Very Slight Stories | Like short stories, only shorter.

'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Tuesday, October 24, 2006


The Red Thread

   Some people are shop keepers. Some are not. Some wear newspapers. Some are Sylvester Stallone, or one of them is. I read that in a newspaper someone was wearing. She hated small talk, and she got around it by letting people read her. Her name was Laura. We had some very interesting conversations without saying a word.
   She was having her portrait painted in a conservatory once, with the garden in the background. She sat there for two hours and tried to remain still as the artist worked. She came back on the following day for another sitting, but she was wearing different newspapers. The artist had already started painting some of the stories in the previous day's papers.
   As he tried to figure out how to integrate the stories, Laura went out into the garden. She found a red thread on a stone path. To cut a long story short (you can read the edited bits on Laura's back) she ended up in a red room on a Russian boat. There were paintings of the sea on the walls. There was a long table set for dinner. The boat was haunted, and the ghost was worried that his head was getting bigger.
   When she met the ghost he mentioned the weather, and she pointed to an interesting article about Germany on her knee, but you can't believe everything you read on Laura's knees. The ghost said he couldn't read it because he'd lost his reading glasses. She doubted that a ghost would need reading glasses, but she spoke to him anyway. "Mr. Bunratty insisted he knew nothing of the snail," she read from her arm.
   The ghost said, "I keep finding safety pins wherever I go. Choose anywhere on this boat where we could go, and I bet we'll find a safety pin there."
   She chose to go two feet to her left. There was a safety pin on the table in front of her. "Does that worry you at all?" she said.
   "No. Not really. I'm more worried about my head getting bigger. Should I be worried?"
   "About the safety pins or your head?"
   "I'd be worried. I'd wonder if the two were somehow connected."
   "How could there be a connection?"
   "I don't know. Where do you put the safety pins when you find them?"
   "In my head."
   "That's probably the connection."
   She threw pepper at him to make him sneeze, and when he did, all of the safety pins fell out of his head. His reading glasses fell out too.
   She was rescued by a man in a speedboat who was wearing a tuxedo. He had lost his trousers. He let her think that he was there to rescue her, but he was really there to find his trousers. She let him think that she needed to be rescued. She wouldn't be so happy if she could read her own back, where she's portrayed as a hysterical woman who was rescued by a fearless, sophisticated man who was always in full control of the situation and of his own trousers. The explosion mentioned in the article was really just the ghost's sneeze, and the bullets were the safety pins. She'd be horrified if she knew the things people were reading about her behind her back.

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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