In this Issue:
All the Cobwebs Stay
Oscar stared at the woman sitting on his couch, in his living room, and wondered who she was and how she got there. “I think there’s been some kind of mistake.”
“Maybe,” she said. “But it’s not my fault. You can’t blame me.”
“I’m not blaming you.”
“Good. Then you don’t mind showing me around.”
“Showing you around what?” Read more...
The Bee-List Celebrity Culture
We were idly standing in the kitchen one summer afternoon when a bee entered through the closed screen door, flying low and erratically as if injured. We suddenly realized it to be the body of an infamous minor celebrity who had fallen from grace in a terrible scandal nearly twenty years prior. Anticipating fame and fortune, we scrambled to capture it with an old CD spindle, and in the scuffle it was knocked to the floor, where the dog promptly ate it. Read more...
The new kids looked just like the old kids except their skin was bright yellow. Dan, the insurance agent, said not to worry.
"Eventually it will fade," he said. "You won't know the difference."
But the new Billy had a persistent cough the old Billy never had. And the new Maggie never stopped crying and mewling, "I miss my mommy."
"I'm your mommy," said Mrs. L, but she didn't sound convinced. Read more...
The man awakes in the forest. The earth underfoot is airy, wet like store-bought soil. There are few shrubs, anaemic ferns here and there. The trees grow tall trunks and their leaves don't appear until very high up, so that the dominant colour, as the man looks around, is brown. He follows the path he's on, and it leads him up a steep hillside. He climbs up, feeling his breath get uneven, and every few steps he puts a hand to the ground, palm down, to regain balance. Two thirds up the hill, he comes across driftwood laid flat, dirty white sticks, like freshly-poached tusks, tied together in a cross by stringy black seaweed. Their presence is a surprise, among the twigs and branches slowly rotting into the forest floor. Read more...
The blues festival would soon be under way. A woman with long, dyed red hair sat next to me in the auditorium. She looked familiar, but I couldn’t quite place her.
‘You don’t know who I am,’ she said, as if she had expected as much.
Was she someone I had once slept with? Was she someone I owed money to? ‘I’m sorry –’ Read more...
I overheard the following monologue on June 8, 1980, in a smoky bar off Winter Street, N.W. Paris, France. The narrator was one Joseph Velario, a short man of moderate build, nearly bald, with black-rimmed glasses. He wore a stark white shirt and dark pants, leather shoes with black laces. He spoke hurriedly, almost frantically, as if he felt there was little time to tell his story. As I was later to discover, Joseph had been head librarian of the well-known Bibliothèque Municipale de Lyon for twenty-five years. He was a man of inestimable reputation and was responsible for building the library’s holdings into an eclectic collection known throughout Europe; it included full runs of Blackwood's Edinburgh Review dating back to the 1840's and Penny Magazine from the 1830's, as well as extensive (and rare) science fiction criticism from the early twentieth century. Read more...
About Our Coffee and Other Fare
Please Note: All of the coffee served at The Irreal Cafe is fair trade, organic, shade-grown and not real. All of the food served at The Irreal Cafe is organic, vegan, locally sourced and not real. See "At Our Cafe" for more about what we would serve at The Irreal Cafe and how we would serve it if there were an Irreal Cafe.