Very Slight Stories | Like short stories, only shorter.

'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Tuesday, August 29, 2006


He has a Table

   Chadwick has a dog. Sometimes he's red and sometimes he's blue. The dog, that is. Chadwick is mostly green when he wears his green rain coat. He has a table. Sometimes his dog is grey. Sometimes the only words he can say are 'blue' and 'red'. Chadwick, that is. Sometimes the only word the dog can say is 'grey'.
   He, Chadwick, also has a drain pipe and a watch. He threw something once. He forgot what it was, and he regretted not remembering what he was holding before he threw it away, because there was nothing there to remember afterwards. It could have been something to put on his table, or it could have provided another word to say. The dog fetched something once, but Chadwick didn't want to put it on his table. He used the word that came with it a few times, but he threw that away too, and he can't remember what it was.
   He's happy. He has a rain coat and a table. He has a suitcase, which he uses once a year. Sometimes he puts his dinner on the table, because he'd like to find something to put on his table, but his dinner isn't that thing he's looking for. He nearly had a wedding once. He lost it in the morning when he found a narrow, winding road, on which he got lost.
   He puts the rain coat into the suitcase. The dog hides in a box. Chadwick often wonders what it would be like to have another table. He'd be less likely to forget he has a table, although he might forget he has two. He once had a moon that orbited his head, but that was just a bird. In the summer he has satellite bees and flies. They enhance his head. Ants enhance his pants if he stands in the garden for long enough. If he hadn't lost his wedding on his wedding day he probably would have said 'grey' instead of 'I do' and she'd have said, "You've been standing in the garden for too long."
   He found the word 'bitter' one winter day, and since then he's often used it before the word 'cold'. He hopes to find another word to use after 'cold'. So far he's tried 'red' and 'blue'. 'Blue' works better than 'red'. 'Table' doesn't work at all. He could have tied up all the loose ends in his life if table had worked. Some would say his wedding is a loose end, but he's forgotten about that.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


The Blue People

   This alien is good and that alien is bad. The same applies to these chickens. The blue people jump up and down when they can identify a chicken as good or bad. They live on a quiet street that rises to the top of a hill on the edge of a small town. They wear blue clothes and shoes, and a lot of them have dyed their hair blue.
   They found a box of sugar. They had a vote to determine if this was better than the time they found Art Garfunkel. They always have a vote to see if things are better or worse than finding Art Garfunkel, mainly to convince themselves that they did actually find Art Garfunkel. They all voted that finding him was better than finding the box of sugar, and this put a dampener on finding the sugar, especially seeing as they weren't convinced they'd actually found Art Garfunkel. Some of them thought it was one of the bad aliens in disguise.
   One of the blue people, Eoin, said he met a leprechaun who offered him three wishes in exchange for the sugar, and he agreed. "They gave me all these cobwebs as well," he said.
   "They 'gave' you all those cobwebs?"
   "Yeah. I was stealing their milk."
   Eoin once dived from a springboard into an empty pool. If he had been right in the head before that he'd have noticed the lack of water, and he certainly wasn't right after it.
   Some of Eoin's friends suggested that the leprechaun could be a bad alien, but he went ahead with the first of his three wishes. He wished that they could all understand Russian, because they once found a box full of Russian films. They could have got someone to translate the films, but there didn't seem much point after they unanimously agreed that finding the films wasn't as good as finding Art Garfunkel.
   They were all excited at the prospect of suddenly understanding a whole new language, and they tried talking to each other in Russian as soon as Eoin had made the wish, but they couldn't understand themselves or each other. They ran away when Russian gangsters arrived and demanded the films. This definitely seemed like the work of the bad aliens, and the blue people needed the help of the good aliens.
   The good aliens were hiking in the country. They found Willie Nelson (the bad aliens never found anything as good as Willie Nelson), and he was pointing out all the different birds when the blue people arrived. They paused for a while to get their breaths back, and Eoin noticed spiders in his hair where the cobwebs were. They told the good aliens and Willie Nelson about the Russian gangsters and the films. It was Willie Nelson who came up with the plan to solve the problem.
   He challenged the gansters to a game of tennis, and they accepted the challenge. Their pride wouldn't allow them to look afraid of Willie Nelson. He had trained yellow birds to pretend to be tennis balls. They could tuck their heads under their wings. He didn't really hit the birds when he served. They just took off to the other side of the court, and it was impossible to predict where they'd land. When the Russians served they always managed to find the net, or 'a' net (the spiders were busy building new nets all around the court). The Russians were scared of the spin that Willie Nelson put on the ball, and they eventually ran away.
   Willie Nelson started teaching the blue people Russian, so Eoin believed his wish came true after all. But he wasted the other two wishes on sugar and staples. That probably had more to do with the springboard than with the bad aliens.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006



   Claudia fell in love with a chef who was made out of water, and she was going to get a wolf to do something while she let her hair out to play, but she forgot about that as she watched her hair. She wrote a murder mystery with her fingernails. That's what she was going to get the wolf to do.
   She needed to base the murder mystery on real events if her finger nails were going to write it. She used friends as characters, and she got them to wear paper bags over their heads to make it more difficult to identify the murderer. But the events they created were hardly worth mentioning, nothing that could lead to a murder.
   They started drawing on each other's bags, which made it very easy to identify them. One of them drew a crown, and that's what gave them the idea of making themselves into chess pieces. Claudia got the idea of getting opponents with white paper bags to create tension. Chess involved knocking off opponents, which was ideal for her murder mystery.
   As she went looking for their opposition, the brown paper side went to the beach, wearing their light blue brains for the day. They forgot who they were supposed to be, and they had to take the bags off to remember who the others were. They wrote breezy, blue September days onto their light blue brains, and Claudia or her fingernails still hadn't managed to write anything.
   The chef found a piece of string on the ground and he followed it. He trickled slowly over the concrete next to the string. The string turned out to be an exceptionally long shoe lace, and it disappeared into a shoe. It came out the other side, where he picked up the trail again. It entered another shoe, and it came out on the other side of that. He followed the string again, and he met a woman called Kate who was taking her shoes for a walk. Kate and her twin sister light candles at various points in their history, and they often light candles at similar points, even when they're in different places. She lit a candle when she met the chef, and she loved the reflection of the flame on his surface. The chef thought she was much more romantic than Claudia, who just liked to look at the reflection of yellow and black road signs on his surface.
   Claudia went to see a friend of hers who has some geese. The geese say, "I'm growing," and then they strain as hard as they can to show you that they're growing. They never think of saying, "I'm talking." You just have to nod and say, "Yes, you're growing."
   She decided to use the geese as the opposing chess pieces. They didn't even need bags because they all look alike. She brought the brown paper side to the geese, and she tried to get them to fight, but the geese just tried to grow. The others had lost their bags on the breeze.
   Claudia left them and followed the trail of candles as daylight faded, and she was shocked to see the chef with Kate at the end of the trail, but then she came up with an idea for the murder mystery. She'd just light candles at lots of different points in the story to light up the uneventful events. There wasn't a murder in it. There would have been if she'd asked the wolf to do it, especially if the geese were involved.
   The chef was disappointed with her lack of interest in what he was doing with another woman at the end of a trail of candles, but Kate left because she wanted to see if her sister had lit candles in similar places. He was glad to have Claudia then. When he thought about it, he could see a certain romance to watching the reflection of road signs in water.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


Greg's Ears

   Greg always wondered what it'd be like to eat a crayon. His friend Sweeney wondered what it'd be like to eat a crayon in the library. That's why when Sweeney said, "Do you notice something different about my ears?" Greg said, "Have you been eating a crayon in the library?"
   But no, there was something different about his ears. His girlfriend, Shelley, had pierced them. She needed someone to practise on. She was only going to do one, but she got it wrong, so she did the second one, and she got that one less wrong. "If I had a third ear, she might have got that one right," Sweeney said to Greg. "So there's a fair chance she'll get yours right."
   "She's not going anywhere near my ears."
   "I told her she could practise on you."
   "She's not doing anything to my ears."
   Shelley arrived and said to Greg, "Are you ready to get your ears pierced?"
   "I can't. I'm... going over there."
   So he went over there, and it was great for a while. There was a beautiful woman there, and the first thing she said to him was, "I really like your ears."
   But then an angry woman came along, and the first thing she said was, "When are you going to marry my sister?"
   He wondered which sister she was talking about. "I've got to go on top of that," he said, and he left them.
   He was on his own on top of that, and he didn't mind as long as he wasn't over there or getting his ears pierced by Shelley. But he had to go on top of something else when tourists started admiring him.
   The bees arrived with their biscuits. They told him a story. "We went all around the museum, and the patches of sunlight on the ground were just like the light on the carpet when we got home. The bloodhounds were asleep in the corner. Roger was talking on the radio. When he said something about ships, the bloodhounds woke up, and they started sniffing around the room. They've been trying to find a toy white whale that we got for them after reading Moby Dick. A magician made it disappear, but he couldn't find it, and they've been trying to find the magician. He has an advantage over them because he doesn't keep falling asleep. The one advantage they have is that the magician wears very big shoes to give him an air of authority, and this slows him down. On the other hand, if the bloodhounds find a lemon they'll congratulate themselves and fall asleep. It suits us fine because it's much closer to Moby Dick than just bloodhounds with a toy whale, which wasn't really close to anything. I remember there last week..."
   "What does this have to do with biscuits?" Greg said.
   "We're getting to that. As I was saying, I remember last week when the bloodhounds were asleep in the garden, and a mouse was sleeping there too, but I don't know what this has to do with a mouse. There were biscuits on a plate, and they were very nice."
   "Ye just added in the bit about the biscuits."
   "We did not."
   The bees chased off of that and under something else and all around a thing with an umbrella and down a road.
   He met Sweeney on the following day. Greg, avoiding nouns and verbs because of a hangover, wouldn't say where he had been or what he had done there. The tattoo he had acquired overnight suggested he was engaged to someone called Eve, something that would surely disappoint all of the sisters.
   He was tempted to get his ears pierced one afternoon when he had nothing else to do, but he just ate a crayon instead. He regretted not getting his ears pierced.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Ice Cubes

   The ghosts have been much quieter since they discovered ice cubes. All you can hear now is the clinking of ice in glasses. Tommy prefers this to the sound of the chains. His walking shoes always took him out of the house when the ghosts used chains, but now his shoes leave him standing in the hall with a glass of whiskey in his hand. The sound of the ice in his own glass is in perfect harmony with the sound of the ghosts from the landing above.
   The ice cube in his glass would like to learn how to swim before it melts, but melting into whiskey has a certain appeal to it too, and the ice gradually forgets about the swimming. Tommy would like to stand there and let the whiskey melt into him, but his walking shoes have other ideas. He follows his shoes when they leave the house through the front door. They go next door to Anita's front garden.
   Little dogs have their own little gardens in her garden. They run around in circles on their lawns. Every time Anita has to leave them, she always tells them she has to go inside to put more batteries in her head.
   Tommy wants to dance to entertain the dogs while she's gone, but they're happy going around and around, and his feet won't move anyway. She comes back out with a bowl of strawberries. The strawberries would like to learn how to melt because it seems like so much fun. The little dogs slow down, and they eventually fall asleep. They dream about running in circles.
   Tommy finishes his whiskey. The short-term is bright, and the little point of light from the medium-term is sparkling in the sky. The long-term will be determined by his feet. Anita measures the dogs as they sleep to estimate how much cake she'll need to make. He writes down the measurements, and when she finishes measuring the dogs she looks at the numbers he wrote down. She has a head for hats and maths. She hates heights and she loathes stormy nights. She loves the silence of caves and the stillness of cold winter days. She has no opinion on the shed her cousin is building. He's using old pieces of timber and metal to build it.
   "What do you think of the shed my cousin is building?" she says to Tommy.
   "I don't know. I suppose I'd have to go there to see it, and that all depends on my feet."
   "It doesn't matter. I don't really care. You can tell your feet it doesn't matter."
   The ghosts would love to have heads for maths, or hats to keep all the numbers in their heads. They can imagine counting things, and countless numbers melting into the air, but for now they're happy with the ice cubes. They go back to the fridge for some more. Tommy and Anita can hear the sound of the ice in glasses, the perfect musical accompaniment to the sparkling of the stars. This is the sort of music Tommy would like to dance to, but his feet are more into reggae.

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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