Very Slight Stories | Like short stories, only shorter.

'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Designing Worlds

   Phil had a pub and a wife, but not necessarily in that order of importance. He had a wife and a pub. No, 'pub and wife' sounds better. She had a sports car. Their son, Keith, shared a pair of eyes with his sister, Jane. When he gave her the eyes, she gave him a pair of binoculars. When he had the eyes he looked at stamps and wondered what the ghosts who lived in the stamps were up to. For some it was always Christmas. Others were stuck with birds. He always wanted to see a stamp with a Martian on it. It'd be like The Odd Couple: a ghost and a Martian. The ghosts in the house often looked over his shoulder and wondered what he was thinking.
   When he didn't have the eyes he built things with Lego. He often tried to build the scenes he saw in the stamps, but when he saw these things later with the eyes he couldn't tell what he had made. The little Lego people thought they should be able to get an insight into their world's designer by looking at his designs, but they could read nothing into Keith's creations, and this scared them. They couldn't understand the mind behind the binoculars. They talked to the ghosts about it, and the ghosts were scared too but they pretended it didn't bother them.
   Jane discovered by chance that the binoculars were much more effective when you used them with the eyes. She saw things she never saw before, like red roses made of glass, and a road sign with a pig on it. She'd go around the place looking at things through the binoculars, and when she got home she'd tell Keith about all the interesting things she saw. Then he'd go out with the eyes and the binoculars and look at those things. They made Lego models of the things they saw. They normally used one eye each when they worked on the Lego, and the models looked a lot like the things they were meant to look like. They made the roses, a road sign, a cat on a wall and a magpie.
   The Lego people could identify these worlds (sometimes incorrectly -- they believed the cat on the wall was a fat horse on a stone bridge) but they were more frightened than ever. They couldn't see any connection between these things. The ghosts were scared too. The models looked terrifying to them, and they were afraid that these things were waiting for them in the outside world.
   The Lego people came up with a story to explain the connections between the models. One of them said to the ghosts, "There was a couple who spoke to each other from either side of a stream with a stone bridge over it. There were signs at either side that said the bridge was unsafe, so they could never meet. They fell in love anyway, and he threw roses over to her. When he was proposing he gave the ring to a pigeon to take it across, but the pigeon was really a magpie in disguise, and the bird flew away with the ring. He wondered if the bridge was really unsafe, so he sent a fat horse across to test it, but the horse got scared half-way over and got stuck there. So they knew the bridge was safe, but they couldn't get past the horse."
   The ghosts thought this was a plausible theory but they needed to test it. One of them would have to go out into the outside world. They were all scared, and no one volunteered to go, so they decided by choosing straws. Felix chose the short straw, and he was sent outside.
   He went out the back door and saw Phil washing his wife's sports car. His wife was there too. There was a black and white cat sleeping on a chair on the patio. Felix was too scared to go any further. He went back inside and said, "It's all true! They got the horse off the bridge and they're both on the same side now. He's washing the horse. She was wearing the ring. They must have drugged the magpie. He was asleep."
   This put the minds of the Lego people and the ghosts at rest. Even Felix convinced himself it was true. Keith and Jane kept making things out of Lego, and the Lego people were able to explain all of these things with their story of the man and the woman and the horse. They could account for most things by assuming it's a wedding present.

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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