Very Slight Stories | Like short stories, only shorter.

'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Tuesday, June 28, 2005


A Street in the Rain

   Alison walks down a quiet street in the evening. It's been raining for most of the day. She holds a multi-coloured umbrella, and she remembers an autumn day, standing on a hill in the wind after the rain had cleared, twirling the umbrella around in her hands. This was a few years ago when she was walking in the hills with her sister and her sister's two kids, who were staring at the umbrella as it spun around. They went back to the car and drove to a small restaurant, where she met someone from the accountancy firm where she works. And then on the drive home they stopped for a while on the coast.
   The umbrella doesn't know that she's a receptionist for an accountancy firm. The umbrella thinks its owner is a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company. As they walk in the rain, the umbrella tells the streetlight above about how difficult it is to get into the RSC. "There are all sorts of auditions and things you have to go through. Lots of people want to get in there, and then when they fail..."
   The streetlight keeps moving slowly away and the umbrella's voice fades, but then another streetlight appears above and the umbrella says, "Oh, there you are. We're probably on our way to a play right now. I think it's Othello..."

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


A Picnic

   The sun is high in sky above, and the birds are singing in the trees. Joyce and Alan have found the perfect spot on a hill for their picnic. They sit on the rug in the sun, with a view of the countryside for miles around.
   After half an hour Alan decides the time has come to ask the question he's been practising all day. He looks for something in the picnic basket, and while his back is turned the sugar bowl and the milk jug switch places. He can't seem to find what he's looking for, and when he turns back towards Joyce he says, "Have you seen a... I thought I left the sugar bowl over there."
   Joyce just shrugs her shoulders, and Alan looks in the basket again. The jam runs away. The teapot thinks he's wearing his Batman costume, and he tries to fly after the jam to stop it, but the teapot remains completely still.
   Alan has found what he's looking for. He opens a small box and there's a diamond ring inside. "Joyce," he says, "I've known you for a long time now, and... Where's the jam?"
   "Why don't we just face in this direction."
   They turn away from the picnic and Alan says, "I've known you for a long time now, and I've never known anyone else like you. If I were a paperclip..."
   The jam has met two cows in a field. He's looking back and forth between them, trying to figure out what they're saying to each other.
   Back at the picnic, Alan and Joyce are kissing under a tree. The teapot hasn't moved in the past half hour. The milk has fallen over and the butter is trying to frighten the sugar bowl.
   Teapot: No wait, I'm thinking of Superman.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


In the Garden

   Bill: Coffee in the morning, smile on the face for the wife, kid, kid, kid, dog, cat. No, not cat. Cat has been 'not' since that unexpected speed bump. Dog has been happy but kid has been unhappy. Kid and kid weren't really bothered. They wanted to take photos.
   At midday, Amy rings the doorbell. There's a fish in the fish pond, but Amy is unaware of its existence. When the door opens, she steps inside and the fish is left all alone.
   Fish: It's my birthday today.
   Amy comes back out with the kids and their mother. The dog walks towards the hedge. He stops and looks up, as if he's trying to think of something. After a few seconds he turns around and walks back the way he came. He stops again.
   Fish: Or was it yesterday?
   The dog stares at the sky, then at the ground. "He laughed at my under-arm serve," Amy says. The dog looks towards the hedge and the fish is dead. The sprinkler is on.
   Fish: No, I'm only joking. I'm not dead at all. See!
   The fish rolls around in the fish pond but no one notices.
   Fish: Y' know, I never thought I'd be saying this, but I wish the cat was still alive.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


A Windswept Marshland

   The shadows of clouds move across the windswept marshland. A solitary tree bends in the wind. A rusting barbed wire fence is gradually disappearing into the ground, the wooden fence posts rotting away.
   A TV reporter says to a fence post, "And how long have you been waiting to get your tickets?"
   He holds out the microphone, but the fence post remains silent.
   The camera man says, "Bob, do you remember the time you were interviewing the sheep?"
   "Remember how they weren't very responsive when you asked them..."
   He stops talking when a space craft lands nearby. A door opens and two aliens step out. One of them says, "Greetings earthlings. Do not be afraid. We come in peace."
   The alien holds out his hand, but the fence post doesn't move and doesn't say a word.
   The camera man coughs and the aliens look at him. "I was just explaining this to Bob..."

The Tree and the Horse
Henry Seaward-Shannon
A Walk in the Rain
The East Cork Patents Office
Words are my favourite noises




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very slight stories

They Met a Bear
  They stopped in a small seaside town and they went for a walk. They met a bear.
  This is one version of the story. In another version, they met a sailor, and in this one they ended up being held at gunpoint on a speedboat and becoming unwilling participants in a diamond robbery while disguised as a cow, and sharing in the proceeds of that crime.
  So when they tell the story they just say, "We met a bear. He waved at us."

The Story of the Fortune Teller and the Alarm Clock
  A fortune teller threw an alarm clock at me. This story is deliberately lacking in details to mock the predictions of the fortune teller. Although she was right when she said she'd throw an alarm clock at me.

  One. Two. Three, the study. Four, a candle stick. Five. Six...
  Seven is missing, presumed dead. One has taken up the case, and two is helping him in his investigations. They both suspect six. Seven was last seen next to six in the garden.
  But seven isn't really dead. He's consumed half a bottle of whiskey and he's currently in the orchard, talking to a rabbit. "One of us is as boring as a gate post," he says, "and it's not..." He stops to count on his fingers. "No, actually it is me."
  Eight nine ten.

Debbie and his dog
  Debbie was sick of people mistaking her for a man.
  "Is your dog my parole officer?"
  She was sick of people asking her that too.

Very Slight Stories: like short stories, only shorter

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