Issue #83

Summer 2022

The Innovators

by Matthew F. Amati

They made a bicycle out of crocodiles. This had not been done before. The resulting bicycle had deficiencies from a bicycling point of view (limbless riders would not ride anything ever again), but how it shook our assumptions!

The innovators went further. They made an umbrella out of the ironic point of view in the works of Tolstoy. It was such a striking way to rethink the umbrella that everyone had to have it. Early adopters came out wetter than they otherwise might have, but the critics raved so fervently about the Tolstoian brio with which their hats were ruined that the anemic sales were really beside the point.

The innovators then went further and made a suspension bridge from the blank spaces found in traditional suspension bridges. It was a remarkable experiment in negativity. Once the cars were plucked from the river, we spangled the journals with our praise, and made plans to use the ferry from that point on.

The innovators' next project was to grow food from pauses in conversations, but we were already growing tired of these people. The food was refreshing (how we do love it when people stop talking!) but was far too deficient in riboflavin. We left the plates untouched. There was nothing on the plates, but the innovators could plainly see we hadn't eaten.

The innovators felt their buzz fading, our attention meandering. Clearly growing desperate, they tried to make ham from misery, shampoo from silence, a Mars colony from stray thoughts. Here is boredom, in the form of a brown paste! Try our new twist on ytterbium! Lint, as you've never experienced it before! We stopped reading their emails. Leaving the trendy areas of the city, we strolled out among cliffs and scrubgrass, and found a boozy Merry Prankster who could sculpt coracles out of Fate, and who gave us an ocean to sail away on, a sea whose source was our frustrated tears. We live in Finland now, and we like it.

Author Bio


Matthew F. Amati's is the author of 50 or so stories that have appeared in Flash Fiction Online, Daily Science Fiction, Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores, and elsewhere. His novel Loompaland is available from Amazon. He has appeared five times previously in The Cafe Irreal, most recently in Issue 80. You can find a lot of his stories linked here: