Very Slight Stories | Like short stories, only shorter.

'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
Click here to buy the paperback or download the ebook for free.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


By the Sea

   Bill and Adam stand in an empty car park near the sea, a strong breeze blowing litter over the ground around them. The only sound is from the seagulls and the breeze. A piece of paper rolls along the ground. Adam points at it and says, "That's where you went to school." Bill looks down as it passes by, carried away by the breeze.
   After a wedding they stand in the church yard and pose for photos. They wait in the background as the family photos are being taken. Susanne puts her hat on a dog and laughs. Bill points at the dog and says to Adam, "That's what you look like." Adam looks down at the dog and the dog looks back up at him.
   On a quiet beach, Bill looks out to sea, the wind on his face. Adam is a few yards away, looking down the beach. The only sound is from the wind and a barking dog. A small grey house moves around on the sand and then runs away with the dogs. "That's where you live," Adam says as he points at the house and the dogs.
   The dog from the wedding ended up judging the swimsuit section of a beauty contest, all because he was wearing a hat. He looked very thoughtful in the hat, and people valued his opinion.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


Out in the Fields

   Some of the kids run in circles through the long grass and wild flowers; others look at the kite in the clear blue sky above. Their parents stand in the shade of a tree. Hugh stares at Carol as she walks around the field with a friend of hers.
   "Do you think someone would be upset if they got a Valentine's card from a monkey?" Jason says to Hugh.
   "I don't know," Hugh says, and he doesn't take his eyes off Carol.
   "Jimmy was saying it'd probably depend on the monkey."
   Carol looks over towards Hugh and he looks away.
   Later in the afternoon, when they go back inside, he gets a chance to talk to her. He says he bought a carpet off his uncle and she says she found the key ring in someone's tree. The goldfish swim around in their bowl and a record plays goldfish music; goldfish sleeping in a something thing, Jack Frost nipping at your nose.
   No, sorry. That's a different song. A different time of year.
   In the evening, Isobel stares at a painting on the wall. Jason says to her, "What do you think of monkeys?"
   "It doesn't even look like a boat," she says as she points at something in the painting.
   Carol and Hugh slowly move towards each other, their eyes locked, mistletoe hanging above them.
   Sorry about that. It's my fault. I got the wrong song earlier.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


Summer Days

   It's three o' clock on a July day and there isn't a cloud in the sky. Barry is standing near the kitchen sink with a jug of water in one hand and a bottle of white spirits in the other. He pours the water into a glass and he pours the white spirits into a jam jar. He looks closely at the jar as he pours the white spirits and he stops when it's at the same level as the water. He looks at both of them for a while, then he pours a little bit more water.
   Water: I'm taller than you.
   Barry pours more white spirits into the jam jar.
   White Spirits: You're taller than me, are you? Well that's odd because I'm looking down on you.
   Barry pours more water.
   Water: Ha! I'm looking down on you now.
   He pours some more white spirits.
   White Spirits: Oh so you're looking down on me, are you? Well then I suppose I'll have to look up to see you. Hm, that's odd. I can't see you at all. I suppose I'll have to try looking down. Ha!
   Barry pours the water again.
   Water: How can you be looking down on me if I'm looking down on you?
   He pours some more white spirits.
   White Spirits: I don't know what you're looking down on because I'm looking down on you.
   Water: They just use you to clean paint brushes.
   White Spirits: They use you to wash the dog so he doesn't have to lick himself.
   Barry pours the water.
   Water: Ha! Now I'm definitely looking down on you. From up here I can see that they've just been painting the... bucket. The one the cat sleeps in. And they're going to use you to clean the brushes.
   Barry pours a little bit more white spirits.
   White Spirits: That's odd. I'm higher than you now and I can't see that at all.
   He pours the water.
   Water: Yeah well I don't know what you're looking at if you think you're higher than me.
   Barry's mother comes into the kitchen and says to him, "Why are you pouring white spirits into a jam jar?"
   "Just for something to do."
   "Put it back in the bottle."
   Barry starts pouring the white spirits back in the bottle and his mother says, "There are plenty things to be done. The dog needs to be washed."
   White Spirits: From where I am I can see the dog, and I think he's just been swimming in the pond and running through the fields. He's been trying to marry the flowerbeds again too.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005


Tennis in the Afternoon

   Chloe and Adam play tennis in the afternoon, and then they sit under a parasol at a table. She laughs at one of his jokes about people falling off bikes, and he throws sticks at things that move.
   Her young sister goes over to them. She's holding two daisies, and she says to Adam, "Do you think this daisy would like to marry this daisy?"
   He doesn't know what he should throw a stick at in response to that. He doesn't know what to do.
   The sun goes down and the stars begin to appear in the sky above. He's still trying to answer the question. As they stand in the garden, he points at a tree and says, "It's..."
   An earthworm in a bowler hat says to Chloe, "Back in the eighties, we had, ah... a tap with... the flowers on the windowsill and, ahm... Jimmy once said to me he had a fake knee and he was on a trampoline at the time, and, ahm..."
   "Do you even know what you're talking about?" Chloe says.
   "I'm just waiting for you to ask about the bowler hat."
   "I..." Adam says, still looking at the tree. There are tears in his eyes.

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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