Very Slight Stories | Like short stories, only shorter.

'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Tuesday, April 25, 2006


Dan Versus the Fairies

   Dan was locking up his pub one night when he heard a knock at the back door. He often heard a knock at the back door after he'd locked up, and it was normally one of his customers looking for directions to their house and a bottle of something to help them find it, but when he opened the door he was confronted by the fairies.
   One of them said, "We're having a party and we've run short of drink. We need to re-stock."
   The fairy gave Dan a bag made of dark green cloth, and when he looked inside it was full of gold coins. "Take whatever ye want," Dan said.
   The fairies rushed into the kitchen and through to the pub. Within seconds the place was full of them, and the noise of their laughter and song was almost deafening. The pub emptied as quickly as it had filled. They ran out through the back door and Dan heard the laughter fade into the night.
   They had taken almost every bottle in the place. Dan looked into the bag, but instead of the gold coins he saw earlier, it was full of nicotine patches. Used ones, too.
   On the following day, he told his regulars about what had happened, and he plotted his revenge. They told him he was crazy to take on the fairies, but he took no notice. "No one fecks me over and gets away with it," he said.
   He went to see Sean, his local politician, and asked for his help.
   "What can I do?" Sean said.
   "I don't know. Bring it up at the next Council meeting or something."
   "I'm sort of banned from the Council meetings for a while. I suppose I could write them a letter anyway."
   A few days later, Sean called into the pub and said he wrote to the fairies and he got a response. Dan was supposed to meet them at the fairy fort after midnight, and they'd pay him back in full.
   Dan was there at midnight, and he was still on his own half an hour later. He was getting ready to go home, but the fairies appeared around him as quickly as they had entered his pub. One of them asked if he'd like to hear a song before they got down to business, and Dan thought it would be rude to refuse. One of the fairies started playing the fiddle before he responded anyway.
   Dan was mesmerised by the music. He lost all sense of time. The fairies disappeared in a matter of seconds, and when Dan looked around it was dawn. They had left without paying again, but that wasn't the worst thing they had done to him. They had shaved two words on the back of his head. The second one was 'off'.
   Sean was wearing a gold medallion when Dan met him. "I'm adding you to the list," Dan said.
   "But you'll still vote for me? I'll sort out the planning for the car park."
   "I'm adding your name to the list anyway."
   "Good man yourself."
   When Dan got home there was a letter with Sean's smiling face at the top of the notepaper. It said: 'I hope, at the next election, you'll remember how I helped you out of your recent difficulties'.
   He underlined Sean's name on the list, but the fairies were still the immediate priority.
   He went to see Thomas, an old man who had many meetings with the fairies in the past. He had two suggestions. One involved a bus and was a lot like the film 'Speed'. The other was to sell them a pigeon that supposedly has special powers, and tell them he'll make the bird come home if they try to con him again.
   "I thought the fairies could talk to birds," Dan said.
   "That's true, but pigeons are notorious liars."
   He borrowed a homing pigeon from a friend of his, and he went to meet the fairies again that night. He said to them, "This pigeon can make hares and rabbits do things, sometimes to each other. I'll sell it ye, and if ye try anything funny, I'll make the bird come home."
   One of the fairies asked the pigeon if this was true. Dan didn't understand the pigeon's response until the fairy turned to him and said, "So it was you who stole our spoons."
   Dan didn't have time to complain to the pigeon. The fairies spent the night chasing him up and down the hills, laughing and rolling through the grass as they ran after him. When he got back to his pub in the morning, most of the drink was gone again.
   He never told the real story of what happened that night. He said he'd out-smarted the fairies, and he made up a story about a bomb on a bus.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


A Safe

   We needed some money to pay for the repairs after a slight accident with a cricket bat, so myself, Jimmy and Chadwick went to a casino. Jimmy suggested we try our luck at the roulette table because he had a system that couldn't fail.
   When we were all dressed in black, with black balaclavas, and we were in a dark room, about to break into a safe, I said to Jimmy, "So your system is basically just stealing diamonds?"
   "Basically, yeah."
   "What does that have to do with roulette?"
   "I don't know exactly. A man with a hood on his head told me about it. I didn't like to question his methods. He also said something about 'the four walls full of tears'. I definitely didn't want to question him about that."
   We went to see this man. He was hammering a wheel when we arrived. We asked about his system and he said, "I'll say just one thing to ye. You can stand in the woods in the blackest night, and words will fail you then. And what will you have then? You'll have a memory of what you had before the dark clouds came your way."
   None of us wanted to ask about that. We went back to the safe, but we didn't know how to open the thing. We spent a long time just looking at it.
   Chadwick said, "'The' is a fine word. It's much better than 'a'. 'A' doesn't know what it's doing. 'A' would be the police scratching their heads at a crime scene, wondering who could have carried it out, and 'the' would be Superman or James Bond who arrive on the scene, solve the crime and calmly deal with the villain, using a toothpick to get out of a tricky situation."
   We looked at the safe again. "Okay, the safe," I said.
   Jimmy finished his Martini, put out his cigarette, made sure his gun was in the inside pocket of his white dinner jacket, straightened his tie, and ran screaming into the wall. He lay motionless on the ground. We poked him with a stick, but he didn't move for about an hour.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


This Gregarious Weasel

   Jimmy and his friend Chadwick called in to see Anna one morning. She was looking after her sister's pet weasel for the day, and she was playing with the weasel in the garden when Jimmy and Chadwick arrived. She asked them to look after it while she went inside to answer the phone.
   There was a tennis racket and a ball on the lawn. Chadwick picked them up, and he was going to hit the ball away for the weasel to fetch it, but the weasel went for the racket instead of the ball, and it hit him on the head during the follow through. The weasel lay on his back, with his paws in the air.
   "You've killed him," Jimmy said.
   When Anna came back out, Chadwick picked up the weasel and said, "As you can see, the weasel is currently engaged in non-utterance, for reasons accrued over a long period of time, through a variety of sources, chief amongst them being, doing and saying 'I'm chief amongst them'."
   They went to a birthday party at a neighbour's house. They took a photo of the weasel wearing a party hat, with Chadwich holding him up all the time. He spoke in the voice of the weasel when he told them about the best places for fishing. "I've been fishing allll around the country (Chadwick moved the weasel's paw all around when he said 'allll'). People sometimes think I'm a little monkey, but the last monkey I saw fishing, he just didn't know what he was doing. It was so funny."
   "This gregarious weasel," Chadwick said in his own voice, "so full of life and love. Especially life." He was still moving the weasel's paws around as he spoke, but no one seemed to notice.
   Back at Anna's place he said to the weasel, "Will you do your little dance there? Go on, do your little dance there. Do the dance you were doing earlier. Go on... No, he won't do it now. He's too tired after all the dancing he was doing earlier. No, he will!" Chadwick moved the weasel about in a dance. "He'll be very tired after that."
   Chadwick thought the owner would surely notice that there was something different about the weasel, so he decided to throw him over the hedge and say he ran away. "He'd be better off in the wild anyway," he said to Jimmy. "Even when he's dead. Especially when he's dead."
   When Anna went inside, Chadwick went over to the hedge. He swung the weasel back and forth a few times in preparation for his throw, but on the final backswing, the weasel regained consciousness and jumped out of his arms.
   The weasel ran around in circles for a while, and then he stopped and glared at Chadwick.
   "So he wasn't dead?" Jimmy said.
   Anna's sister arrived shortly after that. The weasel continued to glare at Chadwick, even as he was being led away in his owner's arms.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


Off to the Races with Salman Rushdie

   My friend Jimmy got a tip on a horse who couldn't lose because he had a toy soldier stuck in one of his hooves during all of his previous races. He even won some of them, and he was much quicker without the toy soldier. So we needed to get to the race track, and Salman Rushdie said he'd help get us there. He said he was Salman Rushdie too.
   We ended up in a dimly lit building with red walls, and red upholstery on all of the furniture. A woman was talking to us in a Transylvanian accent. It sounded much more like a Meath accent, but she had fake fangs in her mouth and she moved her hands about like Dracula to make the accent sound more Transylvanian. She had to move her hands about a lot to compensate for the Meath accent.
   She told us about the time she was stuck on Hill 16 with the Dublin fans the time Meath beat Dublin in the football. Salman Rushdie asked her what part of Transylvania she comes from. I don't think he's really Salman Rushdie.
   He said to her, "Well now, the races. We need to get to the race track, in all probability, with great expediency... What's that other word?"
   "Blood?" she said.
   "Yeah. We need to get to the race track to back a horse in the three-twenty."
   "I know someone from Navan who could help ye out."
   We all know someone from Navan, but how many of them can help you out when you're nowhere near Navan?
   She took us to an old house with a dog in a pram. He was alseep. The pram just had three wheels. We could see that the dog had four paws because they were all sticking up in the air as he slept.
   Her friend from Navan was there too, but he looked lost.
   "Ah, thanks," Salman Rushdie said to her.
   "You owe me fifty quid for that."
   Salman Rushdie emptied out his pockets to show they were empty, so we had to pay for that.
   "You're not really Salman Rushdie, are you," I said.

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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