The Cafe Irreal: International Imagination 

Issue Fifteen

The Life Of Alonso Quijano, To Rise/To Fall, & Gerontomachy by Emilio Martinez
Shuteye by Bob Thurber
Magoria by Alexandra Berková
Liquid Hotel by Michael Overa
Sleeping Prescription: Directions and Cautions by Steven Schutzman
Botanical Curiosities & The Golden Apple by Margarita Engle
Selections from O, Vozque Pulp by Derek White
Gypsy by Saeed Tavakkol
Best, The Lion, & Children of God by Beate Sigriddaughter


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Sleeping Prescription:
Directions and Cautions
by Steven Schutzman


Direction: Relax. Clear your thoughts and take the pill. The pill has proven to be an effective pill. A family member, friend or your doctor may have recommended the pill. But response or onset time of the pill varies; i.e., your brother, a friend or even your doctor may have felt its effects sooner.

Caution: Thinking about the effectiveness of the pill may cancel the effects of the pill.

Direction: Relax. If the pill doesn't seem to be working, it isn't working. There is no mistaking the onset of the effects of the pill when it works.

Direction: Relax. The night only seems to be lasting forever.

Direction: Relax. If the pill doesn't seem to be working, taking a second pill may enhance the effects of the first pill.

Caution: Debating whether or not to take a second pill may cancel the effects of the first pill.

Caution: This is up to you alone as you knew all along. No one else can help.

Caution: Your thoughts may be hiding other thoughts.

Caution: Trying to discern the truth of your thoughts may be impossible in your present state of mind.

Direction: Relax. Clear your thoughts and take the second pill. A second pill has proven to be effective for whole families, a lifetime of friends, doctors in group practices. Response or onset time varies.

Caution: Thinking about either pill may negate the effects of both pills.

Direction: Relax. It may help to notice the pill resembles a full moon in the night sky or a different moon hanging inside your head or brain, or a mind at peace on a sea of darkness, afloat, suspended, held there without trying. These resemblances may bring on the feeling of sleepiness. The pill may also remind you of your wife's exceptional backside or breasts, or of other exceptional ones belonging to other women. Recalling these bodies may enhance the effects of the pill. Or perhaps they fail to bring on a peaceful feeling.

Caution: The moon may become an interrogating light.

Caution: Unwanted bodies may be strewn along the path in postures of wanting.

Caution: You may see men groaning under loads of sticks.

Caution: There may be voices or sudden unexpected animal actions and these may not bring on the feeling of sleepiness.

Direction: Relax. You are the sky. Your thoughts are the clouds. Let them pass on in you.

Direction: Relax. If you live along a river, watch the river.

Caution: Many people may not live along rivers. If you are one of these people you might try to remember a few phrases in a foreign language, lonely phrases. This may be a last resort and bring on terrible self-accusations.

Caution: Do not take another pill. The two you have already taken are more than enough in most cases. The third pill may join the first two to become a gang of pills, laying in wait in places you can't get to inside your body.

Caution: The inside of your body is very close yet impossible to reach without the proper instruments. Do not try to reach the inside of your body on your own.




Steven Schutzman is a fiction writer and playwright, the author of six published books and numerous plays and stories in literary magazines including The Pushcart Prize, TriQuarterly, Cyanosis and The Alaska Quarterly Review.


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