The Cafe Irreal: International Imagination

Issue Thirteen

Alice Whittenburg
G.S. Evans

This issue went online
February 1, 2005

copyright 2005 The Cafe Irreal
all rights reserved

Čeština Translations into Czech


irreal (re)view #4

A Portrait of Progress
by Daniel Flores-Guadiana

A yellow paper bag floated freely above Emily's head, whispering words to her in an incomprehensible tongue. At least, incomprehensible to anyone else who might have been listening.

"Do you think it is because of our free will that we inflict pain on others, or despite it? I myself believe that we are essentially good creatures, forced to do evil by some unknown force against our choosing. After all, even Hitler could have been led on by something much stronger than himself."

Emily played with the pale blue ribbon in her sandy blonde hair. The ten-year-old addressed the bag again. "I am led to believe in the devil. He is not red with horns that scrape a dark, dank cavern miles beneath our feet. No. I look to the concrete just below my shoes and I see Satan. Cement, where green grass and orange trees once stood. I was once told that long ago citrus trees emitted a scent like heaven traveling on the dim morning's dew. A kind of moisture, like the breath of a lover as he leans in to kiss you, fills you, and you are at peace. That perfume must be like magic. Nothing like that lives here now. Nothing like that lives. Nothing lives at all. When I was born I smelled, through my mouth, the metallic iron taste of blood. It hit my buds and I could no longer sense anything. Even my mind remains cloudy, my vision blurry. All because there are no orange trees left to give off magic."

The breeze blew more violently and the bag shot higher into the air. Emily feared that the sun would burn the poor paper bag, turning it to ash. Then who would she talk to? She sang the bag a slow, sad song to coax it down. The little paper bag sank softly into her outstretched arms. "I will keep you for my own," Emily assured her new friend.

As she held the bag in her arms, she felt the texture turn leathery and porous. Its hue became darker. Emily put the bag, now round and solid, up to her nose and took in the scent. A soft whisper left her lips as the citric perfume entered her, "Magic."

Daniel Flores-Guadiana's fiction has appeared in Issue #11 of The Cafe Irreal, as well as Opium Magazine, Snow Monkey, Sexy Stranger, Delirium and others. He currently resides in Southern California where he is pursuing a degree in English, serving triple grande no-whip mochas, and attempting to find himself. He still needs to look under the couch cushion.

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