Issue #75

Summer Issue | August 2020

In this Issue:

Such a Bad Dancer by Tess Gunty


I like to reject my own application for the Revolution. It prepares me for the e-mails from the Revolution Hiring Committee, in which they reject me for real. I apply every few months—submitted my first three years ago. I received my freshest rejection last week. They wrote:

Dear Applicant 1326,

We have no use for you, with your punchlines and your hair. We have no use for your wish to own a candelabra and your wish to own. We have no use for the yellow smoke in your refrigerator, or the medals that ornament your family tree, or the stuff you got every time people treated people like stuff. Read more...

So, About Hats by Mark Valentine


"Why have you been writing about the government?"

"I haven't been writing about the government."

"You have been writing?"

"Yes. I write about my daily life, things…"

"So, for example, you say here, 'I picked up a tram ticket, pink, the ink smudged…' "

"Yes, I like to observe small things…"

"Why did you pick up the tram ticket?"

"It seemed interesting…like a signal."

Two Stories by Valerie Fox


From the Byzantine Art Expert's Biographical Entry

Arthur Murray got to be pen pals with Ron Reagan, lifelong atheist and son of the popular American Surgeon General.

Age twelve Daisy--Art's twin--held her cigarette like Marlene Dietrich does in the Finger Lakes bootleg. She drank champagne from a plastic crinkle cup.

This one time Murray got married and had a small car accident. It lived always in the hind region of his brain and he never spoke of it. Read more...

Whyrwol by Dennis Mombauer


1. The entrance to whyrwol has nothing to do with keys and gates. There is no system of pulleys and no room full of ropes.

Caves and caverns slope downward into the limestone hills around Oornampur town, and they are filled with calcium carbonate. Dripping is a central phenomenon inside the caves and accompanies cavers everywhere. It is about a soundscape but also hidden melodies and growing speleothems. Everything (and everyone) standing still inside the caves gets slowly covered in mineral deposits that form the teeth of whyrwol. If they grow big enough, they clench down and people vanish. Read more...

Doll's House by Elaine Vilar Madruga
(translated by Toshiya Kamei)


Children's toys don't last long. A cycle or two is too much already. They refuse to eat. The joints connecting the threads to the altarpiece break easily. Toys today aren't what they used to be. They barely move and aren't smart enough to make you smile. But children are always still children. They become attached to their old toys and refuse to throw them away.

Despite my protests, Zel and Lub retain a deteriorating puppet family. The female doll cried all the time while she tried to move her legs with the pathetic gestures of an overused toy. The two smaller ones learned to crawl through the box-shaped, diminished-gravity compartments where they're kept. As sellers point out, toys tend to be fragile when they are removed from the altarpiece. Once they are broken, there's no turning back. Read more...

Two Stories by Soren James


Hollywood 6000

Forcing myself into a seductive pose, I replaced my hands with chainsaws, my legs with jack-hammers, and my eyes with diamond cutters. The director walked around me twice, appraising my attributes.

"I've been a prisoner here," I said, "for five hundred and twenty-seven years, forty-two days and –"

"Yeah, yeah. I don't want your back story," said the director. "What I want is a front story. Make me believe in you. Show me what you can be, and why you should be in my movie." Read more...

Six Very Short Stories by Rachel Rodman


When Nietzsche Met Quantum Physics Met Galileo

The abyss stares. But the position of its eyes are undecided, indeterminately quivering, until you stare–stare back.

And yet it moves.

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.