Very Slight Stories | Like short stories, only shorter.

'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Joe Goes Around and Around

   Joe goes around in circles on his moped. This is his favourite past-time. Before he started going around, his favourite thing was watching Evel Knievel jump over busses or cars, but now he'd much rather see Evel Knievel go around and around in circles.
   He loves going around and around in the supermarket car park late in the evening, when no cars are around and he can turn on the headlight. He loves looking at the ground as it disappears beneath the moped. Megan often watches him, and sometimes he looks over at her.
   He walked through the park with her one evening. They went around on the merry-go-round. She thought it was great fun. He thought it was nowhere near as good as going around and around on a moped, but he pretended it was fun.
   She said she'd been swimming and he said, "Do you ever swim in circles?"
   "Sometimes," she said. "A little bit. It's fun."
   "Yeah. I must try that sometime." He only said that to humour her.
   They met Jason. He was getting off his new motorbike. "Do you like my new bike?" he said.
   "I don't know," Joe said. "I haven't seen it."
   "It's great. I love feeling the wind in my hair on the open road. Or I would do if I wasn't wearing a helmet."
   Joe tried to think of something to say. The best he could do was: "Do you still have six toes on your left foot?"
   Joe and all his friends felt as if they couldn't be any more alive on these summer evenings. Their parents saw themselves as shadows, and they found it relaxing to look at themselves on the wall. It was like looking at themselves through someone else's eyes, someone with bad eyesight who couldn't see details. Their shadows were silent too. At the end of a long day it was nice to be silent, featureless people who didn't do very much and needed a wall to exist.
   Their kids had a very different self-image. They saw themselves as people who never stopped moving, and were full of interesting features. In reality they were just shadows of this image. They often sat on walls for hours, without moving or saying very much. Looking back, they remembered an evening of laughter, loud voices and going around in circles. Joe was one of the few people who nearly lived up to his self-image, but even he saw a lot more when he looked back. He told people about beating Jason in a race: Joe on his moped versus Jason on his motorbike. But in reality they both just went around and around in circles until Jason got dizzy and had to sit down for a while. Megan told Joe she loved the way he handled corners, and he couldn't think of how she could be more complimentary than that.
   When Jason re-told the story it involved a high-speed chase to an abandoned quarry and a jump over a ravine, but he was confusing it with a film. He was probably thinking of another film when he mentioned a pig who could herd sheep.
   Joe and Megan went to a fast-food place to get something to eat, and they met Jason again. Joe asked him if he needed to go to hospital.
   "No," Jason said. "I just needed to sit down for a while. I hope the pig is okay."
   "What pig?"
   "The one... Didn't you see the pig?"
   "No. I mean, yeah."
   "I hope he's alright."
   "So do I."
   They went back to the supermarket car park to see if the pig was okay, but they just saw a dog running in circles, chasing his tail. The dog seemed oblivious to the world around him, but Joe thought that an ability to move so quickly in such a tight circle without getting dizzy demonstrated the dog's deep understanding of the world. The world itself spent all of its time going around and around. The dog obviously felt a connection.
   Jason thought it was obvious why the dog had lost his sheep. He suggested another race, one in straight lines, but Joe just slowly shook his head and looked at Jason as if he was looking at an idiot. Jason thought it was because of the pig thing, so he said nothing.

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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