In this Issue:
The Early-Morning Garden
In hazy mist, Jade dragged her bent figure into the garden and saw a piece of paper among the tiger lilies. With her boney, age-stained fingers, she picked it up. School Starts, it read. On Monday in the Square, continued on the back. Her village had no school when she was a young girl.
"Oh, it's today!" She leaped up and began running. A smile flashed across her face as her knees no longer hurt, spots dotting her skin like plum-blossoms. Read more...
The second woman Wilson spoke with said she would be sending something out immediately. Her tone was much friendlier than the first woman's. The connection seemed cleaner, less buzzy, no background voices.
"How soon," he asked, believing she, the second woman, meant help was already on route, heading straight to his house.
"By the end of the day, sir."
The first woman had made Wilson suffer. After keeping him on hold for nearly an hour she'd been no help at all. She had repeatedly addressed him as Mr. Wilson, his first name. His surname was Wilcox. Had she assumed his first name was his last name and vice versa? Read more...
"Alex, dearest, are you ready?" Mother yelled up from the first floor.
"Not quite yet!" I shouted back. "There is a situation!"
"A situation?" Mother asked as I descended the stairs, my wooden companion following close behind. Tuck, ta-truck, ta-truck, it went. "What's this?"
"I can see that, Alex, I'm not blind. What I meant to say is why isn't it properly dressed if it intends to attend as your guest tonight!" Read more...
The Lime Spreaders
The lime spreaders would congregate in the Walmart parking lot at sunrise, waiting for the trucks to come. Sometimes it would be a white 4x4, its open bed weighed down by fifty-pound bags of quicklime. The driver would pick two capable men and drive off. Other trucks would come, sometimes a van, each opening their doors and letting the lime spreaders in. No one knew where the trucks would go that day. There were farm fields to the west unplanted. There were construction sites to the north where machines sat idle, the ground a barren patch of dirt. The cemeteries all around had reached full capacity. Read more...
Just after 8pm Michaela Andreskaya started to sneeze uncontrollably; her sneezing bout lasted until 7pm the following day, at which point she died. This was equivalent, Manetti noted, to the entire child population of a small Austrian town standing on their doorsteps and sneezing in unison every minute for thirty minutes, and then the boy children going back in, and just the girl children remaining there and continuing to sneeze for a further four minutes. Read more...
The two cypress trees have friendly shadows. Their roots have been digging a passage into the basement for years, intent on breaking in. The moss that grows abundantly on the outer walls makes a spicy reddish-orange soup. My breath comes out as dark as smoke, without the smell. I gain an intimate understanding of the House. I know it as only I can, from the foundation. I know the space it occupies, exactly; I know the currents that run underneath, and how they lead to the sea.
Men who pay to have their futures told are easily disappointed, and chronically dissatisfied. They all seem to urinate on the same fencepost as they leave. Read more...
I had been expecting the heating element in my dryer to die since I purchased the unit over a year ago. There was no reason for it to die, but I always managed my expectations, with the dial set on "Goodbye."
The technician who came to repair the dryer introduced himself as a plumber. He only repaired laundry machines under protest, and he moonlighted as a barber. "Hair is my real passion," he revealed.
As he unscrewed panels and fiddled with wires, the technician told me a story about his last client. Read more...
From the top of the hill I saw, to my keen disappointment, that this was not a pleasant coastal town at all, but rather a monstrous octopus of some kind that passed itself off as an urban conglomeration. I already knew octopuses were excellent mimics with highly evolved intelligence and that they impersonated, for defensive and predatory reasons, sea snakes, jellyfish and stingrays, as well as many other creatures. It seemed they had now taken mimicry to the next level and were imitating entire cities.
What were their motives for doing so, I wondered. What were they trying to achieve? 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.