Issue #90

Spring Issue | May 2024

In this Issue:

Hobbesian Hideaway, Accused, and Human Kindness by Peter Cherches


Hobbesian Hideaway

I wanted an ice cream cone, but I didn't understand the flavors at Ike's Creamery. They didn't have the standard flavors, like vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry, but they also didn't have understandable proprietary flavors. At least Ample Hills Creamery provided ingredients for their more fanciful flavor names, like It Came from Gowanus. But I could make neither head nor tail of flavor names like Hobbesian Hideaway, Smelted Copper Fantasy, A Trip to Pluto, and Gabriel's Kazoo. "Do you give tastes?" I asked the pimply kid behind the counter.

"Sure, Pops, whatcha wanna try?"

"Let me get a taste of Gabriel's Kazoo."

& by Tadhg Wallace


The & had decided Earth was worth about nine universal bucks, and the Earthlings were, by and large, receptive to this estimate. Of course it was the government speaking for the people, and the people speaking for the land, but the deal was struck, and by the following week, some ninety odd percent of life had been graciously relocated to an & vitaworld or jubilee station, and on the whole, Earth was forgotten quite readily by its former inhabitants. There were the stragglers, those whose sentimentality for the past overpowered the future's allurement, and the &, naturally pacifistic and amorphous, allowed this, simply harvesting around these individuals' homes, like rocks tangled in a gardenbed, the tubers and wedding rings pulled out around them. Read more...

The Futility of Ideas by Cassie Margalit


I am a pencil—and yet you deny me my structure, spindly fibers of wood pulled together taut, a raft crashing through a storm, the raft that kills the storm—the storm is I. Does anyone realize how rafts work?

"'If one realizes how rafts work, one realizes the true secrets a pencil holds.' These devastating words uttered by John Austria will quickly change the view of all who behold them." — Penrose Chicago

The raft emanates from the waves. What a mistake to conceive of a desert island. You have a war between the land and the sea for original genesis. It doesn't matter anyhow. Read more...

Camping on the River of Blood and The Chaos Builders by Kurt Newton


Camping on the River of Blood

Every year it's the same. We pull our motor home into the slot, connect the water and sewage lines, then pour ourselves a stiff one over ice and sit.

"Is that it?" I asked one night, beneath the same old stars, the river a smooth, black, slow-moving body of water that hasn't seen a ripple or offered a croak or quack since I don't know when.

"What do you want? We're on vacation!" my wife trumpets.

"Vacation from what? Life?"

She gives me that look. She stares at the river for a moment. Read more...

Four Stories by Seth Wade


Socrates Mocks My Midlife Crisis at Waffle House

"Tell me, do new and better breakfast bowls remove your need to eat?"

I am a grown man now, weeping into his hash browns.

"Does progress necessarily produce happiness?"

I try to explain how I did everything right, that I played fair and don't deserve the life I've lived. That I wanted something else.

"Have you not gained from those around you? Have you not savored the sweet and crunchy waffles this symposium provides?" Read more...

Cminqe by Tim Boiteau


Cminqe (true pronunciation unknown) is a species of colonial organism of debatable classification once thought to be a myth until the discovery of fossil evidence of its spiny sail in the 21st century in the Cminqe Mountains.

Cminqe may also refer to:

—the Cminqe Mountains in the Northwest Territories, Canada

—Cminqe Peak, the highest peak of the Cminqe Mountains, which had been perpetually buried beneath snow until the late 1990s Read more...

The Apartment Above by Ryan Scott


Since childhood I've worn a pair of crab claws the color of fall leaves, with beige undersides, black nodules and serrated clasps. I used to drag them along the ground. Bumps and grooves rattled the carapace. The vibrations travelled to my jaw.

Most social interactions were impossible. Weather or jokes were okay. No handshakes or hugs. The claws have always been useful when opening cans or pruning trees.

At my last job, colleagues complained. HR said claws of any type contravened OHS guidelines. Not to mention the dress code. Read more...

The Mushroom Lovers by Katy Wimhurst


After her bath, Bella notices a patch of grey-brown spots on her arm, the size of a 50p piece. The next morning, she wakes to find each spot has grown into the shape of a Chinese fan, 2cm wide. 'What on earth?' she gasps.

'Let's go to the doctor,' Button advises.

At the surgery later, Dr Khan stares. 'Never seen anything like it, but it's not a carcinoma. I'll refer you to a dermatologist.'

Despite it not being far, they opt for a taxi home. Button's arthritis is bothersome and Bella gets so tired since her double mastectomy last year. Raindrops speckle the taxi window, make the kerbs glint. 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.