|Very Slight Stories | Like short stories, only shorter.||
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Bertie used to carry a tin of paint around town with him. He wanted to look as if he was working, just in case his boss saw him. The tin of paint had its own stool at the bar. People started calling it Cyril, and they'd ask Bertie how Cyril was.
One of his neighbour's, Lauren, started carrying a tin of paint too. One day she came into the pub and put her tin on a stool next to Cyril. "Her name is Sophie," Lauren said, "and she'd like to get to know Cyril."
Bertie eventually figured out that Lauren was making a pass at him, and he was horrified by the thought. He thought she was mad because she believed that the plastic bags floating on the breeze were the ghosts of dead cats and dogs, playing in the air. She used to stand on the street and make various calls and whistles. She was trying to control the cats and dogs, like a farmer controlling his sheepdog. Sometimes she said things like 'good boy' or 'sit' or 'play dead'.
In fairness, he thought most people were mad. He believed that his aunt was mad just because she had reading glasses. But he could make a stronger case for Lauren's madness because of the ghost cats and dogs. She once asked him if he'd get the ghost of a cat down from a tree. He said, "It looks happy there."
"No, she's stuck. She wants to be playing with her friends on the street."
He climbed the tree and removed the plastic bag, and she said the ghost cat looked much happier, but it just got stuck in the gate.
He wanted to let her know that he wasn't interested, so he put a wooly hat on Cyril. When she came into the pub with Sophie she saw the hat and asked, "Is that Cyril?"
"No," he said, "that's his cousin, Anthony. Cyril's gone away for a while."
He thought that if her tin of paint showed an interest in Anthony after chasing Cyril then she'd look as if she'd chase anything in a tin.
Lauren was silent for a few minutes, and then she said, "I miss Cyril already. Do you know when he'll be back."
She left the pub, but they met again that evening. When he was walking down the street he saw her sitting on the wall in front of her house. She had another tin of paint. "This one is called Shirley," she said, "and she'd like to get to know Anthony."
She told Anthony all about Shirley. Bertie couldn't get away from them.
She was there again on the following evening, but this time Anthony was gone. Cyril had returned. She was delighted to see him. She said, "Wait here a minute." She went to the shed with Shirley and came back out with Sophie. "Sophie's been dying to meet you again," she said to Cyril.
Bertie sat next to her on the wall, but he didn't feel a need to participate in this conversation. He just sat there and smoked, with as little on his mind as the ghost cats and dogs have on theirs. A thought eventually took shape in his head: that a relationship conducted through paint was ideal. It was the sort of relationship that suited his work ethic. Cyril bore the brunt of it. Shirley was left on the shelf after Anthony had to leave.
The Tree and the Horse
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.
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