Issue #77

Winter 2021

Three Stories

by Nikolaj Volgushev


I search my wallet to pay for the coffee, but the only thing of value I find is the dried wing of a bat, neatly folded. The waitress recoils when I offer it to her. 'There is an ATM, just around the corner,' she frowns. I'm forced to admit that I have no means to withdraw money. With a sigh, the waitress takes the bat wing from me, and disappears behind the counter. She returns eventually with a receipt and my change, three large, green beetles, which she dumps onto the table. I watch the insects scutter about the wooden surface. The waitress is already busy with another customer, and I'm too shy to point out that the change she gave is one beetle short.


Sheep serendipity

I'm carrying a sheep under my arm. It's very uncomfortable, despite all the wool I can't get a good grip. The sheep keeps bleating and kicking its legs. It's heavy and it smells. Perhaps I should just let the sheep walk on its own, but how do I know it won't run away? Eventually, I decide to take a break. I set the sheep down and tie it to a nearby parking meter. I duck into a cafe. When I return, the sheep is gone. I hear distant bleating and spot a man at the end of the street, lugging the sheep along under his arm. He is very slow, so it's no problem to keep up. What's more, the hapless thief is going in exactly the right direction. I walk along, sipping my coffee, elated by the fact that someone else is doing all the work now.


Winter coat

Out on a walk, I spot my winter coat hurrying down the street. But it's the height of summer! Shouldn't it be hanging in a closet somewhere, collecting dust? The coat is keeping to the shade, hunched and sneaky, like some sort of scoundrel, like it's got something to hide. To be honest, I've always thought my winter coat looked kind of shifty, the way most secondhand peacoats do. Seeing it out and about on its own, pursuing God knows what nefarious coat business, only confirms my suspicions. 'Where do you think you're going?' I yell and pick up my coat's pursuit, worried I will be the one to answer for whatever mischief it might cause.

Author Bio

fallen leaf

Nikolaj Volgushev's fiction has appeared in The Cafe Irreal, Hoot, Cleaver Magazine, Cease, Cows, and other journals. Some of his work can be found at He currently lives in Berlin, Germany, where he writes, programs, and does other things along those lines. His short story "Pete and the Elephant" appeared in Issue 55 of The Cafe Irreal, and his fiction has also appeared in Issues 72 and 74.