Issue #64

Fall 2017 | November 1, 2017

In this Issue:

Space Is the Final Frontier
by Max Sheridan


When I.V. Pila showed up at my house one morning to build a second floor, I was sure I knew him. His outfit, a crumpled linen ensemble, was a familiar shade of green. His plump, unrelenting handshake suggested a kinship beyond words.

We shook hands for nearly a minute, at which point I realized I didn't know I.V. Pila. Had never met him before. I'd only read the name off the side of his truck. It had sounded familiar.

"I have a very familiar face," Pila said.

"I didn't order a second floor," I said.

I Work for a King by Tess Gunty


I work for a king with bad teeth. He sips Gatorade from a giraffe skull while I scrub a ghost from the stone.

"What is your opinion on wax?" he muses.

"Against," I say.

"And gluten?"

I consider. "A red herring."

He touches his zipper. Conviction arouses him.

Our Lady Cinderella of the Dying World
by Matthew F. Amati


A flunky, a factotum, a scrap of knees and rag dress, Cinderella mucks out the reactor, sandblasts the concrete.

Stepsister One mocks her from within a hazmat suit.

"Cinderella, I see corium residue in the breeder well. Cinderella, I see bodies in the ovens. Cinderella, go down in the sewer and dislodge the ten-ton blob of cooking fat."

That’s Stepsister One. She has a harelip. The plant foreman declined to marry her.

The other one, Stepsister Two, never leaves the tall panopticon tower. Her voice squawks over the bullhorn. Read more...

What's It Like Being a Writer?
by Paul Blaney


I'm seated in a black leather swivel chair. The chair is pulled up close to the window, one of those floor-to-ceiling glass walls, from which I can see other glass towers like mine and, 28 storeys down, people criss-crossing the street. These people wear business attire and I find that I, too, am dressed in a smart suit and tie, smart slip-on shoes.

Outside it's raining, though no raindrops streak my window. In other spots, I notice, the sun is shining, creating a nice dappled effect. I watch the people down there in the sun and the rain but my watching is not idle; I am not here simply to watch. In my lap lies a journal, open to its first blank page, and in my hand is a sharpened pencil—this is how I like to write. I am here to write. Read more...

Waiter by Soren James


"And the bill is?" they said.

"I don't know. I can't count that high," I replied.

"How do we pay, then?"

At the next table some people interjected: "What's wrong with the doll? Did she not listen at school?"

"I went to school!" I shouted.

"The question was," they continued, "did you pay attention?" Read more...

The Number of the Heart by Ali Hildyard


"At the end of the five yard fence there begins the ten yard fence, and at the end of the ten yard fence is the fifteen yard fence. The mathematics are simple, and, for that reason, elusive. Let yourself not be disheartened because your mind runs ahead, runs faster than your feet. For the least important thing is the league of fences you imagine; the only important thing is reaching them.

In times past, there were many who failed even to reach the five yard fence; indeed, there was only one who, whether by diligence or some accident of birth, attained the twenty yard fence. Yet today inexperienced men routinely pass the twenty, the twenty five yard fence. Why should this be? I hazard it is because today we understand things well enough to take strength from uncertainty; we know now it is folly to hope that the fence before us is the last. Read more...

Package by Vanessa Gebbie


The package was shaped something like an upside down duck. Right down to a well-wrapped beak and its two separate little webbed feet, which were moving slightly, a sort of paddling motion in the air.

I said to the wife, Minty, It's a duck.

Don't be daft, she said, not even raising her eyes from her crossword. Not that she does them, but she colours in all the empty squares in pastels.

Look, I said, Look, Minty, let's take a forensic look at this package. It's shaped like a duck, it feels like a duck (not that I've felt a duck, but I have a good imagination) – and its feet are moving like a duck's feet.

Just then there was a strangulated quack from somewhere. Read more...

Rèti's Shop or Five Red Bulls
by Emil Brägg


Five red bulls, one after the other, came waltzing into Rèti's shop.

Rèti was the proprietor of a china shop on the Marktgasse, the one with the yellow-and-pink striped awning next to the antiquarian bookseller.

Hardly had Rèti time to register his surprise when in they came and there stood, all five, hooves pressed together and nostrils flared with the effort of containing themselves in the too narrow confines of Rèti's tiny shop. Rèti would have fallen back in manifest alarm were it not for the gentle ringing of the bell above the shop door. How strangely comforting, how reassuring, the familiar tinkle which quietly signaled the arrival of the five; and how beguilingly these five red bulls, each with a gold ring in its nose, stood out against the displays of bone white china. 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.