Very Slight Stories | Like short stories, only shorter.

'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Tuesday, January 30, 2007



   Jimmy bought a surfboard last year. I don't know if he ever had any intention of taking it to the beach. When myself and Chadwick went to see it he said, "Her name is Mary-Lou."
   "You can't give a surfboard a name," Chadwick said.
   "Vinnie calls his wife 'Victoria'."
   "Yeah, but she's a woman."
   "I thought she was made out of cardboard."
   "That was his first wife."
   "Oh right. I was wondering how he got her to say hello to me."
   "Emily was the name of his first wife. I haven't seen her around in a while. I wonder what became of her."
   We went to see Vinnie to ask about Emily. He told us about a van he was thinking of buying, and then Chadwick said, "Do you ever hear from what's-her-name? Emily."
   Vinnie responded with the words 'get off my property', which he said just after picking up his shotgun and aiming it at us.
   This was something that needed further investigation. We went through the details of the case on the way home. Vinnie was someone who'd respond to a simple question by pointing his shotgun at you, and there must have been times when he looked at Emily and saw a target on a shooting range.
   We visited his neighbours and asked them questions. No one had seen Emily in months. One of the neighbours, Joyce, said that Victoria appeared on the scene at around about the same time Emily went missing. They weren't married yet, but she was living with him. Joyce told us that she met Emily with Vinnie one evening and they were talking about buying a puppy, but that was the last time she saw Emily.
   Another one of the neighbours, Denis, was able to tell us how Vinnie met Victoria. Her car broke down near Vinnie's house. He tried to look as if he knew what he was doing when he looked at the engine. It was a look he'd recently practised when he got his head stuck in a gate. In the end he just phoned his cousin, who was a mechanic. Vinnie spoke to her as the cousin worked on the car.
   Denis also said that a few weeks after this he was coming home from the pub late one night and he saw Vinnie digging a hole behind one of the sheds on his farm. This would have been about the time Joyce last saw Emily.
   We questioned a lot of people and they all had similar stories. Jimmy wanted to interview a woman who looked a bit like Sharon Stone. Reality was starting to merge with the version of 'Basic Instinct' playing in his head. We went to see her. She had never met Vinnie before, and the only thing she was able to tell us was that she found a funny-looking beetle.
   We came to the conclusion that Vinnie met Victoria and decided he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her instead of with Emily. And Emily did spend the rest of her life with him because he killed her and buried the body.
   We decided to dig behind the shed to get proof. We went to the shop to get batteries for a torch, and when darkness fell we went to Vinnie's farm. We only turned on the torch when we were behind the shed so he wouldn't see the light. We found a patch of ground that had recently been dug up, so we started digging there.
   After twenty mintues of digging we found a long metal box. We lifted it out of the hole. We held our breaths as Jimmy opened the box, but instead of finding the body, we found whiskey. Bottles and bottles of whiskey. At least thirty bottles.
   At this point Chadwick remembered something. "When we were in the shop," he said, "Greg was talking to a woman behind the counter, and I'm sure that woman was made out of cardboard. He was expressing his opinions on jazz."
   We went back to the shop. Greg was the shop-keeper, and he was just closing the place but he was still talking to a cardboard cut-out of a woman. It was Emily alright. She looked happy there. Greg said that Vinnie gave her to him in exchange for a DVD player.
   We were glad that Emily was okay, but our thoughts quickly turned to the whiskey. "He must have stolen it," Chadwick said.
   "What's stopping us from taking it," Jimmy said. "He's not going to go to the police and say that someone stole the whiskey he stole and buried behind a shed."
   We went back to the back of the shed, and we were just about to leave with the box full of whiskey when Vinnie appeared. He had his shotgun again. "I suspected ye had a taste for suicide," he said.
   "I suspected you had a taste for stolen whiskey," Chadwick said.
   "It's not stolen."
   "Then why did you bury it?"
   "Because Victoria is very anti-drink. I'm sweeping a few things under the carpet until after we're married."
   "It'd be a shame if we let it slip about the whiskey."
   "That's the sort of thing she'd forgive me for."
   "Maybe so, but she'll never marry you when she hears that you traded your last wife for a DVD player."
   "What would it take to keep ye quiet?"
   "That's one way of putting it. You could also have said, 'What would it take to make ye forget?'"
   "Ye want some of the whiskey?"
   "Ten bottles."
   Vinnie worked out in his head how much he'd have left. "Deal," he said.
   We took the whiskey and left. Jimmy got rid of the surfboard a few days later. 'Jaws' was starting to merge with the version of 'Basic Instinct' in his mind and it frightened him. He traded Mary-Lou for a pair of glasses.

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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