Very Slight Stories | Like short stories, only shorter.

'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Tuesday, August 30, 2005


The Show

   There were hundreds of people rushing about backstage on the day of the show. Performers were trying to find their costumes, the fake snow was being tested. Vincent, the MC, was walking slowly through it all with a gin and tonic in his hand, a slice of lemon on the glass. Ruth looked up and her eyes met those of a stage hand. They smiled at each other, and when she was walking past him later he said to her, "I saw you rehearsing earlier. You were very good."
   "Thanks... Do y' know the way I was eating crisps all the time?"
   "I'm supposed to do that."
   "I know. You did it very well."
   "Do you want to go for a drink after the show?"
   "I'd love to."
   People continued to rush about all around them, as they smiled at each other. The fake snow stopped for a while, then it all came down at once.
   In the evening, Vincent walked onto the stage to the applause of the audience. He took a quick look at his card and said, "And now it's time for Mrs. Frank Sinatra."
   He looked down at the card again. The words 'Mrs. Frank Sinatra' had been added in with a blue pen, the old name crossed out. Billy and Tom had told him at least twenty times during the day that they were going to write 'Mrs. Frank Sinatra' on his card. Billy had poked him in the shoulder while saying, "We're going to write 'Mrs. Frank Sinatra' on your card."
   Vincent didn't feel like laughing then, when he was standing on the stage. He'd been staring at the card in silence for over thirty seconds, and he thought it would look odd if he started laughing then.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


Annabel and David

   Annabel looks through a magazine on the plane, the sun shining in on her face. An air hostess hands her a glass of champagne.
   She waits on the lawn for Chloe, in her all-white tennis outfit. She takes a practise swing with her racket.
   In the evening she stands on another lawn with David. She looks at her red finger nails. David watches the game of croquet. Emma laughs after she misses the ball completely. David takes a sip of his drink and says to Annabel, "This is just like Romeo and Juliet... Only without the drunk swans."
   She sighs and shakes her head as she wonders if she can let this one pass. She looks at the sky and shakes her head again. She looks down, with her hand on her forehead. She really wants to forget about this, but she can't. She points behind her at the swans swaying from side to side. One of them falls over. He looks at them and says, "Ahhhh."

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


The Field

   The field is full of limestone rocks and wild flowers. A small crowd have gathered here for the launch of a project to build a heritage centre. Cyril makes a speech to mark the occasion. "A tree and now a... now. No, that's... A field where I live. Our mindset, they say, our... and my feet. And blue things... Wonder Woman told me to say this. She wrote this as a poem and asked me to read it out."
   Someone from the crowd says, "You're just looking for someone to blame. And you're blaming Wonder Woman."
   "No, no. I'm... Look at that." He points at something behind them. They turn around, and they see two men standing in the middle of the field. One is wearing a suit. The other wears a dark overcoat and a hat. The man in the suit holds a snow dome. He shakes it, and then looks into it as the snow settles. He points at something in the snow dome and says, "Is that like the thing those skinheads made you buy?"
   "Stop asking me that," the man in the overcoat says.
   When they turn back, Cyril is running away, being chased by Wonder Woman.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005


A Garden Party

   Grace looks towards the horizon where the sun has just set. The garden around her disappears in the fading light, but the ground and her feet are still there below, her knees falling asleep. She's holding a drink, with ice in the glass, a glint in her eye that says hello. Colin says hello, and asks for her name and number. She takes a black pen from her bag and writes a name and number on his forehead, but she writes the name of her penguin instead of her own.
   On the following day she goes to the kitchen to look for her glasses. She lies to her knees about how much she values their opinion when they suggest looking in the garden. There are empty bottles in a box near the table, jars of honey lined up all along a shelf, but only one of them has a moustache. As she looks in a cupboard beneath the sink, one of the honey jars behind her says, "You probably left them on your head."
   She turns around and says, "Now which one of ye said that?" Silence from the honey jars.
   Colin is having a picnic in the country. He says, "You know, ever since I first saw you I knew we had to spend time together like this."
   The penguin looks around, but there's no one else there.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005



   Jenny looked at the clouds flying by in the sky above. She noticed a flashing neon sign that said 'looking at clouds'. Graham came along asked her what she was doing. "I'm..." She panicked, and she couldn't think of anything to say. But then she noticed another neon sign, so she just read that: "I'm waiting for Alan."
   Graham was going to ask who Alan was, but he wasn't interested. Jenny was glad he didn't ask.
   That evening, Jenny, Graham and the others stood in the garden as the sun went down. In the house, two thieves were looking at the safe, wondering how to blow it up without hurting the sleeping kitten on top. After thinking about it for ten minutes, they put ear muffs on the kitten, and attached the explosives to the safe.
   Jenny saw them through the conservatory. She said, "There are two men trying to blow up the safe and the kitten is asleep on top."
   She read that from a flashing neon sign too. The thieves looked up, and they froze when they saw her looking in at them, but the other people in the garden didn't even look in their direction. No one really listens to Jenny.

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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