs.

    “Hopefully we should have everyone here. Even Stacey is making an appearance. I think it would be a good idea if you didn’t give her a speaking part. She has been through a tough time even though she will insist she is fine.”

    “I have already spoken to her and she says she would like to prompt for this one. Who will be doing the technical?” Jordon looked at Shirley expectantly, pausing in his task.

    Shirley felt herself blush. She had been dreading telling Jordon that the man who had hit her on many occasions and who she had cried on Jordon’s shoulder about would be her suggestion to tech for his play.

     She was saved from replying by the fire door opening and banging shut as more of the group arrived with different degrees of noise.

    They poured into the hall talking animatedly between themselves. Debbie and Annie were as vibrant as ever discussing some recent group concert. Jess and Patrick entered hand in hand. Lauren had given Jean a lift and was listening intently to a story Jean was telling her. Val had brought her daughter, Becky, who wanted to join the drama group; this was her first time down and she looked willing and enthusiastic ready to observe and learn. Sean had picked Nina up on route. He was looking particularly smart; Shirley assumed he would be dashing off at the end of the session for a date. Jason and Stacey arrived a bit later than the others. Normally very independent, Stacey had rung Jason, who lived fairly near to her place to ask if he wouldn’t mind picking her up. She still hadn’t fully recovered from the blow to her head she suffered when she fell in London trying to wrench her handbag back from a thief.

    Shirley approached Stacey, “I am so pleased to see you, Stacey. How are you?”

    “Oh I am fine. If I ever see that prize prat again he will be lucky if he lives to tell the story. The police haven’t found him so he is still out there snatching handbags from other unsuspecting girls.”

    “Come and sit with me and let me know if you have had enough and one of us can run you home.” Shirley lead her to a chair helped her take her coat off and sat beside her. She then announced to the others, “okay everyone, time to stop the chat, grab a chair and I’ll hand you over to the very capable Jordon Radcliff.”

    There was a drum roll of feet on the floor as Jordon looking embarrassed and shuffled the scripts into a neat pile on his lap.

    “As you all know that time of year has come round when we take our latest Murder Mystery to Lauren’s golf club.  I have called this one ‘The Ruby Revenge’. The basic plot is Joseph and Fiona Hollingsworth have invited family and close friends to celebrate their Ruby Wedding with them at a five- star hotel. The dinner is followed by a party. A lot of alcohol is consumed and most of the guests are very drunk particularly Joseph. All the guests stay overnight. In the morning there is a shock discovery. Joseph’s lifeless body is found in the hotel car park.

    The guests all have motives to kill him: His long- suffering wife has found out about Joseph’s many affairs. The women involved are at the celebration. Caroline, an old school friend and Courtney, a work colleague. Caroline and Courtney find out out about each other on the night of the party. Fiona’s sisters Sylvia and Grace, both blame him for the breakdown of their marriages. The daughter, Samantha, has seen her mother getting more stressed, thin and wan with the behaviour of their father. They hate him for what he has done to her. John, Joseph’s former boss despises Joseph for levering him out of his job and getting the position himself. Tim, Carolyn’s husband has found out about his wife’s affair with Joseph and is ready to confront him. Dolly, Fiona’s mother has spent hours with her daughter sobbing on her shoulder and cannot cope with her decline and is seeking ways of putting it right. Richard has always been a very good friend of Fiona’s, secretly in love with her he cannot stand the way she is treated by Joseph.

     In Act one the body is found and we are introduced to the characters involved. Everyone is trying to work out what happened.

   In Act two we go back in time to the dinner and the various reasons for the character’s motives are revealed.  

   In Act three we see the murder scene in the hotel’s car-park.

   Each act is preceded by one course of the three- course meal and before the murder scene each table is asked to vote as to who they feel the murderer is and there is a box of wine for the winning table. There is opportunity in the evening to question the various characters. Only the murderer can lie.”

   “Sounds great, Jordon. Love it,” Lauren smiled encouragingly at Jordon. “It will be great fun to direct.”

   “Thanks for that Lauren. Stacey has kindly offered to prompt. We are glad to see you back, Stace.” There was a chorus of approval from everyone as Stacey takes a dramatic bow.

   “Right this is the cast, Fiona, you are Shirley and Sean you are Joseph. Nina you are Dolly, Jess  is to play Sylvia, Grace by Jean, Caroline by Debbie, Courtney by Val, Tim by Patrick, Richard by Myself, and John by Jason. I hope that is okay. We have only four weeks to pull it together with Monday and Wednesday rehearsals, then one rehearsal at the golf club.” Jordon leaned back in his chair, relieved he had got that out of the way and started to pass the scripts round. “We can have a read through tonight and then introduce the stage directions on Wednesday. Any questions?”

    “I’ve got to know before we read it all, who was the murderer?” Debbie piped up, “I bet it was the wife.”

    “No, it was Richard, Fiona’s old friend, who had always loved her, the part I play.” He looked over at Shirley who had not missed the comparison to her own situation with her abusive and unfaithful husband, Jamie. They smiled at each other. Safe in the knowledge that of course it was only a play.


About the author

Janet Howson was born in Rochdale but moved to the South of England when she was seventeen. She loved writing and reading from an early age and wrote poetry and plays. She joined an amateur Drama group when she was eighteen and her love of the theatre began. She trained to be a teacher and her two subjects were English and Drama. She then went on to teach for thirty five years in Comprehensive schools in Redbridge, Havering and Essex. During this time she wrote and directed plays for the pupils and continued to be involved in Amateur Drama both as a performer and a director. Now she is retired, Janet has joined two writing groups and with the help and advice she has received here, started to write short stories and has had stories published in anthologies and her first novel, Charitable Thoughts can be found on Amazon Books. She intends to continue writing both novels and stories, adapting some of them into theatre scripts and radio plays.

Published Work

The Best of CafeLit 8 an anthology published by Chapletown Books 2019

Stories included: Marking Time & Induction Day.

Nativity an anthology published by Bridge House 2019

Story included: Solution.

Charitable Thoughts a novella published by Austin Macauley

Can be found on Amazon Books

It happened in Essex tall tales from the Basildon Writers’ Group

Can be found on Amazon books




Wednesday, 14 October 2020

The Little Red Shoes


by Lynn Clement


 A tear dropped from the corner of his eye, as Josef stared at the little red shoes. He dabbed at the wet with his folded handkerchief.

The shoes reminded him of Liesel.

He left the room and lowered himself onto a large rock, positioned just by the wooden door. He wondered if it had been put there for that purpose.

Reaching into his jacket, he pulled out a black and white photograph. He touched the little girl, with her curls tied up in a red ribbon. He knew it was red. The ribbon matched her cheerful shoes.

She smiled at Josef through the camera.

Josef was back there in that cobbled street. Liesel was shouting at him.

’Higher, Josef, higher,’ as he tossed her in the air.

‘Make sure you catch her,’ scolded his mother. ‘Not too high!’

Liesel was shrieking with delight.

A warmth was in his chest. But this particular photograph brought pain too. It was taken the week before their mother handed the house-keys over to them.

‘Hurry up,’ they kept saying, as his mother’s arm delved into the carpet bag.

He remembered his fists clenching and unclenching.

There on the stone, Josef watched the sky grow dark, as a cloud moved over the sun.

He shivered.

Liesel, on the sardine-packed train, in the penetrating cold.

Him putting his jacket over her, as she slept.

Her red ribbon holding onto the curls, stopping them falling over her little face. Her shiny red shoes poking out from beneath the jacket.

‘Are you okay?’ asked the guide in the doorway, and her breath froze in the air.

Josef looked up.

She put her hand on his shoulder.

He closed his eyes.

He was lifting Liesel from the train. The night was thick and starless. Frost gripped the rails.

Josef was prodded with a gun.

’You turn left,’ he was ordered.

But Liesel and his mother turned right and were quickly swallowed up by the weary shuffling crowd.


The Crematoria were next on the Auschwitz tour but Josef didn’t go there.



About the author

Lynn has been writing for six years. She enjoys writing flash fiction, short stories and poetry. Most of her work, much of which pulls on the heart strings, is based on observations of people she’s met or places she’s been.

Lynn has written for Café Lit since 2017. She has had some success with local competitions, winning prizes for both her poetry and her flash fiction.

Currently, Lynn is enjoying the editorial process of having her first collection of flash fiction published by Bridge House Publishing.