Very Slight Stories | Like short stories, only shorter.

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


The Little Grey Men

   Jimmy decided to do a bungee jump off a bridge one morning. A man called Steve had set up the bungee cord, and he was charging twenty quid for each jump.
   Myself and Chadwick went along to have a look. The cord was attached to Jimmy's feet, and after a few deep breaths he jumped. He screamed as he fell, and the scream faded to silence. After a few minutes Chadwick said to Steve, "Aren't they supposed to come back up again?"
   "Sometimes they don't. It happens from time to time. There was a fella who jumped a few weeks ago and I haven't seen him since."
   "I suppose he'd be back by now if he was coming back at all."
   "I'd say so."
   Myself and Chadwick waited on for another few minutes, and then we went to see Miles and Monica, who lived just up the road. She keeps telling him his knees are on fire and he keeps falling for it, and she keeps writing letters of complaint to the County Council, but that's just a hobby.
   She did give him some great advice on what to do with the grey men who were following him. The grey men have no political beliefs, but they do have very strong opinions on the alphabet. They cheer 'A's and boo 'B's and leave before 'C's start to speak, but the 'C's never say very much without the support of other letters. Monica's idea was to form a coalition of letters that would keep the grey men happy.
   It took many hours of negotiation and argument to form the coalition. At first they settled on T, N and A, but the grey men were furious when they realised it spelt 'ant'. In the end they all agreed that L and M would make the best coalition. The grey men were much friendlier towards Miles after this.
   But Monica wasn't happy with it because she was hoping to get rid of them. The little grey men were like little black spots on the style she was trying to create around the house. Those spots got bigger when Miles taught the grey men how to dance. She painted a grey concrete wall red to cheer herself up, and it did make her happy. The grey men wondered if they should be afraid or happy or sad, or if they should go back to digging that hole they've been digging. They decided to blame Miles instead. They protested against everything he did, following him around with anti-Miles placards.
   When myself and Chadwick arrived he was trying to cut the lawn. The grey men were all around him, holding placards. We looked at that for half an hour, and then we went to the pub.
   Jimmy was at the bar with a woman in a short black dress. Her name was Tracey. When she was introduced to us she said 'hi' and waved by moving her fingers about.
   We told him about Miles and the little grey men, and he said, "I'll sort those little feckers out."
   He finished his pint and left the pub. I wondered if he really had a plan or if he was just doing this to impress Tracey. I still wondered that when I saw him running around the garden, chasing the grey men with a stick. They eventually ran away, saying, "We really should get back to digging that hole we've been digging."

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


When You Have All These Moths

   When you have all these moths, and you're wondering what all these moths are going to do, it's worth remembering that fate is the thing in your ear that says, "Ha! I'm in your ear now." I'm more worried about the thing on my foot.
   The milkman's name is Fred and his broom stick is a Doberman, and he wants to give up being a witch and focus on being a milkman, but he doesn't want to disappoint his wife again. I asked him about the thing on my foot. I thought he might know something about it, as a witch, not as a milkman, but he just left me alone with his wife.
   She often pretended to be someone else because it didn't feel right when she pretended to be someone she was. Thursdays bring hats and scarves, and they always help her pretend to be someone else. Fridays bring coffee. The dogs come around every Monday on this merry-go-round of days. They always look surprised.
   She said that something might arrive on Sunday that could help with my foot, but all that arrived was a cake. She was pretending to be a French actress on Sunday. We went to a museum of people holding their hands in the air and singing sighing songs. The songs and the hands seemed to contradict each other. Their eyes sided with the songs.
   We stood outside in the late afternoon, facing the sun, singing songs with our hands in the air. The thing in my ear hummed along, and it didn't seem so sad. I completely forgot about the thing on my foot. That was the beginning of our brief affair, and it ended an hour later when Fred and his broom stick walked into a room. I convinced him that I was having an affair with a French actress and I left. We'll all meet again some faraway day at the edge of the Arctic Circle, because we're afraid. Of pandas. And whatever the moths are going to do, it'll be an anti-climax.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


This Tap

   We wear the clothes to be the way we were when were sitting on armchairs, watching the smoke from cigarettes rise to the ceiling. I had a tap in my hand when I held out my palm and the only thing I could see about my future in my palm was that I'd have a tap in my hand. My palm said nothing about this Tiffany and that Latin American music that makes her think she's that bird, and that bird is trying to figure out a way of looking at himself.
   I had a golden afternoon and a tap. She had dancing feet, and when we opened the gate to Wednesday we could say we were the owners of that garden, and we said 'so there' to everything in Tuesday that made us want to live in a basement, but we might live in a basement anyway.
   I was holding a tap on Thursday. I held it up for the bird, so he could look at his reflection in the chrome, but he looked like Batman in the tap. She didn't like the music anymore because it made her think she was a bird that looked like Batman. She had no intention of filling the silence. The bird was too surprised to say anything. Even if you close your eyes on a silent Thursday, all you can see is milk bottles and a light blue sky, stray dogs and falling deck chairs; spinning slowly around and around until you can say 'will you marry me?' or 'don't do with the bottle top what you did with your aunt's ints something, I don't know. Will you marry me?'. The answer's always the same. I can't help thinking it would have been different if I'd asked her before she saw the bird as Batman, or if I wasn't spinning around.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Twenty-Three Things

   There are twenty-three things or an avalanche of things and there's also a wasp, and he's looking at himself in the mirror, or else there's just one thing and I hope it's not the wasp. I hope it's Jenny saying hello.
   She's been having trouble with all the little wizards of Oz who keep knocking at her door looking for strawberries, and she throws the strawberries at their foreheads now but still they keep knocking.
   The wasp keeps flying into her forehead. She says, "Watch where you're going," but it doesn't make any difference.
   The people who live in the mansion down the road spent a long time searching for the right sort of servants who could fix raffles and draws, and shoot zebras if they had to, but they wouldn't have to. I thought the servants could help Jenny with the wizards and the wasp. They could shoot the wasp, if they had to.
   But they just sent all the wizards who call to their house over to her house. Now she won't open her front door when I call. The grey clouds form above and it's the end of the world. And all that's left to do is tap someone on the shoulder and say, "I drew a horsie."
   "Only half of it looks like a horse."
   Yeah, I know.

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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