Logo of Cafe Irreal literary magazine
"Stories that reject the tendency to portray people and places realistically and the need for a full resolution to the story; instead, it shows us a reality constantly being undermined."
Yes, till April 1, 2023
Vibe: Send us your best but less intimidating
Response time:
2 months
1 cent/word
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Important stuff

Pays! 1 cent/word, $2 min
Sometimes accept previously published: "only interested in reprints in unusual cases (e.g., the story has appeared in print but not on the internet)"
Promote writers even after publication - hype hype hype
No simultaneous submissions




Max words: 2000Regarding submission of more than one story at a time, we will consider up to 2,000 words submitted by a single author at a given time, either one story or a number of short shorts.


Max words: 2000


We currently list only main editors, more will be added later!
If you're an editor, you can edit your masthead in our admin panel :)

G.S. Evans


Alice Whittenburg



'Meetings at Museums' by Katy Wimhurst

I first encountered Leonora Carrington on a bench outside the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City. It was the late 1990s, she must have been in her 70s, and I recognised her from photos. A large Siamese cat rested on her lap and she wore a headdress adorned with white cow horns. I stopped walking and nodded hello. 'My mother is a cow,' she said, her fierce dark eyes on something in the distance. Was that addressed to me or had it spilled from her mouth accidentally? 'Is that why you're wearing those horns?' I asked. She fixed her gaze on me. 'They're not horns. They're crescent moons.' 'Oh,' I said. Not a very inspiring response but it wasn't everyday you were rebuffed by a well-known Mexican artist. 'Have you been to the museum?' I asked, trying to make small-talk.
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'Dead Bugs and Lovers' by Meg Pokrass

Yesterday, I tripped over a familiar young woman lying on the sidewalk and almost fell. "Watch where you're walking," the young woman said in a less than friendly tone. "What are you doing there?" I asked. "You could get hurt or cause someone to have a really bad spill." "I'm resting," she said. She had a bright ready smile. Men and women walked around us unconsciously like a wave moving around two large rocks in a stream. I reached my hand down to help her up, but she said she was fine and invited me to lie down with her. A few pigeons were hopping toward her, but I shooed them away. Then I lay down with her in the bright sun on a very busy sidewalk. Our conversation became intimate quickly. She told me that her ex-lover—a man who ate dead bugs for a living—had left her penniless after months of sitting on a blanket with an empty coin cup. "He collected buckets of dead bugs and stored them in the living room," she said.
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'Closed Indefinitely' by Peter Cherches

So, after three transfers, one more than expected, due to a rerouting caused by some kind of incident, no further details forthcoming, on one of the main thoroughfares, necessitating I walk three blocks out of my way to catch the alternate bus that would get me to my destination in the shortest amount of time, what do I discover but that the place is no longer there. I don't mean closed, shut down, out of business, I mean literally no longer there, gone, kaput. The street address was number 55, but now numbers 53 and 57 sat side by side, Lee's Dry Cleaning and Shmulewitz Hardware, the numbers clearly visible on the shops' respective transoms. What happened to number 55? I had to pick up something of great importance at number 55. How could a whole shop just disappear, without even a placeholder in its stead? Should I ask at one of the other shops? I tried Lee's. After an exchange of hellos, I said to the woman, "What happened to the store next door?"
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'That Which Does Not Kill Us' by Peter Grandbois

I'm fifty-six. I've seen death. I've seen betrayal. I once held a mother as she cried, begging God to kill her child and spare him from the torment he suffered due to OCD. But in all my life, I've never seen someone as sad as the ten-year-old girl I met when I was not much older, the girl whose cat had just hung itself by its leash on the picket fence edging our park. A Calico. She'd taken it for a walk before dinner. She told me she'd used the leash because she didn't want it to get away. But of course it did. By the time she'd found it, the cat was already dead. It must have climbed the fence, and when it jumped down, the leash got caught. I wandered by five minutes later and found her there, on her knees, before the cat.
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